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Friday, 21 May 1915

Senator MILLEN - Yesterday I asked the Minister of Defence if he would look into certain statements in a newspaper paragraph referring to the delay in the despatch of letters and telegrams to soldiers at the front. I now ask that, in making that inquiry, the honorable senator will inquire concerning the following letter from the sister of a soldier at the front, which appears in the Age of this morning : -

I have a brother in Egypt who has not received a letter from us yet. We got letters saying how terribly disappointed he was at never hearing from us. He should have had a lot of letters, books, and papers. I would like to know why he has not got them. Imagine our feelings and his also at never hearing from us. Now he is in Turkey. Will he ever get them? I think when they give up everything they should at least get letters from home.

I ask the Minister whether it is not possible to take some steps to prevent a delay in the despatch of correspondence, which must be very harrowing to those intimately concerned, and which, I am sure, is extremely disappointing to the general public ?

Senator Long - I have received a letter from my son in precisely the same terms.

Senator PEARCE - In view of the number of complaints of this kind which have been made, I have asked the officers of the Defence Department to get into touch with the authorities of the Post and Telegraph Department, and arrange for a conference between the two Departments, to see whether they cannot find out the cause of these delays, and provide some remedy to prevent them. I should be glad if any honorable senator who has complaints of this kind to make will send them along to the Secretary of the Defence Department, so that particular cases may be laid before the conference to assist in discovering the cause of the numerous delays, and the best remedy to adopt to prevent them in future.

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