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Thursday, 21 November 1912


Senator WALKER - My honorable friend, Senator Stewart, comes from Inverness, and has good Scottish blood in his veins. I hope he will support the motion. The formation of national regiments leads to the promotion of a healthy spirit of emulation between regiment and regiment. When one attends a review in Sydney, one notices that people make remarks as to the relative qualities of the regiments that pass. Remarks generally complimentary are made concerning the Lancers, the Light Horse, and the Artillery. When the infantry regiments march past, there is no regiment that is more loudly cheered than the Highland Regiment. Because a man is a Scotsman by birth, he is none the less an Australian. But we take pride in remembering that our ancestors came from the Old Country. Some years ago, when a remark was made, in my presence, in Queensland, by a certain person who was considered to have displayed prejudice and ignorance, Mr. Archer, afterwards Agent-General for Queensland, said to me, " You must make allowance for the poor man's ignorance; remember he was not born north of the Tweed."


Senator Pearce - " Lord, gE us a guid conceit of oursel'."


Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - It is' a prayer that is abundantly answered.


Senator WALKER - The names upon, the map of Australia show how people like to remember the parts of the world from whence they came. There is a range north, of Rockhampton known as the Berserker

Range. It was so called because the Archers, who named it, came from Norway, where a Berserker was a hero who wore only a sark, or shirt when fighting in battle. In Tasmania, as well as in New South Wales, they have a Ben Lomond. In New Zealand, the Scottish names are so numerous in the South Island that one may almost imagine himself to be in Scotland. All these things show feeling for the country from which our people came. Then, again, the Capital of one of our States is named after the fair city of Perth on the Tay.

The ' PRESIDENT.- The honorable senator is rather getting away from the question.


Senator WALKER - I want to show that this love of one's native country gives great force to the military spirit, and tends to promote esprit de corps. When people in this country use familiar names, they remind themselves of their own home.


Senator Pearce - Is not this their home?


Senator WALKER - Their temporary home.


Senator Pearce - Scotsmen never go back to Scotland. Ask Senator Stewart.


Senator WALKER - In a little pamphlet - Our Kilted Soldiers - that has been circulated, some particulars are given about the deeds of Highland regiments. There is an interesting reference to the battle of Culloden, which was fought in 1745. Many of those who left Scotland after that battle went to Canada, and their descendants are amongst the most loyal and patriotic people in Canada today. There is an interesting reference in the pamphlet to the fact that Lord Chatham formed the first Highland regiment. Between 1778 and 1804, the Highlands of Scotland contributed no fewer than 80,000 men to the service of the Empire.


Senator Rae - It would seem that the Englishman is the only person who has cause to be ashamed of himself ! He makes no fuss about what he has done.


Senator WALKER - Let the Englishman stand up for England, and the Irishman for Ireland; I -stand up for Scotland.


Senator Rae - What about the native born?


Senator WALKER - I am a native, but of Scotland. In the South African war, no regiment showed greater vim, elan, and dash than did the Highland regiments - the Gordon Highlanders, the Black Watch, The Sutherland Highlanders, and the Highland Light Infantry. I agreewith what Senator McColl has said concerning the economical character of the Scottish dress. It is certain that the mart who wears the kilt has no trousers to get baggy and broken. I can testify, too, to the military spirit that prevails amongst Scotsmen. In i860 I was one of about 21,000 young volunteers who were reviewed in London, I think, by Lord Clyde. la the following year, there was a review of volunteers in Edinburgh. A number of us went there, and, to our surprise, we found that, although the population of the country is very much less than that of England, there were 22,500 volunteers on parade. That shows that in Scotland the military feeling was much stronger than it was in London. I do not wish to take up the time of the Senate unnecessarily, but I should not have liked the motion to be disposed of without saying a few words in favour of what I. consider a most useful element in connexion, with the defence of Australia.

Senator ST.LEDGER (Queensland> [8.40]. - I should like to add a few word* on the motion submitted by Senator McColl, and so ably and eloquently supported by my honorable friend from the north of the Tweed, Senator Walker. I express the hope that the Minister of Defence and the Government will lend a more sympathetic ear to the request now made than they did on the last occasion when a motion of this character was presented for their consideration. I was astonished that the Minister of Defence did not think it proper, or was not ready, to continue the debate. On a matter of this kind we might reasonably have expected the honorable senator to be ready to express his mind. From some points of view, as Senator McColl has very properly put it, the question raised is a grave one. The last time the matter was discussed, the Minister defended his position on the ground that he desired that the Defence Force of Australia should be distinctly Australian in name, and, so far as he could bring it about, should be Australian from top to bottom. Although that is a sentiment which we might thoroughly appreciate and indorse, it ignores an important element in connexion with our defence. I submit, in common with Senators McColl and Walker, that the regiments associated with the great historical names of Scotch, Irish, and English are none the less Australian. The term " Australian " is obtruded at times- in a way that offends one's national feelings. Speaking for myself, I must say that, as sometimes used, it becomes as offensive as the term " Amurican," when used by persons who speak down their noses, and suggest that there is no other place on earth but " Amurica," and no greater people than the " Amuricans." I hope that that form of " Amuricanism " will never be associated with the terms "Australia" and "Australians." I agree with Senator McColl that the national spirit associated with the names of the nations mentioned is a most powerful and inspiring force. The vast majority of Britishers are not Australians, and it is quite true that for some time to come there will be nine-tenths of the Australian people who will be British all the time. We shall be none the less Australians because we are proud of our British descent, and try to cultivate the great racial and national ideals of the English, the Irish, and the Scotch. They represent the greatest blend on earth, and, happily for the Empire, their racial instincts and characteristics have been combined to build it up. Whatever may be the fate of Australia in the future, it will be the same happy combination of national characteristics which will, in the final issue and the hour of need, preserve Australia.


Senator Lynch - Why is not this distinctive dress maintained in the Navy, as well as in the Army?







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