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Tuesday, 12 November 1918


Senator MILLEN - Australia was eminently a peace loving nation, had no knowledge of wars, and certainly no desire to participate in them. Yet when the 4th August, 1914, brought its fateful message the people of this country responded to the call of their kinsmen overseas. I think, also, that the people of this country understood, if only by instinct, the vital issues which were involved. They grasped the significance of these issues, and, looking back over the history of the past four years, and remembering the facts to which I have referred,' no Australian need be other than proud of the part which has been played by his compatriots in this great event. As to our men at the Front, it is not necessary to say anything. Their deeds, their achievements on the heights of Gallipoli, on the plains of Flanders, in Mesopotamia, and in Palestine, will speak more loudly, with more emphasis, and with greater duration" than any words which can be uttered, either here or elsewhere. They have established their own record, and all that we can do is to recognise ' its brilliance and pay homage to them.

N"ow, sir, this war, amongst other things, has made Australia a nation in a sense that it -was not before. It has given us a new conception of national life; it has brought us more closely into touch with the great international movements of the world, and, to that extent, it has thrown an. added responsibility upon the shoulders of our, people. The men who have done this - 'the men of the Australian Imperial Force - we honour. We honour them for all that they have done, for all that they have suffered, for all that they have endured, and if we honour the glorious living, who, we hope, will shortly return to these shores, still more do we honour in a grateful spirit the glorious dead, who will never return. We extend our sympathy to their relatives, to those who sent them forth with a blessing, bidding them perform the task they had taken in hand - the task which they have so well and worthily discharged.

We are within reaching distance of peace. The news which has arrived of the complete surrender of Germany by the acceptance of the terms of the armistice, though justifying great jubilation, must not be interpreted as meaning that our tasks have ended. Those tasks, though different from the tasks we have been facing for the last four years, are still' of great complexity, of great magnitude, and involve enormous consequences. Amongst these tasks I would like to make passing (reference to -that which will be involved in our attitude towards the beaten foe. The British have always - and rightly - possessed the reputation of treating generously those whom they have defeated in battle: I have no desire that the reputation of the British nation in that regard shall be weakened, but I fervently express the hope that those into whose hands will be intrusted the grave responsibility of adjusting the peace terms, will not be misled by any mistaken sentiment into refraining from discriminating between those who plunged this world into war and who for four years nailed humanity upon a cross, and those who sought to avoid it.

With peace there will come a new era both for Australia and the world. There will be new problems to be faced, new tasks to be undertaken. I hope - and I am entitled to believe, as I most fervently do - that we shall face them conscious of the strength developed by our last four years of war, with a sense of higher responsibility, with a sense of greater opportunity, and that we shall do so in the hope that the world has at1 last been rid of that great menace which has been threatening it for more than a generation. We may look forward, I hope, to a prolonged peace in the enjoyment of which we may confidently anticipate - if we address ourselves aright to our national problems - that we shall achieve triumphs even greater than those now placed on record in this address.

I submit the motion, and, in doing so, I venture to mention for your consideration, sir, that it is the desire of the Government that the other House shall adopt an address couched in similar terms. The other House, however, will not meet until to-morrow, and, as this motion relates to an address to His Majesty, and will, therefore, require to be presented to the Governor-General, I suggest that you, sir, should refrain from presenting it until the other branch of the Legislature has adopted the motion that, will be submitted to it, so as to permit of the two addresses being presented simultaneously.







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