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Thursday, 23 August 1906

Senator MCGREGOR (South Australia) . - I hope that the Committee will not insert the word "hereafter." I am satisfied that it will merely create a loophole around which the legal men will cluster. I have given a good deal of consideration to this point, because, like Senator Trenwith, I was approached by persons who thought they were interested in having the point made as definite as possible. Even if it were desirable to insert any words to carry out Senator Pulsford's idea, the word " hereafter " is pot the best one to employ. The words " after the passing of this Act " are usually employed to express what he desires. " Hereafter " is an indefinite term, and would probably lead to a great deal of argument by clever gentlemen of the legal profession. But it is not necessary even to insert " after the passing of this Act," because the meaning is so obvious on the face of the clause. Even if the Minister of Defence did "make a statement to the contrary, he was, as he would say, "caught on the hop," and had not fully considered the meaning of the clause.

Would it not be a peculiar thing in passing a Bill dealing with the criminal law to say " after the passing of this Act no one shall commit a murder " ? The clause is quite clear and definite, and any one who reads it must recognise what is meant. Honorable senators opposite have on several occasions attempted to strike out words from Bills that were no less objectionable, or, indeed, more objectionable than the word " hereafter " would be in this clause. In the one case, they wish to strike out a word, and in another case to insert a word, just, it appears, for the purpose of altering the Bill without affecting the meaning in the least degree.

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