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Thursday, 12 August 1926

Senator ELLIOTT (Victoria) .- For the sake of those who will be compelled to live in Canberra, I hope that it will be possible for the commission to adopt the practice which is followed in private business in regard to building leases - that is, to prescribe the style of building and give an estimate of the cost, beyond which a person will not be required to go. I have been driven to the action that I have taken in this Chamber' by the fact that the commission has treated, in an entirely flippant manner, the inquiries that I have made.

Senator Sir William Glasgow - It has not treated the matter flippantly.

Senator ELLIOTT - It said, "We have formed no estimate and we know nothing about it," whilst it had in its possession information that it did not disclose to us. If the commission will prescribe the style of building that will satisfy its requirements, it will be of great assistance to those whom I represent in this matter. "Unless the people who build on these leases can 'satisfy a court of law that they have complied with the conditions, their leases may be forfeited. It has been almost impossible to pin the commission down to any definite statement as to what it expects. Business men do not want to engage in lawsuits; they desire to have something definite so that they will know to what extent they are committing themselves. The architects to whom I have referred did not attempt to disguise the fact that they took a risk. They possessed inner knowledge that I, as an outsider, could not possibly acquire, and on that they submitted a plan providing for what they thought was the minimum of the commission's requirements. If that can be regarded as a precedent, my clients can proceed along those lines. ' They can submit a similar plan, and say to the commission, " You passed it in one case, therefore you must do so in ours." I do not see how the commission can refuse. Prior to to-day we were not in that position. I am sorry that heat has been engendered in this debate, but I say emphatically that I have throughout complained of the paucity of information that has been supplied to us. I regret that the Cabinet has definitely made up its mind to adopt a certain course in regard to Colonel Leane. He was a distinguished colleague of the Minister overseas. Now, without having had an adequate chance to defend himself, he is discharged. I understand that when he came to Melbourne on leave he was not told that he would not be permitted to return to Norfolk Island. He is in the unfortunate position that his household property is on the island at the mercy of anybody who cares to interfere with it, and he cannot collect it except at his own expense.

Senator Sir WILLIAMGLASGOW (Queensland - Minister for Home and Territories) [10.55]. - Colonel Leane's household property is locked up in a couple of rooms, and I have sent a wire instructing that it be carefully looked after. I have also issued instructions that it is to be packed and sent to afirm of furniture removers in Melbourne.

Senator Elliott - Does the Minister accept the responsibility for its removal ?

Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW - Of course I do. I shall not enter into the merits of Colonel Leane's case. I am sorry if the honorable senator considers that my remarks were accompanied by any heat. I shall call for a full report on the matters that he has raised, and when I receive it I shall discuss it with him.

Request negatived.

Proposed vote agreed to.

Proposed votes (Department of Defence), £3,800,000; (special defence provision to cover Developmental Programme), £1,000,000; (Department of Trade and Customs), £909,229; (Department of Works and Railways), £330,574; (Department of Health), £200.000; (Department of Markets and Migration) £110,277; (Miscellaneous Services), £464,904; (Refunds of Revenue), £800,000; (Advance to the Treasurer), £1,500,000; (War services payable out of Revenue), £1,119,006; (Business Undertakings), £10,281,848; (Territories of the Commonwealth), £247,652; and (Payments to or for States), £85,477, agreed to.

Second schedule agreed to.

Postponed clauses 2 and 3 agreed to.

Preamble and title agreed to.

Bill reported without request; report adopted.

Bill read a third time.

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