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Wednesday, 28 October 1914

Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) . - I cannot understand the opposition to this clause. Many times we have heard of men being blacklisted and boycotted, so that they were unable to gain a livelihood because they had the temerity to express their political opinions. Surely the time has arrived when we should deal with people who inflict such hardship on the citizens of Australia. Three years' imprisonment is a light enough penalty to impose upon men who victimize others because they have the courage to express their political convictions. We must remember that this is the maximum penalty which can be inflicted. In dealing with minor offences, the Court will exercise common sense. I cannot magine that any Judge or justice of the peace will, for a minor offence, inflict the maximum penalty.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - It may be like a boomerang.

Senator FINDLEY - It might come back like a boomerang, but I have sufficient faith in the Government to believe that they have given serious consideration to the Bill. There is, in my opinion, ample justification for the inclusion of a provision of this kind. It is frivolous for honorable senators to raise the bogy that, under this clause, a man might be sentenced to three years' imprisonment for a trivial offence. This clause will enable citizens in different parts of Australia to secure greater freedom in regard to their political rights than they have enjoyed in times gone by.

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