Standing up for Canberra

Decentralisation Motion

In The Government and the People—1939-41, Sir Paul Hasluck exposed the administrative heartache and headache caused by the dispersal of the Commonwealth Public Service, saying it 'wasted time and money, fretted men and hampered understanding, delayed decisions and led to conflict and duplication.'

It was for this reason that the founder of the modern Liberal Party, Sir Robert Menzies set about concentrating the Public Service here in Canberra, deeming it better for the 'country as a whole'.

That said, Sir Robert Menzies was not an early adopter when it came to the idea of Canberra: I cannot honestly say that I liked Canberra very much; it was to me a place of exile; but I soon began to realize that the decision had been taken, that Canberra was and would continue to be the capital of the nation, and that it was therefore imperative to make it a worthy capital; something that the Australian people would come to admire and respect; something that would be a focal point for national pride and sentiment. Once I had converted myself to this faith, I became an apostle … And his 'interest, and effectiveness, in the development of the national capital was later for him a source of special pride.'

What a pity the Liberals and Nationals have no sense and understanding of history. What a pity the Liberals and Nationals have no respect for the legacy and vision of Sir Robert Menzies. And what a pity the Liberals and Nationals have no understanding of the Constitution, which says: The seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be determined by the Parliament, and shall be within territory … granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth … and shall be in the State of New South Wales and be distant not less than one hundred miles from Sydney.


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