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Thursday, 12 May 1921

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) (1:30 AM) . - The view I take of the incidence of this amendment is that it will give preference to those airmen already in Australia who have had practical experience at the Front. Those employed at the inauguration of this scheme of air defence will not only be the most efficient that can be obtained, but, from the standpoint of economy, will cost the Air Force less than will the men who have to learn. I take it that the intention of the amendment is to endeavour to lay down a principle by which the chiefs of the Air Service shall be instructed that if there is an airman of experience in the war available, he shall have preference over a man who has not had that experience, and that, I think, is quite right. I do not think it will be long before a good many accidents will occur if amateurs are put in charge of the flying portion of our defence. We hear of machines crashing; and of other accidents, and, for the longevity of the aeroplanes we have, it will be much better to employ pilots with actual war experience than those who have to gain their experience at the country's expense, and probably at their own.

Proposed new clause agreed to.

Clause 12 (Transfer and attaching to Air Force of members of Naval and Military Forces).

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