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Thursday, 12 May 1921

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) (3:11 AM) . - I am not disagreeing with the latent power given in the clause, but I am opposed to the idea the Minister has just expressed, namely, that the Air Force of Australia should bear to the Air Forces of the Empire the relationship which the Australian Navy bears to the Navy of the Empire. If there is one arm of defence that must be independently built up in connexion with the defence of the Commonwealth, it is our Air Force, and no precedent made by the Military or Naval Forces must necessarily govern it.

Senator Pearce -Under certain conditions, and if the necessity arose, would not the honorable senator be agreeable to placing our Air Force under the command of a British. Air Force commander?

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I can scarcely conceive of that being necessary.

Senator Pearce - If we send an Army to India or Egypt, accompanied by Air Forces, would it not thenbe necessary?

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am alluding more particularly to home Air Forces.

Senator Pearce - Then there would be no British commander to place them under unless the war was actually upon Australian soil.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - What the Minister has said clears the air to some extent, but the point I shall make a little later is that of all Forces the Air Force should be built up independently.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 46 to 50 agreed to.

Clause 51 -

Persons who are liable under Part XII. of the Defence Act to be trained in the Citizen Forces, and who are allotted or transferred to the Citizen Air Force, shall be subject to training as prescribed, and shall be subject to this Act and the regulations, and shall, while undergoing training, be deemed to be members of the Citizen Air Force, and while so allotted or transferred, shall be under the orders of the Air Board.

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