Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Wednesday, 14 July 1915

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - I have not spoken earlier in the debate on these measures because I en'tertained the hope that even at the eleventh hour the Government would see the wisdom of not pressing them upon public consideration at this juncture. The one outstanding national need now is a united national effort to ward off a distinct national danger. The national safety can be secured only by national effort, and that, national effort cannot be obtained to its fullest extent if the nation is divided into two warring camps.

Senator Guthrie - Did you think the same before the last general election?

Senator MILLEN - If I made a mistake then, rather than do anything to-day to prejudice the safety of Australia and the Empire, I would willingly admit it, because the position is infinitely more serious now than it appeared to be then. If an error was made then, it ought not to 'be perpetuated now. The Vice-President of the Executive Council, in introducing these Bills, made use of a phrase to which I take the strongest possible exception. He spoke of "Business as usual." No more pernicious or mischievous phrase has ever been used in the whole range of controversy connected with this war. " Business as usual," when we find the hills of the Dardanelles dripping with the blood of our own soldiers f " Business as usual," when the casualty lists are throwing the shadow of a great sacrifice over an increasing number of .Australian homes! "Business as usual," when ,$he man whose name to-day carries more authority than that of any other individual in the Empire - I refer to Lord Kitchener - says that we are faced with a crisis so serious that the Empire needs the services of every man who is available ! Let me remind honorable senators of what he has said. I invite them not merely to listen to his words, but to weigh and consider what underlies them. In his last address, which was intended, not merely for the privileged number who listened to it, but for the heart and mind and soul of every Britisher throughout the Empire, he said -

In every man's life there is a supreme hourtowards which all earlier experiences move,, and from which all future results are reckoned.. That solemn hour is-striking for every Briton. Let us heed the opportunity now, or we will" never share. Shirk nothing! Shrink from nothing! Lend our full weight to the impetus - which shall carry to victory the cause of our - honour and freedom.

Yet I hear the term " Business as usual," ' when that clarion appeal is ringing round ' this great Empire. " Business as usual," ' when the fate of the Empire is still hanging in the balance I To talk of " "Business as usual" when our right to - call this Australia our country, and to continue in the enjoyment of our freedom, are in jeopardy, is to ignore the tragic facts with which we are confronted.

Senator NEWLANDS (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Go down Bourkestreet, and see whether it is not a case of r " Business as usual."

Senator MILLEN - I have only to go down Bourke-street and turn towards the Town Hall in order to get the most conclusive evidence that "'Business as usual " is not being carried oh. " Business as usual," when to-day Belgium is still quivering in the talons of the conqueror, when we have so far been unable to do anything towards redeeming our pledge to restore to her her national life and her national liberties ! " Business as usual," when a large portion of the fertile territory of our gallant allies, the French, is still under the heel of the conqueror ! " Business as usual," when, disguise it though we will, we must recognise the fact that our other gallant allies, the Russians, have been pushed back, and in a few weeks have lost the results of the strenuous efforts of months ! Why, there are a hundred circumstances which point to the fact that the one thing we dare not do is to attempt to proceed with our ordinary business. I need not go further than the records of this Parliament to show that there is no justification for the continued use of this idle and mischievous phrase. What has been the record of this Parliament since we met?

Suggest corrections