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Thursday, 24 September 1936


Senator SAMPSON (Tasmania) . - At the outset may I say that I trust that I shall not give Senator Leckie spiritual vertigo or, myself, burst into tears. When I spoke on this subject last Thursday, I meant every word I said. I spoke with all sincerity, and if I were guilty of giving any honorable senator spiritual vertigo or of conveying the impression that I was about to burst into tears, I apologize. I spoke feelingly of a Matabele who was my friend. Whether a mau be black, yellow, brown, or brindle, if he gives his life for you, it is impossible to recall him to memory without betraying some emotion. The cheap sneer to which I was subjected by Senator Leckie rankles.

As to the amendment, which involves the consideration of which procedure has the better prospects of success, I am quite satisfied that if a resolution of this Senate is sent to the League of Nations, that will be the end of it; it will be safely stowed away in a pigeon-hole and we shall hear no more of it. I listened very carefully to the speech delivered by the Leader of the Government (Senator Pearce), but probably prepared by the Department of External Affairs. The right honorable gentleman suggested that if Senator Abbott's motion were carried and a resolution were sent to His Majesty the King, His Majesty would return it to his advisers in Australia. Honorable senators may be quite sure from what they have heard to-night that it would then be decently or indecently interred. Apparently whatever we do we shall be up against a stone wall. I remind those who sneer at people who have dreams or visions, that I speak as one who has had six years' experience of actual warfare - two years in the South African War and four years of active service in various parts of the world during the Great War. I know at first hand of the horrors of war and I am prepared to support any effort to obviate them. The objective of Senator Abbott may be regarded as idealistic; it may be a dream; no one contends that the adoption of a common language would guarantee peace throughout the world. But we do seriously suggest that if the nations adopted a common language which could be. taught to the rising generation, such a means of exchanging thought would be a powerful factor in promoting international understanding and goodwill. We are too old to learn a new language now and most of us here will never live to see its adoption but we can repose our faith in the children. I was very surprised that Senator Leckie, who is such a keen pro- tagonist of the manufacturers, was not keen on a. manufactured language. I think the Senate might quite well dismiss any fear that it might make itself ridiculous in the eyes of the world if it sent a resolution based on this motion to His Majesty the King. It is preposterous to suggest that His -Majesty would lose 'prestige if some nations declined his invitation to be represented at a convention. Such a suggestion in relation to the head of the great British Commonwealth of Nations is childish. I hope that the amendment will not be carried, and that a resolution will be sent to His Majesty the King. It has been said that we should confine ourselves to practical things; but I remind honorable senators that all worthwhile things in this world, the things which give some people spiritual vertigo, were conceived in the minds of dreamers and idealists - men whose minds were not trammelled by considerations of pounds, shillings and pence and other material factors. I trust that the Senate -will agree to the motion.







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