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Wednesday, 28 July 1920

Mr LAIRD SMITH (DENISON, TASMANIA) (Minister for the Navy) - On Thursday, 8th July, a promise was given by the Assistant Minister for Defence to the honorable member for Hunter ('Mr. Charlton)' that inquiries would be made into certain allegations which had been made against the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League in New South Wales of discriminating against returned soldiers who are not members of the league in the distribution of civilian suiting made at the Government Woollen Mills, Geelong. I am now in a position to furnish the honorable member with the following information : -

The Inspector-General of Administration reports that an examination of the books and minutes of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League in New South Wales has be.r made, with the result that there is no foundation' for the allegations. The same prices for the tweed have been charged to members and non-members. An audit of the books of the tweed department shows that in no case has there been an overcharge. The league receives ls. 6d. per yard on its contract - of this, ls. is retained by the head office to finance the tweed department, and the balance by the sub-branch, less freight on the cloth.

In connexion with the remarks of the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Blakeley) that " the Sydney section of the league carried a resolution some six weeks ago that it would not supply tweed to non-members of the organization," I might say that no foundation could be found to justify the statement. The minute-book of the league was examined from the 1st April to the 16th July last, and no record could be found of a resolution, such as alleged, having been passed.

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