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Wednesday, 25 November 1914

Senator STORY (South Australia) . - The proposal submitted by Senator Turley appears to have aroused an immense amount of interest, not only in this Chamber, but throughout the country. As a matter offact it is, in the eyes of a section of the electors, a very much more important question than was that upon which this Parliament was subjected to a double dissolution quite recently. I suppose that honorable senators, like myself, have been practically inundated with copies of resolutions which have been adopted by various temperance organizations, ministers of religion, and, indeed, organizations of all descriptions, urging them not to support this proposal. While I am satisfied that the ladies and gentlemen who at this particular juncture are corresponding with honorable senators, are actuated only by the purest motives, I feel that they are not fully seized of the conditions which surround our military camps, and are, therefore, not in a position to form as fair an opinion as to what is desirable as are members of this Chamber. We have had a very interesting debate upon this matter. A number of honorable senators nave supported the amendment and have advanced good reasons why the supply of intoxicants in military camps should be under strict supervision.

Senator Shannon - Did the honorable senator say that good reasons had been advanced ?

Senator STORY - Yes. Notwithstanding the abolition of the wet canteen, I, in common with other honorable senators, have repeatedly seen members of our Second Expeditionary Force, who are encamped at Broadmeadows, taking spirits into that camp simply because they could not procure them there. The Minister himself has told us that intoxicants are prohibited in the camp. That being so, a member of the Force who desires to obtain liquor there has no option but to smuggle in spirits, inasmuch as any attempt to smuggle beer into the camp would be sure to result in detection. There has been more drunkenness amongst the troops at Broadmeadows since the dry canteen was established than there was when the wet canteen obtained. In his reply I would like the Minister to say whether there has not been more arrests for drunkenness in connexion with our Second Expeditionary Force there than there were in connexion with our First Expeditionary Force. I feel a considerable amount of sympathy with the mothers of boys who are obliged to enter military encampments at a time when they are very susceptible" to temptation. But I would point out that there are many lads of eighteen years of age who are accustomed to drinking beer. In the circumstances I desire to amend the amendment of Senator Turley, and I therefore move -

That the amendment be amended by the addition of the following words : - " and («) by adding the following proviso at the end thereof : - ' Provided further that no member of the Citizen Forces under the age of twenty-one years shall, except as prescribed for purely medical purposes, be supplied with any intoxicating or spirituous liquor from any canteen.' "

I understand that Senator Turley is perfectly willing to accept my amendment, and I think that the Minister might very well adopt a similar attitude.

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