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Thursday, 18 August 1960

Sir GARFIELD BARWICK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Attorney-General) - I do not know whether each State has a kidnapping law, if I may use that expression, but 1 know that New South Wales has. I can inform the honorable member and the House that the Commonwealth Parliament has no power to pass a criminal law with respect to kidnapping which takes place within a State. It may be that this Parliament could pass a law with respect to the movement of a kidnapped child across a State border, but I do not think that such a law would have very much utility in Australia having regard to the small number of States that we have in this country. In the United States of America, where the number of States is much greater, movement across State borders can have much more significance in this field. I shall consider what the honorable member has said, and if it appears that there is anything useful that can be done, I shall seek the opinion of my colleagues on the matter.

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