Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Friday, 18 December 1914

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister of Defence) . - I wish to make a few comments on this case, because Senator Senior is not here to speak for himself. Senator Millen gave me a hint that he intended to speak on this matter by the fact that he asked the Department for certain information which was supplied to him by me. Seeing that Senator Senior had raised the question, I anticipated that Senator Millen would raise it too, and so I obtained the file. I find that part of the history given by Senator Millen is correct, and that the approval for the sale was given by Mr. Kelly. It is not, however, to be inferred that Mr. King O'Malley had given an indication that if that sum could be obtained he would approve of the sale. All that he had committed himself to was that the surplus land should be sold ; he had not committed himself to any price. Senator Senior's remarks which I read in Hansard were rather directed to the assertion that the land had been sold for less than it is worth. I do not intend to read the file - it is here, and the remarks of the property officer are here. In justice to Senator Senior it ought to go on record that Mr. King O'Malley did not commit himself to any price. Mr. Kelly approved of the sale for £1,700, which was the offer of Elder Smith and

Company, and Senator Senior's remarks were directed to the fact that the land was sold for lest, than its real worth.

Senator Millen - His statement was that we had sold the whole of the land which yon purchased. We did not sell it.

Senator PEARCE - I am not positive that he said that. Anyhow, whether he said that the Department sold the whole or a part, the purport of hia charge was that it was sold for- less than itsvalue, not simply that it was sold. I have read his remarks, and that is what he was driving at right through.

Senator Millen - He said - This area was particularly suitable for a rifle range, and the 'Commonwealth Government acquired it for that purpose.

He was dealing with that area right through, and would have it appear that we had sold it.

Senator PEARCE - The paragraph quoted does not give the tenor of Senator Senior's charge, which was that the land was sold for less than its value. I thought it was only fair, in his absence, that I should make this statement, without going more fully into the case.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Suggest corrections