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Thursday, 11 November 1948

Mr CONELAN (Griffith) .- The honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) attempted to mislead the House about a question which I asked this afternoon, and I desire to correct any wrong impression which he may have created. As a member of the Public Works Committee, I asked the Minister for Works and Housing (Mr. Lemmon) whether he would submit to Cabinet a proposal to conduct a competition for plans for the new Parliament House. According to information which I have received from the architects of the Department of Works and Housing, the preparation of the plans for the building will occupy four, or five years. The honorable member for Balaclava attempted to mislead honorable members when he stated that I advocated the erection of. the new Parliament House, before the bousing leeway had been overtaken. The purpose of this bill, is to authorize the raising of money to enable the States to proceed with their housing programmes; but the honorable member has. attempted to engage in political propaganda in connexion with the subject. Instead of being. satisfied. to give his wholehearted support to the proposal, he resurrected the old bogy of. communism, and endeavoured to belittle the excellent record of the Government in housing, the people. I recall that before the Labour Government took office in 1941-

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN. - Order ! The honorable member is not entitled to relate past history on this clause.

Mi-. CONELAN.- I know that any reference to the failure of anti-Labour governments in the past to provide adequate housing for the people is most disconcerting to honorable members opposite. However, the people of Australia remember how anti-Labour governments failed to provide employment during the financial and economic depression of the 1930's, when an abundance of labour and materials was available for housing.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN. - Order! The honorable member is not in order in referring to the housing situation years ago.

Mr CONELAN - Honorable members opposite should be prepared to support the bill enthusiastically, and should not attempt to make political capital out of it. The Public "Works Committee investigates proposals for new public works. and rnakes recommendations thereon. It then becomes the responsibility of the Minister to determine whether man-power and materials are available for such works. The Public Works Committee approved proposals for certain public works three or four years ago, but I am certain that they will not be commenced until man-power and materials are available for them without disturbing the housing programme. I commend -the bill, and congratulate the Go vernment on. its excellent work in respect of housing during the last few years.

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