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Wednesday, 23 September 1936

Senator COLLINGS (Queensland) . - If a discussion of such subjects as the erection of a Hall of Fame and the . perpetuation of the memory of certain distinguished airmen is to be permitted, a very wide field of discussion will be opened up. Instead of praising Sir Charles Kingsford Smith after his death, the Government would have done better had it treated him differently while he lived. Rather than expend money on the erection of a Hall of Fame, or in perpetuating the memory of certain persons, we should give to the common people decent homes and better living conditions, and so set up the best possible halls of fame. It is not right that persons not qualified to pass judgment should criticize the war memorial, seeing that it is only partially completed. Surely we can trust the Government to see that any memorials it erects are worthy of those whose memory they seek to perpetuate. In my opinion, it will be a sad day when individual members of this Parliament are allowed to set themselves up as authorities on subjects of which they know nothing. Competent architects have been engaged on the design for the war memorial, and if they have proved incapable, as has been suggested, it is useless for us, who are less qualified, to criticize their work.

Can the Minister supply any information as to when the construction of the new Commonwealth offices in Brisbane is likely to bo completed, or at least advanced to such a stage that Queensland members of the Federal Parliament may be accomodated in something like decency? We are not asking for the erection of a Hall of Fame, but we are entitled to something at least better than the rabbit warren in which we are now expected to interview our constituents. We ask this, not so much for our own personal convenience, as to remove the general stigma which the present accommodation imposes on all federal members in the eyes of their constituents.

An amount of £6,530 is provided for " Governor-General's establishments - non-recurring works. " I should like to know exactly what this amount is to cover.- If one penny is to be expended to provide a residence for the GovernorGeneral outside Canberra, it is a standing disgrace to the Government and a fraud which should not be perpetrated on the taxpayers of this nation.

Senator Hardy - What does the honorable senator mean by fraud ?

Senator COLLINGS - Exactly the meaning given to a simple English word in any dictionary.

Senator Hardy - 13 it permissible, Mr. Chairman, for the Leader of the Opposition deliberately to accuse the Government of committing a fraud..? When I interjected as to what the honorable senator meant by fraud he said he meant the meaning given to the word in the dictionary, that is to say, that the Government is committing a misrepresentation to the people. That is entirely wrong.

Senator COLLINGS - Nothing of the sort! What I said was - and I repeat it now deliberately despite the fact that 1 shall incur Senator Hardy's disapproval - that if one fraction of the provision of £6,530 under this item is to be used to provide additional accommodation for the Governor-General outside the palatial accommodation already provided for him in Canberra, it is a fraud on the taxpayers of this country. I repeat that statement with all the energy and enthusiasm that I can command. I should like to know exactly what it costs to keep an imported Governor-General in his establishments in this country. The accommodation provided for him in Canberra is excellent indeed, though no more than his position warrants. I am delighted to see so much already provided for him here; but if. the Governor-General desires to leave Canberra, he should have no better conditions than other public men, who leave residences provided for them and seek accommodation elsewhere, f ask the Minister in his reilly to give honorable senators some idea of what is actually proposed in connexion with the two items to which I have referred.

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