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Thursday, 7 July 1904

Mr WATSON - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follow : -

1.   It is regretted that, when replying to the previous question of the honorable and learned member, a later recommendation by the Colonial Defence Committee on this subject was inadvertently overlooked. The report containing the recommendation in question was made a parliamentary paper, being presented to the House of Representatives on the 19th September, 1901. As previously stated, however, it is not proposed to abolish the Volunteer Forces of the Commonwealth.

2.   The Colonial Defence Committee was constituted as follows : -

President. - Inspector-General of Fortifications.

Members. - Director of Military Ordnance.

Assistant Under-Secretary, Colonial Office.

Assistant Under-Secretary, Treasury.

Assistant Quarter-Master General.

Director of Naval Intelligence.

Assistant Director of Artillery.

Under the recent organization of the administration of the Army, this Committee, it is Understood, is merged in the Imperial Defence Committee, of which the Imperial Prime Minister is President, the Secretary of State for War, the First Lord of the Admiralty, the heads of the Naval and Military Intelligence Departments are members; and Sir George Clarke, late Governor of Victoria, is permanent secretary. 3 and 4. No interference is permitted in the internal administration of the Forces. The recommendations of the Committee are secret and confidential, as a rule, and cannot he made public. Where, however, the remarks are of public interest, and are not considered confidential, they have already been laid before Parliament, as in the case of the memorandum by the Colonial Defence Committee on the Defence Forces and Defences of Australia, presented to Parliament On the 19th September, 1901.

5.   The General Officer Commanding reports that he receives no official communications from the Colonial Defence Committee, or other official source, except through the usual channel of correspondence, which, of course, would be through the Minister.

6.   No such practice would be permitted.

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