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Thursday, 27 October 1904

Mr STORRER (Bass) - I wish to deal with only one item forming part of the Budget statement. I refer to the question of defence. It will be remembered that last year the Defence Force of Tasmania was reduced to a level below that of the rest of the Commonwealth, and that a certain amount of dissatisfaction arose, which resulted in the disbandment of the southern forces. The northern forces of Tasmania, however, remained true to their principles, and expected that they would be treated in the generous manner indicated by the then Treasurer, the right honorable member for Balaclava, in last year's Budget statement. The right honorable member then stated that such a thing as that of which the troops complained would not happen again. As a matter of fact, however, we find that the Estimates now submitted to us provide for the payment of the forces in Tasmania for only six months, instead of twelve - their pay is to date from 1st January next, instead of from 1st July of this year. I trust that the Tasmanian Forces, which have remained true to their principles, will be granted that which was promised them, and which they expected to receive. I believe that the volunteers of that State would willingly serve their country without any payment whatever ; but thev regard it as a slight to be asked to receive less than that given to their brethren on the mainland. I mention this matter at this early stage in the debate, so that when we are called upon to deal with the Defence estimates, we shall be in a position to treat the forces in Tasmania in the manner they deserve. It will be remembered that, in speaking on the motion for the adoption of the Address in Reply, at the opening of this Parliament, I referred to the wav in which our volunteers had been treated. During the debate which has taken place this afternoon, a good deal has been said as to the large expenditure contemplated on defence works in Western Australia; but I have not heard of any proposal to expend large sums on such things as fortifications in Tasmania. I do not complain of that, but Tasmania expects that her volunteers shall be treated on truly Federal lines.

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