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Friday, 6 May 1921

The CHAIRMAN - I have to direct the honorable senator's attention to the fact that the amendment of the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) must first be disposed of.

Senator EARLE - I understand that it is the intention to add the amendment moved by Senator Gardiner as paragraph d. . .

The CHAIRMAN - The question that has to be decided before we can proceed is whether certain words proposed to be left out be left out.

Senator EARLE -I shall address myself to the amendment, and in doing so shall support Senator Gardiner in his endeavour to . add to the amendment moved by the Minister for Defence. I quite realize that an effort should be made and sustained to prevent reducing the value of military decorations which have been won by Australia's sons at the war. The amendment proposed by the Minister accomplishes that, so far as is necessary, as under it only widows and mothers of deceased soldiers will be permitted to officially wear the decorations or medals won. There are many instances, however, in which a soldier, after long association, feels that he would like to pass on his decoration to a companion as a mark of esteem, and which would, of course, be worn as an ornament. It would, of course, be an offence if he became possessed of it illegally, but there cannot be any valid reason for stringently restricting the wearing of medals in the way Senator Gardiner suggests; The "Minister has provided for the prevention of wearing medals officially, except by the widow or mother of a deceased. soldier. I quite agree with what-Senator Gardiner has said, that we are creating restrictions which in their turn create offences, and for that reason I shall support his amendment.

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