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Thursday, 9 November 1911

Senator SAYERS (Queensland) - I see in these Estimates a vote for " Rifle range and accessories for proof of smallarm ammunition." During the debate this afternoon I stated that Captain Collins had affirmed that American machinery was less durable than British, and was, therefore, more expensive.

Senator Pearce - Does the honorable senator still hold that Captain Collins said that?

Senator SAYERS - When I made that statement I could not for the moment find my authority for it. But I have since discovered that it is contained in the precis of proceedings in connexion with tenders for machinery for the Small Arms Factory, which was ordered to be printed on 5th August, 1909. I merely wish to give the Minister the source of my information.

Senator Pearce - Will the honorable senator correct his statement that Commander Clarkson affirmed that American machinery was less durable?

Senator SAYERS - Yes. I will read an extract from the document to which I referred. It is as follows -

War Office has been consulted. Like Birmingham offer. Consider cost prohibitive compared other tenders. American machinery less durable, therefore more expensive.

I wish the Committee to understand that I would not make a statement in this Chamber unless I had some authority for so doing.

Senator Pearce - The honorable senator stated that Commander Clarkson had said that American machinery was less 'durable.

Senator SAYERS - I have withdrawn that statement.

Senator Pearce - The honorable senator now points out that it was the War Office which made the statement. If he had read on he would have found the following -

Clarkson considers War Office objections to American machinery not applicable Pratt, as War Office not aware of recent development in small arms machinery in America.

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