7th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
Will he indicate to the Senate the arrangements made, or likely to be made, for the maintenance of postal communication with Tasmania during the present industrial crisis?
– The answer is -
TheGovernment have -requisitioned thes.s. Oonah, which will sail for Burnie and Devonport this afternoon. The s.s. Marrawah left yesterday for Stanley, and other ports. Advan tage will be taken of every opportunity to maintain the mail and passenger ‘ services to Tasmania.
– Arising out of the reply, may I ask whether the Minister is in a position to indicate if anything like a regularity of service can be established?
– In this matter I cannot’ anticipate the future.
Industrial Workers of the World.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice - 1.Is the Minister for Works and Railways correctly reported as having madeuse of the following wards at the Commercial Travellers’ Club : - “ Be did not say that the men who struck were criminals, but he did say it of those at whose instigation and agitation the trouble arose. Driven out of America, members of the I.W.W. had sought other spheres, and many had come to Australia. Evidence ‘ in the possession of the Government clearly indicated that these men were the chief promoters throughout the eastern States of Australia of the existing trouble! “
– The question is one personal to my colleague. I have not been able to get in touch with him.
Dispute with Employees.
asked the Minister representing the Minister, for Works and Railways, upon notice -
What was the total amount of money involved between the Minister and the employees on the eastern section of the east-west line, the non-payment of which is said to be responsible forthe present industrial trouble on this work?
– The answer is - The wages for the platelaying gang for the three days would amount to about £120. It was not the money involved, but that the men had refused to obey orders, and, contrary to their express agreement, had ceased work without affording the Minister or the EngineerinChief an opportunity of deciding the matter.
asked the Vice-
President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– I regret to have to state that the information is not available.
– Arising out of the reply, may I ask the Minister whether I can get the information in ‘any other form?
– I cannot say offhand; but I shall inquire with the view to seeing whether the information sought can be obtained, or whether a portion of it is available.
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are -
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 22nd August, vide page 1291) :
Clause 2 -
Section four of the Principal Act is amended -
by omitting the definition of “ Active service “ and inserting in its stead the following definition : -
Active service ‘ has a meaning corresponding to that of the same words as used in subsection (1.) of section one hundred and eighty-nine of the Army Act defining the expression ‘ on active service.’ ‘ ;
Section proposed to be amended.
Senator Colonel ROWELL (South Australia) [3.6]. - I rise to suggest to the Minister for Defence that, instead of putting in a reference to a provision in the Army Act, the sub-section itself should be inserted. There are very few persons who are supplied with a copy of the Army Act, and, therefore, it - is very difficult to ascertain what is the meaning of Active Service.” In the Army Act that term is defined as follows: -
In this Act, if not inconsistent with the nontext, the expression “ on Active Service,” as applied to a person subject to military laws, means whenever he is attached to, or forms part of a force which is engaged in operations in a country or place wholly or partly occupied by the enemy, or is in military occupation of any foreign country.
That definition, if inserted in the amendment of section 4 of our Defence Act, would not occupy more space than does” the present reference to it. There is always a difficulty in finding out the meaning of a reference to a provision in an Imperial Act. I recognise that the question may be raised, and possibly will be raised by the Minister, that if an alteration were made in the definition in the Army Act, it would nullify this provision. But I would point out that should such an alteration be made, probably this provision would be deleted, so that an alteration in our Act would be required as well. I do not propose to submit an amendment, but merely to make the suggestion to the Minister. I should like to know what his views are.
– I was about to rise to give the reasons why this amendment is thought necessary. The amendment of our definition of “ Active Service” and the definition of “War Service “ are necessary, because the definition of “Active Service” in our Defence Act is not the same as the definition in the Army Act. Our troops in war, except in special cases, would have to work under the Army Act, and the difference in the definitions has always been productive of a lot of misapprehension and confusion. The wording of the definition in the Army Act under which our troops work reads -
In this Act, if not inconsistent with the context, the expression “ on Active Service,” as applied to a person subject to military laws, means whenever he is attached to. or forms part of a force which is engaged in operations in a country or place wholly or partly occupied by the enemy, or is in military occupation of any foreign country.
The reason why we do not put that definition into our Act is the reason which
Senator Rowell referred to. The Army Act. might be amended at any time, and that would always necessitate an amendment of our Defence Act. We have expressly safeguarded our position as regards the control of our soldiers in all that concerns them by providing that where . the Army Act is inconsistent with the Defence Act the latter shall prevail, so that if any amendments were made in the Army Act dealing with questions which were dealt with in our Defence Act and inconsistent with the Defence Act, it is our own Defence Act that would prevail. But all we adopt here is the definition of “ active service “ in the Army Act. After all, this is not a clause that will be. specially looked up by anybody or everybody. It only comes into play on occasions when it is necessary to define what “ active service “ is, when our troops are away on active service’ associated with other troops. It is then necessary that there should be one common definition of “ active service “ for all the British troops who are fighting together. I therefore suggest to Senator Rowell that there is no great necessity to put the words in our Bill. Some slight amendment might be made later on in the British Army Act, and then we would have to amend our Act. No particular harm is caused to anybody by this definition. ‘ There can be no injustice done to any of our troops, because they are safeguarded by that provision which renders the Army Act null and void as regards our troops where it is inconsistent with the Defence Act.
I may explain the other definitions provided for in clause 4. The definition of “District Commandant” is altered. That is necessary because the definition in the present Act has a very limited meaning. When the Commandant is ill somebody has to act for him, and the present definition is too restricted. We are widening the definition to enable us to overcome that difficulty.
– Will that apply also to the Naval Commandant?
– No; that is dealt with by another amendment which I am bringing up separately.
We provide a new’ definition of “military ‘ decorations,” because we desire to prevent the illicit sale of military awards, and the degradation of military decorations conferred on our soldiers for deeds of merit.
– But you deal with ribbons and other decorations under the War Precautions Act.
– The War Precautions Act exists only for the term of the war and six months after, and it is necessary that we should prevent trafficking in these medals after the war.
– The War Precautions Act deals with ribbons and badges, and not medals.
– This deals with “medal, clasp, good conduct badge, or decoration”; nothing is said about ribbons.
– You prohibit the sale of ribbons and badges under the War Precautions Act, yet they can be got from England, and are being sent out here every day.
– The honorable senator is referring to a matter about which a number of enterprising business people have approached me. They represented to me that there was no prohibition of the sale of the Australian Rising Sun badge in England. It can be manufactured and sold there freely. They submitted that we should, therefore, allow it to be trafficked in here. That is not a convincing argument to me. There is no particular reason why the British Government should interfere on our behalf in that matter, but there was a very good reason why we should stop the practice here, because there were countless cases of men . obtaining those badges, parading the streets, obtaining money on the ground that they were returned soldiers, disgracing the uniform, and bringing the Forces into disrepute. Business people selling those things for profit were lending themselves to that kind of thing. That is why we stopped it.
– They are coming here by every mail.
– That matter is not dealt with here. It is covered by the War Precautions Act.
– Will not the danger of trafficking be greater after the war than during the war?
– I think so. There will then be a greater demand for the decorations by people who never earned them. We want to see that those who earn them have a monopoly of them. This, however, is only a definition clause. The penalties are dealt with later.
There is also a definition of “ officer.” The term “officer” is defined . by section 190, sub-section 4, of the Army Act, as an officer commissioned or in pay as an officer.” It is necessary to insure that all persons acting as officers should be subject to responsibility, even though irregularly appointed. It can be. easily understood that in dealing as we have been doing for the last three years with an army raised quickly and under great difficulties, the formalities regarding appointment have not been observed in all cases. Officers may have been for the time- irregularly appointed, and may have thought that they were quite regularly appointed. Some detail may have been overlooked, and they may have done things which they were empowered to do only if they were regularly appointed officers. We take steps later on to validate’ those actions, but it is necessary to insure in the definition clause that such officers shall be subject to responsibility. Officers now on ‘active service in the Australian Imperial Force are appointed by the General Officer Commanding subject to confirmation by tha Governor-General, and are, therefore, acting until confirmed in their appointment. Such confirmation may be refused. An officer while acting may do something which may come to the knowledge of the authorities before the appointment is actuallyconfirmed. The appointment then is not confirmed, yet in his position he may have carried out certain duties. It is necessary to regularize what he has done.
There is also a definition of “ war service,” which is necessary for this reason: At the termination of the war, and on the proclamation of the war as terminated, most of our troops will probably be in occupation of enemy countries - or, at least, we hope they will - and their return to Australia may be delayed for lack of transport. It is obviously necessary that during the absentee of the operation of the civil law, the military code under which _ ‘they now serve should continue . until they are discharged in Australia. The Army Act provides for such circumstances, but the terms are not easily applicable. It is, therefore, thought better to use the new term “ war service” to include both service during the war, and service until such time as the soldier returns to Australia, and is discharged.
-Colonel BOLTON (Victoria) [3.19]. - Does definition d apply to warrant and non-commissioned officers of the Permanent Forces, provisional, probational, or of acting rank? Under that definition are such officers eligible for appointment to commissions in the Permanent Military Forces of Australia?
– This definition clause has no legislative effect in the sense referred to by the honorable senator; that is to say, it merely defines “ officer,” but does not say what are his privileges or his possibilities of promotion. Such matters are dealt with in subsequent clauses.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 3 (Delegation of power to make appointments).
– “Under section 8 of the Defence Act the GovernorGeneral has the power to appoint and promote officers, but has no authority to delegate that power. It is obvious that the Governor-General - meaning in this case practically the Minister - cannot appoint or promote officers on the other side of the world, and so it is necessary to delegate this power -by authorizing the Officer Commanding the Australian Imperial Force, General Birdwood, to appoint or promote officers. The clause, therefore, really validates appointments and promotions made under the authority which has been assumed under the general powers exercised by every Government in time of war.
-Colonel BOLTON . (Victoria) [3.22]. - Before this clause is passed I desire to secure an amendment of section 8 of the principal Act.
– Is this one ofthe amendments which the Senate instructed the Committee to consider?
– Then I suggest, Mr. Chairman, that a more convenient way would be to withdraw clause 3 for the time being, and allow Senator Bolton to move his amendment.
Clause temporarily withdrawn.
Senator Lt.-Colonel BOLTON (Victoria) [3.25]. - I move -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “ 2a. Section 8 of the principal Act is amended by adding at the end of subsection vii. thereof the words - “ Provided that no person, being an alien or descendant of an alien, naturalized or ptherwise, shall bc eligible for appointment as an officer in the Australian Military Forces.”
Section 8 provides that the GovernorGeneral may appoint and promote officers of the Defence Force. My object is to avoid in the future the undesirable situation that exists to-day. The Minister must be aware that in his Department there is a large number of officers who are. aliens. I make no reflection upon them, and I have no doubt that they have rendered loyal service, but it is undesirable’ that we should have them in our Forces when this country is at war, because such circumstances create a strong feeling of public resentment.
– I presume you mean alien enemy subjects ?
– No, I mean aliens, because ten years hence we may be at war with another country. The fact that -such officers hold appointments under the Defence Department has caused public resentment, and in many respects it has operated to the disadvantage of the Department. Whether it has been the cause of or not I cannot say, but . I know that it has been made an excuse for, very active opposition to voluntary recruiting, and I think the Minister must be aware of this. I. should have expected, therefore, that he would have taken some precaution, now that the Act is being revised, to bring down such amendments as would have avoided such an undesirable state of affairs in the future.
– What nationality do you refer to?
-I refer to all aliens, because I think we can find enough loyal Britishers to fill all the responsible offices in our Army without having aliens in those posts.
– Would you interfere with those in the service at present ?
– My amendment does not provide for that at all. I have listened with some interest to various questions that have been put to the Government in regard to aliens, and I have listened with more interest to the replies. The most that can be said for those replies is that they have been evasive, and I want to know why there is all this delicacy when dealing with the subject of aliens.- We seem to be living in an atmosphere which precludes any reference to them. It appears to be thought dangerous to refer to one for fear we might hurt somebody’s feelings.
– We have aliens for our Allies.
.- Honorable senators will remember the conditions that existed in this country just prior to the war. All our docks and harbors were opento aliens, and the whole of our commerce and industries were available for their activities. These men were even welcomed into our homes; they partook of our hospitality, sat down at our tables, and had extended to them the hand of friendship; but while they had smiles on their faces black treachery was seething in their hearts. I say that men of a race capable of such duplicity are not entitled to this delicacy of treatment on the part of the Government. To-day they are the accursed of all humanity, and by their diabolical treatment of human beings they have forfeited all right to sympathy and consideration. Why should we exhibit a chivalrous regard for their feelings ? It ishigh time that the Government took off its kid gloves in regard to this alien question.
– I rise to a point of order. I desire to know whether, under cover of a proposal to amend this Bill, the honorable senator is in order in discussing the administration of the Government in. regard to aliens ?
– I ask the honorable senator to adhere to the clause. I must confess that his remarks are somewhat wide of it.
.- I ask honorable senators to recognise that my amendment, if adopted, . will not inflict injustice upon any officer at present in the Department, and that it is necessary to guard against a contingency which may arise hereafter.
– I trust that the Committee will not accept the amendment. In its present form, not only, would it debar persons of the first generation of aliens from obtaining appointments as officers in our Defence Forces, but it would be impossible to know how far back we should require to go.
– I am sure that I do not care. There are plenty of Britishers to fill these positions.
– The amendment speaks of “ an alien or the descendant of’ an alien.” Now, what is a “ descendant of an alien?” How far back must we go? At the very least a man would-have to prove to the satisfaction of the Department who were his grand-parents.
– That would not be asking too much.
– “Why, some people do not know who were their parents.
– I would point out to the Committee that there are persons in this country who cannot say who were their fathers and mothers. Every one of these persons would be debarred from securing an officer’s commission in our Defence Forces, because it would be impossible to prove that they were not of alien descent. Senator Bolton referred particularly to the alien nations with whom we are at war, but his amendment is not limited to those nations. It would exclude the descendants of our French Allies from obtaining appointments in our Defence Forces.
– We might be at war with France in ten years’ time.
– If adopted, French soldiers who have fought with us in this war would be given to understand that their sons could not obtain a commission in, our Australian Forces, and the same remark is applicable to an American or an Italian. The amendment seeks to deal, not merely with an alien enemy, but with an alien. Now we all hope that when this war has terminated there will be a large stream of immigration to Australia. We trust that a considerable proportion of that immigration will be British, but we must all realize that if the stream is to be entirely British we shall have a very small accession to our population for some years to come. Personally, I would not object to our French and Belgian Allies, or their descendants, coming to Australia-
– Nor would I; but I do object to their becoming officers in our Army.
– I do not object to their descendants becoming ‘officers in our Army.
– Have we not had some good alien officers in that Army 1
-Yes. I venture to say that one cannot’ pick up any casualty list without finding in it .the names of men of alien parentage, and even of alien enemy parentage. Surely the best proof that any man can give of loyalty to a country is his willingness to shed his blood for it. Under the amendment proposed we should be saying to these people, “ Neither you nor your children shall ever be eligible to receive an appointment as a permanent officer in the Australian Forces.”
– There would be no hardship about that.
– Thus we should be branding them as enemies of our country. Something has been said of permanent officers in our Defence Force who are of alien birth. It is true that there are some such officers. But I venture to say that there has not been a single case in which the slightest evidence of disloyalty on the part of these officers has ever been forthcoming. On the other hand, there has been abundant evidence of ability and willingness on their part to serve this country. As a matter of fact, some of them have rendered distinguished service, and have obtained recognition for it. Whilst it is desirable that in the appointment of officers we should, wherever possible, appoint officers of British birth, it is nevertheless a fact that difficulties have sometimes arisen because an officer has borne a German name, although in reality there has been very little German blood in him. But in order to remove the suspicion which has attached to such officers, are we justified in proclaiming that the descendants of races which are to-day fighting side by side with us should not be eligible to obtain commissions in our Defence Forces?
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN (South Australia) [3.38]. - I do not think that the mover of the amendment can have considered its far-reaching effect. As has already been pointed out by the Minister, it includes not merely the aliens who are to-day in arms against us, but also the descendants of our allies. I wish expressly to dissociate myself from what amounts, practically, to a persecution of our German colonists who are not in arms against us, although their countrymen are. I , desire to indorse the statement of President Wilson, in the manifesto which he issued to the world, that the American people especially dissociated themselves from any quarrel with the German people. We are fighting against the Prussian junkers and the military spirit of Germany, but not against the German people. An instance occurs to my mind which will serve to illustrate how the amendment, if adopted, might operate. On the first transport which I commanded there was a young officer of German descent named Hubbe, who was well-known to Colonel Rowell and all South Australian senators. He has since been killed at the Front. His father fought in the Boer war, where he, too, paid the supreme penalty. His grandfather was one of the best colonists we ever had in South Australia, and was mainly responsible for the Real Property Act which was passed by the State Legislature - an Act of world-wide significance. If the Committee adopt the proposal of Senator Bolton it will exclude, not merely the aliens who are in arms against us, but our Italian, French, Belgian, and American allies. I remind honorable senators that the generally accepted definition of an alien is one who was born outside of the British Dominions; but we know that such a person on being naturalized is no longer considered an alien, but a British subject. I have no sympathy whatever with the amendment, and I trust the Committee will not agree to it.
– I agree with the Minister for Defence, and also with Senator O’Loghlin, that the amendment goes much too far. The use of the word “ descendant “ would carry its effect to the third, fourth, or later generations. However, I am very heartily in accord with the principle of the amendment. I think that we should prohibit aliens, and even those who have become naturalized, from obtaining commissions in the Australian Array. Much has been heard from many platforms of the principle of Australia for Australians, and that is the principle underlying Senator Bolton’s amendment. I believe, that commissions in our Army should be reserved for our own loyal Australians. I shall not follow through all its ramifications the public unrest which has been created, or refer to the many instances which are known to honorable senators of the rebuffs we have received in connexion with the employment of aliens as a result of our too liberal British policy. I suggest to Senator Bolton that it would be well if he altered his amendment- -to read -
Provided that no person, being an alien unnaturalized or otherwise, shall be eligible for appointment as an officer in the Australian Military Forces.
That would carry us in this matter as far as we can reasonably go. It would provide a safeguard for the future, and prevent a repetition of the mistakes1 of the past. I hope that the Minister for Defence, in view of what has gone before, will be prepared to accept Senator Bolton’s amendment in the modified form I suggest. So far as I can see, it would inflict no injustice upon any one. It would not be disloyal even to our Allies, because, after all, the people of the countries included in the British Empire have been, and possibly will continue to be, more liberal to foreigners than are the people of any other country.I urge upon the Committee the necessity for incorporating in this Bill a provision to safeguard our interests in the future by prohibiting the employment in our Australian Army of - aliens, whether naturalized or unnaturalized. Honorable senators will rer collect that here in Melbourne, just before the war, the German Consul for Australia specifically told a meeting of Germans, naturalized and unnaturalized, that they must unconditionally decide whether they were Germans or British, and that they would have to decide the matter for themselves and for the future. We know not what the future has in store for us. We do not know whether we shall have a peace by victory or a peace by negotiation. Senator Bolton’s amendment in the form I have suggested could do no harm, whilst it would prohibit the employment in our Defence Force of aliens, naturalized or unnaturalized, and its effects would not go beyond the first generation.
– I do not wish it to be considered that I am putting up a plea for our German colonists at the present time when I say that we should be fair to the descendants of Germans who settled in Australia many years ago. There is a very great deal of dissatisfaction expressed, not only in our Army, but in the community generally, because of the number of Germans who are supposed to be in our Australian Forces at the present time; but there is nothing to be said against them, so far as their conduct and behaviour is concerned. Where their loyalty to Australia can be questioned, action is very quickly taken ; but no suggestion of a lack of loyalty has been raised with respect to them. I should like to say, however, that I am concerned about recruiting in South Australia at the present time. The organization with which I am associated has sent officers through the districts largely settled by Germans from one end to the other, and recruits are not being obtained from those districts in anything like the number that we should have. It is not unreasonable to condemn families in which there are four, five, and six eligible sons, not one of whom has enlisted.
– That can be said of families other than families of German descent.
– Yes, but not to the same extent. The results of the recruiting movement in districts settled by Germans have proved that the German colonists are not volunteering in anything like the same proportion as are the people of British descent. I should like to point out that Senator Bolton’s amendment would not prevent the enlistment of aliens as private soldiers. If an officer has a right to complain that there is an officer of German descent alongside of him, the man in the ranks has an equally good right to complain if a German has enlisted as a private. He has, indeed, more right, because the officer of German descent would have come from the ranks, and have received his promotion for merit.
– The authorities have stopped the enlistment of persons of alien descent, even as privates.
– That is not the case in South Australia’. Senator McDougall probably refers to the enlistment of aliens born outside of Australia. I could mention an instance that occurred in South Australia, where a distinction was made between cousins, the sons of a brother and. sister, because the son of the brother carried his father’s German name, whilst the son of the sister carried the name of her British husband. Mistakes of that kind are bound to occur. It shows how frail the premises are -when we say that because one man bears a certain name he must be disloyal, and because another man bears another name he must be loyal. We are anxious to get young Australian-born Germans into our Army. They have as much right to goand fight for Australia as have any other residents of it.
-Colonel Bolton. - Why do they not go ?
– They do go to an extent. The Minister has pointed out to the honorable senator that every casualty list contains German names. I know that there are hundreds, possibly thousands, of young Australian -born Germans who have gone to the Front. But there are thousands who have not gone, and I want them to go. I desire them to become soldiers and fight for this country. I cannot ask them to do that unless I hold out to them the inducement that they can rise to any position in the Army.
– My suggestion’ would not prevent that.
– I do not know that it would not. An Australian-born German, of course, cannot be called an alien. The clause with the amendment would be more acceptable to me than it is at present. I could not think of voting for the clause as it is and asking these young men to join the Army. Certainly with the omission of the words “descendant of an alien ‘ ‘ the clause would be less objectionable. I do not know exactly what the effect of that amendment would be; but I certainly am not anxious that full-blooded Germans should have any positions in the Australian Army. In fact I would have full-blooded Germans kept out of every position of responsibility in Australia at the present time.
– Well, this is a chance to make a start.
– It is not a chance to make a start in the right direction.
– The amendment does not apply to Germans only.
– No; it applies to all our Allies who are aliens. From’ Broken Hill, from Port Pirie, and other seaports Greeks and Russians are being sent Home to-day to fight in this great war. They are all aliens to the British race, but because to-day they are friendly Allies we could not possibly include them in a provision of this kind. For one thing it would be un-British to’ include them, and for another thing it would be absolutely unfair. I do not know what the Minister thinks of the proposed new clause in the amended form which has been suggested. I do not know that it would be wise to carry the new clause even in that form. I am anxious to get the young German wherever I can lay my hands upon him. He ought to go and volunteer to fight for Australia. And if w© insist upon him doing that we cannot prevent him from attaining to the rank of officer if his ability should warrant his promotion. That is the point I wish to make. ‘
– I cannot support the proposed new clause submitted by Senator Bolton as it is worded, but I would support a modification as indicated by Senator Pratten. If we accept the suggestion of Senator Bolton we shall continue to visit the sins of the parents upon the children for ever and ever. If we were to stop at the word “ alien,” as suggested by Senator Pratten, and put the word “enemy” before the word “alien,” we might attain the object we have in view.
– They will not always be enemies. The war will come to an end at some time.
– The word “enemy” is a very fluctuating adjective.
– When the war is at an end it is supposed that we shall have no enemies. It is expected that the enemy we are now fighting will be subjugated, and at our direction. The proposal before the Committee is fraught with’ great importance and very farreaching. Senator Newland is desirous of getting all the young Australian-born Germans to fight for the colours, but such! a provision as .this, if enacted, would certainly debar them.
– It would debar them from promotion.
– Yes, it would simply enlist these persons as privates, and no matter what they did, they could not reach the rank of officer. If we are to be logical and consistent, the idea of Senator Newland is best, I think. We ought not to ask the young men to join as privates and make them stop there. I admit frankly that in the past we have been too generous. If more care had been taken, not only in Australia, but in the Old Country, we might not have been engaged in the present struggle. We opened the door too widely. I dare say that right within the inner circles of the
Imperial Government, or attached to Imperial Departments of State, there were men who helped to land us in our present difficulty. We left the door too open, and to-day we are paying the penalty. It is not too late to try to make some alteration, but I think that Senator Bolton is reaching out too far. I cannot imagine a man of enemy birth, and naturalized in Australia, becoming an officer in the Australian Imperial Forces. Shortly . after the commencement of hostilities the Defence authorities here had to take action in connexion with an officer who, I think, was attached to the Automobile Corps. He was a captain named Edwards. It was discovered that he was sending to his mother in Germany letters giving all the facts, and hoping that Germany would win. The Minister had to take action immediately, and did the right thing in interning the man. It shows the danger which besets us in putting a man of enemy origin in a position of trust and responsibility in the Military Forces. I object utterly to these men having anything to do with our Forces, good, bad, or indifferent. But when we are asked to exclude tha descendants of aliens we are asked to go too far. I would keep the man of enemy origin out of every Department of State; in fact, I would keep him in “ durance vile,”, whether he is naturalized or otherwise, because he is a source of danger to us. The system of espionage has been another factor in bringing us into our present position. I could not be a party to the carrying on of a vendetta from generation to generation.
. - I would go further than Senator Needham, and certainly further than Senator O’Loghlin. I approve of the suggestion of Senator Pratten, and would support him even it he were inclined to go so far as to adopt this expression : ‘ ‘ enemy alien or the son of an enemy alien.” I do not believe in carrying the prohibition beyond that point. No doubt honorable senators have been brought into personal contact with young Australians who are the sons of enemy aliens, and have noticed that their sympathies are almost as keenly with Germany in this war as are those of their parents. Blood is thicker than water. The son of a German is surrounded by German influences. His home life is German, although he is a young Australian, and probably he is just as much, imbued with German ideals’, and has very nearly the same devotion or respect for his’ father’s country, as has the father himself.
– He is often more German than his father is.
– He is just as German in many cases. It is not the fault of these young Australians that their parents’ country is at war with us; it is their -misfortune. Other persons have to put up with misfortunes attaching to their nationality. It would not be consistent to say that an enemy alien, or, following out my idea,, the son of an enemy alien, should be debarred from getting promotion if he joins as a private. I would even go so far as to say that neither as an officer nor -as a private is it wise to have the son of am enemy alien going out of Australia to fight on our side.
– So far as we know they have done well.
– That is so. But it is only natural that the sons of enemy aliens should be actuated by an undercurrent of sympathy with’ their fathers’ country in the war. One of my greatest- friends for many years in Tasmania was a full-blooded German. He only came out a few years before the war began. He was one of the finest men I have ever met. Hecandidly told a friend of mine that immediately the war broke out he wanted to get out of Tasmania. He was honest and straightforward enough to say that he wished to get away and fight for his own country. He had become a naturalized subject of the King, but, still, when his country was at war with us he felt the pulsation of the German blood in his veins, and thought that it would not be fair for him to refrain from trying to get away to fight for his own country. I believe it is so in many instances with the sons of enemy aliens. I do not think it is very wise for us either to persuade them by way of recruiting to join our Forces or to allow them to do so. That may be an extreme yiew, but it is mine.
– Would you be in favour of their fighting as ordinary soldiers ?
– No. I want to be consistent. It would be the essence of unfairness to recruit the son of an enemy alien as a private, anil tell him that no matter what his ability or bravery in the field, he must always remain a private.
– This would, deprive officers who are fighting, and have taken all the risks, of their rank.
– It may be so. I am simply throwing it out as a suggestion. I would place on ‘the Government of the day the responsibility of an innovation of that kind, but if such a proposal were introduced, I would support it.
– You would allow all the good men of British descent to go and fight for the Germans.
– Australian Germans of the first generation have the German blood in them. Can we trust them? Would they fight with the same ideals as the Australian-born son of an allied alien? It might be argued that our ally of to-day may be our enemy of next year and our enemy of to-day our ally of a few years hence. Granted ; but history shows that that has always been the case. There is always a Parliament, and legislation can be altered to suit any altered circumstances. It would, therefore, be safer to go even to the extent I have mentioned.
– To be logical, you would not allow an alien to serve at all.
– I would not allow an enemy alien to fight on the British side.
– But you also say that the enemy alien of to-day may be the friendly alien of to-morrow.
– I am dealing only with enemy aliens. The new clause should, be altered to read “ enemy alien.”
– But you say that the enemy alien of to-day may be the friendly alien of next year.
– Then we may have to alter our legislation to meet the altered circumstances.
– We cannot hop and jump like that.
– The enemy makes us hop and jump whether we like it or not. If next year we were fighting a country that to-day is our ally, would not that altered circumstance necessitate the alteration of our legislation?
– You said you would agree with the amendment up to a certain point - so far as it applied to enemy aliens and the sons of enemy aliens.
– I would even go that far, although I am not going to move an amendment in that direction.
– And in the next breath you say the enemy of to-day may be the friend of next year. Your argument therefore means excluding all aliens from service altogether.
– Not necessarily. What we do to-day can be undone by Parliament whenever the altered circumstances necessitate it. I am dealing in my remarks with the enemy aliens of today
– The training and the service is going on inthe meantime.
– That has nothing to do with the question. If Senator Pratten moves to insert the word “enemy” before “alien” I shall support him, and I shall support the striking outof the words “ or the descendant of an alien.”
.- If the words “enemy alien” are put in as suggested by Senators Needham, O’Keefe, and I, think, Newland, they will have no effect, because as soon as the war ended Germans and Austrians would cease to be enemy aliens, and no alien would be excluded by the amendment, which would therefore have effect only while the war lasted.
– What about the son of an enemy alien ?
– That is the point Senator Keating was trying to get in by way of interjection. Senator O’Keefe said he would exclude enemy aliens, but admitted that the friend of to-day may be the enemy of three years hence. See what would happen. You exclude enemy aliens during those three years and make appointments from persons who are friendly aliens. When a friendly country became your enemy you would stop persons of that nationality from accepting appointments, but you would already have a number in the Forces.
– But you would not utilize them surely?
– The clause does not say they should be expelled from the Forces if they become enemy aliens. The term “ enemy alien “ is altogether unworkable. The clause applies to all branches of the Military Forces. Under the rest of the Act we compel the naturalized enemy alien to train. He goes into the ranks and becomes a citizen soldier. Senator O’Keefe would say to him, “You can never have an appointment until after the war, because you are an enemy alien, but as soon as the war is over you can get an appointment, and if your country remains friendly, you can continue to receive promotion.” After all, we all share the feeling of detestation of our enemy, and it is likely to warp our judgment in regard to the effect of this clause on our friends. I have consulted the military officers, and am assured that since the war began there has not been a single case of desertion to the enemy in the Australian Imperial Force, although there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of descendants of enemy aliens in it. When the war began we applied to the British Government for permission to enlist unnaturalized Frenchmen in the Australian Imperial Force, because a number of these had asked us to give them the opportunity to serve. Later we asked the Russian Government and the American Government for permission to enlist their citizen, and in all three cases consent was given. The Italians did not give their consent. A large number of Frenchmen, a considerable number of Russians, and a fair number of Americans enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force, and are now fighting with our Forces. If this amendment is carried we say to them, “ No matter what services you render, we debar you from promotion, and if, after fighting through the war as a private you come back to Australia and become naturalized, you can never get promotion in our Military Forces.”. Would that be fair treatment? Whatever mistakes may have been made before the war there is no doubt that all Governments are going to learn the lessons of the war, and one lesson is to make them very careful about accepting persons of alien birth.
– Is an alien eligible for a commission in the French Army ?
– I could not say.
– Is he in the American Army?
– Yes, if he is naturalized. An unnaturalized alien cannot hold a commission in our Army.
– He has to be naturalized for five years in America.
– Yes. The elimination of the words “ or descendant of an alien “ will not get over the chief injustice of the clause. I therefore ask Senator Bolton not to press it. If the war has convinced honorable senators that certain disabilities ought to be laid on aliens generally, we should deal with the. subject as a whole, for there are a great many more things that ought to be done. The whole subject can be dealt with in connexion with the Naturalization Act. An amending Naturalization Bill was passed lately, but it dealt only with details, and the British Government have intimated to us that one of the first things they propose to deal with as the result of the war is the fundamental principles affecting naturalization. At the first Imperial Conference that’ will be held, one of the subjects already listed for consideration is the fundamental principles of nationality - that is, whether naturalized persons areto enjoy the full rights of British citizenship. We should not, in this Bill, deal only with one phase of that bigquestion in a way that will inflict injustice on a person who has renderedto the Empire the best service that any man can render to a country - that is, he has been prepared to give his life, if necessary, to defend it.
Senator Lt.-Colonel BOLTON (Victoria) [4.18]. - I shall be glad to accept Senator Pratten’s suggestion to leave out the words or descendant of an alien,” if the Committee will agree to that alteration.
– Do you move that?
– The question is that the words “ or descendant of an alien “ be struck out of the proposed new clause.
– No. Senator Bolton simply asks for leave to alter his amendment.
– This is a proposed new clause.
– Then he asks for leave to alter the proposed new clause.
Question - That the words proposed to be left out be left out - put.
Amendment agreed to.
– We cannot possibly allow the clause to go through in this way. I regard it as an attempt to enlist men for the Australian Army, and to debar them from promotion when they get there. If I thought for a moment that the clause had any prospect of passing I would certainly move to strike out the word “officer,” and insert words which would prevent aliens from joining the Australian Army altogether. I am confident that the good sense of the Committee will induce it to reject the clause, which is manifestly so unfair, because it seeks to confer privileges upon an officer, and withhold them from a soldier. I thought that in a measure like this we were fighting for the rights of a democratic army, but it seems to me that we are fighting for the rights and privileges of officers only, for, according to the proposed amendment, they are not to have their susceptibilities shocked by association with aliens, but soldiers may fight alongside alien soldiers in the trenches or anywhere else. For that reason I ask the Committee to reject the clause, not out of any regard for enemies of Great Britain, but on the ground that it is unfair and one-sided.
– The amendment proposed by Senator Bolton does not remove very many of the objections that have been urged against the whole of the proposed new clause. The. question of nationality is a difficult one to settle. To illustrate what I mean, I may mention that when I was in France last year I had brought under my notice a case illustrating a fatal objection to the. clause, even in its amended form. With other members of the parliamentary party I visited Armentieres, where an interpreter was engaged in the service of the Australian Army. At that time Marshal Joffre was in charge of all the Forces in France, and his instructions had to be interpreted to the officers commanding the Australian Forces. The interpreter in that case was an Alsatian. Can any honorable senator say if an Alsatian is a Frenchman or a German?
– He is an enemy alien.
– Yes, at the present time he is, but that interpreter was one of. the most enthusiastic fighters in the French Army. It would seem, therefore, that this question of nationality requires delicate handling. It cannot be settled in any slap-dash fashion such as is now proposed. It would be far better, I think, to allow every case to be settled on its merits. Senator Needham referred to the case of a German named Edwards, but when all the circumstances surrounding that matter were made public, nobody had any doubt as towhat should be done. Hundreds of such cases will occur in our Defence Forces, and it will be difficult to decide any of them without knowing the whole of the circumstances, and we have that power already.
– Who is to decide?
– The Government of the day.
– The officers.
– No. The Min ister responsible for the administration of the Act will decide. Referring again to the employment of foreign officers, I might inform the Committee that a few days after our visit to Armentieres I visited a dressing station at Croix-du-bae, and there met Australian soldiers who had just come out of the battle of Fleurbaix, in which they had been rather badly knocked about. Somebody had blundered, and in this case the officers who came in for the criticism were Australians. One of the men said, “ I wish to God we had either Frenchmen or Englishmen at the head ofus.”
– He was no judge.
– Perhaps if Senator Bolton knew all the circumstances of that engagement ha would be in a better position to judge than he is at present. At all events, that man had been in the fight, and was no doubt in a position to form an opinion, and he was not alone in that opinion.
– In many cases blunders have been attributed to British officers.
– Of course, blunders are made by officers of all armies. Napoleon once said that the side which makes the least blunders is the victor.
– I think British Ministers were blamed for the mistakes made at Gallipoli.
– All this shows that we cannot lay down a hard and fast rule when dealing with foreigners. Differences of opinion will arise, and, in my judgment, the best way to settle any difficulty will be to allow the Minister to decide when all the facts appertaining to any individual are before him.
– It seems to me that we are dealing with a Bill practically to decide on what basis the Australian
Army shall in the future be administered, and that, if the amended clause is passed, it will be a very righteous one. As amended, it reads -
Providing that no person being an alien, naturalized or otherwise, shall, after the passing of this Act, be eligible for appointment as officer in the Australian Military Forces.
The inclusion of the words “ after the passing of this Act” will get over any difficulty-
– Order! I would point out that those words have not been put before the Committee.
– I understood Senator Bolton asked leave of theSenate to amend his amendment by including the words I have just now read.
– The amendment carried by the Committee was that the words, “ or descendant of an alien,” be left out.
– With all due respect to the Chair, I venture to say that nothing has been left out. The question before the Committee was the proposed new clause by Senator Bolton. Discussion took place on that, and it was suggested by one or two honorable senators - Senator Pratten in the first place - that the words “ or descendant of an alien “ be left out. Senator Bolton then asked leave to alter the proposed new clause, which is practically an amendment, but this can only be done by leave of the Committee. You straightaway put the question, “ That the words proposed to be left out be left out,” when there was no such proposal at all. I contend that the proposed new clause isstill before the Committee, and that, before any words can be left out, leave of the Committee must be obtained.
– My ruling is that this being a new clause, it was competent for any honorable senator to move an amendment. The amendment put before the Committee was, “ That the words or descendant of an alien ‘ be left out.” I put that, and the Committee carried it.
– I protest against your ruling, Mr. Chairman, and I respectfully suggest that the proper course was for the mover to ask leave to amend the proposed new clause.
– If any honorable senator objects to my ruling, he has his remedy.
– I object, then, to your ruling on the ground that the Committee cannot alter a proposed amendment, but that the mover must ask for leave. »
In the Senate:
– I have to report that in Committee, whilst considering proposed new clause 2a, submitted by Senator Bolton, that honorable senator moved to strike out certain words in the clause, to which the Committee agreed. I ruled that in so doing he was perfectly in order, and exception has been taken to my ruling by Senator O’Loghlin.
– My contention is that the Committee can only amend the clauses of the Bill. I submit that proposed amendments - that is to say, amendments which have not been’ carried - are not susceptible of amendment. “Whenever an amendment of an amendment has been proposed, the practice invariably followed has been for the mover to obtain leave to amend his amendment in the direction desired. In the present instance that was not done. Instead, the Chairman put the question “ That the words proposed to be left out be left out.” I contend that his action was altogether irregular.
– Naturally, a Minister leans, if possible, to the side of constituted authority, and on this occasion I should like to be in a position to support the ruling of the Chairman; but I am afraid that I cannot do so. The statement of Senator O’Loghlin was a clear presentment of the facts. ‘Senator Bolton ‘had proposed the insertion of a clause in the Bill, and, after discussion, it was suggested that certain words in that clause should he left out. Thereupon Senator Bolton asked (permission to amend his proposed new clause by leaving out those words. But, instead of seeking leave of the Committee to amend the clause in the direction desired, the Chairman pint the question “ That the words proposed to ‘be left out be left out.” As a matter of fact, nobody had moved that amen diment.
– In support of the contention of ‘Senator O’Loghlin that the procedure adopted by the Chairman was irregular, I wish to point out- that the amendment of Sen’ator Bolton took the form of a proposed new clause, and was, therefore, in exactly the same category as is an ordinary amendment to a Bill. Now, whenever an honorable senator has moved an amendment, and has subsequently desired .to alter it, the custom has been for him to first obtain the leave of the Committee to so - amend it. In the present instance, what happened was that, after discussion, Senator Pratten suggested that certain words in the proposed new clause should be left out. Senator Bolton thereupon sought the leave of the Committee to amend the clause in the direction indicated. But, instead of the Chairman putting to the Committee the question “ That leave ‘be granted ito amend the clause,” he put the question, “ That the words proposed to be’ left out he left out.”
– I wish to be quite clear upon this m’atter. Senator O’Loghlin has objected to the Chairman’s ruling on the ground that the Committee cannot . amend a proposed amendment, tut that the mover must ask leave to alter it. That is the ruling with which I am called upon to deal.
– Senator Bolton asked for leave to alter his (proposed new clause, and forthwith the Chairman <put the question “ That the words proposed to be left out be left out.” But Senator Bolton did not move in that direction, and, even if he had done so, he should first have obtained .the leave of the Committee. To my mind, the action of the Chairman was irregular; and I contend, therefore, that the point of order raised by Senator O’Loghlin must be upheld.
– I do not rise for the purpose of participating in a “ stone wall.” But, as far as my memory serves me, the (position is that when Senator Bolton intimated that he wished to amend his proposed new clause, the Chairman asked if the Committee was agreeable to that course being adopted.
Sen’ator Needham. - Nothing of the sort. Had he done that, there would have been no trouble.
– After he had obtained the consent of the Committee to amend the amendment, he put the question to a vote.
– No. That is the whole point at issue.
– I understood that the consent of the Committee was secured, and that immediately afterwards the Chairman put the amendment, which was carried. Ifthat course was pursued, I maintain that the Chairman was quite right in the ruling which he gave.
– I fancy there has been some misunderstanding on this matter. According to the statement of Senator de Largie, something happened which was not heard by many of us. It does seem to me that if any honorable senator, other than the mover of the proposed new clause, had moved an amendment to it, the Chairman would have been quite right in putting that amendment to the Committee. But when the mover of the proposed new clause himself wished to alter it, he should, in accordance with our invariable practice, have obtained the leave of the Committee to do so.
– All this is quite beside the question. A great many of these statements are utterly irrelevant. The ruling upon which I am asked to decide is whether the Committee can amend a proposed amendment. Senator O’Loghlin’s dissent reads -
I object to the Chairman’s ruling on the ground that the Committee cannot amend a proposed amendment, but that the mover must ask leave to alter it.
– Of course, one has to write out his dissent very hurriedly. My contention is that the proposed new clause cannot be amended in the way that it was sought to be amended, and that the honorable senator who desired to amend it should first have obtained the leave of the Committee.
– The matter at issue is a very simple one. Senator Bolton has proposed the insertion of a new clause in the Bill, and it is contended in the written disagreement with the Chairman’s ruling that the Committee has not the power to amend that proposal. It is manifest that the Committee has power to amend any amendment or any proposal that maybe placed before it. I would point out that it is one of the most frequent practices for a Minister in charge of a Bill to get up and move amendment after amendment in it. If a Minister has a right to do that, every other honorable senator has an equal right to do it.
– Is there not a difference between a Bill that is submitted in accordance with the order of leave and an amendment that is not before the Chair?
– The Minister must recognise that the amendment proposed by Senator Bolton was proposed by leave of the Senate. Senator Bolton obtained a special instruction from the Senate to the Committee to enable him to submit his amendments. I have always held, and I shall continue to hold, that every honorable senator has equalrights with a Minister, save only as regards one or two exceptions provided by the Standing Orders. Consequently, I rule that when an honorable senator proposes the insertion of a new clause, he has a right to move any amendment to it. It would be quite different if it were an amendment proposed on an amendment of one of the clauses of the Bill itself.
– I call your attention, sir, to the fact that this is an amendment to a proposed new clause.
– It is not a proposed amendment to any clause in the Bill itself, although it is a proposed amendment of the principal Act. It is, therefore, in quite a different category from a mere amendment on a particular clause.
– A new ruling.
– The honorable senator is not entitled to make any reflection upon the Chair.
– I am not reflecting upon the Chair.
– The honorable senator has no right to interject. The President is entitled to be heard in silence when he is giving a ruling. Regarding the objection taken to the ruling of the Chairman, which has been handed to me in writing, there can be no question as to what is my duty. I must uphold the Chairman’s ruling, because the Committee has a perfect right to amend any amendment. Also, I hold that, as a Minister has a right to amend a clause in any Bill of which he may be the author or have charge, it is obvious that, in respect of any new clause proposed by an honorable senator, the latter has an equal right to amend it.
.- Shall I be in order in moving a further amendment upon the amendment?
– Quite in order.
– I move-
That the proposed new clause be amended by inserting after the word “ shall “ the words after the passing of this Act.”
If this amendment he agreed to the provision will he that no person being an alien, naturalized or otherwise, shall, after the passing of this measure, be eligible for appointment as an officer in the Australian Military Forces.
– Why does the honorable senator propose the insertion of the words, ‘ ‘ after the passing of this Act ‘ ‘ ?
– In order that there shall be no danger of any appointees at present in the Forces being interfered with. I ask honorable senators, in dealing with this matter, to dissociate from their minds the present war and our present enemies, and to look forward to the halcyon days of peace which we hope are ahead of us. The word “ alien “ really means a foreigner, and it must be obvious to us all that one of the lessons of the war is that we must tighten up many avenues previously lefttoo widely open. This is one which I very strongly hold should be tightened up. If I stood alone in this matter, I should, to the best of my ability, support a provision of this kind in the interests of what I hold to be the future welfare of the Australian Forces.
– The honorable senator would make the provision applicable to those already in the Australian Forces?
– No. The object of my amendment is that the provision shall not be retrospective. It should meet Senator Newland’s argument. In peacetimes, the Australian Military Forces will consist very largely of cadets from sixteen to- twenty years of age, and, so far as I can see, the amendment as amended would not touch them, since, in the great majority of cases, they would be Australian-born British subjects. I hope the Committeewill seriously consider this matter. I regard it, to some extent, as the thin end of the economic wedge which the Australian people will have to use after the war. So far as I know, no alien and no foreigner is treated as leniently or as liberally in other countries as he is in the British Empire. I am sure that, after the war, some example will be set us by the Mother
Country in connexion with the tightening up of naturalization provisions. Now that we have the opportunity to deal with this matter without inflicting any injustice or hardship upon any one at present in our Forces, the Committee should take advantage of it, and agree tothe proposed new clause in the amended form suggested.
– I wish to remove any impression there may be in the minds of honorable senators that the new clause as proposed to be amended by Senator Pratten would not affect those who are now in our Australian Forces. It certainly would affect them.
– How ?
– It would not affect them in respect of the appointments which they now hold, but it would prevent any of them from being appointed to another position, because every appointment is a separate appointment.
– Why should they be appointed to other positions while the war is on ?
– It would debar any private of alien descent within the terms of the clause from appointment as an officer.
– So it should if he is an alien.
– I have already given reasons why I think that should not be done. Senator Pratten seems to think that by inserting the words “ after the passing of this Act “ he would prevent any injustice being done to these persons who are now in our Australian Forces. I rose merely to show that that would not be the effect of his amendment.
– The question boils itself down to the advisability or otherwise of appointing any unnaturalized or naturalized German to an official position in our Forces during the war.
– No ; the honorable senator overlooks the fact that the proposed new clause is not confined to persons of German descent, but may apply to all aliens, including our French, American, and other Allies.
.- I agree with Senator Pratten’s suggestion that, so far as we can, we should, in considering this matter, dissociate ourselves from influences naturally arising out of the present war. But we cannot overlook the fact that we have amongst us friendly aliens as well as enemy aliens. I wish to cultivate a friendly feeling with the people of other countries, and particularly with our American cousins. This chamber rang the other night with sentiments of that character, when we were discussing a proposal to establish a representative of Australia in the United States of America. Honorable senators were lauding the Americans to the skies on that occasion, but, instead of cultivating that friendly feeling to-day, it is proposed that we should include a provision in this Bill contradicting the sentiments expressed the other night, and showing that we are not really anxious to cultivate a friendly feeling with Americans. I do not desire to encourage unfriendly feelings with friendly aliens, and I look forward particularly to a good understanding with the American people in the future. I agree with Senator Newland that if we are going to cut out all aliens, including friendly aliens, we should start from the bottom in our Forces, and should prevent the enlistment of any aliens. I direct attention to the fact that all these appointments will rest with the GovernorGeneral in Council, which means the Minister for Defence. I have a warm sympathy for the sentiment of Australia for the Australians, but I do not think we should be so exclusive as to shut out everybody. To do so would be to tie our hands behind our backs, and, if an occasion arose, when it was desirable to appoint a very competent man to an important position we might, under this provision, be unable to do so.
– The people of other nations are not so squeamish.
– I am not disposed to follow the people of other nations in everything they may do. The Government will appoint officers on military advice, and this Parliament and the people will control the Government. If Ministers appointed men to important military positions who did not meet with the approval of the community, the people would very promptly let them know about it. I think that Ministers are not at all likely to appoint enemy aliens to such positions. Broadly, I believe in the sentiment of Australia for the Australians, and where we have a capable Australian available he should be appointed to any position he is fitted to fill. I believe that any Australian Government may be trusted to adopt that course.
– We should prevent the Government from doing anything else.
– I have said that I do not believe in tying our hands in such matters. I support the Government on this question.
Question - That after the word “ shall” the words “ after the passing of this Act “ be inserted (Senator Pratten’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . . . 19
Question so resolved in the negative.
). - I move -
That the proposed new clause be amended by leaving oat the words “ an officer in “ with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ a member of.”
I submit this amendment in order that the officers may be preserved from contamination by any German or other foreigner who may get into our Army. I am very anxious about the officers. I desire that they shall not be subjected to any indignity such as that of a man crawling up from the rank of private. It does not appear to matter how many alien subjects we may get into the ranks. I wish to preserve the private soldier as well as the officer from associating with aliens in the ranks. I am not concerned with what the consequences of carrying the amendment or the provision itself might be. I believe that the consequences of carrying the provision would be very far-reaching, and that it would have results which I am afraid some of its supporters did not anticipate. I submit the amendment with the view of preventing any alien from being a member of the Australian Military Forces.
– I ask Senator Newland not to press this amendment. It is pretty clear that a majority of the Committee are not in favour of the proposed new clause, but even if they were I would point out that the amendment would make the provision meaningless, as part of section 8 of the principal Act, because that section deals solely with officers. The amendment, if carried, would make the section deal not only with officers, but with members of the Forces generally. That question will have to be dealt with in another part of the principal Act. I suggest to Senator Newland that he ought not to press his amendment, but should vote against the proposed new clause.
Senator Lt.-Colonel BOLTON (Victoria) [5.8]. - There is no doubt that there might be cases of individual hardship, but I maintain, as a general principle, that the Committee has a perfect right to conserve the Australian sentiment in our Military Forces. I was rather gratified to notice the concern which many honorable senators had for the feelings of aliens. One of my chief reasons in submitting this proposal was to protect aliens who are already officers in our Military Forces. These gentlemen have been subjected to a very great deal of offensive and hostile criticism simply because they bear alien names. It was as much to insure their protection as to remove the possibility of such an undesirable situation in the future that this amendment was submitted by me. I ask honorable senators to recognise the righteousness and justice of the proposal, and to vote for it.
– This is one of the most unfair provisions which have ever come under my notice. As a late member of the Australian Forces, and as one who during his service abroad came in contact with officers and men who belonged to different nationalities from our own, and were fighting with us, I should be very sorry indeed to be a party to excluding those men from joining our Forces in the future should they so desire.
Senator Bolton stated that his reason for submitting this proposal was because he wished to conserve the rights of the Australian Forces. I contend that it would not do anything of the sort. It would simply conserve the rights of a certain section of our Military Forces, namely, the officers. In the course of this discussion, we have simply heard about one class of men. whose rights are to be protected, namely, the officers. I represent here another class of men. I represent the private soldiers, and I quite agree with Senator Newland that if we are to debar aliens from becoming officers in the Australian Imperial Force we should debar them from joining those Forces. Surely if it is infra dig. for an officer in the Australian Imperial Force to mix with one of these so-called aliens, it is also infra dig. for a private soldier to have to fight alongside of him ! The thing is just as broad as it is long. Tomy mind it would be a gross outrage to ask the descendant of a German to enlist in our Forces, and to go to the Front, and if he turned out to be a good Australian soldier and won honours, then simply because his parents were born in Germany to debar him from receiving promotion, or a recognition of his services to Australia.
– This amendment does not say so.
– I contend that if it is carried, it will say so. We know quite well that a great many of the Germans who came out here a generation ago did so out for one purpose only, and that was to dodge Prussian militarism. I am sorry to say that a number of them are not so loyal as they should be, but some are just as anxious as is any one hereto see that Prussian militarism is crushed.
– Would you allow one of those men to be made an officer ?
– If a man is a third or fourth descendant of a German immigrant, I would.
– But we have struck out the words “ the descendant of an alien.”
– I will get away from the German question altogether, and deal with the case of a naturalized Frenchman. If the proposed new clause were enacted, it would allow a naturalized Frenchmanto enlist and fight in the Australian Forces at any time. It would allow him to do his bit for the country of his adoption, but it would debar him, from the enjoyment of any privileges which he might have won at the Front. This is one of the most unfair provisions which I have ever seen. During my short experience on the other side, I learned that the first contingent from Australia included a great number of men whose parents came from all parts of the world, and who fought well. Let me give the case of a Norwegian who came to Australia a long time ago. In two or three months, by reason of his good fighting qualities on Gallipoli, he worked his way up from private to warrant officer. If the proposed new clause were enacted, it would prevent any other such man from doing so, because the definition of the word “ alien “ would prevent an alien, even though he was a neutral, from winning his spurs in our Military Forces. I will now give the case of another man who distinguished himself on Gallipoli. In the Boer war, he fought on the side of the Boers, but afterwards he came to Australia, and when war broke out in Europe, he was one of the very first men to offer his servicesto fight against Germany.
– A Boer has not been an alien for years.
– According to the dictionary I consulted, an alien is defined to be a man who comes from another country; - that is, a foreigner.
– The trouble is that Senator Bolton did not put the word “ enemy “ before the word “ alien.”
– This man, although he was bitterly opposed to Great Britain at the time of the Boer war, proved himself to be a good soldier in our Forces. I believe that he eventually won a commission. In the part of the peninsula where I was, he was regarded as one of the bravest men. If there was a ticklish job to be done, he was always detailed to do it. If honorable senators put unfair restrictions on such men simply because they have not. been so fortunate as we have been, they will do a very great injustice. If men of alien birth are to be debarred from becoming officers in the Australian Imperial Force, I am with Senator Newland in his desire to protect the private soldiers in the same way.
Senator Lt.-Colonel BOLTON (Victoria) [5.18]. - Senators Foll and Newland spoke to my proposed new clause from the stand-point of whether the individual is a private or an officer. That is not the idea of this proposal. My intention is a national one. At a time of war, it is most undesirable that aliens should be allowed to hold positions of trust in our Army, and have control of important military sources of information, which by reason of their national sympathies, they might use and operate to the disadvantage of this country. That is the sole reason why I submitted this proposal. With me, it is not a question of whether a man should be an officer or private; it is not a question of distinction between man and man, but it is a question of who should control the interests of this country in time of war; in short, whether the officers should be British or aliens.
Question - That the proposed new clause, as amended, be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Majority .. ….19
Question so resolved in the negative.
Proposed new clause negatived.
Clause 3 -
After section8. of the principal Act the following suction is inserted: - “ 8a. ( 1 ) The Governor-General may. delegate to the officer in command of any part of the Military Forces when beyond the limits of the Commonwealth, power to appoint or promote officers to acting rank in the Military Forces.
Every appointment and promotion of an officer to acting rank made before the commencement of this section by the officer in command of any part of the Military Forces when beyond the limits of the Commonwealth, shall be as valid and effectual as if made under this section.”
– I notice what seems to be a conflict between certain provisions of this clause and regulation 50 made under the Defence Act 1903-1915. The regulation provides that after the 1st June, 1916, no person who is not a graduate of the Royal Military College shall be appointed an officer of the Permanent Military Forces. I do not want to depreciate the value of any services which may have been rendered by any soldier who has gone to the Front. Everybody in Australia recognises the value and merit of those services, but I want an assurance from theMinister that there is no conflict between the clause and the existing regulation. It is provided in the regulation that under normal conditions promotions shall follow a certain course. It is .obvious that there must be a certain number of young men under training for graduation in the Military College who are not able to go forward into active service in this war by reason of their age or other circumstances. Are they to be handicapped in their promotion, and are other men who have gone forward into active service to be put above them, so that afterwards they may even be subjected to training at Duntroon by those over whom they have been promoted in this way?
– The promotion of the graduates referred to by Senator Keating is provided for by section 148 of the principal Act. This clause does not amend that section in any way. It simply deals with the fact that in connexion with the Australian Imperial Force the Governor-General did delegate to the General Officer Commanding his power to appoint and promote officers to acting rank. There is no power under ‘ the Defence Act to do that.
– Does not this clause go beyond acting rank ?
– No. This clause contains a series of provisions to validate the action of the Governor-General in connexion with the Australian Imperial Force. It does not affect the Permanent Forces or the Citizen Forces at all.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 4 -
Section 15 of the principal Act is amended by omitting the words “cease to hold.” and inserting in their stead the words “be removed from “.
Section proposed to be amended -
– Section 15 deals with the determination of provisional appointments, which cease on the officer failing to pass the prescribed examination. Such a result may lead to inconvenience. Qualification being a necessary preliminary to appointments in the Citizen Forces and the combatant branch of the Permanent Forces, the section will apply only to special cases.
Clause .agreed to.
Clause 5 -
Section 22 of the principal Act is repealed, and the following section inserted in its stead: -
The Governor-General may, for distinguished service in time of war or for exceptional gallantry on active service, appoint any person to be an officer or non-commissioned officer, or promote an officer or non-commissioned officer in the Citizen Military Forces without his passing the prescribed examination.
Section proposed to be amended -
The Governor-General may appoint any person to be an officer or promote an officer for distinguished service or for marked^ ability and gallantry in active service without his ‘passing the prescribed examination.
.- This is the clause that gives power to appoint to the Citizen Forces officers or men who are now serving with the Australian Imperial Force, but who are liable for service in the Citizen Forces under the compulsory training provisions of the Defence Act. They may have held the rank of private when they went away. They may obtain commissioned rank, and even high rank, on the field, but under the Defence Act as it stands they would have to serve as privates if they came back to Australia. This clause gives the Governor-General power to appoint them to a rank in the Citizen Forces similar. to the’ rank they hold in the Australian Imperial Force.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 6 -
Section 31 of the principal Act is amended by omitting from sub-section 1 the words “ for a term,” and inserting in their stead the words “ during the continuance of their engagements.”
Section proposed to be amended - 31. [1) The Permanent Military Forces shall consist of officers who are appointed officers of those Forces and of soldiers who are bound to continuous military service for a term……
– The war has rendered it necessary for us to engage the services of members of the Citizen Forces for indeterminate periods - that is, for the duration of the war or until they can be replaced by returned soldiers. These are really Home service men. The Act at present is somewhat rigid, and the amendment is necessary to give us greater freedom in that regard.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 7 to 19 agreed to.
– Since the Bill was drafted, the Naval authorities have pointed out that the principal Act affects the Naval as well as the Military Forces, and they have suggested certain amendments, which are largely formal, but which are necessary to differentiate between the Forces. These amendments do not affect the Defence Act in its relation to the Military Forces. I move -
That after the word “ Citizen,” line 1, the word “ Military “ be inserted.
.- Can the Minister for Defence say if a soldier absent from his ship or corps for seven days is liable to be treated as a deserter? I havein mind the case of a soldier who may go ashore at Capetown and unfortunately miss his boat. He is really not a deserter, because, his ship having sailed, he will have to wait two or three weeks until the next vessel comes along. Would such a man be severely punished or treated for drunkenness and for being absent without leave?
– We now have an officer of the Australian Im perial Force stationed at Capetown, and in the event of any man missing his ship it would be his duty, as soon as he recovered consciousness, to report to that officer. The question whether his offence would be regarded as desertion would be determined largely by the circumstances under which he reported and the time he took to report. This matter would be left to the judgment of the officer at Capetown.
Senator Colonel ROWELL (South Australia) [5.39]. - Men who fail to report in the manner mentioned by Senator Foll are, punished by loss of pay from the time they are reported absent until they rejoin. In some cases they would probably lose two months’ pay. I do not think they are treated as deserters, but are dealt with probably by fines as well as loss of pay.
– Can the Minister state if the punishment provided by the Naval Discipline Act for desertion is defined in this clause; and if, under the Army Act, punishment for desertion is death?
– Punishment is determined by the court martial on the circumstances and evidence presented. For desertion to the enemy or in the face of the enemy, the punishment is death.
– What is the punishment if a man forgets to rejoin his ship?
– That is not punished by death.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendments (by Senator Pearce) agreed to -
That the words “ or ship “ be left out.
That the words “ if a member of the Citizen Military Forces, and by the Naval Discipline Act if a member of the Citizen Naval Forces,” be left out.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 21 and 22 agreed to.
Clause 23 consequentially amended, and agreed to.
Clauses 24 and 25 agreed to.
Clause 26 -
Section91 of the principal Act is amended by inserting in paragraphs (a) and (b) after the word “imprisonment,” the words “(in the case of a soldier imprisonment or detention).”
Section proposed to he amended -
Contempt of Court shallbe punishableas follows: -
Amendment (by Senator Pearce) proposed -
That the words “(in the case of a soldier imprisonment or detention)”, be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ or detention.”
Senator Colonel ROWELL (South Australia) [5.46]. - Can the Minister state if any provision is made for the commitment of men, sentenced overseas, to prisons in Australia ? I know that a difficulty with regard to this matter arose some time ago, and the question was raised whether we had the power to commit those men to Australian prisons.When I was in office in Adelaide I had to sign warrants of commitment in regard to returned imprisoned soldiers. Some of them had received sentences of three or four years, and had about two years to serve. At that time the validity of the warrant was questioned. Can the Minister say if this question has been settled ?
– That point was submitted to the Crown Law officers, and answered in the affirmative. I may mention that we have endeavoured to keep military prisoners, sentenced for offences against the Army Act, separated from criminals in the civil gaols. We now have military prisons associated with State prison establishments, and they are administered as military prisons.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause,as amended, agreed to.
Clause 27 consequentially amended and agreed to.
Clauses 28 to 33 agreed to.
Clause 34 verbally and consequentially amended, and agreed to.
– I move -
That the following new clause be inserted:- “34a. Section 111 of the principal Act is amended by omitting the words’ Naval Commandant’ (wherever occurring), and inserting in lieu thereof the words ‘ District Naval Officer.’ “
This, again, is a mere drafting clause, which is intended to give effect in the other portions of the principal Act to the same technical amendment.
Proposed new clause agreed to.
Clauses 35 to 45 agreed to.
– I move -
That the following new clause be inserted: - “ 45a. After section 128 of the principal Act the following section is inserted: - “ 129. Persons who become liable to be trained in the Citizen Forces, but who are certified by the prescribed medical authorities to be temporarily unfit, may be trained as prescribed in the Senior Cadets, and such training shall be in lieu of the corresponding training in the Citizen Forces.”
The object of the amendment is to meet a difficulty which has frequently been brought under notice by the medical authorities. I need scarcely remind honorable senators that the year in which a lad attains the age of eighteen years he passes into the Citizen Forces. Now it may happen that his eighteenth birthday falls right at the end of the year, and, consequently, he passes into the Citizen Forces when he is only a little over seventeen years old. Some of these lads are very immature, and although they may have passed the medical examination, they are not physically fit to undergo the harder training to which they would be subjected in the Citizen Forces. Where a medical officer reports that it is in the interests of any lad’s health that he should be retained in the Cadet Forces for another year, it has been thought desirable that authority should be given for him to be so retained.
– Will he receive pay in such circumstances?
– Not while he is in the Senior Cadets. He will merely be a senior cadet for another year.
– Will he have any option in the matter?
– No ; it will be for the medical authorities to determine.
– In such cases, will it be necessary for a lad to remain in the Senior Cadets for the full additional year, or will he be able to secure a transfer to the Citizen Forces if he should become physically fit in, say, six months time?
– The proposed new clause, if adopted, will give a lad an opportunity of remaining in the Senior
Cadets for less than a full year. The period that he remains there will depend upon his physical fitness.
Proposed new clause agreed to.
Senator Lt.-Colonel BOLTON (Victoria) [5.58]. - I move -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “ That section 125 of the principal Act be amended by adding to it, “Provided further that in time of war the Governor-General may, by proclamation, exempt from training all persons from twelve to eighteen years of age liable to be trained under the provisions of this section.”
My object is a very simple one. During the continuance of the war, this particular class of military training may, I think, advantageously be suspended, and the expenditure that is incurred upon it be thus saved to the Commonwealth. We have to recollect that our military training scheme was initiated in 1911, and that each year’s quota represents about 20,000 men. As there have been seven quotas since the inception of the scheme, it is obvious that 140,000 men have been theoretically trained as soldiers ready for war, But, as a matter of fact, the Defence Department directs that such of these men as enlist in the Australian Imperial Force must go into camp, and there be trained for a period ranging from six to nine months in the elementary duties of a soldier. Therefore, by suspending the militarytraining of persons from twelve to eighteen years of age during the continuance of the war we shall not be limiting our capacity to produce soldiers. Under our Defence Act it is mandatory that this work shall be carried on.
– No. The Act says, “as prescribed.” That leaves it within the discretion of the Government to order training or otherwise.
– As a matter of fact we have varied the training this year.
– If the Government have power to suspend the operation of the Act in the direction indicated, I am very much surprised that they have not done so, and thus saved thecountry a great deal of unnecessary expenditure.
– The Government possess the power.
.- I was not aware of that. In the circumstances I ask leave to withdraw my amendment.
Proposed new clause, by leave, withdrawn.
Clauses 46 to 48 agreed to.
Clause 49 -
Section 148 of the principal Act is amended by adding at the end thereof the following proviso: - “ Provided also that members of the Permanent and Citizen Forces, who are not graduates of the Military College, may, subject to such conditions as are prescribed, be appointed or promoted to be officers in the non-combatant branches of the Permanent Forces, including the Medical, Veterinary, Ordnance, Survey, and Clerical branches.”
Section proposed to be amended: - “ 148. No person who is not a graduate of the Military College as prescribed shall be appointed an officer of the Permanent Forces.”
Senator Colonel ROWELL (South Australia) [6.4]. - I desire to move an amendment the object of which is to give to men on active service an opportunity, when they are qualified, to accept positions in our Permanent Forces as provided in this clause. Consequently, I move -
That after the word “ Forces,” line 5, the following words be inserted : - “ or persons who have served with satisfactory record in any Expeditionary Force raised for service outside the Commonwealth.”
My amendment will afford such men an opportunity to secure appointments. It will widen the scope for selection. Men would have to possess certain qualifications to obtain positions in the Permanent Forces. I hope that the Minister will see his way to accept the amendment.
– In clause 5 of this Bill we have provided that the Governor-General may, for distinguished service in time of war, or for exceptional gallantry on active service, appoint persons to be officers or non-commissioned officers, but it refers to officers of the Citizen Forces. As Senator Rowell has pointed out, there may be persons who have served with distinction in the Australian Imperial Force who may not previously have been in the Citizen Forces, or for whom there may not subsequently be vacancies in the Citizen Forces to which they could be appointed. In case there may be any instances of the kind theamendment would cover them, andI do not therefore propose to object to it.
Amendment agreed to.
Senator Lt.-Colonel BOLTON (Victoria) [6.6]. - I move -
That the word . “ non-combatant “ Be left out.
By the omission of this word from the clause it will be possible for the Govern- ment to promote or appoint members of the Australian Imperial Force or officers who have served abroad in the combatant branches, and who have won high rank and distinction in such service. There are many warrant and non-commissioned officers in the Permanent Forces of Australia who volunteered or went to the Front. They put up a splendid record, and in some cases have won high rank and distinction. It is, in my opinion, eminently desirable that the services and experience of these men should be utilized in the best possible way for the benefit of our Military Forces. No better methods of utilizing their services could be suggested than by promoting them or giving them commissions in the permanent branches, combatant or non-combatant, of our Australian Military Forces. The work which has been done by them has shown them to be men of intelligence, courage, and education, who are well worthy of promotion. Honorable senators will no doubt recollect that quite recently a learned gentleman in Melbourne, discussing universities and university professors, said that he knew many bricklayers who ought to be university professors, and he knew many university professors who ought to be bricklayers. I know many non-commissioned officers in the Permanent and Australian Imperial Force branches of the Australian Military Forces who’ ought to be generals. And at the same time I must admit that I know some generals who ought to be bricklayers.
– Why stop at generals? Why not include colonels?
.- I think that in justice to these men we should recognise the valuable services they have rendered to the country and the credit which they have brought to the Australian Military Forces.
– I am sorry to say that the Government cannot see their way to accept this amendment.^
– The honorable senator is not going to accept it, but he is not sorry.
– I should like to accept amendments that are considered improvements upon the Bill. .We do not think that this amendment would be an improvement. Parliament has voted large sums of money to establish a Military College for the deliberate purpose of providing’ a staff of instructors specially trained for the work of instruction. That Military College is based upon the anticipation that it will be able to supply a sufficient number of instructors over a given number of years to keep our Permanent Forces fully staffed with competent trained men. As I pointed out on the second reading of the Bill, if we open the staff ranks of ‘‘the Permanent Forces to other than graduates of the Military College we shall never know from year to year how many graduates we shall require from the College to fill up any gaps there may be amongst the permanent officers, because that is all that the Military College, under Senator Bolton’s amendment, would have to do. Suppose thirty officers were required each year in order to keep the Staff Corps up to strength ; the Minister for Defence might in one year appoint the whole thirty from men who served with the Australian Imperial Force. There would be no limitation upon the number selected from that source if the amendment were accepted. Having done that, we would have thirty graduates of the Military College, which is costing £30,000 a year to keep up, and would have no positions to which to appoint them. Parliament designed the Military College to supply trained men for these positions, and yet, under the amendment, the Minister could fill all the positions vacant with men from outside the College.
– Has there not been a greater college than Duntroon since its establishment - at Gallipoli and in France ?
– No; with all due deference to those who think otherwise, Gallipoli was not a greater college than Duntroon. The fight won at Gallipoli was won on the sands of Egypt by the training and the instruction there given to our men.
– There was no fight won at Gallipoli.
– There was a fight won there. The landing at Gallipoli was a fight won there. The men who were successful in making that landing will be the first to admit that the training and instruction they received in military camps in Australia, and on the sands of Egypt, enabled them to make their successful landing at Gallipoli.
– It very nearly killed half of them.
– That may be; but I repeat that it was the training and instruction they received that enabled them to effect the landing.
– There are men who have won distinction in France who were never at Duntroon.
– Of course, there are. I am not disputing that for a moment. What I am trying to point out to honorable senators is that the Permanent Force of Australia is not the corps to supply the officers to lead our Australian Army in time of war.If is the Citizen Force officer who will have to lead our Army in time of war. The Permanent Force officers are merely the instructors of our Citizen Force officers, and the Military College is the school in which we train our instructional officers.
– They do not learn much of the art of war.
– Those attending the Military College are trained as instructors of our Citizen Forces. It is not suggested that ‘they are superior, in their knowledge of many things, to other people. They may not be, but they are trained as instructors. That is the part which the Military College is designed to play in our defence system.
In this matter we have had the benefit of the advice of the greatest organizer the war has yet seen, and that is the late Lord Kitchener. Honorable senators may depend upon it that the great offensive which the British Forces are putting up to-day is very largely due to the organizing ability of that great man. He is the man who advised the Government of the Commonwealth on the question of the establishment of the Military College.
– How long ago?
– In 1909.
SenatorPratten. - Eight years ago.
– Yes, but does that vitiate the advice he gave in any way?
– There are staff officers who have risen from the ranks. General Robertson rose from the ranks.
– Certainly; and the men going through the Duntroom Military College go through the ranks. Many of them have graduated from the State schools of Australia. Many of them are the sons of working men. One of the cleverest graduates of Duntroon, and one who passed the best of examinations, is the son of a railway engine-driver.
– They have not had the training of the ranks.
– They are trained in the ranks. Any man who has graduated from the Duntroon College can himself do everything that he asks a soldier to do. In the course of his training he has had to do it. This is the advice which Lord Kitchener gave the Commonwealth Government on this subject -
In the United States of America the Military College of West Point sets an example of a severe and thorough military training imposed by a Democratic Government, and I should advise that Australia can only expect to produce officers of the type required by the establishment of a Military College similar in ideals, if not altogether in practice - for that will vary with national characteristics - to West Point.
Hitherto it would have been difficult to find employment for the graduates of such a primary military educational establishment, but I have carefully examined this point, and find that, now it has been decided to create a National Force, there will be ample posts to be filled by the graduates of a Military College.
My recommendation is that a StaffCorps be formed to provide the officers for all these requirements, areas, districts, and head-quarter staffs, and permanent troops.
This Staff Corps should be entirely drawn from the Military College, and its members should, further, be sent abroad to study, and be attached to the other land Forces of the British Empire, so that an officer of this Staff Corps would be the equal, if not superior, in military education to the officers of any army in the world.
The proposed organization contemplates the formation of 215 areas, which are required to produce a fighting Force of 80,000 men. The officers in charge of each of these areas may be of the rank of captain or lieutenant.. In addition, twenty-two majors will be required - one to supervise every ten areas. The six district staffs require twenty-five officers, mostly of field rank; head-quarters will absorb twelve; the Military College, eight; and the Permanent Forces (on the present scale), forty-eight.
To allow for officers being absent in other British Dominions or attached to or’ studying other armies, at Staff Colleges, on leave, &c, 6 per cent. of subalterns, captains, and majors should be added. In this way an establishment of 350 officers for the Staff Corps is reached, and their distribution by ranks and duties is shown in Table III. below.
I need not quote the table. Lord Kitchener goes on tosay : -
I have shown that 350 officers are required for the Staff Corps, and I shall now discuss the organization of a Military College to maintain that corps.
Taking twenty years as the average service of an officer, it appears that after- the Staff Corps is up to establishment the yearly output required from the College will be about eighteen cadets. The minimum length, of course, required to efficiently ground the cadet in his profession is three years.
As has already been pointed out, strict selection should be enforced from the moment a boy becomes a cadet. To allow for the necessary process of elimination, and also for those boys who may show proficiency for some other branch of the Public Service, I advise that thirty cadets be the annual entry; adding 10 per cent. of this number for casualties, and the figure 33 x 3 = 99, say 100, cadets is reached as the establishment of the College.
The age of entry should be not less than seventeen nor more than nineteen.
That is the basis on which the Military College was established, and we have there hundreds of lads who have been trained. Senator Bolton proposes that we should say to them, “ We gave all of you to understand that we would train you for the Staff Corps as your occupation in life, but now we intend to take that work away from you.”
– Yes, it will. I ask honorable senators to imagine the political pressure which would be put upon any Minister for Defence once the doorwas opened by enacting that any officer who has served with distinction in the Australian Imperial Force can come back to Australia and be appointed by the Minister to the Permanent Forces. I pity the Minister who has to withstand the pressure to make these appointments, because it is not as if there were only a few officers, as occurred after the South African war, who have come back with Distinguished Service Orders, Military Medals, and Military Crosses. Their number is becoming legion. I pity the Minister who will have to stand up and say, “Yes, I refuse to appoint LieutenantColonel Jones. It is true that he won a Distinguished Service Order, has a Military Cross, and several other decorations, but I do not consider him fit to be appointed.”
– They are not legion in the Permanent Forces.
– Fancy any Minister having to stand up, and say that!
– Does he not do it already ?
– No. The obligation is not there, because Parliament has said to the Minister, “You shall not appoint. You shall feed your Staff Corps from the Military College, which we established for the purpose.”
This proposal, I warn the Committee, will have the effect of destroying the Military College. Honorable members might as well close up the College if they adopt the amendment, because it will not be required for many years to come if we enact that the officers who have served in the Expeditionary Forces are to be appointed to the Permanent Forces. There are really so many of them that they will be able to fill all positions for many years to come.
– What is the College costing ?
– Roughly, it costs about £27,000 per annum. Lord Kitchener was so insistent upon the College being the only source of supply that he made these special remarks when he was dealing with the existing Permanent Forces -
I do not consider that any of the officers now serving should be transferred to the Staff Corps, which ought to be entirely formed from the graduates of the Military College, but in order to enable the officers appointed to areas during the transition period to give instruction to the new Force, I would put such officers, when necessary, through a short course in the duties of an area officer.
Then we have the opinion of General Sir Ian Hamilton, who came out here some years later. Dealing with the question of training, he said -
A great deal can be done to strengthen the practical side of training in Australia by levelling up the higher criticism brought to bear upon camp training. A non-commissioned officer is rarely capable of giving higher tactical instruction. He should confine himself mainly to teaching cadets and recruits. For the kind of work I am considering an officer - a highly educated one at that - a man whose views have been widened by travel and by manoeuvre working with the three arms combined, would be able to do a very great deal of good. The Duntroon graduate should, in due course, produce the very type, especially if he is encouraged to see something of the great outside military world. Such a man once appointed should be left free to devote himself mainly to the higher instruction of the militia officers and non-commissioned officers who must themselves be the instructors of their men. The strong point of the army is in its men - men. at the same time intelligent and biddable. The weak point of the army lies in the comparatively small number of its officers who are capable of giving good instruction. This will come in time - it is coming all the time - but there is the weakest spot of to-day.
– Was he referring to our Australian Forces?
– He was referring to the Australian Army. He visited the Military College, and spoke very highly of the work which had been done there. He made this statement, which is pertinent to the question before the Committee -
The framing of* a complete curriculum for thu four years’ course is rendered a little difficult by lack of explicit and authoritative rulings as to how the young officers are to be employed on leaving the College. If my proposals for the organization of a business department are adopted, the number of cadets passing through Duntroon may have to be curtailed. In any event, fewer officers will be required than was anticipated.
That is to say, he recommended that the Quartermaster-General’s Branch should be separated, and made a business Department. If that is done, we shall have to curtail the number of graduates coming from the College. It is obvious that if the amendment is carried, we shall also have to , curtail its work immensely ; to my mind we would have to close iti altogether.
– Would you look upon an opinion of eight years ago as infallible?
– I look upon Lord Kitchener as the greatest army organizer the British Empire has yet produced. The safety of the Empire to-day is due to his organizing ability and the magic of his name. He it was who gave us the plan from which we are working. He it was who made the Military College the keystone of the arch, because it was to ‘provide the men who were to instruct the officers to enable them to lead their troops in time of war. I appeal to the Committee not to rashly throw away that scheme, as they will do if they carry this amendment, for it is no small amendment, but a very important one in its effect.
Senator Lt.-Colonel BOLTON (Victoria) [6.27]. - I would point out that the Minister, in his own amendment, proposes to appoint to the Permanent Forces certain officers. He does not seem to express much alarm about the danger to the Military College over the fact that certain ordnance, survey, and clerical branches should have officers appointed from the Permanent Military Forces. 1 know very well that criticism of this part of the Act or our universal training system is rank heresy. I know that it is considered so largely because the name of the late Lord Kitchener is associated with the system.- But let me tell honorable senators that Lord Kitchener was not the gentleman who initiated the scheme. It was initiated in quite another quarter - a rather ill-considered scheme at the time - and it was accepted and launched by the Government more as a political venture than as a military measure.
– That is not so.
.- I am of that opinion. Of course, the Government invited Lord Kitchener to come to Australia and put upon the scheme the hall-mark of the professional soldier, which he very obligingly did. But I contend that even Lord Kitchener, or any other man who travelled through Australia for a few days at the rate of 60 miles an hour, would not be in a position to form a sound opinion as to the temperament, or conditions, or the ideals of the Australian people. High professional opinions from men who do not know or understand the Australians is not always of the face value which some ‘ persons would take them to be. Take the later report of Sir Ian Hamilton - a voluminous one it was - about the Australian Forces. If I recollect aright, he said, that the military value of three Australian soldiers was” somewhere about equal to that of one European soldier^ I think that he has had reason to alter that opinion.
– I think it is only fair to state that he said, “ with the amount of training they would get under the Defence Act.”
.- He used those words, at any rate. The Government might very well consider the advisability of accepting my amendment. A Minister with the courage and determination of Senator Pearce could exercise the power of appointment and control in such a manner that only those who richly deserved it should have the promotion. Moreover, consider the importance of these men from the training point of view. The Minister has said that the citizen officers will lead the troops in time of war, but the permanent officers will train the officers in the Citizen Forces. What better instructors could you get for the Citizen Forces than the officers who have been through a dreadful war, and have gained high rank and distinction ? They ‘ are the best instructors whom it will be possible to get for the next ten years to train the Citizen Forces.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN (South Australia) [8.0]. - The Minister has raised a number of imaginary difficulties about the application of this proposal. I am sure the mover and those supporting him do not. wish in any way to undermine the principles of the Defence Act, or interfere unduly with the Cadets of the Military College, but, according to the Minister, if we leave an opening for a returned soldier with special qualifications - for I do notthink the mover desires to apply it in any other case - to obtain permanent employment in the Defence Forces, the whole fabric of the Defence Act tumbles to the ground.
– No, that is not so.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.That was really the purport of the Minister’s remarks. I have the greatest admiration for the Cadets of the Military College, and all those who have had to do with them on active service know that they have made good in every possible way. I should never make one to interfere unduly with the existing enactment that officers appointed to our Permanent Forces must come from the Military College. To that extent I agree with that portion of Lord Kitchener’s report quoted by the Minister, but the amendment deals only with very special cases. When that report was framed we were training our Forces under peace conditions.
– But we had officers who had been through the South African war.
– We now have a number of men who have had three years and over of practical experience in the firing line. The Minister is unduly curtailing his own privileges in absolutely debarring those men from appointments to the Permanent Forces. No matter how specially qualified a man may be, even if he is a graduate of the University, and has higher educational qualifications than can be imparted at the Military College, or has specially distinguished himself at the Front, and shown his special fitness for leading men in the field the Minister is absolutely prohibited under the Defence Act as it stands from availing himself of his services’ in the Permanent Forces. It is not fair to the Minister to debar him, through some red-tape provision in the Act, from using the services of the very best menavailable for training our Forces. However valuable academical qualifications may be, practical experience in the field, and special fitness to command, are more valuable still. Practically the only decisive success achieved in this war has been achieved by men who had no Military College training. I refer to General Botha and General Smuts, his able lieutenant in South Africa, who did, under perhaps favorable circumstances, what we have not been able todo in any other field of action during the war - annexed large tracts of the enemy’s territory. The Minister and the Department should have the right,if special cases are brought under their notice, and special qualifications shown, to employ a returned soldier inthe Permanent Forces.
The question of patronage has been raised, butthe Minister has been able to grapple very successfully with that for the last three years or more. Naturally there have been occasional complaints of political patronage and undue influence in regard to the appointment and promotion of officers, but, considering the number of men we have sent to the Front, they have been very few indeed. We have enrolled, graded, and placed in positions in Australia and at the Front from 360,000 to 370,000 men, and the Minister has been able to do all this without incurring any very great difficulties in the way of political patronage. Surely he is able, in the case of the very small number of Permanent Force appointments’ to which this proposal will apply, notwithstanding the few extra difficulties that will be placed in his way by the opening of the gates to some extent, to allow returned soldiers in special cases to be appointed to permanent positions. A great deal of the Minister’s argument was special pleading, and if he persists in his opposition to the amendment I trust the Committee will show it’s good sense by carryingit. When we are endeavouring in every way to find employment for returned soldiers, it seems paradoxical to me that we should debar them from obtaining employment in the very line for which they are specially qualified.
Question - That the word “noncombatant,” proposed to be left out,be left out - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . …..4
Question so resolved in the negative.
Senator Lt.-Colonel BOLTON (Victoria) [8.12]. - I move -
That the following words be added to the clause : - “ Provided also that warrant and noncommissioned officers of the Permanent Forces may be appointed to the commissioned rank for the positions of adjutant and quartermaster to units of the Australian Military Forces.”
My object is to make some further provision for men who have well earned recognition for services rendered. A quartermaster has charge of the stores and equipment of a regiment, and requires special knowledge of routine, and of methods of caring for equipment, and keeping check of receipts and issues. The position is one which an active and intellectual non-commissioned officer is specially qualified to fill. The amendment would offer some outlet for men who have rendered many ‘years’ service in the Administrative and Instructional Staff of our Military Forces. The same argument applies to the position of adjutant. He is an officer capable of training noncommissioned officers in all the elementary work of their military duties. He has also a special knowledge of the routine administrative work of a unit. That is particularly the class of work that an efficient warrant officer or noncommissioned officer of the Administrative and Instructional Staff is qualified to fill. I may claim to have had some experience in this direction, and am sure from my experience that if the Government are given power to appoint warrant and non-commissioned officers to these positions it will be very much to the advantage of the service in general and the Military Forces of Australia in particular.
.- If the words “ adjutant and “ be left out the amendment will be acceptable to the Government. As Senator Bolton knows, adjutants are part of the staff, and that post is one step in the graduation to the chief staff position, so that the amendment, in its original form, would be like supplying a fifth wheel to the coach, because an adjutant could go no further. In the Staff Corps a man commences as an Area Officer, and from that position he may advance to that of a brigade-major, or it may be an adjutant of a militia unit. There he would get experience of administration, and could go on to a position in the brigade, or the district staff, becoming eventually a commandant or a staff officer of division. If an adjutant is included in the proviso, as submitted by Senator Bolton, that officer could not go on to the other staff positions, and would come in between the flow of promotions from an Area Officer to the highest staff position. On the other hand, the training which a non-commissioned officer gets specially fits him for the duties of a quartermaster, but not for those of an adjutant, because the latter’s duties are largely administrative, whereas the training a non-commissioned officer gets is largely instructional and in the care of stores. I move -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the words “ adjutant and.”
Senator Lt.-Colonel BOLTON (Victoria) [8.19]. - I suppose I must be thankful for small mercies, considering the brutal majority which the Government have.
– Order ! The honorable senator must not refer to any majority as “ brutal,” and he must withdraw the remark.
– I withdraw it, Mr. Chairman. I am aware that the correct attitude for a new member is to be seen and not heard, and had I consulted my own natural modesty I should certainly have been seen and not heard at this stage in my parliamentary career; but I felt that this was an occasion when I should speak. I accept the Minister’s suggestion.
Amendment of the .amendment agreed to.
Amendment, as amended, agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
– In moving -
That the Senate do now adjourn,
I desire to say that a Works Bill is before another place, and it is the desire of the Government to put it through so that the works may be undertaken. Therefore, it will be necessary for the Senate to meet to-morrow, but it is hoped that if the Bill referred to is disposed of, it will then not be necessary for the Senate to meet next week, because it is probable that other Government measures will not be ready before the end of the week.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 8.24 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 23 August 1917, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1917/19170823_SENATE_7_82/>.