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Friday, 11 June 1915

Mr KING O'MALLEY (Darwin) . - When Minister of Home Affairs I had a good deal to do with the settlement of cases of this kind, and invariably kept them out of Court by having a personal interview with the parties concerned. I would suggest to the Minister that he arrange to meet these men in Sydney and avoid litigation by talking over the matter with them. Even if he paid "them a little more than he now offers it would be better than incurring the expense of a big law suit. When I took over a site for the new post-office in Perth, claims amounting to £250,000 were made, but I went over, and, as the result of personal interviews with the claimants, I settled for £166,400. I urge the Minister to see these men, even if he has to pay their fares to Melbourne in order that they may interview him.

Mr W Elliot Johnson - They cannot afford to leave their jobs to come 'to Melbourne. They are poor men.

Mr KING O'MALLEY - Perhaps so. In one case in Western Australia I settled for £58,500, where a claim was made for £81,500. It is all very well to leave these matters to the officers of the Department ; no doubt they will carefully consider them, and do what they think is absolutely right. But a business man, as soon as he comes on the scene and discusses the issues involved with the parties concerned, is usually able to arrive at an agreement which will avoid all litigation. The Minister, especially in the case of small men, should talk over their claims with them with a view to a settlement out of Court. I am sure that the great Labour party does not desire to crush any one. When I held office we could not arrive at an agreement with regard to the taking over of the Duntroon Estate, and finally Mr. Campbell came out from England, and met me at the Federal Capital on 13th March, 1913. There was a difference of £30,000 or £40,000 between us, but a3 the result of this personal interview we arrived at a satisfactory settlement within less than an hour.

Many years ago in this chamber I suggested the erection of a Commonwealth building in London, and there was a lot of sneering at the suggestion. When the Cabinet decided to erect such a building, the High Commissioner recommended that we should choose an eminent man to design it, and we chose a big firm of London architects. When their design came to Melbourne it was exhibited in the Melbourne Town Hall, and Mr. Murdoch, the Home Affairs architect, who thirty years before had been trained by the firm that designed it, discovered on inspection that too much space was lost by the ornamentation. Subsequently, after a consultation between the honorable member for Barrier, who was then Minister of External Affairs, and myself, in which I pointed out that a business building ought to be on a business basis, the honorable member determined to send Mr. Murdoch to London. Mr. Murdoch went to London, and, without interfering with his old boss, Mr. McKenzie, he got put into the building accommodation that increased its rentals by £3,250 a year, and without destroying its ornamental appearance. If we continue without organization and system in the slipshod methods of the past, we shall continue to receive what we have been getting in the neck from the Germans, but if we mean organization, efficiency, mobilization, and progressive development on lines of modernization we must reform. Our Capital is the last Capital of a great nation to be built on God's green earth. In the building in which we are now meeting there is not a room in which you can take ten men to dinner and be private.

Mr Archibald - The honorable member does not call this a modern building.

Mr KING O'MALLEY - It was designed by" one of the greatest architects in Victoria.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - He was not able to stop bribery . and corruption, and the sacking of a man like a dog.

Mr MASSY-GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - This building is unfinished.

Mr KING O'MALLEY - We erect in the bush railway stations that would be good enough for Chicago and New York.

Mr Gregory - Because there is too much political influence.

Mr KING O'MALLEY - Politics is the science of government, and govern ment is the basis of the universe. Unfortunately, our government is not organized, which is the point to which I am directing attention. Are we to havea capital designed in accordance with theideas of a little island, as our railway systems are ? We use little trucks, when, by using large ones we could save animmense amount of money.

Mr Boyd - The railways of Victoria pay.

Mr KING O'MALLEY - In Tasmania we lose £70,000 a year on therailways. The honorable member's interjection shows his narrowness, and the= isolation of the States. I am a nationalist; I am for all Australia. I opened the competition for the designing of the Federal Capital to the whole world.

Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - But framed regulations which prevented the best architects of Europe from entering.

Mr KING O'MALLEY - No. The English architects attempted to dictate to us, and I did not think that we should allow that. Australians should be the judges of what they require for their Capital, and therefore I appointed an Australian Board. No one has claimed that the Board did not do justice to the designs submitted.

Mr Archibald - I do not know about that.

Mr KING O'MALLEY - The honorable member for Brisbane asked where in the world is there a Federal or a State capital the equal of Washington.

Mr Boyd - What about Ottawa? -

Mr KING O'MALLEY - That is not to be compared with Washington.

Mr Fowler - Canada will become a greater country than the United States of America.

Mr KING O'MALLEY - I hope so. No one would cheer that more than the Americans.

Mr Fenton - The honorable member is a Canadian.

Mr KING O'MALLEY - I am a Canadian- American-Australian. I was born in Canada, and made my mother go to the United States of America when I was two years old. There I got my training, and then I came out here, and helped to make the laws, and laid out the Federal Capital, and gave you a banking system that, had it been wholly carried out, would have created the greatest bank on earth.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - We should not have had our present bank had it not- been for "the honorable member.

Mr KING O'MALLEY - For fourteen years I was the only man in this House who made a speech on banking.

Mr Boyd - That speech flabbergasted everybody.

Mr KING O'MALLEY - It laid the basis for the present system, which the Brisbane Conference adopted. I should like to know where Australia would be if it were not for that system.

Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member was not able to commend his ideas to his party.

Mr KING O'MALLEY - Like members on the other side, the members of my party are not bankers, and it is hard to convince a man about a matter in regard to which he is ignorant. The Minister of Home Affairs should open this competition to the whole world, and give effect to the promise of his predecessor. I do not think it is fair and honest, or Labour, to break a promise made to the whole world. If a private firm broke its promise, people would not do business with it. It is my universal rule that if a private man does not keep his word "with me, he shall never again do business with me where there is boodle concerned. The Cook Government's promise was published in the American newspapers, and made known all over the world. People talked about it, and Australia got a great advertisement in consequence. To repudiate it would be like the repudiation ofa debt or of an agreement. The Labour Government ought not to stand for that. Are we to build a capital to suit a circumscribed, narrow, and peninsular.idead people, or one that the whole world will come to see, and will talk about as the ancients talked about Athens and Troy? To-day we talk about Washington. A man who goes to America and does not visit Washington has not seen the country. Only the other day, when visiting a private house, a young lady was speaking to me about Washington. If we pay the highest price and do not get the best results, we shall show ourselves not to be business men. I am glad that the honorable member for Brisbane, who has travelled over the whole earth, and seen its capitals, drew attention to this matter. It will cost us as much for a slipshod capital as for 'a first-class one. I pointed out the other night, as the honor able member for Brisbane has done today, that after a great French engineer had laid out Washington, the little narrow men came in and said, " We cannot afford to spend the money that this scheme will cost." Until 1860 Washington was being built in sections, in shreds and patches. Finally, another great genius, a Mr. Shepherd, a big business man, was made chairman of the Commission, and he said, " This capital has got to start right." He went back to the original plan. To carry out that plan cost millions of money, but Abraham Lincoln, and all the big men, were interested in the war at the time, and while they were thinking about it Mr. Shepherd was building Washington. That is why Washington is what it is to-day. In Australia we have a splendid chance to create a fine city. Sometimes I do not care to discuss this matter lest, as I was Minister of Home Affairs, people may say that it is a case of sour grapes. That is not so. It is my enthusiasm for Australia, the country of my adoption, that makes me take an interest in this matter.. I stay here because I like this land better than any other, not because I cannot get away from it. I have interests in other countries.

Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does the honorable member pay an .absentee tax 1

Mr KING O'MALLEY - I do not know how it is yet; it is only lately that my brother left me these things. I want to see this country get the best. I hope that the Minister will broaden out, and see that we get the best. Times being so bad that there are 33,000 men out of work in Australia, a board, or some authority, should be appointed to take advantage of Mr. Griffin's knowledge and genius. When I asked Mr. Griffin whs he was willing to abandon the immense business which . had come to him in America as the result of gaining the competition which made his name known throughout the United States, he replied, " You seem to look at everything from a material stand-point." I said, " I look at a lot that way." "Well," he answered, "I do not. This is the final Capital of the world, and I would sooner leave to my family and my race the recollection that I helped to build it than have the wealth of Rockefeller."

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - The true artist spoke there.

Mr KING O'MALLEY - I said " Good gracious, you are a peculiar American." He took my breath away. I had never previously met a Yank like him. Things must have changed in America since I left there. Mr. Griffin said, "I would sooner have my name associated with the construction of that capital than have the wealth of Rockefeller, for that would pass away. I would like to have my name remembered as the name of the founder of the American capital is remembered." No person can go to Washington without seeing there the monument of the engineer who laid out the city.

Mr Archibald - Engineer? Why did they not have an architect?

Mr KING O'MALLEY - Architect, engineer, and surveyor - all three played their part.

Mr Archibald - I thought that the modern idea was to have an architect to do everything.

Mr KING O'MALLEY - Mr. Griffin is a landscape architect. He is a thinker. A thinker is a man with imagination, and a man with imagination is a man of foresight, one who is able to prognosticate the destiny of a nation. We need to secure the services of a man who can sit down and bring to his work the results of thirty or forty years of thought upon it. When the honorable member for Parkes appears in Court he does not speak merely from his brief. He puts into his work the concentrated knowledge of thirty or forty years of legal training. I hope that the Minister will take this matter to Cabinet, and that Ministers will consider it over and over again. I hope that they will adopt the position taken up by their predecessors, and practically carry out what was virtually a contract made with the world. If they do - though neither I nor the Minister will probably live to see the day - generations still unborn will bless the Minister of Home Affairs for having the courage to invite the genius, of the world, the thinkers of the world, the visionaries, and the dreamers, to give us the benefit of their ideas, while leaving to the practical man here the task of putting them into concrete form.

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