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Thursday, 13 May 1915

Senator KEATING (Tasmania) . - In the absence of Senator Millen, I rise to second very heartily the motion submitted by the Minister of Defence. I shall be very brief, because I feel that mere words are inadequate to express the feelings that have animated Australians since the news was received here of the performance of the Australian Expeditionary Force on the Gallipoli Peninsula. The Minister, in detailing the circumstances surrounding their first action, has indicated the magnitude of their achievement. Those whom they met knew that they, or some other Forces of His Majesty the King, would shortly arrive, and they had made every- preparation to repel them. Doubtless they knew every portion of the Peninsula as well as it was possible for soldiers or their officers to know it. In landing on the Peninsula our men were placed at a very considerable disadvantage in having to repel the attacks made upon them. That we have casualty lists and that soldiers have been killed and wounded was inevitable. We cannot any more than any one else expect to make omelettes without breaking eggs, but, as the Minister of Defence has said, the sense of loss of those who have remained in Australia has been tempered to some extent by the feeling of pride which those who have been bereft must have in the achievements of the men who have gone to the front. They have indeed set a high and noble standard of duty and conduct to those who will join them, or come after them, in order that our Forces at the front may be kept up to their proper strength. I venture to say that those who will follow them from Australia will be nerved by reading of their performance to the attempt to emulate, and, if possible, to excel, them in their remarkable achievements. What they have done has been criticised, and judgment has been passed upon them by the most competent authorities. There is good reason for self-gratulation on the part of the Australian people when they hear the sincerely, frankly, and truthfully expressed opinions which the Minister has read from the messages received by the Government. With the honorable senator, and with other members of the Senate, my sympathy goes out to those in Australia who have experienced loss, and to those at the front who are undergoing suffering. With the Minister also, I venture to say that pride in the achievement of our men will, to a certain extent, mitigate the feeling for the losses sustained and the sufferings endured. I join with the Minister in commending the motion to the very hearty acceptance of the Senate.

Senator Lt.-ColonelO'LOGHLIN (South Australia) [3.13]. - I should like to say a word on this important topic. I am sure that we have all felt a thrill of pride since the news came forward that the soldiers sent from Australia to the front have covered themselves with glory on the first occasion when they were confronted with the enemy.

Senator Ready - They "made good."

Senator Lt Colonel O'LOGHLIN - They "made good," as the phrase goes. It is very pleasing to listen to the high encomiums passed upon our troops, and particularly by General Ian Hamilton, the officer in command. I remember that when he was here reporting upon Australian defences, with the feeling of disparagement, if I may so put it, with which. a professional officer so often views mere civilian forces, in summing up his opinion in his report, and referring to the contingency of a hostile force attempting a landing in Australia, he said that we should require three to one of our militia to successfully compete with regular troops. Now, General Ian Hamilton has had an opportunity of seeing our Forces actually engaged with a Force of regulars in a fortified position, and very strongly entre'nched. He has seen them land, which is a very difficult thing indeed, on an open coast, and take fortified positions, and we have his unstinted praise of the way in which our soldiers have conducted themselves. They have shown that they are able to hold their own even with the best regular troops the world can produce. We must all feel sympathy with those whose relatives and friends have bean sacrificed in the attack on the Gallipoli Peninsula. Many of the officers and men who have fallen were comrades in arms of my own, and I am sure that they have been proud to meet what every soldier covets, and that is death on the field of battle, and, I think I may say also in this case, in the arms of victory.

Senator O'KEEFE(Tasmania) [3.161- - Although it is customary to have motions of this kind spoken to only by the Leader of the Government and the Leader of the Opposition, I make no apology as a member of the Senate for saying a word on this motion. On reading the lists of casualties, and seeing in them the names of many friends of long standing, I share the feeling of sorrow which every Australian must have, but that feeling is more than counterbalanced by my feeling of pride that I am an Australian. I am sure that when honorable senators generally read the news of the achievements of our Forces they felt proud to be able to call themselves Australians. There are many members of this Parliament who have sons or brothers fighting at the front, and whilst those of us who are not so fortunate as to have sons to give up in the country's service sympathize deeply with those whose relatives may be lost or wounded in the fortune of war, we know that they will have reason to be prouder than we can be. I have great pleasure in supporting ihe motion.

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