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Thursday, 23 August 1906

Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania) . - I agree largely with what Senator Pearce has said, but I point out that, even if " hereafter " is inserted, all the honorable senator's objections are adequately met by the first part of the clause, which provides the very adequate penalty of £500. If there were a contract in existence at the present time, and an act was being committed under it in violation of paragraphs a and b of sub-clause 1 the penalty would still remain, no matter what words we may insert in sub-clause 2 ; and what Senator Pearce fears could not happen. But there is a difference between declaring such a contract absolutely illegal and void as to every single part of it, and removing an offence because it is committed under an existing contract. I think the penalty ought to remain, butwego too far if we destroy every part of an existing, contract, even a part which may be perfectly fair and square as between the parties.

Senator Playford - The clause refers only to what is done in contravention of the Bill.

Senator CLEMONS - That does not so appear from the wording of sub-clause 2, according to which, if any part of a contract is in contravention of the clause, the whole of that contract becomes illegal and' void. We must recognise that there maybe many parts of a contract with which we should not want to interfere; and any part that is in contravention of the clause is met by the adequate penalty of £500. Senator Pearce, in his anxiety to make it perfectly certain that no contract in contravention of the clause shall continue, goes too far, because he wants to destroy the whole of the good part of a contract, such as we would be perfectly willing to allow two citizens, to enter into.

Senator Pearce - A contract is only affected by the Bill if it is in contravention of paragraphs a and b of sub-clause 1.

Senator CLEMONS - If sub-clause 2 remains as at present, every part of any contract made in the past will be made null and void, whereas only a part of it may constitute an offence.

Senator Pearce - Why not insert some qualifying words making sub-clause 2 apply only to such contracts as are in contravention of the section?

Senator CLEMONS - Any words of that sort would suit me, but I do not think it is necessary to make null and void every contract entered into, it may be years or months before, simply in order to make sure that there shall be no contravention of the measure.

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