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Thursday, 5 June 1902

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I cannot come Vo any conclusion immediately, from the figures which the honorable and learned member has read out, but the information which has been supplied to me on the subject is as follows

With reference to the contracts submitted from South Australia, in connexion with the Australian Commonwealth Horse, I would call attention to the very big prices of some of the articles compared with the prices at which they could be purchased in this State -


Apparently, rifle buckets (which, it was understood, it was not necessary to supply, and which were not supplied in Victoria) were supplied at 7s. each.

These very large prices compared with the prices here must involve Imperial Government in a considerably increased expenditure.

Upon that I wrote the following minute : -

The difference between the South Australian and Victorian prices is very considerable, and in many cases the South Australian charges "arc exorbitant. I think they should have been referred to head-quarters before acceptance.

Mr GLYNN - In view of the discrepancy between the statement which I have read and the document quoted by the Minister, will he inquire fully, not only into the prices asked, but also in regard to the quality of the articles supplied, and the general conditions regarding the tenders, and put fully before the House the true position of affairs 1

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - There may be some difficulty in obtaining information as to the quality of the articles supplied, because they have been sent away from the State, but I shall make further inquiries. The document which I have read is the only one which has been laid before me. It is an official paper, and no doubt compiled from the actual price-lists in the possession of the Defence department. '

Mr GLYNN - Although there may be some difficulty in testing the comparative prices of the goods in relation to their qualities, will the Minister do all in his power to test the fairness of the comparisons which have been made on his official list from the point of view of quality as well as price. In the letter which has been sent to me, it is stated that the kit bags and horse blankets which appear on the Minister's list as being supplied at higher prices were quoted at lower prices in the South Australian tender than in the other States, while the quality of the horse blankets supplied under the South Australian contract is stated to be much better than that of those supplied by the Victorian tenderers.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I shall do all I


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