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Wednesday, 16 June 1915

Mr RILEY (South Sydney) .- I rise to supplement the remarks of the honorable -members for Maribyrnong and Macquarie. Members of Parliament generally are representatives of the people of the Commonwealth, and at this juncture they have a right to know what the Government are doing. Similarly the Government would be justified in taking them into their confidence, and would not be displaying any weakness in doing so. If the Minister of Defence could lay before honorable members on both sides of this Chamber a statement of what has been done already, and what is proposed to be done in the future, there would be less carping and criticism on the part of people who have not that knowledge. The suggestion for a joint secret meeting is an excellent one. I believe that at such a meeting the Minister of Defence would be able to justify every step that he has taken, and that honorable members of this House and senators would leave the meeting feeling the utmost confidence that everything possible had been done, and would be done. We have a right to know what the Minister is doing, but as he sits in the Senate honorable members of this House are not in close touch with him. There are honorable members in this Chamber who know what is being done.

Mr Glynn - Why is it not mentioned in the House as is done in the House of Commons ?

Mr RILEY - There would be no weakness displayed in doing so. The question of a Coalition Government, raised by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, is a side issue; no one has suggested it; neither has the question of producing steel been raised. The only question is whether we should bring the parties together to hear a statement as to what has been done, and what is proposed to be done. When that statement is made, 1 feel confident that Australians will feel proud. I have the utmost confidence in the Government, and I believe that if honorable members of the Opposition and senators knew what was being done, they would also have confidence; and confidence being one of the greatest things that tend towards success, I hope that, in the -circumstances, the Government will consider this matter favorably, and come to some arrangement whereby they can lay before honorable members a statement of whatis being done, and of what the Government have it in their minds to do in thefuture.

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