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Friday, 11 June 1915

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) .- I am under the impression that the whole trouble in regard to land resumption could be settled very easily if the Government could be persuaded to provide that the price to be paid for resumed land is to be based on the valuation on which the owners pay land tax, with the addition of up to 10 per cent. for disturbance.

Mr Archibald - If we acquired land under those circumstances we would not pay what we are paying to-day.

Mr Manifold - The honorable member is speaking of the unimproved value only. Surely there is another value.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - Certainly improvements would need to be valued separately. There should be a law providing that the

Commonwealth, the State, or the municipality may resume land on the valuation on which the owner pays rates and taxes, with up to 10 per cent. added for disturbance. I was under the impression that the basis of compensation for the resumption of land in the Federal Capital Territory was the value set forth on a certain date in the Land and Income Tax assessments of New South Wales. If there was one act on the part of the late Government that I could not censure, and that I wholly approved of, it was their step in bringing to Australia the great man who had won, in open competition with the world, the prize for submitting the first design for our Federal Capital. No other architect who has visited Australia has had the honour of having his drawings - placed on satin - exhibited in Vienna and Paris. When it was decided to throw open to the whole wide world the competition for the designs for our Parliament House at Canberra, and to get the greatest architects in the world to examine them, every artistic architect in the world, no matter under what sky he was born, would have full confidence in submitting a design ; and what architect with the pulse of honour in his composition but would glory in competing? Are we going to the olden days to judge of artistic temperament? Do we not know that there are men who would rather have had the honour of designing the great Parthenon of Athens, never surpassed in the grace of its lines of architecture, than have double their weight in gold in return for their services? The Minister once had the honour of speaking in St. George's Hall in Liverpool, a splendid hall of purely Greek design, copied from one of these ancient structures that once graced the southern slopes of Attica. That design, if copied in a sunny land like Australia, might be seen to advantage, but it was not suited for the dull, cloudy atmosphere of England. The honorable member knows that that glory of an architect's dream is to-day like a gleam of sunshine in that dull and cloudy city. Was it the salary of £1,000 that induced Mr. Griffin to come here - a man who can show by his books that his in come in America was double and treble what he is making here? Is not jealousy on the part of heads of Departments responsible for some of the present trouble?

Thos© men were not forbidden to enter into this competition. When the then Minister threw the competition wide open to the world, any member of the Public Service had a right to compete.

Mr Archibald - I do not think so.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - I know that to be a fact.

Mr King O'Malley - And one public officer, Mr. McDonald, did send in a design.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - If a great picture by Tintoretto or Raphael were sent to Australia, and the members of the art society, to which I have the honour to belong, were asked to amend that glory of painting, would they do it? No; they would answer that the result would be nothing but a botch. I could have wished, if the money had been available, that the Government had invited to Australia the three men who obtained the first three places in the competition, and that they Hansard. Speaking on the 15th October, 1914, the honorable member for Hindmarsh said -

To make sure of my ground, however, I conferred with the President of the Institute of Architects, who was good enough to call on me at my request, and he advised that little, if any, work had been done in" connexion with the competition, and that, therefore, there could be no liability.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - How would he know what work had been done?

Mr ARCHIBALD - Honorable members are asking for information, and I am supplying it.

The gentleman referred to was Mr. Tompkins. How in God's name could Mr. Tompkins say who had been working on the preparation of plans? The competition was advertised throughout the world, and if Mr. Tompkins will swear an affidavit on oath that no architect had made preparations for a design, I will prosecute him for perjury. I know of one architect who Bad devoted three months' work to a competitive plan ; and yet Mr. Tompkins, who is not omniscient, who has not an X-ray intellect, professes to know what had happened throughout the world. The name of that gentleman does not loom highest in the list of Australian architects.

Mr Kelly - If Mr. Tompkins had been told how many architects had registered their names, he might not have made that statement.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - I do not suppose he knew. The poor little man went to the Minister and gave a ready answer without knowledge. I do not blame the Minister for having repeated what Mr. Tompkins told him, but the escutcheon of Australia will be stained if the Minister depends on that statement to justify him in breaking an honorable understanding with the whole world.

Mr Kelly - Mr. Tompkins' evidence would not be worth much in a Court of law.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - I am astonished that there should be any doubt on this subject. It is all very well for the Minister to say that there has been no friction in the Department. Every member who cares to look into the official papers, as I Jla ve done, must see that there has been friction. One of the heads of the Department has written that Mr. Griffin's engagement will expire two years hence. What does it all mean? I feel sure that if the Committee understood the whole of the circumstances, the dispute would be ended at once, and we could go ahead with the work of establishing the Capital. More than 3,000 men could be employed above the number- now engaged in the Federal Territory.

Mr King O'Malley - Five thousand.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - As a supporter of a Labour Government in this time of strife and unemployment, I object to the Government not proceeding as fast as they should with the work at the Capital. If Mr. Griffin were given an opportunity of giving effect to his design, I say 3,000 is a moderate estimate of the number that could be employed, but we are now told by the ex-Minister, who ought to know something of the matter, that the number is 5,000. It would seem that an Australian native, on whom the heads of the Departments have their thumbs, can never get fair play. I hope to see the day when a searching inquiry will be made into the manner in which large salaries are increased, and also to ascertain whether the Public Service Commissioner has ever refused to accept the nomination of the head of a Department. I know that a place was kept open for a medical lady while she was away in Western Australia, because, perhaps, she was the niece of a gentleman who lived, as she did, in the same street as did the Public Service Commissioner; and, in connexion with this appointment, every medical man and woman in Melbourne and Sydney was insulted. I take it that in a Democracy like this we all desire that brains and intelligence shall have a fair chance, and that men shall not be promoted unduly over the heads of their seniors.

Sir John FORREST - Western Australia has no chance in regard to the appointment of nurses!

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - As to that, what has been done in relation to nurses, officers, and men who volunteer for the front, passes all understanding. There is one case to which I should like to call attention, and this will be of interest to the honorable member for Darwin, who was Minister at the time it occurred. When I was viewing the plans, along with that honorable gentleman, at Government House, I asked one of the adjudicators whether any of the competitors had takers advantage of the Australian sunlight ill' the way of designing a health city. The adjudicator told me that there was one plan which might interest me in this connexion, and he showed me No. 9, which, by a system of orientation, provided that the sun should shine on each of the sides of a building or square at one time or other of the day. Having studied the suncure in Germany, that plan appealed t& me; but, of course, I did not know the name of the designer, only his number being attached. When the prizes had been awarded, I made inquiries and ascertained that the designer of No. 9, unfortunately for himself, was an Australian native, employed in the Public Service. He had been an honoured officer in the Public Works Department of Victoria, and had been transferred to the Federal service? but, as at that time there were very few works in hand for the Commonwealth, he was transferred to another branch. His design had excited the attention of tha three adjudicators, and when Mr. Griffin, on his arrival, asked for advice and assistance, this officer was placed at hia disposal by order of the honorable member for Wentworth, who was then at the Department. This officer spent his holiday over the work that was handed to him; but, owing to some wire-pulling ob the part of departmental heads, he was asked why he was out of his own branch. It is to the honour of the Government who were then in power, that they placed £50 on the Estimates as some recompense for the work which this officer had done, but the fact remains that this officer, who was the right-hand man of Mr. Griffin, has been removed from where he was off so much use. Under the circumstances it is strange that the Minister should tell us that nothing is occurring to prevent the progress of the work in connexion with the Federal Capital design. I hope the Minister will see tha* the way is cleared up, so that this maunmay have a fair chance of building the city, and so that when the history of the times comes to be written, tfes Minister will be given the credit for having seen this work carried out. I hopealso that he will prevent certain heads . in his own Department, wmo, in my opinion, seek to destroy Mr. Griffin and to prevent him doing his good work... from doing this. I am sure the Minister does not desire to bo referred to as the Minister who broke an agreement .made by a previous Government with the architects of the world. He does not desire to be spoken of as the Minister who, for the sake of saving a few pettifogging shillings here, or expending a few more elsewhere, injured the future of a great city beyond repair. I hope he will rise to a higher level than that, and give this man the opportunity of making the beautiful city he has laid out, a city that shall be the best and healthiest of any capital city in the whole wide world.

Mr W Elliot Johnson - He is now only marking time.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - Up to the present he has been doing nothing else, and I am asking the Minister, particularly as he is a Labour Minister, to recognise that the time has come for him to see that, whatever may be the attitude of the heads of his Department, this man is given a fair chance to carry out his work. There are other men besides these particular heads who might take a share in this work. I have in mind a very good architect, Mr. Murdoch, who might very well be associated with Mr. Griffin in this work; but what I want to urge upon the Minister most of all, and I think every honorable member of the House will agree with me in this, is that a man who wins the competition for the building of Parliament House shall have control over that building, independent of all the Colonel Owens or all the Colonel Millers.

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