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Thursday, 21 June 1906

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) . - Before doing so, Mr. President, there is one point to which I desire to refer. It has been reiterated again and again by honorable senators opposite that the names of the persons making the statutory declarations were not disclosed before to-day. As a matter of fact, the firm in question could have asked a member of the Commission to call for the names of the persons making the charges. Another point is that we have here a letter addressed by the firm to Stone on 7th, June, in which they say -

You did at the Arbitration Court repeat the charge originally made before the Royal Commission, but this time so far as to mention names in support of your evidence.

Senator Millen - The mere disclosure of the names would not help the firm. "Until they had secured possession of the statutory declarations they could not take legal proceedings.

Senator PEARCE - The charge made against Mr. Stone by honorable senators opposite was that he made this statement, and did not disclose his authority foi! it. In answer to that charge I have read the letter written by the firm to Stone, showing that he not only repeated his statement in the Arbitration Court, but told them on whose authority he made it. I venture to surmise that he not only mentioned his authority, but said that sworn declarations "had been made.

Senator Millen - That would not help matters.

Senator PEARCE - Before the question was raised in the Senate, the firm were in possession of the names of those who made the statement. That being so, it is idle for Senator Symon to say that they had no remedy

Senator Col Neild - They had only the gist of the statements.

Senator PEARCE - They had the names of those who made them.

Senator Col Neild - Probably, as the result of the disclosures made by Senator Pearce, the firm will take action.

Senator PEARCE - In the circumstances, I hold that the firm had no grievance as to the non-disclosure of the names of the parties who originally made the statement in question. I am satisfied with the assurance of the Government that an inquiry will be made, and I have only to say. in conclusion, that I shall hand over to the Minister of Defence every paper I have used this afternoon. I am surprised that Senator Millen should have entertained any doubt as to my doing so. It was my intention from the first to hand over to the Government all the papers in my possession. I beg to withdraw the motion

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

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