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Thursday, 14 September 1911

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) . - Senator Lynch's suggestion that we do not apply a similar law to persons who walk our streets is scarcely correct. I would remind him that a man may be brought up on a charge of loitering. "We have also to recollect that a large amount of petty smuggling goes on from ships, and that vessels do ' not usually lie alongside our public thoroughfares. If the master of a vessel sees a person hovering about a ship at night this clause will empower him to call upon the police to arrest the suspect. But even then the policeman may exercise a discretion in the matter. I would put it to Senator Lynch that, after all, we are asking for a very ordinary power as there is the qualification " without reasonable excuse." The same power is contained in various State Acts, and has never been found to operate harshly.

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