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Friday, 17 August 1906

Mr CROUCH (Corio) .- Yesterday, when I asked what number of Australians are serving on the war vessels on the Australian station, I was informed that, although we are entitled under the Naval Agreement to place ,1,000 officers and men or. those ships, no Australian officer has yet been appointed, and only 430 men are employed on board them. The Naval Commander-in-Chief speaks of the difficulty of getting experienced men to take the place of those already on board. There are, however, a number of real seamen who are waiting to be appointed. A fisherman, who knows a good deal about seamanship has ' informed me that about twelve months -ago he passed an examination upon the Katoomba, and was accepted, being told that he would be called .upon shortly, while several others were in the same position ; but they have since heard nothing about the matter. Altogether, contrary to the terms of the Naval Agreement, there are 570 British seamen on these vessels whose places ought to be filled by Australians. When the agreement was being considered, we were told that it provided for the training of 1,000 Australians, but, although it has now been in force for some years, only 430 are being trained. It is due to Parliament and the country that the Prime Minister should make some representations to the Imperial authorities on this subject, or approach the Naval CommanderinChief in regard to the matter.

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