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Tuesday, 11 May 1965

Senator PALTRIDGE - This is a matter which has been under consideration for a long time. It remains under consideration. I am sure that the honorable senator is familiar with the advice provided on this matter over the years by Australia's own defence experts, namely that although a naval base in Western Australia would be desirable there are other works which must of necessity take precedence over the establishment of a static base in Western Australia. I emphasise the word " static " because as the years have gone by the techniques of naval strategy have altered materially. Indeed, they are continually changing. For example, today service is taken to the ships at sea rather than having the ships removed from the line back to a static base for service. This system did not operate until 10 or 12 years ago. This technique is reflected in our naval building programme which provides for ships which take service to the ships at sea. The technique is seen more importantly and dramatically in the larger navies, particularly in the United States Navy and the Royal Navy, where service ships are built for the purpose of supplying and replenishing the ships at sea to avoid temporarily removing ships from the line and servicing them at a base. Putting things in a proper order of priority as far' as our Navy is concerned; the overseas practice to which I have referred adds emphasis to the fact that priority must be given to the building of service ships which will service the ships at sea. As 1 have said, this is the accepted technique in the larger navies.

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