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Thursday, 17 June 1915


The CHAIRMAN - I must ask the honorable member not to discuss the Tariff.


Mr PALMER - I shall say no more about it, but it was a very slight digression that I was making. In my opinion, we should adjourn as soon as we can, so that Ministers may have the whole of their time to give to the weighty matters which are now the responsibility of the Government, and may concern the very existence of this Commonwealth. I hope that never again in the history of this Parliament will the Leaders of the House, whose time should be fully occupied with public affairs, absent themselves from its sittings to attend the meetings of a subordinate body which has presumed to take a superior place. It is very difficult to interview the Minister of Defence on any public matter connected with the affairs of this Department-


Mr Joseph Cook - Yet for three days he could be found in an upstair room of this building.


Mr PALMER - Yes. Why had he to spend so much time out of his office when there was- so much important business to be done ? I am sure that I speak for every member of the Opposition when I say that we wish to give the Government the utmost assistance during the present Titanic struggle in which the Empire is engaged. We are proud of what Australia has done, but we desire that she shall take a still higher place, and still further distinguish herself. Aus- tralia is a land well worth possessing, but if the present war ended badly for Great Britain, the first thing that might be expected is the cession of this country to Germany. One can hardly imagine what German rule would mean to us, but under it our condition would be hell-upon-earth compared with what it is now. Therefore, it is necessary to do our utmost to prevent that from happening. We should make every endeavour to secure unity, and to bring our people into sympathetic relations, and we should do nothing to antagonize any section. We should take every means to provide for the supply of men and munitions at the Dardanelles, or wherever they may be required, so that the interests of the Empire may be worthily sustained, so far as it is within our power to sustain them.







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