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Thursday, 30 August 1906

Senator O'KEEFE (Tasmania) . - - I have very few words to say in support of the motion, as I think that Senator Dobson has made out a very fair case. I am very pleased to notice that the Minister of Defence has paid some attention to the question of the training of cadets. He has given us an assurance that extra attention will be paid to the subject, that the number of cadets will be increased, and that, if possible, the movement will be further developed. In these circumstances, I cannot understand why he is not able to support the motion. I do not think that any one will deny that the application of a universal system of gymnastics, military drill, and rifle practice to all boys up to the age of eighteen years would, to some extent, have the effect of preventing the physical deterioration of our youth, teaching them loyalty and patriotism, and giving them such lessons in discipline and obedience as would develop and improve the moral side of their nature. I take the reference to teaching the boys " loyalty and patriotism ' ' to mean patriotism to their native country, and also to Australia as part of the British Empire. If the boys are taught how to defend their country, it may obviate the necessity of adopting a system of universal military training, and also greatly lessen the cost which, if it. were rendered necessary hereafter, the adoption of such a scheme would entail upon the Commonwealth. I believe that the time is rapidly coming when almost the whole of the people of Australia will favour the adoption of some kind of universal training - not necessarily compulsory service or conscription, which is repulsive to the ears of some persons - not only for the youth, but for the manhood of Australia, so that they shall be able to supply a citizen soldiery whenever it may be required. If the basis of a citizen soldiery can be secured by the passing of the motion, as

I believe it can, I think that the Senate will do very well indeed to pass it. It will have my hearty support.

Debate (onmotion by Senator Best), adjourned.

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