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Friday, 2 September 1921


Senator PEARCE (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Defence) - The answers are -

1.   Case of Major H. St. J. Sweetland: -

(a)   Major Sweetlandhas not been retired from the Commonwealth Military Forces. He was, however, transferred from the Permanent Military Forcesto the Unattached List of the Active Citizen Military Forces, with his full rank and seniority, the facts in connexion with which are as follows:-

A Committee of Senior Officers was assembled by direction of the Minister, after the return of Permanent Officers from the war, to consider the distribution and appointments to be taken up by Permanent Officers. The Committee reported that they were unable to recommend certain officers - of whom Major Sweetland was one - for further employment, and recommended that, in view of the need for retrenchment, as the services of such officers were those which could best be spared, they be placed on the half-pay list for a period of one year, and then placed on the Unattached List, in accordance with section 23 of the Defence Act. This was approved.

(b)   From 31st January, 1896, to 17th May, 1921.

(f)   See answer to (c). The provisions of section 23 of the Defence Act were complied with in placing him on the Unattached List.

(g)   Major Sweetland'sclaim was received1 in the Defence Department, through, the Base Commandant, 1st District Base, on 15th July, 1921, and is now under consideration by the Military Board in accordance with the regulations.

2.   Case of Captain (Honorary Major) C. J. W. Weavers: -

(a)   Captain (Honorary Major) Weavers has not been retired from the Commonwealth Military Forces. He was, however, transferred from the Permanent Military Forces to the Unattached List of the Active Citizen

Military Forces, with, his full rank and seniority, the facts in connexion with which are as follow: -

A Committee of Senior Officers was assembled by direction of the Minister, after the return of Permanent Officers from the war,, to consider the distribution and appointments to be taken up by Permanent Officers. The Committee reported that they were unable to recommend certain officers - of whom Captain (Honorary Major) Weavers was one - for further employment, and recommended that, in view of the need for. retrenchment, as the services of such officers were those which could best be spared, they be placed on the halfpay list for a period of one year, and then placed on the Unattached List, in accordance with section 23 of the Defence Act. This was approved.

(b)   From 1st August, 1000, to 1st May, 1921.

(c)   No charge was made.

(d)   Yes.

(f)   See reply to (c). It is not known to what letter reference is made in this or the following question. The transfer of Captain (Honorary Major) Weavers from the Permanent Forces was not affected by any such letter. The Committee of Senior Officers mentioned in(a) reported that, having considered the qualifications and other factors affecting the suitability of all officers for the various appointments and duties available under the scheme of reorganization, they had not found it possible to recommend Captain (Honorary Major) Weavers for any staff appointment suitable to his rank - other officers of greater experience and requisite qualifications being available. Having regard also to his characteristics, and taking cognizance of the fact that Captain (Honorary Major) Weavers had an opportunity of serving during the war in his regimental rank and failed to avail himself of it, they were unable to recommend the retention of his services for regimental duty, in view of the need for all possible economy.

(g)   Captain (Honorary Major) Weavers issued a writ for libel against the Deputy Comptroller of Australian Imperial Force Garrison Institutes and Canteens, at Brisbane, who, in such capacity, was an official of the Defence Department. It is understood that the writ was issued on account of verbal statements alleged to have been made by the Deputy Comptroller, and not on account of any statements contained in a letter received by the Minister or the Department. It is believed that the action was settled by the payment of £189, plaintiff's costs as between solicitor and client, and that no payment for damages was awarded.

(h)   The amount mentioned in (g) was recouped to the Deputy Comptroller, together with his own costs, amounting to £39 4s. 6d.

(i)   and (j) No. The Minister authorized the payment, subject to the concurrence of the Treasurer, who obtained Cabinet approval of the payment referred to, as it was considered that this departmental official, who was acting in an honorary capacity and giving his services to the Government gratuitously, should not be penalized financially.

(k)   Yes. If such letter existed, and the

Minister considered its production to be against the public interest.

(m)   See answer to (c).

(n)   The Chief of the General Stall states that the question, as put, conveys a wrong impression of what took place at a private interview granted to Captain (Honorary Major) Weavers on definite terms,' and at the latter's request. The Chief of the General Staff claims privilege for the private conversation which ensued, and declines to answer the question. 3.(a) Cadet Phillpot received official warnings that his progress was unsatisfactory on two previous occasions, and his case was again considered at general meeting of Board of Studies, in July, where it was unanimously considered by all instructors, military and civil, that he was not likely to become an efficient officer..

(c)   Inquiries are not held in such cases, the merits of all cadets are considered by Board of Studies and Commandant.

(d)   No further inquiry is considered warranted under the circumstances stated. islandtrade.







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