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Thursday, 6 May 1915

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

1.   How many members of the Expeditionary Forces were returned to Australia from Egypt by the steamer Ulysses who were stated to be suffering from venereal diseases?

2.   How many men who returned by the Ulysses, and were stated to be suffering from venereal diseases, have been discharged from Langwarrin camp up till 28th April?

3.   Is it a fact that " certificates of character " on the "certificate of discharge" of the disciplinary cases returned by the Ulysses are marked " good," whilst the " certificates of character " on the " certificates of discharge" of those who were returned as medically unfit for further services are indorsed "No records available, isa"?

4.   Is it a fact that a number of men who were returned to Australia by order of the Medical Board in Egypt on account of ill-health (other than venereal diseases), and who were recommended by the medical officers in Egypt to undergo operations on their arrival in Australia, have been discharged by the Department without such operations having been performed or any medical or financial assistance rendered to them?

Senator PEARCE - The answers are -

1.   Thirty-seven.

2.   Thirty-two. Six were returned as fit for further service; sixteen returned to the other districts for discharge from service. The remainder were discharged in Victoria.

3.   No. Characters were assessed where records were available. When no records were available certificates of discharge were so marked. Disciplinary cases were given "bad" characters. Inquiry is being made into those cases marked " no records available."

4.   The practice has been that men returned from Egypt, who required operation, were detained in hospital if infirmity was due to service. Many men have themselves refused to have operation performed.

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