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Wednesday, 29 November 1911

Senator McCOLL (Victoria) . - Has the Minister of Defence received from Mr.James Alexander Smith any reply to Mr. Deane's rejoinder?

Senator Pearce -Ihave not.

Senator McCOLL - If it comes in, will the Minister be good enough to have it published ?

Senator Pearce - I shall consult the Minister.

SenatorMcCOLL. -The Minister assured me the other day that all the correspondence regarding the line had been published.I had been informed that a letter was sent to the Commonwealth Government' by the Acting Premier of Victoria, which was not in the correspondence, and I advised the Minister to that effect. I wrote to Mr. Watt on this matter, and received the following reply -

Dear Mr. Mccoll,

I have yours of the 24th inst., and in reply I would state that this Government wrote to the Commonwealth Government on the 6th October last, re the gauge question. We pointed out that no satisfactory solution to the question was possible without a conference between the representative Ministers of the Commonwealth and the States, and advising that such a conference be held as early as practicable. We also advised that the Commonwealth Government should take the necessary steps to prevent a final decision of question pending such deliberations as suggested.

Yours faithfully, (Sgd.) W. a. Watt.

The Minister has, therefore, been wrongly advised when he says that no such letter was sent. Perhaps he will be gooff enough to look into the matter.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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