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Friday, 27 June 1941

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) .- This bill offers to honorable senators an opportunity to air whatever grievances they may have, and the Government cannot complain if their views are expressed in no uncertain' terms.

I propose to deal broadly with two or three matters which may be of interest to the Senate, and I trust that my observations will prove of ' assistance to the Government. I do not intend to range into- the more nebulous regions of the new order, about which we have heard so much, and which nobody understands. So far as I have been able to ascertain from' exhaustive reading, the only concrete expression which has been made concerning it fell from the lips of Mr. Herbert Morrison, who said that " Every fellow should have an equal opportunity ". To only one new order has practical effect been given. It is a new order that we do not like, and one that we are resisting. It is the order of blood, of force, and of slavery. Our first duty to this country is to endeavour to rid the world 'of that curse, that menace to our freedom as a people. In the words of Tennyson -

The old order changeth, yielding place to new.

And God fulfils Himself in many ways.

Whilst we deplore that we may not have reached in our standards those heights to which the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) has referred, we should, nevertheless, look around us to see how best we can hold the standards that we have, after the present struggle in Europe has terminated. I commend to my friends on both sides of the Senate the study of - those interesting' addresses which, from time to time, are delivered at the Harris Institute in the United States of America. There, they are endeavouring to search into the causes of nearly all wars, and particularly the present war, and have come to conclusions which,' in some degree, shake one's faith in certain fiscal views which one has held very closely, and upon which this country has been working for many years.

I deplore the speech which was made last night by Senator Amour in an attack upon individual officers. Surely that sort of address will not assist in the recruitment of men who are so greatly needed in certain branches of our forces ! If what the honorable senator has said be true, surely representations should be made to the Minister for the Army ! If they are not true, they should not be bruited abroad in a public assembly, such as this. Senator Amour has himself seen active service, during which he bore the brunt of a very difficult campaign, and should be the last openly to charge various officers, about whom I know nothing whatever, with any impropriety. Surely that is not conducive to assisting the war effort of the Government, particularly with respect to recruitment for the Australian Imperial Force ! I put it-to the honorable senator, that in his wiser moments he. should think of the effect caused by such statements by a responsible representative of public opinion in New South Wales.

The Leader of the Opposition touched last night on the fact that this Senate is somewhat ignored by the House of Representatives. It appears to me that there is a growing" inclination in that direction, and that it rests with the Senate to assert itself. In some degree, it is doing so to-day. Why should we not have the opportunity, on occasions of this sort, to voice our views regarding matters of more or less importance - of great importance in the opinion of some persons, and perhaps, of minor importance in the opinion of others? This is the opportunity and we should take it to the full. If the gentlemen in the House of Representatives are permitted to. debate a bill at great length, the Government should be prepared to allow this chamber equal opportunity to consider, it thoroughly. There should be no discussion of the merits of the bill now before us; its object is merely to provide for a continuance of expenditure on the -same scale as that set out in a bill which we passed a few months ago. It is for us to decide how much time we need in order to discuss it, and how much time we should have to ventilate all our grievances.

Senator Foll - The Government has no desire to curtail discussion.

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