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Friday, 2 July 1915

Mr CARR (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) .- I am heartily in accord with the sentiments that have been expressed by the mover of this motion. The whole question at issue is, " Is the situation serious enough to warrant Australia in taking special pains - and this Parliament in making special efforts - to hasten the end of the war?" I say that it is. What can be more serious than for our brethren to be falling in thousands at the front today ? It seems to me that there are some persons in the community 'whose imagination will not permit them to picture the quivering horrors of the battlefield. Surely we ought not to wait till the shadow of death is cast upon every home throughout the Commonwealth before making a special effort to insure a speedy victory. It is the duty of this Parliament to " get a move on." I have long contended that, with this object in view, a special Parliamentary Committee should be called into existence, and that each member of it should do what he can in his own electorate. As iv practical suggestion, I favour a Committee - the central body comprised chiefly of Victorian representatives, the other honorable members being iu touch with their electorates - to report, not only as to recruiting possibilities, but as to the economic resources of the Commonwealth. I know of dozens of men who are ardently desirous of doing something in the present emergency - old Navy man, and men who have been engaged in the manufacture of shells in other portions of the world. There is, however, nobody to whom these men can go for the purpose of rendering aid to the Empire at this critical juncture. I do not favour their going to the Defence Department, because if they did so, they would hear no more about it. "What we require is a Committee of Parliamentarians to deal with this matter. I am no alarmist. I have waited till the position is serious enough in all conscience to stimulate activity on the part of any man who has any imagination and any patriotism. In my judgment, the Prime Minister takes too common-sense, too calculated, and too cool-headed a view of the situation. Possibly he may think that I take an opposite view. But the inference to be drawn from his attitude is that extra powers are needed by the Commonwealth before we can move at all. I say that the action of the Government in respect of the supply of sugar, and the fact that we have in all the States, save Victoria, a. thoroughly Democratic Government, are sufficient to warrant us in dispensing for a time with any political effort, and in endeavouring to accomplish active work which will ease the minds of the people, who feel we ought to be giving them a lead. The moral effect of such action would be tremendous, apart from any practical good that might result from it. I have no doubt of the ultimate success of our arms, but it is our duty to hasten that success. The longer the conflict continues, the more of our own flesh and blood will be lost to us, and the more shall we sacrifice that splendid national asset, one which we can least afford to lose. Surely the end in view is worthy of a supreme effort! It seems to me that the obligation is largely cast upon Australia to see the Allies through the Dardanelles. "Until that narrow waterway is pierced Russia cannot have free communication with the other Powers who are fighting with us. She cannot supply them with foodstuffs, and they cannot supply her with munitions of war. Consequently it appears to me that the forcing of the Dardanelles is a matter of vital importance. It is absolutely essential to a speedy termination of hostilities. The duty of penetrating that waterway rests largely on Australia. Hence the great necessity which exists for some active work being undertaken on the lines I have indicated. We want such a fresh tribunal created as I have indicatecl, and that tribunal should consist of men who have been elected by the public of Australia, and who are virtually the economic generals of their respective constituencies. These are the men who are being called upon by the people to do something. The Prime Minister says that we have donĀ© well. I admit that we have. But the fact that we have done well is only a further justification for making a special effort, seeing that we have so much at stake. Certainly we have done well. We have accepted a challenge, and we are discharging our obligation. But when we see practically a stalemate at the front in France, and a similar condition of affairs developing in Gallipoli, we ought surely to put forward strenuous efforts to ensure the triumph of our arms. I do not care what form our activities may take, but certainly something should be done in the direction. I have indicated.

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