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Thursday, 17 November 1960

Mr UREN (Reid) .- The honorable member for Bruce (Mr. Snedden) has drawn attention to the fact that this provision has been in the act since 1914. The Opposition has no objection to his mentioning that fact. However, we know that many aspects of the amendment proposed by the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) are very wide and very vague. The present Crimes Act will be widened. Although this provision is part of the act already, it is a provision which gives the opportunity to certain individuals to lay charges against others. The provision with relation to known character has also been contained in the Crimes Act since 1914, but known character in 1914 was a far different proposition from what it is to-day. So different is it to-day that it has been extended to cover three particular offences and sentences have been extended to fifteen years. The provision we are now discussing makes the act more critical. It allows prosecutions to be launched against persons in many places. I consider that the argument adduced by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) was a good one and the provision should be withdrawn.

The attention of the Attorney-General has been directed to the fact that he was not aware that this provision was in the act. During his second-reading speech he said that he was the only person who could launch prosecutions under the Crimes Act. I submit that the. argument put forward by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is valid and should be accepted by the Government.

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