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Wednesday, 21 July 1926

Senator REID (Queensland) .- I cannot see that there is any danger in the Senate agreeing to the motion submitted by the Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Glasgow). The Public Works Committee has been requested to inquire into the construction of homes at Canberra, and I understand it is the desire of the Government that the report of the committee shall be presented to Parliament before the adjournment. Members of the committee intend to visit Adelaide this week-end to investigate and take evidence concerning the housing schemes -in that city. They may not be able to return to Melbourne on Tuesday, and' as the House of Representatives meets on that day, members of that chamber will be seriously inconvenienced if they have to return earlier. It is desirable that an extra day should be available for the inquiry. The adoption of the motion will not affect, members of the Senate, because this chamber does not meet until Wednesday. The committee hopes to be able to present an interim report before Parliament adjourns. The object of the motion is to facilitate public business.

Senator Sir WILLIAMGLASGOW (Queensland - Minister for Home and

Territories) [3.22]. -As the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Needham) is aware, the legality of the action of the Federal Capital Commission in calling tenders for the erection of cottages at Canberra was challenged in the debate on the Seat of Government Administration Bill. It was urged then that this work should have been referred to the Public Works Committee for investigation and report, and it was stated that the matter had been referred to the Crown law authorities for opinion. This opinion, which has since been received, confirms the view of those who contended that the subject should first have been referred to the Public Works Committee. That has now been done. The matter is urgent, because Parliament will meet at Canberra on the 9th May next, and it is essential that there should be no delay in the construction of the hundreds of houses that will be required for public servants to be transferred. The urgency is so obvious that I did not think it was necessary to mention it. The Government is anxious to push on with the work as rapidly as possible.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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