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Friday, 1 June 1928

Mr BAYLEY (Oxley) .- The objects of the proposed exhibition are well known, and therefore need not be re-stated. There are, however, one or two points related to the proposal to which I desire to refer. In the first place, I consider that the contribution towards the cost of the exhibition proposed to be made by the Government of New South Wales, which State will be the chief beneficiary under the scheme, is totally inadequate. For this reason I am loth to support a contribution or guarantee by the Commonwealth of £500,000. Let me, hy way of comparison, refer to what took place in connexion with the holding of the Panama Exposition in San Francisco in 3915. In 1910 there was a movement in the United State of America to hold an exposition to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal, which gives communication between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. I understand that 1932 is the year selected for the holding of the proposed exhibition in Sydney to celebrate the opening of the harbour bridge, which, it is thought, will be finished then. The people of New Orleans took the view that the exhibition should be held on the Atlantic end of the canal; the people of San Francisco were not willing to fall in with that arrangement. They contended that the canal was built for the specific purpose of enabling the American fleet to pass quickly from one ocean to the other for the protection of the western coast. Consequently they made a claim for the holding of the exhibition in their city. The Congress of the United States of America was loth to favour one city as against the other, but allowed it to be definitely understood that it would give its aid to the city which itself showed the greatest determination to secure the holding of an exhibition within its boundaries. At the end of 1910 the merchants of San Francisco held a meeting one lunch hour which was presided over by the present mayor of the city. Within 25 minutes those present had donated £500,000 for the purpose of holding an exhibition. The State legislature subsequently considered the matter, and by resolution gave a guarantee to the Government of the United States of . America that it would not be called upon to pay .a single penny towards the cost of the exhibition if it were held in San Francisco. When the matter subsequently came before Congress it was stated that the city of San Francisco, the county of San Francisco, and the state of California had promised to find £3,500,000 towards the cost of the exhibition, whereas the report in the interests of New Orleans was that only £1,600,000 had been promised. Congress therefore decided by a fair majority to give its official sanction to the holding of the exhibition in San Francisco. It said in effect, "Invitations to foreign nations to participate in the exhibition may be sent out in our name and we will guarantee that the exhibitors who come here will be treated with all the respect due to them.'' It also made provision that all exhibits brought into the country for the purpose of the exhibition should be admitted duty free under bond.

The honorable member for South Sydney has mentioned the necessity of providing buildings. For the purpose of the Panama Exposition the Government of the United States of America erected certain building on its own land at Fort Mason and the Presidio, military reserves which correspond with the military reservation at North Head, Sydney. The buildings were so designed that they vere afterwards useful for military purposes.

I contend that if the exhibition is to be held in Sydney the citizens of that city and the people of New South Wales, who will chiefly benefit by it, should foot the bill and that the people of Australia should not be asked to pledge themselves to the extent of £500,000. It has been pointed out that the Government may not be called upon to find this money, but on the other hand it may be necessary for some such amount to be available to settle accounts after the exhibition has been held. Returns from exhibitions of this character held throughout the world indicate that to a large extent those who attend come from within a radius of 500 miles of the exhibition. If this exhibition is held in Sydney very few people from Western Australia will be able to attend it, for not very many will be able to afford the expense of the trip. As the honorable member for South Sydney has pointed out, hotelkeepers, the providers of popular entertainment, and the general trading community of Sydney will benefit to a marked degree by the holding of the exhibition, and the people of that city should be prepared to pay a little more towards the cost of it than they seem inclined to do at present.

The advertising value of such an exhibition has been mentioned. One has only to look at the hoardings in our capital cities and elsewhere to realize that the manufacturers of proprietary goods consider expenditure on advertising to be vital. I think more money is spent in this way now than 25 years ago, even by well-established concerns, and for the very good reason that the returns justify and require it. To stop advertising is to die. That maxim may be applied both to private business and to that of a nation. We must advertise our goods. Canada has never ceased to advertise her products, and I believe that she owes a great deal of her success to that policy.

I support the bill, but I recommend that if possible, the people of New South Wales, who will chiefly benefit by the holding of the exhibition, should be asked to put their hands a little further into their pockets to meet the expense of it.

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