Opinion Number. 1698

Subject

POSTS AND TELEGRAPH CONCESSIONS IN CONNEXION WITH POSTAL, TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE SERVICES: ‘MEMBER OF THE NAVAL, MILITARY OR AIR FORCES OF THE COMMONWEALTH’: APPLICATION TO WOMEN’S FORCES

Key Legislation

POST AND TELEGRAPH RATES (DEFENCE FORCES) ACT 1940: TELEPHONE REGULATIONS reg 139A: DEFENCE ACT 1903 s 30: NAVAL DEFENCE ACT 1910: AIR FORCE ACT 1923

Date
Client
The Director-General of Posts and Telegraphs

With reference to your memorandum of 9th March, the expression ‘member of the Naval, Military or Air Forces of the Commonwealth’ in the Post and Telegraph Rates (Defence Forces) Act and in regulation 139A of the Telephone Regulations must, I think, be read in the light of section 30 of the Defence Act 1903–1941, which is as follows:

30. The Defence Force shall consist of the Naval, Military and Air Forces of the Commonwealth, and shall be divided into two branches called the Permanent Forces and the Citizen Forces.

In my opinion the expression must be confined to members of the Defence Force enlisted or appointed in accordance with the provisions of the Defence Act, the Naval Defence Act or the Air Force Act. Other naval, military or air forces could be established by Act of Parliament or by regulations under the National Security Act, but none have yet been so established.

So far as I am aware none of the women’s forces listed in your memorandum is raised in accordance with the provisions of any of the Acts mentioned, nor are any of their members attested as members of any of the existing Naval, Military or Air Forces, and members of those women’s forces are not at present, in my opinion, members of the Naval, Military or Air Forces of the Commonwealth. In one of the attachments to your memorandum it is stated that Statutory authority exists for the formation and administration of the Australian Women’s Army Service and the Voluntary Aid Detachments, and that members are subject to military law. I shall be glad to be advised of the provision which is relied on for these statements.

In my opinion members of the women’s forces listed in your memorandum are not at present legally entitled to the concessions in connexion with postal, telegraph and telephone services referred to in the memorandum.

[Vol. 34, p. 394]