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Thursday, 18 August 1921

Senator GARDINER - He did not get a commission. I have read the instructions of the officer who sent him abroad, and possibly the Department is " jibbing " because it did not issue a commission in accordance with its 'promise. If he was not given a commission it was not his fault. His services were offered and accepted, and he should, at least, be treated in the same manner as other members of the Expeditionary Force in the matter of a war gratuity. The payment of this amount does not depend upon legal technicalities; but can be given or withheld if desired. The Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) who, doubtless, is aware of all the circumstances, will have to make out a good case, and explain why this officer has not been paid an amount to which

I contend he,is-entitled. So far- as I am concerned I shall not rest until he receives what he. believes he is entitled to. I hav.e had an opportunity during, many, months of testing this man's, veracity^ and' I have not found him unworthy in any sense of the' word. With the honorable, member for Wentworth' (Mr. Marks). I accompanied a deputation from the" Returned Soldiers- and1 Sailors' Imperial League of Australia which waited upon the Assistant Minister for Defence (Sir Granville Ryrie) in connexion' with another matter. At that deputation on which the League was represented- by the<. secretary or- the president, such a strong:case was made out that, the Assistant Minister for Defence- immediately granted . the- request- which was made. He wanted a settlement which the Government 'were prepared to approve with this, difference : They wanted Captain Strasburg- to sign an agreement renouncing- his claim to a gratuity, his claims in connexion with certain lands, and any claim for prize money in connexion- with the capture-1 of certain ships. The Assistant Minister was of opinion that he should not have to sign away those rights, and said thathe would be paid the amount. Captain Strasburg, accepted that condition; but the Crown Law officers instead of paying him £100 paid him only £50, and refused to pay the remaining £50 until he supplied them with certain documents. ' He is . a poor man who has been harassed and annoyed for a considerable time, and I am. bringing this matter before the Senate in the endeavour to secure- for him that justice to which he is entitled. I .am not pressing his legal claims, as they could be brought before the Court. The claim for a. wor gratuity is not a legal one, and the facts which I have disclosed show that he. has a strong moral claim. I appeal tothe Minister for Defence, either to grant, his claim, or to give some valid reason why his request cannot be complied with. Honorable senators know that I do not move the adjournment of the Senate unless the matter which T have to bring for- , ward is of urgent public importance; and I have moved the adjournment on this occasion because I believe the matter will receive sympathetic consideration, even. at. the hands of the Government..

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