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Thursday, 12 May 1921

Senator PEARCE ("Western Australia) (Minister for Defence) .- This clause involves no new principle. It is really a drafting clause, revising the form in which the compulsory training and registration provisions appear in the principal Act. Except for the drafting amendments, the only real amendment is contained in the proviso. It is proposed that the words " imminent danger of war" shall be . omitted, and that the words "unless the GovernorGeneral otherwise directs " shall be substituted for them. The right to require training by the use of the omitted words becomes dependent on the question of fact which may be difficult to prove in the absence of a power to declare the existence of imminent danger of war. If the words "unless the Governor-General otherwise directs " are rejected the words " except in time of war " could be substituted. " Time of war " is defined in section 4. However, the use of the latter words would entail the Governor-General suspending training under the Defence Act, section - 125d, at the present time, for it is still technically a " time of war." The word " registration " as at present used might be construed as -qualifying the word " parade." For this reason the wording has been altered to read "one muster parade or one registration". For the sake of uniformity the word " training" in the proviso has been substituted for the word "service". Honorable senators will gather from the explanation which I have given that even in the proviso there is no important principle involved. At the same time, one can easily see that a declaration of "imminence of war " by the GovernorGeneral might be extremely inadvisable. The words which it is proposed to insert in lieu thereof constitute, I think, an. improvement. The fact of the late war technically continuing, although practically it has ceased to operate, justifies the amendment proposed in this clause.

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