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Friday, 26 September 1902

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Will the Acting Minister for Defence make strict inquiries into the case which has been referred to, and, if the men are stranded, have them sent on to their destinations, afterwards charging the Imperial authorities with the cost?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - That has been done in every case in which the men had any claim to be so treated. But whilst we sent many valiant and good soldiers from Australia, the department have had also to deal with a few men who represent themselves to be what they are not.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) -i suppose all the men have their discharges.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - No. Some of those who make representations to us produce no evidence of having served in South Africa at all.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Well, in this case the Mayor of Goulburn has taken the matter up.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - It may be merely a matter of advertising. It is impossible to deal with these cases until the facts are known.

Mr CROUCH - I wish to direct the attention of the Minister to the case of Regimental Sergeant-Major Coffey, who was a member of the first Victorian Contingent, and, while on active service, caught a cold which developed into phthisis. The Imperial Government paid him a pension until the 4th August, but from that date until the18th September, when he died, the man was in absolute want. I wrote to the Minister for Defence in regard to the matter, and was informed that the man should make his claim upon either the Imperial or the State authorities. The man has since died. For some time before his death he was without medical comforts, and his wife and four children were practically without the necessaries of life. In these circumstances, I desire to ask theActing Minister for Defence whetherhe will inquire into the case, and include it amongst those which he proposes to refer to the Imperial Government.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - If the honorable and learned member will remind me of the matter, I will make inquiries from the Secretary for the Department of Defence. I am satisfied that if the honorable member wrote to the Minister some action was taken by the department, and that representations have probably been made to the Imperial Government. If proper representations were made, I think it is very likely that the man waslooked after prior to his death.

Mr Crouch - No.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - That is my impression, because instructions have been given that if any of these men cannot obtain their money and are in want, every consideration shall be shown to them, especially if they are ill. I cannot think that the soldier referred to could have been neglected if proper representations had been made to the authorities. I will make inquiry, and if there is no reason to doubt its validity, a claim will be made upon the Imperial Government.

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