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Tuesday, 20 November 1973
Page: 1898

Senator LILLICO (TASMANIA) - Does the AttorneyGeneral agree that the wave of particularly bestial murders over the past few months is due partly to the relegation of the crime of murder over most of Australia to being just another gaoling offence? In short, the penalty in no way fits the crime committed. Does he not believe that in these circumstances the position will grow worse?

Senator MURPHY -No. I think that no one can draw that conclusion from the fact that this Parliament has abolished the death penalty for murder in its area. I know that it has been abolished in other areas. I think that the latest indication was given by the Premier of New South Wales, namely, that there would be no capital punishment for murder, or perhaps at all, in that State. I do not think that the honourable senator's conclusions can be justified. He certainly ought not to describe murder as just another gaoling offence. Murder is a very serious crime. It has always been so regarded. As I indicated, the notion that the penalty for murder will always be some short period of imprisonment is not correct and can be demonstrated to be not correct.

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