Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 20 May 1920

Mr CONSIDINE (Barrier) .- I do not wonder, having heard his sentiments, that the Minister representing the Minister for Defence has little faith in the League of Nations. I have not much faith in it myself as a means of preventing war. But if the Governments of the nations of the world are actuated by views such as he has expressed, wars will never be abolished, and if the spirit that he wishes to inculcate is breathed into the Australian youths, this country will not wait for some one to attack it, it will look for a fight. The Minister told us that he was wholly opposed to what he termed the Prussian brand of militarism. But I shall show him that the compulsory training system is applying the Prussian system to the youths of Australia. Under , our Defence Act there is, and has been for a considerable time, a continuous persecution of lads in different parts of Australia. I have brought instances of this under the notice of members on two or three occasions, and I have now been again requested by the fathers of some of the lads in Broken Hill to mention it once more. Those who are protesting against the treatment which has been meted out to youngsters in that city are not my supporters, nor are they sympathetic wit.h my views, as I shall presently show. The Minister will not contend that the officer at Broken Hill is quite the saint that he pictured the Sydney Rocks area officer to be. This is a report appearing in the Barrier Miner - a newspaper whose, views are not generally in harmony with my own - on the 26th March last - .

In the Police Court to-day, before Mr. W. Le Brim Brown, S.M., a number of trainees were prosecuted by Lieutenant D. C. Jacob for breaches of the Defence Act.

Clement George Huckell pleaded guilty to a charge of having disobeyed an order while on parade on 17th March.

Lieutenant Jacob said that the defendant was cautioned about speaking in the ranks. He refused to stop when spoken to. There were four previous convictions against the defendant.

Defendant was fined 60s., 'and ordered to pay 3s. costs, or undergo fifteen days' detention.

The same defendant was further charged with failing to wear his uniform while on parade on 17th March. Defendant pleaded guilty.

The father of the lad shows in a letter that he has written that for about eighteen months his son had had no uniform supplied to him, although repeated applications had been made to the Department for one. On this occasion the lad had overslept himself, and grabbed the first clothes available before rushing to attenddrill. The report continues -

Lieutenant Jacob said the defendant was issued with a full equipment on October, 1919.

The defendant said that there were about a dozen boys on parade without uniforms, and that he was the only one summoned.

The magistrate said that was nothing to do with him, but told the defendant that he could report the matter to the military headquarters. A' fine of 10s., with 3s. costs, or detention for seven days, was ordered.

Aubrey Keith Erickson pleaded guilty to a charge of having disobeyed an order while on parade on 17th March.

Lieutenant Jacob said that the defendant with Huckell refused to stop talking when told to do so by an officer. There were no previous convictions against the defendant.

Defendant was lined 20s., and ordered to pay 3s. ^ costs, or undergo seven days detention.

Samuel Townsend pleaded guilty to a- charge that on 13th February he did not return to custody when instructed.

Lieutenant Jacob said that on 13th February the defendant was sentenced to fourteen days' detention. He was released temporarily, but failed to return. There were three previous convictions against the defendant. Defendant was fined 40s., and ordered to pay -3s. costs, or undergo ten days5 detention.

Harold Robert Williams pleaded guilty to a charge of having failed to attend a compulsory parade on 17th March.

Lieutenant Jacob said that the defendant had missed five compulsory parades and had been previously convicted for insolence and for having made use of indecent language. Defendant was ordered fourteen days' detention, with the payment of 3s. costs or an additional day's detention.

Williams was further charged with having failed to attend a compulsory parade on 21st February.

Lieutenant Jacob said that a sergeant.major while on the way to the parade ground told the defendant to go to the parade, but the defendant failed to put in an appearance.

The magistrate said that he did not think that it was par.t of the duty of a sergeantmajor to tell trainees in the street that they had to go to parades.

Lieutenant Jacob: The fact remains that he did not. go to drill.

The Magistrate: That is so; but I cannot take notice of the other facts. Defendant is ordered into custody for three days, and must pay 3s. costs or undergo an additional day's detention.

Ronald William .Kilsby, pleaded guilty to a charge of having failed to attend a compulsory parade on 17th March.

Lieutenant Jacob said the defendant had missed three compulsory parades.

Defendant was ordered seven' days' detention and the payment, of 3s. coats - in default, an additional day's detention.

Robert Samuel Robinson pleaded guilty to a charge of having failed to obey the lawful command of an officer on 17th March.

Lieutenant Jacob said the defendant was given an order three times and disobeyed the officer three times. There were three previous convictions. He asked the magistrate to order detention without the option of a fine. The defendant had always found money to pay the fine.

Defendant was fined 60s., and ordered to pay 3s. costs, or undergo detention for fifteen days.

On the application of Lieutenant Jacob five charges were withdrawn.

Two charges were heard» in the Children's Court, the boys being under the age of sixteen.

This is the report of what took place in the Children's Court -

In the Children's Court to-day, before Mr. M. H. Cleeve, Acting S.M., a small boy appeared, charged on the information of Lieutenant D. C. Jacob, with having disobeyed a lawful command. The evidence for the prosecution was that the defendant repeatedly put his hand on his shoulder and refused to move it when spoken to. The defendant said that his clothing was loose, and that he had his hand up to keep a portion of the clothing in its place.

The magistrate dismissed the information, but cautioned the defendant.

Another defendant was charged with having attended late for parade. The defence was that the mother of the boy was ill, and he could not leave home earlier.

As a matter of fact, the boy had to look after his mother, who was ill, the father being away. For being late on parade he was called before the Children's Court by this Australian exponent of Prussianism -

The magistrate dismissed the prosecution, and told the boy to attend on time in future.

To show that the complaints against these prosecutions are coming from persons whose political and economic views differ from my own, and who are not anti-militarist, let me quote this letter.

Sir. -I notice by Friday's issue of the Miner that several lads have been prosecuted for " breaches of the Defence Act." May I have the opportunity of expressing my opinion in regard to these prosecutions, which are becoming all too frequent.

Case 1 : ' Disobeying an order " by " speaking in the ranks." - What a monstrous crime for which the military-made criminal ( ?) has to pay £3 3s. in hard cash or be detained in slavish subjugation to his prosecutors for fifteen days. Just fancy £3 3s. in these hard times for the privilege of using one's own tongue for the purpose it was intended.

Case 2 (same defendant) : Charged with failing to wear his uniform while on parade. - Fined 10s., costs 3s., or seven days' detention. Thus one lad for the trumpery offence (?) of wearing his own clothes and saying a few- words is penalized to the extent of £3 lGs.

Case 3 : Another case of " talking," but as he was otherwise a good boy his " talk " cost him only 23s. Yet these are loyal young Australians; but when sedition-mongers take possession of the people's parks and " talk " sedition, Bolshevism, anti-patriotism, strike, and stagnation for an hour or two in open defiance of a clearly-defined law, a ridiculous fine of 5s. is imposed.

The writer i3 hardly sympathetic with my views, and is likely to be impartial in regard to the prosecutions that he criticises.

Case 4: "Failed to return to custody when instructed." - In this case " failure to return " cost the delinquent 43s., or ten days. It would be interesting to know what this trainee had been doing during his first period of detention.

Cases 5, 6, and 7, for want of space, I will pass over.

Case 8 : " Disobedience to an officer." - Now, who was the " officer ?" Was he some boy N.C.O., who, dressed in a little brief authority, gave an order for the sake of impressing his own superiority ( ? ) upon his unfortunate mates?1 This is often the case, and when the tell-tale juvenile N.C.O. complains to the chief inflictor of unnecessary and unmerited punishment, a prosecution (or is it persecution) results.

And the prosecuting officer asked that detention be imposed without the- option of a fine. Had the magistrate given way on this point, what an opportunity for a man armed with full legal powers to lead this lad a dog's life for two or three weeks! The defendant in this case has to increase the revenue by £3 3s., or suffer persecution for fifteen days.

When will parents and electors generally take heed of these tilings, these glaring miscarriages of justice, these Court farces which are a disgrace to Australia? That loyal Australian youths should have to appear in the Police Court to answer such trumpery charges and to be heavily fined or detained by force (practically gaoled) is a disgrace to any country pretending to be called " free." What a spectacle to see ! One week enemies- of our land and Empire who refuse to submit to any law but mob law are fined os. for a distinct breach of the law. Next week loyal Australian boys are ordered " detention " for " breaches of the Defence Act." Methinks the Defence Act is so - full of "' breaches " that it should have been in the waste-paper basket long ago. I would suggest that all parents of boys should take this matter up, and by constitutional means wipe out the clauses of the Defence Act that practically mean boy conscription, and set the boys free. - I am, &c,

A Loyal Australian.

Sir Granville Ryrie - Wipe out all punishments, and we shall have a nice Force.

Suggest corrections