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Wednesday, 28 October 1914

Senator SENIOR - I grant that, but I am not in favour of too severe a maximum penalty, because an offender may be unduly punished because of the state of a Judge's liver. If a Judge is in an irritable mood, he will see only the maximum penalty, and the man convicted before him will get it.

Senator Keating - Each of the offences may have been committed in the assertion of a man's supposed right.

Senator SENIOR - That is so. We should view this question in the light of the twentieth, and not of the fifteenth, century.

Senator Bakhap - Does the honorable senator contend that no cognisance should be taken of an offence committed against the law of a State?

Senator SENIOR - Not to the extent of doubling the penalty provided for the offence. That is to regard the offender as guilty of an offence twice as heinous as that which he has previously committed. An offence under the Commonwealth law may carry with it a penalty of seven years' imprisonment, and, under a State law, of two years' imprisonment. If the offence were committed a second time under a State law, and this provision were enforced, the offender would be liable to four years' imprisonment, but, if it were committed a second time under the Com- mon wealth law, he would be liable to fourteen years' imprisonment. I point out to honorable senators that, if an offender was guilty in the first case of an offence under the Commonwealth law, and in the second case of an offence under the State law, he is not necessarily liable to a double penalty. I think the clause should be modified in some way. The offender should be punished according to his offence, and not because, as the result of some accidental happening, his second offence is against a Commonwealth law, and not against a law of a State.

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