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Wednesday, 7 July 1915

Senator LONG (Tasmania) .- With Senator Newland, I think that something ought to be done to insure that our lads at the front shall receive some consideration at the hands of those charged with the transport of mails to and from Australia. Unlike Senator Newland, I am in entire agreement with the action of the Minister of Defence in appointing a gentleman, whom I regard as thoroughly qualified for the purpose, to conduct an investigation on behalf of the Government, and to make to them a full report. In making that appointment, I hope that the Government will clothe him with ample authority to carry out the investigation thoroughly, and that no obstacle whatever will be placed in the way of his getting the fullest information to enable him to make recommendations which will put an end to a very unsatisfactory state of affairs indeed. 1 want to say that, in my opinion, the blame in this matter does not lie with the officials at the other end. Although postcards from my lad at the front are received by us fairly regularly, he complains in each one that no letters have been received by him from home since early in February, but each letter that is posted by him reaches us in reasonably quick time. For instance, a postcard bearing the postal stamp of the 16th May reached us on the 18th June, demonstrating that there had been very little delay in the transit of that communication from Gallipoli to Australia. I sincerely hope that the Minister will not allow Mr. Murdoch to go away without full authority to investigate the various complaints, so that he may be able to recommend a remedy. There is another matter to which I think I ought to refer in justice to myself. It relates to an objection I made to the Minister some time ago regarding the appointment of Captain Payne to take charge of the administrative and instructional class at Claremont, in Tasmania, and in regard to which I subsequently made a complaint in the House in consequence of not having received satisfaction from the Minister. I believed then, and still believe, that a grave injustice had been done to members of the Permanent Forces who are connected with the Administrative and Instructional Staff. At that time the Minister was very emphatic in his opposition to the attitude I had adopted, and contradicted in very severe language the statements I had made. But I am glad to say that the Minister, who, I know, is an exceedingly busy man, has been able, during the last few weeks, to look into the facts, and I am inclined to think that he found them to be as represented by me. The result has been that the Minister has cancelled the appointment of Captain Payne. In a letter of the 4th June, the Minister wrote to me as follows: -

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