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Friday, 21 October 1910

Senator PEARCE (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Defence) - If the honorable senator will look up my speech on the Naval Defence Bill he will find that I went fully into the question.

Senator Millen - There is nothing supplementary to that?

Senator PEARCE - No.

Senator Millen - I gathered from the newspaper report of your statement that something had transpired since then.

Senator PEARCE - The only thing which may have transpired since then regarding the three cruisers - and I am not sure that it has - is that the, Admiralty called for tenders for the construction of a number of cruisers. They informed us of the prices submitted, and told us in their communication that they proposed to distribute orders among a number of different yards, and suggested two firms that should construct the two Australian cruisers which were to be built in England, and asked for our concurrence. I forget the names ofthe firms in question, but I think that Campbell Laird and Company was one of them. We have concurred in the. orders being placed with the firms, and, in addition to constructing a cruiser, one of them will supply the material for a third cruiser. I am not sure as to whether I mentioned that in my speech, or whether it has occurred since that event but with that exception I think that I explained everything else when I introduced the Naval Defence Bill.

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