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Tuesday, 30 May 1939

Mr DRAKEFORD (Maribyrnong) . - I am at a loss to understand why the Minister (Mr. Casey) cannot accept the perfectly reasonable amendment of the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan). "Were he to do so, he would show some sign of wisdom, which so far in the debate has not prevailed on the Government side. It appears to me that the Government is stonewalling its own bill.

Mr Lane - The honorable member and his colleagues are doing the stonewalling.

Mr DRAKEFORD - Everybody knows that there is something radically wrong with the reception of the honorable member for Barton (Mr. Lane), and that his loud speaker is uncontrollable. The view that I take is, that the amendment would safeguard the interests "of the people whom we represent. Although the Assistant Minister (Mr. Holt) claims that it is not necessary because existing laws cover the matter, surely when some doubt is expressed by members of the legal fraternity on this side of the House, as a brother lawyer, he ought to be prepared to give it serious consideration. The disagreement on this occasion may be purely professional rather than a matter of logic. The amendment provides for the compulsory acquisition of real estate on just terms for the purposes of defence. I believe that the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Clark) expressed the view that it is possible that higher than reasonable prices might be paid. According to the experience that I have had in respect of land resumptions, the attitude of Government departments towards owners ; of private building blocks is anything but fair. "When the Commonwealth seized land for the extension of the Essendon aerodrome some persons who had paid between £75 and £110 for blocks were offered only £15 for them. They were unable to have the figure increased, because they were without the means to fight the department and were unable to impress the authority concerned with the justice of their claim. I know of cases of women who have been struggling for years-

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