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Thursday, 22 August 1912

Senator ST LEDGER (Queensland) . - Arising out of the explanation which the Minister of Defence has given, I desire to point out that we are called upon to vote nearly £3,000,000 of money, and it is highly necessary that one or two things should accompany the request of the Government for this expenditure. We ought to have details furnished with sufficient fullness to guide us as to what is the estimated cost of buildings proposed to be erected. We ought also to have information as to whether estimates of works in progress are being exceeded or not. Thirdly, we ought to have a general report to guide us more or less in our deliberations, and as to the votes we give. We should not have had so much discussion on this matter if such information had been supplied in connexion with the present Bill. I also point to the necessity of having if we are to spend enormous sums or buildings, an independent Public Works Committee, which will not be at the mercy of the reports of officers, who, as Senator Millen has pointed out, necessarily tend to be biased on the side on which they are working.

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