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Country Party and then the Liberals.   The senior officers sat at tables on one side.   There was usually at least one minister at table, who was expected to pay for a bottle of wine.   It was supposed to be bad form to bring up official matters with a minister at the dining table, but in practice much useful information was exchanged in the gossip over a meal.   Whenever members were in the city they would drop into "The House" for lunch to find out what was going on.   Some were there almost every day.   This may have been good for their political fortunes but not for their waistlines.

        There was some grumbling about the menu, which was average hotel fare.   I found that the wine list (selected by a committee of members) was extensive, including several labels which were difficult to obtain elsewhere. We paid for the meals in cash or by signing a chit--the prices could be kept low because of the lack of overhead costs such as rent and the wages of staff.   The standard tip for the waiters was a 20c coin.

        Tom and I were visited in our office by the Labor whip, James "Pat" Flaherty, the member for Granville, a tough looking product of the working class, who had been a commando during the war against Japan.   Reputedly a crack shot, he always wore a green jacket with the badge of his rifle club in the lapel.   He spoke to us in a firm but kindly manner about the rules and procedures with which we must comply.

        Just like school, the "House" was controlled by


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