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Wednesday, 26 May 1915


Mr LIVINGSTON (Barker) .- I am glad the matter of the camp at Broadmeadows has been referred to. I visited the camp last March, and when I came back I reported to Parliament that it was in the wrong place, and should never have been put there. There are iff Australia many men who are quite capable of making a better selection of a site than was done by the Defence Department.


Mr Jensen - This Government did not select the Broadmeadows Camp. It was handed over to us.


Mr LIVINGSTON - I reported the matter to the Acting Minister of Defence, and said it was no place either for horses or for men. I have seen more sick horses there than anywhere else. There are many suitable sites not far from Melbourne; places with light sandy soil and not far from the sea, where the horses could be exercised and given a swim occasionally, so that they could be kept in perfect health. I am sorry to learn that the site at Seymour is very little improvement on that at Broadmeadows, and I hope, therefore, that the Minister will make full inquiries before the camp is shifted to Seymour, or any other place. The Minister should see that the site of the next camp is in good sandy, dry country, especially as we are likely to have a wet winter. I am sure that we could form a Committee from members of this House to pick a camp that would be in every sense desirable. I could do it myself, for I have had wide experience in matters of this kind, and I know something about the business. If our young men were forced into the Broadmeadows Camp by the enemy, they would have to stay there, of course; but I am sure that no Australian would ever stay there unless he were forced to. I would not remain there five minutes, unless I were obliged to. I told the House last March that the site was unsuitable, because there would be so much mud in winter, and so rauch dust in summer. I hope that better provision will be made in the future for the training of our young men. Put the railway through to our own Territory and you will have access to plenty of land in every way suitable for a military station. The military men would probably fall in with this suggestion. The honorable member who was speaking just now made a plea for the small man. I agree with him that small men, well developed, can stand just as much hardship as big men. It is ridiculous that, because a man is an inch below the standard height, he should be denied the opportunity of fighting for his country. I am sure, however, that the Minister of Defence is doing all in his power to meet the requests of honorable members. But still these complaints come to hand. I was sorry to learn from an old friend of mine at Beachport, South Australia, Mr. Corigliano, who has two sons away at the war, that he has had no word from them for the past six months. One of the young men is on the Australia.


Mr Manifold - It is not likely that he will get word from that son if he is on the Australia; the Minister has nothing to do with that matter.


Mr LIVINGSTON - I feel satisfied that the Minister is doing all in his power. I know how difficult it is to arrange for correspondence when one is travelling about the country, for on some occasions letters are delivered after a man has reached his own home again. In this matter, therefore, Ave must be careful not to worry our Minister of Defence too much. I have previously said it would be much better if the Minister could spend more time in his own office looking after important details connected with the Defence Department than to be in Parliament answering questions day after day upon all conceivable subjects connected with the war. It would be much better if we had a War Committee to deal with those matters that crop up from day to day, mid give the Minister more time to attend to the affairs of his Department. We are all anxious to do our best in the interests of our own country, and therefore we should see to it that the best conditions possible are obtained for men who are offering their services. We should see to it that when they leave these shores the men and the horses are thoroughly fit for the work they will be called upon to do. I would suggest to the Minister, therefore," that those gentlemen in this House - and there are many - who are thoroughly acquainted with camp problems should be asked to confer with the Military Department in order to select the best camp site available for the future training of our troops.







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