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Wednesday, 27 May 1914
Page: 1445

Senator DE LARGIE (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -

I.. Has the Leader of the Senate seen the statement by Sir John Forrest in the newspapers of 22nd May, blaming the Scaddan Government for delaying the building of the transcontinental railway ?

2.   Has Sir John Forrest forgotten that it was alleged that the refusal of his Government to pay current rates of wages, as paid by contractors on the railway, was responsible for the stoppage of construction in Western Australia ?

3.   Is it a fact that the Federal Government cancelled and repudiated a contract with the Western Australian State Government for 1,400,000 sleepers?

4.   Is it a fact that the Federal Government arc now trying to enter into another, but much smaller, contract for sleepers?

5.   Is it a fact that the Federal Government arc trying to impose conditions in that contract that mean taking the control of the timber lands of Western Australia out of the hands of the State Government?

6.   Is it a fact that these conditions are put into the contract in the interests of timber contractors in Western Australia?

7.   Is it a fact that almost every timber district in Western Australia has at public meetings condemned the action of the Federal Government in cancelling the original contract for sleepers?

8.   Is it a fact that resolutions were passed at many public meetings in Western Australia, and in Sir John Forrest's own division in particular, calling on him to withdraw his support from the Cook Government if they refused to reinstate the sleeper contract entered into by the Federal Government under Mr. Fisher ?

9.   Is it a fact that it was pointed out to Sir John Forrest that if he withdrew his support from the Cook Government they would either be forced to restore the contract or resign, and that another Government would reinstate the original contract?

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