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Friday, 11 June 1915

Senator GRANT (New South Wales) . - Scarcely a day has passed since the Senate met this session without some reference being made, and properly made, to the Small Arms Factory at Lithgow, and to its operations during the time the war has been in progress. Although immediately after the outbreak of the war a curtain was drawn around Germany, we have learned,, from time to time, of the efforts which have been made to supply munitions of war. All the efforts which have so far been put forward have failed to expedite the production of rifles at Lithgow, beyond what can be produced by a twelve hours' shift. I took advantage of the first opportunity that offered to pay a visit to that Factory, and it did not appear to me that great difficulty would confront any engineer in handling any of the machines I saw there. Most of them are automatic in their action, and do not require a great deal of attention from the mechanics in charge of them. So far, we have not had the output that might have been secured from that Factory. The reason has not been disclosed. We were told, in a sort of way. that there was a lack of material, and of trained men.

Senator Millen - There is no shortage of material.

Senator Pearce - Not now; but there was a shortage.

Senator Millen - There has not been a shortage of material for some time.

Senator Pearce - Why did not the honorable ' senator lay in a reserve of material when he had the power ?

Senator Millen - There was no shortage of material to prevent a second shift being established.

Senator Pearce - Yes, there was.

Senator Millen - There was always more material there than the factory could work up.

Senator Pearce - There was not sufficient .material at one time for two shifts.

Senator Needham - Senator Millen had twelve months in which to put on a second shift.

Senator Millen - I had only one month of the war.

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