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Friday, 29 June 1906

Mr GROOM (Darling Downs) (Minister of Home Affairs) . - I would ask the honorable member not to press his amendment. My desire is to enter into an arrangement with the States Governments for as short a period as possible consistent with the provision of residences for the Governor-General in Melbourne and Sydney. It is now suggested that we should have alternate agreements with each of the States, one being for a period of fiveyears. and the other extending until the Federal city is established. As I have already pointed out, it will be necessary for the New South Wales Government to make arrangements for the accommodation of the State Governor, and they reasonably ask that we shall enter into occupation of Government House, Sydney, for a fixed term so that they may arrange to lease a residence for the State Governor for a similar period.

Mr McWilliams - The Minister knows that provision will have to be made for the accommodation of the Governor-General elsewhere than at the Federal Capital for a period of at least five years.

Mr GROOM - Then there is no necessity for the amendment. We know that even if we were able forthwith to secure the site forthe Federal Capital, a considerable time would be occupied in laying out the Federal City, and in working out the whole scheme. It seems to me, therefore, that the amendment would be merely a placard, and would serve no useful purpose.

Mr Frazer - Would it not indicate the intention of Parliament to give up the residences for the Governor-General in Melbourne and Sydney after provisionhas been made for him at the Federal Capital ?

Mr GROOM - The mere insertion of the amendment would not indicate that. Our intention all through has been merely to provide temporary residences in Sydney and Melbourne. No one has ever expressed the opinion that these residences should be maintained permanently. The amendment would not in any sense be binding.

Mr Frazer - Then what is the objection to it?

Mr GROOM - It would be absolutely purposeless, and would not accomplish what the honorable member desires.

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