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Tuesday, 19 December 1905


Mr WILKINSON (Moreton) - Under the circumstances, I ask leave to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment (by Mr. Wilkinson) proposed -

That the words "Price and Bayly" be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word "Defence."

Mr. KELLY(Wentworth).- The VicePresident of the Executive Council is prepared to accept this amendment simply as 3 sop to the sentiment which prevails-


Mr Ewing - I am endeavouring to meet the wishes of the Committee.


Mr KELLY - We desire to broaden the scope of the Bill, but, as I understand the position, we are prevented from doing so.


Mr Crouch - We cannot appropriate more money under this Bill, but we can appoint a Committee to inquire into similar cases and to report upon them.


Mr KELLY - Our object in broadening the scope of the measure is to intimate to the Government that all men in theDefence Department should be treated in the same way. I think that theidea underlying the amendment is an excellent on?.

Mr. KENNEDY(Moira).- I was rather amused at the way in which the VicePresident of the Executive Council agreed to the proposed amendment, because it means nothing.


Mr Maloney - It is a farce.


Mr KENNEDY - It is. His action evidences how generous the Government canbe when they are conceding nothing. The amendment is a mere make-believe, because if it be adopted the Bill will still remain the Price and Bayly Compensation Bill, and nothing more. I do not believe in exquisite foolery of that sort. Mv desire is that we should" reach' those meritorious cases which the Bill will not touch. The amend- ment will serve no useful purpose whatever. Another Bill will be required to sanction the payment of compensation to any other officer in the same category as Colonel Price and Lt.-Col. Bayly. I ask the Minister if it is not possible to reach the meritorious cases to which I have referred under this Bill ?


Mr Isaacs - It cannot be done under the message upon which the Bill was originated. The Constitution prevents any proposed law appropriating revenue or moneys from being originated other than by message from the Governor-General. .


Mr KENNEDY - I understand that perfectly well. Seeing that the Bill affirms a principle, could not the Government agree to defer its consideration until next session ?


Mr Isaacs - It is urgent.


Mr KENNEDY - I would remind (he Attorney-General that measures of urgency affecting infinitely more people than are affected by this Bill, have been allowed to stand over until next session.


Mr Isaacs - That was not the fault of the Government.


Mr KENNEDY - Nevertheless that lias occurred. I wish to make the Bill applicable to all officers and men in the Defence Forces who have been injured whilst upon duty. I would point out that one of the two officers whose names are mentioned1 in this measure, continued in the service of the Commonwealth for two years after he had reached the age of retirement.


Mr Maloney - I beg to call attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.]


Mr KENNEDY - I think that all meritorious cases should be dealt with, just as the Government propose to deal with those under consideration, and I therefore ask the Ministry to agree to the further consideration of this Bill being deferred until next session. There is an important principle involved, and, although special stress has been laid on the claims of these officers for consideration, I would remind the Committee that one of them remained in the service two years after reaching the ordinary retiring age. We know that long before reaching the retiring age many men have "passed out," leaving behind them penniless families, and I wish some recognition to be given to those deserving cases. I would again ask the Government to agree to allow this measure to stand over until next session.


Mr Ewing - We shall go on with it if we can do so.


Mr KENNEDY - This Bill means merely that the two officers named in it are to receive compensation, and we must certainly make an effort to improve its phraseology.

Mr. EWING(Richmond- VicePresident of the Executive Council). - The Prime Minister has already informed the House of the position of the Ministry with regard to the general principle of compensensation, and I am justified in saying, as the result of a communication from the Minister of Defence, that the Government are prepared to deal with every meritorious case that is brought before them, just as they are treating those now under consideration. But we cannot find out every deserving case. If honorable members are aware of any, let them bring them forward, and1 we shall deal with them. We cannot promise to do more than that.


Mr Kennedy - I think that we ought to have a quorum. [Quorum formed.}


Mr EWING - Despite the assurance of the Government, the Committee appears to be under the impression that some surreptitious action will be taken to prevent meritorious cases coming under the notice of Parliament'. I am prepared to give an undertaking something to this effect : A report shall be obtained by the Minister, and laid before Parliament, as to all cases in which compensation is claimed for injuries received by members of the Defence Force in the course of their duty.


Mr Crouch - What would be the good of that?


Mr EWING - I am endeavouring to settle the matter.


Mr Wilkinson - Will that mean that in the meantime this compensation will be granted to the officers named?


Mr EWING - Yes. We do not wish to overload the Bill. I have read the undertaking we are ready to give, and am prepared to say on behalf of the Minister of Defence that we shall regard it as mandatory that every case that can be discovered shall be laid before the House on its merits, so that it may then be dealt with by honorable members.







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