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Tuesday, 10 December 1912

Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) - - I have only a very few remarks to make in reply to the numerous observations which have been made in connexion with this measure. I point out to Senator Chataway that, whatever the source from which we secured the money necessary to carry out the purposes of this Bill, we were bound to introduce the measure, and set out the various items in it, or we should have- had no authority to get the money from anywhere. A statement has been made by Senator Millen that, in connexion with the purchase of land and buildings at Perth, we actually require only about £149,000. That statement, I am informed, is substantially correct. But interest will have to be paid on that amount from the time the Commonwealth takes over the property. It was necessary to make provision from the time the property was taken over by the Commonwealth until this money was provided and actually paid over to the original owners of the property.

Senator Millen - So that the Government are borrowing to pay interest?

Senator McGREGOR - Because it is a part of the purchase money until the purchase is completed. It is necessary to provide for the total amount required to enable us to take over the property. There will be no borrowing to pay interest in the future; but until the transaction is completed, Senator Millen knows as well as does any one else that we are under an obligation to fulfil the terms of the transaction, and that is what is being done.

Senator Millen - As a business proposition, if the Government are paying interest on the purchasing price, they should receive the rents of the property.

Senator McGREGOR - With regard to Senator McColl's criticism, the honorable senator honestly declares that the acquisition of land such as this for a good purpose is advisable. He has not questioned the merits of the transaction at all. His only trouble arose from a difference of opinion between himself, -Senator Millen, and the Minister of Defence. The Bill has been favorably received, and I hope it will soon be carried.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In Committee :

Clause i agreed to.

Clause 2 (Minister may borrow £529,526).

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