Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Friday, 29 June 1906


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I think that any honorable undertaking of the kind into which they entered is binding on us. They were then acting for Australia, and the arrangement into which they entered was recognised by the British Government. I think that the honorable member would, in his private capacity, consider himself bound1 by a similar arrangement. One way in which a termination can be put to the agreement is by getting into the Federal Capita] as soon as possible, and I have no doubt that he will assist us to do so.


Mr Bamford - To get to Dalgety, certainly


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Victorian Government maintains two residences for the State Governor at a cost of £8,732, while the Queensland Government expends £7,132, and the New Zealand Government £7,000, on Governors' residences. Therefore, I do- not think that the Commonwealth is justly chargeable with extravagance in this matter.


Mr DAVID THOMSON (CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND) - The States charge it with extravagance.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is easy . to make the charge, but difficult to support it.


Mr McDonald - It would be much easier to make a similar charge against the States.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - On these figures a similar charge against the States would be much more accurate.


Mr Mcwilliams - Against some of the Spates.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Whilst charges of reckless extravagance are made against the Commonwealth, it is only in very few cases that evidence can be obtained 10 support them, and, generally, when the means of comparison are available, the Commonwealth expenditure is seen to be much less than that of the States. I do not object to the action of the Premier of Victoria in asking for rent for the Victorian Government House, and the buildings which we occupy though I object to the remarks with which his request was accompanied, and if we paid attention to them it would show that we consider that we have outstayed our welcome in Melbourne.


Mr Skene - He did not speak officially.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Everything that he says when speaking about matters coming within the scope of his official duties is official. Of course, I know that we cannot pay attention to those remarks, because, in the generous .offer of a continuance of the arrangement, we have what amounts to their withdrawal. As to the statement of the honorable member for Grampians that the Premier of Victoria has charged the Premier of New South Wales with a breach of an agreement regarding the Government Houses-


Mr Skene - I did not know that there was an agreement, but I believe that there was some sort! of understanding.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - There was an understanding on another matter at the Conference, and if the honorable member reads the subsequent remarks of the Premier of Victoria I think he will find that what he referred to was an understanding to charge, not for the occupation of the Government Houses, but for services rendered bv State officers to the Commonwealth. Tt has been said by some of the States Premiers that the services rendered by the States officers to. the Commonwealth and not charged for are more valuable than those rendered to the States bv Commonwealth officers, and not charged for. I would suggest to the Minister of Home Affairs that he should have a statement prepared showing the value of both sets of services.


Mr Groom - I have such a statement prepared.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I shall be very pleased to see it. In my_ opinion, the services rendered to the States by Commonwealth officers and not charged for are much more valuable than those rendered to the Commonwealth by States officers and not charged for. I think that the Premier of Victoria had in mind the arrangement to charge for services rendered by the States to the Commonwealth, and that the Premier of New South Wales did not regard the occupation of the Government Houses as coming within those services. There was merely a misunderstanding, and I think no intention of misrepresenting the position on the part of the Premier of Victoria. I am pleased that the generosity which has characterized the Victorian offer from the first is to be continued. As the guests of Victoria, we recognise its generosity in offering to the Commonwealth not only Government House, but these parliamentary buildings. 1 shall support the Bill.







Suggest corrections