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Wednesday, 1 August 1906
Page: 2153

Mr KELLY (Wentworth) .- After the verv able address to which we have just listened. I do not propose to detain the House for more than a few moments. The remarks to which we have just listened brought home to me very fully the necessity to study local conditions in dealing with questions of this character. The honorable member was able to bring to bear a great amount of research in dealing with the experience of the United States of America, and to show the immense saving of life and property which had resulted from the wide powers and the extensive fields of operations covered by the Weather Bureau there. I take it that if meteorological observations are to be of full value to our people, we must have the sources of our information, not only in, but beyond, Australia. The forecasts to which the honorable member for Echuca referred were more or less parallel with the forecasts that we have had in Australia - forecasts for two or three days in advance of storms and local disturbances. But what I wish, to suggest now is that the time is approaching when, by widening the sources of our information, we may be able to extend the duration of our forecasts, and so enable the people on the land to obtain information in regard, not only to local disturbances, but of a general character in respect to. seasonal rains. Australia derives most of its moisture from countries lying to the north of it. As honorable members know, warm air carries moisture, which is precipitated upon a meeting with cold air. I think the greater part of the rain which falls in Australia is brought to this Continent by monsoons blowing from a northerly direction, which deposit some of their moisture upon our northern areas, and gradually precipitate the rest as they come south, and meet with cold southerly and westerly winds. Therefore, it is necessary to insure that the Commonwealth Meteorological Department shall obtain information, not only from all parts of Australia, but also from the countries whence the northern monsoons blow. If it is known that the monsoon blowing across India from the north is charged with more than the ordinary quantity of moisture, and is travelling at the usual rate, it can be forecasted with accuracy that Australia will, within a certain time, participate in its blessings. Therefore, a provision should be inserted in the measure to enable the Commonwealth Meteorological Department to correspond with the Indian Department of Meteorology, and such other external Departments as it may be necessary to obtain information from. I had in~ tended to defer my remarks until the Bill was being considered in Committee; but I was so struck with the able speech of the honorable member who preceded me. that I felt that it would not be out of place to say a few words now that the subject is being considered in its broad aspect. I intend to move in Committee the addition of a clause which will give the power to which I have referred. It may be objected that the Government already has this power.

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