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Thursday, 2 August 1934

Mr FRANCIS (Moreton) (Assistant Minister for Defence) . - Honorable members who have spoken have made a suggestion that there is no need for the building of a cruiser, but I would remind them that the Brisbane, which this vessel i3 to replace, became over age in 1932. Honorable members have also said that our defence proposals should include provision for defences against raids. The policy of the Government has been to provide for the adequate protection of our coasts. "When this cruiser is completed, our protection against raids will be greater than it has ever been. How better could this be achieved than by the construction of a cruiser which will be the most uptodate of its class. It is expected that the Leander will be in Australian waters in August next year. To supplement our defences against raids, provision has been made for substantial improvements in our coastal defence. In the main ports, Sydney, Newcastle, and others, guns of large calibre will be placed during this year, and the following year. Our forts will be equipped with the latest material for coastal defence. Reference has been made to the need for the provision of an uptodate air service. At no time has Australia been better equipped in this regard. The Government has arranged to import, immediately eighteen Hawker Demons, the latest type of aircraft advised by the British Ministry and our own Air Force officers as being most suitable for Australian conditions. Provision has also been made for the purchase of 24 seaplanes of the Amphibian Seagull Mark 5 type, the latest type now being used by Great Britain.

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