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Friday, 9 July 1915

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister of Defence) . - I join with Senator Millen in expressing pleasure that the stream of recruits is increasing; but, as to their accommodation, we have, as honorable senators know, a fair stock of tents, and so far have used tents only to accommodate troops in training. But for some time past, throughout the Commonwealth, we have been erecting galvanized-iron huts. Some of them are completed, but, speaking of the Commonwealth as a whole, they are not yet ready for occupation, so that in most cases the men are occupying the tents. The huts are being completed rapidly, and on their completion we snail have the huts and the tents. In Victoria the position has been complicated by the fact that we have removed temporarily the camp from Broadmeadows. The erection of the huts is proceeding, but the regrading and making of the roads is also going on, and the troops are temporarily accommodated in tents at Seymour. Our tentage is limited, and to meet the shortage we have made an arrangement with the trustees of the Royal Agricultural Society, who have very kindly placed their grounds at our disposal. There is ample accommodation for several thousand men, and they are being sent there. In the meantime the Home Affairs Department is pressing on with the work at Broadmeadows, .and we shall soon have not only the ground, but the huts available, and if there should be any surplus of men, we can fall back on the tents. As regards instructors, that is a difficult question, and it has become increasingly difficult, owing to the fact that we. have been sending away some of the best . officers, and some of the members of the instructional staff have gone, too. I believe, however, that we can overcome that difficulty. So far the Department has been able to cope with it. We have had. to call up a number of militia officers. ' There is still in the Commonwealth a number of militia officers who, for various reasons, cannot or do not go to the war. We have the right to call on them for service, and will avail ourselves of it to the utmost extent. As regards the list referred to by Senator O'Keefe, there is one item to which I would like to call public attention. In the list of names of Australians interned in Germany appears the name of Mr. Schlink. It will be remembered that a few days ago I said that the doctor at the Liverpool Camp, who was attacked because of his nationality, had stated that he had a brother who went to Germany in his youth, and was interned there at the outbreak of war as. an Australian. The list contains confirmation of that statement, because it includes the name of a Mr. Schlink, of Wodonga, in Victoria - his place of origin in the Commonwealth. It is confirmation of the statement that the German people, at any rate, look upon him as an Australian, and not as a German.

Question resolved in the affirmative. Senate adjourned at 4.33 p.m.

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