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Wednesday, 27 April 1921

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - The extraordinary request made, by the Minister (Senator Pearce) brings me to my feet. We are asked to adopt a clau'se which includes British legislation. We cannot shut our eyes to this fact: Clause 2 deals with a definition of Air Force Act. This is the definition : - "Air Force Act" means the Imperial Act called the Air Force Act, and any Acts amending or in substitution for it, and for the time being in force. us see what we are requested to do. We are asked to make law an. Act containing many sections approved by the British Parliament, and not one copy of which Iras been put into circulation for the information of honorable senators.

Senator Pearce - There are three copies on the table.

Senator GARDINER - There are three copies of the British Acts, but not printed copies of the British Air Force Act, with which this Committee is now dealing. I have been a member of the Senate for a long time, and I know that honorable senators have always looked for the printed copies. of any measure which they have been asked to consider. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, and so I am going to let honorable senators know just what it is they are asked to do, by reading, for their information, part of the British Air Force Act.

Senator Elliott -And do not forget that this Bill adopts any Act amending or in substitution for it.

Senator GARDINER - I realize that, and if honorable senators will assist me I intend to place the legislation on record in Hansard. Now, this is what we are asked to incorporate in our legislation. The British Air Force Act reads -

An Act to make provision for the establishment, administration, and discipline of an Air Force, the establishment of an Air Council, and for the purposes connected therewith. ( 29th November, 1917.)

Be it enacted by the King's Most Excellent Majesty by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, rand by the authority of the same as follows: -

Part I.

Establishment of Ara Force.

Raising and number "of Air Force.

1.   It shall be lawful for His Majesty to raise and maintain a Force to be called the Air Force, consisting of such number of officers, warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, and men as may, from time to time, be provided by Parliament.

Government, discipline and pay of Air Force. 2. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, it shall be lawful for His Majesty, by order signified under the hand of a Secretary of State, to make orders with respect to the government, discipline, pay, allowance, and pensions of the Air Force, and with respect to all other matters and things relating to the Air Force, including any matter by this Act authorized to be prescribed or expressed to be subject to orders or regulations.

(2)   The said orders may provide for the formation of men of the Air Force into separate units, and' for the formation of such units into corps, and for appointing, transferring, or attaching men of the Air Force to units, and for posting, attaching, and otherwise dealing with such men within the units, and may regu. late the appointment, rank, duties, and numbers of the officers and non-commissioned officers of the Air Force.

(3)   Subject to the provisions of any .such order, the Air Council hereinafter constituted may make general or special regulations with respect to any matter with respect to which His Majesty may make orders under this section :

Provided that the administration of pensions, other than service pensions within the meaning of the Ministry of Pensions Act 1916, shall vest in the Minister of Pensions.

(4)   All orders and general regulations made under this section shall be laid before Parliament as soon as may be after they are made.

Transfer and attaching to Air Force of members of Naval and Military Forces. 3. (1) Any officer, warrant officer, petty officer, non-commissioned officer, or nian, of any of His Majesty's Naval or Military Forces may, with his consent, and subject to the approval of the Admiralty or Army Council (as the case may be), be transferred by the Air Council to the Air Force, or attached by the Air Council to the Air Force for the period of the present war, or for a period not exceeding four years.....

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Are we- supposed to take all that in. If so, I am against it.

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