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Thursday, 12 May 1921

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (Western Australia) . - It will be remembered that when this Bill was in its secondreading stage, I agreed with my gallant and distinguished friend, Senator Elliott, that some provision should be made for a Court of appeal or for some final appeal, having regard to the altered circumstances of our Forces to-day. The Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) . agreed that something should be done, and he was courteous enough to submit to me the proposal he intended to bring before the Committee. I agreed with his proposition, and, therefore, I am not going back on my undertaking to the Minister by supporting Senator Elliott's amendments, although I agree that some are commendable. We have already provided in > the Bill for sufficient protection against injustice, and Senator Elliott is endeavouring to supplement the common law rights that we already possess. Personally, I think those rights are quite sufficient to protect members of the Military Forces.

Senator Elliott - But do all members of the Military Forces know what their . common law rights are?

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - Perhaps a private does not; but if he thinks he has a grievance or has been unjustly dealt with he can consult a solicitor.

Senator PEARCE - He would have to consult a solicitor to understand what this clause means.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - Yes, I can see no particular advantage in incorporating this amendment in the Bill, although there is a good deal in it that is worthy of consideration, but I cannot get away from the undertaking which I gave to the Minister.

Senator Elliott - A man may have to go to the Privy Council to establish his case.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - Possibly ; but, generally, if he desires, he can invoke the aid of the ordinary Courts. While agreeing with practically the whole of the ideals for which Senator Elliott is striving, I shall oppose the incorporation of his proposals in the Act.

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