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Thursday, 17 June 1915

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister of Defence) . - Before I approached any private firm in connexion with this matter, Mr. S. McKay approached me.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - And other firms also?

Senator PEARCE - Other firms approached me subsequently, and amongst them, I think, a representative of the firm of Gray Brothers, mentioned by Senator de Largie. But this was subsequent to February, 1915.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - Can the Minister say what was the date of the declaration of war, and the date on which the present Government assumed office?

Senator de Largie - Will the Minister at the same time state whether it is the intention of the Government to go on with the referenda questions in the near future, and whether there is any connexion between shellmaking and the referenda ?

Senator PEARCE - The date of the declaration of war was 4th August, 1914. The date of assumption of office by the present Government was 17th September, 1914.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - And between those dates there was a general election.

Senator PEARCE - I would say, in answer to Senator de Largie, that I do not think it requires a very keen student of cause and effect to see the connexion between the two matters.

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