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Wednesday, 13 August 1902

Mr DEAKIN (Ballarat) (AttorneyGeneral) . - In regard to the question of commissions, I have only to say that as their objects differ immensely, their character should also differ. The case to which reference has been made is one in which it appeared to the Government that the kind of elements we combined by appointing some honorable members, as well as professional men, who have been chosen to constitute the commission, was the best that could be obtained. I admit that in some cases it would be desirable to have a commission consisting of men removed entirely from military or political influence.

Mr Conroy - Supposing the Defence department is proved to be at fault?

Mr DEAKIN - In that case the department will receive an exposure as thorough as is required. The matter of recruiting to which attention has been called is very important. Inquiries will be made to discover the reason for the course adopted, which I feel sure was taken on the advice of the general officer commanding. With regard to the Imperial commission, of course there wouldbe every desire to obtain the very valuable assistance which sucha commission could render, but we must first deal without loss of time with the Australian incidents - the accident that happened at Albany, and in the case of the Norfolk, that which occurred at Adelaide. These, perhaps, were the main causes of the loss of several lives. We do not need any Imperial commission to deal with them, but there may be other questions upon which the findings of an Imperial commission would be very valuable.

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

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