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Friday, 18 June 1915

Senator NEEDHAM (Western Australia) . - Any remarks I have to make will be brief, and will be directed to the Defence Department. With other honorable senators, I have listened to the criticisms of the Department, and I can only say that they are simply a repetition of statements made in the public press and in both branches of this Legislature, and that there is no justification at all for them. So far as the troops we are sending to the front are concerned, I deprecate, with Senator Newland, any comparison with any other Dominions of the Empire. It is not for any self-governing Dominion to cast any reflection upon any other Dominion of the Empire. I venture to say that we are doing the best we can in Australia; as to whether or not Canada is sending more men than we are, that is entirely beside the question. We have to busy ourselves with our own position, and have to ascertain whether or not we are sending sufficient men.

The CHAIRMAN - Might I ask the honorable senator upon what item he is basing his remarks? This is not the second-reading stage of the Bill.

Senator NEEDHAM - If I am out of order I will not continue my observations. At the request of the Minister, I omitted speaking on the first and second-reading stages, and reserved my remarks for the Committee stage; but now you are putting the schedule right through as a whole. I understood I could speak on the general question.

The CHAIRMAN - The honorable senator is at liberty to speak upon any item, but he must confine himself to the item, and not discuss the general question.

Senator NEEDHAM - I can see I will be entirely out of order by pursuing my remarks, so I will reserve them for some other time.

Senator Russell - As a personal explanation, if I am in order, I would like to say I regret that there has been a misunderstanding. It was the desire of the Government to suspend the Standing Orders at 4 o'clock, and I suggested to Senator Needham that he might speak in Committee instead of on the general motion. I regret if he has been prevented from making his remarks.

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