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Thursday, 28 April 1921

Senator ELLIOTT (Victoria) .- I have no very great objection to the clause now that the Committee has ruled against me on my amendment with regard to the supersession of officers. There is nothing now to prevent the Military Board appointing a man who was second lieutenant in the British Army, and about whose services little or nothing may be known, to 'the position of lieutenant-colonel in the Commonwealth Military Forces, because he may be appointed to such commissioned rank and allotted such seniority as are recommended by the Military Board.

Senator Cox - Do you think it reasonable to say that the Military Board would recommend a second lieutenant to be appointed lieutenant-colonel ?

Senator ELLIOTT - I do not know; but I have known the Board to do some very unreasonable things, and I would be failing in my duty now if I did not point to the possibilities. In an interjection during my second-reading speech, the Minister most unfairly remarked .that my amendment would have the effect of making the officering of our present Forces a close preserve for members of the Citizen Forces. As a matter of fact, I had no such intention. My amendment was merely designed to prevent a second lieutenant, or a first lieutenant, for that matter, .of a British regiment being granted the rank of captain or major to the pre-, judice of Australian officers. As my amendment was negatived, I content myself bow- with pointing out that it is open to the Military Board to bring out an English officer and, without examination, to appoint him. to any rank in the Citizen Forces they think fit. That would be perfectly legal, and quite justifiable, if we pass a measure giving them this power.

Senator Pearce - What do you mean when you say they might " bring out " an officer? Do you mean that they would pay his fare?

Senator ELLIOTT - I do not say that at all. I mean that there' might be this additional inducement to a British officer to come to Australia and take up an appointment. '

Senator Pearce - To get £20 a year?

Senator ELLIOTT - Not necessarily £20 a year;. perhaps £350 or more for one of the higher commands. The way is now . open for the Board to do this, and it would be utterly useless for any honorable senator to make objections, because the Board would have absolutely unrestricted powers.

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