I move amendment 1:
Section 2. After the word "which" in line 9, page 3, to insert the word "only."
When we had this Bill before us on the last day, I directed my remarks principally to Section 24. When I came to look at the section, I saw that the whole weight of it depended on the definition of "archæological object" which is given in Section 2. I think there are very strong reasons why my amendment should be inserted. I have examined the definition, as it stands, very carefully. Having done so, I came to the conclusion that, as far as I was concerned, I could make no sense out of it. I presume the House will agree that an archæological object must be archaeological. The meaning of the word "archæological" in the dictionary is "archaic" or "very old." I take it the House intends that the object of this Bill should be the preservation of the antiquities of the country. We see in the definition that the expression "archæological object" means any chattel. A chattel is a thing that can almost be anything. All sorts of things are described as chattels—cattle, horses, and so on. The definition speaks of "any chattel whether in a manufactured or partly manufactured or unmanufactured state which, by reason of its antiquity, or the archæological or historical interest attaching thereto." I want to draw the attention of Senators to the words "or historical interest." It does not say "and historical." Historical is not added to the antiquity. An historical object need not in the least be an archæological object, and an archæological object need not in the least be an historical object. There may be no history connected with it at all and yet you find the words in the definition "or historical."
I take it that the House never intended that the definition of "archæological object" should be in the words that we find in Section 2. I suggest that the words "or historical" in the definition destroy the effect of the words in front of them. The reason why we should be very careful in this matter is that if the crimes and iniquities of the kind described in a later part of the Bill are committed by any person and a conviction is recorded that person will be liable to a fine of £50 or six months' imprisonment or both. I can imagine a case coming before a judge where some one is accused of having done something or another to an archæological object. The judge turns to the definition which we are discussing and tries to make out what an archæological object is. He finds there the words "or historical." I submit that an historical object can be proved to be not an archæological object at all. In my opinion if the judge is to go by the definition which we find in the Bill he will come to the conclusion that he cannot give any decision in the case at all.
This definition requires to be very seriously considered by the House. The matter is so serious that, I think, we cannot come to a decision on it to-day. I personally cannot understand what the section means. I hold that some of the words in this definition make out an archæological object not to be an archæological object at all. It reminds one of the old joke: when is a door not a door? When it is ajar. I think this definition is nearly as bad as that. An archæological object need not be an historical object at all, and a historical object need not be an archæological object, and yet both are mixed up in this definition. I am not sure that the problem which this definition presents would be solved even by the insertion of the word "only". I think if the words "or historical" were deleted that the definition would be quite sensible. The definition would then read, "by reason of its antiquity or the archæological interest attaching thereto".
I also wish to draw the attention of Senators to the words in the definition "has a value substantially greater than its intrinsic value." If the object has not that value, then the Bill cannot deal with it at all. If the Bill is passed as it stands it will be impossible for anyone to sell any of these things, because their intrinsic value is taken away from them. The position, I submit, would be this: that no real archæological object, as described in this definition. can ever be acquired by the State and the Minister cannot interfere with it. As I have said, this Bill provides very heavy penalties. Those convicted of certain crimes under it will be liable to six months, imprisonment or a fine of £50 or both. Therefore, I say the Bill requires far more consideration than has been given to it. I suggest that more time should be given to the consideration of this Bill. The House can consider whether I am talking sense or nonsense. I am talking sense if there is a great deal of nonsense in this particular definition. Even if the House thinks that I am talking nonsense, I suggest they should take more time for the consideration of this Bill and think well over it before they vote for it.