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Thursday, 7 December 1911

Senator SAYERS (Queensland) . - I listened with close attention to the speech of the Minister of Defence in explaining this Bill. .1 should like him to tell us in reply whether he considers the time to. be spent by cadets in the Naval College to be sufficient. I hope that under no circumstances will men be turned out in connexion, with our Navy unless, they are properly trained and fit to take their place alongside the men of any navy in the world. If the Minister is prepared to tell us that he and his advisers are satisfied with the period that it is intended that these men shall be under training before they become officers and take command, I cannot dispute his statement. But those in control of the British Navy have had many years of experience, and it is significant that they have not seen their way to shorten the time of training. It is an acknowledged fact that the seamen, petty officers, and officers of the British Navy are, as a rule, superior to men of equivalent rank in any navy of the world.

Senator Stewart - How does the honorable senator know ? ,

Senator SAYERS - It is an acknowledged fact. Testimony to that effect is borne by persons in other services.

Senator Stewart - We think that.

Senator SAYERS - I have heard naval officers in other services than the British say so. I have heard the same from officers in the mercantile marine. I am anxious that our officers and men shall be as efficient as are British man-of-war's-men to-day. I saw the statement some time ago that it takes at least seven years to turn out a properly equipped man-of-war's-man. That being the case, I ask the Minister to satisfy my doubts. I hope that he will be in a position to assure us that the term allowed will be sufficient to turn out thoroughly equipped officers and men.

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