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Wednesday, 24 May 1939

Mr PERKINS (Eden) (Monaro - Assistant Minister) . - I have followed with interest the remarks of the honorable member for Calare (Mr. Thorby) on this subject. The information that he has submitted to the House is substantially correct, but I think he has given it a false interpretation. I feel that honorable members will agree with me on this point when I- have followed through, in detail, the history of this subject.

Mr Forde - Is the Assistant Minister (Mr. Perkins) responsible for the change in the decision?

Mr PERKINS - No. I am replying to the honorable member for Calare, because I represent the Minister for the Interior in this House. The honorable member is not in error in his facts ; he is in error in his interpretation of them. As frequently happens, the Works Department was called upon to undertake this work for the PostmasterGeneral's Department. At the request of the postal authorities, plans were prepared and tenders called on an alternative basis, the alternatives being a building with a terra cotta face and a building with a sandstone face. It should be remembered that the PostmasterGeneral's Department is really the department most concerned over this matter. It asked that tenders should be called on the alternative basis.

Mr Beasley - But the PostmasterGeneral's Department was not to erect the building.

Mr PERKINS - That is so, but the building was required for its activities. I remember a similar case occurring some time ago in connexion with a building for the Commonwealth Bank in Adelaide. The Works Department recommended a -certain material, but the Commonwealth Bank wanted a different material. As the bank was paying the piper it surely had the right to call the tune! So, in this case, the Postmaster-General's Department has the right to call the tune.

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