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Thursday, 29 April 1915

Senator WATSON (NEW SOUTH WALES) - In view of the demobilization of certain defended ports that has lately taken place, will the Minister take into consideration the advisability of allowing a portion of the Permanent Forces of the ports to enlist for active service with the Expeditionary Force in connexion with the present war?

Senator PEARCE - That question ha3 been considered, and it has not been thought advisable to take the Permanent Forces away from the ports, but in view of the altered circumstances in regard to the naval position it might shortly com 3 up for reconsideration.

Senator LONG - In making the appointments to the Third Expeditionary Forces that will soon be leaving Australia, will the Minister of Defence give consideration to ribbon men, that is to say, those officers who have seen active service in South Africa, and who may apply for commissions? Will the Minister give these men that consideration which in many cases their long service in South Africa entitles them to ?

Senator PEARCE - The records of the Australian officers who have seen service in the South African war are available in the Department, and the applicants for commissions in the Expeditionary Force are upon a list. These applications are to be considered in the first place by the Selection Committee of the district to which they are attached. The recommendation of the Selection Committee is not final ; it goes on to the Commandant, who also takes into consideration those factors. Then again, the recommendation is sent forward by him to the Military Board, the members of which are also in possession of all the information, and from the Military Board the recommendation goes on to the Minister. In each nf these cases instructions are that past services are to be taken into consideration.

Senator Long - You approve then that these men who have seen active service should have consideration, all things being equal ?

Senator PEARCE - The fact that the officer has seen active service is certainly taken into consideration, and 1 should expect that those responsible would give very close attention to the matter.

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