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Wednesday, 13 July 1921
Page: 9945

Senator ELLIOTT (VICTORIA) asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -

1.   Has the Minister seen an article in the Herald of the 29th June, which states that it is the Government policy to arm the Australian Light Horse . with swords, and, if so, is such report correct?

2.   What expense was involved to the Commonwealth in purchasing swords for this purpose?

3.   Will the Minister make available to senators any official reports received by him in connexion with the above subject?

4.   How many engagements, and what were the occasions, in which the Australian Light Horse used swords in the recent war, and what casualties were inflicted in such engagements on the enemy by the use of the sword?

5.   Is it not a fact that the cavalry of the British Army has been largely reduced because it is regarded as being obsolete?

6.   Is the Minister aware whether, in the battles of Cressy, Minden, Waterloo, Alma, and many others it was conclusively established that unshaken infantry, armed even with bows and arrows and flint-lock muzzle-loading rifles, were more than a match for the finest cavalry of the day armed with swords, and in South Africa the sword proved, except on extremely rare occasions, a mere useless encumbrance) and in the Russo-Japanese war the sword was equally useless ?

7.   Will not the almost certain introduction of an automatic firearm for infantry tend to render shock action by cavalry still more impossible in the future?

8.   What amount of training will be devoted topractice with- this weapon? " .

9.   Will the- Minister make a full statement to the Senate, giving an opportunity for discussion of the Government policy in taking such a step?

10.   Will the Minister make available the report of the " Conference of Senior Officers " held in 1920 on defence problems?

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