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Friday, 11 June 1915

Senator McDOUGALL (New South Wales) . - I rose at the same moment as Senator Millen to say a- few words on the subject he has raised. I do not intend my remarks to be taken as a criticism on the action of the Minister, but rather on the action of his advisers. I have been connected with machinery all my life, and I know the application of a machine to its work when I see it. I have seen the machines at Lithgow. -I may inform honorable senators that machinery has been invented by engineers in Australia, at Cockatoo Island, that will cut down to the three-thousandth part of an inch. Surely that is fine enough for anything ! Machines have been invented there which are not used in any other part of the world, and there are men employed there who have had a life-long experience of fine cutting machinery. I visited Cockatoo Island a week or two ago for the express purpose of finding out whether the services of any of the men there might be utilized at the Lithgow Small Arms Factory, and I was told that they could go into that factory, and work any of the machines there. A number of the men at present employed at the Lithgow Factory graduated from shops outside, and they picked up the working of the machines there in a very short time. The gravity of the situation is such as to justify us in asking the Minister of Defence to get up a little more steam, and see that a second shift is instituted at the Lithgow Small Arms Factory. The people of Lithgow recently held a meeting, at which they agreed to find accommodation for as many additional men as might be required for the purpose. The Engineers' Society is prepared to send men into the Factory to work the machines, and I do not see why these offers could not be accepted. Yesterday I mentioned a shop at Randwick, the machinery of which could be utilized for the purpose of providing munitions of war. To-day. I received the following letter from a gentleman who is entitled to offer an expert opinion on the matter: - " Lansdown," New-street, Brighton, 10th June, 1915.

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