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Wednesday, 5 October 1910
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Senator STEWART (Queensland) . - I desire to refer to a small matter in connexion with which, I think, some action should be taken by the Department. I believe that some time ago in Townsville a non-commissioned officer who was marching his men to a particular place was compelled to halt them for some reason or other. It appears that this was a deadly offence in the eyes of the military authorities. A court-martial was ordered, and officers were summoned from the length and breadth of Australia at great cost, I suppose.

Senator St Ledger - What was the offence ?

Senator STEWART - Halting the men in the course of a march to a particular place

Senator Pearce - No; the honorable -senator is not fully informed.

Senator STEWART - Probably not. I -should like to get some information. The whole thing seemed to be. so ludicrous.

Senator Pearce - Was he a military or ;a naval officer?

Senator STEWART - A naval officer, I "believe. The ridiculous aspect of the matter to me was that it should be necessary to put the country to a great deal of expense to hold a court-martial on the man for what was a very trivial offence, if it was an offence at all. A great deal of ridicule was heaped on the Commonwealth authorities at the time for allowing such a thing to take place. Perhaps the "Minister of Defence can tell us exactly what happened. If my information be correct, I trust that some other means of dealing with offences of the kind will be dis covered. The Commonwealth has no money to fling about to give men trips all over Australia, merely in order that they may attend some pettifogging court martial which may be considered necessary by military or naval martinets.

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