Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Thursday, 13 May 1915

Senator BAKHAP (Tasmania) . - I regard this motion as indicative of the opinion of the people throughout this country as well as of this Legislature, that the Australian Forces at the Dardanelles deserve well of the Commonwealth. As the Minister of Defence has pointed out, they have had to meet no mean and feeble foe. It is a well-known fact that it is only the heroic military qualities of the Ottoman peasantry that have maintained the Turkish Empire for four centuries against all the Powers of Christian Europe. It is not as if our Expeditionary Forces have merely exhibited courage against primitive savages armed with primitive weapons. They have had to encounter men of admittedly high military qualities, who have been led by officers belonging to a nation which has made a profession of war during the past half century. It is, therefore, a matter of pardonable pride on the part of members of this Parliament that, on war's red touchstone, the Australian soldier has rung true metal. I sympathize with those who' have lost relatives at the front - with those who have lost sons, and in some cases, fathers. But in war, death is the soldier's frequent fortune, and " a glorious death is his who for his country falls." I hope that our feelings of appreciation for our troops will not lead us to view the defence of Australia in any false light. The Imperial authorities were well aware of the task which they were about to set our soldiers, and for that reason, on the sands of Egypt, they subjected them to some months of training which, because of its strenuous character, was probably equivalent to a year's military training in ordinary circumstances. Our men have been specially fitted for the task which they were selected to perform, and I glory in the fact that they have been tried, and not found wanting. Even as the Crusaders were a great factor in evolving the modern Englishman, inasmuch as they cemented the Norman invaders with the ancient Anglo-Saxon people, so this war will have a beneficial effect in welding into one composite whole the people who make up this Commonwealth. In the lists of casualties are to be found the names of men who are not of British extraction, but who, having been born here, have been proved true to Australian sentiment and to the Imperial standard of honour. I have very much pleasure in supporting the motion.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Suggest corrections