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Friday, 3 December 1965

Mr WENTWORTH (Mackellar) . - Mr. Speaker, in support of this motion may I. advert to a practical question concerned with the matter raised by the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes). I have made some inquiries from the technical men in this regard. I find that in the original plans for the new wing baffles were provided for on the tops of the partitions that divide the rooms and that these baffles were subsequently removed from the plans for some reason obscure to me. This was against the technical advice given. I am told that the replacement of these baffles which were provided for in the original plan would overcome the very real difficulty to which the honorable member for Chisholm has drawn attention. I say this having made some personal inquiries, as I have said, into this particular small but vexatious matter.

I was very glad to hear that the question of the site of the new Parliament House was not to be excluded from the deliberations of this Committee although it was not formally included. The site has not yet been determined. It can be determined only by motion of this Parliament. I know that two alternative sites - perhaps more than two, but broadly two - have been suggested. One is down by the lake and the other is on Capital Hill or Camp Hill. Again I have made inquiries of the technical people concerned. I have been told by town planners and architects that the lakeside site was incorporated in their plans because it was thought that a monumental building was necessary to close the vista. But there is an equally competent body of opinion to the effect that the vista should be left unimpeded and that the lakeside area could be developed in consonance with existing plans. Therefore, I believe that the matter should be regarded as being open. From the little, I know, I feel that perhaps the lakeside site is the better site. But that is a very tentative opinion and I do not intend to press it.

Mr Killen - Does not the honorable member think that the lakeside site is too dangerous because there are so many people who believe that they have the ability to walk on the surface of the water?

Mr WENTWORTH - I do not want to throw that soft impeachment where it may land.

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