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Thursday, 11 October 1956


The CHAIRMAN - Order! Honorable members who are interjecting will remain silent. I have already ruled that the allocation of funds for members' travel is not under discussion.


Mr CALWELL -I made a passing reference to that subject in order to score a debating point.


The CHAIRMAN - I point out that every honorable member has an equal right to return to his electorate at week-ends during sessions.


Mr CALWELL - That is true but, with all due deference, Mr. Chairman, if honorable members want to go back to their electorates at the week-ends, they have no right to talk about the Government wasting money in other directions. Canberra has to be built into a national capital. Its development has been delayed for too long. World War I. delayed the establishment in

Canberra of the national capital. We had the depression which further delayed its progress. Then we had World War II. which delayed it for a short time, and plans were delayed again in 1951-52. I hope that the Government will not be intimiated by all this talk by the honorable member for Moore about a secession movement in Western Australia. I hope that it will make this capital what it ought to be - a truly national capital. I also hope that it will transfer to Canberra all those departments which are now in Melbourne, Sydney and other places so that the people of Australia may obtain the service which they cannot get now in all instances. It Canberra were a truly national capital, there would be a great saving of money. I am sure that the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Fairhall) is just as anxious as his predecessor was to do as much as he can to develop this city. It is not the fault of the people of Canberra that they have not got a municipal franchise or local government. After all, I remind honorable members, the people who live in Washington. D.C., have less representation in the American Congress than the people of Canberra have in this Parliament; but I do suggest that the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory ought to have an effective instead of a limited vote in this Parliament.


Mr Pearce - He ought to be effective.


Mr CALWELL - He is always effective within the limits of his possibilities. The honorable member for Moore should be moving to help the people of Canberra to get local government franchise.


Mr Leslie - I am trying to do that.


Mr CALWELL - The honorable member is trying in a very crude and obscure way, a way which most people cannot understand. He would be better advised, as a member of the Public Accounts Committee, to do all he can to help the development of Canberra instead of attacking the people who, in most instances, live under certain disadvantages in this city. I hope that one day the Government will erect a city hall in Civic Centre and that the people of Canberra will have a municipal franchise. I am sure the members of the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council would like to have the Tight to make decisions which would have immediate effect instead of what I might term a mere recommendatory voice.


Mr Pearce - What about the new Parliament House?


Mr CALWELL - In all the capital cities of the world where a federal system operates it is not possible to have the ideal system, and, in reply to the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Pearce), the sooner we start on the new Parliament House then, obviously, the sooner it will be finished. This is the time when we should be calling world-wide tenders for a new Parliament House. The Government might well consider appropriating £500,000 a year for the next ten or twelve years to pay for it. I hope that when it is erected it will not be merely a replica of European buildings but that it will be something redolent of the Australian atmosphere and expressive of the Australian type of architecture. I recommend to the honorable member for Moore that instead of studying figures he should now turn his attention to the study of architecture.







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