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Wednesday, 19 October 1910

Senator BUZACOTT (Western Australia) . - There can be no doubt as to the seriousness of the case that has been brought forward by Senator Needham, nor as to its urgency. The question that we now have to ask ourselves is - has the Commonwealth the right to protect citizens against the despotism of State officials ? Aft honorable member opposite has asked whether the statements that have been put forward on behalf of Mr. Wise have been challenged. They have not been challenged so far. The facts were published by the Perth Daily News on 3rd October. Several weeks have since elapsed. The newspaper report distinctly states that Mr. Wise did not lose any time in attending to his military duties, and that no other warder had to take his place at any time. It has been clearly proved that Mr. Wise has right and justice on his side, and the facts alleged on his behalf have not been ^disputed.

Senator Rae - When was the case first mentioned in public?

Senator BUZACOTT - It was first mentioned in the Western Australian Parliament six weeks ago. It is for the Minister of Defence to inform the Senate whether he has communicated with the State Government on the subject, and whether that Government has refused to take up the cudgels on behalf of Mr. Wise. If so, it is clear, in my opinion, that the State Ministers must be in league with some foreign Power. They are certainly not doing their best to assist us in training soldiers for the defence of Australia. In my opinion, Senator Needham was justified, not merely in laying the facts before the Senate, but in expressing himself strongly concerning them. A very important question has arisen, and my colleague is to be commended for laying it before this Parliament.

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