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Wednesday, 1 October 1941

Senator ARMSTRONG (New South Wales) . - I regret that the Minister for Aircraft Production (Senator Leckie) is not present. Over a period of many months, both inside and outside this chamber, I have repeatedly asked for definite information to be furnished to me concerning the production of fighter aeroplanes in Australia, and the answer has always been that plans were in course of being completed, and that within a very few days the honorable gentleman would be able to announce details of production in Australia. I asked a question on the subject in this chamber only a fortnight ago. The Minister for Aircraft Production then informed the Senate that within a very few days he would make details available to the country. This matter is becoming more and more important as time passes. The most vital factor influencing the minds of soldiers returning from service abroad, arising from their actual experiences on the battlefront, is the need for more and more fighter aeroplanes. This country cannot be placed soon enough in full production of these most important adjuncts to our defence and a successful offensive. I should therefore like the Minister to make a definite statement at once. If the plans are not approaching completion, he should at least tell the country that the stage is not near when the production of fighter aeroplanes will be commenced. Why should he continue to hoodwink the people, by saying that within a very few days he will make details available, when it is apparent that such is not the case? I personally have been humbugged for nearly twelve months, particularly since the honorable senator in question became a Minister. A statement should be made as to whether the Government is or is not ready to commence the production of these machines.

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