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Wednesday, 11 May 1921

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) .- This is evidently a provision . for continuing the imprisonment of 'those -men who. 'were sentenced during the war. Some were punished, I know, for very serious forms of crime, hut the war has been over for nearly three years, and some were sentenced a considerable time before the war ended. I do not suppose that there are many of them in gaol now. Why not let them out, making the allowance that they were performing an extraordinarily difficult task under conditions that probably drove some of them insane? Instead' of amending the Act in sucha way that we can still keep them in gaol, the Minister might well make a clean sweep of it, and say that'so far as the Australian Imperial Force is concerned, we shall have no more of its members in prison.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) -brockman. - What about the man who, in cold blood, murdered his pal ? '

Senator GARDINER - I do not know the facts of the case, but he has probably been in gaol long enough.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 50 -

Section 105' of the principal Act is amended by omitting therefrom the word " desertion " and inserting in- its stead the words " mutiny, desertion or fraudulent enlistment or any offence committed outside Australia against section 17, sub-section (4) or (5) of section 18, sub-section (2) . of section. 23, section 25, section 29, sub-section (5) of section 30, or section 41, of the Army Act, or an indictable offence against this Act committed outside Australia ".

Station proposed to he amended -105. Any person who is - or hasbeen a member of the Defence Force may be tried at any time by court martial for the offence of desertion.

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