THE COMPULSION BILL.
ITB PROBABLE SHAPE.
DISTRICT QUOTAB THE BASIS
PENSIONB AND ALLOWANCES
Tbe Compulsory Service Bill, it may be presumed, has now taken at least tentative shape. It has not yet been finally considered by Cabinet, so that not even the Ministers know ex actly in what form it will finally be presented to the House. It is pos sible, however, from hints given from time to time, and from the progress of events connected with recruiting, to form a very fair idea of what the main features of the compulsion scheme will be, says the "Dominion."
The first essential of it will be the assessment of district quotas, in the same way as they are now assessed for the purpose of voluntary enlist ment. The adoption of this will in volve no disturbance in present me'hods of working. We have had it emphasised so many times by Ministers that they have a deep rooted detestation for compulsion tbat it may safely be assumed that they will adopt some scheme of conscription which will involve as little compulsion a3 possible, If the quota system is part of the new soheme, tben there need be no compulsion in a district which supplies its quota by voluntary enlistment If in a district sufficient volunteers are not offering to supply tbe quota, compulsion will bave to be exercised Tbis will be done by ballot among tbe eligible men, wbo will be
classified according to their obliga tions. Single men without depend enta will come first, and married men with large families last. The olasai fication of the intervening grades may be done by rough and ready methods, as in the National Register, or it may be done with great thoroughness and care, in which case the task may prove to be of no little difficulty. The Bill will provide for general compulsion. It will make every fit man of military age liable to serve in tbe Army. An opinion has been fairly generally held that the Governmeni will commendeer only tbe unembar rassed single men, and that an im proved schedule of separation allowances and pensions will be introduced to make it easier for men with dependants to go. This is not so. It | may be that the soale of allowances [and pensions will be made more generous, but this is extremely doubtful. There is to be an amendment of the War Pensions Act, but probably the amendments will not affect the scale on which payments are to be made, but will deal rather with controversial question of "pensions by right." Indeed, certain remarks of the Prime Minister in a speeoh made by him at the opening of the Soldiers' Hostel gave the impression that he considered the rate of pensions and allowances satisfactory. He did not, however. say this specifically. It is also a fact tbat the authorities now are agreed tbat an annual pensions charge of one million sterling is in sight, and when the Bill was before the House last session this was regarded as tbe ut most limit to which the country could with safety commit itself. For many months it appeared tbat the million would never be reached, but of late tbe increase in payments has been rapid, It may be that pressure from the House will compel tbe Government to increase the rates of pension, hut at present the chances of tbe Government proposing to make a general considerable inorease in the rates are considered to be remote
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THE COMPULSION BILL., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXV, Issue 3541, 2 May 1916