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Tuesday, 7 December 1965

Mr SNEDDEN (Bruce) (AttorneyGeneral) . - Mr. Chairman, the Government cannot accept this amendment for two reasons. The first is that what is proposed by this amendment is really quite extraordinary. I have heard of continuing penalties after conviction but this amendment proposes continuing penalty before conviction. The consequence is that as the amendment is drawn - and this is not a drafting foible, it is the policy intended by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) - if the requirement to register on the 30th day after the making of the agreement, or the 30th day after the coming into force of that part, is not fulfilled, then for each and every week thereafter the person is liable to a penalty of 2,000 dollars.

Mr Whitlam - Not exceeding 2,000 dollars.

Mr SNEDDEN - Well, the person is liable to a penalty of 2,000 dollars. So, if some set of circumstances entitled him to exculpation under the clause we have just been dealing with, he would really be up for money if he were prosecuted for the offence a year later. He would then be liable to a fine of 104,000 dollars. There would be an awfully big temptation for him to defend himself to his utmost, as no doubt he would. This sort of prospect is just not possible of acceptance. Let me put that aside for the moment because I do not think the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has seen the significance of what he is putting in his amendment.

Let me go back to the essential point. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition says that if a person is once prosecuted that is the end of the matter. Of course, to some extent, that is true. Once a person is prosecuted, that is the end as far as prosecution for failure to register is concerned. But it is not the end in terms of examination before the Tribunal of the very agreement in respect of which he has been prosecuted. At that point of time the matter can go before the Tribunal. For those reasons, Mr. Chairman, the Government does not accept this amendment.

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