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Thursday, 28 April 1921

Senator PEARCE (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for' Defence) .- The only reason for the amendment of the principal Act, which is proposed in this clause, is that the recent war was really a war of machinery and science, and it has shown the necessity for the insertion of the words to which Senator Foll has directed my -attention. A well-equipped modern army contains mining units, a geological section, a tunnelling force, railway units, and chemical units, the lastnamed being employed in the manufacture of gas, though not the kind of gas to which we are accustomed here: For a man to be in charge of any of these corps it is not necessary that he should possess military qualifications, but it is essential that he should possess special scientific, professional, or civil professional qualifications. Take, for example, the head of the goods transport section of the Railway Department, and a professional geologist. It may be correct to say that the railway officer is a civil professional officer, but one could hardly speak of a professional' geologist as a civil professional officer.

Senator Elliott - Undoubtedly one could.

Senator PEARCE - If the honorable senator will look at the memorandum which has been circulated, and which sets out the alterations proposed to be made in the principal Act, he will see that each class is dealt with in a separate sub-clause. The purely military class is dealt with in the first sub-clause, which defines how they may get their commissions. Then the Army Medical and the Army Veterinary Corps are' dealt with. These are provided for in the civil professional class. Then follows the non-commissioned officers, and in the fourth class there might be included a JudgeAdvoca'teGeneral or a legal officer, their qualifications being legal instead of military.

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