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Thursday, 12 May 1921

Senator ELLIOTT (Victoria) . -I have not been converted either by Senator Benny or the Minister (Senator Pearce). Under the Army Act all sorts of confidential reports are prepared concerning officers, but the latter are not allowed to see them. The abuse of this system .is recognised everywhere, and it seems to me that if we allow this clause to go we shall pave the way for the adoption of a similar custom in connexion with our Citizen Forces, because the Minister would be in a position to arbitrarily refuse the production of any report in connexion with which an officer might desire to bring an action to assert what he considered to be Ids rights.

Senator Pearce - There is a regulation No. 266, which provides that all adverse reports must be shown. to the officer concerned, and initialed by him.

Senator ELLIOTT - But under this clause the Minister will have authority to refuse the production of documents, notwithstanding that such report may be on a man's file. I cannot see the need for it, because the Minister has ample powers under the common law to refuse the production of public documents where it is for the public good.

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