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Thursday, 26 May 1904

Mr BROWN (Canobolas) - The objection raised by the right honorable member for Swan to the- passing of this motion has given me considerable surprise. The honorable member for Melbourne apparently desires to secure certain information, for which he is entitled to ask, and it would seem that he can secure it in no other way. I do not know whether the honorable member for Maranoa has succeeded in securing information of this kind by personal application to the Department, but he will admit that we all do not possess his degree of persistency. The Defence Department expenditure is very heavy, and the Estimates are so drawn up that it is often impossible to secure specific information in regard to' any particular item. The honorable member for Swan has placed a certain interpretation on the action of the honorable member for Melbourne in submitting this motion. If there is anything in his remarks which amount to an imputation against the General, it is to the interest of the officer concerned that the information desired by the honorable member for Melbourne should be made public. Personally, I do not entertain any suspicion of wrongdoing on the part of the General, or of the members of his Head-Quarters Staff, nor do I think that such a suspicion Has crossed the minds of any considerable number of honorable members. But after the suggestion made by the right honorable member for Swan, who ' was himself for a time Minister of Defence, the motion should be passed, so that the House may be put into possession of all information, and it may be seen what justification there is for the imputation. Therefore, I shall support the motion.

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