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Wednesday, 22 October 1913

Senator LONG (TASMANIA) - I wish to ask the Minister of Defence whether it is his intention to follow the usual practice in connexion with the Imperial Fleet, and that is for the Fleet to visit Hobart towards the end of January, so that it may participate in one of the biggest aquatic carnivals of the year. Is it his intentionto send the Australian Fleet on a visit to Hobart?

Senator MILLEN - From what I have just said in reply to Senator Pearce, the honorable senator will see that I do not contemplate sending the ships anywhere. It seems to me that Admiral Patey, who has been charged with the responsible duty of training the men and the ships, should be given an entirely free hand as to- where he shall take them for that purpose.

Senatorrae. - Would that mean taking them to the North Sea, if he thought fit?

Senator MILLEN - No, because that would be outside the Australian station.

Senator Long - What I mean is, will the Minister do what I ask after consultation with the Admiral ?

Senator MILLEN - Any representations from places such as Hobart, expressing a desire to have a visit from the Fleet, would, I venture to say, be considered by Admiral Patey in making his dispositions.

Senator Long - I desire to know whether a request of that kind should be addressed to the Admiral or to the Minister of Defence.

Senator MILLEN - I think that the proper course will be to submit such a request to the Naval Board, who, no doubt, will forward it to Admiral Patey. I wish to make it clear, even at the risk of reiteration, that it does appear to me extremely desirable that the gentleman charged withthe working of the Fleet should have a free hand as to what he shall do in regard to it; that it ought not to beleft to Ministerial desires.

Senator Guthrie - Or to the Naval Board ?

Senator MILLEN - Or to the Naval Board. Because, after all is said and done, Admiral Patey will be responsible for the efficient working of this war machine.

Senator Long - If circumstances per- mit the Fleet will go to Hobart in accordance with the usual practice, I presume?

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