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Wednesday, 17 July 1912


Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) . - As to the question raised by Senator McDougall, the arrangement is that the Garden Ilsland Depot shall come over to us as a going concern. Of course, we have not yet been informed by the Admiralty as to what members of their staff they wish to retain, and what members will be left with us. But I can assure Senator McDougall that when further communications have taken place as to what members of the staff are to remain with us, I will give consideration to the representations that he has made. When honorable senators read the papers which I have laid upon the table to-day, they will understand why, owing to the delay in completing the ships that are being built in Great Britain, we are suggesting to the Admiralty that, instead of taking over the depôt on the 1st of April next, it should be taken over on the 1st of July. The ships will probably not be here till then, and there is no object in taking over the depot until the Fleet Unit is in commission. Regarding a point raised by Senator Millen, I have to say, with respect tothe Defence Bill, that I do not anticipate that any honorable senator will ask for an adjournment when I move the second reading. No great principle is involved. It is essentially a Bill for Committee. I was assuming that, after I have moved the second reading tomorrow, honorable senators would be prepared to speak to the motion and proceed with the Bill in Committee, so that we may go right through. That is one reason why I did not think it necessary to move the second reading to-night.







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