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Thursday, 12 May 1921

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister for Defence) . - Honorable senators will see that this is a new provision which precludes the Government from doing by regulation what was suggested by Senator Keating in discussing another clause. This embodies a desirable drafting amendment, and reduces the present proviso to a definite subsection. The important amendment is in paragraph b of sub-section 1. There is no alteration in the number of years of training for Senior Cadets, nor in the present minimum or maximum, but as in the training of naval and military cadets there is naturally much difference, an amendment has been necessary to provide for greater elasticity. The present section, 127(1) (b), and the present second proviso lay down specifically the total number of whole, half-day, and night drills with an accumulated minimum of sixty-four hours annually.

The maximum hours provided in the Act at present is only limited by the. duration of a whole day, half-day, or night, and taking the basis of an eight-hour day, the present maximum is 128 hours. It is intended in the Military Senior Cadets that the parades, with some variations for local circumstances, shall be of a duration of two and a half hours minimum, and the number of parades will be based upon the number of times the period of two and a half hours is contained in the proposed minimum of sixty-four hours. On the other hand, Naval Cadets may be required for parades of longer duration to enable them,for instance, to be taken by boat for naval training. The proposed wording of section 127(1) (b) is framed accordingly, providing only the present minimum and maximum, but leaving to the regulations of each service the number and nature of the parades to be held each year. The present second and fourth provisos are omitted as being unnecessary in view of the new wording of 127 (1). The fifth proviso is also omitted as being unnecessary in view of the amended wording of the present third proviso, which is now incorporated in the proposed sub-sections (2) and (3). In the first proviso " Army Veterinary Corps" and "Army Ordnance Corps" have been added, as the attendance of their members throughout the seventeen days' camp with the artillery and engineers is necessary for the maintenance of veterinary and ordnance services in the camp, in the same way as the medical officers must be maintained throughout the whole dura' tion of the camp for artillery and engineers. The second proviso in the proposed section is intended to cover the policy of allotting a proportion of Citizen Force officers for duty with the cadet battalions affiliated with their units. By this system, the cadet and militia units will be brought into closer touch and a continuity in training in the cadets and militia attained.

Senator GARDINER(New South Wales [8.49]. - I notice that at the end of the clause there is a provision that attendance at such drills as are prescribed shall be compulsory. Will it weaken the Bill if a proviso is added to the effect that attendance at such drills may be reduced by regulation as a reward for efficiency?

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