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Wednesday, 12 May 1915

Mr FISHER (Wide Bay) (Prime Minister and Treasurer) . - By leave, I desire to move -

That this House congratulates the Military Forces of the Commonwealth on the soldierly qualities displayed at the Dardanelles.

A few words of mine will serve to commend the motion to honorable members. When our Expeditionary Force was brought into existence, high hopes were entertained of the soldierly qualities of the men. It was thought that they would prove themselves as capable as any soldiers in any part of the world in the performance of whatever work might be allotted to them in the defence of their country. That they have acquitted themselves even better than the most optimistic among us anticipated is now common knowledge. With the special merits of their behaviour under fire I shall leave others to deal who are better qualified to express opinions on the subject.

My particular desire at this moment is to convey to those who have been bereaved of brave relatives and friends, who have- died in the performance of that first of all the duties of citizenship, " the defence of the country to which they belong," the sympathy of this House, and of the Parliament. Such a widow or such a mother, in grieving her loss, will nourish a proud sorrow, solaced with the happiness of knowing that her beloved one gave his life to fulfil the duty that lay nearest to him.

May I add the hope that every citizen who can engage in the great work of subduing the enemy, and winning an honorable peace, may feel it to be his bounden duty to give his services to his country without delay, so that the conclusion of the war may be brought about as speedily as possible.

Let me conclude by reading some of the congratulatory messages which the Government have received consequent upon the action of our brave troops.

His Majesty the King, in a message dated Buckingham Palace, 29th April, 1915, cabled-

I heartily congratulate you upon the splendid conduct and bravery displayed by the Australian troops in the operations at the Dardanelles, who have indeed proved themselves worthy sons of the Empire.

From the Secretary of State for the Colonies came this cablegram, dated London, 27th April, 191S-

HisMajesty's Government desire me to offer you their warmest congratulations on the splendid gallantry and magnificent achievement of your contingent in the successful progress of the operations at the Dardanelles.

The First Lord of the Admiralty cabled on the 30th April - - On behalf of Board of Admiralty express our heartiest congratulations on the brilliant and memorable achievements of Australian and New Zealand troops at the Dardanelles. Admiral telegraphs that the fleet 'is filled with intense admiration at the feat of arms accomplished by the Army.

The message of the Prime Minister of Canada, dated Ottawa, 8th May, was -

Canada congratulates the Commonwealth on the splendid action of her troops in the Dardanelles, which demonstrates alike the quality of British stock and the solidarity of the Empire.

The Governor of New Zealand, in a message dated Auckland, 30th April, said -

I desire on behalf of New Zealand to convey to you the pride which this Dominion feels in being so closely associated with the forces of the Commonwealth in the present great undertaking in the Dardanelles, and rejoices that the two forces have so signally distinguished themselves.

Sir IanHamilton, the General Commanding the British Mediterranean Force, has sent the following cablegram, dated Tenedos, 11th May: -

May I, speaking out of a full heart, be permitted to say how gloriously the Australian and New Zealand Contingent have upheld the finest traditions of our race during this struggle still in progress, at first with audacity and dash, since then with sleepless valour and untiring resource they have already created for their countries an imperishable record of military virtue?

Messages of congratulation have also been received from His Excellency the Governor of Victoria, Lord Tennyson, General Sir Edward Hutton, and others, to all of whom suitable replies have been sent.

I intimated to my right honorable friend the Leader of the Opposition that I intended to move this motion, and I move it with his approval and cooperation.

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