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Thursday, 8 July 1915

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) . - In this morning's paper there is a statement in reference to the visit I made to the Liverpool Camp, which conveys the impression that I was escorted round the camp by officers, and did not see for myself what was going on there. I want to say, simply and plainly, that upon going to the camp I reported myself to the Commandant, Lieutenant-Colonel Kirkland. My reason for doing that was that, wherever I have been at any time, I have always recognised the person in authority. I did not want to go through the camp as a spy or as a sneak, and I simply went to the Commandant and told him I had come to have a look round for myself. I walked through the lines accompanied by no one. I never told any one in the lines that I was a member of Parliament, and nobody knew I was a member of Parliament, excepting one or two men who happened to know me personally. Everything contained in the report that I sent te Senator Pearce was the result of my own observation, and there were in it no suggestions made to me by officers, or by any one else. Some years ago I held a position of which I was as proud as I am of the position I now occupy. I was then an organizer of the Australian Workers Union. I never went anywhere, I never visited the premises of any squatter in any part of Australia, without reporting ray presence to the man in charge, because I recognised that it was a fair thing that I should let him know that I was on his premises. It was in keeping with that example that, as a member of Parliament, on visiting this camp I reported to the officer in charge. I wish to contradict the statement that on going there I allowed myself to be escorted round the camp by officers, and did not see everything for myself.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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