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Friday, 9 July 1915

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) . - I had no idea that my reply to Senator O'Loghlin's question would be taken as anything more than a reply to a question as to what the present proposals of the Government are. I cannot commit the Government to anything other than the Government have instructed me to communicate to the Senate. Everybody knows that the developments that have taken place have been considered and determined upon within the last few days. I am only authorized to say that, concurrently with the proposals made, the Government do not intend to appoint an additional Minister. That is not to say that the Government will not do so later on if necessity requires it. The Bill does not bind the Government at all in that regard, but I am not authorized, nor can I say at this juncture, that the Government are going to ask for the appointment of another Honorary Minister.

Senator O'Keefe - Then you do not think it is necessary now ?

Senator PEARCE - I ain not prepared to say whether it is necessary or unnecessary. The rearrangement has been made, but has not yet been tried. .Senator Gardiner has been assisting the PostmasterGeneral. He is now to assist the Minister of Defence.

Senator NEWLANDS (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Then we will have both Defence Ministers in the Senate ?

Senator PEARCE - No; the other Defence Minister will be in the House of Representatives. The Postmaster- General may find that he requires assistance, or some other Minister may require it, in which case the Government can, without consulting Parliament, appoint another Honorary Minister. That does not need a Bill. The representations of Senator Newland and others regarding the appointment of Honorary Ministers have been listened to by us, and will be conveyed by us to our colleagues. As he well knows, the Government are always prepared to consider the views of Parliament, and of its supporters who gave it life. In the circumstances, I suggest that he should withdraw his amendment. The Government themselves will be the first to feel the pressure if further Honorary Ministers are necessary, and to take advantage of the feeling voiced here today.

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