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Thursday, 7 December 1911

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister of Defence) . - I think I can show Senator Rae that the position to which he has referred is already adequately provided for. In the first place, no sentence of death can be carried into effect without the consent of the GovernorGeneral, and under the Acts Interpretation Act, the " Governor-General " means the Government of the day. If this Parliament were to enact a law abolishing capital punishment, then the Governor-General in Council could not confirm any sentence of death which might be recorded. There is no need to amend this clause. All that has to be done by Parliament is to pass a measure abolishing the punishment of death under any Federal law, and then the GovernorGeneral cannot confirm a sentence of death passed upon a person. Up to the present Parliament has not passed such a law.

Senator Gardiner - Will you favorably consider that aspect of the matter?

Senator PEARCE - We are not called upon to consider that question now.

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