Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Wednesday, 19 October 1910

Senator HENDERSON (Western Australia) . - I think that Senator Needham is to be commended for having called the attention of Parliament to what must impress everybody as being a very serious position. We are endeavouring to establish an efficient Military Force in Australia in order that we may be able to protect ourselves.

Senator Fraser - Discipline is a very necessary adjunct of that.

Senator HENDERSON - Discipline is the very thing for which we desire to provide. If we permit a State Parliament to interfere with the discipline which we are attempting to exercise over our citizens, we shall simply destroy all discipline. If a State authority can exercise control over a man so as to prevent him from using his leisure as he pleases, it is obvious that every private employer can do the same thing. If I employ a man in a boot factory, and I dismiss him because he dares to attend military drills, what right has anybody to question my action, so long as the law permits a State authority to exercise similar control over one of its employes ? Because a man may happen to be employed for 8, 10, or 12 hours per day as a warder in a prison, we do not admit that the authorities have a lien upon his services to the extent of twenty- four hours per day. I do hope that the Minister of Defence will look into this matter very closely, with a view to preventing a repetition of such conduct.

Senator Millen - The honorable senator has argued on the basis that the facts, as they have been outlined on behalf of the warder, are unchallengeable.

Senator HENDERSON - Undoubtedly. Mr. Wise has never been absent from his duties for a single moment. I am satisfied that the facts are as they have been represented to be. It is because of my feeling of certainty that an attempt has been made to prevent this man from devoting his spare hours to military duty that I have spoken so vehemently. I sincerely trust that the Commonwealth . authorities will make an investigation, and clear up the points in dispute. I also think that our duty as a Commonwealth Parliament - notwithstanding that this man is an em-' ploye of a State - is to protect the rights of our citizens. In my opinion, this man has undoubtedly been wronged by an authority that ought to have known better.

Suggest corrections