Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Thursday, 5 May 1921

Senator ELLIOTT (Victoria) .- I have listened to the attack of the honorable senator upon myself. He has not adduced a single fact in contravention of anything I said.

Senator Henderson - I did not need to. Your statements had already been refuted.

Senator ELLIOTT - Senator! DrakeBrockman has denied certain statements; but Senator Henderson had no evidence whatever to advance. The remarks made consisted merely and purely of a personal attack.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is the honorable senator referring to his own remarks concerning this absent soldier?

Senator ELLIOTT - I made no mention of names at all.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - It was quite clear whom the honorable senator meant. This officer was identified at once.

Senator Pearce - Does the honorable senator deny that it was Margolan to whom he referred?

Senator ELLIOTT - I do not, since his name has been mentioned. The fact remains that it was most unfortunate that the Commanding Officer of the Australian Imperial Force should have sent a foreigner, a stranger, to take over the command of a battalion from a man of the type of Captain Jacka.

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Bakhap - Order ! I do not recall the name of this officer having been referred to during my occupancy of the chair to-day. I would remind Senator Elliott that his references to this gentleman must be directly connected with the amendment. Military reminiscences at large cannot properly be attached to the consideration of a matter such as is now before the Committee.

Senator ELLIOTT - I was replying to an attack on myself by Senator Henderson.

Senator Henderson - I was speaking in behalf of one who was not present to defend himself.

Senator ELLIOTT - My statement was pointed .at the fact that the regulations originally provided for the redress of wrongs could be defeated by the introduction to battalion commands of outside officers. In view of the attack upon myself, I desire to make it perfectly clear-

Senator Henderson - In view of the attack which you made on another.

Senator ELLIOTT - I emphasize that I mentioned no names, and that the name . would not have been known but for Senator Drake-Brockman. Altogether, it was a most unfortunate experiment. Australians are not intolerant, but these Australians resented the introduction of a foreigner, a man from another regiment, to take command over them. Possibly, they were in the wrong; but they were convinced that everything they told me was correct. If they have misled me - I say this in the light of. Senator DrakeBrockman's statements - they have done so innocently without doubt, and will any honorable senator say that they deliberately lied to me? Whether the character of Major Margolan was such as has been described is beside the point.

Senator Henderson - The men who went away with him would have followed him anywhere.

Senator ELLIOTT - It was a pity he was not kept with them, instead of being transferred.

Senator Vardon - Did you know the major ?

Senator ELLIOTT - I have never met him. I will only add that the incident threatened to cause one of the most serious mutinies and one of the greatest disasters in the history of the Australian Imperial Force. As I see matters now, following the explanation which has been given, it all arose owing to a misunderstanding. The men and officers of that battalion were in a suspicious and jealous mood. As they saw the facts, they had a man thrust upon them; and, apparently, by a strange coincidence, he sustained an accident which prevented his going into the line.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does not the honorable senator think there was a responsibility placed upon him to be sure of his statements before he uttered them as facts in this chamber?

Senator ELLIOTT - I am in the unfortunate position of not having been able to examine, on oath, the persons concerned.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - All the more reason, in my opinion, why the honorable senator should not have taken the responsibility of saying such things here.

Senator ELLIOTT - I cited the circumstances as an example of the nonobservance of the regulations, and of the failure to give those who were entitled to the chance an opportunity of making good. Senator Drake-Brockman has not refuted the facts concerning' the man who succeeded Major Margolan, and who was ^ absent for two days at the battle of Polygon Wood. I know that the two incidents caused great dissatisfaction in the battalion. If the facts regarding Major Margolan however, are as have now been made known, I em sorry that I was led into error.

Senator Henderson - You ought to have expressed regret for what you said of an absent man.

Suggest corrections