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Friday, 4 November 1938

Mr Sheehan n asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that recently two interstate airliners flying blind over Mascot aerodrome were so close to each other as to present a danger of collision, and that both pilots endeavoured to obtain bearings but were unable to do so because the beacon system was not in operation?

2.   If so, and in view of the information previously supplied to the honorable member for Cook, will the Minister undertake to expedite the bringing into operation of the directionfinding beacon system?

Mr Thorby - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   No. The 'beacon system is one which is used to lead aircraft over an aerodrome along a fixed track. A direction-finding station, one of which has been in operation at Mascot aerodrome for some time, is used to give bearings to aircraft whereby the aircraft may be brought over the aerodrome from any position. Bearings were given to both aircraft.

2.   No effort is being spared in bringing into operation the radio beacons. Ground tests of the 'beacons have already commenced, while air tests will commence next week.

Defence : Expenditure - Personnel Required for Naval and Air Units - Purchase of Vessels from United Kingdom.

Mr Forde e asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that out of a total defence expenditure of £ 16.800,000 announced by him on the 20th October, 1938, only £435,000 will be spent in Queensland?

2.   Is this proportion of the expenditure on defence for 1938-39 a fair allocation to an important State like Queensland, which ranks third among the Australian States?

3.   Will he see that, in any amended defence plan, the claims of Queensland are given more equitable consideration?

4.   Is he in a position to make a definite announcement in reply to previous representations by the honorable member for Capricornia with regard to Commonwealth Government expenditure in connexion with improvements to theRockhampton aerodrome, and also the provision there of buildings,radio, and meteorological apparatus?

Mr Thorby - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   £435,000 is the amount allocated to Queensland this financial year for purposes of authorization of expenditure. As previously stated, however, the actual expenditure in the several States of the Commonwealth will be governed by such factors as location of contracts or suitable sources of supply. 2 and 3. The amount to be expended in Queensland or any other State is bound up with the Government's defence programme, which consists of a balanced scheme for the security of the Commonwealth as a whole, and in which the defence of any one State is inseparably linked up with the general scheme.

4.   The following estimated expenditure in connexion with works and equipment at the Rockhampton aerodrome is under the 1938-39 programme: -

(a)   (i)Radio sites, buildings, power supply, &c., approximately £4,550; (ii ) radio communication and directionfinding equipment, approximately £10,000.

(b)   It is proposed to establish a meteoro logical office with the necessary equipment at the Rockhampton aerodrome. This office will operate foraviation and general meteorological purposes.

(c)   As Rockhampton is a municipal aerodrome, departmental expenditure on improvements other than those indicated herein is not contemplated.

Dr Maloney asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -

How many officers and men arc employed on (a) an up-to-date submarine, (b) an uptodate battleship, (c) an up-to-date bombing aeroplane, and (d) an up-to-date cruiser?

Mr Thorby y. - The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows : -


Mr Curtin asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -

1.   How manycruisers, or war vessels of all kinds have been purchased from the United Kingdom since 1918?

2.   What was the cost of each vessel purchased ?

3.   What was the cost of exchange on each purchase?

4.   What was the cost of bringing the vessels to Australia?

Mr THORBY Y. - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -


Apart from the ships purchased, the following wore presented free of cost by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom : -

Anzac,flotilla leader; Stalwart, Success, Swordsman, Tasmania and Tattoo. destroyers; J1, J2, J3, J4, J5 and J7, submarines; Geranium, Mallow and Marguerite, sloops; Moresby, surveying vessel; Stuart, flotilla leader; Vampire, Vendetta. Voyager and Waterhen, destroyers.

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