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Thursday, 22 April 1915

Mr MCGRATH - Does the honorable member know anything about the case?

Mr JOSEPH COOK - No; but I know Colonel Holmes, whom the honorable member does not know.

Mr MCGRATH - No; thank God

Mr JOSEPH COOK - The honorable member thanks God that he does not know an officer whose reputation is, at least, equal to his own. It is amazing that, in a national Parliament, a member who does not know an officer will traduce him, and make odious accusations against him. Is there any fair play in that? It is the action of skunks to condemn a man one does not know, and to make odious charges against his character with no evidence to support them.

Mr Burns - The honorable member did not hear the statements that were made.

Mr Mcwilliams - It was stated that all the officers were guilty of practically every crime under the sun.

Mr Burns - The honorable member for Bourke did not say all of them.

Mr JOSEPH COOK - Colonel Holmes has a reputation for uprightness of character and all those qualities which fit a man to exercise command over his fellows, second to that of no other man in Sydney. In private life he is Secretary to the Metropolitan Board of Water Supply and Sewerage, and has under his control thousands of men, whom, so far as I know, he treats well. I am not intimately acquainted with Colonel Holmes, but I know of him and of his work, and I say that few men have done more than he for his country.

Mr Anstey - Did the honorable member apply the word " skunk " to me ?

Mr JOSEPH COOK - I did not apply it to anybody in particular. I say that any man, I do not care who he may be, who makes charges such as have been made against an officer whom he does not know, and without proof, is what I have termed him.

Mr LAIRD SMITH (DENISON, TASMANIA) - The expression was a very vulgar one for an ex-Prime Minister.

Mr JOSEPH COOK - Better be vulgar than make charges against an innocent man. Colonel Holmes has done more than most men for his country.

Mr Anstey - Did the honorable member hear what I said about him ?

Mr JOSEPH COOK - I have been told that the honorable member charged Colonel Holmes with all the crimes in the calendar. If the honorable member did not do that, there is no point in my remarks.

Mr Anstey - The honorable member is talking about something of which he knows nothing.

Mr JOSEPH COOK - Then the honorable member for Bourke said nothing about Colonel Holmes?

Mr Anstey - The honorable member does not know what I did or did not say.

Other honorable members interjecting

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