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Wednesday, 18 November 1936

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (West em Australia) (Minister for .External Affairs) [10.10].- I move-

That the bill be now read a second time.-

The bill is to appropriate a sum of £2,000,000 from the excess revenue of the financial year, 1935-36, for defence expenditure of a capital nature. The sum appropriated will be paid to defence trust accounts as follows: - £1,800,000 for the defence equipment trust account, and £200,000 to the civil aviation trust account. Honorable senators may remember that £4,160,000 was similarly appropriated in 1934-35 from excess receipts of previous years. Briefly, the moneys now to be appropriated will be required for - (a) Naval construction (sloops in Sydney, payments on H.M.A.S. Sydney), and armament for cruisers; (b) coastal and anti-aircraft defences, modernization of the field army, aircraft, machinery and ' plant; and (c) defence works, buildings, and sites. The Government's defence policy was briefly outlined in the budget speech for the present financial year. The amount of . £2,000,000 which will be appropriated by this bill is to carry on the capital works of the defence programme in this and following years and will be drawn upon as necessity arises. 1 ask honorable senators not to engage in a, general discussion on the defence vote under this measure. A general memorandum of the whole of the Government's defence programme, including a full explanation of the expenditure to be incurred under this bill, will be circulated, and when the defence vote in the Appropriation Bill, Which is now before the chamber, is under consideration, the defence proposals of the Government can be debated.

Debate (on mot-ion by Senator Collings) adjourned.

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