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Wednesday, 11 May 1921

Senator ELLIOTT (Victoria) .- I regard, the clause mere seriously than the Minister (Senator Pearce) does, and hold that whatever may be the intention, it will undoubtedly catch all sorts of unwary people. For instance, if one of our cadets, on whose uniform is the Rising Sun badge, in a moment of weakness gives the badge to his best girl, he may be charged with giving away a military badge and render himself liable to a fine of £50, while the girl, if she wears it, will likewise be liable to a similar fine.

Senator Pearce - The honorable senator is quoting the extreme penalty for an extreme case.

Senator ELLIOTT - I am quoting just what the clause provides. Of course the magistrates, in their wisdom; may modify this savage penalty, but I put it to honorable senators that we should have to bear the brunt of any criticism if the public objects to this sort of thing.

Senator Pearce - Do you suggest that every cadet should be allowed to give away his uniform or badge?

Senator ELLIOTT - No, I suggest that if he gives away his badge he should be made to pay for it. That has been1 the practice in the past, and it has been am ample safeguard, as I know from twenty years' experience in the militia.

Senator Foster - I do not think the maximum penalty is too much, because the Government might have to deal with a firm that is deliberately infringing the law by selling these articles.

Senator ELLIOTT - It has never been done before.

Senator Pearce - Is the honorable senator aware that during the war there were firms, both in Sydney and Melbourne, who, until prevented by regulation, were doing a roaring and lucrative trade in these things?

Senator ELLIOTT - But we are now back in a time of peace.

Senator Drake-Brockman - What about returned soldiers' badges?

SenatorELLIOTT.- There will be no very great sale for them now, and in any case there is provision, in another portion of the Act, for the punishment of any person pretending to be a returned soldier. This clause, I think, is panic legislation, for which there is no necessity, and under which prosecutions might be launched against people whom it was never, surely, intended to touch.

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