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QUESTION OF DEFENCE.
Melbourne, February 20
I 'At a reception to-day on board the Ade-
laide Steamship Company's new steamer , Koombana the Federal Attorney-General
i (Mr. W. Hughes), in responding to the I toast of tlie "Commonwealth Parlia- ment," referred to the immense propor I tions the Australian shiopinj industry had i assumed during late year«, jjcgialation in ¡ connection with it he said shoulil be only i resorted to when desirable, and should
not be meddlesome. The snipping nidus i try was a signal example of Australian sue ' cess. Senator Pearce «Minister of De-
fence) pointed out that tiie German Emperor when, speaking lately with re- gard to the £2.500,000 voted by his Go- vernment for Germnn naval defence, said the German navy was required to pro- tect German interests in the Pacific. Aus- tralia had interests valued at £16.000.000
in her coastal trade, and what were Ger- man inteiests compared with those? What should Australia be prepared to pay -to safeguard her £16,000,000 worth? Aus- tralia albo had large interests in the East. While German traele was at a standstill Australian trade was increasing vastly. With these facts before them they, would not be true to their country if they did not help to prepare for her safety in time of stress and war. (Cheers.) They might have a powerful military arm, but that cxnild not keep the way open for the coastal trade.' It was because of this that the Government had seen the neces- sity and taken steps towards the founda- tion of an Australian navy. (Cheers.)
The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr. Mahon) said the Government should be prepared to subsidise in a generous manner strips and steamship companies like the Koombana and the Adelaide Steamship Company. The coastal trade which they had built up was one of Australia's most precious possessions, and no sacrifice should be too great to preserve it.