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Wednesday, 28 October 1914

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister of Defence) . - I am in a position to answer that question immediately. I would direct the honorable senator's attention to the fact that clause 1 of the Bill provides that this Act shall be incorporated and read with the Defence Act 1903-12. Now that Act specifically lays it down that our Military Forces cannot be compelled to serve outside Australia without their consent. Of course our Naval Forces can be sent anywhere. This clause, therefore, does not allow us to do anything in contravention of the Defence Act 1903-12.

Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERTGOULD (New South Wales) [8.26].- The question which has been raised by Senator Mullan is one of very great importance. But we have to recognise that all the Forces we might mass in Australia would be utterly useless to affect the final result of the war which is now in progress.

Senator Pearce - At the same time, this Bill will not give us any more power than we have under the Defence Act.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - Exactly. We have no power to send our Military Forces outside the confines of Australia. But I wish honorable senators to realize the absolute necessity which exists for sending men to the theatre of war, in order that they may effectively assist in the protection of the shores of the Commonwealth.

Senator Mullan - We shall never experience any difficulty in getting men.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - At the present moment they can do more for the defence of Australia in Europe than they can accomplish here.

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