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Wednesday, 29 June 1938

Mr BARNARD (Bass) .- The House and the country are indebted to the honorable member for Parkes (Sir Charles Marr) for having brought this subject under notice. I have been very interested in the development of Canberra and have said on many occasions that I do not hold the present Minister for the Interior (Mr. McEwen) responsible for the numerous departures from the endorsed Griffin plan. In my opinion, the Minister is getting the " backwash " from the actions of previous Ministers in charge of this work. Nevertheless, a. feeling is abroad that the endorsed Canberra plan is being departed from without justification in certain material directions . and without the authority of Parliament. Technically, it is true, as the Minister has said, that the alterations have been laid on the table of Parliament as prescribed by the act, but the difficulty is, as the honorable member for Parkes has pointed out, that they have been tabled after the alterations have been made in anticipation of the approval of Parliament. - To cite the truth of this, there is no need to go beyond the illustration given by the honorable member for Parkes, namely, the kerbing and channelling. It is clear that departures have been made from the plan. The multiplicity of tasks that confront honorable members makes it difficult for them to pick out these alterations when they are made. Ordinances are laid on the table with other papers and, unless one- is particularly interested, they escape notice

Some specific reference by the responsible Minister should be made to them in Parliament. This is the national capital and it is not the product of any particular government, unless it be the Labour government of 1912. Reference to the part played by that government in the foundation of Canberra is carefully overlooked in publications of to-day. I am amazed that the Canberra Planning and Development Committee will contain no Labour representation. Members of the committee either are associated definitely with the political opponents of Labour or have never declared their politics. In the main, however, they are associated with the United Australia party. It is grossly unfair that the Labour party, which has played such an important part in the establishment of this city in the past, should not be represented on the committee.

Mr Mulcahy - Even King O'Malley has been ignored.

Mr BARNARD - That is perfectly true. Mr. King O'Malley, a former Minister for Home and Territories, did more than any one else to establish the national capital on a sound basis. Naturally he is concerned about the alterations that have taken place in the design of Canberra. I concede that the alteration of the plan under consideration was tabled in this House and notified in the Commonwealth Government Gazette, but it is difficult to understand the notification. Indeed, I do not think it was intended for members of Parliament to understand it.

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