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Friday, 26 June 1903

Mr WILKS (Dalley) - I have much pleasure in seconding the motion. This is noutopian scheme or wild experiment. The honorable member for Maranoa has mentioned the experience gained by the Imperial Government in connexion with their factory at Pimlico, and reference has also been made to the State clothing factory in New South Wales. The latter establishment was the outcome of the evidence adduced before a select committee which sat about three years ago, and of which I was a member. One of the witnesses was Mr. Anderson, of " six hatters " fame, who was examined with regard to the clothing supplied to some of the soldiers sent away to South Africa, and who emerged from the ordeal rather badly. If honorable members will take the trouble to look at the report of that committee they will find sufficient evidence to dispel any doubts as to the necessity for establishing a Commonwealth clothing factory. It was shown that the conditions were similar to those described by the honorable member for Maranoa, as obtaining when he was a recruit. The material used in the making up of the uniforms was so bad, that if our troops had been hard pressed at any time when the)' were near a swamp or a river, they would have needed only to go into the water in order to cause their uniforms to shrink until they became invisible. It was also demonstrated that sweating was very largely practised at the expense of the State, and to the great disadvantage of the workmen employed. I am sure that economy will be served by the establishment of a Commonwealth clothing factory, and that our public servants who wear uniforms, and our soldiers, will have better clothing provided for them.

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