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Friday, 29 May 1914

Senator MILLEN (TASMANIA) - No, because when certain boys are mustered they are asked whether they will join the infantry or the Light Horse. A boy who wishes to join the Light Horse has to show that he has a horse on which to mount himself. That is the first distinction which arises. I only mention this matter because Senator Pearce tried to make out that the Scottish regiments would be regiments reserved for the wealthier section of the community.

Senator Pearce - So they would be.

Senator MILLEN - What about your Light Horsemen ?

Senator Pearce - They are not reserved for the wealthier section of the community.

Senator MILLEN - Senator Russell has asked what will happen when two brothers want to join a Scottish regiment. What happens to-day when two brothers desire to join a mounted force? They cannot join if it is above the establishment.

Senator Russell - What do you allow the men for a horse ?

Senator MILLEN - Previously the Department allowed £1 a year under the liberal administration of the honorable senator's party, and I have raised the allowance to £4. But even £4 a year, in my judgment - and I think that Senator Pearce will agree with me - is not enough.

Senator Russell - It will not buy a horse, anyhow.

Senator MILLEN - No. When the two brothers Senator Russell spoke about come along and offer themselves for a Light Horse regiment, two things may turn them down. One thing is that one boy has not a horse, and the other thing is that if there are more persons applying for admission to the mounted regiment than are needed, somebody has to be pushed on one side. There is exactly the same position as will happen with a national regiment.

Senator Russell - Are they pushed aside for all time?

Senator MILLEN - Undoubtedly.

Senator Pearce - No.

Senator Russell - Can they get a transfer subsequently if a vacancy happens ?

Senator MILLEN - That will depend very much on circumstances. If the regiment is made up to its strength, there is no room for a transfer to it.

Senator Pearce - Vacancies are always occurring.

Senator MILLEN - That is so. On the other hand, if a young soldier has been trained in a particular unit for a time, obviously there are reasons why he should remain in that line of service, though, of course, transfers can be, and are, permitted. I think that honorable senators will see that once a boy has gone into one arm of the service there is a tendency for him to remain there, and it is desirable, as far as possible, that he should do so.

Senator Pearce - As a matter of fact, where there is a Light Horse regiment, in most cases there are no other units.

Senator MILLEN - It is not always so. I forget the name of the Light Horse brigade which centres on Armidale; but I know that it encroaches on the territorial area of the fourteenth regiment.

Senator Russell - The desire is to get country men into the Light Horse?

Senator MILLEN - That is so. But I would point out that the Light Horse regiments are drawn from areas in which boys have not only a choice, but two openings. They are compelled to go into the infantry unless they volunteer for the Light Horse. If the volunteers for the latter are more than are required, somebody has to be pushed on one side. I have heard no objection to this system from Senator Pearce. When he was Minister of Defence that was not held to be a fatal objection. Senator Russell never trotted it out, because of two brothers one of whom was taken and the other left. Yet it is the same as the position which has been pointed to to-day. When you come to the question of the possession of a little more wealth, a distinction is made. A boy who is the proud possessor of an animal he has purchased or has obtained by other means is privileged to go into a Light Horse regiment, but his less fortunate brother on foot is told that he must go into an infantry regiment. No one has made a protest against that differentiation. The position is entirely similar to that which will be created by the continuance of the national regiments. Let me turn to the question of the Naval Branch of the Citizen Forces, to which Senator Guthrie has referred. My honorable friends did not make any "bones" about saying to a boy who was very anxious to go into the Navy, ' ' No, you shall not go into the Navy; you shall train with the Land Force," and to another boy, who was training with the Navy, and would have given a great deal to get away from it, and join a land regiment, " You cannot do it."

Senator Guthrie - You do.

Senator MILLEN - No.

Senator Pearce - Yes.

Senator MILLEN - My honorable friend must- misunderstand me.

Senator Guthrie - A boy living in Port Melbourne can join the Land Force or the Naval Force, but a boy living at Essendon cannot.

Senator MILLEN - My honorable friend is wrong. When a boy is in an area marked out for the recruiting for the Navy, he is compelled to go into the Naval Force.

Senator Guthrie - No; you are absolutely wrong

Senator PEARCE - That is the case where that particular area has only a Naval Unit, but most of the areas have both a naval and a military unit, and where that is the case they have a choice.

Senator MILLEN - I am dealing with a case where the Department have marked out an area for a Naval Unit.

Senator Russell - I have had cases where one brother was forced to go into a land regiment and another brother into the Navy. The Department had always been ready to let brothers go together into the Navy.

Senator MILLEN - To-day, there are two systems in vogue. There has been no objection by my honorable friends opposite to using force to compel a boy to go into a particular service, or stand down when he was not wanted. So far as the Naval Units are concerned, they obtain in two ways - either one area is a unit for entirely the Navy, and there is no military unit in it-

Senator Guthrie - Where are these areas ?

Senator MILLEN - I cannot indicate them at present!.

Senator Pearce - There is one at Portland.

Senator MILLEN - There is one area close here. I think that Williamstown is another area. In that case a boy may say, " I much prefer to be a soldier than a sailor." It is rather curious that in this matter Williamstown does not appear to take to naval training very keenly.

Senator Guthrie - And nobody else.

Senator MILLEN - There is a difficulty there compared with places like Geelong, where there is a naval unit. But my honorable friends did not ' stop to consider that boy. They said to him, " No ; it is the design of the scheme, and you have to do it." They had no objection to telling that boy that he must do this, or stand on one side. Why, then, should Senator Pearce make a pathetic appeal about the position which is going to be created when somebody is asking to join a national regiment, ana. is told, " The regiment is not large enough to admit you. It is already filled up?" If there is anything in his argument at all, my honorable friends will have to revise their own scheme. But we have gone on the assumption that, as far as we possibly can, in these matters we will meet the wishes of the individual, but, beyond that, the needs of the Service must prevail. Let me go a little farther, and show what else has to be done in the matter of the territorial system. In Great Britain they have a territorial system, but, like ourselves, they have been obliged to meet the requirements of special arms of the Service.

Senator Pearce - It is not compulsory.;

Senator MILLEN - No. So far as the territorial aspect is concerned, it is much the same whether you are dealing with a compulsory or a voluntary system.

Senator Guthrie - It is quite a different thing altogether.

Senator MILLEN - The territorial portion is not. What is meant by a territorial system is, as Senator Pearce explained, a system in which the troops raised' within a given area shall form a unit attached to that territorial area.In Great Britain, where they have adopted the territorial system for purposes of organization, they find it necessary, as we do, to go outside any particular area for the recruiting of certain units. We have had to follow their example, and have found it to our advantage to do so. The honorable senator said we were going to destroy the Australian national sentiment and patriotism by this proposal, and create a measure of ill-feeling. I cannot think the honorable senator was serious. I am inclined to think he has allowed certain preconceived notions to sway him without seriously thinking out the logical consequences of his action. This aspect of the matter was very well put, on the Estimates last year, by Senator O'Loghlin, who spoke from practical experience, in these words -

I can say from my personal experience that the ex-Minister of Defence greatly exaggerated the difficulties likely to arise, and I do not think there was any foundation at all for his claim that the establishment of these national regiments would detract in any way from our Australian patriotism. My weakness, if it may be so described, or inclination to honour the traditions of the race from which I have sprung, does not in any way detract from my Australian patriotism. In South Australia we had, in addition to the Irish corps, a Scotch corps, and an Australian Natives corps. These comrades in arms and rivals in renown met together in camp and on the drill ground, and the best spirit prevailed amongst them. There was no jealousy, and none of the racial feeling which Senator Pearce seemed to indicate as likely to result from the establishment of these national regiments. The Irish and Scotch corps held annual competitions, rifle matches, football matches, and tugs-of-war and I make bold to say that the result was that we had superimposed upon our Australian patriotism an additional patriotism drawn from the traditions of the country from which we sprang. Actual experience is worth a lot of imaginary supposition in estimating a matter of this kind.

Senator Russell - You would not let Senator O'Loghlin join an Irish regiment in Victoria.

Senator MILLEN - I - If that is the defect in this scheme, let the House indicate it, and the regulations can be varied as circumstances require or expediency suggests.

Senator Russell - You will admit that Senator O'Loghlin has not got the same privileges as an Irishman in Sydney has.

Senator MILLEN - L - Let me point out one reason why a limit was imposed. First it was a very reasonable supposition that there was not likely to be a strong desire to form national regiments where no efforts to form them had previously been made. If they were in existence at the time they could be continued under the regulation that has been adopted.

Senator PEARCE (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - Your Gazette order does not provide for them.

Senator MILLEN - For the simple reason that they were not in existence. as regiments. If there is a sufficient desire in other capitals to have them, neither logically nor by inclination can I refuse the request. But we were confronted with the position that there had been a feeling sufficiently strong in certain places to form and maintain these regiments, and it was not unnatural to suppose that only in those places would the desire to continue them be manifest. I am not going to take up the illogical position that a privilege granted to the capital of one State should be denied to another.

Senator Gardiner - "Will you agree to introduce another regulation giving the other States that privilege?

Senator MILLEN - There is no proof that they want it.

Senator Russell - Yes, it was refused here.

Senator MILLEN - I am now told that there is an overwhelming desire to form national regiments in certain other places, yet Senator Pearce says they cannot find twelve recruits for one regiment in the whole city of Melbourne.

Senator Lt Colonel O'Loghlin - Y - You can safely give them the privilege if they can raise half a battalion.

Senator MILLEN - T - There must be certain limits.

Senator Gardiner - Will you give them a limit?

Senator MILLEN - If the concession is made to certain, units in certain cities I can see no reason why the same privilege should not be extended to other capital cities, but there must be a limit. Every country town cannot be allowed to form a regiment of this kind. We do not allow an artillery regiment to form itself where it likes.

Senator Gardiner - Will you allow the Scottish regiments to have a really national dress, and not the khaki?

Senator MILLEN - What does the honorable senator mean by a national dress? The uniform now under consideration is to be a service uniform, and so far as I can ascertain, meets the approval of those who have been most active in the matter. It apparently satisfies the Scottish people, and meets the requirements laid down by Senator Pearce for a service uniform.

Senator Pearce - Is it a khaki kilt?

Senator MILLEN - They have themselves supplied the samples of khaki tartan which is likely to be approved. It has been objected that no provision has been made for the Welsh. That is true, but so far as I know, the Welsh in Australia have never displayed any inclination or desire to have a unit of their own. Senator Pearce himself gave a reason why no provision was made for the Welsh, because a little later on he referred to the three principal sections of the British race. If any large body of Welsh people had expressed a wish for their own unit I should not have discriminated against them. I come now to the question of cost. Every time the matter of this uniform comes up, Senator Pearce tries to impress the House with the fact that it is going to cost more, and that he would not consent to sacrifice the efficiency of the Army or the interests of the taxpayers to extravagance in dress. The first deputation that waited on me after taking office was on this matter. I replied to them in exactly the same terms as Senator Pearce, that I was not prepared to sanction the departure if it impaired the efficiency of the defence system, or if the cost was to be materially increased. On the technical matter of the cost, I deputed the Military Board to make the necessary inquiries, and have in ray hand the information which enabled me to act. According to what they told me, the additional cost is ls. 9d. per man, spread over eight years. A small sum like that does not justify our talking about a question of cost in this matter at all.

Senator Pearce - The additional cost is £1 9s. 6d. in the first year for each man.

Senator MILLEN - I hope that neither these regiments nor our Defence Forces generally are for one year only.

Senator Russell - Is it thought that the costume will last longer than the Australian uniform because of its superior quality?

Senator MILLEN - I have no personal experience of its durability. I have taken the advice of experts in the matter. The question of quality is not involved, because the whole difference is ls. 9d.

Senator Russell - The difference in the first cost is that between £1 9s. 9d. and £3 3s.

Senator MILLEN - The initial expenditure will be greater, but those who ought to know estimate that the extra cost for the whole period of service will be only ls. 9d. per man.

Senator Russell - If the Australians ask for a uniform of the same quality at an original cost of £3 3s., what will your answer be?

Senator MILLEN - My answer will be " No," because, before the eight years are up, the Australian requires to replace certain articles more freely than the Scottish-clothed regiment does. I admit at once that there is a small disadvantage in the Commonwealth being required to face a slightly larger initial cost, but in the course of eight years the total financial disability under which the Commonwealth will stagger is ls. 9d. per man enlisted. Senator Pearce spoke about the purpose of a Defence Force being for use in war, and that all the requirements should be designed with that end in view. He explained that, although there are many gaudy uniforms in the British Army when men were sent on service, all distinctive marks likely to attract the eye of the enemy's marksmen were obliterated. That is true, but did it not occur to Senator Pearce that the whole of the disabilities which he imagines exists on that account were ignored by his trusted adviser, MajorGeneral Fitzpatrick, when he proceeded to equip and clothe regiments for service abroad in this proposed Scottish uniform 1

Senator Pearce - He made no proposal as to uniform.

Senator MILLEN - What was the nature of the recommendation which the honorable senator turned down, and in which that officer proposed to continue these national regiments, with the one proviso that they should volunteer for service abroad?

Senator Pearce - He simply made a proposition to me, and I dissented from it on both grounds.

Senator MILLEN - He was a military officer of considerable experience and reputation, and was, I believe, the trusted adviser of Senator Pearce in these matters. He put forward a proposal to continue the national regiments in order to make a brigade ready for instant service outside Australia.

Senator Pearce - They would have required two sets of uniform.

Senator MILLEN - There is no proof of that.

Senator Pearce - Yes, because they had scarlet coats.

Senator MILLEN - There is nothing said about the uniform.

Senator Pearce - No, but the honorable senator knows as a matter of fact that the Scottish uniform included a scarlet coat.

Senator MILLEN - I know that the regiment would not go into the field with scarlet coats and bright tartan kilts.

Senator NEWLANDS (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The members of the Scottish regiments can be seen wearing khaki coats and tartan kilts in Melbourne.

Senator MILLEN - That is so. We have the authority of a gentleman who was not the least experienced officer who has favoured Australia with his services, for saying that there would be no injury to the territorial system and no disadvantage in the field of battle if these national regiments were formed and uniformed as proposed. If there was no disability on either of these grounds to the formation of these national regiments not for service within Australia, but for service outside, I want to know what possible harm could be done by the formation of such regiments for service within Australia.

Senator Pearce - The honorable senator will find that General Kirkpatrick did not recommend the formation of national regiments, but said that if we formed them they should be ear-marked for foreign service only.

Senator MILLEN - I think that Senator Pearce is wrong there. I am sorry I have not General Kirkpatrick's report here, but I have a minute upon it by the Military Board.

Senator Pearce - Does the honorable senator not think that the fact that General Kirkpatrick attaches the condition of foreign service to these regiments bears out what I have said ?

Senator MILLEN - I quite understand that what General Kirkpatrick was aiming at was the formation of a brigade that could be mobilized instantly for foreign service. He knew as well as any man the basis of Lord Kitchener's scheme, yet he evidently recognised that it would not be injurious to that scheme, or to the territorial system, to allow a certain number of men, regardless of the areas in which they lived, to enlist in national regiments, with the proviso that they should then become available for foreign service. If it is not injurious to the territorial system to allow men to enlist in national regiments for foreign service, I want to know how any harm could come of the formation of such regiments for service within Australia. That appears to me to be a complete answer to the imaginary fears Senator Pearce has conjured up to influence honorable senators this morning. There is another danger which Senator Pearce tried to move us with, and that is the danger to the health of these delicate Scotchmen. He pictured the frightful havoc which would result if these citizens, who go about clothed like ordinary mortals most of their time, should occasionally, when called upon to drill, or to go into camp, discard what may be called ordinary garb, and put on their own particular national dress. Senator Pearce has probably been, as I have, in this city on a dark and stormy night, and has seen a number of citizens turn out garbed in that way to attend their annual banquet, but we have never heard that any of them suffered in consequence.

Senator Pearce - Perhaps the whisky kept out the cold.

Senator NEWLANDS (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The Minister would not suggest that they only attend banquets in their national dress?

Senator MILLEN - No; but I have seen them in that dress on many occasions. What happened to the old Scotch regiments that were here ? They used to dress in ordinary clothes while following their usual avocations, and it was only when they went to drill or into camp that they put their regimental uniform on. Nothing frightful happened as a consequence. We did not hear of any fatal results. There was no big death roll amongst Scottish regiments in camp under the militia system, and why should we suppose that Scotchmen here have suddenly become feeble and delicate so that disastrous consequences will follow if they are allowed to continue, under a system of compulsion, the service which they previously rendered as volunteers. Senator Pearce has rather been looking around for imaginary evils with which to strengthen a case which he possibly feels is not very strong after all.

Senator Long - Is this uniform to be for war purposes, or will these national regiments, in the event of war, need to bo supplied with another uniform?

Senator MILLEN - I am very pleased to again answer that question. The uniform it is proposed to equip them with is a service uniform.

Senator Pearce - Except the sporran.

Senator MILLEN - Senator Pearce spoke of public opinion in the matter, and referred to the action of the Australian Natives Association, and also to the fact that a conference of militia officers had passed resolutions against the proposal to have these national regiments. I do not think that that was very remarkable. Senator O'Loghlin punctured that particular tyre when he asked Senator Pearce whether the representatives of the national regiments were present at the conference. Senator O'Loghlin imagined quite rightly what the answer to his question would be. I value the opinion of these gentlemen on all m jitters connected with the training and efficiency of the forces "under their command, but this is a matter on which a layman is as competent to express an opinion as is any military officer. When referring to expressions of public opinion I noticed that Senator Pearce did not lay very much stress upon the action of this Parliament. The Australian Natives Association is a body for which I have every respect. I know that that organization has passed a resolution adverse to my action, but there is an Australian institution which ought not to be brushed on one side too lightly, and that is the Federal Parliament. What has the action of this Parliament been ? The year before last the House of Representatives passed a resolution affirming the desirability of continuing these national regiments. That is an important expression of opinion.

Senator Pearce - Of continuing the distinctive national uniforms.

Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator knows perfectly well that what was meant was that we should continue til© national regiments then existing. That is what the House of Representatives decided was desirable.

Senator Lt Colonel O'Loghlin - I - Is there likely to be a dead-lock over this question ?

Senator MILLEN - I have no wish to further depress my honorable friend, but if there is to be trouble about this, I hope that the matter will be dealt with, as peremptorily as was another matter last night.

Senator Long - The honorable senator is more depressed about what happened last night than we are.

Senator MILLEN - Senator Long could not have seen himself or his friends or he would not say that. If public opinion is a factor to be taken into account- in this matter, I say that I have been' to some extent strengthened in the action I took up by the knowledge that the larger House of this Parliament, and the House which is more closely in touch with the people in many respects than is the Senate, passed a resolution affirming the desirability of continuing these regiments. What happened here? It is not denied, never was, and cannot be, denied, that a similar motion submitted in the Senate would have been carried on thenight it was submitted but for the fact that Senator Pearce secured the adjournment of the debate.

Senator Pearce - No.

Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator admitted that. When the matter came up on the Estimates last year, and' I was referring to the fact, just as I am doing now, that the Senate would havepassed the motion but for the strategyof Senator Pearce, who, knowing that the numbers were against him, sought to side-track the motion by moving theadjournment of the debate, the honorable senator, as will be seen by reference to page 4591 of Hansard for last year, did not deny my statement. He tried to explain it away by saying, "Yes, but they were on the eve of an election." That was practically, I say, an admission.

Senator Pearce - I do not take as correct everything that is said over there. What did I say "Yes" to?

Senator MILLEN - I hope to oblige the honorable senator by reading the exact words. The statement has been made frequently, and I never heard it disputed, that the numbers were in favour of the motion, and that Senator Pearce, with an exhibition of generalship, got the matter adjourned. I am entitled to ask honorable senators, so far as my action requires commendation, or it may be condemnation, to remember that I acted with the knowledge that one branch of the Parliament had approved in anticipation of what I was doing, and that tha other Chamber, as then constituted, was certainly in favour of it also. If we are to be guided by public opinion, I wish honorable senators to place those two facts side by side with the knowledge that a large section of the public are favorable to what has been done. Whether that section represents a majority opinion I do nob know, but it is a considerable section*, and they are Australians, as loyal as Senator Pearce is, or would wish them to be, and they are extremely anxious to have those regiments retained. When I look at that aspect of the question, I ask myself whether there is any advantage or disadvantage to the military system in doing those things which gratify and please a number of people, provided they are done without injury to the system. I have not been able to discover that any injury can result by the retention of these regiments, which, I believe, will prove very gratifying, and increase the enthusiasm of a large number of people. When we consider the question of attraction versus compulsion, I must break another lance with Senator Pearce. He has reminded us that we have a compulsory system ; and he has expressed similar sentiments on a previous occasion. I admit that our system is one of legal compulsion, but I do not like to think that it is only on compulsion that we are relying. Even if the law does place an obligation on every one, it is much more gratifying to think that we can make a public duty attractive, rather than that its performance depends entirely on compulsion. Senator Pearce, in replying to the deputation to which I have previously referred, made use of these words -

In Australia it was different. We had a compulsory system, and it was different. We had no need of any such attraction.

I am not now speaking only in regard to uniforms; it ought to be the object of Parliament, and those charged with the administration, to do everything possible, short of touching its efficiency, to make the Service attractive iu every way.

Senator Pearce - But the Service is being made repulsive to some, in order to please a few.

Senator MILLEN - Has service in the infantry been made repulsive because men cannot get into the technical units?

Senator Pearce - That is a question of technical ability.

Senator MILLEN - Or into the light horse?

Senator Pearce - That is a question of technical ability.

Senator MILLEN - No, it is not, because any number of lads would give a good deal to get into either unit. Every technical unit is over-applied for, and there is not one to-day that could not more than double its numbers.

Senator Long - Because the pay is better.

Senator MILLEN - It is not a question of pay.

Senator Pearce - They are all paid alike.

Senator MILLEN - The fact is that, not only are those units attractive to those engaged in particular trades, but there is the harder work, and the possibility of wider knowledge. It is a common experience to have to refuse the applications of numbers of boys, and to send them back into the infantry.

Senator Pearce - Not because of their birth ?

Senator MILLEN - The reason is another matter - we are doing it. I do not suppose that when these lads find they cannot get into the artillery, or into the electrical unit, they go back and say, "Anything is good enough for the infantry; we are under some cloud, and these 'superior' men have been picked." On the contrary, I think that they recognise that their luck is against them, and that they must take their place in an ordinary infantry regiment.

Senator Pearcesaid just now he would like to see what answer he gave, and suggested that he does not always accept what is conveyed from this side. When I was speaking on the Appropriation Bill, on the 17th December last year, I said -

In the Senate last session we had a very animated discussion on this matter, and I think I am only stating what was recognised at the time, when I affirmed that a similar motion would have been carried here but for the Opposition, and, I may say, the skilful tactics of Senator Pearce. The numbers on that occasion - and it was not an empty House - were undoubtedly such as would have carried a motion.

Senator Pearce - Do you know that it was just on the eve of an election for both Houses?

Senator Pearce - Where is the "Yes"? You quoted me as saying "Yes."

Senator MILLEN - All I said was that, when the matter was brought on, Senator Pearce practically admitted, by his interjection, that it was on the eve of an election. I say that that interjection was an admission that my statement was correct.

Senator Pearce - You stated that I said "Yes," thus giving assent to your proposition.

Senator MILLEN - I said that Senator Pearce assented to my proposition, and I say so now.

Senator Pearce - That there was a majority vote?

Senator MILLEN - Undoubtedly.

Senator Pearce - I did not assent to anything of the kind.

Senator Gardiner - Senator Millen tried to make out that Senator Pearce, as a good general, adjourned the Senate because the majority was against him.

Senator MILLEN - I say so now.

Senator Gardiner - The honorable senator's statement, as reported, does not bear that out.

Senator Pearce - Senator Millen stated that when he said that I adjourned the House for that reason, I interjected " Yes."

Senator MILLEN - I shall have a great deal of pleasure in showing Senator Pearce the Hansard report of what I did say. What I said was that Senator Pearce, by his interjection, assented to the affirmation that he secured the adjournment of the Senate because he knew the numbers were against him.

Senator Pearce - Senator Millen will remember that I stated that I would like to know what I said "Yes" to.

Senator MILLEN - I know; but I did not use the word "Yes." Why did Senator Pearce not contradict the statement when it was made ? Instead of doing that, however, he simply said, "Don't you know that it was on the eve of an election?" I find no fault with Senator Pearce for securing the adjournment of the debate, for, possibly, had I been in the same tight fix, I should have done so myself. I have no wish to detain the Senate longer; but I should like to say a word on the question of whether national regiments are destructive of Australian sentiment. Are those who form the national regiments less Australian than their brothers who remain in the ordinary Forces? It is an insult to throw the slightest doubt on the patriotism of men of English, Scotch, or Irish birth, because they desire to retain some public emblem of their ancestors. When

I am told that we ought to try to bind an. Australian Force with one sentiment - an idea which I indorse - I ask Senator Pearce whether he would go so far as to find fault with the gatherings of Highlanders on St. Andrew's Day, or of Irishmen on St. Patrick's Day?

Senator Pearce - Certainly not. Those gatherings are not instigated by the Government, or carried out by the Government.

Senator MILLEN - Considerable countenance is lent to the gatherings by the Government, because there are public holidays on such occasions. It is ridiculous to suppose that, because a man looks with pride on the traditions, customs, and characteristics of his immediate ancestors, he is, therefore, less loyal to Australia. If these regiments are continued, as I hope they will be, the only feeling that will exist between them and the regular forces will be one of keen rivalry, in order to see which will display the most efficiency, and render the most loyal service to the country. It is quite correct, as Senator Pearce said, that the first duty of all our soldiers should be to Australia, but that is not the point. The question that I wish Senator Pearce to answer is whether he thinks that the men who form these national regiments will render that first duty to Australia less loyally and less thoroughly than if they were enrolled in the regular forces of Australia.

Senator Pearce - Certainly not !

Senator Lt.-ColonelO'LOGHLIN" (South Australia) [12.51]. - I assisted Senator Pearce to have the Standing Orders suspended so that this matter might be discussed. It was only a fair thing to have it brought before the Senate and settled to-day, seeing that the time within which action can be taken will so soon expire. The honorable senator, in dealing with this question, dealt with it as if it were a previously unheardof proposition, as if it were something we had not had experience of, or, even if we had had experience of it), something that our experience would induce us to discontinue. As a matter of fact, the system of national regiments has been in force in Australia for many years, and is based on a similar system to that which has been in existence in the Old Country for a century, and all the imaginary evils that Senator Pearc© trotted out have not been shown in practice to accrue from that system, either in Great Britain or in the Dominions.

Senator Rae - The conditions are different in the Old Country. There are distinct races there.

Senator Lt.-ColonelO'LOGHLIN The territorial system in Great Britain does not interfere with the national regiments, and there are also county regiments and provincial regiments.

Senator Mullan - But there is no compulsory service there.

Senator Lt Colonel O'LOGHLIN - I - I do not see that the compulsory service applies to this matter. There is no compulsion on any one to join a national regiment.

Senator Rae - The compulsion is that some must remain out of those regiments because there is no room for them.

Senator McDougall - There is plenty of room.- The Minister says that there are always vacancies.

Senator Lt Colonel O'LOGHLIN - U - Under the volunteer system, when the numbers were restricted by the financial obligations of the country, there was not always opportunity to join these regiments. I know that in South Australia, under the old system, there was only a certain amount of money devoted to a military organization, and when an infantry or light horse company arrived at the statutory number, no more volunteers could be enrolled in that company. That has been the system for years, and this pathetic trouble about one brother joining a particular company or regiment, and another brother not being able to get a place in it on account of the statutory number having already been reached, is nonsense. The difficulties which Senator Pearce brought forward in this connexion are imaginary. There is no substantial ground for putting them before the Senate. The honorable senator also drew a pathetic picture of our poor, effeminate Australian youth, after wearing ordinary clothing for the greater part of the year, having to wear kilts in the camps, which are usually held at Easter, when the weather is not inclement. He harrowed our feelings in describing the trials of these poor, unfortunate creatures from having to wear kilts at that time of the year. I interjected a question as to the Highlands of Scotland, where there is really incle ment weather, and where the kilts used to be the national garb of the people. Surely if the people in the Highlands can bear the rigours of their climate the wearing of kilts should not affect our soldiers very much in our semi-tropical climate. It has been said that the regiments could only be raised in the two principal capitals, and the Minister has indicated that he is willing to consider a modification of that proposition. In my opinion this could be safely done, because it is doubtful whether a sufficient number would come forward in the other capitals of the States to fulfil the condition which, I think, should be laid down, namely, that in any part of Australia where a sufficient number may be guaranteed to establish a half battalion - that is, four companies - the same privilege should be allowed. I think the Minister would be willing to fall in with that suggestion. I am confident that there is little likelihood of a sufficient number of Irish, English, or Scotch soldiers volunteering to form national regiments to the extent of four companies in any place but Sydney or Melbourne. It would mean some 200 or 300 men for each half battalion.

Senator Pearce - Under the present peace establishment a company consists of 100 men.

Senator Lt Colonel O'LOGHLIN - T - That would mean 400 men for the half battalion, and there would be no possibility, except in the two large capitals, of sufficient numbers coming forward to form national regiments. In South Australia Ave had Irish and Scotch corps which consisted of less than half a battalion, but we got over the difficulty in relation to the Irish battalion by adopting a uniform which was not specially distinct from the regiment to which the corps was attached. The men wore the khaki and national emblems sufficient to appeal to the national instinct, and distinguish them from the members of the ordinary regiments with whom they had to drill and take part in manoeuvres. They simply wore the harp on the collar and the shamrock on the sleeve of the uniform, which was the same in other respects as the other members of the regiment wore. Senator Millen has quoted the words I used last session when this matter came up. I have only to say that those words express my sentiments, that in practical experience there has been no difficulty whatever, that there is no rivalry of an injurious nature owing to the establishment of national regiments, that the experience of the Old Country and our newer Dominions has been that national regiments conduce to friendly rivalry and emulation, and that only the best results have accrued from adopting this system.

Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.30p.m.

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