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Thursday, 1 July 1915


Mr FENTON - At that time Colonel Crouch did not have in mind the compulsory training we now have, and I say so with considerable knowledge of that gentleman.

On the 31st July, 1901, the honorable member for West Sydney, speaking to the same Bill, and dealing with naval matters, said -

Now, since our chief danger to Australia must take the form of a bombardment, we have a right to demand that the first feature of our defence scheme should bc to provide complete and satisfactory means for protecting us from that possible and even probable contingency. I want honorable members to realize that this question of a bombardment, or of an attack from a marauding expedition, or whatever you may please to term it, is by no means a chimerical idea, but it is the one thing which has made Federation possible in these States.

As a matter of fact, does any man believe that Australia - since she has elected to take the part, for good or for ill, of standing by the Motherland - will over be permitted to stand out as though she were an indifferent factor, entirely unconnected with the great British Empire? . I do not think so. For good or for evil, she has allied herself to the fortunes of Great Britain, and she must share alike in her glories and in her defeats. Whenever the time to which I refer comes, whether it be soon or late, we shall have to rely upon ourselves.

There he indicates, in respect of the Navy, that we would have to rely upon ourselves.

From the public journals of Victoria and New South Wales I could . quote speeches delivered by the honorable member for West Sydney, in which he laid before the public, and sometimes before meetings almost exclusively Labour, his ideas in respect to the defence of Australia - 1

Well, " a volunteer," the maxim goes, " is worth a dozen pressed men." Yet the volunteer is very like snow in the summer. He melts away when the glamour and the novelty of the thing has worn off, when he realizes that after all there is in military tactics and preparation a good deal of hard work to be done. The volunteer, unless he be an enthusiast, such its these shores do not contain a large proportion of, melts away in such circumstances. Take the case of the nien who volunteered for service in South Africa. They were largely composed of men who never belonged to any volunteer force at all. If any man can sit easily down under the volunteer forces of this country, and believe that, with all their virtues and enthusiasm, they constitute a sufficient force to repel an invasion from a European or Asiatic source, he is easily content.

Honorable members would do well to read that speech.


Mr Joseph Cook - The honorable member himself will not read it all. He is merely selecting portions of it. Let him tell us what was the scheme of the honorable member for "West Sydney. It is set out in that very speech.


Mr FENTON - I have not the time at my disposal.


Mr Joseph Cook - Let the honorable member tell us what was the scheme of the honorable member for West Sydney.


Mr FENTON - I can assure the Leader of the Opposition that I have not made a particular selection from that speech with a view to suiting my own argument. I have not gone right through the speech. I will leave that task to the honorable member. I will be very glad if he can quote anything from the speech in question which will refute my argument. I say that one of the cardinal principles laid down by the honorable member for West Sydney in that utterance was the establishment of an Australian Navy.


Mr Joseph Cook - I am not talking about the Navy, but about the Army.


Mr FENTON - I can hardly conceive of a logical man like the AttorneyGeneral adducing mutually destructive arguments in the course of the same speech.


Mr Sampson - Tell us what he said in his speech in March, 1909 - after nine years of thought.


Mr FENTON - The honorable member for Wimmera, and most other honorable members on the Opposition side of the Chamber, got the verdict of the people on their defence policy when the elections took place in 1910. The Fusion policy was irrevocably turned down. Honorable members opposite, who belong to the procrastinating party, would never have been in a position to meet the present crisis but for the three years' tenure of a Labour Government from 1910 to 1913.


Mr Joseph Cook - The morality of everything is to be decided by a vote?


Mr FENTON - The honorable member is a good judge of political morality.


Mr Joseph Cook - The honorable member should let morality alone.


Mr FENTON - So also should the honorable member. He himself introduced it.


Mr Joseph Cook - I decline to submit everything to the test of a vote. That is all. That is the difference between the honorable member and myself.


Mr FENTON - I have no desire to introduce into this debate anything of a personal character.


Mr Joseph Cook - Vox populi, vox Dei.


Mr FENTON - If the honorable member will go out and pronounce that dictum in connexion with the referenda proposals I shall be very glad.


Mr Joseph Cook - It is the honorable member's standard, and I do not agree with it.







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