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Thursday, 12 October 1911


Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister of Defence) . - I feel highly gratified by Senator St. Ledger's assurance that he will be satisfied if I can state that in my opinion we have a constitutional right to pass this Bill.


Senator St Ledger - It will be something, at any rate.


Senator PEARCE - I am well aware that my opinion cannot carry great weight, because I cannot speak with legal authority. But the Law officers inform us that they are absolutely satisfied that we are acting within the Constitution in respect of this clause, and that we have the power to pass it into law. I would suggest to Senator Rae that he should not press his amendment. The Committee have already affirmed the principle that the pledging of any medal by any person is an offence. They have reduced the penalty to£5and I am quite agreeable to reduce the penalty in this case to the same amount. Surely if it is to be an offence for a person to pledge a medal it ought equally to be an offence to receive a medal in pledge. I may point out that the same principle is embodied in the Defence Act, where it is provided that it is an offence to pledge or receive in pledge certain military accoutrements.


Senator Givens - In that case the articles would not be the property of the individual.


Senator PEARCE - Neither are military medals and decorations the property of the individual. They remain always the property of the King.


Senator Rae - After a man has left the service ?


Senator PEARCE - Yes, and they are liable to forfeiture if the man misconducts himself.







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