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Friday, 16 August 1912

Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) . - I join in the protest against this proposal. It should be borne in mind that there is a difference of opinion amongst the people of the Commonwealth with respect to the compulsory military training system, however unanimous we may be in this Parliament in favour of it. There is outside a reaction against the system because of the publicity recently given to the many hard cases which have resulted from the imposition of these fines. I had to. bring one case under the notice of the Minister, the particulars of which were widely circulated in my district, and have done an immense amount of harm. In the case to which I refer, the father of a lad actually handed him over to the officer in command, but, unfortunately, the lad did not subse quently put in the necessary number of drills, and a fine was imposed. The particulars of that case have been circulated, as I have said, and people are beginning to look upon the military authorities as monsters. Those who believe in compulsory military training ought to be very careful to do nothing which might create a prejudice against it. There are not many desperadoes amongst the boys of Australia, but, if there be even a considerable number of unruly lads, we might establish something in the nature of an industrial school to which they could be committed.

Senator Millen - Does the honorable senator think the public would appreciate that?

Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - I do not think so ; but I do not think there would be the prejudice against it that there is against the garnishee system. There is no reason why a sentence against an offender should not be made indeterminate, so that he need not be discharged from such an institution as I suggest until he has made himself efficient. I sincerely hope that no action will be taken to further prejudice the system of compulsory military training in the eyes of the public.

Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERTGOULD (New South Wales) [12.55].- I doubt very much whether it would be any helpto send a lad to an industrial school for an indeterminate period. The difficulty might be overcome by having some place of military detention to which an offender might be committed for the period he was sentenced to serve. We cannot permit the lads to defy the law, and I do not think they should be sent to an ordinary gaol; but there is no reason why they should not be kept in some place of detention where they could be put through a proper course of military training.

Proposed new sub-sections 8 and 9 agreed to.

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