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Wednesday, 30 June 1926

Senator NEEDHAM (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - I do not know what the actual cost will be.

Senator Guthrie - Is it not a fact that it will cost more than double the original estimate ?

Senator NEEDHAM - I doubt if Senator Guthrie is in a position to say that. I question if even the Minister can say what it will cost. Although Senator Guthrie poses as a great Australian, he favours this class of work being placed abroad, with the result that Australian workmen will have no chance to perfect themselves in it. It is admitted that the seaplane carrier will, when completed, cost more than if it were built abroad; but since its construction here will give Australian workmen an opportunity to familiarize themselves with this class of work, the money will be well spent. Prom what I know of the shipbuilding industry, I can say without fear of contradiction that the work being done on the seaplane carrier at Cockatoo Island Dockyard is equal to anything in the world. The sooner we realize the desirability of making Australians completely self-reliant in everything that appertains to the defence of this country the better. The bill opens up a wide field for discussion on the defence policy of the Commonwealth, but as we shall deal with that subject later I shall not avail myself of this opportunity. I offer these few comments to show honorable senators where Australia is drifting. I sincerely hope that before long the Government will change its policy, and insist upon all work in connexion with the defence of the Commonwealth being carried out in Australia.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In committee:

Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.

Clause 3 (Appropriation of £250,000 for defence reserve).

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