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Friday, 30 April 1920


Mr TUDOR (Yarra) .- The Committee agreed to this amendment without a division.


Mr Laird Smith - Because the Minister said that the numbers were against him.


Mr TUDOR - The Government accepted the amendment, and it was carried on the voices, but apparently when the numbers are against the Government in this House it is easy for them to get their representative in another place to move that the amendment be not accepted. That was done in connexion with this amendment. Evidently the Minister was not sincere when he accepted the amendment in this Chamber. Three years is a sufficiently long period for the appointment. Except for the administrationof the war pensions, the work of the Repatriation Department is drawing to a close. The Minister for Repatriation (Senator Millen) has said on more than one occasion that the work of his Department is approaching its end. With the exception of about 14,000 or 15,000 men all of our soldiers have returned to Australia. Many of them are being given vocational training, sustenance allowance, and assistance in other ways which must soon come to an end. It is estimated by those who are in the best position to know that two years will be sufficient for the vocational training of these men in various industries, because it does not mean a long apprenticeship as, for instance, to engineering. I do not say the men are more receptive at the ages at which they have arrived, but they are more likely to persevere than are boys who are just leaving school. Under the circumstances, I see no necessity for the appointment of the Commission for five years. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. West) suggests that if we reject the amendment it will mean a double dissolution, but that would not be possible under section 57 of the Constitution; at any rate, if the Government desired a double dissolution, they would select a more important question than this. The reason given for the inclusion of the Pensions Department under the Repatriation administration was that the arrangement in three yeaTS could be reviewed, and I believe that influenced the voting of honorable members on the point.







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