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Thursday, 12 May 1921

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister for Defence) . -I am afraid thatif the amendment were agreed to it would be impossible to administer the proposed section. For instance, a man might purchase a pipe or tobacco from a canteen, and if the amendment were agreed to he would not be able to sell the articles again.

Senator Elliott - A canteen is like an ordinary organization.

Senator PEARCE - Still, certain funds are supplied to originate a canteen.

Senator Foster - Would the section not cover such things as trench comforts funds and battalion funds'?

Senator PEARCE - The Red Cross is a permanent organization: Trench comforts funds were organized during the war. An attempt is being made to continue them for the Citizen Forces, but I am very doubtful whether that can be done. I am afraid that it would be found so difficult to administer the amendment that it would become a dead letter. I doubt whether it would accomplish anything, and it might make it an offence to do certain things which should hot be regarded as offences. If a man gets an article from a canteen, what objection can there be to his selling it afterwards?

Senator Elliott - That article would not be supplied by any person.

Senator PEARCE - It would be supplied in the first instance to the canteen. The honorable senator will remember that canteens were started in Australia in the first place by a grant from the Treasury. I shall not oppose the amendment, but. will have it examined to see whether it is necessary that it should be reconsidered, in which case the clause can be recommitted.

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