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Friday, 4 November 1921

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) . - I direct attention to the very wide range of paragraphs d and e of sub-clause 1 in connexion with penalties for offences by officers other than those of the first and second divisions. Under paragraph d it is provided that an officer who " uses intoxicating liquors or drugs to excess " and under paragraph e an officer who "is guilty of any disgraceful or improper conduct, either in his official capacity or otherwise," shall be liable to the penalties provided in the Bill. So far as the use of intoxicating liquors or drugs is concerned this is a very sweeping provision. lt takes into consideration the actions of an officer whether on or off duty, and whether in or out of office hours. I am not going to contend that there is not a good deal to be said in favour of the provision, but* a tyrannical, arbitrary, or harsh administration of it might in certain conceivable circumstances and conditions be extremely unjust.

Senator Russell - If an officer is found repeatedly in a condition unfit for work, there should be power to deal with him.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I agree that there is a great deal to he said for the clause as it stands.

Senator Russell - We have to be in a position to meet extreme cases.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Another aspect is that there may be vindictiveness or animosity on the part of a controlling officer towards an individual member of the Service. This part of the measure could be administered in a very unjust way. It seems to be going a little too far in the direction of discipline when notice is taken of the life that an officer leads when he is off duty.

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