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Wednesday, 14 October 1914

Senator BLAKEY (VICTORIA) asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that the troops composing the Expeditionary Force from the Commonwealth are all to- be vaccinated?

2.   If so, on whose instruction the proposed action is being taken?

3.   What legislative authority exists to justify such an instruction?

4.   If there be no sufficient authority; will the Ministerhave it made quite clear to alt. soldiers that their submission to vaccination is entirely voluntary, and that a refusal will: not affect their position in any way?

Senator PEARCE - The answers are -

1.   Yes.

2.   The General Officer Commanding; Australian Imperial Force, who on the 7th September last issued the following order : - " Alt ranks will be vaccinated on board ship against typhoid fever and small-pox, excepting troops from the 2nd Military District, who will be vaccinated against small-pox prior to embarkation." A similar order, which reads as follows : - " All officers, warrant, and noncommissioned officers of the permanent and citizen forces proceeding abroad for instruction, or on exchange, will be vaccinated and passed as ' medically fit ' prior to embarkation," was issued by the Military Board on 23rd April, 1912, and is still in force. This procedure isalso in force in the British Army. 3 and 4. The order has been issued for the purpose of safeguarding the physical health of the force,and, therefore, relates to military duty. It is a lawful command, which that troops are bound to obey.

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