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Thursday, 10 June 1915

Senator MAUGHAN (Queensland) . - Senator de Largie has made reference to the fact that statements were published in the West Australian directed against the day-labour policy of the present Commonwealth Government. During the last few months we have been engaged in an important political struggle in Queensland, and I do not think that there was a single anti-Labour paper there that did not from time to time, and probably in two or three issues per week, indulge in the severest criticism of that policy, and in connexion with the Kalgoorlie to Fort Augusta railway. Wherever we went throughout the State we found the Tory newspapers saturated with that sort of thing. I have, therefore, been particularly pleased to hear the Assistant Minister read Mr. Bell's report. Mr. Norris Bell, the EngineerinChief of Commonwealth Railways, was our Erigineer-in-Chief in Queensland. He is a tried man, and I may say that if there was any State that was likely to suffer from day labour, if it was not a wise policy, it was Queensland. I am very pleased that the report of our Chief Engineer bears out what we have always contended, namely, that the railways of Australia can be properly constructed by day labour, without the intervention of the contractor. I trust, with Senator de Largie, that Mr. Bell's report will he given general publicity, because the matter with which it deals does not affect Western Australia only, but the whole of the Commonwealth.

The PRESIDENT - I should like, for the information of honorable senators, to refer them to the standing order governing the printing of documents quoted during a debate. There is no difficulty whatever in having the report which has been read laid on the table of the Senate as a public document. The Senate may call for it, or the Assistant Minister may lay it on the table. The standing order dealing with the matter provides that -

A document relating to public affairs quoted from by a Minister of the Crown, unless stated to be of a confidential nature, or such as should more properly be obtained by Address, may be called for and made a public document.

There are, therefore, two ways in which what Senator de Largie desires can be done.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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