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Thursday, 11 September 1913

Senator PEARCE (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -

i.   Has the Minister decided to extend the right to wear the Scottish kilt as a military uniform to other members of the Defence Forces than those already in possession of them, to whom permission to retain that uniform had already been granted?

2.   If so, what qualification as to birth or parentage will be necessary to enable members of the Defence Forces to wear Scottish kilts?

3.   Is it proposed to have regiments consisting solely of persons of Scottish birth?

4.   If so, how is it proposed to fit in such a proposal with the territorial scheme of organization laid down by Lord Kitchener's report?

5.   As, in addition to the Scottish regiment, there were Irish and English regiments with distinctive uniforms, is it proposed to extend the same privileges to them?

6.   Is it proposed to extend the same privilege to other sections of the British nation, such as the Welsh or Cornish?

7.   Will the Government provide the uniforms, or will the members of these sectional regiments have to provide their own uniforms at their own expense ?

8.   Will the inability to purchase a uniform disqualify from membership of these regiments?

Senator MILLEN - As the details regarding this matter will be considered by the Military Board at' an early date, replies to the honorable member's questions will be deferred until the Board's recommendations come before me, and I have had an opportunity of considering them.

Senator PEARCE - May I ask the Minister whether, before this regulation is dealt with, he will give the Senate an opportunity of discussing it ? It is not an ordinary regulation. What is proposed will involve a complete departure from the existing scheme.

Senator MILLEN - -I am rather surprised that an ex-Minister should put such a question to me.

Senator PEARCE asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -

Is it not a fact that borings had been put down to a depth of 40 feet on both the Parmelia and Success Banks at Cockburn Sound, West Australia, under the direction of the late Government, and were not the reports of such borings in the possession of the Naval Board before February, 1913?

Senator MILLEN - The Director of Naval Works has reported, but I am not yet certain whether such reports had been referred to the Naval Board.

Senator PEARCE asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -

1.   Have the Government yet obtained the " high professional advice " that they deem necessary to enable them to determine sites of naval bases in the Commonwealth?

2.   Is it proposed to seek this advice in respect of Cockburn Sound only, or is it proposed to ask this advice in respect of all the naval bases or sub-bases recommended by Admiral Henderson?

3.   If not, is it considered that the local experts of the Department are competent to deal with all sites other than Cockburn Sound?

Senator MILLEN - The answers are -

1.   No.

2.   It is proposed lo seek this advice with regard, not only to Cockburn Sound, but also with regard to other bases, the early construction of which is under consideration.

3.   See reply to 2.

Senator PEARCE asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -

Is he aware that the Right Honorable the Treasurer has telegraphedto the Mayor of Fremantle that, in respect to the naval base at Cockburn Sound, " Nautical men whom I have consulted much prefer Mangles Bay at Rockingham to Jervoise Bay as it is far more spacious, has far deeper water, is far better protected, and has better holding ground " ; and will he inform the Senate of the names and professional attainments of the nautical men who have given the advice referred to?

Senator MILLEN - This question has been referred to the honorable the Treasurer.

Senator PEARCE asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -

In reference to the minutes of the Third Naval Member of the Naval Board dated 18th July, 1913, as to alleged injudicious expenditure at the Henderson Naval base, Cockburn Sound, will the Minister call upon the Third Naval Member to indicate the particulars of " injudicious expenditure" referred to?

Senator MILLEN - The whole of this matter is under review, and it has not yet been decided what further action, if any, will be necessary.

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