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Thursday, 12 May 1921

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister for Defence) . - The honorable senator misconceives the intention of the clause. Clause 15 applies to persons who have not seen active service, and requires them to start at the foot of the ladder, but this clause says that those who have been on active service abroad may be appointed or pro moted under such conditions as may be prescribed. Without such a provision, a man who had obtained the rank of a squadron leader in Palestine would have to start all over again.

Senator Elliott - Did you not say that all officers of the Australian Imperial Force and of the Air Service had been appointed to equivalent rank in the Australian Military Force?

Senator PEARCE - They have rank on the military list, but we are not now dealing with that; we are laying down the conditions of promotion in the Air Force, and rank in the military list would not govern such promotion. It is intended that, notwithstanding clause 15,. we may prescribe that an officer who has been on active service and has gained certain rank may be appointed or promoted in the Air Force to equivalent rank. Without this provision such a promotion could not be made.

Senator Elliott - Then we may take it that the rights of the Australian Imperial Force flying officers will be preserved, and that persons who come from outside will not be preferred to them.

Senator PEARCE - That is what is intended. That is governed by the honorable senator's amendment regarding members of any Expeditionary Force.

Senator Elliott - It applies to appointments only. We. are now speaking of appointments and promotions. I think the Minister might give us his assurance that any regulations made under the clause will give preference in promotion similar to that I have moved for in previous cases.

Senator PEARCE - If the honorable senator has any doubt on the subject, I will give him that assurance.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 17-

Every officer shall hold his appointment during the pleasure of the Governor-General, but the commission of an officer shall not be cancelled except for cause and after he has had notice, in manner prescribed, of the cause, and has been given an opportunity of making such statement as he thinks fit regarding the cause.

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