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Thursday, 15 November 1973
Page: 3466

Mr HEWSON (McMillan) - Last week in this House the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) in reply to my question on the controversial painting "Blue Poles', reported to have been purchased by his Government at a cost to the Australian taxpayers of $1.3m, indicated that the Government intended to continue with this irresponsible purchase. I note that he has done exactly that, despite the desperate bid in another place by an honourable gentleman, who was Wright by both name and intention, to delete a similar amount of money from the Supply Bill (No. 3) 1973. When one considers that out of an allocation of $2m only $700,000 is left for the acquisition and conservation of the national estate, the Prime Minister's action is irresponsible. The honourable gentleman used as his rationale the hypothetical supposition that the painting will continue to appreciate in value. Might I say that he appears to be one of the few people in Australia currently holding that opinion. In his usual loquacious manner the Prime Minister quite flippantly joked away this blatant misuse of $1.3m of taxpayers' money and now he has the audacity to tell this House that this valuable painting will appear on the Whitlam Christmas cards. This will make it so common that if it had any curiosity value that too will be gone. Unfortunately I cannot let this wanton waste pass so lightly. I have a very obvious duty to my electorate of McMillan.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! It being 11 p.m., the House stands adjourned until Tuesday, 20 November, at 11 a.m., or such later time thereafter as Mr Speaker may take the chair.

Mouse adjourned at 11 p.m.

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