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Friday, 30 April 1915

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister of Defence) . - I move -

That the amendment be agreed to.

This is purely a formal amendment, but will be the means of saving the Commonwealth several hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds. There has not been time to print the amendment. After the Bill had left the Senate it was brought to my notice that there was a section in the Defence Act providing that persons who were commissioned in the Senior Cadets, if they transferred from the Senior Cadets to the Citizen Forces, and qualified for a commission, should be eligible to be appointed as second lieutenants. Now, if a person already in the Citizen Forces qualified, he attained the rank of lieutenant. That is to say, there is neither the rank "first" nor "second" lieutenant; they are all lieutenants. The provision with regard to second lieutenants, therefore, was really an oversight on the part of the draftsman, because as regards the Citizen Forces the rank of second lieutenant has been done away with. With the clause in its original form, it would be necessary for any person transferring from the Cadets to the Citizen Forces to undergo two examinations to get the rank of "first" lieutenant. If he qualified at the first examination he would be appointed as " second " lieutenant, and before he became a " first " lieutenant he would have to pass another examination of an exactly similar nature, so that really there is a duplication of examinations which is costing the country a lot of money. Therefore we are asking Parliament to strike out the word . " second " so that all the officers will be in the same position - that is to say, if they qualify they will take the rank of lieutenant. It is the desire of the Government to stop this expenditure at the earliest possible moment, and therefore we are asking the Committee to agree to the amendment.

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