2nd Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– I wish to know from the Prime Minister if his attention has been drawn to a cablegram which appears in this morning’s Argus, stating that Mr. H. P. Wyatt, who recently visited Australia as an envoy of the Imperial Navy League, has declared that he has no hesitation in saying that the Labour leaders in Australia are disloyal, and are separatists.
– He is a lying scoundrel.
– If the attention of the Prime Minister has been drawn to the report in question, I ask him whether he believes the feelings of the members of his Ministry, or of the Labour Party in the Federal Parliament, to have been correctly represented by Mr. Wyatt. If he believes that they have not been correctly represented, will he make a positive disclaimer on behalf of the Government of the Commonwealth of the opinions attributed to the Labour leaders here?
– Does the honorable member think that the statement is true ?
– I know that it is not true.
– My attention has been drawn to the cablegram in question. The statement therein attributed to Mr. Wyatt is absolutely ridiculous and untrue. It is certainly untrue so far as the members of this Ministry are concerned, and it does not in the slightest degree represent the feeling of the Labour leaders of Australia, so far as I have been able to. ascertain it. It is certainly the fact that the Labour leaders of the various States refused to have anything to do with a faddist of Mr. Wyatt’s description.
– Does the honorable member think that Mr. Wvatt is a faddist ?
– Yes, and I think that in England, also, he is . looked upon as a faddist.
– He did not appear to me in that light.
– I am expressing my own opinion only. I know that the right honorable member has somewhat . exaggerated ideas on Imperial subjects. So far as the people in the Labour movement throughout Australia are concerned, although they are not of the hysterical brand of loyalists, I do not think there is the slightest evidence of - their ever having shown any desire for’ separation from the Empire. The statement that that is desired by. those connected with the political Labour movement of Australia is absolutely incorrect. I may add that I do not know what steps Mr. Wyatt- took to ascertain the feelings of the Labour leaders of Australia in this matter.
Lyndhurst Water Supply
– I regret that I feel compelled to move the adjournment of the House this. morning.
– Water again?
– May I take this, opportunity to remind the House that honorable members when speaking are to be taken as expressing their own opinions, though not necessarily those of their fellow members; -and that every honorable member is entitled to place his own views before the assembly, even though they mav be views from, which every other honorable member dissents. I ask honorable members to listen to the member addressing the Chair, without striving by interjection to force him to express their views instead of his own.
– I should not have taken this unusual step had I not thought it important, in the interests not only of the State which I represent, but of the whole, of Australia, that the true facts in . connexion with certain matters should be laid before the House, so that even honorable members who may be opposed to the course-
– I would remind the honorable member that he has not yet obtained leave to move the adjournment.
– I wish to move the adjournment of the House for the purpose of asking that Mr. Wade, Chief - Engineer of Water Conservation for New South Wales, who is now in Melbourne, be called upon for a full . report in regard to the water supply available at or near Lyndhurst.
– I have received an intimation from che honorable member for Macquarie that he desires to move the adjournment of the House, to discuss a definite matter of urgent public importance, viz.. “ The desirability of obtaining further information from Mr. Wade, Chief Engineer of Water Conservation in New
South Wales, who is now in Melbourne, concerning the volume and cost of water supply at or near Lyndhurst.”
Five honorable members having risen in their places,
– Is the honorable member stone-walling the Seat of Government Bill?
– I take all responsibility formy actions in this Chamber. All I ask is that the same courtesy may be extended to me in making this request for information as I should be ready to extend to any other honorable member. The question I wish to discuss is a very important one. Misleading statements have been made, both publicly and privately, by the advocates of other sites, for the purpose of damaging the chances’ of the Lyndhurst site, and I feel that’ in the interests of all’- concerned the Chief Engineer of Water Conservation in New South Wales, who has been sent to Melbourne by his Government to give honorable members full information in regard to the possibility of conserving water in the district, should be examined at the Bar of the House, or by a Select Committee, on his report, which I put before the House last night, so that all the facts relating to the matter may be ascertained.’ My action proves that I am desirous that the fullest publicity shall be given to all matters relating to the Lyndhurst site.
– The honorable member made a long speech on this subject last’ night.
– Yes, but the accuracy of many of the statements which I then made on the authority of Mr. Wade were questioned bv certain honorable members. I believe that a majority are desirous of knowing the truth, and, therefore, I wish to give the House an opportunity to examine Mr. Wade in a most public manner, both on every statement which I” have made, and in regard to other matters bearing on the question at issue. Mr. Wade has submitted a report which shows that a gravitation supply capable of supplying 100,000 people with 100 gallons per day throughout the year can be obtained at Lyndhurst, the rate of consumption provided for being twice that of Melbourne and Sydney combined, and Mr. Wade has allowed for 8 per cent, to run off in the course of a dry year.
– The honorable member is not asking that further information shall be supplied, but is quoting statements in a report which he says is now available. I hope that he will confine himself to the terms of his motion.
– Certain statements have been made, and I am anxious that Mr. Wade shall be asked to give the House full and complete information on the whole question. I wish other honorable members to have the same opportunity to examine him as I have had, so that the full light of day shall be shed on the subject. In a report which Mr. Wade has written to me, and which is now in my possession, he says that a gravitation scheme can be obtained at Lyndhurst which would supply 100,000 people at the allowance I have already named ; and that if more water were required, a storage reservoir could be constructed on the Lachlan, just below the junction of Wyangala Creek. The cost of the work has been estimated at ^581,200, which includes the cost of twenty-two miles of steel main, one-tenth of the cost of the dam, and the cost of buildings, pumps, boilers, engineering, and contingencies. Making provision for fuel and stores, maintenance, and interest and sinking fund at 6 per cento the supply would cost 7jd. per 1,000 gallons. At the present time the water supplied in Sydney and in Melbourne costs is. per 1,000 gallons, while in some places where there are pumping schemes the cost is as high as is. 6d. per 1,000 gallons. A weir to supply the requirements of a Capital City, estimated at 9,000,000 gallons per day, could be constructed for £100,000
– The Standing Order prevents any discussion which anticipates debate oh an item of business already appearing on the notice-paper, and, therefore, nothing can be said now which could be said in Committee on the Seat of Government Bill. The honorable member must confine himself wholly to the matter to which’ his notice refers, the desirability of examining Mr. Wade at the Bar, or before a Select Committee, to obtain further information from him regarding the possibilities of water supply at Lyndhurst. He will not be in order in saying now anything which could be said in Committee on the Bill. His present remarks are clearly such- as could be made at that stage, and, therefore, they are not in order.
– I am merely endeavouring to justify my contention that Mi. Wade should be examined at the Bar of the House.
– I would point out that every word which the honorable member has uttered during the . past two or three minutes could be appropriately uttered upon the Seat of Government Bill. He seems rather to be showing the want of necessity to examine Mr. Wade before the Bar of the House than the necessity to do so. I must .ask the honorable member to confine his remarks to the question before the Chair.
– I shall endeavour to do so. I merely desire to point out that the figures supplied by Mr. Wade in connexion with the water supply at Lyndhurst have been questioned by honorable members
– Of course, it is not my business to indicate to the honorable member what he ought to say, but I would suggest to him a line of argument which would be in order, so as to contrast it with a line of argument which is not in order. Upon a motion such as this, it would be perfectly competent for the honorable member to argue that Mr. Wade knew all about the locality in question, and .that his opinion was worth having. Any such line of argument would be perfectly in order, but the line of argument which he is following is not in order.
– I thoroughly realize the difficult position which I occupy. My only desire is to direct attention to the important statements which have been made by Mr. Wade, the Chief Engineer of Water Conservation in New South Wales, in connexion with the water supply at Lyndhurst That officer has reported upon all the sites.
– Did he appear before the Commissions ?
– Yes. Nearly all the information upon which the Commissioners based their report concerning the question of water supply was obtained from him.
– Is not that information contained in their report?
– No, because it is only recently that surveys have been made in connexion with the Lyndhurst site. Mr. Wade shows very clearly that by constructing a weir upon the Lachlan he could conserve-
– Where is Mr. Wade now ?
– He is in Melbourne.
– Why is he here ?
– I requested the Premier of New South Wales to instruct him to visit Melbourne.
Honorable Members. - Oh !
– The honorable member for Hume and the honorable member for Eden-Monaro made certain statements in connexion with the Lyndhurst water supply which I knew to be unreliable, and I wished to have Mr. Wade here so that he might be able . to furnish honorable members with the fullest information. All I ask is that he should be called to the Bar of the House, and examined upon this important question. In one of his reports, Mr. Wade states that, even in the driest season upon record, the Lachlan River can be made to supply 135,000,000 gallons per day.
– Order ; the honorable member is again anticipating the debate upon the Seat of Government Bill.
– I merely mention that fact in support of my contention that honorable . members should be afforded an opportunity of examining Mr. Wade at the Bar of the House.
– Can he give more information than he has already supplied?
– No ; but last night, upon the authority of Mr. Wade, I made a statement, the accuracy of which was questioned.
– Who questioned it?
– It was questioned by the honorable member for Hume, and the honorable member for EdenMonaro.
– What did I say In reference to it?
– The honorable member attempted to disparage the report of Mr. Wade. I say that that officer should be examined at the Bar of the House, in order that honorable members may be suppled with full and accurate information.
– The more information we obtain in regard to Lyndhurst the less number of votes will be recorded in its favour.
– That may be the honorable member’s view, but I am satisfied to rest its claims upon the fullest possible publicity. If my statements cannot be substantiated-
– The honorable member is willing to pit Mr. Wade against the writers of anonymous letters.
– I am prepared to do that at any time. I feel sure that the Prime Minister does not object to the most complete information being supplied in regard to all sites. I . do not ask honorable members to accept my statement-
– But the honorable member must admit that in dry seasons the Lachlan River is merely a succession of water-holes.
– Upon the basis of the driest year ever experienced, namely 1901-2, Mr. Wade declares that he could supply Lyndhurst with 135,000,000 gallons per daw
– Order. The- honorable member is again anticipating another discussion.
– In dealing with this question it is very difficult for me to keep within the strict limits prescribed by parliamentary rules. I did not accept the verbal statement of Mr. Wade in connexion with this matter, but requested him to submit his views in writing.
– Has he brought the Lyndhurst water supply with him in a bottle ?
– The honorable member will be able to examine him if he is summoned to appear at the Bar of the House. It is really wonderful to note how keen are some honorable members, who are anxious that a site shall be selected upon the Victorian border, to prevent full publicity being given to all the facts connected with this question. Mr. Wade is at present in Melbourne, with the consent of the New South Wales Government, whom I have to thank for placing his services at our disposal. He is prepared to be examined at the Bar of the House upon the statements which he has made concerning the water supply at Lyndhurst. That fact shows that I do not fear the fullest light being thrown by experts upon my contentions.
– - Not if the honorable member’s own experts are called.
– The Minister has no right to say that. In advocating his own scheme, the honorable gentleman is relying upon the report of this very officer. Mr. Wade is no expert of mine.
– Why, the honorable member admitted it just now.
– I asked the Government of New South Wales to grant honorable members the assistance of that officer in dealing with this question.
– In the interests of Lyndhurst.
– Seeing that misrepresentations have been made concerning the Lyndhurst site, I was perfectly within my rights in making that request to the New South Wales Government.
– Then why does the honorable member disown his action?
– I do not disown it. The fact that I asked’ the New South Wales Government to send Mr. Wade to Melbourne does not make him an expert of mine. Because the honorable member for Hume appointed certain gentlemen as Capital Sites Commissioners, should I be justified in affirming that they were his Commissioners?
– The honorable member did so.
– If I did, I was probably quite right in one or two instances. As a matter of fact, I believe that Mr. Wade was appointed by the honorable member for Hume.
– I think that he was.
– Then upon’ the argument which -has been advanced that officer must be the expert of the honorable member. He was appointed by the honorable member as the best officer available to make a report.
– I am not quite sure that I did appoint him.
– I believe that the honorable member did. I know, at all events, that he has a very high opinion of Mr. Wade’s ability.
– That is so.
– That is sufficient for my case. Mr. Wade is no more a friend of mine than is any other officer in the Public Service of New South Wales. When I requested the New South Wales Government to send an expert to Melbourne, I asked, not for Mr. Wade, but for Mr. Bloomfield, who made the original report.
– Why not have Mr. Pridham here?
– I should like him to be called. The New South Wales Government have considered it desirable to offer vis the assistance of their Chief Engineer. a.nd I ask that he should be examined at the Bar of the House. Mr. Bloomfield has furnished us with valuable information, and has shown that by means of a gravitation scheme, an adequate water supply could be secured at Lyndhurst for a population of 87,000. Mr. Wade has been in communication, not only with myself, but with the Prime Minister, and the Minister of Home Affairs, who have had an opportunity to question him on this subject ; and every honorable member should be afforded equal facilities to examine him. Damaging statements against Lyndhurst have been made by opponents of that site, and Mr. Wade, in the interests of fair play, should be examined at the Bar, in order that those statements may be proved or disproved.
– I should not have risen to address myself to this question but for the seriousness of the issue. During the debate last night some warm exchanges took place, and unless honorable members guard themselves, feeling is likely to run very high before a site is selected.
Mr.Poynton. - I think we should have the evidence of outside experts.
– In Mr. Wade we have an engineer who is at the head of the N.ew South Wales Department of Water Conservation, and who holds high rank among the members of his profession in Australia. It is, therefore, very desirable that we should have an opportunity to examine him. I do not wish to suggest that the honorable member for Macquarie is not a good engineer, but his engineering skill does not relate to water conservation.
– Is this professional indignation?
– The honorable member who interjects is an engineer of another type; his skill is related more particularly to underground work. Mr. Wade is not the paid emissary of any party, and he would be able to supply the House with very valuable information. So far, the debate on this question has been characterized bv a broad Federal spirit, but there is- a danger that the honorable member for EdenMonaro, the honorable member for Hume, and others may, in a weak moment, be tempted to urge, from a merely provincial stand-point, the merits of the sites which they respectively favour. We must avoid partisanship, and I think that by examining Mr. Wade we shall remove many doubts that have been created in the minds of honorable members by the assertions of those who are opposed to the Lyndhurst site. The honorable member for Macquarie simply desires that Mr. Wade shall be called, in order that the allegations which have been made against the Lyndhurst water supply may be shown to be without foundation. No one would suggest that that officer would be guilty of the improper advocacy of any site. The only objection that can be urged is that if Mr. Wade were called the supporters of other sites might demand that many other experts should be examined at the Bar of the House. We have, nevertheless, to ask ourselves whether we are in possession of all the information necessary to enable us to come to a wise decision. It seems to me that we are not. The honorable member for Macquarie admits that he is at a disadvantage in dealing with the claims of Lyndhurst, in the absence of the expert evidence which Mr. Wade would be able to afford the House.
Mr.McLean. - Did he not supply a report to the Commissioners?
– It is desired to examine him on a further report.
– The paper submitted to the House last night by the honorable member for Macquarie is merely a precis of Mr. Wade’s views, in regard to the cost of providing Lyndhurst with an adequate water supply. The information which it gives is necessarily curtailed, and honorable members are not able to fully grasp the figures. If Mr. Wade were summoned to appear at the Bar of the House, we should obtain the fullest information from him, and I trust that honorable members who wish to see this matter dealt with solely from an Australian point of view will not hesitate to agree to the request.
– I offer no objection to the proposal made by the honorable member for Macquarie, although I think that by yielding to it we might create a rather dangerous precedent. No charge has been made against Mr. Wade, and, so far as I am aware, there is no very special reason why he should be called. I understand that the honorable member for Macquarie takes serious . exception to one or two interjections, in reference to the water supply of Lyndhurst, which were made last night whilst he was speaking in Committee.
– Something very much more serious than interjections.
– Then the honorable member ought to say what it is.
– The honorable member will not be in order in referring to another debate.
– That was my difficulty.
– I know that Mr. Wade is a first-class engineer, but I ask whether it is desirable that we should call to the Bar of the House only a gentleman who has furnished a report favorable to the selection of a certain site.
– I do not know anything about his views in that respect. That statement is hardlv fair.
– The reports supplied by Mr. Wade are favorable to the selection of a certain site.
– Thev are fair.
– He has expressed a very favorable opinion in regard to the water supply of Lyndhurst.
– An honest opinion.
– That goes without saying.
– I do not accept the honorable member for Wentworth as an authority on this subject.
– Mr. Wade has also favorablv reported on Tumut.
– He has made a favorable report on Lyndhurst, and for that reason the honorable member for Macquarie proposes that he shall be examined. I have no. objection to the adoption of that course, because I am satisfied that Mr. Wade would not make a report in favour of any site unless he were convinced that it was right to do so. If we are going to question the value of the various reports which have been submitted1 to us, we ought to examine not only Mr. Wade, but Mr. Pridham, Mr. Bloomfield,, and other gentlemen having equally high reputations. Surely we are not going to cast a slur on the high officials who have furnished us with reports? The honorable member for Macquarie, telegraphed to the Government of New South Wales to secure the attendance of Mr. Wade in Melbourne, and, knowing that that gentleman is prepared to speak in favour of the selection of Lyndhurst, he desires that he shall be called. Is Mr. Wade to be singled out as the one engineer to give evidence at the Bar of the House? I should like to drawattention to the fact’ that the New South Wales Engineering Department has been responsible for some terrific blunders in connexion with water supply. Every one in New South Wales is aware that some one in that Department must be held responsible for serious mistakes in connexion with the water supplies of Bathurst, Orange,
Goulburn, and Armidale. I do not say it was Mr. Wade, but if we are to discuss the relative merits of engineers, we should have some information as to who was responsible for those schemes.
– Mr. Wade has only recently become Chief Engineer.
-It is a very unfair way in which to try to damage a public officer’s reputation.
-If we are to decide this question by bringing men to the Bar of the House, we should bring a number of men, because it is a well-known fact . that in ‘ connexion with the schemes for water supply for the places I have mentioned, most glowing reports were issued, by the Department in New South Wales, as to what the rainfall would be, what the conservation would be, and we really had in respect to those schemes much the same story as we were told last night. The places to which I refer have had water supplies provided for them on the authority of some engineer in New South Wales, and in every case they have proved dismal failures. At Orange, where we are told there is such an enormous catchment area for a water supply, the people of the little town had to be put on half supply in the summer before last. The mistakes in these cases should be inquired into, and we should know who was responsible for them. It would be a calamity to us if we were guided by the report of engineers who are incompetent. I do not doubt the figures which were given to us last night, but we want something more than figures; we should have facts.
– Some honorable members do not want the facts.
– I have not the . slightest objection to hear them, but if we are to have an officer sent here specially by. the New South ‘Wales Government to make, at the Bar of this House, certain statements regarding a particular site, we should also have an opinion from other’ officers with regard to other sites, and we should saddle the responsibility for the mistakes made in New South Wales in this connexion on the right shoulders. I do not believe that Mr. Wade would make such mistakes, but I refuse to allow the honorable member for Macquarie to inferentially saddle engineers who have reported favorably of sites other than Lyndhurst with that responsibility. If Mr. Wade is to be brought to the Bar of the House. Mr. Pridham and other men with as good a reputation as his should also be heard. From Mr. Pridham’s report there is grave doubt as to what can be done at Lyndhurst. There is no running water there, and the suggestions as to what can be done there in the way of water supply are all dependent on conditions and circumstances. . If the intention is to pit one public officer against another, they should all be given fair play. The honorable member for Macquarie cast some reflection upon the Commission appointed by the honorable member for Hume, only because that Commission did not supply him with as good a report on Lyndhurst as he could get from Mr. Wade’s figures. The last thing we should try to do in this House is to pit one public officer against another. If I do not agree that what Mr. Wade has done is right, that is no reason why I should try to cast the slightest doubt upon his ability or his honesty. No one who knows Mr. Wade would think of doing so ; but he should not be brought here as a kind of special pleader for one site. That would put Mr. Wade in a very false position. The very fact that the honorable member for Macquarie telegraphed to
I have this officer brought here should be enough” to induce honorable members to hesitate before they agree to what has been proposed. We were told by the honorable member that Mr. Wade reported that at Lyndhurst there is not only a sufficient water supply for the Federal City, but that there could be procured 135,000,000 gallons a day for irrigation purposes. All I can say is that many of us who could not get even a drink of cold water there, would be very glad to get such information from Mr. Wade. I am disposed to think that there is one good reason why that gentleman should be brought to the Bar of the House. He has just returned from America, and the honorable member for Barrier is under the impression that the report quoted must be upon the Mississippi, and not upon Lyndhurst, and I think it is well that that should be cleared up. I am quite certain that any report by Mr. ‘ Wade would . be an honest one. In my opinion, he is a very competent engineer, but if he’ is to be brought before the Bar of the House’ as the special pleader for a particular site, in _ justice to other sites, we should also ‘ have here some of the engineers who have told us that’ unless we- are prepared to spend millions, it will be almost a matter of impossibility to get a water supply at Lyndhurst. We might get water to the moon, if we spent enough money. If Mr. Wade is to be brought to the Bar of the House, another telegram should be sent to Sydney to some other engineer, whose reputation is just as good as is Mr. Wade’s, and who will tell us that unless we go to the expenditure of millions there is a risk that at Lyndhurst we should have more whisky than water.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).The honorable member for Eden-Monaro has told us that he has not the slightest objection to Mr. Wade appearing at the Bar of the House, and he has further said that he believes that gentleman to be a competent engineer, who would give an honest opinion. If that be so, may I ask what we should gain by questioning Mr. Wade as to the engineering failures that have occurred at different places in New South Wales in connexion with small water supplies.
– He might give us some information in respect to them.
– He might, but what would be the advantage gained by asking Mr. Wade’s opinion upon matters which did not concern him, and which are not connected with the question before us in any way ? The object could only be to try to influence the minds of honorable members adversely to Mr. Wade’s opinion. At one moment the honorable member says that Mr. Wade is an honest man, and in the next he says that we should have him here” that we may ask him about these failures.
– An honest man may make a mistake.
– The honorable member also suggests that Mr. Pridham should be brought here if Mr. Wade is to be consulted. I should like to point out that the figures quoted by the honorable member for Macquarie, were Mr. Pridham’s figures. Mr. Wade has taken Mr. Pridham’s figures, and on them he has based his report.
– If they are Mr. Pridham’s figures, he is the engineer we should consult, and not Mr. Wade.
– Mr. Pridham has said that Dalgety has a better water supply than Lyndhurst can ever have, and Mr. Wade does not agree with that.
– That is not the question at all. I am prepared to admit that there is a better water supply at Dalgety than at Lyndhurst; but what we are concerned about is to establish the fact that an adequate water supply may be obtained at Lyndhurst for all the purposes cf a Federal Capital. I am not concerned to deny that there may be better water supplies found elsewhere in New South Wales. What we say is that in this neighbourhood, which has been so much maligned by some honorable members in this particular respect, there is an abundance of water, and more than the Federal Capital will ever require. It is the more advisable that we should take advantage of Mr. Wade’s engineering skill, as he is already in Melbourne, and we can secure his advice without delay to the final determination of the question before us.
– He is in Melbourne at the request of the Lyndhurst site supporters.
– I do not know who brought him here.
– The honorable member for Macquarie says that he telegraphed for him.
– I am prepared to admit that. I hope the honorable member did ; it would be but evidence of his industry and enterprise in this matter. May I remind honorable members that the Government of New South Wales are in favour of the Lyndhurst site? I submit respectfully that a site which is recommended by the Government, and is to be recommended by the Parliament of New South Wales, is entitled to their serious consideration.
– The New South Wales Government are not in favour of it.
– All I have to say to that is that the Premier of New South Wales announced to the country only the other day that if returned to power he would ask the Parliament of New South Wales to recommend Lyndhurst to the Federal Government.
– He said he would leave it an open question.
– The honorable member is quite wrong.
– Why not be fair and state that Lyndhurst is in his own electorate ?
– Not only Mr. Waddell, but all the influential members of the late Government in New South Wales hold the same opinion of Lyndhurst. I submit that a site favoured by the Government of the State which has to grant the land, and which has spent a very large sum of money in facilitating the object we have in view> should be considered. The New South Wales Government have sent over an engineer with a special report upon the water supply at Lyndhurst, and we should, in courtesy to them, hear what this engineer has to say. It is the more important that we should hear him since we had last night an expert opinion adverse to Lyndhurst as a site from the right honorable member for Swan. Nothing more damaging to the character of Lyndhurst as a suitable site for the Federal Capital could be urged than the opinion offered by the right honorable member.
– It was offered some time ago; the report has been on the table for some time.
– I am referring to the right honorable member’s remarks last night. He told us that it would be absolutely dangerous in summer time if the. scheme suggested by this engineer were carried out.
– I do not think I said that.
– The right honorable member told us that the water stored would become polluted in summer, and would be a source of danger.
– I referred to the artificial lake suggested.
– I could not imagine a more severe condemnation of the scheme than we had from the right honorable member.
– The lake need not be made.
– I think the honorable member for Parramatta must see that the remarks he is making now are really but a continuation of the debate upon another question. The mere fact that he is replying to some remarks made in that debate is a proof that the honorable member is transferring to this question debate which should take place in Committee. I must ask the honorable member not to anticipate the debate in Committee.
– I do not. quite see how I can avoid it. I quite admit what you say, Mr. Speaker, but. on the other hand, the very purpose of moving the motion for the adjournment of the House is to ask that special engineering skill shall be made available for the purpose, amongst other things, of furnishing information concerning statements made during the course of the debate in Committee. While I know the rule of Parliament that an honorable member cannot, upon a motion for the adjournment, allude to a debate proceeding at another time and place, in this instance it is almost unavoidable. However, I will not further transgress. But I do say that, in view of the very serious statements made by the right honorable member for Swan on the question of the water supply of Lyndhurst, it is of the very utmost consequence that the House should avail itself of every opportunity to test their truth. Leaving out of sight the advocates, or partisans, as they have been called, of Lyndhurst - and I do not object to the term - I urge that the fact that this site is abour to be officially recommended for consideration by the Government of New South Wales-
– That is absurd; half the members of the New South Wales Government are against it. The honorable member knows that himself.
– We know nothing of the kind.
– Lyndhurst is in Mr. Waddell’s electorate.
– I know that., but what has it to do with the question ? Why does not the honorable member make a similar interjection concerning sites which are in the electorates of other honorable members?
– The remarkapplies to them in just the same way
– Honorable members opposite make such interjections with regard, to those who favour Lyndhurst, but not concerning the advocates of other sites, who all along have been doing their best for their electorates. More power to them; I do not criticise them on that account. I do not see- what point there is in the interjection that Lyndhurst is -in the electorate of the Premier of New South Wales. Of course it is. But that fact would go for nothing if the people of New South Wales were not behind the site. Since the practicability of this site has been challenged by an expert of the character of the right honorable member for Swan, who believes that to construct there artificial works for conserving water will be to menace the health of ‘.he people in the district, we ought to have the benefit of all the available engineering skill which has been devoted to the investigation of such questions. With respect to the opinions of other engineers, who would probably report adversely, I would remark that that could not be so in the case of Mr. Pridham, because he furnished the figures which, after checking, have been adopted by Mr. Wade in the preparation of the case submitted last night by the honorable member for Macquarie.
– I do not know that the Government can complain altogether of the delay in the transaction of business which has been caused by this debate. But, on the other hand) it is certain that the Government are not getting quite as much support in their endeavour to push forward the settlement of the Capital Sites question, as, perhaps, they had a right to expect from some quarters. A request has been submitted to-day, which, it seems to me, the honorable member for Macquarie cannot reasonably think that the House is likely to grant.
– I do nol see why the House should not, if we are to have fair play.
– Such a request should only be granted in the event of very serious misstatements having been made. I am expressing my individual opinion in this respect, but my view certainly is that only in the case of very serious misstatements would it be advisable to call any person to the Bar of the House. It is a most unusual procedure, and is very seldom adopted by any Parliament. I have never heard of its being adopted for the purpose of rebutting statements made by way of interjection in the course of a debate.It is a most remarkable request. All kinds of statements have been made in interjections and in speeches about each of the suggested sites.
– The honorable gentleman made a statement himself.
– Does the honorable member for Macquarie suggest that’ I made any statement that was unfair to Mr. Wade? I can assure him that I did not for a moment mean to suggest that Mr. Wade was a partisan of any site.
– I do not know his opinion.
– I do not know his opinion either. I have’ not the slightest idea what it is. Indeed, I do not care. He is certainly an eminent engineer, and to the extent that his professional skill entitles him to receive from this House the very fullest credence, he would have that and no more. His professional skill is the main point ; his personal opinion is quite another question. So far as concerns the information which the honorable member desires to obtain, I desire to say that, if Mr. Wade submits a statement to the Government they will take care that it is made available to honorable members. Surely nothing more than that can be desired. Nothing more can reasonably be asked for. If the honorable member for Macquarie had put a simple question, the Government would at once have complied with his request.
– I want Mr. Wade to answer questions put to him, and to meet objections raised by honorable members.
– The honorable member will see that if that practice were adopted every supporter of a Capital Site might make a similar request. If we are to have experts called to the Bar of the House to be examined by honorable members, how long will it probably take to settle the matter? Instead of days or weeks being occupied, it might take months, or perhaps years, to settle it.
– It would be bad for Mr. Wade if it took so long as that to examine him.
– But there are other experts who might also be called with just as much reason in connexion with other sites. All that the honorable member for Macquarie can reasonably ask for is what I have already offered to do. If Mr. Wade likes to send a full statement to the Government we shall be happy to make it available to honorable members.
– What we suggest would be a quicker way of securing the information.
– The honorable member surely does not put that suggestion forward seriously?
– I do. indeed.
– What the honorable member for Macquarie really urges is that the special engineering skill of Mr. Wade should be made available to honorable members. I am quite prepared to agree to that by circulating any statement which Mr. Wade may make.
Mr.Fowler. - Why not appoint a Select Committee to examine him ?
– We should certainly not appoint a Select Committee. If we did that we should have all kinds of statements made. I suggest that the honorable member should accept the undertaking now given, and let the House get on with the discussion of the sites.
– Certainly the course of procedure which the honorable member for Macquarie asks the Government to consent to is unusual, and it requires a considerable amount of reason to justify it. But in view of the treatment which the honorable member for Macquarie received last night, and also in view of the influences at work in the House-
– Underground influences.
– There is ample justification for the action taken by him. What is the position? First of all, we had expert reports upon all the sites - the western sites, the southern sites, and the southeastern sites. All the sites now mainly under consideration were dealt with by experts appointed by the honorable member for Hume when he was Minister of Home Affairs in the Barton Government. At the close of the debate in the last Parliament a certain movement was made by the then Minister of Home Affairs for . the purpose of supplementing the information then available, and the House was given to understand that an inquiry was to be held in order to obtain some special information that had been overlooked on the previous occasion. But we find that the supplementary inquiry with regard to the Bombala and Tumut sites has been as exhaustive as, if not more exhaustive than, the inquiry entered into by the expert Commissioners. The whole question has been reviewed from every possible stand-point, and every tittle of information which it was possible to obtain has been brought to bear. I do not object to that. The House should be placed in possession of all the information bearing upon the question. But the honorable member for Macquarie - and I agree with him - asks that a similar inquiry should be extended to Lyndhurst. We were refused that by the late Government. We were informed that the information available covered all that was necessary. Whenever we asked that the same treatment as was extended to the other sites should be extended to Lyndhurst we were met by a refusal. When I got possession of the supplementary reports about a fortnight ago, I made a special visit to Sydney in order to bring the matter under the notice of the State Government. I was not successful in seeing the State Premier. But I endeavoured to get all the information I could with respect to the
Lyndhurst site. I consider that the honorable member for Macquarie has done the right thing in endeavouring to bring the information up to date, and to place honorable members in a position to judge this site on the newer and wider information which is now available. Since the investigations were made by the Commission of experts - and these were mainiy confined to a prescribed area - a considerable section of the people in the western districts have taken up the question of dealing with the source of water supply which has been reported upon lately by Mr. Wade, and deputations, of which I was a member, have waited on the State Government to deal with the question from a State stand-point, and not particularly from a Federal stand-point. I know that I cannot enter into full details at this stage, but I wish to indicate that there is now available more information than was available when the Commission of experts made their inquiries, and that information has been secured by the State Department for other than Federal purposes. A league has been formed to secure the erection of a weir and conservation of water for purely State purposes. I am a member of the league, which I believe includes the Prime Minister and several members of the State Parliament. That shows that since the first inquiry was made the attention of the State Parliament has been specially concentrated on this source of supply for purposes of water conservation, and it is admitted by the Ministry that it reaches the proportions of a national scheme, affecting all interests ‘ along the Lachlan River. I wish now to refer to the question of Mr. Wade’s report. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro will not dare to rise here and question straight out the ability of Mr. Wade to deal with this matter. Mr. Wade is a gentleman who has risen from the ranks in the Public Service of the State until he has attained the position of chief officer of the Department of Water Conservation. But the honorable member comes to the House, and points to a number of instances of wasteful expenditure by the Department in vears past, and by innuendo he tries to lead honorable members to believe that Mr. Wade had something to do with the commission of those mistakes.
– Not so.
– I am glad to have the honorable member’s denial, because Mr. Wade attained his position as the result of those mistakes, and the officers who were responsible for them had to quit the service.
The present Government of New South Wales has decided to make the question of water conservation an important item in its programme. The people of the State realize the need for water conservation throughout its length and breadth, and no matter what Government may have the control of its destinies, it must be prepared to make that question one of the main planks of its platform in the near future. For the purpose of thoroughly equipping the State to deal with this great question, the See Government sent Mr. Wade on a special mission to America to make inquiry and report, and he has only recently returned. I believe that there is no man in the States to-day who is so well posted as Mr. Wade with uplodate information on this subject. If honorable members had received his report last night in the spirit in which they are prepared to receive the reports of other officers,. I should have said that this action on the part of the honorable member for Macquarie was uncalled for. But how was it received here? Every innuendo was thrown out against it, and there were circulated here, not only newspaper letters or reports, but anonymous letters condemning this site as being unsuitable from the standpoint of water supply.
– Order ! The honorable member is clearly anticipating the debate in Committee.
– I do not wish to do that. I desire to state this fact as a reason why some official action should be taken to place before the House Mr. Wade’s information, so that honorable members may be satisfied that it is reliable. I understand Mr. Wade is at present in Melbourne ; I have not had an interview with him, but the honorable member for Macquarie intimates that he is available to the House. If it thinks that the information which was supplied is not correct, it has the right and opportunity of calling Mr. Wade to the Bar, and questioning him.
– Who has thrown any doubt on the report?
– Doubt has been expressed all round.
– Not at all.
– The honorable member for Macquarie was met with a running fire of interjections from all parts of the House when he was submitting the document. The main objection taken to the site was based on the question of water supply, the practicability of which has been discredited by more than one speaker. ‘
But I cannot deal with that now. If honorable members feel that the report is not the handiwork of Mr. Wade he is here, and may be questioned. I am not altogether favorable to the dragging of any public officer before the House to be examined by honorable members, because I do not think that is a proper way to elicit information, unless there is ,some very special reason for taking that course. Why should not the Government ask Mr. Wade to supply them with an official report - on which would be staked his reputation as the Engineer-in-Chief of Water Conservation in New South Wales, and which, I believe, would be accepted by the large majority of honorable members as being substantially correct. That has been done with respect to Mr. Pridham’s report.
– We have already agreed to that.
– I am very pleased to hear that intimation. That, I think, pretty well clears the way. I realize that some good has been done by this discussion in reaching that position, because, so far as I could ascertain, there seemed to be a very strong desire not to allow this site to receive the same amount of inquiry and investigation as has been allowed in the case of other sites.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).- I find that I unwittingly did the right honorable member for Swan a wrong in my comment on some remarks which he made just now, and I ask permission to make the correction. I find that I did not read enough of his speech as reported in Hansard, and had I read the words preceding the quotation which he made from his report, the matter would have been clear. I find that his statement, suggesting grave menace and danger to the Capital Site from, the water supply, relates to the construction of an artificial lake, as a beauty spot and a water frontage pure and simple, and does not relate to the water supply proper. Had I known that, I certainly should not have made the remarks I did concerning that report.
– After listening to the remarks about the water supply of Lyndhurst, I think it comes very late in the day, indeed, for the honorable member for Macquarie and the honorable member for Parramatta to say that the supply of water there is as abundant as they try to make out. I was told that during the last drought the people there had to dig wells and put in drives for the purpose of getting sufficient water, and it had to be done 011 half-rations, too. That is the place in which the honorable member for Macquarie wishes to establish the Federal Capital !
– Where was that?
– At Bathurst, Orangeeverywhere in the district. A most peculiar thing is that these honorable members want to back it up - I shall not say by faked figures - by a prejudiced report and for political reasons. The present Premier of New South Wales has long represented, and is now seeking to represent, a constituency in that district He is now fighting for his very political existence, and I think it is a prostitution of parliamentary power on the part of the Premier of New South Wales to send-
– I rise to a point of order. The honorable member has staled that I have taken this course with a view of helping the Premier of New South Wales in his contest; but it is well known that that honorable gentleman and I are strong political opponents.
– That is not a point of order.
– I emphatically deny that I made such a statement.
– I accept the honorable member’s disclaimer; but I understood him to imply that.
– I did not.
– I desire to know, sir, whether the honorable member for Maranoa is in order in saying that the Premier of New South Wales has prostituted his position because he has acceded to the request made to him by the honorable member for Parramatta and myself, to have this information supplied for the convenience of honorable members?
– The honorable member did not say that, and if he had I am not sure that it would have been out of order.
– It shows that I am hitting these honorable members very hard indeed, when they have to rise and attribute to me” words which I never uttered. I do not care what site is selected, though, of course, for many reasons I favour the Southern Monaro sites. The honorable member for Canobolas has referred to the past misdoings of engineers wilh respect to water supply ‘ in New South Wales. Does he wish to see that sort of thing perpetuated in regard to the
Federal Capital? Although we have a chance of getting a water supply which we know is second to none in Australia, yet honorable members wish to bolster up their contention, and put the Commonwealth in the same unfortunate position that New South Wales is in. I do not know Mr. Wade, but I have read many of his works on hydraulic engineering and water supply, and I look upon him as one of the greatest authorities on those subjects in the Commonwealth. But apart from that, it seems a very strange thing to me that the honorable member for Macquarie should wish te bring from New South Wales a public officer to give evidence on one particular site. If the honorable member is honest, let him ask the House to bring Mr. Wade here to be questioned on every site.
– I am quite willing to do that. I shall ask leave to alter the motion.
– And once we have got Mr. Wade to the Bar of the House, let us ascertain who was guilty of spending millions of money in New South Wales on water supply works.
– I shall give the honorable member an opportunity of voting in that way.
– That is right. Every time the honorable member for Parramatta rises he addresses the House in such a pedantic manner that he has assumed the position of lecturemaster-general of the Government, or whomsoever is opposed to any scheme that he brings forward.
– I leave that to the honorable member, who does it every time he speaks.
– The honorable member addresses the House in this style - “ How dai you do such a thing? I have spoken, and that is quite enough.” I. shall not submit to be dictated to by the honorable member in his role of lecturemastergeneral. I hold an equal position in the Chamber with the honorable member, and while I do I shall assert mv rights every time. I should like to move that some outside expert be introduced, lt seems that these brethren from New South Wales cannot agree as to the best site. A Commission, consisting of engineers from each State, has dealt with the matter, but they could not agree, and I think that the best ‘ and cheapest ‘ way to get over the difficulty, will be to import an uptodate man from America, and ask him to choose a site, the Government abiding by his decision.
– We do not want any Yankees here.
– Honorable members opposite have been Yankeeing all the time. It is the representatives of New South Wales who are responsible for the delay which has occurred.
– That is as true as everything else that the honorable member has said.
– The honorable member knows that it is true. Any one who reads the Hansard reports will see that all the dissension is clue to the action of the representatives of New South Wales. I am willing to give my vote to-day, and I feel certain that the mind of every other honorable member is made up, so that all the talk to which we are compelled to listen will not influence any one, and will only have the effect of filling up Hansard. If New South Wales members wish for a site to be chosen, the sooner they allow us to come to a vote the better.
– The honorable member would give his State away, I suppose?
– I am no traitor, either to my State, or to the Commonwealth. I have never been a renegade. The honorable member is again assuming the part of dictator and lecturemaster-general. He knows what I mean.
– I know that what the honorable member is uttering is not true.
– The honorable member for Parramatta must withdraw that remark.
– I withdraw it.
– I do not take any notice of what the honorable member says. If honorable members opposite are so anxious that the matter shall be dealt with only on complete information, let the determination of the question be postponed to another session, and let the Government take the course I have suggested, of appointing an expert from some other country to make a recommendation on the subject. That is the easiest way out of the difficulty. I have not taken part in any of the picnics to the various sites, nor have I visited any of the places named ; but I have asked unbiased engineers, to whom it does not matter which site is chosen, and I shall vote on the information I have received from them. If we agree to examine Mr.
Wade at the Bar of the House, we shall commence a course of procedure the effect of which cannot be foreseen. In the first place, Mr. Wade himself will be placed in a very unpleasant position.
– Why? He will simply be asked to tell the truth.
– I do not suppose that he will have any difficulty in telling the truth ; but if he is cross-examined, he may be placed in a very difficult position in regard to other professional men.
– Let them stand on their reputations.
– That is all very well, but surely Mr. Wade cannot be asked to publicly criticise them. I think that he shoufd not be brought to the Bar. The Government have said that they are willing to obtain a report from Mr. Wade onthe Lyndhurst site, or on any other site, and I think that that is all that is necessary.
– No one can blame the honorable member for Macquarie for doing all he can to place the site of which he is such an able and earnest advocate in the most favorable light. I wish to have the fullest information on all the sites, and, therefore, I shall be prepared to support the honorable member’s request if he will deal with them all alike. I am not a supporter of the Tooma site, but I know that a great many honorable members think well of it. We have had, however, no professional report upon it. If we are to examine an expert at the Bar of the House in regard to the Lyndhurst site, I am sure that the honorable member for Macquarie will admit the fairness of obtaining an official report on the Tooma site, and of examining the engineer who furnishes it, at the Bar of the House. If all sites are treated alike in this matter, I will support the honorable member’s proposal ; but any other arrangement would be one-sided and unfair, and, therefore, could not be supported bv me.
– The speech of the honorable member for Gippsland was a very fair one, and it was to some extent on the same lines as that of the honorable member for Maranoa. If expert officials can be brought to the Bar to give ‘ us information regarding the possibility of water supply at the various sites, we shall be in a better position in choosing between those sites. A great opportunity’ will be lost if we ‘do not avail ourselves of Mr. Wade’s presence in Melbourne to examine him on the possibilities of the water supply at Lyndhurst. Very great discredit has been cast on certain publications respecting the possibilities of water supply there, and as the Government of New South Wales have, in the interests of the Commonwealth, sent down an expert to give us information on the subject, I think we should call him to the Bar, and elicit from him what he can tell us about the whole matter. The course proposed by the honorable member for Macquarie is, no doubt, an unusual one, but the House is on the eve of making a very momentous decision. There are instances in history of seats of government having been removed from one place to another. That has occurred even in England itself; But centuries will probably pass before any community will have before it a question such as that with which we are now asked to deal. Therefore, it is necessary to have all possible information regarding water supply and other matters of consequence before us. While the Lyndhurst site is not far from my electorate, I would not vote for it unless it could be shown that an adequate water supply could be obtained there. I have told my constituents so. If I were convinced that the supply would be inadequate, I should” certainly turn my attention to some other site. What we must have is the best site available. I hope that the House will agree to examine Mr. Wade. The Government have offered to obtain a report from him, but I” feel that more than that is required. We have already been supplied with a great number of reports, and many of us will not have time to study further reports. In my opinion, all the experts available should be brought before the House, so that honorable members may obtain from them the information they require, without the trouble of looking up reports which many of us have not the necessary time to read.
– I cannot see any justification for the course proposed by the honorable member for Macquarie. I have every respect for Mr. Wade, but the fact that the honorable member asks that he shall be examined at the Bar, when”he has already furnished us with a report on the Lyndhurst water supply, shows that the honorable member is not satisfied with that report.
– I am satisfied with it.
– Then why examine Mr. Wade at the Bar of” the House?
– Because certain honorable members say that they are not satisfied with the information which I have alreadv placed before the House.
– I have as much confidence in Mr. Wade as I have in the officers who occupy similar positions in the other States. I know that it is customary to eulogize the heads of Departments upon their assumption of office to such an extent as to lead one to believe that they can be absolutely trusted to lay down perfect lines in regard to future administration. If Mr. Wade be examined at the Bar of the House, what will happen? Every honorable member will be afforded an opportunity of cross-examining him as to his qualifications. In doing so, those who are familiar with the blunders which have been committed in connexion with water conservation works in New South Wales will of necessity question him in such a way as will introduce the names of other officials-
– In New South Wales there have not been nearly the same number of blunders committed as have occurred in the other States
– I admit that errors have been made in Victoria such as have not occurred eleswhere. I very much question the wisdom of summoning Mr. Wade to the Bar of the House to give evidence under such conditions. The honorable member for Gippsland has stated the condition upon which he is prepared to support the suggestion of the honorable member for Macquarie. Does he seriously contend that experts other than Mr. Wade should be examined ? The Government have already indicated their willingness to obtain a report from him.
– Is the honorable member afraid to allow Mr. Wade to be examined ?
– I have the same confidence in Mr. Wade’s report that I have in the reports submitted by other experts upon various aspects of this question. Having that report before us, what more do we require? It is true that expert knowledge is of value so far as it relates to the volume of water which can be conserved at any of the sites. But I hold that the engineering blunders which have been committed in connexion with providing water supplies to various country towns in New South Wales, afford the most condemnatory evidence of expert knowledge’ that can possibly be supplied. Not only do we require to ascertain the volume of water which is available at each particular site, but also whether it can be conserved. Further, it is necessary for us to provide against such a result as has occurred at Tamworth, where, after an expenditure of 50 per cent, in excess of the official estimate, there is merely an apology for a water supply to-day. We require to know the character of the country constituting the water sheds of these particular areas. At Tamworth the water is conveyed to the town by gravitation, but it carries with it a certain amount of soil, the presence of which is a menace to the health of the people. I have seen that water so discoloured, when coming through the bathroom tap that persons were almost prevented from using it. It is very important that we should know something as to the quality of the water which can be conserved. Obviously any water is useless which contains deleterious matter sufficient to render it unfit for human consumption. If it be logical to summon an engineering expert to the Bar of the House to give evidence as to the quantity of water which can be conserved at any particular site, it is equally logical to summon an analytical chemist to testify to the elements which are contained in that water. Is there any honorable member who will deny the necessity which exists for making such inquiry ? The honorable member for Macquarie pointed out last evening that a sample of the water supply at Orange had been subjected to an analytical test. Why was it not taken from the Lyndhurst water-shed? The very fact that it was obtained from Orange indicates a fear that the analyst’s report upon a sample taken from the Lyndhurst water-shed would not be satisfactory.
– The sample taken from Orange comes from a part of the Lyndhurst water-shed.
– The honorable member did not indicate that last evening.
– I informed honorable members that it was taken from one side of the Canobolas.
– But the honorable member also said that the Lyndhurst water supply would be situated upon the other side of the Canobolas. The proposition that the water can run from one side of the Canobolas into a dam upon the other, is a most remarkable one.. Personally I am not prejudiced in favour of any site. It is obvious, however, that the most important factor in connexion with any Federal Capi tal is its water supply. Without a supply of pure water no capital can be a success. In company with the honorable member for Macquarie I inspected the Lyndhurst site, and endeavoured, in the limited time at my disposal, to investigate the character of the surrounding country, and the possibilities of its water-shed.
– Order. The time for the discussion of this motion has expired. The Clerk will call on the Orders of the Day.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 28th July, vide page 3725):
Clause 2 (Determination of Seat of Government).
– As we are now in Committee on the Bill, I shall not deal further with the question which was under consideration on the motion of adjournment, but shall proceed to review the various sites proposed. I took advantage of the opportunity afforded honorable members to inspect the sites, not because I desired a mere pleasure trip, but because I felt that it was my duty as a representative of the people to personally investigate the merits of the several districts. The parliamentary tours of inspection have been most unfairly referred to by the honorable member for Macquarie as mere picnicing excursions, and the right honorable member for East Sydney has also spoken in a most reprehensible way of the “ drawing of corks” which, he suggests, took place on these occasions. I went to Tumut, and was convinced that it was unsuitable as a site for the Federal Capital. One does not need the assistance of an engineer to enable him to judge of the conformation of the country, and to ascertain the reason why fogs prevail or a humid atmosphere exists. Any man possessed of ordinary common-sense is able, from his experience, to determine these matters for himself. As the result of my inspection, I felt satisfied that the sites in the immediate neighbourhood of Tumut did not possess the characteristics essential .0 a Federal city. I recognised that Tumut” would be subject to dense fogs in winter, and that in the summer months the atmosphere would Be humid - climatic conditions that should not be associated with the Federal Capital. The water supply, however, would certainly be sufficient for all requirements. One could see the water for himself, and that is more than can be said in connexion with some of the other sites. I watched the stream of water flowing at my feet, and was almost able to calculate for myself what would be the volume available for the Capital if it were established there. I was convinced, however, that the climatic conditions would not be conducive to the health of a large population ; the country which we traversed was difficult, and the area of suitable land available was exceedingly circumscribed. I drew a mental picture of what would be the appearance of the Federal Capital on this site, considered what facilities there would be for making such parks and gardens as should be found in a Capital, and what area of suitable land would be available for its suburbs, and arrived at the conclusion that I could not support the selection of Tumut or of any of the sites in the vicinity. We then inspected Batlow, which has already been favorably commented upon, and found that its climatic conditions were distinctly superior to those prevailing at Tumut. Batlow occupies a more elevated position, and we felt that the atmosphere was altogether different. If the Capital were established there it would be sheltered from the biting winds of winter, which are so prejudicial to health ; but here again the area of undulating country available is circumscribed. There was evidence of an abundant water supply - very different from that which would be available at Lyndhurst, where a supply would have to be gathered from all parts of the district and conveyed in channels or tunnels to the Capital. At Batlow the supply would be sufficient, not merely for domestic requirements, but to provide the necessary power for heating and lighting the city and for other purposes. In three respects - namely, climatic conditions, purity of water supply, and water power available, I found that Batlow was all that could be desired ; nevertheless, it does not contain all the requirements of a Federal Capital site. In the course of this pleasure trip - because it was a pleasure, notwithstanding the discomforts of travelling, to know that one was doing his duty to his country in inspecting these sites - we visited Lyndhurst. I was in no way prejudiced against that site, but went there determined to do it full justice. Although we inspected it in the month of May, the road along which we travelled for some miles was a very dusty one. I do not wish to question the veracity of those who support the selection of this site, but we know that a man who is enthusiastically in favour of a particular district is not the best person from whom to obtain reliable information in regard to it. Such men are prone, not -wilfully, but unwittingly, to supply information that is not reliable. They look only at the bright side of the picture, and one must therefore discount their evidence. We have been told of the remarkable productiveness of the land in the neighbourhood of Lyndhurst, and I should like to mention that during my visit I made inquiries on the subject. I know good country when I see it. The honorable member for Macquarie thinks that because he was reared among pumpkins he should be regarded as an exceptionally good authority on farming. I was born and reared in a district in the old country where scientific farming, is practised, and where the occupa- tions of the farmers comprise something more substantial that the growing of pumpkins and the rearing of pigs, so that I should have some knowledge of agricultural matters. I therefore resent the suggestion of the honorable member for Macquarie that, because he was born in the Lyndhurst district, he should be better qualified to judge of the productive character of the country than is any other honorable member. In my youth I had an intimate experience of agriculture in a district where rotation of crops was practised, and where one saw truly scientific farming. I have represented a pastoral district for some years, and presume that I should not have been returned to represent the interests of the people there if I were incapable of properly voicing their aspirations and interests. I mav also mention that I have travelled all over the western district, and should therefore have some knowledge of its characteristics. In the Lyndhurst district we find undulating country, practically rolling downs, but it is certainly not good agricultural land. I am strengthened in that view by the opinions of those who lived in this district some years ago. I sought information, not from those who were specially interested in the selection of Lyndhurst, but from a source which I knew would be untainted bv personal considerations. We have been told that yields of 60 Bushels of wheat to the acre are obtainable there, but men who at one time carried on agricultural operations in the district informed me that in really good seasons they- had secured as much as 20 bushels to the acre, but that as a rule the return obtained by them was not sufficient to pay for the labour of ploughing, sowing, and harvesting, and to cover the cost of selling. That is good evidence of the agricultural possibilities of the district. The fact that, although it is within easy distance of Sydney, and is connected, bv rail with that centre of distribution, land in the district is devoted, not to agriculture, but to pastoral purposes, should be a sufficient answer to those who claim that such magnificent yields can be obtained from it. We saw paddocks which at one time had been under the plough, but had since been turned into sheep runs. As a matter of fact, the land there will carry about two sheep to five acres.
– The honorable member has destroyed the Opposition; they have all left the Chamber.
– I care not whether they are present or absent. I am speaking, not merely to honorable members, but to the people of Australia. I am responsible to my constituents only, and I intend to give adequate expression to my views. The Lyndhurst district consists of what is admittedly pastoral country, and it is decidedly uninteresting. We found a monotonous sameness about it - an utter want of picturesqueness. Here and there we saw little knolls, and a line of mountains was dimly visible in the distance, but we looked in vain for water. I wondered why those whose duty it might be considered to be to point out the special qualifications of the site did not take me to water, or show me some indications of water. Had it not been for the fact that a thoughtful, generous soul amongst us had provided us with something to drink, we should have been very thirsty whilst we were inspecting that site. I remained a day after the party left, and went over the Canobolas site. I had seen the Bathurst site the morning before, and I could not understand for the life of me why honorable members representing the district should go back upon those eligible sites in f avour of Lyndhurst. When I inspected the Canobolas site I found’ that it was picturesque, that there was good rich agricultural land there, and that the Lyndhurst site could not be compared to it. The Bathurst site also is miles ahead of the Lyndhurst site in suitability for a Federal Capital. I must admit that there is some doubt about the water supply, even at Canobolas. From the information I received. I understoood that the water supply at Orange was near “ petering out “ during the last drought, and the people were put on short rations in respect of water for domestic and other uses. That was the only doubt I had about the Canobolas site, but I did see water in its vicinity, and that redeemed it in my mind as compared to the Lyndhurst site. Some people wish to know why, as a New South Welshman, I do not advocate the site which comes nearest to the 100 miles limit from Sydney. Some- politicians may be dominated by press dictation, and may not look at this question from a Commonwealth stand-point. But in this matter I shall be guided first, not by what some persons may consider to be my duty to my own State, but by what I consider to be my duty to the Commonwealth. If any man in New South Wales tells me that, as a Federal member, I should be parochial on this question, I am prepared to argue the matter with him, but I am not prepared to bend to press domination, or the commands of certain New South Wales members, in dealing with this question. I drove over the Canobolas site, and if I had to give a vote for a site in the western district, I should give my vote every time for Orange. There is no comparison between it and the other western district sites. We left the western district sites, and travelled with the honorable member for Eden-Monaro to visit the sites in his district. I may say that I was greatly impressed by the sites which we visited in the Monaro country. The land is possibly no better agricultural land than that at the Lyndhurst site; but from the evidence of my own senses, I was satisfied that with mountains, snowfalls, and adjacent rivers, there would be an ample supply of the purest water. It is quite unnecessary that any man should be called to the Bar of the House to corroborate or verify a report to that effect concerning the Monaro sites. There is obviously room for doubt about the existence of a very important factor if it is necessary that an expert should be brought to the Bar of this House to say that it is possible to provide a water supply at an v given site. That, to my mind, is an indication of absolute weakness in the claims of that particular- site. No expert engineers’ reports are required to prove to any man visiting the Monaro sites that an ample and pure water supply is to be found there. There is, of course, a difference between the sites in the Monaro district. Some are in my opinion better than others for the purposes of a Federal
Capital. Bombala is undoubtedly a pretty site. There is ample room there for a city, and the undulating country in the vicinity supplies the elements of picturesqueness and utility. It has one or two disadvantages, but its general features come very near to what is required for the purpose we have in view. It must not be forgotten that while a good water supply may be secured at Bombala, it would have to be pumped at that site, and that that would raise the cost.
– That cost would not pay the interest on the cost of providing a water supply for Lyndhurst.
– I am prepared to admit that. If we required water power, as ‘well as an ordinary water supply for the inhabitants of the Federal Capital, the cost at Bombala would be considerable. The first feature to be looked for in choosing a site is the water supply, and that feature requires to be analyzed. We must know the source of the supply, the volume of water, its purity, and the cost involved in providing an adequate supply. I admit that a water supply, sufficient for a city of 50,000 inhabitants could be secured at Bombala at a medium cost, but that does not meet all that I think necessary. I should like to have water power provided if it could be supplied economically. Although the honorable member for Eden-Monaro diligently explained the advantages of the sites in his electorate, I could quite realize that at Bombala we should be likely to suffer to some extent from biting winds in the winter time. Climate is, of course, one of the features which must be considered in connexion with these sites, and there are varying degrees of climate, which must -be compared. We must take all the essential features of a site and ascertain the extent to which each is met by different sites, if we are to arrive at a proper decision. In the matter of eligibility, as a site for a Federal Capital, I admit that Bombala presented some elements which were not presented by sites I had previously visited. We drove out some ten miles from Bombala in order to obtain some knowledge as to whence the Capital, if established at that site, would draw its food supply. I was perfectly satisfied with the land that I saw. The area was somewhat circumscribed, but the land was. really good agricultural land. It is not at present utilized to any extent, because it is too far from a market. When, in dealing with the agricultural possibilities of various sites, the honorable member for Macquarie submitted a comparison of the areas under cultivation in each district, he neglected to mention that distance from a market has prevented agricultural development at many of the suggested sites. He omitted to say that the land in the neighbourhood of the Tooma site could not be profitably used, except for the growth of fodder, to meet times of drought, the cost of carrying agricultural produce to the railway, in the first instance, being very great, and the railway freight upon that produce to the market being also prohibitive. I can say, without fear of contradiction, that if the Eden-Monaro district had a railway, bv which the people there could get their produce expeditiously to market, the percentage of land under cultivation in that district would exceed the percentage which the honorable member for Macquarie quoted for the district around Lyndhurst. The character of the country adjacent to the Capital Site, in respect of its productiveness and its capabilities of providing the necessaries of life economically, is an important aspect. I contend that one essential feature of any town or city is that its people shall have the necessaries of life at first-hand,’ instead of having to purchase them through middlemen. All the products necessary for sustaining human life should be grown as near to the city as possible. In this respect i recognise that the country adjacent to Bombala has much to recommend it. It struck me as being very peculiar that when we were driving down to the locality we should have been met not only by a large number of the residents, but also by a large number of cattle which evidently had come to welcome the Federal party ! Their presence was a clear indication of what the country would produce and support. As an illustration of its fattening qualifications, this herd of cattle was a revelation to me. There is one point about the Bombala site, and other sites, which has not been touched upon in a practical way, although it is an essential qualification in connexion with the Federal city, namely, the provision that can be made for sanitation. In addition to a clear and plentiful water supply, it is absolutely necessary that we should have an efficient system of sanitation. As one who has taken an active part in municipal affairs, and who has studied the question in the newer suburbs in New South Wales, where the initiatory difficulties of a sewerage system have had to be faced, I am naturally interested in this- aspect of the subject. There is only one economical method of disposing of the sewage of a great city, and that is bymeans of a sewerage farm. Consequently, one point that has to be carefully considered in connexion with establishing the city is whether we have in its vicinity land capable of absorbing the sewage matter, and thereby converting what would otherwise be a nuisance into a beneficial factor in the administration of the city’s affairs. We want to be sure that when we establish our sanitary system, we do not run any risk of polluting the very stream from which we receive our water supply. Possibly in the future engineers will discover better means of disposing of sewage matter than have been discovered in the past. Probably we shall learn to treat it by means of electricity. That will remove some of the difficulties that have presented themselves to engineers hitherto. As far as I could see at Bombala, the water supply, having to be drawn from a river adjacent to the proposed site for the Federal city, would be in danger of contamination by the establishment of a sewerage farm within the area. Under the guidance of the honorable member for- Eden-Monaro, I had the pleasure of inspecting the district, and it struck me that, this was one drawback which, as a practical man, I could not get over.
– That objection would apply to all the proposed sites.
– I hope to show that it does not apply to all of them. The success of a municipal sewage farm is largely determined by the quality of the soil into which the sewerage matter is poured. That a well conducted sewerage farm is a source of profit is illustrated in the case of Melbourne. I saw this system worked in the old country, before I came to Australia, and worked in such a way that, instead of the sanitation of a city being a continual source of annoyance to the city corporation, by means of a properly equipped and economically managed sewerage farm, thev had made it a source of revenue, which reduced the taxation of the people. From this point of view, the sewerage farm method is, I maintain, the best and most commendable that can be adopted. On the tour to which I have alluded, we visited Delegate. Delegate is one of the sites which was submitted to the last Parliament. It is in many ways a very good site. The surrounding country is rather better than at either Bombala or Dalgety. There is more agricultural land. But the formation of the country is not of such a character as to commend it as an ideal spot for a Capital city. Further than that, the water supply would have to be secured by means of the obnoxious method of dams. I do not believe in a water supply that is secured by damming. A large city requires for human consumption a supply of pure running water,, and, from this point of view the damming of water in a large body, which sometimes becomes stagnant, is not wise or beneficial. Further than that, I calculate that the climate at Delegate would be rather warm in the summer time, judging by the latitude and the position of the site. Travelling further, we set out to Dalgety. It was rather a tedious journey. In fact, we did meet with some hardships on these Federal “ picnics.” as they have been called. The driver of the vehicle in which I travelled lost his way ; and had it not been that a man came to look for us with a lantern, Heaven knows where we should have got to ! I might not have been here at this moment to give my impressions as to the qualifications of the various sites. But, finally, we got to our journey’s end, as determined men generally do. The following morning we were treated by the honorable and learned member for Corio to an illustration of what it is possible for a man to do in country of that description. Before we entered upon our expedition, the honorable and learned member undertook to ford the Snowy River early in the morning with bare feet. Seeing that his garments were not wet when he returned, I concluded that his feat afforded a practical illustration as to the flow of water in the river at that particular time. I do not know’ whether his object was to afford such an illustration, but certainly that was the effect of his achievement. The country around Dalgety is not so good as the country at Bombala, and certainly not nearly so good as the country at Delegate. As we travelled, we encountered huge granite boulders on the surface of the soil. Thev reminded me of the kopjes in South Africa, behind which the Boers used to take shelter. Looking at the country from the stand-point of defence, I thought that it would be an ideal spot for the shelter of our troops if we ever had to encounter an enemy in the vicinity. But those granite outcrops indicated the character of the country. Granite country is not good country from an agricultural point of view. One did not, therefore, come to a favorable conclusion as to the possibilities of the soil, because the character of the soil is to a large extent indicated by its apparent composition. From the point of view of beauty, the surroundings at Dalgety were magnificent. There is a panorama on every side. It is a perfect beauty spot from an artist’s stand-point. From every aspect a pleasant view meets the eye. The landscape makes the beholder almost long to live in the locality. With the Snowy River running close at hand, the site possesses many of -the most important essentials for a Federal city. When I saw it I felt that I had at last arrived at a place where I was sure that ths Federal Parliament could advantageously determine to settle. There was no stagnant dam of water there, but a constant stream, fed from the purest source, namely, the heavens and the melting snows. These are important elements in its favour. I recognise that it is necessary to establish the Federal city at a place 1 where there will be something to attract the tourist and the visitor - a place that will be a sanatorium, a place for rest and recuperation to those who live in the arid districts - a place to which persons in other parts of the continent will be inclined to travel for purposes of health and sightseeing. I quite agree, with the right honorable member for East Sydney that, we cannot live on scenery, not even on such scenery as Mount Kosciusko presents. But I would remind him that on the other hand it is not desirable that we should locate the Federal Capital at a dull place, where there is nothing whatever of interest, and nothing that would make the visitor desire to return, or long to remain. We certainly must pay regard to the element of picturesqueness. Dalgety possesses, to a very large degree, those features which would be- likely to attract visitors. Means of communication is another of the important features. Much has been made of it by the honorable member for Macquarie, who urges that because the establishment of the Federal city at Lyndhurst would not involve an expenditure of more than ^50,000 for railway connexions, honorable members should therefore select that site. But it is not a question of how many miles of railway would have to be constructed, but rather of whether, when the railway is constructed, the returns will be sufficient to pay interest and create a sinking fund. If New South Wales, or any other State, had been guided by the principle the honorable member advocates, this vast continent would not have been interlaced with railways. We have had to consider the possibilities which might accrue from their construction, and our wise predecessors in the administration of public affairs have acted in the main correctly, and largely for the benefit of the State. The lack of communication may raise to some extent a difficulty in the case of some sites as compared with others. I admit that Lyndhurst has accessibility, but I cannot admit that that should be allowed to overrule all other considerations. I cannot honestly say that Lyndhurst possesses fully any other of the features which are essential to the site for a Federal Capital. We know that railway communication could be provided from Cooma to Dalgety. It is also desired to have a through railway connexion. People from Victoria, South Australia, and other States desire to be able, to go direct to the Federal Capital, and not to be obliged to travel by a circuitous route. The connexion of that site with the Victorian railway system would involve a very large expenditure. But, in fairness to the site and its advocates, it should be said that the question to be considered is not so much the expenditure of money as the character of the country through which the railway would pass, and whether it would be an acquisition to the State and the Commonwealth when constructed. We are dealing with a matter which involves far larger issues than some men who talk very glibly about it appear to recognise. I have not gone into the details which have to be considered before one can arrive at an honest and just conclusion. The reports of this historical discussion will be read when we have passed away, and the wisdom or unwisdom of our choice will be criticised for generations to come. I do not wish my name to be linked with those who have jumped to a conclusion. There are many elements to be considered. We have to judge the sites from the standpoints of climate, soil, quantity and purity of water supply, accessibility, picturesqueness, and general adaptability. We have to consider, not only those questions, but the cost of resuming the lands, and not their intrinsic value only, but also their prospective productive value. Leaving the Bombala sites, the Coolringdon site, eight miles from Cooma, is very eligible from one standpoint. It has advantages from the standpoint of railway communication. A supply of water might be got from two sources - from the Murrumbidgee. and the mountains adjacent. This site is not so precipitous as the others. It is slightly undulating in character, and larger in area and scope. It resembles a large table-land more than anything else. And from the stand-point of accessibility it is far preferable to the Lyndhurst site. If we are to judge the quality of these sites and their claim to our support from that stand-point, the Coolringdon site is as good as,- if not preferable to, the site which has .been eulogized by the honorable member for Macquarie. I ask honorable members who intend to vote for the Lyndhurst site, because it could be cheaply connected with a railway .system, to- pay due regard to the claims of Coolringdon. Having dealt as minutely as I can with the sites, I come to the last visit we paid. to the Tooma site. I had no intention of going to see the site, but I felt that, notwithstanding a promise I had made to return to my home, it was an imperative duty on my part to make the visit in order .that I might be able to come to a right conclusion. Our journey to Tooma was not made under pleasant conditions; the companionship was pleasant, but the trials of the trip were disagreeable. To drive seventy miles in one day is not an agreeable undertaking” in this weather. AU along the line we found food for reflection, and the outlook was most interesting. The climate was very invigorating, and as I drank in the pure atmosphere I wondered why any country of that character should be unoccupied. My common sense soon supplied me with an answer. I quickly perceived’ that it was unprofitable to occupy the country, owing to the difficulty of getting products to market. I then began to ask myself, “ By whom is this country occupied?” I instituted an inquiry as to the number of landholders between Germanton and Tooma, and I found that for a distance of seventy miles the- country was practically held” 5y seven firms or families. I then asked myself, “ Why, and for how long, have these families held this country?” I thought that, perhaps, it might have only recently come into their possession by reason of the failure of the previous holders. I found, However, that the land was so good that its holders did not wish to let it go. I discovered that they could find in Australia no better or more profitable place on which to pitch their tents. Why had they no desire to sell this land, which was the pick of New South Wales ? Because it provided them with a handsome income at a minimum of expenditure. From the carriage window as we travelled through thecountry we looked at beautiful scenery instead of at ring-barked timber. In the Lyndhurst district, one cannot see even a forest reserve, or a place where timber could be conserved. Every tree has been ringbarked. Why ? Because every blade of grass that can be grown is needed for the succour of stock in summer and winter. The timber has been destroyed by the hungry pastoralists, who are always ready to sweep away a forest, and to sweep away with it, as they often do, wealth far greater than the value of the land which they clear, or of its products for years to come. We can judge of the character of a country by the trees which it grows in the . same way as we can judge of the character of a man by his stature. The character of a country is delineated in that way. Yet when we go to Lyndhurst we find only inferior timber, and notice the absence of those elements which would indicate that its soil is capable of supporting a large population. Travelling towards the Tooma site, I was not prepared for the surprise which I experienced. I was surprised to find that at half -past 9 o’clock at night the cold did not make a person shrink towards the fire, or bring into use a top-coat or a rug, but invigorated him. That indicates the temperature and the character of the climate. On rising next morning, although there was ice on the shallow waters adjacent, my comrades and I, who had to turn out in our pyjamas to replenish our water supply, instead of being benumbed by the cold, felt fresh enough to take a good long walk. That is the kind of temperature that I like to find in a country - one which braces up and invigorates a man. It is a climate like that which produces the . characteristics which we desire to see in our population. Next morning we climbed to the top of a mountain called Bald Knob, I think, and although I admired the scenery of the Dalgety site, it is nothing to the panoramic view spread out before, us on the occasion of which I. am now speaking. I saw then the ideal site for the Australian Capital, a site which the artist could paint, and the poet could sing about. Honorable members opposite would have no trouble in securing the selection of Lyndhurst if it possessed such scenery. We all marvelled at the beauty of the prospect. Returning, we had a day’s journey of eighty miles, because the Parliament of this great Commonwealth could not afford to allow its members to acquire information on this momentous question unless they travelled at top speed. Therefore, we missionaries who were looking for a site had to hurry along as fast as we could. We had really to submit to a sort of martyrdom, such as the Government should not have expected us to undergo, and therefore we did not make our examination of the district under the most favorable circumstances. We had not sufficient time to photograph the scenery with our eyes, and imprint it upon our memories. But I - and I think every other member of the expedition was equally zealous - used all my opportunities to the best advantage. At Welaregang we passed through beautiful undulating country - country somewhat, resembling that of Lyndhurst, but quite different in character. Beyond it is a fine panorama of hills. Then we saw the rich Murray flats. There is no denying the fertility of the land on the banks of the Murray, and the undulating country behind it is also capable of high production, if properly cultivated, as it would be if the Federal Capital were located in the district. In the matter of water supply, there is the Murray, which winds its way through the landscape, its glassy surface being seen here and there as one’s eye travels over the prospect ; the Tooma River, the Tumberumba Creek, and several other creeks which come from the Snowy Mountains, bearing with them pure, undiluted, and ever-running water. We ought not to choose a site whose water supply will be derived from dams. The records show that townships which are so supplied are visited periodically, and almost annually, with epidemics of typhoid, diphtheria, and other diseases. We ought not, if by the exercise of a wise discretion we can avoid doing so, to locate the Capital where the people will have to depend for their water supply upon storage reservoirs. I am not influenced in this matter by the- hope of gaining votes, or by the fear of losing them. If there were a proposed site in my constituency, and it were one which I did not think the best, having regard to the interests of the whole Commonwealth, I should vote against it, even though I knew that by doing so I should lose my seat in Parliament, and the paltry living wage of ^400 a year, which practically provides us with only enough to keep us out of the workhouse.. I am not a surveyor. I could not take a theodolite or other instrument and measure the heights of the hills, or determine the fall of the water-courses. But I am a man of common sense and clear perception, and when I see streams which are fed by 900 square miles of snow-covered mountains, I know that the district through which they flow is provided with an endless supply of pure water. Surely a man can believe his own eyes, and rely on his own judgment in such a case. But I do not object to the Government authorizing the most minute investigation into the merits of the Tooma site. I feel sure that if such an investigation is made the district will be shown to be even a better one than I have described it to be. I am no more afraid of the production of an expert’s report on the Tooma site than a man who is guiltless would be afraid of an investigation into his character. Knowing the advantages possessed by the site, I welcome such a report. But, although experts may put before us scientific calculations, and statements of quantities, volumes, heights, and so on, I shall never be guided entirely by their judgment. I have seen too many monuments to the incapacity of experts to be ready to sink my own judgment. In the electorate which I represented in the New South Wales Parliament, ^32,000 was absolutely wasted by experts who were without practical knowledge of the conditions under which their work was being done.
– Where ?
– An attempt was made to divert the water from the Big River, in the Moree district, into the billabongs and dry creeks lower down, in order to supply a large area of waterless country. A weir was therefore constructed at great cost, and the work was -splendidly carried out. lt- was a credit to the. men who were responsible for it. But the experts who designed it forgot that they were dealing with black soil country having a gravelly bottom, with the result that the first flood washed the whole thing away, and thousands of pounds were wasted. Facts like that make one careful about accepting implicitly the statements of experts. “Once bitten, twice shy.”
Personally, I shall never take the opinion of experts unless it is corroborated by that of other experts, and commends itself to my own judgment. It does not matter to me whether the Capital is located on the borders of Victoria or somewhere near Queensland. Accessibility is, of course, a consideration, but it is not the chief consideration. In time to come the artificial boundaries between the States will be swept away. Why, then, should we not put aside all parochial considerations, and regard the question with a broad sweep of view, as one affecting the future of a great nation? If honorable members wish to rise to the position of patriots, they will not be guided by parochial considerations, and they will not pass judgments upon sites which they have not seen. It is always the man who knows least who is the most confident. But those who have not taken advantage of the opportunities afforded by the Government to visit the various proposed sites, and are governed by the narrow parochial views of the press in their own States, are not the men who can be trusted to come to a right decision on this question.
– I have always been taught to watch the man who boasts of his own honesty.
– I, ami not. boasting of my honesty ; I have never had need to do so. If the honorable member occupies a different position, he has my sympathy. I have never had to parade my honesty, and I hope that I shall never have to do so.
– The honorable member has been parading it for the last half -hour.
– I do not think that any impartial member will say that I have tried to be unjust to any one, but it will not redound to the credit of honorable members if they vote for a site which they have not personally inspected. I challenge anybody who has visited the Tooma site to say that it does not fulfil all essential conditions. I claim that it is in every way suited to the purposes of a Federal Capital. There is adequate land surrounding it to permit of the erection of suburban residences, and the soil itself is capable of producing everything that is necessary for the support of a city. At very little cost, a series of artificial lakes could be constructed, with a view to beautifying the Capital. Rows of trees could be planted for the purpose of affording shelter in the summer, and flowers could be grown in abundance. In the immediate vicinity the snow-clad mountains rise before one as far as the eye can reach. It is possible to gaze at those mountains, with the sun glistening upon them, at one moment, and immediately afterwards to turn round and behold orange trees growing to perfection. Do honorable members require any otherproof of the excellence of the climate ? In determining the location of a Capital Site, it is important that we should know which way the wind blows.
– The political wind?
– I took the precaution to ascertain which way the wind blows at Tooma, both in the winter and in the summer. The climate is admirable, and the country and its surroundings are beautiful. Do we not all understand what constitutes the main attraction of the watering places of the British Isles? Is it riot the scenery; and is not that attraction world-wide? If we select the Welaregang site, there will be no need for tourists from the old world to visit New Zealand or Tasmania in search of beauty spots. They will be able to spend their leisure at the Seat of the Federal Government. Of course, I am thinking of the stream of visitors who will continue to be attracted to Australia when we shall have passed away, when our population shall have learned how to till the soil, how to apply scientific methods to production, and when land which is now regarded as valueless shall have become one of our best assets. There will then be millions of people settled upon our territory, where today there are only thousands. I have endeavoured faithfully to outline a picture - a perfect picture, perfect because it is that “ of Nature - of the Welaregang site. It pre.sents a scene such as no painter ever transferred to canvas. It must be seen to be appreciated. So far as sanitation is concerned, provision could easily be made there for the establishment of a sewerage farm without any fear of the water supply becoming contaminated. Further, I will undertake to say that any railway which is constructed to that site will practically pay from the outset. Consequently, that question presents no difficulties. But there is still another feature upon which ‘we might well bestow our attention. The surrounding country presents vast mineral possibilities. Tumut and Tumberumba have already produced, and are still producing, a large quantity of gold. We all know that wherever alluvial gold has been washed down valleys between mountains, it is only a matter of time when the source of the deposits will be discovered. Mr. Holtermann, who was a mining expert, and who made so much money at Hill End, was so convinced of the existence of auriferous reefs in this locality that before he died he had, by means of a tunnel, penetrated into a hill a distance of 600 feet, in an endeavour to cut some of these reefs. That work only stopped with his decease. If by the construction of a railway to the Tooma site we can open up avenues of employment which will recoup the Treasury for the money expended, and at the same time impart a stimulus to mining, that consideration should constitute another of its recommendations. I am not here to favour or to seek favour from any one. I am not here to placate any honorable member, but to do my duty according to my lights, and to express as plainly as possible the views which I hold, so that they may be recorded for future reference by those who may have hereafter to criticise my actions. The resumption of the land in this district would be a profitable undertaking. In the territory which I favour we should have a large area of productive land. In dealing with this question we have to consider not so much the price of the land as its productivity. The true value of land can be determined only in that way. It is better to pay £5 per acre for land, 100 acres of which is sufficient to support a man and his family, than to pay £2 10s. for a tract of country, on 1,000 acres of which it would not be possible for a man to make a living for himself and those dependent on him. In dealing with this question we must look into every detail, and consider all the elements that are essential to a Federal Capital. If we do, we shall come to a satisfactory decision; if, on the other hand, we are guided only by ex. parte statements, I fear that an error will be committed. I have done my best to impartially place before the Committee the views that I hold, and I fear no report that may be asked for in reference to the territory which I favour. The honorable member for North Sydney, when discussing this question last week, referred to the possibility of beautifying a district by artificial means, and spoke of what England had accomplished in this direction. Does not that suggest that the honorable member has in view a site in which it would be necessary to endeavour by artificial means to make good in some respects the natural beauty that it lacks?
– I do not know of any such site.
– Will any one tell me that any effort on the part of man could supply the equivalent of natural beauty? Nature cannot be successfully imitated. Natural, rather than artificial, beauties, constitute the chief attractions of England. I know, of course, that they have many magnificent gardens and parks in the old land, for I have visited them myself ; but none of them compare with the’ natural scenery with, which the Almighty has blessed the, country. No snow-capped mountain ridge meets the eye of the visitor to Lyndhurst. Could the honorable member for North Sydney supply that deficiency? Lyndhurst gives no promise of even great artificial possibilities. We should certainly not be able to make any artificial lakes in the district - a feature which would be sadly missed. Those who urge that any deficiency in natural beauty may be made good by art cannot mean what they say, or if they do they have given no consideration to the cost that would be- involved in supplying even a poor imitation. In conclusion, I earnestly and sincerely appeal to honorable members to endeavour to do that which will redound to our credit, and to lay aside all parochial considerations. If honorable members have not seen the site which I have just described, there is yet time for them to do so before we arrive at a determination. Those who have neglected every opportunity to inspect these sites, and are disposed to support the selection of a district merely because it is in the vicinity of Sydney - quite unmindful of its disadvantages - should pause before they give their vote. The Sydney press appears to echo the statements made by certain politicians in this House. It is marvellous how the echoes of this debate are heard in New South Wales. We are told in the Sydney press that representatives of New South Wales are fighting against the interests of that State ; but I care not for the press of Sydney, or of any other place, nor shall I have regard to any party consideration in dealing with this question. I have a duty to perform, and shall do it even at the peril of losing my seat in this Chamber. Whatever may be the result, I shall have the satisfaction of knowing that I have endeavoured to do my duty to my constituents, to the State from which I come, and to the Commonwealth ; and with that knowledge I shall be happier than will be those who have not endeavoured to deal with this question on broad and general lines.
– It is not usual for an honorable member to compliment the speaker who has just preceded him, but I could not proceed to discuss this question without referring to the magnificent, eloquent, poetic, and graphic speech which has just been made by the honorable member for Gwydir. Happy should we be if every honorable member who went forth to inspect the Capital Sites had something of the, vision and the faculty divine to see as he saw, and to describe as he has described, the districts which we visited. We all feel grateful to the honorable member for his earnest, able, graphic, and impartial estimate of the various sites which have been submitted for our inspection, and from which we have now to make a selection. There are one or two points, which have not yet been touched upon, notwithstanding all that we have heard.
– As with the Queen of Sheba, the half has not been told.
– Exactly. I wish to take a retrospective view, and to ask the Committee to look back at the experience of the world. In dealing with this question we are not groping in the dark ; we have the experience’ of the world for our guidance. It has been said again and again that the Federal Capital will be a small and insignificant city, and Washington is the model which has been continually held up to our view. I do not think that this is correct. I believe that the Federal Capital will be a great city, and that we should make provision for a much larger population than is generally anticipated. It is bound to be not only the political, but the social centre of Australian society. That is the opinion which I have formed from a review of the experiences of the world. I look back at the capital of my own native land, Edinburgh, to me the prettiest city in the world - the modern Athens, far surpassing ancient Athens. Prior to the union of Scotland with England, and to the removal of the Parliament to London, Edinburgh had a galaxy of witty men and pretty women, a society of which no other country in Europe could boast the like. With the removal of the Legislature to
London, that society left, and the grand old residences of Murray House and Holyrood were given over to vagrants and to rats. Doubtless a new Edinburgh has arisen on the site of the old, but the great lesson we learn is this : _ that when the legislative power was shifted to London, our gentry and money-spending medium went with it, with the result that the grand old mansions have gone into disrepair, and are now the habitation of rats. When I look at Dublin I see exactly the same state of affairs. Donnybrook, which is now a by-word for all that is rowdy and tatterdemalion, was once the centre of the bright, witty, sparkling society of Ireland. When the Irish Parliament was taken away, the Irish gentry followed their legislators to London, and that part of one of the brightest cities in the world has been depopulated of its society. When 1 speak of society, I mean not that lackadaisical dilettanteism which indulges in afternoon teas and dinner parties, but the society which makes a nation - its literature, its art, its law, and its politics. All these went with the removal of the capital. The deduction that I wish to draw from these facts is that the Federal Capital will be the centre of society. The representative of the Crown will reside there. This will doubtless be a great source of attraction, and the city will become a very large and important one. We must consequently take care that the area is not circumscribed. It is for this reason that I think that the site which was last described in the excellent speech of the honorable member for Gwydir would provide the greatest accommodation for a large, important, beautiful, and great centre of Australian life - the centre of all that is highest and best and noblest in our civilization. There are other considerations which must not be forgotten. There is the natural beauty of environment which Bombala possesses as well as the series of natural fortifications which are to be found round it. We know that nowadays it is unwise that the capital should be a seaport town, in view of the great facilities for bombardment, and the old sentiment still remains, that if the capital has fallen, the country is captured. We should see to it . that our city, wherever it be, is not on the seaboard. It must not be exposed to the danger of bombardment, but must be supplied with a series’ of natural fortifications that will make it impregnable. The city where the archives of our nationality will be preserved should be one in which we shall be able to hold out against all-comers. This is one of the advantages possessed by the site described by my honorable friend, the Eden revivified, which he has depicted. It is for this reason that I return to my first love, Bombala, and find i” it advantages which no other site possesses. It has a port at a respectable distance, and would certainly be beyond the reach of even the most accurate long-distance guns on vessels entering the harbor. The series of natural fortifications along the road which we traversed would make it simply impregnable, no matter how strong the foe might be. We should find there the natural means of protection which exist in South Africa, for between the coast and the town of Bombala there are kopjes and other natural fortifications which would make it possible for the capital to hold out against any enemy. Then, again, it possesses other advantages. It has been said that accessibility is a very important feature, but I go further, and say that it is the all-important feature. Some honorable members appear to me to be considering the selection of a Federal Capital Site to meet the existing requirements of the Federation ; but it ought not to be forgotten that this Commonwealth is but in its infancy, and what its future proportions may be no man can accurately prophesy. One needs not to be a prophet to say that this Federation will never be complete until New Zealand is in it. That result may not be brought about immediately ; but that there will be some kind of federation in respect of Defence, Customs, and such matters, between New Zealand and Australia is as certain as that to-morrow’s sun will rise. This should not be overlooked in considering the important feature of accessibility. In this view the Bombala and the Upper Murray sites are unquestionably the most central. We know that electricity is certain to be the great force of the future, and an indispensable requirement of the Federal Capital Site is a cheap and ready means of generating that force. If it has to be generated by coal it is most expensive ; but if the generating force is water we can have electric light and power provided in the cheapest possible manner. The only two sites which provide the water power necessary for generating electricity are Bombala and the site on the Upper Murray. In each of these cases it would be practically drawn from Mount Kosciusko: I trust that honorable members will not overlook the element of accessibility, and that, in making their selection of a site for the Federal Capital, they will contemplate a partnership of the Commonwealth with New Zealand at no distant date. I am sure that every rational and fair-minded overture made in that direction will meet with a ready response from the people of New Zealand. I have said that the site chosen should be naturally impregnable and capable of defence without the risk of great loss of human life. If these important qualifications are borne in mind the selection must lie between Bombala and Tooma. I have not seen the latter site, but I have had the privilege of inspecting the Bombala site. The elements essential for the support of a great city - and I believe the Federal Capital will be a great city - are to be found at the site of my first choice, Bombala. I am free to admit that my affections have been somewhat won by the descriptions of the .Upper Murray site to which I have listened. I wish that I had been able to avail myself of the opportunity afforded to honorable members to visit that site. I hope that honorable members will not allow any provincialism or any State antipathies to influence their choice. If they do the child’ unborn may yet rue the selection made today. In my opinion there are only the two places which, from the point of view of science, sociology, and common sense, are entitled to be considered in ‘ selecting the future Federal Capital. I have not yet wavered in my affection for Eden ; its very name suggests an ideal site.
– We were turned out of Eden.
– That is so, but we found another Eden in Edinburgh, and if in Australia we can improve upon that we shall have the ideal city, the golden city, and may it be, if not the Eternal City, a lasting city. But we should view -this matter seriously and soberly, and in view of New Zealand forming a part of our great federation, Eden port will be about as near the centre of the Federation, from the point of view of accessibility, as we can get. It has been said that we require an agricultural area for the Federal Territory. We do not require an agricultural area; what we need is- a horticultural area, and I have’ seen no better horticultural area than the district around Bombala. Something has been said about the grazing properties of that district, and I need only say that the stock it produces is a guarantee as to that. I ask honorable members to remember the essential elements required, and to rid themselves of petty provincial jealousies. We have no objection to the selection being expedited as much as possible, but we deprecate undue haste. Time is not wasted in making necessary inquiries, and in that connexion we should all be very thankful, especially to the honorable member for Hume, for the opportunities afforded honorable members to visit the various sites suggested, that they might not give a vote in the dark. I am sure the honorable gentleman made arrangements for those visits purely in ‘the interests of the selection of the most suitable site. Personally, I can say that he has never in any way sought to influence me to vote for a particular site. Victoria and New South Wales are not the only States concerned in the selection we make. We should remember the long distances which honorable members representing Western Australia and Queensland will have to come, and the dreary railway journeys they must make. In their interests we should see that the site selected is as central as possible, and we should not forget that it is important to know which line of railway with a uniform gauge would be most profitable. I am convinced that if all the elements to which I have referred are taken into account, and the question is dealt with impartially and without prejudice or provincialism, the choice must lie between the Upper Murray and the EdenMonaro sites.
– I understood that there was no intention to go to a division on the clause to-day. Many honorable members who wish to speak have gone away with that understanding. I shall occupy more than the half-an-hour that is left to us, and, if possible, I should prefer not to speak to-day. I am aware that the honorable member for Grampians is also very anxious to speak before any decision is come to. I hope the Government will not allow the clause to go to a division when there is such a small attendance of honorable members.
– It is not proposed now to ballot for particular. sites.
– If we pass clause 2 there will be no necessity for a ballot. It would be altogether against the general understanding to go to a division on this clause to-day. I know that requests have , been made that there should be twenty-four hours’ notice given before a division is taken. We might as well adjourn now. I do not wish to commence a speech to-day, and finish on Tuesday. I should prefer to say all I have to say on the same day. The honorable member for Gwydir has made a most eloquent speech, and one which has been unequalled in this debate, and other honorable members are not inclined to proceed to-day.
– I agree with the honorable member for Hume that as. a division is not to be taken to-day the clause cannot be passed as it stands. I wish to know f 10m the Government what procedure they intend to adopt with regard to the amendment that will be necessary if we are to substitute another site for that which is mentioned in the Bill? Is it proposed that all the words after “ shall be “ be omitted, creating a blank which will be rilled up by another name; or, is it intended to substitute another site forthwith? There must be an opportunity to make sure that the site which is finally inserted is supported by a majority of the House. If the Government have made up their minds as to the procedure to be adopted, it is just as well that they should inform the Committee.
– The Government do not ask the Committee to come to a division to-day, but as we have not yet reached the ordinary adjournment hour, so long as honorable members are prepared to speak up to 4 o’clock, we shall be glad if they will express their views. It seems to me that the simplest and best method of ascertaining the opinion of the House would be to continue the discussion on the motion that the clause bs agreed to. When the debate has exhausted itself, progress will be reported, and on the following day we shall take a ballot in the House. If we were to adopt the course mentioned by the honorable member for North Sydney, and to strike out the words after “be” in the second line of the clause, it would be impossible afterwards to re-insert the words if it were desired to do so. Therefore, we do not propose to strike them out. So long as honorable members are prepared to continue the discussion upon the sites they will be allowed to do so. But (here will be no actual division in Committee upon the clause. The decision will be postponed until a-ballot has taken place in the House. When a decision is arrived at, discussion will be resumed in Committee, and the site determined upon by ballot will be inserted.
– Do the Government propose to postpone the clause now ?
– No. If no honorable member desires to continue the discussion, progress will be reported.
– We should understand that reporting progress does not mean the closing of the debate.
– We do not suggest closing the debate to-day.
House adjourned at 3.40 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 29 July 1904, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1904/19040729_reps_2_21/>.