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Friday, 29 April 1921

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) . - I oppose the amendment or any amendment that suggests imprisonment for a breach of the law in Connexion with our cadet training. I can. well understand militarists who are in favour of discipline, penalties, and fines to the extreme limit to enable them- to have their own way, voting for- such an amendment, but I shall not commit myself to the imposition of a penalty upon an employer who,, for reasons of his own, keeps a cadet from serving his duly appointed time in a military camp.

Senator Earle - Did the honorable senator say " for reasons of his own "?

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yes. For reasons of his own, reasons of hia business,, of his environment, and peculiar ' to his own case. The penalty imposed by the Bill for an offence against the clause is £50. That is the maximum penalty that could -be enforced under the clause. I ask honorable senators on one side or the other not to suggest savage penalties, such as a penalty of six months' imprisonment for an offence against this clause would .be. . I am not keen at any time that this Legislature should force upon the people of Australia a system that, in , the whirligig of international events, might shortly be found to be altogether unnecessary. This proposal will go abroad, and a very bad impression of the action of the Committee will be formed. I intend to oppose any suggestion of a- military caste or a military clique so far as the imposition of penalties in the administration of the Defence Act is concerned. I must oppose such a penalty as Senator Earle has suggested.

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