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Wednesday, 11 May 1921

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - The whole clause should be very carefully considered, because it is not what the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) says is the intention of the clause that we have to consider, but the intention as we read it. I have a vivid recollection of our attempts to stop the illicit trade mentioned by the Minister, but I may also point out that the regulation which was effective in that case also prevented our jewellers from doing a very profitable trade in the manufacture of articles for personal wear for which, at the time, there was a strong demand. The Minister will remember that deputation after deputation waited upon him in connexion with this matter. One firm in Melbourne manufactured an ornament not intended in any way to be used with the object of deceiving the general public, but under the regulation to which I referred they were prevented from selling it. Let us see what the clause means : -

No person shall, unless lawfully entitled thereto (proof whereof shall lie upon him) make, offer for sale, sell, use, wear, barter, exchange, trade in, give away, or in any manner whatsoever dispose of or deal in any uniform' of the Defence Force, or any war badge, ...

Our warehouses and retail shops are full of military clothing which is being offered for sale.

Senator Pearce - Not for uniforms.

Senator GARDINER - What would be the position of a man who was arrested for wearing a military overcoat?

Senator Pearce - Permission having been given to retain their overcoats, they would not be unlawfully using them.

Senator GARDINER - There is no permission given in the Act, and I should say that if a man charged with wearing a military uniform were brought before a magistrate not conversant with, military affairs, he would probably be asked to produce his permission. It would be a very difficult matter indeed for a man so charged to distinguish between those articles of clothing' which he had purchased and for the wearing of which permission had been given, and the things which were not allowed. I think this clause will cause as much trouble as was caused by the regulation to which I have already referred.

Senator Pearce - Subsequently, that part of the regulation was repealed.

Senator GARDINER - I agree with the statement of the Minister. In the earlier stages of the war we issued regulations which prevented not. merely undesirable, but most desirable traders from trading in certain things.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) -brockman. - That seems to suggest faulty administration.

Senator Pearce - This clause practically follows the wording of the regulation which was in existence at the close of the war, and which allowed brooches and other things to be worn.

Senator GARDINER - It more closely resembles the regulation which was operative during the earlier stages of the war. This is not a question of administration, because administration must be based either upon' the wording of the Act or the regulations themselves. I am sorry that i cannot offer any suggestion by way of amendment. Sub-section 1 of proposed new section 80j refers to a " colourable imitation" of such badge, uniform, accoutrement, equipment, or mark, and Senator Pratten's definition of "colourable imitation " is something which is calculated to delude the unwary. But anybody might be deluded by the emblems which a jeweller might sell. The Minister should make it perfectly clear what class of trade will be permitted under the proposed new section.

Senatorelliott (Victoria) [4.52].- Whilst Senator Gardiner was speaking I recalled the circumstance that General Brand, at a conference with senior officers some, time ago, stated that he had issued instructions to the police in Victoria that prosecutions should be instituted against persons who offended against a regulation of this character. Later, he received a letter from the senior constable in one of our north-eastern districts who said, in effect, " There are two men here who appear to have offended against the regulation." He gave the name of one of the offenders, who was a well-known squatter. This man, he said, was wearing riding breeches of khaki cord. He added, "It is clear that under the terms of the regulation he is wearing a ' colourable imitation ' of a uniform." The constable also pointed out that in the same district there was a discharged Australian Imperial Force artilleryman who wore puttee leggings and riding breeches when driving his stock to market. The upper portion of this man's body was attired in ordinary civilian . clothes. In reply, General Brand informed the senior constable that although, strictly speaking, these men were infringing the regulation, he was not to take action against them.

Senator Cox - But the honorable senator should know that those uniforms were given to the men when they returned from active service.

Senator ELLIOTT - Quite so.

Senator Cox - Therefore, they, are their personal property, and they are entitled to wear them.

Senator ELLIOTT - They are entitled to wear them only on parade. They are not entitled to wear a part of their uniforms while, for instance, they are chas- ' ing cattle. It was to prevent that sort of thing that the instruction was issued. Fortunately, General Brand realized his mistake, and foresaw that a tremendous outcry would be raised if prosecutions were instituted against these men.

Senator Pearce - Would the honorable senator allow members of the Citizen Force to wear their uniforms while they are engaged in their ordinary avocations ? The uniforms are not given to them foT that purpose.

Senator ELLIOTT - They are not; but, undoubtedly, we can guard against that sort of thing in a proper manner.

Senator Foster - The soldiers' organizations were circularized upon two occasions to warn their members not to wear their old trousers afteT they had been discharged.

Senator ELLIOTT - Except for parades. But the Australian Imperial Force men are wearing out their old uniforms -rather than allow them to rot in cupboards. This clause will lay these men open to be prosecuted, and it will not be permissible for any person charged with the administration of the law to instruct the police not to harshly enforce it.

Senator Pearce - Hundreds of thousands of discharged members of the Australian Imperial Force have been wearing their uniforms, and not one of them has been prosecuted, for so doing.

Senator ELLIOTT - But here is a provision which is going to authorize their prosecution.

Senator Pearce - Unless we pass .this provision, what protection shall we have against men wearing their Citizen Force uniforms ?

Senator ELLIOTT - If the Minister will remit that question to me with 'the usual fee, I shall be prepared to draft a clause which will be quite satisfactory.

Senator Pearce - If the clause were as long as another proposal which was drafted by the honorable senator, he would need to draft a whole Bill.

Senator ELLIOTT - If necessary, I am prepared to draft an entire Bill. It is for doing necessary legislative work that we are paid £1,000' a year.

Amendment (by Senator Foster) proposed -

That after sub-section 1 of proposed new section 80j, the following proviso be inserted: - "Provided that nothing in this sub-section shall apply to any such badge or mark worn as jewellery."

Senator Pearce - I will accept the amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

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