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Wednesday, 24 May 1939

Mr SPEAKER -Order ! Although honorable members may have differences of opinion amongst themselves, this debate must be conducted in an orderly way. There are too many interjections. The honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron), who received the call, is the only one who has the right to be heard.

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - The Postmaster-General told us that the Commonwealth would get the benefit of any reduction of the price of terra cotta for the facing of the building. That statement should be investigated by a committee of inquiry. I question the propriety of allowing any tenderer to amend his offer after the closing time for tenders and thereby secure an advantage over his competitors. We are entitled to ask the Postmaster-General if this privilege is to be accorded to all tenderers or is to be reserved to H. G. Whittle & Sons Proprietary Limited.

I have no desire to prolong this debate. The state of affairs disclosed by the Minister's statement this afternoon suggests the definite need for a thorough inquiry. I would welcome such an inquiry, and so far as any part which I, as PostmasterGeneral, had in the matter, I challenge the most searching investigation. I defy any investigating authority to produce a recommendation over my signature to the effect that terra-cotta facing had been decided upon by the Postal Department for the proposed new General Post Office at Sydney. No such proposition was put to me by the permanent head of the department.

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