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Tuesday, 10 December 1912

Senator MILLEN - I have no desire to transgress the rules. I wished to show that I had not spoken upon this subject without making myself acquainted with the facts and figures, and that I presented the whole of the facts and figures to the House. I shall be glad if the Minister will act in the same way. With regard to the clause now under discussion, I would like some explanation as to how the interest is to be paid, and why we are already creating a debit and have to borrow money to pay interest on this transaction The land cost £166,370, and, according to the Treasury officials, 10 per cent, was paid out of the Revenue Account by way of deposit, leaving a balance of £149,733. Now, the Bill provides for a sum of £153,000, or £3,267 more than is due to the vendors - unless interest has to be paid. When I asked a question about this, the Minister admitted that the extra amount was intended to meet interest and charges, and 1 understand that the interest liability arose in this way : Having purchased the property some time ago, but not having been in* a position to pay for it until the Bill went through, the Government considered it was only right and proper to pay interest to the vendors, who were being kept out of their money. But if we are to pay interest in respect to the money we have not paid, the rents accruing from the property should be ours. If the vendors are receiving the rents, should we be called upon to pay interest? It is very curious, and it can scarcely be a coincidence, that the amount of £3,267 represents, within £1 or £2, 5 per cent, for six months on the amount still owing to the vendors. Now, I want to know whether the Minister of Home Affairs has agreed to pay interest at the rate of 5 per cent, until the transaction is completed. 1 would not demur to a businesslike arrangement ot that kind; but if such an agreement . has been entered into the Commonwealth Government ought to be receiving the rents from the property.

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