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Wednesday, 16 November 1910

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) . - I saw the telegram referred to by the honorable senator. I think that the powersof the Commonwealth Government under the Defence Acts are unquestioned. The Constitution lays it down that on any of the matters on which we have authority to legislate the Federal Act shall prevail over any State Act with which it is in conflict. The Defence Bill only applies to persons who are under the age of twenty-six years, because it contains no provision for universal training.

Senator Givens - In the event of war there will be compulsory service.

Senator PEARCE - Yes. If a warder happened "to be under the age of twenty -six years he would have to comply with the Defence Act as regards training, unless, of course, he was exempt. If anybody interfered with him there are penalty clauses which could be enforced, and the Federal law could, of course, be enforced, notwithstanding any State law or regulation .or Premier to the contrary. Warders are not exempt from training, but, of course, in time of war they are exempt. As regards my telegram to the. Premier of Western Australia, I have not yet received a reply. I shall take an opportunity when I am in that State to try to get the matter adjusted amicably.

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