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Wednesday, 7 July 1920


Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) . - The further .intentions of the Government in regard to the matter are nil. The honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) might very well leave our little family quarrels alone. If he is very anxious to get into a fight, I have no doubt he could find plenty on his own side to concern him. He demonstrates plainly to-night that he is a true Irishman. He thinks there is a fight on, and he wants to be in it. I think he had better keep out of it. I do not know that it concerns him very vitally.


Mr Ryan - I am only concerned in a family quarrel in so far as it affects the people of Australia, whose interests are neglected while the family is quarrelling.


Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - But in the honorable member's opinion Australia's case is already hopeless. He went to Ballarat last night to tell the people there what an incompetent crew the Government had been for some time past. He has made up his mind. What concern, therefore, can he have in wanting to defend the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. Watt) as against the Government?


Mr Ryan - I am not defending the honorable member for Balaclava. But I want all the information relative to the issue in order that the public may arrive at a proper decision.


Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - What information does the honorable member want? His leader has seen all the cables, in fact has edited them and left some out. He has seen all the cables that I have seen.


Mr Mahony - The Acting Treasurer may not have seen them all.


Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - I hope I have, and I believe I have. I suggest to the honorable member for. West Sydney that he had better leave this family quarrel alone. Later on there may be something in it for him, but there is very little in it for him just now.

I have already told the honorable mem. ber for Dalley (Mr. Mahony) why work is slack at Cockatoo Island. The boat being built there cannot be proceeded with because it is. alleged that material required for its completion in not to hand.


Mr Mahony - I maintain that there is no material missing that is necessary for proceeding with the boat.


Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - I amvery sorry that I cannot set aside the opinion of the manager and accept that of my honorable friend. When I asked the honorable member just now what motive the manager could have for discharging these men, he was unable to furnish me with one.


Mr Mahony - How do I know what is in his mind ?


Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - It is fair to assume that the manager has no motive but to do the best he can for his works and for the men employed there, and that he would go on with the building of the ship if he had the material available.


Mr Mahony - I maintain that inquiry will prove that the material is available.


Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - What Inquiry? Mr. Mahony. - Let the Minister visit the Island and get hold of the foremen in charge. They will show it to him.


Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - Have they shown it to the honorable member?


Mr Mahony - It does not matter who told me. I have many ways of getting information.


Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - Apparently!


Mr Mahony - Go over and look for yourself.


Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - I cannot do that, but I shall forward a Hansard copy of the honorable member's remarks to the manager for his reply. I am only too pleased to keep the men at work if there is work for them to do, but I cannot pretend to keep 500 or600 men at work If there is nothing for them to do.

Question resolved in the affirmative.







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