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Thursday, 6 May 1915

Mr GLYNN (Angas) - This is the clause which has the retrospective aspect. In times of peace we must be particularly cautious that we do not pass criminal legislation that has the taint of being retrospective; but in this case we must trust the Executive to see that they do not apply power given for purely war purposes, and practically as an addition to the war legislation of the drastic character that we are passing, to a case that cannot be considered as arising directly out of the war. The clause as it stands will cover an offence against the Commonwealth that may have no relation to war matters. I am sure that we do not wish to pass a clause that will allow people to be charged with an offence on a retrospective charge, or to be brought within the purview of this measure for an offence having no relation to the emergency brought about by the declaration of war. The question of the limitation of the duration of the Bill is not a matter of importance, as we need a provision of this kind for future offences; however, the clause gives exceptional power, and we must trust to the Executive to see that, so far as its retrospective action is concerned, it will only be applied as a part of the exceptional legislation we have been passing for war precaution purposes.

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