3rd Parliament · 4th Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Dr. MALONEY presented a petition from the Peace Society, containing 358 signatures, headed by that of the Bishop of Tasmania, praying that the Parliament, while adopting such defensive measures as in its wisdom it may think necessary for the protection of Australia, will create a sub-department of State to devise and initiate methods of cultivating international friendliness, and enlightening public opinion in Australia in regard to international relations from the point of view of general morality ; that it will direct that no teaching connected solely with military training be imparted to children under the age of eighteen years, and that neither uniforms nor rifles be supplied to them; and that it will pass a resolution affirming that the nations of the world should negotiate for the mutual limitation and eventual reduction of armaments.
Petition received and read.
– Can the Prime Minister see his way to have all future amending Bills prepared in a form similar to that in which the amending Electoral Bill has been placed before us? It has given great satisfaction to honorable members.
– I understand that in connexion with defence a document is being prepared which will enable honorable members to read the existing Act and the proposed amendments in parallel columns. The arrangement is business-like, and must commend itself.
– It is alleged in on? of this morning’s newspapers that the artisans in the iron trade who were sent to the Old World to be instructed inthe building of torpedo destroyers have not been given the proper facilities. Does the Minister of Defence know whether the report is correct? Will he inform the House whether his Department is in touch with what is being done, and will he see that the men are granted the necessary facilities?
– I know nothing of the matter beyond what has appeared in thenewspaper paragraphreferred to. My impression is that the men are engaged inthe work of constructing the torpedo destroyers, and are enjoying all the facilities for learning that can be granted to workmen so employed. Theremay be proprietors’ secrets which will be kept from them, but, otherwise, I think that they are not being debarred from knowing all that there is to be known in connexion with the work.
– On the4th October I had the honour to introduce to the Minister of Trade and Customs a deputation from the Chambers of Commerce of the Empire, to which he made a most instructive and exhaustive speech, addresses being delivered also by other representative and capable men. Will the Prime Minister be good enough to have a report of those speeches printed for circulation?
– If there is an authentic report, it shall be made available, and the honorable member may make the necessary motion for its printing.
Erection of Telephone Lines : New South Wales - Objectionable Postal Matter - Wireless Telegraphy - Case of Mr. C. A. Beard - Fraud by Postal Employe in Western Australia - Special Committee on Telephone Rates.
– On 13th inst.,the honorable member for Cowper put to me the following questions -
I then gave him a preliminary answer, and beg now to furnish the following supplementary reply -
– lt is reported in today’s Argus that a deputation, composed of representatives of the White Cross League, the Council, of the Churches, and the medical profession, waited on the “Victorian Minister of Education yesterday, when Dr. Springthorpe, a medical man, complained that “ the Postal Department allowed itself to be used in relation to objectionable purposes.” I ask the Postmaster-General what is the practice of which Dr. Springthorpe complains ? If it is objectionable, will the honorable gentleman take such steps as mav be in his power to prevent its continuance ?
– Since I have been in office I have received complaints of the kind referred to, but legislation is necessary to prevent the repetition or continuance of the circulation of objectionable postal matter. I shall be glad to introduce such legislation at a suitable opportunity, or to assist other honorable members to get it passed. I understand that the honorable member for Maribyrnong has prepared a Bill to deal with the matter.
– Has not the Department power now to do what is necessary ?
– I wish to know from the Postmaster-General if it is not a fact that there is nothing in the Admiralty contract with the Marconi Company to prevent His Majesty’s ships, installed with its system, from communicating with installations of other types. Will the honorable gentleman arrange to call for tenders immediately for the erection of wireless installations in the Commonwealth, capable of communicating with His Majesty’s and other ships in our waters, on which the apparatus of companies other than the Marconi Company is installed ?
– I am glad to be in a position to give more information on this subject than I could give yesterday. I have this morning received through the Prime Minister official information that -
The Admiralty are released from the obligation against inter-communication with Stations fitted with other than Marconi apparatus. The restriction on His Majesty’s ships on this Station from communicating with, or carrying out trials with, any other Station that may be worked by the Commonwealth Government and fitted with apparatus other than Marconi will therefore no longer apply.
In these circumstances, tenders will be advertised in the Commonwealth Gazette of Saturday next, open to all systems of wireless telegraphy which comply with the Departmental regulations and tests. The attention of all well-known manufacturing firms will also be directed to the advertisement, and tenders will be returnable within four months, namely, about the middle of February next.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– Inquiries are being made, and the desired information will be furnished as early as possible.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are -
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are -
– I desire to ask the Minister of Home Affairs whether the work of collecting the lists in New South Wales for the new Federal electoral rolls has yet been started, and, if so, whether It is being carried on in conjunction with the collection of names for the State rolls by police officers?
– The work is now in full operation, but in the absence of complete co-operation between the Government of New South Wales and that of the ‘Commonwealth, a joint collection is not being made.
– Early in September an application was made to the District Commandant of Victoria by the Metropolitan Rifle Club Union for registration as a union under the Rifle Club Regulations. I am informed that no reply to that application has yet been received from the District Commandant. Will the Minister of Defence see that a reply is sent?
– I will. At present I know nothing of the matter.
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are -
Costof. - Delay in Dealing with Applications for Old-age Pensions.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are -
The amount would depend greatly on the administration. It is difficult to estimate, but I think £250,000 would be a low estimate.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are -
Position of Postal Employes
asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are -
Motion (by Mr. Bamford) agreed to-
That a return be laid upon the table showing
In Committee(Consideration resumed from 19th October, vide page 4699) :
Clause 9 -
Section sixty of the Principal Act is re- pealed, and the following section substituted in l ieu thereof : - “ 60. - (1.) In time of war it shall be lawful for the Governor-General, by proclamation, to call upon all persons liable to serve in the Citizen Forces to enlist and serve as prescribed. “ (2.) A proclamation under the last preceding section may call upon all the persons liable to service in any military district or sub-district, who are specified in any one or more of the classes hereunder set out, so to enlist, hut so that the persons specified in any class in that district or sub-district shall not be called upon to enlist until all the persons in that district or sub-district who are specified in the preceding classes are or have been called upon. “ (3.) The classes referred to in this section are as follow : -
Class1. - All men of the age of eighteen years and upwards but under thirty-five years, who are unmarried, or widowers without children ;
Class II. - All men of the age of thirty-five years and upwards but under forty-five years, who are unmarried, or widowers without children;
Class III. - All men of the age of eighteen years and upwards but under thirty-five, years, who are married, or widowers with children ;
Class IV. - All men of the age of thirty-five years and upwards but under forty-five years, who are married, or widowers with children ; and
Class V. - All men of the age of forty-five years and upwards but under sixty years. “ (4.) If the Parliament is not sitting at the date of the issue of the proclamation, it shall be summoned to meet within tendays after that date.”
– I move -
That the words “ In time of war it shall be lawful” be left out.
If this amendment be made, the GovernorGeneral - which, of course, means the
Executive Council - will have power by proclamation, at any time he may think fit, to call upon all persons liable to serve. My reason for proposing the amendment is that it is not difficult to conceive of a state of affairs arising in the Pacific that would more or less necessitate the Commonwealth Government devoting its time and energy to the work of getting its Reserves ready before a declaration of war. Under the clause as it stands the power to call upon the whole of the Reserves in Australia could be brought into operation by the Government only after war had actually been declared, and when it might be too late to do the work effectively. I do not think that the Minister will object to this enlargement of the Ministerial power. It is a power that cannot be recklessly exercised because, as honorable members will see, there is a proviso to the proposed new section that if Parliament is not sitting at the date of the issue of the proclamation, it shall be summoned to meet within ten days after that date. It is impossible to conceive of a frivolous exercise of great powers like this, but, certainly, we require the power to prepare our untrained reserve forces before war is declared. The word “ war,” according to the definition, means also” danger of war ; but I do not like that phrase, because we may be hoping for peace, and if we can act only under a clause which implies the danger of war, we may, by what we do, hasten the very danger that we wish to avert.
– Why not strike out only the words “ In time of war “ ?
– That would suit me equally well, and be easier. I beg leave to move in that direction.
Amendment amended accordingly.
– This provision is in the original Act, and no amendment is suggested in regard to it. No harm can be done by leaving the clause as it is, because “time of war” is a verywide term, and includes any apprehension or danger of war. The effect of the honorable member’s amendment will simply be to widen the power that the Government now possess of calling out the Reserve Forces by proclamation. I see no reason for striking the words out. They are a limitation, perhaps a wise one, to which even a Government should be subject.
– The Ministry have only to say that they apprehend war, and then there is no limitation.
– That is so, and therefore to take out the words will not interfere with the clause, except that it may remove a slight limitation which now exists. 1 ask the honorable member not to press the amendment.
.- I am inclined to think that the words “ In time of war” are better out. If the GovernorGeneral can issue the proclamation only in apprehension of war, its issue will be practically a declaration that he contemplates war. If we leave the power without limitation, the interests of Parliament will be safeguarded by the fact that it must meet within ten days of the proclamation. It is very invidious for the Minister to have to make a public declaration that he apprehends war when negotiations for peace or settlement may be going on.
– It is worse still to call out all the military.
– The Minister could say that his purpose was simply to arrange manoeuvres.
– Half-a-dozen explanations could be given, if this limitation were removed from the clause, but if it be left in the only reason that, could be given would be that the Minister apprehended war.
– I hope that in this case the Minister will stand by the words in the Bill. If we are to have compulsory service, it should be made as general as possible, and there should be as efficient training as possible; but every reasonable check should be imposed upon the Defence Department with regard to calling out the citizens for Avarlike purposes. This check was deliberately inserted in the original Act, and the Government, after consultation with the authorities, have re-embodied it in this Bill. lt is not for the Government to show reasons why the words should be retained, but some powerful reasons ought to be shown, by those who advocate their excision, for the widening of the clause. I have not yet heard anything which would incline me to vote for extending the Governor-General’s power in this direction. It is not sufficient to say that it would be better to leave the Governor-General a wider discretion. A limitation is placed on his discretion, and 1 hope the Minister will adhere to it.
– The power in the principal Act is widened by this Bill.
– I shoUld rather limit than widen it.
.- There are two objections to the clause as it stands. One is that it cannot be taken to say what it means, as it means something wider than is expressed by the words contained in it. The other is that, in cases of this kind, it is inadvisable to put a clause giving a power of proclamation in this form, because questions of law arise as to whether in .point of fact the time referred to in the Act has arrived. These proclamations have generally been referred to in Acts of Parliament in some such, words as, “ When in the opinion of the GovernorGeneral,” so-and-so occurs. Then there is no question of law involved. As the clause stands, however, if a proclamation were issued, at a time when it was doubtful whether a state of war had arisen the exercise of the power to call out the men might be open to question. I .believe that in actual life, Australians would be found to take no points of law in emergencies. “ In time of war,” in this clause must mean in time of actual w.ar, or when danger of war is seriously apprehended. If, under this system, we are to train and prepare men for years for the .shock of battle, it would surely be necessary to draw upon the civilian ranks before the actual fightingbegan. It would be a cruel thing to allow war to break out before the civilians were brought into line. I do not attach very much importance to the point, because I am satisfied that in time of real danger, a call by the Government would be readily responded to by the people of this country; but nevertheless I feel that the language of the Bill is too narrow. It must really be taken, as some honorable members have suggested, to include a time when war is apprehended. Let us suppose that war is not actually declared, but is believed to be imminent. Could the Governor-General wait and wait, leaving the citizens without any summons to enlist, and to make preparation for actual fighting? Could he wait until a declaration of war was actually issued? It would not be possible.
– There is a definition sec-‘ tion in the principal Act which affects the phrase “ In time of war.”
– “Time of war” includes “danger of war.”
– I am very much obliged to the honorable member for Corio for pointing that out. It meets my point. I must apologize for not having noticed the definition. This leads me to say that it is most necessary, when we have before us a Bill amending a principal Act, that we should also have before us the Statute proposed to be amended. This is an instance in point. I am satisfied with the provision which the honorable member for Corio has brought under my notice.
-I think that the amendment of the honorable member for Wentworth is worthy of consideration, and I intend to support it if he presses it to a division. As has been well pointed out, it would be foolish, and might, perhaps prove fatal to our national existence, to wait until war was actually declared before the Governor-General called out all the forces. It will be very much better to alter the wording of the clause so as to permit of the forces being mobilized at any time.
– This clause does not touch the ordinary forces, but onlythe reserves.
– I know that, but the clause applies to any person in the Commonwealth who has served in the forces, or is liable to serve. If words were inserted in this Bill, giving the Minister power to mobilize the forces, the fact that they were mobilized would not give other nations the idea that we had any apprehension of war. European nations frequently put in force mobilization schemes for the training of their troops. It is all very well to consider this matter in the light of things as they are to-day ; but we may hereafter find ourselves in an entirely different situation. Therefore, I think that the Governor-General should have power to mobilize the forces at any time.
– I take a different view from that which has just been expressed. When we discussed the principal Act some years ago, there was a very strong feeling against universal service. I was one of those who, at thattime, entertained an opinion against compulsory service, and expressed it very strongly. But I must confess that reading, thought, and the interchange of ideas have changed my view in that regard.
– There has also been a change of the honorable member’s environment.
– My honorable friend is altogether wrong, because my view on this subject was altered before the Fusion was thought of.
– Public opinion has changed.
– I do not know that even public opinion is with us entirely on this question. But, in the interests of peace, and of the destruction of that military spirit which many of us desire to see eradicated, I have come to the position which I now maintain. But, nevertheless, I do not share the view of the honorable member for Wentworth as to the clause under discussion, and hope that the Government will stand by it. I think that we should be at the last resort before putting into force the compulsory provisions of our defence legislation.
– A departure has been made in the direction of extending the power given to the Governor-General in the Bill before us. Section 60 of the principal Act provides that in time of war it shall be lawful for the Governor-General to dp certain things, the occasion being first communicated to Parliament. That is to say, before the forces can be called out, even in time of emergency, Parliament must be consulted. Perhaps the Minister will explain why the Bill before us proposes to change that provision. Surely no one desires that persons up to the age of sixty years should be called out, except in time of grave emergency. If we are to widen the clause in the direction suggested by the honorable member for Wentworth, I do not know what may happen if we have a “ scare “ Government in power.
– The present Minister might want the Reserves called out every week for exercise.
– It would depend on the kind of Government we had whether the Reserves were called out or not.
– Some people went nearly mad about the Dreadnought scare.
– They did. I do not know what would have happened if the present Ministry had been in office at that time. If a timid Government held office when an European war was feared, all those liable to serve up to sixty years of age might be called out, even though there was very little risk of Australia being involved. I do not want to see that sort of thing, and should have preferred the words used in the principal Act to be retained.
– If Great Britain were involved in a war with an European power, would not the honorable member call out the Reserves ?
– Yes. If there were a likelihood of Wat in which Great Britain was concerned, it might be desirable to call out all those liable to serve. But before that was decided upon, Parliament ought to be consulted.
– Parliament, would be consulted.
– I am not objecting to giving the Minister the power implied in the words to which reference has been made, but I think we should have an explanation as to why the words inthe principal Act, to which I have alluded, have been omitted.
.- I am very glad that the honorable member for Wentworth has brought up this matter, because it is of considerable importance. I support the proposal to omit the words “In time of war.” The Governor- General in Council should have a larger power. It might be necessary to call out all persons liable to serve in the Citizen Forces a month or two months before the declaration of war, for the purpose of mobilization. Sub-clause 2 of the proposed new section provides for the manner of calling out, while sub-clause 3 declares the order in which the various classes are to be called out.
– They can all be called out at once.
– No; they must be called out in the. order provided for in sub-clause
General should have power in time of national danger to use his discretion for the protection of the country.
.- In my opinion, the amendment is a necessary one. If the words “ In time of war “ are not omitted, the Government will be prevented from calling out men for service when they may be needed. The honorable member for Corio is wrong in saying that “ Time of war “ means a time when there is invasion or apprehension of invasion. This is the definition of the principal Act -
Any time during which a state of war actually exists, and includes the time between the issue of a proclamation of the existence of war, or of danger thereof, and the issue of a proclamation declaring that thewar or danger thereof, declared in the prior proclamation, no longer exists.
I agree with the right honorable member for East Sydney and others, that it may be necessary to call out the forces a considerable time before war is declared. To wait until the actual declaration of war would be suicidal.
– Particularly in a large country like Australia.
– Yes. It is not to be thought that a Government would call out men for active service unless it had good ground for apprehending danger of war. Should a Ministry misuse its power in this respect, it would not continue to live for forty-eight hours. The proposed amendment will, if carried, enlarge the powers of the Government in the interests of the people, and I trust that the Minister will accept it.
– I am not wedded to the words which it is proposed to omit, but I would point out that section 46 of the principal Act says that the Governor- General may, in time of war, by proclamation, call out the Citizen Forces, or any part of them, for active service. Why should we give that power in regard to the Citizen Forces,and deny it in regard to the Reserve Forces ?
– The Citizen Forces will be presumably trained men. The Reserves will be untrained, and will require time for training.
– They will not be untrained when the system has been in force for some time.
– If war were declared next year, the classes to which the provision under discussion will apply would be untrained.
– That is so. There is no such limitation in other legislation of this kind elsewhere; certainly not in Great Britain, where, perhaps, the common law applies. The omission of the words “In time of war” will give the Government more power.
.- Having listened to the arguments, if they can be so termed, in favour of the amendment, I see no justification for striking out the words referred to. If an attack on Australia were anticipated, the Military Forces could be got ready as quickly as possible to repel it. What more is wanted ? On one occasion a Victorian Government was so scared that it called out the military to prevent the holding of a public meeting. I am afraid that, occasionally, similar scares may be created, perhaps, by cable news, and an excited populace may demand the calling out of the Reserves, thus, perhaps, precipitating what we would prevent. War is a thing of which it is to be hoped we shall have no experience. But sometimes communities, like individuals, get excited, and rush into hostilities without really understanding how their differences of opinion arose, behaving in the end like a bull when a red rag is waved in front of it. The limitation which it is proposed to omit is a necessary one, because we desire that our forces shall be called out only when there is danger or apprehension of war. Ordinarily mobilization may be done at any time. For it, a proclamation is unnecessary. Australia, thanks to its isolation, cannot be attacked suddenly, like European countries, and, I trust, will be careful to avoid provoking attacks. If war threatened, the Reserves could be called out at once. What more is needed? It has been said that time must be allowed for drilling the men who are called out; but it is to be hoped that they will already have learnt their drill. Up to the present only a very small proportion of our population has had a military training of any kind. We must be content to do in this matter as other nations have done. They have sometimes had to fight with very inefficiently trained men. When I was in the Volunteer Forces our drill instructor used to tell us of the way in which recruiting for the Crimean war was carried on. Men, after being drilled for three days, were sent into the trenches before Sebastopol, and gave a good account of themselves. It is not right, however, save in time of great emergency, that men should be sent out without being properly drilled. We must endeavour to secure efficiency in the form provided by the Bill. It is only in the last resort that the Reserves would be called out, and honorable members must not forget that this proposed new section applies only to the calling out of reserves. I take it that the military authorities would not dream of asking the GovernorGeneral to call out the Reserves except in a case of great emergency. The cost of keeping a large body of men in the field is very great. Wars are often determined by questions of finance, and it would be unwise for a country to drain its resources by needlessly bringing into the field a great army of men, many of whom were the least efficient of its forces. I am opposed to the amendment.
.- Some honorable members have apparently failed to understand the grounds on which I have taken this action. In the definition section of the principal Act it is provided that - “Time of war” - Means any time during which a state of war actually exists, and includes the time between the issue of a proclamation of the existence of war or of danger thereof, and the issue of a proclamation declaring that the war or danger thereof, declared in the prior proclamation, no longer exists.
– That means two proclamations.
– Yes. Under this proposed new section a proclamation is to issue for the calling out of troops, so that in calling out the untrained reserves we have to consider that there actually exists a danger of war. What would be the position of the Minister in such a contingency as I now propose to state.
– If I wanted the troops I should issue a proclamation.
– The Minister now regards the matter as very simple; but let us assume that there is some grave Imperial emergency.
– In which case, if it were necessary, I should not issue a proclamation.
– In other words, if the Imperial authorities represented to the Australian Government that it would be highly disadvantageous to Imperial interests for the Governor- General to issue a proclamation that “ a danger of war” existed, my honorable friend, if he were Minister of Defence, would not start training the reserve manhood of Australia.
– I did not say that.
– The honorable member said that he would not issue a proclamation in such circumstances.
– Quite so ; I would train the men without issuing the proclamation.
– The honorable member could do that only by doing violence to his oath of office, for this proposed new section provides that the Reserves may be called out only by proclamation of a state or danger of war. We are dealing now, not with the Citizen Forces of Australia, who are presumed to be trained when the time of war arises, but with the Reserves. This Bill does not aim at the training of the whole of the adult manhood of Australia. It aims at the training of a sufficient number from year to year to provide for the maintenance of a full fighting force for anti-raid purposes, but vast numbers will be left untouched.
– And this provision relates to the excess - to those over the ages fixed for compulsory training.
– Quite so. I desire that the Minister of Defence, when an Imperial crisis arises, shall be able to say - “We want to train our reserves. We do not say that their training has reference to any crisis; but we do not want to be subject to the dictation of the Home Government, who may say to us ‘ Considerations of Imperial diplomacy demand that you should not issue a proclamation that there is danger of war.’ Train the men, but do not say why you are doing so.’ “
– Does the honorable member propose by this means to have all adult males trained?
– If necessary, I should have all our adult manhood trained. My honorable friend, like others, thinks that we are as capable of settling a future contingency as would be the Parliament and Government of that time. It is important, however, for us to foresee all possible contingencies. We should not endeavour to leg-rope future Parliaments; but that is what the proposed new section, as it stands, would do. I can foresee great difficulties arising if we take power to raise these levies only by the issue of a proclamation of war or danger of war. In time of emergency the Imperial Government might endeavour, by the exercise of diplomacy, to delay the actual declaration of war. The arts of diplomacy might be used to endeavour to secure the sympathy of neutral powers, and those neutral powers would regard with irritation, if not hostility, the calling out of the whole of the forces of Australia under a proclamation which expressly stated that there was danger of war. On the other hand, they would no more object to our beginning to train our reserves without the issue of such a proclamation, than they would object to their neighbours or themselves periodically doing so in times of peace. I fail to see why the Minister should not agree to the excision of these words. My desire is simply to safeguard the future. Australia is not what she has been. She has been in the position of a spoilt child - too puny, too insignificant, for the rest of the world to care what she did. But in the future, if we are to have a truly efficient and comprehensive defence schemer, she will be a power, within the British power,” well worth considering. If that is so we shall have to display all the discretion of a growing nation. No power of which I know would declare, by proclamation, on the eve of hostilities, which she did not wish to hasten, that there was danger of war. If it did so, it would immediately alienate the sympathies of the rest of the civilized world. It would be looked upon as a quarrelsome, aggressive power, just as Europe is inclined to regard the Balkan principalities when they suddenly issue proclamations, and push on with their armaments. There may come a time when we shall be up against the teeming millions of the East, and may require to train the whole of our reserves. But because the Minister and the Parliament of to-day, by the use of the words which I propose to omit, had limited future Governments, we should not be able discreetly to make due preparations to meet that contingency. I appeal to the Minister and the Committee not to handicap the future actions of this Democracy.
– A good case has been made out for the omission of these words. In the principal Act reference is made not only to “ Time of war,” but also “ War,” and we have there the following definition - “War” - Means any invasion or apprehended invasion of, or attack or apprehended attack on, the Commonwealth or anyTerritory under the control of the Commonwealth by an enemy or armed force.
That would be a time of great danger, but a still greater danger might arise. Events might so shape themselves as to cause the Empire itself to tremble in the balance. Are we not to be in a position to make an emergent effort to meet such a danger ? Circumstances such as have been foreshadowed, to some extent, might arise far from our own shores, which would necessitate the manhood of the Empire being made ready as quickly as possible to meet a threatened danger. The Minister should have power, subject to the control of Parliament, as provided in the proposed amendment, to meet that gravest of all dangers - a danger affecting not only Australia, but the Empire - by calling out the reserves of the manhood of the Commonwealth. Section 60 of the principal Act provides that -
In time of war it shall he lawful for the Governor-General (the occasion being first communicated to the Parliament, if theParliament be then sitting, or notified by proclamation if the Parliament be not then sitting), by proclamation, to call upon persons liable to serve in the militia forces to enlist in the militia forces. . . .
There we have a safeguard. If Parliament were sitting it would have to approve first of all of the issue of the proclamation, and I would prefer that provision rather than the proposed new section as it stands. It is here provided that if Parliament is not sitting at the date of the issue of the proclamation, it shall be summoned to meet within ten days of that date, but this Bill does not say, as the original Act does, that Parliament, if sitting, shall be afforded an opportunity to approve of the proclamation before it is issued. That is the difference. I should like to see the words “In time of war” struck out, but with the additional safeguard that Parliament, if sitting, shall approve of the proclamation. The Minister might promise to consider the matter, and recommit the clause later if the honorable member for Wentworth, who moved the amendment, desires. He might consider whether it is not desirable to give a power which might be very necessary in the greatest of all emergencies, and at the same time to afford to Parliament that proper security which it should have in all cases.
– That “ greatest of all emergencies “ surely could not arise in ten days.
– It might arise in a moment. It might suddenly become evident to all parts of the Empire that every man would have to be got together and prepared to meet an emergency that affected the very existence of the Empire. War, according to our definition, means either an actual invasion of Australia, or an apprehended invasion, but there is something of Imperial concern outside that.
– The honorable member for North Sydney and the honorable member for Wentworth argue very fairly that it is possible to conceive of a difficulty arising in certain circumstances, but I do not think it is at all likely to arise. On the other hand, if the words,” In time of war ‘ ‘ are left out, we shall simply give the Government power at any time, and for any purpose they choose, to call out the Reserves, subject, of course, to the fact that Parliament would have to be called together within ten days.
– Does the honorable member think that any Government would exercise that power improperly?
– It is possible to conceive circumstances in which it would be done. Our Defence Forces are to be created for the defence of this country in time of war, and we ought not to place it in the power of any Government to call out the whole of the Reserves in time of peace. The troops in training will be at their command at any time.
– Is it not necessary to give the Reserve Forces a little training?
– There will be no difficulty about that in practice. There is no necessity to remove the safeguardprovided in the original Act simply for the purpose of giving the Reserves training.
– Ordinary troops cannot be called out for active service except by proclamation.
– That is true, but that proclamation can be issued at any time. It is not necessary in the case of the ordinary troops to wait until a time of war exists. The amendment would give the Government a similar power in regard to the Reserves.
– Is the honorable member afraid of internecine war?
– I am not particularly afraid of anything, nor do I think there is much danger of the inhabitants of Australia being called out for military service to put down internecine strife. At the same time we are asked to extend the original Act. I hope the Minister will stick to his Bill. This provision was inserted deliberately in order to show the people that, although we intend to provide for Australian defence, we do not want to take aggressive action. The very act of calling out the Reserves by proclamation when there is no war might lead to the results which the honorable member for Wentworth fears may follow from leaving the proposed new section as it stands. Such a proclamation might complicate diplomatic relations.
– The Reserves were called out by Disraeli on one occasion, and had nothing to do, so they fought one another. That was when the black troops were sept to Malta.
– The AttorneyGeneral gives a concrete instance of the clanger of striking out the words “ In time of war.”
.- It is necessary to go into history to find the reason for “ subterfuge “ provisions of this sort, because that is all they originally were. A similar section will be found in the Canadian Act, and in Canada one is generally told that there is universal service, because there every man in the population is liable to be called out. This is really a survival of the old power which used to exist in Britain in feudal times, when every acre of land could be levied upon to pay its share of military service. As a consequence the Militia Act of England, although carried on by a system of balloting, still preserves the power to call out every male in the population. When our original Defence Act was passed the proviso - “In time of war” - was put in rather with the object of getting away from the universal service idea, to which a good many objected at the time. I do not think that in Germany or France or other places where conscrip tion obtains, power is given to call out the population en masse up to the age of sixty years, to the full extent that this proposed new section proposes. It was recognised in Australia that it is the duty of every man in a democratic community to defend his country, but it was not intended that every man should be liable to be called out except in time of real danger. There is, under an existing organization, first the field force, which provides the expeditionary force that does the work and meets the first attack; then there are garrison troops, and after them you have the whole male population to depend upon. In any case this discussion is useless, because Part IV. of the original Act has the heading “ Liability to serve in the Citizen Forces in time of war.” Those words still stand and govern the whole of the sections to which they relate. Even if the words “ In time of war “ are left out of this proposed new section, they will still prevail through being in the cross-heading of this part of the original Act.
– The original Act could be amended consequentially.
– It would be necessary to amend a good many other sections of that Act.
– It would be better to frame a general definition than alter a particular section.
– If the honorable member for Wentworth really proposes that the whole population shall be liable to be called out at any time, I do not think that would do much good. We should leave the words “ In time of war “ in the Bill unless we want to makethis legislation very unpopular, because the people generally do not understand that there is any such intention. I should also say that the military authorities would be the last to want to call out the untrained men, except in the last resort. At the time of the FrancoPrussian war, Gambetta went to the French Provinces to try to raise levies to assist in the relief of Paris, and honorable members know the result.
– He did what the honorable member suggests should be done here. He started too late. That action should have been taken before Sedan.
– The honorable member does not understand the effect of his amendment. If he wants to apply this power to all men up to sixty years of age, at any time, it is just as well that the Committee should know it. If the honorable member means that, I think every honorable member will be against his proposal.
– No matter what he means, that wouldbe the effect.
– During the siege of Paris, the raw levies raised to defeat the Prussians were worse than useless, and did more than anything else to turn public opinion in France against the continuation of the war, and in favour of the making of a peace which led to the cession to Germany of two French Provinces. I do not think that the Minister need trouble himself very much about the amendment as now proposed, but if it is to be followed by consequential amendments, I urge him to stick to the clause as it stands.
.- It is just as well that honorable members should realize the full effect of the amendment. The second speech of the honorable member for Wentworth has shown that his real object is to obtain universal conscription in Australia.
– I will go for manhood service if it is absolutely necessary.
– As the honorable member first explained his object, it was to give the Minister a wider power in case of danger of war. But when he spoke again, he made it plain that his intention was to give power to make all men in this country up to the age of sixty efficient.
– If the Parliament of the day thinks it necessary.
– I do not think that public opinion is ripe for conscription. If the amendment be carried the whole Bill will have to be remodelled on lines of universal training.
– Where would the honorable member come in?
– I am quite prepared to do my share in time of danger, although I may be legally exempt. I might join the Boy Scouts ! The amendment would amount to a repeal of section 60 of the principal Act, and then the law would read -
It shall be lawful for the Governor-General by proclamation to call on all persons liable to serve in the Citizen Forces to enlist and serve as prescribed.
There would be no limit. Without any hint of war, the Government of the day might call on all persons up to the age of sixty to serve.
– Is not the honorable member prepared to trust Parliament?
– I am not” prepared to trust Governments.’ The present Ministry themselves have recognised that they have not faith in Governments, because they have provided for Parliament to be called together in the event of a proclamation being issued. Why is Parliament to be called together? Simply because the Ministry cannot trust any future Government to run the affairs of the Commonwealth in time of danger.
– Does the honorable member think that Parliament would approve of calling out the Reserves if there was no danger?
– Is the honorable member prepared to go to his constituents and tell them that he has voted for a Bill imposing conscription on this country? He denounces the present Government, and yet he proposes to give them this enormous power. The more I look into the subject the more I am convinced that the safeguard laid down in the principal Act is a wise one. The Reserves should only be called out when there is a serious apprehension of war. If we are to leave it to the discretion of a Government to do or not to do a thing, why do we want an Act of Parliament at all? I am astonished at the honorable member for Wentworth making this insidious attempt to bring in conscription. I was not aware that he favoured that policy. Who is going to carry on the industries of the country if all males between fourteen and sixty years of age are to be called out to serve in the Army ? It looks as if some of us older chaps would have to run the industries of Australia. But I am sure that the honorable member for Wentworth does not mean that, and hence I fear that he has not given sufficient consideration to his own proposal.
.- Either the clause under consideration is to be of value or it is not. If it is to be’ of value, the power contained in it ought to be capable of being exercised in time to give practical effect to it. As has been pointed out, if the Reserves are only to be called out after a state of war has actually been created, or after a proclamation of war or of danger of war has been issued, their services may be availed of rather late in the day. A proclamation of war can only be issued by the Imperial Government. And no Australian Government would think of issuing a proclamation of danger without consulting the Imperial Government. Consequently, if the proclamation calling out the Reserves is only to be issued after an outbreak of war, the forces so mobilized’ may be brought into the field too late to be of effective value. The sugestion that the striking out of the words to which the honorable member for Wentworth objects would give the Government of the day power to enforce conscription at any time, is too wild to be considered. No Government would do such a thing. I suppose that no one in this House has a lesser opinion of the present Government than I have, but I am prepared to trust them, or any other Government in Australia, not to call out the whole of the male population under sixty years of age for military training, except in the face of great danger. I can see no harm in striking out the words, but I see an advantage in doing so, inasmuch as the amendment would permit the power implied in the clause to be exercised in an effective manner.
– It is a serious matter to intrust to any Government such power as the honorable member for Wentworth desires to give. Governments, through excess of power, are liable to assume a spirit of tyranny or despotism. In that respect there is no real difference between this and any ‘other Government. It is excess of power that creates despotism.
– If any Government abused the power, Parliament would deal with them within a very few days.
– The Government might not call Parliament together.
– They would have to, under the clause.
– The history of all the world shows that intrusting too much power to any organization, combination, or coterie, tends to create a tyranny. I would trust this Government as much as any other, but my experience shows me that there is very little difference between human beings if they are endowed with too much power. This Parliament has no right to transfer so much power to any Government without an appeal to the people. Why not let the clause alone? There is no sign of war in the world now. In my opinion war will never occur in Australia.
– If that be so there is no necessity for this Bill at all.
– There is no necessity for the Bill. I have said so all along. In my opinion, it would be well to leave the words in. In time of war, the Government should have power to call out the forces.
– The proposed omission would not deprive the Government of that power ; it would enable men. to be called out a little earlier, with a view to giving them some training.
– It would be foolish to call out men of the age of sixty years. According to an eminent medical authority, men of that age ought to be chloroformed, and Commonwealth legisla tion provides for the payment of pensions to men sixty-five years old.
– Lord Roberts is more than seventy years old.
– He is an exceptional man. Only those between the ages of fifteen and forty-five should be liable to be called out, and I ask the Minister to at least substitute the word “ fifty “ for the word “ sixty.”
.- The honorable member for Wentworth is always horribly perturbed about possible happenings in the diplomatic world, and the outcome of action on our part in irritating foreign nations. What we have to consider at present is whether in doing what he proposes we may not irritate our own people.
– Would any Government be so foolish as to call out troops unnecessarily ?
– Governments have acted as foolishly in the past, and may do so again in the future. If we made the proposed amendment, we should have to make a similar amendment in section 59 of the principal Act, which provides that all the male inhabitants of Australia, within certain ages, shall be liable to serve in the Militia Forces “ in time of war.” But by so amending that section we should make all those male inhabitants liable to serve in the Militia Forces at any time, irrespective of circumstances. The electors are not prepared to submit to that. They are willing to be called out in time of war.
– Or when there is danger of war.
– A proclamation could not be issued unless in time of war or danger of war. There may be good reason for requiring that the proclamation shall state that there is, in the opinion of the Government, danger of war, and I fail to see that the use of such an expression might have such an irritating effect on a foreign nation as to precipitate hostilities. Our aim is to create an effective force for the defence of our country, in the hope that our preparation will prevent attacks upon us. We think that the more clearly we indicate that we are prepared to defend ourselves, the less likely we are to be attacked.
Question - That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the clause (Mr.
Kelly’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
– I ask the Minister what provision is to be made for informing the Department in time of peace of the whereabouts of those who will be liable to be called out in time of war? Under the German system only about 200,000 of the 1,000,000 youths who come of military age each year receive military training.
– Part XIV. contains the provision about which the honorable member asks.
– I cannot see that it does. In cities like Melbourne and Sydney probably from 15 to 20 per cent. of the inhabitants change their residence every year. If the obligation to serve is not to be merely a pious pretence, the Department must keep track of those to whom it applies.
– We propose to keep track of all who are trained.
– The majority will not be trained.
– We cannot keep track of them.
– Track is kept of them in Germany and other European countries, where there is a conscript or compulsory defence system.
– It is very expensive to keep track of all the population.
– If the expense is overwhelming, I do not wish it to be done; but I have no information on the subject. It will be very expensive to endeavour to mobilize the population without some such organization.
– We have had experience of the cost of keeping track of the people in connexion with the enrolment of electors.
– It is difficult in a country which, like Australia, has a migratory population ; but there is no provision in this Bill for the organization of untrained reserves. The vast majority of the adult males of Australia will be no more trained under this Bill than under previous measures. Under this Bill, we only take power to train them, and that power, I regret, is so circumscribed that we can start to train them only when an attack is menacing, or has been made on Australia.
– I hope not.
– That will be the position as the result of the last division. I hope that the Minister will explain what he proposes to do in regard to this matter.
– Nothing at all. There is nothing in the Bill in regard to it.
– And there is certainly nothing in the principal Act, so that no proposal is made regarding the training of these people.
– No proposal whatever.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 10 -
Section sixty-two of the Principal Act is repealed, and the following section substituted in lieu thereof : - “62. - (1.) All those liable to be trained as Junior Cadets shall be trained in physical drill, elementary marching drill, and the use of miniature rifles……
Provided that where the required training is given by the masters of schools to the satisfaction of the prescribed officer, that training may be accepted as sufficient. (2.) All those liable to be trained as Senior Cadets shall be allotted to the Naval or Military Forces…… and shall be organized in naval or military units.”
– In this clause, it is provided that junior cadets shall be trained in the use of miniature rifles. I desire to know whether the Minister is prepared to omit the word “miniature” and insert in lieu thereof the word “ suitable “ ? It is simply playing at the game, to train junior cadets in the use of miniature rifles. In Victoria at the present time, thousands of boys between the ages of twelve and fourteen years are using small rifles other than those known as “ miniatures,” and are becoming expert marksmen. The use of such rifles ought to be preserved to them. They are doing good work under the direction of school teachers, and no heavy expense is incurred in connexion withtheir instruction. Youngsters of less than fourteen years of age are capable of becoming good shots. All over the country, boys of ten years of age, and even younger, are to be found handling rifles.
– And shooting themselves.
– Accidents, unfortunately, do occur occasionally ; but for the most part, they take place in connexion with the use of pea rifles. The training obtained by firing withminiature rifles at miniature targets, is much like that obtained by practice at shooting galleries; and I hope that the Minister will see his way clear to make the amendment which I suggest.
– The honorable member’s proposal would mean, to begin with, an expenditure of £80,000 per annum, in providing junior cadets with rifles of the class of which he speaks. I do not think it is necessary to so equip them. The age of fourteen years is early enough for them to commence to carry rifles of use ; and we propose that cadets, on reaching that age, shall be armed, say, with Westley-Richards rifles, which will carry up to 500 and 600 yards on an open range. That being so, these boys will be subjected to only a temporary deprivation. I recognise the sentiment attaching to this question. I remember, when one of my own boys, who was then twelve years of age, returned home with a rifle and a uniform - which I had had to purchase for him - and thought that he was three times twelve ; but, after all, I think fourteen years of age is early enough at which to clothe the cadets with the actual habiliments of war. If they get a thorough physical setting up between the age of twelve and fourteen years, they will be the better able to carry arms.
– I shall not press my amendment. The question of expense determines the matter.
– If the Junior Cadets were equipped with ordinary rifles, they would have to wear uniforms, which would cost about £1 per annum per boy; and the total bill would amount to about £120,000 or £130,000 a year. I doubt the utility of incurring that expense ; although I appreciate the sentiment underlying the proposal. If I could encourage it I should be glad to do so. But if these lads obtain a physical setting up, and are allowed to practice with small rifles at miniature ranges, they will be able to prepare themselves for the time when they will have to seriously take up the work.
– I desire to know whether, under the clause as it stands, the use of Morris tubes by junior cadets attending school will be done away with ?
– My own impression is that their use should be continued. My disposition is to let the schools take charge of this, as far as they are able to do so.
– And the Department will provide the schools with a certain number of rifles to enable the Junior Cadets to be trained in shooting and sighting as at present with the Morris tube?
– We will work in with the school organizations as far as we can.
– The cadet system has only taken root in the western portion of Queensland within the last two years, and boys there are very anxious to become efficient. In many towns, the school Committees have purchased Morris tubes and targets, and the Department has provided the boys with miniature rifles. Some of the lads on leaving school have joined the rifle clubs, and as the result of their early training have become efficient shots.. I do not desire that this enthusiasm on the part of the school boys shall be scotched. The people of the western portions of Queensland and New South Wales are more averse to a military system than are the people of any other part of the Commonwealth. The sight of a uniform used to have very much the same effect on many people in Western Queensland that a red rag has on a bull. That was the position prior to Federation. The people there have a lively recollection of the action of the military in 1891, and the suggestion that men should enrol for service used to be received with disfavour. The training of Junior Cadets naturally engenders in them the spirit of militarism, andI ask the Minister not to deprive them, of the use of miniature rifles and Morris tubes.
.- I should like to have the assurance of the Minister that his remark that the Department will try to work in with the schools applies to Senior as well as to Junior Cadets, and that, as far as is practicable, consideration will be given to schools, colleges, and other like organizations. I desire now to move -
That after the word “ units,” line 15, the following words be inserted : - “ Provided that children of parents whom the doctrines of their religion forbid to bear arms or to perform military service shall be exempt from training as cadets upon such conditions as may be prescribed. The burden of proving their right to such exemption shall rest upon the parents so claiming exemption for their children.”
In proposing to make the parents responsible for their children, I have adopted the wording of the principal Act. Children may not be able to answer the necessary questions, and parents should have an opportunity, where they have bonâ fide conscientious objections to military training, to answer for them.
– Why should they be able to object on behalf of their children?
– Because they are responsible for their upbringing. Many persons would feel more intensely the compulsory military training of their children than they would a provision requiring that they themselves should undergo military training. I do not think there are many sects whose religion forbids them to bear arms.
– There are the Seventh Day Adventists.
– At any rate only small bodies are affected. They have really conscientious objections to serving. It would be better perhaps if I moved the insertion of the words after the word “sufficient” at the end of sub-clause 1. That would make the amendment apply only to junior cadets, because by the time the boys become senior cadets, they are old enough to answer for themselves, and can apply for exemption under section61 of the principal Act.
Amendment amended accordingly.
.- This is a most objectionable proposal. If such a principle is just, it should be carried through the whole Bill, and apply to parents.
– It is applied to parents by section 61 of the principal Act.
– Any exemption is objectionable, and I shall be no party to its extension. Militarism is repugnant to. a large section of people, and many have conscientious scruples against it, but this is not a question of going to war so much as of being prepared to defend ourselves. I cannot conceive of a person objecting to be prepared to defend his own life. There are sufficient distinctions already in the Bill, allowing certain persons to escape the ordinary obligations of citizenship in regard to defence, without adding another to them. There should be no escape of this description for any class or section. If we exempt people on account of conscientious scruples, we shall find a great many troubled with conscientious scruples. It is generally desired that this should be a universal obligation, and it would be a mistake to extend any exemptions that exist.
– I would point out to the honorable member for Nepean that we do not propose to train the Junior Cadets in a military fashion. Thev aresimply to be given physical drill with the idea of setting them up in order that they may be taught the use of arms; when they grow older. No parents need be outraged, or have their conscientious scruples interfered with, by what we are going to ask the boys to do between the ages of twelve and fourteen. We simply intend to continue what they already do at school, except that we propose to standardize it and get all the schools to do the work for us, as far as they can and will. In the circumstances the honorable member might withdraw the amendment.
.- I have no objection to withdraw it, in view of the fact that there is to be no military drill for the Junior Cadets, and the older boys are able to answer for themselves.
– I have had several letters from conscientious Christians asking me to oppose compulsory drill for their children. I am sorry the honorable member for Nepean did not press the amendment, so that I could have recorded my vote for it.
– Against physical culture?
– Against any sort of drill whatever. Some honorable members are military mad, but men like myself who are Christians are opposed to militarism. It is a reversion to the day of the savages.It takes men away from useful production for no specific purpose, on the plea for an imaginary defence. We ought to exempt all children whose parents object to their being drilled.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause agreed to.
Clause11 agreed to.
Clause 12 -
Section sixty-seven of the Principal Act is repealed, and the following section substituted in lieu thereof : - “ 67. The owner of any vehicle, horse, mule, bullock, boat, or vessel, or of any goods, required for naval or military purposes, shall, when required to do so by an officer authorized in that behalf by the regulations, furnish it for those purposes, and shall be recompensed therefor in the manner prescribed, and the owners of such vehicles and animals may be required by the regulations to register them periodically.”
.- We ought to have a statement from the Minister regarding provision for proper tool carts, ammunition and other waggons for military use.
– That is a matter of administration in connexion with the Estimates.
– Is it intended to provide on the Estimates for such conveyances ?
– Some of them.
– The ordinary vehicles referred to in this clause would be too cumbersome for general use in time of war. I understand that we are not properly provided with our first line transport, although it is most important that we should be.
.- wishto impress upon the Minister the necessity for obtaining horses for the Artillery, and having them trained as the permanent property of the Commonwealth. During the discussion of last year’s Estimates, the honorable member for Brisbane - himself an artillery officer of many years’ standing - complained of the difficulty of obtaining efficiency in the Artillery because of the method of hiring horses. I have been pained on many occasions to see the work of the Artillery considerably marred by hired horses. I believe it would pay for the Department to breed horses for itself, but, at any rate, I suggest that the Minister should, in consultationwith his officers, provide for purchasing, retaining, and training animals. That policy would help to maintain practically the first branch of our Defence Forces at the highest pitch. It is impossible to do that while we have to hire horses that are ordinarily drivenin carts or waggons about the streets.
– I should like to emphasize what has been said by the honorable member for Adelaide. I trust that the Minister will carefully consider the report which was furnished last year by a Committee with which I had the honour to work, and on which Major Grimwade and Major Dangar, of the Central Administrative Staff, also served. I have been at camps where the horses used for the Artillery were so exhausted that they were unable to bring the guns up to position, and consequently spoiled a whole day’s military manoeuvres. On other occasions I have seen artillery men compelled to devote the better part of their time to training horses, which, when trained, were probably not used for similar purposes again. This is a serious matter. The lack of good horses cripples the operations of the most important arm of the service. If the Minister looks carefully into the subject I am convinced he will realize that there is no advantage in retaining the present system, and that by training horses, especially for artillery purposes, there will be a saving of expense.
– As to the statement regarding vehicles made by the honorable member for Cook, it is quite true that the Department does provide vehicles of a technical character - such as ammunition waggons and limbers for the Artillery ; but there are other vehicles, such as are used for the carriage of stores, which can be readily improvised, and as a matter of fact are improvised in nearly every country in time of war. I am told that a great many of the best vehicles used during the South African war were farmers’ waggons.
– Because the farmers’ waggons were built for the country, whereas the British transport waggons were not.
– Similarly our farmers’ waggons are built for this country. We intend to compile a register of vehicles which we can use in time of emergency. We have under consideration at present a proposal to test the feasibility of such a scheme in connexion with the next encampment. The matter is in charge of LieutenantColonel Legge and Lieutenant-Colonel McCay. We want to see whether we can obtain the use of vehicles without detriment to the owners or to the forces. Other things are provided for in the clause than those which have been mentioned. For instance, we take power to impress into the military service, whenever necessary, goods of various descriptions. That is simply a precautionary power to prevent prices being put up unduly. We want to prevent a corner being formed whenever we are put in a difficulty for want of materials. I do not need to be advised as to the seriousness of the problem regarding the horsing of the Field Artillery. At present we spend about £5,000 per annum on horses, mostly unsuitable. I amtold that there is a great deal of fun at many of the encampments, arising out of the unsuitability of the horses. The moment I have time to go into the matter seriously I shall do so. 1 have read the report to which my friend the honorable member for Hindmarsh has referred. He has done good service in ventilating the subject. I am not prepared to say that the scheme formulated in the report is the best possible one. I hope that my honorable friend will not shut his mind to any other scheme that may be formulated. I shall go into the matter thoroughly, recognising as I do that we can have no efficient Field Artillery unless we own our own horses. I may also inform the Committee that the reason of striking out the word” Garrison “ in section 31 of the principal Act is that we intend tocreate a small permanent section of the Field Artillery. It will be one of the duties of the section to look after the Field Artillery horses. Of course they will have many other things to do, but this will be one of their main duties. This clause is a very necessary one, and is similar to a section in force in Great Britain. I was reading only to-day a report concerning the application of it there, and the precautions adopted to cause as little trouble as possible in connexion with manoeuvres.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 13 (Authority to enter lands for training).
– This clause provides that the GovernorGeneral may give authority - to enter upon and use any lands for training manoeuvres or other naval or military exercises or purposes, and that compensation shall be made for any damage or loss sustained by the owner or occupier. Does the clause include power to enter upon lands and use them for rifle ranges? A few clays ago a question was raised as to the need for a rifle range at Junee, when the Minister stated that the price asked for the land desired was prohibitive. A large number of new rifle ranges will be required under this Bill. Can land be entered upon and used for such purposes under this provision ? In South Australia we had for many years a rifle range which was used by a club with which I was connected. It was required only for a few hours per week, and its use as a rifle range did not interfere with the ordinary purposes for which it was employed, except on Saturday afternoons. As many rifle ranges will be necessary and as it is often difficult to purchase land except at enormous prices, it will be a good thing to know whether the clause covers such purposes.
– It does.
– I am glad to hear the Minister say so.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 14 agreed to.
– It will be observed that clause 15 includes the whole of the proposed new sections from 125 to 146, occupying three pages of the Bill. I do not intend, therefore, to put the clause as a whole, but to put each of the proposed new sections separately.
Clause 15 -
After section one hundred and twenty-four of the Principal Act the following Parts and sections are inserted : - “Part XII.- Universal Obligation in respect of Naval or Military Training. “ 125. All male inhabitants of Australia (excepting those who are exempted by this Act), who have resided therein for six months, and are British subjects, shall be liable to be trained, as prescribed, as follows : -
From twelve years to fourteen years of age, in the Junior Cadets; and
From fourteen to eighteen years of age, in the Senior Cadets; and
From eighteen to twenty years of age, in the Citizen Forces; and
From twenty to twenty-six years of age, in the Citizen Forces : “ Provided that, except in time of imminent danger of war, service under paragraph (d) shall be limited to one registration or one musterparade in each year.
– I move -
That the word “twelve,” line11, be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ ten.”
I think that my amendment would effect an improvement in the Bill. It is not too early to commence the physical training of children at the age of ten. The small defects that often manifest themselves in school children are usually observable at that age. The tendency is nowadays to have school children medically inspected, and it would be better that that instruction should take place at the age of ten than at twelve. If then a child were found to be unable to take part in physical exercises he could be exempted. But the sooner we find out whether children are physically fit to be trained the better j and the sooner we commence to train those who are found to be fit the more useful as members of the Defence Forces they are likely to be. These children are not to be called upon to -do any hard work. It is, I understand, the desire of the Minister that the system of physical training adopted in schools shall be on a uniform scientific basis. I should like to see the method adopted in Queensland followed throughout the Commonwealth. In that State children are trained in a manner that does not lead to physical exhaustion, and those children who have physical defects are not likely to be injured by the training which they receive. Without elaborating the point further, I ask the Minister to accept my amendment, which is in conformity with the proposal favoured by the Fisher Government, who considered that we ought to have in schools a different system of training than has obtained in the past. We looked into the Swedish system, and found that its results had been simply admirable. The work in Queensland is being done under the Swedish system today. There they have properly trained teachers, and I. take it that the Minister, of Defence will see that the teachers who are to give physical training under this Bill will also be properly trained.
– I should like to know whether under this Bill the Defence Department will be able to keep ah eye on the children referred to in paragraph a of proposed new section 125 - that is, children between twelve and fourteen years of age, who are to be trained in the Junior Cadets? I point out that in one State of the ‘Commonwealth at least a considerable number of children between twelve and fourteen years of age do not go to school. Iri South Australia a child sometimes gets an exemption certificate at the age of ten, and it is by no means uncommon for certificates to be given at the age of eleven. The law provides that a child may, on receiving a certificate, or attaining the age of thirteen, leave school.
– The age fixed in Victoria is fourteen; and even if a child passes the necessary examination he is not allowed to receive the certificate until he is over twelve years of age.
– The age in South Australia is thirteen, but a child having received a certificate, there is no power to compel his parents to send him to school any longer. I am aware that the practice of the Education Department is to withhold certificates in order to keep the children at school over the age of ten, but there isno legal power to compel their attendance. A good many school teachers and inspectors have spoken to me on this subject. They say that they lose sight of a considerable proportion of the children, and apparently no provision is made which will enable the military authorities to keep an eye on them, and compel them to submit, to training after they have left school. I hope that the Minister will look into the matter.
– I also desire to draw the attention of the Minister to the matter referred to by the honorable member for Wakefield. Many boys pass the sixth standard and leave school before reaching the age of twelve years, and in their case there must be an interval during which neither the educational nor the defence authorities will have oversight of them.
– That is another reason why boys should join the Cadet Force at the age of ten years.
– At that age, a lad is hardly capable of doing more than the exercises which form part of the ordinary school drill.
– That is really all that boys from ten to thirteen years of age ought to do.
– I do not think that they should do more until they are, at least, twelve years old, when the provisions of this measure will apply to them. Having taken considerable interest in the cadet movement for many years, I am strongly of the opinion that boys should not join the cadets at an earlier age than twelve years. Perhaps the Minister will let us know what is in his mind regarding this question. How is he going to provide for the training of the boy who leaves school before he is twelve years old?
– A conference of the educational authorities of the States, at which all but, I think, Queens- land and Tasmania, were represented, was called by my predecessor, and met immediately afterI took office, to discuss the physical training and medical examination of school children. Some thousands of copies of its report, which is a most useful one, were printed and distributed throughout the States, and I am surprised to find that I have not laid one on the table. In effect, the recommendation was that there should be a standardization of physical culture for school children and cadets. It was suggested that a director of physical training should be appointed to prepare a manual which would establish a standard for the whole Commonwealth, and that the actual training of the children and young cadets should be left to the school authorities. I suggest to the mover of the amendment that, up to the age of twelve years, he might very well leave the physical training of boys to the school authorities, who, in most cases, are to-day doing it very well. After a boy has reached the age of twelve, he will come under the control of the military authorities, and will learn, perhaps, a little more drill than he is taught while under the instruction of his school teachers between the ares of ten and twelve.
– At ten years of age, defects may be discovered and rectified which, at twelve years, would have become chronic.
– In New South Wales, there is already an elaborate scheme of medical inspection.
– Tasmania started that system about three years ago, and the other States are falling into line.
– That, is so. It would be useless for the Commonwealth to duplicate work that is now being done as well as we could do it. Were it not likely to be done thoroughly, I should be the first to suggest that the Commonwealth should take it in hand, because I recognise that we ought not to spend time and money in trying to make military material out of sickly and defective boys. Happily., physical training has now become such an art that, in many cases, weakly boys may, by systematic exercising, be made strong. Australia is to be congratulated upon the possession of the experts who are now devoting themselves to the physical cultureof our children and young people. While doing well for themselves,they are also doing well for thecountry. In most, if not all, of the States good work is being done in providing physical training, gymnasia, and medical examinations.
– Not much has been done in Victoria in the way of medical examination.
– No doubt much more will be done in the near future. Copies of the report to which I have referred were sent to the Premiers of the States, for distribution among the scholastic authorities. We propose to call another conference of educationalists, and I have already had requests from private institutions asking for representation. The idea is to allow all the private, as well as the State, schools to be represented, so that the matter may be thoroughly threshed out. No doubt, the conference will consider the difficulty suggested by the honorable member for Wakefield. If the schools cannot train the boys to whom he has referred, the military authorities will do so, although that may require the institution of special machinery.
– Could it not be done by amending the Bill?
– What the honorable member referred to could be avoided by making the period for junior cadets the three years between thirteen and sixteen, leaving the next three years for the senior cadets.
– That is the only way of doing it through the schools. Of course, we- cannot compel the schools to do anything which may interfere with their educational methods. Our object is to make the fullest use of the educational institutions of Australia. We intend to prescribe a standard, and ask them to put their machinery at our disposal for the purpose of attaining it, the two sets of authorities working together.
– So far the medical examination of school children has not resulted as well as the Minister suggests. In Victoria practically nothing is done, and in South Australia we have not advanced much beyond an experimental stage. In Tasmania every child is medically examined, but in New South Wales only a proportion of the children are examined. In both States the parents of defective children are informed of their condition, and allowed to please themselves in regard to attending to their children’s health. Where parents are too poor to pay for medical attendance, of course nothing is done. If the Commonwealth were to enroll boys as cadetsat the age of ten years, it would be obliged to see that only those who were without defects were taken. It would not do to train children possessing defects which must ultimately become chronic. In no country are adults chosen for military training unless they can pass a strict medical examination. This applies even in China. Surely, if medical examination is necessary in regaid to adults, it is still more necessary in regard to children, and the earlier we begin to inspect them, the cheaper it will be in the end. It would be an education to many honorable members to read Sir John Gorst’ s work on The Children of the Nation. In the reports of the medical examinations held in New South Wales, it is shown that the percentage of children suffering from defects of the eye, ear, nose or throat in Australia does not differ very materially from the percentage in the Old Country. The sooner we commence this work the better. I have not moved the amendment with the mere object of endeavouring to provide something different from that which the Minister of Defence desires; I believe that the honorable gentleman has in view the same object as I have - that he desires that we shall obtain as many strong, healthy cadets as possible - and I am sorrv that he is not prepared to accept my proposal.
.- I fail to see why it should be easier to ascertain that a child is fit for physical training at the age of ten years than it is at the age of twelve. I should say that a boy of ten would be just as liable to diseases of the eye, ear, nose or throat as a boy of twelve would be. When I was young, I was not immune from the nose and throat troubles, which are very prevalent amongst children, even under the age of ten years, but in my case they were removed. A very considerable proportion of children under the age of two years are subject to such troubles. The honorable member for Hindmarsh will soon desire the Commonwealth to take over from the States, the whole work of caring for and guarding the health and physical fitness of the people.
– His proposal would cost us another £25,000 a year.
– And would not be worth the money. The less expenditure we have on infants, in connexion with a defence scheme, the better. Paragraph b of pro- posed new sub-section 125, deals with senior cadets of from fourteen to eighteen years of age, and I should like to point out at this stage that a senior cadet of eighteen years of age is quite capable of. carrying a regulation rifle, although a boy of fourteen is not. I should like to see economy exercised in the expenditure of money on rifles that cannot be utilized for war purposes. If we obtain a large number of rifles to be carried by boys, which cannot be used in war time, the defence vote will be debited with a large sum with which it ought not to be debited.
– We must have arms with which to train the boys.
– The Minister would have been on safer ground if he had proposed to divide into two classes the Senior Cadets dealt with in paragraph b. The average Australian boy of sixteen is quite capable of carrying a regulation rifle, and every such boy should be allowed the use of one for training purposes. If that were done, we should effect a considerable saving.
.- I am distinctly opposed to this amendment, and am convinced that this portion of the Bill will work out very inequitably in regard to the lads who leave school, unless we insert a special provision to meet their case. Paragraph a of proposed new section 125, provides that boys of from twelve years to fourteen years of age shall be liable to be trained in the Junior Cadets, and at a later stage I propose to move an amendment providing that the names of all lads between those ages who leave school shall be reported to and registered by the Defence Department. That would enable the Department to obtain some control of lads who had left school, and would make them feel that they owed some responsiblity to the Defence Department, even if they owed none to the schools.
.- In speaking to the motion for the second reading of this Bill, I drew attention to what I termed one of its structural defects : the absence of adequate provision in respect of boys who leave school before reaching the age of fourteen years. The question has been again dealt with this afternoon by the honorable member for Wakefield and the honorable member for Kooyong. Apparently, however, the defect is to be left unremedied until another conference of educational experts shall have considered the point. I understand that the Minister of Defence does not intend to accept any amendments in the direction of either reducing the age at which we shall commence to train boys as cadets, or of increasing the age at which we shall cease to train them in that way. It was my intention to move an amendment to make the training applicable to lads of less than twelve years of age, and to provide for a more effective separation than this new provision will insure, for the reason that we cannot possibly retain control over a very large proportion of lads between the ages of thirteen and fourteen years without providing additional machinery and instructors of two separate classes, and also because I think it would be a mistake to brigade boys of fourteen with youths of eighteen years of age. Possibly the conference of educational experts which is to meet may express an opinion on that phase of the question, but as one who has had some experience in handling both boys and men ashore and afloat I am confident that it will be a great mistake to brigade lads of fourteen with youths of eighteen.
– There is nothing in this Bill that will compel us to do that. It may be that what the honorable member says is correct. If it is the administration will find it out.
– The Department is not necessarily compelled under the Bill to brigade boys of fourteen with youths of eighteen. The Minister may arrange that lads of fourteen shall be grouped in separate regiments, and shall be pitted in friendly rivalry against regiments consisting of lads of fifteen years of age and so forth. But under the Bill as it stands, in the absence of a great deal of administrative detail, we shall have all senior cadets between fourteen and eighteen years of age brigaded together; and unless special machinery is provided, we shall lose sight of all the boys who leave school before reaching the age of fourteen years. Apparently the Minister’s desire is to leave the younger lads to the schools as far as possible, but there is no provision for drilling in any way a very large proportion of our boys. I have spoken to several educational authorities since I addressed myself to the motion for the second reading of the Bill, and have been informed by them that in all the States a very large proportion of boys- leave school at the age of thirteen years. An immense amount of administrative work will be necessary to follow up all those lads.
– Between 30 and 40 per cent, of our boys leave school on reaching the age of thirteen years.
– School inspectors tell me that the proportion is much larger.
– Many leave at the age of twelve years.
– In South Australia the standard certificates, which exempt children from the compulsory attendance provisions of the Education Act are being obtained by boys of from ten to twelve years of age. As soon as they receive such certificates many of them leave school. Then again there are others who on reaching the age of thirteen years leave school at once, and unfortunately for them and for the Commonwealth no educational establishment sees any more of them. We must, however, take such boys into consideration in connexion with the machinery of this Bill. As it stands, the Bill makes no provision for them. We should be* doing much better work if we took the boys in hand at the age of ten years, leaving the entirely elementary work to the schools and devoting to it much less time than at present. Even if we did that, however, we should lose a small proportion of the boys. Boys of from thirteen to sixteen years should be trained as cadets and might very well be brigaded together with less expenditure and trouble than would be involved under this proposal. They should be supplied with miniature rifles, but certain! v not with uniforms. Then again it would be much better to brigade senior cadets of from sixteen to nineteen years of age together. Youths over nineteen years of age should be drafted into the Militia for a. period of years. It will not be long before some Ministry - even if the present one does not - will bring down an amending Bill to provide that there shall be more than the two trainings for youths between the ages of eighteen and twenty years, and to do away with the militia and volunteer systems as at present existing. From the senior cadet corps we should gradually draft the youths into the Militia for a period of years and then draft them into reserves, of which we should have some knowledge and over which we should have some control, for a further period. So far as the first fighting line is concerned we shall not need the young men until they are twenty-three or twenty-four years of age. The effect of the Bill is that we shall lose sight of how :it the very age that we should have them under our control. We shall arouse some little enthusiasm amongst those described in paragraph b of proposed new section 125, but they will go out into the world and that enthusiasm will be lost. They may become a trifle impudent, and we shall have greater difficulty than ever in securing them. The Minister seems to be unprepared to accept any amendment.
– I am not in that frame of mind.
– Perhaps I am mistaken, but even if the Minister does take that stand I shall not cavil at it. I suggest that, if no amendment is accepted, the point I have raised should be put prominently before the conference of educational experts, who may be able to devise a plan which will find favour with the Minister. If later on the Minister can suggest an improvement of the measure in that direction, I shall be happy to meet him, because I have no other object than to provide for an effective defence force, and to insure that all males physically fit shall be trained to be decent defenders of their own country.
.- I scarcely agree with the view that medical inspection of all children should be undertaken before they are trained. The training of schoolboys will be valuable, not only to make them soldiers, but because of the effect of discipline upon character. Irrespective of physical defects, therefore, we should, if possible, include the whole of the boys in the training while at school. The Minister should consider if it is practicable to reduce the minimum age from twelve to eleven, and allow perhaps three years junior cadet training instead of two. A large percentage of the boys leave school at thirteen, and it will be difficult to handle them at from thirteen to fourteen. I hope the Minister will see that the Junior Cadets are liberally supplied with miniature rifles and rifle ranges. A large amount of good can be done in that way at a very small cost. Similar work is being carried on successfully in Europe, and has the hearty indorsement of many naval and military authorities in Great Britain, including^ Lord Roberts.
– The Minister of Defence might suggest to the conference of educational experts when it meets the advisableness of compelling boys- who have left school before fourteen years of age to attend school at certain periods for junior cadet training.
That would be a great deal more economical than to call upon the military officers of the Commonwealth to supply the instruction required to meet that gap in the Bill. I suggest this more particularly because the time is not far distant when the Education Acts will be amended in the direction of compelling the attendance of children at school, at all events up to thirteen, if not up to fourteen. Educational experts regard as a great evil the possibility of boys of tender years drifting away from school, even though they may have received the compulsory certificate. I should like to learn from the Minister whether boys attending private schools, secondary schools, and colleges are to be exempt from the provisions of the Bill in regard to camp life. There are reasons why they should be exempt, so long as the authorities of the schools are willing to submit them to any examination approved by the Defence Department, and they turn out to be thoroughly efficient - especially when that efficiency is gained without a penny of cost to the Government. It is one of the duties of the principals of such schools to look after the home life of boys committed to their charge, but they cannot properly fulfil their duties in that regard if the boys go into camp away from the schools.
– There is no camp until the age of eighteen.
– There is provision in the Bill that, in connexion with drills, the pupils shall be required to be withdrawn from the colleges, and, therefore, from the control of the colleges. Is that imperative, and is there any reason why it should lie?
– I have heard no convincing arguments to lead me to take exception to the provisions of the Bill on this point. Those who advocate the extension of the term of service may be right, but I presume that the Minister, in fixing the ages, took care to fortify himself with the best expert opinion upon the .subject. I have never professed to have more than a limited theoretical knowledge of military matters’, although probably that is as valuable to me as the dangerous “ little learning “ of some people who have -taken merely a dilettante part in volunteer movements. I have, however, an important matter to bring before the Minister of Defence. Disappointment has been expressed at meetings in my constituency that junior cadets under four- teen are to lose some of the privileges they have, hitherto enjoyed. I believe that boys known as junior cadets have been allowed hitherto to wear uniforms when between the ages of ten and fourteen, but that fourteen is now to be the minimum age at which boys can become cadets and be supplied with rifles and uniforms by the Government. At a rather important meeting in my constituency, doubt was expressed as to the wisdom of disallowing the use of the uniform under the age of fourteen. I spoke to the Minister about the matter, and he explained that, although boys under fourteen had hitherto been allowed to wear uniform, it had been supplied at their own expense. They had also been allowed to use a substitute for a gun, and underwent extensive drill. I further understood from the Minister that in future it was not intended to allow boys under fourteen to wear uniform, even if supplied by themselves, nor to have a gun or substitute for a gun. I sent the Minister’s explanation to one of my constituents, who takes great interest in the question, and he replied that my letter only confirmed the fears of those interested, because they were’ not so much concerned about the boys who were twelve to-day, and who would be fourteen when the new Act came into operation, as about theboys who would be twelve after the initiation of the system. I had explained to him, and to the citizens whose views he expressed, that the Bill would not come into operation until July, 1911, and that boys who were twelve to-day would be fourteen then. Ho added, in his letter, that he understood that all public schoolboys, from infants upwards, received a course of physical drill, which it was almost impossible to improve, and that to have worn the uniform before they left school was an incentive to boys to’ continue to do so by joining the Senior Cadets. Otherwise, he said, a great number would not take the trouble, having missed the enjoyment of wearing the uniform and of taking part in the drill. The substance of the letter seems to be that many boys will be discouraged from joining the Senior Cadets through not being allowed to wear a uniform or carry a substitute for a gun before they are fourteen years of age. I accept it as an axiom in military matters that the uniform is a great attraction, and that the more elaborate it is the greater the at traction it exerts. If cadets under fourteen are not to be allowed to wear uniforms, even if they buy them for themselves, is a scout to be allowed to wear a uniform?
– The boys get round that regulation by joining the scouts.
– I have a boy who is a scout.
– So have I. I have paid for his uniform, and he is going to wear it, too.
– These scouts wear a khaki jacket, with a badge to show their regiment, and carry a knapsack and a sort of imitation gun consisting of a broom stick.
– And a sheath knife. Do not forget the knife !
– All these things are aids to the imagination. I have had to pay for the equipment of a scout, and know that the cost is trifling. But the things worn, and the fascination they afford, illustrate some characteristics in our Australian human nature. The little khaki jacket, the knife, the broom stick, and the knapsack, seem to hold some charm for the boys. The point is that if the smaller boys, as scouts, are to be allowed to wear uniforms paid for by their parents, why should not the small boys who are not fourteen years of age be allowed to wear their own uniforms as junior cadets? Why should they not also be allowed to carry a small substitute for a rifle ? I am not advocating the use of a real gun by boys under fourteen, because, having shot myself as a boy, on one occasion, I know that small boys ought not to be intrusted with firearms. The age of fourteen ispossibly a fair minimum for the introduction of genuine rifles. But I believe that a substitute for a gun helps the imagination, and enables the boys to do exercises which they will hereafter have to do with real weapons. I should like the Minister to consider whether there is any real objectionto the privilege that is now extended to the scouts - and which the right honorable member for East Sydney seems so determined to insist upon in the case of his own boy, whether the wearing of the uniform is against the law or not - being extended to junior cadets under fourteen years of age, so long as the uniform is paid for by the parents of the boy ? If, my informant says, the wearing of the uniform and the carrying of a substitute for a gun is an inducement to boys to enter upon a course of training, it would be a great pity to deprive them of this right.
– What would the honorable member do with a boy whose parents could not afford to pay for his uniform ?
– These things cost very little. I believe that the whole fit-out of a scout does not cost more than 7s. 6d., including the jacket, the knife, the knapsack, the hat, and the broomstick. The substitute for a gun would not cost more than sixpence. The movement which Major-General Baden-Powell started in England, and which has extended throughout the Empire, is now so extensive that an enormous industry has sprung up in the manufacture of the little khaki suits and other accessories of a boy scout. There is a very widespread feeling that it is unwise to deprive junior cadets of the right to wear a uniform; and it seems to me that if boy scouts are allowed to wear a special dress, junior cadets need not be deprived. I think that the Minister would satisfy a widespread feeling if he would extend this privilege to the Junior Cadets. I may also point out that the. uniform of the scout is a nearer approach to the uniform which was generally adopted in South Africa than is that sought to be worn by the Junior Cadets.
– With the passing of this Bill the scouts must be merged into the cadets. The Department cannot permit a percentage of the boys to be volunteer scouts, and the remainder to be regular cadets.
– The scouts do not come under the Bill at all.
– But as soon as the boy who is a. scout reaches twelve years of age, he does come under the Bill.
– If the Minister will yield to the request that has been made to him, I think that he will find that he has done both a wise and popular thing.
– I think that it would be very undesirable indeed to allow a portion of the cadets to appear in uniform alongside others whose parents could not afford to buy them uniforms. The honorable member for Parkes will probably know that at present only some boys can belong to the cadets for that very reason. There are very many boys in this country who would be glad to be cadets, and who regard it as a deprivation that they cannot, by reason of the fact that their parents are unable to buy uniforms for them. It would be creating a class distinction, to put it plainly, to grant thepermission asked for. There are twothings which we ought to avoid in connexion with this scheme of compulsory training for our youths and boys. One isthat we should take care that no class distinction is created.
– No sectarian distinction’ either.
– Nor sectariandistinction.
– Sectarian distinctions are not being kept out at present.
– They are being, kept out of this Bill, I hope. The next objection is a material one. To give to the Junior Cadets “uniforms would mean an added expenditure of £120,000 for a commencement, and thenceforth £60,000 per annum. That is a very large sum. The Bill is already loaded as much as we think we can bear at present from the financial aspect. I do not agree that the boys will be as much discouraged as the honorable member for Parkes imagines by not wearing uniforms. On the contrary, boys between the ages of twelve and fourteen will look forward to the day when they will be able to wear uniforms and carry genuine weapons. To sum up, there are two reasons why I must rule out the suggestion which has been made, the first being that we want to avoid creating class distinctions, and the second that we do not desire to increase the expenditure.
– Will not rifles be provided for the cadets?
– The miniature rifles are all that we propose to give to them. The rifles with which the boys will be supplied will cost next to nothing.
– What about the boys who already have uniforms?
Mr.JOSEPH COOK.- Before the Bill becomes operative, they will be old enough to join the Senior Cadets. It is to be regretted that so many boys should leave school before reaching the age of fourteen years. If the school authorities cannot keep track of such lads, and make them perform the drill prescribed, the Commonwealth must do so. It has been suggested that boys who have been drilled between the ages of twelve and fourteen years should be given certificates to that effect. Then, when at the age of fourteen, the lads presented themselves to be enrolled in the Senior Cadets, it would be seen whether they had or had not undergone the pre- scribed junior training, and if they had not, they could be compelled to do so, in addition to the ordinary training of the senior course. But whatever may be necessary to keep in touch with the boys who leave school before the age of fourteen, we must devise machinery to do it.
– I move -
That the words *! one registration or one muster parade,” in proposed new section 125, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ seven whole days in camps of continuous training.”
The Bill provides for the expenditure of an enormous sum of money in the building up of a Defence Force, and- 1 hold that we should get something for that expenditure. It would be better not to spend any money on defence than try to make soldiers with a training of only thirty-two days. Between the ages of eighteen and twenty years there is to be sixteen days’ training a year, or its equivalent.
– The honorable member seems to think that the cadet training should count for nothing.
– The cadets will not get field training. That begins only when a youth becomes a unit of the Militia Forces. It is only then that he commences to learn the practical work’ of a soldier.
– The honorable member minimizes the value of the training which will be given to the cadets.
– I appreciate what the Minister has done in the preparation of the Bill, but the measure will be valueless unless we provide for more drills. Unless we do more than is now provided for, the men who go into training will merely waste their time, because they will not become efficient, the money spent upon them will be uselessly spent, and the country will be placed in a false position, because it will have a Defence Force which will be incapable of defending it. Does the Minister think that a soldier can be given a field training in thirty-two days? The Bill introduced by the honorable member for Richmond provided for eight years of training. Under the system which it would have created, the men would have had in all eighty-nine days’ training. Under the Bill of the Fisher Government, they would have had seventy-five days’ training, while, if my amendment is carried, they will have seventy-four days’ training. To give only sixteen days of training would be to throw away money. Even with seventy-four days of training the men will be taught very little, but to give only eight days’ training a year for two years would be farcical. At the present time in New South Wales the Militia get eight days’ militia training a year, but I attended many camps in South Australia which lasted for four days only, and as one day’ was occupied in going into camp, and another in going out again, we really got only two days’ training. The Minister cannot find an expert officer who will say that the training provided for in the Bill will be of any value whatever. My proposal does not go far enough. But we must make a beginning, and we may not be able to afford the money to do more at present. The country will be put to a great expense to provide men with uniforms and rifles, and the money will be absolutely wasted if provision is not made for a sufficient number of drills.
– In Switzerland, between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-two years, men get 147 days of training.
– How are artillery men and engineers to be taught their work in thirty-two days of training? Does the Prime Minister, who was responsible for the Bill of the honorable member for Richmond, and supported it, think that a man can “learn the rudiments of field work, sentry duty, outpost duty, shooting at unknown distances, and the rest of ;t, in thirty-two days of training, extended over a period of two years. Besides, the Bill provides that the training may be given at half-day parades, and night parades, when very little can be learned! Strongly as I advocate compulsory training, I would rather vote against the “third reading of the measure than support it as it stands, and tell my constituents that, the measure provides for the establishment of a satisfactory Defence Force.
– Let us have the whole debate on the question of compulsory training upon this proposed new section. Why should there not be only one debate?
– I am ready to proceed to a test vote on this question before we adjourn for dinner.
– I am willing that a test vote should be taken on this proposed new section upon the question of whether or not additional drill should be provided for. My only desire is that we shall pass a Bill which will be of some value, and I ask the Minister to say that he will accept my amendment.
Sitting suspended from 6.28 to 7.45 p.m.
.Whilst I do not profess to be a military expert or to possess expert knowledge with regard to the training necessary for our troops, I do not recognise the necessity for this amendment.
– Does the honorable member think the Bill is necessary ?
– I do. It is an exceptionally good measure, and makes, at all events, a beginning towards meeting the difficult circumstances that confront us with respect to defence. The amendment, however, is unnecessary, because, . although the Bill may not provide for sufficient training, there is nothing to prevent the Government of the day extending the period of training if it be found necessary. We are making a very good start, and if time proves that the training for which this Bill provides is inadequate the Government will be able to introduce an amending measure. Another reason why I think that the amendment is somewhat premature is that we are not sure of what the cost of this scheme will be. We do know, however, that it will be considerably increased if this amendment be carried.
– But we shall get something for our money.
– We might secure greater efficiency, and that, I recognise, is the object we have in view. I think, however, that it would be wise not to’ make such a provision as the honorable member for Hindmarsh proposes until we learn how the new system works. Experience will enable us to determine the defects of the system, and we shall then be able to remedy them. The honorable member said that under this scheme our Citizen Forces would have only thirty-two days’ training; but it must not be overlooked that prior to entering the Citizen Forces our young men will have had some training as members of junior and senior cadet corps, and will, therefore, be in a better position to assimilate the instruction given them than they would be if they were but raw recruits. The Bill is sufficient for present purposes, and I shall oppose the amendment.
– In connexion with this very important proposal one cannot help noting the change that has evidently come o’er the spirit of the dream of my honorable friends opposite with regard to the continuation of compulsory training, up to the age of twenty-six years. The present Leader of the Opposition in his Gympie speech, and Senator Pearce in his elaboration of that speech, said that the Labour Government proposed that compulsory training should cease at twenty-one years of age. That scheme apparently is now to be deliberately set aside.
– It is so far as the compulsory system is concerned. The honorable member will not deny that the Labour Government’s scheme did not propose compulsory training in the case of men over twenty-one years of age.
– It was not proposed in the Gympie speech.
– Nor was it proposed in Senator Pearce’s elaboration of that speech.
– The honorable member does not propose that our Citizen Defence Forces shall devote the same number of days to drill as Senator Pearce proposed.
-That is another matter ; I am talking of the years over which the drill is to be spread.
– Senator Pearce, as Minister of Defence, proposed that the Citizen Defence Forces should undergo sixteen days’ continuous camp training per annum for a period of three years.
– But that has nothing to do with the number of years over which the drill is to be spread.
– It is easy to reduce the number of years proposed in the amendment if the Minister will agree to increase the period of continuous training.
– To be logical, honorable members opposite should stand by their original scheme.
– It is almost impossible to graft that scheme on to the Bill, but the amendment is designed to improve it.
– Senator Pearce stated that the Government of which he was a member proposed that young men should be trained until they reached the age of twenty-one years; between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one years there would be compulsory training, but over twenty-one years no compulsion - not even the compulsory registration for which we provide.
– It was proposed that on reaching the age of twenty-one years the men should remain organized in fighting units, but that attendance at camp should be voluntary. The men were to remain organized, and the Department was to have a knowledge of where they were and how they were to be reached.
– The honorable member will not find that in the Labour Government’s scheme.
– I am quoting Senator Pearce’s own statement.
– And I have the Gympie speech before me.
– The whole proposal is elaborately set out in the Call, and I cannot find in it any proposal to train men, except on a volunteer basis, after they have reached the age of twentyone years. Senator Pearce also proposed gradually to disband the Militia, and to rely after twenty-one upon voluntary effort solely. There was to be no militia or compulsory training over that age. T. therefore could not understand last night the set which those honorable members; made against any trace of voluntarism in our Bill.
– Because we proposed to have only one force. The honorable member proposes to have both militia and volunteers.
– But the honorable member argued last night that a militia is infinitely superior to a volunteer force. He therefore admits that we are creating a superior force to the one on which his Government proposed to rely after twenty-one.
– It is not better with the Volunteers alongside the Militia.
– We are not proposing to have the Volunteers alongside the Militia. I have already stated that I intend to merge the Volunteers into the Militia as soon as possible.
– And yet the honorable member has taken power in his Bill to continue the Volunteer Forces.
– I told the honorable member to what extent last night. It is not for the purpose of brigading or drilling volunteers. We take that power only as a reserve power for emergencies, and to apply the principles to some of the non-combatant parts of the service. Under my scheme there will be practically no volunteers, as such. Therein my scheme differs from that proposed by the late Government because they intended to dissolve the Militia and keep the Volunteers. Our proposal is as different from the scheme set out in the Gympie speech, and afterwards elaborated by Senator Pearce, as daylight is from dark. I know that my honorable friends will get back again to the statement that the compulsory training which they proposed during those three years, was more than ours.
– It was seventy-five whole days against thirty-two.
– The honorable member is quite right, but I take up the attitude that this proposal is enough for the present. Under my proposal, coupled with the maintenance and improvement of the Militia Forces, we shall get an infinitely better and more mature force than my honorable friends could have possibly hoped for under their Bill. Under this Bill we shall require men to train for at least eight days in camp and eight days out of camp after they are twenty-one, and, we’ may hope, until they are well on to thirty or forty, as many of them do now, whereas honorable members opposite proposed to leave out all compulsion, and trust absolutely, in respect of persons over the age of twentyone, to voluntary effort, which they have admitted is a failure. I am surprised at their complete right-about-face regarding this aspect of the training.
– The honorable member should be the last man in the House to be surprised at anybody turning right-about face.
– There has been a complete change of front within a few months on the part of honorable members opposite.
– When the honorable member for West Sydney charged the Minister with changing front, he grew most angry, and replied in personal terms.
– Not at all. I defy anybody to show where I have said at any time during the last few years that there should not be compulsory training.
– Since the honorable member has been a Minister he has said that there would be no compulsion while he was in charge. That is in print.
– The honorable member is absolutely wrong. My views are embodied in this Bill. I have always taken the view, and am providing for it in this Bill, that we must have an efficient defence force. It does not matter how that is compassed, so long as we reach our objective. A great deal has been said by the honorable member for Adelaide and the honorable member for Hindmarsh to the effect that the training which cadets will receive up to the age of eighteen will be of no use to them so far as field training is concerned. I disagree with that entirely.
– I did not say that it would be of no use. I said it was not field training.
– The honorable member said that it was of no use so far as field training was concerned. I do not think he is right even when he says that it is not field training. A great deal that the cadets will learn will be the same as they will have in field training. The cadets will have to do many things which they will afterwards do in the field in larger forces and larger numbers. Almost the only difference is that they will be training in .masses and in the higher formations. I take it that the cadets will learn outpost, scouting, attack, defence, advance, and rearguard drill, but it will not be done on such a large scale as it will be afterwards in the field. While I fully admit the superiority of field training, over company and battalion training, it is not correct to say that the cadets will not do some of it. I venture to say that they will know pretty well all that is to be known so far as the skill to do it is concerned before they finish their cadet training. It is a misrepresentation to say that they will not be fit for field training. When the cadet goes into his field training iri his nineteenth and twentieth years, the practice may not be perfect, but the knowledge will very largely be there.
– He will not know anything about a lot of it.
– My advice is to the contrary. One reason why I cannot accept this amendment is that, on the scheme as sketched in the Bill, to con tinue compulsory training up to the age of twenty-six will mean an additional £450,000 a year. This scheme is already going to cost £1,750,000, and we ought to hesitate before increasing the amount by another half million per annum. If anything . further is required in the way of expenditure, we must see whether we are not in duty -bound to spend more on naval defence than we now propose to do.
– I ask the honorable member not to open up that question.
– I do not propose to argue it. The adequate defence of Australia will, I think, require that the next development of expenditure should be on the naval rather than on the land side. I do not object to additional expenditure if it is found to be necessary for the perfecting of the scheme as sketched in the Bill, but to increase the estimated cost of land defence from £1,750,000 to £2,250,000, and leave the cost of naval defence at only £750,000, would be to have an altogether lopsided and inharmonious scheme of defence. We have to fly with both wings of our defence scheme. The naval side after all represents the first line of defence of Australia, and it is only when that has been broken through that we shall require to fall back upon our land defence. The scheme financially is as much as the Commonwealth is capable of bearing at present. Even now we propose a great increase of expenditure over what honorable members opposite contemplated in their scheme. Whereas our land defence is to cost, when completed, £1,750,000, theirs, when completed in 1915, would have cost only £1,300,000. Training and. equipment are largely a matter of expense. As the expense is, so, very largely, will the efficiency of the forces be, always supposing that there is an adequate organization in respect of the expenditure voted. Reference has been made during this debate to the training in Switzerland as compared with our own. Tn Switzerland now, under the new arrangements, sixty-five days is required for the infantry recruit.
– And the Minister proposes no recruit training except the cadet training.
– I am surprised at the honorable member, with his knowledge of soldiering, making such a statement. Does he mean to tell me that after the cadets have had four years of compulsory training they will not be thoroughly recruited and drilled?
– Not the same as the recruits are drilled in Switzerland.
– My advice is that their training will be almost equal to that in Switzerland, a lot of which is most elementary, and such as our cadets will not have to undergo. A great deal of it consists in being taught the rudiments’ of education.
– Switzerland has a better system of education, and spends a great deal more on it, than we do.
– It has not a better system of education in any sense of the term.
– Its young men are made gymnasts before they begin their ordinary training.
– They are not made better gymnasts than ours are. All the training which the youths get in Switzerland before they reach the age of twenty is what they undergo voluntarily ; and there is very little of that being done. I forget the exact amount of money spent in Switzerland on cadet training last year; but if I recollect rightly it did not come to more than£650.Ours will cost£150,000. That is to say, that was the total amount spent on the whole of the young men before they reached the age of twenty. Therefore there is no comparison between what is done in Switzerland and what we propose to do with our youths in the recruit stage. Some of the cadets under our present voluntary system, who have had two or three years senior cadet drill, are as smart as are militiamen. They know as much of their drill and are in every way as well qualified except that they have not the weight-bearing capacity and the power of endurance. In regard to knowledge of drill and the skill that is required, they are, if anything, smarter men than some of the militia men. I went out to see for myself, on a Saturday recently, a corps of cadets training. They were youths of from seventeen to eighteen. Alongside them were men of from twentyfive to thirty-five years of age. In respect of smartness there was no comparison between the two, and military experts told me that the Senior Cadets were good enough to be put anywhere. They are the kind of fighting stuff that we want. They only require stiffening and maturing; and that we propose to do for them under the militia system we are setting up. Therefore I think that my honorable friend makes a false comparison when he compares the compulsory training which our men will get with the training given in Switzerland. He must take account of all the conditions. He must have regard to the compulsory cadet training as well as the compulsory adult training; and then he will find that our system makes a very fair comparison with that of Switzerland. In my judgment we shall be in no way behind Switzerland. Let me show how it will work out. In Switzerland the menget sixty-five days’ recruit training. In Australia we propose to give sixty-four days’ training to the Senior Cadets. After that we propose to give them thirty-two days’ field training. Next we propose to take them into the Militia, and keep them in training there on a war basis, making them soldiers who I think will be fit to go anywhere and do anything’ that can be expected of welltrained troops. The officer problem is a serious one, but that is not the point at issue now. I find, again, that in Norway, where there is a very excellent citizen army, the recruit training amounts to forty-eight days in the infantry, and I think the training in the active forces amounts to seventy-two days. Therefore Norway gives seventy-two plus forty-eight days’ training as against our thirty-two plus sixty-four. It must be remembered, in addition, that in the technical branches of the service we propose to give the men fifty days’ training - that is twice twenty-five days. My honorable friend opposite has entirely left out that consideration.
– I have not forgotten it.
– I am providing for our Militia this very year. I admit that the provision is little enough for these arms of the service, but there is nothing in this Bill to prevent us, if we find that the eight days in camp are not sufficient, from putting the men into camp for a longer period. We can put them into camp for sixteen days if we wish, and if it is found that more training is required to make the men fit for the duties in front of them’, it will be quite easy for the Minister by administrative act to provide for a longer period. At present, however, we think that we shall be doing a fair thing if, after the men have served in the Senior Cadets, we give them thirty-two days’ training in the Infantryand Cavalry, and fifty days in the technical arms of the service. My advisers also tell me that if we train these men on a war footing, mixing them up with the Militia, we need not fear any force that is likely to come against Australia.
– The Minister is painting a really good picture; but does he think that he is going to get an efficient force in this way ?
– I do really. If the force is not efficient, I shall not hesitate to come to this House and ask for power to make it so. But at present I think we have in hand just about as much as we can manage.
– I think the Minister is on the right track.
– I have already pointed out that our proposals, on the basis of the present Bill, will mean an increase in the war bill of £500,000 a year. We propose to spend £1,750,000 now.
– The Government have plenty of money to give away to the States.
– Have we? I do not wish to raise that question now.
– It is a dangerous one to raise.
– At any rate I wish honorable members to recollect that under the scheme of the late Government it was only proposed to spend £1,300,000 whilst I am proposing to spend £1,750,000. My honorable friend opposite wants to add on another £500,000. I cannot see my way to accept that proposition. Moreover, I do not think that it is necessary. I prefer to get this scheme into operation. Let it be remembered that we are going to increase the Militia to nearly 30,000 strong, and train them on a war footing every year. These will, I believe, form the necessary stiffening for our young men, and will make up a force mature enough for anything.’ I had some figures worked out the other day showing how this scheme would stand with respect to the maturity of the troops. I find that the average age of the force when the scheme is in full operation will work out at from twenty-three to twenty-five years. My honorable friends opposite will admit that a body with an average age of from twenty-three to twenty-five years is likely to be just about as fit a fighting force as we could hope to put into the field.
– I think not; you do not get a seasoned soldier at twenty-three.
-At from twentythree to twenty-five a man will be seasoned enough for the field, and is likely to be in the ardour of his fighting strength. I propose to maintain in a state of efficiency this force of nearly 30,000, and I think it will meet our purposes so far as maturity and experience are concerned. At any rate we are doing quite as much as’ we can afford to do at present. We are doing more than was proposed under the former scheme. I hope that my honorable friends will not overload this Bill. Let us get this through and give it a. trial.
– Is this a stepatatime policy?
– Yes, and this Bill is the goose step !
– I am glad that my honorable friends are in a facetious mood. But I regard this as a serious matter. Nothing could be more serious than the proposals we make to meet the wants of Australia. I trust that my honorable friends will not persistently leave out of account, as they appear to do, all the soldier training which these cadets will receive during the four years when they are under discipline, and when they are associated with the Militia Forces. I am told as to that point that we shall not have any such difficulty in recruiting as we have to-day. After these young men have done their training on a compulsory basis many of them will be glad to get the more attractive pay and conditions offered in the Militia Forces.
– That is the part I have doubts about.
– People whom I have consulted seem to think there is no doubt.
– Look at the trouble there is about the Militia regiments now.
– But when men join the Militia Forces to-day they have to go through recruit drill and training.
– That will be obviated under our scheme. The men will have had their recruit training - and a good deal more - before they are ready to join the Militia.
– The Minister will find that they will have had enough of the “ good deal more.” That is what my experience leads me to believe.
– I do not think so. We have the Senior Cadets entering the Militia pretty well now. The trouble is that we cannot keep them long enough.
– I am glad that the Minister takes such a hopeful view.
– I am bound to take a hopeful view, because I want to get this Bill through. What is more, I have it in mind - though I am not quite clear about the matter - to get the men, after their militia training is completed, to put in three years in the rifle clubs.
– I think the Minister would be better advised if he puts them into an organized reserve after the Militia period.
– They would be in both. They would be in the Reserve as well’ as in the rifle clubs. We propose to put them into the Reserve until they are twenty-six. But my point is that we are not neglecting these men between twenty and twenty-six years of age, as my honorable friends opposite suggest. We propose to keep a grip .over them as far as we can in the Militia, and those who do not go into the Militia will go into the Reserves. 1 propose to tempt them to enter the rifle clubs after they have passed through the Militia, so that when they have arrived at the age of twenty-six years they will have had six years’ service. Although we are not doing this compulsorily, we hope to do it effectively. I therefore ask honorable members to let us put our scheme to the test.
.- The Minister continues to be obsessed bv the idea that the training given to the cadets will turn them out capable soldiers. To that he returns again and again. In my opinion, that training will no more make men soldiers than will the learning of reading, writing, and arithmetic give a knowledge of applied mathematics. A cadet will receive a preliminary physical training, but for his practical education as a soldier hardly anything will be done. Yet the Minister seems to think the Cadet Force of such value that subsequent training may be curtailed. He has informed us that this opinion is supported by the advice of. his experts. I do not ask him to tell us the names of those experts. Presumably officers of experience have so advised him. But we are justified in contrasting with that advice, the opinions of the leading soldiers of the Empire, and the example of Switzerland.
– The honorable member should say “ some of the leading soldiers of the Empire.”
– It may be that the experts who have advised the Minister are some of the leading soldiers of the Empire.
– I am not speaking of my own officers.
– I am not aware that any leading soldier of the Empire has disagreed with the opinions expressed by Lord Roberts and other officers of similar experience. Every officer of high standing in the United Kingdom who has spoken on the subject, has emphasized the need for exceptional training during the recruit period, and has attached no importance to the cadet course, other than as affording preliminary instruction. They all urge that we should not take either semi-trained or partially-trained troops into the fighting line. There has been no change of opinion on this point so far as I am concerned. I have not seen the Bill of the Fisher Government, nor have I heard it discussed, but Senator Pearce gave a public explanation of what was intended, which differed entirely from that of the Minister. What has appeared in the Call may or ma.v not have been supplied by a member of the Fisher Government, but what Senator Pearce proposed was that the trainee should for three years - between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one - receive sixteen days’ continuous training a year. There is a vast difference between sixteen days’ continuous training in camp for each of three consecutive years and thirty-two days spread over a period of two years.
– In addition to the sixteen days of continuous training the men were to -have twelve half -day, and twentyfour night, drills a year.
– Under the present Bill, the thirty-two days’ training which is to be given in two years may be made up of half-day drills and night drills. There may be an eight days’ camp, and the rest of the time be made up in “equivalent” drills, which, in my opinion, will be almost useless. I should not like to make any reflection on the Militia. I know its value. The men deserve praise for the enthusiasm which they show, but the training which they receive is of little value in the production of soldiers fitted to take their places in the firing line. In addition to serving with two contingents, I had charge practically of two camps formed by other contingents, and know that it was easier to teach the green recruit who had come from a country town, or even from a city, than the militiaman, who had a smattering of military knowledge, what was essential for the work on hand in South Africa.
– The Militia do not get proper training.
– I am surprised to hear the Minister say that, seeing that he proposes to retain the Militia as the basis of the new system.
– But it will be improved.
– In what way?
– There is a difference between training on a peace footing and training on a war footing.
– There is a difference in numbers.
– And in equipment, too.
– So far as the Bill is concerned, there is nothing to indicate an improvement of method which will produce effective soldiers.
– Does the honorable member suggest that men trained on a war footing will not be more effective than men trained on a peace footing?
– It is better to have a company 100 or 120 strong, than only sixty strong. At the present time only a comparatively small proportion of the men appear at drills, so that much of the training is wasted.
– At present the combined training cannot be effective, because we have only two instead of fiveguns per 1,000 men.
– There may be more rifles for the Infantry, and more guns for the Artillery, and the men may be trained in larger numbers, but that does not necessarily mean effectiveness, which is the object we have in view. It would be better to spend another £500,000, and get something for our money, than to spend £1, 750,000 as; proposed, and get nothing. The strong probability is that, unless we provide for absolutely effective training, we shall practically waste £1,750,000 a year. At any rate, it would be better to add a little to the cost, and make sure that we were getting full value for our expenditure. The Minister is gradually conceding, by way of interjection, that his scheme is not perfect, and suggesting that if he is on the wrong lines, he may effect improvements later. But he has now got the whole Parliamentwith him, and ought to do what is possible to create an effective force. His information respecting the Swiss system is scarcely up-to-date. I do not know of any more valuable report on it than that of Colonel Bridges, who was sent to inquire into it. While the pamphlet of Colonel Reay is instructive, the report of Colonel Bridges is much more useful to honorable members in their public capacity. In Switzerland all boys from the age of ten years until they leave school are compelled to go through a course of gymnastics, under the supervision of their schoolmasters. That develops their physique. Our cadet system will answer very largely to it. It will be better to confine our efforts to the development” of physique in the cadets than to try to impart in early years military knowledge which may afterwards have to be unlearnt. Then, in Switzerland, according to Colonel Bridges, there exist a number of voluntary cadet corps, consisting of boys of from eleven to sixteen years of age, in which setting up and marching drills, with some exercise in the manual of arms, are given. These corps compete with each other, and there is a capitation grant which is earned annually by some thousands of the boys. Colonel Bridges also states -
A Swiss officer of experience says : - “ Most of the boys leave school at about fifteen to take up a trade or some sort of occupation.”
They remain some two years longer at school than do the boys of Australia, the majority of whom leave at the age of thirteen. This Swiss officer goes on to say - “A long experience in these matters has taught us that military exercises, unless carried out in barracks or a camp, and in some properly organized unit under strict discipline, are generally valueless, if not positively harmful, and that it is much better to give them up altogether.”
I would point out to the Minister that his equivalents are said by men of experience to be of little or no avail. Could there be a more definite statement than that which I have just quoted? It shows that the class of training that the Minister continues to aver, will be effective, is generally valueless, if not harmful.
– It does not.
– This experienced Swiss officer says in effect that one-half of the thirty-two days’ training for which the Minister provides will be carried out in a valueless and harmful way.
– He says it is harmful if not well done.
– Half of the thirtytwo days’ training, on which the Minister lays so much stress, is to consist of half-day or evening drills. The Estimates do not provide for more than eight days’ camp training per annum, and our system of camp training at present is an utter failure. A day is lost in going to, and another in leaving, the camp. Then Sunday intervenes, so that for all practical purposes half the time is wasted.
– I quite agree with the honorable member. I have pointed out that the present system is wrong, and that I am going to improve it.
– It is charming to hear the Minister declare, after he has been decrying for twenty minutes all that we are trying to do to improve the Bill, that he agrees perfectly with the views we express, but will not accept the amendment. In the first place, he repudiated all that we urged, and brought forward statements which he thought completely demolished our argument. He now says he agrees that the proposed training should be different from that now carried on, but he makes no provision for a change.
– I do.
– When we suggest that there should be a little extra training, the Minister objects.
– The remarks which the honorable member has quoted serve to show that our proposal will be satisfactory.
– I shall not quote them again, but they. are in the direction of showing that the Bill does not provide for sufficient training.
– The authority quoted by the honorable member merely says in effect that if the training is bad, it is bad.
– He says distinctly that the methods proposed under this Bill are generally valueless, if not positively harmful, and had better be given up. Colonel Bridges goes on to point out that -
The Swiss soldier receives his training first, in a school of recruits, which turns him out a trained soldier fit to take his place in the ranks, and secondly, in repetition courses or annual trainings, during which units from companies to army corps are mobilized and trained.
Before a man is put into the fighting force in Switzerland he has to devote sixty-five whole days to continuous training. From the age of twenty-one to thirty-two, every man there has to serve one hundred and forty-seven whole days’ actual training in camp. The Minister informs us, however, that for all practical purposes, the cadet course, followed by thirty-two days’ training in the first two years, after our youths leave the cadets corps, is all that is necessary to turn out an efficient force. Quoting again from Colonel Bridges -
As the result of the experiment with the “ Spectator “ Company last year, Lieut. -Colonel Pollock, who conducted the training, proposed “six months’ training on enlistment; twenty-two drills and exercises, and a course of musketry annually, and one week in camp not less frequently than in alternate years,” but he also stated, “ I do not pretend that a fighting unit, fit for immediate service, had been created by the six months’ training.”
Could we have a more emphatic statement? Yet the Minister continues to urge that his proposal that thirty-two days or their equivalent shall be devoted to training, is sufficient for all purposes. It is evident, however that the honorable gentleman will not accept an amendment of any description, no matter what may be our desire to improve the Bill.
– If the honorable member can say no more against the Bill, I certainly cannot accept the amendment.
– Nothing that I could say would cause the honorable gentleman to change his mind.
– Why not abandon the task? The honorable member cannot convince him.
– I am sure that that is so, although we may force him to say that he agrees with every contention that we put forward.
– I quite agree with the honorable member’s criticism of the present state of affairs, but I disagree with his airy assumption that that state of affairs is going to continue.
– The Minister has been informed by his own officers that the present conditions are not what they ought to be; yet, subject to the slight alteration that he proposes in this Bill, he intends to continue them. During the next few years we shall have a militia, the larger proportion of which will consist of recruits, while a certain proportion will be rather too advanced in years to be fit for immediate service, with no great alteration or departure from the existing system. Before we adjourned for dinner, the Minister suggested that on this amendment we should test the question of whether or not the drills and training proposed should be agreed to, and that we should not continue the debate any longer in regard to that matter. I fully agree that we should have one test vote to determine whether or not the Bill shall be improved in the direction of increasing the drills and the period of training, and the turning out of a more effective fighting unit than is proposed, and I hope that that course will be followed.
.- We have now reached the most critical part of the Bill, the policy of which the House has practically indorsed by agreeing to the second reading on the voices. The Minister of Defence says that he is guided by his experts, and as a public man I have to decide whether those experts, in the advice they have tendered him, were governed by considerations other than those born of their own inner knowledge of the question. I have to determine whether they have merely told the Minister what they think is likely to be agreed to by this Parliament. The honorable gentleman says that to go further than he proposes would involve a certain expenditure, and it may be that the experts have been influenced by considerations of cost. Whilst advising the Minister that the present training might well be improved upon, they may have gone only as far as they thought was prudent, and may not have been governed by a consideration of whether or not it was right to go further. The Committee is to be commended on the way it has approached the consideration of this question, and I may say at once that the Minister has done remarkably well. He has gone further than any of his predecessors towards improving our defence system. This sudden awakening on the part of the people has no doubt astonished him, as it has astonished the experts on whom he is relying. I am not suggesting that the experts of the Department are incapable, but I fear that they have been too cautious in the recommendations they have made.
– Some of us have been urging this change for years.
– A few Parliamentarians have been, but it is only within the last twelve months or two years that the general public have awakened to the necessity of universal training. I admit that this Bill, in respect of the drill and training provided, marks an advance on the principal Act; but probably the experts who recommended it would have liked to go further. Still, they are not only military experts, but. through their past experience, are also practical policital strategists, and have gauged how far the Minister could afford to go. The Minister himself- although he has not had a military training-is a good deal of a strategist in politicalmatters, and will probably succeed in getting his proposals through. Let us analyze the work of the Senior Cadets during the number of days they will put in, and upon which the Minister relies. The bulk of their training, as laid down in a previous clause, will only accustom them to ordinary matters of discipline, and musketry exercises.
– A great deal more than that.
– Apparently, the Minister is sheltering himself under the idea of the sixty-four days’ training; but the main portion of that will be occupied only in musketry instruction, range firing, and matters of discipline. Again, he asks the Citizen Forces to do sixteen whole-day drills, or their equivalent - the equivalent being eight days in camp. If the Minister will only go into the next camp and stop, there to the end, inquiring into the working of things, and not staying too long in the officers’ mess, he will, if he goes in as a civilian without prejudices, come out with a great deal of information which will make him wonder why he so strongly opposed the” proposals of the honorable member for Adelaide, and the honorable member for Hindmarsh. Those honorable members are speaking from their own practical experience. I admit that the Australian youth is very apt, imitative, and quick to learn in military as well as’ other matters : but while he picks up ordinary drills and exercises quickly, he also drops his knowledge of them quickly.For that reason, it is dangerous for the Minister to rely on the Senior Cadets being sufficiently acquainted with organization and field work to supply the deficiency in the training which the Citizen Forces will get. The best he will find is that the Senior Cadets will be accustomed to the word of command, and well disciplined; but organization and field work will be absolutely unknown to them. Williamson and Company drill their soldiers who appear before the footlights at Her Majesty’s Theatre more than the Minister will drill his forces. No doubt you. sir, have been a pleased spectator of the skill and personnel of Williamson’s troops ; but I want to see Cook’s troops a little better than those. With regard to camps, the only point in which the Minister can expect the Militia to be trained is organization in the field. That is the proper war footing. One of the Minister’s experts, an officer of a very active mind, who occupied a high position in another walk of life, would not, I think, say that eight days in camp was sufficient to put the Artillery, or even the Infantry branch of the service upon a war footing. The honorable member for Adelaide well described the eight days’ camp, when he said that one day coming, and one day going, and the Sunday, were picnics. For many years the way the officers of the Volunteer regiments in New South Wales went into camp for eight days was a dis- grace. They seemed to take the furniture of a five-roomed house with them. They were supposed to be under war conditions; but their tents were littered with washbasins, bedsteads, bedding, and all the paraphernalia of a well set up establishment. The Minister must see the absurdity of calling that sort of thing a training sufficient to organize the forces on a war footing. With regard to their horses, one could see Colonel So-and-so parading round the camp on a horse which the day before had been engaged on a milk round in the neighbourhood that that officer lived in. He had to rattle his sabre in imitation of a milk-can; before the horse would go on. The impedimenta which officers took to camp in the days when I had anything to do with it, reminded one of nothing so much as a second-hand furniture shop, and this continued for about five days. I am not making these remarks to elicit approval or applause, but the country has to bear the expense of that sort of thing, and when the Minister says that the amendment will involve so much more expense, the honorable member for Adelaide properly retorts that if by the expenditure of£250,000, in addition to the £1,750,000 which the Minister proposes, we can insure a proper training of the forces, we shall get some return, whereas if the Minister’s scheme gives only an inefficient training we shall get no return. The taxpayers of Australia are under the impression that this scheme, and the expenditure upon it, will give them a well-equipped and well-trained army.
– Does the honorable member suggest that the training proposed in the Bill will be of no value?
– It will not be of very much value, although it will be an improvement on that provided for in the present Act. The Minister has been governed too much by a regard for the cash side of the question. It would be better if he left that part of it to the Treasurer and the Prime Minister, and tried to make his scheme as perfect as possible. I honestly believe that his desire is to establish an efficient defence force. He has a good start and a good policy, but we want a good finish also. No doubt his experts are satisfied with the start, but if they were asked to father a better class of training than the Bill provides, they would say “Yes” every time. Eight days’ training in the year is simply absurd. The full training is called sixteen days per year, but the other eight days are made up of half-day and night drills. Those, however, are mainly for the purpose of inspection of accoutrements. Consequently, we shall have really only sixteen days’ training in two years in which to turn men out as finished soldiers. The Minister relies upon the Senior Cadets to do a certain amount of work.
– I hope there will be very little night drill.
– Then call it half-day drill. The Senior Cadets will have very little acquaintance with practical movements. I admit that they will know their company drill, , but up-to-date warfare is becoming more and more a matter of initiative on the part of each soldier.
– The soldier is no longer a machine.
– He is no longer what we call a Tommy Atkins. He has to do his own thinking and act upon it. He can only ‘do Chat successfully by having a knowledge of organization in the field. I trust that field work is not going to be a repetition of camp life as we have known it - with a sham fight, a large attendance of the public, and a report in the press next day. If the Minister wants a proper organization of the Australian Defence Farces, I hope he will keep them on the move. I guarantee that if 999 out of every 1,000 men who call themselves militiamen were taken eight or nine miles away from Melbourne or Sydney, they would have to ask a policeman where they were. The honorable member for Maranoa, who has had practical experience, knows that the drill given in the camps that we have had has been more or less a sham. I admit that one branch of the service which goes into camp under existing conditions has no picnic, but is kept very busy by the officers. Honorable members must admire the candour of the Minister, who is a civilian, in admitting that he must rely on his experts for advice, and probably he will be very chary of adopting any suggestion made in this Chamber in the direction of amending the Bill, but this is not a party measure, and is not being dealt with in a party spirit. I hopethat the Minister will not think that those honorable members who criticise this Bill or speak in favour of amendments are making an attack upon him. Will he put a plain question to his experts, asking them whether they really think that the training proposed to be given is sufficient ? I venture to say that they will tell him that when they proposed the amount of training prescribed in this Bill they did not think that Parliament would be so unanimous in its desire to devise an efficient military system. But the feeling of honorable members evidently is that, while we are about it, we should make our system of training as perfect as possible. My limited experience in this matter convinces me that eight days training is not nearly enough. The honorable member for Adelaide has put the matter very fairly, and has aptly quoted a reliable authority in Colonel Bridges, who is undoubtedly the best military authority we have in the service of the Commonwealth. Colonel Bridges has had to fight his way without any political influence at his back, and no one who knows the kind of service that he has rendered can help speaking in high admiration of him. Personally I have never had the pleasure to speak to him, so that I am not saying this from motives of friendship. I judge him by his work. He has forced himself to the front by his own knowledge of and capacity in military affairs. Unfortunately, in one sense, he is now removed from Australia, but he is the best representative that the Commonwealth could have in military affairs in England ; and the Minister would be well advised if he relied to a very large extent upon Colonel Bridges’ opinion in this matter.
– Does the honorable member know what Colonel Bridges says in regard to the matter? He has never committed himself to compulsory training in any shape or form.
– I am speaking of the weakness of camp life as at present conducted. The Minister is, however, in this happy position - that within eight weeks from now the best organizing authority in the British Army is to arrive in Australia. I refer to Lord Kitchener. Let the Minister of Defence ask that distinguished officer whether he thinks that eight days continuous drill in camp is sufficient to fit a man to be a soldier, and whether training on that basis will be likely to give Australia an efficient active force. I venture to say that the Minister will be surprised at the answer that he receives. The honorable member for Adelaide has quoted the experience” of the Spectator newspaper, by whose means a number, of men were kept in training for six months continuously under picked officers and expert drill masters. Yet at the end of that time they were not thoroughly equipped soldiers. I am sure that any one who has had experience of military camp life will not hesitate to express the opinion that what is proposed by the Government is utterly insufficient. 1 am pleased to know that the Minister proposes to go into camp himself. 1 trust that when he does he will move about and take stock of things He possesses strong powers of observation. We must compliment him on the ability that he has shown in assimilating military knowledge. He has shown himself to be very earnest and keen. But he must not imagine that senior cadet training is sufficient to make men competent soldiers.
– The Minister has asserted that my amendment represents an entire change of front from the proposals of the Fisher Government. That is not so. The Minister has not justly represented what was contained in the Gympie speech. I venture to say that if the honorable gentleman consults his experts as to whether they would prefer to take this Bill, or, in the alternative, the proposals of the Fisher Government, there is not one of them but will tell him that the Gympie proposals are preferable. It has to be remembered that the whole of the Bills being prepared for the late Government were not perfected when the Gympie speech was delivered; but what was proposed in that outline of policy was very different from what has been represented by the Minister. He only proposes sixteen drills a year for two years - that is to say, thirty-two days’ training in two years. The Fisher Government proposed seventy-five days’ training. But, says the Minister, “ Look at the cadet training which we propose.” Allow me to tell the honorable gentleman that the Fisher Government, as shown’ in the Gympie speech, proposed to give more cadet training than is provided for in this Bill. We proposed to give seventy-five days’ training, as compared with thirty days, and including the cadet training, 123 days. We did not think, nevertheless, that we were going to turn out efficient soldiers by that means. What we did think was that we were making a substantial beginning. Mv reason for proposing this amendment is that I think that the Minister has brought down a Bill which is designed in a proper direction, though I fear that it will not accomplish anything of a substantial character. I thoroughly agree that seven days’ camp training is not nearly enough. But I have proposed what I thought was the maximum which the Min- ister would accept, in addition to what is provided for in the Bill. Will the Government accept the proposals of the Fisher Government ?
– The honorable member has been trying to demonstrate that the Bill is of no use whatever.
– The Minister is absolutely wrong. If I thought that the Bill was absolutely useless I would not have proposed an amendment, but would have denounced the Bill altogether. What I say is that the Bill is useless in its present form, because it will lead to an enormous waste of public money, and produce no good results. It will not only lead to waste in respect of the training of men, but we shall also spend huge sums without receiving a valuable return for the expenditure. What was proposed in the Gympie speech was this : The cadets were to begin at the age of ten, and were to be trained up to fourteen years of age. They were to be senior cadets from fourteen to eighteen. They were to have twelve halfday and twenty-four night drills throughout the year. The Military Forces were not only to have sixteen days’ continuous training in camp, which would give something like a training on a war footing, fitting them to take the field, but we proposed, in addition to the sixteen days, that for three years they should have twelve half-day and twenty-four night drills. That was a very different proposal from that made by the present Government. What I am now proposing is that we should have seventy-four days’ training divided over eight years, as against seventy-five days’ training proposed by the Fisher Government. How, therefore, can the Minister say that what I am proposing represents an entire change of front? It is practically the same thing. I am moving the amendment with the object of assisting the Minister to accomplish something substantial. If the honorable gentleman consults his experts he will not find one of them who will not say that the amendment would mean an enormous advance on the proposals now submitted to us by the Government. I am certain that the experts approved of the scheme of the Fisher Government, except that they did not think their proposals went far enough. But they did go far enough to insure to us something substantial for our money, and by means of themwe should have been able to present in the field a force creditable to Australia.
– Were the Fisher Government to do all that for £1,300,000?
– It must be remembered that we did not propose to pay the men as much as the Minister is proposing to pay them. If the Government can find the money well and good, but the Minister has not told us how it is to be provided. The Minister goes further than we did in the matter of expenditure, but he will not get the training which the Fisher Government’s scheme would have secured for the troops. What is a paltry £500,000 in comparison with the defence of Australia ?
– Why did the Fisher Government propose to spend only £1,300,000?
– We considered that we could get a really effective force for our proposed expenditure.
– The money was to be spent differently.
– Yes. The scheme of the Minister will cost a great deal more, and will provide less training. He admits that the Militia has been a failure, and in that he is borne out by the statement of Colonel Legge, his expert adviser, that only 10,000 of a force of 23,000 are fit to take the field. We have no indication as to how the Militia is to be improved. The Fisher Government proposed to use volunteers, but not to have volunteers working alongside militia. That has always caused failure. A volunteer force could be made as efficient as a militia force, if there were not a militia force working alongside it. I was very sorry when the old Volunteer Force was abolished. I believe it could have been made more effective than the Militia, at half the expense. But volunteers and militia will not work well side by side. However, the Minister seems determined not to allow his Bill to be improved, although the criticism which he has received from honorable members on this side of the Chamber has been delivered in the most friendly fashion. He should be glad that those of us who have advocated compulsory training for so many years are willing to help him. Our opinions are supported by those of every expert in and out of Australia, while the Minister has not been able to give us the name of any officer who has declared that the training which he proposes to give is sufficient. Lord Wolseley, Lord Roberts, Major-General Baden-Powell, and others who have had experience with volunteers in South Africa, declare that such training is insufficient, and their opinions only bear out the experience of the American Civil War. Why should we not profit by the lessons of the past ? I ask Ministerialists not to make this a party matter, backing up the Minister through thick and thin, whether his proposals are good or bad. They should listen to the voice of the experts. The period of training has been increased in every civilized country. The Minister said that I did him an injustice by not mentioning that extra training will be given to the scientific branches of the forces ; but I did not mention that a similar proposition was made by the Fisher Government. I was concerned only with contrasting the thirty-two days of training which he proposes to give to infantry with the seventy-five days of training which would have been given under the scheme of the Fisher Government.
– It does not matter what Government proposed the scheme, the vital question must be, Is it effective?
– What can artillery or engineers be taught in fifty days’ training, extended over two years? The men would not learn even the rudiments of their work in that time. I did not mention the training which the cadets would receive under the Fisher scheme, although it would have been as much as would be received under the Minister’s scheme. Under neither scheme would cadets be given field training. There are a thousand things to be done in the field which the boys would not learn while in the Cadet Forces, and which could not be learned in a few days spent in camp. It is a great pity that the Minister will not accept a reasonable proposal. A certain section of the community is in favour of compulsory training, and of a much longer period of training than has yet been proposed, and why should it not be listened to? The body associated with the introduction of compulsory military service into politics has declared that the longest period of training yet proposed will be totally inadequate. That declaration is borne out by those who, like the honorable member for Maranoa, have had practical experience. The honorable member will agree that the longest period of training yet proposed would be inadequate.
– It would be of no use at all.
– If the Minister will not accept the amendment, I hope that at least a number of his followers will support it.
.- I regret that the honorable member for Hindmarsh tried to arouse honorable members on this side of the Chamber to a sense of their duty by drawing attention to the glorious halo surrounding his head and that of his fellow Oppositionists. It seems to me that he is not proposing to do what is done in Switzerland and in other countries.
-I do not go so far.
– The honorable member merely proposes to add a little to the present disconnected system of training.
– He thinks that seven days’ is better than one day’s training.
– And that a training extended over eight years is better than a training extended over only two.
– I do not know that an annual week’s training for a period of eight years is of much good. Unlike some of my honorable friends, I cannot pretend to be an authority, but the officers with whom I have discussed the question, and the bocks which I consulted, have indicated that the best way to train citizen soldiers is to have a long recruit course, followed by a few other shorter courses, to keep the trained men efficient.
– That will make men efficient.
– If such a system were proposed, I should be compelled to support it. I believe in compulsory service, because it provides the best means for making a force efficient. Without it, the men cannot be kept together for a sufficiently long period. Unless the training periods provided for in the Bill are recast, it will be difficult to get anything approaching efficiency, and if my honorable friends who have criticised the measure could suggest a better arrangement, I would support it with enthusiasm. I would give young men who had arrived at the age of eighteen years a long continuous training, such as they have in Switzerland - from forty to fifty days for infantry, and longer periods for other arms of the service - and pay those who had done best in that training for sixteen days’ annual training in successive years. In this way we could establish an efficient fighting force - an anti-raid force, which is what the Militia is to be. The first line would be fed with the pick of those trained under the recruit drill. In this way, we would get efficient soldiers. But while we have been talking so much about training, we must remember that the Bill makes no provision for training officers and the Instructional Staff, without which it must be so much waste paper. Officers could not be even half trained in the number of days allotted.
– This is where the honorable member’s military college would come in.
– I do not wish to discuss a proposal which will come before the House; but it is useless to talk of training men unlessyou can guarantee the supply of a sufficient number of efficient officers to take charge of them. Our strategical considerations must differ entirely from those of Great Britain, Switzerland, and other countries. Australia, at the beginning of a wax, would be only a “ side show.” To attack us successfully, with a view to permanent occupation, an enemy must destroy the sea power of Great Britain. A certain period must elapse before the command of the sea could be wrested from the predominant naval power, and in that period it should be possible - I do not speak with certainty - to train the rank and file. The great essential is to be able to train in times of peace, and to have a sufficient number of officers and non-commissioned officers to train the rank and file. If my honorable friends opposite will propose a method, on the lines of the Swiss or the Norwegian systems, of giving our men long recruit training and of afterwards drafting them into the Militia Forces, I shall give them my support : but I do not wish to inconvenience the Minister or to upset the framework of the Bill by supporting an amendment providing for a few additional disjointed drills.
– We propose seven days’ continuous drill.
– One day in and one day out.
– And the seven days will have gone ! I do not think that it is worth while upsetting the whole framework of the Bill for the sake of such an amendment.
– The amendment will not affect the general framework of the drill.
– It would eventually, because it would keep the Militia in existence much longer than is proposed, and would consequently interfere with the ingress and egress of recruits from the senior cadet corps. I would like the honorable member to propose something that is likely to secure more efficiency.
– I heard with astonishment the statement of the Min ister of Defence that he intends to make our Militia a fighting force fit to take its place in the fighting line against any of the well-trained armies of the world. My experience of the Militia Forces in the Old Country - and it must be remembered that they have to engage in many days of continuous training - does not lead me to believe that the honorable gentleman’s hopes will be realized. If a Militia Force is as good as a permanent and thoroughly trained force, then the Old Country ought to do away at once with its permanent troops.
– I did not say that.
– The honorable gentleman did. I think that he was carried away by his own eloquence ; he has such faith in his scheme that he thinks it cannot be improved upon. I desire to ask him whether he. thinks that one day’s parade per annum will keep efficient those who leave the Citizen Forces on reaching the age of twenty-six years ?
– That parade is not intended to keep them efficient; it is designed only to keep track of them.
– The honorable member for Wentworth very properly asked the Minister how he proposed to keep track of the men when they passed out of the Citizen Forces, and he received a reply that that would be provided for under the Bill or by regulation. The Bill provides for a system of registration which would enable the Department to keep in touch with the men without compelling them to parade once a year to show themselves. It is absurd to think that one day’s training a year will keep them efficient. The Minister says that he hopes to make the Militia so attractive that on reaching the age of twenty years men will be anxious to join it. My experience is that on reaching the age of twenty or twenty-one years a man who has been compelled to undergo military training is anxious to “turn it up.” I do not know whether the position to-day is what it was when I was a young man ; but when I was twenty-one I was thinking about getting married. The average young man whose thoughts go in that direction devotes more attention to the question of how many nights a week he will be able to see his girl than to that of compulsory military training. Does the Minister propose to make the Militia attractive to our young men by attaching to it a regiment of amazons? The honorable gentleman asked the honorable member for Adelaide for his authority for the statement that additional training was required. Let me quote the authority of Field-Marshall Lord Roberts -
Nothing has given rise to such differences of opinion as the duration of the first year’s training. Some advocate a longer, some a shorter period. After very careful consideration, four months appears to be the most suitable period, having in view the industrial conditions of the country, and the fact that this training should, as far as possible, be carried out in camp.
I would specially direct the attention of the Minister to the fact that Lord Roberts says that the training must take place in camp. Saturday afternoon drills and night drills are useless. They will not make a man efficient. The honorable member for Wentworth pointed out that no provision is made for securing additional officers and non-commissioned officers. The mainstay of a force lies in’ its noncommissioned officers, but in this Bill no provision is made for securing them. Officers are not going to be turned out by means of twenty-eight days of continuous training, and to send a force to the front without being properly officered is to send it to a shambles. In the Old Country, the one set of officers attends to the two units. The first unit consists of recruits. Those who have been recruited during the spring have to attend forty-nine days of continuous training under the direction of militia officers, including the adjutant of the Militia Forces. They are then drafted into a battalion, and engage in a further period of thirty days - and, in some instances, sixty days - continuous training under the same officers. There is a constant flow of officers to make good losses by death, disaster, or discharge. In a work by Lieutenant-Colonel S. T. Banning, dealing with the administration, organization, and equipment of the Militia and Regular Forces in the Old Country as existing in September, 1907, it is stated that -
A militiaman enlists for 6 years, and may re-engage for 4 years, up to 45 years of age.
An infantry recruit during his first year either drills on enlistment for 49 days at the Depot of the Territorial Regiment with the recruits for the line, and does 14 days’ musketry before the annual training, or comes up for preliminary drill for 63 days with all the other recruits of the battalion, just before the annual training. Recruits of other arms are trained in like manner, but the respective periods differ.
The annual training is for not less than 21 or more than 28 days, unless the King extends the period by Order in Council, as he has power to do, up to56 days ; or reduces or dispenses with the training of any unit. The period is usually extended in this manner for those Corps which are to be trained at some distance from their place of assembly.
Of the Militia Infantry the recruits of 20 selected battalions, during the winter of 1906-7, performed 6 months’ drill under their own officers; in 1907 these selected battalions are to do 41 days’ training instead of the ordinary
In time of national danger the King can, by proclamation, embody the Militia, in which case they must serve until disembodied. The Militia are not liable for service outside the United Kingdom, except with their own consent.
If it is necessary in England to build up the Militia by a system of continuous training in camp, it is equally necessary that we should do something in the same direction. We are proposing to expend £1,750,000 per annum to secure a partly efficient force; and to make that force thoroughly efficient, we shall have to spend, according to the Minister of Defence, an additional sum of £500,000 per annum. We might as well throw that £1,750,000 into the Yarra as devote it to the securing of apartly efficient force. We should either expend the additional £500,000 per annum to make the troops thoroughly efficient, or reduce the number of troops to be raised, and take care that they are made efficient. Since the inception of the Commonwealth, we have expended over £11,000,000 on defence, and the Minister tells us that all our efforts in that direction have hitherto been unsuccessful. That being so, over £11,000,000 of the taxpayers’ money has been wasted. Yet the Minister says it will take another £500,000 to make the forces thoroughly efficient. Are we to let the scheme go by the board for the sake of that sum ? It would be spoiling the ship for a ha’porth of tar. Every party and individual in this House, now that we have realized what a system of defence means to Australia, wants nothing but the best. The honorable member for Dalley referred in a Gilbertian fashion to incidents that occurred at the encampments that he attended - particularly where an officer had to rattle his scabbard and call out “ Milk-ho “ before his horse would move. That sort of thing shows what kind of fighting forces we have had. I suppose that if the horse had belonged to an undertaker it would have refused to move at all unless the officer had walked in front of it. The Minister asks for authorities to support the view put forward by the honorable member for Hindmarsh. Let me quote further what was said by Lord Roberts -
I, myself, would never have agreed to so short a period of recruits’ training as four months for the Infantry and six months for the other arms, with a fortnight’s training in camp and a course of musketry annually during each of the next three years, if I had not calculated on the Citizen Army including in its numbers the most intelligent and the best educated men in the land. . . And, my Lords, I now agree to this small amount of training only on the understanding that the training would be carried out by officers and non-commissioned officers of the Regular Army, and that for a time at any rate the Citizen Army would be strengthened by a liberal number of regular officers and non-commissioned officers being attached to it.
That ought to satisfy the Minister. He also wanted to know what Colonel Bridges had to say about training. That officer in his report on the Swiss military system in 1907, said -
If the periods in Appendix III. are compared with the requirements for efficiency (r2 days’ attendance annually) prescribed in the Australian Military Regulations, it will be seen that the Swiss soldier undergoes considerably longer training than the Australian soldier. This is more marked in the case of officers. Other things being equal, the longer the training the more efficient the Army.
We all recognise the truth of that statement. Although I went through a course of gunnery, and when I left the service was a thoroughly efficient artilleryman, I am to-day worse than a numbskull in the science of artillery, because it has made such rapid strides since then. The same is true of the rifles, the range finders, and even the ordinary drill. If the drill is foreign to one who has been through the mill on active service conditions, is it not likely to be foreign to men who are called up for only one day a year? The whole system is ever changing.
– That one day will he only for inspection.
– It will be simply a muster parade for inspection purposes.
– Is eight days too much ?
– It is not enough. There should be at least twenty-eight days’ continuous camp training. The Minister says that at twenty the men leave the forces. Does he think that he is going to have an efficient field force with only boys?
– The Minister is hoping that the youths trained in the Cadets will join the Militia. If they do not, the Min:ster will have no forces.
– No mature forces, I admit.
– That is the point. My experience on active service was that when recruits were sent out from the Old Country they were not put straight into the fighting line, but were mingled with the older and more stable soldiers.
– That is exactly what we propose to do.
– Where is the Minister going to get the older soldiers from ?
– The Militia.
– If the men will not join the Militia, where will the Minister obtain them?
– If they will not join the Militia, I admit that we shall have to do something else.
– That is the whole point. No commanding officer would undertake heavy battalion drill, marching, or field work, with boys of twenty, for they are nothing but boys. Yet that is all the Bill provides for. If we are to have compulsory training or a field force worthy of the name, we must have continuous training, just as the Militia Forces in the Old Country have. I thoroughly agree with the honorable member for Wentworth. I think that to propose seven days’ training is only dilly-dallying with the question, but even seven days is better than one day. The strength of a chain is only its weakest link, and the weakness of this scheme lies in the doubt whether the men as they pass out of their training will join the Militia or not. There is a way to overcome that difficulty if the Minister will adopt it. If the men do not join the Militia Forces, let some provision be made for a continuous camp.
– The whole scheme would have to be revised if the Militia movement broke down. ‘
– If we are depending upon the Militia Forces for our defence, God help Australia. If that is the Minister’s idea of continuous or compulsory training, the whole thing must break down. The Government are practically living on the voluntary system still.
– We are simply depending upon the voluntary system for the stiffening of the forces.
– Therein lies the weakness. We must have a force that we can rely upon and put our hand upon at once as a stiffening force, just as the Royal Australian Artillery and the Royal Australian Engineers are available as a skeleton to make the Artillery and Engineers efficient fighting forces. But we have only to see the. Militia ‘Forces at the camps to know what they are.
– We are going to increase the Permanent Forces also.
– With the honorable member for Dalley, I hope that when the Minister goes to the camps, he will not stay at the officers’ mess, but will mingle with the men and see the work being done.
– The Minister would do well to call some good non-commissioned officers into his councils.
– On that point, let me give the Minister a little advice. The mainstay of a battery of artillery is the sergeantmajor, and the same rule applies throughout the service. Unless you have a good set of non-commissioned officers, you will not have an efficient force. The sergeant-major and the adjutant are the two men who make the whole force - the adjutant for the drill and the sergeant-major to keep the men together, and see that the adjutant’s instructions are carried out. I ask the Minister again to see that he gets a good staff of non-commissioned officers, and to insure that the commissioned officers have proper training. At Rockhampton, many years ago,I saw an officer who was supposed to be drilling troops in the field. At his elbow was the sergeant-major prompting him with the word of command. The sergeant-major was doing the drill, and the officer was shouting the instructions. If the sergeantmajor had stayed away, there would have been no drill there that day. I am pleased that the honorable member for Wentworth has foreshadowed amendments whereby I hope we shall obtain an efficient force of officers. The honorable member is on the right track in that, and is doing a good thing for the Commonwealth. I have never met Colonel Bridges ; out I should be only too proud and pleased to meet him at any time, because I honestly believe that he is the only thorough soldier belonging to the Commonwealth Forces. He is now in the Old Country, where, if the British Army authorities are wise, they will keep him; but I hope that he will come back brimful of information. I am sure that he would be only too eager to impart it to the officers, noncommissioned officers, and forces of the Commonwealth. Unfortunately, there is a jealous feeling among many officers; and if a man shows any ability to rise head and shoulders above the others, there is a plot at once to down himand keep him down. The honorable member for Dalley put the matter in a nutshell when he said that Colonel Bridges had fought his way up from the ruck step by step, without any- political or social influence whatever. Those are the men that we want; and I hope that by means of the proposition of the honorable member for Wentworth, we shall obtain an efficient force of officers to officer our brigades.I shall support the amendment now before the Chair, although it does not go as far as I should like. Even if it costs a little more money, let us have an efficient force, and let the people know what it will cost. Whatever we do, we must not spoil the ship for a hap’orth of tar, or remain in the position that we occupy to-day.
.Anything that I have to say on this or any other provision of the Bill is conditioned by the few general remarks that I shall make on the third reading. At present, I am prepared to support the amendment of the honorable member for Hindmarsh. It must be remembered that the proposed training for cadets is not sufficient to turn out trained soldiers; and, secondly, that the training will not have been enough when the men reach the age of twenty. Consequently, if they have not been trained as soldiers, it is not likely that one registration or one muster parade in each year will do anything material towards their training. It is patent that there must be some further training. It appears that in the framing of this Bill there has been a conflict of ideas. There has been a desire to reconcile the hesitating attitude of the right honorable member for Swan, with the more progressive attitude of the Prime Minister in regard to compulsory training; and the result is that we get a proposal that is neither fish, flesh, nor good red herring. It is a hybrid scheme. But this is one of those matters as to which we cannot afford to experiment. The Minister seems to say, every time he rises, “Let us take one step at a time; if it doesn’t turn out well, we can do something else afterwards.” Butthat is a very unsatisfactory manner in which to propose to spend a very large amount of money. It is very unsatisfactory to make haphazard proposals for the defence of the country. Surely we ought to know definitely that what is proposed is likely to turn out effective. We should have authorities quoted in support of this policy. The Minister tells us that he is advised that what is proposed is sufficient. We have not been told what officers have given that advice. I doubt whether any officer occupying a decent position in the service could be persuaded to put his name to such a proposal as this. I have not met a great number of officers, but I have talked with some, and I know that this idea is being ridiculed amongst them.
– What officers?
– The Minister must not think that I am so green as to mention names to him. It would appear that the Government, first of all, arrived at a policy in this way. They said : “ We have to pay so much money to the States, and shall have a little bit over for defence.” Then, apparently, they said to their officers, “ We want you to frame us a Bill in accordance with the general lines of a compromise policy we have laid down. We have a certain sum of money to spend, and cannot spend more.” Evidently the officers had said : “ For the amount of money that you have to spend, and in accordance with the sort of hopscotch policy under which you desire details, this is the best scheme we can suggest.” But to proceed in that manner is to bring a serious national requirement to the point of absolute farce. Even honorable members on the Government side of the chamber are dissatisfied with the proposal. We have had the honorable member for Wentworth and the honorable member for Dalley telling us that they are not content.
– They are not all the Government supporters.
– They have given more consideration to the question than has the honorable member for Indi. From the helpless position taken up by the honorable member for Wentworth, it would appear that he has consulted the Government, and they have told him that they can agree to nothing better than they have proposed. Accordingly, he has given up the ghost. Would it not be wise for the Minister, having regard to the criticism that has been directed to the Bill, to consult his officers and to see whether it would not be possible to remodel the portions of the measure with regard to training? I have not heard any honorable member support the provisions as they stand. The whole of the criticism that I have heard has been destructive.
– It is purely a Committee Bill. The Government had no trouble about carrying the motion for the second reading.
– They had no trouble whatever ; in fact, many of us were prepared to forego our right to speak on the second reading in order that the Bill might get into Committee. We wished to evolve a measure that would be useful to the country. The honorable member for Wentworth has said that he does not see much use in altering the one day’s period of training to seven, unless the other periods of training are also altered. But we have to begin somewhere, and the provision as to seven whole days’ training for those between twenty and twenty-six years of age is the first item which we have reached in regard to training. Subsequently, we can bring other provisions into harmony with that now under discussion. A number of honorable members have given many years to the consideration of this important question. Consequently, I do not propose to traverse the ground which they have covered. But I may say that I view with great diffidence a proposal for compulsory training at all, unless accompanied with payment for lost time and direct taxation to provide ways and means. If, however, we are to have such a system, we should have it in an effective form. To incur considerable expenditure without attaining the best results seems to me to be farcical. Either we should do the thing properly, or leave it alone. That is why I am prepared to vote for seven whole days’ training for those between twenty and twenty-six years of age. If the Minister does not feel satisfied, I hope that he will take time to consult his officers again, because we have now reached the vital stage of the Bill.If something cannot be done to give us an effective system of training, the expenditure will be wasted, and might as well be thrown into the ocean. The Minister would be wise if he did not assume a dogmatic attitude by determining to stick to the Bill as it stands. He should realize that all sections of the Committee are desirous of producing an effective scheme of military defence, and should take time to think before definitely and irrevocably committing himself to a position opposed to the opinion of those who are well qualified to speak with authority.
– I am not hopeful that anything that can be said from this side will make the slightest difference in the vote to be cast. Although it is said that this is a non-party measure, it is in reality only non-party by reason of the fact that there are not many parties in attendance to listen to the arguments. I am afraid that when the division is taken, we shall see upon this, as upon so many other questions, that honorable members will simply sit behind the party leaders with whom they are associated. Therefore, we must be content merely to state our reasons for the belief that the proposalsof the Government are wholly insufficient, and ought to be improved in the direction indicated by the honorable member for Hindmarsh. I do not enter into this military experiment with all the enthusiasm which other honorable members seem to be able to manifest. To my mind the idea of instituting compulsory training is regretable. The necessity for it has been forced upon me as a melancholy one, in view of the circumstances surrounding our country. I support theseproposals, not with the pleasure that others have displayed, but with the utmost regret. At the same time, if we are going to make a change - if we are to remodel our military system - we may as well do the thing decently and effectively. Otherwise we should leave it alone. It would be a great deal better for us to’ present a couple of million pounds per annum to the Imperial Government, and rely upon Great Britain to defend us as part of the Empire, than to waste such an amount of money in half doing the thing for ourselves. We should certainly be safer in relying on our associations with the Empire than upon a few half-trained or comparatively untrained boys to defend Australia. There is no alternative : either we must be prepared to rely on others, or on ourselves; and if we areto rely on ourselves, there is not a man in this Chamber, except the Minister, who would be prepared to say that the training proposed in this measure is sufficient. I expect very little in the way of defence from cadet training. I know of no country in the world that places much reliance upon that method of making efficient soldiers. On the contrary, we see a nation like France, situated right in the midst of the trained camps of Europe, practically giving up her cadet system altogether, instead of relying upon it, as we propose to do.
– Switzerland has also given up senior cadet training.
– The continental nations are those which have had most experience in military matters. Surely we should be wise to benefit from the experience of others, instead of wasting money to gain our own. We are starting out to adopt a system which other nations with larger experience have seen fit to give up. I do not deny that cadet experience is a good thing for a boy, but I do deny that it makes a soldier of him. What training is proposed to be given apart from the cadet training, which will not make men soldiers, although it may improve their physique and carriage? In addition to the cadet training, it is proposed that, between the ages of eighteen and twenty years, those who are to constitute the fighting force of Australia shall have sixteen whole day drills a year, or their equivalent in afternoon parades and night drills. Let me compare that proposal with that of the honorable member for Richmond when a member of the late Deakin Ministry. Those who a few months ago were prepared to support that Bill, are now prepared to support the present Bill, which provides for quite a different scheme. The proposal of the honorable member for Richmond was that -
The prescribed training shall in time of peace not exceed in each year -
The honorable member for Richmond proposed eighteen working days a year for three years, while the honorable member for Parramatta proposes sixteen days for two years. No doubt the honorable member for Richmond will cheerfully support the present proposal, although, he would have stoutly resisted it had it, last year come from the present Minister of Defence. To continue the quotation -
In the Defence Force, for the last five years, seven working days, or their equivalent, as prescribed.
The great Liberal party supported that proposal.
– Surely the honorable member will not say that there is any difference in principle between the two proposals. The difference is only one of degree.
– If the honorable member cannot see any difference in principle between asking a man to train for seven days and to register for one day, I cannot help him in the matter. Everything is in a sense a question of degree. The honorable member for Richmond also proposed that-
In the case of those allotted to the Naval Forces, and in the Military Forces, the Artillery and Engineers, the training shall not exceed annually, in the first five years, twentyeight working days or their equivalent, as prescribed, and in the last three years seven working days or their equivalent, as prescribed.
In this section “working days” means days on which training is carried out, and is exclusive of Sundays.
We are now proposing exactly what the last Deakin Ministry proposed only a few months ago, and our proposal is being resisted by those who were ready to support that of the last Deakin Ministry. I confess to a feeling which amounts almost to admiration for the cleverness of honorable gentlemen as political acrobats. If Wirth’s circus could provide equallyclever artists, it would draw large crowds. The Minister of Defence has moved a long way to get as far as he has got. The proposal of the honorable member for Richmond was to make a man a soldier by means of eighty-nine days’ training, and the honorable members for Maribyrnong, Batman, and others, who would have voted for that proposal, are now ready to vote against it.
– No question of principle is involved.
– Would the honorable member support a proposal to train for five days a year.
– I shall support the Bill as it stands.
– No doubt other Ministerialists will do the same. They shut their eyes, open their mouths, and take whatever the Government likes to send them. I cannot understand their capacity for accepting one thing to-day and quite another thing to-morrow. I very much prefer the Bill of the honorable member for Richmond to the present measure, so far as the period of training is concerned. No doubt honorable members opposite will be able to justify the readiness with which, they were prepared to accept the first Bill, and the alacrity with which they will vote against its provisions now that their acceptance is being proposed by honorable members on this side of the chamber. But before they do so, I ask them to consider the experience of other countries. The Swiss are a comparatively poor nation who naturally do not wish to expend much money on defence. Yet they have found it necessary again and again to increase the training designed to make their citizen soldiery’ more efficient. In a lecture delivered by ‘Colonel G. R. Campbell, details of the Swiss system up to April, 1907, are given, and it is pointed out that the amount of training now proposed for the Swiss Army in the first year is sixty-five days for infantry and engineers, ninety days for cavalry, seventy-five days for artillery, and sixty days for medical, &c. The repetition courses are, for infantry, eleven days per annum for seven years; and for cavalry, fourteen days per annum for eight years. Either the people of Switzerland are fools and are adopting a system of training that is wholly unnecessary, or the Government of the Commonwealth are proposing a training that is wholly inadequate. Since Switzerland provides, in its repetition course, for eleven days’ training per annum for seven years in the case of infantry, is it too much for us to ask that the repetition course in Australia shall comprise eight days per annum? Then again, since the Swiss think it necessary that a recruit in the first year of his sendee shall undergo sixty-five days’ training, are we asking too much when we urge that the training proposed under this Bill for the first two years in the Citizen Force shall be extended to sixteen days in camp per annum? I am convinced that if this measure be passed as it stands our young men will have forgotten all about the training they received when they reach the seasoned years at which they will be most effective with a reasonable amount of training thereafter. If we are going to rely for the defence of Australia on youths who have trained for sixteen days or their equivalent per annum for two years, and who, on reaching the age of twentyone - and thereafter until they are twentysix years of age - are simply to attend an annual parade or to be registered, we shall return to the old volunteer system. We shall have a system1 as ineffective as any, that has been in existence in Australia. The system proposed by the Government differs from others that have preceded it, in that it will call for sacrifices, which, being inadequate, will be useless. It will mean a waste of time, and an interference with the industries of the country to no purpose. I am prepared to advocate whatever interference is necessary to secure the end in view ; but why we should interfere with industry merely to create an inefficient fighting force is beyond my comprehension. Under the Bill as it stands we shall simply have a waste of money. It will provide us with something that will not be sufficient for the purpose we have in view. To have a half-trained force is to waste the time of the men, to waste the public money, and to give the country a false sense of security. In these circumstances I shall vote for the amendment, believing, with the honorable member for Maranoa, that it would be idle to spoil the ship for a ha’porth of tar.
– I do not think that the question need be further discussed, -but I desire it to be clearly understood that we are to vote now on the question of whether or not the training of our forces is to be extended beyond that for which the Bill provides. Some honorable members on this side - although not all, I am sorry to say - think that the provision made in the Bill for compulsory training is totally inadequate. If honorable members clearly understand the question on which we are now about to divide, I’ am convinced that there will be no lengthy discussion on the remaining amendments.
Question - That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the clause (Mr. Hutchison’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 15
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Proposed new section agreed to.
MINISTERS laid on the table the fol lowing papers : -
Audit Acts - Regulations Amended - Treasury Regulation, clause 96 (f) - Statutory Rules 1909, No. 114.
Spirits Act - Regulation Added (Provisional) - Liniments and Veterinary Medicines Manufactured from Methylated Spirits - Statutory Rules 1909, No. 112.
Sugar Bounty Act - Regulation Added No. 12a - Statutory Rules 1909, No.113.
Motion (by Mr. Deakin) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
– I wish to refer briefly to answers given to-day by the Minister of Home Affairs to questions which I put, following on an interview which I had with the PostmasterGeneral after receiving a letter from a member of a firm who made valuations of Hoffnung’s Buildings, Sydney, on behalf of the Commonwealth Government a little over two years ago. That gentleman wrote that certain work had been done by his own and other firms at the direction of the then Postmaster-General, but had not yet been paid for, and asked me to look into it. I spoke to the Postmaster-General, and understood him to say that he had authorized the payment of the amounts. I asked him if I might inform the gentleman concerned to that effect, and he gave me permission to do so. It now appears, however, that the Postmaster-General intended me to understand that he merely admitted obligation for work done. I took him to mean that he had authorized the payment of the sum, and, acting in a bond fide way, I. wrote to my correspondent telling him so. I also wrote to the Department in Sydney to ascertain why the amount was not paid. I then found that another Department - that of Home Affairs - which has some mysterious influence over all the other Commonwealth Departments, had to be consulted. I understand that it is now inquiring whether this is a fair charge in the circumstances. On that point I express 110 opinion, but, as the matter has been so long waiting, I hope that the Home Affairs Department will decide without unreasonable delay as to the justice or otherwise of the charge, and settle it on a fair basis.
. -I have already told the honorable member that while the matter did not originate in my Department, the charge for the work appeared to be too high. I minuted the papers to that effect, and sent them on to the Treasurer. The matter will be further inquired into, with a view, I hope, to an early settlement.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at11.0 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 20 October 1909, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1909/19091020_reps_3_52/>.