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Thursday, 21 July 1921

The CHAIRMAN - I understood that the honorable senator desired to make a simple allusion to that matter for the purpose of illustrating his argument on the amendment before the Chair. That is permissible, but no lengthy reference to the principles of any other measure will be allowed.

Senator ELLIOTT - I merely wished to remind honorable senators that during the consideration of the Defence Bill I pointed out the danger of members of Parliament being appointed to offices in the Public Service, which has just now been so emphatically expressed by. Senator Pearce in connexion with the proposed appointment of members of Parliament on the Tariff Board. When the Defence Bill was under consideration I submitted an amendment which would have had the effect of preventing any member of Parliament accepting a command in the Army. That was done in accordance with the very salutary rule that is followed in the British Army. Such officers in their capacity as members of Parliament might be called upon, in the performance of their duty to their constituents, as unfortunately, I have been compelled .to do, to criticise measures brought forward by the Minister charged with the administration of the Department in which they served, on the advice of the permanent officers of his Department. At the same time, in their military capacity, they might be under the orders of permanent officers of the Army.

My point is that in such a case' precisely the same position of difficulty would arise as that which might arise if members of Parliament were appointed to the proposed Tariff Board. It was to meet precisely the objections which Senator Pearce has urged with so much force against Senator Benny's amendment that I proposed my amendment to the Defence Bill. J ust as I was opposed to members of Parliament being appointed to commands in the Defence Forces, I am now opposed to their appointment on the proposed Tariff Board, and I must object to the amendment for the same reason.

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