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Friday, 16 April 1915

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister of Defence) . - I move -

That this Bill be now read a first time.

The schedule consists of one line "Expeditionary Forces, £3,130,000." That is practically the excess expenditure over the Estimates already submitted, and is due to the increased number of troops that we have undertaken to send.

Senator Millen - Will that amount carry you up to the 30th June so far as the excess is concerned ?

Senator PEARCE - Yes.

Senator Grant - Does it include rifles and equipment?

Senator PEARCE - It refers to the whole expenditure on the Forces, but I am sure honorable senators will not ask for details to be given. I have recently had the opportunity of seeing the Army and Navy Estimates submitted to the British Parliament this year. Not a single item of any kind is given. All that appears is, " Naval Service, £1,000," "Military Service, £1,000." Everybody knows that these services cost immensely more, but the Estimates were simply a blank cheque given to the Government to fill in after the war. We have done the same thing in a smaller way.

Senator Millen - In a smaller way - £3,100,000?

Senator PEARCE - Of course, the Imperial authorities had a political reason for not putting in the amount. But in our case it was almost impossible to separate the items.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a first time.

Standing and Sessional Orders suspended.

Motion (by Senator Pearce) proposed -

That this Bill be now read a second time.

Suggest corrections