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Friday, 9 July 1915

The PRESIDENT - Order! That question can hardly arise in this discussion.

Senator DE LARGIE - I merely referred to it as coming under the head of munitions. I do not want to dwell too long upon the question, but I should like, for the information of Senator O'Keefe, to say that, besides the Lithgow works, there are now the very much greater works at Newcastle.

Senator O'KEEFE (TASMANIA) - Those are two. I did not know we had others.

Senator DE LARGIE - In a smaller way, steel of a very high-class character is being made in Melbourne. The manufacture of steel to-day is. quite different from what it was a few years ago in Australia. Steel can be manufactured today very economically in small quantities by means of the smaller plants that are constantly being invented. Steel that used to be very difficult to manufacture can nowadays be manufactured very economically and very .easily. So far as shell making is concerned, any difficulty will be the aluminium portion, which contains the fuse; that is the most intricate part to make. As I have already said, if we are going to do what I think Parliament desire that we should do, and manufacture here everything that is required todeal with the present situation, we have waited quite long enough for information, and we should be prepared to strike out on our own path, notwithstanding that we may not have all the scientific information that we should like. We know that during the Boer War, in South Africa, the men at Mafeking, falling back on their own limited resources, were able to make their own big guns. Their position can hardly be compared with that which we occupy today, but, in any case, my view is that something will have to be done, and done quickly, in the direction I have indicated. As to the appointment of new Ministers, I think we may safely leave the allocation of their work to the Government. It would be impossible for honorable senators to say here what that work should be.

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