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Thursday, 22 October 1914


Senator MULLAN (QUEENSLAND) asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -

1.   Has his attention been drawn to the following, which appeared in the Evening Telegraph, Charters Towers, on the 10th August, 1914 : - " Soldiers Talk Straight. " Resent Political Influence. " Major Rourke, commanding officer of the 18th Infantry, made a spirited speech against political interference in military matters at an important gathering of military officers, which took place at Paris House, Sydney. " Major Rourke contended very earnestly that if political influence were allowed to creep in, and be exerted in obtaining exemption for trainees who were the sons of wealthy, aristocratic, or political parents, the whole scheme of universal training would break down with its own weight. It was always easy to find an excuse for exempting a man if an excuse was desired; but, as commanding officer of a regiment, he strongly objected to receiving instructions from Melbourne stating that a certain individual under his command had been granted exemption, without the matter even being referred to him as commanding officer. It was contrary to the letter and spirit of the Act that wealthy youths could obtain exemption either by political or social influence, whilst the sons of poorer men were compelled to do their training irrespective of whatever personal inconvenience it might cause them?"

2.   Is it to be understood from those remarks that exemptions from military service have been granted through social or political influence to the sons of wealthy citizens?

3.   What number of exemptions from military service were granted for each of the years ending 31st July, 1913 and 1914 respectively ?







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