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Wednesday, 11 May 1921

Senator PEARCE ("Western Australia) (Minister for Defence) Luckily, I happen to know the particular case to which Senator Gardiner refers, because a member of another place has already brought it under my notice. The fact is that the man referred to is being prosecuted for making a false declaration, the false declaration being that he went overseas, leading to the presumption that he went on active service overseas. In connexion with the payment of gratuities, there is a great difference between one who went on active service overseas, and one who was in the Australian Imperial Force only in Australia. There is a difference of 6d. per day for every day of service. This man made two false declarations, which were sworn to before a justice of the peace. That cannot be said to have been done on -the impulse of the moment. It was a considered act.

Senator Gardiner - The considered act of a weak intellect.

Senator PEARCE - I was going to say that the honorable "member of another place, who brought this case under my notice, represented,' as Senator Gardiner has. done, that this man was of weak intellect. When he did so, I at once ordered 'that the prosecution should be stayed until inquiries, could be made, . and if it is proved that he is of weak intellect, the prosecution will not go on. That the declarations made by this man we're false is admitted by those who saw me, in connexion with it. If any one makes a false declaration, he should be prosecuted. If ho is of weak intellect, that is a matter for clemency on the port of those administering the. Act, but the power to prosecute in such a case should be provided for.

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