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Friday, 29 May 1914

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) .- I move-

That new regulation 109a. part of Statutory Rule No. 32 of 1914, under the Defence Act, be disallowed.

I am taking this course entirely on my own responsibility. The motion is in no sense a party one, nor has its subjectmatter any party significance. I have not approached a single member of the Labour party to ask him for his vote. I have not canvassed the members of the Senate, and I do not know how honorable senators generally propose to vote on this question. One or two of them voluntarily told me how they intend to vote, but, with these exceptions, I do not know how honorable senators generally propose to vote.

Senator Oakes - It means that they are perfectly free to vote as they think fit?

Senator PEARCE - Yes. I thought it was necessary to make this statement, because otherwise it might possibly be construed that this is a party action. It has no party significance, nor has it been discussed by the party with which I am associated. I have felt it my duty to submit the motion, because I believe conscientiously that the action proposed to be taken by the Minister of Defence would be detrimental to the defence scheme, and would introduce a very undesirable condition of affairs. In the first place, I will read the regulation which I ask the Senate to disallow, and which I understand is being distributed -

Regulations (Provisional) for Universal Training, Part V., Citizen Forces, 1914. (Vide Statutory Rule 19 of 1914).



Insertnew Regulation - " 109a. (1) National Regiments which existed prior to 1st July, 1912, as efficient battalions of not less than four companies may be retained as extra-territorial units. " (2) A National Regiment shall only be retained as such provided that it is maintained at the approved annual establishment with not less than ninety per cent, of efficient members of such establishment in each year. " (3) The strength of National Regiments will be maintained by voluntary enrolment from those liable for training under Section 125 (c) of the Defence Act, recruits being drawn from certain convenient Brigade Areas approved by the Military Board. " (4) Candidates for enrolment in a National Regiment will be required to prove that they are substantially of English, Scottish, or Irish descent, as the case may be. " (5) Uniforms of a distinct pattern approved by the Military Board shall be provided for National Regiments in accordance with Section 123e of the Defence Act."

It is essential, too, that we should look at the official notice constituting these units. In the Commonwealth Gazette of the 18th April, 1914, No. 20, we find this notification -

Department of Defence,

Melbourne, 18th April, 1914.

Ex. Min. No. 331.


Re-establishment of Units, Militia Forces.

His Excellency the Governor-General, acting with the advice of the Federal Executive Council, has been pleased to approve of the reestablishment of the following units of the Militia Forces which existed prior to 1st July, 1912, as efficient battalions of not less than four companies, namely : -

Infantry. 2nd Military District.

New South Wales Scottish Regiment,

St. George's English Regiment,

New South Wales Irish Regiment. 3rd Military District.

Victorian Scottish Regiment.


Minister of State for Defence.

My object in reading that notification is to bring out the point that this proposal is to apply to only two States of the Commonwealth.

Senator Rae - At present.

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