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Thursday, 3 November 1910


Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) . - The first part of the clause is similar to the provision in section 17 of the Defence Act, applying to permanent as well as militia officers, both naval and military. That has not been found to be inconvenient in either service. It has not been discovered that officers desire to resign. The reason why a greater discretion is given to the GovernorGeneral, under sub-clause 2, in regard to the naval service, is that an officer must serve until the Government is ready to part with his services. The three months' notice might end when a ship was on a voyage, and it would be necessary for him to continue to serve until it was convenient to discharge him. Sub-clause 3 is also necessary, because before the three months' notice was up the ship might have to start on a cruise, and it might be necessary to tell the officer that he must go at once, as "the ship could not be Kept for him. Shortly, the provision is the same as already exists in the Defence Act, except that lt gives the Governor-General greater discretion regarding naval officers only.

Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERTGOULD (New South Wales) [10.29].- We contemplate going to considerable expense to train officers, by establishing a Naval College, and in other ways, and then, when it has cost the country a good deal of money to educate a man as an officer, he may suddenly take it into his head that it is not worth while to bother any longer with naval work, and tender his resignation.


Senator Pearce - The experience is that they do not do that.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - Men generally take up work of this kind because they think they will like it, and want to succeed in it; but certain men are flighty, and there ought to be some provision to compel a man who has taken on the obligation of service to remain in the permanent force for a fixed period. I think the Minister will find that it is not possible, in the Imperial service, for an officer to throw' up his commission, even in times of peace, on three months' notice.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 14 agreed to.

Clause 15 -

The seniority of officers in their respective ranks shall be as prescribed.

Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERTGOULD (New South Wales) [10.31].- In what way does the Minister contemplate dealing with the question of seniority of officers in the Permanent and Citizen Naval Forces, to which, under clause 19, different duties are assigned ? Some time ago a good deal of feeling was caused in connexion with the Military Forces by the question of seniority. The officers of the Permanent Forces claimed that they were entitled to seniority over those of the Citizen Forces, who, in turn, contended that the only reasonable way to determine seniority where men were equal in rank was by the date of the commission. In that way, a citizen officer might be senior to a permanent officer of the same rank. This clause leaves it entirely to the discretion of the Minister to prescribe seniority among naval officers, and I should like an indication of the Minister's feelings in regard to. the matter.







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