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Friday, 6 May 1921

Senator SENIOR (South Australia) . - I lookupon the soldier's decoration as symbolic of bravery and sacrifice, and I would be loath to cheapen it in any manner. But there are many sisters who would value the right to wear a brother's decoration.

Senator Duncan - Many of them would like to flaunt it for the sake of sheer vanity.

Senator SENIOR - That may be so in many cases, but it is not true of the great majority of sisters, who are deeply devoted to their brothers' memories, and for whom the decorations are the strongest possible sentimental tie. I do not think a decoration should be worn by a relative in a manner that might confuse it with the honours of women who have personally gained them for war service. Regulations could be framed to provide for all these things. I suggest that women should be permitted to wear decorations of deceased soldier relatives only as brooches or pendants.

Senator Drake-Brockman - And, for preference, in miniature.

Senator SENIOR - No: that would not be quitethe same. I abhor pretence, and the miniature is only a small imitation of a big thing.

Senator Elliott - The honorable senator does not understand that the miniature of a decoration is a recognised military distinction.

Senator Cox - And if a woman were to wear one or two medals they would tear her dress. She would need to have a piece of leather underneath.

Senator SENIOR - The right to wear a decoration should be given to a mother or widow; but if the mother and widow are deceased I do not see why a sister should not then have the right. I hold that it would be wiser to retain the clause. A regulation could be framed to the effect that if a decoration is worn by a relative it should not be worn so as to convey the impression that it is one which has been won by that person.

Senator Pearce - Would the honorable senator go so far as to permit any female relative to wear it?

Senator Senior - No.

Senator Pearce - That is what the clause provides.

Senator SENIOR - Then, I would suggest that the privilege be restricted to the father or mother or widow, and that, if the parents and widow are deceased, a sister should have the right.

Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.30 p.m.

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