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Friday, 29 April 1921

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister for Defence) . - I hope that the Committee will not agree to the- amendment proposed by Senator Gardiner. If this particular clause be agreed to, the provision .in the principal Act will read : -

Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, an officer who is eligible for promotion to a higher rank, and who has served as_ prescribed on active service, shall, other things being equal, be granted preference in promotion to an officer of the same rank who is eligible for promotion to that higher rank and who has not so served on active service.

Under that provision we shall have the choice between two officers, each of whom is qualified for promotion to the higher rank. Which of these officers ought to secure promotion - the one who has had active service, or the one who has not? Surely the former.

Senator Gardiner - Did not the Minister issue a regulation, preventing officers who were kept behind even from applying for leave to go upon active service?

Senator PEARCE - There was a regulation of that sort framed during the early stages of the war, hut before the conflict ended every officer who wished to go to the Front was at liberty to do so. Of course, there were certain officers who desired to go upon active service, and whose names were submitted to the General Officer Commanding overseas, who said that he did not want them. Most of those officers are now out of the Service. The amendment is entirely unnecessary.

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