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Thursday, 13 September 1973
Page: 995

Mr ENDERBY (Australian Capital Territory) (Minister for the Capital Territory and Minister for the Northern Territory) - Just briefly in reply to the points which have been made. I do not want to repeat what has already been said because the House has other business to proceed to. But surely it comes to this: There are enormous problems and injustices if we stipulate a crime of murder for ordinary victims and impose one penalty and then bring in a crime of murder for a different category of persons - in this case, a policeman or a prison officer - and set an entirely different penalty. In both categories the victims are human beings. One, of course, does have an enormous amount of sympathy for the arduous and difficult roles played by police officers in performing their duties, and of prison officers in performing their duties.

Again I have to quote the honourable member for Isaacs (Mr Hamer) - and I am quite happy to do so. We all know that prisons are places of security. I do not know of any social mischief, if you like, or any social danger of the sort described that exists in prisons. I have always subscribed to the view that the fewer criminal laws there are the better. We find a social mischief or an annoyance or something that has to be attended to and then reluctantly if possible make criminal laws to cover them. This is the thinking, as I understand it, of all enlightened criminologists and penal reformers. In this case the Opposition is saying that we should make an additional criminal law. I ask Opposition supporters: What evidence do you have that it is required? I do not know of any evidence that exists. I can understand the theoretical argument but I know of no practical application where the theoretical argument has been demonstrated to be valid. I say again that we debase us all when we go through this public spectacle of hanging people in capital punishment.

Amendment negatived.

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