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Wednesday, 3 April 1957

Mr ADERMANN (Fisher) .- The remarks that I propose to make, Mr. Speaker, directly concern you as chairman of a committee of the Parliament, over which you preside, and in your capacity as controller of the operations of the House, and 1 think they also concern every honorable member. This matter is not in any sense of a party political nature. I understand, sir, that you, as chairman of the committee to which I have referred, with your colleagues in another place, intend to expend certain sums of money to remedy a leak in this building.

Mr Curtin - A leak to the press?

Mr ADERMANN - A leak in the roof of the building. Naturally, I do not refer to leaks from Labour caucus meetings, because it seems to be " open house " so far as they are concerned now, and it is possible for outsiders to know everything that happens there.

I admit that it is necessary to repair the defects in the roof of this building which result in leaks every time that rain falls, but I understand that a large sum is to be expended, although I do not know the exact figure. I have found from experience when temporarily occupying your position, sir. that every time there is an important debate in this House, scores of visitors are unable to be accommodated. My point is that 1 think you should take into consideration the urgent necessity to extend the galleries of this chamber so that visitors from other States, and even from the National Capital, who come here to hear the debates may find accommodation. 1 have found that those who are acquainted with the procedures of the Parliament, such as secretaries and others who do their work in this building, get priority of place because they know the run of things. They seem to be able to get their friends in. I am not objecting to that, but I do not think it is right that those who come from far and near and who do not know the procedures have not the semblance of a chance of getting into this place. I think that the galleries should be extended io make more accommodation for folk who visit the National Capital and the Parliament and who have a perfect right, as citizens of Australia, to hear the debates.

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