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Thursday, 26 November 1936

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) .- The sum of £10,800 is provided for the general upkeep of Australia House. Conflicting statements have been made in regard to this establishment. Sir John McLaren, who recently returned to Australia, refuted some of the assertions, but other statements have been published recently by gentlemen who have visited the Old Counry within the last few months, and their comments regarding business dealings which they have had at Australia House are not complimentary to it. "When this building was completed, we were informed that it was located on an excellent site in one' of the most prominent parts of London, and that it would attract attention for all time, as well as prove a valuable asset to the Commonwealth. When I was in London eight years ago I saw nothing to justify the recent criticism, but much may have happened since that time. I have heard that two rooms on the ground floor, which are passed by many people daily, had large " To let " signs prominently displayed in the windows. Such signs are not a good advertisement for the Commonwealth, and tend to detract from the importance of the office. That building was erected in the belief that it would be a permanent advertisement for Australia, and of advantage in developing the Commonwealth. I hope that the Minister will be able to allay the fear that we are not getting value for the money expended on Australia House.

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