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Friday, 16 August 1912

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - The request of the Minister places honorable senators in a rather awkward position. 1 am sure there is a very general desire to pass into law as speedily as possible those altered provisions in our Defence Act having reference to defaulting cadets, so as to put the Department in the best possible position to overcome the difficulties which have arisen. But I say that the amendments which we are now asked to swallow, without being afforded an opportunity of thoroughly understanding them, are of a totally different character from those which have been under review in this Chamber before. The first one, for example, relates to the date upon which certain officers completed an examination for promotion. In view of statements which have been made to me, that amendment opens up a very debatable question indeed. The Minister will recognise that whilst we have every desire to help forward that poi tion of the Bill which has behind it the general sympathy of honorable senators, he is asking rather much. He requests us to suspend the Standing Orders, and thus depart from the usual safeguard which they provide, for the purpose of dealing' with matters the purport of which is not at all clear, and which to my mind are highly contentious.

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