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Thursday, 12 May 1921

Senator ELLIOTT (Victoria) (2:13 AM) .- I strongly dissent from what has been said. The amendment would not in any way curtail the right to promote officers according to merit, but it would give to the officer who was superseded the right to be told exactly what his shortcomings were, or wherein he was deemed deficient. He would then have a chance to appeal should he feel that the statements made about him were not correct. This would not, in any way affect the right to promote according to merit.

Senator Foster - Will not an officer have the right to appeal under the amendment which you made in the Defence Bill?

Senator ELLIOTT - He may, but this would define his . rights in a better manner. He would be able to point to a definite wrong, whereas in the other case, he might be side-stepped with the statement, "We have the right by the custom of the Service to select for promotion, and you therefore have no grievance." No new principle is recognised by the amendment. Senator Drake-Brockman makes pleading his speciality, and on occasions I, myself, employ him in his special professional role of an advocate to.have him represent a client's case in Court. He has undertaken to advocate the cause of the Minister in this case, and in his zeal for that cause has suppressed the fact that under our own Defence regulations how in existence for years and years no officer in a battalion could be superseded unless he was notified, the idea being that he could state and show cause against it. The only new principle I am advocating is that this should be put in the Act instead of the regulations.

Senator Pearce - No, your amendment would go up above the battalion.

Senator ELLIOTT - Quite so. I see no reason why it should not.

Amendment negatived.

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