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Thursday, 5 May 1921

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Rowell (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The honorable senator's time has expired.

Senator DUNCAN(New South Wales' [6.47]. - I am very sorry that I should have to rise at this late hour to detain honorable senators from perhaps^ a more pleasant way. of filling in their time, hut the interest taken in this par ticular matter is so intense throughout New South "Wales that. I feel that it is incumbent upon me to place o" record my opinions regarding this- very important proposal. Almost without exception the returned soldiers' organizations of New South Wales have declared against it. Since the matter was first mentioned in the Senate a number of branches df the Returned Sailors and Soldiers -Association have held meetings, and they have not hesitated to' express themselves pretty strongly against the Government proposal. I think that practically every- branch of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Association that has met since this matter was introduced has expressed itself against the proposal of the Minister. Whenever I have had anopportunity of meeting returned men in Sydney or in other parts of New South Wales, and have consulted them as to choir view of the Ministerial proposal, I have almost without exception found those to whom I have spoken opposed to it. These men are, as the Minister and other honorable senators have said, the men who worked under the regulations and discipline of the British Army Act. They know what it is and what its application 'to Australian conditions would mean. (

The clause is a most important one, in the first place, because it proposes to apply to Australian soldiers a' decision arrived at by another Parliament altogether, for application to entirely different individuals. Even those who support the proposal of the Government will admit that the British "Tommy," magnificent soldier as he is, and excellent in every way, is an entirely different kind of individual from the ordinary Australian! soldier or citizen. In Australia, because of our peculiar conditions and circum stances of life, we are evolving an .altogether different type of individual from the citizen of Great Britain. The man who in ordinary circumstances becomes the British " Tommy " has from infancy lived under, more rigid conditions than can apply in any part of Australia.

Senator Foll - Unfortunately.

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