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Tuesday, 22 March 1927

Senator DUNCAN (New South Wales) . - Some days ago I asked the Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Glasgow) a very important question regarding Canberra to which I desired a prompt answer. As I feel that there has been ample time in which to furnish a reply, and as I am particularly anxious that the information should be available before Parliament adjourns, I am taking this opportunity to place before the Minister what appears to be the reliable information upon which I based my question. I am anxious to ascertain the actual facts. I am informed that at Acton, in the Federal Capital Territory, on an area specially reserved for university purposes, a certain privileged public servant has been allotted a building site, and that the framework of his house is at present being erected. Other public servants who have made application for land in this locality have been denied this privilege, but this specially favoured officer has been granted the concession which other public servants have been denied.

Senator Grant - It is a scandal.

Senator DUNCAN - If the information supplied to me is correct, it is. I am anxious to obtain the facts. If the position is as stated, some one will have to suffer if the Government does its duty, which I believe it will.

Senator Grant - If the statement is correct it is outrageous.

Senator DUNCAN - Yes; it would be a most improper thing to do. I do not see why even a highly placed public servant should be allotted a site on an area 2-eserved for university buildings, even although it may not be required for that purpose for. some years. If an area reserved for educational institutions is being frittered away by allowing certain persons special privileges it is not a proper way in which to conduct public business. If the commission is guilty, it is certainly not doing its duty to the people of Australia. I mention this matter now, because I feel that I should have received a telegraphed reply to an urgent question. If the commission desired to give the information it could have been made available the next day, but I understand a reply has not yet reached the Minister. Is the commission covering up this little bit of business that is going on ? Is it the intention of the commission to withhold thisinformation until Parliament adjourns ? If that is the intention we shall not have the opportunity to properly discuss thismatter until towards the end of this year, when this cottage will have been completed and it will be too late for decisive action to be taken. I trust the Minister will again communicate with the commission by telegraph, and urge upon it the absolute necessity of immediately despatching a telegraphic reply to my question.

Senator Sir WILLIAMGLASGOW (Queensland - Minister for Home and Territories) [6.23]. - It is true as Senator Duncan states that he submitted to me a fairly long question, which was repeated to the commission by letter. Yesterday afternoon the honorable senator spoke to me on the matter, and this morning at his request I arranged for the despatch of a telegram asking for a reply. I have not yet received a reply.

Senator Duncan - There has been time to receive a reply to that telegram. I am not blaming the Minister.

Senator Sir WILLIAMGLASGOW.A telegraphic request has been sent to the commission to expedite the reply. I shall see that the information which the honorable senator desires is supplied before the Senate rises this week.

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