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Wednesday, 4 June 1969


Senator RAE (Tasmania) - My first inclination is to agree entirely wilh what Senator Murphy and other honourable senators have said. I too do not look with any favour upon averment clauses, particularly in legislation of this type, but for the reasons that Senator McKellar has mentioned in relation to holding up the whole scheme, I shall not support Senator Murphy's amendment. However, I wish to say at this stage that this is something which I hope will receive the closest scrutiny in the future. Senator Little has said that legal eagles - I think that was the expression he used - are too idealistic. I simply rush into the defence to say that it is to be hoped that somebody will be idealistic in this field. It is to be hoped that someone will strive to maintain the liberty of the subject. It is all too easy to look to the immediate objective of administering a scheme such as this which we all agree is a good idea and to say: 'Well, this will make it more convenient. Because it will make it more convenient, therefore it is a good idea.' But it is one more step along the road to the complete erosion of the liberty of the subject. Things which have been built up over the years and that have come to be hallowed as traditional rights through the ages, rights for which citizens have fought and died, are not to be whittled away by marketing schemes.

I feelwith some considerable intensity that we should look very closely at the philosophy embodied in this type of legislation. What is that philosophy? Presumably it is that because a group of producers wains to achieve a certain result, then any one of that group who departs from the norm or who does not play the game is to be regarded as an outcast whose rights arc to be taken away completely. Once we have accepted that philosophy in relation to a particular marketing scheme why cannot we transfer it to society generally and say that the same type of philosophy must apply in relation to the citizen and the community in which he lives? In other words, why cannot we then say, if a citizen is charged with a crime, that he must prove himself not guilty?

I do not like to see any intrusion at all into the rights of citizens. I suggest to honourable senators that any change in the onus of proof should be made only after the closest possible scrutiny, after very considerable substantiation and after it has been made clear that it is not dangerous and that it is necessary. I do not want to hold up this legislation and the scheme, but I would like to see the matter considered. I shall not support Senator Murphy's amendment simply because this is only one of many instances all of which, in my view, need reviewing.







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