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Friday, 12 December 1913

Senator McDOUGALL (New South Wales) . - I have no desire to delay the passing of this Bill, but I take advantage of the opportunity to reply to what the Minister of Defence said the other day when I asked him some questions in connexion with the trouble that occurred at the Liverpool camp. The honorable senator said that the trouble there was caused by only about half-a-dozen malcontents. I ask whether it was fair and just that a whole camp of thousands of lads and young men should be penalized as those at the Liverpool camp were because of the outrages and want of discipline of halfadozen men. The men attending that camp came away from it tired and disgusted with the service because of the attitude adopted by an officer, whom I shall not name. If these occurrences are repeated in the early history of our defence system, they will tend to break it tdown. Our soldiers should be given an idea that there is something to be gained by military training. Even in the Old Country, the home of the permanent soldier, the Territorials are never treated as the lads who attended the Liverpool camp were treated. The Minister of Defence deprecated remarks which might have the effect of breeding discontent amongst our citizen soldiers; but while I have no wish to do anything of that kind, it is only fair that. I should say that I do not think they are in every case receiving the treatment which they should receive at the hands of their officers. In my opinion, we shall never succeed in blending the two services together, and we should look more to our militia officers than we do. The officers are disgusted at the limited opportunities afforded for promotion. No matter how diligent a man might be, he could not attain a higher rank than that of captain That is unfair and unjust, and the authorities Would do well to take this matter into consideration in the near future.

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