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Friday, 18 June 1915

European War: Expeditionary Forces: Recruiting: Conscription: Manufacture of Munitions: Small Arms Factory : Preference to Unionists : Conditions of Contracts - Party Truce - Referenda Bills - Tariff - Industrial Organization - Food Supplies and Prices - War Expenditure.

Bill received from the House of Representatives.

Motion (by Senator Russell) proposed -

That this Bill be now read a first time.

Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel Sir ALBERTGOULD (New South Wales) [11.9].- I cannot allow the first reading of this Bill to pass without making a few observations with regard to matters which have already been alluded to in both this Chamber and the other House, and also in the press, and that is matters relating to defence and the supply of munitions of war. One labours under a disadvantage to a certain extent in speaking about this subject, because honorable senators opposite persistently say that any criticisms offered are actuated by purely party motives, and that party attacks are being directed at the administration of the Government or the Minister. In the remarks I make this morning I shall not be actuated by a spirit of that kind, but by a desire which I think should animate every member of Parliament - to take advantage of an opportunity where he thinks that he can assist in solving questions of defence, even if it be at the expense of the feelings of the Minister or the Department, because, after all, it must be recognised that neither a Minister nor a Government can possess the whole of the information or the power to deal with so comprehensive a matter which a larger body of men may be able to bring to bear. The attitude we should take up is, unfortunately, not always regarded from that stand-point, either here or elsewhere. Last week, when I was speaking to a similar motion, I al- luded to the insufficient number of recruits we had obtained since the war had commenced. I pointed out that, comparatively speaking, the number was very small, and made a comparison between the recruiting in Canada and Australia. I was reminded that Canada had a larger population, and that Australia had done things which Canada had not done. I was also reminded that the Navy established by Australia had rendered good service in connexion with the war, but that Canada had not a boat with which to render similar assistance. I admit that freely.

Senator de Largie - But you forgot it though, all the same.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - It is, of course, a matter of pride to Australia that her Navy has been able to render some valuable service in distant waters, as well as in the southern seas, but I remind honorable senators that in the matter of providing munitions of war we have not yet given the same assistance as Canada has rendered.

Senator de Largie - Nor have we provided as much as the United States of America. You might as well make that an argument.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - I might as well employ the argument that it is no part of the business of the United States of America to do more than she sees fit to do, and that she is doing very valuable work for which very valuable consideration is being given.

Senator de Largie - And so is Canada.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - Australia stands in much more imminent peril than does Canada. We know perfectly well that if the war resulted adversely to our own nation, Australia might be part of the price to be paid in the settlement of "affairs.

Senator de Largie - There is not a possible hope.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - We know that, so far as Canada is concerned, that could not possibly be, because of the Monroe doctrine under which the United States of America herself would be compelled to prevent any interference with any portion of America, whether it was in Canada or elsewhere.

Senator de Largie - Yes, and Australia has a Monroe doctrine, too, if we come to that point.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD .-- Australia has a Monroe doctme, but who backs the doctrine up? Canada has not a Monroe doctrine, but the United States of America, a Power alongside Canada, has, and would insist that no foreign Power should take possession of any American territory, whether it was portion of the British Empire or belonged to another independent nation. If we take the trouble to contrast our contribution to the Empire's needs with that of Canada, we shall find that though we have despatched a certain number of troops to the front, we have not accomplished a very great deal. To-day I desired to know the precise number of men whom we have sent to the front. The Minister was unable to give me that information, but he was in a position to inform me that the troops who had been despatched from the Commonwealth, and who were in training, totalled 83,000. I come now to a paragraph which I clipped from a newspaper the other day, and which relates to the number of troops that Canada has sent to the front. From it I learn that the Dominion is calling for 35,000 additional soldiers, thus bringing the total of her Expeditionary Forces to 150,000 men.

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