House of Representatives
28 July 1904

2nd Parliament · 1st Session



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

ALLOWANCES TO POSTMASTERS.

Sir LANGDON BONYTHON. - I wish to ask the Minister of Home Affairs whether the Government will facilitate the submission of a test case respecting the claim of certain postmasters in South Australia to remuneration for savings bank work, for commission on sale of stamps, and exemption from rent pf premises, and waive costs in the event of the Government being successful?

Mr. BATCHELOR. - I understand that the honorable, member desires to know whether the Government will facilitate the submission’ to law of the questions referred to. At present’ the matter is before the Public Service Commissioner on appeal, so that the time for its consideration in the manner suggested has not yet arrived. -When that stage is reached, the Government will, of course, consider the question.

SALE OF DUTY STAMPS.

Mr. McD ONALD. - ‘In view of the statement made by the Postmaster-General yesterday to the effect that certain Work was being performed by Commonwealth officers for the Victorian Government free of cost; I desire to know whether he will extend the same privilege to other States Governments, and thus place them all on the same footing.?

Mr. MAHON. - The statement I made yesterday had reference to the past rather than the existing state of affairs. All I can say in reply to the honorable member’s question is that the PostmasterGeneral’s Department intends’ to treat ali the States alike..

Mr. HENRY WILLIS. - I desire to ask the Minister whether, in the event of extra work being imposed upon Commonwealth officials, he will see that they are remunerated for the services rendered ?

Mr. MAHON. - The point to which the honorable member refers is now a matter of regulation. I am under the impression that it is provided, where a Commonwealth officer performs work for a State Government after his official hours, that he shall receive the remuneration fixed for such service._

Mr. Henry Willis. - Does he?

Mr. MAHON.- I think so. Where, however, he performs work within ordinary office hours the Commonwealth receives the benefit of any payment that may be m,ade.

ADJOURNMENT (Formal).

Ventilation of the Chamber.

Mr. LIDDELL (Hunter).- I desire to move the adjournment of the House to discuss a definite matter of urgent public importance, viz., “ The unsatisfactory arrangements for the ventilation of this chamber. ‘ ‘

Five honorable members having risen in their places,

Question proposed.

Mr. LIDDELL. - 1 do not think that I need make any apology for rising to speak upon a subject of such vital interest to honorable numbers. Not only does it concern the health of honorable members, but it also has an important bearing upon the law-making of the Commonwealth, be- cause it is impossible for legislation to be passed in a satisfactory manner unless those engaged in the work can perform their duties amidst healthy surroundings. It must have struck all of us that as our sittings wear on, and as hour succeeds hour, honorable members become lethargic, and appear to take less interest in the debates. This may be due, to a certain extent, to the soporific effects of some of the speeches, but I think that it is owing in a greater degree to the fact that men be come lethargic and sometimes irritable when they are compelled to sit for long hours in an impure atmosphere.

Mr. Reid. - Hear, hear. That explains what occurred last- night.

Mr. LIDDELL.- The events of last night induced me to bring this matter forward at this stage. I shall endeavour to describe the ventilation arrangements of the chamber, and I think that I shall succeed in showing that they are very much behind the times.

Mr. King O’Malley. - They are scandalous.

Mr. LIDDELL.- When this building was erected, a Scotch professor of St. Andrews was consulted as to the best means of ventilating this chamber. That, occurred some fifty years ago. The professor adopted the plan which at that time was in general use, and which had been found effective. The air is pumped through an inlet in the gardens, and conveyed to us through a channel. It is forced into this chamber by means of . a mechanical fan, and reaches us through openings in the

Avails about 2 feet above .our heads. The object of this arrangement is to prevent draughts. The air is supposed to circulate throughout the chamber, and to ultimately escape through openings in the roof. During the summer months it is cooled by being made to pass over a screen upon .which water is kept playing, and in the winter months it is passed through a heated chamber. That plan, of course, is in every way satisfactory, because it insures a supply of pure air, which is warmed or cooled as necessity may demand. The circulation in the chamber, however, is not what it should be. The air, instead of being generally disseminated, simply finds its way to the ceiling and escapes there. The original system has been modified or tinkered with. Apertures were made under the seats occupied by honorable members, so that the air could find its way in and play along the surface of the floor, and gradually work its way to the top of the building. Honorable members found, however, that they suffered very severely from the draughts thus created. They found that while their heads were hot, their feet were cold, and they objected to such a state of affairs. I find that’ these apertures have now been carefully closed up by gumming paper over them. As honorable members are probably aware, air is composed chiefly of nitrogen and oxygen, there being four parts of nitrogen to one of oxygen.

Mr. Reid. - And a certain proportion of eloquence.

Mr. LIDDELL.- The physical exertion entailed in producing the eloquence referred to by the right honorable gentleman results in honorable members throwing off a large quantity of carbonic acid gas, which is highly deleterious. The heated air naturally rises, but carbonic acid gas, being very heavy, sinks to the floor, and when a debate has been in progress for some time, honorable members are practically condemned to sit in a well of carbonic acid gas. The pure air escapes over our heads, and below it is the _ stratum of impure air that I have described. This, to a very large extent, accounts for the lethargy and irritability of honorable members.

Mr. Reid. - The honorable member must not mention names.

Mr. LIDDELL.- This chamber is hermetically sealed. All the doors are practically air-tight. A number of strangers, including press reporters, are accommodated in our galleries. I feel very much for the reporters who have to do their work under such conditions, and for the audience who have to listen to our eloquence in this chamber. I am aware that there are apertures in the ceilings to allow of the escape of contaminated air; but, as a matter of fact, there are only two small apertures, and as there is pumped into the chamber more air than can readily find exit through those openings, the result is that air is simply being churned around in the chamber. I have not raised the question without having a remedy to suggest, and it is a simple and inexpensive one. It must not be forgotten that the plant required for pumping air into the chamberand the attendance necessary in connexion with it costs money, and it is a great pity that while we are annually spending money in this way, we have not some return for our outlay. What I suggest is, that in addition to air being pumped into the chamber by the openings around us, it should also be pumped to a certain extent in the centre of the chamber, and, that, in the openings in the ceiling, there should be placed some form of revolving fan which will act as an extractor of the air. I am informed that this can be readily done. The objection may be raised that the noise of the fan would interfere with the debates, but I am told that, by placing the fan above the ventilators, in a casing of wood, it would be perfectly noiseless. I am also informed _ that such fans as I have described could be placed in position and ready for work at an expenditure of about £”jo. As it is highly probable that we shall not have a home and habitation of our own for many years to come, it is absolutely necessary that at an early date something should be done to improve the atmosphere of this chamber. I hope that now that I have drawn attention to the matter, our excellent Ministry will take it in hand, and will, without further delay, see that this chamber is made healthy and habitable.

Mr. BATCHELOR (Boothby- Minister of Home Affairs). - The honorable member for Hunter is not the first who has drawn attention to the defective ventilation of this chamber.

Mr. Bamford. - Or to the defective sanitary arrangements either.

Mr. BATCHELOR.- It is a. matter to which attention has been drawn frequently. I believe that the Victorian Parliament when in occupation of these premises spent’ thousands of pounds in the endeavour to remedy what has been complained of, but were not successful in providing anything like efficient ventilation. I agree with the honorable member for Hunter that, after a very short period of a .sitting, the air in this chamber becomes extremely vitiated, and has a very depressing influence. At the same time the difficulties of improving it are undoubtedly great, and especially so in the case of the Federal Government, who do not own the building. We cannot make structural alterations, and I do not think we should be justified in expending a very large amount of money upon a building that is not our own.

Mr. Kelly. - The honorable member for Hunter said the expenditure necessary would be about ^70.

Mr. BATCHELOR.- If the simple proposal which the honorable and learned member’ for Hunter has suggested can be shown to be effective, the cost as he has estimated it would not be any bar to its being adopted. The matter is one which properly comes within the province of the House Committee, and I suggest to the honorable member that he should put his views before the Committee in order to obtain a recommendation from that body. The Government will certainly be prepared to adopt any means within reason, and which will not involve a large outlay, to secure an improvement in the ventilation of the chamber. I cannot speak on the matter with the authority of the honorable member for Hunter, but if his proposal can be shown to be effective the Government will be prepared to take steps to carry it out, if it is found that it will not involve too great expense.

Mr. SPENCE (Darling).- The honorable member for Hunter has done right in calling attention to so important a matter. In the course of an hour each person requires to inhale 1,584 cubic inches of oxygen, and we exhale . 1,346 cubic inches of carbonic acid gas. When it is ‘remembered that 1,346 cubic inches of carbonic acid gas per hour amount to about half a pound of solid carbon in twenty-four hours, honorable members will have some idea of the condition into which the atmosphere in this chamber is likely to get. I have paid some attention to the question of the ventilation of mines, and I know that it has been found that carbonic acid gas is so weighty that in some mines the Roots blowers are reversed to discharge it from a mine. I mention this to show the importance of having a very large supply of pure air wherever a group of men have to remain at work for a- considerable time. Whilst we cannot do anything so elaborate as is done by the House of Commons, there is no reason why we should not learn something from what is done there. They have for a long time paid great attention to ventilation, and so perfect is the system of ventilation provided in the House of Commons now that they can not only ventilate the whole chamber, but if there should happen to be a large group of members at a particular place they can give them an extra supply. They can go even further, and if one member should happen to be in a somewhat delicate condition of health, he can be supplied with an extra supply of pure air. In time of London fog the air is passed through wool, which, though perfectly white before the air was passed through it, becomes quite black through carrying the large amount of ‘ waste matter. Without the adoption of some method for purifying the air, members of the House of Commons would have to swallow this waste matter, and would therefore become in an unhealthy condition. The matter is one which might be referred to the House Committee for some inquiry, because, in spite of the somewhat pessimistic statement of the honorable member for Hunter, we are hopeful that we shall soon have a Parlia ment House of our own, and we cannot, therefore, get. to work too soon in acquiring information to enable us to secure a proper system ‘ of ventilation. I think it would be wise to obtain some information from the House of Commons authorities as to the methods adopted there. The information would, no doubt, be found useful later on, and it is possible that some of it might be found useful for the improvement of this building. The honorable1 member for .’Hunter has. suggested simple means of remedying the condition of things in this chamber ; but I am doubtful whether a ‘ ventilator such as he suggests would pump out very much more than the heated air that rises to the- ceiling. The difficulty is to get rid of the impure air, and I am certain that we require a larger supply of pure air than we get here now. There is surely sufficient genius somewhere in Melbourne to discover a way by which air may be introduced to the chamber from underneath without giving honorable members rheumatics - a result which followed the forcing of air into the chamber close to where honorable members sit. I think that the honorable member for Hunter was wise to call attention to the matter, and there is another branch bf the subject to which reference might be made. I refer to the sanitary arrangements of the building, which are really in a disgraceful condition. These matters have frequently been brought under the notice of the House Committee. The real owners of this building may some day come back to it, and it will be in their interests’, as well as in the interests of those who have to attend here now, that these matters should be looked to. What* ever members of the State Parliament may- say in times of excitement, I believe they have no desire to kill us off ; and even if they did, it is possible that some persons would be found so loyal to the Commonwealth as to risk their lives in coming here to legislate ‘for the good of the people, as we have been doing.

Mr. KING O’MALLEY (Darwin). - I take the opportunity of thanking the honorable member for Hunter for having called - attention to this matter. This chamber is often half empty, not because of the speeches of honorable members, but because honorable members must go out, or they will have to die here. It would be better to hold our meetings in a tent than in this chamber. I believe the defective ventilation of this chamber was the cause of the death of two honorable members who passed away in the first session of the first Federal Parliament.

Honorable Members. - No.

Mr. KING O’MALLEY.- At least, I think so. I claim that in this case we are our brothers’ keepers, and it is our duty so to improve the ventilation of this House that we shall save the lives of members of the State Parliament when they return to it. No doubt many of them have died as the result of its defective ventilation. I regard the sobriety of the members of the House as a monumental testimony to their strength of will. I am surprised that dating our occupancy of this building they have not all become drunkards. When I learned the other day that a petition was to be presented to this House in favour of closing the Parliamentary Bar, I was absolutely amazed. In fact, I have been thinking seriously about starting to drink myself unless the defective ventilation of the chamber is speedily remedied. The curse of British communities is that they live upon past ages. Custom is* the burden which they carry upon their backs, because they are afraid of change. Because some fifty years ago a Scotch Professor came to this State with ideas that were begotten of a country that . is often snow-bound, that is no reason why his notions should be applied to a land in which there is sunshine fifteen months out of the year.

Mr. Lonsdale. - We die young.

Mr. KING O’MALLEY.- No, we do not. In Tasmania we cannot kill the people. That is the reason why we have a “ dead-house “ there in the shape of the Legislative Council. I shall “support the honorable member for Hunter, and I trust that the Minister will have sufficient pluck to give practical effect to his suggestions. The honorable member is a medical man, and knows what he is talking about. I should have raised the same question long ago, but I knew Aat if I did so the Government would simply exclaim, “ O’Malley is not a doctor, and does not understand the subject.”

Mr. LONSDALE (New England).- I, too, think that something should be done to remedy the defective ventilation of this chamber. Frequently whilst sitting here, I have been frozen up to the knees, and have been compelled to leave the chamber in order to obtain some warmth. I have always supposed that the evil was attributable to the air with which the Houseis ventilated being pumped through cold water during the winter. I am, however, assured that that impression is an erroneous one, and that the air is pumped through cold water only during the summer. I do not profess to know what the defect is, but certainly there is something wrong with the ventilation of the chamber. If we are to remain here, the Minister should obtain the best advice possible, with a view to rendering the House fit for the deliberations of honorable members. We are already indebted to the honorable member for Hunter for some improvement in the lighting arrangements of the House. Upon numerous occasions I have found that the light provided here imposed a great strain upon my eyes. If the honorable member can succeed in inducing the Government io improve the ventilation of the chamber, he will have accomplished a great deal in the direction of insuring the comfort of honorable members.

Mr. FOWLER (Perth).- I regret that I arrived in the chamber too late to hear the remarks of the honorable member for Hunter; but I gather that he criticises the system adopted for ventilating this chamber. I wish to thank him for the action which he has taken, and I am particularly pleased that a member of the House, who is also a- medical man, has indorsed the action which I took during the last Parliament. At that time, I investigated the arrangements for ventilating this chamber very carefully. I informed honorable members of the result of my inquiries, and also offered one or two suggestions for effecting an improvement in existing conditions. My’ utterances upon that occasion made me the butt of more or less ponderous humour, both inside and outside of the House. However, I felt that I had a duty to perform in that matter, because I held very strongly that those conditions were responsible for the death of at least one honorable member of the last Parliament. I refer to the late Mr. Piesse, who was a personal friend of mine, and who frequently complained that the state of his health was entirely due to the defective heating and ventilation of this chamber. After his demise, I took action in the matter, and discovered a state of things which was nothing short of ridiculous. I found that the bitterly cold currents which strike the lower extremities of honorable members - I use that term advisedly, because it is not only the feet but the legs from the knees downwards which are affected . by them, and because, when I spoke on a pre- vious occasion,- it was suggested that I had misapplied it - were due to a condition of filings which is altogether absurd. All round the ledges underneath the seats occupied by honorable members, I found a number of holes a few inches in diameter. Upon inquiring the reason for these apertures I was, informed by the engineer in charge - who, of course, is not responsible, but merely has to superintend the carrying out of the existing system - that they were intended as exits for the carbonic acid exhaled by honorable members. I pointed out that this arrangement was absurd, because, whilst it is theoretically true that carbonic acid is a little heavier than the atmosphere, it must be remembered that the carbonic acid which is exhaled from the human lungs is so lightened by the warmth that it rises rather than descends. To prove the accuracy of my contention, I asked the engineer to apply a lighted match to one of the apertures under the seats, with the result that the incoming current was so strong as to almost extinguish the flame. That current is an icy cold one, and it comes from subterranean depths of this building. Consequent upon my representations, the apertures underneath the seat which I formerly occupied were soon afterwards closed. But we are all still conscious of a cold draught rising from beneath the benches. I discovered that the system under which the chamber is heated and ventilated, whilst common enough fifty years ago, has been altogether discarded, because, in practice, it has fallen very far short of expectations. As a matter of fact, according to the best advice of modern authorities upon the. subject, the heating and ventilating of this chamber ought to be carried out under two entirely distinct systems. Instead of that being the case, however, the heated air is thrown into the House, entering at the top of the dadoes. Naturally it straightway rushes to the apertures in the ceiling, which are intended to carry off the bad air. Consequently we do not obtain the benefit of the heated air at all, or secure it only in a slight degree. What we do inhale is the poisonous atmosphere which is breathed out by honorable members, and which is continually floating below the tops of the dadoes. This matter was investigated during, the last Parliament by the House Committee. I pointed out at the time that if means were devised to throw the heated air through the apertures under the benches, we should at least secure a proportion of pure air. It would necessitate only a very slight alteration in the existing structural arrangements ; but so far nothing has been done in the direction which 1 suggested. The present system has been abandoned elsewhere, and it is time that action was taken to secure the health and comfort of honorable members - as well as the efficiency of this Parliament. I also heartily echo- the remarks which have been made in regard to the sanitary arrangements of the building. The stench which sometimes assails one’s nostrils in- the corridors of the building is in itself sufficient to condemn the existing system, and in view of the. fact that up-to-date sanitary arrangements are being introduced all over the city I do not see why we should be almost the last to take advantage of the new methods. These are matters which well deserve the attention of the House Committee, and I hope that as the result of the representations which have been made, not by me, but by medical authorities, something will be done to secure ‘ an improvement.

Mr. HENRY WILLIS (Robertson)-.- As a member of the House Committee, Mr. Speaker, you will perhaps be able to inform honorable members why something was not done to effect an improvement as the result of the representations that were made when the matter was previously discussed on the motion of the honorable member for Perth.

Mr. Fowler. - I make no accusation against the Committee. I recognise that their hands are to a large extent tied.

Mr. HENRY WILLIS.- Quite so; but I should like to know why action has not been taken. The honorable member for Perth made out a very strong case for improving the ventilation of the chamber, and the fact that the chamber is allowed to remain in its present insanitary condition, is the subject of much comment outside. Something should certainly be done to improve the ventilation. Some little improvement might be effected in the lighting of the building, and I think that the Committee will be merely discharging their duty, if they see that the necessary alterations are made. If they decline to take cognisance of these representations, there will be another course open to us. It will then be open to. us to replace them by members who have made a thorough investigation of the whole question, and who are anxious to see the necessary improvements made.

Mr. FULLER (Illawarra).- We are under an obligation to the honorable member for Hunter for bringing this matter forward. The Minister of Home Affairs should take this debate as an indication that the” sooner we select a site for the Federal Capital, and secure a habitation of our own, the better it will be for all of us. It is apparent, not only that the atmosphere of this chamber is impure, but that, in the opinion of some persons, the legislation of this Parliament is unsatisfactory. In the opinion of the Premier of Victoria, members of this- Parliament are polluting the political atmosphere.

Mr. Watson. - I think that was meant as a joke.

Mr. FULLER.- At all events, the sooner this matter is attended to, the better.

Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).I also think that some action should be taken to improve the ventilation of the chamber. A general House of ventilation, such as this is, ought certainly to have a pure atmosphere. I doubt, however, whether the proposal made by my honorable friend would meet the case. It might prove satisfactory if something were done to the floor of the chamber so as to make sure that the fans would work effectively in removing the carbonic acid gas. ‘ If we could secure something to purify the atmosphere, and to clarify the minds of .Federal legislators it would be a very good thing. I doubt, however, whether the little troubles that occur from time to time in this House are wholly attributable to the state of the atmosphere ; I rather think that the mysterious electricity which is generated from time to time is due to the nature of the subjects discussed. I have heard of such incidents occurring even in the best regulated chambers in the world. They have a habit of cropping up wherever men do congregate to contest thorny subjects. Anything that would add to the efficiency of the chamber would deserve the serious consideration of those who have been selected by the House to deal with these questions. The sanitary arrangements of the building are no doubt defective, but I respectfully suggest that they might be put to better use. I am not so sure that we could not make an improvement. I sometimes go into some of the fragrant places in the building, and find that others who have preceded me have not even taken the precaution to preserve themselves from the odoriferous surround,ings of which complaint is made. If we took a hand in the sanitation of this building and availed ourselves fully of the means that are at our disposal, we should be able to secure better results than are likely to spring from the mere making pf complaints.

Mr. Fowler. - Does not the honorable member think that the present system ought to be abolished in favour of a modern one ?

Mr. JOSEPH COOK.- Certainly ; but I see no prospect of that change being effected. I think we shall act wisely if we take the fullest advantage of the means at present at our disposal.

Mr. Fowler. - I believe that plans for the introduction of the new system have already been prepared.

Mr. JOSEPH COOK.- But we have no money to expend on the introduction of a modern system. When we dare to spend any money we always have the Premier of Victoria at our heels. We must not under any circumstances arouse that gentleman’s ire. As we have recently seen it is not safe to do so. I hope that the House .Committee will take into consideration the remarks of my honorable friend who has brought this matter forward, and see if something cannot be done to improve the ventilation. In all other respects I believe that the chamber is admirable. No one seems to have a good word to say for it. There appears to be a general tendency to point out only its defects, but as one who has been in other Houses of Assembly, I do not hesitate to say that it would be in every way excellent if we could only make an improvement in the direction indicated.

Mr. KNOX (Kooyong).- There is a phase of the debate which appeals to those honorable members who share my view that the proposed expenditure upon a Federal Capital might be very fitly postponed until the Commonwealth is in a much better position -

Mr. SPEAKER. - I must ask the honorable member not to discuss that question.

Mr. KNOX. - It is refreshing to find honorable members concerning themselves about their requirements in this Chamber. It is, I hope, evidence of the fact that wise counsels are prevailing, and that honorable members are beginning to see that it is necessary to make themselves healthfully comfortable in their present situation for some years’ to come.

Mr.’ STORRER (Bass). - I am sorry to disagree with so many of my fellow members ; but during the last five months I have stayed as long in this chamber as has any other honorable member, and I have never enjoyed better health than in that period. I think that the chamber is a great deal healthier than are many places in the world which men have to occupy for legislative and other public business.

Mr. Mauger. - That may be; but its ventilation is very bad all the same.

Mr. STORRER.- I do not think so. 1 consider that the room is quite good enough for us as tenants. We are here for only a very short period, and, no doubt, when we construct a building of our own we shall see that it is up-to-date. The building which we now occupy was built many years ago, and no doubt the best efforts were made at the time to perfect its construction. At any rate, I do not think it is for us to make any alterations, when we are to move into new premises at an early date. I shall oppose any expenditure in that direction.

Mr. MAUGER (Melbourne Ports). - I differ from the honorable member for Bass, and I think that I spend as much time in the chamber as he does. I say unhesitatingly that I go away from the sittings of the House quite run down, and physically unfit’ for work. I have been a member of the House Committee for only a little time, during which the subject has not been mentioned.

Mr. Austin Chapman. - Members of the Committee ought to resign, if they cannot do their duty.

Mr. MAUGER. - No doubt they should. I shall endeavour to have the matter remedied at the next meeting of the Committee.

Mr. LIDDELL (Hunter). - Having heard the remarks of so many honorable members, I am satisfied that I did right” in ventilating this important matter. I do not agree with everything that has been said, and I was indeed astounded at’ the remarks of those who wish’ us to continue as we are now. It must be evident to everyone possessing a nasal organ, who, after a long sitting, enters one of the galleries, or opens a door leading into the chamber itself, that the atmosphere is abominable. So greatly is it contaminated that the gases in the air can be recognised by the sense of smell, which is a proof positive that the atmosphere is unwholesome. I do not think that my motion is a reflection on the House Committee. I believe that the members of that body do their duty ; but it is necessary to bring matters of this kind prominently under notice before any action can be taken in regard to them. I moved the adjournment of the House only after mature consideration. I have taken the advice ot experts on the question of ventilating the chamber, and I am informed by one of the leading officers in the Victorian Public Service that a mechanical device, such as I have suggested, would be cheap, and would give a remedy. I hope that, now that I have brought the matter forward, something will be done to rectify the evil complained of.

Mr. SPEAKER. - It may be interesting to the House if, as Chairman of the House Committee, I say that, last session, when the honorable member for Perth brought up the matter of ventilation, it was fully gone into by the members of the Committee. We invited the honorable member to join us in an inspection . of the arrangements beneath the chamber which have to do with the ventilation and the heating and the cooling of the building, and the suggestions which he made to us were carried! out in most respects, if not in all. The large space through “which the cold air is received into a lower chamber before it passes into this was blocked up, and other similar steps were taken in accordance with his suggestions. While I recognise, sitting here for so many hours consecutively, as I often dc, that “the ventilation of the chamber is far from perfect, I think that honorable members who were here last session will admit that it has been greatly improved by the adoption of the suggestions of the honorable member for Perth. At any rate, I have had no complaints on the subject during the last four months. Had the matter been mentioned to me or to any other member of the House Committee, it would have been considered further, and, if possible, dealt with. If honorable members have any opinion’ to express concerning this chamber or its surroundings, I ask. them to mention the matter to the members of the House Committee or to myself, and we will have it dealt with as soon as possible. The facts regarding the sanitary arrangements of the building are these : To* connect the building with the deep drainage system of Melbourne would cost, some thousands of pounds. The expenditure would have to be undertaken at the cost of the VictorianGovernment, and although the plans and other preliminaries have been completed, they have not yet seen their way to place a vote upon the Estimates for the purpose. That being so, I do not think the House would desire the Federal authorities to deal with the matter.

Question resolved in the negative.

page 3672

QUESTION

NEW HEBRIDES

Mr JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES

asked the Minister of

External Affairs, upon notice -

  1. Whether the Government has considered the important bearing which the opening of the Panama Canal will have upon the value of the New Hebrides Islands to Australian and British trade in the Pacific?
  2. In view of the importance of promoting and encouraging Australian settlement in the New Hebrides, will the Government favourably consider the question of allowing a rebate, of duties on Australian settlers’ produce from those Islands, or otherwise remove the heavy handicap now imposed upon their trade as compared with the liberal treatment of French settlers by their Government ?
Mr WATSON:
Prime Minister · BLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– This question is now under the consideration of the Government. The Minister of External Affairs, who is at present in Sydney, has been dealing with it for some time past.

page 3672

QUESTION

MAIL TENDERS

Mr WATKINS:
for Mr. Webster

asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -

  1. Whether the class of service was purposely omitted in the recent publication of tenders for conveyance of mails to and from -

    1. Cryan and Walgett.
    2. Wee Waa and Bugilbone.
    3. Pilliga and Walgett.
    4. Burren Junction and Yaraldool.
    5. Cryan railway station and Bugilbone.
    6. Cryan railway station and Galara (Capel’s Homestead, Gorian) ?
  2. Is he aware that the omission of the class of service from such advertisement constitutes an obstacle in the path of intending tenderers, who have miles to travel to ascertain what class of service is required?
  3. Is such method of advertising for mail services not calculated to favour such tenderers as Cobb and Co., while limiting competition by outside tenderers?
  4. Will the Minister remedy such defect?
Mr MAHON:
Postmaster-General · COOLGARDIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP

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

  1. It has not been usual in New South Wales when advertising for tenders for mail services to state the class of service required,’ but persons tendering are usually informed that they must in each case state how they propose to carry mails, and must furnish a description of the kind of vehicle (where such mode of conveyance is intended) which they propose to use ; and that preference will, however, be given to tenderers to convey mails by wheeled vehicle licensed to carry passengers.
  2. The Postmaster-General is not aware that the omission referred to has ever constituted any obstacle in the path of intending tenderers, or that they have any difficulty in ascertaining the class of service required.
  3. It is not considered that the method of advertising, which has been in vogue for many years, is calculated to favour such tenderers as Cobb and Co., or any others, or that it has had the effect of limiting competition.
  4. Further inquiry will be made, but it is not proposed to make any alteration pending such inquiry.

page 3672

QUESTION

STEAMER SUBSIDY

Mr KELLY:
WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

Whether the Government is of opinion that the action of the Western Australian Government, in granting a subsidy to a line of steamers running between Fremantle and Geraldton, is in any way a contravention of section 92 of the Constitution?

Mr WATSON:
ALP

– I shall have the matter inquired into. I am not aware what the circumstances are, though I am given to understand that some information has been acquired by the Department of Trade and Customs. I do not know that I should be asked to give the opinion of the Government ; but if, at a later stage, the honorable member asks what it is proposed to do, I shall, I hope, be able to inform him.

page 3672

QUESTION

WATER CONSERVATION

Debate resumed from 30th June (vide page 2896), on motion by Mr. McColl -

That, in the opinion of this House, the prosperity of Australia as a whole, and the development of the interior more especially, depends on the utilization of its waters.

That this great question should receive the early attention of the Government of the Commonwealth.

That it is desirable that a scheme of conserving and locking the waters of the River Murray, in the interests of irrigation and navigation, should be formulated and carried out by joint action on the part of the Commonwealth and the States of New South Wales, South Australia, and Victoria, and that the Government should take such steps as it may deem necessary to bring about such joint action without delay.

That the petition received by this House from certain residents in the northern district of Victoria and the Riverina district of New South Wales on the 25th June, 1903, be taken into consideration in conjunction with this motion.

Mr GLYNN:
Angas

– When this debate was adjourned, I was dealing with the actual and projected diversions by the up-stream States, not so much because of any weakening in my belief that under a proper system of locking and conservation the reasonable necessities of these States could be met, but in order to explain the causes of the present anxiety of South Australia. In addition to the diversions previously mentioned, in New South Wales, Mr. Wade, in his evidence before the Inter-State Commission, at page 22, stated that diversions were proposed from the Bogan, Macquarie, Castlereagh, Namoi, Dumaresq, Mclntyre, and Gwydir rivers. Then there is the Barren Jack scheme, to which I’ have already incidentally referred. That scheme came before the Legislative Council of New South Wales, and, on certain objections being taken by those whose navigation interests might be interfered with, was referred to a Committee. I understand that the Bill is now suspended, although it is still before the Legislative Council. The total quantity of water to be diverted into the Barren Jack dam from the Murrumbidgee, at the junction of the Goodrabidga and Murrumbidgee, is 28,000,000,000 cubic feet, or, to put the matter in a more comprehensible form, one and a half times the quantity contained in Sydney Harbor. I must admit that up to the present New South Wales has been collecting data rather than acting. Action has been almost altogether confined to the sister State of Victoria. Victoria, whose claims to a reasonable share of the waters of the rivers for the purposes of irrigation I not only freely admit, but desire to make effective, seems to have acted upon the Russian method of gradually advancing into a disputed territory, trusting to the logic of the fait accompli, and that possession may ultimately ripen into right. I desire to refer to the diversions Which have been made up to the present time in Victoria for the purpose of making a comparison with the volume of the main stream during the period when these diversions are taking place. There are two principal diversions - cutting diversions - from the Murray, one into the Kow Swamp and the other into Deep Creek. The Kow Swamp channel is equal to a capacity of 40,000 cubic feet per minute. I shall deal only with the low water months, because it is then chiefly that the diversions become effective as against the other States. The trusts are allowed during the low-water months, that is, from the 1st November to the 31st of May - to divert 6,500 cubic feet per minute. ‘ The total capacity of the channel is 40,000 cubic feet per minute. The surplus over what the Trusts require is to be diverted into the Kow Swamp lagoon, and when that is full the surplus there is to be carried further and emptied into the River Loddon. The Deep Creek scheme also provides for a diversion direct from the Murray at summer level on, I think, the Echuca gauge. The diversion is effected by means of a culvert, supplemented by a pumping plant. In the low-water months the quantity that may be diverted under the Order in Council is 12,000 cubic feet per minute. I have already stated that from the Goulburn, in March, 1903, the diversion was 20,706 cubic feet, and that by means of the pumping scheme at Mildura a further 13,000 cubic feet was drawn off. Thus, leaving out of account the minor pumping schemes, which are in the hands of private individuals, the actual diversions in Victoria total about 52,000 cubic feet per minute. The discharge at Albury in February, 1903, >vas only 1.7,500 cubic feet per minute, which was the lowest on record. The discharge at Mildura, in April, 1903, was 14,400 cubic feet per minute, and at Morgan, a third fairly important point on the river, the discharge in April, 1903, was 44,500 cubic feet per minute. From a general glance at these figures, honorable members will see the effect of what, in the aggregate, would appear to be comparatively small diversions upon the stream during the low water months. Now, I desire to deal with the potential schemes in contemplation by Victoria. Mr. A.’ T. Kenyon, who, I believe, is the Assistant Engineer of Water Supply in Victoria, in summing up the actual and projected diversions, says at page 353 of the report of the InterState Commission -

The actual possible effects upon the flow of the river and its subsidiary streams would be more correctly stated as 200,000 cubic feet per minute in winter and 70,000 cubic feet per minute in summer.

My objection to these schemes is that they are all haphazard and disconnected, and conceived without any regard to InterState co-relation or riparian interests, or to the Federal sphere. No consideration is given to the quantity of water, in fact, and in law, available to meet them, or to the conditions under which alone irrigation can be made to pay. I hold that it is our duty, as Federal representatives, having regard to the reasonable necessities of all the States, and to the interests of the Commonwealth, as guardian of the Inter-State water-ways, to ascertain what are really the possibilities of economical irrigation and Inter-State navigation. The possibilities, of irrigation must not be over-estimated. In considering them, enthusiasm must be tempered by common sense and ideals, however fervently cherished and attractively presented, must be tested by the conditions of realization. Let us see what is the total quantity available, first the total divisible, and secondly the total fairly apportionable, to each State. I would point out at once that this quantity is far more limited than the extent of irrigable land. As I wish, as far as possible to prove my assertions, I shall again quote from the report of the Inter-State Commission at page 16. In the course of the consideration of the necessity for the economical use of water, the Commission stated that “ the extent of irrigable land is far in excess of the supply of water.”

Mr Henry Willis:

– Is that in Victoria?

Mr GLYNN:

– It applies right through the States. The Commission engaged in a general consideration of Australian conditions. As a matter of faét: it seems to me that we have here fertility conditioned by aridity. The total discharge of these rivers is not great, by comparison with the available water in other countries, and that total discharge is not the true test, even if it were great - it is the effective discharge, the balance that would be left after conservation and could be economically applied. Let us take the case of India, where irrigation has been carried on from almost prehistoric times. They have their perennial rivers tapped by 10,000 miles of channels representing the growth of ages, constructed by ill-paid labour, and, in- some cases, probably by forced labour, conditions which happily could not be considered as possible in Australia. They have there a population of 300,000,000 of people, and yet only a total of 13,000,000 acres are irrigated. If we take the case of Egypt, and consider the length of time within which irrigation has been carried on there, honorable members may remember that Telemachus, when he touches at Sparta in his voyaging in search of Ulysses, informed Menelaus that he had passed in Egypt -

Through regions fattened by the flows of Nile.

In Egypt, although irrigation has been carried on for ages, the total area irrigated is only 5,000,000 acres, and even. there there are recurring droughts. In ‘1888, owing to the deficiency in the Nile flow, 300,000 acres had to be left out of cultivation, though it is possible that those conditions may be remedied by the improvements recently carried out by British enterprise. To aGain return to the Victorian evidence, Mr. Kenyon, in furnishing a statement to the Inter-State Commission, as to the total area capable of being irrigated along the valley of the Murray and its tributaries, estimated that about 4,000,000 acres was the maximum, and that only about half that area could be brought under . irrigation every year, unless in case of floods. He gives an estimate of the annual volume required to be reserved for the purpose of meeting the requirements of that area.

Mr Groom:

– In Victoria only, or the whole area ?

Mr GLYNN:

– In Victoria only. He said that it would require 171,000 millions of cubic feet per annum ; that the Victorian tributaries in an average year give 284,000 million cubic feet, but that in a minimum year they give only 157,000 million cubic feet. So that the minimum discharge, which would be the discharge at the time when quantities become really effective - is less than the total water required. In consequence of this, he says that storage schemes are required, and that, as a matter of fact, without those schemes, owing to the water being in excess in localities where it is not wanted very much, and deficient in other localities where it is, the total quantity available can really not be brought to the places of settlement. Mr. Kenyon says-

The utilization of the surplus waters of the Upper Murray, Mitta, Kiewa, and Ovens to meet the demands of the Goulburn, Campaspe, Loddon, and Lower Murray districts is inevitable. ‘ This would necessitate the construction of storage on all streams of a capacity equal to, say, one-half of the minimum annual volume, together with a diversion such as has been proposed from Bungawannah to the Loddon River, but of much greater dimensions.

These w7ords suggest to honorable members the great capacity of the storage required. On this point, if I may again turn to an American expert, Kinney, in his work on irrigation, says, referring to the extravagant estimates made as to the possibilities of irrigation, which are, as he is aware, largely limited by the great scarcity of water that can effectively be applied -

It is often taken for. granted simply because there are vast areas of fertile land along a river, some of which have been irrigated profitably, larger and larger areas will, with the progress of settlement, be brought under cultivation- to an indefinite extent. The assumption cannot be correctly made that since a river of a certain locality drains a large area its waters must be proportionately abundant.

He indicates that the lesson to be learned in America is that there must be the greatest economy and ability displayed in the use of water, and ample storage. These are indispensable conditions. Even then I would remind honorable members that, in this dry country, there are great losses from percolation and evaporation. Mr. Stuart Murray estimated, in connexion with the Tooleybuc suggestion, that about 50 per cent, of the water which found its way into the channels would be wasted by absorption and evaporation.

Mr Henry Willis:

-Was it not 30 per cent. ?

Mr GLYNN:

– The honorable member will find the reference in the evidence referred to in the official report of the Standing Committee of Victoria for 1902. The Royal Commission estimates the evaporation as 60 inches per annum.

Mr Henry Willis:

– That is ‘in the channels.

Mr GLYNN:

– It is the channels I am referring to.

Mr Groom:

– Is that evaporation only?

Mr GLYNN:

– Colonel Home estimated that Lake Menindie, with a depth of 13 or 14 feet; would be emptied by evaporation in three years. Honorable mem-‘ bers must also bear in mind that evaporation is more effective when the water is low. On that point, at page 10 of their report, , it will be found the Royal Commission says -

It is felt severely in dry years, the rate of evaporation no doubt increasing as the depth of water decreases.

That is a fact that must be borne in mind in connexion with the suggestion of locking the rivers, because, if you have high level locks, you will diminish the power of the sun in evaporation. At Lakes Albert and Alexandrina we have a vast surface, extending over 284 square miles, the evaporation of which is equal to a discharge of 74,000 cubic feet per minute at Morgan. That is a matter which South Australians must bear in mind, because it is one which their experts, if not all the Inter-State experts, will have to face; the checking if possible, of this loss by evaporation by some engineering scheme. The honorable member for Echuca referred to the areas that could be irrigated from the discharge df the Murray. Of course the honorable member proceeded upon the assumption that the water could be made available by conservation. But total discharges are absolutely deceptive. He stated that, in a high year at Morgan, the discharge would be equal to irrigating about 12,750,000 acres, and, in a low year, 3,750,000 acres. But, of course, that discharge is not the effective discharge. A great portion of it could never be impounded, and even if it could it would be subjected to loss by percolation and evaporation. Hence I have always referred to what we can consider the effective discharge. Again, we must remember, in order to tone down -our excessive estimates in regard to irrigation, that it is only intense culture which pays. Other schemes do not pay. They may pay the individual, but they do not pay the State. I think’ that evidence was given before the Inter-State Commission which investigated the rivers question, to the effect that in some cases flooding would result in certain lands being able to support from one to two sheep per acre, compared with a result from irrigation which would bring their value up to , £100 per acre.

Mr Henry Willis:

– Flooding is a most extravagant method to adopt.

Mr GLYNN:

– It is most extravagant and wasteful, but yet it is the method which is most practised at present. I would again remind honorable members that it is intense cultivation upon which we must depend for development. That cultivation is an art to be learned slowly, and very often at the expense of great losses, in the course of one’s agricultural education. As a matter of fact, on the date when the Inter-State Commission reported, there were in Victoria only twenty-one irrigation trusts and seven water trusts. The area irrigated was 276,000 acres, a great portion of which is irrigated by flooding. At Mildura I do not think that there is more than 9,000 acres under intense cultivation. I am not quite sure as to the total area- controlled . by the Rodney Trust, but I know that only about 13 per cent, of that area is irrigated, and that chiefly by flooding. That is the most important Trust in Victoria. At the same time, I freely admit that much can be done by means of steady and systematic development. I say “ steadv,” because the trade must be learned. We must become familiar with the conditions of climate, and of the market, with the class of crops which require to be raised, and with the methods which should be adopted in raising them. A long- course of . ‘-slow education must be gone through before irrigation can be made to pay.

Mr Wilson:

– It is also necessary to know the quantity of water to put upon the land.

Mr GLYNN:

– Exactly. I repeat that the development must be steady and systematic. However, we are afforded great encouragement in this connexion by the fertility of our land, and by the fact that our climate is perhaps one of the most salubrious in the world. In Australia, perhaps, the richest sunshine in the world is daily poured down upon a desert of virgin soil of exceptional fertility, in a country where two great streams

Fair champain, with less rivers intervein’d,

Meeting ….. join their tribute to the sea.

When the waste that is suggested by these facts is stopped, I hold that there will be water adequate to riparian irrigation settlement for intense culture. But I repeat that it can be made effective only through conservation works. That conservation is an indispensable condition is further indicated by the fact that t’he flow of our rivers is exceedingly irregular, that the variations in their discharge between the maximum and the minimum recorded are very great by comparison. I am not quite sure as to the variations in the Nile, but I do not think they amount to more than 60 per cent, of its discharge. In t’he case of the Murray, ‘however, the highest known discharge was at Albury in 1880, when it reached 3,214,000 cubic feet per minute, but it decreased in February, 1903, to 17,500 cubic feet per minute. Here we have conditions which necessitate that the abundance of one season shall be made, to administer to the scarcity of another. In Mildura, in 1902, the total discharge was only 5 per cent, of the ‘highest known discharge. Let us then favorably consider conservation projects, for the purposes of both irrigation and navigation. Let us study the suggestions of the Inter- State Royal Commission, and makea commencement by impounding surplus water in Lake Victoria, near the South Australian border. This willgive a discharge of 100,000 cubic feet per minute during four months of the year, when the water is really required. That discharge into South Australia will enable so much water to be kept up-stream for Victoria and New South Wales which might otherwise require to be let down to that State. The more we catch the flood waters on the borders of South Australia, the greater are the diversions that ought to ‘ be allowed by t’hat State tq Victoria and New South Wales. The adoption of that plan was recommended by the Inter-State Commission at the joint expense of the three States concerned. That body also recommended other schemes which can be carried out when our financial conditions justify us in undertaking them. ‘ To show that I freely admit t’he great advantages of irrigation - which Victoria, perhaps, considers its chief line of development - I shall quote from Elwood Mead, to whose work upon irrigation I may be permitted to again refer. Speaking of the difficulties that beset irrigators, owing to t’h’eir lack of knowledge and the uneconomic use of the waters available, that writer says -

This, however, is known : that the highest priced and most productive farm lands in this continent are in the arid region ; that the longest yield of nearly every stable crop has been obtained by the aid of irrigation ; that not only has the growth of agriculture furnished a market for the factories of the Fast and supported the rail-roads which unite the two extremes of the country, but it is the chief resource of many arid States. Colorado leads the Union in her output of precious metals, but the product of her farms equals in value that of her mines.

But locking, as I said, is an indispensable condition ; that will be made apparent if I may again trespass on the patience of honorable members by quoting a few comparative figures. Without locking, the schemes of t’he up-stream States cannot be carried out, unless navigation and irrigation in South Australia are seriously injured. The allowance to South Australia agreed upon at the Premiers’ Conference, during the low mont’hs, from February to June inclusive, was 150,000 cubic feet per minute. If we take six of the driest years recorded - from 1896 to 1901 - we find that the mean discharge of the Murray at Morgan was 286,000 cubic feet per minute, while in the decade 1886 to 1896 it was 740,000 cubic feet per minute ; the average navigability during that time being eleven months in the year. The allowance for these months made bythe Premiers’ Conference was, as I have said, 150,000 cubic feet per minute. It was agreed that whenever that allowance and the allowances to the other States were exceeded by the discharge the excess should be divided between the three States, in proportions which would leave South Aus- tralia with three-eighteenths of the surplus. Had that allowance been in force, the result would have been that, instead of having a mean discharge of 740,000 cubic feet per minute during the years 1886 to 1896, we should have had only 150,000 cubic feet, plus the three-eighteenths surplus, or a total of 249,000 cubic feet pei minute, a difference of about 500,000 cubic feet per minute, and navigation would have been rendered impossible during the greater part of the season. I do not object to something of the sort being done, but I sa’y that it is impossible to conserve our interests unless we impound the water to compensate for the quantities taken up stream.

Mr Henry Willis:

– Would navigation be possible all the year round if the water were impounded?

Mr GLYNN:

– For the greater part of the year, it may be, in some seasons. We have had, of course, some exceptionally low records, the lowest being 44,000 cubic feet per minute at Morgan, but the discharge at zero, which is summer level, is 120,000 cubic feet per minute.

Mr Henry Willis:

– In the decade to which the honorable and learned member has referred navigation was. possible for eleven months in the year.

Mr GLYNN:

– Right through the year for eleven months. My point is, however, that during the low water mont’hs - when water is really required- navigation would practically have been destroyed had the conditions recommended by the Premiers’ Conference been in force. It was because of this that the Premier of South Australia, Mr. Jenkins, on the 25th October, 1902, wrote to the Prime Minister of t’he Commonwealth urging that,- if nothing were done by the States, then, in the interests of the Federation, which has control of the waterways, action should be taken by the Federal Parliament. The letter contained the following suggestion: -

I have the honor to submit that in the interests of national commerce it is necessary that the Federal Parliament should pass as soon as possible a law dealing with the question of the navigation of the rivers which are under its control in that respect.

When such a law is passed the way will be more clear than it is at present for Inter-State agreement as to the allotment of the waters for irrigation and conservation.

Mr Groom:

– Did he suggest in what way the Federal Parliament might deal with the subject?

Mr GLYNN:

– He made no specific suggestion.

Mr Groom:

– Judging by his letter he apparently desired to prevent others from using the water except under certain conditions.

Mr GLYNN:

– No. The fact that South Australia was represented on the Royal Commission shows that the Government of that State were anxious that an amicable adjustment should be arrived at. All that Mr. Jenkins suggested was that if some amicable arrangement was not arrived at the Federal Parliament should at least exercise its jurisdiction to prevent such interference with the flow of the river as would destroy navigation. I am not necessarily indorsing everything said by him; I am merely stating the course of negotiations, so far as they help, perhaps, to further elucidate my point. As to locking,we ought to remember that experts in the three chief riparian States have recommended that steps be taken in that direction. Mr. Jones, the then Conservator of Water in South Australia, in 1886 recommended a system of locking, and in 1893 Mr. McKirmey, on behalf of- New South Wales, suggested the locking of the Darling. Unfortunately, owing to the provincialism which then reigned, he suggested that the locking of the Darling should be accompanied by a system of preferential rates, to prevent the commerce getting down to Victoria or South Australia. These rates were to be imposed so that they might force products on to the railway lines which lead to Sydney, as the place of output. In 1890 Mr. Darley, who was then Engineer-in-Chief for New South Wales, recommended a systemof locking, and we know that the Commission recommended that a commencement be made by constructing eight locks from Blanchetown to Wentworth, at a cost of£760,000. At page 58 of their report the Commission wrote -

We recommend that the Federal Government be invited to consider the desirability of carrying out this first instalment of locking the river.

The honorable member for Echuca is now, by his motion, asking that that invitation shall be ‘ accepted. What are the advantages of locking? It helps to prevent waste by impounding the water, and, as I have mentioned, it diminishes evaporation and percolation. It admits of irrigation settlements between locks such as have been recommended by Mr. McKinney and Mr. Jones; it gives cheap carriage along the whole line of settlement, being to a very great extent more beneficial than railways, which generally come at an angle to the river; and it induces settlement by giving to settlers on the river the certainty of access to the markets. Mr. McKinney, in 1893, dealt with the advantages of locking, and made a comparison between railways and water-ways. He said that, no doubt, in many parts of the world, railways and water-ways had been made to cooperate with one another, but that in open competition water-ways would undoubtedly beat railways. He stated that -

Additional railways are certain to be constructed in the course of time, but the experience of the world proves conclusively that they will not supersede water traffic.

He also mentioned that an all-round reduction in the carriage of goods might be effected to the extent of £3 per ton by a system of locking between Walgett and Wilcannia. Take the South Australian part of the river. Morgan is distant from Renmark by road 75 miles, and by water 200 miles; yet the cost of carriage by road is £5 per ton, and by water only 10s. per ton. The cost of carriage by water from Wentworth to Morgan is 12s. 6d. per ton, and from Bourke 25s. per ton, although, even under the existing system of differential rates, the cost, from Bourke to Sydney, per truck - per load of six tons - of wool, is £5 15s.

Mr Henry Willis:

– What is the cost of conveying wool down -to the mouth of the river?

Mr GLYNN:

– The cost varies ; but I think1 that I may fairly say that the cost of carriage, from Bourke to Goolwa, is 30s. per ton. According to the evidence of Mr. Landseer, wool has been brought do. vn from Bourke for 25s. per ton, and it is sometimes stored there for eighteen months, pending an opportunity to send it down by water. It is recognised in other countries that, notwithstanding the extension of railway communication, waterways axe a great advantage. In Germany, between 1880 and 1894, over £1 1,000,000 was voted by the Government for improvements in the navigation of water-ways ; and in France, during the last fifteen or sixteen years, the length of water-ways open for traffic has been trebled, and freights reduced by 40 per cent. A great many of the water-ways of France, owing to the profits derived from them, have been made absolutely free. Speaking from memory, I think that over £60,000,000 has been expended during the last century in the improvement of the water-ways of France, Pierre Baudin, a French writer, in an article in the Contemporary Review for June, 1903, on the “Internal Navigation of France,” says -

The canal service carries to the furthest destination more than half the goods imported by sea, and brings back in return to the ships more than three-quarters of the cargoes destined for export.

An English writer - Mr. H. Gordon Thompson - whose work on the canal system of England was published in 1902, in referring to the comparative neglect of canals in England, points out that the reason is that the railway companies there have killed competition by the exercise of their enormous capital power and, I might add, their influence to Parliament. They have bought up about one-third of the water-ways of England, and in some places have shut them up completely. He asks -

How is it - on the other hand - that six million tons of goods are annually carried into Paris by water, this traffic being 41 per cent, of the total entering the city by railway and water, one million tons being carried from Rouen in direct competition with a railway?

How is it that Berlin is supplied to the extent of one-half of its imports by canal ?

How is it that over 27 per cent, of the traffic of the United States is water borne, in spite of the cheap railway rates of that country?

How is it that in France water-borne traffic forms 30 per cent, and in Germany 23 per cent., while in the United Kingdom it is less than n per cent, of the total traffic?

It is because inland navigation has been improved, and kept up to date in these countries, whereas in our own case our waterways have stagnated in most, and retrograded in many, instances.

As regards markets, I remember that Captain King, in giving evidence before the Inter-State Commission, said that in June, 1902, the produce of Renmark was left at that settlement because it could not be got to market, the road rates being too high. Two hundred tons of dried fruit, oranges, and lemons, were thus rendered useless. To give honorable members an idea of how the trade goes up and down with the river, I will give the figures for three years, in two of which the railway could not have made any difference. The river trade of South Australia in 1881 was valued at ,£517,000, and in 1882 at £1,207,000, while in 1901 it was worth only £182,000. These figures refer to the local trade, export and import.

Mr Henry Willis:

– Is that trade from the stations on the river?

Mr GLYNN:

– It is the trade which is sent from South Australian ports, though Murray Bridge and Morgan, to the other States, and ‘ the trade which comes from them to South Australia.

Mr Henry Willis:

– The cost of conveyance would be much less if vessels could get out of the mouth of the Murray.

Mr GLYNN:

– I am not now dealing with that question. I am not one of those who believe that vessels will ever be able to get out of the Murray. But I think that we may look forward to the time when the Murray will be locked from Blanche town to Wentworth, and fiom Wentworth to Echuca, or even to some place near to Albury; while the Darling will be locked from Wentworth to Walgett ; and the Murrumbidgee as far as Narrandera ; and when there will be prosperous settlements between those points, the surplus water being sent further back for rion-riparian irrigation, the railways and the water-ways being worked in co-operation, as Australian rather than as State instrumentalities, for the development of an interior which has hundreds of thousands of acres of fertile soil, and one of the best climates in the world. In connexion with this matter, we must, in exercise of our Federal jurisdiction, see that differential and preferential rates are abolished. I am exceedingly sanguine that they will be abolished. I believe that the Conference which is now sitting, as the result of pressure brought to bear by myself and other honorable membeis during the last three or four years, may come to an amicable arrangement. If it does not, we should set a good example to the States. We have a right to do that, apart from the lines laid down in the’ Constitution. The members of this Parliament are chosen on a wider suffrage, and represent the’ people in bigger groups than do the members of the States Parliaments. I hold that it should be the office of the Commonwealth to act as a solar centre to the Federal system, keeping by its mass and position the attendant States in concerted movement. There should be some centre of power in order to secure harmonious movement, to check, by the attraction of its example, the aberrations of the minor States.

And therefore is the glorious planet, Sol,

In noble eminence enthron’d and spher’d

Amidst the others; whose med’cinable eye

Corrects the ill aspects of planets evil,

And posts, like the commandment of a king,

Sans check, to good and bad : But when the planets,

In evil mixture, to disorder wander,

What plagues, and what portents ! what mutiny !

What raging of the sea ! shaking of earth !

Commotion in the winds ! frights, changes, horrors,

Divert and crack, rend and deracinate

The unity and married calm of states

Quite from their fixture !

To come down from the clouds to, if I may say so, the dry realities of water, I shall try to briefly summarize the conclusions to which I have been endeavouring to direct the attention of honorable members. I think that we shall find that Federal jurisdiction extends to the maintenance and improvement of the navigability of streams capable of forming part of a system of Inter-State waterways; that its exercise is conditioned only by the obligation under section 100 of the Constitution not- to abridge the rights of riparian States or owners to the reasonable use of the waters for irrigation and conservation ; that “ reasonable use,” which is not a new term, implies a fair apportionment of the water between States and individuals with due regard to Federal use for the purpose of navigation ; that in deciding upon what is a fair apportionment, the conditions and the necessities of development should be considered, as claims to water for unproductive purposes must be ignored ; that InterState riparian rights existed prior to, and have been rendered effective by, Federation ; that haphazard and wasteful diversions by one State in’ disregard of the rights and necessities of other States, and of Federal jurisdiction for the purposes of trade and commerce, are opposed to public policy, and can be restrained under the Constitution ; that riparian rights should not be insisted on in favour of uses that are clearly wasteful and ineffective ; and that a fair apportionment for all purposes of a limited water supply can, by concert, be made when provincial politicians develop into Australian statesmen. I might also make a few broad suggestions as to principles and details, and preface them by a fact which, though it has a somewhat personal bearing, is not altogether ungermane to the subject. I was a member of the Royal Commission on the Murray, appointed by the Government of South Australia, which reported in 1890., In an addendum to the report of that Commission, I made a suggestion which is, perhaps, worthy of a little consideration, even at the present time, not as containing any attempted specific solution, but as laying down broad principles for our guidance. It is as follows : -

A Colony might endeavour to secure respect for its water rights by reprisals j. but a policy so repugnant to international morality should only, if at all, ‘be applied in the last instance by parts of the same Empire towards each other.

I believe, therefore, that the best means of denning and securing respect for the mutual rights of ‘the riparian Colonies in and to the River Murray and its tributaries is an agreement or treaty. When the tempers of all the Colonies shall have grown to sympathy with such a means of settling disputes (a close precedent for which exists in the case of the Danube) an agreement might be entered into declaring : -

  1. Generally, the mutual rights and equities of the riparian Colonies in and to the River Murray and its tributaries.
  2. Particularly the minimum quantity of compensation water that should be allowed to flow into or pass by each Colony for each month of the year, both before and after the construction of lock’s or other conservation works on the river..
  3. Subject to clause 2, the proportion in which New South Wales and Victoria should share for irrigation purposes.

And making provision for Bie creation of a joint trust, with ample powers to secure enforcement of the agreement.

Fourteen years have passed in the meantime, and I hope that some of the principles therein suggested may ultimately find their wav into an amicable agreement. Upon that point I desire to again quote Elwood Mead, who says: -

Where a stream flows from one State into another, the Federal authorities can determine how much of the water supply belongs to the lower State, and may require the State officials to so regulate head-gates as to permit this flow to flow down.

I would, therefore, recommend, first, that t’he Federal Parliament should pass an Act to protect the waterway against unreasonable diversions. Secondly, that the instalment of locking from Blanchtown to Wentworth should be begun, and that the Lake Victoria scheme should be carried out. Thirdly, that the reasonable limits of irrigation should be ascertained on the basis of the water capable of being conserved for the joint purposes of navigation and of irrigation. Fourthly, that a fair scheme of apportionment between the States on the basis of my third recommendation should be arrived at, leaving the States to deal with individuals. Fifthly, that if Inter-State riparian rights be not admitted, they should be made the subject of a friendly submission to the High Court, with the right of appeal to the Privy Council. I hope that that alternative will never be adopted. In the meantime, if there is to be an appeal, all large ‘diversion schemes should be suspended in the interests both of the States comtemplating them and of the other States. I thank honorable members for the patience with which they have listened to my speech upon a paradoxically dry subject. In conclusion, I should like to impress upon the House one final consideration. The great nations of Europe, whose mutual relations seem marked by a repudiation of everything that it has been the province of religion to inspire, still, in the matter of the great arterial rivers, have, for the last half century, substituted cooperation and equality of rights,’ for riparian self-interest, and the privilege of possession. “ Each riparian State,” says. Twiss, in The Law of Nations, considered as independent communities, “is under a conventional obligation to remove all obstacles to navigation which may arise in the bed of the river within its territory, and to maintain the towing and other accessories to navigation in such a condition as will best facilitate the merchant vessels of all nations.” I refuse to believe that these young States - federated under conditions of peace, enthusiasm, and hope, such as have heralded and marked the birth of no other Federal Union; whose destiny it must be, if we are true to our instincts and opportunities, to give the world a lead in the application of ethics to national conduct - will fail, while Turkey and Russia have succeeded, in an attempt to display a true sense of the equities of a great public question. If the Australian States, in a matter demanding joint enterprise and mutual respect, still hesitate to act in the spirit of European precedent, I am afraid that the most sanguine of us will have to reconsider our forecast of the future. But, sir, because, notwithstanding some occasional, though diminishing, manifestations of the old Separatist points of view, I feel that’ the Australian spirit is’ a reality as well as a name; because I feel that, on the whole, we desire to view all questions in the light of continental expediency and general concern; and because the time has clearly come ‘for the initiation of a river policy that will at’ once reconcile the rival interests of the riparian States and the claims of conservation and irrigation; I submit the principle of this motion to the consideration of the House, and with some confidence anticipate a recognition of its merits.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Henry Willis) adjourned.

page 3681

QUESTION

NEW HEBRIDES

Mr JOHNSON:
Lang

– I move-

That, in view of their strategical importance to the safety of British and Australian commerce in the Pacific, consequent on the projected opening of a canal through the Isthmus of Panama, the Commonwealth Government’ should afford every facility for Australian settlement in the New Hebrides Islands, and should represent to the British Government the importance of endeavouring to arrive at a more satisfactory agreement with the French Government respecting their control than that at present existing.

I had some diffidence in bringing forward a motion of this character, because I recognise that the matter with which it deals is perhaps a subject for diplomatic agreement, rather than one which should be discussed publicly in this House. In view of the fact, however, that so much publicity has already been given to it in the French, as well as in the British and Australian newspapers, I think that the time has arrived to approach it publicly and boldly. The developments which have occurred during the last few years, and which are still taking place, will, in my opinion, seriously militate against the best interests of Great Britain and Australia in the near future. When I was a good deal younger, I had a great propensity to roam about, and in the course of my wanderings I joined a surveying expedition to New Guinea, and subsequently visited the South Sea Islands. Being naturally of an observant turn of mind, it struck me then - although I had no idea of Australia ever becoming a great Commonwealth, or of the developments, so far as foreign settlement is concerned, which have since taken place - that the settling of the islands of the Pacific, especially New Guinea and the New Hebrides, must become of the highest importance to Australia and Great Britain. That view was strengthened some little time afterwards, when I made a trip from Australia to £’an Francisco. The project was then mooted, I think for the first time, for the construction of a canal across the Isthmus of Panama. When I subsequently returned to Australia, the matter engrossed my attention to such an extent that I endeavoured to direct public attention to the importance of the islands, and their bearing upon the future of Australian trade in the Pacific. That was in the eighties. My object was to bring the matter under the notice of the New South Wales Ministry, and induce them to make representations to the British authorities, with the ultimate idea of securing the annexation of the Ha waiian Islands, New Guinea, and the New Hebrides. Perhaps it would save time if I read an extract from a speech which I then delivered at a meeting held, in the Leichhardt Town Hall, and which was reported in the Leichhardt Guardian. I said -

It is true the Panama Canal scheme is apparently not immediately practicable - there are many and difficultobstacles’ to fis successful accomplishment at the present time. But considering what a short cut such a canal would - be for purposes of traffic between European countries and ports on the western seaboard of North and South America, and the immense saving of time and minimising of risk it would mean, compared with the voyage . (and its attendant dangers) round Cape Horn, the construction of this canal sooner or later must Become an accomplished fact. A new highway or commerce will then be established which will be to the Pacific and Atlantic what the Suez Canal is now to the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Nay, it will prove of even greater importance, for in addition to the American trade tnere is to be taken into account the large and rapidly growing trade with Australia, in the development of which such a canal must play a part the significance of which may easily be understood by a careful study of the map of the world. Besides shortening the distance to Australia from British and Eastern American parts, such a route would prove invaluable in the event of war with any of the Continental European Powers, avoiding both the Cape of Good Hope and the Mediterranean routes, which would involve such enormous risks to commerce in such an event. It may be thought perhaps that I should leave such weighty considerations to older and more seasoned heads and brains. Perhaps this may be so ; but surely it is the duty of every Australian and British citizen to take an interest in all questions affecting the future welfare and prestige of these two countries both acknowledging the one Sovereign. And it is only when we realize the possibilities - nay, the probabilities - of development in the not far distant future, that the necessity for effective policing of the future Pacific Ocean highway of British commerce becomes forcibly impressed upon our minds with startling emphasis’.

Great Britain has no Gibraltar or Malta iri the Pacific. She will feel the need of them some day ; let us hope it will not be when too late to secure them without bloodshed. A naval base will be imperative both in the North and South Pacific. The Sandwich Islands in the north and the New Hebrides in the south offer facilities for both. It is not too late perhaps to acquire rights for the establishment of a naval base at Honolulu by arrangement with King Kalnkua or the Hawaiian Government.

I may mention that this King, though a kanaka, was a man of great intelligence, extended research, and high educational attainments. I continued -

In regard to the New Hebrides, upon which France is evidently casting a covetous eye on account of its exceptional strategic position and excellent harbor at Havanna Bay, annexation should be effected without delay. A few years hence it may be more difficult if not impossible should French interests become paramount over British interests there - a development which I regard as extremely probable, and’ as a very serious matter of concern to Great Britain and Australia both.

There is also the further possibility of an added risk should France, Germany, or some other foreign Power establish’ itself in New Guinea, or in one or more of the numerous groups of islands in the Southern Pacific Ocean with a view to colonizing those places.

Although these words were spoken eighteen or more years ago, it will be seen from recent developments that there was substantial foundation for giving expression to the probabilities then outlined. Notwithstanding the representations which were made, notwithstanding that they were regarded so lightly by the then Prime Minister of England, and subsequently by other Ministers, we find that foreign interests have been fostered under our eyes, whilst British interests have been just as consistently neglected. A glance at the map which was published in connexion with the postal contracts will show the extent to which Germany, France, and, in a lesser degree, America, have acquired control over the Pacific. Unfortunately a few years, later, America secured control of the Hawaiian group of islands, and thus the port of Honolulu as a possible naval base was absolutely lost to Great Britain. America showed her foresight in taking control’ of these islands, because they are in the direct route of her trade with Japan and China. So far as the North Pacific is concerned, these islands were perhaps of greater importance to America than they were to Great Britain. Still, they would have been of immense value to Great Britain at the present juncture, had she only exercised the foresight necessary to acquire control of them, which she could easily have done at that time. What a splendid thing it would be now if Britain possessed Honolulu as a naval base, especially in view of the number of Russian cruisers which are likely to be active in that vicinity very shortly.

Mr Fisher:

– Will not the United States watch those cruisers?

Mr JOHNSON:

– That power will undoubtedly preserve American interests.

Mr Fisher:

– And international interests, too.

Mr JOHNSON:

– Yes ; probably at the present time, and I sincerely hope the comity of the British and American nations will be preserved for all time, for their mutual benefit, and that of the Englishspeaking races generally. There is, however, always the possibility of complications arising from unforeseen circumstances, and it is one of the cardinal principles of statesmanship to guard against such contingencies. But it is too late to rectify this lack of enterprise now. The islands have passed from British control for ever. In regard to the New Hebrides, it must be recollected that some of them were discovered by Captain Cook, that they were mainly surveyed at British expense, and that they have been developed by British missionary enterprise. The Presbyterian Mission was a very strong factor in the early development of these islands, which, properly speaking, should have passed under British control. But, although this matter has been brought before the British authorities upon several occasions, unfortunately it has not received serious consideration at their hands. In the eighties, I may remark, an attempt was made by France to annex the New Hebrides. Even at that early period the French recognised the value of these islands, and they have been striving ever since to promote settlement there. .For that I do not blame them. They had a keener perception of future potentialities than we, as a nation, had. Although that attempt at annexation was frustrated, France has never lost sight of that end. It will be remembered, too, that in 1847 a reciprocal arrangement was entered into between Great Britain and France in regard to the Raiakea group of islands, near Tahiti. Under that agreement France was never to take possession of these islands, either absolutely or under the title of a protectorate, or in any form whatever. Yet they were annexed by that power in 1880. A similar thing ma-“ happen in regard to the New Hebrides, unless we are particularly careful to watch Australian and British interests, and to promote by every possible means “the settlement of British subjects there i:i preponderating numbers. French annexation was_also advocated by the Sandwich Island French newspaper. Le Journal des Nouvelles Hebrides, as far back as 1901. In an article, which it then published, the following words occur: -

The only solution possible is the annexation pure and simple of the Archipelago of the New Hebrides bv France.

I think that that statement leaves no room for doubt as to French intentions regarding the New Hebrides. Yet Lord Derby, in 1S83, refused to annex New Guinea, on the ground that the apprehension that any foreign power desired to occupy it, or the adjacent islands, was absolutely unfounded. We have only to look at a map of New Guinea to-day to realize that Germany has annexed a large portion of it; that the Dutch control a considerable area, and that the balance only is under the control oi: Great Britain, whereas she might have secured that territory in its entirety, had a more enterprising system of colonization been adopted. I do not know that we can altogether blame the British authorities in this connexion, because at that time the construction of a canal across the Isthmus of Panama was such a remote contingency that it might well have been disregarded. But the probable realization of that work in the immediate future puts a totally different aspect upon this question, both from ths British and the Australian stand-point. Sir Edmund Barton, the first Federal Prime Minister, in his. Maitland manifesto, of the 9th January, 1902, stated -

As to the annexation of the New Hebrides by either France or England, I do not think that islikely, for some time to come at any rate, and notwithstanding some articles from French papers which have been republished here, which articles you may take with a grain of salt.

It is all very well to say that we may accept those articles with a grain of salt, but we have to look at the repeatedly expressed desires of French statesmen and high officials, as well as the French press, with regard to these islands, which are as plain as was the handwriting on the wall. The New Hebrides group comprises thirtyfive islands, the population of which is, roughly speaking, about 85,000. I take that as the mean, because it has been variously estimated at from 60,000 to 100,000. Of course, these figures represent chiefly the native population. The white settlers are comparatively few, and are largely confined to the more southern islands of the group. At the present time the French preponderate over the British, their numbers being respectively 255 and 214. Two most important islands, from the point of view of harbor accommodation, which is the main consideration, are Mallicollo and Vaté, or Sandwich, as it was named by Captain Cook. Port Sandwich, in Mallicollo, is a very safe and convenient port for vessels of fair tonnage, although it is not so easy of access in all kinds of weather as Havana harbor, which was discovered by Captain Erskine in H.M.S. Havana, in 1849 or 1850, whilst he was making a cruise round these islands. Havana harbor is protected at the entrance by two islands, named Deception Island and Protection Island. The entrance to the channel is perfectly safe for the largest-sized vessels afloat. It is about a mile wide, and is capable of admitting the largest battleships or/ liners ever built. The chief difficulty with which vessels have to contend is the abundant depth of water to be found in that practically land-locked harbor. For instance, a small vessel may go up the harbor a distance of seven or eight miles, and not be able to secure a sufficiently shallow anchorage. There is deep water right to the shore, so that it would be easily possible to build wharves, docks, et cetera. As a naval station, it is absolutely unrivalled, and it is capable of accommodating the whole British fleet at the same time. The chief industry is the gathering of copra, and another industry which is receiving very great attention at the present time is the planting of cocoanut trees. A number of years from the time of planting must elapse, however, before any return is secured from that source of production. In the meantime the attention of the settlers is being devoted to the cultivation of maize, banana, coffee, and other products for which, of course, Australia is the natural market. Unfortunately, the British settlers in the New Hebrides are hampered by a prohibitive Tariff, so -far as the export of their produce to Australia is concerned. This places them at a great disadvantage, as compared with. French settlers. The latter receive special concessions, and every possible encouragement is given them. Austraiian grown maize is subjected by our Commonwealth laws to a Tariff of 3s. 4d. ‘ a bag, equal to 40 per cent, ad valorem. The policy of the Commonwealth in regard to these islands is in striking contrast to that adopted by New Zealand in dealing with the island possessions which she has acquired. As honorable members are aware, New Zealand’ has- extensive possessions in the Pacific. She has the islands of the Kermadic Group, Manahiki Island, Bounty and Chatham Islands, Suwarrow Island, Niue Island’, and the Hervey Group, and has passed a law which provides that all goods produced or manufactured in New Zealand shall be admitted free of duty to these islands, and that all goods produced or manufactured in the islands shall-, be admitted free of duty into New Zealand. That seems to be a very sensible policy to adopt, and if anything is calculated to assist the development of the islands, such a policy should certainly do so. Unfortunately the Commonwealth has adopted an opposite policy in dealing with British settlers in the New Hebrides. The British settlers there find themselves so handicapped in competing with the French settlers that, according to a repot t which recently appeared in the press - but for the truth of which I cannot vouch - a great number of them are now seeking to become naturalized French subjects, their object being to secure the advantages of the French laws in relation to trade. It is needless to point out that if this course of action be persisted in it must seriously affect the chances of British supremacy in the islands. A Commission has been appointed, chiefly to deal with disputes in regard to the ownership of land and kindred subjects, in order that comity of feeling between the two nations shall be preserved. Whatever may be the value of the titles held in respect of land purchased from the natives, common-sense suggests that the ultimate decision in regard to the question of title will rest upon the numerical strength of the population, and also upon the value of the interests of that population, whether it be French or British. The question of. the ultimate control of the New Hebrides will probably depend upon the preponderance of interests so far as these two main considerations are concerned”. It is for this reason that I urge that it is absolutely necessary that the Commonwealth should give very serious consideration to the importance of encouraging by every legitimate mean’s the settlement of Australians and Britishers generally on this group, and more particularly on Mallicollo and Sandwich Islands, which possess two ports that, from a British naval strategic stand-point, are of immense value. With the opening of the Panama Canal a very large proportion of the trade now passing through the Suez Canal and over, the Indian Ocean will be transferred to the Pacific, and Great Britain will then find it of great importance to have some effective means of policing the South Pacific, and of protecting British and Australian commerce in time of war. It is for this reason that I draw special attention to the ports of these two islands. We have, of course, a naval base at Sydney, and Great Britain still has possession of the Fiji Group, but these islands do not offer in the same degree those facilities which are so essential to a naval base. It must be remembered that the largest battle-ship cannot effectively operate in an ambit of more than 2.000 miles without re-coaling, and therefore Sydney is too far distant from the South Pacific to allow of its being used effectively as a naval base unless a coaling station, together with dock-yards, and the usual accompaniments of a naval station, be secured elsewhere, adjacent to the great traffic’ routes of the Pacific between Panama and Australia. Although I felt very reluctant to bring this question forward in so public a manner as this, I saw no other way of directing public attention to its importance. I have submitted this motion in the hope that it will receive the prompt consideration that its importance demands, and that the British authorities will make some arrangement with the French Government to secure a more satisfactory means of control than that which at present exists. I should like to call attention to the efforts which France is making to assist her settlers in the New Hebrides, and to emphasize the disabilities under which British and Australian settlers labour. The French have, I am informed, a large secret colonizing fund, which is drawn upon to afford valuable facilities to French settlers in the group. They pay £16,000 per annum to the New Hebrides Company, and a subsidy of £2,000 per annum to Messrs. Ballande and Company - a great colonizing firm, working, in reality, in’ connexion with a French organization’ usually assumed to exist for spiritual rather than for temporal and sordid commercial purposes - to run a vessel between Noumea and the New Hebrides. They also pay a subsidy of £2,600 per annum to the Messageries Maritimes Company for allowing the steamer Pacifique, which trades regularly between Sydney and Noumea, to go on to the New Hebrides. Then there is the Conseil Generate, or General Council, of Noumea, which gives £500 per annum to a French plantation company or union, by way of a direct subsidy. That subsidy is specially aimed at the attempts which that enterprising and patriotic company, Burns, Philp and Co., are making to establish trade with the New Hebrides in the interests of Great Britain and Australia. I use the word “ patriotic “ advisedly, because Colonel Burns is, I think, actuated far more by patriotic than by commercial motives in endeavouring to secure British supremacy in these islands. I am informed that the company is losing many thousands annually in carrying on the trade with the New Hebrides, and that the continuation df that trade is not justifiable from a commercial stand-point only.

Mr Crouch:

– The honorable member knows that the Commonwealth at ] resent gives that company a subsidy.

Mr JOHNSON:

– Yes; but it is not nearly so large as that given by the French Government to the French service. I am not urging that a further subsidy should be granted, although that is a matter which the Government will need to take into consideration. I do not strongly favour the giving of subsidies or grants except in special circumstances; but this might be regarded as a national undertaking, and a subsidy to assist it might be defensible on that ground, t

An Honorable Member. - Have not the company certain land interests which they desire to develop bv trade?

Mr JOHNSON:

– I think that they are prepared to hand over all their rights in that respect unconditionally to the Commonwealth. What I advocate is that the tariff restrictions,, which are now imposed upon their trade, shall be removed, so as to give them greater facilities than they at present possess, and to place them more on a footing of equality with their French competitors, who are pampered up and encouraged in many directions, which, perhaps, are not always legitimate.

Mr Crouch:

– Does the honorable member include Fiji in his motion?

Mr JOHNSON:

– I am speaking more particularly of the position of the New Hebrides. Fiji is under British control, but the New Hebrides are under a dual control, and an arrangement has been made by which that dual control is to continue for a certain number of years. It seems to me that’ if Great Britain were to surrender to ‘France territory in some other quarter in return for the undivided control of the New Hebrides, the arrangement might be found agreeable to the interests of both nations. There are British possessions, which, although of no great value to us, might be far more beneficial to France than is her share in the control of the New Hebrides. Possession of the New Hebrides would be of far greater importance to Great Britain than to France, because of their contiguity to Australia. The French possessions in the Pacific, other than New Caledonia, are not of any great extent ; whilst in view of the fact that the Pacific will shortly become a very busy highway for vessels trading between Australia, Europe, and America, the New Hebrides assume a value to Great Britain quite apart from their productive worth. They are of value to Great Britain more from a naval than from any other point of view, and for this reason I urge that, if possible, they should be acquired at an early date by Great Britain. Although there is a duty on French produce in the New Hebrides, a rebate is allowed, which may be set down, . roughly speaking, at 50 per cent. The fact that this rebate is allowed has been frequently published, and has not been denied by the French authorities. On maize there is a duty of three francs per 100 kilos, the rebate being one franc. But although a duty is collected upon French produce going into Noumea, practically the whole of it is refunded to the settlers in the New Hebrides, because, not only is there rebate amounting in some instances to about 50 per cent., but the revenue actually collected is returned to the New Hebrides authorities, anr! is spent in Vila, the most important settlement in the islands, on road construction and other local improvements which directly benefit the people there. The French Government are spending large sums in the erection of permanent buildings of a substantial character.

Mr Fisher:

– Is not that done in the States? Does not’ New South Wales spend part of her revenue upon the construction of roads?

Mr JOHNSON:

– Yes ; but we- do not return our revenue to the districts from which it is collected. In my opinion, the two cases are not analogous. I am showing the improvement of the French method upon o.ur method. We do not give the British settlers in these islands any rebate, nor do we refund for their advantage the duties collected from them. I hope that honorable members will realize the seriousness of the situation, and see how discouraging the present system is to attempts to colonize the islands by Australians. I am dealing with the question in a national spirit, and with the desire to see the British Empire have the same powerful influence in the Southern seas that it has in other parts of the world.

Mr Page:

– We have no power to refund any revenue which we may collect from these settlers.

Mr JOHNSON:

– Parliament has power to do what it likes with its surplus revenue.

We have the power to levy taxation, and the power to remit it.

Mr Page:

– But the Government has no right to remit taxation.

Mr JOHNSON:

– It could acquire that right by the consent of Parliament. There is a proposal, referred to in the Noumea paper of the 12th inst., to increase the present subsidies by 75,000 francs, which isi equivalent to . £3,000. The- French are increasing the facilities given to their settlers, in order to drive British trade away from these islands, so that theymay ultimately have absolute control of them. I hope that honorable members in dealing with the subject will not be swayed by party considerations, but will think of what is best in the interests of the Empire.

Mr Page:

– Is the honorable member of the opinion that if Great Britain will not give a subsidy Australia should do so for her?

Mr JOHNSON:

– Australia should give facilities to her own settlers in these islands, and should encourage the colonization of the islands by people of the British race, not necessarily because of the advantage which, that will give the Commonwealth!, but because “of the advantage which the possession of the islands by Great Britain will be to us.

Mr Page:

– We already subsidize a line of steamers to the New Hebrides.

Mr JOHNSON:

– Yes; but the subsidy we pay is not worth talking of, in comparison with that paid to the French steamers. If we allowed the produce of British settlers, grown in the islands, to enter the Commonwealth free, we should be doing something for our people there. In my opinion,we should hold out every inducement to Australians to colonize these islands, so that eventually the chief part of the population will become British, and Great Britain will secure supreme control over them. We should give the people there every facility..

Mr Page:

– What does the honorable member mean by that?

Mr JOHNSON:

– I leave it to the Government, and to Parliament to decide what should be done. I have already suggested that one advantage which Ave might give them isto allow their produce to enter our ports without having . to pay duty.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– But the honorable member is in faA’our of allowing all goods to enter the Commonwealthwithout payment of duty.

Mr JOHNSON:

– Certainly. There is nothing petty or mean about my free-trade principles.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– If that were done, the settlers in the New Hebrides would have no preference.

Mr JOHNSON:

– For my own part, I could not get too much free-trade. But I knoAV that in the present position of par- . ties it is impossible to get what I Avant. I shall always advocate the freest exchange of products betAveen the various parts of tha Avorld. The point I am making noAV, however, is that our settlers in the New Hebrides are handicapped by the action of this Parliament in putting import duties upon their produce.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– Does the honorable member admit that those who send goods to us are made to suffer by reason of the existence of import duties ?

Mr JOHNSON:

– I hold that the consumer has to pay the duties which are placed upon imports ; ‘ but in the case to which I am referring the Tariff is prohibitive, so that the products of these settlers are being kept out of Australia altogether. Ifwe wish to encourage settlement in those islands, we should consider the matter Avithout regard to fiscal questions. The paramount end in view should be the establishment of British supremacy in the group. We should do ali Ave can to encourage settlement there, so that the islands may become more and more a British Possession. The produce of the islands is all AvhitegrOAvn produce. The natives do not cultivate the soil to any great extent.

Mr Crouch:

– But they Avork under the direction of Avhite men.

Mr JOHNSON:

– Unquestionably ; but that does not affect the matter under discussion. That is a labour question, Avhich does not enter into our consideration at the present time. A great deal has been said and Avritten on this subject, and I have, for many years past, felt strongly upon the importance of doing something in the direction I have suggested. The fears Avhich I expressed many years ago in regard to Avhat might happen in the Pacific have been shoAvn by subsequent events to have been grounded on very sound reasoning. In conclusion, I express the fer- vent hope that the matter will receive the earnest consideration of the Government, and that they will make a strong recommendation to the British Government as to the importance of the question as it affects Australian and British interests in the South Pacific.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:
Robertson

– I beg to second the motion. The honorable member for Lang has dealt with his subject very thoroughly. lt may appear to some honorable members quite a new subject ; but it is really a very old one. In the early eighties, Mr. Ebenezer Ward, in the Legislative Assembly of South Australia, moved a motion affirming that the New Hebrides should be annexed by Great Britain, and the press of Victoria enthusiastically supported the proposal, which was indorsed by the South Australian Parliament.

Mr Crouch:

– Victoria annexed the New Hebrides in 1882.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– Several annexations have been made in the Pacific since that date, but the British Government have repudiated them. At one time the Americans interpreted the Monroe doctrine in such a way that they had no wish to annex the Sandwich Islands. But we find now that America has become a Pacific Power, and has made annexations in various directions. There is indeed very little prospect of a_ discontinuance of that policy. Whenever Great Britain is embroiled, the other European Powers bring pressure to bear to secure the annexation of islands in the Pacific. The Americans and Germans have thus obtained possession of territory in the Samoan group, upon which Great Britain formerly had a lien, and the latter Power received no compensation other than the benevolent neutrality of Germany and America during the Transvaal war. It has been stated by the German Prime Minister that the time to press Great Britain is when she is in difficulties.

Mr Crouch:

– Great Britain got the Solomon Islands.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– It was’ stated at the time of the Samoan annexation by Germany and America that British influence in Tonga should not be disturbed. But Great Britain has always been paramount there, so that her position could not be improved by that agreement. Great Britain exercises a protectorate over the Solomon Islands. Germany has taken possession of certain islands off the coast of New Guinea, but Great Britain has not gone the same length with regard to the islands of the Solomon group, close by. I do not, however, wish to wander away into a general discussion of the policy of annexation with regard to the Pacific. We might have expected that, during the recent negotiations between the British and French Governments, which led to the establishment of the most friendly relations between t’hose powers, some effort would have been made to promote Australian interests in the New Hebrides. Special consideration was shown for the claims of the Dominion of Canada, and it seems to me that something might have been done to urge Australian interests at the same time. The French contention is that the New Hebrides were originally taken over by them at the time they annexed New Caledonia. Dr. Paton, who lived in the New Hebrides for many years, and who, perhaps, has done more than any other man for the people of those islands, has stated most emphatically that French interests in those islands are expanding by leaps and bounds, whereas British influence is not being increased to any appreciable extent. This is largely due to the fact t’hat the French residents enjoy very much more freedom of trade than do the British settlers. I think the honorable member for Lang is quite justified in asking the Commonwealth Government to afford every facility for Australian settlement in the islands. The best way in which this can be done is by providing the settlers with a market for their products by making special concessions under our Tariff. We might consent to admit their products at a reduced rate of duty, or entirely free. The concession would not represent very much to us. The principal article of export from the islands is copra, which is utilized here with very great advantage. Apart from that, maize is the principal product, and I do not apprehend that our producers would .be subject to any very severe competition from the settlers in the New Hebrides. The average yield of maize in Australia is 30 bushels per acre, which is very high, seeing that the average production in America is only 25 bushels. I think that we should do everything in our power to increase Australian settlement in the New Hebrides, in order that the influence of Great Britain may be extended, and so that our representations may have the greater weight when the question of the possession of the islands has to be decided. The resolution points to ‘ the importance of endeavouring to arrive at a more satisfactory agreement with regard to the control of the islands, and I hope that representations will be made to the British Government, through the Department of External Affairs, with this end in view. During the first Parliament, I submitted a question on this very point, and was then informed that the Government were giving the matter their serious consideration. Since that time a better understanding has been arrived at between Great Britain and France, but, unfortunately, little or no regard appears to have been paid to Australian interests. I believe that if a more active and progressive policy were adopted by the Commonwealth Government, with the object of counteracting the vigorous colonial policy of France, very good results would follow. At the first Federal Convention, Fiji was represented, and New Zealand was also invited to send; representatives. The leading statesmen’ of the day evidently recognised the importance of making the Federal Union as comprehensive as possible, and it is reasonable to suppose that it would be immensely, to our advantage if we could embrace within the union not only New Zealand and Fiji, but also the New Hebrides. We have already taken steps to assume complete control over New Guinea, and I hope the time will come when it will be possible for us to take over the New Hebrides under somewhat similar conditions. I think that the honorable member for Lang is to be commended for what he has done, and I hope that he will continue to press this matter on the Government until some action is taken.

Mr WATSON:
Bland · ALP

– I regret that my honorable colleague, the Minister of External Affairs, is not present, because he is more familiar than I am with this matter, which is in his Department. Notice of the. motion was given only very recently, and my colleague, therefore, had no knowledge that it was likely to come on for consideration to-day. The subject matter of the motion has not escaped the attention of the Government. In the first’ place, the whole question has been before the people of Australia for a considerable time past. Long before the Commonwealth was thought of the various States Governments had the matter brought under their attention, and at various periods made representations to the British authorities. Of course, from the Australian stand-point, it seems rather a pity that steps were not taken earlier perhaps to secure these islands against occupation by Powers other than Great Britain, because naturally the exercise of foreign control over areas so closely allied geographically to Australia must introduce complexities into our relations. In view of the probable construction of the Panama Canal, the matter now assumes greater importance, and, therefore, our interest is naturally stronger than it was even a little while ago. As to making further representations to the British Government, I may say that the last Government and the present one have made representations, and, as honorable members are probably aware, there will shortly assemble, under the terms of an arrangement arrived at between the Governments of Great Britain and France, a Commission whose duty it will be to inquire into the rival claims with respect to land in the New Hebrides. I do not anticipate, of ‘course, that the Commission will settle the question as to control, but at the same time it will probably help to get rid of some of the causes of difficulty which exist to-day between French and British settlers.

Mr Crouch:

– Will Australia be represented on the Commission ?

Mr WATSON:

– I am not at liberty to say anything about that at present. A communication has gone from this Government to the British Government in respect to that Commission, and it is at least due to the Imperial authorities that we should not disclose its terms until they have had an opportunity of perusing it. If there is any information to be given in regard to that, it must, of course, come from my honorable colleague the Minister of Home Affairs.

Mr Johnson:

– Effective occupation would be a large factor in determining the questions to be considered by the Commission.

Mr WATSON:

– Undoubtedly. I should prefer, however, not to enter into details with regard to the question of the occupation of these islands at present. As I have indicated, one important aspect of the matter is coming up for consideration, and we hope for settlement, within a very short time, under the arrangement entered into between the French and British Governments. The motion involves the consideration as to how far we should be justified in encouraging trade with the islands by means of a rebate of Customs duties, or in some other way. We have had under consideration that matter, as well as the cognate question of the amount of subsidy that we should be justified in paying to encourage trade relations between the various groups of islands and the mainland of Australia. All these matters have been under the consideration of the Government, and I admit that there are strategic reasons for infringing upon what otherwise should be the policy of Australia, so far as Customs duties are concerned. From our standpoint it may be a wise thing to encourage British occupation of some of these outlying islands for strategic purposes, even where, from the purely financial stand-point, such a step might be inadvisable. That aspect will be borne in mind by the Government in connexion with any decision at which they may arrive. I, do not know that I can be expected to say very much more at the present time. For myself, I have only a general knowledge of the subject, unassisted by the experience which the Minister of External Affairs has had in dealing with it for the consideration of the Home authorities. Personally, I should prefer the debate upon the motion to be adjourned, because it is more than probable that within a few weeks we shall hear something from the Imperial authorities regarding the composition of the Commission which it is proposed to appoint, and regarding the scope of its inquiry. We may also obtain some idea of the probable outcome of its investigations.

Debate (on motion by Mr.. Crouch) adjourned.

page 3689

SEAT OF GOVERNMENT BILL

In Committee (Consideration resumed from 27th July, vide page 3632) :

Clause 2 (Determination of Seat of Government).

Mr ROBINSON:
Wannon

– Under this particular clause it is intended that we shall permanently fix the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth. In the form in which the provision has been passed by the Senate, it seems to me a most extraordinary one. I find by reference to a surveyor that the area embraced in that portion of New South Wales which the Senate has reserved for the selection of a Federal Capital site aggregates 8,000 square miles. When the second reading of the Bill was under discussion, I supported an amendment submitted by the honorable member for Corangamite, . in favour of securing an alteration of the Constitution, with a view to fixing the Federal Capital either in Melbourne or Sydney. My sole reason for so doing was that I believed the adoption of such a course would be conducive to economy. Having been defeated upon that amendment, I now propose to support the next most economical proposal. If I cannot secure the economy that I desire, I mean to approximate to it as closely as I can. Honorable members, therefore, will at once understand that I intend to vote for the Lyndhurst site, because I believe that, under all the circumstances, it is the most economical site which can be selected, from the point of view of the Commonwealth and of the States. I need scarcely point out that it is the only site which has railway communication with the big capitals and with our principal ports.

Sir John Forrest:

– What about the Gadara site?

Mr Austin Chapman:

– It would cost as much to provide a water supply at Lyndhurst as it would to establish railway communication with the moon.

Mr ROBINSON:

– Letme take the site which is advocated by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro, who is acting the part of interjector-in-general. It would cost £750,000 to connect that site with the existing railways before a single brick of the Federal Capital could be laid.

Mr McLean:

– What nonsense !

Mr ROBINSON:

– I am sorry to say that upon this question I have been compelled, for the first time, to part company with the honorable member for Gippsland. His idea is that a railway should be built from Bairnsdale to connect with the southern part of New South Wales. With the greatest possible deferenceto the honorable member’s opinion, I make bold to say t’hat such a railway would not pay working expenses during the next fifty years. It would simply constitute a heavy drag upon the resources of the State. My great objection to that site is the enormous sum that would require to be expended upon it before a single sod could be turned towards the establishment of the Federal Capital. I admit, that in the case of any site which may be chosen, it will be necessary to spend money in the acquisition of land. If the Dalgety site be selected, it will also be necessary to construct an additional thirty-one miles of railway which will not pay the cost of axle grease. At the present time the lineto Cooma is a non-paying one.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– The honorable member has never visited the district.

Mr ROBINSON:

– The honorable member for Eden-Monaro is well aware that the line in question is a non-paying one, and yet he wishes to add to it another thirtyone miles of railway which will prove unremunerative. * The cost of that line would have to be borne either by the people of New South Wales or of the Commonwealth.

Mr Crouch:

– The Bathurst line does not pay working expenses.

Mr ROBINSON:

– I am informed that the Bathurst line is more than paying expenses. It carries a large goods traffic in addition to a considerable’ passenger traffic.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– Does the Lyndhurst line pay ?

Mr ROBINSON:

– I am assured that the Bathurst line pays very well. At any rate, that line is already in existence, and if the people of New South Wales are carrying a burden in respect of it, that is no reason why they should be saddled with another burden in the shape of another non-paying line. I understand, however, that the Bathurst line is a paying one.

Mr Crouch:

– Why does not the honorable and learned member accept the official records ?

Mr ROBINSON:

– I am quite prepared to do so. I object to this Parliament selecting any site which will necessitate a heavy expenditure in railway construction before it can be made accessible to the different States. In the books which have been supplied to honorable members, setting out the cost of establishing railway communication between these sites and the termini of the present railways, various estimates have been given. These seem to show that if we select any site other than Lyndhurst a very heavy burden will be thrown upon the people of New South Wales or of the Commonwealth before we shall be able to reach it. It is scarcely likely that the Government of New South Wales will construct a railway for the convenience of members of this Parliament and of thepublic servants of the Commonwealth. If they do so, it stands to reason that we shall have to protect them against any loss by. guaranteering them the annual interest and the working expenses of the line. In justice to their own taxpayers, they cannot be expected ‘to ‘undertake a heavy liability for the purpose of conveniencing us. Consequently, if Parliament selects any of these sites but Lyndhurst, the Commonwealth, at its inception, will be weighed with the cost of establishing railway communication to it. When discussing the second reading of this Bill, I laid great stress upon the fact that it was highly desirable that we should establish the Seat of Government where publicity would be given to our proceedings and public opinion would have some effect upon our deliberations. Though the advocates of the various sites objected to the views which I then urged, I see no reason to modify them in any way. I am a firm believer in the good influence which is generally exerted by the press, just as in some instances I believe that it exerts a bad influence. But, taking the good with the bad, I claim that the community is benefited by the press giving publicity to our doings. The more’ publicity that is given to our proceedings the better will it be for us and the people as a whole. If the Federal Capital is located at Lyndhurst, I take it that the utmost publicity will be insured to our deliberations, and for this reason - Lyndhurst is situate on the existing southern railway, which is the highway of traffic between Melbourne and Sydney. To deal with the sites by way of illustration, as if they bore some relation to a river, I would say that the difference between selecting Lyndhurst as against some of the other sites, such as Dalgety or Tooma, would be this : that in the one instance we should go to a place which is in midstream, and the other to a place which is, so to speak, on a kind of billabong rarely troubled by the rush of waters.

Mr Wilson:

– It would be a backwash.

Mr ROBINSON:

– That is so. It is in the highest degree desirable that we should know that the fierce glare of publicity will beat down upon all our actions.

Mr Ewing:

– A wash might be more valuable than a glare.

Mr ROBINSON:

– It might be to the honorable member.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– There is not enough water at Lyndhurst to allow a man to have a wash.

Mr ROBINSON:

– I do not know why the honorable member betrays so much anxiety in regard to the question of water. I am told that on the occasion of the visit of honorable members to the Monaro district water was never seen. They had something very much stronger than water.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– That is a libel on those who inspected the sites in that district, and the honorable member ought to be ashamed to make such a suggestion.

Mr ROBINSON:

– I believe that the Chief Engineer of Water Supply in New South” Wales is present, and I have been informed by him that within a few miles of Lyndhurst there is a water supply ample to meet all the requirements of a population of from 200,000 to 300,000. I do not think that the Federal Capital will have so large a population during the next century or two, and, therefore, the prospect of such a water supply should be quite sufficient to satisfy the anxiety of honorable members in this respect. I cannot see why we should select some out-of-the-way place merely because it possesses an ample water supply. One of the principal objections urged against the selection of Lyndhurst is that it has not an adequate supply. To that objection I pay little or no attention, in view of the expert opinion which I have obtained. I would rather act upon the opinion of a Government expert of such high character as is the Chief Engineer for Water Supply in New South Wales than upon the opinion of a person very much interested in a rival site. We are all in the same position. We cannot be expected to definitely decide such questions for ourselves, and we must necessarily accept the best opinion we can secure. If the Chief Engineer of Water Supply in New South Wales expresses the opinion that, at moderate expense, an ample water supply may be guaranteed 1 Lyndhurst at a cost of little more than half the price which is charged for the water supplied to consumers in Melbourne, it ought to be quite satisfactory to any honorable member who is free from bias. It is certainly good enough for me to act upon.

Mr Mahon:

– What is the Melbourne water rate?

Mr ROBINSON:

– We pay a sixpenny rate, and is. per thousand gallons supplied by meter.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– What is the estimated cost of a water supply for the Capital if it be established at Lyndhurst?

Mr ROBINSON:

– About one-third of the cost of constructing a railway to the site which the honorable member favours. The selection of the site which the honorable member favours would involve not only a large expenditure to secure an adequate water supply, but the cost of constructing a new railway.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– It would cost ;£:r. 600,000 to connect the site favoured by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro with the railway terminus at Cooma, and to connect it bv rail with the port at Eden.

Mr ROBINSON:

– Lyndhurst is easy of access from all the great cities of the Commonwealth. It is close to Sydney, and within easy reach of Melbourne. It is also 6 l 2 within easy reach of a State which deserves no little consideration in this respect, although it appears to receive none. I refer to the State of Queensland. From the point of view of Queensland alone it is no doubt the best site in the running. I have also learned from the representatives of Tasmania that Lyndhurst would be very suitable, from their point of view, as the Seat of Government. Some of the best steamers now trading between Tasmania and the mainland are running between Sydney and Hobart. The finest steamer owned by the Union Steam-ship Company, and engaged in the trade between Tasmania and the mainland, is that which voyages between Sydney and Hobart. Honorable members representing Tasmania would therefore have no difficulty in travelling by steamer to Sydney, and on reaching that city they would be within a few hours’ journey of Lyndhurst. It will thus be seen that from the point of view of means of communication, Lyndhurst possesses undoubted advantages over other sites. It is on a main line of railway on which there is constant traffic, and which is well enough graded to stand heavy traffic. Those who represent country districts must know that many of the country railway lines are not very heavily ballasted, because they are not expected to carry heavy or frequent loads. I am told that that is the position of the line which connects Tumut with Gundagai on the main line. It is not designed to carry very heavy traffic. On the other hand, the railway from Harden to Blayney carries a very heavy traffic. I am informed that an express left Melbourne for Bathurst, carrying members intending to inspect the Lyndhurst site, and that although it was a very heavy train, it accomplished the journey in very good time. Another objection, which has been urged against the selection of Lyndhurst, seems to me a most unworthy one, and I am very sorry that it should have been put forward. It is true that it has not been voiced in this chamber ; but it has been stated in the press, and by persons outside this House, that if the Federal Capital were established at Lyndhurst the rights of Victoria would be sacrificed. A more contemptible and unworthy suggestion has never been made. I cannot conceive of any benefit that the Federal Capital would be likely to confer upon Victoria. It will confer but very little benefit on New South Wales, and the suggestion that if we selected Lyndhurst as the site of the Capital we should sacrifice Victorian rights is one of the most absurd propositions of which I have ever heard. Had the Constitution Bill provided for the establishment of the Capital in Queensland, I do not believe that even one of the votes recorded for the Bill in Victoria would have been lost; I believe that the same huge majority would have voted for the Bill, even had it provided that the Capital should be established . in Tasmania or Queensland. The people of Victoria were determined at that time to have Federation at any cost. When we entered the Federation we paid no regard whatever to the question of where the Federal Capital should be. As one who addressed many meetings in favour of Federation and of the Constitution Bill, I can say that that question did not cause a moment’s anxiety to the people of this State. I would ask those who object to Lyndhurst in what way Victorian interests are likely to be sacrificed by the selection of that site. I fail to see that they would be affected in the slightest degree. Some persons urge that Lyndhurst is somewhat nearer Sydney than Melbourne,” but surely that is a most trivial argument. It is almost impossible to secure a site equidistant between Melbourne and Sydney, and even if Lyndhurst be two hours nearer Sydney than it is to Melbourne, what injury will be inflicted upon this city by its selection? Will the £260,000 or £300,000 spent annually in the Capital in any way injure the trade of Victoria, or depreciate property in this State?

Mr Wilson:

– The selection of Lyndhurst would favorably affect Victoria, because it would not be necessary to expend a large sum of money in constructing a line of railway to it.

Mr ROBINSON:

– It would benefit Victoria, as my honorable friend remarks, because we should not be saddled with our share of the burden of building unproductive and unremunerative lines of railway. The population of the Federal Capital will necessarily be limited for many years to come. Many years will elapse before the States will be prepared to hand over their railways to the Federal Government ; but, granting the Federation the widest extension of its powers under the Constitution, the number of residents of the Federal Capital must be necessarily limited. The great bulk of the public servants of the Commonwealth must reside in the great cities where our trading operations are carried on. They must discharge their duties in the capital cities of the States, where the commerce of the nations comes, and from which our products are exported. It is for these reasons that the great bulk of thepublic servants of the Commonwealth and of the States are and must continue to be centred in the principal cities, and the number residing in the Capital will be limited. We shall have there the staff of the Department of Home Affairs, the administrative staff of the Postal Department, the administrative staff of the Treasurer’s Department, and a few more officers of that description ; but 90 or 95 per cent, of the public servants of the Commonwealth will not be housed within Federal Territory. Hence the official population will be small. Other residents will consist, for the most part, of honorable members who may go there from time to time, and of those who settle there for the purposes of trade. It therefore seems to me that the estimates which have been put before us as to the probable growth of the population of the Federal Capital are positively ridiculous. We have estimates in respect of a city with a population, at the outset, of 50,000, and gradually increasing to 250,000 or 500,000. Reams of paper have been covered with calculations as to the probable cost of laying out a city for a population of halfamillion.

Mr Batchelor:

– Such calculations have been made mostly by opponents.

Mr ROBINSON:

– No ; if the honorable gentleman peruses some of the papers which have been issued by his Department, he will find that estimates have been prepared,’ showing the cost of providing a water supply for a city of 250,000 inhabitants. These estimates have been prepared not by opponents of the Federal Capital scheme, but by officers who were selected by the late Government to deal with the question. When I carried home the bundle of papers bearing upon the selection of the Capital, which was supplied to me by the Government, I was at once struck by the extraordinary ideas which those who had been called upon to make reports upon this question, appeared to entertain, as to the probable growth of the Capital. The growth of the population of Australia during the last fifteen or twenty years has been comparatively trifling. We have been gaining little, if anything, more than the natural increase. Victoria has suffered from a succession of bad seasons, and it has taken her all her time to hold her own ; but the Commonwealth, as a whole, has gained little more than the natural increase due to the excess of births over deaths. The figures which have been published on Mr. Coghlan’s authority, to the effect that thirty or forty years hence, the total population of Australia will not exceed 8,000,000, should satisfy us that the Federal Capital, even at that distant date, will not have an additional population of more than about 10,000. Estimates have, nevertheless, been put before us of the cost of waterworks, tramways, and modern improvements of every description for the Capital. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro desires to involve the Commonwealth in an expenditure, of heaven knows how many millions of money. He wishes to have a railway constructed between Cooma and Bombala, another from Bombala to the port of Eden, and still another from Bombala to Bairnsdale. He would force the Commonwealth into a tremendous expenditure to obtain the very smallest result. I am surprised that the desire to have the Federal Capital located in the constituency which he represents should carry the honorable member to such lengths. I do not pretend to speak on this matter for any but my own constituents. Their wish is that the greatest economy shall be exercised by the Federal Government. They have given me a free hand, and would allow me to vote for the location of the Federal Capital at Sydney, if that could be brought about. Failing that, I am at liberty to vote for whichever site will enable the most economic administration to be undertaken by the Federal Government. . I think that that end can be best attained by our voting for Lyndhurst. In the first place, Lyndhurst is already connected by railway direct with Melbourne and Sydney, and I believe that it is about to be put into direct communication with Brisbane. Therefore the selection of the Lyndhurst site would not require any expenditure upon railway construction. The Minister of Home Affairs has kindly placed at my disposal a return showing the actual time which is now taken to travel from Melbourne and Sydney to the several proposed sites. I asked for that information because the times given in the reports which had been placed before us are based upon bogus time-tables. It is assumed, for instance, that Bombala will be connected with Melbourne and Sydney direct, and that the Railway Commissioners of the two States will run trains right through at express rates of speed. Those who have travelled on the Gippsland line, however, know that before a train could be run to Bairnsdale at an express rate of speed, the line would have to be regraded, and more heavily ballasted. Victoria has, during the last ten years,’ spent thousands of pounds in improving her railways in this way. To run an express train from Melbourne to Bombala, therefore, would not only require the construction of a first-class line from Bombala to Bairnsdale, but also the improvement, at a heavy cost, of the existing line from Bairnsdale to Melbourne.

Sir John Forrest:

– The honorable and learned member seems to have no faith in the future.

Mr ROBINSON:

– I have a good deal of faith in the future of the Commonwealth, but I am not prepared to pawn its future prospects. The right honorable member is ready to borrow ^5,000,000 to construct a railway to Western Australia, and another ^5,000,000 or ^10,000,000 to build a Capital city. But while I admit that a certain amount of money must be expended in these directions I do not believe in pledging our credit to that extent. The great curse of Australia has been, and will be for many years to come, the overborrowing which has placed us under such a heavy load of debt. The public debts of the States are heavier than that of any country in Europe.

Sir John Forrest:

– But what about the public works on which the money has been spent ?

Mr ROBINSON:

– The old country has a debt of ^800,000,000, most of which has been borrowed to carry on wars, but the money borrowed by the Australian States, and sunk in unproductive works, is proportionately nearly twice as much.

Sir John Forrest:

– Very little money has been sunk in unproductive works in the State from which I come.

Mr Poynton:

– The Australian railways pay nearly 1 per cent, more than the Canadian railways pay.

Mr ROBINSON:

– That does not alter ‘ the fact that an immense amount of the money which the States have borrowed has been spent on unproductive works. Coming back to the returns to which I have referred. I find that to go from Sydney to Bombala by rail and coach takes, according to existing time tables, twenty-one hours, while to go from Melbourne to Bombala in the same way takes thirty-six hours, including a detention at Goulburn.

Sir John Forrest:

– Will it always be necessary to wait at Goulburn?

Mr ROBINSON:

– There will probably always be a wait there ; “But even if I take three-quarters of an hour off, the total duration of the journey still amounts to thirty-five and a quarter hours. Does the right honorable member think that the Railway Commissioners of New South Wale’s will reorganize their train service in order to carry dead-heads more quickly ?

Mr Fuller:

– We are not dead-heads, so far as the States are concerned.

Mr ROBINSON:

– I know that the Federal Government pays the States Governments for the conveyance by train of members of this Parliament; but, practically, the money is only transferred from one pocket to another, because, in any case, the States would get it back under the financial provisions of the Constitution. From Sydney to Tooma by rail and coach now takes twenty-four and a half hours, while the journey from Melbourne via Germanton takes twenty-seven and a half hours.

Mr Batchelor:

– A delay of six and a half hours is caused by the wait for a train.

Mr ROBINSON:

– Going by train from Melbourne to Tallangatta, and then driving direct to Tooma, the time occupied is twenty-two hours.

Mr Batchelor:

– The figures which the honorable and learned member is quoting are quite misleading.

Mr ROBINSON:

– In what way? They are based upon the existing time-tables. I assume that those in charge of the New South Wales railways will retain their sanity, and will not go to a heavy expense in providing special and rapid trains merely for our conveyance.-

Sir William Lyne:

– Does the honorable and learned member think that the country will be at a .standstill for the next fifty years ?

Mr ROBINSON:

– I am dealing with every site alike, so that the comparison is a perfectly fair one. The journey from Sydney to Tumut at the present time takes fifteen hours, while to travel from Melbourne to Tumut takes nineteen hours.

Sir John Forrest:

– With a detention of how many hours?

Mr. ROBINSON. Three hours are spent in waiting for a train. If, however, trains were run right through to Tumut at express rates of speed, the time occupied in getting there from Sydney would be eleven hours, the distance being 322 miles, and from Melbourne twelve hours, the distance being 390 miles. At the present time it takes twenty-one hours to get from Sydney to Bombala, .the railway journey occupying twelve hours, and the subsequent coach journey nine hours. If, however, we assume that the State will waste its money in extending its railways to Bombala, that will shorten the journey to about fourteen hours, or, allowing for an express rate of speed, about twelve hours. To reach Bombala from Melbourne via Cooma would take nearly twenty hours, if thi railway were continued from Cooma to Bombala. Lyndhurst is a ten hours’ journey from Sydney by the existing time-table, and a journey of twenty and a half hours from Melbourne.

Mr Wilkinson:

– How long does it take to reach Lyndhurst from Brisbane?

Mr ROBINSON:

– I have not got that information before me, but the selection of Lyndhurst would shorten the journey of Queensland members, to the Capital by at least nine hours. I understand, too, that it is in contemplation to construct a line from Wellington to Werris Creek, which would give Brisbane direct connexion with Lyndhurst. I do not, however, wish to put much stress on that.

Mr Groom:

– The honorable and learned member is justified in referring to what is a reasonable expectation.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– That line is sure to be made.

Six John Forrest. - Taking present time-tables, more time is now occupied in returning to Melbourne from Lyndhurst than in going to Lyndhurst from Melbourne.

Mr ROBINSON:

– If trains were run at express rates of speed to Lyndhurst from Sydney and Melbourne, the journey would take in the one case, about seven hours, and in the other about fourteen and a half hours, as compared with eleven and twelve hours to Tumut, under similar conditions, from Sydney and Melbourne respectively.

Mr Batchelor:

– The honorable and learned member might reasonably assume that there would be a motor service from the railway terminus to Bombala.

Mr ROBINSON:

– I have reduced the nine hours, occupied by the coach journey, to two hours, in order to pacify the honorable member for Eden-Monaro, but still the journey from Melbourne would occupy a great length of time, whilst the trip from Brisbane or Hobart to Bombala would extend over a much longer period.

Mr Poynton:

– But surely the time occupied in getting to and fro is not of any great importance.

Mr ROBINSON:

– I think it is.

Sir John Forrest:

– The honorable and learned member is dealing with present conditions.

Mr ROBINSON:

– Yes, I am dealing with present conditions, which I think are likely to obtain for the next fifteen or twenty years. In 200 years’ time the conditions may be very different, but if thisHouse is determined to establish a Federal Capital in the bush at an early date, there is every reason for selecting a. site that will be easy of access; instead of resorting to a place which we shall have to reach by swimming rivers, descending into gullies, and climbing mountains, or by travelling for hours and hours in a coach. I think we should secure an accessible place, where the Parliament will be affected by public opinion. The further we go into the Never-Never land the less chance will there be of Parliament being affected by public opinion.

Mr Poynton:

– Let us go to Albury.

Mr ROBINSON:

– That is a very good place, but it is rather hot.

Mr Poynton:

– So is Lyndhurst.

Mr ROBINSON:

– Mo doubt it has * fairly warm climate ; but it has an elevated situation ; and, as one who has lived in a coastal town all his life, I much prefer. a fairly elevated site. We are not, as has been suggested, betraying Victorian interests by selecting Lyndhurst. It is most contemptible to suggest that the prosperity of Victoria depends upon the annual expenditure of .£200,000 of Federal money. If I thought that the people of Victoria were so small-minded that they would think of leaving the Federation if the Federal Capital were established at a site other than that proposed upon the Upper Murray, I should be very much ashamed of my country. I know, however, that, except in the case of a very small section, they do not take the very extreme view that has been represented. I believe that the majority are quite willing that New South Wales should have the benefit of the bargain into which she entered with the other States. We proposed the other day to give her something better than the terms of that bargain.’

Mr Batchelor:

– That was one ot thi most expensive proposals which have yet been made.

Mir. ROBINSON. - I differ from the Minister of Home Affairs upon that point ; but as the matter- has been decided I need not further discuss it. I am prepared to give New South Wales the benefit of the Federal Capital. I do not think that it will amount to much. The establishment of the Federal Capital at Lyndhurst will not injure the people of Victoria, but on the other hand will benefit them. The new expenditure in connexion with the establishment of the Capital there would be less than that involved in connexion with any of the other sites proposed, and the consequent saving would be attended with advantage to every taxpayer in Victoria. Further, I believe that Lyndhurst is the best site, because it is most easy of access from Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. It is situated on an existing line of railway, over which a considerable traffic in goods and passengers is already conducted, and I believe that public opinion would necessarily have more effect upon Parliament if it sat there than if it metin some secluded spot. For all these reasons, I intend to give my vote in favour of Lyndhurst. I do not .pretend to say that it is the most picturesque site that could be selected, but if we are to show any regard for the convenience of honorable members, and to attach any weight to considerations of economy, Lyndhurst should be our choice. In these respects, it is the best site yet submitted.

Mr. SYDNEY” SMITH (Macquarie).I have listened with considerable interest to the debate which has taken place upon this question, and I have been much, surprised at some of the objections urged against the Lyndhurst site, which I regard as the best. When the first Constitution Bill was submitted, the people of New South Wales refused to accept it. A meeting of the Premiers of the States was afterwards held, with a view to ascertaining if terms could not be arranged under which New South Wales might be induced to join the Union.

Mr Poynton:

– And New South Wales got her pound of flesh.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– New South Wales asked for a certain concession, and it was granted, but a certain number of honorable members are now endeavouring to prevent her from deriving the advantage of it.

Mr Poynton:

– The provision with regard to the Capital site should never have been inserted in the Constitution.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– My honorable friend will admit that the Premiers met and agreed that the Federal Capital should be situated in New South Wales. In order to meet the strong objection urged by the Victorian Premier against the Capital being located at Sydney, a stipulation was made that it should not be established within 100 miles of that city. In consideration of the benefit which it was believed would be derived from the establishment of the Capital within New South Wales territory, that State agreed, at the instance of the other States, to grant 64,000 acres of land for the purposes of the site, if that area of Crown lands happened to be embraced within the site selected.

Mr Batchelor:

– I never heard it put in that form ‘ before.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– It was put in that form to the electors of New South Wales, and if it had not been thus submitted, the Constitution Bill would never have been passed. Perhaps that would have been a good thing for me, because I lost my seat, owing to the strong opposition I expressed towards that measure. I knew that 7 was risking my seat, but I did not stop to consider my own interests, because I think that a man who is afraid to express his honest opinion has no right to take part in public life. However, I was the first Federal representative sent into this Parliament for that electorate.

Mr Poynton:

– New South Wales agreed to join the union without any condition with regard to the Capital site.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– It did nothing of the kind. In the first instance, a certain majority was required in favour of the Bill, but that was not secured. The amended Bill was afterwards submitted, and, in view of the advantages which it was thought would be derived by New South Wales from the establishment of the Federal Capital within that State, the public agreed to accept the Constitution.

Mr Ewing:

– Do not the people of New South Wales wish to see a suitable site chosen ?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Yes, and I shall be able to show honorable members that the most suitable site is to be found at Lyndhurst. I intend to say something with regard to the action of the honorable member for Hume, who has gone out of his way to question the truth of a statement made by me as to his action with respect to Lyndhurst. I prefer to deal with that matter when the honorable member is present. I shall show honorable members how unfairly Lyndhurst was treated bv the honorable member when he was Minister of

Home Affairs, and subsequently. The great majority of the people of New South Wales fully believed that a site would be chosen for the Federal Capital as near as possible to the 100-mile limit. I admit that no such provision was made in the Constitution, but, as many honorable members know, that was undoubtedly the impression in the minds of the electors. New South Wales entered into a compact which she is perfectly prepared to carry out. No attempt has been made by her to repudiate it. That State has fulfilled its obligation under the compact by accepting the Constitution, and it now asks this Parliament to perform its part. When the honorable member for Hume was Minister of Home Affairs-

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Where is he? I suppose that he is getting in some of his fine work somewhere.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I do not object to the honorable member putting in his fine work, but it is very difficult to understand what site he really does favour.

Mr Batchelor:

– It is very easy to understand what sites he does not favour.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I am not so sure about that. I can show, by reference to Hansard, that, in moving the second reading of the Seat of Government Bill, the honorable member for Hume distinctly stated that the Orange site was a splendid one. Last evening the Committee decided to limit the western site to an area within a radius of fifty miles of Lyndhurst. I claim that we should have acted wisely had we accepted the proposal of the Government, and decided, in the first instance, to select the site of the Capital, and afterwards the Federal territory.

Mr Ewing:

– We can achieve the same result before we have completed our consideration of the Bill.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Where is the utility of this discussion if, at a later stage, the same ground is to be traversed again? However, the fact remains that we have been debarred from voting for the most eligible site in the first instance. Last night the honorable member for Hume declared that Lyndhurst was included in the list of eligible sites merely as an act of courtesy to me, and that it had no right to be considered at all. I might remind the honorable member that during the last Parliament the highest number of votes was recorded in favour of Lyndhurst. I’ am sure that no such consideration as he suggests weighed with honorable members in the determination of this important question. By interjection last evening I pointed out that the honorable member for Hume had not treated the Lyndhurst site fairly. He denied the truth of my statement, for which he was called to order. Under these circumstances, I may be pardoned if I recapitulate what’ actually occurred in connexion with the consideration of this question during the first Parliament. On that occasion, it will be remembered that a disagreement occurred between the two Houses.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– The site which the honorable member advocates was knocked out.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– No; the Lyndhurst site commanded a larger number of votes than did that of Bombala. This Chamber, I repeat, disagreed with, the Senate’s selection of the Bombala site. When the other Chamber took our amendment into consideration, I discovered that a nice little intrigue was in progress. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro has admitted that if I had not come upon the scene, it is possible that an arrangement would have been entered into by which the Bill would have included the Tumut and Bombala sites? and would have excluded Lyndhurst from consideration. To the credit of the Senate, be it said, its members refused to be a party to that little game of bluff, and consequently the selection of the Capital site was left in abeyance. At a later stage, in reply to a question by me, the Prime Minister stated that a site, which possessed such undeniable advantages as Lyndhurst, could not be overlooked. He admitted that it was not necessary for any further surveys to be made in connexion with that site.

Mr Webster:

– Because the expenditure was not warranted.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– My honorable friend may take that view if he chooses.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– The honorable member has accused “the honorable member for Hume of intrigue. Is he now prepared to prove his statement?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Last night the honorable member for Hume declared that he had not been a party to anything that was unfair. Let me tell the House what occurred in connexion with one of the Parliamentary visits of inspection to the Capital sites during the last Parliament. Some trouble had occurred in connexion with railway arrangements, and, as a result, I was asked to try to arrange with the

New South Wales Railway Commissioners to provide us with special trains to all the sites, free of charge. I saw the Treasurer of that State, Mr. Waddell, and he agreed to place at our disposal a special train for the purpose of visiting the Tumut, Bombala, and Lyndhurst sites, via the nearest railway stations. It was arranged that the honorable member for Hume should conduct a party over the Tumut site during Friday and Saturday. That was the compact which was entered into; but after the honorable member had reached Tumut, he endeavoured to detain the party over the Sunday, although he knew perfectly well that it had been previously agreed that honorable members should leave Sydney for Lyndhurst that night, so that they might arrive at Bathurst upon the following morning. When he returned to Sydney the honorable member for Hume rang up certain Government officials upon the telephone, and inquired what would be the cost of a special train from Bathurst to Lyndhurst. He was informed that it would be about 7 s. per mile.

Sir William Lyne:

– No.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The honorable member was told that the cost of an ordinary special was so much per mile.

Sir William Lyne:

– No.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– If t’he honorable member thinks I am in error, he will have an opportunity later on to correct my statement. I received the following telegram from the honorable member for Canobolas, who was then at Cootamundra: -

Lyne . objects Lyndhurst arrangements; proposes run party to “Blayney; thence Lyndhurst, back to catch return train Sydney.

The honorable member for Hume endeavoured to make it impossible for the party to visit Bathurst and Orange in order to see the sites by daylight. He said that he objected to the cost of running a special train, but he had no objection to provide one to carry honorable members to Tumut.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– I rise to a point of order. Is the honorable member in order in stating that the honorable member for Hume endeavoured to prevent honorable members from inspecting a site in accordance with arrangements made by his Department, when that statement is denied ?

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Wilks:
DALLEY, NEW SOUTH WALES

-I have-not heard the honorable member deny that statement. If he does, the honorable member for Macquarie must accept his denial.

Sir William Lyne:

– In the way in which it is stated, I absolutely deny the’ charge.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The honorable member sought to interfere with the arrangements which I had made for the convenience of honorable members, but did not succeed, because I discovered what he was doing. The fact remains, that the honorable member made this attempt.

Sir William Lyne:

– That is not correct.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I shall leave t’he honorable member for Canobolas to deal with the matter.

Sir William Lyne:

– If the honorable member wishes to know what happened, I shall be prepared to tell him at once.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– 1 wish to be fair, and will therefore allow the honorable member to explain.

Sir William Lyne:

– By way of personal explanation, I mar: be permitted to state in a very few words what really happened. Before the party left Melbourne the honorable member for Macquarie asked me to arrange for a visit to Lyndhurst, and I replied that I would do so. I had already telegraphed that arrangements should be made for a visit to that site by special train, leaving at a certain hour. When I reached Sydney, I was informed that the arrangements made by me had been wholly upset ; that the honorable member for Macquarie had interviewed the State Treasurer, and induced him to make an alteration. I then said that the Federal Government would be responsible for the train for which I, as Minister, had arranged, but that we should not be responsible for any alteration that had been made behind my back at the instance of the honorable member for Macquarie. That is all that occurred. A special train was arranged to enable Lyndhurst, and Lyndhurst only, to be inspected by the party, but it was proposed to alter the arrangements to enable Orange and Bathurst to be inspected. The Government were to pay for this special train. I spoke to the Commissioner about the matter, and learned in that way of the action which had been taken -by the honorable member for Macquarie” I wished to ascertain how this little arrangement had been made, and I found that the honorable member had interviewed the State Treasurer, with the result that my arrangements were absolutely upset, and it was only with difficulty that I was able to make the inspection. I could not remain at Orange. The Federal Government were prepared to pay for a special train to convey honorable members to Lyndhurst. As the responsible Minister, I agreed to pay for the train to Lyndhurst, just as We paid for special trains to convey honorable members to other sites. The honorable member knowing, presumably, that Lyndhurst was in the electorate represented by( the State Treasurer, arranged with him to allow the train to be sent to Lyndhurst, Orange, and Bathurst free of cost. So far as I am aware no charge was made, although we had to pay for the special to Cooma, as well as for that which conveyed honorable members to Tumut. I declined to be dictated to by the honorable member; but said that I would carry out the arrangement which I made at the instance of the honorable member before he left Melbourne.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– From the statement made by the honorable member, one would imagine that I had interfered merely to suit my own convenience. As a matter of fact, however, the right honorable member for Swan, who was then Minister of Home Affairs, requested me to arrange for a special train at a reasonable cost, because the charge made for specials was ordinarily very high. I saw the State Treasurer, and, at my request, special trains were provided to enable honorable members to visit, not only Lyndhurst, but the sites in the electorate of Hume and in the electorate of Eden-Monaro. The honorable member for Hume said that the Commonwealth Government had to pay for those trains.

Sir William Lyne:

– So far as I am aware we had to pay for the specials to Tumut and Cooma.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I appeal to the honorable member for Eden-Monaro to say whether the special to Cooma was not granted free of cost?

Mr Austin Chapman:

– Will the honorable member allow me to explain the position ?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Certainly.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– Knowing the influence which the honorable member for Macquarie exercised over the State Treasurer, who is’ the representative of Lyndhurst in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, I sent a telephone message to him saying that all I required was that a special train should be provided to carry honorable members to Cooma on the same terms as that provided, at the request of the honorable member, to convey the Parliamentary party to Lyndhurst. I would not accuse the honorable member of intriguing, because I do not think he would recognise an intrigue if he saw one; but it seems very strange that the late Minister of Home Affairs, the right honorable member for Swan, should have requested him to take action.

Sir William Lyne:

– More especially as I was in charge of the party.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– I knew, of course, that the State Treasurer, as the representative of Lyndhurst, was hand and glove with the honorable member for Macquarie, and I thought I could not do better than ask for a special train to Cooma, on the same terms as those granted to the honorable member to convey the party to Lyndhurst.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The honorable member should, in fairness, tell the Committee that when I applied for a special train to Lyndhurst, free of cost, I made a similar request for special trains to Cooma and Tumut. I did not seek any special concession on behalf of. Lyndhurst, and, as a matter of fact, all these trains were granted free of cost. The honorable member for Hume sought to lead the Committee to believe that, whilst I secured a special train, free of cost, to convey the party to Lyndhurst, a charge was made for the special trains to Cooma and Tumut.

Sir William Lyne:

– I have just heard for the first time that no charge was made. It was agreed in advance that the specials should be paid for by the Federal Government.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I told the honorable member when we were on the railway platform at Redfern station that the specials were all free of cost.

Sir William Lyne:

– The honorable member did not do so, or, if he did mention the matter, I did not hear him.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– After the return of the Parliamentary party to- Melbourne a paragraph, which was doubtless inspired by the honorable member for Hume, appeared in the press, to the effect that Lyndhurst was hot and dusty on the day of the inspection1.

Mr Mauger:

– So it was.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I do not think that the honorable, member was there.

Mr Mauger:

– I was.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– It appeared to me that the honorable member for. Hume was endeavouring to discredit Lyndhurst, and I therefore sent a telegram to Car coar, inquiring what was the temperature on- the day of our visit. The right honorable member for Swan has just entered the Chamber, and I appeal to him to bear out the statement which I have made in regard to the special trains.

Sir John Forrest:

– I was very much obliged to the honorable member for the interest that he took in the matter.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I appeal to the right honorable member to say whether it is not true that he requested me to induce the State Government to make a reduction in the charge for special trains used in connexion with these visits of inspection.

Sir John Forrest:

– Yes.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The honorable member for Hume endeavoured to make it impossible for me to secure a special train to Lyndhurst.

Sir William Lyne:

– I never did.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I know that the honorable member took action with that object in view.

Sir William Lyne:

– That statement,, like others which the honorable member has made, is absolutely without foundation.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The honorable member for Hume, together with the honorable member for Eden-Monaro, endeavoured to do the same thing in connexion with the inspection of sites by members of another place.

Mr Webster:

– I rise to a point of order. Is the honorable member for Macquarie entitled to repeat a charge- which has been twice denied by the honorable member against whom it ‘is made?

The TEMPORARY-CHAIRMAN (Mr. Wilks). - It is not necessary to repeat a denial more than once. The honorable member must accept it on first hearing.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The honorable member for Hume told an interviewer in Sydney that it was hot and dusty at Lyndhurst on the day when the parliamentary party visited that place. I therefore sent a telegram to ascertain what the actual temperature there was on that day, and the reply I received was that the maximum temperature was 74.

Mr Webster:

– Where?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– At Carcoar. I sent a similar telegram to ascertain the temperature at Cootamundra, and I found that there on the same day the temperature was over 80. It must be remembered that the altitude of Cootamundra is greater than that of Tumut, so that it was probably still hotter in the latter place.

Therefore, if the climate of Lyndhurst is not a good one, what must be said of the climate of Tumut? One of the essentials of a Federal site is that it shall have a good climate, and those who read the Commissioners’ report will see that it is there admitted that the climate of Lyndhurst is superior to that of any other site which they visited. The highest temperature ever known there was 98 degrees, whereas at Tumut the temperature has risen to 110 degrees.

Mr Groom:

– Was that, an official record ?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The Commissioners put down the maximum temperature of Tumut as 106 degrees ; but a resident of the district gave it as his sworn testimony to Mr. Oliver that he had known it to be as high as no degrees. The right honorable ‘ member for Swan, who is not an advocate of the Lyndhurst site, has stated that the place is cool in summer and cold in winter, and that, so far as he could judge, the climate is excellent.

Mr Batchelor:

– What is the mean temperature of Lyndhurst?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The mean temperature of Lyndhurst is 55*2 degrees, of Tumut 6 1 “9 degrees, and of Bombala 54”3 degrees. There are no readings available for Dalgety. The highest temperature registered at Bombala is 104 degrees, and a similarly high temperature has been, recorded at Dalgety, whereas the highest temperature known at Lyndhurst is 98 degrees.

Mr Austin Chapman:

-1 What about the winter temperatures ?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The lowest reading of the thermometer at Bombala is 15*3 degrees, at Dalgety 14 degrees, and at Lyndhurst is”4 degrees; but the Commissioners point out that Bombala is a bleak place, and the honorable member for Hume has said that it is so cold there in winter that trees cannot be got to grow. The cold is much more distressing at Bombala than it is at Lyndhurst. Let me deal now with means of communication. It has been estimated that thirty years hence the population of Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria will be 6,440,000, and that of the other , three States 1, 5675000. I find that Lyndhurst - which occupies the first place in this respect - is on the average - for purposes of comparison, only I am using these figures - 516 miles ‘ from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, while the average ‘ distance of Tumut from those cities is 588, of Dalgety 640, and of Bombala 608. The . distance from Sydney to Lyndhurst is 191 miles, while from Sydney to Tumut it is 320 miles, to Bombala 324 miles, and to Dalgety 296 miles. From Melbourne the distance to Lyndhurst is 443 miles, to Tumut 394 miles, to Bombala 633 miles, and to Dalgety 605 miles.

Sir John Forrest:

– That is going round by Goulburn.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I am taking the existing means of communication. One of the strong points in favour of Lyndhurst is that the location of a city there would not require the construction of new lines of railway.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– But it would cost £1,000,000 to provide cold baths there.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The distance from Brisbane to Lyndhurst is 914 miles, to Tumut 1,016 miles, to Bombala 1,047 miles, and to Dalgety 1,019 miles, so that it is more than 100 miles further from Brisbane to the other sites than from Brisbane to Lyndhurst.

Mr Groom:

– And the present distance from Brisbane to Lyndhurst is likely to be shortened very soon by the construction of a direct line.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Yes. The Parliament of New South Wales have practically approved of a line from Wellington to Werris Creek. The honorable member for Hume, in moving the second reading of the Seat of Government Bill, introduced by him two years ago, said -

I believe that had I been successful many years ago, many eyes would now have been turned towards the west as likely to furnish in the future the centre of population in Australia.

He was referring to the likelihood of a railway being constructed from Dubbo or Wellington to Werris Creek, and from Cobar through Wilcannia to Broken Hill.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– He said in this House a little while ago that the western site is the best.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– He said-

I say without hesitation that Orange is one of the finest sites that has been mentioned.

It must be remembered that Lyndhurst now includes Bathurst and Orange. The honorable member for Hume was a strong advocate in the New South Wales Parliament for the construction of a line from Wellington to Werris Creek, and we must regard the construction of that line in the near future as extremely probable. It has been said that it would be a great benefit to

Sydney to have the Capital located at Lyndhurst ; but I ask those who know anything about the topography of the State to say how it would benefit Sydney to have the traffic from Brisbane to Melbourne taken direct by way of Werris Creek and Blayney, without going through the State Capital? By placing the Capital at Lyndhurst, we shall facilitate the construction of a railway to Werris Creek, by which means the Brisbane people would be able to com-s across on a line connected with Melbourne, without being called upon to travel the additional mileage to Sydney. The same can be said with regard to communication with South Australia. The line to which I refer has been approved of by the New South Wales Parliament; but the Public Works Committee deferred reporting in favour of it. It is a line which, however, must eventually be built.

Mr Kelly:

– It is a far more probable line than that from Bairnsdale to Dalgety.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The honorable member for Hume said a few years ago that the people would be looking 10 the West as the part of the State the most suitable for the purposes of a Federal Capital. As to the cost of building materials, which is a very important matter in considering a Federal Site, taking the Commissioners’ own statements, I find that’ if Sydney prices are taken as the unit the cost at Lyndhurst would be 1-15, at Tumut 1-17, at Bombala 1 -a6, and Dalgety 1 -26. So that there would be an enormous additional cost in the construction of building at Dalgety. and Bombala, and an increased cost Tumut as compared with Lyndhurst. Take next the necessary works in connexion with water supply. There are large cement works situated within a few miles of Lyndhurst, and cement for building purposes and - for the erection of weirs for water conservation can be delivered there at a very low cost. Consequently, from that point of view there is a great advantage on the side of Lyndhurst as compared with other sites. Next take fuel. I am aware that some honorable members have contended that there are considerable advantages attaching to the Bombala and Dalgety sites in respect of generating electricity by water power. But it has to be remembered that, in some cases, it pays better to use fuel than water for generating electricity. I believe that the Prime Minister knows of a case where it was reported the other day that the cost of working a certain electric plant by water power in Tasmania was higher than ‘the usual cost, of generating electricity by means of fuel.

Mr Watson:

– I saw a newspaper statement giving the cost per unit. It was. about ijd. per unit, but I find on inquiry that that is the cost per unit sold, and doesnot represent the amount that could be produced by the same plant. Therefore the case is misleading.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Of course the capital cost of an electric plant is very large, and unless there is a considerable use for it the price per unit is increased.

Mr Watson:

– There is not much demand for electricity in this particular place.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– In Sydney the Railway Commissioners are supplying electricity at id. per unit, and they are using steam for the purpose of generating power. In considering the cost of fuel supply we must remember that our great coal-fields are situated within a few miles of Lyndhurst. The cost of supplying coal from Lithgow to Lyndhurst is 15s. per ton. The cost of Lithgow coal at Tumut is 22s. 9d. per ton, and the cost of Illawarra coal 27s. 9d. I am aware that Bundanoon coal could be supplied at a cheaper rate; but the quality is not very good, and that being the case, it would not be likely to be used. No one would think of buying inferior coal. At Dalgety the cost of coal delivered at Cooma would be £1 per ton for southern coal, and for Lithgow coal 25s. per ton. Provided Bombala is connected with Eden and Cooma by rail at a cost of £1,656,000 the cost of Illawarra coal would be 27 s. 6d. per ton, and of Lithgow coal 26s. lod. per ton.

Mr Kelly:

– It would be well worth it at that place.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Another important matter is, the productiveness of the soil. The report of the Commissioners in this respect is most misleading. They put down the productiveness of the various sites and they give Tumut the first place. But they mention different countries without going to the trouble of mentioning the area under cultivation in these countries. It is necessary therefore to ascertain the percentage of land under cultivation.’ I have taken the trouble to go into percentages, and it works out as follows : - In Lyndhurst 665 per cent, of the land within an area of 2,695,000 acres is under cultivation. At Tumut, within an area of 1,955,000 acres, 174 of the land is under cultivation.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– Who worked out these figures?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I give the figures to the Committee, and leave the honorable member to contradict them if he can. He will have an opportunity of checking them afterwards. At Bombala in an area of about 2,000,000 acres the area under cultivation is “59. It is of no use mentioning the value of certain portions of land without giving the area under cultivation. At Dalgety the area under cultivation is “37, out of an area of 2,294,600 acres.

Mr Kelly:

– Is not all the land at Bombala cleared ?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Yes, it is clear of trees, because I understand that scarcely any will, grow there. The area under crop in the Lyndhurst site is 179,303 acres, equal to G’‘6$ per cent., whilst Tumut, Bombala, and Dalgety together average only 85 per cent.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– Tell us what is the percentage of water at Lyndhurst?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I shall give that presently, and the honorable member will not be pleased with the information. The honorable and learned member for Wannon very properly laid great stress upon the expense that would be involved in connecting the various sites by railway with the existing lines. He stated that, as a Victorian representative, his duty was to study economy, and that he had no alternative but to vote for Lyndhurst, because no outlay would be incurred in building railways.

Sir William Lyne:

– What about the proposed line from Werris Creek to Wellington - that will cost something?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I am dealing with the cost. of connecting the proposed sites with the existing lines of railway, and I am not directing attention to prospective means of communication. The cost of connecting Lyndhurst with the present railway system of New South Wales’ would be nil. To similarly connect Tumut would involve an outlay of £50,000. The cost of connecting the Dalgety site would be £192,000, and Bombala £327,000. Now I propose to give the cost of connecting the various sites with a port. Many honorable members have urged, as a reason for selecting Bombala or Dalgety, that we must have a site which can be connected with a port. It would cost £50,000 to bring Tumut into railway communication with a port. The outlay involved in the case of connexion between Bombala and Eden would be £1,696,000, and the same figures would apply to the Dalgety site. It is generally recognised that no attempt would be made to construct a railway to connect Bombala with Eden in order to meet the necessities of settlers upon the Southern Monaro tableland, and therefore we may fairly debit to the proposed Capital site the whole cost of such a line. Now I shall direct my attention to the water supply resources of the Lyndhurst site. I consider it my duty to place before honorable members a few facts and figures with which I have been supplied by Mr. Wade, the Chief Engineer of Water Conservation in New South Wales.

Sir William Lyne:

– Has not the honorable member brought that officer over here ?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The honorable member does not care to have any one here who is likely to throw light upon his actions. He has been making misleading statements with regard to the water supplyavailable in connexion with the Lyndhurst site, and in order to defeat his object I have obtained official information, which any honorable member may verify for himself by consulting Mr. Wade, whose estimates were adopted by the Commissioners who reported upon the Federal Capital sites. I do not think that the honorable member for Hume can complain of the New South Wales Government acceding to my request that Mr. Wade should be allowed to come to Melbourne in order to give all the information at his command upon the subject of water supply.

Sir William Lyne:

– I did not take any exception to that.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The honorable member suggested that I had rather gone out of my way in- connexion with the matter. Mr. Bloomfield reported upon three catchment areas, those of Brown’s Creek, Flyer’s Creek, and Coombing Rivulet, and estimated that, upon the basis of a daily consumption of 30 gallons per head of the population, the supply of water available from, these sources would be sufficient, under a gravitation /scheme to meet the requirements of 250,000 people. In the estimates made in respect to the supply derivable from the different places, the Commissioners calculated that only 8 per cent, of the very lowest rainfall would drain off the catchment area.

Mr Batchelor:

– What does Mr. Wade say to that ?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I shall produce Mr. Wade’s report. I do not propose to say what Mr. Wade told me; but I have asked him to put his statements in writing. The honorable member for Hume and the honorable member for- Eden-Monaro have been endeavouring to mislead honorable members as to the water supply available at Lyndhurst.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– What about the letter that was circulated by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The honorable member’s name should have been attached to that letter. The advocates of the Lyndhurst site attach their names to everything they issue. The booklet recently circulated amongst honorable members bears the names of those responsible for its publication.

Mr Mahon:

– Why did they introduce the Jenolan Caves?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– How far are the Jenolan Caves from Lyndhurst?

Mr Mahon:

– They are fully fifty miles from Carcoar.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– They are not. more than from forty to fifty miles from the proposed site. We do not pretend that the caves are any closer than that. Every one knows where they are.

Mr Mahon:

– Of course, the honorable member will understand that I am not opposed to him upon this matter.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Every one knows the location of the Jenolan caves, and therefore there did not seem to be any necessity to indicate it.’ As a matter of fact, I believe that those caves are embraced within the area mentioned in the schedule. I was saying that the Commissioners estimate that only 8 per cent, of the water which falls within the catchment area can be conserved, and they base t’heir calculations upon a 20-inch rainfall, which is the lowest recorded in any one year, the average being 29*54 inches. In his report, Mr. Wade, the Chief Engineer, states -

I am prepared to say that the Coombing Creek, Flyer’s Creek, Brown’s Creek, and Cadian Gullong Creek, if used to the greatest capacity by means of storage, could supply 100,000 people at 100 gallons per head per day throughout the year.

  1. would point out to honorable members that the catchment for the water supply of Melbourne comprises an area of 62,000 acres. The quantity of water which falls within that area, and which can be impounded, is calculated at 32 per cent., as against 8 per cent, calculated in the case of Lyndhurst. The consumption per head of the population in Melbourne during the highest year was 57$- gallons. That includes the supply of water to all its factories, gardens, railways, and public buildings. In Sydney the consumption per head is only 43 gallons, notwithstanding which the consumption at Lyndhurst has been set down at 100 gallons.
Mr Austin Chapman:

– It is 200 gallons at Washington.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– It is not. Honorable members should also recollect that in Melbourne the temperature frequently runs up to in degrees in the shade, and that in Sydney it sometimes registers 106 degrees. The highest temperature ever recorded there was, I think, 106 degrees.

Mr Groom:

– That is extraordinarily high for Sydney.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Despite these facts, it is seriously urged that the consumption at Lyndhurst, which has a temperature of 98 degrees, would be 100 gallons per head per day, as against 57 gallons in Melbourne and 43 gallons in Sydney. Mr. Wade, the Chief Engineer of Water Conservation, who reported upon all these sites, declares that from the places which I have mentioned, he could provide Lyndhurst with a gravitation scheme sufficient to supply a population of 100,000 people, even if they consumed 100 gallons per head per day. That estimate is made upon the basis that only 8 per cent, of the fall within the catchment area could be conserved. If we take the average quantityconsumed in Melbourne and Sydney an additional 50,000 people could easily be supplied.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– Is it not a fact that the summer before last the residents of Orange were limited to a half supply.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Is the honorable member prepared to accept the opinion which has been given’ in connexion with the water supply at Dalgety and Bombala ?

Mr Austin Chapman:

– There is not a running stream within twenty miles of the Lyndhurst site. “Mr. SYDNEY SMITH.- Upon whom does the honorable member rely for his statements regarding the water supply that would be available at Dalgety and Bombala? Upon Mr. Wade, who is the only officer that has reported upon the question. I have quoted his written report upon this matter. When I spoke to him upon it I said, “ Statements have been made in reference to the water supply, which would be available at Lyndhurst. I wish to advocate the claims of a site of which I shall not be ashamed in the years to come. If you can show me that there is anything wrong with the Lyndhurst water supply I will cease to advocate the selection of that site.”

Mr Austin Chapman:

– It would take a lot more than that to induce me to abandon my advocacy of the Monaro site.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I mentioned just now that the “ run off ‘ ‘ in the Yan Yean catchment area represents about 32 per cent, of the rainfall. I obtained that estimate from the Melbourne Board of Water Supply. On the Murray River, at Echuca, it is estimated at 17 per cent. ; and at Albury at 20 per cent. At another place on the Murray the run off is calculated at over 40 per cent. I admit that there is a difficulty in connexion with some readings, because there was not a sufficient number of gauges in order to ascertain the amount of water which fell at different places.

Sir William Lyne:

– At what place on the Murray was the run off over 40 per cent. ?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– At Jingellic the “ run off “ was over 40 per cent., but at Albury it was 20 per cent. On the Murchison the “ run off “ was 26 per cent, in 1882 and 31 per cent, in 1900. I only mention these figures to show that the Commissioners made a very conservative estimate, putting down the “ run off “ at only 8 per cent., when Lyndhurst experienced its lowest rainfall. I am not relying on this scheme for a water supply. I shall be able to show honorable members that there is another scheme of great importance which would conserve an unlimited quantity of water. I wrote to the Public Works Department in Sydney with regard to the Wyangala Weir, which is situated twenty-two miles from Lyndhurst, and within the area mentioned in connexion with the Federal Capital, and the reply which I received only three or four days ago reads as follows -

The best site for a storage reservoir on the Lachlan River is just below the junction of Wyangala Creek, in the County of King, where a gorge occurs narrowing to about 870 feet, at proposed crest level of dam, and with rock sur. face throughout. This site is about eighteen miles in a direct line south-easterly from Cowra, and complete surveys have been made here; levels have also been run over the storage basin for contour purposes. The proposal is to construct a dam 155 feet in height, which it is found would give a storage capacity of 12,000 million cubic feet - seven times the capacity of Prospect Reservoir - with a surface area of nine square miles. At full supply level water would be backed up the Lachlan River for a distance of eighteen miles, and up the Abercrombie River about six miles above its junction with the Lachlan. The catchment area above the site selected for the dam is 3,200 square miles.

That is, seven times the area of Prospect Reservoir, which supplies 500,000 persons to-day.

Mr Webster:

– How long will it take to silt up?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The EngineerinChief told me, in connexion with the gravitation scheme to which reference has been made, that he did not anticipate that it would silt . up to any extent.

Mr Webster:

– All dams silt up in about three months.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– My honorable friend knows more that t’he EngineerinChief for Water Conservation, Mr. Wade.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– I know something about water supply.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– My honorable friends have been relying on misleading statements in regard to the water supply available in connexion with this site. I am endeavouring to show that the water supply is perfect, and I only wish to give honorable members information which I have obtained from documentary evidence, and the highest authority on the” subject in New South Wales. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro laughs at the authority, but he had to accept that authority in regard to Bombala, Tumut, and Dalgety.

Mr Lonsdale:

– If he is reliable in one case be is reliable in the other.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I should think so. When the honorable member for Eden-Monaro tells us that the magnificent water supply at Dalgety will generate electric power, and do all sorts of things, he does not hesitate to say that the Engineer - in-Chief says so and so, but he wishes to make light of his report in regard to other places. I wish to put honorable members in possession of all the facts, in order that they may be able to judge. Again, the honorable member for Eden-Monaro pointed out, not in the chamber, but in an anonymous way, that the water at Lyndhurst would not be suitable for drinking purposes. I have taken the trouble to look up the analysis of the water in this place, and

I propose to quote what Professor Liversidge, a well-known professor in the Sydney University, said on the point.

Sir William Lyne:

– Is he referring to the Cadi a water supply ?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The Orange water supply is taken from one side of the Canobolas. The water in Flyer’s Creek, and one or two of the other places to which Mr. Wade has referred, comes from the other side of the Canobolas, and will be used at Lyndhurst. Therefore, the water coming to this place will be practically of equal quality, I presume.

Mr Spence:

– That does not follow.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– My honorable friend will not accept any authority ; he has evidently made up his mind. Professor Liversidge says -

On the whole this water may be regarded as a very pure one, and one well adapted for household and manufacturing purposes.

Mr Kelly:

– Does he give the analysis ?

Mr Groom:

– Does he say anything about the quantity?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The analysis of Professor Liversidge is included in the report of Mr. Oliver, to whom the honorable member for Eden-Monaro, I think, pays some attention.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– What did he say about Lvndhurst?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Never mind what he said about Lyndhurst.

Sir William Lyne:

– Which water supply is Professor Liversidge referring to?

Mr.SYDNEY SMITH.- The Orange water supply.

Sir William Lyne:

– The Cadia water supply runs through a copper-field.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The Orange water supply comes from one side of the Canobolas. and the chief portion of the supply to which reference has been made in connexion with the Lyndhurst site comes from the other side.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– Did not the Commissioners say that the water is good ?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Yes. No one has ever Questioned the quality of the water, but certain persons, not in an open way, but by anonymous letters and incorrect statements, are trying to make honorable members believe, first, that there is no water, and, secondly, that if there is any water it is not of very good quality.

Mr Kelly:

– What is the rainfall of that district ?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– At Lyndhurst the rainfall averages 29.54, and it has been as high as 39 inches. The water supply has been calculated, not on the average, but on the lowest rainfall the district has ever had - 20 inches.

Mr Batchelor:

– The engineers always do so.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Not always.

Mr Batchelor:

– They would be very unwise if they did not.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Notwithstanding that they applied the most conservative test in regard to the rainfall - in calculating the percentage of “ run off “ and the consumption - we are in this position, that we have documentary evidence from the EngineerinChief for Water Conservation that a population of 100,000 persons can be supplied by gravitation.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– The honorable member cannot show that there is any water there.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Let the honorable member look after the sites in his own district. . Mr. Pridham submitted a report on a supplementary scheme from the Lachlan, and it was admitted by the right honorable member for Swan, who was then Minister of Home Affairs, that, by means of a gravitation scheme, a water supply sufficient for a population of 87,000 could be obtained. Mr. Wade, Chief Engineer of Water Conservation, New South Wales, has written to me on the subject of Mr. Pridham’s report, which shows that if a water supply for a population exceeding100,000 were required, we should be able by means of a pumping scheme at Wyangala, which is well within the radius specified, to pump 9,000,000 gallons of water per day, or as much more as was required to supply the Capital. Mr. Wade points out that Mr. Pridham’ s estimate is as follows : -

Mr Austin Chapman:

– Over £500,000 for a pumping scheme.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The pumping scheme necessary to supply water to the site which the honorable member favours, would involve an outlay of £585,000. In addition to that, it is suggested that a sum of £4,000,000 should be expended on a breakwater. Mr. Wade proceeds to show that the cost per 1,000 gallons lift, including friction, 1,400 feet - and the same thing is being done in India - would b-i made up as follows : -

Cost per 1,000 gallons lift, including friction, 1,400 feet into service reservoir, at Capital. - Fuel and stores, &c, 4’8d. per 1,000 gallons. Interest and sinking fund, at 6 per cent, on ^581,000, 2’5d. Maintenance of main, “2d. Total, 7’5d. To this must be added cost of distribution and administration, and interest, &c, on service reservoirs and reticulation. These two latter have not been included in any of the estimates of the Federal Royal Commission.

The cost, per thousand gallons, delivered at the service reservoir, including provision for interest and for a sinking fund to pay off, within twenty-eight years, the whole indebtedness incurred in connexion with the scheme, would be only 7-5d. per 1,000 gallons.

Mr Wilson:

– We cannot obtain water in- Melbourne for that price.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– In Melbourne and Sydney a charge of is. per 1,000 gallons is made. I requested Mr. Wade to give me this estimate in his own handwriting, in order that I might submit it to honorable members. Mr. Pridham set down £20,000 as being one-tenth of the cost of the proposed Wyangala weir, and I asked Mr. Wade to give me an estimate of what it would cost to build a weir at Wyangala that would allow of an ample supply at the reservoir. In reply to this request he prepared an estimate, showing that a weir to supply the requirements of .the Capital, at 9,000,000 gallons per day, could be constructed for £100,000, and that the cost of delivering water into a service reservoir at the Capital site would be 7”9d. per 1,000 gallons, f inquired what would be the position if the higher weir were erected at a total cost of £200,000, and he stated that in that event it would be possible to supply water at the service reservoir, at Lyndhurst, at a cost of about 8d. per thousand gallons. I wish honorable members to understand that this does not include the cost of reticulation and distributing, but even allowing for the cost of laying mains, we should be able to supply water at less than the rate charged in Sydney. I believe that in Perth a charge of 2s. per thousand gallons is made.

Sir John Forrest:

– It used to be is. per thousand gallons, but it is now 2 s. That is too high.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– At Coolgardie a charge of something like 5s. per thousand gallons is made.

Sir John Forrest:

– Five shillings or six shillings per thousand gallons.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– From the figures I have quoted it will be seen that a water supply, sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the Capital for many years to come, could be secured at a very small cost. Mr. Wade goes on to show in his report that -

The full storage, which contains 12,000,000,000 cubic feet, or 75,000,000,000 gallons, is capable of providing 135,000,000 gallons per day through the’ years 1901 and 1902 - the driest succession on record on the Lachlan River.

Mr. Wade based his estimates on the records for the two driest years - 1901 and 1902 ; and according to his statement, not only is it possible to obtain a gravitation scheme which would supply a population of 100,000, but, if necessary, 9,000,000 gallons per day can be obtained from the Wyangala weir, twenty-two miles from Lyndhurst, with a surplus of 126,000.000 gallons a day, which could, if required, be used for irrigation. The honorable members for Hume and Eden-Monaro, and I am afraid the right honorable member for Swan, too, have misled the public in regard to the water supply available at Lyndhurst.

Sir William Lyne:

– Is the reservoir to which the honorable member refers . one which has been made on the top of a hill ?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– It is near Mount McDonald. From there one can see the gorge where it is proposed to construct the weir. I believe it is one of the finest sites in Australia for the purpose.

Sir William Lyne:

– There was no water in the river when I was there. All that could be seen was a sandy bed, and the only way to obtain water was by sinking in the sand.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I can only give honorable members the information which I have received from Mr. Wade, who based his calculation, as I have already said, on the records for the two driest years which have been known. The weir, the pumping plant, and everything connected with the work, would be paid for in twentyeight years. ‘Does the honorable member know more than the engineer ?

Mr Wilson:

– He is a great engineer himself.

Mr Webster:

Mr. Wade has made some mistakes.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The honorable member says that because the information which I have given to the Committee does not suit him. Of course we have to rely upon engineers in these matters. It would be impossible for any one of us to make such calculations for himself.

Sir William Lyne:

– The honorable member must acknowledge that they were not able to supply the town of Bathurst from the river he refers to without going to additional expenditure in tunnelling under the sand.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– To what rive] does the honorable member think I referred ?

Sir William Lyne:

– To the Macquarie.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I have been speaking of the Lachlan.

Sir William Lyne:

– The Lachlan is ten times worse than the Macquarie.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Those statements show the honorable member’s manner of arguing. It is impossible to pin him to anything.

Sir William Lyne:

– Both rivers flow from the same water-shed. If the honorable member would give us fact instead of fiction it would be better.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I have given the Committee information which I have received from’ the Chief Engineer for Water Conservation in New South Wales.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– Has not the honorable member made a mistake, and read out some figures relating to the Mississippi ?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– It is the honorable members for Hume and EdenMonaro who have made a mistake. I have felt it my duty to place before the Committee the reasons why I think the Lyndhurst site should be chosen. It must be remembered that Lyndhurst is only on the fringe of my electorate, and I ran some risk in choosing to support it rather than the Bathurst site, because in the one place there are only 300 or 400 electors, while at Bathurst there are about 5,500 electors.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– The honorable member had a pretty close run last time.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I had a majority of 1,000. I shall always be satisfied with a majority like that.

Sir William Lyne:

– If a site in the western, district is chosen, it should be some place near Orange.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The honorable member last night voted for a motion which enables Orange to be chosen. Orange is within the Lyndhurst’ territory.

I do not want honorable members to vote for a site which they cannot justify. I reel that I can justify the site which 1 hate advocated on the grounds of climate, accessibility, productiveness, and economy, as well as on account of its magnificent water supply, which is sufficient, if necessary, io supply the wants of a million people.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– The honorable member should not forget the irrigation scheme.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– We ca-. in for irrigation if it is desired. The State Government of New South Wales favour this site, and a number of honorable members of the State Parliament have brought under the notice of the Government the immense volume of water that can be conserved in the district.

Mr Kelly:

– Do trees grow there vi:hout irrigation?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– There are any quantity of trees in the neighbourhood, and there is no necessity to go in for fertilizers to stimulate their growth. The district con-1 tains one of the finest stretches of country in Australia. It does not consist of good patches here and there along the banks of rivers, but you can travel for hundreds of miles over excellent land. The honorable member for Flinders has a good knowledge of land, and he knows what it is. I ask him whether he has seen as good a place for a long time ?

Mr Spence:

– That does not apply to Lyndhurst itself.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Some of the farmers there obtain 40 bushels of wheat to the’ acre, and that is a very good sign, at all events. I do not know whether the honorable member for Eden-Monaro knows anything of land, but I claim to know something about it. I have been connected with farming nearly all my lfe, and I ought to know something about the value of land when I see.it. I have no hesitation in saying that the stretch of country from Lyndhurst to Canowindra and Cowra up to Queensland is equal to any country that we have in any part of “Australia.

Sir William Lyne:

– It is not so good as the country in my electorate.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The honorable member for Hume must admit that there is good land in the Lyndhurst district. He must admit that there is good country at Wellington, Dubbo, and right across to Queensland. There is the same quality of country right through.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– Oh, no.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Has the honorable member ever been through the country in the neighbourhood of Canowindra and Cowra ? I have been over it, and know it well. I do not come to this House and assure honorable members that country is good unless I have seen it.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– I ‘have seen it.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The honorable member has seen from the train only some patches of it.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– I have never seen any running water there, at all events.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I am sorry to have taken up so much of the time of the Committee, but, as representing the district in’ which this site is situated, I felt that it was my duty to place before honorable members a few facts which I thought would be of interest to them.

Sir William Lyne:

– What sort of building stone is there?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– It is a- good building stone. Mr. J. B. Suttor points out that there is splendid material for making bricks. There is also some of the finest marble in Australia there. There is excellent free-stone close to the site, and some of our best coal-fields are in the vicinity.

Sir William Lyne:

– Coal-fields do not supply building material.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– there is an abundance of timber, and, in fact, the district contains all the elements that are necessary to build up a capital. The cost of building material at Lyndhurst would be ri5, as compared with 1*26 at Bombala and Dalgety. The cost is even lower than at Tumut. But the honorable member for Hume has abandoned Tumut. That site is not now under consideration. First of all he supported Albury.

Sir William Lyne:

– The honorable member abandoned Orange and Bathurst. He treated Orange very unfairly.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I have not to answer to the honorable member, but to the people whom I represent in Parliament. They indorsed my action by returning me as their representative. Therefore, th”e statement that I have been unfair to Bathurst is not indorsed by the Bathurst people. But Bathurst knows my honorable friend, as we all know him in New South Wales. We know that he is not loyal to New South Wales. I remember when the honorable member - and I gave him credit for it - opposed the adoption of the Commonwealth Bill.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– He wanted Sydney to be the Federal Capital.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– He represented how unfair the Bill would be to New South Wales, but we now find him advocating a site seventy miles nearer to Melbourne than to Sydney.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– How does tHe honorable member know which site the honorable member for Hume advocates now ?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I admit that it is always very difficult to tell what is in his mind. He first advocated Albury, then Tumut, and now he tells us that we ought to go to the Murray.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– He will vote for Dalgety at the finish.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Of course, he has a perfect right to exercise his own opinion.

Sir William Lyne:

– The honorable member must give me credit for representing my constituents as well as he represents his.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– But my honorable friend was chosen as a representative of New South Wales, and he told the people of that State that he would be no party to unfair tactics. I say that he is a party to unfair tactics now.

Sir William Lyne:

– I was then representing New South Wales absolutely ; now I am representing Australia.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Then the . honorable .member is not representing Tooma now ?

Mr Austin Chapman:

– There is nothing provincial about him !

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– It looks like it ! The framers of the Constitution were very careful to provide that New South Wales was to give 64,000 acres of land to’ the Commonwealth, if there were Crown lands in the locality chosen. Although no provision was made in the Constitution for the construction of the trans-continental railway, the right honorable member for Swan threatened to burst up the Federation unless the work was carried out. I do not know how he intends to vote upon this occasion, but I hope he will be true to the Constitution, and that he will assist those who are now endeavouring to secure the fulfilment of a compact made under it. New South Wales joined the Federation only because of the concession made to it with regard to the Capital.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– We did not want any concession ; we gained a good deal by Federation.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The honorable member may speak for himself; the people of New South Wales take an entirely different view. They would not accept the Constitution Bill in the first instance. They insisted upon a concession, and the representatives of the other States, in their turn stipulated that if the Federal Capital were situated in New South Wales, that State should, if necessary, grant 64,000 acres of Crown lands for the purposes of a site.

Sir William Lyne:

– The people of New South Wales did not insist upon the 100- miles limit from Sydney.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– That provision was inserted in the Bill, and they approved of it.

Mr Thomas:

– But who put it in?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The provision was the result of a compromise arrived at by the Premiers of the States. The people of New South Wales distinctly understood that a site should be selected for the Federal Capital as near as possible to the 100-miles limit. Why should they be called upon to make a grant of 64,000 acres for the purposes of a Capital Site at a place seventy miles nearer to Melbourne than to Sydney? It would be most unfair to insist upon any such thing.

Sir William Lyne:

– Tumut would be one of the fairest sites, because it is just half-way between Melbourne and Sydney.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– Will the honorable member stick to Tumut?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The honorable member might as well ask the honorable member for Eden-Bombala, if he would stick to Bombala. I have never had any hesitation in expressing my preference for Lyndhurst over the other sites in the western district. I did not consult my constituents, but I did what I thought was right. I considered it to be my duty to place before honorable ‘members a few facts, particularly with regard to water supply, which I think are worthy of their consideration. I shall.be only too glad to place the reports which I have received from Mr. Wade in the possession of honorable members. The papers, with one exception, are in the handwriting of that gentleman. I trust honorable members will give every consideration to Lyndhurst which, if regarded without prejudice, and with due consideration for climate, accessibility, abundance of building material, productiveness, and “ water supply resources, must commend itself as the site which, in fairness to the people of New South

Wales and of the Commonwealth, should be selected.

Sir JOHN FORREST:
Swan

– I am sure we have all listened with attention to the speech of the honorable member for Macquarie. He is entitled to receive from us every consideration, because he represents a district which embraces one of the most favoured sites, and we all know that he has taken a great interest in this matter for a long time. He has submitted his case in a manner that is calculated to secure our support for the site which he advocates, and, even though we may not be able to agree with him, we must admit that his views are entitled to every respect. The task that is before us is not an easy one. However experienced an honorable member may be he must have found it difficult to make up his mind as to which is the best site for the Federal Capital of Australia. The difficulties of selection are increased owing to the fact that most honorable members have only- a limited personal knowledge of the districts in which the proposed sites are situated. All that we have been able to do is to make hurried visits of inspection and to, as far as possible, judge for ourselves with the assistance of the facts presented to us in the various reports furnished by experts. It has not been easy to arrive at a decision.

Mr Carpenter:

– Because there are so many good sites?

Sir JOHN FORREST:

– No, because there are very few indeed which come up to one’s ideas as to what is required. Th’.- sites of all the other Australian cities have been chosen owing to their proximity to some port, or are at places first settled in the early days on account of proximity to water. Accident has had a good deal to do with the location of many of our towns, and it has never before happened in Australia that Parliament has been called upon to exercise its judgment as to the best site for a city within such a large area as that of New South Wales. If the honorable member for Macquarie, or any other honorable member in whose district an eligible site is to be found, exhibits what may appear to others to be a somewhat partisan spirit, we have no good reason to complain. Any of us who had a favoured site within his constituency would not think the worse of it because it was so located. Therefore, we may regard it’ as perfectly natural when we find the three honorable members, whose districts contain the proposed sites to which most attention has been devoted, acting as strong advocates, not to say partisans. Although a certain amount of bias may be excusable in the case of those honorable members, there is no reason why honorable members whose districts do not contain sites should show any warmth in discussing this question. If ever there was an occasion upon which we could discuss a matter without using strong expressions, and without becoming excited, surely it is the present one, and however much we may differ, it is our duty to respect one another’s opinions. I have listened attentively to the speeches delivered this evening, and I must confess that I liked least that of the honorable and learned member for Wannon. Had he been in Western Australia when I was Premier of that State, I should have branded him as a “ croaker.” He appears to be an extreme pessimist, and one who has no faith in the future of this country. He .seems to think that the construction of ‘ a railway thirty miles in length will ruin the Commonwealth. I do not entertain the slightest suspicion of that sort, and I do not suppose that I am less economically inclined in matters of public administration than he is. I have never hesitated to construct railways throughout the country wherever they were required, because I hold that, unless we provide people with the means of communication, we cannot settle them upon the land. If the necessity to build a few miles of railway which will open, up country and enable it to be profitably occupied, is to debar us from exercising our unfettered judgment upon this important matter, if we are to view it only from the stand-point of things as they exist at present, and not from the stand-point of the future, we had better, not embark upon the establishment of a Federal Capital at all. During the past week or two our attention has been pointedly directed to one site, which had not previously engaged our attention. I refer to what is known as the Upper Murray site. From what I have heard, it seems to me that that sit-; possesses a good many excellent qualifications. It is, perhaps, to be regretted (hat it was not brought forward much earlier. But though at first I was favorably impressed with that site, I do not intend to vote for it, as my first choice. For the same reason that, a few nights ago,. I argued that the words “ not less than 100 square miles “ in the Constitution did not mean 1,000 square miles, I contend that the provision does not mean that we should select a site as far removed from Sydney as possible, if as good a site can be found nearer. It seems to me that we should choose the best site that is available, as near to the 100 miles limit as possible. If there is no good site nearer Sydney than the Upper Murray River site at Welaregang, then that “site should, of course, be chosen, but not, I think, otherwise. The honorable member for Macquarie advocates the choice of a site which is 191 miles distant by rail from Sydney. I intend, as moderately as I can, to urge the claims of a site which is 296 miles distant from Sydney. Before passing away from this point, however, I wish to say that, in my judgment, the advocates of the Lyndhurst site have acted more wisely than have the supporters of sites in the southern and south-eastern districts. The supporters of the western district have unanimously resolved to vote for the Lyndhurst site. I think that we might fairly have expected that those who have taken such an active part in supporting the selection of the Eden-Monaro and the Tumut districts should also have made up their minds as to the particular site within those areas which they intended to advocate. At the present moment we do not know what site- the electors in those dis. tricts desire to have chosen, nor are we aware what site the honorable member for Eden-Monaro and the honorable member for Hume believe is the best in their respective districts. I regret that exceedingly. I think that we should have been assisted to a proper conclusion by those who possess an intimate knowledge of all the conditions that obtain at the various sites. Had that assistance been forthcoming, there might have been no occasion for the debate which took place yesterday and the day previous in regard to the method of selection which should be followed.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– That debate was brought about by a clever intrigue on the part of the right honorable member for East Sydney.

Sir JOHN FORREST:

– I do not know anything about that.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I may say that the right honorable member for East Sydney had nothing whatever to do with that arrangement.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– It would be just as well for the honorable member for Macquarie to keep out of the discussion. Honorable members will hear something from me on that matter at the proper time.

Sir JOHN FORREST:

– I find that if we were to place the Federal city at Welaregang, in the Upper Murray Valley, it would bc distant from Sydney about 380 miles via Tumut, and about 430 miles via Germanton to Welaregang. There are only two ways by which the place can be reached, making use of the railway - by rail to Tumut, 322 miles, and thence by coach to Welaregang, 58 miles, or by rail to Germanton, 372 miles, and thence by coach for about fifty-eight miles to the same site.

Mr Batchelor:

– The distance given to me officially is 448 miles via Germanton; it is seventy miles from Germanton to Tooma.

Sir JOHN FORREST:

– I do not think the distance from Germanton is as great as seventy miles. I believe my figures are correct. This proposal would mean that the Federal city, under existing conditions,’ would be about 150 miles nearer to Melbourne than to Sydney. I cannot believe that the selection of a site in that locality, in view of the distances I have referred to, and of the fact that it would be so much nearer to Melbourne than to Sydney, would be carrying out the spirit and intention of the Constitution, which provides that the Federal Capital shall be in New South Wales, and not less than 100 miles from Sydney, unless .there was no other site as good nearer.

Mr Batchelor:

– It is hardly fair to base the estimate of distances on existing conditions. My information is that it might be about equi-distant from Sydney and Melbourne.

Sir JOHN FORREST:

– Not unless a railway were made from Yass across to Tumut. I believe that the distance could be considerably shortened by constructing a railway from Yass to Tumut, but I am informed it would be through very rough country.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– It -would be impossible.

Sir JOHN FORREST:

– It would be very difficult, so I am informed, but the distance could be shortened in that way. I am taking the distance via the present line to Tumut, and I say the suggested site would be about 150 miles nearer Melbourne than Sydney. That could be of no advantage to New South Wales, and the selection of that site for the Federal Capital would not, in my opinion, unless there were great advantages in the site, be in accordance with the spirit of - the Constitution. I have given much consideration to this matter, and

I have made up my mind as to the site for which I shall vote, and which I shall recommend honorable members to vote for, and that site is at Dalgety, on the Snowy River. I wish to place before honorable members the qualifications of the site at Dalgety. It must not be forgotten that in expressing a preference for a particular site it is, after all, only a matter of comparison. It. does not mean that the site for which the preference is expressed surpasses every other site that could ‘be suggested in Australia, but that it is in one’s opinion the best of those which have been brought under his notice, and which he has examined. From that point of view I have no hesitation in saying that I have formed) an opinion - on grounds which I shall state to the Committee - that the Dalgety site is the best. I have had an opportunity to visit all the sites .recommended, with the exception of the one at Welaregang. I should very much like to have inspected that site. I am sure I should like it, because it has one great advantage in possessing a good running river ; but for the reasons I have given, I believe that its selection would hardly be within the spirit of the Constitution, and unless it had some very great advantages over Dalgety, I should not feel justified in voting for it. I have had the advantage of visiting the sites in the Eden-Monaro district, those in the Tumut district, with the exception of Welaregang, and also the Lyndhurst site. I have formed the opinion that the site at Dalgety is the best of them all, and I shall give honorable members some description of that site. Dalgety is situate on the Snowy River ; it is 296 miles from Sydney, and when the railway is made, which I shall refer to directly, from Cooma to Dalgety thirty-one miles, and from Dalgety to Bairnsdale, 183 miles, it will be 353 miles from Melbourne via Bairnsdale. The sita is about 2,500 feet above the sea, and thus a good climate in summer is assured, though no doubt it would be cold in winter. I estimate that with good railway facilities we should be able to travel by train from Dalgety to Melbourne, and from Dalgety to Sydney in eight or nine hours. It will, therefore, be seen that the site will be conveniently situated when the railway is completed from Bairnsdale to Cooma through Dalgety.

Mr Batchelor:

– The right honorable member should criticise this site as he has criticised others - under existing conditions.

Sir JOHN FORREST:

– I shall do that directly. I may say, in passing, that while I admit that it would be wrong for me to ignore existing conditions, I do not base my opinion upon them. I am not looking to to-day or to-morrow, but to the future - of Australia, and if I take a more sanguine view of the future than do some honorable members, that only shows that we may have differences of opinion. One of the most important and essential features for any site is a good water supply, and in that connexion I may say that Dalgety is situated on the Snowy River, which is a magnificent perennial stream of great volume. It takes its rise in the Snowy Mountains, near Mount Kosciusko. It is one of the finest rivers in Australia. It has its tributaries, the Mowembah, the Crackenback, and the Eucumbene, all perennial streams of large volume. The Eucumbene takes its rise near Kiandra, and was a beautiful stream, even when I was there in the summer months, after the snows had almost melted. The Snowy River is said to have its greatest volume in the earlier summer months, owing to the melting of snow. It is a splendid pure water supply, and is easily obtainable. The climate is cool in the summer and cold in the winter. Se far as I could judge and ascertain it is a splendid climate. The average rainfall is about 26 inches. Under existing conditions Dalgety has to be approached from Cooma by a good macadamised road. From Sydney to Cooma the distance by rail is 263 miles, and from Cooma to Dalgety the distance by road is 31 miles. To go fi om Melbourne to Dalgety at the present time one has to travel by railway, via Goulburn, to Cooma, a distance of 574 miles, and thence by road to Dalgety, a distance of 31 miles. From Melbourne to Dalgety by existing means the distance is. therefore 605 miles, but, of course, in the future, when the railway has been made through Cooma to Bairnsdale, the distance will be reduced to 353 miles.

Mr Ewing:

– What is the distance from Svdney to Melbourne?

Sir JOHN FORREST:

– At the present time the distance from Melbourne to Sydney is 583 miles, and 605 miles to Dalgety. The construction of a railway from Bairnsdale to Cooma - a distance of 214 miles - would be a large work. I have had some experience in estimating the cost of railways, and I should say that the line would cost £T,000,000. It would, however, open up a large area of country, which is now almost unoccupied. A large part of the country is apparently auriferous, though owing to the density of the timber it is not easily prospected. There is ‘magnificent timber all through the country. I have seen there some of the finest timber that I have seen in Eastern Australia. If this country lying between Bairnsdale and Cooma is to be utilized, railway communication must be provided. In my opinion a railway is a necessary work quite outside the establishment of the Federal Capital. I wish to say a few words in regard to what the honorable and learned member for Wannon said about this proposed railway from Bairnsdale through Orbost to Cooma. Orbost, which is near the mouth of the Snowy River, is, I suppose, one of the most fertile spots in Australia. It contains a very large area of alluvial land, and is a very flourishing place, though it has very ‘ bad means of communication. The honorable and learned member said that a railway from Bairnsdale through Orbost, to join on to Cooma, would not be built for hundreds of years. If ever there was a remark which might have been left unsaid by a representative of this State, it was that one made, I expect, with little knowledge, and, certainly, without justification. If the people of Victoria think that that large area is so useless, that a railway will never be built through it, would it not be a very fair thing for them to hand it over to the Commonwealth, on condition that it built a railway through it? Nothing can be done in that country unless means of communication are provided. It will require a lot of labour to clear the land, which is thickly wooded, and, from my cursory examination, I believe that it is worth clearing. But if it is as bad as the honorable and learned member for Wannon has said, the State of Victoria might well say to the Commonwealth, “You can take the land and do what you can with it.” If such a proposition were made - and I do not desire that it should be made - it would certainly meet with my support, because I believe that it would be a good thing, not only for the people who would go there and make a living, but for Australia, that such a large area of land, with magnificent climate, fine rainfall, and splendid timber, should be utilized. People who will not do anything with property do not deserve to have it. I am induced to make these remarks by the pessimistic speech of the honorable and learned member for Wannon, to which I could hardly listen quietly. If such views - which imply that the holder of them has no faith in the future of this country - had prevailed in- Victoria in the early days, or in Western Australia in later days, what position would either State, or Australia, as a whole, have been in to-day? The next question I wish to refer to is that of water pow.er, which is very important. The great volume of the Snowy River, with its numerous cataracts, would make the generating of power by electricity an easy matter. Electricity’ thus produced would be available not only for electric lighting, but also for operating tram services, pumping water, and supplying all other engineering requirements. No other site that I have seen possesses anything like the qualifications that Dalgety, on the Snowy River, possesses for those purposes. I believe that sufficient electricity could be generated there to drive a railway from Cooma to Bairnsdale, and do all the electric lighting and engineering work which would be required there for all time. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro and I have seen what can be done with a small stream diverted from the river above the Niagara Falls in the United States in the way of generating electricity, lighting towns, and driving the local trams, including the trams through the city of Buffalo. What could not be done with the immense volume of water flowing in (the Snowy River all the year round?

Mr Batchelor:

– They have already taken from the Niagara more than three or four times as much power as could be got from the Snowy River.

Sir JOHN FORREST:

– I do not think so. It must have been done since I was there two years ago.

Mr Batchelor:

– It is being done very rapidly now.

Sir JOHN FORREST:

– It will take a long time to make any effect on those gigantic falls - it cannot be in the near future. One of the most attractive features of Dalgety is the Snowy River, which runs through the proposed site, and is continually flowing. If a weir, only 50 feet high, were erected - and it really ought to be 100 feet ‘high - a continuous lake, several miles in length, would result. That lake would greatly beautify the city, and would be used for boating and recreation. The formation of the country on the site is granitic, and the soil is fairly good and well grassed. Between Dalgety and Bombala and Cooma the country is basaltic, and very rich. The area of good land is extensive, and seems suitable for agriculture and for closer settlement. The country is open and clear, except on the higher elevations overlooking the site, which are wooded. There is good trout fishing in the river for those who like that form of sport, and trees, suited to the climate, will grow well wherever they are planted. On the hill tops there is an abundance of timber, while the -pinus insignis and the poplar are to be seen growing and thriving well all over the district.

Mr Batchelor:

– What sort of fruits grow there?

Sir JOHN FORREST:

– I never saw better apples than those which I saw in a ten-acre orchard about fifteen miles from Dalgety, at Matong station, although I am sorry to say that the codlin moth has found its way among them. I do not know that I need say more in regard to this site, although, perhaps, it should be pointed out that the snowy mountain of Kosciusko is situated about forty miles from Dalgety, and that, in ihe event of the selection of this site for the Federal Capital, the Snowy Mountains and Mount Kosciusko, which has an altitude of 7,328 feet above the sea - the highest point on the Australian Continent - will be of everlasting interest and pleasure to the residents, as well as to visitors and tourists. I also examined Bombala, Delegate< and Coolringdon, in the Southern Monaro district, as well as all the sites in the Tumut district.

Mr King O’malley:

– Did not the right honorable member care for Bombala ?

Sir JOHN FORREST:

– Yes; but I do not think that it is as suitable as is Dalgety. I visited Toomorrama, Wyangle, Tumut, Gadara, and Batlow, but it seemed to me that Dalgety fulfilled to a greater extent than did any other site in the south-eastern or the southern districts the requirements of a Federal Capital. It surpasses every site that I inspected in the southern and southeastern districts, so far as water supply, power for generating electricity, water frontage, and natural features are concerned. I am aware that a large number of honorable members, especially those representing New South Wales, consider that Lyndhurst is more suitable as a site for the Federal Capital than Dalgety. I should therefore like to say a few words in regard to that site, and to compare it with Dalgety. There are very few places, except in the droughty interior, where it is not possible by expenditure on water conservation works to obtain a good supply, either by pumping, or else by gravitation. It seems to me that if we could obtain a good supply by gravitation it would be preferable, for many reasons, to any conservation scheme, and certainly to any scheme of pumping. Notwithstanding the many illustrations of splendid sheets of water in and about the Lyndhurst site which have appeared in pamphlets distributed amongst honorable members, I found when I visited Lyndhurst in April last that not one of the many creeks there were running. The Belubula River was dry at Carcoar, the Mandurama, the Grubbenbong, and the Coombing Creeks were also all dry. I mention this fact because I am anxious that honorable members should clearly understand that if the Capital were established at Lyndhurst it would be necessary for us to secure a water supply by conservation, and that we should not be able to obtain it from a perennial stream. Honorable members will recognise that a conserved area of water is not as good as is a perennial stream of living water. The water supplied by the great Coolgardie scheme with which I have been associated, is secured by conservation. If it were living running water it would certainly be better ; but, as is the case with Lyndhurst, a running perennial stream was not available. I desire it to be thoroughly understood that a supply of running water is not available at Lyndhurst.

Mr Brown:

– Does not the right honorable member think that the Lachlan is a perennial stream?

Sir JOHN FORREST:

– It does . not run all the year round.

Mr Brown:

– It does at that point.

Sir JOHN FORREST:

– We have the statement of the honorable member for Hume that when he visited Mount McDonald, which is the site of the proposed weir on the Lachlan River, the sandy bed was dry, and that he had to dig into the sand to procure water.

Mr King O’malley:

– Did the honorable member investigate the productiveness of the soil at Dalgety?

Sir JOHN FORREST:

– I did, and I consider it to be very good; but the soil in the Lyndhurst district is, if anything, better. The principal water-course in the Lyndhurst district - the Belubula River - is not perennial, and runs through inhabited country, including the towns of Blayney and Carcoar. It is therefore under- existing conditions out of the question for a pure water supply.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– It is not included in the scheme.

Sir JOHN FORREST:

– I am aware that that is so. In my -report on the Lyndhurst site, which was presented to Parliament in May, 1904, I pointed out that -

The proposals to obtain from conservation by placing dams across four separate courses, viz., Coombing Creek, Flyer’s Creek, Cadiangullong Creek, and Brown’s Creek, in order to obtain sufficient water for a population of 89,000, and, when the population increases beyond that number, to pump water twenty-two miles from a large storage reservoir in the Lachlan River does not seem to mark out this site, as far as water supply is concerned, as one specially favoured by nature for the Seat of Government of Australia.

This is the proposal for the water supply for Lyndhurst, and honorable members will judge of it in comparison with Dalgety. Speaking of the climate, I say in my report that-

The weather is cool in summer, and cold in winter, and is, as far as I can judge and ascertain, an excellent climate. Altitude about 2,300 feet above the sea. The average rainfall is about 30 inches.

In regard to the question of accessibility, to reach Lyndhurst from Sydney one travels by the main Western line as far as Bathurst, and, branching off at Blayney Junction, proceeds to Cowra and Harden, where he can take the Great Southern Railway direct to Melbourne. In my report I say - ‘

The existing railway runs through the proposed site. It is 191 miles by rail from Sydney and 443 miles by rail from Melbourne. It will, therefore, take more than double the time to reach Melbourne that it will to reach Sydney.

The great cities of Sydney and Melbourne contain one-fourth of the population of Australia, and will, no doubt, always have a considerable influence in the political life of the Commonwealth. The Constitution provides that the Seat of Government shall be in New South Wales, but not nearer than 100 miles of Sydney, and in selecting a site, all other things being equal, a locality in New South Wales fairly equidistant between Sydney and Melbourne, if available, is to be desired…… As there is no perennial stream near Lyndhurst, there is no reasonable possibility of generating electricity to any extent by water power.

We know what severe droughts occasionally occur in Australia, and how much the plain country on the Lower Lachlan will, in the future, depend for its development upon irrigation, and we must, therefore, recognise that it will be impossible to provide by conservation a sufficiently large permanent water supply for the generation of electricity upon any considerable scale. I do not know what will be said of us in future if, in choosing a site, we do not select a place which enjoys the convenience, and has the beauty which a water frontage will give. Writing on that subject, I said in my report of Lyndhurst -

The only water frontage possible would be by conservation, but, as the creeks cease running in summer, it is doubtful whether an artificial lake would either add to the healthiness of a city or to its beauty, and it would probably be impossible to keep it always full. It would probably become polluted in slimmer, and be a source of danger as well as unsightly. I have not had an opportunity of looking closely into this artificial lake question, but from what I saw and from inquiries 1 made’ from Mr. Pridham, it does nol commend itself to me as likely to be of great value.

The site is well situated. Again I wrote -

The approach from the north-eastward is good, the commanding height of Mount Macquarie standing out boldly. On the elevated portion of the site, both Mount Macquarie and the Canobolas are clearly visible. The view to the southward is generally restricted. The site is picturesque, and the view looking north eastward up the valley of the Belubula is excellent. On the east and south the view is restricted.

The soil is good and is productive ; all kinds of trees suitable to the climate grow well.

There are no perennial streams in the district. Mount Macquarie and the Canobolas appear to be the highest peaks visible, being 4,000 and 4,500 feet respectively above the sea.

I have already said that I prefer Dalgety to the sites in the Tumut district; I also piefer Dalgety to the Lyndhurst site. I have compared the qualifications of the two places, with the following results: -

Lyndhurst….. is absolutely and altogether inferior to Dalgety in the following : -

Abundant water supply_ from a perennial source.

Great water power for electric lighting and power, and other applications of electricity.

Water frontage for recreation, sport, and beauty, good approach, and commanding view.

Lyndhurst is, in my opinion, distinctly inferior to Dalgety in -

Future accessibility by railway from Syd-‘ ney and Melbourne.

That is, it is more than double the distance from’ Melbourne that it is Sydney.

Commanding sites for public buildings, and suitable ground for laying out, constructing, and draining a Federal City.

Surrounding and adjacent scenery, with great natural features and within convenient distance. (The Snowy River and the Snowy Mountains, with Mount Kosciusko, 7,238 feet above the sea level - the highest point on the Australian continent - give a pre-eminence to Dalgety.)

Therefore, in my judgment, Lyndhurst in no way compares with Dalgety as a suitable site, and I cannot understand how there can be two opinions on the subject amongst those who have seen both places. Although Dalgety is situated within 100 miles of Twofold Bay, I was not swayed by the consideration, because I do not- think that we require a territory or port of our own. That is altogether foreign to Federation, and to the requirements of the Constitution. For my own part, I think that, wherever the Federal Capital is situated, we can afford to be satisfied to be connected with the various centres of Australia by rail. I am opposed to our having a port of our own, or any extensive territory, which might lead people to believe that we desired to establish a separate State. We should not dissociate ourselves from the rest of Australia. We should do nothing to lead the public to think we desire to do so. I have no sympathy with that idea. I have mentioned in my report that the site which I recommend is 100 miles from Twofold Bay ; but I do not claim any advantage for it on that account. The fact simply remains that there is what is represented to be an excellent harbor there. In considering the suitability of each site, when I was visiting the places, I continually asked myself and those who accompanied me this question - “ Does this place possess such special qualifications that it is entitled to be considered the best place for a Capital city that I have examined in New South Wales outside the radius of 100 miles from Sydney?” I found it a very difficult question to answer. When I asked the advocates of sites to give me an answer directly as to what were the special qualifications of the sites which they recommended, they found it difficult to do so. But the more I asked myself the question, the more I was convinced that, of all the localities examined by me in the districts of Southern Monaro, Tumut, and Lyndhurst, the site which fulfilled the requirements to a much fuller extent than any other, was Dalgety. I have now finished what I have to say of a descriptive character.- The question should, I think, be settled altogether apart from party considerations. It has nothing whatever to do with parties. We are called upon to exercise our own individual judgment, and we must decline to be guided by the wishes of this honorable member or that. If Ave are going to vote upon this subject with the desire to please any section, or any individual member, in my opinion we had better not vote at all. I cannot allow myself to be influenced in the slightest degree by the wishes of any one. It was a free and open question with the late Government, and I have no doubt that it is a free and open question with the present Government. We ought to do all we can to secure an expression of the individual judgment of honorable members as to which site they consider to be absolutely the best. I should like to refer to some of the observations made last evening by the right honorable member for East Sydney in regard to his opinion of the qualifications for the Federal city. He said that we do not want a place of beauty which would be “ a joy for ever,” but that we had to look to the commercial interests of this continent. He urged that we ought to select a site, not in the prettiest place, nor in any place that possessed great natural advantages, but in a place where the material interests of the people of Australia would best be conserved. But is there any necessity whatever for us to think of erecting a great commercial centre ?

Mr KING O’MALLEY:
DARWIN, TASMANIA · ALP

– Washington is not a great commercial centre.

Sir JOHN FORREST:

– I was about to observe that Washington is not a great commercial centre. Is there any necessity for us to establish an important business centre ? I believe that in the city of Washington manufactures are positively forbidden.

Mr King O’Malley:

– That is quite correct.

Sir JOHN FORREST:

– Washington is not a business city in any sense. The reason for the exclusion of manufactures from the capital of the United States is that the prestige which the Federal Government possesses might otherwise be used to the disadvantage or injury of the established commercial centres of the country. New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Pittsburg, Chicago, New Orleans, St. Louis, and dozens of other great cities in the United’ States are important commercial and manufacturing centres. Nc such centre was required to be established at the Capital. Can any one prove to me that there is any necessity for erecting upon the Snowy River, or at Lyndhurst, or at Welaregang a new and great Commercial centre for Australia ? It is not necessary in any sense. The Constitution does not require that we should establish a commercial city. There is no doubt that the Capital of Australia will in time become a city of importance, but I do not profess to believe that it will ever grow to great dimensions like Sydney, or Melbourne, or Brisbane, or Adelaide, or even Fremantle, or Perth. I do not see why the progress of a city established in a rural district should be so great that it will ever become important as a commercial centre. We have plenty of cities for that purpose. Therefore, the argument of the right honorable member, for East Sydney, that we should not consider the beauty of the surroundings or the water frontage of the site selected, absolutely falls to the ground. In my opinion, within the requirements of the Constitution, we ought to select the best place that we can find. It should he cool in the summer. The climate of every Capital city in Australia is too hot in the summer-time. There is no Capital city upon the mainland of Australia from which people who do not go away, if they possibly can, during the summer months, in order to escape the heat. If we choose a site with a ccol summer climate we could resort to t’he Federal Capital, and engage in legislative work for four months or ‘so during some of which period, under ordinary circumstances, we should be absent from our own homes in search of a lower temperature. That would be a very convenient arrangement for honorable members. We might, under such circumstances, also expect that the Federal city would become a resort for large numbers of persons throughout the Commonwealth who find it necessary to seek for a milder climate during i’-ic; hottest months of the year. Is it to be supposed that any injury would result to us if the snow-clad heights of Kosciusko weire within sight and easy reach from the Federal Capital ? If we had such an attraction to offer, might we not anticipate t’hat tourists would take advantage of the opportunity to pay a visit to the Federal Capital, and .to enjoy themselves in the midst of its picturesque surroundings? According to the arguments of the right honorable member for East Sydney, we should pay no attention to these considerations; but I contend that we should select a site upon which we could build a city that would be “ a thing of beauty and a joy for ever.” Can any honorable member say that an ever flowing noble river in the immediate vicinity of the Federal city would not greatly add to’ its attractiveness? According to the honorable member for East Sydney, all these matters are of no consequence. He seems to think that all we have to do is to go to the Federal city and work from morning till night until our labours are completed, and he thinks, further, that we should contemplate the erection of factories and workshops, and the creation of a large inland commercial and industrial centre. I do not think that we should succeed if we had any such design in view. It would be far better for us to put up with a little inconvenience for even the next fifty years in a city located upon a suitable site, than select a locality which, although it might meet our immediate requirements, would prove utterly unsuitable in view of future developments. We must remember that our task is to make provision, not for to-day or for to-morrow, but for all time.

Mr. LONSDALE (New England).After the announcement of the right honorable member for Swan, that, in his opinion, the bond entered into between New South Wales and the other States should be strictly adhered to, and that the Federal city should be established as near as possible to the 100-miles limit, 1 was surprised to hear him speak so

Strongly in favour of Dalgety. Whilst the right honorable member may be an authority, I do not attach so much value to his opinion as to that of the late Mr. Oliver, who was appointed by the New South Wales Government to report upon the proposed sites for the Federal Capital. He was looked upon as one of the most capable men who could be so employed, because he was an expert in matters of that kind. Mr. Oliver criticised very severely the report furnished by the Commissioners appointed by the Commonwealth Government to inspect the proposed sites. In his supplementary report, which deals with the conclusions of the Commissioners, he places Lyndhurst in the third position, and Dalgety in the sixth. Even taking the most favorable view of Dalgety, he awards to it only sixty-nine points as against sixty-seven points which are credited to Lyndhurst. In the matter of water supply. Dalgety is credited with twentyseven points and Lyndhurst with twenty. If, however, we refer to the reports which were available to Mr. Oliver, we can see at once that if he had been in possession of the later information furnished to us he would have assessed the water supply resources of Lyndhurst at a very much higher figure. In the matter of climate, Dalgety, which, according to the right honorable member for Swan, is such a wonderfully desirable place to live in, is awarded only nine points as against fifteen points given to Lyndhurst. Therefore, Mr. Oliver, who knew a good deal more about the subject than does the right honorable member for Swan, holds the Lyndhurst climate in higher estimation than that’ of Dalgety. In the matter of accessibility, he places the two sites upon an equal footing, with fifteen points each. In regard to the acquisition of territory and the capabilities of expansion, he regards them as being upon an equality, whereas he considers that in the matter of desirable physical features Dalgety has an advantage over Lyndhurst of one point only, the respective figures being six and five. What respect can honorable members have for the opinions expressed by the right honorable member for Swan, who spent only a day at the Dalgety site, and who formed the conclusion, upon the strength of a mere passing impression, that it was one of the grandest sites that could be chosen for the Capital?

Mr Storrer:

– Was he there only one day ?

Mr LONSDALE:

– He may have been there for two or three days, but that is quite immaterial. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat recently travelled over the country which would be traversed by the railway that would be required if this site were selected, and subsequently in an interview with a newspaper reporter, he is alleged to have stated that it would be. a very long time before any such line were constructed. I am disposed to agree with him. But whether rightly or wrongly, the fact remains that the Federal Convention agreed that the Capital site should be located not less than 100 miles from Sydney.

Mr Glynn:

– Not the Convention.

Mr LONSDALE:

– That provision was inserted in the draft Constitution, which was agreed to at a Premiers’ Conference, and was subsequently indorsed by the people of Australia. Consequently it is a part of the bond. New South Wales was induced to enter the Federation under that arrangement, and no honorable man will desire to depart from it. I claim that, unless the site which we select is within a reasonable distance of the 100-miles limit, we shall commit a breach of the bond.

Mr Frazer:

– No.

Mr LONSDALE:

– Then why did not the framers of the Constitution declare that the Capital should not be located within 150 miles of Sydney? Undoubtedly the idea was that whilst it should be outside the 100-miles limit, it should be as near to that limit as possible.

Mr Frazer:

– That is the Sydney interpretation.

Mr LONSDALE:

– It is the interpretation which any lawyer will place upon that provision. The intention was that New South Wales should be offered the Capital as a bribe to enter the Federation.

Mr Watkins:

– If a site were selected at Armidale, it would not be close to the 100-miles limit.

Mr LONSDALE:

– I have never uttered a word in advocacy of the selection of Armidale, so that the ‘honorable member’s interjection does not fit.

Mr Frazer:

– How many times did the honorable member see the Lyndhurst site before he pledged himself to support it?

Mr LONSDALE:

– I never saw it.

Mr Frazer:

– The honorable member was Sydney “ on the blind.”

Mr LONSDALE:

– I told my constituents that if, after seeing the Lyndhurst site, I was satisfied with it, I should advocate its selection, because it was the nearest to the 100-miles limit imposed by the Constitution. The construction of a line from Werris Creek to Wellington would, bring Lyndhurst very much nearer to Brisbane than it is to-day. Similarly the railway which will eventually be constructed from Broken Hill to Lobar will improve the accessibility of that, site from South Australia. Moreover, the population of the mainland is trending northward.

Mr Watkins:

– That . is why I think that Armidale will become the centre of population.

Mr LONSDALE:

– It may become the centre of population in fifty years’ time. I should support the selection of the Armidale site, if it had any possible chance of being chosen, but, realizing that it has not, I am not so foolish as to waste my time by arguing in its favour. During the past forty years the population of Queensland has increased ten times over, whilst t’hat of Victoria has only doubled. During the worst year experienced by the northern State, her increase of population was larger than was that of Victoria. These facts show conclusively that population is trending northwards. In such circumstances I claim that we shall be acting wisely by selecting Lyndhurst. I chiefly rose to show how utterly absurd is the position taken up by the right honorable member for Swan when it is compared with the criticism of the late Mr. Oliver. That gentleman states -

In the matter of accessibility Albury is about twice as far from Sydney as from Melbourne, and is on the bank of the boundary river between the two States of Victoria and New South Wales. With the commercial consummation of Federation, Albury and the Federal Capital of the Commonwealth, if located there*, must be dominated by the nearer State and its metropolis for all commercial purposes, for trade would then necessarily be governed by the conditions of cheaper and shorter access to the best market. If there had been no such compromise of the rival claims of New South Wales and Victoria as is contained in the 125th section of the Commonwealth Act, the last objection could not, I think, have been fairly raised against the aspirations of Albury ; but, in view of that section, which declares that the Seat of Government shall be in the State of New South Wales, but distant, not less than 100 miles from Sydney, it would hardly be reasonable to comply with the 100 miles limit in a way that might result in a site being accepted which, while technically and topographically within- New South Wales, and so complying with the literal requirements of the section, would be within the commercial sphere of influence of a border State to such a degree as to make the statutory direction as to location, in effect, almost nugatory.

Any one who will study the Constitution must realize the truth of those statements.

Mr Brown:

– That objection also applies to the most recently discovered site.-

Mr LONSDALE:

– It applies to all of the sites. I maintain that the Federal Capital should be located nearer to the capital of New South Wales than to that of Victoria.

Mr Tudor:

– Lyndhurst is much nearer to Sydney than is Albury to Melbourne.

Mr LONSDALE:

– That is quite right. Under the Constitution the Federal Capital should be much nearer to Sydney. That was the understanding which was arrived at. New South Wales has never acted in a . selfish manner where the other States were concerned. She gave them free access to her markets, and in every way has shown herself the most unselfish of the States. In this matter, therefore, I claim that she should be treated in the same spirit. I opposed the Federal Constitution, because of its provincial character. I admit freely that the provision which it contains relating to the establishment of the Federal Capital is a provincial one. Nevertheless, it was inserted in the Bill, and it is now a part of the Federal bond. It was the bribe which was offered to NewSouth Wales to join the union. Ths people of Australia having accepted that measure, should respect its provisions. Had we secured a national measure, I should not have cared where the Federal Capital was established, so long as the conditions laid down in that Statute were obeyed. 1 shall support the Lyndhurst site, upon thu ground that the Federal Capital should bc located as near as possible to the 100- miles limit.

Mr McCOLL:
Echuca

– I do not propose to address myself to the question tonight, but I wish to ask the Minister of Home Affairs if he will take steps to get further information in regard to the Upper Murray site. It would be only fair to that site, and to honorable members who support it, that we should be placed in possession of as much information concerning it as it is possible to obtain. We cannot expect in connexion with it to have the various details and plans which .have been supplied with respect to other sites, but as the debate will not close for some time, and the first vote will be on districts, it is but fair that we should have fuller information respecting the Upper Murray site. In the course of a few days a very great deal of information could be secured by an expert, with regard to climate, water supply, the utilization of the water supply for power purposes, soil, and timber. The expressions concerning it which have fallen from honorable members who have visited the site, and who previously were strongly in favour of other sites, have convinced me that it is one about which we should have full information if we are to arrive at a just decision in regard to this matter. I ask the Minister if he will use his best endeavours by instructing a trustworthy officer to visit the site to supply us with further information as quickly as possible.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Hume

– In reference to the question asked by the honorable member for Echuca, the principal feature in which Mr. Chesterman’ s report on the Upper Murray is deficient is that it does not give the height of the Murray at two places, one known as Murray Gates, and the other known as Swampy Plain, at the junction of the Indi and Murray Rivers. In my opinion it is very necessary that the Minis’ er should procure that information. It could be very easily got, and if the officer who made the report to which I have referred, and who is now at Albury, were to- start at once, honorable members could be supplied with the height of the Murray River at the points I have mentioned by Tuesday or Wednesday next’. Mr. Chesterman has given the heights of the Tooma River at Manners Creek and Tumberumba Creek, and from the information we already have there is evidence of a water supply sufficient for the Federal Capital for 150 years, so far as population is concerned. An officer could secure the information I suggest’ in about four days, and by using the telegraph at Tooma or Jingellic the information could be placed in the hands of the Minister on Tuesday or Wednesday next. The Upper Murray site has not had the same advantage as other places which have been suggested for the Federal Capital, and I ask that all the information concerning it, which can be reasonably obtained, shall be obtained before the discussion on this Bill is completed.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– The request of the honorable member for Hume shows the extraordinary position at which we have arrived in connexion with this question. The site at Tooma has apparently been known to the honorable member for Hume for many years, and yet the honorable member has in this House supported and advocated as the best available sites other places in his electorate.

Sir William Lyne:

– That is absolutely incorrect. I gave good reasons why I did not submit this site, and it is very unfair of the honorable member to make that statement.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– All I can say is that any reasons which the honorable member for Hume had fbr not submitting the Tooma site in the past must exist today.

Sir William Lyne:

– No; they do not.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– Is it any nearer to Sydney or further from the border to-day?

Sir William Lyne:

– It is nearer to Sydney than are other sites which are under consideration.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– Which sites are those?

Sir William Lyne:

– It is nearer to Sydney than is Bombala or Dalgety, if you take a straight line.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– We cannot fly like the crows.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– It is not nearer to Sydney in a direct line than is Dalgety.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– It may or may not be ; but what I wish to point out is that its principal recommendation is the view of Kosciusko and the Snowy Mountains.

Sir William Lyne:

– Not at all - the extent of land, the class of land, its adaptability as a building site, and the water supply.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– That is what the honorable member said about Tumut.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– All those conditions can be secured at other sites. There are a number of other places in New South Wales from which it is possible to get a view of the Snowy Mountains and Mount Kosciusko, and I wish to know whether those places are to be excluded from consideration, or whether we are to have another expedition for the examination of them. Whilst various sites have been subjected to very critical examination by expert officers, and that critical examination has in many cases altered the first estimate of particular sites, we are asked to judge of this further site without any such report or examination. The honorable member for Hume asks for certain particulars, which he wishes to obtain, and not for the particulars which have been placed before us with respect -to other sites. In my opinion, we must either say that this Upper Murray site is not within consideration, or that a report must be obtained upon it such as has been obtained concerning the other sites; and that means further delay.

Mr Batchelor:

– Is the honorable member prepared to say that the Tooma site is not within consideration?

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– From my point of view it is not, and for the very good reason that I do not think its selection would fulfil the conditions of the compact made with New South Wales. It would be going away to the border of that State for the express purpose, apparently, of selecting a site which would practically be the site of another State.

Mr Batchelor:

– Would not the same remark apply to Bombala?

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– Not to the same extent, but to some extent it would. The Upper Murray site is ineligible on the ground I have stated ; but I am not urging that now, as I have no desire to criticise the site as such.

Mr Frazer:

– May I gather from the honorable member’s statement that he would oppose it no matter what the nature of the report upon it might be?

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– What right has the honorable member to question me upon that point now ? I am not at present criticising the sites.

Mr Lonsdale:

– The honorable member for Kalgoorlie was pledged on the platform to one of the sites when he had never seen any of them.

Mr McColl:

– Some honorable members are bound hand and foot.

Sir William Lyne:

– They are shackled.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– Is the honorable member for Echuca referring to me?

Mr. McColl. - No j to those who are interjecting.

Mr Lonsdale:

– We are quite as free asthe honorable member is.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– I am only pointing out the position into which we are getting. Either we have to decide on the information which we now have, or if there is to be a further examination made, it should be as thorough as it was in connexion with other sites. Which course is to be taken, I do not know. The mere getting of information that a supporter of a site wants, and excluding - of course, not intentionally - a lot of information that we have obtained about other sites, is a very , partial way of dealing with the question.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE (Hume).- The honorable member for North Sydney has, I think, been very unfair to me. To-day I looked through the report of Mr. Chester-‘ man, who knows the country very well, and compared it with the plans with which it was accompanied. I found that, as regards the Tooma River, Pound Creek, which is really a large river, Tumberumba Creek, and Manners Creek, he has given the elevations at certain points, and referred to the gauge of water, showing that even from those creeks and rivers an ample supply , could be obtained - in fact, as large as the supply that could be placed on any site that I have seen. But, in addition to that, he says -

I have endeavoured to obtain from the New South Wales Works Department some information concerning the altitude and discharge of the river at the Murray Gates, but apparently none is obtainable. However, a river such as this is, draining a precipitous slope of the Snowy Mountains, must necessarily carry away an enormous body of water, particularly considering the rapid nature of the catchment where it comes off the higher mountains.

In water supply the Upper Murray is particularly well favoured (as its position would naturally lead one to expect) for the main rivers before mentioned receive innumerable smaller perennial streams, many of which are more or less snow fed at their sources. In the suggested Tooma River gravitation scheme, which in all probability would prove the cheapest and most effective, this report has dealt with only one source of supply, for, without special examination, the subject cannot be more fully enlarged on. For a like reason it is impossible to submit definite information concerning water power, although, as before mentioned, I would expect to find great possibilities in the Swampy Plain River.

If honorable members will take notice, at about fifteen or twenty miles above this proposed site, the Upper Murray is divided into two rivers, one called the Swampy Plain River, and the other the Indi River. The reference in the quotation is to the point at which the two rivers join. Mr. Chesterman says he tried to get from the Public Works Department the information as to altitude - he has got most of the information as to flow of water in certain seasons - and that he was unable to obtain it. And then at another point, to which I referred, the Murray Gates, he was unable to ascertain the altitude. All I asked was that, if it was possible, he should be instructed to get that information.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– Did not the honorable member say, in regard to other sites, when we had more information about them than is given there, that there should be a Commission appointed to examine them?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– Most decidedly; and if there were the opportunity there would be ample justification for appointing experts to examine this part of the country. All I asked - I thought it was a very simple request, to which no one. would object - was that certain information should be obtained in regard to two particular parts where an immense volume- of water comes down. The right honorable member for Swan- spoke to me the other day about the altitude of various spots on the Murray.

Sir John Forrest:

– No.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– If the right honorable member did not, other honorable members did. The information would be made much more complete by ascertaining the altitudes at those places where I believe the greatest volume of snow-fed water that it is possible to obtain in Australia can be obtained. It is scarcely fair that every moment a word is said about this site an honorable member who represents Lyndhurst, as the leader of the Opposition did, should make a vicious protest against getting any information.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– I say that we want more information.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– I know that it is possible to obtain this information before this debate is closed, and if it does not bear out what I anticipate, so much the worse will it be for the site. But I cannot understand honorable members objecting to the information being obtained. I have been attacked for not having submitted this site before. I said most distinctly that the originator of Tooma being submitted as a site was the honorable member for Grampians. I did not go into this matter last session as I might have done, for the one reason that if a site well within the boundaries of New South Wales was selected, I should be very pleased ; but we are now considering sites a long way from Sydney.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– They were being considered before, as the honorable member knows.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– Why should any honorable member object to further information being obtained?

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– I say that we want more information.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– It is not a nice thing for honorable members to try to prevent information about a place from being obtained, This place may not have a chance of being selected, but if it. is proposed to go further south than this locality to look for a site-

Sir John Forrest:

– They were all mentioned.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– This site was proposed . by the honorable member for Grampians, when he sought to get the territory extended from Tumut down to the Murray. The only reason why I . did not deal further with the proposal at the time was that the area came down to the Victorian border. I know that the people of Sydney - I do not know about the people of New South Wales - raised a considerable objection to the site being taken so far south. I have always felt that the spirit of section 125 of the Constitution was to have the Capital as fairly as possible in New South Wales. I thought, therefore, on the last occasion,, and I believe that it influenced many honorable members, that a half-way place, in the shape of beautiful Tumut, was a very good compromise. However, that need not be discussed at the present time. I hope that honorable members will not object to the Minister of Home Affairs, in- strutting Mr. Chesterman to go up theriver to these places and obtain this information.

Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).The honorable member for Hume has. given the best of all reasons why there should be no more paltering with regard to the Tooma site. He has told us that originally - when he was in his saner Federal moments - he believed that this site was entirely out of the running.

Sir William Lyne:

– I did not say anything of the kind.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The honorable member said he believed that this site was entirely out of the running, because it did not fulfil the spirit of the bond into which the States had- entered. He has told us the reason why he did not propose this site was that it would not be a fair fulfilment of the bond.

Sir William Lyne:

– I said that it would be objected to by the people of Sydney, and that I did not know whether it would be objected to by the people of New South Wales

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– All through the Federal campaign’ the honorable member more than any other public man in New South Wales argued that the Federal Capital ought to be established in Sydney.

Sir William Lyne:

– And I have given the reason why my opinion has changed.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– This is one of his great objections to the Stale entering into a Federal bond at all.

Sir William Lyne:

– Nonsense.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– For a long time - indeed until now - the honorable member has held a similar view.

Sir William Lyne:

– Why does the honorable member persist in misrepresenting me?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I am representing the honorable member only too faithfully.

Sir William Lyne:

– The honorable member is absolutely misrepresenting me.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Does the honorable member deny that throughout the campaign he spoke in favour of the Capital being in Sydney?

Sir William Lyne:

– I have mentioned the reason.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I have nothing to do with the honorable member’s reasons. I am concerned only with the fact. I know, however,, that the reason was that the honorable member was endeavouring to defeat the objects of those who really made the Federation.

Sir William Lyne:

– I rise to a point of order. I wish to know whether the honorable member is in order in saying that the reason why. I urged at one time that Sydney should be the site of the Capital was’ that I desired to defeat the objects of those who really made the Federation. I have denied the statement, and the honorable member must accept that denial.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr McDonald:
KENNEDY, QUEENSLAND

– If the honorable member denies the statement, I am sure that the honorable member for Parramatta will withdraw it.

Mr McColl:

– What, have we to. do with these personal matters?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– We have a great deal todo with them.

Mr McColl:

– Such proceedings arediscreditable to the Commonwealth.

Mr Storrer:

– They are a disgrace to the Parliament.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I am very sorry that we are apparently rousing the ire of the Tooma enthusiasts; but that cannot be avoided. Whether they like it or not, we must insist as far as we can on good faith being kept with those with whom a solemn compact was made.

Mr Storrer:

– The honorable member is raising the ire of others.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– In this matter, the honorable member does not count. Had he been a member of this Parliament from its inception he would have been in a better position to speak on the subject.

Mr Storrer:

– I have read all the debates that took place on it last session.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Then the honorable member is all the wiser for it. It is very strange’ to hear the honorable member for Hume arguing that this question should be further considered, and giving the reasons which he offers in support of his contention. He tells us in one breath that the reason he did not advocate the selection of this site last session was because he thought it would be too far away from Sydney to satisfy the people of New South.Wales. I replied to that statement by saying that he knew very well, in his own mind, that to select that site would be to depart from the bond. Statements by the score could be quoted in proof, of my assertion. How much ‘longer are we- to wait, in order that sites may be investigated ? I have not the slightest doubt that if honorable members indulged in further picnicing, and if we obtained more favorable, reports, certain honorable members would be induced to go over to the side of the Toomaites. The honorable member for Macquarie has one or two sites in his dis.drict that have not yet been exploited, and he might also put in a claim for further delay. I submit that, in view of the years, and the thousands of pounds which have been spent in investigating the merits of the various sites, we should be ready now to arrive at a decision, and that any further delay would be absolutely unjustifiable.

Mr STORRER:
Bass

– I shall not take the remarks of the honorable member for Parramatta in the spirit in which they were made, because, so far as politics are concerned, I never indulge in personalities. As I interjected, while the honorable member was speaking, I have read the reports of the debates which took place 0:1 this question last year, and I think that the charges which some honorable members are continually making against each other in this Committee are not by any means creditable to the Parliament of Australia. The manner in which many honorable members attack the honorable member for Hume, whenever he addresses himself to this question, is certainly most reprehensible. We know that the honorable member for Grampians takes the whole of the responsibility for the demand that the Tooma site should be inspected. Honorable members opposite are not prepared to accept his assurance, but attribute the whole movement to secure its selection to the honorable member for Hume. I am not at present in love with the Tooma district, and I intend to hear all that is to be said on the subject before I cast my vote. I have only to add that I decline to submit to personal attacks on the part of any honorable member. I am sent here to represent my constituents, and have as much right to speak or to interject whenever I please as has the honorable member for Parramatta.

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:
EdenMonaro

– I think that the honorable member for Echuca is well within his rights in asking for further information in regard to Tooma; but it is unfair to the other sites that the advocates of Tooma, who appear to be “pulling the strings” very well, should be allowed special concessions. It may seem improper to speak of honorable members “ pulling the strings,” but we must call a spade a spade, and we know that 6 m ‘2 some persons are resorting to this practice. I have no objection to their doing so, but-

Mr Batchelor:

– Several sets of strings are being pulled.

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:

– And some are rather interesting. It will be my mission after we have dealt with the matter, to draw aside the blind, and show what has been done. I object to the debate being prolonged in order that, in the meantime, a report may be obtained from a surveyor in regard to some particular feature of the Tooma site, which in the opinion of its supporters may help to secure its selection. I believe that Tooma is seriously in the running, and, that being the case, we should have the same information in regard to it that is forthcoming in reference to other sites. We should have information, not only upon the question of its water supply, but in regard to its elevation, and as to whether there is a sufficient area suitable as a site for the Capital. Let Tooma be subjected to the same scrutiny that has taken place in connexion with the other sites. We should have some information as to whether it would be possible to connect it with the railway system of New South Wales, together with an approximate estimate of the cost. I ask the Government not to allow itself to be drawn aside by the advocates of the several sites. It is all very well for the Ministry to say that they are in the hands of the House; but I hold that they should make a stand and say whether they are going to give us this information or not. We are entitled to the information for which the honorable member for Echuca has asked ; but I object to any officer being sent out to telegraph information on some special feature of the site, with a view to the capturing of more votes.

Mr Batchelor:

– Is the honorable member referring to the request made by the honorable member for Echuca?

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:

– Yes. It is a very reasonable request ; but a gentle hint has been thrown out from other quarters as to the information which should be obtained. I have no desire to impute motives. Probably, if I were an advocate of Tooma, I should be anxious to obtain a report on it, and would not desire to obtain any information that might be unfavorable to its selection. Some honorable members say that they like Tooma, but I have not heard of many who are going to support it. All this talk about the honorable member for Hume taking a parliamentary party out on a plcnicing excursion, and being able to persuade honorable members to vote for the site which he favours, is all nonsense. It might as well be said that I could induce honorable members to vote for the district which I favour. I resent the suggestions made by the honorable member for Macquarie Surely honorable members have minds of their own. It is indeed a well-known fact that most of us have made up our minds on this subject. The information which we possess about Tooma is not sufficient to enable any one to come to a definite judgment upon its merits, but may be sufficient to make some honorable members desirous of obtaining further details. ‘ Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Government to say whether they wish honorable members to come to a vote in our present state of information, or to wait until we can get further reports about Tooma. In any case, a definite decision should be arrived at. If we drag this debate on for another ten days, while waiting for telegrams to be sent to us, we shall become the laughing stock of Australia. What should be dona is to say that the vote shall be taken at such and such a time, arid then postpone the discussion until the information we require is obtained. If necessary, Mr. Chesterman, or Mr. Scrivener, might be sent to Tooma to get for us information similar to that which has been supplied in regard to the other sites. But I say unhesitatingly, that consideration is being given to the Tooma site which is not being given to the other sites. I was desirous cf getting honorable members to visit Twofold Bay, but I was not assisted in that project. The honorable member for Hume professes to regard the Tooma site as a New South Wales one, but I think that the people of the State look upon it as a Victorian site. For my own part, although 1 am a representative of a New South Wales constituency, I am here to consider the interests of Australia generally.

Mr WEBSTER:
Gwydir

– I am distinctly glad of the turn which the debate has taken, because I do not wish a decision t> be come to on this momentous question before full information has been obtained regarding all the sites. Honorable members should have all necessary facts placed before them, so that they may come to a competent judgment. I feel that in urging that surveyors be sent to report further on the Tooma site I am studying the interests of Australia at large. I believe that if such a report is made it will strengthen the hands of those who are inclined to vote for Tooma. I have made an inspection of the site, and know the character of the country, but I am not a surveyor, and cannot calculate elevations, or determine the feasibility of obtaining an adequate water supply, or estimate the cost of giving railway communication to any site. Therefore, I must rely upon expert reports. But although I represent a New South Wales constituency, I shall not take a narrow, parochial view of this question. It has been inferred by some honorable members, who come from that State, that those who are not supporting a particular site are breaking the compact embodied in the Constitution; but I told my constituents that I had not formed an opinion as to which was the best site, but that if elected I would investigate all the proposed sites for thyself.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– Hear, hear. Honorable members should have time to go to Twofold Bay.

Mr WEBSTER:

– I had visited Twofold Bay before my election, and I have since been to all the proposed sites, and studied their various features. Having thus satisfied my conscience, I feel in a position to do my duty to the Commonwealth. I shall not consider the interests of any section of the community, although the representatives of the Sydney press who report our proceedings are manufacturing ammunition to fire off against those who dare to give their adherence to a site which is not that chosen by the majority of the representatives of tha? State. To my mind, that is a very unfair position. During the Federal campaign, the conductors of the newspapers urged the public to sink the narrow, parochial view, and to take a broad view. But those who most strongly advocated the cultivation of the Federal spirit are those who are now trying to dominate honorable members by compelling them to have regard to parochial considerations. I have but one motive, and that is to do the best I can for the generations who are to follow. If that be discreditable to an honorable member, I plead guilty to being discredited. But I object to voting without sufficient information upon an important question of this kind, which affects the interests of all Australia. I would point out further that had it not been for the bargain made by the right honorable member for East Sydney in fixing the 100-miles limit, it would have been possible to select a -site without the difficulty that is now presented But as things are, we have not a great range of choice. I repeat that I am anxious to obtain the opinions of experts before we proceed to vote. I should be far more satisfied if my own view were ratified.

Mr BATCHELOR:
Minister of Home Affairs · Boothby · ALP

– The position of the Government in regard to this mattei is this : Having entered upon the consideration of the Bill, we intend to carry the discussion right on. We do not intend to allow anything to interfere with the completion of the business in hand, which is the settlement of the Federal Capital question. The request for further information about the Tooma site, is, I admit, a very natural one, and, so far as the Government may be able to comply with it between now and next Tuesday they will do so. . But I am not prepared to consent to any further investigation that will involve delay. I admit, of course, that it is unfortunate that the particular site which has been mentioned has not received so close an investigation as have some of the other sites, but the fault does not lie with the Government. All I can say is that any further reasonable investigation which can be made without causing any delay shall be undertaken. The Government cannot promise more than that.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– Will the Government ask the New South Wales Government to furnish an approximate estimate of the cost of connecting the site by rail?

Mr BATCHELOR:

– Does the honorable, member think that it is possible to get that information?

Mr Austin Chapman:

– The New South Wales Government have had trial surveys made through the district, and can furnish an approximate estimate.

Mr BATCHELOR:

– I have not the slightest objection to asking the Government of New South Wales for that information if they can supply it in time, but I am inclined to question their ability to, do so. I presume that the honorable member means that we should obtain an approximate estimate of the cost of connecting the site with Germanton. I dare say that could be furnished.

Progress reported.

House adjourned at 11.37 P-m-

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 28 July 1904, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1904/19040728_reps_2_20/>.