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Tuesday, 1 October 1935

Mr Archdale Parkhill l. - On the 27th September, the honorable member for Denison (Mr. Mahoney) asked the following questions, upon notice: -

1.   Is it a fact that in the published opinion of a high military official, Hobart is in a strategic position singularly well adapted to become the base or point of departure for assailing nearly every other portion of the Commonwealth ?

2.   If not, will he ask the defence authorities to report on this matter, and advise whether the existing defences of the Derwent are such as to ensure successful resistance to an enemy's sudden attack until such time as substantial aid may arrive to render such attack futile ?

3.   Will the Government consider whether the strategic value of the Derwent as a coaling and refitting station or base is such as to merit adequate expenditure for this purpose?

I am now in a position to inform the honorable member as follows : -

1.   No record of any such published opinion is held by the Defence Department. 2 and 3. In reply to the questions raised on the defence of Hobart, the unity of the problem of Australian defence is emphasized. The policy of the Government is directed towards securing the maximum security for the whole of the Commonwealth from the defence vote. The advantages of the defensive measures being taken in certain parts of Australia are not confined to those areas, for they are common to the whole of the Commonwealth in the general scheme of defence. The limitations to doing all that is necessary for Australian defence are financial in nature, but the Government, in the three years' programme, is providing for a substantial degree of progress. This programme is based on certain priorities, and though no provision is made for measures relating to Hobart defences, the defence of this area has been carefully examined and considered. While the existing defences are considered reasonable for the probable scale of attack, certainimprovements have been proposed, and noted for future consideration.

Broadcasting Station at Clevedon, Queensland.

Mr Archdale Parkhill - On the 27th September, the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Martens) inquired, without notice, when the wireless broadcasting station at Clevedon, near Townsville, will be completed and ready for use. I am now in a position to inform the honorable member that the installation of the radio equipment at the Townsville regional broadcasting station is proceeding, but it is not possible to say when the station will be in operation until after the full operating tests have been conducted. These tests are expected to take place about the end of the year.

Dole in Canberra.

Mr Paterson n. - On the 27th Septem ber, the honorable member for Melbourne (Dr. Maloney) asked the following question, without notice: -

Will the Minister for the Interior advise me as to what dole is paid in Canberra at the present time?

I now desire to advise the honorable member that for some time residents of Canberra, for whom full-time government employment was not available, were provided with unemployment relief work on a minimum basis of one week in three for married men and one week in five for single men. Usually it was possible to raise this ratio to full-time for a few weeks in December and June. According to the size of a man's family, the ratio of one in three was supplemented by an allotment of work, the wages for which, together with the periodical week's wages above-mentioned, equipped the householder with sufficient funds to purchase food. Out-going for rent was allowed for in this connexion. No payment was made or ration relief order issued for which, no return was made by the recipient. The Government has now been able to increase the employment ratio to one in two for married men and one in four for single men.

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