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Tuesday, 5 June 1928

Mr McGRATH (Ballarat) . - I am not at all satisfied with the reply furnished to the Minister. It is, to say the least, untruthful. It is useless in this matter, for the Federal Capital Commissioners to attempt to throw the blame upon some subordinate. Three weeks ago the commissioners were communicated with about this charge, and they insisted that it should be paid. As a matter of fact it has been paid by some of the residents of Canberra, and yet we have been furnished with a reply regarding it which is absolutely contrary to fact. I trust that the Minister will make an immediate investigation into this matter. I ask him whether the Commission was not, three weeks ago, in possession of the information asked for by the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Anstey) on the 30th May. The Commission knew that it was acting in contravention of a notice published in the Gazette. It knew that it was doing an illegal action, and yet it subsequently supplied false information to this House. Now another misleading reply has been furnished by it. If I judge the character of the Minister aright, he will summon Sir John Butters, the Chief Commissioner, before him quick and lively, and ask whether the Commission was not aware of the facts three weeks ago, and whether there was warrant for furnishing a lying report to Parliament,, and subsequently throwing the blame for it upon a subordinate. The Minister has said that the engineer at fault has been dealt with. I sincerely hope that he has not, because I do not blame him at all, particularly when I remember that the Commission was aware of the fact some weeks ago.

Question resolved in the negative.

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