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Friday, 31 October 1913

Senator RAE (New South Wales) . - It seems to me that Senator Pearce has fairly answered in advance the contention of the Minister of Defence. The inquiries made by a Committee appointed for the purpose certainly apply to cordite, whereas the actual processes of manufacture in the case of the woollen and clothing factories are those which are followed by numerous private firms in different parts of the Commonwealth. I can quite understand that the Minister should think that the criticism of his leader is fair, but if it did happen to be fair, it would constitute a most extraordinary departure on his part. I understand that all explosives deteriorate with age, some much more rapidly than others. I, therefore, desire to know whether the cordite manufactured for the small arms is turned out in excess quantities and stored for future use. If so, to what extent is its destruction necessary in order to insure a safe and reliable explosive?

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