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Thursday, 12 May 1921

Senator ELLIOTT (Victoria) (2:24 AM) . - What I am afraid of is that the Military Board, or whoever controls the appointments, may be led to favour certain people.

Senator Pearce - They will favour those who have had active service.

Senator ELLIOTT - Once you begin favouring people it is difficult to know where you are going to stop.

SenatorFoster. - If the amendment is carried, will it not knock out the provision you have already had inserted giving preference to the returned soldier where everything else is equal ?

Senator ELLIOTT - No, particularly in view of the fact that an officer has no ground now to object if you supersede him. You can appoint a man and promote him next day to captain or any higher rank.

Senator Foster - You propose that if two officers are appointed on the same' day the one whose name begins with "A" must be promoted before the one whose name begins with "Z."

Senator ELLIOTT - It is not necessary to follow the alphabetical order. All the preference that is given to the returned soldier is that, if two men of equal qualifications apply, one being a returned soldier and the other not, the returned soldier gets the job. It may happen that the Military Board, for various reasons, prefer to make the appointment the other way round, and under the regulations they may have power to do so.

Senator Foster - Will not your amendment force the Board to do it the other way in some cases?

Senator ELLIOTT - No. My amendment will be in the precise form that has been used' in the Defence Act for years, and found to work all right.

Senator Pearce - The Defence Force is not a complete analogy, because here we are starting a new Force, the bulk of the members of which will be brought in from outside.

Senator ELLIOTT - If the Minister assures me that as soon as the Act gets going he will endeavour to have an amendment introduced to bring it into line with the Defence Act, I shall have no objection.

Senator Pearce - You will have the regulations before you.

Senator ELLIOTT - I am at least six months behind in looking through the numerous regulations that are sent to me. When the Air Defence Act is in full working order, with every section going overtime producing regulations, I am afraid I shall never catch up.

Senator Pearce - All you have to do is to write to the Secretary of the Air Council, asking him to let you know when this regulation is made, and to forward you a copy.

Senator ELLIOTT - I thank the Minister for the hint. I ask leave to withdraw the amendment. I see I have no hope of carrying it, as everybody here is asleep.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 19 (Resignation by officer of his commission).

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