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Thursday, 1 July 1915

Mr SPEAKER - I may point out that the title of the Bill must agree with the wording of the resolution.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a first time.

That was but a short discussion, but the system which the honorable member for West Sydney had in mind at the time, as indicated by . him on public platforms, was a system of compulsory training and an Australian-owned and controlled Navy. He had given expression to these views sometimes in the face of much opposition, and, at that time, at considerable risk to his political reputation. If I had gone to the same trouble as that taken by the honorable member for Wimmera, I could, no doubt, bring forward convincing proof as to who was the first to take a stand in regard to our present defence system. I am open to correction in regard to the quotation that I shall now read from page 2960 of Hansard of the first session of the Commonwealth Parliament. On the 24th July, 1901, Colonel Crouch, the then member for Corio, was speaking on the second reading of the Defence Bill, introduced by Sir John Forrest: but I shall not make from it the same deduction that was made from it by the honorable member for Wimmera. Colonel Crouch said -

Although we cannot adopt the principle of conscription, because of labour and sentimental difficulties, in regard to able-bodied men, every boy should be in a position, on reaching the age of eighteen, to join some militia or volunteer corps, and take a part, if necessary, in the defence of his country. This cadet system is one of the cheapest forms of military training that has yet been designed. At the present time the metropolitan corps of senior cadets, consisting of SOO youths, costs only ?400 a year; and when we remember the extravagance that military organization usually involves, I think that that is a very creditable result. The cadet movement should be very largely extended and encouraged, and I would suggest to the Minister that the system should be made compulsory to the extent I have indicated.

The words " to the extent I have indicated " qualify Colonel Crouch's claim that the system should be made compulsory.

Mr Sampson - I merely quoted Colonel Crouch in order to show that he was the first man who gave expression to the principle of compulsory training.

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