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Friday, 25 November 1910

Senator McGREGOR (South AustraliaVicePresident of the Executive Council) . - There is really no great difficulty in connexion with this question. It is quite true that in the future we hope to have all the principal Commonwealth offices established at the Federal Capital. But we cannot do that yet. What seems to " stick in the gizzard " of a number of honorable senators is that this building is being erected in Melbourne. But I point out that if the Seat of Government were established at Yass-Canberra, we should still require accommodation for Federal purposes in Melbourne. Consequently, we are simply making provision for the future. When extra accommodation is required, an additional story can be added to this new building. Consequently, forethought has been shown in its construction. Before determining to build, the Government endeavoured to secure suitable accommodation by renting buildings. But we found that the cost would be too great. Thereupon negotiations for the purchase of land were entered upon, and we determined to build, finding that this course would save us between £2,000 and £3,000 a year. The building will be required in Melbourne, even when the Seat of Government has been removed to Yass-Canberra. As to the small arms factory at Lithgow, I point out that that was established before the present Government came into power. The time may come when we may have a much more extensive arms factory established either at Jervis Bay or at Canberra. But we have to provide for the position as we find it. As to Senator St. Ledger's fear that we are spending too much money in Melbourne, I point out that this Bill provides £&, 000 for land for the accommodation of the Field

Artillery in Brisbane. Whenever work has to be done and money spent, this Government determines what is best in the interests of Australia, and has no regard to the interests of Melbourne, Sydney, or any other State capital.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time ; and passed through its remaining stages.

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