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Thursday, 12 May 1921

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) (3:15 AM) - I should like some explanation with regard to the compulsory air training contemplated under this clause.

Senator Pearce - It means that persons who are liable for compulsory training under Part XII. may be allotted to the Air Force, and do their training in that arm of the Service..

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - In the air ?

Senator Pearce - Possibly; or they may be allotted to the ground organization.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I take it that this will not apply to Cadets.

Senator Pearce - No; it will apply only to the Citizen Forces - the men between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six years.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - This clause, then, will empower the military authorities to compel any young men of Australia between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six years who are required to train under the Defence Act to train for the air, irrespective of their own wishes in the matter?

Senator Pearce - The authorities will have that power; but there will be no necessity to exercise it, because there will be more volunteers than will be required. In the same way they have power to compel a man to go down and fire the big guns, which some people say is dangerous work, or may require them to go into the mining service.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not think this clause is quite on all fours with the other provisions of the Defence Act because the authorities will have the power to compel a young man, who may be temperamentally unsuited for that arm of the Service, to train in the air.

Senator Pearce - There will be a strict medical examination so that no persons, temperamentally unfit, will be allotted to that branch of the Service.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not agree with the clause, but I think also that the Committee will not agree with me, so with this explanation I shall let it pass.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 52 agreed to.

Clause 53 -

1.   The Air Force shall at all times be subject to the Air Force Act save so far as it is inconsistent with this Act and subject to such modification and adaptations as are prescribed, including the imposition of a fine not exceeding Twenty pounds for an offence either in addition to or in substitution for the punishment provided by the Air Force Act, and the increase or 'reduction of the amount of a fine provided by the Air Force Act:

Provided that the regulations shall not increase the fine for any offence so that it exceeds Twenty pounds.

2.   A member of the Air Force shall not be tried by court martial for an offence which is a civil offence within the meaning of the Air Korea Act, and which is committed within the limits of the Commonwealth, when not on active service.

3.   The sentence for any offence against the Air Force Act committed when not on active service and not being a civil offence within the meaning of the Air Force Act shall not include any punishment greater, in the scales of punishment provided in that Act, than imprisonment, and the term of imprisonment or detention imposed by the sentence shall not exceed three months.

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