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Thursday, 24 June 1915

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I should like to ask the Assistant Minister of Defence a question concerning cable messages to soldiers, and, as the matter is of considerable importance, I should be glad, Mr. Speaker, to be allowed to moke a short explanation. I have sent cables to my son at the front, but do not know whether they have been delivered. I have received no answer to them. I should like to ask the Assistant Minister of Defence whether it is not possible to make some arrangement with the cable company and with the Department's own representatives at the other end to advise relatives and friends of soldiers at the front when it is useless to despatch cables to them owing to the impossibility of delivery. These cables cost a lot of money, and I, like many others, have none to ' waste. It seems to me that a little organization should overcome the difficulty. It is useless to send cables to our sons if we know there is no likelihood of their delivery. Surely this is not a matter that is beyond the reach of the Government. I suggest that the Minister of Defence should arrange to have such cable messages sent through the Department. In addition to that, he should be able to ascertain from the other end whether there is a prospect of any of these cables reaching those to whom they are addressed. Every one knows that there is necessarily a great deal of confusion over there, and that therefore we must not be unreasonable. But the Minister might at least let the public know when it is useless to spend money in sending these cable messages to relatives at the front because of the impossibility of reaching them. I ask the honorable gentleman to take this matter into his serious consideration.

Mr JENSEN - I shall be very pleased to bring the right honorable member's request under the notice of the Minister,, with a view, if possible, to effect being given to it.

Mr Fisher - Hear, hear !

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