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Thursday, 1 August 1912


Senator RAE (New South Wales) . - I move -

1.   That, in the opinion of the Senate, the

Defence Act should be at once amended to provide that under no circumstances should any member of the Citizen Defence Force (other than members of the Permanent Paid Forces) be compelled to bear arms or serve in any military capacity against their Australian fellowcitizens.

2.   That the concurrence of the House of

Representatives in the foregoing be requested.

I would remind honorable senators that a very similar motion was submitted by me in August of last session, and that it met with some opposition, and was not fully debated. I do not intend to detain honorable senators by discussing this proposal at great length, although I believe it is of sufficient importance to warrant them in bestowing upon it their unbiased attention. Many statements have been made in opposition to it, most of which are entirely wide of the mark, inasmuch as they show unmistakably that some of those who have read it do not thoroughly appreciate its meaning. Many of the objections urged to it do not touch it in any way. For instance, I have been told that it would be unconstitutional to provide in any Act that certain citizens of the Commonwealth shall be subjected to different treatment from that to which other citizens are subjected. Again, it has been urged - and I know that certain newspapers have echoed the statement - that the proposal is an attempt to allow lawlessness to prevail, and to tie the hands of this Parliament, so that it cannot suppress domestic violence. Of course, the implication is that it is an effort to allow unionists - in the event of an industrial dispute - to run riot, to endanger life, and, in fact, to do whatever they may think fit for the purpose of accomplishing their ends. Needless to say, such a statement does not reflect in any way the intention of the motion. It is true that in most civilized countries any disturbances which arise usually flow from industrial disputes. While I believe that modern legislation is tending to discover peaceful methods of settling these disturbances, yet every thoughtful person must realize that, so far as legislation is concerned, we are only at the beginning of our search. We are living under a system of commercialism which is constantly tending to diminish the wages of employes, and so to force them into revolt against the desperate straits to which competition reduces them. Therefore, it is quite within the bounds of possibility that industrial disturbances may arise. But this motion is not limited in any way to- the cause of any trouble the suppression of which may involve the use of force. It is all-embracing in the sense that it calls upon this Parliament so to amend our Defence Act that our Citizen Forces shall be used for the purposes for which they were really intended to be used when the scheme was launched, namely, to protect this country against foreign aggression. It was not intended that they should ever turn their arms against their fellow Australians. When I gave notice of this motion, Senator Gould, by interjection, inquired, " Why exempt the members of the Permanent Forces?" In much the same spirit I have been asked whether it would not be just as fatal for a man to be shot by a member of the Permanent Forces as by an ordinary soldier. These questions indicate that the object of the motion is not fully understood. This proposal is not an attempt to prevent the suppression of domestic violence should it ever threaten bloodshed or the destruction of life and property. When such conditions arise, I believe that steps must be taken to prevent chaos being brought about by the action of any body of persons, no matter how numerous or influential they may be. But it is quite conceivable that it may not always be the industrial classes who will be in revolt. It may so happen that a distaste of democratic legislation may so offend the classes which will be detrimentally affected thereby as to cause them in some foolish moment to make use of those who are in their pay to revolt against the decisions of this Parliament. I know that my ideas upon this matter are regarded as being farfetched. Only last year, when I brought forward the motion, the Minister of Defence stated that it was inconceivable that there would ever be any necessity in Australia to call out Federal troops to suppress domestic violence. Yet, within a period of six months from the time that he spoke, the Queensland Government actually attempted to obtain the use of the troops for the purpose that I foreshadowed. It is true that the wisdom and common sense of the Government prompted them to decline the invitation. It is equally true that one political party in this country condemned the Ministry in unmeasured terms for having refused, to grant the military aid desired. Of course, I do not accuse honorable sena tors opposite of entertaining these views, because they have evidently concluded that it is a very bad card to play. During the debate upon the Address-in-Reply, they steadfastly refused to be drawn into any expression of opinion in regard to this matter.


Senator de Largie - Surely they have not repudiated the action of their leaders.


Senator RAE - They have certainly found that this particular card was a very bad one to play, and accordingly they have left their leader in the lurch over it. They are not prepared to indorse his wild and bloodthirsty utterances in that' connexion. We are in a transition age, when the industrial and social unrest which exists in this country is only slight as compared with that which prevails in every other civilized land. Whether the efforts which the Labour and Socialistic parties are making to stem the evils wrought by the plutocratic system under which we live will be successful in warding off revolution is not for me to say. But anything is possible in the years ahead if we look at the unsettled conditions which are being created by the extreme wealth on the one hand and the ever-growing poverty on the other. My chief contention - and it is the one which warrants me in pressing forward, this motion - is that Australia would never have consented to compulsory military training and service but for the fear of foreign aggression from the coloured races who are located not far distant from our northern boundary. Had it not been for that fear - whether it is well grounded or not, is quite beside the question - any attempt by any Commonwealth party to foist that system, with all its disabilities, its heavy cost, and its many objectionable features, upon the people of Australia, would have been laughed into thin air. My contention is that to compel the young men of this country - against their will, it may be, in many cases - io enroll for the purpose of defending Australia against the outside aggression which is feared, and then to use them as a body of troops under any conceivable conditions to turn their arms and their military knowledge against their "own fellow Australian citizens, is not merely to enroll them under false pretences, but to violate the root principles of Democracy. I cannot conceive that any one deserving the title of Democrat can oppose the spirit of the proposal which I have put forward. It is true that verbal amendments might possibly be made which would considerably improve the motion. I am not concerned about that. This is not a proposed Act of Parliament. It simply asks for an expression of opinion on a principle. Therefore, the mere words in which the motion is clothed are not in themselves of pre-eminent importance. My concern is primarily for the working classes ; the others can look out for themselves. When we Consider the vast evils which militarism has inflicted, we need not be surprised that amongst the working classes in every civilized country - and it is they who have to bear this heavy burden, and against whom military force is frequenty employed to suppress any attempt to better their condition - there is a vast and growing movement to pledge themselves never to turn their arms against their fellow citizens. In fact, to embody the sentiment m one sentence, there is a growing feeling that no white man should ever turn his arms against another white man. Although that movement may not be of the all-embracing character which some of my socialistic friends would like - because they would like to see a universal brotherhood of white and black, and yellow and brown - yet its triumph would be a great step in advance, and certainly Australia, which boasts of being in the forefront of Democracy, should set an exampe in this respect.


Senator St Ledger - Is it not the policy of the honorable senator's party to make Australia an armed nation?


Senator RAE - The policy of my Government and my party, as far as I can understand it, is to have every citizen of this country trained so that, in the event of the threatened danger from abroad coming upon us, each will be able to take his part in an intelligent way to overcome the aggression.


Senator de Largie - What would the honorable senator do with the Badgers, the Denhams, and men of that kind?


Senator RAE - The people themselves can suppress persons of that kind when they have the intelligence to do it; and when they cease to be misled by the St. Ledgers and other men of his character, the Badgers will cease from troubling, and the Denhams will be at rest. As far as my proposal is said to be inoperative, I would call attention to the fact that our Defence Act provides that, in the event of domestic violence, the Permanent Forces, if it were deemed necessary by the Commonwealth Government to call out troops, must be utilized first; arid if those troops are insufficient, the other arms of the Service can be called upon in. such numbers as may be requisite to cope with the trouble. I do not propose for a moment to alter that portion of the Act. What I propose is to say that a cadet who enrolls - who is compelled to enroll whether he likes it or not - shall not be used by being turned against his fellow citizens when any Government sees fit. If the Permanent Forces of the Common wealth are not capable of suppressing domestic violence, the Government have the option of calling upon those who like to volunteer for service. But no one ought to be dubbed a traitor, or a mutineer, or a rebel, if he says, " This is not the work for which I was enrolled as a soldier. I undertook this duty, under the compulsion of the law, to defend my country against a foreign foe, who might try to violate its integrity. But I am not going out to shoot down my fellow worker, my brother, or my father." Under those circumstances, it would only be those who willingly responded to the call, if we were threatened with domestic violence, who would assist the Permanent Forces. Should any manifestly wrong course be taken by any State or group of States, in turning against the Commonwealth, or should one State turn against another, there is no doubt that there would be no lack of that broad patriotism which would cause thousands of our fellow citizens to respond in order to maintain and uphold the integrity of our Federal Union and to preserve the rights, the lives, and the property of the citizens of the country. But when a State Government, like that of Queensland recently, endeavours to entrap the Commonwealth Government into sending Federal troops into a State, I say that it should be optional on every citizen to say whether or not he will respond to such a call. If we had a Conservative Government in power in the Commonwealth, there might be a likelihood of that being done which the Queensland Government demanded.


Senator Henderson - No; the other party would never have been asked to send troops.


Senator RAE - I am quite well aware of the strength of the position taken up by Senator Henderson in his interjection - that for political purposes a tactical move wasmade in asking the present Government to send troops to Queensland. However willing a Conservative Government might be, they certainly would hesitate before they would court destruction by such an act. But my reading of proverbs has made me very much attached to one, namely, " Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."


Senator McGregor - That is what Senator St. Ledger has so often said.


Senator RAE - Then he has said something good in his time, although it was not original.


Senator Long - Curran said that a hundred years ago.


Senator RAE - Even if Senator St. Ledger were the author of the proverb, or had been the first to use it, it would not necessarily be wrong. It is immaterial to me who was the author. Even amongst the worst of us there is some good ; so that there is hope even for Senator St. Ledger. Whilst the position which I have described might be assumed by a Conservative Government, we should nevertheless, when we have the opportunity, make ourselves safe, and in this respect, I think it would be wise to render it impossible for the Commonwealth Government to compel any of our Citizen Forces to serve in a military capacity against the workers of this country.


Senator Guthrie - That would be unBritish.


Senator RAE - Un- British to preserve to any one his freedom?


Senator Guthrie - Yes.


Senator RAE - Then I hope we shall always be un-British.


Senator Guthrie - The press-gang could be used under the British law to-day.


Senator RAE - Senator Guthrie, as a North Britisher, may see virtue even in the press-gang, but I do not think that his interjection is pertinent. We are told that when every citizen is a soldier, or is possessed of the rudiments of military knowledge, the workers, being in a majority in this country, and having been drilled and trained to execute military manoeuvres, will be in a position, if there is any trouble, to resent any violence which the authorities may attempt to inflict upon them. That argument, however, is a strong incentive to a state of armed rebellion, and goes a great deal further than anything I have been charged with advocating. I will put this position to honorable senators, and if it does not appeal to my honorable friends opposite, I am sure that it will to those on my own side. In the event of there being a dispute in any State, which was likely to result in an outbreak of domestic violence, what course would probably be taken? It would be that of calling in the arms and ammunition from the disaffected district so as to deprive those who were likely to resent being shot down with the means of resisting. The next step would be to take troops from a place distant from the scene of the trouble, who were not likely to have very strong sympathy with those whom it was desired to deal with, and to send them to the spot.


Senator de Largie - The honorable senator is thinking of the way the cockyfarmers' sons acted in Queensland?


Senator RAE - Just so; and I believe that the authorities could get a few people of that kind from the district where I live.


Senator de Largie - Even the cocky farmers' sons will get sense in time.


Senator RAE - I want to keep trouble of that kind from developing.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - I thought the honorable senator wanted to leave it optional for citizens to volunteer?


Senator RAE - That is so; but I .think the honorable senator will agree with me in this respect, that there would be no possibility, by any law under the sun, of preventing anybody from volunteering for armed service if called upon to do so by the governing authorities. Therefore, I do not propose the impossible in that direction. My point al] along is not that we are going so to alter things that we shall bring about any industrial or pacific milliennium. But my object is that no Australian citizen who is armed ostensibly for one purpose shall be compelled to use his arms and his military knowledge for an entirely different purpose. I want to provide against a day when, if the pendulum does swing in another direction, the Conservative and reactionary classes of this community may again obtain temporary command.


Senator Guthrie - Never !


Senator RAE - I hope so, too, but instead of living on hopes, I want certainty.


Senator McGregor - The honorable senator would not attain certainty, because they would be able to amend the law if they had the power.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - The honorable senator's own party are at present proposing to inflict pains and penalties.


Senator RAE - If pains and penalties are proposed by any measure, the honorable senator can deal with them when the subject is under review. The VicePresident of the Executive Council has just interjected that if such a time as I have indicated arrived, the reactionary party would, be able to alter the law. That brings me to a point which I think must be obvious to the most meagre intelligence. As the law stands at present, it is an Executive act to sanction the use of troops for the suppression of domestic violence. If, under the law, as I propose, no person who was unwilling to undertake such duty could be sent to suppress domestic violence, it would be possible for the reactionary party to revert to the present condition of things only by another amendment of the law. In such a case the Democratic party would at least represent, a considerable minority, and there' would be a vast difference between the passing of an Executive minute by a Government, trusting to indemnity afterwards, and the amendment of a law in the light of day and in the face of public criticism. It. is not enough for me to trust that future Governments will be sufficiently humane to abstain from such an Executive act, and I say that, having a majority now, we should carry an amendment of the law which will render it practically impossible for any Government to commit such an act without the consent of the persons who would be detailed for duty in the suppression of domestic violence. The question 5s not whether domestic violence shall be suppressed, but whether citizens who are compelled to be trained for the definite purpose of defending the country against foreign aggression shall be used by any possible combination in the future to shoot down their fellow Australians. Let us consider what may happen in countries where conscription is the law. Recently thousands of industrial workers in France were ordered to join their regiments to be ready for active duty, if called upon, to shoot down their fellow toilers, unless disputes which had arisen in connexion with the railways were otherwise settled. That is the position in which those who oppose this motion would like to see the people of this country placed. I repeat that, under no circumstances, would the Australian people have consented to burden themselves with the labour, inconvenience, and disabilities which they have to endure under the system of compulsory military training were it not for their fear of foreign aggression. Surely we have arrived at such a stage of civilization that we may settle internal disputes amicably by means of arbitration and other industrial legislation, and it should not be left to the whim of any party that may temporarily control the destinies of this country to divert our citizen soldiers from the purpose for which they are being trained, and coerce them for a disgraceful purpose. For my part, I say that the man who would ask his fellow man to abstain from shooting when ordered to do so to suppress an, industrial disturbance would, instead of being a traitor, who ought to be sent to prison, as Tom Mann was recently in England, be doing no more than his duty. I will go further, and, as a member of the Senate and a legislator, I say that if this proposal, or something equivalent to it, is not embodied in our law, I shall do all in my power to prevent my sons who are now being trained from proceeding any further with their training, and to prevent, at any cost, obedience to such a dastardly order as I consider an order to shoot down their fellow Australians would be. I should be prepared, on any platform, until I was " run in," to counsel every one within reach of my voice to adopt the' same attitude. In doing so, I should consider I was doing much more in the true interests of the country than- those who, by refusing to embody such a proposal as this in our law, would leave the way open for the reactionary forces of the Commonwealth, if at any future time, they should temporarily secure power to command the use of the citizen soldiers for the purpose indicated.. Those who think that such a thing is never likely to happen can have no objection to so amending the law that it cannot happen. Those, on the other hand, who, like myself, are not so sure that the millennium is as near as some imagine, will be prepared to take such a course as I suggest, so that our Citizen Forces may not be used for a purpose, so foreign to that for which they are being trained, except by an alteration of the law which must be carried out in the full light of day and under the public gaze, and when those who propose the alteration must justify it. Wherever we go in this country we find considerable friction and chafing against the present military system. If we wish to make that system safe, and secure for it the hearty co-operation of the vast majority of the working-classes of the community, we must do two things. We must, first of all say that the Citizen Forces shall only be used for the purpose for which the system was originated. We must, at the same time, say to those who support the system as a means of creating a strong force for the suppression of the legitimate aspirations of the workers for better things, that the Citizen Forces can only be used for the suppression of domestic violence with their own consent.


Senator St Ledger - Suppose it is necessary as a last resort?


Senator RAE - I do not wish to do Senator St. Ledger any injustice, but I hold that there is no such thing as a last resort in the sense in which the honorable senator speaks. I presume that he means to instance the case of something like a revolution.


Senator St Ledger - Something of that sort, when the ordinary force would not be sufficient to suppress a revolt.


Senator McGregor - Can the honorable senator imagine what Senator St. Ledger means ?


Senator RAE - I am prepared to meet Senator St. Ledger as far as I can, and I admit that he has asked a pertinent question. There have been revolutions in days gone by in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and yet such revolts have been suppressed, and the integrity of the country preserved, though the people were under no compulsion to perform military service. I admit that what Senator Guthrie said a moment ago is true, and that when the Continental wars had been raging for many years, and it became difficult to fill the ranks, the press gang was resorted to.


Senator Guthrie - It can be resorted to to-day.


Senator RAE - Whether that be so or not, the honorable senator will agree with me that the press gang is a relic of barbarism. I admit that it has been resorted to in England, but it. is a very long time since it was used. I cannot. agree that there is no other way of suppressing a revolution except by compelling every citizen to take up arms.


Senator Blakey - Some revolutionists have been the advocates of what was right.


Senator RAE - That is so, and we all know that if a revolution is successful it is justified.


Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel Sir Albert. Gould. - Not always.


Senator RAE - It may not be from a moral point of view, but from a national and political point of view it is. A successful revolution is followed by a change of Government, when the rebels that were become the constituted authorities. History teems with instances of that kind. It is no argument against my motion that a rebellion might be of such dimensions that practically every citizen in the Com monwealth would be involved in it. If a rebellion were of such a widespread character as to menace the safety of the whole Commonwealth, there would be thousands of persons who would refuse to serve, and who would be found in the ranks of the rebels. If the whole country were torn by dissension to such an extent that it would be difficult to say on which side the balance of numbers rested, our compulsory service system would be of no avail.


Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel Sir AlbertGould. - Ought not such a state of affairs to be prevented, if possible?


Senator RAE - It could only be prevented if public opinion were generally on the side of constituted authority, and in such a case there would be no difficulty in securing the voluntary assistance of those who had been drilled and trained to suppress the revolt. But should the constituted authority become helpless to prevent widespread feelings of revolt, our compulsory system would break down, because most of those who would be called upon to support the constituted authority would already have gone over to the other side. I hold that our people should not be compelled, under an unjust law, to take up arms against their fellow citizens, with whom they may be in active sympathy, or, in the alternative, be branded as traitors and rebels, and be penalized for refusing to so act. Suppose at some time a condition of domestic violence was declared to exist in a State, or a portion of a State, and some of those called upon to suppress it were closely related to and in sympathy with those involved in the trouble, and they refused to obey the command to assist in suppressing it, what would their position be under our Defence Act? I do not know exactly what penalties might be inflicted upon them, but I know that they would be considered traitors and rebels and false to the oath of allegiance they took. All sorts of pains and penalties would be inflicted upon them, and, in addition, the charge of cowardice would probably be levelled against them. I ask honorable senators now to consider what would be the position if my proposal were embodied in our legislation. Then some members of the Citizen Forces would be asked to go in order to supplement the Permanent Forces which had been found insufficient. Possibly whole companies might be in accord with the views of those in authority and volunteer their services. If not, there probably would be at any rate a sufficient number made up from other regiments to effect the purpose. I am not saying for a moment that this is a royal method of preventing people from being shot down, but it would leave every man clear of that bloodguiltiness which he would feel if he were put into the horrible position of having to choose between obeying the military authorities and shooting down his fellowmen at the word of command, and being branded as a traitor, a rebel, and a coward if he should refuse to do so. Those who wish to treat the citizens of this country fairly - and we are sent here to look after and conserve their interests - should not put any man in such a false position that, after he has been . ostensibly enrolled to defend the country against foreign invasion, he should be, against his will, compelled to either serve in an entirely different capacity, or bear all the pains and penalties, all the obloquy, and the disgrace which attach to the name of traitor. If some way of doing this thing is not discovered, I shall be found for the rest of my life a very active opponent of militarism in any shape or form. I would rather suffer the risk of any danger which might come from outside than allow my sons to be used for such a degrading and demoralizing purpose.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - While we know the Old Land is behind us to protect us, we will not protect ourselves.


Senator RAE - I am willing to take any risks so far as the Old Land is concerned. While that, of course, is not a subject for discussion here, I must remind my honorable friend that in the time of danger we shall probably have to do as the outlying parts of other Empires, of which history gives any record, had to do. When the heart of the Empire is in danger its outlying parts will have to scramble for themselves.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - Then Australia will have a very poor show.


Senator RAE - I do not think so. I am not one of those who think that Australia is going to knuckle under without putting up a good scrap.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - You will want men to be trained for its defence.


Senator RAE - I do want them to be trained.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - I thought you said that you do not.


Senator RAE - I say that if they are going to be trained for one purpose and used for another, when we have an opportunity to alter the law, so that they need only be kept for the purpose for which they were originated, I would rather run the risk of not having them trained, and of a foreign foe finding us more or less unprepared. I would rather do that than sanction any such degrading scheme as this is in its present form, which would permit of our young men being swerved from their rightful duty in order to become the oppressors and slavers of their fellow-men. I, for one, am prepared to hoist the standard of revolt against any military system which perpetuates such an infamy and iniquity. I have as fair a knowledge of the opinions of the workers of this country as has any other man in it. I believe that from one end of this continent to the other, the good sense of 90 per cent, of the working classes, and a very large proportion of the middle classes too, is absolutely at one with me in this proposal. I do not think that there is any appreciable number of persons who would offer the slightest opposition to >t. I am prepared to advocate this proposal on any platform, even at one of those meetings which my honorable friends opposite get up, and to which admission is by ticket, and even then put up a good case against the most " tony " audience which could be collected. I do not want to be a rebel in this country.


Senator St Ledger - You are preaching a petty revolution now.


Senator RAE - If this is a revolution, I hope that it will grow to be a big one.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - If you cannot get your way you will not allow others to have their way.


Senator RAE - I am voicing, I think, the opinion of the workers of this country. I believe that every worker, if the matter were explained to him, would indorse my view. Therefore, I say that if we cannot get our way, other people shall not have theirs.


Senator Findley - You would have peace at any cost.


Senator RAE - I would have peace


Senator St Ledger - I think it was the view of your last Hobart Conference.


Senator RAE - Yes, but I might remind the honorable senator that while that Conference passed the proposal by a very large majority, that was done subsequent to the occasion on which I submitted a similar one here.


Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel SirAlbert Gould. - I notice that your friend, Mr. Finlayson, did not go on with a similar motion in the other House.


Senator RAE - I think that in this exalted Chamber, where we are very much more democratic than they are in the other place, it is quite possible for us to do what they may not find it possible to do. At any rate I am not Brother Finlayson's keeper, and I think it is rather unfair on the part of the honorable senator, who has occupied the chair here, to break the Standing Orders by making an allusion to another place.


Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel SirAlbert Gould. - I have not done so. I have merely referred to the record of a notice of motion.


Senator RAE - I do not wish to have a verbal warfare over the matter. I contend that our military system, whether it be good or bad, practically depends upon whether this motion is carried or not. That may seem a big thing to say. If the present Ministry cannot find it possible to do this thing in exactly the manner I suggest, then some other Ministry will have to find a way to do it, or this military system which they are erecting at such pains will crumble to the dust. There is no mistake about it that the Democracy of this country is out to win, that it is not going to put up with less than 100 per cent of what it requires, and one thing which it does require, and is resolved to get, is a military system which will never be turned against itself. The history of militarism all over the world shows that while nations ostensibly arm in order to protect themselves against each other, in the hands of authority the military power is used to crush and subdue the citizens and the workers of those countries. Consequently, the fear of that power is so deeply seated in the minds of those Australians, who either in themselves or their parents, have experienced these evils, that they are resolved that they shall never take permanent root in our midst. Now when this system of universal service is in its initial stages is the time to surround it with such safeguards as to prevent it from ever being diverted from the purpose for which it was originated. We must find a means of doing it, or our military system will go to pieces, and I shall help it to do so. I shall use my voice and influence amongst the workers wherever I go to induce them also to help.


Senator Vardon - That is a threat.


Senator RAE - It is not a threat but a statement. I am as cool as a cucumber. While I believe in upholding the Constitution and the laws made under it, a hundred Constitutions are as nothing in my mind compared with the liberty and the freedom of the citizens of this country. Paper Constitutions are of no account whatever when they are pitted against human life and human liberty, and so it is of no use for the honorable senator to preach the Constitution or anything of that sort. I am prepared to obey the laws so long as they are fair, and no longer.


Senator Guthrie - As long as you think they are fair.


Senator RAE - As long as I think the laws are fair they are fair to me. If we are going to found a system which will give the ruling authorities in the future the opportunity to apply the military strength to the subjection of citizenship, I shall take alarm in time, and shall be no party to such an iniquity being perpetrated in this young country. We know very well that in these days of big standing armies, expensive munitions of war, forts, garrisons, and artillery, it is impossible for a modern nation, however cruelly or despotically it may be treated by its rulers, to secure its freedom. Neither Russia nor Poland, nor any other country in subjection has a possible chance, until these humane doctrines filter through and permeate the military, which is a slow process, of winning their liberty. They have not even such a chance as nations in olden times might have had under less highly organized military conditions. A high military organization, while it may be necessary to secure a nation's integrity and freedom from foreign domination, isat the same time, readily used by those in authority as a horrible engine for the oppression of the masses of their fellow-citizens. I am desirous of preventing our military institutions from being diverted from their original purpose at the very inception. It is said that if you wish to train a tree you must start when it is young : train a twig and it will grow accordingly. I want this military system, now in its infancy, to be so shaped and moulded that it can never be used against the best interests of the citizens of this country, to wipe out those liberties which we and our ancestors had to spend so much blood and energy to obtain. With every confidence that ultimately, whatever we may do now, this will become embodied in our law, at no distant date, I move the motion standing in my name.

Debate (on motion by Senator Pearce) adjourned.







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