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Wednesday, 11 July 1906

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I take no exception to the rule of the Department in this matter, but, as the subject has been raised, I wish to know if it is true, as from the newspaper reports it would appear to be. that there was an abrupt cancellation of an engagement made on behalf of the Minister in connexion with the use of the Bundaberg hall.

Mr GROOM - The - first intimation I had that the hall was required was contained in a telegram which I received just prior to the meeting of the House, on the afternoon of the day on which the meeting was to be held, and instructions were immediately given that an urgent telegram should be sent to Bundaberg, not through the official channel, but directly, in order to save time saying that the hall could not be used.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does the Minister know whether the hall had been let?

Mr GROOM - I know nothing of the matter, except that I received a telegram between 2 and 2.30 p. m. from an officer of the Defence Department, informing me that the Mayor desired to hold a meeting in the drill hall that night. That was the only notification which we received. It may have been previously announced that a meeting would be held there, but no application was made to me for the use of the hall. The telegram was dealt with immediately it was received, instructions being, given to forward an " urgent" reply.

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