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Thursday, 24 June 1915

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister of Defence) . - I desire, with the permission of the Senate, to make a statement in regard to the Munitions Committee.

Leave granted.

Senator PEARCE - The Munitions Committee of the Defence Department has found it necessary to have a Business Representative, who will act as a connecting link between the Departmental Expert Committee and the Committees formed by the State Governments of New South Wales and Victoria and the Committee of the Chamber cf Manufactures. It is essential that such a gentleman should have a good knowledge of business management, as he will really be the business head of the Departmental Committee. I have requested Mr. Walter Leitch, a director of the firm of Messrs. Joseph Baker and Sons Limited (London), machinery manufacturers, who has been in the Commonwealth for some time, and had offered his services to the Department in any way in which it was considered he could be useful, to take this position. Mr. Leitch has consented to do so. Mr. Leitch has been connected with the firm of Messrs. Baker and Sons for twenty-nine years, and has resided in Australia for twenty-five years. Four years of that time - 1905-8 inclusive - he was general manager of the Welsbach Light Company of Australasia, Sydney, both manufacturing and importing. His connexion with the firm of Messrs. Baker and Sons has given him extensive experience in a managing capacity, which should be of immense service to the Department in the position in which he has been asked to act. The Committee is now in touch with the Committee of the Associated Chambers of Manufactures of Australasia, and also the Departmental Committees formed by the Governments of Victoria and New South Wales. I understand that the Governments of other States are sending forward proposals which will bring us into touch with them also.

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