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Thursday, 24 November 1921

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - BROCKMAN. - I am inclined to think it very necessary. Australia cannot afford to have a smaller staff than is requisite to train the largest possible number of men capable of being called upon to take the field.

Senator Bolton - But the permanent staff to-day is not equal to manning a full Army Corps.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - BROCKMAN.It is very nearly so. Possibly the attack on the Defence Estimates has been undertaken by certain individuals with their tongues in their cheeks, men who have been moved with the pious hope that all the things predicted of the Washington Disarmament Conference will he realized. I would prefer to see the hopes and expectations of Australia founded on a solid base of munitions and supplies.

Senator Russell - No one can anticipate what may be decided upon at Washington.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - BROCKMAN. - That is so. Many critics of the Military Forces, and of the Defence Estimates, are anticipating what all people hope will be the outcome of the gathering at Washington. Upon that hope, the critics are rushing in where angels would hesitate. They are gambling with the safety of Australia in a way that they have no right to do. I hope' there will be a pause in the search for places where the Estimates can be cut, in order to appease the hungry appetites of gentlemen outside of Parliament, who, for their own glory, and to establish reputations as economists, are clamouring for the blood of politicians. This cry. for economy is brought about to a great extent by gentlemen who have no real information, no knowledge, and no experience. Among one section the popular cry is for economy, and in another section the desire is to cut down the Defence expenditure. Those two sections have combined, and an attack is made on the Defence Department because that is the line of least resistance. I hope there will be no further inroad into the Defence Estimates.

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