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Thursday, 2 June 1921

Mr FRANCIS (Henty) . - I deem it my duty to protest against the utterances of the honorable members for Barrier (Mr. Considine) and Batman (Mr. Brennan). Those honorable members said, in effect,, that the case against the British Empire has been proved by the statements of famous men throughout the world, of whom they gave a. list. I say the case for the Empire has been overwhelmingly justified by infinitely greater men. I desire to. express, my opinion, in brief, regarding the estrangement alluded to this afternoon between the British Empire and the United States of America. I say, deliberately, that if there is any truth in that allegation, it is due to influences brought to bear on the American people by those who speak in terms similar to the honorable members to whom I have just alluded, and who have said that they are quite willing to take their places outside the Empire. Their endeavour and ultimate aim is to sever connexion with the Empire, and it may be that the work that is now proceeding, not only in America, but elsewhere, has. that object in. view. The bulk of the people in the British Empire, however, are convinced that their abject will not be achieved, because there is undoubted loyalty towards the British Empire on the Irish question. The position in Ireland has nothing whatever to do with this Parliament, . and the motive for introducing the question into this Chamber this afternoon is doubtless, to stir up. among the people of theCommonwealth an atmosphere of disloyalty. Although they are living under the . protection of' the Union Jack, they are endeavouring to hurl it into the dust.

Mr Brennan - I desire only to sever my connexion with robbery and murder.

Mr FRANCIS - Right down- through the ages, it cannot be said that the British Empire has ever associated itself with murder or brutality; it has always stood for those things which- make for the harmony and peace of the people: All loyal members of the British Empire must recordtheir emphatic protest against the statements- which have beenmade by those honorable members . who have supported the motion, and it is our duty to let the people of Australia know that, notwithstanding the opinions expressed this; afternoon, there are others in this chamber who are prepared to defend the Empire against abuse, and the attempt to belittleit on the Irish question.

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