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Thursday, 26 November 1914

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister of Defence) .- Our intention is clear. In some States, cases against children up to the age of sixteen can be taken in Children's Courts. Where that can be done we desire those cases to be so taken. In one State, cases up to the age of seventeen can be taken. "In that State we desire them to be so taken.

Senator Long - What does " reasonably practicable ' ' mean ?

Senator PEARCE - I take it that that would be largely determined by distance. There might be a Children's Court in Melbourne, and prosecutions in Ballarat. It would not be reasonably practicable to take those prosecutions in Melbourne. 1 think it can be held that as the South Australian State law provides that Children's Courts in that State are for trying children under sixteen, it is not practicable for us to enforce this provision on those Courts so far as cases over sixteen are concerned, and the Act will give us power to deal with those cases in other Courts.

Senator Millen - The difficulty would arise then that a boy over sixteen in one State would have the privilege of going to a Children's Court, and boys over sixteen in other States would not.

Senator PEARCE - The same difficulty occurs now, because in some States there are no Children's Courts. I shall have the matter brought under the notice of the Attorney-General in order that the clause may be made to fully express our intentions.

Senator Long - Can a State law override a Commonwealth law?

SenatorPEARCE.- If a State law provided that no cases should be heard in a Children's Court in that State except those of children under sixteen, I hardly think that by an amendment such as this we could invest that Court with extended jurisdiction.

Senator Millen - I should think you would want special authority.

Senator PEARCE - I think so.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 13 -

Section 138 of the Principal Act is amended -

(a)   byadding at the end of paragraph (d) of sub-section (1) the following paragraphs : - "and'

(f)   persons whose bona fide residence is not within a distance of five miles, reckoned by the nearest practicable route, from the nearest place appointed for training"; and ....

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