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Thursday, 27 May 1915

Senator DE LARGIE (Western Australia) . - Whilst listening to the Assistant Minister, I could not help observing that he neglected to devote any attention to the main point involved in Senator Grant's proposal, namely, the difference between a Committee appointed by this Chamber and the Public Works Committee. The function of the latter body is to inquire whether any projected public work the cost of which exceeds £20,000 is necessary. Senator Grant's proposal is one to investigate a specific case of delay, and to ascertain who is responsible for that delay. I repeat that the Assistant Minister entirely missed the point of Senator Grant's proposal.

Senator Russell - I could not miss it, because there is only one plan before the Government and Parliament, namely, the W. B. Griffin plan.

Senator DE LARGIE - This is not a question of a plan at all. The motion does not seek to tie us down to any plans. It merely deals with the delay which has occurred in proceeding with necessary works at the Federal Capital, and with the dispute which exists between the Minister of Home Affairs and the winner of the designs competition. That is allI have to say on this matter. Either the Assistant Minister did not observe the point, or he omitted to deal with it.

Senator McDOUGALL(New South Wales [5.30]. - I had not the pleasure of hearing the reasons advanced by Senator Grant in submitting this motion, but the reasons assigned by the Assistant Minister why it should not be adopted have resolved any doubts that were in my mind. I desire to point out that the Public Works Committee has to perform certain well-defined functions, and those functions do not include an investigation into the delay which has occurred in proceeding with certain works at the Federal Capital. Personally, I am of opinion that some inquiry into the cause of that delay is necessary. If we are to be humbugged for years because of the existence of a dispute between the officers of the Department of Home Affairs and Mr. Griffin, the sooner we settle that dispute the better.

Senator Russell - There is only one cause for the delay - Parliament has not voted sufficient money.

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