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Thursday, 12 May 1921

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister for Defence) . - I shall be very brief, as I have already stated my objection to the proposed amendments. There is only one instance where a soldier should have the right to appeal to the GovernorGeneral. He has not the right of appeal to the King under the Army Act. My amendment provides for a soldier four Courts of appeal up to the Military Board, or in time of war to the General Officer Commanding, whereas an officer has only two Courts of appeal. For the soldier there is an appeal from his captain to his colonel, then to his brigadier, and then to the General Officer Commanding, and finally to the Military Board. The two cases are not analogous at all. In the case of a soldier, there is no question of supersession in the ranks, and that, generally speaking, is where wrong is done. An officer gets promotion up to a certain stage as the result of examination, and afterwards by selection. For these reasons, I ask the Committee to reject the amendment. We have fairly met the desire of the Committee to proride an effective means for the redress of wrongs, both to officers and soldiers.

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