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Thursday, 6 May 1915

Mr RODGERS (WANNON, VICTORIA) - You would put leaseholders in the Territory directly in touch with the Commission ?

Mr MASSY-GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Exactly. It would' be the Commission that would issue the leases. The Commissioners would be made a body corporate, like the Railways Commissioners of a State, and inthem the lands of the Territory would bevested in fee simple, to be leased to those who desired to settle there. I am not prepared to say how many Commissionersthere should be, but there should be at least three - a competent engineer, a competent architect, and a competent businessman ; the last named preferably a business man who had had very extensive experience in house and land agency. Werewhat I suggest done, it would not be long before we began to receive a considerable amount of revenue from .the Territory. Had the Territory been vested" in Commissioners during the last few years, we should have already received a considerable rental from it, and a large population would be permanently settled there. A large number of men, and many Government officials, have been employed in the Territory for years, but, although they have been occupying the land,I cannot see that the Government has received any return from it.

Mr Archibald - None of them live there rent free.

Mr MASSY-GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not refer to those who are living in official residences. I have in mind, rather, the men who are at present camped in tents there, whose wives and families live elsewhere. Had the Territory been vested in a Commission, their wives and families would be permanently settled there.

Mr Archibald - I suppose that the honorable member's Commissioners would commence to build the city without having a design?

Mr MASSY-GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - No. The interjection leads me to anticipate some of my remarks. An objection to the present arrangement is that each new Minister of Home Affairs seems to think that he has a special mission to alter the Federal Capital design, and he thus defers for years the accomplishment that we all desire.

Mr Watt - A very good thing.

Mr MASSY-GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yes; from the point of view of Victorian members, who would like to see the removal of the Seat of Government from Melbourne deferred until doomsday.

Mr Fowler - The present arrangement suits them, because they live close to Parliament House.

Mr MASSY-GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yes1. They reside in Melbourne with their wives and families, and naturally do not wish to have to travel to some other city.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - That is not true so far as I am concerned.

Mr MASSY-GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member has always been a loyal supporter of the Federal Capital project. With a Commission, we should have the thing on a business basis.

Mr Archibald - It is on a business basis now.

Mr MASSY-GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - A" Commission would secure continuity of policy. The design of the Federal Capital has been interfered with by three or four successive Ministers, each thus causing months of delay.

Mr Archibald - The last Government upset everything.

Mr MASSY-GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - After the last Government had straightened out the muddle created by its predecessor, the present Minister started all over again, and so we are no further forward than we were about three years ago.

Mr Archibald - The House is the best judge of that.

Mr MASSY-GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I shall not detain honorable members at any length, because I wish to see this motion put to a vote.

Mr Archibald - We cannot have a vote to-day.

Mr MASSY-GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I think we should, seeing that most honorable members must have fully made up their minds.

Mr Tudor - The honorable member for Balaclava is going to move an amendment.

Mr MASSY-GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That amendment could be promptly disposed of. We all know that there are Victorians who desire to see this Parliament permanently fixed in Melbourne; but, for better or worse, we have decided to go to the Federal Territory, and I desire to see the Federal Capital an accomplished fact at the earliest possible moment. If we continue under existing conditions - if we rely on the Consolidated Revenue for the building of this city - mone of us will ever see it. Here we have a means at hand to make the enterprise finance itself on a business basis. The only burden thrown- on this Parliament is the burden of building the actual Houses of Parliament, the buildings required for the officers of the various Departments, and, possibly, the Governor-General's residence.

Mr Sampson - The honorable member would exempt the public buildings from the control of this Commission?

Mr MASSY-GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I should say we must do that. If Parliament adopts the scheme, which I have very roughly outlined, we should not only not regret it, but will be able to carry out all the necessary work within a very short time.

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