House of Representatives
20 October 1903

1st Parliament · 2nd Session



Mr. Speaker took the chairat 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.

page 6249

QUESTION

FEDERAL CAPITAL SITE

Mr O’MALLEY:
TASMANIA, TASMANIA

– I desire to ask the Prime Minister, without notice, whether, in view of the fact that the House of Representatives has selected Tumut, and the Senate Bombala, for the Federal Capital Site, while the members of both Chambers are in favour of having a Federal territory of not leas than 1,000 square miles, the Go vernment will bring in a short Bill to provide for the submission of the question to a referendum of the people at the forthcoming general elections?

Mr DEAKIN:
Minister for External Affairs · BALLAARAT, VICTORIA · Protectionist

– I do not know that the site is fixed with sufficient precision to enable such a referendum to be taken with advantage. In any case, the time is too brief to enable the necessary information to be supplied to the electors and the preparations for a referendum to be made.

page 6249

QUESTION

WESTERN AUSTRALIAN TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY

Mr MAHON:
COOLGARDIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

– I desire to ask the Prime Minister, without notice, whether any correspondence has been received or exchanged recently between this Government and the Government of South Australia in reference to the Western Australian Transcontinental Railway. If so, will he lay a copy of it on the table?

Mr DEAKIN:
Protectionist

– The correspondence upon the question is still in course ; but I shall be prepared to lay upon the table tomorrow copies of the communications exchanged up to date, though it is too early to expect a final reply then.

page 6249

QUESTION

COLLECTION OF BORDER DUTIES

Mr KENNEDY:
MOIRA, VICTORIA

– I am informed that duties are still being collected at some places on the border between New South Wales and Victoria. Is it the intention of the Department to continue the collection of Inter-State duties ? Should not the collection of “such duties, except in regard to Western Australia, have ceased on the 8th October?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES · Protectionist

– The honorable member was good enough to inform me this morning that duties were being collected at a certain township on the border,and I at once had a telegram despatched to the Customs officer there to ascertain the truth of the report, The officers of the Department have no. authority for collecting Interstate duties now, because those duties ceased to have force on the 8 th of this month. There has been some little ‘trouble in adjusting values in regard to the consumption in each State, so. that we have not yet been able to make an alteration with regard to Inter-State certificates. Action is, . however, being taken with a view to arrange, if possible, some easier method of ascertaining the amount to be credited to each State than that of preparing and forwarding InterState certificates. Nothing definite has been done up to the present time ; but I hope, in a week or two, to notify the public of a change.

page 6249

LAND EXCHANGES

Mr THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES

– I wish to know from the Minister for Home Affairs if the following intimation, which appears in this morning’s Argus, is correct : -

The Minister for Home Affairs has arranged to exchange the block of land on which the orderlyrooms are situated, at the corner of Peel and Victoria streets, for another block owned by the City Council at the junction of Elizabeth and Victoria streets. The City Council has to provide £1,000 to cover the cost of removing and reerecting the buildings.

If that statement is correct, will the right honorable gentleman inform the House whence he derives his power to effect such exchanges without the authority of Parliament, and what means were taken to ascertain the relative values of the two blocks of land.

Sir JOHN FORREST:
Minister for Home Affairs · SWAN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · Protectionist

– The information is correct. The Department has been guided in its action by the advice of the Crown Law officers. This is not a new transaction, ‘but has been under consideration for years. The arrangement come to is satisfactory to the Defence Department, and will greatly assist the municipal authorities of Melbourne. I looked into the matter myself, and, as I was of opinion that the exchange was a fair one, I sanctioned it.

Mr THOMSON:

– The Minister has hardly answered my question. I desire to know whether the arrangement entered into with regard to the exchange of the land referred to was contingent upon the approval of Parliament. If not, does not the Minister see that there is an important difference between merely handing back to the States Governments lands which have been taken over from them, and arranging exchanges of land between municipal bodies or individuals and the Commonwealth . Government 1 I further desire to know whether the Minister has any objection to laying . the papers on the tablet

Sir JOHN FORREST:

– As the matter referred to has been the subject of negotiations extending over many years, I would ask the honorable member to give notice of his questions, in order that I may procure the necessary information.

page 6250

QUESTION

ELECTORAL ADMINISTRATION

Sir JOHN QUICK:
BENDIGO, VICTORIA

– I wish to ask the Minister for Home Affairs if he will take steps to make known the boundaries of the polling places in the various electoral divisions. I am informed that the greatest misunderstanding exists on this subject. Will the Minister have plans circulated showing the boundaries, so that electors may know where to go to record their votes ?

Sir JOHN FORREST:
Protectionist

– I am not sure that the actual boundaries of the various polling places have been determined, nor do I think it possible, speaking off-hand, te determine them.

Sir John Quick:

– A separate roll is prepared for each polling place.

Sir JOHN FORREST:

– The names of electors are grouped round certain polling places. If a person is not able to vote at a polling place for which his name is on the roll, arrangements are made by which he can vote at another.

Sir John Quick:

– But are there no boundaries to the polling places 1

Sir JOHN FORREST:

– No. I have never known a case in which there have been fixed boundaries to polling places, nor do I think it necessary to have definite boundaries. The electors can surely be trusted to ascertain upon what rolls their names are printed, and to go to the polling places for which they are enrolled. It seems to me to be assumed by some honorable members that the electors are unintelligent persons who take no interest in this matter, which is of such importance to honorable members. My opinion is that they will take the trouble to find out’ the polling places for which they are enrolled, and go there on the polling day. If they do not take that trouble, but go to a wrong place, arrangements are made under form Q whereby they can vote elsewhere.

Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Does tho Minister think that it is sufficient to provide only one polling place for populous divisions such as Redfern and Prahran, where, I understand, the Town Halls will be utilized as polling booths, and the electors will have to go upstairs to record their votes 1 Will it not lead to congestion, and, perhaps, to a stoppage of the polling, if more adequate provision is not made f

Sir JOHN FORREST:

– I assure the honorable member that there will be sufficient polling places in each division to meet the convenience of those who will vote there. All the polling in a division will not be concentrated at one booth.

Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– It will be’ impossible for 10,000 voters to satisfactorily record their votes at a place where they willhave to go upstairs to do so.

Mr KNOX:
KOOYONG, VICTORIA

– I desire to ask the Prime Minister whether, before the session closes, he will afford honorable members an opportunity to discuss the difficulties which are being experienced in connexion with the electoral rolls’ 1 The Minister for Home Affairs is being plied with a number of questions at each sitting, without any important result.

Mr DEAKIN:
Protectionist

– I think that a discussion without notice of the character indicated would scarcely be productive of definite result. If honorable members feel it necessary to call attention to particular difficulties, they might give notice of their questions, or make a simple intimation to my honorable colleague. This would enable him to prepare his replies, and I feel sure that all the requirements of the case would then be met.

page 6251

QUESTION

CUSTOMS OFFICIALS: SUNDAY WORK

Mr MAUGER:
MELBOURNE PORTS, VICTORIA

– Has any step been taken to insure that the officials in the Customs Department shall have one day’s rest in seven? The Treasurer promised that the matter would be referred to the Public Service Commissioner.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Protectionist

– The honorable member was good enough to inform me of his intention to ask this question. I made inquiries into the matter this morning, and I ascertained that the boatmen in New South Wales are paid £133 per annum, those in Victoria £144, those in Queensland from £96 to £118, and those in Western Australia £110 per annum. In Tasmania boats are hired by the Department, and in South Australia a launch is hired. In New South Wales three men on the average are employed on Sundays, the duty being performed alternately by the boatmen. In Melbourne five ave employed. The matter has been referred to the Public Service Commissioner, and it is anticipated that arrangements may be made for confining the employment of these men to six days a week with little additional expense to the Department.

page 6251

QUESTION

COASTAL TELEGRAPH STATIONS

Mr CLARKE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES

– I recently had occasion to write to the Postmaster-General complaining of alleged negligence on the part of telegraph officials in not sending through on a Sunday an urgent telegram in connexion with the wreck of the steam-ship Croki at Seal Rocks. Owing to this negligence the steamer became a total wreck. I now desire to ask the Postmaster-General whether he will instruct the officials in charge of the coastal telegraph stations to be in attendance during certain hours on Sundays, say for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon, so that thev may receive messages in emergencies such as I have referred to ?

Sir PHILIP FYSH:
Postmaster-General · TASMANIA, TASMANIA · Free Trade

– It would not be desirable to issue a general instruction applying to postmasters at all coastal stations. Something, however, may be done to meet the wish of the honorable member. I shall inquire as to which of the coastal stations an instruction of the kind referred to would most usefully apply, and, if possible, I shall issue regulations requiring the attendance of the officials at such stations at certain hours on Sundays.

page 6251

RULES PUBLICATION BILL

Resolved (on motion by Mr. Deakin) -

That the standing orders be suspended so as to enable a Bill to be introduced and passed through all its stages without delay. That leave be given to bring in a Bill for an Act for the Publication of Statutory Rules.

Ordered -

That Mr. Deakin do prepare and bring in the Bill.

Bill presented and read a first time.

page 6251

SEAT OF GOVERNMENT BILL

Bill returned from the Senate with amendments.

page 6251

APPROPRIATION BILL (1903-4)

Bill returned from the Senate with the following message : -

The Senate returns to the House of Representatives the Bill intituled “ A Bill for an Act to grant and apply a sum out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund to the service of the year ending the 30th day of June, 1904, and to appropriate the supplies gran ted for such year, “and acquaints the House of Representatives that the Senate has considered the message of that House dated 14th October, 1903, in reference to such Bill, and has resolved to press its requests Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4, as originally requested.

page 6251

QUESTION

COMMONWEALTH COINAGE

Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

Whether the Government will take into consideration the introduction of legislation to give effect to the Coinage Committee’s Report in favour of the Commonwealth coining its own token currency, and adopting a decimal system of money, which report was adopted by this House on 19th June last?

Mr DEAKIN:
Protectionist

– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows : -

The matter will be considered during the recess. Communications as to the coinage of silver in Australia are now proceeding between this Government and the Colonial Office.

page 6252

QUESTION

TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY

Mr FOWLER:
PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

Whether, in view of the promise contained in the Governor-General’s speech at the opening of the present session of the Federal Parliament, the Government have made, or are about to make, provision for a survey of the proposed transcontinental railway to Western Australia ?

Mr DEAKIN:
Protectionist

– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows : -

The matter is under consideration, and is the subject of correspondence now proceeding.

page 6252

QUESTION

MILITARY BANDS

Mr TUDOR:
YARRA, VICTORIA

asked the Minister for I Defence, upon notice -

  1. Whether it is a fact that Sir John Forrest, when Minister of Defence, ruled that “ Military bands are not to enter into competition with bands the members of which have to depend upon their musical talent for a living.”
  2. Does the Minister not consider that the military band which played at a recent garden party broke this rule, as previously bands composed of professional musicians were engaged for similar functions.
Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:
Minister for Defence · EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · Protectionist

– In reply to the honorable member’s questions : -

  1. Yes.
  2. It was not considered that they were, in this case, entering into competition with any private band.

page 6252

QUESTION

ASSOCIATES OF JUSTICES OF HIGH COURT

Mr MAHON:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. Is it intended to exempt from the operation of the Commonwealth Public Service Act the persons who are to act as associates to the Justices of the High Court ?
  2. If so, will he kindly mention the section of the Act which authorizes such exemption ?
Mr DEAKIN:
Protectionist

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. This class of officers has been exempted.
  2. Section 3.

page 6252

PATENTS BILL

Bill returned from the Senate with the following message : -

The Senate returns to the House of Representatives the Bill for “ an Act relating to Patents of Inventions,” and acquaints the House that the Senate has agreed to the amendments made by the House of Representatives, with the exception of Nos. 19, 56, and 79, to which it has disagreed, for the reasons set forth in the annexed schedule.

The Senate desires the reconsideration of the Bill in respect of the amendments disagreed to.

Reasons of the Senate for disagreeing to certain amendments of the House of Representatives -

As to No. 19-

Because it is undesirable that the appoint ment of the Commissioner should, except for a short interval, precede the Proclamation of the Act, and that the clause would tend to conflict with the States Patent Acts, and would confer no substantial benefits on appli cants.

As to No. 56 -

Because the desirability, if any, of the clause is obviated by the succeeding clause, No. 83.

As to No. 79 -

Because it is consequential on No. 56.

In Committee (Consideration of Senate’s message) : -

House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Insert new clause 28a - “Applications for patents may be lodged at the Patent Office immediately after the Commissioner is appointed, notwithstanding that this Act has not then commenced, and all applications so lodged shall have priority according to the time when they were so lodged, and the lodging of an application under this section shall have the like effect as the lodging of an application after the commencement of this Act ; but any patent granted pursuant to the application shall be dated as of the day of the commencement of this Act. Until forms are prescribed applications shall be in such form as the Commissioner directs.

Applications made under a State Patent Act may be lodged as prescribed before the commencement of this Act as applications under this Act.”

Senate’s Message. - Amendment disagreed to.

Mr DEAKIN:
Minister for External Affairs · Ballarat · Protectionist

– Honorable members will observe that the Senate has agreed to the majority of the amendments which were made by this House in the Bill. Indeed, it has taken exception to only two or three of them. The first amendment with which it has disagreed relates to the new clause which was inserted at the request of honorable members with a view to provide that, even before what might be termed the “ complete “ commencement of this Act, it should be possible for inventors to register applications for patents, wh ich should be given priority according to the time at which they were lodged, though patents -would date only from the commencement of the Act. To the whole of this clause exception has been taken upon the ground “ that it is undesirable that the appointmentof the Commissioner should, except for a short interval, precede the proclamation of the Act, and that it I would tend to conflict with the States

Patents Acts, and would confer no substantial benefits upon applicants.” Thus three objections are urged to the provision in question. The first of these I venture to think, evinces a misunderstanding of the intention of the whole of that part of the measure which relates to the Commissioner’s appointment. From the information which has been supplied to me, it appears perfectly clear that his appointment must precede, by a considerable time, the full commencement of this Act, inasmuch as in bringing into force a single patent system which shall replace the six systems at present existing in the States, it will be necessary for him, not only to organize the new Department and consider all applications, but to take the necessary steps - as I frequently explained - to have the registers and indices of the States revised and brought up to date. It has often been assumed in this House that perhaps as long a period as a year must elapse between the appointment of the Commissioner and the actual commencement of the Act in its full sense. I do not know how far that estimate is well founded; but, probably, it may prove to be not excessive. Therefore, I am quite at a loss to understand the objection which is expressed in this particular reason of the Senate. The next reason which is urged by the other Chamber, that the clause would tend to conflict with the States Patents Acts is not, J think, well founded, because provision is made in the Bill by which applications may be registered, both under the Commonwealth arid the States laws, by any who desire to do so, and who consider that by so doing they will obtain an advantage. They can persist with either or both of their applications should they determine to pay the fees. Under the circumstances, I fail to see where any conflict will arise between applications which are made under the States laws and those which are made under the Commonwealth Act. 1 have never disguised from the Committee, however, that the clause must be fraught with difficulty in its . working, and that many problems may arise in giving effect to it. However, it was strongly pressed upon the Committee, on the ground that it would convenience inventors, and that by its insertion the indefinite delay in conferring the advantages which are offered by this measure would be avoided. At the same time, those who for any reason distrust this procedure, are still given an opportunity to proceed under the States laws.

Mr Higgins:

– What is the practical inconvenience to which the Prime Minister alludes ?

Mr DEAKIN:

– It is this : We are about to pass a Commonwealth Patents Act. That Act cannot commence until many investigations have been made and a new patent system has been prepared. In the interim inventors who wish to protect themselves throughout Australia are required to lodge their applications in every State and to obey the requirements of the States laws - in fact, to follow the same course which they would have followed prior to the passing of this Act. We offer them the means by which they can lodge an application for the whole of the Commonwealth - an application which will be inquired into by us at our expense in all the States, and for which a patent will be granted in order of priority, though it will date only from the complete commencement of the Act. By that means we thought we had successfully bridged the interregnum. The third objection which has been urged by the Senate is that the clause would confer no substantial benefit upon applicants. To that I have already replied. Only to-day I received a telegram from an Adelaide patent agency which in somewhat excited language protests that the effect of this provision would be “dangerous and misleading,” that it would cause “ endless litigation,” “conflict of concurrent State applications,” and “ irremediable chaos.” Indeed it contains quite a number of patentable phrases.

Mr Glynn:

– Its authors are afraid of centralization in the applications.

Mr DEAKIN:

– I do not think that they need be.

Mr Glynn:

– I do not think so either.

Mr DEAKIN:

– I have endeavoured to analyze what these fiery phrases really mean. Probably they are aimed at the words “ according to the time when they were so lodged.” Possibly the authors of the telegram have in mind the fact that there are time zones in Australia, and that a question may arise as to what allowance ought to be made - although I think that there is a strictly fixed difference - as between an application for a patent which is lodged at Perth, in the extreme west, and another which is lodged at Sydney, in the extreme east, at approximately the same hour.

Mr Thomson:

– That difficulty will always arise under the Bill.

Mr DEAKIN:

– I do not think so. We have enacted a provision which will prevent that difficulty when the measure comes into full operation. But I suggest that if we omit the words “ according to the time when they were so lodged,” and substitute for them the words “as prescribed,” we can then, by regulation, define precisely - or, at least, with as nearly as possible astronomical accuracy - the manner in which priority shall be settled when conflicting applications have been almost simultaneously lodged at widely distantplaces in theCommonwealth. When we have done that, it appears to me - - after re-reading the clause and admitting the practical difficulties which will arise in its working - that we have inserted a provision which may prove very serviceable to inventors and one which does not present the possibilities of disaster and even chaos pourtrayed in the telegram to which I have referred.

Mr GLYNN:

– How would the suggestion of the honorable gentleman affect the second paragraph of the clause ? The authors of the telegram fear that an application which is lodged in the central office will always obtain priority.

Mr DEAKIN:

– It appears to me that by regulation we may remove all ambiguity. We seek to make it quite clear that we have the same power in regard to the second paragraph of the clause that we possess in respect of the first paragraph, hence I submit the amendment indicated. That, I think, will remove the difficulty which has caused the senders of the telegram to which allusion has been made so much anxiety. I therefore move -

That the amendment be insisted on, but that the clause be amended by the omission of the words “according to the time when they were so lodged “ with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ as prescribed.”

Mr. HIGGINS (Northern Melbourne).I can scarcely understand how “ irremediable chaos “ will be brought about by the operation of this provision, although the phrase in question is very suggestive of South Australian language. The senders of the telegram have not indicated what part of the clause they consider may lead to “irremediable chaos,” and I think that in the circumstances we shall have to be content to remain open to that contingency for all time. I should not be surprised, however, if their difficulty were in regard to the dating of the patent. A patent, of course, cannot be dated except as from the commencement of the Act;, but if two patents were granted as on that date, there being no guarantee of novelty, how would the question of priority be determined 1

Mr Deakin:

– The application which wasreceived first on that date would receive priority.

Mr HIGGINS:

– It is not the custom in making grants of patents to record the hour at which the application ismade.

Mr Deakin:

– Yes ; the hour and the minute.

Mr. GLYNN (South Australia). - I have not yet seen the telegram, the contents of which have rather astonished the honorable and learned member for NorthernMelbourne; but I think that the difficulty is that the agents in question fear that under this provision agents in Melbourne would obtain priority over agents in the other States in respect of applications lodged by them. When the suggestion was made that provisional applications might be lodged under the States Acts and regarded as applications for Commonwealth patents, no objection was offered, the opinion being held, apparently, that such applications would have absolute priority in the States in which they were made, and that noquestion could arise as to priority having been given by any central office. No opposition was raised to that proposal, which was designed to accomplish the very object which this provision has in view. I think that the objection in this case is that the clause would enable patent agents resident in Melbourne to make applications which would have priority over those made in the other States. I do not consider that the clause would necessarily have that effect ; but that is apparently the reason which has caused the agents in question to oppose it. If the regulations are carefully drawn up, the amendment should allay their fears, and in the form now pro posed, the clause ought to be insisted upon.

Mr BROWN:
Canobolas

– I desire to support the amendment proposed by the Prime Minister, for I believe that when the matter is thoroughly investigated, it will be found by another place that their objections to the clause are not substantial. They state first of all that it is undesirable that the appointment of a Commissioner under this Bill should precede by any considerable interval the date of proclamation. According to those who have an intimate knowledge of the working of the States Patents Offices, some twelve or eighteen months will elapse between the passing of the Bill, and the date ©n which the new system will be complete, and in order that the whole of the necessary machinery may be brought into perfect working order as early as possible, it is necessary that the Commissioner should be appointed without delay. It is probable that the full difficulties associated with the transfer of the Patents Offices from the States to the Commonwealth have not yet been fully realized, and that they will occasion considerable delay. That being so, unless this clause be agreed to, inventors will be placed in a very awkward position. To my own knowledge several inventors have been holding back their applications for patents in order to secure the benefit of this legislation. Some of them are not in a position, while others are not prepared, to incur the very heavy cost of registering throughout the States under the existing systems, and they hope to secure material relief by the passing of this Bill. Unless this clause be agreed to, however, they will not be able to test and perfect their inventions until the Act is actually brought into operation. Is it desirable that inventors should be denied the encouragement and relief which we propose to give them under this clause 1 It seems to me that the Senate has overlooked this phase of the question. It is also complained by another place that this provision would conflict with States registration. I do not think that that would be possible. If an inventor desires to register under the States laws prior to the coming into force of this Bill he will be able to do so, and to complete his application as soon as the Commonwealth system is in proper working order. If an inventor is given a free hand in this respect no doubt he will choose the course that seems to him to be the most advantageous. It is said further that this provision would confer no substantial benefit on applicants for inventions. Those who are anxious to take out patents at the present time hold an entirely different opinion, and they desire that this clause may be inserted in order that they may have some guarantee that whilst the preliminaries incidental to the bringing of the measure into operation are being disposed of they will be able to lodge their applications and have them registered as soon as the new machinery is in working order. This clause will give them that guarantee. There are stringent conditions in the Bill as to the time within which an application for a patent must be completed, and as to the non-disclosure of the nature ‘ of an invention in respect of which a patent is sought. A complete specification must be lodged within nine months after the date of the application, and those who propose to secure patents under this measure are not sure that, in the absence of this concession, they will be able to comply with that provision. If this measure does not actually come into operation for twelve or eighteen months the Commissioner will have to disallow their applications, inasmuch as, in the absence of a provision of this kind, the conditions cannot be complied with. The clause will give a sense of security to inventors who are in that position. I feel satisfied that when another place views the question from this standpoint their objections will be removed ; particularly as the Prime Minister proposes to eliminate some words, and to make the intention of the clause clearer by substituting others. I hope that the Committee will agree to send the measure back to the Senate with good and substantial reasons why the amendment now before the Committee should be adopted.

Mr KINGSTON:
South Australia

– I think that the various firms of patent agents in South Australia, who joined in sending to the Prime Minister the telegram which has been read, have been well advised. They have put the matter strongly. The term “ irremediable chaos “ has evidently struck terror into the hearts of the Government, who, not knowing precisely what it refers to, propose to meet an objection which they presume to be made against the clause. Though I do not like leaving too much to regulations, and though admittedly the fixing -of priority amongst applications for patents is an important question, still, in a matter of this sort it is, perhaps, just as well to make the provision pretty elastic, as is done by the amendment proposed to be made. I shall, therefore, support it.

Mr Deakin:

– It applies only to an interregnum.

Mr KINGSTON:

– I hope it will be a very short interregnum.

Mr Glynn:

– The only important point is that as to priority.

Mr KINGSTON:

– It is a matter so important that it should be fixed by Parliament, but I see no objection to regulations, particularly in view of the strong language used by the South Australian patent agents. I may here say that I know that the patent agents in South Australia who have been mentioned, as well as other patent agents who might be mentioned, have gone to a good deal of trouble in connexion with this Bill. I should like publicly to acknowledge here the assistance rendered by various patent agents in the different States. They undoubtedly applied themselves keenly to the problems dealt with in the Bill, and they have displayed a public spirit in connexion with it that does them every credit. I should also like to say that I am not at all satisfied that there is a necessity for any considerable postponement of the commencement of this measure. I know that stress has been laid on the suggested necessity of postponing for some period the coming into operation of the Bill. But I do not believe that any such necessity exists. I believe that the Patent Offices of the different States are in fair working order, and, with an intelligent appreciation of the position on the part of the Federal officers, and a determination to make the inconvenience to the public as little as may be, the Bill may be brought into operation without considerable delay. I fully believe - or rather I have the impression - that it was the intention of the Government to consolidate not only the Patent laws of the States, but also the States laws relating to copyright and the laws relating to trade marks. I know that a general Bill sv as prepared, but that it was thought to be too huge a measure to be introduced into Parliament this session. I think, further, that it is advantageous to separate the two or three questions I have mentioned, and to provide for them by separate Bills, rather than to cause confusion by consolidating legislation that is not so intimately associated that it needs to be included in one Bill. But I am sure that the Government will be well advised - and I am hopeful that it is their policy - at the earliest possible time during next session to introduce the necessary Bills relating to copyright and trades marks for the consideration of the Legislature. They will find a mass of material already prepared and practically settled. The recess, however short, will enable them to put the finishing touches upon the Bills I have mentioned ; and I think I do but express the feeling of the Committee when I say that honorable members will welcome the introduction of such measures, so that they may be passed into law, and so that the questions of. patent, copyright, and trades marks may be covered by a Commonwealth law perfected and enacted at the earliest possible moment.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. GLYNN (South Australia).- I am not sure that a similar amendment ought not to be made in the second paragraph, which provides that applications may be made before this measure comes into force to a State Patent Office, and that such application may be regarded as equivalent to an application under a State patent law. It may be that two or three applications may be made in different States on the same day. The question of priority will then arise. When an application is made for a patent under a State Patent Act the question of priority is determined. There is no question about it, because whichever application was first in receives priority ; but when there are two or three different applications in different States for a Federal patent there may be a question as to priority. I, therefore, think we should put in similar words to meet the contingency I have mentioned. They could be inserted after the word “ lodged.”

Mr Kingston:

– The application has to be lodged at the Patent Office.

Mr GLYNN:

– It may be lodged at a State Patent Office.

Mr Watson:

– A fresh application has to be made.

Mr GLYNN:

– There may be some confusion as to which is entitled to priority. Would honorable members say that priority would be determined by the date of the application at the Federal Patent Office, and not by the date upon which the application is made in the State Patent Office ?

Clause, as amended, -agreed to.

House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Insert the following new clause - “82a. Every patent shall be granted subject to the following conditions :-

  1. That if the patented article is reasonably capable of being commercially constructed or manufactured or the invention patented is reasonably capable of being commercially worked in Australia the patentee or some person authorized by. him shall within five years after the date thereof commence and after such commencement continuously carry on in Australia the construction or manufacture of the patented article or the working of the invention patented in such a manner that any person may obtain the patented article or the use of the invention at a reasonable price ; and

    1. That if the patented article is reasonably capable of being commercially constructed or manufactured in Australia the patentee shall not after four years from the date of the patent import it or cause it to be imported into Australia.

Senate’s Message - Amendment disagreed to.

Mr DEAKIN:

– This is a very important provision. Both this amendment and the following one relate to the requirement inserted in this Bill that all patentees may be called upon within five years, if the invention patented is reasonably capable of being commercially worked in Australia, to commence its construction or manufacture here. The reason given by the Senate for objecting to the clause is this -

Because the desirability, if any, of the clause is obviated by the succeeding clause Ho. S3.

Clause 83 does to a considerable extent provide for a similar contingency. It pro- vides that -

Any person interested may, after the expiration of two years from the granting of the patent, allege that - the reasonable requirements of the public with respect to a patented invention have not been satisfied; and pray for the grant of a compulsory licence. The Commissioner considers the petition, and if he is of opinion that a prima facie case is made out, he refers it to the Supreme Court. He may, if not satisfied, dismiss it himself. If it be referred to the Court, and the Court is convinced that the reasonable requirements of the public have not been satisfied, the patentee may be ordered to grant a licence, or the Court may itself grant a licence for the manufacture of the patented article. To that extent clause 83 covers the same ground and meets the same set of circumstances. The Senate, when the measure was introduced, struck out the provisions with which we are now dealing, and which were then more absolute in their terms than they are at present. It was with a view to endeavour to win the approval of the Senate for these clauses that I introduced amendments which the Committee will recall, and which, in cases where it was desired to require a patentee to manufacture in the Commonwealth, threw on the person who moved in the matter the burden of satisfying the Court that the patent was reasonably capable of being commercially constructed or manufactured in Australia. These were safeguards which do not exist in the Acts from which the proposals were copied. I had hoped that, mitigated and safeguarded by these conditions, the Senate would see their way to accept the provisions. The members of another place, however, are still adverse by a considerable majority, and they point out - as, indeed, was pointed out in this Chamber - that the same urgency does not exist for these provisions as would have existed if clause 83, with its elaborate provisions which may be brought into play after two years, had not existed. “Under the circumstances, it rests with the Committee either to repeat their recommendation once more, or to recognise that even if it be repeated it is very unlikely to be accepted. Personally I do not propose to press the matter, because although I should greatly prefer to see some provision of this nature added to the Bill - ‘ though I recognise that clause 83 goes only part of the way-

Mr Thomson:

– A pretty long way.

Mr DEAKIN:

– The clause goes some distance, long or short ; but it does not by any means go all the way.

Mr Kingston:

– There are compulsory working sections in the Canadian Act.

Mr DEAKIN:

– There are provisions of the kind in the Canadian and German Acts ; but in neither country has compulsory working been brought into pract iu effect.

Mr Glynn:

– The section is a dead letter in Canada.

Mr DEAKIN:

– The section in Canada has simply led to certain procedures and the payment of certain fees in order to comply with the requirements of the Act. For my own part I am inclined to think that when we have had some experience of the working of the Bill, we shall be able to devise clauses with this object which will be effective, if the Parliament of that date think well to put them into operation. Under the circumstances, as we are making so large an advance by means of clause 83 and the

Bill generally, I suggest to the Committee that it might be advisable at this stage not to insist on sending these clauses back to the Senate. After the two considerations they have already received, I have little hope of the opinion of another place being altered. I move -

That the amendment be not insisted on.

Mr. GLYNN (South Australia). - I am glad the Prime Minister has taken the stand which he has indicated, and I hope the Committee will adopt his suggestion. The provisions are not essential to a Patents Act, but deal with production, and really affect the fiscal issue. Unlike clause S3, the provisions under consideration are not a part of the policy of the patent law itself. Clause 83 covers much wider ground than is covered by the English provision from which it is adopted, and which has been in force only for about twelve months. It was regarded as a very far-reaching provision, and was the result of a good deal of deliberation. I mentioned when we were discussing the Bill that, although a similar provision had found a place in the Canadian Act, it had not been enforced - that it was a dead letter. I am glad that since our previous discussion, the Prime Minister appears to have been informed that the statement I made then was correct. I had very good authority for stating that the Canadian provision has never been enforced. Under regulations, some declaration has to be made in Canada that the patent has been worked, in order to take it from outside the operation of the section ; but, like many other similar declarations, these are made as a matter of course.

Mr Kingston:

– True or untrue?

Mr GLYNN:

– True or untrue. I could show honorable members correspondence in which it is made clear that in Canada it has become almost a recognised practice to make those declarations. There are regular officials or agents who will make the declararations by the dozen if they are adequately paid for the trouble. I am informed of one case in which £10 was paid for the making of a declaration, and in which part of that amount went to the local agent, part to the Canadian agent, and the balance to the man who made the affidavit. I hope honorable members will adopt the suggestion of the Prime Minister.

Mr WATSON:
Bland

– I cannot quite agree with the honorable and learned member for South Australia, Mr. Glynn, than this is not a proper provision to insert in a Patents Act.

Mr Mahon:

– The provision is said to have more to do with production than with patents.

Mr WATSON:

– The question certainly has that aspect; but, in my opinion, it is a provision which strictly ought to come within the purview of a patents law. Certain privileges are given to a person outside Australia in return for some benefit conferred on this country ; and it is proper enough to ask that, within a reasonable time, the manufacture of the patented article shall begin within our borders. It is curious that we should insist on extending such great liberality to people in other parts of the world, who do not usually extend a hand to us.

Mr Mahon:

– If they give us a good article, surely they are benefiting us 1

Mr WATSON:

– They are benefiting us in some cases ; but the question is whether they are benefiting us sufficiently, or to a degree commensurate with the protection or monopoly granted. In some countries there is a similar provision to that now under consideration ; and there, every person who chooses to come along is not granted patent monopolies at a very low price, and without any subsequent licensing conditions. In this regard we are, I think, unwisely liberal to the people of other countries. I quite agree, however, with the Prime Minister that, in view of the attitude of the Senate, there is little use in our pressing the clause at the present time. It is a matter which, very probably, the Commonwealth will have to regulate later on ; indeed, the whole measure will require radical amendment before it can be regarded as anything like a permanent settlement of the patents question. I have a strong feeling against the method employed under the Bill in connexion with the payment of fees. It is altogether a wrong principle to ask for the full amount down, instead of requiring a small initial payment, and spreading the balance over a long period. However, it is of no’ use discussing that matter now, and I think we may adopt the Prime Minister’s suggestion, and, in the meantime, fall in with the view of the Senate.

Mr. HIGGINS (Northern Melbourne)- I think we are rather premature in abandoning this clause, which formed one of the principal inducements to honorable members to pass an Australian Patents Bill. There is no reason to think that on reconsideration the matter may not elsewhere be regarded in a different light. The importance of the clause seems obvious, and I am surprised at the view ©f the honorable and learned member for South Australia, Mr. Glynn, that it is not a proper provision for a patents law, being, as he contends, a part of the fiscal issue. It is .nothing of the sort ; and it would seem as though the fiscal issue is the only issue which is ever before some honorable members. The Bill provides for the granting of a monopoly for a period on certain conditions ; and, if the conditions are not fufilled, we are surely entitled to say that we will not grant the monopoly. If a patentee will not comply with such a provision within five years, why on earth should he still hold his patent to the exclusion of somebody else who may be prepared to fulfil the condition t

Mr Glynn:

– But a patentee would not be allowed to import his patent.

Mr HIGGINS:

– A man ought not to be granted an Australian patent unless he manufactures the patented article in Australia. This has nothing to do with the fiscal issue. It means simply that we refuse to give patentees a monopoly except upon certain terms. With respect to the argument that a similar provision is not used in Canada, who is to say when a whip is used ? You have a whip and the horse knows it. You may not require to use it once in a blue moon ; but the knowledge that you have it is a very important incentive to the horse to go; and the fact that a clause of this nature is in the Canadian Act leads to the development of Canadian industries. I hope the Prime Minister will not give up this clause, which a great many of his followers are anxious to see incorporated in the first Australian Patents Bill. I regard this Patents Bill as one of the principal industrial measures brought before the Commonwealth Parliament, and I should feel greatly disappointed if we did not let it be clearly known from the very inception that we will not give an Australian patent unless the Australian public are to have the advantage of it by the manufacture of the patented article here.

Mr. KINGSTON (South Australia). - I thoroughly agree with the remarks of the honorable and, learned member for Northern Melbourne. I am not in favour of the shepherding of rights in Australia to the prejudice of the public. I do not care whether it applies to the locking up of land which might be utilized, or to patents. A patent is given with the object of enabling some one to work an invention in the Commonwealth, and to prevent any one else working it without his authority ; but it was never intended that a patent should be granted for the purpose of enabling a man to enjoy a monopoly and to leave it entirely unutilized - to sleep on his rights and prevent any one else manufacturing the patented article within the Commonwealth. .

Mr Glynn:

– To force a man to double his plant may have the effect of increasing the price of the article tremendously.

Mr KINGSTON:

– The honorable and learned member says that we may increase the price of the article by causing the inventor and manufacturer to double his plant. We have hedged this provision in every conceivable way. I take it that it was an important principle as originally introduced, and it commanded the acceptance of this House in the first instance. When objection was taken to the clause by another branch of the Legislature the Prime Minister went out of his way to meet the difficulties then raised, and in doing so he met the very difficulty suggested by the honorable and learned member for South Australia, Mr. Glynn, by providing that this provision should come into .operation only when it was clear that the patented article was capable of being commercially manufactured within the Commonwealth. Here is the clause as we have it before us and as objected to by the Senate. It provides -

That if the patented article is reasonably capable of being commercially constructed or manufactured, or the invention patented is reasonably capable of being commercially worked in Australia, the patentee or some person authorized by him shall within five years after the date thereof commence, and after such commencement continuously carry on in Australia the construction or manufacture of the patented article, or the working of the invention patented in such a manner that any person may obtain the patented article or the use of the invention at a reasonable price.

Ample time is given in the clause, and surely in connexion with a matter of this sort, the establishment of a . we are asking nothing but what is fair and right when we claim that if the patented article is capable of being successfully manufactured in the Commonwealth it should be manufactured here. I would ask honorable members who oppose this clause whether, if the non-manufacture of the patented article is shown to be detrimental to the interests of the public, they are in favour of continuing an unexercised right 1 Because it must not be. forgotten that it is only under circumstances in which the nonmanufacture of the patented article would be a mischief to the Commonwealth that any power of revocation is provided by this clause, which is sought to be struck out by the Senate. Surely our first care should be our own interests and the interests of our own people. As regards the inventor, it is surely right that we should say to him - ‘ “ Exercise your right; we do not require you to do so as a condition to the preservation of your patent unless the patented article is capable of being commercially manufactured here.” I ask honorable members to look at the further qualification and say what possible mischief can arise under this provision in view of clause 82b; which provides that -

No proceeding shall be instituted for the revocation of a patent for any breach of the provisions of the preceding section except in the High Court and bv the Attorney-General - and I direct the special attention of- honorable members to what follows - and then only in case the Attorney-General is satisfied that the breach is injurious to the traders or the manufacturers in the Commonwealth.

This provision proposes to give a great power to a trusted officer, the chief law adviser of the Crown, and a Minister responsible to this House and to the public for its fair and judicial exercise. The matter must be looked at in this way: It being proved on the certificate of the Attorney-General, that the omission to work the patent is detrimental to the traders or manufacturers of the Commonwealth ; proved, also, in the terms of the previous clause, that the invention is reasonably capable of being manufactured successfully in the Commonwealth, then, in the event of the continued refusal of the patentee to exercise his right under the patent, what is the right course for us to adopt 1 I believe that no Legislature of the Commonwealth can be advised to say any thing else than this : That when the power given under a patent is not exercised when it is proved to be capable of being successfully exercised, and when it is further certified and proved that the nonestablishment of an industry which may be successfully established is injurious to the trade or manufactures of the Commonwealth, our duty is clear - to give a power to revoke, to give a power which is given elsewhere. A similar provision exists in Canada and also in Germany. It is said that this power has not been exercised in Canada. It is suggested also that one reason why it has net been exercised, is that declarations have been made in fraud under provisions of this sort. If that be so, let us profit by the Canadian lesson. If the laws there are drawn on such lines that a coach and four can be driven through them, let us be careful in this respect. I say that this clause as originally framed, and particularly as modified by the Prime Minister, is fair in itself, and necessary for the protection of the industries and manufactures of the Commonwealth. It can only be enforced when the Attorney-General has expressly certified that its enforcement is necessary in the interest of our trade and manufactures. It seems to me, under all the circumstances - considering that patents are granted for their exercise in the country and not to the injury of the interests of the country in which they are granted - that if it be proved that a patented article can be made in the country in which the patent is granted, that the country is suffering from the nonuse by the patentee of his patent rights, there should be power to declare the patent void in addition to the power which under the Bill may be exercised by private individuals of obtaining a compulsory licence to manufacture. Patents are granted to be used for the benefit of the Commonwealth, and if those to whom they are granted propose to enjoy an idle monopoly the original intention of granting the patents is perverted; they do harm instead of good, and I say let those patents be voided.

Mr Thomson:

– All the necessary power is contained in this Bill without these clauses.

Mr MAHON:
Coolgardie

– I hope that the Prime Minister will not be moved from his purpose by the hysterical observations of the last speaker. In view of the repeated action of the Senate in regard to this provision, and also in view of the very close division in this House on a previous occa sion, I think that the action of the Prime Minister is a very wise one. The honorl able and learned member fo.r South Aus- 1 tralia, Mr. Kingston, and the honorable : and learned member for Northern

Melbourne are very emphatic in disclaiming the idea that any question of Tariff is involved in this proposal. But it seems to me that all their arguments point to the conclusion which they disavow. The last speaker pointed out the injustice of allowing an inventor to withhold from Australia the manufacture of any article. It would have been much more to the purpose if he had named any article which could be commercially manufactured in Australia, but which is not. Out of the wide range of human requirements he has failed to instance a single article which could be manufactured here, but which is not being made here, and is at the same time being sold here at an unfair price. I suppose that if the old order of things had been continued and he were in the Parliament of South Australia, he would insist upon putting in its Patent Act a provision that the article must be manufactured in the State even if it were being manufactured well in “Victoria. Is it reasonable to suppose that an inventor or a manufacturer would not do the best he could for himself and for his customers ? Take any complicated machine - the linotype, for instance : Does anybody mean to tell me that if the American Linotype Company were compelled to put up a plant in Victoria, they could afford to sell the machines at the present price to Victorian customers ? Nothing of the kind. The price would be increased by at least 50 per cent. There is so limited a demand for such machines in Australia that the output would be small, and it would be impossible to secure any outside market. So that the Victorian user of that, or any other machine of the kind, would be compelled to pay a much larger price than he is now asked to pay.

Sir Malcolm McEacharn:

– Under paragraphb a machine could not be imported after four years.

Mr Kingston:

– How can the AttorneyGeneral certify that the absence of manufacture would be injurious to public trade?

Mr MAHON:

– The honorable and learned gentleman has, in clause 83, all that he and those who think with him can legitimately claim. If a commodity were not being sold at a reasonable price to the consumer a person could get an order from the Court authorizing its production in Australia. At this late stage of the session I hope that the Committee will concur in the action of the Senate. I may say that a few years ago, when this project was originally mooted, it did seem to me to wear a somewhat reasonable aspect, but on going more fully into the matter, and ascertaining the cost of producing, for a limited market, any of the complicated machinery which is being manufactured under patent, I came to the conclusion that it would be disadvantageous, not merely to the consumer, but to everybody connected with the industry, to establish that principle here. I hope that the course suggested by the Prime Minister will be adopted.

Mr. HIGGINS (Northern Melbourne). - The honorable member for Coolgardie has spoken under a misapprehension. The case of the linotype would not come under this clause at all. It is obvious that as the the market is so very limited, no AttorneyGeneral would dare to certify that he was satisfied that the breach was injurious to the trade and manufactures of the Commonwealth.

Sir Malcolm McEacharn:

– It might be commercially manufactured here.

Mr HIGGINS:

– The whole point of the honorable member for Coolgardie was that the linotype could not be commercially manufactured here, and that, therefore, the patent ought not to be revoked, but if he will look at the safeguards in the clause he will see that there is no such danger as he anticipated. It must be capable of being commercially manufactured.

Mr Mahon:

– What does “ commercially “ mean?

Mr HIGGINS:

– It must be capable of being manufactured so as to bring a commercial profit, and the Attorney-General would only take proceedings in the event of his being satisfied that the breach was injurious to the trade and manufacture of the Commonwealth. I defy any AttorneyGeneral to take proceedings in a case like that which has been mentioned. We must trust the Government as being desirous of keeping the confidence of the House and the country, but the honorable member for Coolgardie has in his mind one particular invention which could not come under the ban.

Sir Malcolm McEacharn:

– There are plenty of others which could.

Mr HIGGINS:

– I would vote against this proposal if any private person could annoy a patentee by bringing any proceeding against him. But the Attorney-General is the only person who could bring a proceeding in certain circumstances, and I am quite sure that he would be restrained by the desire to keep a reputation for common sense and common sanity. I should like this matter to go back to the Senate. At this stage of the session we have not so many Bills pending that we could not ask the Senate to reconsider the question. 1 think that on reconsideration it would be seen that there is a great deal in the provision. I hope that there will not be imported into the discussion any of the bitterness of the debates on the Tariff.

Mr CONROY:
Werriwa

– It is because I should like to see the Committee preserve a reputation for common sense and common sanity that I hope that it will not insist upon its amendment. We are asked to place in the hands of the AttorneyGeneral for the time being a weapon by which he could coerce the patentees of particular articles. Of course, if we place in his hands a weapon by which he could terrorize the owner of a patent and say - “ Unless you come to me and settle things I shall bring an action for the revocation of the patent,” well and good ; but no honorable Attorney-General would like to have such a power placed in his hands, because he would see the use which might be made of it against him, even under ordinary circumstances. A power like this ought to be conferred after full debate in Parliament. Are we going to hand over the powers of the House to an Attorney-General who might institute an action at law. which, in nineteen cases out of twenty, would be initiated before we should know anything about it. At the time it was inserted in the Bill one naturally thought that it was a monstrous provision, which could have been carried here only because honorable members had not thoroughly grasped the use which might be made of it as against individuals. This Parliament is, of course, one of the most honest that have ever existed ; but it is quite within the region of probability that we might have an Attorney-General who might use this power for his own advantage. In the State of New South Wales a recent Minister for Lands was compelled to retire from Australia, because of the manner in which he exercised in his own interests cer- . tain powers intrusted to him by Parliament.

Mr Kingston:

– The honorable and learned member refers to a corrupt exercise of power.

Mr CONROY:

– The Minister I refer to is generally believed to have been guilty of absolute corruption. A very strict AttorneyGeneral would decline to have a power like that contained in the clause intrusted to him. It is proposed to give to the AttorneyGeneral the power to determine whether action shall be taken for the revocation of patents. I say nothing about the dishonesty of such an arrangement, though, in my opinion, it is an infringement of the law of ! nations. We know what has happened in Canada under a similar provision. There one or twoMinisters have been absolutely open to corruption. Why should we give this power to a Minister ? Why should not Parliament deal with the matter itself? Even from the protectionist point of view, it must be wrong to deal with the matter in the way proposed. A clause like this will not benefit Australian inventors. So far as they are concerned, there are very few patented articles which can be sold in Australia in such numbers as to permit of their manufacture here. It is necessary, however, to give a monopoly to the patentees to encourage invention. There could not be a better illustration of the manner in which a departure from a sound principle like this carries with it its own condemnation than the effect upon American literature of the American departure from the paths of common honesty in the matter of copyright.

Mr Macdonald-Paterson:

– Things are different now.

Mr CONROY:

-Yes; but it was the opinion of men well qualified to judge that the absence of an honest copyright law was of the greatest disadvantage to American authors and to American literature. No Parliament should leave it to an Attorney-General to say whether an action at law should or should not be brought. These matters should be determined by Parliament after a special consideration. In my opinion, the Senate was well advised to disagree with the amendment. Of course, honorable members like the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, who argues that if a person pays £1 for an article which is worth only 15s. the country is all the better off, because 35s. is kept within its borders-

Mr Mauger:

– The honorable and learned member has misunderstood me. I never said anything like that.

Mr CONROY:

– The honorable member made use, on many occasions, of an argument to that effect in support of the protective policy of which he is so strong an advocate. In the same way, the honorable member for Gippsland has argued that if a farmer spends £1 upon raising a crop of wheat, and gets 10s. for it, the country is richer to the amount of 30s.

Mr A McLEAN:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · PROT

– No. The honorable and learned member is under quite a wrong impression.

Mr CONROY:

– We had those arguments used ad nauseam at one time, and I am glad that the teachings of honorable members on this side have given honorable members opposite an acquaintance with the rudimentary principles of political economy, so that they are now read)’ to repudiate their former statements. I was not present when the Committee inserted this clause, or I should have voted against it, but I trust that now an opportunity is afforded for reconsideration, we shall show ourselves jealous of our rights, and not hand them over to the lawyer who happens to be Attorney-General. No doubt the right honorable member for South Australia and the members of the late Ministry, which contained so many lawyers, are always ready to hand over powers to members of that profession, but I think that laymen take a different view. I shall vote against the retention of the clause.

Mr DEAKIN:

– I am sorry that we are engaged once more upon a discussion of the merits of the clause. Personally, I have not altered my opinion as to the wisdom of inserting the provision with the safeguards which surround it ; but as I have ascertained that it would be impossible to get the Senate to accept it, and as this Committee agreed to it by only a narrow majority, I hope that honorable members will not insist upon it. I am anxious to get the Semite to agree to the prior amendment, which I am told that they are likely to accept; but the probability is that if we insist upon this amendment -the Senate may not agree to either, and therefore the assent to the Bill will be delayed.

Mr SALMON:
Laanecoorie

– As I have not had an opportunity to speak on the measure before, I wish to say a few words now, though otherwise, after the statement of the Prime Minister, I should have said nothing. I am unable to grasp the mental attitude of the honorable and learned i member for Werriwa, who attributes incipient i insanity to those who are in favour of the clause. The clause was inserted by the Committee, after due consideration, as of vital importance. I feel that we should not do our duty to the people of the Commonwealth if we did not safeguard by every means in our power the future producers and manufacturers of the country. They are the men j to whom we must look for assurance of I the national welfare.

Mr Conroy:

– But it is the foreigner who pays the tax, according to the argument of protectionists.

Mr SALMON:

-The honorable and l learned member seems ready on all occasions ! to bolster up the foreigner rather than to assist his own people. His speech contained, I I presume, an outline of one of his election ! addresses ; but the remarks which he attriibuted to other honorable members were quite apocryphal. The Bill confers a distinct benefit not only upon persons residing in the Commonwealth, but upon persons living elsewhere. All we ask in regard to it is that persons living elsewhere should not be placed in a better position than our own people are in. In Germany the local inventor has a different status from a foreign inventor who desires to take advantage of the patent laws. A German inventor can obtain protection for his invention for a period of fifteen years for the expenditure of a few pounds, whereas an Australian inventor would have to pay over £250 for the same privilege. Even the most rabid freetrader does not desire that Australian inventors should be placed in a worse position in the Commonwealth than are those of other countries. It is our bounden duty to protect our own people. The honorable member for Coolgardie asked for an instance in which a patented article which could reasonably and commercially be manufactured here has not been made here, and the I reaper and binder was referred to. It I suited him, however, to deal with the manu- facture of linotypes, though it has been I shown that that would not .be affected by the clause.

Mr Brown:

– The Wolseley shearing machines were invented and patented here, but they had to be manufactured in England.

Mr SALMON:

– The clause would not apply to them if they could not be manufactured here. Reapers and binders have been patented throughout the Commonwealth, and have been sold at exorbitant prices by the importers, whereasif we had had patent laws requiring their manufacture here, we should have had an opportunity to discover the particular elements of value in the invention, and thelocal manufacture would have given employmenttoourown people, and enabled consumers to obtain the machines at reasonable prices. What has happened is that inVictoria a stimulus has been given to inventors, and a complete harvester has been perfected which is taking the place of the imported article to which I have referred. That is undoubtedly due to the protection which has been afforded to manufacturers and others within the State. The honorable and learned member for Werriwa said that it would be unsafe to invest the AttorneyGeneral with power to bring into operation such a clause. I have, however, more faith in the honour of the members of the legal profession than has the honorable and learned member, and I cannot conceive of such dreadful things as he has pictured happeningin connexion with the Commonwealth Government.

Question - That the amendment be not insisted on - put. The Committee, divided.

Ayes … … … 37

Noes … … … 13

Majority … … 24

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Motion agreed to.

Amendment inserting new clause 82b and paragraph 3 in the first schedule not insisted on.

Resolutions reported : report adopted.

page 6264

PAPER

Sir JOHN FORREST laid on the table the following paper -

Commonwealth Electoral Act, Regulations dated 19th October, 1903.

page 6264

RULES PUBLICATION BILL

Second Reading

Mr. DEAKIN (Ballarat- Minister for

External Affairs). - I move -

That the Bill be now read a second time.

With one or two slight alterations which were necessary to make it apply to our circumstances, this Bill is a copy of the English Act which was passed in 1893, and which has proved very useful. Perhaps the most important provision is that enabling the numerous sets of rules and regulations made under Acts of Parliament to be published and bound in a volume so that they can be conveniently handled and readily used. We have already passed nineteen Acts of Parliament under which rules or regulations may be made, and eleven sets have already been made. These are now only to be found by searching through the Commonwealth Government Gazette. This Bill would enable us to take these rules from the Gazette and publish them in handy volumes for the use of those interested. In addition to that, there is a provision which has been found very useful in England, to the effect that before rules are made they shall remain open for forty days in order to enable public bodies and others interested to suggest amendments by way of additions or omissions. Consequently, when Acts are passed as in the case of the Customs Tariff Act, particularly affecting the mercantile and manufacturing communities, any proposed rules and regulations must be subjected to public criticism before they are brought into operation. There is provision that in cases of emergency rules may be brought into immediate operation, but in the ordinary course the forty days’ notice will be given in the manner prescribed. These are the two purposes of this small measure, which is a very simple one, and which it is scarcely necessary to say bears no party complexion.

Mr HIGGINS:
Northern Melbourne

– I think this measure will prove very useful. At the same time, I scarcely see the necessity for it, except for the provision embodied in clause 3, that before rules are adopted forty days’ notice shall be given in order that they may be subjected to public criticism. It is highly expedient that such facilities should be afforded. As to the rest of the Bill, I think that all that is aimed at might be accomplished by means of departmental machinery. I notice that clause 5 prescribes that in cases in which rules are required to be published in the Gazette, it will be sufficient to announce in that publication the fact that the rules have been made and that copies may be obtained at certain places. In such case the Gazette could not be used as evidence as to the rules. Speaking from considerable experience in these matters, I know that it is very convenient to be able to produce the Gazette, which is always at hand as evidence of rules. Although it would no doubt be very convenient to have bound copies for use in offices such copies would not be evidence. I should like to know whether sub-clause 3 of clause 5 is copied from the English Act t

Mr Deakin:

– Yes.

Mr HIGGINS:

– Then I apprehend that in Imperial legislation there must be some provision which renders the printers’ copy of the rules evidence. I do not know whether there is any such provision in our Commonwealth law. Of course, if there is, to a large extent my objection will be met.

Mr Henry Willis:

– Is the Government Printer bound to keep a copy of the rules 1

Mr HIGGINS:

– All the rules must be printed by him.

Mr Henry Willis:

– But does he keep a copy of them t

Mr HIGGINS:

– I do not know ; I suppose he would. Whilst dealing with this matter I may mention that about four years ago a suggestion was made by the Victorian Law Commission, the adoption of which would prove of very great assistance to practitioners and the public. I think that all rules or orders which are made under Commonwealth legislation should be annually published in one volume.

Mr Deakin:

– That is intended.

Mr HIGGINS:

– Our Victorian rules are in a condition of “ irremediable chaos.”

One experiences the utmost trouble in finding them. I hold that every year there should be issued, in one volume, all the regulations and rules which are made under Acts of the Commonwealth. A person should be able to purchase these for an expenditure of ls. or 2s. I do not suggest that such a provision should be incorporated in an Act of Parliament ; but I ask the Prime Minister to make arrangements with the Government Printer whereby a volume of the character I have suggested shall be published annually.

Mr GLYNN:
South Australia

– As I understand it, almost the only object to be served by this Bill is that copies of rules made under our Acts may be made accessible to the public at a cheap price. Where no provision has been made for rules under an Act of Parliament they must lie upon the table of the House for a certain period in order that such of the public as are interested may be invited to criticise them before they become law. That being so, there is no reason why the Bill should not be allowed to pass. At the same time, I trust that the Prime Minister will adopt the suggestion of the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne that a method of proving the rules other than that which is mentioned in the Act, under which authority for their issue is given, ought to be provided in this measure. In South Australia a provision is in operation for the proof of by-laws–

Mr Kingston:

– That is a somewhat different system.

Mr GLYNN:

– At the same time it will be rather a pity if the result of this legislation is that we shall be able to obtain printed copies of statutory rules from the Government Printer, but shall lack the power to easily prove them

Mr KINGSTON:
South Australia

– I should like to explain to the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne that, although “irremediable chaos” is a South Australian expression, it applies only to the conditions which sometimes obtain in a neighbouring State. Does the Prime Minister contend that this is an urgent measure 1

Mr Deakin:

– We are now at the close of the third year of the Commonwealth’s existence.

Mr KINGSTON:

– Yes ; and it has not been shown that any necessity exists for the measure. It is presented for our consideration at the last moment-

Mr Deakin:

– At the present time we have eleven sets of regulations scattered throughout the Gazette.

Mr KINGSTON:

– Yes ; and they are very good ones, too. I think that by ordinary administration, all that this Bill aims at accomplishing could have been easily accomplished. I would point out to the Prime Minister that the measure contains no definition of the term “public body.” Is there such a definition in the Acts Interpretation Act ?

Mr Conroy:

– There is not.

Mr KINGSTON:

– If we intend to confine the right of suggestion to public bodies, we shall require a definition of that phrase. At the same time I am not at all satisfied that we should limit that right to public bodies. It is proposed to publish these statutory rules for public information. Therefore, I say - “ Let an3’ one who chooses to do so send in any suggestions which he may desire to offer.” It is quite possible that some of the suegestions may prove extremely valuable, even though they do not emanate from public bodies. In my judgment we should make the power of suggestion general. There is another provision here to which I desire to call the attention bf the honorable member for Melbourne. I know that he used to feel very strongly upon the propriety of some notice being given before any statutory rules could become operative - that he disliked provisions under which they could be brought into operation forthwith. Subclause 2 of clause 3 declares that these rules “ shall come into operation forthwith or at such time as is prescribed.” Under that provision power is given to bring rules into force at a later date than that upon which they are made by the rule-making authority, but power is also conferred to make them retrospective. I suggest that it would be better to make the clause read “ either forthwith or at such later time as is prescribed in the rules.” I confess that I am not impressed with the necessity which exists for the introduction of this measure. Certainly English legislation was recently enacted upon the subject, but I am satisfied that everything necessary could be accomplished by discreet administration. i

Mr CONROY:
Werriwa

– I have com- > pared this Bill with the English Act of : 1893, and I find that it is practically framed upon the lines of that measure. The House, therefore, need entertain very little hesitation in assenting to it. The English Act has been found very useful, and has been the means of obviating a very great deal of inconvenience and annoyance. The objection which has been urged by the right honorable member for South Australia, Mr. Kingston, in regard to the term “ public body “ is, to my mind, a sound one. In the Acts Interpretation Act that phrase is not defined. The measure, however, sets out -

In any Act, unless the contrary intention appears - (a) “ Person “ and “ party “ shall include a body politic or corporate, as well as an individual.

There is no necessity, therefore, to define the term “public body,” because we can achieve all that is required by substituting for it the word “person.” I shall support the second reading of the measure, especially in view of the fact that legislation upon similar lines has been found very beneficial in England. The Prime Minister has also assured us that the Crown Law officers consider this Bill a necessary one. They must entertain the opinion that it will prove extremely useful at the present time, otherwise they would scarcely ask Parliament at this late period of the session to assent to it.

Mr MAHON:
Coolgardie

– I think that honorable members should have been furnished with some explanation in addition to that which was given by the Prime Minister in support of this Bill. Certainly if its passage were a matter of urgency it should have been presented earlier. I confess that I was unable to obtain from the Prime Minister’s speech a fair idea of the scope of this measure. It seems to me that there is no reason whatever why its provisions could not have been incorporated in the High Court Procedure Bill.

Mr Kingston:

– It is intended to apply to other matters.

Mr Deakin:

– It will apply to all rules ‘ and regulations which are made under any Act of the Commonwealth.

Mr MAHON:

– It will apply not merely to courts, but to the Inter-State Commission when it is appointed, and to Government Departments. Is a Government Department to make statutory rules 1

Mr Deakin:

– Only when empowered to do so by Act.

Mr MAHON:

– I think that the period of forty days, which is prescribed in sub-clause 2 of clause 3, will be found inadequate so far as the remote portions of the Commonwealth areconcerned.

Mr Deakin:

– It says at least forty days.

Mr MAHON:

– The Gazette is usually published upon Friday. There is no mail from Melbourne to Western Australia until the following Wednesday, so that nearly two weeks must elapse between the issue of that publication and its arrival at Perth. Almost the same length of time must be absorbed in obtaining a reply. The public should be allowed a longer period in which to consider rules the effect of which may be very important to them. These are merely the observations which occur to a layman upon reading the Bill for the first time. Legal members will be better able to say whether this measure is absolutely required at the present time ; but I trust that the Prime Minister will consent to so amend clause 3 as to extend the time within which objections to draft rules may be lodged.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In Committee :

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2 (Definitions).

Mr. KINGSTON (South Australia).- I take it that the Prime Minister will prefer to substitute the word “ person “ for the words “public authority,” so that any person may obtain copies of the draft rules.

Mr Deakin:

– I have no objection to that proposal, and shall move the necessary amendment in clause 3.

Mr. HIGGINS (Northern Melbourne). - The honorable and learned member for Indi has called my attention to the question whether the word “ regulations “ used in this clause will include regulations made under this measure.

Mr Deakin:

– Surely.

Mr HIGGINS:

– The position will be rather awkward, because clause 6 provides that-

All such regulations shall be notified in the Gazette, and shall thereupon have the force of law.

That seems to except them from the general rule of regulations.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 3 -

  1. At least forty days before making any statutory rules to which this section applies, notice of the proposal . . . shall be published in the Gazette.
  2. During those forty days any public body may obtain copies of the draft rules on payment of the prescribed sum. . . . and on the expiration of those forty days the rules may be made . . . and shall come into operation forthwith or at such time as is prescribed in the rules.

Mr. MAHON (Coolgardie). - I suggest to the Prime Minister that it would be well to amend the clause by substituting the word “ sixty “ for the word “ forty “ wherever it occurs. That would give effect to the suggestion which I made during the second-reading debate.

Amendments (by Mr. Deakin) agreed to-

That the word ‘‘forty,” wherever occurring, be omitted, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ sixty.”

That the words “public body,” wherever occurring, be omitted, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ person.”

Mr DEAKIN:
Protectionist

– It has been suggested that the word “ later “ should be inserted after the word “such” in sub-clause 2, so that it will provide that the rules - shall come into operation forthwith, or at such “ later” time as is prescribed in the rules.

I do not think that the words “such time “ could be interpreted otherwise than as meaning such “later” time; but I have no objection to the suggested amendment. I move -

That after the word “such,” line 10, the word “ later” be inserted.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr ISAACS:
lndi

– I have not had the advantage of hearing the discussion, but I should like to know whether the Prime Minister feels satisfied that practical effect can be given to the words “ payment of the prescribed sum “ in sub-clause 2? The sum will not be prescribed until the rules are in force ; but this provision requires the prescribed sum to be paid before the rules are actually made.

Mr Glynn:

– It refers to the sum prescribed by regulations under this measure.

Mr ISAACS:

– A man is to obtain a copy of the proposed regulations before they are regulations?

Mr Deakin:

– Not of these regulations.

Mr ISAACS:

– If the Prime Minister has no doubt about the matter, I need say no more.

Mr. KINGSTON (South Australia).- It is provided in clause 2 that - “ Statutory rules “ means rules, regulations, or by-laws made under any Act which

  1. are made by the Governor-General

When this measure comes into force it will be an Act, and under it the GovernorGeneral will have power to make by-laws which will surely be governed by that Act. Then it is provided in clause 6 that -

The Governor-General may make regulations for carrying this Act into effect.

Those regulations will be made under this measure, and as the clause stands they will really be in operation before they are made.

Mr Deakin:

– There is a provision in sub-clause 2 of clause 6 which specially excepts regulations under this Act from the provision to which the right honorable member refers.

Mr KINGSTON:

– The provision as to payment of the prescribed fee relates to something preparatory to the making of the regulations. I do not like the provision as it stands, although of course there is power to waive it. As it stands, the clause means that draft copies of the rules shall be exhibited before they aremade. There ought to be an exception in respect of rules made under this measure.

Mr Deakin:

– The provision relates to “ Statutory rules to which this section applies.” Those words occur in sub-clause 1.

Mr KINGSTON:

– Will not the regulations which are intended to be made be “ regulations “ under an Act ?

Mr Deakin:

– Yes.

Mr KINGSTON:

– If so, this measure will apply to them, and will require their exhibition. How are the Government going to demand a fee for a copy of the rules, when the position is that they have not the power under the rules to make a prescribing regulation?

Mr DEAKIN:

– I am indebted to my honorable and learned friend for his suggestion, and in order to put the matter beyond doubt, I propose, when we come to clause 6, to move an amendment that will meet the difficulty.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 4 agreed to.

Clause 5 (Printing, numbering, and sale of Statutory Rules).

Mr DEAKIN:

– I think that the suggestion made a few minutes ago by the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne is a good one, and that it will be necessary to make an addition to this clause declaring that the statutory rules as published shall be received as evidence in all courts. I do not now propose to move an amendment, but shall have that done at a later stage.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 6 -

  1. The Governor-General may make regulations for carrying this Act into effect.
  2. All such regulations shall be notified in the Gazette, and shall thereupon have the force of law .
Mr DEAKIN:
Protectionist

– I move-

That after the word “and,” line 4, the words “ notwithstanding anything hereinbefore contained” be inserted.

Mr Glynn:

-Why is the amendment necessary?

Mr DEAKIN:

– In order to meet the question raised by the honorable and learned member for lndi.

Mr Glynn:

– This does not refer to statutory rules.

Mr DEAKIN:

– No.; but under the definition clause the term “statutoryrules” covers regulations made under any Act. When this measure becomes law it will be an Act, and these will therefore be regulations made under an Act. If we did not make this amendment, it might appear that we were arguing in a circle. It seems to me that it would be well to make this amendment.

Mr KINGSTON:
South Australia

– I wish to point out that the preceding clauses impose certain restrictions. No doubt the Prime Minister has given the matter consideration.

Mr Deakin:

– I have considered the matter since it was mentioned by the honorable and learned member for lndi.

Mr KINGSTON:

– I think it would be better to insert words providing that the preceding clauses shall not apply to regulations made under clause 6.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Bill reported with amendments ; report adopted.

Bill read a third time.

page 6268

SEAT OF GOVERNMENT BILL

In Committee (Consideration of Senate’s amendments) :

Clause 2 -

It is hereby determined that the seat of government of the Commonwealth shall be at or near

Tumut, and the territory granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth within which the seat of government shall be should contain an area of not less than one thousand square miles, and shall extend to the River Murray and the River Murrumbidgee.

Provided that the site shall be within a distance of twenty -five miles from Tumut, and at an altitude of not less than fifteen hundred feet above the sea.

Senate’s Amendments -

Leave out “ Tumut” and insert “Bombala.”

After “ miles,” line 6, leave out remainder of clause.

Mr DEAKIN:
Minister for External Affairs. · Ballarat · Protectionist

– Pending the arrival of the Minister in charge of this Bill, I may point out to honorable members that the measure has been altered in material particulars since it left this House. In the first place, clause 2, which, as it left this Chamber determined that the seat of Government should be at or near Tumut, has been amended by the substitution of the word “ Bombala “ for “ Tumut,” while other provisions have been omitted, so that it now reads -

It is hereby determined that the seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be at or near Bombala, and the territory granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth within which the seat of Government shall be should contain an area of not less than one thousand square miles.

The rest of the clause has been omitted. The third clause remains unamended. Consequently the Committee will see that the effect of the amendments of the Senate is to substitute Bombala for Tumut, to remove the requirement as to the extension to the Rivers Murray and Murrumbidgee, which, : of course, would be meaningless in the case I of Bombala, and also to remove the provision as to the altitude at which the site I is proposed to be situated. My colleague, I the Minister for Trade and Customs, will j explain the amendments in detail.

I Sir WILLIAM LYNE (Hume- Minister

J for Trade and Customs). - Considering the [ length of the debate which took place on the previous occasion, I do not think it is necessary at this stage to enter into details at any great length. The Senate has thought fit. to omit the word “Tumut,” which was inserted by the House of Representatives, and also to alter the latter portion of the same clause. Bombala has been substituted for Tumut. There was a long debate in the Senate in regard to the matter, and one statement made was to the effect that, if Bombala were selected as the Federal Capital site, and if a railway were constructed from Bairnsdale to Cooma, it would shorten the distance between Melbourne and Sydney by 100 miles. I. think that that statement was made in error, because I have obtained from the EngineerinChief to the Victorian Railways a statement of the distance that would be covered if any surveyed railway route were extended as described. Instead of the distance being 100 miles shorter, the facts are as shown in the following table : -

Bondi is in New South Wales, about 8 miles from Victorian border, but below the main range ; hence it was selected us junction for line, Bombala to Eden, to avoid two crossings of range. A railway from Bairnsdale to New South Wales border *viâ* Delegete River, or a railway from Bairnsdale to the border *viâ* Murrungower and Bendock, would be 100 miles further to Sydney than is the distance *viâ* Albury. In regard to the other two suggested lines - from Bairnsdale to the border *via.* Cann River and Bondi, and from Bairnsdale to the border *viâ* Mario, Cann River, and Bondi - they are practically the same lines - the distance would be even further. Those lines are surveyed to a place called Bondi, which is not at the summit of the range which it is necessary to cross before reaching Bombala. After getting to that point, it would be necessary to climb the balance of the range in order to reach Bombala. Upon the two first-mentioned lines to Bombala, the ruling grade is one in thirty, and the curves are five-chain curves. Any one who understands railways is aware that it is practically impossible to travel upon a 48½ railway round a five-chain curve at any speed worth mentioning. In the case of the other two suggested railways which I have mentioned, and which do not reach the top of the range, the grade is one in forty, and the curves are eight-chain curves. It would be possible to run at a fair rate of speed round those curves. I refer to those matters because I feel sure that there must have been some misapprehension in the minds of honorable senators who imagined that those railways wouldbe many miles shorter than the existing line from Melbourne to Sydney. {: .speaker-KRO} ##### Mr A McLEAN:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · PROT -- I understood that remark to mean that the distance would be shorter if there were a line to Sydney without going round to Bombala. {: #debate-17-s1 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Protectionist -- I listened to the speech of **Senator McGregor,** and he said that the railway would be 100 miles shorter if it were made *viâ* Bombala than is the distance by the existing route. I wish to correct that impression, and to show that the distance would be 100 miles longer instead of 100 miles shorter. There are some other matters to which I wish to refer, and I shall allude to them if necessary before the debate closes. I trust that it will not be a long debate, because the whole subject has been discussed at considerable length, and the position now resolves itself into this - whether we are in favour of Bombala or Tumut. If the majority of honorable members are in favour of Bombala, of course we shall agree with the Senate. If, as I hope will be the case, we re-insert the word "Tumut," with the conditions that were previously inserted, we shall send the Bill back to the Senate with a confirmation of i what we previously affirmed. I shall not detain the Committee longer at this stage, for the reasons which I have given. I move - >That the amendment omitting the word "Tumut" and inserting the word "Bombala" be disagreed to. Question put. The Committee divided. AYES: 30 NOES: 16 Majority ... ... 14 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Motion agreed to. Motion (by **Sir William** Lyne) proposed - That the amendment omitting all the words 1 after the word " miles," line 6, be disagreed to. {: #debate-17-s2 .speaker-K7X} ##### Mr CRUICKSHANK:
Gwydir -- Do I ' understand that the decision of the Com- ' mittee is final, and that there is no opportunity now to move a further amendment concerning the site *1* {: #debate-17-s3 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- No : the decision is final. {: .speaker-K7X} ##### Mr CRUICKSHANK: -- I had not an opportunity of being present when the site was decided upon. If I had been here, I should have voted for Lyndhurst. {: #debate-17-s4 .speaker-L2I} ##### Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- I agree with the amendment of the Senate in respect to the extension of the area of the Capital site to the Victorian border. I consider that a mistake was made by this House when that condition was inserted. Exception was taken to it by a number of honorable members, and I am glad that that portion of the Bill has been amended elsewhere. Therefore, I intend to divide the Committee and to support the suggestion made by the Senate. Though I was opposed to Bombala, I do not believe Tumut is the best site. {: #debate-17-s5 .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY:
Werriwa -- I trust that the Senate's amendment will be accepted. The provision should not have been inserted in the Bill in the first instance. {: .speaker-KRO} ##### Mr A McLEAN:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · PROT -- Why not ? {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- The chief reason is that under the Constitution we have no power to alter the limits or boundaries of any State, without the consent of that State, and another reason is that the Federal Capital must be within a State. However objectionable these sections of the Constitution may appeal-, they have to be observed. {: .speaker-KJI} ##### Mr Isaacs: -- How does the provision in the Bill offend against those sections of the Constitution ? {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- Because the Bill extends the Federal territory to the River Murray - to outside the boundary of the State. The Bill alters the boundary of the State, or, at all events, does not confine the Federal territory within the State. I am inclined to think that, to a large degree, the amendment extending the boundary of the territory was inserted for the purpose of expressing disapproval of the delay in introducing the Bill. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- It was inserted because honorable members believe in the Bill. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- If so, honorable members could not have taken a more efficacious way of showing disbelief. Every honorable member knew that the effect of the amendment would be to prevent the Bill being carried - that the Bill would be inoperative without the consent of the New South Wales Parliament. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- Only a second-rate lawyer would express that opinion. Lawyers are not justified in making any such presumption. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- It happens to be a presumption of law which amounts to a certainty. The honorable member for Bland speaks of "second-rate lawyers," but I am sure he cannot have heard the opinions expressed on the point by very many eminent members of the legal profession in New South Wales and Victoria. In my opinion, there should have been no such constitutional stipulation as to the locality of the Federal Capital. The Constitution might, of course, be altered ; but, at present, we are trying to do indirectly something which certainly we have no right to do. It was a perfect farce to put this provision in the Bill. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr Fisher: -- Does the honorable and learned member hold that to extend the Federal territory to the boundary would be an alteration of the boundary of the State? {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- I do ; the Commonwealth territory would become practically a new State, the control of which would pass from the former State. According to the Constitution the boundary of a State can be altered only with the consent of the Parliament of that State and the approval of the majority of the electors. {: .speaker-KRO} ##### Mr A McLEAN:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · PROT -- To take an area of 100 square miles would just as effectively alter the boundary of the State. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- If the 100 square miles were selected at the border, the boundary of the State would be altered or diminished, contrary to the Constitution. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- Except as provided in section 125. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- It cannot be said that "in the State" means on the boundary of the State. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- The boundary is not in any other State. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- But if a piece be cut out of a State at the border, the boundary is altered and the piece cut out is not within the State. {: .speaker-KRQ} ##### Mr Skene: -- Suppose the boundary of the Federal territory be extended to the sea ? {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- The boundary of NewSouth Wales extends three miles from the shore. {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDonald: -- But do the New South Wales people not claim the River Murray as being within their State *1* {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- We have provided in the Bill for something which ought to be a matter of negotiation, and which must be obnoxious to any Government with whom we have to deal. The word " should " has not altered the " stand and deliver " attitude, and it is unworthy of the Federal Parliament. It seems as though some honorable members are quite ignoring the terms of the Constitution. {: .speaker-KJI} ##### Mr Isaacs: -- How else has Parliament to express its views *1* {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- A compact was made as to where the Federal Capital should be ; and here I cannot help saying that, in my opinion, it ought to have been one of the great State capitals. Without the amendment, it would have been much easier to treat with the New South Wales Parliament, which, after all, has to consent to give up the territory. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- That is a matter of opinion. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- When honorable members declare that they do not intend to consent to the proposal of the Senate, simply because they desire that no decision shall be arrived at this session, I admit they have a good deal of reason on their side. Even those most in favour of having the question settled as soon as possible must admit that a moribund Parliament is hardly the body which ought to effect a settlement. I cannot help blaming the Government for the present position ; but if it conies to a vote I shall approve of the reasonable alteration suggested by the Senate. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The Senate has proposed to take land of almost the same area. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- Under the circumstances no conditions ought to be made as to the boundary. That is a matter for negotiation ; and the action of Parliament, if the provision be retained, must considerably hamper the Prime Minister in his dealings with the Government of New South Wales. {: #debate-17-s6 .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS:
Dalley -- Representatives of Victoria have asked for reasons for approving of the proposal of the Senate, and I shall give one or two reasons which may not, however, prove very palatable. The Prime Minister, who is not a New South Wales representative, said last week that he was sorry he had voted for the amendment to extend the Federal territory to the border, because such a proposal would tend to irritate the Government of New South Wales. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member cannot discuss the whole question, but must confine himself to the amendment of the Senate. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- I am giving reasons why we should agree to the amendment of the Senate, and one reason is that the Prime Minister himself has expressed approval of that amendment. In the Prime Minister's opinion the proposal to extend the boundary to the border would engender suspicion, and in that opinion I entirely concur. Then the Minister for Home Affairs apparently took a similar view, because he submitted a further amendment, limiting the site of the capital city to within twenty-five miles of Tumut. There was the admission that suspicion would be engendered in the minds of the people and of the Government of New South Wales, and that has been amply borne out by the action taken in the State Parliament of New South Wales since these suggestions were adopted. The language of an Act of Parliament is usually declaratory and mandatory, but the language of this Bill has been made that of recommendation, because we struck out the word " shall " and substituted for it the word ''should." . Why was this departure made from the ordinary terms of an Act of Parliament *1* It was simply because honorable members knew and admitted that the use of declaratory and mandatory language in these suggestions would offend the people and the Government of New South Wales. I have been told that polite language must be used in this Chamber, but we know that honorable members in this matter are bargaining as if for their very souls, and are bargaining very keenly. We know that an amendment, intended to extend the Federal territory to the River Murray has been adopted, not in the interests of New South Wales, or of the performance of the compact in the Constitution, but decidedly in the interests of Victoria. I voted against that amendment, and also against the proposal to extend the territory to the Murrumbidgee which was introduced as a set-off. If the Senate's amendment is not agreed to we shall have a Federal territory of about seventy miles by fourteen miles, and a patch will have been put upon Australia like the patch upon a schoolboy's nether garment, not in the interests of the Commonwealth, but unquestionably in the interests of Victoria. The idea in proposing that the Federal Capital should be in New South Wales was that that State should gain by it. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- What was she to gain *1* {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- There was so much to be gained, that people voted for the Commonwealth Bill who otherwise would not have voted for it. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- There was a majority in favour of Federation before that provision was inserted in the Commonwealth Bill. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- It was because there was not the statutory majority in New South Wales in favour of the Commonwealth Bill that the provision was inserted. On the second occasion, when the Commonwealth Bill provided that the Capital should be in New South Wales, it was carried in that State. If, after Federation, *we* are so soon to have disclosed a policy of delay or a policy of irritation of the Government and people of New South Wales, which is the same thing, for both work in the same direction-- {: .speaker-KJI} ##### Mr Isaacs: -- Why should New South Wales be irritated ? {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- She is irritated, and the honorable and learned member knows it. {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDonald: -- Because interested politicians have made her so. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- Because the people of New South Wales know that, if the territory is to be brought to the border as proposed, the Capital might just as well be in Albury so far as New South Wales is concerned. {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDonald: -- The reason why they do not want it at Bombala is that there it would come into competition with the port of Sydney. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- New South Wales will require all her representatives to vote in connexion with this matter ; but, whether this amendment is carried or not, the question will not be settled now. Other measures may be resorted to under the Constitution, and, with a full sense of the responsibility of my utterances, I say that, if the public have the impression created in their minds that there is an attempt on the part of members of the Federal Parliament to jostle them or humbug them, the people of New South Wales will be found fighting for separation from the Commonwealth at no distant date. That is the feeling in New South Wales. When I am asked for reasons I give my reasons, and the most powerful one is that the Prime Minister himself knew that these suggestions would irritate New South Wales and engender suspicion, and the Minister for Home Affairs, in an endeavor to allay that suspicion, submitted an amendment, declaring that the Federal Capital should be within twenty-five miles of Tumut. I agree with the amendment made by the Senate. I believe that these fancy suggestions have been agreed to only with a desire to bring about delay in the first place, and unquestionably they tend to irritate New South Wales. {: #debate-17-s7 .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON:
Bland -- I should be sorry indeed to believe that the honorable member for Dalley was voicing the feeling of the people of New South Wales in regard to this Federal Capital. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- The honorable member will not get many New South Wales representatives to cheer that. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- No ; but Victorians are cheering it. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- 1 do not suppose that many Sydney men will cheer it, but I do not know that Sydney is New South Wales. God help New South Wales if her people are to be animated by any such paltry spirit as that ascribed to them by the honorable member for Dalley. The honorable member has said that New South Wales subscribed to Federation merely because she was offered a paltry material bribe in the gain to be derived from having the Federal Capital within her borders. I refuse to believe that any such motive actuated the people of New South Wales in agreeing to Federation. {: .speaker-L2I} ##### Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- It is a part of the contract. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- It is because it is a part of the contract that I am as strongly in favour of having the provision carried out as is any other honorable member, but I refuse to believe that it had any material influence in securing a majority of New South Wales votes in favour of the Commonwealth Bill. I was one of those who voted against that Bill on each occasion when it was before the people, but I never heard the argument with respect to the Federal Capital used outside of Sydney. At all events, it had no effect outside of that city. If politicians in New South Wales are irritated by these suggestions, they are irritated by a matter which can have but very small effect so far as the interests of New South Wales are concerned. In the first place , it must be remembered that in the clause carried by this House itis provided that the Capital must not be more than twentyfive miles from Tumut. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- Why was that condition insisted upon ? {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- To insure that the Federal Capital site should be in the vicinity of Tumut. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- Is not that a very narrow view for a broad-minded representative to take? {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- I admit that where we are dealing with over suspicious persons it is necessary that we should make it perfectly clear that our intentions are strictly honorable. Therefore, if there are any number of people who assert that by taking the Federal territory as distinguished from the Capital site itself down to the River Murray, we are taking the Federal Capital in the same direction, it is certainly wise to insist upon this restriction fixing the Federal Capital within twenty -five miles from Tumut. At all events, the condition is inserted in the clause, and it is therefore distinctly provided that the Federal Capital shall be within New South Wales territory, and at least thirty miles on the New SouthWales side of the border. I feel that it is not at all unfair on the part of representatives of other States to ask as a concession that there shall be a right of way into the Federal territory and to the Federal Capital independently of any single State. That is not an unfair request to make. {: .speaker-KJI} ##### Mr Isaacs: -- A means of access ? {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- A means of access or a right of way, and so long as that only is asked for I refuse to believe that the people of New South Wales as a body will raise any very great objection to such a concession. {: .speaker-KYR} ##### Mr Kirwan: -- On that ground the honorable member should have voted for Bombala, which has a port. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- I say that the right of way will be sufficiently attained by access from the Victorian side of the border. It is not necessary to fix the Capital at Bombala to insure a right of way. I do not desire to discuss Bombala, as I have a number of reasons against the selection of that site, which the honorable member for Kalgoorlie would not be likely to controvert. The people of New South Wales certainly do desire that the Capital shall be within the borders of their own State, not with a view to any material gain, but in order that such honour as attaches to the location of the Federal Capital and the Federal territory should be associated with the mother State. That will be secured by the decision arrived at by this House if it is afterwards given effect to in another place. The question of material gain is not one which largely influenced the people of New South Wales. People in New South Wales, in districts bordering upon the Federal territory, will have the benefit, to some extent, of Federal expenditure. When we are dealing with an area of 1,000 square miles, fifty miles by twenty miles, or thirty-two miles, by thirtytwo miles, it must be admitted that the expenditure of a large sum of money in the development of that area, whether by the Federal Government or by private enterprise encouraged by the Federal Government, will confer some benefit upon the surrounding territory of New South Wales. If the Federal Capital be situated near Tumut, even though a means of access from Victoria is given, it will for many years draw all its supplies from Sydney, and will send whatever it has to export in the same direction. From that point of view, Sydney has nothing to lose by this suggestion, and I have every confidence that when the people of New South Wales are appealed to upon this question they will be quite willing to grant the reasonable and just concession asked for by the poople of the more southerly States, that access should be given to the Federal territory from more than one State. {: #debate-17-s8 .speaker-KYR} ##### Mr KIRWAN:
Kalgoorlie. -- I sincerely trust that the Committee will strike out the words proposing that the Federal territory should be extended to the Rivers Murray and Murrumbidgee. I am not influenced in this matter by any parochial motives or any motives of concern for the interests of Victoria or New South Wales. I am influenced purely by Australian motives. I cannot perceive the consistency of any honorable member who uses the argument of the right-of-way as a reason why the Federal territory should be extended to any particular river. I believe that the argument founded upon the necessity for a right-of-way should be applied in the selection of a Federal Capital ; but the right-of-way should be given to the people of more than one or two States. The Federal Capital should be equally open to all the States of the Commonwealth, and in considering the necessity for a right-of-way we should consider not merely the interests of Victoria, but the interests of the other States - of Queensland, South Australia, West Australia, and Tasmania. The argument founded upon the necessity for a rightofway comes very badly indeed from those who have voted for the selection of a site for the Federal Capital in an inland district where there can really be no rightofway. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- We could not vote for a place that has only a right-of-way to recommend it. {: .speaker-KYR} ##### Mr KIRWAN: -- There are many other arguments which might be urged in favour of Bombala, but I am pointing out that the right-of-way argument can be applied with greater force to the selection of Bombala than to the selection of any other site suggested. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- It is the only argument Bombala had. {: .speaker-KYR} ##### Mr KIRWAN: -- Many other arguments in favour of Bombala were very ably urged by the Minister for Defence, the honorable member for Cowper, and other honorable members, and in voting for Bombala I was personally interested in voting for what I believed to be the best site in the whole of Australia. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- That is true of all of us, I hope. {: .speaker-KYR} ##### Mr KIRWAN: -The reason why I am against this proposal to extend the Federal territory to the Murrumbidgee or Murray Rivers is that we have no information on the point. If both Houses of the Federal Parliament are to decide upon Tumut as the site for the Federal Capital our next step should be to have a thorough investigation as to the territory which should be acquired. We requireinformation as to the area of Crown land that will be available. It is utterly absurd for this House to propose now to define the limits of the Federal territory. It is all very well for the honorable member for Bland, who. is thoroughly acquainted with the country, to express himself in favour of some particular area. But it is not reasonable that he should ask other honorable members, who like myself, know nothing whatever about the country, to vote upon the question without knowledge. In the course of his various speeches the honorable member has brought forward some very good reasons why the Federal territory should be extended to the Murray. Other honorable members made out a strong case for the extension of the territory to the Murrumbidgee. If those honorable members believe that their case is so strong, why are they not prepared to leave the settlement of the question to a commission, and to those who will have eventually to define the Federal territory ? We should not be asked to vote ignorantly upon so important a question. If we are to have the Federal territory extending from the Murrumbidgee to the Murray, and we are to acquire an area of only 1,000 square miles, we shall have a long and narrow strip of country. That is not my idea of what the Federal territory ought to be, nor is it the idea of a majority of members of this House. Several honorable members object to a small area of 100 square miles on that ground, because they say the unearned increment which will accrue to the land adjoining the Federal territory will not benefit the Commonwealth. But that argument will apply with even greater force to a ribbon strip. If we are to have a ribbon strip of territory, extending from the Murray to the Murrumbidgee, the lands bordering it will increase in value, and the very object that a majority of honorable members had in vie w in ad voca ting alarge area w ill be defeated . I trust honorable members will leave this question of defining the boundaries of the Federal territory to be decided by men who will be in possession of all the facts. If there ever was an occasion when we required information, it is in connexion with a matter of this kind. I shall certainly vote with the honorable member for Macquarie in the endeavour to have these words struck out. {: #debate-17-s9 .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:
Minister for Defence · EdenMonaro · Protectionist -- I should like to call the attention of the honorable member to the fact that if he carries out his proposal he will destroy what was done by theMinister for Home Affairs in providing that we should not go into the valley of Tumut, with an elevation of 1,000 feet, but that we should make provision for an altitude of 1,500 feet, and also that we should get some distance away from Tumut. {: .speaker-L2I} ##### Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- I shall move an amendment, omitting from the motion of disagreement, the words " should extend to the River Murray and the River Mumimbidgee." {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- It seems to me that it would be very unwise for honorable members to make piecemeal of the clause in the way proposed. I think it is generally admitted, even by the Minister for Trade and Customs - after the visit paid by senators and himself to Tumut on the occasion of opening the railway - that it would be nothing less than a calamity to place the Federal Capital at that place. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Nonsense. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- That is generally admitted. One honorable member who has' been a redoubtable advocate of that site, admits that he has gone back to his first love, Batlow. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable gentleman is not in order in discussing the question of sites. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- Surely, sir, I shall be in order in showing that a great deal of the country within twenty-five miles of Tumut, is unfit for the purpose of a Federal Capital. The elevation of Tumut itself is 1,050 feet, and the House decided to put in a safeguard against being housed there. Practical demonstration has since shown the wisdom of its action. The honorable member for Macquarie, if he gained his purpose, would leave out that most desirable provision. It is necessary to obtain further information on this subject, because, so far, no report on that country has been furnished. Water which may run on to the site at an altitude of 1,050 feet may require to be pumped to reach an altitude of 1,500 feet. We ought to retain the amendment which was inserted at the instance of the Minister for Home Affairs. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- Would not that come within an area of 100 square miles? {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- No. Surely the honorable member knows that an area of 100 square miles will not extend to a point twenty-five miles from Tumut? {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- But the provision for 1,000 square miles is still in the clause. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- We know very well that the honorable member is opposed to that provision. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- The clause says " at or near Tumut," and that is too close. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- Even those honorable members who voted for the- selection of Tumut the other night admit now that it would be disastrous to adhere to that decision. They now say that they could not live in Tumut, and consequently there is a necessity for retaining this provision. {: .speaker-KPX} ##### Mr Sawers: -- Why did they not vote in that way to-night? {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- I shall have an opportunity by-and-by to give an analysis of to-night's vote. Had honorable members not sat in the . galleries ; had honorable members not been paired against honorable members who are hundreds of miles away ; had a number of other honorable members who are hundreds of miles away been paired; the voting would have been very different. I should not be in order in giving an analysis of the voting at this stage, but when the House resumes I intend to give some figures which will show how Bombala would have polled in a full House. {: .speaker-KED} ##### Mr Kennedy: -- This week *1* Mi-. AUSTIN CHAPMAN.- The honorable member can please himself as to whether he remains or not. I propose to give the information in my possession, because I think that it ought to be given. I shall support the provision for the extension of the Federal territory to the Murray ; because I hold that wherever the seat of government may be located, there ought to be a right-of-way to two different States. {: .speaker-KYR} ##### Mr Kirwan: -- To the Murrumbidgee as well as the Murray ? {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- The clause is absurd enough as it is. We all know that it is impossible to have a strip of that kind. I am supporting the clause as it stands in fair play to the State which is so much maligned. It is said that every Victorian who votes for Bombala, gives a dishonest, selfish vote. How is it that the representatives from other States - men who have no axe to grind, and who cannot be accused of being partial, except to the extent of favouring the best site - are not accused of giving a dishonest vote ? The analysis to which I have referred, shows that if the Victorians had voted as solidly as the New South Welshmen Bombala would have won by nine votes. But we are not discussing that question, now. In my opinion it . would be very dangerous to accept the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Macquarie, even in a modified form. We ought to leave open the question of extending the Federal territory to the two rivers, if only for the reason that we court further examination of the country. A thorough inquiry must now be made. If those words were struck out, by some peculiar process it might be possible to land us in Tumut. Mr.Kirwan. - When the honorable member says that an inquiry is necessary why does he wish to define the territory ? {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- I take it that if we define the territory as the country extending to the Murrumbidgee on the north, and to the Murray on the south, a search will be made to see if it contains a suitable site. I am satisfied that there is not a suitable site close to Tumut, and so I am in favour of going further afield in our search. {: .speaker-KDD} ##### Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- When we ask for an area of 1,000 square miles bounded on one side by the Murrumbidgee and on the other by the Murray, we need no further definition. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- I admit that the provision looks fairly absurd as it is ; but it is only in keeping with the Tumut site. {: .speaker-KYR} ##### Mr Kirwan: -- The honorable gentleman wishes to reduce the whole thing to an absurdity. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- I do not wish that construction to be put on my action. I hold that it would be absurd to have the Federal Capital at Tumut; therefore I wish to secure the closest investigation which can be obtained, and this should be conceded, if only in fair play to Victoria. Wherever the site may be fixed in that locality access ought to be provided to both States. I agree with the honorable member forBland that the people of New South Wales do not look upon the fixing of the Federal Capital in some particular spot as their price for Federation. The people of Sydney do not constitute the people of New South Wales, who are hopeful that the best spot, whether it is on the border or in the centre of the State, will be selected. Holding that a further inquiry should be made, and believing that time will fight on the side of Bombala, I propose, in fair play to Victoria, to leave this part of the clause as it is. **Mr. SYDNEY** SMITH (Macquarie).I move - >That the motion be amended by the addition of the following words : - "Except as to the omission of the words 'and shall extend to the River Murray and the River Murrumbidgee.' to which they agree." I do not think that we should retain a provision which would enable the Federal territory to be extended to the River Murray. {: .speaker-KUF} ##### Mr Spence: -- Taking a strip a mile or half-a-mile wide. {: #debate-17-s10 .speaker-L2I} ##### Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- I do not disagree with the provision in regard to the I altitude of the site, because I think that even an altitude of 1,500 feet is not sufficient. We ought to select a much higher place for the seat of government in order to get a cool climate. The ideal place is Lyndhurst, although, no doubt, the Minister for Defence will say that it is Bombala. At the recent ballot a majority of the No. 1 votes were cast in favour of Lyndhurst. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr Austin Chapman: -- Which place topped the poll in the first ballot? {: #debate-17-s11 .speaker-L2I} ##### Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- Bombala topped the poll in the first ballot, but it was not in the running afterwards. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr Austin Chapman: -- Because the combination was too strong. {: .speaker-L2I} ##### Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- I do not wish to go into that question at this stage, and I hope that honorable members will agree to my amendment to the motion. {: #debate-17-s12 .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr THOMSON:
North Sydney -- I quite see that the amendment of the Senate is simply a consequential one, and that we have nothing before us to show its opinion as to these proposals in connexion with Tumut. At the same time, I would only repeat my protest against the insertion, at this stage, of these conditions, whether they favour New South Wales or Victoria. If anything was needed to make evident the absurdity of those conditions, it was the speech of the Minister for Defence. He showed clearly how ridiculous the proposition is, and no doubt it is receiving his support, notwithstanding all its ridiculousness, in the hope that delay may ensue, and something arise to favour another bite. What are these provisions that we have to consider ? One is that the Federal territory should be a narrow strip extending from the Murray to the Murrumbidgee, and cutting off the State territory on either side. It may be found, when fuller information is available, that that proposal is altogether undesirable, and that we can give, in another way, that access from Victoria, to which I, for one, do not object. I quite agree that an adjoining State should be given every facility for getting railway communication with the Federal Capital. With regard to the question of altitude, there might be a desirable site at an elevation of 1,400 feet, and a much less desirable site at an elevation of 1,500 feet. Yet it is suggested by our proposal that the less desirable site should be selected. Then we have the provision for a radius of twenty-five miles from Tumut proposed, simply to salve the feeling of New South Wales. A site twenty-six miles distant from Tumut might be much more desirable than a site within the radius of twenty-five miles. All this shows the absurdity of our acting in the dark, and seeking light after we have acted. Our first step should be to enter into negotiations through Ministers, who know the views of honorable members generally. Let them conduct the negotiations with a desire to meet the views of this Parliament, and, at the same time, with a desire, as far as possible, to fall in with the views of New South Wales, and then come down with a proposal. By taking this course we should not abandon our rights. AVe should have the means of exercising our rights when we were supplied with all the necessary information. We are trying to do something when we know nothing. This is most undesirable, and the exhibition of feeling which has been provoked is calculated to breed discontent and annoyance, and to hamper our negotiations with the Government of New South Wales. For these reasons I objected to the amendments made .in the Bill when it was last before us, and I again protest against them. I think that they were entirely wrong. As to the question of access to the Federal territory from the various States, whilst every convenience in the way of railway communication should be given, it is almost misreading the intention of the Constitution to endeavour to provide for an absolutely separate territory. The Federal territory, wherever it may be planted, will be, not only a part of the State in which it is placed, but a part of the Commonwealth. The fact that it is entirely surrounded by the territory of a State, or by the territory of two or more States, will not prevent it from complying with the spirit of the Constitution. It will be the possession, not of a State, but of the whole people of Australia. To say that, if it will be impossible to get to it without going over the soil of a State, or of other parts of Australia, it will not fulfil the conditions of the Constitution, is to treat the States as though they were foreign countries, and the people of the States as aliens. It is as if we were to say that we are afraid of them, and so much object to mix with them that we are unwilling to cross a yard of their territory if we can avoid doing so. Surely no honorable member holds those views. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- That is the provincial opinion. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr THOMSON: -- It would be a provincial opinion. The Federal Capital will be the capital, not of the State, but of Australia. In going through the territory of a State or States to reach it, we shall be showing that we do not regard the people of the State as separate but as members of the one Commonwealth. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- Does the honorable member think that New South Wales would allow a Victorian railway to d6 extended to the Federal Capital if necessary ? {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr THOMSON: -- I do not see what right a Victorian railway would have to enter New South Wales. If the honorable and learned member means a railway in New South Wales connecting with a Victorian railway, then, speaking for myself - and I am not able to speak for the whole State - I should be prepared to allow a connexion to be made from a Victorian railway terminus at the border to the Capital by the most direct route possible. I would allow the Victorian railways to connect with our own railways at any point on the border. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr Glynn: -- The Commonwealth could in spite of New South Wales construct such a line as the honorable and learned member for Corin refers to. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr THOMSON: -- Yes. I am not one of those who wish to drive traffic in a direction in which it does not naturally go. {: .speaker-K4P} ##### Mr WINTER COOKE:
WANNON, VICTORIA · FT -Cooke. - Both New South Wales and Victoria have tried to do so in the past. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr THOMSON: -- Yes ; but personally I am against such a policy, and now that we have Federation I hope we shall see a difference in this respect in the action of all the States. {: .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr Fowler: -- There are not many signs of it yet. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr THOMSON: -- Not yet, perhaps; but I hope that a better spirit will arise, lt is against my principles, and those of every free-trader, that traffic should be diverted into routes which it is not profitable for it 1 to follow. Something has been said about the members for Sydney. I am not exactly a Sydney representative, though I am practically one. In my opinion most of the people of Sydney who asked for the Capital, just as the country people of New South Wales who asked for it, were not actuated very greatly by the desire to obtain a material advantage. Most of them were sensible enough to see that very little material advantage is to be obtained by having the Federal Capital in New South Wales. They were animated more by sentiment. They felt that New SouthWales, as the oldest State - the State containing the original capital of Australia, and the State having the largest population - should be paid the compliment of being chosen as the State in which the ! Federal Capital should be.. Many people who had voted against the first Bill were satisfied with the concession which had been ; given in regard to the location of the Capital, and voted for the second Bill. I am not now debating the desirability of the provisions which have been inserted in this Bill.We cannot do that now, because we are absolutely ignorant of the conditions. The proper time to raise these questions will be during the negotiations between this Government and that of the State J of New SouthWales, and the proper time to decide them will be when the matter is remitted to us, and we can deal with it after inquiry, and when we are in possession of full knowledge and information. {: #debate-17-s13 .speaker-KDD} ##### Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- I thoroughly indorse the remarks of the honorable member for North Sydney. His address was an extremely reasonable and an eminently honest one. It seems to me that there has been an effort to make it appear that the people of New South Wales are contending for something to which they are not entitled. That accusation cannot be rightly made against them or their representatives any more than the reverse could truthfully be said of the people of Melbourne and their representatives. All we desire is the reasonable fulfilment of the compact contained in the Constitution. To my mind, the amendments made in the clause largely interfere with the contitutional rights of New South Wales. I agree with the honorable member for Bland that if we could acquire 1,000 squaremiles for the Commonwealth territory in a suitable situation it would be wise and right for us to do so, but it is eminently wrong and opposed to the Constitution to insert in the Bill a provision demanding the surrender of that area by New South Wales. The argument of the honorable and learned member forWerriwa, unfortunately, does not apply at the present time, because the question of the area of the Federal territory is not before us ; but the other provisions in the clause are still more absurd. As has been pointed out, if we determine that the Federal territory shall extend from the Murrumbidgee to the Murray River, taking in Tumut, and shall contain 1,000 square miles, we practically define its boundaries, though hardly a man in the Chamber knows anything of the value of a square mile of it. In coming to this determination we are acting in the dark. At the present time, of course, we have nothing to do with the provision in regard to the area of the territory. I do not desire that it shall be thought that I am of opinion that the Federal territory should not contain 1,000 square miles, or that New South Wales would not give up so large an area. My point is that the Constitution prevents the Federal Parliament from altering the boundaries of any State without the consent of that State, and that therefore we cannot enact a measure, the effect of which would be to do that. In the same way we should be doing wrong in determining that the Federal territory shall be bounded by the Murrumbidgee and the Murray. {: .speaker-KJI} ##### Mr Isaacs: -- The Commonwealth cannot alter the boundaries of a State without the consent of that State. {: .speaker-KDD} ##### Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- That is so, and therefore we have no right to place on the statute-book an enactment, the effect of which, if it were not invalid, would be to do that. To take a piece out of the middle of it would be to alter the boundaries of the State, because it would' then have not only an outside boundary but an inside boundary as well. From what I know of the people and the legislators of New South Wales, I feel certain that they will meet us in a reasonable and liberal spirit, and give us as much land as we require for our purpose; but we are manifestly wrong in demanding territory of the State . when we have no constitutional power to do so. The amendment to which we are asked to disagree is consequential upon the previous amendment. The Murrumbidgee and Murray Rivers, while they might form the boundaries of the Tumut site, could not form the boundaries of the Bombalasite. But I think that we were wrong in the first instance in making the amendment, and, therefore, I shall support the attempt to get rid of it. I regard the amendment as unjustifiable and ridiculous. I agree with the honorable member for North Sydney that before we lay down any such conditions as those inserted in the Rill we should know more of the country we are asked to take. I should like to see a large area chosen, but the Federal territory ought not to consist of a long narrow strip, on each side of which would be State lands whose owners would gain the unearned increment created by the expenditure of the Commonwealth. A compact square territory would better suit our purposes. I think we shall do wisely in reversing our previous decision, and striking out all these provisions. I know that the measure will come to nothing, and that we shall have to go into the whole question again. To my mind there are sites which have not received justice from any one, not even the Commissioners. I allude particularly to, the Queanbeyan site, which, to my mind, is one of the best. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I ask the honorable member not to discuss the proposed sites. {: .speaker-KDD} ##### Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- I shall not do so until another opportunity is afforded. I regret that the action of the two Chambers will prevent the settlement of the question this session. {: #debate-17-s14 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I was very much amused this afternoon to hear the views expressed by certain representatives of New South Wales, particularly the honorable member for Bland and the Minister for Defence. They both took advantage of the opportunity to gird again, as they have done so often before, at Sydney and Sydney interests. They were careful to tell us that Sydney is not New South Wales. That is a very hackneyed expression, but it is absurd to keep on reiterating it, because it means nothing at all. Those honorable members who are always using it live on the confines of another State than New South Wales. These honorable members have lived upon the cry - " Country versus city." {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The electorate of the honorable member for Bland is not on the border of New South Wales. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- No ; but it is on the border of the electorate which embraces the Tumut site. I believe that the River Mumimbidgee is the dividing line between the electorate of the honorable member for Bland and that represented by the Minister for Trade and Customs, and, of course, when the honorable member for Bland opens his mouth, he speaks for New South Wales. Those honorable members who are constantly girding at Sydney are particularly interested in one or other of the proposed sites. That cannot be said of any of the Sydney representatives. They are hundreds of miles away from any of the sites. {: .speaker-KPM} ##### Mr McCay: -- But they are nearer to some than to others. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I am a very long way from any of them. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The honorable member's district is not very far from the Lyndhurst site. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Not more than about seventy miles. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The distance is only about thirty miles. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- At all events, an electorate other than that in which the Lyndhurst site is situated intervenes. Of course I am interested in the Lyndhurst site, and should like to see it chosen, because I think that no other has the same potentialities of greatness or the same claims upon other grounds. I am not here, however, to advocate any particular site, now that the time for that has passed ; but to defend the State of New South Wales against the constant aspersions of honorable members who ought upon all occasions to stand up for her. {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr Kingston: -- Is New South Wales divided against herself! {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Unhappily she is; and the anomaly is that whilst New South Wales is entitled to have the capital within her borders, Victoria is in the happy position of being able to dictate exactly where the Federal Capital shall be situated. {: .speaker-KJI} ##### Mr Isaacs: -- Does the honorable member wish that Victoria should have no voice in the matter 1 {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Certainly not. I do not complain of the unity of the Victorians. I speak rather in commendation of their attitude. Victoria presents an object lesson to New South Wales. If the representatives of New South Wales were as solid upon the capital question as are the representatives of Victoria, a satisfactory decision would be arrived at within a very short time. {: .speaker-KJI} ##### Mr Isaacs: -- Unfortunately we are not solid. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The Victorian representatives are solid upon one point, namely, that the Federal Capital shall be situated as close as possible to their own border. {: .speaker-KRQ} ##### Mr Skene: -- Albury is closer than Tumut. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- No doubt ; but the representatives of Victoria thought that Albury had no chance, and therefore voted for Tumut. If they had considered that Albury was in the running, they would have voted *en bloc* for it. But as matters stand, they have given their unanimous support to Tumut under conditions which would make it practically a border site. {: .speaker-KPM} ##### Mr McCay: -- Does not the honorable member know that upon the ballot the representatives of New South Wales were snore solid for Lyndhurst than were the Victorians in regard to any other site ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- That may be ; but that does not affect the point that the Victorian representatives have stood together in their efforts to locate the Federal "Capital upon the border. {: .speaker-KPM} ##### Mr McCay: -- The representatives of New South Wales were just as solid in the opposite direction. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Naturally, and for a good constitutional reason. Honorable members who quarrel with the representatives of New South Wales for desiring to have the capital situated away from the border, should direct their resentment against their representative at the Premiers' Conference, who granted a supposedly solid concession to New South Wales. Many of the arguments used to-day would have been more appropriate if they had been employed when the location of the Capital was being discussed at the Premiers' Conference. The -question for our consideration now is that of honouring the bond which was made with New South Wales. Honorable members have shown a strange want of appreciation of the terms of the compact, and a strange want of sympathy with the spirit of it. The honorable member for Bland said that lie did not believe that the question of the Capital site made any difference in the result of the referendum in New South Wales. The facts, however, are all against him, and the absurdity of his statement is shown by the difference in voting at the referenda. At the Premiers' Conference no substantial amendment was made in the Commonwealth Bill beyond the fixing of the Capital site in New South Wales, and there fore it may fairly be inferred that that con sion to New South Wales caused a considerable' access to the ranks of the supporters of the measure. {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr Kingston: -- An important amendment was made with regard to the majority required at a joint sitting of the two Houses. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I had forgotten that that important amendment was inserted; but I venture to say that unless the concession with regard to the Capital had been made, the Constitution would not have been accepted. I assert positively that if a provision had been inserted in the Bill that the Capital should be situated on the border of New South 'Wales and Victoria, the measure would have met with overwhelming defeat. {: .speaker-KUF} ##### Mr Spence: -- Not with the then Premier of New South Wales supporting it. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- That may be very complimentary to the right honorable and learned member for East Sydney, who . was then Premier of New South Wales ; and rightly so. But I contend that notwithstanding his great influence the Constitution would have been rejected but for the concession regarding the Capital site. Honorable members, in seeking to defeat the aspirations of representatives of New South Wales are acting contrary to the spirit of the compact entered into at the Premiers' Conference. {: .speaker-KPM} ##### Mr McCay: -- Does the honorable member suggest that a large number of additional votes were gained for the Bill at the second referendum? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Unquestionably. {: .speaker-KPM} ##### Mr McCay: -- The figures do not bear out that statement. At the first referendum 72,000 votes were cast for the Bill, and 68,000 against it. At the second referendum the figures were 106,000 as against 84,000, showing a great increase on both sides. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I say deliberately that the concession of the Capital made all the difference in the voting. I do not agree with the honorable member for North Sydney that the Capital question was a purely sentimental matter. The concession was intended to be a very substantial one, and was regarded as some set-off against the heavy extra taxation to which the people would have to submit. {: .speaker-KPX} ##### Mr Sawers: -- The State Government do not derive enough revenue even now. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Is there any sense in an interjection of that kind ? The honorable member knows why the State Government have not enough money to spend. They never will have enough money whilst the party with which the honorable member is associated holds the reins of power, All that, however, is beside the question. The people of New South Wales knew very well that they would have to submit to very heavy extra taxation, and that they would in all probability have to surrender their old established free-trade policy, and it was as a substantial set-off against these sacrifices that the people of New South Wales accepted the Capital. {: .speaker-KPX} ##### Mr Sawers: -- Then they bartered freetrade for a miserable Capital. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I did not say that. {: .speaker-KJI} ##### Mr Isaacs: -- I am afraid we are travelling a long way from the amendment. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not think so. I think that the amendment cuts across the spirit of the provision in the Constitution regarding the Capital site, and that therefore it should be eliminated. Would honorable members regard it as a substantial concession to New South Wales if the Capital site were selected just within the borders of that State *1* W7here would the concession be in such a case ? The site at Tumut would not be so near to Sydney as to Melbourne, and if the people of Victoria could reach the Capital site by merely crossing the River Murray, the location of the Capital within the territory of New South Wales would no longer be a concession to the mother State. That was not the concession that New South Wales thought she was securing when she agreed to the Constitution as finally drafted at the Premiers' Conference. If the stipulations now made in the Bill had been embodied in the Constitution in the same way as the 100-mile limit, the result of the referendum would have been much less favorable. My point is that the provision which it is sought to retain in the Bill is foreign to the compact and entirely opposed to the spirit of it. The representatives of Victoria urge that they should have an independent rightofway to the Capital without being required to pass through New South Wales territory. That point should, however, have been raised at the Premiers' Conference. The compact with New South Wales will not be kept if the Capital is less accessible to her own people than to the people of otherStates. {: .speaker-KJI} ##### Mr Isaacs: -- How could the Federal Capital within New South Wales be less accessible to the people of that Statethan to residents in other States. The honorable member is speaking as if Sydney constituted New South Wales? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I may tell the honorable and learned member that if accessibility had been the principal consideration, Sydney would have been more accessible than any other spot that could be selected as a site for the Federal Capital. The port of Sydney would have been open to all. The representatives of Victoria, however, insisted that Sydney should be excluded from the selection, and that theFederal Capital should be not less than 100 miles from Sydney. In dealing with this question we should consider, not the bare terms of the Constitution, but what is implied in the bond ; and I venture to suggest very respectfully that when the Premiers agreed to the 100-mile limit they agreed also to allow New South Walesto have the < Capital site as near as possible to Sydney beyond that limit. The 100-mile limit was the only bar which they placed upon the possession of the Federal Capital. Therefore, they would be most honouring the bond by establishing the Capital as near as possible to that limit. That is the stand-point from which we ought to consider this matter, and not from that of whether the Capital would be accessible to this or that State. Of course, the more accessible we can make it to the other States consistently with honouring the spirit of the bond the better, but we have no right to consider the question of. accessibility by deliberately closing our eyes to the spirit of the bond. We ought to eliminate from this Bill the boundaries which have been placed in it at the instance of honorable members whose only desire seems to be to establish the Capital as near Victoria as possible, and incidentally as near to their own electorates as possible. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- That is not fair. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I say that it is quite as fair as was the statement of the honorable member for Bland. He is not in {: type="a" start="a"} 0. position to speak for New South "Wales. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- I do not pretend to do so. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Yet he chastised other honorable members for daring to have an opinion upon this matter. It does not lie in his mouth to question their right to speak for New South Wales. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- Surely I can do so just as much as can the honorable member ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- No more and no less, but the honorable member has pretended to do more. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- No. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- He has declared that Sydney is not New South Wales. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- Exactly. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- It is strange that these sentiments should come from one whose sole political cry has been that of the city *versus* the country. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- That is not correct. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member knows that it is correct. Did he ever hear the Minister for Defence make a speech-- {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- Does the honorable member apply that statement to me ? If so, it is absolutely incorrect, and he cannot quote a statement of mine upon which he can base his accusation. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I was speaking of the Minister for Defence. Only the day before the Capital site was selected by this House, the honorable gentleman argued as though New South Wales were alien to him. He wished to know what divine right that State had to the Federal Capital. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr Austin Chapman: -- I did not say anything of the sort. I asked what divine right Sydney had to the trade. That is what *Hansard* reports me as having said. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The Minister for Defence said nothing of the kind. He has always been full of the cry of city *versus* country. He has lived upon it all his political life. Regarding the honorable member for Bland, I merely wish to say that his electorate adjoins the Tumut area. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- Dc not forget that it also adjoins Lyndhurst, for which the honorable member voted. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- But it is a long way from Lyndhurst. The centre of influence in the honorable member's electorate is nearer to Tumut. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- That is an unworthy insinuation, because my electorate is nearer to Lyndhurst than it is to Tumut. {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr Mauger: -- Is it not delightful to hear the representatives of New South Wales fighting amongst themselves? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Of course we are fighting amongst ourselves. That is the unfortunate feature about the matter. There are representatives of New South Wales in this House who no more represent the dominant opinion of that State than does the honorable member. They represent certain border electorates, which are more largely dominated by Melbourne than by Sydney. It is from these honorable members that such broad Federal sentiments are continually emanating. There is, for example, the Minister for Defence, who wishes to extend the Commonwealth territory to Victoria by way of Bombala, and the honorable member for Bland, who desires to extend it to the Murray. {: .speaker-KPM} ##### Mr McCay: -- Could the honorable member expect the Minister for Defence to vote for Lyndhurst ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Certainly not. At the same time, I object to the way in which these honorable members lecture others who represent districts which are hundreds of miles removed from any suggested site, and who are, therefore, more capable of registering an impartial vote upon this question than they are. {: .speaker-KPM} ##### Mr McCay: -- Does not that argument evidence the impartiality of Victorian representatives, inasmuch as they represent districts which are hundreds of miles removed from any site ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not think so. If the amendment which was proposed by the honorable member for Gippsland the other day had been carried, he would have had the Capital close to his own bark door. Yet he submitted that proposal in a fine Federal spirit, and with a due regard for the interests of the other States of the union. It was merely a coincidence that its adoption would have established the Federal Capital close to his own back door. {: .speaker-KPX} ##### Mr Sawers: -- Which site is near the honorable member's back door ? {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- Lyndhurst. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- But I do not rise in this House as does the honorable member for Bland, and profess to take the only national view of this matter. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Would not these remarks be better if delivered upon the hustings ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- There is no man in the Commonwealth who will make better use of the hustings than will the Minister for Trade and Customs. When the time comes he can be depended upon to shed crocodile tears with any man in this House. There is a feeling of intense irritation in New South Wales. It is useless to attempt to blink at it, because it is widespread, and any honorable member representing that State who endeavours to make .it appear that no such feeling exists, misrepresents public opinion in New South Wales at the present moment. The people of that State are irritated because they do not think that they are being fairly treated in the matter of the choice of the Federal Capital : and I should like to know what is to be gained by the insertion of all these irritating provisions in the Bill. Has there been any desire manifested so far on the part of the people of New South Wales to treat the Commonwealth unfairly ? Has there been any expressed desire on the part of that State to adopt a cheeseparing policy with regard to the cession of land ? I submit that the Government of New South Wales have from the first treated the Commonwealth Government with the greatest consideration and fairness. The friends of the Federal Government are now in office in New South Wales. Time and again they have shown their complete sympathy with this Government, and I am, therefore, at a loss to understand why we should endeavour to place within the four corners of an Act of Parliament all these irritating provisions. A strong feeling is manifesting itself throughout the length and breadth of New South Wales in regard to this the latest proposal of the Commonwealth Parliament. Since this Parliament is supreme - since the Federal Government have power under the Constitution to take what land they like - there is no need to adopt any course which may appear to be irritating. Let us treat New South Wales fairly in this matter, negotiate with her openly, and without binding ourselves beforehand, and, in my opinion, she will treat the Commonwealth fairly and generously, and give us every reasonable concession. The situation, however, is quite different when the Commonwealth seeks to negotiate with the Government of New South Wales with an Act of Parliament in its hands. It is very like placing a pistol at the head of the State Government while we are negotiating with them. That is the position of the matter which I would submit as strongly as possible to honorable members. During this debate we haveheard the most astounding assertions madeby honorable members representing Victoria. One of them went so far as to say the other night that the Commonwealth could not trust New South Wales with regard to the question of a right of way tothe Federal Capital. He asserted that the State Government might impose all kinds of irritating and harassing restrictions on our trade - that they might apply the State laws, in such a way as to prevent Victorian produce from being introduced into theCapital. Why are assertions of this kind constantly made ! As I have remarked before, this Parliament is supreme^, and can always protect its commerce. It can acquire as much land as it wants for the mere asking and paying for it. Why, therefore, is this Parliament so anxious, beforeentering into negotiations with the New South Wales Government, to tie its handsin such a way as to cause irritation to the mother State? Either the compact embodied in the Constitution meant that there was to be a substantial concession toNew South Wales or it did not, and I venture to assert that, had it not been considered that a substantial concession was *to* be given to the mother State, she would nob now be a member of the Federation, and the Commonwealth would not be an accomplished fact. {: .speaker-K4P} ##### Mr Winter Cooke: -- What does the honorable member mean by a substantial, concession ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I mean that when the compact was made it was intended thatNew South Wales should have the Capital., with all its commercial as well as itssentimental advantages. {: .speaker-K4P} ##### Mr Winter Cooke: -- Mere sentiment. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I decline toregard the question of the Capital site as being merely a matter of sentiment. {: .speaker-KPM} ##### Mr McCay: -- Does the honorable member mean to say that the bargain was; that the Capital should be near Sydney ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The implication conveyed by the bond was that it should be as reasonably near the 100-mile limit as the selection of a suitable site would allow. {: .speaker-KRQ} ##### Mr Skene: -- Was not the bargain that the Federal Capital should not be near a big city? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- That it should not be within 100 miles of a big city. The representatives of the other States placed in the bond a condition removing the Capital from what they regarded as the sphere of Sydney's influence. I take it that it was understood that they did not care how near the Capital was to Sydney, provided that it was not within the 100- inile radius. {: .speaker-KPM} ##### Mr McCay: -- The honorable member's contention is that if he said he would not touch a man with a 40-ft. pole, he would mean that he intended to touch him with a 41-ft. pole. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I confess that I do not follow that kindof analogy. {: .speaker-K4P} ##### Mr Winter Cooke: -- Then the honorable member considers that Albury should not have been one of the proposed sites? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I think that the honorable member has already heard me declare in the House that I should regard the selection of Albury or any such site as an -outrageous violation of the spirit of the bond. I say, therefore, that honorable members ought to look the bargain squarely in the face. If they do so, I am sure that they will not tell me that its spirit "is being kept when an endeavour is being made to establish a Capital as near as possible to the boundary line of New South Wales. Here we have two favoured sites, one of them extending to and including the port of Twofold Bay. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I must ask the honorable member not to discuss the different sites. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not intend to do so. I am referring to them only as an illustration of the spirit which is animating the Committee in dealing with this question. The reason given for the selection of Bombala is that we should have a port close to the Capital, so that it may be totally beyond the influence and control of New South Wales. We have a right to look at this matter in a broad and open spirit rather than in a spirit such as, I am sorry to say, has been indicated by the proceedings of the Committee so far as we have gone. The meaning intended to be conveyed by the insertion of the provision as to the 100-mile limit in the Constitution was that Sydney was to be given all the advantages that could be obtained from a Capital situate outside that limit. On that condition, and on that understanding alone, was the Constitution Bill carried in New South Wales. It is useless, therefore, for honorable members to accuse the representatives of New South Wales of provincialism when they endeavour to stand up for the terms of the bond. It is our duty as representatives of New South Wales to do so, and I submit that we do no injustice to any other State when we ask that the broad spirit of the bond, rather than its mere technique, shall be kept. I believe that the Government will obtain better terms from New South Wales by treating her in an open and fair way. I have no reason to suppose that New South Wales will not deal fairly with the Commonwealth. The friends of the present Commonwealth Government are in other in that State, and have shown every desire to treat them fairly. The Commonwealth has never been subjected to criticism on the part of the New South Wales Government such as that which it has received at the hands of the Governments of the remaining States. It has had the most open-handed and fair-minded treatment from the New South Wales Government and Parliament ever since this question began to take shape. Honorable members are aware that in New South Wales a strong body of opinion is shaping itself against the present State Government because it is considered that they have been guilty of a dereliction of duty in connexion with this question. That is an indication of the fair and generous treatment which the Commonwealth has received at the hands of the State Government and Parliament. Why, therefore, should there be this desire to escape from some impending evil which is supposed to be hanging over the Commonwealth, and coming possibly from New South Wales? The Committee would do well by omitting the irritating and gratuitous limitations which are fixed in the Bill. I believe that if we do so we shall obtain better terms, and that a better bargain altogether will be made. I therefore hope that the Committee will be wise and vote for the amendment of which notice has been given by the honorable member for Macquarie. {: #debate-17-s15 .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS:
Robertson -- I refrained from taking part in the general debate on this Bill when it was before the House some time ago, because of my desire that we should come to some determination in regard to the site of the Capital before the close of the present Parliament. But, having foregone my right on that occasion, only to find that the question still remains unsettled, and that, judging by the speeches made by the honorable member for EdenMonaro and others, there is apparently a desire not to allow it to be dealt with finally during the present session. I feel it my duty to protest against the absence of good faith shown by those who wish to defer the selection of the site. That desire is due evidently to the belief that at the next elections a majority will be returned to this House pledged to do nothing in the matter. It is hinted at very significantly that certain members of the Parliament supported the selection of Bombala in another place for the reason that they did not think that that site would be accepted, and because they believed that they were in that way adopting an easy method to stave off the determination of the question. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member must not discuss the several sites. He will have an opportunity to do so at a later stage. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- I have no desire to discuss the merits of Bombala. I could possibly say as much in favour of that site as has been said by many other honorable members ; but I more strongly favour the selection of what I consider to be the best site in Australia. I refer to Lyndhurst. {: .speaker-KPX} ##### Mr Sawers: -- Which is at the honorable member's back door. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- I voted for the selection of that site conscientiously believing that it was the best site that could be obtained. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Will the honorable member permit me to remind him that the question before the Committee is whether we should agree to the Senate's amendment, eliminating certain words from the clause. That is the only question before the Committee. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- The words to which you have referred, **Mr. Chairman,** contain some reference to the question of locality, and believing that Lyndhurst had a very strong bearing upon that question, I was referring to it in reply to the interjection made by the honorable member for New England, who asserted that that site was at my back door. It is not at my back door. It is the natural centre of New South Wales, and is, and will be the centre of settlement in the Commonwealth. If in making a selection we had had regard to accessibility, climate, and altitude, Lyndhurst would not have been overlooked. It is themost central site of the Commonwealth, and the most suitable place at which to establish the Capital. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! The honorable member must see that he is transgressing the rules of debate. The debate must be confined to the question immediately before the Chair. I have already informed the honorable member that he will have an opportunity in the House to refer to the several sites. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- I shall avail myself of that opportunity. When the original draft of the Constitution was before the people of Australia theelectors of -New South Wales voted very strongly in opposition to it, because they were not in favour of certain provisions. It was enacted by the Parliament of New South Wales that there should be a statutory number of votes recorded in favour of the Bill before it was accepted by that State. That statutory number was not obtained, for certain reasons which I shall not enumerate. But I shall state one of them. There may appear to be very littlein it to the bulk of those people who favoured the first draft of the Constitution, but the majority of the people of New South Wales who opposed it because amongst other provisions the Federal citywas not to be in New South Wales. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- The Constitution did not say that. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- The Constitution Bill did not say that, but it enacted that the Capital city might be in any part of Australia. As New South Wales was the oldest State, and would be the most influential part of the Commonwealth, financially and numerically, the people of that State said that theFederal city ought to be established within her territory. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- What authority has the honorable [member for making that statement ' {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Honorable members must-cease from making these interjections, and I ask the honorable member for Robertson to confine himself to the question before the Committee. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- It would be very firm if you, sir, insisted on my not answering such a pertinent question as that just put to me. The honorable member for Laanecoorie questions the financial and numerical strength of New South Wales. Is he unaware that there would have been no union if it had not been for the financial strength of New South Wales *1* {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I am sure that the honorable member desires to assist the ' Chair. I have twice told him that he will not be deprived of his opportunity of dealing with the whole question in the House, but he is deprived of it now. The only -question that can be debated now is as to our agreement or otherwise with the Senate in eliminating certain words. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- I regret very much that I am not at liberty to answer questions which have been put to me. I have been told by old parliamentarians that in order to understand the rules of Parliament thoroughly one must break them all. I thought I might take- the risk of breaking one or two of them, because what I had to say might have a good effect upon the electors of Victoria. However, as I know you recognise that I am not in the habit of violating the rules of the House, and as I desire to be always respectful to you, I will proceed a little further with my remarks. I wish to refer to the unwarrantable remarks made against the people of New South Wales by certain honorable members who preceded me. Some time ago when this question was being discussed all over Australia, there was a general feeling in Victoria that the Capital should be located at Ballarat-- {: .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr Knox: -- A very good place, too. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- The honorable member for Kooyong says that Ballarat is a very good place. There are many superior places in New South Wales - the senior State of the Union. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I must ask the honorable member not to take notice of interjections. There is no reason why he should reply to them. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- I am aware that it is most disorderly to interject. I -was about to remark that Ballarat is an excellent place. Recently I took the opportunity of visiting that locality. It would have been a very suitable, place indeed for the Federal Capital if New South Wales and Queensland were not in the Union, but not otherwise. Probably the reason why the people of Australia, apart from those in New South Wales, had a leaning towards Ballarat was, because it was much nearer to the capitals of some of the States- {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I hope that the honorable member will not force me to take stronger measures. I have no desire to do so, but I must again remind him that he is going outside the rules of debate. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- I do not know how far I can go. It is, however, impossible for me to allow the people of New South Wales to be deceived without exposing the deception. I should like to point out one of the reasons for New South Wales being in favour of the Capital city being established nearer to Sydney than to Melbourne. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member will not be in order in doing that. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- New South Wales wished to have the Capital because she is the oldest State of the union. The States of South Australia, Victoria, and Tasmania had an opportunity of forming a federation amongst themselves, but they did not avail themselves of it. Why *1* Because financially they could not enter into it. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- What rubbish. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- New South Wales knew that her entry into the union was essential to its success. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I do sincerely trust that the honorable member will obey the Chair. I have already told him that he will not be deprived of his opportunity of dealing with the whole question *hi* the House, but he is deprived pf the opportunity in Committee. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- Can I not speak of the locality *1* Victorian members have been allowed to transgress to the extent of insulting the people of my State ; moreover, the Government are finessing to prevent; a decision of the Capital site question. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The question is that the Committee disagree with the Senate's amendment No. 2 *;* upon which an amendment has been proposed by the honorable member for Macquarie. The honorable member must confine his remarks to the question whether the Committee agrees or otherwise with the Senate in eliminating the words in question. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- I think that the words objected to by the honorable member for Macquarie should be struck out. The words embody a limit to the selection of the Capital site. When the Conference of Premiers was held several years ago, before the Constitution was accepted, it was determined that a provision should be inserted in the Constitution that the Federal Capital should be within New South Wales, but not within 100 miles of Sydney. Shall I be in order in referring to the constitutional aspect of the question 1 {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- No ; I have already told the honorable member that he will not be in order. I trust that I shall not have to resort to stronger measures. The question for consideration at this juncture is that which I have already explained. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- I have listened to the debate during the evening, and it would appear that I am unable to make any remarks upon the lines that have been pursued by honorable members who have preceded me. This Parliament is said to be the fairest Parliament in Australia, where any man may be heard in favour of any cause. I wish to reply to remarks which I do not consider to be fair to the State of New South Wales, and I thought I should be in order in doing so, despite your ruling to the contrary. The question of locality is introduced in the amendment of the honorable member for Macquarie, and I contend that I might be permitted to make some remarks on that point. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member will be in order in dealing with the question of the locality between the Rivers Murray and Mumimbidgee. I would point out that every honorable member who has addressed himself to the question practically confined himself to that question, and did not digress. Other honorable members have obeyed the Chair when their attention has been called- to the matter. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- I feel it to be my duty to submit to your ruling, and to see that other honorable members who make speeches upon this question do not transgress. I shall reserve my further remarks for a future opportunity, when I shall be able to go fully into the question, and to reply at length to the speeches and interjections which have been made by the Victorian representatives. **Mr. CRUICKSHANK** (Gwydir).- I do not want to follow in the footsteps of theunruly member for Robertson, and I shall endeavour to keep within the lines laid down by the Chairman. But I do not desire to let the opportunity pass without saying a word or two. It appears to me that we are somewhat mixed. We are all very anxious that the Federal Capital question shall be settled this session. But honorable members have been dealing with other questions than that of the settlement of the site. They have been trying to lay down conditions, and to draw conclusions, as to what was the original intention as to the area of land to be handed over under the Constitution. It is difficult to deal with the amendments which have been made,, because we have to approach them in a circuitous way. I wish particularly to refer to the territory that it is proposed to take between the Murray and the Murrumbidgee. I may describe it as a shapeless, piece of land. It appears to me that we shall place ourselves in *a* much more satisfactory position if we decide to go back to the original proposal as . nearly as possible. I am quite sure that if the Minister in charge of the Bill wishes to keep in the good graces of those people in the little valley where I saw 'him the other day, he will accept a curtailment of the extended boundaries of the proposed Federal territory, and endeavour to return the Bill to the Senate in as nearly as possible its original form. I am afraid I should be a. little out of order if I said a word about Lyndhurst. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member would. {: .speaker-K7X} ##### Mr CRUICKSHANK: -- I believe it is very good agricultural land around Lyndhurst, and I suppose I may refer to it by way of comparison. I was at Tumut the other day, and there I saw some good agricultural land, though I am informed it is not nearly so good as that around Lyndhurst. The great trouble appears to arise as to the question of urgency. On the one hand, we wish to have the question settled this session, and on the other hand, we desire to make the best choice of a Federal Capital which is to last for all time. Many of the New South Wales members might be willing to extend the territory right across- the border, but J they are divided amongst themselves as to I the wisdom of coming to a conclusion which , in the other Chamber may have the effect of shelving the question until the next Parliament meets. I have been at a loss to decide whether it is wise to give a vote which may have that effect, and thus leave . the Bill for the consideration of the electors, or whether it is our duty to force the measure through in a shape in which it ; will be accepted by the Senate, and become j law? I am afraid that the only way in which we can help the Minister in charge of the Bill is to accept an amendment in favour of Bombala. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- That question has already been decided. {: .speaker-K7X} ##### Mr CRUICKSHANK: -- That is unfortunate for the supporters of Bombala, seeing that we must confine our attention to Tumut. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member is in order in discussing either Tumut or Bombala. The only question is as to agreeing or otherwise with the Senate in eliminating certain words. {: .speaker-K7X} ##### Mr CRUICKSHANK: -- -The curtailment of the area was in my mind, and I think I shall be safe in voting for the amendment, which will bring the area as nearly as possible to that contemplated by the Constitution. {: #debate-17-s16 .speaker-JZF} ##### Mr FULLER:
Illawarra -- I shall have no hesitation in voting for the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Macquarie. I voted against extending the Federal territory to the Murray, and also against extending it to the Murrumbidgee, because both proposals appeared then, as they do now, utterly ridiculous. There has been no report on the territory between those two rivers, and we know absolutely . nothing about it except what we have been told by the honorable member for Bland, and one or two other members who have given us hearsay evidence and also their personal experience. Neither **Mr. Oliver** nor the Royal Commission reported on this' territory, which, so far as I can gather, extends a distance of seventy or eighty miles between the rivers. A strip of territory seventy miles long and exceedingly narrow, as it must be, would prove of an unworkable character. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John FORREST: -- It would be fourteen miles wide. {: .speaker-JZF} ##### Mr FULLER: -- The honorable member for Bland and the honorable member for North Sydney both told us that the people of New South Wales looked for no material gain when it was agreed that the Federal Capital should be within the boundaries of that State. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr Thomson: -- If the people of New South Wales look for material gain they will find there is none. {: .speaker-JZF} ##### Mr FULLER: -- My contention is that the New South Wales people did look for some material gain. I was one who opposed the Federal Constitution from start to finish ; and I know that what influenced thousands of voters in places where I spoke, was the fact that the Federal Capital was fixed in New South Wales. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports and others make light of ' the sacrifices which New South Wales made for Federation ; but we know that at the present time, in consequence of the support which the present Ministry have received in this Chamber, the New South Wales people are suffering under a burden of taxation such as they never before had to endure. In view of that burden of taxation a large number of New South Wales people, who otherwise would have opposed Federation, voted for the Constitution because the Capital of the Commonwealth had to be within that State. It was an absolute compact that the Federal territory should be within New South Wales ; and there can be no doubt that if the territory be extended to the border, it will alter the limits and boundaries of the State in a way which is contrary to the Constitution. No one wishes to deprive the people of Victoria of the freest possible access to Federal territory in any part of New South Wales. And why should the argument as to access apply to Victoria only? Something ought to be said for the other States. {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr Mauger: -- The people from the other States will all come to Victoria in order to get to the Federal territory. {: .speaker-JZF} ##### Mr FULLER: -- I do not see how that can apply to the people of Queensland. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- Everybody could travel by sea to Bombala. {: .speaker-JZF} ##### Mr FULLER: -- Having regard to the 100-mile limit, to choose Bombala would be a distinct breach of the compact entered into with New South Wales. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Surely the honorable member sees that he is transgressing the limits of debate ? {: .speaker-JZF} ##### Mr FULLER: -- I shall vote for the amendment, because I believe that to extend the Federal territory to the Murray would be a breach of that agreement which, to a very large extent, influenced the people of New South Wales to vote for the Constitution. {: #debate-17-s17 .speaker-KPX} ##### Mr SAWERS:
New England -- I very much deplore the displays of provincialism which are sometimes witnessed in this Chamber. To my mind it shows a very unfederal spirit when representatives of one State hurl scornful expressions at representatives of another State ; and we have too much talk from the Opposition benches about Victorian members. For my part, I know no State members in this House. I was under the impression when we entered into Federation that this House did not in any special way represent State interests, but simply represented the people for the benefit of all Australia. I have always been of opinion that there should never have been any compact in regard to the Federal Capital. The honorable member for Parramatta said that the New South Wales people gave up their vaunted policy of free-trade for the sake of this miserable compact; and I regard that expression of opinion as an insult to New South Wales. It is absurd to suppose that New South Wales would in this way sell her birthright for- a mess of pottage ; and I firmly believe what has been said by the honorable member for North Sydney, namely, that the Federal Capital will bring little or no special advantage to that State. The Federal territory is not likely to contain a vast population, and the slight advantage which would accrue to a few residents of Sydney by the importation of goods required for the Capital is surely not worth the giving up of a fiscal policy. New South Wales voted for Federation because she believed in Federation, and would have voted for it without that compact, which most New South Welshmen deplore. If the leader of the Opposition had not insisted on laying down- {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I bust ask the honorable member to comply with the rules of debate. {: .speaker-KPX} ##### Mr SAWERS: -- I was trying to reply to the speech of the honorable member for Parramatta, who travelled over a very wide ground. When some very inoffensive member is speaking he seems to be corrected ; J and the honorable member for Parramatta took a much greater range than I am taking. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Is the honorable member for New England in order in reflecting on the conduct of the Chairman *t* {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member for New England is in error. On two or three occasions, when the honorable member for Parramatta was speaking, I asked that honorable member to confine himself to the question before the Committee. I have done the same with every honorable member who has spoken, and I am sure the honorable member for New England, with, his long parliamentary experience, will assist the Chairman. {: .speaker-KPX} ##### Mr SAWERS: -- I shall be very happy to do so. I notice, however, that the honorable member for Parramatta, when called to order, goes on with his speech and manages to say what he desires. I repeat that I deplore the provincial spirit which is so rampant, not only amongst certain members of the House, but also in the press of a certain city. In regard to the particular amendment before us, I am thoroughly in accord with the selection of Tumut, and also in accord with the expression of opinion by this Chamber that the Federal territory should consist of something like 1,000 square miles. We have not said in the Bill that the territory must be 1,000 square miles, but have merely expressed the opinion that we should like to acquire that area. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I must remind the honorable member that that question is not open for discussion, the Committee having already arrived at a decision. The only question is as to the elimination of certain words respecting the Rivers Murray and Mumimbidgee. {: .speaker-KPX} ##### Mr SAWERS: -- I am merely saying, in passing, that I am thoroughly in accord with the opinion that we ought to have a fairly-sized Federal territory, and I think I am in order in associating the proposal for an area of 1,000 square miles with the amendment before us. I desire to make a personal explanation. I intend to reverse a vote which I gave some days ago. The day after we had taken the ballot as to the Federal sites, I entered the House just as honorable members were about to divide on an amendment moved J by the honorable member . for Gramjpians, providing that the 1,000 square miles should extend to the River Murray. I had not heard the arguments, but it occurred to me that there would be no harm, so long as the amendment amounted to no more than an expression of opinion. I did not understand the amendment to provide that the territory must extend to the Murray, but I find that the word " shall " is used in the Bill. I can be no party to demanding from the New South Wales Government that the Federal territory shall extend to the River Murray. I was in some doubt as to what j I should do on that occasion, but I voted with the Prime Minister, and thought it only proper to do so. When a subsequent amendment was moved by the honorable member for Canobolas that the territory should also extend to the Murrumbidgee, that was carried without discussion, and I had no time to investigate the matter. I very much regret having given those votes, because I think that the question should be left open to permit of negotiation between the Federal Government and the New South Wales Government. We ought to confine ourselves to endeavouring by negotiation to obtain 1,000 square miles, or as large an area as is possible. It is absurd for us to declare that the Federal territory shall extend from the Murrumbidgee to the Murray. That would probably be a strip of country eighty miles long by twelve miles wide. No Government of New South Wales would ever accept such a proposition, because such a strip of territory would be like a stone wall blocking along that line of eighty miles the intercourse between citizens of that State who are only twelve miles apart. Though 1 had some sympathy with the honorable member for Grampians in the suggestion which I was under the impression he made, I have since found that the provision, as he submitted it, is mandatory. It is an absurd proposition as it stands now, and is creating jealousy and discord between the Commonwealth and New South Wales. hope the Commonwealth will acquire an area far in excess of the minimum of 100 square miles laid down in the Constitution ; but if we do not secure 1,000 square miles, I shall be satisfied with something less. I felt that I had placed myself in a difficulty in voting as I did last week ; but the amendment was sprung upon honorable members, and we had no time to give it full consideration. Having given it consideration since, I think it was imprudent to pass such an amendment, and I therefore intend to vote with the honorable member for Macquarie. {: #debate-17-s18 .speaker-KRQ} ##### Mr SKENE:
Grampians -- As the mover of the amendment providing for the extension of the Federal territory from Tumut to the River Murray, I should like, if it is in order, to alter the expression " shall extend " to " should extend." Honorable members may remember that, when I first submitted my amendment, I desired that the words "extend to the River Murray" should be inserted after the word " should." That portion of the clause would then have read " should extend to the River Murray, and contain an area of not less than 1,000 square miles." The honorable member for Bland asked me to withdraw my amendment at that stage to enable the amendment with regard to the area of the territory to be acquired to be dealt with first. I think that much of the difficulty which has since arisen might be got over if I were permitted to move the omission of the word " shall," with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word "should." {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I suggest to the honorable member for Grampians that he should wait until the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Macquarie has been dealt with. If it is carried, the whole matter will be settled ; and if it is not, the honorable member for Grampians will have an opportunity to submit his amendment. **Mr. SKENE** (Grampians). - I believe that if honorable members agree to substitute the word " should " for the word " shall," as I suggest, that would be likely to affect some votes upon the amendment submitted by the honorable member for Macquarie. I hope that in the circumstances honorable members generally will understand that, if the amendment moved by the honorable member for Macquarie is not carried, I shall propose the substitution of the word "should" for the word " shall." {: #debate-17-s19 .speaker-JSM} ##### Mr BROWN:
Canobolas -- I thought that we would hear some honorable members who are supporting the Government in their proposal in connexion with this question, and I delayed making the few remarks I wished to offer with a view to getting increased information which I think the Committee should have. So far the speeches delivered have been against the proposal of the Minister. The position originally taken up by the Government with respect to this question was the correct one. They introduced a Bill to fix the Capital site, leaving the question of the territory to be dealt with by a subsequent Bill. It was in that subsequent Bill that conditions affecting the Federal territory should have found expression. But the Government have managed this affair in such a supine and unsatisfactory way that the whole question has been complicated by conditions. First of all there was the condition that the Federal territory shall embrace 1,000 square miles of country ; then there was a further condition agreed to that it should extend from Tumut to the Murray, and, further, that it should extend from Tumut to the Murrumbidgee ; and then there was a further condition introduced, setting aside all the information which guided this House in the decision in favour of Tumut, to the effect that the site should not be at Lacmalac or Gadara, but that it should be anywhere within twenty-five miles of Tumut. All these conditions have been agreed to since the decision as to the site was arrived at, and they tend only to make the settlement of this very important question more difficult. They have already created some amount of friction between the Federal Government and the Government of New South Wales. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Not the slightest. {: .speaker-JSM} ##### Mr BROWN: -- The honorable gentleman in charge of the Bill may have some information which honorable members generally do not possess ; but if he will look at the reports of the debates in the State Parliament of New South Wales, he will find that members of the State Ministry have given expression to opinions with respect to this proposal that point strongly to the existence of very great friction. The Minister for Lands in New South Wales has indicated that there is no hope of the Federal Government ever getting the maximum area we are asking for in this clause, or an extension of Federal territory down to the banks of the Murray. The Minister for Trade and Customs might have talked New South Wales Ministers back to " sweet reasonableness " in the meantime ; but so far as honorable members generally are aware, the position between the two Governments is one of extreme friction, and it has been brought about by the proposal of conditions which should not have found a place in this Bill. I am as strongly in favour of an area of not less than 1,000 square miles as any other honorable member can be, but a great deal depends on its shape and the character of the land which it embraces. I should not like the Federal territory to be of those dimensions, with the larger portion of the land unsuited for any form of occupation. W7e should consider the nature of the country within the area, and whether it could be profitably used or not in carrying out this scheme. But - why I cannot say - we are needlessly creating friction, if not between the Federal Government and the State Government, certainly between the Federal Government and a very considerable section of the representatives, and probably a big section of the community of New South Wales, whom we want to hear on this very important subject at one time or another. Where was the need to create this friction? This matter should have been left to negotiation, before it was embodied in legislation. I undertake to say that if the State of New South Wales had been approached in a proper spirit, the same amount of consideration which it has already given to the Federal Government would have been extended in this particular. But this Parliament put itself in the position of practical^ approaching the State Government with a demand that so many thousand square miles of territory should be ceded, in a particular shape, which meant that it was to be ninety miles long, by twelve or fourteen miles broad, and to run right through the centre of the State. That position is, I think, not creditable to the Government, or to the Parliament. We ought to endeavour to consider the wishes of New South Wales, and if we can arrive at an understanding by a proper method of negotiation, and avoid a lot of friction which is now seething in that State, and possibly may lead to considerable difficulty in settling this question, we ought to try to do so. For some unaccountable reason the Ministry, instead of showing their sincerity in the stand which they originally took and indicated as the correct one, sat behind the members who sought to introduce these unwise, and, I believe, impossible conditions, into the measure. Take the question of the means of arriving at a settlement. If we turn to the records, we shall find that only eleven members voted for Tumut from Start to finish, while fourteen members voted for Lyndhurst, and a similar number for Bombala. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order. I must ask the honorable member not to discuss the votes of the House. {: .speaker-JSM} ##### Mr BROWN: -- I am only making that reference for the purpose of showing that this particular site did not command the support of a majority of honorable members. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The question of the site has been decided by the Committee, and is not now open for discussion. {: .speaker-JSM} ##### Mr BROWN: -- I did not intend to deal generally with that matter, but merely to show that the Tumut site did not command the support of a majority of honorable members, and that when it was selected apparently some honorable members took the opportunity of imposing a condition which it would be impossible for New South Wales to accept. My complaint is that the Government were not true to the principle which they had clearly laid down when they got behind those honorable members in order to bring about that position. The honorable member for Grampians, who was responsible for the amendment to extend the territory to the Murray, had previously urged, in strong terms, that there was a site on the Murray which had not been considered, and which, in his opinion - possibly it may be so - was superior to any of the sites which had been under review. That was position No. 1. Then, despite the fact that the Government had appointed a Commission of Experts to deal with the question nob of territory, but sites, and that, after having the advantage of **Mr. Oliver's** exhaustive inquiry, and investigating the district, it had selected the site which in its opinion was the better, or I may say the best site, we had the .Minister for Home Affairs, following in the wake of the honorable member for the Grampians, with a further amendment, which was presented to me originally as meaning that the question of the location of the Capital site should be eliminated, and that the clause should be made so wide as to embrace the whole of this territory. When I saw a movement of that character, and particularly when I saw the Government - who had protested that this was the wrong way to proceed - assisting to drag the territory down from Tumut to the Murray, and also getting ready another amendment to wipe out the condition that Lacmalac should be the chosen site as recomended by their own Commission, I felt very dissatisfied with the proceedings, and my suspicions as to the reasons which underlay the movement were very considerably excited. It seemed to me that when a certain number of honorable members who were desirous of getting as near to the border as possible by selecting the Albury or Bombala site, were defeated on those sites they supported the selection of the Tumut site as against the Lyndhurst site, and having secured its acceptance-- {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order The honorable member is now discussing the question of the sites, which has been determined. {: .speaker-JSM} ##### Mr BROWN: -- I am discussing the question of whether . the Committee should approve of the amendment of the Senate, and thus wipe out the condition that the territory shall extend to the Murray. When I saw that position taken up by the Government, I moved the counter amendment that the territory should extend to the Murrumbidgee - which I must admit practically makes the question of site ridiculous and impossible - because there was nothing else open for me to do. If the Government had stood by the position which they had originally taken up, and opposed the site being specified, I should have supported them, and so left the matter open for arrangement. But when I saw them helping the honorable member for Grampians to put in this condition, I thought that as a representative of New South Wales, which had some interests to be considered, I was justified in moving the amendment to extend the territory to the Murrumbidgee. Whatever purpose underlay the proposal of the honorable member for Grampians, honorable members can now see that it is a ridiculous proposal. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The honorable member made it so. {: .speaker-JSM} ##### Mr BROWN: -- I took a proper course. It was the only opportunity I had of gaining for New South Wales some little consideration which the Minister, as one of its representatives, ought to have stood up here and tried to obtain. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The honorable member talks so much that there is no time for any one else to speak. {: .speaker-JSM} ##### Mr BROWN: -- If the Minister believes that the Tumut site is the best - I do not think he really does - and is going to give the site a fair show to secure the final selection, he should now- proceed to remedy the mistake which he made on a previous occasion by helping to eliminate ridiculous conditions, which are not essential to the Bill. Let the Government have a free hand to negotiate for a territory, and in that way to determine what shape it shall take, and what country it shall embrace. We have been committed to a proposition without any knowledge of the territory to which it relates. We have been supplied with no information to lead us to believe either that the territory on the Murray is good, or that it is not worth having. I would strongly urge the Government to agree with the Senate's amendment, and so get these ridiculous frictioncausing conditions eliminated. It has been urged by some honorable members that it is necessary to extend the Federal territory to the Murray, in order to secure accessibility. If our Federal spirit is of such a character that it is necessary to secure some independent means of ingress and egress to the Federal territory lest the State in which it is located assumes a hostile attitude, I have very little hope for the future stability of the Commonwealth. I think that there is no danger in that direction, and that no matter whether the Federal territory is on the border or in the heart of New South Wales, free accessibility will be given. This plea of dragging down the territory to the border, in order to secure accessibility independent of New South Wales, is not at all complimentary to the Federal spirit of that State, and has no sound foundation. Butsuppose that we admit, for the sake of argument, that that is a reason why the Federal territory should extend to the Murray, may we not also suggest that the other States may be denied means of access through Victoria and New South Wales ? That condition does not exist, happily for the success of our Federal movement; and to create such bugbears is to do an injustice to the Federal spirit which has drawn us together. I hope the Government will now see the ad visableness of repairing an indefensible blunder, by eliminating from the Bill impossible conditions, negotiating with respect to the site, and after having come to terms with New South Wales, submitting a Bill to the House in proper form. **Mr. AUSTIN** CHAPMAN (EdenMonaro - Minister for Defence). - I wish to make a personal explanation. The honorable member for Parramatta stated this afternoon that, in the course of a speech made by me on the Bill, I said that Sydney had no right to be considered in the matter. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I did not make that statement. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- The honorable member said something to that effect. I asked him to make a disclaimer, and supplied him with the *Hansard* report of my remarks ; but, as he neglected to do so, I desire to quote the words myself. I am reported on page 5915 to have said - >I contend that we should cast aside all provincial feeling. We should ask ourselves, not which is the best site for the Capital from the standpoint of Sydney or Melbourne, but which is the best site in the interests of the Commonwealth. Neither Sydney not Melbourne has any divine right to all the advantages flowing from the situation of the Capital. Why should not Perth, Adelaide, and Hobart be taken into consideration ? On a former occasion I am reported to have said - >We must keep in view the possible developments of the States, and we must consider that a site which would be convenient only for representatives of Victoria and New South Wales might be extremety inconvenient for those who represent other States. As a representative of New South Wales, I have yet to learn that the people of that State have any divine right to the control and trade of the Capital. I have yet to learn that we have any right to select a site that will divert the trade to Sydney. The honorable member misquoted me. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I did not. That was the expression I used. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- I stand by those reports, and I repeat that in my opinion we ought not to consider any one State or any one capital. If Federation is to mean anything, trade must flow in its natural channels. . Neither Sydney, Melbourne, nor any other city has a divine right to a diversion of trade in its own interests, while the Federal Capital should be placed in whatever situation will be best for the whole of Australia. **Mr. JOSEPH** COOK (Parramatta).-I do not think the Minister's explanation has mended matters. I did him no injustice, because I quoted the remarks which he made, and which he has just repeated. He did say that he had yet to learn that New South Wales has no divine right to the control of the Capital or of trade. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- The honorable member for Parramatta said Sydney. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Yes. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I did not, though I confess that I do not think there is very much difference between the two phrases. The Minister has stated over and over again in this chamber that those who represent Sydney do not represent New SouthWales. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr Austin Chapman: -- Neither do they {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member is entitled to his opinions ; but that statement is as wild and inaccurate as most of his. If we do not represent New South Wales, I cannot find much evidence in the speeeh which he has just quoted that he represents it, and I have yet to learn that he is promoting the best interests of the State when he is prepared to give up 3,000 square miles of territory for the Federal Capital. If we, who are trying to keep to the bond as nearly as we can, do not represent New SouthWales, I should like to know if he can be said to represent it when he is prepared to give up so much of the territory of the State. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr Austin Chapman: -- The honorable member had better send a candidate into my division during the next elections to see if I do. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member, like another **Sir Galahad,** would chase any candidate through his division, crying all the time about the influence of Sydney. {: .speaker-KPX} ##### Mr Sawers: -- The honorable member for Robertson and myself were kept strictly to the amendment, and I ask you, **Mr. Chairman,** to mete out the same treatment to others. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member for Parramatta is not in order. I have allowed him to make a personal reply to the Minister ; but he is not in order in going beyond that. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I take it that the whole subject of debate is open to me. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member must confine himself to the amendment of the honorable member for Macquarie. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- In speaking about the area of the Federal territory I am dealing with the amendment. I am showing that the Minister is prepared to give up 3,000, and, probably, 6,000, or 10, 00 square miles of New South Wales territory, so long as he can secure the selection of a site within his own division. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The question of area has already been decided, and, therefore, cannot be debated. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- In that case, as I have no wish to transgress the rules of the Committee, I have nothing further to say. Question - That the words proposed to be added be so added - put. The Committee divided. AYES: 20 NOES: 27 Majority ... ... 7 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment negatived. Amendment (by **Mr. Skene)** proposed - That the motion be amended by the addition of the following words - " except as to the word shall ' line 7, the omission of which is agreed to with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word should.'" {: #debate-17-s20 .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER:
Wide Bay -- In a technical matter of this kind I think that it is desirable that the Prime Minister should give honorable members the benefit of his opinion as to the effect of using the word " should " instead of " shall." If honorable members are not capable of explaining the difference in meaning how can they expect the people of New South Wales to attach any special significance to one word as compared with the other ? We should not lay ourselves open to a charge of trying to obscure our meaning. **Mr. DEAKIN** (Ballarat- Minister for External Affairs). - The use of the word " should " in this connexion is unusual. All legislation is mandatory ; it may, of course, be conditional. But as was pointed out when this measure was previously under consideration our purpose is to indicate the attitude assumed by the Commonwealth, not only towards the object to be achieved, but also towards the Government of New South Wales, with whom we shall soon enter into negotiations as to the manner in which the Federal Capital site can be finally acquired. It was desired therefore that, apart from any construction we might be disposed to place upon our powers under section 125, we should approach the New South Wales Government not with a demand, but with an indication of our wishes. The word "should" implies something that ought to be done, and not anything sought to be enforced. In an earlier part of the clause we replaced the word "shall" with the word "should," in order that we might be able to approach the Government of New South Wales - as they must be approached before we finally determine the site of the Federal Capital - in a manner appropriate to the occasion. It was thought that we should be in a better position to open negotiations if the word employed were not peremptory, and did not indicate force or coercion ; that, in other words, it should convey a desire and not a command on the part of this House. Under these circumstances, and interfering as little as I can in this matter, I venture once more to suggest that we should in every case substitute the word of conciliation and negotiation for the word of command. Amendment agreed to. **Mr. SAWERS** (New England).- The concluding paragraph of the clause reads as follows : - Provided that the site shall be within a distance of twenty-five miles from Tumut and at an altitude of not less than fifteen hundred feet above the sea. I move - 1 That the motion be amended by the addition of the following words - "and except as to the words and at an altitude of not less than fifteen hundred feet above the sea,' the omission of which is agreed to." Last week the Committee agreed, after an exhaustive ballot, that the Federal Capital site should be selected in the vicinity of Tumut. Honorable members were then largely influenced by the report of the Commission of Experts. I read that report very carefully. The best site discovered by the Commissioners in the neighbourhood of Tumut was at a place called Lacmalac, and' I was so fascinated with their description that I cast my vote in support of their recommendation. The site of which we practically approved was stated to be at an altitude of only 1,050 feet, and I now ask honorable members what is the use of stipulating that the site should be at an altitude of not less than 1,500. Is it not absurd for us to approve of the site recommended by the Commissioners ? {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- We did not approve of that particular site. {: .speaker-KPX} ##### Mr SAWERS: -- Then we must have approved of some site of which we knew nothing. We do not even know that there is a decent site to be obtained anywhere near Tumut, at an altitude of not less than 1,500 feet. I am as much in favour of an elevated site as is the Minister for Home Affairs. I should prefer a site at 2,000 feet instead of one at 1,500 feet altitude if we could secure it. {: .speaker-L2I} ##### Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- Why did the honorable member vote for the Tumut site? {: .speaker-KPX} ##### Mr SAWERS: -- Because I was quite prepared to accept a site at an elevation of 1,050 feet, if a better one could not be secured. I would rather live at that altitude than at a height of 3,000 feet above sea level I have tried both altitudes. We are all in favour of selecting a site possessing a good climate, and if we could secure a location for the Capital at an elevation of 1,500 feet, we should no doubt all support its selection. At the same time, after having practically approved of the site recommended by the Commissioners at an altitude of 1,050 feet, we should not stultify ourselves by stipulating that the Capital should be built at an elevation of not less than 1,500 feet. By allowing the Bill to remain in its present form we should practically reverse our former decision. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- Not at all. We have not approved of the site recommended by the Commissioners. {: .speaker-KPX} ##### Mr SAWERS: -- Then what did we approve of ? {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- The Commissioners themselves suggested that a further survey should be made. {: .speaker-KPX} ##### Mr SAWERS: -- I have no objection to that ; but honorable members committed themselves to the site recommended by the Commissioners at an altitude of 1,500 feet, if no better site could be obtained in the vicinity of Tumut. We should not exclude from our consideration sites at a height of, say 1,450 feet, which would possess practically as good a climate as country having fifty feet greater altitude. Surely we can trust to the common sense of the Government and of the Parliament to select a site at the most desirable altitude, if other things are equal. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- I regret that the honorable member has moved his amendment, because it will only lead to further debate. If the honorable member had been present when the measure was previously discussed, he would know that it was not the desire of honorable members to fix upon any particular site. {: .speaker-KPX} ##### Mr Sawers: -- I approved of the site recommended by the Commissioners, which they stated was at an altitude of 1,050 feet. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- A portion of that site may be at an altitude of 1,200 feet, whilst another portion may not be higher than 900 feet. It would be impossible to secure a large site at an absolutely uniform elevation. It was clearly intended by honorable members that the Capital should be built, not necessarily upon the exact site selected by the Commissioners, but as near to it as possible. {: .speaker-KPX} ##### Mr Sawers: -- I did not vote on that understanding. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- It was not intended to arbitrarily fix the site at any particular spot. It would be absolutely impossible to do so until proper, detailed contour surveys had been made. Then only could we decide upon the elevation. {: .speaker-KPX} ##### Mr Sawers: -- But this provision is mandatory. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- No ; it is proposed that the site shall be at an altitude of not less than 1,500 feet, and I have no doubt that a location answering this requirement will be found within a very short distance of Lacmalac. The honorable member could secure a higher altitude if he chose, and still obtain the advantage of as good a water supply as is to be found at Tumut. He declared that the Commissioners - of whom there were four and not five - did not examine any other site. {: .speaker-KPX} ##### Mr Sawers: -- I did not say that. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- I understood the honorable member to say that the Commissioners had decided in favour of the Lacmalac site. But I would point out to him that in their report they refer to the country surrounding Tumut, and affirm that it is possible to secure as good a water supply as is obtainable at Lacmalac, even if a higher site be chosen. They have taken all these questions into consideration, and I have nohesitation in saying, that if a site at a greater altitude than 1,050 feet is selected, we shall still be able to obtain as good a. water supply there as is to be secured at Tumut. {: .speaker-KPX} ##### Mr Sawers: -- The Minister means that Tumut has a divine right to the Capital site. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- We can. find a good site in that vicinity. But what I chiefly desire to point out is that the whole of these details will require to be the subject of negotiation. Nothing contained in this. Bill is mandatory, and the provision affirming that the site of the Capital should be at an altitude of not less than 1,500 feet above the sea level is merely an expression of opinion that we ought not t© choose a locality where the heat is too great. {: .speaker-KPX} ##### Mr Sawers: -- Why not make it mandatory? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- We have expressed the opinion that it is undesirable that the site should be situated in a valley or low riverside locality, which would prove detrimental hereafter. I trust that honorable members will allow the provision relating to the question of altitude to remain in the Bill. {: .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr O'Malley: -- Fifteen hundred feet is not half high enough. **Mr. BROWN** (Canobolas).- I scarcely see any reason for objecting to the amendment of the honorable member for New England. He does not seek to eliminate from the Bill the condition that a search shall be made for a suitable site within twenty-five miles of Tumut. But I would point out that the provision in the measure which fixes the altitude of the site at not less than 1,500 feet above the sea-level practically excludes from consideration the two sites which were specially reported upon *by* **Mr. Oliver** and the Federal Capital Sites Commissioners. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr Austin Chapman: -- It admits that those sites are too warm. {: .speaker-JSM} ##### Mr BROWN: -- That may be so. Nevertheless, the two Commissions which investigated this matter reported that they were the best sites available. The honorable member for New England merely desires to obtain a better site if one can be found, and consequently he wishes to remove the embargo which has been imposed. **Mr. CONROY** (Werriwa). - I really fail to understand any reason why this amendment or any other should be further discussed. We all know that we are simply enacting a farce from which nothing will result. As far as I am concerned I intend to agree with the proposal of the Senate, seeing that we have already disagreed with one of its other amendments. In my judgment it is unnecessary to prolong discussion. {: #debate-17-s21 .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST:
Minister for Home Affairs. · Swan · Protectionist -- I regret that the honorable member for New England has submitted this amendment. The fact that he was absent from his place the other evening when this question was under discussion affords no reason why we should reverse the decision which was then unanimously arrived at. On that occasion it was generally understood by honorable members that in voting for Tumut they were not voting for any particular site. But as the words of the clause " at or near," would, no doubt, be construed to mean that the Capital should be established very close to Tumut, it was deemed desirable to provide that it should not be more than twenty-five miles distant from that town. We also thought it wise to affirm that the site chosen should be not less than 1,500 feet above sea level, because a majority were of opinion that a cool climate was essential. I trust that the honorable member will withdraw his amendment. {: #debate-17-s22 .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr O'MALLEY:
Tasmania -- I hope that the honorable member for New England will not press his proposal to a division, because if we select a site at a less altitude than 1,500 feet, we had better start a parliamentary boiling-down works or a cemetery. I have visited Tumut, and if I owned that town and Hades, I should let Tumut and live in Hades, because there is no scientific evidence to show that it is hotter in Hades than it is in Tumut. Amendment negatived. Motion, as amended, agreed to. Resolutions reported. Motion (by **Sir William** Lyne) proposed - That the report be now adopted. {: #debate-17-s23 .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDONALD:
Kennedy -- I should like some explanation from the Minister who is in charge of this Bill as to the exact position which we have now reached. The Senate has decided in one direction, and this House in another. Are we to secure any finality in regard to this matter? Do the Government intend to make the Bill a Government measure with a view to deciding at an early date where the Capital shall be established, and when we are likely to remove there ? Under the provision relating to dead-locks, which is contained in the Constitution, it seems to me that after the lapse of three months this Bill can again be brought forward. I should like the Ministry to make it a Government measure. It will be within the recollection of all that when the Government declined to accept the responsibility of recommending any particular site to the House, honorable members treated them very generously. They assumed the whole of the responsibility in connexion with the Bill, and proceeded to select the site which in their opinion was the best available. I desire to know now who owns this measure ? {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr Kingston: -- It has no acknowledged paternity. {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDONALD: -- Do the Government intend to proceed with it next session in the form in which it left this House, so that in the event of the Senate again refusing to pass it there may be a joint sitting of the two Houses? Should a decision be impossible under those circumstances, will the Ministry then ask for a dissolution of Parliament, with a view to bringing about some definite result? In the interests of New South Wales and of Australia, the question should be decided at the earliest possible date, and it appears to me that the adoption of the course which I have suggested is the only way in which such a result can be resolved. **Mr. JOSEPH** COOK (Parramatta).- I think that the honorable member for Kennedy has put a very pertinent question. Honorable members have a right to know what are the intentions of the Government in regard to this important matter. The Government, as we know, are much divided upon this question ; the Prime Minister being in direct opposition to some of his colleagues, as to the most suitable site at which to establish the Capital. I submit, however, that we have got beyond that stage, and that the Government has a right to respect the opinion of the House as deliberately expressed on two occasions. I think the House has decided that Tumut should be the site. {: .speaker-L2I} ##### Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- Not at all. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not think that any honorable member will deny that the two Houses are in direct conflict upon the question of site, and unless we intend to proceed further with the matter, we shall only be wasting time by once more sending this measure to another place. I should like to know whether there is anything in our rules of procedure or in the Constitution that would prevent the Government from straightway requesting another place to meet this House in conference ? The issue between the two Chambers is now clear enough, and there is no possibility of altering that issue. {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDonald: -- No one owns the Bill. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The Minister for Trade and Customs, it is true, has charge of the Bill, but his colleagues, the Prime Minister, the Minister for Defence, and the Minister for Home Affairs, are in deadly conflict with him so far as the question of site is concerned. It seems to me that the vote given in another place conveys to us the clearest indication of its opinion, and that the Government ought not to consider any longer their own individual and conflicting views. They should take up the cause of this House in its constitutional relations with another Chamber. I take it that, even in a matter of this kind, there is a point at which the Government should surrender their own individual opinions. If we are to arrive at finality we shall be able to do so only by compromise. I therefore submit that the question is no longer one which the Government should treat in an independent way, but that they should rather lead the House in its negotiations with another place for a final settlement of the question. Having regard also, to the fact that the present Parliament is about to expire, the Government should no longer stand upon ceremony. They should not wait for the Senate to again return this Bill, as we know it will, but should at this stage open up negotiations with another place by a respectful address from this House asking for a Conference, so that the matter may he finally determined. **Mr. WATSON** (Bland).- The suggestions which have just been put forward are worthy of the attention of the Government, because I believe that there, is in another place quite a number of honorable members who honestly desire to see this matter settled at an early date. It is true that the large majority of members of another place have taken a view different from that expressed by this House as to the most desirable site ; but that attitude is quite compatible with a wish to settle the question within a reasonably early date, and also with a possible alteration in the attitude of some honorable members with a view to that end. After the decisive vote given by this House on two occasions I think that it is more than likely that if a strong effort were made by the Government to arrive at a settlement some good result would be the outcome. This is one of thoseoccasions on which the Government should make an effort as a combined body to cause effect to be given to the wishes of the House. Members of the Government were certainly entitled to hold individual opinions as to the most desirable site to select ; but a pledge was given by the Ministry that the question should, if possible, be settled this session. That pledge was given to the country as a whole. The question is nolonger one as to the most desirable site, but whether we should have the matter settled during the present session, or whether it should be held over perhaps even beyond the life of the next Parliament. No one knows what is likely to happen when the next Parliament meets. If any delay occurs in dealing with this matter during next session, or, if it cannot be brought to a successful issue, this Government will be held responsible if they make no effort on the present occasion to secure a settlement. **Mr. AUSTIN** CHAPMAN (Eden- Monaro - Minister for Defence). - It is allvery well for honorable members to urge that in view of the vote given to-night on the question of the site of the Capital we should settle this matter at once ; but I should like to point out that that vote represents only forty-six out of seventy-four honorable members. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- The rest are all right. {: #debate-17-s24 .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTI N CHAPMAN:
Minister for Defence · EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · Protectionist -What I wish to show is that, although only sixteen members out of forty-six to-night recorded their votes in favour of Bombala - the remaining thirty voting, not for any other particular site, but against that selection - it is well known that five honorable members who were prepared to vote for Bombala stood out in deference to the wishes of others. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- What about the previous vote? {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- Surely the honorable member will allow me to proceed ? Had those six voted, twenty-one votes would have been cast in favour of Bombala. I am told that the reason they stood out was that they were requested to pair with other honorable members who were absent. They were not advised that there were many other honorable members absent who were well known to be in favour of Bombala, and with whom the absentees on the other side might have been paired. Consequently, I say that the vote given to-night is not a true index of the opinion of the House. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- What about the vote given some days ago ? {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- We know that at the first ballot on that occasion Bombala headed the list, and that it was only by a combination of members against the selection of that site, and the sudden conversion of quite a number of honorable members who had previously voted for Lyndhurst, that the supporters of the Tumut site were enabled to secure a victory by the narrowest of majorities. As the ballot proceeded, Bombala was fora long time either at the head of the list or tied with some of the other sites. Quite a number of honorable members who are in favour of Bombala were absent from the House on that occasion, and we are all aware of the feverish haste with which even the honorable member for Bland urged that the House should go to a division. I do not blame him for doing so. Perhaps it was good tactics for him to urge honorable members to rush to a division when he knew that some of the supporters of the site which he opposed were absent ; but the most serious feature Associated with the pairing which took place in connexion with to-night's division relates to the vote of the leader of the Opposition. I wish to know on whose authority an honorable member, who was in attendance this evening left the Chamber in order to pair with the right honorable member for East Sydney. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I rise to a point of order. I would ask you to say, **Mr. Speaker,** whether the honorable gentleman is in order in discussing the question of pairs on the motion for the adoption of the report ? {: #debate-17-s25 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I am not quite sure, but I think that the honorable gentleman is referring to a matter which took place in Committee, and the report from that Committee having been brought before the House he will be quite in order in calling attention to it. He will not be in order, however, in referring to some other matter which took place outside the Committee. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- I was referring, **Mr. Speaker,** to a matter which took place in Committee. I heard the leader of the Opposition declare that whilst he favoured Lyndhurst, his second vote would be for Bombala. I have known the right honorable member on so many occasions to explain away what he has said that I should not lay much stress on any statement but for the fact that I have it set out before me in cold type. I find that according to the Sydney *Morning* *Herald* and the Sydney *Daily Telegraph,* he said- {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I must ask the honorable gentleman not to discuss that matter. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- I do not wish to discuss it further than to state that the right honorable gentleman said at Bombala that he was prepared to give one vote for his choice - Lyndhurst ; that he gave that vote, and that he said further- {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The honorable gentleman is not now discussing anything which took place during the Committee stage. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- I am going to discuss the right honorable member's vote. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -I think that the Minister is now discussing something which did not take place in this House - that he is discussing, not a vote that was given, but a vote which he thinks ought to have been given. Is that so ? {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- No, sir. What I desire to say is that on the ballot which took place a few nights ago to determine the site of the seat of government, the leader of the Opposition voted for Lyndhurst, and that I heard him at Bombala say that his second vote would be for Bombala. I am informed that to-night an honorable member who favours the Bombala site was requested to leave the Chamber, in order to pair with the leader of the Opposition as a supporter of the Tumut site. In justice to the leader of the Opposition, I consider that a statement ought to be made as to whether any authority was given to arrange that pair. I refer to this matter only to show honorable members that the vote given to-night cannot be accepted as a true index of the opinion of this House. It Cannot even be claimed that a majority in the House has decided to-night in favour of a particular site. It is a question whether Bombala has not a majority of supporters. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- Give us another vote. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- I contend that, although Bombala in fighting against the combination which it has had to meet has not secured a majority, it obtained a majority of No. 1 votes at the first ballot. I wish only to put facts against mere bald assertions. I am told, and I know it to be a fact that, so far as this question is concerned, quite a number of members' votes have been influenced by the statement made by the Minister for Trade and Customs that no trees are to be found at Bombala. That statement has been spread broadcast all over the country, and if I shall be in order I wish, in reply to it, to read a letter which recently appeared in the Sydney *Morning Herald.* The letter is as follows : - >To the Editor or tile "Herald." > > **Sir, -** I noticed in to-day's issue of the *Herald* that rauch dissatisfaction is expressed at Bombala over **Sir William** Lyne having said that wheat or trees would not grow at Bombala. Well, sir, I would much sooner **Sir William** undertake to clear or grub one acre of some Bombala land than I, for any one who has ever been to Bombala can plainly see how thickly timbered most of the land is ; and as for wheat, Bombala and surrounding districts produced this year some of the finest wheat that any one could wish to see. And taking into consideration that many of the great wheat-growing districts of this State failed to produce wheat at all, owing to the drought, we find Bombala farmers in many cases having a yield of 30 bushels per acre, while the lowest yield per acre was 18 bushels. This wheat was an excellent sample, and included the following varieties : - White Tuscan, White Lammas, Purple Straw, Rattling Jack, and Manitoba. The average .weight per bushel of this year's wheat at Bombala was 64 '5 lb. per measured bushel. The Manitoba was a splendid sample, and surpassing most samples grown in Australia, and the 3'iold per acre of some was from 28 to 30 bushels. Taking these facts into consideration, Bombala people have good grounds to complain about **Sir William** Lyne's utterances, which I think were uncalled for and not founded on facts. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Who signed that letter ? {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- It is signed by **Mr. J.** J. Flynn, of Murrumburrah, somewhere in the neighbourhood of the honorable gentleman's electorate. Besides that, we have the statement made by the members of the Commission appointed by the Minister for Trade and Customs. He should have every confidence in the members of that Commission. Every other gentleman who has reported with regard to Bombala has testified to the same effect. {: .speaker-KDD} ##### Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- Is the Minister for Defence in order in discussing the relative merits of the two sites % The matter now before the House is the adoption of the report of the Committee. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The question under discussion is whether the report of the Committee shall or shall not be adopted ; and on that question it is perfectly open for an honorable member to argue that the report should not be adopted, or that it should be returned to- the Committee for further consideration, or any other matter relative to the motion. {: .speaker-KDD} ##### Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- Is it in order todiscuss the sites *t* {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Undoubtedly ; the report bears directly on the question of Tumut versus Bombala. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- It seems strange that when an advocate for Bombala endeavours to give the House an ounce of fact those opposed to that site endeavour to apply the muzzle. I have not made any statement against any other suggested sites. Surely it is not necessary, in order to support one site to point out the demerits of others. I simply indicate what is to be said in favour of the site which I advocate, and honorable members vote with their eyes open. I have endeavoured to make only such statements as can be borne out by the report of the experts. What I have quoted from the correspondence in the Sydney newspapers can be borneout by the honorable member for Gippsland, who knows that at the present time there is an agitation to open up the great forests in the Bombala district for the purpose of obtaining mining timber. However, I- do not intend to make another speech in favour of the merits of Bombala, but I do ask that the pair recorded in the name of the right honorable member for East Sydney shall be explained. Probably there is a satisfactory explanation to be given. I also desire to point out that if all the supporters of the Bombala site had voted for it to-night the division would have been a very close one indeed. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- Many of the Tumut supporters were away. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- That is all very well. Why were some of the Bombala supporters asked to stand out, when it was understood that there were to be no pairs ? If there were to be pairs why should not the Bombala supporters, who were away, have been paired with Tumut supporters who were away ? It is not fair to Bombala. I think this fact requires some explanation. I also desire to place it on record that with all this pairing there was only a difference of fourteen votes, not between Bombala and any particular site, but between Bombala and all the sites that were opposed to it - and that in a very thin House. It also has to be remembered that in the Senate an absolute majority of members voted for Bombala as their first choice against all other sites. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- A majority representing a minority of the people. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- If that be so, is it not the function of the Senate to see that minorities have their rights secured to them? Honorable members may laugh, but the representatives of Tasmania and Western Australia will hold with me when I say that their States are not to be down-trodden, but will insist that their claims shall receive consideration. That is why equal representation in the Senate was given to all the States. But I have only to answer for my own votes and speeches, and there is no occasion for me to question the votes and speeches of other honorable members ; though on so important a question as is now before us, I am justified in thinking that the circumstances require that the pair recorded in the name of the right honorable member for East Sydney shall be explained. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I understand the honorable gentleman to refer to a vote that was not given. He cannot refer to votes that were not given. If he is discussing a vote that was given, I can permit him to proceed. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- I do not intend to take that line of argument, but I think I have shown that the right honorable member for East Sydney made a statement at Bombala which warrants us in believing that he would have voted for Bombala, and we ought to know, if it is possible to know, on what authority he was paired against Bombala. It might also be well that the House should be informed why other honorable members stood out when the division was taken. In conclusion, I say with confidence, that it is impossible for the opponents of Bombala to secure an absolute majority of the House against that particular site, however some honorable members may wish to throw cold water upon it. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- It can easily be done. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- I say that it cannot be done, and I make the statement with the fullest confidence, believing that Bombala will lead as the Capital site, when all the other proposed sites have been forgotten. **Mr. SYDNEY** SMITH (Macquarie). - I have listened to the remarks of the Minister for Defence with regard to the pair recorded to the leader of the Opposition with a great deal of surprise. I accept the full responsibility for pairing the leader of the Opposition with the honorable member for Flinders. The right honorable member was unable to leave Sydney last evening, and he asked me especially to arrange a pair for him against the Senate's decision with regard to Bombala. Therefore, I fail to see why the Minister for Defence should make any complaint. If he looks at the record of the previous voting he will find that the leader of the Opposition voted for Lyndhurst right through. The Minister for Defence complains of the treatment which Bombala has received ; but what about Lyndhurst ? That site headed the list on every occasion except one, right up to the final vote, and it was only by a combination of the Minister's Bombala friends that Lyndhurst was rejected. {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr Kingston: -- How many voted in favour of Lyndhurst? {: .speaker-L2I} ##### Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- On the first ballot the number of votes recorded for Bombala was 16, and there were 14 for Tumut, and 14 for Lyndhurst. On the next ballot there were 21 for Lyndhurst, 16 for Bombala, and 14 for Tumut. On the third ballot there were 23 for Lyndhurst, 17 for Bombala, and 14 for Tumut. On the fourth ballot there was 25 for Lydnhurst 17 for Bombala and 17 for Tumut. On the. fifth ballot, there were 24 for Lyndhurst, 21 for Tumut, and 16 for Bombala. On the next ballot, by a combination of the whole of the Bombalaites who voted in favour of Tumut - although they were just as strongly against .Tumut as against Lyndhurst - Lyndhurst was defeated by 36 votes to 25. Even the Prime Minister, who had been a supporter of Bombala right through, on the fifth and sixth ballots turned round and voted for Tumut - in favour of a site which he did not believe in. It shows the underground engineering that went on in connexion with the various sites. During the course of the debate, reference has been made to the fact that there was a strong combination of the New South "Wales members in favour of Lyndhurst. But the fact is that if the New South "Wales members had voted solidly for Lyndhurst that site would have been chosen. Lyndhurst would have had thirty-two votes as against twenty-nine for Tumut. But no less than seven New South Wales members - namely, the honorable member for Riverina, the Minister for Defence, the honorable member for Richmond, the honorable member for Cowper, the Minister for Trade and Customs, the honorable member for New England, and the honorable member for Bland, voted solidly against Lyndhurst. I cannot understand in the face of these facts any honorable member making the statement that there was a combination of New South "Wales members to secure the selection of Lyndhurst. I am sorry, in the interests of the Commonwealth, that such a combination did not take place, because then I am satisfied that we should have secured a Capital site that in regard to accessibility, climate, and other advantages would have been the best place for the purpose. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- Is the honorable member pleading for delay ? {: .speaker-L2I} ##### Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- No ; but I am showing the advantages of Lyndhurst, as I have a right to do. I do not desire to go into further details now, because I have already had an opportunity of pointing out the merits of the Lyndhurst site. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- How far was Lyndhurst behind on the first ballot ? {: .speaker-L2I} ##### Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- It was only two votes behind the leading site. I think honorable members will admit that not a word can be said against the votes that were given for Lyndhurst. There was some twisting round with regard to the other sites, but the supporters of Lyndhurst voted solidly in an open and straightforward way. We could have manoeuvred our votes if we had cared to do so ; there is a way of manipulating these matters, and it was quite possible to strengthen the position of Lyndhurst. But we felt it was our duty to give a straightforward honest vote, and no one can reproach us in connexion with it. Therefore, I regret that the Minister for Defence should have made any statement concerning the pair recorded in the name of the leader of the Opposition in the absence of that right honorable gentleman. I told the Minister for Defence that I had the authority of the leader of the Opposition to pair the latter against the adoption of the Senate's suggestion, and I cannot be blamed for not searching in a graveyard for a pair. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr Austin Chapman: -- And what about the honorable and learned member for Parkes ? {: .speaker-L2I} ##### Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- I told the Minister for Defence in the most straightforward way that the leader of the Opposition and the honorable and learned member for Parkes were absent, and that I desired pairs for them against the adoption of the Senate's suggestion. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr Austin Chapman: -- Did the honorable member for Macquarie have the authority of the honorable and learned member for Parkes ? {: .speaker-L2I} ##### Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- I had full authority to pair the right honorable member against the Senate's amendment on the question of site, and I accept the responsibility of the pairs arranged for the right honorable member for East Sydney and the honorable member for Parkes. I had authority to pair two other honorable members, and an honorable member offered to meet me ; but, owing to the fact that he had not voted on a previous occasion, he asked to be relieved, and, under the circumstances, I withdrew my request. I regret very much that the question of pairs should be brought up in the House ; it is not proper to endeavour to justify a case by introducing such matters. I advocate the Lyndhurst site, because I know that it possesses advantages which cannot be claimed for any other site. I contend that the Government are to blame for all the trouble that has arisen. Who is to blame for the absence of honorable members if not the Government ? Why did the Government not take steps to obtain the necessary information at a time when honorable members were in full attendance? This matter should have been pushed on some months ago ; and it was entirely in the hands of the Government. Of course I admit that honorable members ought to be present, but the Minister for Defence knows very well that a number of gentlemen made arrangements to leave for their constituencies in view of the approaching elections. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- That is no excuse. {: .speaker-L2I} ##### Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- And there is no excuse on the part of the Government for the delay which has taken place. If the Government were serious in the matter - which I question - a settlement ought to have been arrived at weeks ago. The delay has placed honorable members in a most unfortunate position ; but I have no hesitation in saying that Lyndhurst can command the greatest number of No. 1 votes in this House. **Mr. WILKS** (Dalley). - In my opinion Lyndhurst would have been a proper Australian selection, but as I cannot obtain my first choice, my second is Tumut. The question is whether we should have decision or delay and uncertainty. {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr Mauger: -- Or further inquiry. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- That only spells delay. {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr Kingston: -- It spells intentional delay. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- I ask Ministers to assume their proper responsibility. No one will "own the child." Bombala is the child of the Minister for Defence, while as yet the Minister for Trade and Customs has not spoken. {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr Kingston: -- The Prime Minister has spoken. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- The Prime Minister all through has advocated negotiation ; and I ask now whether the Government mean business. On two occasions the House has decided on Tumut, and while I should prefer Lyndhurst, I advocate decision and certainty as against delay and uncertainty. I am satisfied, not from hearsay, but from evidence afforded to-day, that Victorian electioneering organizations are already questioning candidates as to whether they are in favour of a " bush capital," and if the matter be postponed until after the elections I am prepared to see the next Parliament contain a strong phalanx of Victorian representatives in favour of further delay. The late Prime Minister, in introducing the subject to Parliament, said that he was pleased that he was now- able to carry out his promise to New South Wales. I trust that the present Prime Minister will see that that promise is duly completed ; and the only way is for the Government to take their proper responsibility. It has been suggested that there can be a conference of managers from each House ; and as we have had enough of the personal equation of Ministers, we now desire a collective voice and collective responsibility with a view to finality. If the Government will assume responsibility the matter will be decided this session ; but if a settlement be postponed, next session will see the return of members for New South Wales pledged to prevent all business until the Capital site shall have been selected. On the other hand Victorians will be returned pledged to delay ; and the result will be, as foreshadowed by the honorable member for Kennedy - a double dissolution, thus involving the whole of the people of Australia in the trouble. That is no wild dream or speculation. In the press of Melbourne there have appeared articles of jubilation at the selection of Bombala by the Senate, not because Bombala is desired as the Federal territory, but because its selection makes for delay and uncertainty. There was open jubilation because it was felt that the House of Representatives would adhere to Tumut, and cause a dead-lock, which would result in the postponement of a settlement. That is a most ignoble position to take up. Victoria is fighting for its own hand, and it will be found that New South Wales will fight as strenuously. It will be found that the New South Wales representatives returned to the next Parliament will not be puny and weak, but will take care not to allow any business to be transacted until this matter of the Federal Capital is settled. I ask the Prime Minister, who has expressed himself as so anxious not to irritate.or annoy the Parliament or the people of New South Wales, to show his *bona fides* by carrying this matter to completion. **Sir WILLIAM** LYNE (Hume- Minister for Trade and Customs). - There has been a good deal of undue heat on the part of leading members of the Opposition. Such heat is entirely unnecessary on this occasion, except it be for the purpose of airing a grievance, or grievances, prior to the elections. {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDonald: -- That remark cannot be applied to me. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- I am not referring to the honorable member for Kennedy, but to the honorable member for Macquarie, who has expressed the opinion that the Government is absolutely to blame for everything that has happened. {: .speaker-L2I} ##### Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- The Government are to blame for the delay. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- We cannot , expect the honorable member for Macquarie to admit that anything is properly done by the Government. What more could the Government have done ? The first series of proposed resolutions were moved by the late Prime Minister on the 23rd September, and these were carried and sent to the Senate. It is not the fault of the Government that they have not been carried by the Senate. {: .speaker-L2I} ##### Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- It is due to the neglect of the Government. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- The Government cannot dictate to the Senate how it shall vote. Some considerable time' was necessarily occupied, but as soon as possible after the late Prime Minister had resigned, I took charge of the Bill. I do not think that honorable members opposite can complain of delay in this matter so far as the Government are concerned. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Not since the proposed resolutions were submitted, but the matter ought to have been considered twelve months ago. {: .speaker-L2I} ##### Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- It should have been considered long ago. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- The honorable member for Macquarie, when in another sphere, had a magical way of doing things ; indeed, it took him five years to do nothing. . The present Government have been in office only a short period, and have had a great deal of work to do and have done it. Honorable members opposite blame the Government, not because there is any truth in the charges made, or because such action is considered fair or proper fighting, but because it is deemed to be politic, and useful to the Opposition. However, I do not think that the public agree with the Opposition, who are fighting such a decayed cause that they want something to revive it in the shape of an attack on the Government. The Minister for Defence read a letter from a gentleman named **Mr. Flynn,** whom I do not know, but who must have been drawing on his imagination. I repeat what I said before, namely, that on the plains of Monaro there are but few trees, in consequence of the bleak blizzard winds from the Kosciusko Ranges. {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDonald: -- Why do not trees grow on the Darling Downs, where there s the finest country in Australia? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- The Darling Downs is very good country, but it is subject to drought very often. {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDonald: -- There is nothing like it elsewhere in Australia. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- I have seen the Darling Downs, and a good many other downs, and the honorable member is quite wrong in that. On the question of the course to be taken by the Government, I think it is unreasonable to suggest that the question should at this stage bedealt with as a Government measure. Honorable members on both sides have said that this should not be a party measure. If the Government were to take it up as a Government measure that would at once make it a party measure of the most pronounced kind. Some honorable members have said that the Government did not accept their proper responsibility in the first instance, that they should have made it a Government measure, and should have selected a site, perhaps in defiance of the wish of the House. They have said all along that it is not a party measure, and members of different parties have voted together for different sites. We have agreed that it should be an open question, and it is not fair to expect the Government to make it a party measure. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr Thomson: -- It must become at some stage a Government measure. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- In what position are we now ? We have passed the Bill and sent it to the Senate ; the Senate altered it and sent it back, and surely it will not be contended that the question has now advanced far enough to justify the Government in taking up the cudgels on behalf of the House of Representatives, making a party measure of it, and creating a conflict between the two Houses? The speeches which have been delivered to-night show that the matter is not ripe as a party measure in either one House or the other. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- A Government measure is not necessarily a party measure. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -The honorable member must know well that this cannot be accepted as a Government measure without being made a party measure, because, if the Government take it up as a Government measure, and are defeated upon it, they must go out of office. {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr Kingston: -- Does the honorable gentleman hold that every Government measure is a party measure ? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- No ; but every important and serious Government measure should be a party measure. {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr Kingston: -- Many members of the Opposition are with the Government in this matter. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- I wish to say now that the voting which took place in the Senate showed ten for Tumut and nineteen for Bombala. The ten represented 1,682,239 persons in the Commonwealth, whilst the nineteen represented only 1,663,488, or about 20,000 less than the number represented by the ten. When the site was decided in this House, in the first instance, as between Tumut and Lyndhurst, the vote for Tumut represented 1,827,758 persons, whilst the Lyndhurst vote represented only 1,314,754. Tumut has therefore been supported in the votes which have taken place up to the present time by representatives of over half-a-million people of the Commonwealth than any other site ; the numbers being 3,509,997 for Tumut, and 2,948,242 for Bombala. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Whose figures are those ? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- They are figures taken from the divisions and votes by an officer in my Department. {: .speaker-L2I} ##### Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- Are they like the electoral divisions? If so, they are not worth much. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- If they are like the electoral divisions they can be relied upon. The honorable member cannot get away from them in that way, because he will have an opportunity to check the figures if he pleases. It is the intention of the Government that this measure when passed by the House of Representatives shall be sent on to the Senate again. I do not think it is quite certain, as has been stated, that the Senate will return the Bill in the form in which they previously returned it to the House of Representatives. I think there is something in the remarks of the honorable member for Bland, when he said that there are honorable senators who do not desire to create a dead-lock in this matter. When it is remembered that there has been a large majority in favour of Tumut in this House on two occasions, honorable senators will consider before they act rashly in a matter of this kind. However that may be, it seems to me that it is our clear duty to send this measure back to the Senate. The Senate may ask for a conference but I must say that I fail to see how any real good could come out of a conference on thesubject. However,' that will be for the Senate to consider when the Bill comes before them again, as it probably will tomorrow. When the Bill is again returned to the House of Representatives, it will be time enough for the Government to decide whether they should make it a Government measure and a party measure or not. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Not a party measure. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- It will become a party measure if it is made a Government measure. {: .speaker-KDD} ##### Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- It will be the fault of the Government if they make it so. This House does not desire to make it a party question. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- If it is made a Government measure honorable members must not forget that a majority of the members of the Government will have to sink their opinions. They do not desire to be called upon to do that, and if they are they will be made subservient to the interests of party, if that would not be making this a Government measure I do not know what would. Some honorable members do not appear to know what a party measure is. If I were the Prime Minister, and a measure of this kind were taken up by my Government,. I should make it a party measure, and stand or fall by it. Once a measure of this, kind is made a Government measure no good can be done with it unless it is also made a party measure. Is a Government in a matter of so much importance as this, to be buffeted about from one side to another, having this and that part of their Bill destroyed ? No Government would submit to anything of the kind. {: .speaker-KDD} ##### Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- Every Government is compelled to proceed with a decision of the House to bring it to some maturity. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr Fisher: -- This must be a party measure. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- It will perhaps be a party measure by-and-by ; but it is not one now. It has been once before the Senate and twice before the House of Representatives, and it will go before the other Chamber again. I think the Government can claim to have forced this matter forward more rapidly than some honorable members would have done if they had been in the same position. I altogether repudiate the statements made by honorable members questioning the *bona fides* of the Government in this matter. No one can say that I have been backward in dealing with it. From the very onset, from the troublesome time when I had to bear the whole of the attacks made upon me for giving the members of the Federal Parliament an opportunity to visit the various sites, in order to prepare them for a consideration of the question, it cannot be said that I have shown any laxity in my desire to have the Capital site chosen as early as possible. If other measures of grave importance were in hand so that this question could not be taken up at the moment the reports of the Commissioners were received, that may have been unfortunate, but neither I nor the Government was to blame for it. The exPrime Minister, **Sir Edmund** Barton, was very anxious to have this matter settled, and he took the earliest opportunity afforded by the state of business in this House to endeavour to carry the matter through. I think that honorable members ought to be satisfied that the Government will do the best they can to bring this matter to a successful issue. Until the Bill is again dealt with by the Senate, it is quite impossible for us to say exactly what will be done. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- If the honorable gentleman is fighting a lone hand, he should do what the ex-Minister for Trade and Customs did if he does not get his own way. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- I should if it were a party question. **Mr. THOMSON** (North Sydney). - I cannot agree with the Minister for Trade and Customs that the methods adopted for dealing with this question have been the best, nor that the speed reached in dealing with it has been as rapid as it might have been. The matter has been gone into previously, and at this time I desire only to point out that the question appears to be getting into a very unsatisfactory position, which I for one do not desire it should get into. I. have no desire to see it brought to the fighting stage when other important business of the Parliament may be constantly interfered with by the introduction of this question, when angry feelings may be aroused, and when Parliament may under stress have to deal with the matter, which may be much better dealt with in the absence of that stress. I desire to reply to the objections of the Minister for Trade and Customs to making this Bill what he calls a party measure, that there must be a stage at which, if the Government are in earnest, it must become a Government measure. The Government are the leaders of this House, and whilst it might have been quite right, and I am not taking objection to it, for the Government to leave to the House in the first instance the selection of the site, after the site was selected by the House and inserted in the measure, I consider that the Government were bound to recognise the decision of the House as one to which they must adhere, and to subsequently deal with the Bill as a Government measure. If not, when are they going to deal with it as a Government measure? We know if this difference of opinion on the subject continues between the two Houses of the Parliament what the result will be. We have it laid down in the Constitution. To declare any joint dissolution the Governor-General has to act, and on whose recommendation is he going to act ? {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- Not at once. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr THOMSON: -- The right honorable gentleman means that whilst it is not considered a Government measure now it would be considered a Government measure if it were not settled in this Parliament. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- The Bill has to be passed twice by the House of Representatives. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr Fisher: -- It does not make any difference under section 57 of the Constitution whether a measure is a Government measure or not. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr THOMSON: -- It does not, except that the Governor-General has to be moved at a certain stage. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- We have not reached that stage yet. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr THOMSON: -- That I admit; but the Governor-General has to be moved when we have reached that stage and naturally the only persons to move him are the Government because they are his only advisers. This measure must, at some stage, become a Government measure. It ought to have become a Government measure immediately the blank was filled. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- The honorable member would make the Government a mere committee of the House. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr THOMSON: -- Did any one ask the Government to refer the selection of a site to the House? Of their own motion, Ministers decided to become a portion of the Committee of the House - we are not complaining of that act - but when the House had given its decision in the manner provided by the Government, the Bill ought to have become a Government measure. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- Although, perhaps, all the Ministers had voted against the site selected *1* {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr THOMSON: -- Certainly . The Government had only one of two courses to adopt - either to accept the responsibility of considering in Cabinet which site they would support, and, although Ministers might differ in opinion, coming to that corporate unanimity to which they have to come in other matters, or to take the position of members of the Committee and accept its choice of a site as the one which they would support.. Every member, I am sure, expected that course to be taken. A complaint has been made of some warmth displayed by representatives of New South Wales. But, I would ask, is it not reasonable that there should be warmth displayed when such charges are levelled against New New South "Wales members as have been made by a portion of the Victorian press ? What did a Melbourne newspaper say recently *1* It said - There is not a senator who -would trust the trial of a Victorian dog to the impartiality of the New South Wales representatives. This is a nice statement for the *Age* to make. It accused the New South Wales members of voting for Lacmalac for one. reason only - that it was the nearest site to Sydney - and then it accused Victorian members of neglecting the interests of the Commonwealth and the State in not voting for Albury, because it was the site nearest to Melbourne - for a Victorian town, as it was described. What did the *Age* go on to say ? It said - A divergence of opinion between the two Houses will secure a further opportunity for inquiry, and, above all, for delay. It will be impossible at this late period of the parliamentary session to adjust any disagreement between the two Houses, and this will insure just what ought to happen - that the selection of a Federal Capital shall be left to a future Parliament, one which will take a higher view of its duty in the matter than that which operates with the present New South Wales opposition. In time, when we have broken down the unreasoning jealousy of the mother State, aDd when the Commonwealth is financially in a position to turn its thoughts to the establishment of a Capital city, we may repeal the fettering conditions of the 125th section, and leave Parliament free, as it ought to be, to take the very best site available wherever it may be found. What does that mean *1* It means that the objection of a portion of the press, which influences public opinion largely in this State, is that the bond shall be departed from - that New South Wales, after giving whatshe agreed to give, after accepting the extra taxation which she objected to accept in the first instance, is to be robbed of what was given to her as a supposed equivalent. I think it is time for New South Wales members to show heat - at any rate it is excusable - when they are subjected to that sort of criticism by one of the strongest opponents of any settlement of the question at this time. Another very astonishing thing is that a number of members who have raised objections to the selection of a site at the present time, because of the expense involved, have voted for the most expensive site in the whole of those submitted to the Commission of Experts, and the site placed last by the Commissioners whom Parliament appointed to advise it. An expenditure of £2,450,000 is attached to Bombala in connexion with the construction of railways. {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr Kingston: -- That is if the Commonwealth constructed the railway which iscontemplated by Victoria. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr THOMSON: -- That expenditure is involved whether the railways are constructed by the Commonwealth or by the States. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- At one time or other. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr THOMSON: -- We cannot see into the future ; but so far each State has refused to construct a railway, and if either saw good reason for its own purposes to do so, no doubt it would have proceeded. The interest on that amount would represent from £S0,000 to £85,000 per year, and there is nothing more certain than that those lineswould not pay working expenses for many years to come. Yet those who on the plea of economy said " delay selecting a site " selected a site which would necessitate by far the heaviest expenditure by the Commonwealth or the States. There is also proposed an expenditure at Eden - which I shall not debit to the site, because it is by no means certain that Eden would be included -of £1,028,000 for the cost of two breakwaters. I do not wish to discuss the merits of the sites - I have not done sohitherto - but I cannot help replying tosome of the statements which have been made by honorable members and which are being made in the press. The *Argus* also gives a view of this matter, which is not accurate. On the 16th October it said - The conflict of opinion arose from the difference of numerical representation which New South Wales has in the two Houses. In the House of Representatives, where that State has twenty -six members, their preference for Tumut, as against Bombala, prevails. In the Senate, where each State is represented by six members, the preference of New South Wales loses its controlling power, and Bombala secures a large majority. That statement is absolutely inaccurate. The two sites chosen have not been selected by New South Wales members at all. New South Wales has been absolutely in the hands of the other States in this choice. In the Senate Bombala had no New South Wales supporters, while in this House Tumut had four New South Wales supporters in the first ballot and three more in the last ballot, making seven in all. So let it not be said in either case that the selection has been due to New South Wales members. {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr Kingston: -- They had an equal voting power with every one else. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr THOMSON: -- The newspaper from which I quoted states that the difference in selection is due to the difference in the representation of New South Wales in the two Chambers. There were only seven honorable members who voted in the last ballot for the choice of this Chamber. If those seven members had voted on the other side, it would have led to the selection of another site. {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr Kingston: -- If the seven members had given, a vote to Lyndhurst it would have won. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr THOMSON: -- Yes. The scale was turned in favour of Bombala, not by the votes of two or three New South Wales members, but by the votes of the representatives of other States. {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr Kingston: -- If New South Wales members had stuck to Lyndhurst it would have won. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr THOMSON: -- Tumut was far more the choice of the twenty-nine representatives of other States than of the seven representatives of New South Wales. I am not objecting to the other States having their full say in the selection of the site, but considering that New South Wales has had so small a voice in the matter, I would appeal to all sections of the House to give some consideration to State feeling, and the least consideration they can give is to do as they have done - to uphold the compromise site which has been selected. But the action of honorable members will not secure the adoption of that site, unless the Government are prepared to accept their responsibility, and I submit that if they do not take that course, it will show that they are not in earnest in their proceedings. I hope that the difficulties and dangers which I foresee may be avoided. The Commonwealth has enough necessary and unavoidable difficulties to face without our adding one which is unnecessary and avoidable, and if we do not arrive at a means of solving this question at an early date it will become a burning question to the Parliament, and will - very unfortunately- interfere with the work that we ought to be performing, and I am afraid with the respect that our proceedings, if properly conducted, ought to command from the people of Australia. {: #debate-17-s26 .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr KINGSTON:
South Australia -- I do not know that any one who really considers the question which we are now discussing can over-estimate its importance, and I say unhesitatingly that I sincerely desire that before we separate, and this Parliament terminates, some conclusion may be come to as regards the selection of the Capital site. Though my preference is undoubtedly Bombala, I should have been content if the other branch of the Legislature had assented to the proposition which recommended itself to the good sense of this House. I have not at any time, either as the representative of a State or personally, viewed this matter with any prejudice. All I desire is to come to a right conclusion on the subject. I wish for the selection within New South Wales, and during this Parliament, of the best site available. New South Wales is undoubtedly entitled to so much No effort should be spared to give her during the existence of this Parliament the full benefit of the bargain which was made in reference to the Capital site. That bargain imposes upon us the obligationto select a Capital site within New South Wales. It may be within any part of New South Wales, either on the border , or elsewhere, so long as it is not within 100 miles of Sydney. Having participated largely in the Federal movement, and having been present at and a member of the Premiers' Conference which agreed to the compact which was subsequently indorsed by the peoples of the various States, I claim to know what really was intended. There was no intention to give any particular part of New South Wales any particular interest in this matter. It was stipulated as clearly as could be that a certain part of that State was to be excluded, but that the Federal Parliament was to have the fullest power to determine a site anywhere else within its borders. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Was anything said about putting the Federal Capital on the border *1* {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr KINGSTON: -- We all know what was suggested at the time, and what has been continually suggested. One of the earliest gatherings in connexion with Federation was held at Albury, and the talk was of Albury being the Federal Capital. Naturally, attention has been directed to the position of Albury as half way between Sydney and Melbourne. But I think that Bombala was also mentioned at the Premiers' Conference. These matters were in our minds. The Premiers were, so to speak, bargaining on the subject. The chief item of interest was the position of the Capital. It was discussed mainly between the representatives of the two States which, in the natural order of things, were most interested, which had, as it were, the chief claims to the selection of the Capital. It was an arrangement made between Victoria and New South Wales, and indorsed by the remaining States. But nothing was said or dreamt of about excluding a border site such as Albury or Bombala. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Was anything said about including such a site ? {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr KINGSTON: -- The matter was left at large. All that was agreed upon was that the site should be within New South Wales, but not within 100 miles of Sydney. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr THOMSON: -- Both Tumut and Bombala are near the border. {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr KINGSTON: -- Yes. I would be no party to an arrangement which " kept the word of the promise to the ear and broke it to the hope." But nothing of the sort suggested was intended. I do not believe that the leader of the Opposition would support such a suggestion for a moment. He has not hitherto mentioned it, and he is npt one to forget a point which could be made on behalf of the State over whose destinies he so long presided, and which, with his fellow members, he so adequately represents. He would, on the contrary, have spoken from the fullness of his knowledge. It is because the honorable member for Parramatta has not had an opportunity to become precisely acquainted with what happened at the Premiers' Conference that he has given expression to the suggestion that there was an intention to secure for Sydney the trade of the Federal Capital. There was no such intention. The utmost liberty was conceded on both sides. If the Federal Parliament chose a site within 105 miles of Sydney, its decision would hold good, and if it chose a border site its decision would equally hold good. The one arrangement would be as honorable and as permissible under the compact made and ratified by inclusion in the Constitution as the other. I thoroughly sympathize with the criticisms to which the honorable member for North Sydney has- subjected those who urge the plea of delay in order practically to enforce a denial of the rights of New South Wales. I shall be no party at any time to anything in the nature of cheating that State out of its undoubted rights in this matter. There is the bond. We are honorable men, and I hope that neither because of journalistic promptings or for any other reason shall we be induced to follow a line of action which will expose us to shame, as the practical repudiation of the undoubted rights of New South Wales will do. Letus select the site at the earliest moment, and make the best selection we can under the circumstances. I rely upon the promise of the Government, because when we spoke of the matter before we proceeded to the consideration of the question in detail, it was stated that they would spare no pains to bring about an agreement between the two Houses on the subject -before the session terminated. I do not like to give way to the other House. But I am a strong believer in the advantages of the Bombala site, partly' because of its port, and partly because of its climate. I have listened with amusement to the suggestion that it is too cold. Of what part of Australia can the general complaint be made that it is too cold *1* I wish that a vote could have been taken on the subject on a day like last Sunday week. The suggestion that Bombala is too cold would then have been repudiated as absurd. Australians require cold. They are generally suffering from too much heat. Let us in this world, when we have a chance, try to obtain a moderately temperate climate, and not be frightened by the suggestion that a certain climate is likely to make us shiver. I should like to get to some place which has such a climate. One can keep out of the cold by ordinary measures, but one cannot live in refrigerators to keep out the heat. At least we should try to obtain a salubrious climate with a moderate temperature. I am satisfied that in the district to which reference has been made we can get what we want, and we ought to take it. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable and learned member has been describing the climate of Lyndhurst. {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr KINGSTON: -- I have listened attentively to many descriptions of climates and sites, and I can say that I am absolutely unprejudiced, because I have not seen any of the places referred to. But I have read a good deal about them, and I know that **Mr. Oliver,** who reported in favour of Bombala, is a trusted servant of the New SouthWales Government, and his opinions should have considerable weight with those who represent that State. I am prepared to indorse his view, particularly as it accords with my original idea with regard to the locality. I know that the Government have many difficulties to contend with, and I sympathize with them. But I am half inclined to think that a time arrives, in connexion with all matters, when those who occupy the Treasury Benches should assume the responsibility of their occupation and make a choice. The Government have various considerations to study in this matter. Here we have a conflict between the two Houses. The Senate favour Bombala, and I am inclined to think that if honorable members in this House could be again polled that site would have an equal chance here. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- We have already had two chances. {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr KINGSTON: -- Yes, and Lyndhurst was rejected. Bombala occupied the foremost place at the first ballot, when we had an opportunity of judging of the unbiased opinions of honorable members. However, it is difficult to arrive at the true opinion of the two Houses. I do not expect to draw the Government I liked their idea of a joint sitting when they first proposed it. I liked it specially as a member of this House, although I ventured to express a doubt whether the Senate would view the proposal with equal favour. They did not do so. Would they do so now ? Is it not worth trying? I hope something will be done. I take it that the Government recognise that we ought to settle the question this session. I have said that more than once ; but I think that we cannot be too much impressed with the idea At present the matter is a small one, but it is gradually increasing in importance, and unless it is promptly dealt with it may grow into a troublesome, festering sore. I am familiar with the history of it. I remember that in the old days of the 1891 Convention, **Sir George** Dibbs said, amongst other things, that he did not consider that the fiscal issue was the lion in the path of Federation. As regards that lion, at any rate, we have met and conquered it. I say, with a full absence of Ministerial responsibility, that we have obtained protection, and that it has, in my opinion, come to stay. However, I do not wish to discuss that subject. **Sir George** Dibbs said that he was going to throw a bonibshell into the camp, and he did so by raising the issue of the Federal Capital. He moved that Sydney should be the Capital, and there was trouble at once. The members of the Convention then resolved that the question of the Capital site was a proper one to be dealt with by the Federal Parliament, and I am sorry that that conclusion was not adhered to. I venture to think that, if the matter had been left perfectly open in the way then proposed, our discussion to-day would have been by no means confined to two sites in New South Wales. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- We should have been considering Ballarat. {: .speaker-JSM} ##### Mr Brown: -- New South Wales would not have been considered then. {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr KINGSTON: -- I do consider New South Wales.I am sure that no one can say that at any time during my political career I have exhibited myself in the character of a parish or purely local politician. I have endeavoured to avoid anything of the kind, and I believe that I have been successful. At the same time, now that the honorable member for Parramatta has mentioned the matter, I may confess that I have always had a sneaking regard for the location of the Federal Capital in the neighborhood of Ballarat. Such a site would be ceutral, and the land would be suitable. However, that cannot be now, because an agreement has been entered into with New South Wales. Now that we find that the two Houses are opposed to each other, I put it to the Prime Minister whether the time has not arrived when the weight of the Ministry should be thrown into one scale or the other. Shall we not remain at issue after the close of this Parliament if we are not careful. Do , we wish to be troubled with this matter at the Federal elections ? I do not. I do not know that this will be a burning question in the constituency which I aspire to represent; but I am thinking of others. I ask, " Would our difficulties be lessened by passing this troublesome question over to the next Parliament, instead of dealing with it now *V* I am inclined to think that the gulf between us would grow wider and wider. I do not know what form of procedure can be adopted to insure a solution of the question, unless the Government take upon themselves the responsibility of deciding which is the best site, and putting the whole weight of their influence into the advocacy of that site, and, if necessary, using their full constitutional powers to bring about an agreement upon the subject. As an advocate of Bombala, I have listened with some impatience to the criticisms directed to the number of persons who were represented by the senators who recorded their votes in favour of that site. I say that that is not the test which should be applied, in order to judge the weight of resolutions arrived at by the Senate. The idea is opposed to the constitutional principle that each State is entitled to equal representation in point of numbers, absolutely irrespective of population. It seems to me that in this matter of the decision of the Federal Capital site we should rather look to the constitution of the present Government, and to the votes recorded by Ministers. " The Minister for Trade and Customs pointed out that the number of people represented by the senators who voted for Bombala, was equivalent to only three-fourths of the number represented by those who voted for another site. If we apply the same test to the constitution of the Ministry, and to the votes recorded by Ministers, we find that the majority is three to one in favour of Bombala. The votes recorded by Ministers show that they are almost unanimously in favour of Bombala as compared with the other sites. Under these circumstances, is not their duty clear *t* Here is the position : The Prime Minister, the Minister for Home Affairs, the Minister for Defence, and the Postmaster-General are in favour of Bombala. Thus, even in this House, we have four Ministers in favour of that site, as against two who support other sites. Then the only two Ministers in the Senate are in favour of Bombala. Therefore, six out of eight Ministers favour that site. It seems to me be to an undesirable innovation that at all times this question should be treated as other than a Government matter. The time must come in the ordinary course of affairs when Governments must assume responsibility for the measures which they introduce and advocate, and when they must feel that the right course to adopt is to give effect to the weight of their great majority. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr Thomson: -- They referred the matter to the House. {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr KINGSTON: -- That was only one way of obtaining the sense of the House on the subject. Of course, the Government might have recognised the necessity for a united policy in this matter, and have made the Bill a Government measure. They have, so far, bowed to the decision of the House, and, as a Government, have been content to subordinate the weight of six votes to two. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr Thomson: -- The right honorable member is wrong in his figures. One of the members of the Government in the Senate voted in favour of Tumut. {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr KINGSTON: -- No ; I have just refreshed my memory upon the subject. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- The Attorney-General voted for Tumut. {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr KINGSTON: -I am delighted to be corrected. I was misled by referring to the wrong division. However, the fact remains that five Ministers out of eight are in favour of the selection of Bombala. It seems to me that we cannot continue very much longer in this position. The Government must declare themselves. Upon, a question of this importance, in regard to which it is desirable that a conclusion should be arrived at, we should hare the advantage of the united assist- I ance of the Ministry. I do not say, at the present moment, that I shall support whichever site they may recommend, but I shall be much inclined to do whatever I can to assist to remove for all time from bitter debate into peaceable regions this all-important question, which every honorable member desires to see settled before we go to the country. Question resolved in the affirmative. *Resolved* (on motion by **Mr. Deakin)** - >That the honorable and learned member for Indi, the honorable member for Bland, and the Minister for Trade and Customs, be appointed a committee to draw up reasons for the House of Representatives disagreeing with the amendments of the Senate. The Committee presented the following report : - As to Amendment No. 1 - Because the House is of opinion that Tumut is the more suitable locality. As to Amendment No. 2 - Because the House considers it most desirable (1) that the Federal territory should have important river frontages, and (2) that the choice of the actual site should be fixed within a reasonable area and at an altitude to insure favorable conditions. Report adopted. {: .page-start } page 6313 {:#debate-18} ### ADJOURNMENT {:#subdebate-18-0} #### Electoral Rolls : Letter Delivery Motion (by **Mr. Deakin)** proposed - >That the House do now adjourn. {: #subdebate-18-0-s0 .speaker-KJI} ##### Mr ISAACS:
lndi -- I wish to call the attention of the Government to the question of the present condition of the electoral rolls. I know that I shall be pardoned for referring to a matter of such intense importance to the whole country. I do so, because considerable comment upon it has appeared in newspapers which circulate within my own electorate, and because letters which I have received from some of my constituents convince me that a great deal yet remains to be done before the electoral rolls can be placed in a satisfactory state. Thereis no doubt thatmistakeshave occurred. Of course, I recognise that the difficulties which confronted the Department were almost insuperable. Such a tremendous change was being effected in our electoral system that it was almost impossible to avoid errors. But the time within which they can be corrected is extremely short, and therefore I deem it to be my duty to again call attention to the question. There is one matter in particular which strikes me as being capable of amendment. Under present arrangements the Revision Court for any electorate can sit in one town only. I am afraid that it will be impossible for the Revision Court sitting in any one town to deal satisfactorily with the requirements of a whole electorate. The number of anomalies which exist are great. We cannot expect men and women to travel from distant quarters of a large electorate to one town only. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- They need not appear in person. {: .speaker-KJI} ##### Mr ISAACS: -- But their claims have to be decided judicially, and I find upon reference to sections 77 and 82 of the Electoral Act that the Court must be satisfied that applicants who desire to have their names inserted upon the rolls are entitled to exercise the franchise. Certainly some information will require to be given before that tribunal can satisfy itself that the names of those who claim the right to vote at the coming elections have been improperly omitted. I do not think that the Court in a perfunctory fashion will grant all applications which may be made to it. While I am satisfied that it is not necessary for every applicant to attend in person, it is undoubtedly an obstacle that a person residing at any considerable distance from the town in which the Court meets does not know what objections may be raised to his or her claim, and is unable to answer any such objection because of the travelling that would be necessary to enable that to be done. In the past every facility has been given for the holding of Revision Courts. They have even sat at night in order that the workers might attend and see that mistakes which had been made were corrected. At present electors in the country experience very great difficulty indeed in obtaining their rights. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- I do not see where the difficulty comes in. Any one can get his name on the roll if he wishes to do so. {: .speaker-KJI} ##### Mr ISAACS: -- If a person resides 80 miles or 100 miles from the town in which the Revision Court is held, he experiences considerable difficulty. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- If he sends in his application he can secure the insertion of his name upon the roll. {: .speaker-KJI} ##### Mr ISAACS: -- The Act does not say that. It provides that the Court must be satisfied that his claim is a just one. Some evidence must be given in support of it, and if objections are raisedthey must be combatted. I do, not think that the Revision Court is a mere registration court which will grant the application of every person who chooses to ask for the insertion of his name upon the rolls. It is a tribunal whose function it is to mete out justice. It is possible that the names of some persons have been improperly placed upon the rolls, or that the names of others have been improperly omitted. It is a court of justice, and as such should have proper materials before it on which to arrive at a decision. I am afraid that we are, perhaps, treating the matter a little too lightly. Many great issues hang upon it, and complaints are already being made that people cannot travel the great distances - because they are great distances - between their homes and the Revision Courts, or cannot see their way to be properly represented there. {: #subdebate-18-0-s1 .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON:
Laanecoorie -- With regard to the matter brought forward by the honorable and learned member forIndi, I should like to state that it appeared to me last week that a very grave injustice would be done to a large number of persons by the arrangements which had been made. I waited upon the Chief Electoral Officer, however, and was assured by him that local courts would in addition be held wherever necessary. {: .speaker-KJI} ##### Mr Isaacs: -- When was that notification given ? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON: -- Only last week. {: .speaker-KED} ##### Mr Kennedy: -- A different statement was made to me to-day. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON: -- There is another matter relating to the Postmaster-General's Department, to which I desire to draw attention. I find that in Victoria a new regulation has been brought into force, which provides that where arrangements are made for delivery by letter-carrier, no letters shall be delivered at the post-office. I am told that the regulation has been introduced for revenue purposes, inasmuch as any one who desires to obtain his letters at a postoffice may do so on paying a rental of one guinea or two guineas per annum for a box. I would point out that in Victoria a recent disarrangement of the railway service has taken place, and that a large number of country districts are now served by trains which carry mails and leave on the return journey soon after their arrival. Thus, unless business people in these districts are able to obtain their letters at the post-office as soon as they are sorted, they are unable to catch the return mail. It is a matter of the utmost importance to them, and I consider that it is unnecessary that such an arbitrary regulation should be enforced in the smaller centres of population as rigidly as at present. In the ordinary course of events, many people are unable to pay the fees demanded for the use of boxes. {: .speaker-KYR} ##### Mr Kirwan: -- A man might also be a stranger in the town. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON: -- Quite so. In the country districts, the postal walks are very much larger than are those which have to be traversed by letter-carriers in large centres of population. In some cases it takes a lettercarrier four hours to complete his walk, and consequently a number of people are unable to obtain their correspondence in time to answer it by the return mail, although the letters are actually in the possession of the postal officials. They are not permitted to intercept the letter-carrier. He is compelled to deliver them at the address given on the envelope, and many people are put to much loss and inconvenience through the application of a regulation, which, if it ever existed in the past in Victoria, was more honoured in the breach than in the observance. {: #subdebate-18-0-s2 .speaker-KED} ##### Mr KENNEDY:
Moira -- I wish to indorse the remarks which have been made by the honorable and learned member for lndi, with regard to the position in which many electors are likely to find themselves at the ensuing elections. We have been told by inspired newspaper paragraphs, as well as on the floor of the House, that the rolls are open to inspection at post-offices throughout the Commonwealth, and that forms are available for those who find that their names are not on the rolls and desire to have the omission rectified. I submitted to-day to the Minister for Home Affairs a letter, which set forth that at one of the post-offices an elector inspected the rolls for a division numbering 2,000 electors, and found that, in the first instance, there were only six applicacation forms available. The postmaster could not say whether more would be forthcoming. We know that if the average elector can obtain a form on which to make his application he will use it, but that as a rule he does not care about writing letters to officials. Consequently unless forms are available at all post-offices many electors may miss the oppportunity to be enrolled. I understand that the Revision Court will practically be the central electoral office in each State - that the Revision Court in each electorate will be merely a court of registration. Applicants for enrolment will state their case, the necessary inquiries will be made through the central office by certain officials, and the work of revision will actually be done in that office, the supplementary lists being forwarded to the revision courts. {: .speaker-KJI} ##### Mr Isaacs: -That might be right or wrong. {: .speaker-KED} ##### Mr KENNEDY: -- Quite so. Many people do not conceive of the difficulties which electors will experience in attending or being represented at the Revision Courts that have so far been appointed. In my electorate, for example, it will be necessary, in many instances, for an elector to absent himself from his home for three days in order to attend the court, while in other cases it will be impossible for electors to attend. There is another matter to which I desire to draw attention. The way in which the rolls have been grouped round polling booths is a revolution in the conditions which have hitherto prevailed in Victoria. I am not going to find fault with the system, inasmuch as provision is made in the Act to enable all persons to record their votes. The point is, however, that if a man goes to a polling booth, and finds that he is not on the rolls for that particular division, he may be disfranchised unless the returning officer or his deputies are advised to inform electors in such a position that they may vote there under certain conditions. I trust that the Minister for Home Affairs will take steps at an early date to have a short code of instructions issued to returning officers, and particularly to deputy returning officers. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- They willreceive detailed instructions, which are now being prepared. {: .speaker-KED} ##### Mr KENNEDY: -- We have been told of much that is to be done, but has not yet been carried out. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- This is being done. {: .speaker-KED} ##### Mr KENNEDY: -- Having placed my view of the situation before the Minister, I am prepared to accept his statement, and for the present to leave the matter in his hands. {: #subdebate-18-0-s3 .speaker-JZT} ##### Sir PHILIP FYSH:
PostmasterGeneral · Tasmania · Free Trade -- In answer to the honorable member for Laanecoorie, I would point out that, although there may be a regulation which renders it desirable that all persons to whom letters are addressed should have a postal- box, it is unnecessary for them, in occasional circumstances, to rent one. If a man while at No. 1 6 met a postal officer with letters addressed to him at No. 26, ho would be entitled to receive them on application; or, if he applied at the post-office for his letters, and was well-known to a postal official there, they would be delivered to him. That would occur in country districts, but not in the metropolis, where the postal officials would hardly be likely to know the applicant, and would not be entitled to deliver letters to him. In such circumstances the individual would be able to obtain his letters from a box at the postoffice ; but, undoubtedly, a person applying for letters at a country post-office, and being known to the postal officials, would receive them. If any regulations be against that, such regulations may be amended. {: #subdebate-18-0-s4 .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST:
Minister for Home Affairs · Swan · Protectionist -- I am much obliged to the honorable and learned member for Indi and to the honorable and learned member for Moira for their suggestions. I can assure them that they are very welcome, and. that they will receive attention. At the same time, the difficulties are very great, and the time is very short. In fact, notwithstanding all the trouble and care that I hope will be taken, I do not anticipate that everything will be done as well as we should all desire, because the time is not sufficient. But we will make the best efforts possible. In regard to the Revision Courts, I quite see the force of the statement that one court will not be sufficient for such large areas as are contained in some of the electorates; and I only hope that all the means that are being taken by individual persons, by honorable members, by the municipalauthorities, and by the Revision Courts, will suffice to bring the rolls into something like proper order. . I believe that will be the case ; but it must be admitted that if the elections are to take place early- and I am not advised as to when they will take place - the time is very short indeed for such an immense work as is involved in the framing of the electoral rolls and the revision of them, so as to make them as accurate as they ought to be. Question so resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 11.28 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 20 October 1903, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1903/19031020_reps_1_17/>.