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Thursday, 10 June 1915

The PRESIDENT - The report will be printed in Hansard. It cannot be printed as a parliamentary paper unless it is laid on the table.

Senator de Largie - Can we not have it laid on the table?

The PRESIDENT - It will appear in Hansard. A document laid on the table is not usually printed in Hansard, and, viceversâ, a document printed in Hansard is not usually laid on the table.

Senator DE LARGIE - Is there anything to prevent us making a recommendation to the Printing Committee on the subject, or is there anything to prevent the Senate giving an instruction that it should be printed?

Senator Pearce - There is nothing to prevent the Minister laying the paper on the table.

Senator DE LARGIE - We know that valuable information recorded in Hansard is to some extent buried. I think that a valuable report of this kind ought to be printed as a separate paper.

Senator Russell - If there are no obstacles in the way, we will have the report printed.

Senator DE LARGIE - It is worth printing. If it were possible for us to get at the root of the matter, I think it would be found that the comments which have been made might be traced to the friends of contractors who have been disappointed because they did not secure the job of constructing the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway. Having been prevented from securing what, from their stand-point, they would regard as a good thing, some of them have written these articles misrepresenting the work done on the transcontinental railway. As Mr. Bell's report says, there is probably no railway construction in Australia where the same mileage of rails per day has been laid as on this line. When we remember that the line runs right into a no-man's land, where there is no settlement, and where the difficulties of con:struction are apparent, we have a right to congratulate ourselves upon the satisfactory work which is being done there.

Senator Needham - The honesty of the workmen has been vindicated.

Senator DE LARGIE - There is no doubt about that. As one who knows the class of men engaged upon the transcontinental railway, I assert that the writer of the articles in the West Australian could not possibly have any knowledge of them, or he would not have brought a charge of loafing against them. There is, perhaps, no work where so little consideration is extended to the pointer or loafer as on railway construction, especially on the gold-fields. Mr. Bell's report confirms the opinion of those who know the class of men engaged in the construction of this railway. I trust that now that we have this vindication of them it will be printed and distributed broadcast.

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