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Friday, 24 August 1923

Mr LATHAM (Kooyong) (11:23 AM) . - I welcome the action of the Senate. This subject was by no means fully discussed in this House when the recommendation of the Public Works Committee was before it. It was one of those matters that had to go through because, in the special circumstances of the debate, it was felt that about the only thing to do was to pass . the proposal put before us. Surely honorable members recognise the pretence that lies behind this idea of a provisional Parliament House. For a long time the question was, whether a temporary or a permanent Parliamentary building should be erected. Then some one conceived the bright idea of suggesting a " provisional " Parliament House, " provisional " .being something which had all the advantages of a temporary building, in that it was cheap, and all the advantages of a permanent structure, in that it would last for ever. Without the slightest consideration of the plans, this

House solemnly decided not to accept the report' placed before it, but determined that a structure, to be described as a provisional Parliamentary building, should be -erected in front of the site for the permanent Parliament House, so that the permanent Parliament House would have the disadvantage of looking into the outbuildings of the provisional parliamentary building.

Mr Bruce - Surely the honorable member is reflecting upon the decision of the House.

Mr LATHAM - I am certainly reflecting upon a decision with which I do not agree. We recognise that the bargain made by New South Wales, that the capital city shall be in that State, has to be carried out, but most people in Australia now regret that the Federal Parliament is going to move to a place which, in itself, is a very fine site, but which is hopeless as a Seat of Government. Yet, as the work has to go on, we should not waste a considerable sum of public money by erecting what has been described as a provisional building. Why should we not accept the recommendation of the Public Works Committee, and proceed with the erection of the permanent structure? I am prepared to support a motion for expenditure upon the construction of the nucleus of the permanent parliamentary buildings. I cannot support a motion for the building of a provisional, but which I regard as a " temporary-permanent," Parliament House. I hope the Committee will accept the amendment made by the Senate.

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