2nd Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Mr. DEAKIN presented a petition from the Women’s Christian Temperance Union of Australasia, praying the House to prohibit the introduction, sale, and manufacture of intoxicating liquors in British New Guinea.
Petition received and read.
Mr. CARPENTER presented a similar petition from the Women’s Christian Temperance Union of Western Australia.
Mr. JOHNSON presented a similar petition from the Women’s Christian Temperance Union of Queensland.
Mr. McWILLIAMS presented a similar petition from the Women’s Christian Temperance Union of Tasmania.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice - 1.Is it a fact that the letter-carriers of Victoria were paid a salary at the rate of£132 per annum for the month ending 31st of July ? .
– The following replies have been furnished by the Public Service Commissioner : -
asked the Postmaster-General,upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows: -
Yes, except at Port Darwin and Pine Creek, where medical services can be obtained.
asked the Prime Minister,upon notice -
What amounts do the Government pay for rations daily per head in -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
Yes, the rate for the last financial year was 1s. per diem, but for the year 1904-5, it is gd.
In accordance with the regulations, and with the practice for years past, the rate of commuted allowance in lieu of rations is determined by the contract price of rations ; and such contract price for the year 1904-5 is 8’6d.
asked the Postmaster-
General, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows: -
The Postmaster-General is not in possession of any information respecting the matter referred to, but inquiry is being made with a view to obviate any unnecessary delay in the transmission of correspondence addressed to Boulder City.
– I move-
That, in the opinion of this House, the existing
Customs Tariff is unscientific in its operation and mischievous in its effects; and that, with a special view to the promotion of the agricultural and manufacturing industries and the more settled employment of all classes of workers, a readjustment of its incidence on some of its leading lines is highly desirable.
In submitting the motion to the consideration of honorable members, I desire, in the first place, to draw attention to the declaration which it contains as to the unscientific and mischievous character of the Australian Tariff. That declaration I propose to prove by the submission of evidence which I trust will convince the most exacting, while I shall, at the same time, point the way to corroborative facts which earnest inquirers may easily discover for themselves. But before doing so, I wish, for a moment or two, to recall some of the most noteworthy circumstances under which the first Tariff was framed. When the members of the first Federal Parliament assembled, most of us were unknown to each other. We had each been used to the particular business methods of the State from which we came, and were inclined to regard with more or less suspicion those adopted by the other States, while mutual concession was almost entirely absent. Some honorable members represented a State which had practically no Customs Tariff, others represented States whose Customs duties were said to be very low, while the Tariff of the State’ a constituency of which I have the honour to represent was declared to be a high Tariff. Thus we had a House composed of free-traders, revenuetariffists, and protectionists, each and all jealous of the other, and each striving to impress upon the Tariff their particular views. The result has been what might have been expected, namely, dissatisfaction to every one concerned. We had free-traders asking for revenue only. Then there were farmers’ representatives who were quite content that duties of 60, 70, or 80 per cent, should be imposed upon the products from their districts, whilst they were willing to give the manufacturers of the implements used by their constituents the benefit of only 10 or 12 per cent, duties. We had labour representatives who advocated a White Australia policy, and objected to the introduction of contract labour, but who were at the same time quite prepared to agree to, and, indeed, helped to bring about, conditions which permitted of the introduction of the products of black labour and sweated workmen. “Under these circumstances, I think I am correct in saying that the Tariff ultimately became a thing of shreds and patches, which no one was willing to father, or disposed to speak of with anything like pride. The effect of whittling away what little protection we had by the combined operations of the labour free-traders on the one side, and of the ardent free-traders on the other, who forgot, if they ever sought to keep, the compact, “ revenue without destruction,” has been to bring about a most unsatisfactory condition of affairs. The farmers’ representatives, who thought that they would help their constituents by imposing high duties upon the products grown in their district, whilst cutting down the duties upon the implements they used, have succeeded only in injuring the home market. The advocates of a White Australia, who were opposed to the introduction of contract labour, have failed to provide work for those whose interests they sought to advance, because, as I think I shall prove, the result of their policy has been to provide additional employment for Japanese, Javanese, and other foreigners, whom we should least desire to support. The motion affirms that the Tariff is unscientific in its operation. I say that advisedly, because when the Tariff was under consideration, we did several things which, in my judg ment, tended to make it unscientific. For instance, we attempted to levy duties in accordance with the ultimate use to which imports were to be put.- An article which might be used as a medicine was admitted free of duty ; whereas, if it .could also be used as a food, one rate of duty was imposed, and, if it could be used commercially, a different rate, was levied. The duties were not fixed according to the essential character of the articles, but in the manner described, and the result has been chaos. Then we imposed duties upon raw material, as well as upon finished products. If the duties had been placed upon raw materials such as could be produced here, our action might have been justified, but in many instances imposts were levied upon raw materials which had to be obtained from abroad. By also imposing duties upon the finished articles, we placed our manufacturers at a double disadvantage. In that way, also, Ave helped to make the Tariff unscientific. Then, again, we levied what might be termed sentimental duties; and I might mention, as an instance, the action taken in regard to spirits. Some honorable members thought that it did not matter very much whether we imported the spirits we used, or produced them locally. The industry was one in which no one took any great pride, and moreover it was pointed out that some of the persons engaged in it were making large fortunes at the expense of the consumers. We whittled away the protection that had previously been enjoyed by the distillers, with the result that their business has been most detrimentally affected. If we had reduced the consumption of intoxicants, improved the moral tone of the people, provided further employment for our own citizens, or cheapened the article to the consumer, the . action taken might have been justified. But no good result has followed, whilst the industry has been practically ruined, and a number of men have been thrown out of employment, the business of making spirits for our own consumption has gone by the board, and nearly all we use are imported. As a further instance of the unscientific character of the Tariff, I would point to the very large number of decisions ‘ which have been given by various Ministers in connexion with its administration from its inception up to a few weeks ago. These decisions run into hundreds, and even thousands. In such a small matter as bags, in regard to which almost any .one would think the administration would be very simple, no less than sixty decisions have been given ; in respect to bicycles, eighty ; and in connexion with drugs, with which I admit it would probably be a little more difficult to deal, 150 decisions. In the case of oils, nearly 200 decisions have been recorded, and so on ad infinitum. As a matter of fact, three Ministers have registered over 2,000 separate decisions in connexion with the Tariff, and I do not know that I could deduce any stronger proof of its unscientific character. Of these decisions, many are in conflict, and help to aggravate the troubles of our merchants, and the worries of the shipping clerks. We were told that the Tariff was so simple that anyone could understand it, whereas it has required the combined efforts of three Ministers to make it plain.
– Does not that show the absurdity of the whole business5
– Yes, that is what I am endeavouring to demonstrate. I have also affirmed that the Tariff is mischievous in its operation, and I propose to prove that assertion’ in two ways. I shall not weary honorable members with any more figures than are necessary, but I desire to direct attention to the facts connected with six or seven cases in which industries have been injuriously affected by the Tariff. One firm, engaged in making axles, which in 1899 employed sixteen men, now has only five hands in its factory. That, I admit, is a very small industry, but still the reduction has been very large comparatively. Another firm which manufactures springs for vehicles had fifty men employed in 1899, as compared with only sixteen at present. Then, again, a firm which makes machinery connected with the leather trade, had sixty men employed, as contrasted with only twenty to-day. I have already referred to the distilling business. Messrs. Joshua Brothers have published some figures which show that prior to the introduction of the Tariff they employed seventy-two hands, to whom they paid £8,000 per annum in wages ; whereas to-day they can find work for only twenty-seven hands, who receive in wages ,£2,300 per annum. The Geelong tanners have issued a circular in which they state that in 1899 they employed 500 hands.
– Order ; will the honorable member take his seat. It is necessary for me to again call attention to the fact that numerous conversations are proceeding in various parts of the chamber, and consequently it is difficult for the honorable member to proceed. I would ask honorable members to discontinue conversing aloud or to continue their conversations elsewhere.
– I repeat that in 1899 the Geelong tanners employed some 500 men, whereas to-day they employ only sixty. They formerly paid wages at the rate of £40,000 a year; they now pay at the rate of £5,000. Similarly in 1899 the Austral Otis Company, which is referred to in the newspapers this morning, employed 600 men, whereas at present it employs only about 100. That company previously disbursed £75,000 a year in wages; it now pays only -£21.000. These are a few instances which illustrate the influence which the Tariff has exercised upon certain industries, which, I admit, have been affected to a greater extent than have any others.
– How is it that in Sydney the iron industry is poorly employed notwithstanding that the duties were increased ?
– There are very good reasons, I presume, for that, and before I conclude my remarks I will show why industries might have been expected to do a little less business this year than they would do at other periods. I prefer, however, to put my argument in my own way. I find also that there has been a reduction in the number of hands employed and the amount of wages paid in a number of other industries. For example, in the brush and broom trade, the furniture trade, rope and twine factories, and clothing factories - indeed, in almost every industry affected by the Tariff - I learn from official figures that the number of workmen employed has decreased, with a consequent shrinkage in the amount of wages paid. As a typical instance of what may happen under the Tariff. I propose to cite some figures in connexion with the leather trade. If there is any industry which is natural to Australia, I think it is that connected with leather - the tanning trade. But what is its present position ? As the result of the unscientific and mischievous Tariff at present operating, the leather business of Australia has very considerably decreased. In Victoria alone, between the years 1899 and 1903, the value of tanned leather exported has decreased bv£170,956. That in itself is an enormous decrease, and largely accounts for the figures which have been put forward by the Geelong tanners, who say that, whereas they formerly employed 500 men, they now employ only 100.
– How can the operation of the Tariff affect exports?
– The duty upon leather has been reduced, with the result that, instead of tanning the leather locally, Victoria is exporting the raw hides. A return which was presented to this House, at the instance of the honorable and learned member for Corio, goes to show that whilst the tanned leather business has declined, the export of the raw material from this country has increased. For instance, in 1901, 143,961 hides were exported from Victoria, and 687.970 skins, valued at £831,931. In 1903, the number of hides exported had increased to 430,066, the number of skins to 1,123,256. and their value had increased to £1,553,322, a difference in two years of , £721,391.
– Most of those skins were taken from starving stock.
– I admit that a very large number of them had to.be taken off stock, because they were starved to death, but that is no reason why the skins should not have been tanned in this country, instead of being exported to undergo that process. ‘ In connexion with the iron and steel industry, too, I learn that imports are increasing to a very large extent. Unfortunately, I have not been able to obtain the official figures for 1903, and, therefore, I cannot make the comparison which I desired to institute. Honorable members, however, are aware that the imports of iron and steel goods into Australia, represent, roughly speaking, a value of £7, 000.000 annually. The value of the imports of metals and machinery - the finished articles - is increasing very rapidly, owing to the fact that firms like the Austral Otis Company, and other great engineering establishments, are not now manufacturing the goods which they formerly manufactured. But the most significant . circumstance in connexion with the whole position is the rapid decrease of our population since the present Tariff came into operation. This remark applies more particularly to Victoria. Up till the time when the Tariff was imposed, it is true that Victoria had been losing population. That fact was largely due to disasters of various kinds which this State had experienced, in the shape of drought, the land boom, and the banking crisis. But, prior to the imposition of the Federal Tariff, Victoria had been steadily overcoming these disasters, with the result that, in 1899, the loss of population, which had been gradually diminishing, was less than it had been for some time previously. Immediately following the imposition of the Federal Tariff, however, the loss of population began to increase, and in 1901 - according to the figures supplied by the Government Statist of this State - the emigration loss was 1,428,’ of which number 1,100 were adults. In 1902, that loss had increased to 13,716, including 11,864 adults. In the following year it had still further increased to 16,570, of which the adults numbered 12,885.
– Do those figures relate to Victoria alone?
– Yes. Between 1 901 and 1903 the loss by emigration increased from 1,428 to 16,570, whilst the total loss for the two Tariff years, 1902-3, runs into 30,286 persons, of whom 24,749 were adults ! The bulk of these people have gone to New Zealand and South Africa. During 1901.. the immigration increase for the whole of Australia was 9,492, in 1902 it was only 2,094. In 1903 our population decreased by 6,692, of which number 6,000 were adults. Probably my statements will be met with the objection that there has been an increase of population in Australia. That is quite true, but it is accounted for by the circumstance that the births have been greater than the deaths, and also greater than the loss by emigration. To increase the population by the addition of infants only is very poor satisfaction for the loss of grown-up persons. If this kind of thing continues indefinitely, the population of Australia will consist mainly of women and babies. The males will all have gone elsewhere. I wish it to be distinctly understood, therefore, that I am dealing only with those coming to or leaving this Continent, and not with the population figures as a whole. In the case of Victoria, I have shown that the loss of population since the Tariff came into operation has become exceedingly serious, whilst in the case of Australia, during 1903. there was an actual loss of 6,000 adults. This sort of thing must be attributable to some cause. If it is not attributable to the fact that we are not now employing our own people to do our own work, I am unable to assign any reason for it. I think that under these circumstances I have fairly well succeeded in proving that the Commonwealth Tariff has been mischievous in its effects, and is unscientific in its operation. But further justification - if it were necessary - for the opening up of this question, at the present time, arises from the fact that those who are proclaiming most loudly the necessity for fiscal peace, are those who are not prepared to accept it.
– Did not the honorable member’s party go to the country on the cry of fiscal peace?
– When we went to the electors some eight months ago, we asked for four things. We asked for fiscal peace and preferential trade, which is not the same policy as fiscal peace alone. Then we asked for a bonus on iron and other potential Australian products, and for the continuance in existence of the then protectionist Ministry. We have not any one of those four things to-day.
– There is another thing which the honorable member wants, and that is loyalty to his leader.
– So far as fiscal peace was concerned, we were prepared to abide by it if we secured preferential trade, the effect of which would have been to help us in the line which I am now advocating. Preferential trade would not have involved a re-opening of the whole Tariff any more than giving effect to my motion would involve a general re-opening of it. My motion merely seeks a re-opening of the -Tariff with regard to those lines of industry which are affected most detrimentally, and in connexion with which men are losing employment, and capitalists are being driven out of industries. As I have just said, however, those men who speak so loudly of fiscal peace are not themselves prepared to observe it, and in fact are not observing it. Those who won the battle have a right, I think, to do as they please afterwards with regard to the re-opening of the question.
Honorable Members. - Oh !
– Would honorable members say that after the South African war Great Britain was to be dictated to by the Boers as to the terms of the occupation. We won the battle at the last elections, and now we propose to dictate the terms of the peace. Moreover, however much we knew about the Tariff eight months ago, we know more about it now, and whatever were the circumstances connected with finance and trade at that time, we know that the circumstances connected with them to-day warrant us in re-opening the question in the way I have suggested.
– The Tariff was the work of ttie honorable member’s own party.
– It was not our own work. On the contrary, the symmetry of the Tariff was entirely spoilt by a certain party of which the honorable member who interjects was one. As I have said, those who now wish us to observe a fiscal truce make that request in order that they may play their own particular game. What that is may be readily gathered from a statement I now propose to quote. I have here an article from the Argus newspaper, published on the 29th June last - I am not quite sure as to the date; it can be verified - which reports an interview with the honorable member for Lang. The article proceeds as follows : -
Excellent organizing work was done by the New South Wales Free-trade Party at the last Federal elections. A concise outline of the movement was afforded in a recent chat with Mr. W. E. Johnson, a member of the Federal House of Representatives for Lang, an electorate which covers a number of Sydney suburbs. Mr. Johnson and Mr. Sydney Smith, M’s.H.R., were joint organizing secretaries of the movement.
Mr. Johnson then gives a detailed account of the work of the Free-trade Party at the last Federal election; and this significant statement is added - “ We are preparing now,” Mr. Johnson continued, “a new Constitution, with a view to thorough organization of the electorates and sustained effort.”
We hope in this way to form a permanent fighting force, which may be used with effect when election day comes round.
If honorable members read between the lines, as I think I can do. the desire of the free-trade section of this House, and of this community, is to lull the protectionists to sleep while they themselves keep up their organization, so that at the next election they may win every seat they possibly can. and in that way get an advantage which they would not secure if the protectionists were alert. I will go further, and say, emphatically, that they are promulgating their views all over Australia, and that those who are asking for fiscal peace are asking for it for their own political ends, in order that they may organize to our disadvantage. I do not know that I need touch at any greater length on that particular head. I personally am satisfied, whatever other honorable members may be, that no matter what the free-traders in this country may say, what they propose to do is quite another thing. Under these circumstances, we also propose to do something. We propose to do that which we think will be in the best interests of the people of this country, and will do most to promote industry and to develop the natural resources of Australia. I now desire to draw the attention of honorable members to the next portion of my motion - that which has regard to the promotion of the agricultural and manufacturing industries of Australia. I know of nothing that is looked upon as being more important in this House and outside of it . than the promotion of the agricultural and landed interests of Australia. But, whilst that is so, those who urge the promotion of those particular industries take divergent views. Some suggestions have been put forward as to what should be done to improve the condition of the farmers and settlers generally. In this House we have proposals for the insertion of special provisions in the mail contracts as to- the carriage of frozen produce, fruit, and commodities of that kind. We have had discussions as to the necessity for providing schemes of water conservation and irrigation. We have had an exceedingly good and wise proposal for the establishment of an Agricultural Bureau. Some other suggestions, which I do not for the moment recollect, have also been put forward. Outside the House we are told that the proper thing to do is to provide cheap land, and plenty of it, together with easy terms for the acquisition of it ; that there should be narrow-gauge railways to open up the back country for the benefit of those who wish to take up land ; and, above all things, that there should be low railway freights and bonuses. The Argus . newspaper, and other journals, are now beginning to say that the proper thing for the farmers to do is to form co-operative societies, and by means of co-operation to gain concessions from the shipping companies which they cannot obtain otherwise.- The farmers are also urged to establish special agencies in London and elsewhere - mostly out of Australia - for the advantageous selling of their produce. All these things are in their way good enough; but I think that some of the essential first steps have been missed by those who make these proposals, and I intend to give my views in respect to that matter at a later stage. In the meantime, let me say that those who think that land settlement is the beginning and end of all progress in Australia make a serious mistake. Land settlement is not, and cannot be, the cure-all. No country was ever great which depended wholly and solely on agriculture; no country has ever yet become a world power without developing manufactures and providing diversified occupations for its people. The rise of the German Empire may be said to date from the time when the policy- was adopted of importing from Great Britain competent ‘workmen in various- lines of industry to teach the German artisans. And Japan, a little while ago, followed the example set by Germany, and imported British and American workmen with the same object in view. The rise of Japan dates from the time when she commenced to adopt western methods and ideas, not merely in regard to civilization generally, but also in regard to the arts and manufactures. Primary production must, of course, play a large part in the development of a country such as. Australia, as it must of every country where there are huge areas of land. But unless we also do something to promote manufactures, we shall find, as, indeed, we have already begun to find, that we cannot make that material and substantial progress which we should under other circumstances. We are told that if we promote agriculture manufactures will follow ; and I only wish that that were true. We have promoted agriculture and the settlement of people in Victoria for years and years ; and I have before me a table of figures which show that every year for ten years, past, and for long before, the number of persons going on the land has been steadily increasing. For the period 1894-8 there were 6,985 approved applicants who took up 869.130 acres in Victoria under the residence section of the Land Act; between 1899 and 1903, 16,394 applicants took up 4,825,877 . acres ; in the year 1902-3 there was a still further increase. According to the census returns of the Government Statist of Victoria, it appears that in 1891 there were in that State 85,138 persons engaged in producing from the soil, and in connexion with the landed interests; and in 1901 that number had in- creased to 95,920. It will be seen, therefore, that a great deal has been done, and, to a large extent, successfully, to promote land settlement in Victoria. Very much the same conditions apply to Australia as a whole. In the year 1899, 531,580 acres were granted in Australia, and those figures had in 1902 increased to 1,184,618.
– What has this to do with the Tariff ? The same Tariff has not hitherto prevailed all over Australia.
– I am talking at present of land settlement, and, if the honorable member will allow me to proceed in my own way, I shall show how my arguments affect the Tariff. There are those who say that the only way to make Australia prosperous is to have land settlement; and I am showing that people have been encouraged to go on the land and engage in primary production. I am going to show that, in spite of those efforts, we have not helped the people of the country to the extent we might have done.
– Surely the honorable member does not say that the rate of land settlement is adequate?
– I would not say that, because there is no doubt that the rate of land settlement might be greater than it is. Land settlement cannot be greater than at present, but will certainly be less in future if we do nothing to provide home markets, instead of as at present compelling producers to export a large proportion of their produce, and dispose of it at the world’s price.
– Increased land settlement and decreased population, after thirtv-five vears of protection !
– The argument, that increased land settlement brings in its train increased manufactures, is not substantiated. I have already proved that manufactures under the Commonwealth Tariff have decreased in spite of the fact that agricultural settlement has increased. The increase of land ‘ settlement does not require any proof, because the fact can easily be seen; but I should like now to show that manufactures, so far from having increased, have decreased. According to the Government Statist of Victoria, there were in that State 1.68,534 industrial workers in 1891, whereas in 1901 there were only 146,233, showing a decrease of 22,301 in the” ten years. I do not contend that these figures are particularly convincing, seeing that they cover a period only part of which is affected by the present Tariff. But if we take another view, namely, that of the number of persons engaged in the factories. during the operation of the present Tariff, we find that there has been a decrease, and that the Statist’s figures are but an indication of what has been taking place generally. Mr. Harrison Ord, the Chief Inspector of Factories in Victoria, issued his report a few days ago, and showed that while there were 59,440 persons employed in 1902, only 57,767 were employed in 1903. The Melbourne Argus points out this morning that that is an exceedingly small decrease - only 1,673 -and emphasizes the fact that Mr. Ord believes it to be the result of the drought. But the Argus writer probably forgot that in the course of the article, it is stated that the figures are eighteen months old. If that be so, I should like to know what the figures are up to date. If the figures are eighteen months old, the fact proves that the Tariff was more instantaneous in its effect than I had thought, and that the l’oss must be greater than we believe it to be at present. But the significant fact about the figures is one which the Argus omits to state, namely’, that while there was a decrease of 1,673inthe total, there was an increase of 284 in the number of females employed. The net result shows a decrease of 2,957 male employes. Could anything be more significant ?
– That is always the result of protection.
– The fact is that the iron trade and other great industries which employ males, have been so heavily hit by the Tariff that those previously engaged in them have had to emigrate to New Zealand and other places, in order to get employment, with the result that the women left behind, and other women, have had to- get such employment as they could obtain. That is not a satisfactory state of affairs. Had we been able to record an increase in the number of males and a decrease in the number of females employed, the fact would have been cheered to the echo by- this House.- But the conditions which the figures disclose ought to make us pause and give serious consideration to the circumstances whatever they are - even if they do not arise from- the Tariff - which tend to such conditions in a country like Australia. The two sets of figures which I have quoted prove that while land settlement has increased, there has been a population loss. That loss is not amongst those who have taken up land, but must be sought in other quarters. The figures of the Factory Inspector, and the individual cases I have quoted, indicate that the loss is amongst the artisan classes who ought to be engaged in factories. The figures further show that the prosperity about which we talk so much is not to be obtained by land settlement only. I think they also prove conclusively that manufacturing does not and cannot follow merely upon land settlement. We must do something more, and, in my opinion, the initial necessary step is to make a wise use of the Tariff, and create, first of all, for the land settlers of this country, a home market. Without a home market, land settlement cannot be successful, and those already on the land will probably begin to find that they must leave it. ‘Certainly, we cannot hope for any considerable increase of land settlement unless we have an increased local consumption. In my judgment a home market is to be obtained by the creation of industries, the development of our own natural resources, and the employment of our own people rather than of Japanese, Javanese, or any other coloured races, whom we have no desire to employ. I affirm without hesitation that the quickest, safest, and most legitimate way in which to provide a good home market for our producers is to make a wise and proper use of the Tariff to that end. We have not done that. We are not getting what we require, and, in view of the facts I have given, I contend that there is a necessity to re-open the Tariff along the lines I have indicated. The advantages of a home market are realized in other countries, if not in this. I have no desire to dilate upon those advantages. Every one must admit that the better the local market the greater the advantage to our producers and to those who sell their goods. As compared with an export market, there is not the same expense in the shape of freights and insurance, there are not the same risks of loss, the same agents’ charges, and the other disadvantages of an export trade, which are evident to any one who knows anything about the subject.
– Can the honorable member explain how the honorable member for Melbourne Ports turns £10,000,000 into £24,000,000 ?
– I am not good at mental arithmetic. I have said that other countries realize the advantages of a home market. The figures which I am going to quote were used some time ago by the Honorable Theodore Fink, in the Victorian State Parliament. Owing to pressure of work I have not had time to verify them; but, coming from that authority, they may be accepted as fairly correct. Mr. Fink gives for Great Britain a local consumption of £42 per head, and a foreign trade of £18 per head. For the United States he gives a local consumption of £44 per head, and a foreign trade of £5 per head. When we come to deal with the figures for Australia we find that they are absolutely reversed,, and that our foreign trade is vastly greater than our home trade. Until we have profited by the good example even of such a free-trade country as is Great Britain, we shall not do what is right by our own people in this respect. America to a greater extent than Great Britain conserves her home trade, and the figures go to prove that; but even in such a country as is Great Britain, we see that care is taken that the home trade is vastly superior to the export trade, great as that undoubtedly is. If Australia does not follow on similar lines, all I can say is that we shall be amongst the decadent peoples. Unfortunately, every effort in Australia at the present time is in the direction of opening up foreign markets, and securing trade elsewhere than in the Com-‘ monwealth. All our efforts are directed towards securing a market for our produce in London, on the Continent, or some other place outside of Australia. Hence we are concerned with such matters as cheap freights, swift carriage, cool chambers, special agencies, and I do not know what besides. We have failed to look aat the fact which is staring us in the face, that we produce ten times as much in Australia as we consume. I asked the Government Statist of Victoria to give me the figures for some twenty lines of food-stuffs produced in Victoria, and the local consump tion of those articles. The figures came to hand last night,” and they show that Victoria produces £12,000,000 worth of these food-stuffs, and that we consume in this State about £1,200.000 worth.
– What is done with the surplus ?
– We are obliged to export the surplus. If we had a a greater consumption locally, we should of course have greater profits for those who produce locally.
– Can those figures be correct? They mean a local consumption of only about £1 per head of the population.
– These figures have been supplied to me by Mr. McLean, the Government Statist of Victoria. They relate to food-stuffs only, and cover some twenty different articles of food production. He states that we produce these food-stuffs to the value of £12,000,000, and that our local consumption of them amounts in value to only £1,200,000.
– I do not think that can be correct.
– If the Government Statist’s figures are incorrect, then, of course, my argument based upon them is also incorrect.
– Does he say the total amount of the home consumption?
– He gives it as onetenth of the local production. He is referring only to particular articles.
– What is the total consumption in Victoria?
– I have not those figures. I am dealing now only with some twenty lines of food-stuff. We know, as a matter of fact, that farmers, fruit-growers, vignerons, and other agricultural producers are by no means satisfied with their returns. We know that the results of our export trade in wines, preserved fruits, and other produce of that description are not satisfactory. What do we see, for instance, in connexion with such a line as butter, which is a very great Australian export? I have here the report of the London season of 1 903-4. issued by R. T. .Turnbull and Co., who are amongst the greatest authorities upon this subject in the world. In the course of their report they say -
At no point in the past season can there be said to have been a really animated market, and the losses which have been made on purchases in the colonies are said to have been exceedingly great.
How can we expect to keep up a butter export if this statement by Turnbull and Co. is correct? We must encourage production in another way, and that other way, in my judgment, is the creation of a local market.
– It would be a pity to allow an impression of that kind to go abroad, because there are great prospects in the butter trade.
– Certainly there are great prospects in the butter trade, but we should encourage local consumption to a very much greater extent than we do. The average price of butter in London has ranged from 5d. to iod. per lb., whilst in Victoria, it has been from iod. to is. id. per lb. It is all very well to send away so considerable an export of butter, but I imagine it would be better for the producers to secure the higher local prices if we could only do something to increase the local consumption. The way in which it is to be increased is not by the adoption of free-trade methods, but by some such methods as those which I have suggested. What do we find in connexion with the fruit business ? Only a few days ago the Argus newspaper published ,this statement : -
The Australian apple season just closing in London has been by no means satisfactory from the exporters’ point of view. The leading importers calculate that, during the season 703,000 cases of Australian and Tasmanian apples were imported, and that they resulted in a loss to the exporters of ^50,000.
What encouragement is there for our fruitgrowers, if they are to continue to lose £50,000 a year? Although last year there was a big harvest, and consequently a large export, the season was practically only a normal one. The preceding years were droughty, and the production of the soil was therefore much less than might have been expected under other conditions. Now, if in a normal year the exportation of butter, fruit, and other products results in a loss, what are the future prospects of land settlement in this country, and what is to become of the man on the soil ? The figures I have given are very significant. Fruit-growers themselves are beginning to realize in certain parts of Australia the significance of these facts, and are asking that this Tariff, which some people say is such a good one, shall be altered. My authority for this statement is a paragraph published in the Sydney Morning Herald of 1 st inst. It appears from this paragraph that a Conference of fruit-growers was held at Baulkham Hills, near Parramatta, on the preceding Saturday, at which representatives of the Fruit-growers’ Association of Castle Hill, Kenthurst, Seven Hills, Pennant Hills, and the surrounding district were present. The Conference proceeded to the consideration of what . should be done in the interests of the fruit-growers, and after deliberation they carried the following resolution : -
That, in view of the present depressed state of the fruit-growing industry, this meeting of representative fruit-growers of the State of New
South Wales is of opinion that considerably higher duties should be placed on imported fruits, and that we communicate with the fruit-growers of Victoria and other States, with the view of united action being taken to secure this desired object. .
They also passed this second resolution -
That, in the opinion of this meeting, it is desirable that a fruit-growers’ union of New South Wales be at once organised, and that its first work be the carrying out of the object of the preceding resolution.
Therefore, the fruit-growers of New South Wales have awakened to the fact that the Tariff does not suit them. The Argus this morning says that people may be trusted to look after their own business. This is an instance in which people are looking after their own business, and are asking that the duties in the Tariff shall be increased. There is, too, now sitting at Brisbane a Conference of persons connected with the Chambers of Manufactures of the several States of Australia, and they are urging that the Tariff shall be altered. According to the report of their proceedings which appears in to-day’s Argus, several resolutions were passed, but that to which I wish to call particular attention is as follows : -
That this federal council greatly regrets the injurious incidence of the Tariff in certain established industries, and recommends the chambers to immediately make investigation in their several States, taking evidence relating to anomalies and the injury done to the local industries, with a view to presenting their united deductions to the Commonwealth Parliament at the earliest opportunity available.
– That is an Australian, not a Victorian Conference.
– It is a Conference representing all Australia. The Argus says that people know how to mind their own business, and that it is not my duty to teach them what they want. To that I reply that the members of this Conference are people who know their business, and that they are asking for an alteration of the Tariff on the lines suggested by me. What is true in regard to the exportation of butter and fruit is true in regard to the exportation of other products. Our producers have exported onions from Australia, and this is the result, as recorded in the Age of 29th July -
Onion-growers who, for some seasons past, have been struggling hard against a strenuously depressed local market, will not derive much consolation from the experiment just made to test the merits of the London market. . . . The proceeds of the sales will not pay half the cost of sending the consignment home.
Lastly, I ask what is the outlook for the hay-growers of Australia? In the same newspaper there is an article in which it is stated that there is about ^1,000,000 worth of hay in Victoria, for which buyers at profitable prices cannot be found; and it cannot be profitably exported, because of its bulk, and the heavy freights charged for such a commodity. What, then, are the hay-growers of Australia to do, unless we provide them with a home market? The facts which I have stated show how necessary it is to build up, concurrently with the settlement of the land, local manufactures, and thus increase local consumption. If we fail in that, we shall fail in our duty to our constituents, and it will be impossible for Australia to progress. If we allow the Tariff to remain as it is, emigration from the Commonwealth will increase; there will be a still greater lack of. employment, a steadily decreasing local market, and a still further loss to our agricultural producers. It must be borne in mind that it is more necessary to Australia to be self-dependent than it is for some of the other countries of the world to be so. She is situated so far from foreign markets that her producers are at a great disadvantage in respect of freights, insurance, and other charges connected with shipping transport, as compared with the producers of other countries. Formerly Australian producers had in some respects an advantage over producers in other parts of the world, because of the difference in seasons; but American growers are taking advantage of perfected refrigerating machinery, and are now able to place their apples on the London market at the same time as Australian apples are sent there, and, apparently, in the future, the difference in seasons will be of no advantage to our growers, while American producers will make tremendous inroads into their markets. What applies to apples will apply to other exports. Unless we look keenly after our interests, we shall lose not only on the exportations to which I . have alluded, but in other directions as well. Dealing with the subject from another point of view, what do Ave find? I have stated that there are farmers’ representatives in this Chamber who were quite ready to vote for duties of 60, 70, or even 80 per cent, on farm products, and who, at the same time, under the belief that they were helping their constituents, would not consent to the imposition of higher duties than 10 or 12J per cent, on farming implements and machinery. The result has been that a great many farmers’ requirements which should be manufactured in Australia are now imported. Let me take four items. In 1899 - and, in the comparisons I am about to make, I contrast the years 1899 and 1903, because the former was the last normal year under the Victorian Tariff, and the latter the last year for which we have information under ths Federal Tariff - the total value of the agricultural, horticultural, and fruit-farming implements and machinery imported was £112,004; but, in 1903, the importation of such machinery had increased to £204,147. The Argus to-day makes a comparison between the importations of 1901 and 1903 ; but it is improper and unfair to accept the figures for 1901 in this connexion, since in that year, and in the preceding year, imports were being rushed into Australia under the belief that the Federal Parliament would pass a very high Tariff. The importation of apparel and ready-made clothing, such as farmers, fruit-growers, and others connected with the landed industries use, was £180,989 in 1899, and in 1903 <£329>47x- In 1899 the value of the boots and shoes imported was £33,676, and in T9°3> £59.-T2°- In l899 the value of hats and caps imported was £50,055, and in 1903, £78,504. The importations of those four classes of goods show an increase of £395>5T8 for the year 1903, when compared with importations of 1899. That increase is equal to nearly 150 per cent. Reading those figures in conjunction with the figures which I have given in regard to the decline in exports, the mischievous effects of the Tariff are easily seen. Then, every farmer requires a vehicle of some sort, and I am told, on reliable authority, that the importation of vehicles for the first eight months of the present year exceeds in value and quantity the importation for the preceding eighteen months. If our farmers wish to find local buyers for their produce, they must themselves buy in the local market; but if they persist in buying in foreign markets, they must look to foreign consumers for the purchase of their produce. The man who buys in a foreign market must sell in a foreign market, and the disadvantage of that method of trading is that the man who sends his goods for sale to a foreign market has to sell them at the world’s price, while what he purchases in return he buys, not at the world’s price, but at the manufacturer’s price.
– Very often at the prices fixed by a ring.
– Yes. When a cargo of wool or wheat is sent to London or Antwerp to be sold, it is necessary for us to buy foreign goods in return ; but while we sell at the world’s price, our producers, who wish to buy wool presses, sheepshearing machinery, or other things in return, buy them, not at the world’s price, but at the price of the local manufacturers, and are thus at a double disadvantage.
– How long will it be before we shall have a population sufficiently large to consume our wheat and butter ?
– The honorable member would be surprised if he knew how much is already consumed locally.
– If we may judge by the effect of the wise stimulation and development of natural resources and production in America, and remember the modern rate of speed, we should make even greater progress than that country has made. The briefest of glances at American progress serves to show that the adoption of methods similar to those which I think we should follow has led to the development of her manufactures and her resources to such a marvellous extent that no other country can show a similar record. The reference to America brings me to another question, namely, the proper relative proportion between the agricultural and manufacturing interests. In America we have a country much like our own. Her exports of wheat and other cereals are probably greater than those of any other country. The agricultural industry has been developed there to a greater extent than elsewhere, and her manufacturing industries have also progressed by leaps and bounds. The figures given in the Statesman’s Year-Book show that 10,000,000 persons are engaged in agricultural and kindred pursuits generally, whereas those engaged in the manufacturing and mechanical operations number 7,000,000. In Australia, according to Coghlan, the persons engaged in agriculture and like industries aggregate 402,000, whilst those occupied in manufacturing and mechanical industries number 254,000. In America, the proportions of agriculture to manufacturing are as ten to seven, whilst in Australia they are as twelve to seven. So that in Australia the proportion of persons engaged in agricultural and kindred occupations is greater than in America, notwith standing that the agricultural production of the United States is greater than that of any other part of the world. These figures show that we have added to our agricultural and cognate industries in a greater ratio than our development in manufactures would appear to warrant. Under these circumstances, I think it is clear that we should begin to encourage our manufactures and approach as closely as possible to the conditions in America, which afford a great object-lesson for the rest of the world. Among the figures relating to the manufacturing and mechanical industries of Australia, I have included, as Coghlan suggests should be done, 50,000 persons who work on their own account at mechanical or manu-. facturing businesses. The remedy for the disabilities under which Australia suffers at present will be found if we follow the example of Amenca, and encourage our manufactures in the same way that we have encouraged agriculture, and other rural interests. If we fail to do this, we shall find that so far from settlement increasing, it will begin to decrease, that so far from primary products paying, they will involve loss, and that our population, instead of being added to, will still further decrease. What we most urgently require in Australia is more settled employment for all classes” of workers. The way in which that result can be achieved is, not by treating Australia as if it were a huge farm, but by bringing about such conditions that we shall have a great diversity of interests, and offer wider and fuller avenues of employment. We must develop all our resources of river, forest, and field, of quarry, mine, and mill. If we neglect this,we shall fail to make the progress which every one desires to see. In spite of the fact that we have lost a large number of our population, I find that there are still thousands of persons wanting work in Australia.. I wrote to the manager of the Melbourne unemployed bureau, and asked how many unemployed persons were registered on rst July last. I was informed that there were 2,055 names on the books. I then asked for information as to the occupations of these men, whether they were labourers or mechanics. I was told that nearly all the men, whether they were mechanics or not, registered as light labourers or general labourers, the object being to obtain employment at all hazards. In spite of this fact, however, the authorities were able to furnish me with a few figures, from which it appeared that there were fiftv-four boiler-makers seeking work.
– That number does not represent one-twentieth of those out of work.
– I can quite believe that. Boiler-making is an industry that could be fostered under our Tariff. Upon the. lists of the bureau there were also seventy-two assistant boiler-makers, thirty - two cabinet-makers, eighty-seven fitters, thirty-two blacksmiths, and seventytwo carpenters. It is admitted that this information is incomplete; but still it will serve to indicate that a large proportion of the unemployed come from those very classes which ought to be employed in making the articles which our producers require. In Sydney, according to Mr. Schey, the Chief Labour Commissioner, there were 7,288 persons on the books of the bureau on the date previously mentioned ; or, roughly speaking, three times as many as were registered iri Melbourne. It is only fair to say that Mr. Schey mentions that these figures were not to be regarded as accurately indicating the state of the unemployed market. He asserts that the eligible unemployed . number about 2,300. He was not able to state authoritatively that these figures were correct, because, as he explains, there are three unemployed bureaux in New South Wales. What is the business of a Labour Government, above all Governments? Is it not to find work for the workers, and homes for the homeless, and to provide further, fuller, and wider avenues of employment?
– It is the duty of every Government.
– Yes; but above all Governments, those who claim to represent, labour should use their best efforts to get rid of the unemployed difficulty. I, therefore, appeal to those honorable mem’; bers, who now occupy the Treasury benches and who claim to be labour representatives, to bear in mind what I have said with regard to the unemployed, our loss of population, and the decrease in our manufacturing industries. Their duty is to represent industry, not idleness, those who are at work, and not those who are unemployed. What is the use of offering the dry crust of the Arbitration Bill’ to men who are unable to obtain employment? Why give them the means of settling industrial disputes when the only question for arbitration is whether A is to get work and B is to leave the country or vice versa?
– If the honorable member believes that, why is he sitting on that side of the House?
– I sit on this side of the Chamber, because I have always been on the liberal side. When the Labour Party are prepared to adopt the protectionist policy I shall. back them up in that, as in other things. My disagreement with the Labour Party is not so much upon questions of policy as in regard to other matters. If there is one thing that the Labour Government and the Labour Party should take in hand seriously, it is the unemployed problem.
– I rise to call attention to the state of the House. I think that in view of the trouble which the honorable member has taken to prepare his speech, he ought to have the attention of a full House. [Quorum formed].
– I am very much obliged to the honorable member for the breathing space which his action has afforded me. We are by this time used to such little tricks; they assist rather than hinder one. Some honorable member asked by way of interjection, “ Why not ‘take up the iron industry?” That is exactly what I was about to suggest.
– That question is the subject of a motion which is now on the notice paper, and the honorable member cannot anticipate the debate upon it.
– I am very sorry, because I desire to refer to it.
– The honorable member has referred to it, but he must not debate it.
– I shall not debate it, but shall content myself with referring to it in general terms. In connexion with our huge deposits of iron ore, we should be able to find employment for a great number of our people. The encouragement of the iron industry was one of the principles for which we fought at the last election, and yet no practical result has been achieved up to the present. I do not know whether the figures supplied by one honorable member of the late Parliament were correct, but he said that if we developed our iron deposits we should be able to provide sustenance for 620,000 persons. If we could establish an industry that would provide for onethird of that number we should confer the greatest possible benefit upon Australia. In this matter, the present Government will have an opportunity to distinguish itself, and to earn the plaudits of the whole of the people of the Commonwealth. The Labour Party fought for a White Australia, and I helped them to secure it, because I thought that the social and economic results would be most desirable. But in order to make a White Australia effective, we must adopt not only the safeguards afforded by such legislation as Ave have passed, but also those which are afforded by protective duties. What has happened? We have excluded Japanese and other coloured foreigners from the Commonwealth, but we have not shut out the products of their labour. I find that in Victoria alone the imports from China and Japan and other Eastern countries have increased in value from £389,221 in 1899 to £985,594 in 1903, or an increase of over £500,000 in four years. What is the use of talking about a White Australia, and the necessity of finding employment- for our own people, whilst, through our Tariff system, Ave are presiding employment for coloured aliens outside? It would be far preferable to allow these coloured foreigners to come into our midst, because then Ave could regulate them.
– Do Ave not send them something in return ?
– Of course we do. If Ave take their imports, Ave must send them something in return. My contention is that Ave should produce what Ave require. Amongst the imports referred to I find there are £500,000 worth of sugar from Java. In spite of the bounties paid for the production of German sugar, the German manufacturers cannot obtain a footing in our markets, in competition with the products of Java. We have been providing Javanese, instead of our own people,
Avith employment. Our White Australia policy, I claim, can be rendered thoroughly effective only by means of a Customs Tariff which will assist the local producer. I have already spoken of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. I ask honorable members to bear in mind the figures which I have submitted in regard to Australia’s loss by emigration. Last year 6.000 adults left our shores in excess of the number of adult arrivals. Yet Ave talk of legislating in respect of conciliation and arbitration for the settlement of industrial disputes. I say that such legislation is necessary only when industries have been established in our midst. It is of no use whilst our own 1 people are unemployed. Then, again, Ave speak of non-contract labour. What is the use of legislation in respect of noncontract labour, if by the operation of the Tariff we force our own people to make contracts for labour elsewhere? The very thing which we condemn, we are forcing our own people to do. We are compelling them to go to South Africa and New Zealand to obtain work, because they cannot secure it here. These are serious matters. The fact that we have not adopted judicious and proper means to render our policy effective calls for immediate attention. In all Commonwealth contracts we insert a condition providing for the payment of a minimum wage. We insist, that our own people shall obtain a fair rate of pay for the work which they perform, but we cannot insist upon the insertion of a minimum wage provision in contracts for the production of goods in other countries. We can prevent the sweating of our own employes, who are engaged in production, but we cannot prohibit sweating in other countries. Therefore, I claim that we should exclude from Australia sweated goods, as well as sweaters - that we should protect our own people through the Customs House as well as through the Factories Act. Until we- do that it is useless to talk of building up a nation, developing industry, and restoring prosperity. In the German woollen mills the employes are compelled to work sixty-two hours a week for a wage of 12s., whilst in the Italian hat mills they labour sixtyfour hours weekly for a wage of 20s. How is it possible for us to compete with them ? In his address to his constituents during the recent election campaign, the honorable member for South Melbourne made the following significant remarks: -
Now suppose that there had been no Labour protectionist men in the Labour Party for Victoria, it is not too much to say that the protective duties in the Tariff would have been less by 10 per cent. “ Therefore, let protectionists see to it that they do not break entirely with the Labour Party, for the inevitable result will be that the balance of power will be in the hands of the free-trade Labour members of New South Wales, then good-bye to protection in the Commonwealth. The salvation of protection lies with the Labour Party, just as much as, I believe, the salvation of labour lies with protection.
I trust that the free-trade members of the Labour Party realize that what the honorable member says is true - that the salvation of protection and of the industries of Australia lies with the Labour Party. I think I have said enough to prove that there is great reason for the readjustment of the incidence of the Tariff upon some of its leading’ lines. I am bound to bear in mind that we have certain revenue obligations which must be respected. We must discharge our constitutional obligation to provide the States forming the Federation with a certain sum of money each year. Whatever we do, we must see that their solvency is assured. That obligation cannot be neglected. But it should be remembered that we have certain other patriotic obligations to discharge. One of these is to see that no destruction of our industries takes place, and that no lack of employment is caused by any overt action of ours. Another of our obligations is to provide for the further development of our resources, and for an increase in the number of persons employed in our midst. It is our duty to stimulate production, real wealth, and general advancement. These are obligations of a patriotic nature which it is quite as incumbent upon us to discharge as it is to preserve the solvency of the States by guaranteeing them the return of a certain revenue each year. We can best fulfil these obligations by making a wise, judicious, and proper use of the Tariff. We can encourage manufactures by excluding foreign products. We can foster local industry, provide home markets, increase land settlement, stimulate primary production, and find . employment for our people, chiefly - almost wholly - by adopting a policy in respect of fiscal matters which will lead - as it has done in America and elsewhere- to the development of our own resources. In my judgment, prosperity depends chiefly upon population, and population depends upon employment. If no employment is to be had in Australia we cannot expect to attract people here. They must be provided with employment in factories, workshops, or mines, or else they must be settled upon the land, or must engage in business upon their own account. Without employment in one direction or the other, population cannot increase. Employment can be encouraged by the creation of home manufactures as well as by the development of land settlement. Home manufactures can be stimulated by our making proper use of the Tariff. I regret to say that we have not made proper use of it. We require to readjust its incidence. We need to take some steps which will result in the establishment of industries, which will attract population, and which above all other things will insure to the employes engaged in those industries a fair rate of wages and to the employers a fair share of profit. In my judgment sufficient evidence has already been adduced to warrant the alteration of the Tariff which I seek. More than enough facts have been submitted to justify the carrying of this motion. I believe that unless some such alteration is effected the adverse conditions upon which I have commented, and the decreases which I have noted - more particularly in respect to employment and population - will become accentuated, until in spite . of all efforts to the contrary, the public of Australia will demand from whatever Government may be in power a thorough revision of the Tariff, so that that stimulus may be given to local industry which is consonant with national energy and national advance.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Mauger) adjourned.
.- I move -
That the House at its rising adjourn until Tuesday next.
In submitting this motion, I merely wish to insure that the vote upon the Seat of Government Bill shall be arrived at in a full House, and I also desire to intimate that my colleague the Minister of Home Affairs proposes to continue the debate upon that measure this evening, with a view to concluding it before the House adjourns.
– I rise for the purpose of protesting against these continual adjournments ; they have become a feature of almost every week-end. During the past four weeks we have scarcely sat upon one Friday.
– Yes; we sat last Friday.
– That is the only occasion on which the House has sat upon Friday during the past month. If we had no business to transact - if honorable members attended here merely for the purposes of pleasure - there might be no objection to adopting the course that is proposed. But seeing that we have nearly the whole of the work of the session before us - that up to the present time we have done scarcely anything - there is no justification whatever for these frequent adjournments over Friday. We have already been a long time in session, and whilst these adjournments may not be inconvenient to those honorable members who can return to their homes at the week-end-
– The Government of which the right honorable member was a Minister adopted the practice continuously.
– I do not see much in that argument. I am not speaking of what other Governments did under other circumstances, but of what I consider is right at the present time in the interests of the country.
– Why did the Government with which the right honorable member was associated set us a bad example?
– I wish that the honorable member would always be eager to follow examples which that Government set, as he appears to be upon the present occasion. I haye not the slightest doubt that he agrees with me - perhaps, to a larger extent than does any . other honorable member, although he interjects as if he held a different opinion. The honorable member has consistently opposed these adjournments, and surely he does not object to my exercising the same privilege.
– I do not object; but the right honorable member has now jumped mv claim.
– It is wellknown to Ministers that the Senate has been idle for several months. In that Chamber fortnightly adjournments have been common since Parliament first assembled in March last, because there is nothing to do. Surely that should constitute an additional reason why we should push on with the work of the session.
– We have been endeavouring to push on with it, but the right honorable member would not allow us to do so.
– The present Government have been engaged in a sort of “go-as-you-please” during the past three months. I should like tol know what single piece of useful work they have done during that period. I repeat that they have been engaged in a “ go as you please.”
– Why does not the right honorable member demonstrate that?
– The Prime Minister knows that he is in a minority, and he also knows that there is a noconfidence motion hanging over the head of his Government.
– I do not. Why does not the right honorable gentleman bring it forward ?
– If the honorable gentleman is ignorant of what is going on, he should read the press. The sword of
Damocles is hanging over his head. But, notwithstanding this knowledge, he is quite prepared to allow the business of the House to be delayed so long as he and his party are permitted to retain the Treasury benches.
– That is the whole trouble.
– I could easily retaliate on that line of argument.
– The honorable gentleman can retaliate as much as he likes: While this no-confidence motion is hanging over the Government their policy is delay ! delay ! delay ! I will prove that statement before I sit down.
– That sword is hung up by a cable !
– If the Government were anxious to give the Senate some business to do, and were so anxious to place the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill upon the statute-book - why did they interpose a new measure altogether, the effect of which has been to block the progress of the Arbitration Bill for weeks?
– That is cool, seeing that the right honorable member voted for dozens of amendments in the Bill ! .
– Why did the Government interpose the Seat of Government Bill ? Why did they not push on with the Arbitration Bill? What is the object? It is to gain time. The whole position, from the time the, Government took office’ up till now, in my opinion - and I believe that I also express the views of many others on the subject - has been demoralizing to constitutional government. Honorable members opposite may laugh, but I repeat that it is absolutely demoralizing to responsible government.
– It is demoralizing to the right honorable member, evidently.
– What good or sufficient reason was there for interposing the Seat of Government Bill in the midst of the debates on the Arbitration Bill ? There was no reason except to gain time. I tell honorable members opposite that that was their whole object. Was there not time, while we were discussing the Arbitration Bill in Committee and dealing with amendments, for the Government to make up their mind as to any new amendments which they intended to submit upon the recommittal of the measure ? No ! It appears there was not time ! They wanted some weeks in OTder to see how the wind blew, and how they could manage to draft a clause or clauses that would have the effect of gaining one or two honorable members over to their side, thus enabling them to retain their places on the Treasury benches.
– How much time have we taken in debating the Seat of Government Bill?
– The honorable gentleman may as well let me continue my remarks. He will be able to reply to me afterwards.
– Will the right honorable member promise not to interrupt me if I do?
– I will, if the honorable gentleman is not personal. In my opinion, there was no good or sufficient reason for interposing the Seat of Government Bill in the midst of the discussion on the Arbitration Bill. It is an unusual proceeding to bring in a new question altogether, and allow it for weeks and weeks to take the place of a measure said by the Government to be of pressing importance.
– I rise to order. Is the right honorable member for Swan in order in discussing the Arbitration Bill on a motion that the House at its rising adjourn until Tuesday next?
– I think that the right honorable member is quite in order at present.
– Upon my word ! The honorable member for Kennedy is not in charge of the business of this House. Cannot he, as a humble follower of the Government, keep quiet?
– The right honorable member is wasting a lot of time.
– The honorable member for Hume has bound himself to the Labour Party. I do not mean that offensively. He has separated from me. I will put it in that way.
– I think the right honorable member separated from me.
– I am on the’ same side as my leader.
– The right honorable member does not follow his convictions.
– Who is the right honorable member’s leader?
– The honorable and learned member for Ballarat is my leader. Is he the honorable member’s leader ? There should have been ample time to consider the few amendments, of which notice has been given with regard to the Arbitration Bill, between the rising of the House on Thursday and the meeting on Tuesday, without any interposing of the Capital Sites Bill, especially bearing in mind the fact that those amendments were under the review of the Government during the whole time the latter portion of the measure was discussed in Committee. I say most deliberately that, as far as my opinion goes, there was only one object in. view in postponing the recommittal of the Arbitration Bill, and interposing the Seat of Government Bill, and that was to gain time, in order to try and obtain in the interval a few more votes from those honorable members who were thought to be wavering.
– Is there anything wrong in that ?
– I do not think that that is the way to carry on the business of the country.
– The right honorable member did it.
– One would think that the honorable member for Maranoa is a parrot, because he is always saying, “You did it !” Whenever anything is urged against the Government he says.. “You did it !” If one uses an argument of which the honorable member does not approve, his reply is, “You did it.”
– The right honorable member told us five minutes ago that if we followed him we should be right.
– I am not surprised at. the action of the Government in this matter. We have had the honorable member for Melbourne South telling the public that his party is up for sale.
– Who said that?
– The honorable member for Melbourne South, said it.
– I do not think so.
– I have seen his statement in the press, and I know that the Vice-President of the Executive Council said it openly and deliberately in the Senate in 1901.
– It was one of his Scotch jokes !
-We know that it has been said, and we know that it is a fact that the party opposite are willing, as a solid party, to give votes if they can secure legislation. There is ndoubt about that. What has been the result of all this finessing and delay? The
Arbitration Bill, which was said by the Government to be so urgent as to brook no delay, is almost forgotten. I do not know how many weeks have passed since it was laid aside. It will be a novelty when ‘ it comes before us again. We shall have to refresh our memories as to what has taken place. We have been thinking about Capital sites. All our energy and mental activity have been directed towards the various places suggested for the Federal city. We were told previously that the Arbitration Bill was a measure of the veryutmost importance. But it has been laid aside for weeks together; and only yesterday were we given copies of the amend- . ments to be moved by the Government, the most important of which we had already seen in the newspapers a week ago.
– I rise to order. I wish to know whether it is in order for the right honorable member to discuss Bills-
– The Prime Minister cannot stop me.
– I do not wish to stop the right honorable member. He can argue as long as he likes at the right time. Bui he is not. going to be allowed to run this House. Is it in order for the right honorable member, in opposing a motion for the adjournment of the House, at its rising, until Tuesday, to discuss the various items upon the business-paper? If that be- so, it would be possible for an honorable member on such a motion to discuss the whole business-paper of the House. I contend that he can make only incidental reference to the business-paper.
– The Prime Minister is quite correct. The right honorable member for Swan would not be justified in debating in detail any of the questions to which he has referred. But I understand that he is now giving reasons as to why he thinks the House should not adjourn over Friday until Tuesday. Of course, references to the work that might be done in the meantime are quite admissible.
– It seems to me that my remarks do not find much favour with the Government. That is satisfactory, at any rate.
– I shall not have a chance of replying unless I get it within five minutes.
– I have not very much more to say. I was not aware that the Prime Minister was going to
Sydney to-night. But surely the few simple words that I am using could bc replied to by another Minister. At any rate I must say what I have to say, even if the Prime Minister has to leave without getting an opportunity to reply. This party-
– Which party?
– The Labour Party. That party is desirous of hanging on to their position as long as they can. I do not blame them for that. They are generally recognised as being a tenacious party. Only to-day we have had a new cry raised, and for the same purpose, viz., that of gaining time. The honorable member for Bourke has interposed with a motion the discussion of which might have been continued to-day. But no ; that is not desired - delay is what is required.
– The motion of the honorable member for Bourke is private members’ business.
– The situation is now getting rather serious. The sword is about to fall. So a new diversion is necessary, and the battle cry at the last general election, “ fiscal peace,” is attacked and repudiated.
– The right honorable member must mind that the sword does not fall on his own head.
– I think it is more likely to fall on the honorable member’s head.
– I never sold myself in any way ; I never offered myself for sale
– I fear the sword will fall on the honorable member’s head unless he is very careful. I do not wish to see that happen, because I have a kindly feeling for him.
– It is very unkind of the right honorable member to keep us from leaving when he knows that a Committee of the House has to go to Sydney to-night.
– The honorable member can leave, so far as I am concerned. I did not know that any Committee was going to Sydney, and I am not going to be influenced in the slightest degree by that consideration. I have nearly finished ; but I intend to conclude my remarks whether the honorable member stays or does not. In my opinion, the principal object of the Government and their supporters is to “gain time, because the longer the business is delayed, the better chance they think they have of maintaining their position. I do not think that they will succeed, but there can be little doubt that what I have indicated is the one object they have in view. The question is asked over and over again why, if a vote of want of confidence is to be proposed, a motion is not submitted at once. All I know is that the right honorable member for East Sydney has been waiting for weeks for an opportunity ; but the Government will not clear the decks for action. I should have thought that, instead of asking us to cease work on the days set apart for the sittings of Parliament, the Government, knowing that they are in a minority, would have fell it their duty to dispose of all intervening business, and would have welcomed a decision as to whether they had the confidence of this House or not at the earliest possible moment.
– The right honorable gentleman apparently wants to first “ spike the guns “ of the Government.
– What the Opposition want is a fair vote of the House. I have not the slightest doubt, as I say, that the Government will hold on to office as long as possible.
– Just as the right honorable member did.
– I am glad of these interruptions, which only show that the supporters of the Government do not like honest outspoken criticism. I do not see, however, why I should be interrupted in this manner, though if the honorable members like to interrupt, and you, sir, allow them to do so-
– I must ask honorable members to refrain from interrupting. I understand that it is the desire that -the right honorable member shall conclude his remarks as early as possible; and that cannot be accomplished if there is continual interruption. I ask that interjections shall cease entirely.
– My object in rising is to protest against repeated adjournments over the Friday, which are certainly not fair to those of us who come from distant States, and who, although they have private business to transact, are quite willing to devote a reasonable time to the duties of this House. I am sure that the other representatives from Western Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania, who cannot reach their homes as easily as can representatives from the States nearer to Victoria, will agree with me in my protest against three, and sometimes four, idle days each week. Our desire is that the work of the session shall be continued and completed as soon as possible, so that we may be able to return to our homes, instead of spending so much time fruitlessly in Melbourne. This waste of time is unheard of. I am not referring to any waste of time while the House is actually sitting, because I know that every honorable member may speak as he likes, subject to the Standing Orders. My protest is against the waste of time caused by adjournments over what should, be sitting days. It would appear to be almost a rule now that the House shall adjourn from the Thursday evening to the Tuesday; but such a policy does not commend itself to representatives from distant States, who have a right to expect the business of the country to be expeditiously transacted. For the last three months the Government appear to have been doing nothing but “ mark time ; “ they have been waiting for “ something to turn up ; “ they have been willing to adjourn at any and every time suggested, and they have postponed the Arbitration Bill because it was dangerous to their political existence, and interposed another, which was not so much calculated to affect their position. The present management of the Parliament of the country, in my opinion, is scandalous, as well as being demoralizing to constitutional government.
– I was not previously aware that so wide a range of debate could be allowed on a motion for the special adjournment of the House. The right honorable member for Swan, had he made inquiry, might have learnt that the proposed adjournment is not at the instance of the Government.
– The Government protested against the adjournment.
– One reason for the adjournment is that the Select Committee on Electoral Administration desire to bring their investigation to a close, and purpose holding a meeting in Sydney to-morrow. But for that fact I myself should have remained in’ Melbourne. I believe I am correct in saying that the right honorable member for East Sydney, who is the leader of the right honorable member for Swan, came to an understanding with the Prime Minister that there should be an adjournment - it was an understanding arrived at on the suggestion of the right honorable member for East Sydney.
– Certainly, it was at the right honorable member’s suggestion. The understanding made was that a vote on the Capital sites question should not be taken until Tuesday.
– There can be very little more debate on !the Seat of Government Bill, and it is rather anomalous that a lieutenant of the leader of the Opposition should, after an arrangement had been arrived at in the way I have described, attack the Government for carrying out that arrangement.
– It would appear as if there were “too many captains” on the Opposition side.
– I had no communication with anybody on the matter.
– The right honorable member ought to have communicated with his leader.
– Who is the leader of the honorable member for Hume?
– I do not think that the right honorable member has on this occasion been fair to the Government, considering that most of the talking last night was done by a lieutenant of the leader of the Opposition, assisted by the right honorable member himself. If there has been any delay during this week it must, I think, be attributed to the machinations of the right honorable member, who certainly ought not to blame the Government for taking a course which they were practically compelled to take under the peculiar circumstances.
– Why cannot the honorable member let the Government answer for themselves?
Mr. WATSON (Bland - Treasurer).What has just been said by the honorable member for Hume is absolutely correct. It was found that a large number of honorable members proposed leaving Melbourne for Sydney, Adelaide, and elsewhere, quite independently of the members of the Select Committee on Electoral Administration ; and, in any case, it would have been impossible to get a quorum to-morrow. But the adjournment is not at the suggestion of the Government; it has been arranged simply for the reason I have stated. The debate on the Seat of Government Bill is practically ended, and it was evident that if the House met to-morrow the vote would be taken in an exceptionally thin House ; and I am sure that would not meet with the wishes of any honorable member.
– If it had been arranged to take the vote to-morrow, honorable members would have been here.
– It would have been practically impossible for a large number of honorable members to be here ; and, unfortunately* from my point of view, every honorable member is not so seized with the importance of selecting the Capital site as to allow it to disarrange his private business. “ Demoralizing,” “ scandalous,” and a few other emphatic terms have been applied by the right honorable member for Swan to the present state of affairs. It is most extraordinary that the right honorable member should have been content to sit in this House for three months past, while the “ scandal “ has been going on, and should do nothing towards challenging the position of the Government. If the right honorable member and any other members of the Opposition object to the present Government, let them come up like men, as it is their duty to their constituents to do, and table an adverse motion. What is most demoralizing in this House is not the attitude of the Government, but the continual rumbling, and muttering of threats by the right honorable member and his confreres opposite. They threaten in this fashion, but do nothing, with the result that honorable members are kept in a state of suspense, not knowing what may occur.
– Why did the Prime Minister interpose the Seat of Government Bill during the consideration of the Arbitration Bill?
– It was necessary to have a little time in order to consider the Arbitration Bill.
– The Government had plenty of time in which to do that.
– Honorable members on the other side, including the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, asked the Government to consider a number of abstruse questions concerning legal interpretations; and that consideration which was necessary could not be given to the matter in a day. However, it is not the fault of the Government that the consideration of the Seat of Government Bill has lasted so long. Not one member of the Ministry has spoken during the debate, and,
I believe, only one or two Government supporters have addressed themselves to the merits of the various suggested sites.
– The Prime Minister must have known that the consideration of the Bill would take a long time.
– The Bill is so important that a month might be well spent in its consideration.
– That may be; but the right honorable member for Swan has no right to complain that the Government have delayed matters.
– My complaint is that a new Bill was interposed in order to gain time.
– The Federal Capital question on the last occasion took four days to decide, and the Government were justified in expecting that no more time would be occupied on the present occasion. It is open to the right honorable member, or any one else with authority from the members of the Opposition, to take steps at the earliest possible moment to end the present position, if that position does not suit honorable members opposite. The Opposition talk of the Government being in a minority ; but I deny that that is so. If, however, that is the belief of honorable members, let them take the usual Parliamentary means of demonstrating the fact. Question resolved in the affirmative.
Mr. WATSON laid upon the table the following papers ‘: -
Amendments of Financial and Allowance regulations, and of regulations relating to Rifle Clubs, dated 23rd July, 1904.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 3rd August, vide page 3876) :
Clause 2 (Determination of Seat of Government).
– I am very glad that the Government have afforded the Committee an opportunity to finish the debate on this question to-night, in order that a vote may be taken on Tuesday next. I think that we must all, under the circumstances, agree with the action of the Government in connexion with the adjournment over to-morrow. I certainly agree with it. During the last Parliament I spoke at considerable length on the question of the Federal Capital site and made a comparison between the various sites submitted at the time. Having already made up my mind as to the site for which I shall vote, and believing that most honorable members have also made up their minds on the question, I do not now propose to enter at length upon a comparison of the advantages of the various localities under review. I have given every consideration to the question, and, unlike some honorable members, I have taken an opportunity to visit every one of the sites with the exception of the last, which has been suggested at, I think, a rather late hour, and from the first I took the objection to that site that, being right on the southern border of New South Wales, its selection would be outside the understanding entered into with the people of New South Wales. That I shall presently endeavour to show. I shall ask the special attention of the honorable member for Gippsland to what I propose to say about Bombala; I think that the selection of Tooma, Bombala, or any other place situated on the southern border of New South Wales, would practically create a buffer State’ between Victoria and New South Wales, and that that would be outside the terms of the arrangement as put before the people of New South Wales when the referendum was taken on the Commonwealth Bill in 3899.
– If that view is correct, should not the Constitution have provided for a limit from the border as well as a limit from Sydney?
– Quite so; it would have been better if it had contained such a provision. But I shall ask the honorable member directly to listen to what was put before the people of New South Wales, not only by the leaders of the Federal movement and the advocates of the Commonwealth Bill, but also by those who were leading the movement in opposition, and who were known at the time as “ anti-Billites.” The statement put before the people of New South Wales at that time bv the leaders of both movements was that the Federal Capital should be established within a reasonable distance of Sydney, and that it should be in such a position that Sydney would be its port. I do not propose to deal with the statements made by the lesser lights who followed the leaders of both movements, but, contenting myself with the observations of the lenders, I am sure that I can satisfy the honorable member for Gippsland that my contention in this matter is substantially correct. Some honorable members are particularly touchy with respect to promises, or supposed promises, made before Federation was agreed to. I refer especially to honorable members who represent Western Australia. We; have had the right honorable member for Swan, and other honorable members from that State, telling us that a promise was given to the people of Western Australia that if they agreed to come into the Federation they should have a Transcontinental Railway to connect that State with the Eastern States.
– Would the honorable and learned member vote for it?
– I shall consider that question when it is brought forward. What I ask of honorable members from Western Australia at the present time is that, if I am able to show that a promise was made by the leaders of the Federal movement in New South Wales that the Federal Capital should be established at a reasonable distance from Sydney, and in such a position that Sydney would be its port, they will give that fact careful consideration when deciding upon the site for which they will vote. It has been contended by various honorable members from New South Wales that, because that State must give the territory required, and for other reasons, the people of that State are entitled to some substantial gain. As I took a fair amount of interest in opposing the Commonwealth Bill, I am aware that a large number of people in various districts in New South Wales were largely influenced in the votes they gave in connexion with Federation by a consideration of the position in which they were given to understand the Federal Capital’ would be established. When it was known that as the result of the Premiers’ Conference the Federal Capital was to be established in New South Wales, and they were given to understand by the leaders of the Federal movement that it would be within a reasonable distance of Sydney, that had a material influence upon the number of votes cast for the Commonwealth Bill in the referendum taken in 1899. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro, in advocating the Southern Monaro site last evening, said that we required a gateway to the sea for the Federal Capital. The gateway to the sea put before the people of New South Wales was the port of Sydney. There can be no doubt that the promise made to the people of that State was that Svdney should be the port of the Federal Capital, and the honorable member for Eden-Monaro, and other honorable members who agree with him in supporting a Southern Monaro site, and in advocating another gateway to the Federal Capital, are departing from the understanding submitted to the people of New South Wales, that Sydney was to be the port of the Federal Capital.
– Does the honorable and learned member think that any one has the power or the right to promise anything that was not contained in the Constitution, either in regard to a railway to Western Australia, or anything else?
– I do not; but I say that the leaders of the Federal movement put the position before the people of New South Wales in a certain way. A distinct promise, in the terms I have stated, was made to the New South Wales people by Sir Edmund Barton, the Honorable R. E. O’Connor, the Right Honorable G. H. Reid, and others leading the Federal movement, and honorable members representing New South Wales constituencies should, at all events, stand by it. But . in this Chamber we have some honorable members from New South Wales prepared to vote absolutely in opposition to the promise; we even have the honorable member for Hume ready to vote against the distinct statement which he himself made to the people of Sydney and of New South Wales, when speaking at Waverley in 1899. I propose to quote the honorable gentleman’s observations on that occasion.
– Does the honorable and learned member contend that the Committee should be bound by the promises of those individuals ?
– I do not contend that for a moment. All I say is that promises were made to the people of New South Wales by the leaders of the Federal movement, and that when those promises are submitted to honorable members in the words used by the persons who made them, they should be given fair consideration. I do not for a moment contend that honorable members of this Committee are bound by promises made by Sir Edmund Barton, by the right honorable member for East Sydney, or by any other man ; but I hope that honorable members from all the States will take these matters into consideration when deciding the site for the Capital. I find that Sir Edmund Barton spoke, in support of the adoption of the Commonwealth Bill by . the people of New South Wales, in the Temperance
Hall, Sydney, on the 1st May, 1899. The right honorable member for East Sydney, and a large number of other Federalists were present at the meeting, and, from their silence, I presume they agreed wilh the expressions used by Sir Edmund Barton on that occasion. The right honorable gentleman said -
I am perfectly satisfied that the Federal Capital will always be in such a place that Sydney will be the trading port.
That was the position put before the people of New South Wales by the leader of the Federal movement. .
– That was before the right honorable member for East Sydney had agreed to the exclusion of Sydney.
– No. The honorable and learned member will pardon me. This meeting was held about three weeks before the referendum was taken in 1899, and after the right honorable member for East Sydney had agreed, in conference with the Premiers of the other States, to the 100- miles limit from Sydney. Speaking at Marrickville, a little later, on 13th June, Sir Edmund Barton said -
Wherever the Federal Capital was placed Sydney must be the trading port of the Capital.
Those are very strong expressions from the leader of the Federal movement, and, naturally, the people of New South Wales attached very great importance to what was said by the right honorable gentleman on that occasion. I find that the present Mr. Justice O’Connor, who was one of the prominent supporters of the Federal movement in New South Wales, speaking at Balmain on 15th June, 1899, in connexion with the Federal Capital, said -
The Capital being fixed in New South Wales, a vast advantage must accrue to Sydney.
These quotations surely show that these leading representatives of the Federal movement fully believed, wished the people of New South Wales to believe, and induced them to believe, that when the Federal Capital was established Sydney would be its trading port, and that Sydney and New South Wales would necessarily get some advantage from the arrangement. The right honorable member for East Sydney, speaking on 16th June, 1899, at Goulburn, referred to this matter in the following words : -
I am not saying this to-night to pleaseyou. I said it in February last, when coming through Albury. They asked me if the Capital would be there, and I said that, in my opinion, it would be on the Southern line, a little below Goulburn.
Other members of the right honorable gentleman’s administration, including the Postmaster-General of New South Wales at the time, and a number of prominent men and members of Parliament in New South Wales, made use of similar expressions. This all goes to show that the idea in the minds of those gentlemen, and the idea which they desired to convey to the people of New South Wales, was that the Federal Capital was to be established in such a position that Sydney would be its port, and that New South Wales, in that way, would derive some distinct advantage from the establishment of the Capital within that State. I have given quotations from the leading “Billites “ in New South Wales at the time of the referendum. But it was not only the “.Billites,” but also the “ antiBill ites “ of whom the honorable member for Hume was one of the leaders, who put this view before the people of New South Wales. I point out, in passing, that the honorable member for Hume went so far as to say that in consequence of Eden-Bombala being so far south, it was entirely out of range, and could not be taken into consideration -at all. We find that the honorable gentleman is now advocating the selection of Tooma, which is right on the southern border of New South Wales, and which is fur- ther south even than Dalgety. As one of the leaders of the “ anti-Billite “ party in New South Wales, the honorable gentleman made use of expressions in connexion with the position of the Federal Capital very similar to those made use of by advocates of the Bill. Speaking here the other night, the honorable gentleman said that we should not be building this Capital for the present, but for the future, and that we should look forward to the time when the population of Australia would be very much greater than it is at present. He contended that in fixing the site of the Federal Capital we should take that into consideration, in order that it. might be established as near as possible to the centre of the population of the Commonwealth. In making these observations the honorable gentleman was advocating the selection . of the Tumut district, embracing the three sites of Tumut, Batlow, and the new site. at Tooma; but on 31st May, 1899, speaking in Sydney at Waverlev, the honorable gentleman took a very different view as to where the centre of population was likely to be. The honorable gentleman spoke at that time, not with a view to pleasing his constituents, but as a leader of the great movement in New South Wales in opposition to the Constitution Bill. He said -
The excess of population in the Colony in future would be to the north of Sydney, and not to the south of it, and the Capital should be placed at Armidale or somewhere in that direction.
– Who said that?
– The honorable member for Hume, when speaking on the Constitution Bill at Waverley in 1899.
– The scene has changed since then.
– The honorable gentleman has found a new constituency since then.
– The scene has changed; and the honorable gentleman is now advocating the selection of a site which is as remote from Sydney as any site in New South Wales can possibly be. He referred to the matter again on 31st May, 1899, when speaking at Sydney. The honorable gentleman was then strongly advocating the claims of Sydney as the Capital of Australia. He said -
Perhaps there might be something in the argument that Sydney should not be the Capital. Still, we had a right for the Capital to be placed within a reasonable distance of the metro, polis of New South- Wales.
It has been the subject of keen remark in New South Wales, and has come as a shock to the electors of that State who heard the honorable member for Hume say a few years back that if the Seat of Government could not be in Sydney it should be within reasonable distance of that metropolis, to find that he is now endeavouring to have it placed on the southern border of the State, and as far from Sydney as is possible.
– The phrase “ reasonable distance” is used in the resolution of the Premiers. They resolved that the Capital should be within reasonable distance of Sydney.
– Quite so; but I do not wish to go over ground already traversed. The matters with which I have dealt are matters to which no. other honorable member has referred. Sir Edmund Barton, Mr. Justice O’Connor, the right honorable member for East Sydney, and the honorable member for Hume, were four of the most prominent speakers for and against the Federal movement in New South Wales, and they undoubtedly led the people of that
State to believe that the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth would be placed within a reasonable distance of Sydney, and that Sydney would be its port. Every elector in the mother State who took any interest in the matter was under the impression that the Federal Capital would be so placed. Therefore I ask honorable members to bear that fact in mind, and, while giving full consideration to the merits of the various proposed sites, see that the wishes of the people of New South Wales are not ignored. In my opinion, the Lake George site is the best that has yet been proposed, and when the last ballot was taken, I, with another honorable member, voted for it. That site is almost midway between the great cities of Sydney and Melbourne, and easily accessible by railway, because it is close to the main line which connects them. It also possesses an advantage which no other site has, inasmuch as it fronts a large sheet of water, while its climate is equal to that of any of the other proposed sites. The selection of that site would have carried out the representations made to the people of New South Wales, and would have fallen in with what was said on the subject by the right honorable member for Adelaide. Unfortunately, however, the Lake George site was inspected under conditions which did not give it a fair chance. We were taken to the worst part of the site - to one end of the lake which, after ten years’ drought, was almost dry; and’ the day was a -bad one, so that the place was seen under every disadvantage. Apparently the site is now out of the running, and under these circumstances the next best site is, in my opinion, Lyndhurst. Sydney would certainly be the port of the Federal Capital if Lyndhurst were chosen, and that site has all the necessary advantages of climate, accessibility, and so forth. I am, therefore, anxious that the Lyndhurst site shall be chosen, and I ask honorable members in dealing with this matter to give fair and honest consideration to the fact that a great many of the electors’ of New South Wales who voted for the acceptance of the Constitution were led to do so on the representations of Sir Edmund Barton, Mr. Justice O’Connor, the honorable member for Hume, and the right honorable member for East Sydney, which I have already ( quoted.
– Before beginning my remarks on the Bill, I should like to answer the criticism which has been passed on the action of the Government in bringing the measure forward for discussion before the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill had been finally dealt with. That criticism appears to me very unjust, in view of the eVents of the last three months.
– The determination of the Seat of Government is the question before the Committee.
– I shall allude only briefly to the matter with which I am dealing. We had a change of Government, and it taxed the energies of the Prime Minister to the utmost to meet the various objections raised against the provisions of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. His continuous application finally caused him to become unwell, . and under the circumstances, he was quite justified, when a stage in the consideration of that Bill in Committee had been finished, in asking honorable members to go on with the discussion of another measure, while the Government considered the amendments made in the Conciliation Bill. Although coming from a distant State, and although it is to my advantage to have the business of Parliament conducted in as short a time as possible, I have no sympathy with the objection which has been raised to the ‘ action of the Government in bringing forward the Seat of Government Bill. I believe that had other legislation been introduced, their action would not have been criticised, but in any case, we do not wish to be enabled to return quickly to our homes by overworking those who hold Ministerial office. What I have to say in regard to the proposed sites is not very much. I believe that no votes will be changed by the discussion of this clause, Every honorable member who has dealt with the subject has treated it differently, but most of them have viewed it wholly from the stand-point of the States from which they come. .1 do not blame them for doing so. But I claim the right to deal with it in the same way, particularly as the State which I represent received no consideration whatever in the early stages of this matter. I .take exception, however, to two sets of arguments which have been used by honorable members. In the first place, I think that it would be disastrous to approach the consideration of the question from what I may call the extreme Kyabram stand-point, which was emphasized by the honorable and learned member for Wannon.
– Kyabram is dead.
– I am aware of that ; but its ghost still lives, and a few honorable members, especially representatives of Victoria, are always ready to bring it before us. I hope that parsimonious ideas will nol. take possession of the minds of honorable members in connexion with the building of the Federal Capital. I would rather see the matter delayed for fifty or 100 years than have a cheap and nasty place erected, in accordance with the ideas of Kyabram. We can afford to wait for our Capital, but we cannot afford to disgrace the country by building a city of tin shanties. Let us erect a city of which those who come after us will be proud. I do not blame honorable members -for dealing with the subject from the local point of view. We were sent here to represent particular districts and Stales, and we cannot forget the fact, no matter how much we try. But, in dealing with a great national question such as this, parochial interests must be left out of view. At the present time only the fringe of this great country is populated, but I believe that in the future the whole of Australia will be settled. In my opinion, Central Australia will in future carry a very big population, and coming generations will wonder why we were so short-sighted in fixing the site of the Federal Capital as to consider only the existing population on the coast.
– Does the honorable member think that the centre of Australia is capable of carrying a large rural population ?
– Certainly I do. To my mind there is no doubt about it.
– In that case thefuture generation must be constructed like camels, and able to go for a week without water.
– I think that the experience of other places has shown that the settlement of Central Australia is more than probable. I am with those honorable members who contend that the Federal Capital should be centrally situated. But ideas on the subject appear very vague, and very much at variance with actual facts.
– Port Augusta is the true centre.
– If the matter is to be looked at from the Australian standpoint, the Capital should be placed as near to the western borders of New South Wales as is possible. Of course, the matter has hitherto been argued only with regard to the present location of population. It is strange that honorable members have lost sight of the fact that during the last ten or twelve years the trend of population has been altogether away from the more populous States. Not only honorable members, but also the representatives of the States at the Convention, overlooked the important fact that population was trending westwards.
– And northwards.
– I shall give the figures for the Northern States. According to Coghlan, during the period from 1 89 1 to 1902 - twelve years - Victoria lost by excess of emigration over immigration 123,855 people. South Australia lost 21,142, and Tasmania 1,895 - I suppose it had not any more to lose. New South Wales gained 16,155, Queensland 18,675, and Western Australia 145,165. Thus the gain of Western Australia was four times greater than that of all the other States combined. These figures show that Western Australia has been entirely overlooked. I know that it is now too late to remedy the mistake that has been made. I find that the population per square mile in New South Wales is 4”53, as contrasted with13.78 in Victoria. When honorable members who represent the mother State are speaking of Sydney as the hub of the universe, they should remember that there is something to be said in favour of establishing the Federal Capital in a localitv to the southward of Sydney, inasmuch as the population of Victoria is three times as dense as that of New South Wales.
– What about, the Panama Canal ?
– What about the Encyclopaedia Britannica ?
– It is rather early to consider the possible effects of the Panama Canal upon Australian trade. Although I admit that we cannot alter what has been done, I have always objected to the manner in which the question of the Federal Capital was dealt with at the Premiers’ Conference. That was a secret meeting, and only those who were present know exactly what happened. In spite of all our inquiries, all we can ascertain is that there was a lot of haggling and bargaining. We are told that the representative of New South Wales insisted upon provision being made in the Constitution for the establishment of the Federal Capital in New South Wales. The Victorian representative said that if that were insisted upon that he would see to it that the Capital was not established anywhere near Sydney, and in spite of the protests of the right honorable member for East Sydney, the historical 100-mile limit was imposed - a stipulation at which future generations will laugh.
– The present generation is laughing al it.
– It is enough to make people laugh. It would have been preferable to have the matter left for settlement by the people of Australia. I believe that if we had had a perfectly free hand we should have selected a site somewhere on the borders of New South Wales. As matters stand, however, we cannot do justice to the subject, because we have to observe hampering conditions, which prevent us from doing that which we conceive to be best. I have visited all the proposed sites, and have honestly tried, apart altogether from my predilections, and certainly free from local bias, to decide which is the best site. I shall refer only to the three sites which are regarded as having a chance of selection. I went to Lyndhurst expecting to find a much better tract of country. I was disappointed, after hearing so much in praise of that site from the representatives of New South Wales, to find a dry, dreary, barren prospect, with nothing whatever to make it attractive. The land appeared to me to be of only second or third-rate quality, and I saw no vegetation except in the form of dried grass or Scotch thistles.
– The Scotch thistles would be an indication of good land.
– Yes ; but these thistles were dead. Even the hares and rabbits there seemed to be more miserable than those to be found in other parts of the country. In the Bombala district I saw more than one site that would be suitable for a very fine city. I think that the district is to be congratulated upon having two or three eligible sites. The desirableness of having a Federal port led me, in the first instance, to give my adhesion to the Bombala district. I regard as of the highest importance the question of providing an outlet by sea, so that the Commonwealth Government shall not be confined within the borders of any one State. I am afraid that, if we tie ourselves up within the borders of New South Wales, and thus place ourselves at the mercy of that State - I use the term advisedly - as to means of ingress and egress, the time may come when we shall regret our action.
– The honorable member is exhibiting a fine Federal spirit.
– My attitude is only in keeping with theFederal spirit which has been shown in this Chamber. The representatives of New South Wales are not displaying a very good spirit towards the rest of Australia. Although they are assured by the terms of the Constitution that the Federal Capital shall be located within New South Wales, they are now claiming that they have the right to name the district in which it should be situated, and the extent of territory which shall be acquired by the Commonwealth.
– Why does not the honorable member object to the Seat of Government being in Melbourne, seeing that we are at the mercy of Victoria?
– The question of meeting here for a time is entirely different from that of establishing the permanent Seat of Government of the Commonwealth. Of the sites in the Bombala district, that at Dalgety appealed to me as being the best, chiefly on account of its picturesqueness. I am not given to raving about beautiful scenery, although I appreciate it as much as most men. If we are to build . the Capital in the Bombala district, it would be a pity to overlook the Dalgety site, with its fine background of mountains and the Snowy River flowing around three sides. When I went to the Tumut district, however, I was forced, much as I liked Dalgety, to award the palm to Welaregang. It has all the advantages possessed by Dalgety, from the picturesque stand-point, and it possesses the further recommendation that the country is very rich. I do not think that we could find anywhere in Australia a more suitable tract of country or a better site for the ‘Federal city. The site possesses every essential, and I am quite sure that if those honorable members who have not yet visited it could only see it they would agree with me. As regards accessibility, I. would point out that a matter of 100 miles is a mere bagatelle to the average Australian traveller. The representatives of Western Australia have to travel from 2,000 to 2,500 miles in order to attend the meetings of Parliament, and yet we find honorable members who live in Sydney attaching great importance to the question of a mere fifty or 100 miles of extra travelling. When once a man has to travel, of what importance is an extra fifty or 100 miles? Are we going to sacrifice the very best site that can be found in Australia for the sake of bringing the Federal city 100 miles nearer to some particular point? Honorable members who regard the matter from that stand-point lose sight of the most essential consideration. I began by saying that I should prefer to see the establishment of the Capital delayed for fifty or 100 years rather than that we should engage in such an enterprise in any spirit of parsimony. Although I. am now prepared to vote for the site I have indicated, with Dalgety as a second choice, I still hope that there will be no undue haste in arranging, for the establishment of the Federal city. The people of New South Wales may, perhaps, grumble if we do not make as much haste as they think we should, but we have to consider the whole of the Commonwealth. Instead of building the city with borrowed money, we should cut our coat according to our cloth, and defray the cost of the preparatory work out of revenue. Then, by-and-by, when we have to build the city, we may possibly have to resort to some other means of raising the necessary funds. I hope, however, that for some years to come we shall not be under the necessity of borrowing money. The suggestion has been made by one or two honorable members that we ought to make haste to leave Melbourne. I confess that I am in no hurry to get away from this city. I am aware that some honorable members - myself amongst the number - occasionally chafe under what we regard as the unfair criticism of the press. But I am not going to allow that criticism to drive me to take up my abode in a desolate wilderness. I like to read my morning newspaper, as well as do most honorable members. Those who cry out most loudly against press influence would probably be the first to grumble if they woke up in the Federal Capital and lacked their morning newspaper. To my mind, it would be a calamity if Parliament were placed out of touch with the best thought which finds expression in our great cities. Upon more than one occasion I have had to fight the press, and I may yet have to repeat the experience. Nevertheless, I do not hold with the cry that we should place ourselves outside the sphere of press influence as speedily as possible. When we go to our new home we should do so because we are under an obligation to acquire a territory of our own, and not from any other reason. Of all the localities in respect of which we are asked to vote, I regard the Tumut area as the most suitable for the establishment of the Federal Capital. The Bombala district is my second choice, and, I think, that Lyndhurst is the very worst site that is available. In my judgment it would be disastrous to the best interests of the Commonwealth if that site were selected.
– Of all the questions upon which we are empowered to legislate under the Constitution, that which is now engaging our attention is one of the most important. It was embodied in our charter of Government by -our eminent constitution builders, upon the understanding that as scon as this Parliament was in a position to deal with the question, it should receive careful consideration. As head of the first Commonwealth Government, Sir Edmund Barton distinctly promised in his pre-election addresses, and also in the Governor-General’s speech at the opening of the Commonwealth Parliament, that it should be given early attention. Before that promise could be redeemed, however, a considerable amount of work had to be undertaken, in order to place honorable members in possession of information which was essential to enable them to arrive at a just decision regarding the particular site which should be selected. Consequently, no attempt was made to deal with the matter, until towards the close of the first Parliament. Even then the information which was supplied to honorable members was very incomplete. As a matter of fact, official reports relating to various sites were still being received whilst the Seat of Government Bill was under consideration. Moreover, the time which was then at the disposal of honorable members was very limited. Those who took part in the discussion of that Bill were urged to compress their addresses within the narrowest possible limits. They were assured by Ministers that anything in the nature of an exhaustive debate of the measure must inevitably lead to the question being shelved. As we are all aware, the attempt to determine a site upon that occasion proved fruitless, owing to a difference between the choice of this House and that of the other Chamber. Since then we have had the advantage of being furnished with additional information concerning the different sites, and upon the present occasion we are not pressed for time as we were previously. I am bound to admit that during the present discussion some very excellent speeches have been made. In accordance with the decision of the House, we are now invited to select the Federal Territory rather than a site for the Federal Capital. The choice of a site is being made the peg upon which to hang the debate in respect of the territory. The most eligible areas have been narrowed down to three - namely, the Western, Southern, and South Eastern Districts. With the exception of what is contained in the report which was compiled at the instance of the Government of New South Wales by the late Mr. Oliver, honorable members have little or no informaation relating to the question of territory. That was one of the points upon which I joined issue with the Barton and Deakin Governments in dealing with this matter. When the Capital Sites Commission was appointed, I understood that the scope of its inquiry would extend, not only to the sites submitted, but to the suitability of the territory surrounding them. I was under the impression that the information to be supplied by them would be as complete as possible. Under instructions issued by the Government of- the day, however, that Commission limited its investigation practically to a site of 4,000 acres. Outside of that area it sought information only as regards the possibility of supplying the population of the future Capital with water. We are, therefore, called upon to deal with the question of the Federal Territory, lacking a considerable amount of information which would be of immense value to us in enabling us to arrive at a just determination. Of course I recognise that the present Government is not responsible for that absence of information. It was obliged to take up this question at the point at which it had been left by its predecessors. To me it seems extraordinary that the members of the late Government, who were responsible for the investigation of the Capital Sites Commission being conducted in the way that it was, should now turn a complete somersault, and be consumed with a desire to select territory in the first place, and to make the choice of a site a matter for subsequent consideration. How they have come to arrive at this position I fail to understand.
– We shall have to decide the site also.
– As I am reminded by the honorable member for North Sydney, we shall also be invited to decide the site. But we are, first of all, invited to decide upon the territory, and we are asked to select that territory on information that relates to sites only. I contend that we should be placed in possession of further information, for the purpose of selecting the territory. The question of the site is for after consideration. Before dealing with the territories, or sites within those territories, I should like to say a word upon the constitutional aspect of the question, particularly as it relates to the interests of New South Wales. It is a matter upon which, even in this House, there is considerable difference of opinion. Some honorable members hold that as the Constitution provides that the site must be within the territory of New South Wales, no obligation is imposed upon Parliament beyond placing the site within that State. They urge that the particular portion of the State’ in which the site is located is of no importance. In fact, several honorable members have expressed the opinion that in the interests of the Commonwealth the site should not be within the territory of New South Wales, as we understand it, but upon the border, so that New South Wales territory will actually be taken for site purposes, whilst the people living within it will have access to another State entirely independent of New South Wales. The question of how this position was arrived at is very interesting. The Constitution itself provides, in section 125, that the Seat of Government shall be in the State of New South Wales, and shall be distant not less than 100 miles from Sydney ; and it goes on to say that the Parliament shall sit in Melbourne until it meets at the Seat of Government. In order to understand the position thoroughly, honorable members must carry their minds back to the discussion which took place in connexion with the framing of the Constitution, particularly in those stages that led to its adoption by the peoples of the different States. The principle which animated the Convention was not merely that of devising a perfect instrument of Government theoretically, and making it workable practically, but there was also introduced the Question of what concessions the different States should secure for themselves, or what disadvantages they would suffer under this new form of Government, as compared with the State form of Government that had previously existed; what were the powers which they surrendered, and what effect those powers had upon their industrial life; and to what extent they could make terms with their fellow States, which would compensate them for losses, fancied or otherwise, in other respects. I think it can be fairly claimed that New South Wales, through her representatives - particularly through her Federal leader, Sir Edmund Barton - faced this question from the wider standpoint of the interests of the whole Commonwealth. The people of that State were not disposed to subordinate principles which they considered essential to the proper working of the Constitution, to mere questions of particular advantage to their own State. But when terms of this character were being forced upon their consideration by the other States, and special conditions were being secured by them, it became necessary - in order to secure the co-operation of the people of that State, without which the Constitution could not be adopted and Federation consummated - for the members of the Convention representing New South Wales to show their people that in making these concessions to the other States, they were not giving away the whole of the interests of their own State. One natural condition was that the Senate should represent the States as States, one State being one electorate for that particular purpose, so that senators should not represent sections of the people, but the whole State. Queensland had special interests at stake. There was a divergence of conditions and interests as between Southern Queensland, Central Queensland, and Northern Queensland. Apparently her representatives, who were engaged in framing the Constitution, desired that these interests should be specially considered. The Constitution builders had to depart from their ideal to this extent - that Queensland received the right, if she chose, not to elect her senators for the whole State as one electorate, but to divide her State into three sections for that purpose. That was one concession which Queensland received. I do not say that it was an improper one. but it was . a departure from the ideal of the framers of the Constitution for the purpose of meeting State needs. Then again Tasmania recognised that in so far as her revenue was so largely derived from Customs and Excise, in handing over those methods of taxation to Federal control she was depriving her Government of a source of revenue that was’ essential in the conduct of her administration.
– Order ! Are the honorable member’s remarks to be connected with the question of the Capital sites ?
– Yes; I am showing that because of those concessions that were made to other States New South Wales was justified in asking for a concession with respect to the Capital. Tasmania obtained the insertion in the Constitution of the section which became known afterwards as the Braddon section. Then, again, South Australia wished to have the rivers - particularly those running through Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales, and meeting in her territory, per medium of the Murray - to be preserved for navigation purposes. That question affected such vital interests’ in more than one State with regard to the development of territories by means of irrigation that it led to almost a dead-lock in the Convention. It seemed likely at one time that if South Australia insisted upon her own interests in this respect, the Convention would come to naught.
– South Australia neither asked for nor received any concession whatever from the Convention.
– This matter was fought out by her representatives so strongly, and was resisted to such an extent by the New South Wales representatives, that on more than one occasion those representatives were prepared to pack up their carpet bags and leave before any result was arrived at. However, despite the strong protests of the representatives of New South Wales, and to a lesser degree of those of Victoria, a condition, was inserted that secured special consideration for the interests of South Australia.
– I must draw the attention of the honorable member to the fact that he is not really discussing the matter which is now under the purview of the Committee. He is going into the question of the right of New South Wales to have the Capital site within her territory. That is not under consideration at all. What we now have to discuss is the suitabilitv of the various areas which have been submitted for the consideration of the Committee. I ask the honorable member to confine himself to that question.
– But, sir, during the course of the debate the constitutional side of the question has been raised, and the New South Wales representatives have been charged with being provincial, and so forth, in asking that the terms of the Constitution should be adhered to.
– The honorable member was really discussing the action, not of this Parliament, but of the Convention, and that is going outside the question before the Chair. We are not now debating the action of the Convention.
– I am not discussing the action of the Convention.
– The honorable member is discussing the reason why certain concessions were made by the Convention at the instance of the representatives of certain States. The remarks which the honorable member says have been made by other honorable members in regard to the action of the New South Wales members were merely incidental, and were not pursued at considerable length.
– I have practically concluded my references to this point. I do not wish to transgress the rules, and am prepared to bow to your decision.
– I think the honorable member will find that the subject is quite wide enough as it is.
– I” am aware that it is a fairly wide question, but, as these points had been dealt with, I was simply showing what were the concessions made to the different States. The concession made to Western Australia was, of course, the provision with regard to Customs duties, and the understanding as to the Transcontinental Railway. If I am in order, I wish to deal with the questions which have been put to the Committee - that the Capital site must be in such a position that, whilst the territory is within New South Wales, there must be egress to a State independent of New South Wales, either by reason of the site abutting upon the territory of the other State or bv reason of the fact that the territory will embrace a Federal harbor. Those questions have been raised at considerable length, and I wish to reply to the remarks which have been made concerning them.
– The honorable member will be quite in order in doing so.
– In the first place, when this matter was being dealt with in our State
Parliament, Mr. Reid, as Premier, asked for permission to negotiate with the Premiers of the other States. I was one of the few members of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales who voted against the proposal to remit this question of the Federal Capital Site to the State Premiers, and, therefore, I cannot be charged with having any prejudice. In my opinion, there were other issues so important that they ought not to be overshadowed by any consideration of this particular State concession. In pleading for the interests of the State which I represent, I only urge that any special concessions granted under the Constitution shall be carried out, not only in letter, but in spirit. Victoria, for instance, insists not only that the Federal Parliament shall meet in Melbourne, but that all the functions of the Executive Government shall be discharged in that city. And Victoria is quite within her rights in so insisting.
– How has Victoria insisted ?
– Shortly after the Federal Parliament met in Melbourne, the then Prime Minister, Sir Edmund Barton, paid a visit to Sydney on Commonwealth business, and a suspicion immediately arose that the intention was to discharge the functions of government in that city. Thereupon a great furore was raised by the Victorian press, which demanded that the spirit of the Constitution should be observed. When the Commonwealth Government decided to rent some small offices in Sydney for Federal purposes, even that course was resented in Victoria.
– The press is not the people.
– But the representatives, of Victoria in this Parliament would have resented any such idea had they not been satisfied there was no intention to remove the administrative government. There is no doubt that Victoria is quite right in insisting on the spirit of the compromise or bargain being observed.
– The Governor-General spends most of his time in Sydney.
– Only a small fraction of the Governor-General’s time is spent in Sydney. While Victorians insist on the compact being carried out in spirit as well as in letter, they ought to extend fair and reasonable consideration to the sister State of New South Wales. It must not be thought for a moment that to fix the Capital site on the border would be to carry out the compact in full ; and, as justifying that opinion, let me read an extract from Messrs. Quick and Garran’s valuable work on the Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth. At page 219 we read that the Premiers of the various States, in Conference, reported -
It is considered that the fixing of the site of the Capital is a question which might well be left to the Parliament to decide; but, in view of the strong expression of opinion in relation to this matter in New South Wales, the Premiers have modified the clause, so that while the Capital cannot be fixed at Sydney, or in its neighbourhood, provision is made in the Constitution for its establishment in New South Wales at a reasonable distance from that city. o
I draw honorable members’ attention to the words “ at a reasonable distance from that city,” as showing the opinion of the Premiers who revised the Constitution, and who were responsible for the alteration which fixed the roo-miles limit. This document was issued by the Premiers, -not to the people of New South Wales for their guidance and information, but to the people of the whole Commonwealth, who were subsequently asked to indorse the Constitution as altered.
– And they indorsed the Constitution by largely increased majorities.
– Can it be contended that a site selected on the border, hundreds of miles distant, and most difficult of access, as the Tooma site is, is within “ reasonable distance of Sydney “ ? Could the selection of such a site be said to comply with the spirit which underlies the agreement entered into at the Premiers’ Conference? I am supported in my present attitude by some of the leading men who took part in that Conference. The right honorable member for Balaclava, in one of his addresses, said -
We, in this Colony, have made a contract with New South Wales, and we are not going back on it.
When, in the last Parliament, the right honorable member for Balaclava was asked to vote for a border site, which had considerable support from the press and representatives of Victoria, he refused to do so, and gave his voice in favour of the Tumut-Lacmalac site. To the honour and credit of that right honorable member, let it be said that he was the only member of the then Government who viewed the question from that liberal stand-point.
– The right honorable member knew the feeling of the Premiers’ Conference.
– That is so, seeing that he was one of those instrumental in bringing about the agreement then arrived at. The Cabinet, when the voting on the sites took place, contained two representatives of New South Wales, but the right honorable member for Balaclava was the only member of the Ministry prepared to vote in favour of Tumut, as against a border site.
– Does the honorable member say that Tumut is within a “ reasonable distance “ of Sydney ?
– Tumut is within a much more reasonable distance from Sydney than is Albury, Tooma, Bombala, or Dalgety. Sir Alexander Peacock, when occupying the important position of Premier of Victoria, is reported to have thus expressed himself in an interview with a representative of the Sydney Daily Telegraph -
Albury is too near to Melbourne, you know - a province of Melbourne. You might as well have the Capital in Victoria as at Albury. .Oh, no ; this is a serious business ; Albury is impossible - we admit it.
Those utterances were largely instrumental in leading the people of New South Wales to suppose that, all things being equal, a site within a reasonable distance beyond the 100-miles limit, would not be excluded from the consideration of this House. While honorable members are willing to. select a site in New South Wales, because the Constitution compels them to do so, they do not appear to be prepared to fix on a place within a reasonable distance of Sydney, but would rather locate the Capital on the border, either west or east of the mountains or of the Snowy River.
– Two Victorian members voted for Albury ; why not say so ?
– Some honorable members afterwards transferred’ their votes. There was not a Victorian member who voted for a site further north than Tumut. Some honorable members view the Constitution as though it not only provided that the Capital site should not be within 100. miles of Sydney, but also that it must not be more than fifty miles from the River Murray or the Victorian border. , That is the position to which I take exception, as not being in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution or fair to the interests of the State which I represent.
– These honorable members desire New South Wales to provide the land, and to receive no benefit in return.
– If New South Wales is expected to hand over a big area, it is only reasonable to suppose that she anticipates to derive some benefit. But if a border site be selected, any benefit there may be will be divided between New South Wales and Victoria. The fact of the matter is that the natural conditions in New South Wales, in point of distance and accessibility, are such that her borderlands are practically Victorian. What I want to impress on honorable members is that in pressing for the selection of a site which is not on the border, I am asking for nothing unfair. The disadvantages of sites not on the border may be more than compensated for by advantages which border sites do not possess; and, all things being equal, there is no unreasonableness in the position I am advancing. As I have said before, it is not enough to observe the mere letter of the law; the spirit of the law is its very essence. The words of the Premiers who met in conference indicate the spirit of the Constitution, and its words clearly mean that if a suitable site can be secured within a reasonable distance from Sydney, that site should at least receive fair consideration at our hands. I have been greatly disappointed with the attitude ‘assumed on this question by some “of the representatives of Victoria. Arrangements were made to enable honorable members to visit the different sites suggested that they might make themselves personally acquainted with them-; but I regret to say that, whilst amongst the visiting parties the other States have been amply represented, honorable members representing Victorian constituencies’ have not availed themselves of these .opportunities to the extent that might have been expected, and as the visits were extended northwards, and into the interior of New South Wales, the number of Victorian members joining in these visits of inspection became less. This has not been very promising, but I trust that Victorian representatives will not deny just treatment to the mother State in this matter. I am encouraged to view the situation more hopefully after the address I heard from the honorable and learned member for Wannon, who represents a Victorian constituency. In his able address, that honorable and learned member viewed the question, not from a provincial, but from a comprehensive national stand-point. He was prepared to admit that New South Wales had some claims to consideration which ought not to be ignored. One subject to which the honorable and learned member referred is worthy of the special attention of the Committee, and that is the amount of expenditure involved on the sites under review. I am aware that the honorable and learned member has been twitted with Kyabramism, because he has endeavoured to view this question from the economic stand-point, and because he suggested the selection of the site which would involve the Commonwealth in the least expense. Without any suggestion of cheese-paring, it must be admitted that the honorable and learned member has raised a very important question, which must” be fully considered in justice to the people not of any particular State but of the whole Commonwealth, because thev will be expected to find the ‘ money for the establishment and equipment of the Federal Capital. If one suitable site involves less expense than does another, that should certainly have some weight with honorable ‘ members in its selection. The question of expense has a very important bearing on this matter. There are those who would appear to dissociate Federal interests from State interests. Because the Federal, authority is charged with the carrying out of a certain work, some people think that the States are not affected. But the Federal Parliament has to govern the same people as the States Parliaments, and the burden of unnecessary extravagance on the p.rt of the Federal Parliament must fall upon the people of the States, in just the same way as if the extravagance had been committed by the States Parliaments. It must not be forgotten that the people of the various States will have to foot the bill for all expenses in connexion with the Federal Capita). For this reason honorable members should closely consider the cost to the people of the Commonwealth of establishing the Capital at a particular site. As against an expenditure of millions, a few snowcapped mountains, or what honorable members may deem to be beautiful scenery, should not count. The various States are to-day,in connection with the pioneering work which they have had to undertake, carrying a burden of something like ^222,000,000. A handful of people, numbering some 4,000,000, has to bear a burden of £222. 000,000 of public debt already incurred, and honorable members should be very careful before they do anything which will add to that burden. It is our duty, not only to see that the people of the Commonwealth get full value for the money to be expended in connexion with the Federal Capital, but also to see that no further addition shall be made to their enormous burden of debt. This, with a little consideration may be avoided. Honorable members can verify the figures I propose to quote from the official reports before them. I should say that for the Tumut district I am compelled to take the Lacmalac site as the basis of my comparison, because I have detailed information for the purpose of the comparison with respect to that site only. Of course, with respect to the newer sites submitted for our consideration, there is no information upon these points before us. But we know that they will not be cheaper, but very much dearer, than the Lacmalac site. On turning to the Commissioners’ report I find that the expenditure estimated for Bombala, and including the railways, resumption of catchment area, resumption of city site, and water supply amounts to no less than £11,000,000. It is estimated that the actual expenditure necessary to give reasonable access to that site would be about £3,000,000, and the projected expenditure on railways necessary for a complete connexion with the site is estimated to amount tra another £8,000.000. I should say that the estimate of £3,000,000 includes harbor accommodation on the lower scale indicated in Mr. Oliver’s supplementary report, and not on the more extensive scale set out in his original report. The estimate of £1.1,000,000 is for what would be required to make the Bombala site reasonably accessible from the chief cities of the Commonwealth - to bring the Capital into touch with the whole of the people. With respect to Tumut, the actual expenditure necessary is stated at £1,515,000, and the expenditure upon prospective railway extension’ £7,522,000, bringing the grand total, in round numbers, up to £9,000,000. The muchdespised site of Lyndhurst has railway communication already provided so far as Sydney and Melbourne are concerned, and so far as Brisbane is concerned to a lesser legree. So that the actual expenditure in connexion with that site, which would be largely in connexion with water supply, as provided in Mr. Pridham’s estimate, and the resumption of catchment and city areas, is estimated at £456,000. The expenditure necessary to complete the railways projected, as indicated in the Commissioners’ report, would amount to £7,352,000. So that the cost of completing the wide scheme for Lyndhurst outlined by the expert Commissioners appointed by the Government would amount to £7,800,000. This is the comparison of estimated probable expenditure - for Lyndhurst, £7.800,000 ; for Tumut-. £9,047,000 ; and for Bombala, £11,029,000. Millions are easily said, but these figures should have some weight in determining the selection of the site for the Federal Capital. If, in making a selection of a site, other things being equal, or nearly equal, we can secure what we require at a much less expenditure at one place than would be involved at other places, the necessity for avoiding an undue burden upon the people of the Commonwealth should not be overlooked.
– What about the expense of bringing water 100 miles?
– I am not aware of any proposal to bring water a distance of 100 miles. I should like to point out that the estimates of expenditure to which I have referred, are estimates based on the probable cost of the resumption of the Capital site and catchment area, ‘ securing access, and water supply, and it must not be forgotten that the expenditure necessary to provide the buildings which we would associate with a city of this character, and which must necessarily be expensive, will be an additional charge upon the people of the Commonwealth I now desire to deal with the question of territory. We have to look to the reports upon the sites for the information necessary to guide us to a conclusion with regard to the territories. In other words, we have to adopt some particular site as a peg upon which to hang our territorial arguments. A great, change has taken place since the last Parliament dealt with this matter. The sites most favoured then were Lyndhurst, Lacmalac, and Bombala. Now, judging from the opinions expressed by honorable members, it would seem that two of these sites have been displaced. I cannot regard this change as due to the altered personnel of the House, and I am, therefore, forced to the conclusion that it has been brought about by the more complete information that has been placed at the disposal of honorable members. Owing largely to the inquiries and valuable report made by the right honorable member for Swan, Bombala has been displaced by Dalgety, which on the former occasion did not secure a single vote. Then, in respect to the sites in the southern district, Lacmalac, which was boomed last session, has had to give way to a new site, which had not previously been seriously considered. Therefore, the only site that has retained its old position is Lyndhurst. I regret that the further investigations, which have been made since we last discussed this subject, in respect to the southern and southeastern districts, have not been fully extended to the sites available in the western district. I have been surprised at the prejudice manifested by some honorable members. For instance, one honorable member, referring to Lyndhurst, described the country as very inferior, and devoid of vegetation, and stated that even the rabbits- to be found there were in a starving condition. I fancy that that honorable member must have worn coloured glasses when he travelled through the district. In contrasting the merits of the various sites, I shall endeavour to avoid following the honorable member’s example. I have had the pleasure of visiting all the sites that have been brought prominently under notice. Whilst I regard some of them as having stronger claims than others, I do not think that any one can be said to be unworthy. We should not make a great mistake if we selected any one of them. The preliminary investigations were so complete that we were safeguarded against being called upon to discuss the merits of any really inferior site. New South Wales is not so poverty-stricken in respect to her territory that she cannot find a site for the Federal Capital possessing all the chief requisites for such a city. Some honorable members, myself amongst them, consider that a rich territory is one of the most important essentials. I hold that it would be impossible to build up or to maintain the Federal city entirely upon Federal expenditure, and that if we are to attract to the Seat of Government a population of, say, 30,000 or 50,000, a large proportion of those who live in our territory must be able to sustain themselves upon the land. Moreover, if it is contemplated that the Federal Territory shall embrace a large area in order that the revenue derived and the profits accruing from the unearned increment may be applied to the improvement of the Capital, we must acquire land that will be suitable for agricultural purposes. It is true that many of our cities owe their existence to the fact that gold or some other mineral has been discovered in their vicinity. We know of many instances in which towns containing a population of perhaps as many as 30,000 have been established as the result of the discovery of alluvial gold-fields, and that as soon as the diggings have been exhausted the population has gradually decreased, and nothing more than a nucleus has remained. Agricultural development has afterwards taken place in the neighbourhood, and prosperity has been, at least, ito some extent,- restored. This statement would fairly outline the history of many cities in the Commonwealth, and it is sufficient to show that a large proportion of the people who settle within the Federal Territory must maintain themselves on the land. Unless we can secure good land in the immediate vicinity of the Federal city, we cannot look forward to any appreciable growth of population. Some honorable members regard the acquirement of a rich territory as a secondary consideration, and an ample water supply has first place in their estimation. Others, of an artistic or poetic temperament, attach the greatest importance to the beauty of the scenery in the vicinity of the Capital. So long as there are towering snow-clad mountains in the background they care little or nothing whether the site itself is suitable for building purposes or whether the surrounding territory is one that will support a reasonably large population. The considerations indicated by no less an authority than the present Chief Justice of the Commonwealth, Sir Samuel Griffith, should, in my view, have greatest weight with us. That eminent Judge has contributed very largely to the development of the Federal idea, and to the building up of the Commonwealth. He took part in the first Conference, of which the late Sir Henry Parkes, the statesman of whom New South Wales is so proud, was a member.lie largely assisted to lay the foundations of the Constitution, which was ultimately adopted by the Federal Convention, and the traces of his master-hand are everywhere to be seen throughout its fabric. He was, in my opinion, deservedly rewarded by his appointment to the position of first Chief Justice of Australia, and the Commonwealth did honour to itself by that appointment. In 1886, before the subject had consolidated to anything like a concrete proposal, he wrote a paper entitled. “ Notes on Australian Federation,” in which, speaking of the Federal Capital, he said1 that it
Should be central, easily accessible, not unduly exposed to the risks of war or invasion, and its climate should not be such as to render it an undesirable place to live in.
We shall not go very far wrong if we consider the question before us from those points of view. Dealing first with the feature of centrality, I think that any honorable member who looks at the maps which have been placed before us, and reads the recommendations of the Commission appointed by the Barton Government to inquire into the matter, must come to the conclusion that, having regard to railway communication, present and prospective, Lyndhurst is much more central than any of the other sites. The Lyndhurst territory is situated on the main western line from Sydney to Bourke, and the branch which proceeds to Condobolin. It is also on the line which connects the Western system with the Southern. The Southern line, as honorable members know, is the great railway thoroughfare from Adelaide, through Melbourne and Sydney, to Brisbane. Moreover, it is now proposed by the New South Wales Government to construct a railway from Wellington to Werris Creek, not with a view to improve the communication with a proposed Federal Capital site, but to develop the country which such a line would traverse, and to connect the western and northern railway ‘ systems. When that line is made, Lyndhurst will be much nearer to Brisbane than it is now, and it is already nearer to that city than is any of the other proposed sites. Parliamentary sanction has also been given to the construction of a. railway from Cobar to Wilcannia. I understand that that line has been commenced, and that it is proposed to extend it to Broken Hill. When that is done, there will be direct communication between Lyndhurst and Adelaide, and. if the transcontinental line, of which the right honorable member for Swan is so able and strenuous an advocate, is constructed, Lyndhurst will be in direct communication with Perth also. Furthermore, it has been suggested, as within the scope of future extension, that a second transcontinental line may be made from Bourke to Port Darwin. As honorable members are aware, the railway system of Queensland differs greatly from those of her sister States, inasmuch as, while the railways of Victoria practically all converge on Melbourne, and those of New South Wales on Sydnev, Queensland, in addition to her coastal line, has three inland lines which feed three separate ports.
The suggested railway of which I have spoken would connect these lines, that is, the line from Brisbane to Cunnamulla, the line from Rockhampton to Longreach, and the line from Townsville to Winton. Such a railway would open up a vast area of rich pastoral country. The districts through which it would pass are noted for their great cattle carrying capacity. Although, within the past few years, the herds have been decimated by the drought which afflicted Queensland, as well as New South Wales and Victoria, the district will do in the future what it has done in the past. It has in the past largely supplied the meat markets of the southern States, and, in years to come, will do so to a still greater degree, and will, of course, be the great source of supply for the Federal Capital. The question of present accessibility, however, was dealt with so ably by the honorable and learned member for Wannon the other night that there is no need to again .quote the . figures which he gave, or to do more than refer honorable members to the information on the subject available in the reports of experts. It is evident, however, that taking into consideration the present location of population, Lyndhurst is much more central than any other site under consideration. Moreover, it has been proved that the centre of the present population of the Commonwealth is considerably north of any of the border sites, and is constantly trending northwards. Mr. Coghlan, whose estimate is a very conservative one,- puts the probable annual increase of our population at 2^40 per cent., and is of opinion that thirty years hence, of all the sites Lyndhurst will be the nearest to the centre of population. The probability is that when Australia has become largely populated, the centre will be still nearer to the Armidale site; but as that site is not now under consideration, we must give the more weight to the fact that of the present sites Lyndhurst will be the nearest to the centre. Sir Samuel Griffith regards as the next essential that the Capital shall not be exposed to the risks of war. No one will challenge the statement that, with the exception of Tooma, Lyndhurst is more completely protected from invasion than any of the sites. Both Lyndhurst and Tooma lie west of the great dividing range, which extends like an immense barrier between the sea coast and the interior. That range was pierced only after the country had been settled for many years, and at the present time there are only two or three places in which it is crossed by a railway. The Lithgow Zigzag, while giving communication between Sydney and the Lyndhurst territory, could be defended by a very small body of men against an almost untold host. That is a condition which does not apply to the Monaro sites. Whilst it is true that those sites are situated on a high tableland, they are very much more vulnerable than is the Lyndhurst site. If we are to establish a Capital of this character, it should be representative of the wealth and influence of the Commonwealth. It will be the home of all that the people of the Federation hold dear. It will contain all the historical documents of the Commonwealth. It will be the centre from which the functions of government will be discharged, and from which its banking and commercial transactions will extend throughout the whole of Australia. Consequently we must see that whilst it is reasonably accessible to the centres of population, it also offers facilities for defence against a hostile force. I claim that the western district conforms more nearly to the ideal conditions which have been laid down by that great authority, Sir Samuel Griffith, .than does any other site, and would best lend itself to the mobilization of the Commonwealth Defence Forces. In my earlier remarks I made some reference to the question of accessibility. Let me now examine the merits of the rival sites from that stand-point. According to the report of the Capital Sites Commissioners the cost of providing an efficient water supply at Bombala- a supply drawn from the Delegate River - would be, roughly speaking, .£531,000. If the supply were drawn from the Snowy River, its cost would be ,£617,000. The resumption of the catchment area would involve an expenditure of £121,000, and that of the city site of £24,000. Unfortunately, the Bombala district labours under a very great disadvantage in respect of railway communication. I believe that it is deserving of more consideration in this respect than it has hitherto received. At the same time I do not think that it is the rich district which some of its advocates would lead us to believe. As far as I am able to judge each of the rival districts possesses distinct characteristics. For example, the western area is largely composed of rich, volcanic, high lands. A feature of that district is that the soil on the top of the hills is as rich as is that in the valleys. Those honorable members > who visited the Orange site will recollect seeing potatoes under -cultivation there right at the summit of the ridges, plainly indicating that the land along those ridges was very rich. As a matter of fact, the sides of Canobolas itself are cultivated for a very considerable elevation. Indeed, the hills and rolling downs of the western district are famed throughout New South Wales for their productiveness. The Tumut district is distinguished by high hills and deep valleys. The latter are exceedingly rich, some of them being of a semi-tropical nature. The Tumut valley is famed for the growth of the finest leaf tobacco, and the best maize produced in New South Wales. The area of rich land, however, is not very extensive. I hold in my hand a report upon this very subject by Mr. Chesterman, in which he points out the extent of very rich, and of medium country, which is contained in the Tumut district. He says -
The extent of alluvial land in the valley of the Tumut was some years ago estimated as follows : - Tumut River (including the Goobaragandra from four miles below Brungle to Talbingo), 14,860; Brungle Creek, 600; Killimicat Creek, 500; Bombowlee Creek, 600; Gilmore Creek, Soo. Total, 17,360 acres.
That is the estimate furnished by this officer, who is well acquainted with the entire district. He goes on to quote the following paragraph, from a report prepared by Mr. Gilliat, in 1891 : -
The above-mentioned report estimates the extent of arable upland at 100,000 acres. This, of course, will vary according to the limit adopted. The area remaining may be classed as pasture land, better adapted to sheep than large stock. Some of it is very inferior, while in other places sheep thrive well.
Later on he quotes an extract from the report of a local Committee, the members of which would not be likely to underestimate the area of rich land within that district. The report states -
The area within a radius of twenty miles of the proposed site is composed of 170,000 acres of rich chocolate-colored volcanic soil, and 30,000 acres of rich alluvial flats (much of which ha’ been cultivated for fifty years, with little or no deterioration), whilst the more elevated portions afford splendid grazing country for sheep right to the mountain-tops.
The soil upon the hills there is not so rich as is that of the western district, because it is largely subjected to weather conditions. The much-talked-of Tooma site, upon the. Upper Murray, also comprises rich narrow valleys with high uplands, which are not calculated to support an agricultural popu- lation. The Bombala area, , extending from the Snowy River to the Victorian border, consists largely of undulating country with frequent granite outcrops. It is fairly good grazing country, and parts of it are of a rich volcanic nature ; there is not, however, a very great extent of it. Towards Bombala itself, the valleys become deeper, and a greater area of rich soil is to be found there. These constitute the highly-cultivated parts of the district. When we recollect, however, that this country was occupied sixty years ago and before the western district was opened up, that about£1, 000,000 has been expended in an effort to develop it, with very little success, it is at once patent that some very great natural disadvantages must confront the settlers there. On the other hand, the people in the western district originally had to contend with the barrier of the Blue Mountains. Teams had to laboriously drag their loads over that range. It was only after considerable development had taken place in that district that the Government of New South Wales undertook the great engineering feat of constructing a railway across the Blue Mountains. To put the matter tersely, the railway did not develop the western district, but the western district developed the railway. That fact discloses a material difference between this site and its rivals, and one to which I would invite the attention of the Committee. The cost of connecting Cooma and Bombala by rail, according to the report of the Capital Sites Commissioners, would be £337,000, whilst that of constructing a line from Bombala to Bairnsdale is estimated at £1,181,000. I notice that the surveyors, who have since examined this site, have not departed from that estimate. From Bondi to Eden the cost would be £931,000. These are necessary lines, if the site which I have mentioned is to be chosen. One of the arguments in favour of the Capital being located there, is based on the cheap water carriage to Eden. If that is to be of any advantage, there must be railway connexion with the Capital. That railway would be perhaps as expensive a bit of work as any of the lines that have been mentioned. Then, again, there must be connexion between Cooma and Bombala, in order to give railway communication with Sydney ; and if Victoria is to be satisfied with that connexion, it will mean a great detour round by Goulburn. But, assuming that Victoria will want to get as direct a connexion as possible, it will be necessary to construct the BombalaBairnsdale line, which will, on the estimate to which I have referred, cost £1,181,000. So that in these railways will be involved an expenditure of £2,449,000.
– Then there is £1, 02 8,000 for the port.
– Yes; with respect to the port - it is called a harbor by courtesy - if it is to be made of any value, the expenditure will be considerable. A human-made harbor has never yet been a success.
– What about Fremantle?
– I say nothing of Fremantle; but New South Wales has tried the experiment of making harbors on’ the east coast, and practically the money might as well have been thrown into the sea. It is a most expensive work to undertake. But if a harbor that could stand could be constructed, there might be a justification for it. Engineers, however, have not been able to construct harbor works on the east coast of New South Wales that could stand against the varying influences of the currents, tides, and storms that obtain there. If the harbor is to be a success, Mr. Oliver states, on the authority of Mr. Darling - who had charge of the New South Wales harbors at that time - that an expenditure of£1,028,000 would be required to construct the breakwaters, to say nothing of the wharfs and other facilities necessary for shipping. But suppose we take the lower estimate of Mr. Oliver, produced in his criticism of the Commissioners’ report. It is an estimate furnished by Mr. G. H. Halligan, an officer of the Works Department of New South Wales. He showed that a small breakwater, at a cost of £150.000, would give harbor accommodation of less than a mile. The actual area being 0.8 of a square mile. The depth would be about four fathoms. He also indicates that for a further expenditure of £450,000, four and a half square miles of harbor accommodation might be provided, and that it would also be necessary to meet the shipping requirements to expend about £30,000 upon jetties, and so forth, or a minimum of harbor accommodation. But this is not the only expenditure which the Commonwealth would be called upon to incur. The very position of the harbor, and the uses to which it wouJd be put, would necessitate its being fortified. We know, from our experience in Melbourne and Sydney, what enormous sums of money can be sunk in providing means of defence for harbors on anything like a reasonable scale. That item has not been considered in the preparation of the estimates to which I have alluded.
– There is an additional item - we should have to subsidize the shipping companies heavily to get them to allow their vessels to go there.
– That may be the case, as there is considerable danger in navigating that coast. I do not know whether the ship-owners would require ‘ subsidies, but they certainly would require the money which I have mentioned to be spent upon the harbor, to make the accommodation for their vessels reasonable. Even then our experience shows us that Ave could not guarantee to make the harbor absolutely safe. The necessary expenditure on account of the harbor on the lowest scale would be £180,000, which makes the actual expenditure £3,000,000, in order Co give reasonable means of access to Bombala or Dalgety. If the harbor is to be of the character indicated by Mr. Darley, who reported upon it, another £1.000.000 will have to be expended. The Federal Capital Commission shows that Other railways will have to be constructed, and they estimate that their cost - that is, to give further facilities to connect the Capital with Adelaide and with the north - would be £7,000,000. So that the total expenditure, in order to make Bombala or Dalgety anything like reasonably accessible for the purposes of the Federal Capital, and to provide a port, and a water supply for a population of 50,000 people, would be no less than £11,022,680. With regard to Tumut, the water supply is reasonably cheap. I wish to indicate that in dealing with the Tumut site, I have to take the figures for the Lacmalac site as the basis of my estimate. The Lacmalac site is the only one for which we have any data. It is the cheapest site in the district, with the exception of Gadara. At Tumut the water supply would’ cost £200,280. The resumption of the catchment area would cost £180. The city site would cost £25,000. Railway extension, six and a half miles,, would cost £50,000. If the connexion be made with Victoria - and we have every reason to believe that that connexion is held by a large number of honorable members to be essential - upon the Victorian estimate the line would cost £1,240,000. In addition, it would cost £6,000 to construct a bridge over the Murray. I am simply giving the lowest estimate, furnished by the Victorian railway engineers. But the other evening, the honorable and learned member for Werriwa, who is a practical man in connexion with surveying, stated that he had thoroughly examined the country, and had arrived at the conclusion that, instead of its being possible to construct that line for £8.500 a mile - which is the basis upon which I make this calculation - it would cost nearer £20,000 a mile to build the line from Tumut to the Victorian border. I can quite understand, from the little acquaintance I have with that country, and from its precipitous character, that it certainly would cost a very large sum to give it the benefit of railway connexion. The actual expenditure on this site would be £1,515.000 on the lowest estimate; but if the testimony of the honorable and learned member for Werriwa is of any value, the cost would be considerably more. But I do not think that the line can be constructed more cheaply than according to the Victorian estimate ; and that means that, in order to give facilities for communication, an actual expenditure of £1,515,000 will-be necessary. According to the expert Commissioners, £7,532,183 is required for projected railways, making a total of £9,047,71.9 ‘ for means of communication, water supply, resumption and catchment area. A railway is suggested from Warwick to Brisbane.
– Oh !
– The right ‘ honorable member takes exception to that statement ; but it must be remembered that I am quoting the same authorities in connexion with all the sites.
– That is a new line?
– It is a new line in order to get through communication; and the Wellington to Werris Creek line and the transcontinental line are included in the estimate. According to the reports, a water supply at Lyndhurst for a population of 50,000 people means an expenditure of £427,000; the resumption of catchment area, £160,100; city site, £20,000; or a total of £607,000. The actual expenditure contemplated at Bombala, on the basis indicated, . is £3;oo6,68o; and at Tumut the expenditure is £1,515,460, if the line be taken down to the Murray and across into Victoria as proposed in last Parliament. Honorable members will see . how these figures compare with an actual expenditure of £607,000 at Lyndhurst. Before a single pound is spent on buildings at Bombala, there must be an expenditure of over £3,000,000 in order to give reasonable accessibility.
– All that is wanted is a railway of thirty miles from Cooma to Dalgety.
Mr.BROWN. - If the right honorable member is of opinion that a railway from Cooma to Dalgety will satisfy the Commonwealth, what becomes of the great argument as to the necessity for a port? Of what good is a port without connecting railways? Would Victorian members be satisfied to journey right round by Albury and Goulburn ? There is no doubt that if the Capital site be fixed at Bombala, the Victorian people will be asked to incur an expenditure of over £1,000,000 in order to provide reasonable means of communication. That is the estimate made by the expert Commissioners. I am not a Kyabramite to the extent of believing that all expenditure should be cut down to the narrowest limits; . but such great divergence between the estimates ought to have some weight with us in selecting a site. These are not my own figures, but the figures of the expert Commissioners, with the exception of those relating to the harbor, which were supplied by MrOliver. And we must not forget that these figures are placed before us for the purpose of guiding and assisting us in arriving at a decision. If honorable members will turn to page 51 of the Commissioners’ report, they will find that, in order to provide prospective railway facilities at Lyndhurst, there must be a total expenditure of £7,353,414. That includes a railway from Wellington to Werris Creek, at £514,576 ; from Warwick to Brisbane, £631,500; from Cobar to South Australia, £1,117,338, and the transcontinental line, costing £5,090,183.
– That is a million and a quarter too much for the transcontinental line.
– I am quoting the report of the expert Commissioners.
– According to the latest report, the estimate is £4,050,000.
– I do not know whether the right honorable member has later reports than have been given to the House.
– The engineers have reported since then.
– Well, let- us reduce the estimate by £1,000,000. In respect of the projected lines, the total cost at Bombala is estimated at £10,000,000; at Tumut, £8,000,000; and Lyndhurst, £6,000,000. According to the expert Commissioners, 288 miles of railway on the Bombala site would cost £2,449,500; while the Lyndhurst extension, of 475 miles, is estimated to cost £1,633,914. The Lyndhurst extension would bring Queensland nearer, by the Werris Creek extension, and would shorten the distance to Adelaide, by the Cobar-Wilcannia and Broken Hill extensions. Those extensions are under the consideration of the State Legislature of New South Wales, quite apart from any considerations of a Federal Capital. The Cobar-Wilcannia line was authorized by . the last Parliament in New South Wales, and the Weiris Creek extension has been under the consideration of the Public Works Committee ; so that both have reached a progressive stage. One condition laid down as essential in a Federal Capital by Sir Samuel Griffith is a suitable climate, and in this connexion, altitude has a very important bearing. When the Tumut site was selected by the last Parliament, the right honorable member for Swan succeeded in. having fixed a minimum altitude of 1,500 feet, below which he considered it would be unwise to locate the Capital.
– That “knocked out” some of the sites.
– It “knocked out” Lacmalac, Gadara, and Tumut.
– And Tooma, also.
– That is so, if Tooma is to be considered a factor. Lyndhurst has an elevation of 2,280 feet; Orange, 2,880 feet; Bathurst, 2,200 feet, or an average for the western sites of 2,453. At Bombala itself the elevation . is 2,400; at Dalgety, 2,650; at Delegete, 2,550; it Coolringdon, 3,000 feet; or an average for the four sites in that district of 2/400 feet. ‘ Tumut town site has an elevation of 1,000 feet; Gadara, 1,050 feet; Lacmal’ac, 1,050 feet; Ellerslie, 1,300 feet; Mundongo, 1,250 feet. These four sites are under the minimum fixed by the righthonorable member for Swan, the average being 1,150 feet. When we get into the higher country we find that the elevation of Table Top is 2,000 feet; Batlow, 2,550 feet; Wyangle, 1,650 feet; Red Hill and Bondo, 2,500 feet; Toomarrama, 2,350 feet, or an average of 2,210 feet. Now we come to Welaregang. Mr. Chesterman, in his report, gives the average elevation of this site at approximately1,100 feet. If the right honorable member for Swan is still of the opinion he expressed in the last Parliament-
– I am.
– And if the members of the Ministry to which he belonged are still of the same opinion, this Tooma site has no show.
– If the honorable member is correct the map must be wrong.
– But I am going by Mr. Chesterman’s report, and as that is only a few days old, I presume that the gentleman who made it secured the most uptodate information.
– That country was only explored quite recently.
– the first expedition from this Parliament visited it only about three weeks ago. I have no desire to be unduly severe in my criticism of other honorable members, but I must say that the attitude adopted by the honorable member for Hume, with respect to this particular site, is most extraordinary when compared with the attitude which the honorable gentleman has adopted with respect to other sites. When this Tooma site was brought forward by the honorable member for Grampians in the last Parliament the honorable member asked the Government to remit it to the expert Commissioners for report. I know that the honorable member strongly im- pressed upon the Minister of Home Affairs at the time the necessity for extending the inquiry of the Commission to that particular site. He spoke to me on the subject, and I told him that I was opposed to all the sites on the border, but that if the Government intended to include Albury I saw no reason why this site at Tooma should, not be included aimongst those on which a report was to be made. It is neither more nor less a border site than is Albury. Why the honorable member for Hume, who previously objected to this site because it was too near the border, should have given his first preferential vote for Albury is a paradox which I cannot pretend to understand.
– Does the honorable member for Hume now intend to vote for Tumut ?
– I do not know how the honorable gentleman inlands to vote now. The question of temperature is a very im portant one, and in this connexion I shall not confine myself to the information supplied by the report of the expert Commissioners ; I have also before me the information contained in the very severe, caustic, and, to some extent, deserved, criticism of the Commission’s report by the late Mr. Oliver. The figures he quotes are: For Bombala, highest104.1 degrees, lowest 15.3 degrees, and the mean annual shade temperature, 54.3 degrees. For Dalgety, he says that no official records are available, but the expert Commissioners in their special report, at page 2, give these figures for that site; Highest temperature 104 degrees, lowest 14 degrees, mean from 70 degrees to 80 degrees.For Lyndhurst, the figures given are: Mean annual shade temperature 52.2 degrees, highest 98.4 degrees, and lowest 15.4 degrees. For Tumut: Mean annual shade temperature 62 degrees, highest 106 degrees, and lowest 27 degrees. It will be seen that in the matter of temperature the western site shows to very considerable advantage. I wish now to, deal with the question of productivity, and I shall then conclude what I have to say. The expert Commissioners in their report had to consider whether the sites could afford reasonable support , for , a population of 50,000. It will be seen that in their report they give an estimate of the acreage under cultivation, and the productiveness at each of the different sites. They take for Bombala the counties of Auckland and Wellesley, and they give the average atea under cultivation for eight years preceding March, 1903, for the Bombala territory at 12,513 acres, and for Dalgety 33,329 acres, or a total for the district of 45.742 acres. At Tumut the area under cultivation was included in the counties of Buccleuch and Wynyard, and js stated at 33,329 acres. Coming to the western sites, the area under cultivation at Lyndhurst is given at 179,303 acres. I should like the honorable member who told us that Lyndhurst was in a third-rate agricultural district to explain how it is that there were 179,000 acres under cultivation in that district, whilst in the districts which he preferred to it, Tumut and Bombala, there were only 33,000 acres and 45,000 acres respectively under cultivation. In the case of the latter sites the acreage given covers the whole of the sites within the territories mentioned, but . the acreage given for Lyndhurst covers but a small portion of the western territory suggested. We have now to consider the fifty miles radius, and the land under cultivation at Orange was 147,259 acres, and at Bathurst 119,488 acres. So that if we consider Lyndhurst, as including these three sites, there were there 446,050 acres under cultivation. The honorable member who, in the face of that, will say that, it is a poor agricultural district must consider that the men who work the land, and who should be the best judges of farming conditions, are fools. In view of the figures I have given, it must be clear that the contention against the productivity of the western district cannot survive the hard test of facts. When in Sydney same little time ago, I asked the Statistical Department to supply me with last year’s figures of production for these districts. The figures referred to in the Commissioners’ report were brought up only to 1903. I asked that I should be supplied with figures brought up to 1904 showing’ the area under cultivation, and the produce taken from the different sites. From the return supplied to me, I find that Bombala last year produced 42,149 bushels of wheat, and Dalgety 51,317 bushels, or a total of 93,466 bushels for the district. Of maize Bombala produced 274,803 bushels, and Dalgety nil. Of oats Bombala produced 16,009 bushels, and Dalgety 31,014, or a total of 47,023 bushels for the district. The Monaro sites last year produced 93,466 bushels of wheat, 274,803 bushels maize, and 47,023 bushels of oats’. I find that Tumut produced 261,483 bushels wheat, 229,975 bushels maize, and 20,987 bushels of oats. Lyndhurst produced 2,852,859 bushels of wheat, 157,243 bushels of maize, 207,599 bushels of oats. Orange produced 1,408,366 bushels of wheat, 120,496 bushels of maize, and 185,4^ bushels of ‘ oats. Bathurst produced 1,146,525 bushels of wheat, 93,450 bushels of maize, and 165,047 bushels of oats. The total production of’ the western sites was : - Wheat, 5,407,750 bushels; maize, 371,189 bushels; and oats, 558,058 bushels. I ask honorable members if, on the actual facts, they think there is any comparison between the productiveness of’ the districts surrounding these three sites. 1 have given the produce of the sites’ districts, but it should not be forgotten that Lyndhurst commands the great wheat territory to the west of the particular sites at that place,, and the railway goes through Lyndhurst territory, which carries the wheat from those districts to the Sydney market for export. In New
South Wales we have only 1,500,000 acres under wheat, and yet last year we produced something like 27,000,000 bushels. According to our statisticians we have 20,000,000 acres of land in New South Wales fit for wheat cultivation, and most of it is on the slopes of the western tableland. For convenience, the statisticians divide the State into districts, in making their estimates of wheat production. The highest is the central western district, which is under the dominance of the western sites, and the southern - western, a considerable part of which is under the dominance of the central western sites. The railway, carrying the products from those districts, runs through this central western territory, extending from Orange via Wellington, and Narramine to Nyngan ; from Orange to Molong, Forbes, Parkes, and Condobolin, and a small area on the southern line, embracing Grenfell. On the central- western slopes, which are supplied with railway communication, there were produced last year 7,743,000 bushels, and on the southernwestern slopes 8,798,000 bushels.. The southern border of the central-western slopes is the Lachlan River, and the railway to 1Forbes and Condobolin draws traffic from a considerable area to the south of that river, so that part of the southernwestern slopes, including the counties of Gipps, Forbes, and part of Bland, would furnish supplies for the Federal Territory. Coming now to the question of water supply : If Lyndhurst has been attacked on one point more than on another, it is in regard to this matter. An anonymous communication, signed by one who term? himself “A resident of Carcoar-Garland,” and purports to speak from personal knowledge, has been printed in the Bombala Times. In it the statement is made that the water in the district is highly mineralized, and, therefore, unfit for city purposes. I am surprised that any sensible man should give weight to an anonymous communication of that description in preference to the reports of experts. The Capital Sites Commission investigated the matter thoroughly, and they say nothing about the water there being impregnated bv deleterious mineral matter. If, in their opinion, the water in the district was unfit for human use, or to any extent affected by the presence of mineral substances, it would have been their duty to inform us of the fact. Some honorable members have asked why a special analysis of the Lyndhurst water has not been made. But I would point out that analyses of the water at Orange and Bathurst, both of which places are near to Lyndhurst and derive their water supply from practically the same source, have been made. I have tried to ascertain from those who have resided for a long time in the Lyndhurst district, and are well acquainted with it, what modicum of truth lies in the statement to which I have referred, and I have been informed’ that the only foundation for it is the fact that a small creek to the south-west of the site, which empties itself into the Belabula River, runs through some limestone country. That creek, however, is not within the proposed catchment area. If honorable members are not satisfied with the reports which we have already obtained from experts, why not have a special analysis of the Lyndhurst water? It has been further stated that the creeks in the district are often dry; butto those who hold the opinion that the water supply there is not permanent, I commend the report of Mr. Pridham, the report of the Commissioners, and, lastly, the report of the right honorable member for Swan, who recently visited the place. If they read those reports they will find that a supply sufficient for 100,000 persons can be brought to the proposed city site by gravitation. The Lyndhurst site is the only one which can be so supplied. Both the Tumut and the Dalgety supplies would have to be obtained by pumping.
– No; Dalgety would have a gravitation supply.
– Well, the Bombala supply would have to be pumped. In my opinion, the Government made a wise choice in selecting Mr. Stewart, of South Australia, to deal with Jthe question of water supply. I was in Orange while” he was making his investigations, and I know that he gave his personal attention to the whole matter.- He did not regard the reports of other officers as sufficient, but travelled over the site himself, took his own measurements, and worked out his own estimates. Of course, he had the assistance of Mr. Pridham in checking his calculations. The Commission visited the district when it was suffering from the severest drought ever known since its settlement by white people, and when it showed to greatest disadvantage. Furthermore, for the purposes of their estimate, they took the minimum run-off. . The estimate given, however, is not entirely theirs, but one based upon supplementary estimates of expert officers in the employment of the Government of New South Wales. They do not say that there is no water at Lyndhurst. On the contrary, they say that the catchment area there would, under the most unfavourable conditions, provide a supply sufficient for a city of 100,000 inhabitants, while Mr. Wade says that at a reasonable expenditure a supply can be provided sufficient for the purposes of extensive irrigation, and to meet the requirements of an additional’ population of 200,000, or in all 300,000 persons. The right honorable member for Swan referred to the river Lachlan as a stream that could not be regarded as perennial. My acquaintance with that river dates back to a period long prior to that of the visit paid by the right honorable gentleman, tor I was born in the Lachlan valley.
– I only quoted the honorable member for Hume. He said the river was dry when he was there - I had not seen it.
– The right honorable gentleman did not quote a very good authority.
– Does the honorable member say that the Lachlan contains pure, drinkable water ?
– Yes. The towns of Forbes, Condobolin,- and Cowra draw their supplies from the Lachlan. That river, in common with most inland rivers, overflows its banks in times of heavy flood, and I have known the low -lying land along the Lachlan valley to be submerged for a distance of twenty miles, on either side of the river bed. The Lachlan basin was described bv some of the early explorers as an inland sea. Very considerable losses are entailed upon farmers and stock-owners by these’ inundations. I have seen whole flocks of sheep washed away in a night.
– There have been lakes in Australia in places which are now occupied by considerable sandhills, the change having been brought about within three or four years.
– That does not apply to the country of which I am speaking. The proposal which has been mentioned to lock the river Lachlan and impound a large quantity of water, has been made with a two-fold object. It is intended, first of all, to prevent the land on the lower reaches of the Lachlan from being inundated at times of heavy flood, and secondly, to impound a sufficient quantity of water to enable the river to be maintained at normal level during the drier periods of the year, and to provide for the requirements of irrigationists along the banks of .the stream. The drought of 1902 was the severest ever experienced in that part of the country. It was the worst that I have ever known, and my recollection extends as far back as 1865. In the midst of the drought, the river, instead of being the sand-bed that has been represented, contained a supply of water sufficient to meet the requirements of several large irrigation plants. One station proprietor, at a point about twenty-one miles below Forbes, fed seventy-five sheep per acre throughout the drought, by irrigating land on the banks of the Lachlan with water drawn from the river, and below that point, as far as Cowra, a considerable number of large irrigation plants were kept going continuously. I admit that the large quantities of water drawn off from the river in this way, and impounded in dams that were constructed on the upper part of the stream, caused the river to run dry lower down, but the supply of water was not exhausted for a length pf fully 100 miles. Therefore, the Lachlan could not be truthfully described as dry, and unreliable as a source of water supply.
– Did the honorable member say that some of the land carried seventy-five sheep to the acre during the drought.
– Yes. I am speaking of a well authenticated case. The operations were carried out under the supervision of an officer of the Agricultural Department of New South Wales, with a view to demonstrate the advantages of irrigation, and the honorable member may, if he chooses, obtain further particulars by -consulting the official reports from which my information is derived. I do not come here to tell fairy tales, because the facts are sufficient to enable me to establish the claims of Lyndhurst. What did Mr. Wade say with respect to catchment area in connexion with the gravitation scheme mentioned by the Commissioners ? He- said -
I am personally acquainted with all of these catchments, and am in accord with the Commissioners in their views as to basis of run-off, and consider that, by amplifying the storage, a population in round numbers of 100,000 people could be supplied with 100 gallons per head per diem.
Mr. Wade, who is the Chief Engineer of Water Conservation in New South
Wales, pointed out that the Commissioners were well within the mark when they said that 100,000 people could be supplied. Then, dealing with the supplementary scheme, he said -
In addition to these gravitation sources, the Federal Royal Commission suggested the Lachlan River as an additional source of supply by pumping from the storage proposed for irrigation purposes by the State, at Wyangala. It was suggested that a supply for an additional 203,000 could be obtained. . . The Wyangala storage, if carried out to the fullest extent of the proposals for irrigation purposes, will store seventy-eight thousand million gallons,, and be capable of supplying 135 million gallons per day throughout the driest succession of years experienced on the Lachlan, such as 1901-2.
Mr. Wade has adopted a very safe basis for his calculations, and there need be no fear that his estimates will not be realized. I wish to say that, as the result of my own experience and observation, from the point of view of productiveness, and of the possibility of founding a city from its own latent resources, no site submitted for our consideration can compare with the western sites. I think I have amply demonstrated that, by showing the very wide margin which exists between them and other sites so far as productiveness and the areas under cultivation are concerned. That is an item which is worthy of very serious consideration. ‘From the stand-point of splendid panoramic country, the Orange site stands unrivalled. On the other hand, for scenic beauty, in the shape of high snow-capped mountains, Tooma probably excels all others, whilst Dalgety undoubtedly would furnish the best water supply. But I would point out that we are not called upon to select a site simply on account of its water supply, or because it is within seventeen or thirty miles of snow-capped mountains. It must possess other qualifications. On the grounds of centrality, accessibility, general climatic conditions, altitude, facilities for defence, and of a reasonable water supply, I think I have shown, that the western site is at least deserving of very serious consideration at the hands of honorable members. I trust that the Committee will not say that because this site happens to be only seven hours distant by rail from Sydney, and eleven hours’ journey from Melbourne, it should not be considered. I claim that the spirit of the Constitution, as well as its letter, should be respected. I trust that we shall make a selection which will justify our wisdom, not only to the present generation, but to the generations to come.
– I do not propose to follow the example of the honorable member for Canobolas by making a lengthy speech. He has supplied the Committee with a large amount of valuable information, which will prove very convenient for the purposes of reference. He gave us statistics which had not been presented by any other honorable member. When he put forward the estimate of the cost of making the necessary railway connexions to Lyndhurst, he included in it the construction of a railway to Western Australia, and the extension of a line to connect with Brisbane. Surely, when he entered into such figures, he departed from the practical character of his address. I can speak with personal knowledge of the various centres of population in the western district. I have paid many visits to it, and am intimately acquainted with all its varied resources. I am prepared at once to acknowledge that there are many advantages associated with it. The one feature connected with it which appeals to me more than does any other is that of its accessibility. If the Lyndhurst site be ultimately selected, no serious outlay will be required in connexion with railway extension. I frankly confess that that district contains great possibilities for the support of a large and prosperous city. Its mineral resources are great, its agricultural capabilities very considerable. But when I have said that. I have, in my judgment, exhausted all the advantages which it possesses. Coming to the Bombala and Dalgety sites, I say that if there were no consideration affecting their claims other than that of the enormous expenditure which would require to be incurred by Victoria before they could be linked with this State by necessary railway communication, that would be sufficient to prevent them from being seriously considered. The district has very many advantages, which have been justly enumerated by my honorable friend who preceded me. I have to confess that, although I. have had a business association with it, I have not inspected the area. But I have means of forming estimates of the character of the country, of its possibilities, of its mineral resources ; and I have the knowledge which enables me to arrive at a conclusion that for the proper development of that country an expenditure would have to be incurred which we should not be justified in undertaking at the present time. -As I have already indicated, I favour a site which, day bv day, is growing in favour amongst honorable members - that is the Toona site. The visits which have been made to that site have impressed honorable members as to its great natural features. I can speak from personal knowledge, extending over a number of years, of the possibilities of the district. The honorable member for Canobolas attempted to show that if the Tooma site were chosen a very large initiatory expenditure would have to be incurred by the State of Victoria. I am prepared to say, as one who hopes to continue to occupy a seat in this House - and I can speak on behalf of others who are in the same position - that we should be quite willing for a very long time to come to suffer the inconveniences which would necessarily be entailed in getting to the Seat of Government, if it were at Tooma, without asking the Victorian Government to incur the expenditure necessary to carry the railway to the river, and to construct a bridge across it. But the extension of the railway from the main line to Sydney from Germanton to the Gap, and onwards to the point at which we think the Capital might suitably be located, is a work that would not involve anything like the expenditure which the vivid imagination of my honorable friend has led the Committee to believe. That extension is a work which the New South Wales Government would be abundantly justified in making, because of the country which would be opened up. I do not propose to follow my honorable friend in his various arguments, figures, and quotations in support of his own site. Nor will I follow him in his remarks with respect to climatic conditions, the fertility of the soil, and the possibilities in other directions. I would simply state what with me was the one guiding factor in pledging my support, all the way through, to the area which commences at Albury and runs along the Upper Murray. Honorable members are aware that Albury dropped out of consideration in practically the first vote at the time when the sites were balloted upon. Tumut then succeeded, as I trust the district will succeed again, in securing the support of honorable members. I have supported that district for this reason : There is no other part of Australia where the Capital could be -placed in a reasonably accessible position at the foot of a range of mountains that forms one of the finest natural features almost in the world. The site is practically at the foot of Mount Kosciusko and the magnificent ranges , that make a background to the district. The climate is not so cold as to be other than agreeably and healthily bracing. We want, as one of the essential conditions of any centre of future population, a permanent and enduring supply of water, fed if possible from snow-capped mountains. There is no other part of Australia where those conditions exist, except on the western side of the Great Dividing Range of which Mount Kosciusko is the prominent feature. Of course, my honorable friends who support the Bombala and Dalgety sites will remind us that the Monaro district also has great natural features. But I have shown that the insuperable objection to it is ihe enormous initial expense which would be necessary, apart from other objections, to which I shall presently refer. Another consideration influences me, and it is this - that every capital city in the world is placed beside a stream leading to the sea. It may be said that, although the waters of the Upper Murray are permanent they are not, at the present time, very considerable in volume. But we have seen in other parts of the civilized world what has been done’ in the direction of the enlargement of rivers by weiring, and by various other methods known to engineers. The Murray at this site has possibilities of extension, because of the waters which can be successfully diverted into it from other sources, which we cannot at present adequately calculate. I, therefore, say that we have an opportunity of placing our Capital, and we expect that it will become a magnificent city, right beside this great ar.d isolatednational feature of Australia - the high permanently snow-capped Mount Kosciusko. In this district there is also a river which connects directly with the ocean, and it has the further advantage that in the case of the approach of an enemy it would have the protection of a range of mountains. I am prepared to admit, with the honorable member who preceded me, that the latter advantage is possessed equally by Lyndhurst ; but for resisting an aggressive attack, I say that Tooma is more advantageously situated. The main points which I urge are the great natural features I have described, including a river to the sea, and a fertility of soil which cannot bc denied by any one possessing knowledge of the country. These are magnificent advan tages which cannot be claimed for any other site which has been named. .But I have been forced, very much against my will, to consider the merits and demerits of the various sites. As I have said, I had earnestly hoped that ordinary common sense would prevail, and that this question would be deferred until there was some justification for its immediate settlement. The debate has revealed a great diversity of opinion, and honorable members have advocated various sites with a political bias, which, no doubt, is unconscious ; I do not suggest, for one moment, that that bias has been knowingly allowed to prevail. It is a great misfortune that a Royal Commission, comprising a Judge of the High Court of Australia, and perhaps also a Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales - an independent body - has not been appointed to take into consideration the opinions expressed in this House, the evidence supplied in the various reports presented to us, and also evidence which they might have collected independently. Such a Commission might have been allowed to practically decide the question. I am perfectly - aware that the Constitution provides that this Parliament shall select the Seat of Government, which in the meantime must remain in Melbourne. But the Constitution could have been complied with by the appointment of such a Commission as, I have suggested. If the choice had been limited to the three districts mentioned during the discussion, I am quite sure that the choice of an independent Commission would have removed all the heart-burnings which I am afraid may be felt by honorable members who have so strongly advocated certain sites. To my mind, such a course afforded the only possibility of a satisfactory solution of this question which naturally arouses local jealousies, and may disturb the good; feeling we all desire to see between honorable members, not only of this House, but of another Chamber. Indeed, I go further, and regret that we have not adopted the Canadian method. It will be remembered that the choice of the site of the Canadian Capital was left to Queen Victoria; and, in my opinion, it would have been a wise course to have supplied the King with the necessary information, and asked him to name the place.
– It has already been decided that this Parliament shall select the Capita] site.
– I am merely pointing out that in my opinion the adoption of such a course as I suggest might have removed a possible cause of great conflict of opinion amongst members of both Houses. It would then have been felt that a disinterested person or persons- had made a choice, with a desire to preserve the interests of all the States concerned. Notwithstanding that it has been decided that this House must make the choice, to me it is a matter of regret that this other course has not been adopted ; and the debate which has taken place has only strengthened the view I hold. I only rose to express my opinion, based on an anxious appreciation of the heavy responsibility which rests on every honorable member to avoid burdening the community with enormous expenditure. The effects of the choice we make will be felt by succeeding generations; and, with reasonable delay, the spi.it of the compact with New South Wales might have been faithfully carried out. In expressing those opinions, I feel that I am only doing my duty, not only to the electors I have the honour to represent, but to the State of Victoria, with which I have been associated since my boyhood. For the reasons which I have given, I think our wisest selection would be the site the great natural, advantages of which I have placed before honorable members. May I say one other word on the question of delay. During the debate it has been made clear that many honorable members have altered the views which they previously held as to the comparative advantages of the various sites. The supporters of the Lyndhurst district, for example, are now concentrating the whole of their efforts on the one site at Lyndhurst, although, as a matter of fact, we know that when a vote was last taken on the question Lyndhurst occupied but a moderate place, even in the opinion of those who believed that it was in the best district. Honorable members are aware that we have been forced back from Tumut to Tooma. Further inquiry, and riper knowledge have led us to believe that on the Murray, and nearer to the great range to which I have referred, there is a site to be found possessing ‘ greater advantages even than Tumut.
– We are asked to take Tooma largely on trust.
– I shall come to that. Then again, honorable members who have said that there is no site which approaches that of Bombala are now as eagerly, as eloquently, and as .warmly advocating the claims of Dalgety. In view of the changes of opinion which have taken place, can we now say that further consideration of the question and fuller information would not enable us to make a better selection than we are likely to make at this time? I say that from the New South Wales stand-point, if that be a. consideration of any great weight, honorable members representing that State are throwing away the best site it possesses, which is at Captain’s Flat, Lake George. We should there, at Jervis Bay, have a harbor worth speaking about. i know the district well, and can speak from my knowledge of it. The harbor at Eden is but an open roadstead, yet it has been urged as one of the makeweights in the claims of the Bombala district. It is a farce to ask honorable members who know the place to believe that a useful harbor could be provided at Twofold Bay, without an enormous expenditure of money. I feel that as a member of the Committee I am expected to inform myself of the advantages of the various sites. I believe that Tooma possesses all the qualifications which would go to make a great city in the future. I invite honorable members to consider that there is still much to be adjusted, and much work to be overtaken .in connexion with the establishment of the Commonwealth Government. Many years, have yet to come and go before we shall have succeeded in getting the Commonwealth Government into proper working order, and before the States will have adjusted themselves to the new conditions of Federation. Yet, while all this work is still in hand, or go- ‘ ing on, we are asked to undertake this enormous expenditure in connexion with the Federal Capital.
– The least expensive site is shown to be Lyndhurst.
– I have shown that that site has many disadvantages. I have admitted that, if accessibility is to be considered, it has a great advantage, but I have not dealt with the water supply at that site. A memorandum on the subject of the water supply at Lyndhurst has at the last moment been circulated amongst honorable members. I cannot pretend to dispute what is contained in that memorandum, from the knowledge of the dis- trict which I have gained from my visits to Lyndhurst. I must say, however, that they have been most unfortunate, in that I have never seen any indications of the large water supply which is referred -to in the memorandum of which I speak. I cannot pit my opinion on this subject against the report of a responsible officer, who pledges his reputation, and his position, on the statements he makes to this Parliament. I say, however, that if it were only to convince one doubtful voter, an opportunity should be afforded to supply the information necessary.
– We should have another jaunt.’
– I have held that it was desirable that honorable members should’ personally satisfy themselves in regard to this question. I wish that every honorable member had visited the various sites, to inform himself with regard to them. “I think there has been adequate justification for the visits of inspection which have been made. As the result of those visits, many honorable members have come back with the belief that there is no place like Tooma.
– I am not aware that the honorable member for Hunter has visited Tooma. I think that any honorable member who has seen the district must be convinced that it possesses overwhelming advantages, as compared with the other sites which have been suggested. I have but the one complaint to make, and it is that the Government are too precipitate in expecting a vote to be taken on this question on Tuesday next. We have not the full information in connexion with Tooma, with which we have been supplied in connexion with all the other sites. In its absence there are honorable members who will vote against that site, and I think that they should be given an .opportunity of personal investigation, when I am sure they would recognise that it possesses greater advantages than any other site which has been suggested. I desire only to indicate my first preference, and the reasons for it. I earnestly hope that when the ballot is taken, honorable members’ votes will not be influenced by provincial considerations. Although the site whose selection I advocate borders on the State of Victoria, I shall vote for it, not for that reason, but because, in my opinion, it is the site most worthy to be the future Capital of the Australian Commonwealth.
– I wish to say a word or two upon this question, the settlement of which is to crown the Federal edifice, and to give this Parliament a permanent abiding place. I intend to put forward one or tvt» considerations to which reference has not been made by those who have preceded me. Each of the State capitals - Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Perth - has been excluded, it may be because of their mutual jealousy, from the possibility of being selected as the Capital of Australia. But the AttorneyGeneral of the late Government, speaking before Federation was consummated, pointed out that the land comprising the site of the Commonwealth Capital would be held on an entirely different basis from the tenure of the land on which the capitals of the States are built, because its unearned increment would remain the property of the people of Australia for all time. It is thai consideration which I wish to put before the Committee, and, I think, it should influence us in deciding which site to vote for. In considering how the largest unearned increment can be obtained for the benefit of the people of the Commonwealth, as against private speculators, the question of railway communication must be taken into consideration. lt is, undoubtedly, the fact that the presence of railway communication largely promotes the development of a district. The railways which run so close to the Lyndhurst site have obviously assisted to develop that district, and the honorable member for Canobolas pointed out that no less .than 5,000,000 bushels of wheat were last year grown there. But the fact that that district is so greatly developed, and has such a large production, is not necessarily a reason for selecting it. There may be other sites whose natural productiveness may make them capable of similar development, and if we select one of them for a site, and make a railway to it, we shall bring that development to pass, and largely increase the present value of its lands. The question of centrality is to be considered without reference to present railway communication, and the fact that a proposed site does not now enjoy railway communication, and that if it be chosen for the Seat of Government we shall have to make a railway to it, should not frighten us, if it be otherwise suitable. It has been pointed out that the Lyndhurst site is nearer to Queensland than are the other sites. No doubt it would be of advantage to the representatives of that State if that site were selected, because they could ‘reach Brisbane in one day’s travelling, whereas it takes them two days to get to Brisbane from Melbourne, and would take two days to travel there from any of the other proposed sites. But that is not an argument for or against the selection of the Lyndhurst site. The question is, which is the best site for the great nation which is to inhabit Australia in the future? The honorable member for Canobolas made a great point of the fact that last year Lyndhurst produced 5,000,000 bushels of wheat, while in the Dalgety district only about 93,000 bushels were grown. In my opinion those facts should induce us to select Dalgety, because unquestionablywhen the grazing land there, on which are now depastured sheep and cattle, is put under cultivation, the Dalgety district will grow as much wheat as the Lyndhurst district now produces, and the unearned increment obtained by the Commonwealth will be larger if Dalgety is selected than it will be if Lyndhurst is chosen. We shall do well to select either Welaregang or Dalgety. I believe that we should be as safe against foreign invasion at either of the sites I have named, as at Lyndhurst. If. we consider the respective merits of the sites in a broad, spirit, and ignore parochial considerations, we shall select the locality which is capable of the greatest improvement. I intend to vote for Dalgety, in the first place, and Welaregang will be my second choice.
– In view of the thorough manner in which this question has been threshed out, I shall not detain the Committee at any length. I regret that we should have occupied so. much time in deciding the question. I admit that it is a very important one, and that we should deal with it very carefully, because we are legislating, not for to-day, or to-morrow, but tor the centuries to come. I do not regard with any satisfaction the arrangement under which the 100-miles limit was imposed. .1 cannot say (hat I am particularly in favour of any one ‘site over the others. I should have preferred to seu the Capital located at Sydney, which is undoubtedly the front door - the portal oi Australia. When the Panama Canal is constructed, Sydney will, beyond question, become the first port of call in Australia for all vessels coming from the other side of the world. It has been argued that Mel bourne is a more desirable place than Sydney, lor the Seat of Government; but I do not share that view. Whether it bedue to the effects of the Tan IT, or not,. Sydney is progressing by leaps and? bounds, whilst Melbourne is receding from the proud place that she formerly occupied as the most prosperouscity in Australia. In connexion with thisquestion, honorable members might have directed their attention to the Hunter River valley, which I believe will in the near future become-the work-shop ot Australia.
– Does the honorable member suggest a work-shop as the site of the Federal Capital ?
– Yes, because it is in> the great centres of industry that the most brains are to be found. Whilst I agree with other honorable members who have spoken, that we should approach this matter in a Federal spirit, I cannot ignore the fact that it is really a provincial matter. New South Wales entered the Federal Union on the condition that the Capital should be established within her territory. I do not think that that was a wise arrangement, because I believe that if New South Wales had stood out a little longer, Sydney would’ have been chosen as the Seat of Government. However, as matters stand, we are called upon to select a site within New South Wales, beyond the 100-miles limit from Sydney. I cannot understand why so much favour has been shown towards the sites close to the Victorian border, and it is a matter for regret that some honorable members should have so earnestly “barracked” for the areas which happen to be within their electorates. I do not regard the proposed sites as possessing any great natural advantages. We know that all our great cities have grown up near good harbors. It has been said that Twofold Bay would make an excellent harbor, but we should have to spend many millions before we could render it capable of accommodating the large ships which now carry our commerce over-sea. Of the sites which have been suggested, I think that Lyndhurst has by far the best’ claims to consideration. It is unquestionably more accessible than any of the other sites, because railway communication is already established between it and the New South Wales metropolis; whereas in the case of Tumut and Bombala enormous sums would have to be spent before those places could be connected with our railway systems. There is no finer climate in Australia than that of Lyndhurst.’ I was brought up there, and I am thankful for it, because I am satisfied that the goon health I enjoy to-day is due to the fact that I lived for many years in that locality. I am sorry that the Victorian and New South Wales press’ should have scoffed at those honorable members who have visited the sites, and have spoken of their engaging in picnic excursions, and strewing the track with whisky bottles. Such comments are unworthy or a sober press. I regard it as the duty of every honorable member to visit the proposed sites, and, as far au possible, judge for himself as to their respective claims. The honorable member for Hume merits our reproaches for having at the eleventh hour asked us to leave. ou< comfortable homes, in Melbourne and elsewhere, and face the icy blasts which blow over Tooma. Twenty honorable members accompanied him upon the recent visit of inspection, and they required to be of Spartan mould, to visit Tooma in the depth of winter. I went to Bombala, and I saw fhat the churches had chimneys in place of steeples. I asked one man where he lived, and he said, “You cannot see my homestead, it is over there in the creek.” I asked him why he had built his house in such a place. He said; “ It is very cold here,and the wind sweeps very strongly over the higher land, and, therefore, we “build our houses in the sheltered hollows.” I found that many of the public buildings were propped up with huge beams, whilst the few trees to be seen were all leaning in the one direction. These features were quite sufficient to indicate to me fhat heavy winds sweep over the country.
– Are those winds as bad as the dust-storms at Lyndhurst?
– They have no’ duststorms at Lyndhurst. In connexion with the treatment of consumption, it is well-known - and I speak with a certain amount of authority - that it is essential to remove patients from localities where they suffer from the deleterious effects of dust and duststorms, and’ that one of the best places . in New South Wales to which they can be sent is the Orange district. I think that one of the most positive proofs which can be advanced that dust storms are not prevalent at Lyndhurst. Instead of dust-covered plains, we find acres of smiling farms and homesteads there. The district is a settled and happy one, despite the fact that it is far removed from the coast line.
It has grown by its own unaided efforts. But what do we . find at Bombala? A desolate country, , which is covered with stones and boulders, and which is capable of carrying perhaps one sheep to the acre. When honorable members . visited it did they see any fine rosy-cheeked children there ? No ; the whole place was a drearydesert. I should be sorry indeed to condemn the future members of this Parliament to eke out an existence in a country like that. From what I saw at Bombala, and of its arid waste plains, it would be impossible to obtain building material there. At Lyndhurst, on the contrary, there is basalt and marble. Indeed, I believe that the marble man was discovered in that country.
– I think there is basalt about Bombala, too.
– I saw nothing of it. The report of the Capital Sites Commission also states that very little building material is to be obtained in that neighbourhood. Moreover, Lyndhurst is very accessible, whereas Tumut and Bombala are quite the reverse. I believe that the right honorable member for Swan, and the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, recently made a pilgrimage to the Bombala district, as the result of which they declared that it would be almost impossible to join Melbourne with that locality by rail, on account of the large expenditure that would be necessary.
– I did not say so.
– I believe that a bigger outlay would be required to build a railway to Bombala than would be absorbed in the construction of the Transcontinental line. I sincerely hope that the Committee will not be led away by the partisanship which has been exhibited during the course of this debate. I believe that -the Lyndhurst site, though it has been least boomed, is absolutely the best. The people of New South Wales are particularly anxious that this question shall be settled without delay. No doubt it would have been decided by the last Parliament had a strong Government been in power. If the members composing that Ministry had been the men we credited them with being they would have made it the subject of a Government measure, and would thus have arrived at some finality. I should like to see the Labour Ministry take the matter up in that way and settle it. I can assure them that if the right honorable member for East Sydney becomes Prime Minister, it will be very promptly determined. His Ministry will do the proper thing. They will recommend a site, and will stand or fall by their recommendation. That is what the people of New South Wales would admire and applaud.
– I rise to speak upon this important question from a perfectly impartial stand-point, inasmuch as I have no electors to’ please or displease, and, therefore, have no political axe to grind. I disagree with those advocates of the Lyndhurst site who affirm that in declaring “that the Federal Capital should not be located within 100 miles of Sydney, the Conference of Premiers responsible for the limitation, intended that the Seat of Government should be established as near to that limit as possible. In my opinion, no such idea was present in their minds, they merely intended to provide that the Federal Capital should not be within 100 miles of Sydney. I believe they desired that the determination of what was the most suitable territory in which to locate the Seat of Government should be left to this Parliament. If the representatives of New South Wales desire to settle this question without any further delay they can easily do so by agreeing to the selection of the Bombala district, which is the territory that has been chosen by the Senate. I claim that it would be difficult to find better land than exists in the Bombala district. Its great drawback is that- it is not connected by railway communication. There we find beautiful streams of water, and undulatingcountry, interspersed with occasional belts of trees. I have seen no finer stock than is to be found there, in any part of New South Wales. Although the weather is usually cold, the’ climate of Bombala is quite equal to that which obtains in any other district. There is certainly a disadvantage in connexion with the water scheme of Bombala. The water would have to be pumped to convey it to the Federal Capital. But to ‘ obtain an excellent water supply, we have only to go to Dalgety.- There the Snowy River flows through the site, which is sheltered by the mountains from the westerly winds. I do not want to pit the Dalgety country against other districts. I admit that the land is poor as far as quality is concerned It is principally granite boulder country. There is very little basalt. If we took a large area probably it would include some basalt country, but there would be none within a limit of ten miles square. I do- not, however, attach much importance to the quality of the land. It has been proved’ that by means of scientific manuring poor land can be put to very good uses. There is land in Victoria that formerly returned only three bags to the acre, but which now, in consequence of scientific manuring, is yielding seven to the acre. Therefore, I do not attach much importance to the land at Dalgety being inferior, and there are other considerations which make the site very desirable. There is water in sufficient quantities to supply a city very much larger than we shall have for many years to come. There is also enough water to give us electric power. With respect to railway communication at Dalgety, there would be thirty miles of line to construct. That is not a very large’ undertaking. In connexion with the Lyndhurst site, we hear of the possibility of connecting Werris Creek with Wellington, and running a railway on to Western Australia. As compared with schemes of that kind, the thirty miles of line that would have to be built at’ Dalgety, would be a trifling scheme: The honorable member for Moira spoke of the Dalgety country as being too cold for his horses. But any person who knows anything about stock will be aware that horses that have been fed in the Riverina country would necessarily suffer on being taken to a cold climate 2,000 feet above the sea-level. Therefore, there is not much in that point. I do not think I have seen finer cattle anywhere than I saw there. The sheep also were excellent. It seemed to me to be good stock country, though I do not attach much importance to that from the -point of view of establishing a Federal Capital.-
– They were very poor horses that we had in our coaches.
– They were not grass-fed station horses. There are just as good horses on the stations in that district as are to be found in any part of Australia. They do not go in for draught horses there. Coming to Tooma, on the western side of the mountain, I do not think there is finer country in Australia than can be found there along the river flats of the Murray, and also along the creeks leading into the main river. I have not seen finer land anywhere for grazing or agricultural purposes. The cattle also look well. We have heard something about sheep records to-night. Some of the Upper Murray residents told me that they knew of land that was carrying seventeen sheep to the acre. That statement was too much for me. I flatly said that I did not believe it. But to-night the honorable member for Canobolas assured us that land to which he referred carried seventy-five sheep to the acre. The statement of the Tooma residents was mild compared with his.
– That was on irrigated land.
– Fancy, 75,000 sheep on 1,000 acres of land ! 1 profess to know something about sheep and stock, and I venture to say that 75,000 sheep on 1,000 acres of land would trample down the grass in one night. You cannot make grass grow above the sheeps’ heads. It does not matter whether the land was irrigated or not, the sheep would trample down the grass.
– The sheep were not fed on the land, but were fed off it. “ .
– That is quite another thing. I am speaking of running sheep on to land. When I was told of land carrying seventeen sheep to the acre. T said that I did not believe the statement, although some of my colleagues thought I was rather sceptical. I have never seen a finer site than that at Welaregang. Probably there is not a grander view in Australia. You see the snow-capped mountains running from Kiandra to the Bogongs in Victoria, and standing above them all is Kosciusko with its pyramid of snow. The climate is not too cold. I do not know what it may be like in summer, but when we were there in winter it was beautiful.
– Are there no blizzards?
– We experienced none. You see on your right the beautiful crystal streams of the Tooma and the Murray trickling away on their course to the sea. I admit that if we intend to have an area of 900 square miles, we cannot get that extent of good land at Tooma. We can get it at Dalgety or Bombala. But if we are content with ten miles square, there is not a finer site obtainable than that of Tooma. The only objection to it appears to be that it is too near to Victoria. That is the whole cry of the New South Wales people. But that consideration has nothing to do with us. We need not care whether it is near Victoria or not. We have to decide which is the most suitable site for the benefit of the people of Australis. We are not deciding for ourselves, but for posterity ; and if we choose the worst site, posterity will curse us for what we have done. As to its being inaccessible from the point of view of railway construction, I would remind honorable members that some years ago there were many situations which were inaccessible from a railwaypoint of view. The railway over the Blue Mountains from Penrith to Glenbrook, had to go by means of the zig-zag. Bui that has been largely overcome, and to-day the engineers have the plans of a line t< go straight to Lithgow, without using the zig-zag at all. In these days of engineering advance, difficulties of that kind are more easily overcome than was the cast, in former years. The honorable and learned member for Werriwa, to whos*. opinion some credit has been attached, because he is a practical surveyor, spoke of the difficulties of the country. But, as a. matter of fact, he took no levels,- and his opinion is worth no more than mine. We must remember that in constructing railways, engineers do not go over mountains if they can help it. They follow the course of the creeks. That is always done in making roads and railways in any part of Australia. I happen to know something about Lyndhurst, because I lived in the neighbourhood for a considerable time. I have also read a great deal about the suggested site there. A picture book has been circulated amongst honorable members, in order to show them the beauties of the site. But half of the pictures in the book do not pertain to Lyndhurst at all. Thev have printed pictures of the Wentworth falls, and the Katoomba falls, and thev have had to go up to Pera, across the Darling, to find a picture of an artesian bore.
– Did the honorable member ever see any dust in that country ?
– As to ‘the water scheme. I know the Lachlan from one end to the other, and at numerous places I have stepped across it in normal seasons, while in years like 1883 and 1884 no water is to be seen. If water does flow down the Lachlan at such times it is underground, like some of the engineering of which we have heard in’ connexion with this question. I do not know the exact proposed site, and, therefore, I do not question the engineer’s figures. While it may be rough country for prospecting, I believe that a large water catchment could be made by building dams ; but my experience of dams is that wherever they are built the water becomes objectionable to use. At the source of the water supply in Brisbane the water is full of weeds in the summer season, and the wild birds deposit foul matter in it.
– What about the Prospect Dam?
– The Nepean, which supplies the dam, is always running, and that makes a difference. Rockhampton, too, has a stagnant water supply; and we should have the same experience if a dam were constructed at Mr McDonald. There is the Carcoar “ sewer,” as it is called, which runs through the town right up to the proposed Capital site. In the picture-book which we have seen, a weir, built by one of the mining companies, is shown with the water pouring over it; but that place is something like the Coombing Falls - when you go there no water is to be seen. As to the climate, I think that of Lyndhurst is as good as that of any other area. The Minister of Home Affairs asked about dust ; but my experience is that there is no place in Australia where dust is not to be found. Wherever we find auriferous country and mining we have poor country.
– What about Ballarat?
– I admit that Ballarat is an exception, but it is mostly deep sinking at that place.
– It was alluvial at one time.
– It is alluvial now. At Canowindra, and round about there, we find good ‘ country, but that is thirty or forty miles away from this proposed site. At Orange there is good country, too ; but if Lyndhurst be chosen, Orange is out of the question. It is said that a railway will have to be made from Werris Creek to Brisbane. Thi? is held out as a bait to Queensland; but I do not think that it is at all likely that the New South Wales Government would build a railway which would divert the traffic from Sydney.
– That railway has been submitted to the Public Works Committee.
– Many works have been before that Committee; indeed the honorable member was recently twitting the honorable member for Hume about the many proposals he has submitted to that body. Honorable members who talk about the cost of thirty-one miles of railway to Bombala or Tumut, say nothing about the cost of the railway from Werris Creek to Wellington. -
– That railway would be wanted if the Tooma site were selected.
– But it would then open up much better country than there is about Lyndhurst.
– There is a very limited area of good country at Tooma.
– I am only speaking of the country which I know, but there are large areas which I have not seen, but which I am informed comprise splendid land. Then I do not think that it is at all likely that the New South Wales Government will build a line from Cobar to Wilcannia and Broken Hill.
– That line has been passed by the Public Works Committee, and has been constructed as far as Cobar.
– But the New South Wales Government will not extend it to Mount Hope or to Louth; they will not take a line through mallee or sand. I am a Queenslander, but I shall not vote for a site, the selection of which would prove a national calamity, and I say this with a full knowledge of every inch of the country. It is poor, miserable’ country, where the only object that can be shown is Mount Macquarie in the distance. Whatever site may be chosen, I hope it will not be Lyndhurst.
– I am aware that this debate must close to-night, and, therefore, I shall occupy only a very few minutes. I do not desire to give a silent vote, because I regard this question as one of great importance to the Commonwealth. The sooner it is settled the better it will be for the Federal Parliament and the community generally. Much time was occupied in the discussion of this matter during last session, when strong feeling was manifested, particularly as between the representatives of New South Wales and Victoria. I hope that on the present occasion none of that feeling will be evinced, though I am afraid that the result of the present discussion will be very much the same as it was then. It appears to me that some of the Victorian members would like to delay the settlement of the question as long as possible, or, failing that, to have the Capital city on the Victorian border. That has evidently been the object aimed at by the Victorian members in both sessions. The 100-miles limit was ‘arrived at as a compromise, because there was an unwillingness in both of the States to have the Capital at either Melbourne or Sydney. In agreeing to that compromise, I am sure that no member of the Premiers’ Convention thought for- a moment that it was of such a nature as to lead to the establishment of the Federal Capital on the Victorian border. The meaning of it was that the Federal Capital should be established within a reasonable distance of the 100- miles limit from Sydney.
– How can the honorable member say that?
– I am perfectly satisfied that that was the intention, and it never could have been contemplated that the Capital would be established on the banks of the Murray, or the Snowy River, or on the Australian Alps.
– Or at Lyndhurst.
– Lyndhurst is the proper place for it. I may say that when the question was last before us for settlement, I voted in the first instance for Armidale, and I very- much regret that Armidale is not to-day in the running.
– More provincialism.
– Armidale would be a most suitable place for the Federal Capital. I expect to be able to convince the honorable member for Capricornia presently, and on Tuesday next I shall certainly claim his vote for Lyndhurst. I voted for that site when the question was last before this Parliament. The speech delivered by the honorable member for Macquarie, in which that honorable member dwelt upon the many advantages which Lyndhurst possesses over all the other sites, and Mr. Wade’s report, have confirmed me in the conviction that Lyndr, hurst is the proper place for the Federal Capital. There are two qualifications which should be specially considered in coming to a decision with regard to the Federal Capital site - the climatic conditions, and the possession of an abundant ‘supply of good and wholesome water. If there is one consideration of more importance than another in the establishment of a city, great or small, it is that there shall be an abundance of pure water available at all times. In my opinion it has been proved beyond doubt that the district of Lynd- hurst possesses such a supply. It has a further advantage in possessing good soil, as was proved to-night by the honorable member for Canobolas from the figures he quoted, showing a production of wheat, maize, and oats greater than thatof ‘Bombala, Dalgety, Tumut, or any of the other areas.
– The honorable member was not satisfied with generalities ; he gave actual quantities.
– The honorable member gave quantities, details, and figures for every statement he made. He gave proof beyond the possibility pf dispute. I am aware that many members of the Committee are not prepared to entertain the idea of any site north of Sydney ; but I still say that it would be wise to establish the Federal Capital north of Sydney. Mr. Sawers, then member for New England, placed before this Parliament some very interesting figures, which went to prove that the population of Australia forty years hence will be much greater north than south of Sydney. It would, perhaps, not be out of place if I were to refresh the memories of honorable members with respect to those figures. Mr. Sawers said -
If honorable members draw an imaginary linefrom a few miles south of Sydney, due west, I venture to predict that in 100 years’ timethe area of New South Wales north of that particular line and Queensland will contain at least three. fourths of the population of the Commonwealth. That opinion is based not merely upon my own knowledge of the magnificent area in northern New South Wales, and my profound belief in the great future before the State of Queensland, but is backed up by a report presented by a Committee of Statisticians to the Federal Convention on the question of the trend of population. The members of the Committee were unbiased, and their opinions may surely be regarded with some respect. I admit that what they predicted is not likely to happen quite as rapidly as they believed, because they did not take into account the possibility that such an overwhelming and disastrous drought as Australia has passed through recently would seriously retard settlement for a time. What was the opinion of those gentlemen? They reported that in a period of thirty-eight years from the date of their report the population of Australia would be as follows : - New South Wales,8,000,000 ; Queensland, 7,500,000; Victoria, 4,000,000; and South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania combined, 2,500,000.
– No ; white people who I hope will be in Australia at that time. Mr. Sawers went on to say -
I allow a few more years, and I say those gentlemen contemplated that within fifty years the portion of New South Wales north of the line I ask honorable members to draw in imagination, from a little south of Sydney to Broken Hill, and Queensland would contain fully twothirds of the population of the Commonwealth. If. that is a fair estimate, it is shown that the great. State of Queensland will within fifty years have double the population of Victoria. Although honorable members representing Victoria may think Melbourne at present the hub of Australia - and they always do- and that their convenience is of paramount importance, I conceive it to be an unanswerable, argument that the trend of population will inevitably be northwards ; and that Queensland within little more than a generation will contain double the population of the great and thriving State of Victoria. To go further, though honorable members may say that one is romancing, and is looking a little too far ahead, I believe that within 100 years . three-fourths of the population of Australia will be found in the north of New South Wales and in Queensland.
There can be no doubt that the trend of population is to the north.
– It has been west during the last year or two.
– It has from Victoria. I aim aware that Victoria has lost a large portion of her population, and that many Victorians have settled in Western Australia, but some, I am afraid, have disappeared altogether.
– That does not decrease the northern population.
– Quite so. The bulk of the population of the Commonwealth will, in the future, be north of Sydney, and we have a right to, consider what is likely to be the position of the Commonwealth in this respect. In the interests of the future welfare of the people of the Commonwealth, T shalL give a vote for Lyndhurst, and I hope the supporters of that site will be successful this time. Honorable members will probably remember that on the, last occasion Lyndhurst was in the last ballot, and if it had not been that honorable members, who had lost Bombala, voted for Tumut, Lyndhurst would have been the site selected, and the whole question would have been settled by this time.
– We should have had to get the Senate to agree to Lyndhurst.
– We could,- perhaps, have brought some influence to bear upon the Senate to induce honorable senators to agree to the decision of the House of Representatives.
– Honorable members are going in the: right way to hang up the question.
– I have no intention of trying to influence the honorable member for Capricornia, or …..7 of the representatives of Queensland. I shall not attempt anything of that kind, but I have no hesitation in saying il-at, in the interests of the large population that will inhabit the immense territory north of Sydney in the near future, every representative from Queensland should vote in favour of Lyndhurst. I desire to say that I do not agree with the proposal of the Government that we should demand an area of 900 square miles.
– That will be discussed on the next clause.
– I cannot see what possible object the Federal .Parliament can have in deciding that the area of the Federal Territory shall be 900 square miles. In my opinion, 100 square miles would be sufficient, though, if the justification were shown, I should be prepared to consent to the acquisition of an area of 200 square miles. I sincerely hope that the Government of New South Wales will not entertain ‘ an application for 900 square miles. Even 100 square miles would be a larger area5 than that of the district of Columbia, in which Washington, the Capital of the “United States, is situated. A friend of mine. Captain Russell, who resided in America for some time, and is well acquainted with the country, writing from Brisbane a month or two ago, has given me. the following information, which I will read for the benefit of honorable members: -
The capital of the United States is Washington,, in the district’ of Columbia. The district of Columbia is situated in latitude 38 degrees 53 minutes north, and longitude 77 degrees west, on the border line of the two States - West Virginia and Maryland - and the city of Washington, the capital proper, is situated at about the centre of the district. The area of the district of Columbia was originally 100 square miles, but thirty miles were receded to Virginia in 1846, thus leaving the present area seventy square miles. The population of the United States in 1846 was 23,000,000, now about 82,000,000.
The Government of the district of Columbia is vested by Act of Congress, approved-nth June, 1878, in three Commissioners, two of whom are appointed by the President from citizens of the district, having had three years’ residence therein immediately preceding their appointment, and confirmed by the Senate. The other ‘ Commissioner is detailed by the President of the United States from the Corps of Engineers of the United
States Army, and must have lineal rank, or be a captain who . has served . at least fifteen years in the Corps of Engineers of the Army.
The Commissioners appoint the subordinate official service of said Government.
Washington had a municipal government from 1802 to 1871. By : an Act approved 21st February, 1871, Congress provided a territorial form of government for the entire district of Columbia, with a governor, secretary, board of public -Works and council, appointed by the President of the United States, and a House of Delegates, and a delegate in Congress elected by the citizens of the said district.
This form of government was abolished 20th June, 1874, and a temporary government by three Commissioners substituted.
The temporary form of government’ was succeeded by the present form of government,1st July, 1878.
Congress makes all laws for the district, but has intrusted to the Commissioners authority to make police regulations, building regulations, plumbing regulations, and other regulations of a municipal nature.
I am very anxious that this question shall be settled, though I fear that the result of its consideration by Parliament will be similar to that which was obtained last session. The honorable member for Kooyong suggested that it might be decided by a Committee, consisting of Supreme Court Judges, and a Judge of the High Court. No doubt all the’ information for and against each of the proposed sites has been laid before the , Committee, so that every honorable member must be thoroughly -aware of their advantages and disadvantages. I would therefore suggest . that if we’ fail ‘to come to a decision next week, a Committee of ten members should be chosen by ballot, six being taken from the House of Representatives, one, for each State, and three from the Senate, and that, in addition the Prime Minister should act as Chairman. I am aware that the Constitution does not provide for the appointment of such a body, but, judging from the experience of last session, I think that the two Houses are not likely to agree as to a suitable site. I hope, however, that my predictions will not be fulfilled, and that the matter will be satisfactorily settled for all time.
– I desire to announce that on Tuesday next the first business taken will be the ballot to determine the district iri which the Seat of Government shall be located.
– How do the Government propose to fix upon a particular site?
Mr.BATCHELOR.- That can be. done in Committee, by an amendment on the proposed insertion. It will be very easy to moye the insertion of words which will provide that the Seat of Government shall be within so many miles of such and. such a place within the district chosen. I thank honorable members for “remaining to-night to keep a House, and to enable the discussion to beconcluded.
House adjourned at 11.7 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 4 August 1904, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1904/19040804_reps_2_21/>.