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Friday, 5 April 1946

Mr CHIFLEY - Enlargement of the membership of this Parliament has been discussed for a number of years. There is much merit in the argument that more members are needed to meet the growing needs of the community and the increased population since the original membership was decided. Allocation of legislative powers is wrapped up in the ' general matter of increasing the number of members. No decision on that matter has been reached. I understand that many years ago a world-wide competition for a design for the permanent Parliament House was launched, but World War - 1, caused the competition to be postponed indefinitely and compensation was paid to those architects who had already worked extensively on their plans. In any case, I should say that any plan made so long ago would now be outmoded. I will examine the question, because it is inevitable that better accommodation- be provided for the Parliament of the future. No specific consideration has been given to the erection of a new Parliament House. Many thousands of people are in dire need of houses. With the transfer of departments and staffs to Canberra, we require an additional 1,000 or 1,500 homes to meet the needs of the present and the immediate .future. In addition, a great deal of permanent office accommodation is required. Many staffs, particularly those of th'e Treasury and the Taxation Department, are housed under completely unsatisfactory conditions. Until all those needs can be met, I do not consider that any efforts should be dissipated upon the erection of a mew Parliament House. However, I shall arrange for the Minister for Works and Housing to examine the suggestion that planning and designing should be commenced so that when the physical opportunity offers the work may be proceeded with.

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