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Wednesday, 4 July 1906
Page: 1043

Mr PAGE (Maranoa) .- I have to complain thatthe answers to questions put to the representative of the Minister of Defence here are very evasive. I do not blame the Minister, because I know very well that he is not responsible for the answers. But I blame the officials of the Department. If they are allowed to badger us as they do, and the Minister takes no notice of the fact, it will be our own fault. It is the right and privilege of every private member to ask questions, and to get them answered properly, and it is not the privilege of officials to evade answering questions at every possible opportunity. With regard to Colonel Bridges, it is an open secret - I was told of it on Monday last - that he had passed the examination referred to. I told the honorable member for Wentworth about it on Monday or Tuesday.

Mr Kelly - Yesterday,

Mr PAGE - Perhaps I got the information as soon as the Minister did. At any rate, I was satisfied with what I heard, and so was the honorable member for Wentworth. I think that he only asked fair and square questions. I felt aggrieved by the answers which were given to my questions the other day, because they were evasive from first to last. If we do not stand up for our privileges, 110 one else will. I do not blame the Minister in this matter, because 1 know that sometimes the answers are only brought to him as he is entering the chamber, but I think that he ought to arouse the officials to a sense of their duty.

Mr Johnson - They want to apply militarism to members of Parliament as well as their own troops.

Mr PAGE - In many casesthey do. I am sure that the Minister willcarry out his promise to give any information which we may require.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Mouse adjourned at 11.36 p.m.

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