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Thursday, 27 May 1915

Senator GARDINER - Is not that enough to go on with?

Senator GRANT - But I want to know the reason for the delay up to date in carrying out Mr. Griffin's plans.

Senator Bakhap - Want of money - that is the reason.

Senator Russell - There was a change of plans by the Honorable King O'Malley. You know all that already.

Senator GRANT - We have spent on the Federal Capital Territory over £600,000 to date; but, for reasons best known perhaps to the Government, we have spent only a nominal sum inside the Federal Capital area, apart from expenditure on the power-house and a number of other small items.

Senator Bakhap - We want the money to purchase gunpowder with at present.

Senator Millen - That may he a reason for appointing the Committee. It might recommend a stoppage of further expenditure for the present.

Senator GRANT - The motion does not mean any duplication of work at all. "What is wanted is an inquiry into the cause of the delay in carrying out the work inside the Federal Capital site. I want to know why nothing has been done to carry out the plans which Avon the. first prize. I am not prepared to criticise the qualifications of any members of the departmental Board, but I say again that those gentlemen had an opportunity, if they so desired, to take part in that competition. For reasons best known to themselves they did not do so.

Senator Russell - Reasons of decency - they were in the Department.

Senator GRANT - But theywere not then members of the departmental Board, and, so far as I can read the conditions, therewas nothing to prevent them, singly or jointly, from submitting a design.

Senator McDougall - They were requested to do so.

Senator GRANT - They did not compete; but subsequently they submitted a departmental design. They inspected the plans submitted by the various compete tors, and from them they prepared what is known as the departmental plan. Senator Russell's statement about referring the matter to the Public Works Committee is of no valuewhatever, and I hope itwill mislead no one in the Senate. I must confess that I am at a loss to understandwhat position Mr. Griffin occupies in the Department.

Senator Russell - Have you inquired of the responsible Minister?

Senator GRANT - No, I have not.

Senator Russell - That is the place to go for information.

Senator GRANT - I am not interested in knowing what his position is - whether he is under Colonel Owen or Colonel Miller. My concern is to know why the plan submitted by him, and which gained the first prize, is not being proceeded with. To-day Ave have been assured by Senator Russell that the departmental plan has been absolutely withdrawn, and that the work which is being proceeded with - although, as a matter of fact, practically nothing has been done yet - is being carried out under the direction of

Mr. Griffin.That is some satisfaction, but not very much.

Senator Russell - You vote us the money; we will spend it.

Senator McDougall - We have voted all the money that was asked for.

Senator GRANT - We have voted over £600,000 for this work, but so far nothing at all has been done inside the Federal Capital site. It would be interesting to know at what particular stage Mr. Griffin's plan is at present, though we have been assured that it is being carried out. The delay has been absolutely unreasonable, and I hope the Senate will agree to the appointment of a Committee, so that the whole matter may be inquired into. If this course is adopted, the Committee will bring in a report, and it will be here long before the Public Works Committee has had an opportunity of dealingwith the matters referred to in the motion by the Minister of Home Affairs in another place.

Senator Gardiner - Any expenditure beyond £20,000 cannot be undertaken without first being referred to the Public Works Committee.

Senator GRANT - Senator Gardiner has again endeavoured, by interjection, to show that this matter must be referred to the Public Works Committee. But I have already pointed out that my motion has been framed with the object of finding out why there has been prolonged and unreasonable delay in giving effect to the first-prize design. The matter is urgent, in my opinion, and I hope the motion will be agreed to unanimously by the Senate.

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