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Thursday, 15 July 1915

Senator BAKHAP (Tasmania) . - Some information has been sent to me which discloses a condition of affairs so alarming that I must put the correspondence in the hands of the Minister. It relates to the inexplicable delays which are taking place in connexion with the sending of correspondence, not to soldiers in Egypt, but to soldiers who are in camp in the States. I have here some correspondence from a man who lives in a mining town in which I resided for many years. He has given three sons to the Expeditionary Forces, and one son has been for years in the Australian Navy. The father of those young men is not by any means illiterate, nor are the' sisters or the neighbours who are addressing letters to the boys who are serving in the Expeditionary Forces, or amongst the men who are being recruited for those Forces. These persons are sending letters regularly, week after week, and they are getting letters hack from the lads who are in camp, saying that they are not receiving the letters addressed to them from . their home. They are in a state of perturbation to know how things are going on . at home. One of them happens to be married ; . his wife is writing to him regularly, hut he is not getting her letters. One of them is even talking of deserting because he is kept in complete ignorance of how things are at home. The father tells me that correspondence has been addressed to the lads quite regularly every week. That condition of affairs is quite inexplicable.

Senator Pearce - In what State is it happening?

Senator BAKHAP - The father, in Tasmania, says that he is getting these letters from his sons in Queensland. One of them writes -

I hear that Bob and Tom are going to join.

Tell them to take a fool's advice and stop where they arc. It is not all beer and skittles, and there is a lot to put up with.

Their principal complaint is that they cannot get the letters which are addressed to them from their home in Tasmania. I am not speaking in a captious spirit. It may be that there is a reason for all this, but to me it is utterly inexplicable. ' I hand the correspondence to the Minister, which, of course, he will regard as confidential so far as names are concerned. I hope that he will address himself to the Minister in charge of the Post and Telegraph Department and endeavour to have this state of things remedied at the earliest possible moment.

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