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Thursday, 15 July 1915

Mr BURCHELL - No doubt there would. Australia has set a good example by its payment to its soldiers, and the provision it has made for pensions. In regard to the issue and collection of the cards, the Attorney-General stated that all cards would be required to be returned to Melbourne. I think it would be a very wrong move, and I hope that the AttorneyGeneral will not insist on it. I agree with the honorable member for Flinders that the collection of the information in regard to wealth will be a much longer job, and one that of necessity mustbe undertaken by chosen officers; but the work of compiling information in regard to the men available could very well be undertaken in the different capital cities. Decentralization will be the best course to adopt in this regard. It is absolutely necessary in the case of Queensland, where such great distances have to be covered, and also in regard to the vast spaces of Western Australia, and in view of the fact that the latter State is at present four days by water from the nearest place of railway communication. Once we divide the work - the wealth from the manhood census - it might as well be separated, at least so far as the initial stage of the work is concerned, enabling a rough idea of the information required to be arrived at in all the States. There has been a splendid response to the call for recruits, but we are faced with the fact that many men who will be required in connexion with the manufacture of munitions are leaving us. However, the classification of the men in their different trades and callings will enable the Government and individual honorable members to point out to these men how necessary it is that they should remain in Australia, and do the service which is required of them here. We know that Great Britain is bringing men back from the front to work in the factories and workshops, and we should avoid having to do that so far as Australia is concerned. I believe that the Government are sincere in their desire to do all they possibly can to further the cause of the Empire, and not only furnish men, but also equip them as far as can possibly be managed with the resources at their command. That being so, I am inclined to agree with the honorable member for Eden-Monaro in saying that, outside the question of compulsory service abroad, the Government are to be commended for organizing the forces of the community. I hope that when the war is over, the lesson of organization that we have learnt on this occasion will not be lost to us from an industrial standpoint, and that we shall be able to enjoy a greater era of prosperity, owing to the fact that our organization will prevent much of the wastage that is now in evidence.

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