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Thursday, 22 August 1912

Senator ST LEDGER (Queensland) . - At page 12 of the schedule, there is a vote of £100 set down for " Fortifications," under the expenditure for Queensland. At page 13, there is another vote of £200 for new works under the same heading, and at page 15 there is a vote for £250 for the Thursday Island magazine, Green Hill fort. I do not think that Parliament will grudge any necessary expenditure for fortifications. Looking through the reports of defence officers, I find that the matter has occupied the serious attention of the Inspector-General of the Forces in connexion with the training of officers and men for the permanent garrisons of our forts. The votes to which I have referred seem to be small, but if they represent part of a well considered scheme of fortifications, I should not be prepared to raise any objection. From a superficial knowledge of the subject, I am inclined to believe that perhaps the most important position for an Australian fortification is Thursday Island, and probably the next in importance is Townsville. Townsville is one of the richest ports in Australia, and that it requires consideration ii» the matter of fortification is mentioned in Lord Kitchener's report, as well as in other military reports. I should like to know whether the Minister of Defence is satisfied with the work being done at these two places in this connexion.

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