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Friday, 26 June 1903

Mr PATERSON (CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND) - I have looked very carefully through the papers, and it appears to me that the contractors have simply conspired to divide the business. It will be seen that John Smith has the contract for trousers, John Thompson the contract for jackets, and so on. I think that a want of business capacity is exhibited by the Defence Department. When I was engaged in business, if I wanted a contractor to supply me with any article that I required, I did not rest content with calling for tenders by advertisement. I wrote to every man that I knew in the trade. Other people adopt a similar practice. I hold that the Defence Department ought to take proper steps to secure the necessary supply of clothing for the forces of the Commonwealth at the lowest possible price. If it does not, it necessarily follows that it will be adversely criticised. I will support the motion in the interests of economy ; but it would be much better if honorable members knew where the proposed factory was to be established. I should certainly object to it being located at Bombala, where, it is true, one can obtain water, if nothing else. I hold that it ought to be centrally situated. I' am very glad that the honorable member for Maranoa has raised this question, because I hold that it is one which Ought to be settled without delay.

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