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Thursday, 3 December 1914


Senator PEARCE - She was. Experience during this war supports evidence gathered in time of peace, that modern efficient sea defence in the South Pacific is essential for the safety and general welfare of His Majesty's Dominions. It is yet too early to give a definite expression of opinion on the subject, but there are indications that the greatest utility and service can be attained with central control, and a large degree of local Executive authority in these distant outposts. It is the hope of this Government that the day is not far distant when the sister Dominion of New Zealand, whilst maintaining its identity unimpaired, will be more closely associated with the Commonwealth of Australia in the creation and maintenance of effective defence in a common sphere of action.


Senator Maughan - Will the Minister say if provision is made for a new submarine ?


Senator PEARCE - No provision is made, and 1 can tell the honorable senator privately why ?


Senator Maughan - All right.


Senator PEARCE - Now let me take the expenditure on the military side.

Aviation Instructional Staff. - The value of aviation, from a military point of view, having been fully demonstrated in the present war, a sum of £14,430 has been provided for the Central Flying School at Point Cook, as compared with an expenditure of £3,071 during 1913- 14. This will enable thirty-six officers to be trained in aviation per annum, instead cf twelve, as originally proposed. It is also intended to undertake the construction of flying machines locally, and the necessary staff has been provided for that purpose. A sum of £7,700 has been included under Additions, New Works Estimates, to purchase the equipment and material required in this connexion; and also a sum of £19,885 to cover the cost of erection of additional buildings.

Royal Military College. - During the first six weeks of the present financial year there were 147 Cadets in residence at the College, which is practically the full establishment, including, I may say, thirty or forty New Zealanders. Of this number, fifty-seven have since received commissions in the Australian Imperial Expeditionary Forces; and thirteen have returned to New Zealand to join the Dominion Troops for active service abroad, thereby reducing the number of Cadets in training to seventy -seven. This number will be increased to 122 in February next, when a quota of fortyfive Cadets will be admitted to the College, ten of whom, it is expected, will come from New Zealand.


Senator Lt Colonel O'loghlin - Nearly one-half have gone to the front?


Senator PEARCE - Yes.


Senator Millen - The two first quotas.


Senator PEARCE - That is so.

Factories. - The various Government Factories have been fully employed during the year, and a large quantity of military stores manufactured. I have some very interesting information regarding these factories, and as they form a very important part of the defence expenditure, and have been challenged in some quarters, I think it is my duty to place the information before the Senate.

The Cordite Factory has cost £147,940 to 30th June, 1914, of which £103,227 is invested in land, buildings, and plant; and £19,195 is the value of stores of raw material, &c, on hand. The maintenance of the Factory to 30th June cost £77,460, and product to the value of £75,148 was turned out during the same period. Eighty-four persons were employed at the close of the financial year, and wages paid during 1913-14 amounted to £11,636. The Factory is now working at full capacity, and is able to meet all requirements of cordite for small arms ammunition.

The Small Arms Factory has had £359,873 expended upon it to 30th June, 1914, and, of this, land and buildings account for £64,384; machinery and plant amount to £128,455; and stock on hand is valued at £46,462. The previous Labour Government approved of an extension of plant by one-third, and this machinery has since been installed, and is now being brought into operation. The total cost of working the Factory to June of this year amounted to £120,572. The employes numbered 374 at the close of the financial year, and wages for 1913-14 were £45,000. The Factory has for some time past maintained a satisfactory output of service rifles, and clips for small arms cartridges.


Senator Lynch - Can you give us an idea as to how much it costs to turn out each rifle. We have heard some fantastic figures.


Senator PEARCE - The fantastic figures, I may say, were arrived at in this way : the critics took the total cost of running the Factory for twelve months, and the number of rifles turned out in that period, and divided the number of rifles by the total cost of running the Factory, irrespective of the fact that, during a good portion of the twelve months, the staff were not making rifles, but installing and testing the machinery.

The total cost to 30th June last of the Clothing Factory was £37,900. The value of the land, buildings, and machinery on the same date was £23,654, while raw material on hand was valued at £62,290. A sum of £355,360 was expended in maintenance, and clothing to the value of £328,633 was manufactured. Wages for the year 1913- 14 amounted to £34,369; and 439 persons, comprising 84 males and 355 females, were employed at the end of the year. Tho Factory now carries out the manufacture of most of the clothing required by the Naval and Military Forces, as well as a large quantity for the Postal Department. The quality of the work is considered to be superior to any hitherto supplied, and the cost compares very favorably with prices paid to contractors.

A sum of £46,805 has been expended on the Harness, Saddlery, and Accoutrements Factory to 30th June, 1914; and land, buildings, and plant are valued at £11,357; while raw material and stores to the value of £15,000 are on hand. The cost of operations amounted to £146,476; and goods to the value of £145,509 were manufactured. One hundred and sixty-eight persons were engaged on 30th June last; and for the financial year 1913-14 wages to the amount of £22,626 were disbursed. The bulk of the harness, saddlery, leather equipment, and canvas work used by the Defence and Postmaster-General's Departments is supplied from this source.

The erection of buildings for the Woollen Cloth Factory at Geelong is approaching completion, and the machinery and power plant are now being installed. The Woollen Factory has cost £91,517 up to 30th June, and an additional £100,750 has been provided on this year's Works Estimates. £20,000 has been provided for the purchase of raw material, &c., in preparation for commencement of manufacture about July of next year.

Excluding the Woollen Cloth Factory, which has not yet commenced operations, the various factories have cost the public the sum of £592,518, and the land, buildings, and plant in use are valued at £331,077, and stores at £142,947. A sum of £699,868 has been expended in operating tlie factories, and product to the value of £613,790 has been manufactured. Wages to tlie amount of £113,631 were distributed during 1913-14, and there were 1,065 persons employed at the close of the year.

Military Forces. - The estimated expenditure upon the .Military Forces for 1914-15, exclusive of additions, new works, miscellaneous expenditure, &c, is £12,254,490, of which the sum of £10,607,500 is provided to meet expenditure due to the war. The balance, £1,646,990, represents an increase of £108,446 on the actual expenditure under the corresponding votes of the previous financial year.

Administrative and Instructional Staff. - A sum of £228,950 has been provided under this head as compared with an actual expenditure of £178,337 during 1913- 14. This increase is partly accounted for by the fact that a number of instructors who were attached to and paid as members of the several Permanent Units in 1913-14 have now been provided for as members of the Instructional Staff. It has also been found necessary to provide for an increased number of instructors; and, in addition, the clerical staffs at district head-quarters have been strengthened. Under contingencies, the raising of the allowance of Area Officers with three years' satisfactory service from £150 to £180 per annum necessitates increased provision. I think that is a commitment. Senator Millen will have heard that term before.

Permanent Units. - The amount provided for the Permanent Units for 1914- 15 represents an increase of £10,703 upon the actual expenditure for the previous year. A consider- able saving is being effected under the Royal Australian Field Artillery, owing to a great number of the men having enlisted for service abroad, and the consequent decision to maintain one permanent battery only instead of three until the men return. This saving is, however, more than counterbalanced by the fact that since the outbreak of war recruiting has been commenced, and endeavours are being made to bring the other Permanent Units up to their full establishment, which, of course, means increased expenditure.


Senator Millen - Does that mean to make two of them ?


Senator PEARCE - No; that refers to other branches of the Permanent Forces which were under strength.

Ordnance Department. - Increased provision to the extent of £7,417 has been made for this Department to provide much-needed increases in staffs. A system of reorganization is now being put into operation in New South Wales, and will be extended to the other States as circumstances permit.

Universal Military Training. - The amount provided for universal military training for the current financial year is £755,032 in excess of the actual expenditure during 1913-14. Of this sum, £650,000 is the additional amount required to pay the Citizen Forces called out for home service, and is included in the total war expenditure. The balance is principally required to pay and clothe the 1896 quota of Senior Cadets who pass into the Citizen Forces during this year.

Camps. - Of the sum of £271,600 provided for camps, &c, £160,500 represents the additional estimated expenditure in connexion with the mobilization camps for Citizen Forces called out for home defence, and forms part of the total expenditure due to the war.

Ammunition. - The amount provided for ammunition this year is £88,000 less than the expenditure for 1913-14. This is due to the fact that certain further supplies will not be obtainable before the 30th June next, and that a proportion of the small-arm ammunition available for purchase will be required for the Expeditionary Forces, and will consequently be paid for from that vote.

Expeditionary Forces. - The sum of £9,800,000 included in the Estimates ia intended to cover all expenditure in connexion with the Expeditionary Forces raised for service abroad up to 30th June next, and. is based on the assumption that the present war will continue during the remainder of this financial year, and that approximately 42,000 troops will be despatched during this period. The above amount is made up as follows : -

 


Senator Millen - Are we to understand that these figures are based on the supposition that 42,000 men only will be sent?

Senator- PEARCE.- They are based on the supposition that up to 30th June neat 42,000 men only will be sent.

In all, 10,700 officers and men have been mobilized during the war; 22,373 officers and men have already been sent to the front, and 16,500 of all ranks are now in training for service abroad. Thereare also 6,800 in training, for home defence. It is expected that 13,000 will leave Australia during the current month, and that 3,000 in addition will be despatched every two months. All men offering for enlistment are being trained and equipped. It has been suggested that we should send a number of men to England to be trained and equipped by the British Government, but we are rendering far more effective assistance by sending only drilled and equipped soldiers. The adoption of such a course as that suggested, so far from assisting the British Government, would only embarrass and hamper them. There is no shortage of undrilled men in Great Britain, but there is a lack of drilled and equipped men. If we are to render real service to Great Britain, we can only do so by providing men who are drilled and. also equipped.


Senator Millen - Who proposed that our men should go Home undrilled?


Senator PEARCE - Certain proposals of that kind have been made in the press by a number of correspondents.

Loan Expenditure. - Returning again more closely to the subject of finance, it will be necessary, before the adjournment, to ask Parliament for additional appropriation for loan expenditure. The following statement shows the loan expenditure 1913-14, and the estimated loan expenditure 1914-15 : -

 

The total amount appropriated by Parliament for loan funds is £5,770,002. The total expenditure to 30th June last was £4,003,067, leaving a balance of appropriation available of £1,766,935.

I do not know that there are any other points connected with the Budget to which I need direct special attention, as the Budget-papers will be available to honorable senators, and legislation covering the Budget proposals will come before them in due course.


Senator Millen - Do the probate and succession duties represent the only additional taxes proposed to be levied ?


Senator PEARCE - No; there is other taxation proposed, which will be disclosed in the Budget statement itself. An alteration of the land tax will be disclosed, when the necessary legislation to give it effect will be brought forward. The amount I have indicated shows the increase which is estimated as the result ofthat alteration.


Senator Millen - Are there no Tariff proposals submitted ?


Senator PEARCE - Not in the Budget. There is, however, an adjustment of the Customs revenue, which has in view and is based upon the proposed introduction of certain Tariff proposals.

Debate (on motion by Senator Millen) adjourned.







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