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Thursday, 12 May 1921

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) .- I have not had the advantage of being present in the Chamber within the last half hour or so. When the introduction of this Bill was first mooted, I saw in the Sydney Morning Herald a summary of its provisions. I saw that there were alterations proposed in connexion with cadet training, and that under certain conditions in the last year seventy days' continuous training was provided for. In answer to Senator Gardiner this afternoon, the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) said that the proposal had been postponed pending the return of. the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) from the Imperial Conference. I understand that the proposed new sections contained in the clause before the Committee largely deal with penalties for nonattendance of trainees at parades, and they are submitted as the result of the experience of the last few years in dealing with cadets.

Senator Pearce - The clause represents a re-drafting of existing sections relating to prosecutions. There is nothing new in it.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I thank the Minister for that explanation. I wanted to inquire whether we shall be right in assuming that towards the end of the year the whole system of cadet training will be reviewed, and possibly revised.

Senator Pearce - -I cannot say that, because I do not know.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - In my opinion, that is badly required. I have hitherto supported compulsory military training, but, for the life- of me, I cannot see the good of much that goes on in connexion with cadet training. There is a growing opinion that unless our system of compulsory training can be tightened up, so as to reduce the waste of time in roll call and unnecessary marching and tramping, and to provide for more practical work, the discontent with the whole system will be increased, and may be reflected here, perhaps at no distant date, by the scrapping of the whole system. I heard only to-day that a cadet had .complained that he had just finished his last year's training. He was twenty-two years of age, and, although he had had training for some years, he had never had a uniform, and had never fired a gun. The youths of Australia are probably more keenly intelligent than are the youths of any other country, and I urge upon the Minister for Defence that if those who have hitherto supported compulsory military training are to continue to do so, the system adopted must be of a practical nature, and not merely a time-wasting device.

Clause agreed to. <

Clause 68 -

After section 135b of the principal Act the following section is inserted : - " When a person is convicted of an offence' against sub-section (1) of section 134a or. sub-section ( 1 ) of section 134b or subsection (1) of section 135 of this Act is ordered to be detained in a prescribed institution, or place, or into the custody of a prescribed authority, the Court by which the order is' made shall issue a warrant in the prescribed form committing the person to a prescribed institution or place or into the custody of the. prescribed authority, as the case may be :

Provided that the failure of the Court to issue a warrant in the prescribed form shall not affect the liability of the person to undergo the detention or custody ordered."

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