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Friday, 24 August 1923

Mr GREGORY (Swan) (11:33 AM) . - This matter was very fully debated a few nights ago in this Chamber. Honorable members are aware that, as Chairman of the Public Works Committee, I recommended the building of the nucleus of a permanent Parliament House at Canberra. After a good deal of consideration this House decided by a large majority that the better course to adopt would be to erect a provisional Parliament House. I am content to abide by that decision, although I regard the rush to Canberra as the maddest thing that was ever proposed. I think that if we make proper representations to the Senate, and honorable senators are informed. that an overwhelming majority in this House supports the proposal, they will give way. The Prime Minister was hardly correct iu what he said, because I believe that to build the nucleus of a permanent building would be found to be the most economical course to adopt in the end. I should like to direct the attention of the Minister for Works and Railways and those connected with the construction of big works in Australia to the extraordinary conditions connected with the erection of buildings in the Commonwealth. I have here a magnificent photograph of a glorious stone building that is being erected in Kew Zealand. Half of the building is to cost £325,000, whilst the total cost of it is estimated at only £580,000. It is quite evident that there are combinations at work here which are responsible for the rising cost of everything in the Commonwealth, and it is time that we took some action to see that we get fair value for our money. I accept the decision of this House in this matter, and will now support the action taken by the Government. Motion agreed to.

Resolution reported; report adopted. Ordered -

That Mr. Bruce, Mr. Groom, and Mr. Stewart be appointed a Committee to draw up reasons for disagreement with the Senate's amendments.

The following reasons were presented and adopted : -

Reasons for the House of Representatives disagreeing with the amendment of the Senate : -

(1)   Because the amount is provided in the Bill in order that effect may be given to a resolution of the House, which was passed without division, in favour of the erection of a provisional Parliament House at Canberra.

(2)   Because in the interests of the Commonwealth it is essential to make provision for the meeting of Parliament at Canberra at the earliest practicable date.

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