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Wednesday, 10 October 1956

Sir ERIC HARRISON (WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES) . - I am sorry that 1 am cutting across the debate that has developed, but I feel that the Minister for Supply (Mr. Beale), when he rises in his place, will be able to deal adequately with the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison). Perhaps the delay will make the position much better, because it will enable the Minister to cool down following the unwarranted charges and foolish statements that were made by the honorable member for Blaxland and which were enough to rouse the: ire of any man.

The Estimates for the Department of Defence Production have been increased' this year. In 1955-56, the department'sexpenditure was approximately £12,300,000. The proposed vote for 1956-57 has risenby approximately £7,500,000, of which' £6,500,000 will be expended on the new ammunition filling factory at St. Mary's. I do not wish to deal with the St. Mary'sfactory this afternoon, but to refer to the achievement of the Department of DefenceProduction. However, I should like to say in passing, as the honorable member for Macarthur (Mr. Jeff Bate) has said, thai there would be no defence programme in this country if we did not make arrangements for the production of the wherewithal to give effect to such a programme. Associated with every war as far back as history can be traced, and in which arms and ammunition have been held and used, there has been a scandal over a shortage of munitions. When I assumed the portfolioof Defence Production I made up my mind that, if T were to continue to occupy it, 1' must ensure that Australia would not be faced with a shortage of munitions in a time of crisis. The factory at St. Mary's hasbeen designed for that purpose.

Mr Curtin - The Minister could not run a message.

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