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Wednesday, 14 July 1915

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I wish to know from the Prime Minister whether an Assistant Minister of Defence has been appointed, and that he, like the Minister of Defence, has a seat in the Senate? Will the Prime Minister say why this has been done, and will he explain the relations of the Minister for the Navy with the Defence Department?

Mr FISHER - The Minister of Defence and the Minister for the Navy have agreed to consult and to work together as one man so long as they are in charge of

Defence matters, ' although each will be directly responsible for his particular Department. The Minister for the Navy will be fully in touch with all that the Minister of Defence does, and the Minister of Defence will be in touch with all that he does, so that in their respective positions they may be able to provide for the defence of Australia better than was possible when the Minister for the Navy was not a Minister of State.

Mr Joseph Cook - Then they have pooled their duties and responsibilities ?

Mr FISHER - When we have spoken about two Ministers of Defence we have always understood that they would work in conjunction as has been suggested. Assistant Ministers are available to assist all Departments. That is, I think, as it should be.

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