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Thursday, 12 May 1921

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - I consider that it is not fair to the Committee that amendmentsof the existing Act should be put before- them in clauses that are as long as the Bill ought to be. I think that clauses should be drafted in the concise form to which we have been accustomed in the Senate. I was struck by the Minister's reference to the increased attendances st parade. I was glad to hear the honorable senator say .that an improvement is shown, but I wish to utter the warning that the figures should be examined with very great care. If the officer in charge of an area is one who is aiming at satisfactory results for himself, he may not correctly state the number attending a parade. Another .area officer, in the conscientious performance- of his duty, may mark. as absent every cadet who is absent from a parade. In two adjacent areas, we may find that one shows an attendance of 80 per cent., and the officer who has carried out his work conscientiously may be reprimanded because he cannot show an attendance of 97 per cent, shown on the books of his neighbour, who might never really have had anything like that attendance.

Senator Payne - Who may have "cooked" his books?

Senator GARDINER - Absolutely. To give too much attention to what appears on the books of" an area may result in injustice. Honorable senators are aware that young fellows speak of what goes on, and sometimes in joking they give themselves away. One area officer, desiring to obtain results for himself, might easily show a higher attendance on his books than another who has been more conscientious in the exact performance of his duty.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) -brockman. - What about classification for efficiency at the end of the year? That is what counts. The dishonest officer will then be up against it.

Senator GARDINER - I have no doubt that the principal officers of the Defence Department know more of this matter than I do, but when I see a provision which I think is open to abuse, it is my duty to mention it.

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