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Friday, 6 August 1926

Senator OGDEN (Tasmania) .- I generally find that the reasons given by the department for the rejection of claims are sound, and in many of the cases brought under my notice I have been prepared to accept the decision of the Minister. Recently the present Minister for Defence (Sir Neville Howse) has taken upon himself a rather heavy duty in endeavouring to investigate all applications personally. In one case that I have before me, I have exhausted every avenue in endeavouring to obtain favorable consideration of the claim, and I feel that the individual concerned has suffered an injustice. I refer to the case of an ex-petty officer in the navy, J. W. Everett, who transferred to the Melbourne in London from the Imperial Navy in 1912. Under the terms of his five-years' engagement, which would have ended in 1917, he was entitled to a free trip back to England: He fulfilled his contract to the letter. The war intervened, and he was sent on active service to the North Sea and elsewhere*. When his time expired, in 1917, he had to continue in the service because a state of- war existed. He remained in the Aust tralian Navy until 1918, when he asked to be transferred to the auxiliary shore forces. He remained with: the land, forces for a further three years, and eventually reached ;the retiring age of- 57 years. He then applied for; a- free passage -back to England; but this was refused by the department on the ground that, since he had applied for transfer from the sea force to the land force, he had forfeited his right to it. Under 'his contract he was entitled to fourteen days' annual leave and a free passage back to England, subject to his -service being satisfactory. He had not a single black mark against him, and his character was indicated as " very good."

Senator Pearce - This is not a war pensions case.

Senator OGDEN - I think that the money would have to come from the war pensions fund. . At all events, the matter concerns the Minister for Defence, and I take this opportunity of under the notice of the Government.'

Senator McHugh - I have one or two cases to which I desire to draw attention.

Senator Pearce - Why not do so when the Appropriation Bill is under consideration!

Senator Mchugh - Will there be a chance then?

Senator Pearce - Yes; each department will then be under review.

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