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Friday, 24 August 1923

Mr C RILEY (COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES) (7:42 AM) .- I protest against the introduction of this Bill. I desire legislation to be passed for the establishment of the Royal Australian Air Force, because I realize that, in the absence of such a law, the men and officers of the Force are in a very unsatisfactory position. As a result, the Commonwealth U losing the services of good men. Nevertheless, it is not fair for the Government to expect any honorable member to record an intelligent vote upon this Bill. It embodies by reference the Defence Act. "What do I know about that measure, except that the original measure was passed in 1903, and was amended at various times up to 1918? How can I allow even one section of the Defence Act to be incorporated in this Bill if I do not know the text of it? This legislation has been introduced so hurriedly that honorable members have not had an opportunity of reading the Defence Act. It is five years since that Statute has been amended or reviewed. Because it was acceptable in 1918 it does not follow that it would be acceptable in 1923. I notice that sub-clause 1 of clause 1 reads -

There shall be an Air Force, to be called the Royal Australian Air Force, which may be raised, maintained, and organized by the Governor-General for the defence and protection of the Commonwealth, and shall be part of the Defence Force constituted under the Defence Act.

Does that mean that the GovernorGeneral will maintain and organize the force? I suppose it would be a great relief to the Minister for Defence if he did so. If he is not to do so, why do these words appear in the clause?

Amendment (by Mr. Bowden) proposed -

That the following new sub-clause be added : - " Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, the Imperial Act, called the Army Act, and any Acts amending or in substitution for it and for the time being in force, shall not apply to the Air Force."

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