Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 16 December 1914

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - I do not intend to make a serious attempt to discuss the Budget at this juncture. One recognises that by passing the last four months' Supply Bill we have practically approved of the whole of the expenditure for this year. Further consideration of financial matters will arise when the Budget proper necessarily comes before the Senate upon the resumption of our duties after the approaching adjournment. I propose to take advantage of the opportunity presented by the specific motion to direct attention to one or two matters which, though connected with the financial proposals of the Government, can hardly be regarded as directly involved in them. The first is one of a somewhat personal character. Since the outbreak of the war one has heard a good deal about the duty which is imposed upon all public men of, as far as possible, avoiding the introduction of mere politics into matters connected with the administration of the Defence Department. I think that I may say that I have honestly tried to give effect to what I believe to be a very general and sound course in that regard. I regret, therefore, that I should have to lodge something in the nature of a complaint inrespect of answers which have been given in the Senate to questions bearing upon the administration of the Defence Department during the time it was under my control. I have no right to expect, nor do I ask, that any criticism of anything I did during my term of office should be withheld, but I do suggest that if a political turn is to be given to questions of this kind and the replies thereto, it is unreasonable to expect that if honorable senators on one side are to refrain from criticism, no effort, however slight, will be made by honorable senators on the other side to extract a little political capital at the expense of their political opponents. I may be taking a somewhat exaggerated view of the matter I am about to refer to, but I feel justified in directing the attention of the Senate and the Minister of Defence to it. I refer particularly to the answers given to a series of questions submitted by Senator Barnes in relation to the purchase of motor lorries in the Commonwealth. Any one with political experience or instinct must have seen that the questions to which I refer contained a political bias. One of the questions was, for instance, whether certain motors of German manufacture had been purchased. The answer to that was, " Yes." I venture to say that the natural effect of that answer, without explanation, and, in fact, the purpose of the question, was to discredit the administration when it was in my hands. A further question was asked as to whether certain gentlemen who had been appointed upon the committee were not themselves leading representatives of importing firms. The answer again was, " Yes." I am speaking without the official record, but I think the Minister of Defence said that the committee was appointed by me to assist Colonel Legge. The only impression which any person not conversant with the facts could receive from these answers would be that, somehow or other, I ha3 called into existence, without Colonel Legge's concurrence, a committee whose business was to take away from him one of his responsibilities.

Senator Pearce - That is a very strained interpretation to put upon the answers to the questions.

Senator MILLEN - I intend to deal with these matters categorically. I hope I am right in accepting the Minister's interjection as an intimation that he had no intention to give the answer a political colour in any way.

Senator Pearce - I certainly had not.

Senator MILLEN - I do not know that I can do better than state the facts. When the question of forming a Transport Unit first came up, and was approved, Colonel Legge, Chief of the General Staff, waited on me, and told me two things that were pertinent to what I am now saying. First of all, he said that there was no one in the Department competent to buy motor vehicles. There was no one in the Department having sufficient mechanical or other requisite knowledge to enable him to go into the market and purchase these vehicles for the Department. It was Colonel Legge, the Chief of the General Staff, who recommended that this committee should be appointed, and he also nominated the gentlemen who formed that committee. I knew neither of the civilians nor the officer appointed to the committee. The whole thing was done on the recommendation of the senior responsible officer of the Department. Now comes the question of the origin of the motor lorries. Some of them, I believe, are of German manufacture, but I had no knowledge of that till the question was asked. The position was that the ordinary motor firms of Australia did not possess anything like the number of lorries required. The only way to obtain them was to secure them from business houses using them in connexion with their businesses. In other words, it was necessary for us to buy second-hand vehicles. The duty of the committee referred to was merely to examine the vehicles offered, to report as to their mechanical efficiency and suitability for the work, and to advise the Department as to the value which they, as experts, placed upon them. That was the sole purpose of the committee so far as I was aware of its functions. When the committee went to work, they invited the ordinary commercial firms of Australia to assist the Defence Department by offering vehicles to them. A great number, by various makers, were offered. To me it seems immaterial, in the circumstances, by whom a vehicle was made, so long as it is suitable for our purpose. The vehicles we purchased were not the property of Germans, and no German was paid a penny for them by the Defence Department. They were vehicles which were being used by Australian firms, and the Department in securing them, in my opinion, did the right thing. Honorable senators will have seen in the newspapers of the last day or two a statement that British troops, having captured a trench from the enemy, discovered a large number of trenching tools. They expressed the 'delight which they found in using these German implements because of their suitability for the work. One might as well turn round and say that our troops should never have made use of these German implements as say that the Defence Department should not have purchased a motor lorry of German manufacture which was suitable for the work required of it.

Senator Pearce - Was there anything in the answers given to the questions that implied there was anything wrong about them ?

Senator MILLEN - No; but there the answer stands without any explanation. The question was whether German vehicles were bought, and the answer was "Yes." I am entitled to mention the circumstances and conditions.

Senator Pearce - But the honorable senator should not infer that there was any desire to cast a slur on him, because he is aware that, in answering questions, it is contrary to the parliamentary rule to give opinions.

Senator MILLEN - I know that opinions frequently are given, and I have been long enough in Parliament, and in charge of a Department, to know that there are two ways of shaping the answer to a question. Senator Gardiner admits that he knows that that is so. The honorable senator has already developed very considerable skill in giving to questions submitted in this Chamber answers clearly designed for the purpose of not giving information.

Senator Pearce - I may tell the honorable senator that the answers to which he refers were not shaped by the Minister.

Senator MILLEN - I am meeting the Minister of Defence fairly. I accepted his early interjection as an intimation that he had no desire to give a political colour to the answer.

Senator Ferricks - It was unfortunate that Colonel Tarrant should have been a member of the Advisory Board if he is connected with the Tarrant Motor Company.

Senator MILLEN - He was not purchasing from the Tarrant Motor Company. So far as I know, the Department did not purchase a single box of grease, let alone a car, from that company. I accepted the advice of Colonel Legge in the matter.

Senator Ferricks - Did not the Tarrant Motor Company supply any of the vehicles ?

Senator MILLEN - No; they had none to supply. The gentlemen forming the Board did not purchase these motor lorries. They got their mechanical experts to examine the vehicles and to advise as to their efficiency, and whether they were suitable for the work. Having done that, they advised the Department of the value which they placed upon vehicles which did not come into competition with anything they had to sell, but were vehicles in ordinary use by the commercial firms of Australia. I venture to say that these gentlemen rendered a distinct public service. They are busy men, who had their own occupations to follow, and I venture to say that if they had chosen to do so they could have made a considerable sum of money - knowing, as they did, exactly what was wanted - by acquiring options over vehicles which they knew were suitable for the purpose, and selling them afterwards.

Senator Pearce - As a matter of fact, they saved the Department a considerable sum.

Senator MILLEN - I am glad to hear that. It is a very poor return for their services that their public-spirited action should be twisted so as to make it appear that they were gaining a personal advantage at the public cost. I have stated the circumstances as they appear to me. In the absence of this explanation, anybody reading the answers of which I complain would assume that in some way or other I had given a preference to German manufactures - that I had deliberately passed over manufactures from other portions of the Empire and had put a profit into German pockets. As a matter of fact, there was not a purchase which affected a German firm to the extent of one one-hundredth part of a penny. Speaking personally, I may say that I could feel no greater pride in my life than I should experience in riding into Berlin in one of their fine Benz oars. I should be intensely gratified to make the entry into that city in a vehicle taken from the Germans themselves.

Senator Pearce - The very fact that I did not disband the committee after I took office - if there was any foundation for the honorable senator's deduction - would make me a party to his crime.

Senator MILLEN - I have already accepted the Minister's assurance on the matter. But the answers to the questions asked did suggest the possibility of political capital being made out of my action in purchasing these motor lorries of German origin. I come now to a matter of very much greater significance. I must admit that I feel intense disappointment upon studying the Estimates to find how little it is proposed to do in the way of despatching further contingents from the Commonwealth during the next six months.

Senator O'KEEFE (TASMANIA) - Why, Senator Gould, yesterday, was complaining of too much expenditure.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - Not on the war.

Senator MILLEN - Not a single word was said yesterday in protest against our expenditure on the war.

Senator O'Keefe - Senator Gould said that this was a time for retrenchment.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - In the ordinary services of government.

Senator MILLEN - Here is another attempt to twist the utterances of an opponent in order that political capital may be made out of them. I venture to say that if Senator O'Keefe will read yesterday's debate as it will appear in Hansard he will find that not a word was said in the way of criticism of war expenditure, except that the taxation proposals which we were then considering did not provide one single penny towards our war commitments. All the criticism was directed against the ordinary current expenditure of the Government, which, this year, will be greatly in excess of that of any previous year. I wish the Minister to accept my assurance that what I am about to say in regard to the despatch of more contingents to the front is not uttered in any hostile spirit, but rather with a view to strengthening his hands in the direction of making further effort. Of course there are certain matters which render it undesirable that I should go too much into detail. But the Minister will understand the foundation of the statements I propose to make in reference to the equipment of our Expeditionary Forces. Some time ago the honorable gentleman showed himself in entire sympathy with the view which I expressed when I said that we ought all to regard what we are doing not so much in the nature of assistance to the Empire as in the nature of Australia fighting for its own existence. I stated that we were as much involved in war as if the Germans were invading our shores. That being so, we are called upon to put forward not a reasonable effort such as we can make with comfort to ourselves, but the utmost effort of which we are capable. I must confess to a feeling of disappointment that when this matter cropped . up some time ago an attempt was made to compare what Australia was doing in connexion with the war with what was being done by other parts of the Empire.

Senator Pearce - Does the honorable senator refer to what occurre'd in another place ? A comparison was instituted there by one of his own colleagues, and the figures were given here in rebuttal.

Senator MILLEN - Whether the comparison was instituted by one of my own party or by the Minister is an entirely wrong way of sizing up our responsibilities. We ought not to be content to ask, "Are we doing as much as is being done by another portion of the Empire?" The real standard ought to be decided by the question, "Are we doing our best? " Are we doing the utmost of which we are capable in this struggle which is to determine whether Australia shall continue her national existence. It cannot be said, that Australia has put forward her full effort. We have been told by the Prime Minister that we are prepared to sacrifice our last shilling and our last man in aiding the Empire in this titanic struggle. That sentiment, I think, expresses the view of the great majority of our people.

Senator Barker - I suppose that the honorable senator will be the last man.

Senator MILLEN - I would be the last man to make such an absurd interjection. I ask those who can be serious upon a serious question whether they pretend that Australia has already put forward the fullest effort of which she is capable? Let us see what we have done, and what it is possible to do yet. In the first three months of the war Australia had enlisted, trained, and equipped over 20,000 men. As a matter of fact, our first contingent was available for embarkation within ten weeks of the outbreak of the war.

Senator Pearce - No.

Senator MILLEN - I repeat that that contingent was due to embark and to rendezvous at Albany on the 7th October.

Senator Pearce - It was due to do that, but it was not equipped.

Senator MILLEN - It was equipped, according to the report of General Bridges.

Senator Pearce - It was not equipped when I came into office.

Senator MILLEN - I do not understand the Minister's statement.

Senator Pearce - It is a fact.

Senator MILLEN - I was told by these gentlemen that arrangements had been made either for the requisite supplies to be furnished to the first Expeditionary Force prior to their embarkation, or for those supplies to meet them on their arrival in Britain. It was in consequence of these arrangements that the troopships were to rendezvous at Albany on the 7th October.

Senator Pearce - If they had sailed on the date originally fixed they would have been minus an important part of their equipment.

Senator MILLEN - I only know that sailing instructions were given on the advice of responsible officers that the troops would be ready.

Senator McDougall - There was something else which was not ready.

Senator MILLEN - That does not affect the question as to whether Australia had succeeded in getting 20,000 troops together within the period I haveindicated. However, those troops sailed within three months of the outbreak of war. In the meantime we proceeded to enlist other troops. Up to the present moment I think I am correct in saying that something like 33.000 men, including the first contingent, certain smaller units and the forces now in camp, will shortly be available for service abroad.

Senator Pearce - Forty -two thousand troops have been provided for and are in training, including the first and second Expeditionary Forces.

Senator MILLEN - The reply of the Minister makes my argument a little stronger. I gathered that 22,000 or 23,000 men had. already gone from our shores, and that 16,000 or 17.000 were in camp at the time the Budget statement was made. That makes a total, roughly, of 39,000. Now the Estimates show clearly that it is only intended to despatch 42,000 troops during the current financial year. That means that only another 3,000 men are to be enlisted between the present time and the end of the current financial year.

Senator Pearce - That is not so. Since the Estimates were submitted there has been an alteration in regard to the reinforcements. At the time the Budget statement was made it was announced that reinforcements would be sent forward at the rate of 3,000 per month. These reinforcements are not included in the 42,000 troops to which I have referred. That number only takes us up to the end of the present calendar year.

Senator MILLEN - I am very pleased to hear the Minister's statement. When this matter first cropped up, while the Minister was speaking I made an interjection and received an answer from which I took down the figures I have quoted. I am delighted to find that 9,000 more troops than I had anticipated are to be sent from Australia. I can only again express my gratification that we are enlarging the number. I regret that the Minister, by his interjection, appears to think that I arn seeking to find fault with his efforts merely for a captious purpose. I again ask him to accept my assurance that I am endeavouring to strengthen his hands, and to elicit from this Chamber an expression of opinion which will show that the Government will have the country behind them in any supreme effort which they may make in the direction of Australia doing her utmost to prosecute her share in this unfortunate war. What I was about to ask the Minister was whether it is intended to discontinue recruiting when the requisite number has been obtained. We cannot resist the impression that is created by certain remarks which we occasionally hear, and by certain statements which are published in various journals, to the effect that we will send more men if their services are needed. But we shall never know whether they are needed until, perhaps, it is too late to make use of them. I urge the Minister to lose no opportunity of proceeding with enlistment, and, if fortunately - as we all hope - the war should terminate earlier than I anticipate, the worst which can happen will be that Australia will have expended a larger sum of money than was necessary.

Senator Pearce - It has already been announced that every man who offers for service, and who is medically fit, will be accepted for training.

Senator Bakhap - How many men have been recruited up to the present?

Senator MILLEN - About 39,000.

Senator Pearce - We are definitely committed to 42,000 up to the end of this calendar year, and also to reinforcements at the rate of 3,000 per month. That, however, will not prevent us sending more men if more are available, and if we can equip them.

Senator MILLEN - I quite recognise that a difficulty will be experienced in equipping them. I do not think that we shall encounter any difficulty in securing the services of all the troops whom we can properly equip. But it has been argued that it is useless to send illtrained and ill-equipped troops Home. I readily recognise that; but I do not want to see a moderate pace adopted, to be followed now and then by a sudden speeding up to meet an emergency. We should deal with the matter vigorously to-day. There is not quite so rauch difficulty in regard to equipment as some people, think.

Senator de Largie - We ought to increase the age limit.

Senator MILLEN - At first no one under nineteen was accepted; but the age was afterwards reduced to eighteen, with a proviso, however, that, as there is a vast difference betAveen different boys, the doctors were to subject lads of eighteen to a very rigid examination before passing them. The matter of increasing the age at the other end, which, I understand, is Senator de Largie's meaning, would depend very much on the extent to which troops were offering. There will doubtless be some difficulty in equipping a larger number of troops than we are preparing at present, and I am sure the Minister finds a difficulty in equipping the number he is handling now; but equipment can be divided roughly into two parts. The first, which is personal to the soldier, such as uniform, boots, belts, accoutrements, mess requirements, and kit generally, it is possible to obtain in Australia by stepping outside the ordinary departmental routine, which, I am sure, the Minister would discard at once if it stood in the road of prompt action. Australia can supply all the equipment necessary for the personal requirements of the soldier, and also the regimental equipment, such as teutage, transport waggons, and things of that kind. I do not say we can order it to-day and get it to-morrow; but if we decided to enlarge our contingents, we could, by proceeding to deal with the matter to-day, have all the necessary equipment ready by the time the units were formed. The difficulty in regard to equipment, therefore, is narrowed down to the question of rifles. I am not going to mention numbers, but the number of our rifles is no more unlimited than it is in Great Britain. I can say, however, that there are in Australia sufficient rifles to enable us to arm any force which we think reasonably large enough to repel any raiding expedition, while still leaving enough to arm and send away much larger contingents than we have so far contemplated.

Senator O'Keefe - We are recruiting about one in fifteen of our population, which is more in proportion than Great Britain is doing.

Senator MILLEN - No. Great Britain, with a population of 40,000,000, is calling together 2,000,000 men outside her regular Army; but that is a wrong basis from which to regard the matter, when our national existence is at stake. The point is, are we doing our best? I believe Great Britain is.

Senator O'Keefe - The Minister says we are recruiting every individual who is medically accepted. Can we do any better?

Senator MILLEN - Yes. The Minister could double the number of recruits per day if he wished.

Senator O'Keefe - By lowering the standard ?

Senator MILLEN - No; by multiplying our recruiting agencies. We have made no special efforts to obtain recruits.

Senator de Largie - I do not think they are making very great efforts in Great Britain.

Senator MILLEN - (They have done marvellously well. All we have done is to receive any recruits that came along. It has been in the highest sense a voluntary enlistment.

Senator Pearce - The difficulty does not lie in the getting of the men.

Senator MILLEN - I quite agree. The difficulty is in the training and the equipment. I have dealt with the latter.

Senator Pearce - You have not touched the training. That is the important point.

Senator MILLEN - The training difficulties can be overcome, even though they arise from the need of supplying a large and unusual demand.

Senator Pearce - I do not agree with you in one regard, about which I cannot reply to you. I agree that we can get over the personal equipment difficulty.

Senator MILLEN - There is no difficulty in the matter of providing personal equipment, transport waggons, or horses. That brings us to a question of the training and the arms. At one period we were training about 30,000 troops, in addition to a large number of Citizen Forces. I particularly directed that anything we did in regard to the Expeditionary Forces should not stop the home training of our troops, because amgap or interregnum in the training of our young soldiers would be a serious matter. I am glad the Minister is carrying on that policy; but as the contingents go away they set free for the purpose of training other units a large number of the instructional staff.

Senator Pearce - And how many of the instructional staff do they take away ?

Senator MILLEN - I do not know, but I directed that no man was to be allowed to go with the Expeditionary Force whose presence was necessary to the efficient training of troops remaining in Australia.

Senator Pearce - I wish that instruction had been observed.

Senator MILLEN - Admitting that there will be difficulty in obtaining instructors, it should not bo insurmountable. A large number of militia officers, some of high rank, have told me that they are willing to do sergeantmajors' work if the Government will I"1 them know that their services are required. There is a large amount of useful material at present unutilized.

Senator Pearce - We are availing ourselves of the services of every man that offers.

Senator MILLEN - That is very much like the recruiting policy. No special effort is being made to get the men that are wanted.

Senator Pearce - Notification to that effect has gone out in all the military orders.

Senator MILLEN - There are a large number of senior officers who admit that they are not capable of going into the field, but are able and willing to instruct raw recruits.

Senator Pearce - Look a.t the Government Gazette, and see the number of militia officers being utilized.

Senator MILLEN - The point is the number we are not utilizing. The Minister does not seem to receive my suggestions with open arms.

Senator Pearce - I am rather surprised at some of them, in view of the fact that you have certain knowledge.

Senator MILLEN - I cannot help thinking that by calling to our aid a number of the militia officers who have dropped out of the active ranks, a great deal could be done towards the efficient training of troops, although I do not say it would be an ideal system, or that by this means we could get all the men with all the qualifications we want. With regard to rifles, it is useless sending men away to fight without placing rifles in their hands here, or being sure that there is one waiting for each of them at the scene of action, but it is a question of simple arithmetic. The difference between the number in Australia and the number we ought reasonably to keep here to meet emergencies, represents the number we can send abroad. There are other rifles available than those under the control of the Defence Department. I should be the last to recall unnecessarily those held by members of rifle clubs, but the original issue to them was one rifle for every ten members. This was later increased to one for every five members. If found necessary it would be no great hardship to ask the riflemen to fall back to the original allotments, making one rifle do double service, until the emergency passed away. Then there is quite a decent number of rifles scattered about Australia which are not officially under the control of the Department. Many of them are match rifles which have been purchased. The Department might take steps to ascertain the number of rifles of the .303 pattern in Australia.

Senator Pearce - The rifles in the hands of the rifle clubs are noi service rifles, and many of them are not magazine rifles.

Senator MILLEN - I know that, but they use the same ammunition. I am not suggesting that these rifles should be sent abroad, but I do say that at the present time we have to ask ourselves, What is the prospect of Australia being invaded ? If there is a possibility of invasion, we want a larger number of rifles retained than we would do if there was no such prospect. I venture to say that until something happens on the blue waters there is not the slightest chance of Australia being attacked. Whatever chance of a raiding expedition there was disappeared beneath the waters with the Emden, the Scharnhorst, and the Gneisenau. We are reasonably free, and, therefore, I think that we can denude our supplies to a greater extent, and with safety, than we could have done if those raiding cruisers were still afloat. 1 do not propose to give any figures as to the number of rifles here, but I express the opinion that there is a sufficient number to enable us, without leaving the country defenceless, to make provision within the next six months to send abroad a larger number of troops than is contemplated at present. It has to be remembered in connexion with rifles that we have a factory. It has not turned out the quantity which we had reason to expect, but it is now moving upwards, and, with the aid of overtime and an extra shift, it can be speeded up still further. All these considerations have to be taken into account. I am referring to these matters because I believe that, just as in the matter of charity, he who gives quickly gives twice, so the effort we can render to-day, if it is made promptly, would be much more effective than anything we might be able to do some months hence. What has happened in that long-drawn-out contest, not yet finally decided, which has spread from the north of France and into Belgium, can hardly have escaped notice. Reading what we are allowed by the censor to read, it must be borne in upon everybody that the two sides have been very evenly matched. The most that can be said for either side is that it has held its own. There have been little temporary advantages here and little temporary disadvantages somewhere else. Latterly it would appear as though fortune was favouring our troops, and that the steady pressure they are asserting is beginning to tell. But it can hardly be disputed that when two armies, spread over a long front, are so evenly matched that neither can make any great impression on the other, the side which could throw even a moderate addition of strength into its fighting line would obtain a distinct and immediate advantage. It is like a tug-of-war, with two teams evenly balanced. If a man could be added to either team he would turn the scale, and so in this war victory would go to the side that was able to hurry up reinforcements. It is for that reason, I think, that any help we could give would be increased a hundredfold in value if we could render it at once, rather than that we should go by leisurely steps, and propose to continue to send reinforcements towards the end of next year. There is one other view of this case to which I am induced to refer by some newspaper comments. It has been said, with regard to the matter of rifles and equipment, that we will denude Australia if we send them abroad. The question is whether they would be of most use in Europe or in Australia. That is the point which moves me in the matter. As regards denuding this country, is not Great Britain denuding itself of its armaments, military supplies, and equipment? It is doing that, and no one would consider for a moment that we were denuding Australia if there was an invasion here, and we sent our troops to fight. Let us consider that we are sending them to fight for Australia just as much as if the battle was being waged in our territory. The gun retained in Australia is comparatively useless. The gun which is operated on the battle-field of Europe is that which is going to tell. I trust that the desire to adequately protect the shores of Australia will not be allowed to be carried to such a great extent as to paralyze the effort which I think we ought to make in throwing to the very utmost the last pound of assistance we can render - tne last pound of strength which we can bring to bear - behind the forces that are fighting for our existence as well as their own.

Senator Senior - It should be remembered that it was much easier to raise a force in the beginning than it is now.

Senator MILLEN - I do not mind answering the interjection, but I do not wish it to be thought that in doing so I am trying to minimize the difficulties of the Minister of Defence and magnify those which confronted me. There are increasing difficulties as we go on utilizing the supplies which are available to us. There are also increasing facilities, because, having in the matter of supplies got firms that never catered before to take in hand our work, they are in a better position to repeat the order than they were to do the work in the first instance, so that there are advantages and disadvantages the farther we go into the matter. I understand, I think, and sympathize with, all the difficulties with which the Minister is confronted in extemporizing the means for obtaining the very large quantity of supplies which are necessary. I know, also, the difficulties that arise when a Department, which has been broken in to move by rule and regulation, is suddenly required to resort to expedience. I do not want it to be thought that I am reflecting on the military officers or on officials generally, but one must recognise that official training does not lead to initiative. It rather stereotypes the officers. They move between regulations. They get a little ner- vous when they are asked to go outside them, and they do not allow for the expedients which have to be resorted to in an emergency like the present one. Knowing that, and having had experience, all my sympathies and good wishes are with my honorable friend the Minister in what I know must be a strenuous task. I rose, not with a desire to criticise what he is doing, not with a wish to hamper him in any way, but with the belief tbat we ought to endeavour to make some larger effort than is being made to-day, and because the matter seemed to me so serious that it was in the nature of a public duty on ray part to express myself as I have done. Let me finish by saying that if it is possible that I have made any error in the calculations on which I have based my remarks, I shall be the very first to admit that I have been too optimistic as to what Australia can do, but I cannot resist the conclusion that if the Minister will make up his mind that we should enlarge our efforts, Australia can supplement what has been done by a greater addition than I understand is contemplated by him.

Debate (on motion by Senatorde Largie) adjourned to a later hour.

Suggest corrections