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Friday, 16 August 1912

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) . - When the Bill was last before the Senate, clause 8 dealt with the question of fines. We reduced the amount, and altered the principle of the Act by which we couldnot prosecute till the end of the year, and allowed prosecutions to take place at any time during the year. We also did away with thepossibility of cadets being committed to prison, and substituted a " place of military detention."

Senator Clemons - What does that mean ?

Senator PEARCE - A "place of military detention " is " as prescribed." And we have issued regulations providing that barracks, area offices, drill-halls, forts and other military buildings are to be deemed places of military detention.

Senator Clemons - What is the nature of the detention?

Senator PEARCE - When a cadet is committed to a place of military detention, he will usually be committed to an area office or drill-hall in charge of an Area Officer. If there are a number of the cadets to be so treated, they will be compelled to attend at 8 or 9 o'clock in the morning, and will be kept there until the evening. They will be liable to turn up the next day until the time they have to serve is completed. While there they will be drilled, or set to clean rifles, or to clean the drill-halls until the number of hours is completed.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - Suppose a cadet does not turn up the next morning ?

Senator PEARCE - Then he can be arrested, and his failure to attend becomes a criminal offence, because he has disobeyed an order of the Court, and may be sent to prison.

Senator Clemons - It will clear up a good bit of misunderstanding if the Minister will make that public.

Senator PEARCE - I have made statements through the press, but I am afraid they have been submerged amongst a considerable number of other things. The new clauses are comprehensive, and provide more effectively for carrying out the desire of Parliament. I move - That the amendment be agreed to.

Senator Sir JOSIAHSYMON (South Australia) [12.31]. - I ask the Minister what possible good service is to be done by this provision which declares that a pecuniary penalty may be recovered in any Civil Court of competent jurisdiction. I would like to ascertain how it is going to be recovered, because the duty of enforcing the penalty rests with the Court which imposes it. It is an extraordinary thing, indeed, it will be a most oppressive thing, that cadets, after they are fined in a Court, are to be brought into another Court and made the subject of a civil action to recover the amount of the penalty.

Senator Clemons - It is impossible.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - It is, I think, the most extraordinary thing which has ever been contemplated. It is no kind ness to the cadet to subject him to a double set of proceedings.

Senator Pearce - There is, not only the question of the cadets, but also the question of the parents to be considered. There is the question of registration for which the parents are also liable.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I should be no party to exempting parents from the ordinary proceeding under an order of the magistrate. Why should that be done?

Senator Pearce - What about the Children's Courts?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I think it was a very great mistake that the provision relating to Children's Courts was introduced. It is an absurd piece of unnecessary sentiment in regard to hearing a case of this description against a cadet in what is called the Children's Court. The Children's Court is not meant for that sort of thing. It is more detrimental to a cadet to be brought before the Children's Court, as it has to do with incorrigibles and children beyond the control of their parents.

Senator McDougall - You are quite wrong there.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - It is in our State. What is the Children's Court for?

Senator McDougall - To save publicity.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - We have the publicity just the same in our State.

Senator McDougall - Not in ours.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - lt ought to be. I was not aware before that there was any State in which there were proceedings iti camera.

Senator Henderson - The proceedings take place in camera, but they are not flourished all over the State.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - The report is published all over the State.

Senator McDougall - No; because the proceedings are not reported.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - They ought to be reported, as in South Australia.

Senator Henderson - In Western Australia the circumstances of the case are reported, but the names are always excluded from the report.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - The ' proposed new sub-sections will harass a man twice. If a penalty is inflicted upon a parent it is recoverable in the ordinary way. There is complete machinery for the purpose of enforcing it in the Magistrate's Court, where the penalty is imposed. Why he should be subjected to another proceeding in a Civil Court I cannot understand. In the case of a cadet it would be absolutely ineffective. I do not see how a child of tender years could be sued in a Court. It is not an action for a wrong. I know of no process which would enable it to be clone, and to merely say that it may be recovered in any Civil Court of competent jurisdiction would not make the lad liable, and, if he was liable, how are we going to get the money ? He has no furniture which can be seized under an execution. If there is a fine inflicted everybody must agree that it is desirable that the youth should not be sent into the common gaol in the first instance. That is one way of enforcing the penalty. The Minister has, I think, with great tenderness, provided that the enforcement of the penalty is to be by the sending of the young cadet into the custody of the authorized officer. If the lad does not turn up to perform the work set him by way of punishment he should be sent to goal for disobeying the order of the Court. Surely that is enough? It is the proper means of enforcing the penalty. Suppose that an ordinary soldier or grown-up person who does not attend to his drill is brought before a Court and a penalty is inflicted. He is ordered into custody if he does not pay the penalty. But I think that a soldier would laugh at the idea of being made subject alternatively to civil action for the recovery of the penalty in a Small Debts Court. I think that the provision has been put in inadvertently, and I suggest to the Minister that it should be disagreed with.

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