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Wednesday, 10 September 1913

Senator NEEDHAM (Western Australia) .- Before the Minister of Defence replies, I wish to make a personal explanation. When speaking on the Supply Bill on the 28th August, I mentioned a matter connected with the External Affairs Department. I said that two boilermakers and a coppersmith had been introduced from the Old Country, and were then working in Western Australia. I asked the Honorary Minister, who was in charge of the measure, to vouchsafe information which I had sought from the External Affairs Department, and had not, up to that time, received. In the course of my speech I said, in reply to a statement made by Senator Clemons that ten days had elapsed since I had written a letter on the subject to the Department. I wish now to say that I made a mistake, and that ten days had not elapsed. Senator Clemons did me the courtesy this afternoon to show me the papers in connexion with the matter, and I find that I wrote to the Minister for External Affairs on the 25th August, and that his reply to me was dated 28th August, only three days, and not ten days, after I had written. But I wish to say, further, that the Minister's reply did not reach me until at least three days after I made the speech to which I referred. I have been informed by Senator Clemons that the Minister at once attended to my communication, and it was not his fault that the reply to my letter was delayed. I make this explanation in justice to the Minister of External Affairs.

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