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Wednesday, 31 May 1972
Page: 2311

Senator JESSOP (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Has the AttorneyGeneral seen the challenge issued by the Premier of South Australia with regard to a draft resister in that State? Has the Commonwealth any powers in this matter? If so, what action does the Attorney propose taking?

Senator GREENWOOD - I have read in the newspapers what some headlines have described as a challange by the South Aus tralian Premier. I can only say that 1 have made no statement to which any response by the South Australian Premier could be regarded as a challenge. The fact that on his Own initiative he issues a challenge suggests that there may be some political implications in the actions which have been taken. The constitutional position is that South Australia, as any other State, is required to receive into its prisons all Commonwealth prisoners. The Commonwealth, in the Australian Capital Territory or in the States, has no gaols. Under our federation the gaols of the States house offenders against Commonwealth laws. The position which has been adopted ever since federation is that an offender against Commonwealth laws is housed in State gaols, and the Commonwealth expects that he will be incarcerated according to the local prison rules. 1 '

The Commonwealth expects that Commonwealth prisoners will 'receive no better treatment and no worse treatment than do other prisoners. I must say that it is a farce, marked by a high degree of irresponsibility on the part of the South Australian authorities, to let out a prisoner who is offending against a law which the South Australian Government says that it does not like, to address a political meeting. To let a prisoner out to address a political meeting and to say that it is simply a case of a person being visited in gaol is just puerile nonsense. The fact that he is also to be allowed to have a Press conference within the gaol indicates to me that in South Australia there is one thing which appears to be superior to ordinary lawful processes, and that is the current policy of the Australian Labor Party.

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