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Friday, 31 October 1913

Senator RUSSELL (Victoria) .- While the Government are to be congratulated upon making provision in this Bill for the erection of drill halls, I should like a little information upon how the days appointed for compulsory drills in the case of our Cadets and Citizen Forces are determined. In travelling through Victoria, I find that some area officers, whose enthusiasm outruns their discretion, appear to be carrying matters a little too far. I have been in country districts where an annual holiday, in which the local lads desired to take part, has been appointed for some months ahead, and yet that very day has been selected for compulsory drill purposes. Consequently, numerous complaints have Deen received. On the last occasion that I passed through Bendigo, I met several lads who had very serious complaints to urge on this ac- " count. Bendigo is an important centre, and Saturday afternoon is usually set apart for a football match there. Now, it was well known six months in advance that the final match would be played upon a certain date. Yet, notwithstanding that plenty of other days were available which could be set apart for compulsory drills, this particular date was selected, and the boys were obliged to forego their sport. Whilst I am not prepared to say that sport should be given first consideration, provided that we do not jeopardize the efficiency of the Forces, common sense suggests that these compulsory drills should take place on days which have not been appointed public holidays. We ought todo all that we can to encourage our lads, and not jeopardize the popularity of our defence system by dragging them out on. such days for compulsory drill. I havereceived ten or twelve complaints from, different districts on this account. Theexercise of a little common sense by area, officers would overcome the difficulty.

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