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Wednesday, 25 November 1914

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister of Defence) .- I desire leave to make a statement.

Leave' granted.

Senator PEARCE - In reference to the statements that have been made in connexion with the naval and military assistance rendered by Australia in the present war in comparison with that given by other Dominions, it has first to be remembered that Australia has provided a Fleet Unit, which has already played an effective part in the protection of British commerce and shipping in these seas, thereby relieving the Admiralty of the necessity of detaching ships from the North Sea for this purpose, and of assisting in the combined naval and military operations at Samoa and New Guinea. On the military side 39,416 troops have been raised for service in Europe; while 1,764 Naval Reserves and Infantry have taken part in operations in the Pacific; totalling 41,180. In addition to this, 56,298 of the Citizen Forces are armed and equipped, and the bulk of these have in turn been mobilized under active service conditions for the defence of various parts of the Commonwealth. There are, in addition, 51,153 members of Rifle Clubs, and 16,000 recruits who have passed from the Senior Cadets; making a total of '67,153 Reservists available for war. The grand total under arms is 164,631. Of the above, the present Government has offered to the British Empire and has raised the following units: - 3rd Light Horse Brigade, 1,966; one Field Bakery, 93; one Field Butchery, 21 ; four Veterinary units, 258 ; total 2,338. It has raised the first, second, and third reinforcements of the Australian Infantry Forces, totalling 9,000, and has completed the units previously offered to and accepted by the British Government, totalling 28,258, and is further enrolling all men who are coming forward for service. Arrangements have also been made for special schools of instruction, at which large numbers of military officers will be given an opportunity over an extended course of training to fit themselves either for service with the Militia Forces of the Commonwealth or for attachment to any further Expeditionary Forces, thus overcoming the difficulty which has been created of a shortage of officers. This will be in addition to the ordinary schools of instruction, which will still be carried on.

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