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Friday, 16 July 1915

Mr HUGHES (West Sydney) (AttorneyGeneral) . - I invite honorable members to offer observations as to whether we should insert in the schedule a question asking for a return of all arms in the possession of private individuals.

Honorable Members. - Hear, hear!

Mr HUGHES - It seems to me that that question, if we determine to ask it, should be placed in the personal service schedule. It is of importance to know what arms are in the possession of private individuals.

Mr Page - And what quantity of ammunition.

Mr HUGHES - Another matter to which I direct attention is this: Citizens are to be asked to state whether their general health is good, bad, or indifferent, and - Question7 - if their health is not good, to state the cause. Personally, I should have no objection to answering the latter question, but I have had the advantage of a discussion with the Leader of the Opposition and the honorable and learned member for Flinders, and they have convinced me that the question may be regarded by many as inquisitorial ; and, therefore, I am willing that itshould be struck out of the schedule. If a man says that his health is bad, we are not really concerned as to the cause, and the man who does not tell the truth in replying to Question 6 is not likely to give a true answer to Question 7. It is enough for us to know that a man is unfit, and it will be time enough to ask why men are unfit when we have reason to believe that they are malingering. By inserting a question regarding the possession of fire-arms, and striking out the question as to the cause of ill-health, we shall improve the schedule. The Committee has the positive assurance of the Government that the form of questions submitted to the citizens' will be that approved by Parliament.

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