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Wednesday, 7 July 1920

Mr MAHONY (Dalley) . -I desire to direct the attention of the Minister for the Navy(Sir Joseph Cook) to the position which obtains at Cockatoo Island. The honorable gentleman will remember that a few weeks ago I pointed out that there was a considerable quantity of material lying on the island - material required for the construction of a coal ship - and that the work of building that vessel was not being proceeded with. As a result, numbers of men have been thrown out of employment. I am credibly informed that considerably more than 800 tons of material for the construction of this vessel are now lying at Cockatoo. This material in itself is sufficient to enable work on the ship to be carried on for the next two or three months. Yet men are being discharged daily. Unless the work is proceeded with immediately some 500 or 600 hands will find themselves in idleness. I would strongly impress upon the Minister the desirableness of doing something in this matter. I hope that he will not allow himself to be bluffed by any statement to the effect that certain material is not to hand.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - The honorable member desires that I should accept his word on the matter?

Mr MAHONY - I ask the honorable gentleman to make inquiries for himself. I have here a copy of adocument which shows that all the necessary material for the superstructure of the vessel is already on the island. The only parts which are missing are parts which will not be required until the ship is practically completed.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - What does the honorable member think is the reason for the delay?

Mr MAHONY - I do not know.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - I do not. I only know what the manager says, viz., that he has not the requisite material.

Mr MAHONY - If the manager says that he has not the material necessary to enable the ship to be carried almost to completion, he is merely bluffing the Minister.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - Why should he desire to bluff me?

Mr MAHONY - That is for him to say. The construction of the vessel has been approved, the material is lying on Cockatoo Island, and the work should be proceeded with.

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