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Thursday, 12 May 1921

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) (3:40 AM) . - The Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) should feel flattered at the way in which the Committee has received his explanation of the position but, since the matter may be referred to hereafter, there is one point that I particularly desire to stress. There, is a very strong impression that the powers that will administer this measure will administer it along the lines of the Imperial Air Force Act. I am not suggesting that that would be altogether bad, but I do say that unless the extended view of a continent is taken, we shall not have a successful Air Force. We shall not have success if the development of our Air Force is so restricted. There is also abroad a very strong impression that the development of our Air Force will be along those comparatively narrow lines, because of the desire of the military here-

Senator Cox - The military seem to worry the honorable senator a great deal.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - They have worried . me at times; but it is the province of honorable senators to pass legislation, and not to be - bluffed by the military. I repeat that there is an impression that those upon whom the responsibility of building up our Air Force will devolve will follow British lines, irrespective of the requirements of Australia. I hope that the remarks which have been- made in this regard will be noted. I had been promised some very definite information on this point, but, owing to theBill being brought on' unexpectedly this morning, I am unable to make that information available to the Committee. Should the matter again crop up and the information on which I am now basing my remarks be available, and of such a nature as to be of service' to the Minister, I shall let him have it.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment (by Senator Pearce) agreed to -

That sub-clauses 2 and 3 be left out.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 54 agreed to.

Clause 55 (Member of Air Force serving on ship of Australian Navy).

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