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Thursday, 22 August 1912

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - In regard to the proposed vote for the establishment of Woollen Mills at Geelong, I take this opportunity of drawing the Minister's attention to a telegram which appears in the press this evening, and which makes certain statements concerning the non-supply of clothing to the garrison artillery in Sydney. These mills, I take it, are intended to turn out the material with which to clothe our soldiers, and I propose to read the telegram in question, with a view to showing the way in which they are not clothed. Is it the intention of the . Government to keep these men without clothing until the factory is in operation? The paragraph reads -


Uniforms and Salaries.

Sydney, Thursday.

Following upon the recent Garrison Artillery trouble comes another in connexion with artillery.

This time it is the permanent men who are grumbling. The following is a list of grievances voiced by the lower ratings : - The regiment is in a ragged state, as no clothing has been issued for a year ; fifty men taken on in the last six months had to perform service in white canvas suits in the middle of winter, nothing else being available, and even that now cannot be obtained ; sergeants are drilling the men in military coats and civilian tweed trousers.

I should like to hear from the Minister of Defence whether that paragraph is an effort on the part of the scribe or whether there is any justification for the statements which it contains. If there be a vestige of truth in them, it is not at all creditable to the Commonwealth. I should also like to know whether the factory has been started, and, if so, what is the extent of the operations which it is proposed to carry on. These are questions, I suppose, which may be asked, irrespective of the view which one may take of whether it is desirable to extend the list of Government functions.

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