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Thursday, 12 May 1921


Senator ELLIOTT (Victoria) .- The amendments which I propose to move on the Minister's amendment are as follows: - I shall first move to strike out proposed new sub-sections 2, 3, and 4. That will leave sub-section 1 as it stands, which will meet the case of officers when we are at war. Proposed new sub-section . 5 will then become sub-section 2, but in paragraph d of (that sub-section I shall move to leave out the words "except in time of war." That will leave it open to the soldier to complain whether in peace or in war. I shall then move to add, after the words " Military Board," the words or if the Military Board is not at the time constituted, to the General Officer Commanding the Australian Military Forces in which the soldier is serving." I shall then move to leave out proposed new subsections 6 and 7, and to insert a new subsection to the following effect: -

The Military Board and every officer to whom complaint is made under this section, if it is within its or his power to do so, shall cause the complaint to he investigated, and if it appears to it or him that the officer or soldier has suffered a wrong, shall cause the wrong to be fully redressed, if full redress is within its or his power, or if investigation or full redress is not within its or his power, shall submit the complaint to superior authority in order that the complaint may be investigated or full redress made.

I shall then propose a new sub-section as follows-:-

If any officer or soldier is dissatisfied with the decision of the Military Board or the General Officer Commanding the Australian Military Forces in which the officer or soldier is serving, he may complain to the GovernorGeneral.

Proposed new sub-section 8 of the Minister's amendment will then come in.


Senator Foster - Have your amendments been circulated?


Senator ELLIOTT - They are, in effect, the same as parts of the proposed new section 85a which I have circulated, but as I have to move them as amendments to the Minister's amendment, I have had to alter the wording somewhat, and so far I have not had time to get more than a typed copy. I am advised by the draftsman, however, that they are, in effect, the same as the Committee has before it in print.


Senator Pearce - Except that at this stage the honorable senator is not moving the latter part regarding the civil remedy.


Senator ELLIOTT - I am not moving that part at this moment. Honorable senators who have familiarized themselves with the Army Act will see that my amendments will introduce into our Defence Act the most desirable features of the Army Act, giving full power for the redress of wrongs. They go somewhat beyond the Army Act, seeing that they give to the soldier the same power as they give tohis officerto appealtothe highestCourt in the land, which is Parliament. I -was led to make that alteration because Senator Foster was influenced to vote against a previous amendment by reason of the fact thatI hadnot provided similar rights for the soldier and officer. In this case I have in a democratic way given similar rights to both.


Senator Foster - Is not that also provided for in the Minister's amendment?


Senator ELLIOTT - Not in precisely the same way.. I prefer my own amendment as giving greater power to appeal. Under the Minister's amendment a soldier, I think, can go only as high as the Military Board or the General Officer -Commanding.


Senator Foster - You propose to give him the right to go -to the GovernorGeneral ?


Senator ELLIOTT - Yes, so as ,to make no class distinction whatever. I do not propose now to go into details regarding other proposals of mine which provide certain pains and penalties on officers .who disregard the provisions of this part of the Act.


Senator Pearce - That is quite a different question.


Senator ELLIOTT - Yes. For the present we can concentrate on the question of whether or not my amendments are superior to that proposed by the Minister.


The CHAIRMAN (Senator Bakhap - I must now ask the honorable senator to confine himself to his first amendment, in order that I may regularize the discussion. Is it the pleasure of the Committee that the honorable senator have leave to move, as one motion, the omission of sub-sections 2, 3, and 4 of the Minister's amendment ? If that is done, those who desire to retain any one or two of those three sub-sections will be debarred from doing so. If there is any objection, I shall simply put the question that subsection 2 be left out.







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