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Thursday, 25 July 1912

Senator ST LEDGER (Queensland) . - I think that Senator Keating intended to speak on the second reading of this measure, and probably the despatch which the Senate has been giving to business is the cause of his absence. I did not intend to criticise the Bill, because it appears on a fairly close inspection of its pro visions that the object is to make the Act more effective for the very purpose which it was intended "to effect. I have much pleasure in congratulating the Government on one amendment, which I hope will be effective in expediting, as far as can possibly be done, the process of bringing to book those persons to whom I think the term " scoundrels," or worse, might be very properly applied. I refer to those who leave their wives and childrendeserted and helpless. I notice that the Bill is an attempt, and I hope that the attempt will be entirely successful, to enable the State jurisdictions to get their hand more quickly and more effectively on these scoundrels. We all know that penalties are provided for the punishment of offences, but I am not quite sure whether the Federal Government should not seriously consider the question of penalizing these social pariahs by disenfranchising them. 1 hope that the time will come when the Federal Government will declare that these persons are unworthy to be allowed the privileges of citizenship, but possibly that is outside the Bill. So far as it seeks to go in the direction of providing for the speedier arrest of these individuals, I wish the measure a hearty success.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and reported from Committee without amendment; report adopted.

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