This is a case in which Deputy Cowan, if he thought of himself in uniform again, with the problem of maintaining the discipline of a unit, would think twice. If the amendment is accepted, it means that only such acts as come within the Act itself explicitly, regulations and general or garrison orders are offences, and, if that is so, there are all sorts of ways of getting out of it. You cannot go so far as to define everything and in a case where the Minister went so far as to define conduct which showed contempt, it was made rather a laugh of, even though it is a matter that you have to take into account where discipline is concerned. I would take a completely apposite view to that of Deputy Cowan on this section. I think it is necessary for the maintenance of discipline and if you have not got something of this nature, you will not be able to have any discipline at all. Suppose a soldier in an upper billet decides that it is too much trouble to carry a bucket of slops down the stairs and heaves it out the window on to the square. It is not a crime and you are scarcely going to think it all out in advance and say: " You shall not throw slops out the window." I do not think anybody will suggest, however, that it is good for discipline and order to do so, and what are you going to do in a case like that ? You must provide for it.
If a man appears on parade obviously without any preparation and in a slovenly fashion, you cannot very well start at the top and say that the hat shall be worn at such an angle or placed squarely on the head and that each button shall be buttoned. You cannot prescribe all these things in complete detail, but still it is necessary, if an officer is to maintain discipline and a stardard of efficiency, as most of us who have had experience of Army life know, that he should have power to enforce discipline of that nature. In my view, the section, though from the lawyer's point of view eminently objectionable, is a military necessity in peace and in war. There is one thing worrying me about it. Deputy Cowan has moved an amendment, but I am afraid that this amendment might not be necessary as the section stands, that the section might be as narrow as Deputy Cowan wants it. I for one would prefer if it were wider. For the purposes of the section, certain things are defined as offences, and, if this came to a superior court, a lawyer would immediately take the line of saying that this defines what comes within the section.
" Sub-section (3) of this section shall not be construed as affecting the generality of sub-section (1) of this section."
I am not so sure that that helps much, as conduct to the prejudice of good military discipline is left undefined except in the sub-section and in the use of the words " for the purposes of this section ". I tried to work in the word " include " there.