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Friday, 8 July 1921


Senator ELLIOTT (Victoria) . - I fail to see that the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) has advanced any sufficient reason in opposition to my amendment. All the criticism which has been levelled against it has been to the effect that the members of the Board, which it is proposed to appoint from the best possible men available at unknown salaries, will be composed of utter fools, who are going to spend their time arguing with the heads of Departments and with the Minister who is over them. My amendment expressly provides that, should a dispute arise.in respect of some trivial detail, the Board may withdraw its recommendation at the request of the Minister, and if its members are reasonable men they will do so. Again, if the dispute be in regard to some matter of substance, but not of imperative urgency, which the Board thinks should be brought under the notice of honorable senators, it can achieve its object in a quiet manner, either by making a special report, or by mentioning it in the ordinary annual report. My proposal for direct and immediate reference of the matter to Parliament by the Board is intended to cover only those cases in which matters of great and serious importance to ' the country are involved. For political or other reasons the Minister may desire to shelve a recommendation by the Board, but, whatever his reasons for so doing, he ought not to be afraid to come out into the open and tell us exactly what they are. Having done that, if we turn him down he will have the opportunity of retiring from office. The remarks of Senator Keating w,ere so much to the point that I cannot usefully add to them, but I desire to thank him for his excellent support.







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