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Thursday, 12 May 1921

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - I think it desirable that the proposed new sub-sections be dealt with seriatim.

Senator Pearce - Perhaps we can take a test vote on proposed new sub-section 2.

Senator GARDINER - If the Minister agrees to an amendment in the first portion of the clause it will prevent honorable senators from moving amendments subsequently. Is the Minister satisfied with the wording of sub-clause 1 of the proposed new section 123h? Does he not consider that that might be more clearly stated? Evidently the draftsman had in his mind that an officer would have the right to appeal if he considered that he had been wronged. The view I hold is that the proposed new section is so worded that it seems to deal only with actual wrong.

Senator Pearce - If a person "thinks" he has been wronged, that constitutes a primafacie' case.

Senator GARDINER - If the Minister is satisfied that the wording is sufficiently clear, I shall not move an amendment, but I desire to point out that there may be grievances under the Act which are not wrongs. A soldier may approach an officer to redress certain grievances under which he considers he is suffering, and may be informed by the officer that there is no .grievance, and that he is merely administering the Act.

Senator Pearce - I think it is wide enough, when we provide that if an officer "thinks" -he is wronged.

Senator GARDINER - I want the Minister to be sure that what he is doing is right, because I believe the addition or alteration of a word or two would make it perfectly clear, aud enable an officer or man who had a grievance to obtain redress.

Senator Elliott - If he "thinks" he has been wronged he can appeal.

Senator GARDINER - To me it appears that the wording is not sufficiently clear, and I believe that in- the first portion of the clause some alteration in the form of expression would enable it to be more correctly interpreted later. If the Minister is satisfied with it in its present form, I shall allow it to pass, but not without protest.

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