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Tuesday, 22 March 1927

Senator FOLL (Queensland) .- I regret that Senator Grant should have inferred certain actions of the Federal Capital Commission were of a questionable nature, and in doing so, misrepresented the position.

Senator Grant - I rise to order. I take strong exception to the statement of the honorable senator that I misrepresented the position. I usually express my views 'with as much accuracy as Senator Foll. I made it quite clear that I had no intention of reflecting upon the commission or the Minister. I asked what would happen if a relative of the commission or the Minister-

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Findley - The honorable senator rose to a point of order. I cannot allow him to make a personal explanation at this stage.

Senator FOLL - I did not intend to refer to the statement which Senator Grant commenced to repeat, but to- the extravagant language he used when he said that the commission or the Government were doing all they could to retard the progress of Canberra.

Senator Grant - I adhere to that statement.

Senator FOLL - It is an extravagant statement. If the honorable senator believes what he says, he should, as a New South Wales representative, immediately take some action. I think it only fair to say that the Government is very fortunate in having such a capable commission. It is generally conceded that the chairman is one of the most brilliant men in Australia. The late Mr. Gorman, who was, until his death, a member of the commission, specialized in various branches of the work in which the commission is engaged, and was recognized as one of the most able authorities in New South Wales on the subject of land values. Sir John Harrison, another member of the commission, is a highly competent Sydney builder, and has rendered valuable assistance in drawing up the system under which building blocks are made available. A large number of people in Australia over-estimate the present value of Canberra as a business centre. What would be the position if those on the spot, who know the position, did not regulate the number of blocks to be made available. The possibilities are that the bulk of these business sites would be taken up, and certain, ambitious purchasers would endeavour to carry out the special conditions attached to the leases, with the result that businesses would be established everywhere. It would not be long before the persons controlling them realized that the sites were not of the value anticipated, and we would have large numbers of vacant shops, such as are seen in some portions of the metropolitan area.

Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.

Progress reported.

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