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Thursday, 30 August 1906

Senator DRAKE (Queensland) . - I intend to vote against the second reading of the Bill. I been very much impressed by what I have heard in the course of the debate. In my experience of the Defence Force, I did not hear of any evil resulting from the presence of the canteen, either in barracks or in camps, and judging from the opinions of persons in authority which have been communicated to the Senate, I feel more strongly than ever that great evils would result from the abolition of the canteens. In my opinion, the whole position is summed, up in what was said, I think, by one of the American officers who was quoted By Senator Turley. I think that there is no harm in repeating and endorsing from .my own experience the statement that every man in charge of soldiers would desire that they should be total abstainers, but that, failing that, the next best thing is that their means of getting, drink should be under the control of the authorities - that it is better that they should be able to have what they desire in camp or in the field under proper regulations, than that they should' be compelled to go outside and get what they want. To my mind, that reason is quite sufficient to justify me in voting against the Bill. I do not agree with the statement of some honorable senators that it is a matter of putting additional temptations in the way of the soldier. If he is not a teetotaller, that is to say, if he makes a practice of taking a little drink occasionally he will either have it in the barracks or the camp, or else he will have it outside. It is better, I think, that he should have his drink under the former con.dition, and therefore I. shall oppose the Bill.

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