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Wednesday, 10 August 1921

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon T Givens (QUEENSLAND) - That scarcely has to do with " the question before us.

Senator GARDINER - I realize that it is disorderly to reply to interjections, but, at the same time, I think it was almost unfair that they should be fired at me. We cannot hold any one Government responsible for the increased cost of the government of the Commonwealth. There never was a time in our history when the need of economy was so great as at present; and if we have waited twenty years for this new Department or branch we can surely wait twenty months longer. I congratulate Senator Elliott on affording the Senate an opportunity to say whether or not it will sanction this inroad on the finances of the country. As I have said, we are ceasing to manufacture rifles, and, at a time of unexampled unemployment, hundreds of men are being turned on to the labour market. The Defence Department is retrenching in all other quarters, and it certainly shows a lack of "conscience" to place such a proposal as this before the Senate. I shall take up no further time, but simply promise Senator Elliott my support.

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