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Wednesday, 23 September 1936


Senator McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Prior to the establishment of the Federal Capital at Canberra, the Governor-General of the Commonwealth was provided with a House in Melbourne and with Admiralty House in Sydney.


Senator J V MACDONALD (QUEENSLAND) - Canberra is now the national capital, and this is where we want the Governor-General to live. There should be only one personal link with the Crown, and he the Governor-General. The time is ripe when we should appoint as State Governors, if they be necessary, either native-born Australians or those who have cast in their lot with us. I think that the Australian sentiment is that the crimson ties could be represented by one gentleman from England, Scotland, Ireland or Wales. When the Governor of Queensland is touring, as he frequently is - indeed he is more often in the country districts than he is in Brisbane - he is not supplied with official residences wherever he goes. I have never heard it claimed that he should be, but if the Governor-General is to be given homes in the capital cities of Australia, there is no reason why the Governor of Queensland should not be given residences in Toowoomba, Rockhampton, and Townsville, as well as in Brisbane. This bill provides too much luxury even for a Governor-General and money could be spent on more important things than the provision of homes in the capital cities for that gentleman. We could abolish the Molonglo Settlement, which disfigures this city. As a matter of fact, we could provide for ourselves in this capital better than we do. No provision is made here for homes, or decent resting places, for members of Parliament. Indeed, we are sometimes refused accommodation. That was my lot when I came here to work before the session opened. I telephoned to two or three hotels, but they were either full or they did not want politicians. I found it difficult to get a place in which to live, and it seems that in order to assume ourselves of accommodation, we must book weeks, or even months, ahead. The fact is, the hotelkeepers of Canberra do not want politicians. If politicians had not the fear of public opinion, what I am now advocating would have been provided for 30 years ago.

On the question of the Australian War Memorial the first thing that I should place in a Hall of Memory would b« something like the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in other lands. I do not mean the common soldier only, but also the noncommissioned officers and junior officers who took their lives in their hand3 and died in tens of thousands in the performance of service to the country. I have not seen that suggested. "Without any disrespect to Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, Mr. C. T. P. Ulm and Mr. Hinkler, I submit that the proper place for their commemoration is some building associated with aviation. At the Sydney Cricket Ground, photographs of prominent cricketers and footballers are hung. Similarly in the halls of aviation should the. memories of distinguished aviators be perpetuated. Senator DuncanHughes has rightly said that there has been a lack of planning in the erection of public memorials. Some men who are really great have been missed, and others have been made wonderful to the eyes of men although historians have not- justified the honour. In Westminster Abbey this is especially noticeable. When in London I was surprised to find in front of the Houses of Parliament the statues of two men who, I consider, should not have been so perpetuated in memory. One statue was of Richard Coeur de Lion; no doubt he was a great soldier, hut his principal job was to neglect England, from which he was almost continuously absent.


Senator ALLAN MACDONALD (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - He could not even speak English.


Senator J V MACDONALD (QUEENSLAND) - That is so. He spoke a kind of NormanFrench. The other statue was of a gentleman named Cromwell, who has been described as England's greatest man of action, but whose principal action was the closing of the Parliament of England.


The CHAIRMAN (Senator Sampson - Will the honorable senator connect his remarks with the bill,


Senator J V MACDONALD (QUEENSLAND) - Senator Duncan-Hughesreferred to the lack of a plan in connexion with public memorials, and when he was speaking I suggested that before any memorial was put up there should be ' a wait of 100 years. I think it was Cato who said in regard to the statues of Rome that they were so numerous that it was more honour to be without one.


The CHAIRMAN - That has nothing whatever to do with the War Memorial.

The names to be placed in the memorial are not in question.


Senator J V MACDONALD (QUEENSLAND) - Estimates of the virtues of public men change with the passing of time, and there should be no hurry in filling any hall of fame with statues in memory of those whom their friends and contemporaries may regard as great.


The CHAIRMAN - The only names to be put in the memorial will be the names of those, who by virtue of war service, have the right to that honour.


Senator J V MACDONALD (QUEENSLAND) - I hope that that is so. I also hope that there will be no hurry to put up statues. I think that we should adopt the system of the Melbourne War Memorial where the names of the commemorated are inscribed in books, which may be inspected by those interested.

I join with Senator Collings in urging that Commonwealth offices in Brisbane should be completed as soon as possible. The existing offices are not fit for the purposes for which they are used. If one enters the federal members' rooms in Brisbane at the present time, he is forced to become almost a telephone clerk. I understand that the situation is worse in Adelaide, where only two rooms are provided for federal members. The vote for this year is £18,564, the balance of the original estimate of £111,000. It seems, therefore, that it will he some time before the work is finished, but I urge expedition because federal members in Queensland would welcome the new accommodation.







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