2nd Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to make a personal explanation. Last week, when the Seat of Government Bill was being discussed, and the honorable membeT. for Hume was speaking, I. interjected that a statement had appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald to the effect that the honorable member had said that he preferred Lyndhurst to the southern sites. His reply was that that was not so ; but I am now able to read to the House the absolute words of the statement to which I have referred. It occurs in a letter written to the Sydney Morning Herald on the 4th April, 1904, by the Rev. H. D. Seely-Vidal, a Church of England clergyman, residing at Carcoar, in New South Wales, and is as follows: -
Ere going on board the special train at Lyndhurst, when the subject of the possible sites was being discussed, I heard Sir William Lyne dis. tinclly say, in the presence of several others, that he, personally speaking, considered Lyndhurst the most eligible site, but that South Australia, Victoria, and Tasmania would outvote the other States, and keep the site down south. I then spoke to Sir William, and said - “ Look here, Sir William, you throw all the weight of your influence on to the side of Lyndhurst, and we will chance South Australia, Victoria, and Tasmania outvoting it.”
– I have never read the letter from which the honorable and learned member has quoted,nor have I heard it read before; but the statement itself is untrue.
– I also desire to make a personal explanation. When on Thursday last I moved a motion affirming the desirability of a re-adjustment of the Tariff, I stated that the total value of some twenty lines of food stuffs produced in Victoria was , £12,000,000 per annum, and thatthe local consumption of these lines was about £1, 200,000 per annum. The figures were challenged at the time by the honorable member for Gippsland. As I then explained,I had received them only the night before, so that I had not had time to digest them. On referring to them again, I find that my statement of the total production was correct, but that my statement as to the local consumption was incorrect, because, instead of the line relating to local consumption, I read a line relating to population. I desire to acknowledge and. to correct the mistake, so that honorable members may not bc misled by my original statement.
– I ask the Prime Minis ter whether his comments upon the suggestion for the holding of an Imperial Conference to consider the question of preferential trade were based on general cable information only, or on some other communication which had reached him. If based only on press statements, they were, I venture to suggest, premature. I ask him whether, in view of the vital importance of the matter to Australia, he considers it desirable to discourage the formulation of an official proposition by the British Government as soon as possible. If the question is officially submitted to him, will he not feel it his duty, before replying, to afford honorable members an opportunity to express their views in regard to it?
– The observations which I made were based upon no other foundation than the ordinary press cables. I was asked by the representative of one of the great English dailies to express an opinion on a. suggestion which had been made, and my reply was to the effect that a Conference is hardly necessary at the present time, and that we should await the declaration of the people of Great Britain of their own desires in thematter.
– Even before apreliminary discussion?
– I think that the preliminary discussion has already taken place.
– Not a discussion between Great Britain and her Colonies.
– The Australian Government was represented by Sir Edmund
Barton at an Imperial Conference which carried a resolution approving of preferential trade, and the matter was’ afterwards put before the electors at the last general elections by the honorable and learned member himself, who was then at the head of the Government. Later on, it was referred to in the Governor-General’s speech. I do not suppose that I should be justified in asking if the concurrence of the other leader of the Opposition has been arranged for in this matter; but the fact that no action in regard to it was taken on the AddressinReply practically amounted to an admission that, so far as Australia is concerned, a decision has been arrived at, and the electors generally favour preferential trade. Assuming that to be so, I do not think that any further step can be taken until some tangible proposal is made to us by the Imperial Government I do not see the value of . another Conference, because details cannot be arranged until the principle of preferential trade has been assented to in Great Britain.
– A Conference would prepare the way.
-This House has not yet spoken on the subject.
– Australia has expressed her wishes.
– The opinions of the peopleof Australia have never been tested in this Chamber.
– The fact that the matter was allowed to go by default is equivalent to a test having been made. Our free-trade friends Hid not test the. opinions of members in reference to an alteration pf the Tariff ; but the feeling of the people was admitted when they allowed it to remain in its present condition.
– I have already pointed out that when questions are put to a Minister it is only courteous for the House to let him give his own answers to them. I ask honorable members not to attempt to put words into the mouth of the Prime Minister, and to receive without interjecting the replies which he pleases to give. I would remind the House that at question time members may only ask direct questions, and Ministers may only reply to them. Questions of policy must not be debated.
– Is it in order fpr the Prime Minister to express views which many of. us think absolutely erroneous?
-I understand that question time was instituted to give honorable members an opportunity toask questions to elicit the views of Ministers, and to give Ministers an opportunity to express their views.
– I was expressing merely my own views ; I would not attempt to express those of the honorable and learned member. I have shown how the matter appears to me. In my opinion, we should now wait until a proposal comes from Great Britain.
– What I speak of would be a proposal for a Conference.
– If the proposal for a Conference is made to the Government it will have our grave consideration. Hitherto I have dealt only with a suggestion which was not put forward by any one holding office. Although Mr. Chamberlain occupies a very prominent and honoured position in England, he is not at present a responsible Minister. It therefore remains merely a suggestion. If it takes shape, and becomes more than a suggestion, it will, of course, receive every consideration.
– Last week I asked the Postmaster-General -
Are medicine chests supplied to the outlying stations on the Port Darwin telegraph line, as was the case when the line was under the control of the South Australian Government ?
The Minister replied -
Yes, except at Port Darwin and Pine Creek, where medical services can be obtained.
I have excellent authority for believing that that answer is not correct. I am in formed that Sir Charles Todd, the Deputy Postmaster-General of South Australia, on the 24th February, 1902, formally notified that supplies of medicine for stations on the overland line were to be discontinued, and that no medicines whatever have been provided by the Federal Government. Mr. Herbert and Mr. Mitchell, the representatives of the Northern Territory in the South Australian House of Assembly, have been in communication with me in regard to this matter. Mr. Herbert writes as follows : -
I have noticed the information elicited by you from the Federal Government to the effect that medicine chests are supplied to outlying stations on the overland telegraph line, as was the custom under the State control. The answer, I fear, has been given under a misapprehension.
I believe I am absolutely correct in saying that the supplies of medicine for the chests referred to were stopped by the Department, and that they have not been since resumed.
If the Minister would like me to give him a specific case of a station not having a chest of medicines provided, I think I can name one - the Powell Creek Station. I desire to know whether the Minister will make further inquiries into the matter.
– I certainly shall make further inquiries. It would appear, from the information furnished by the honorable member, that there has been some misapprehension. When the Department was under State control, the authorities supplied medicines at the outlying stations, and it may be that in the departmental view this duty still rests with the State Government, because it cannot be contended that it is necessary for the proper administration of the Telegraph service that medicines and surgical appliances should be supplied in such cases. They are provided for the convenience and assistance of persons who are travelling, and that being so, I conceive that the matter is entirely within the domain of the State Government.
– But the officers employed at the stations, and also the stations, are under the control of the Federal Government.
– That is so, and to the extent that such officers require medicines or surgical appliances, I presume that the Department will be prepared to supply them; but I am not aware that it is our duty to keep medicines or appliances for the convenience of the travelling public. However, I shall make further inquiries, and furnish the honorable member with any additional information that mav be available.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister whether it is a fact, as stated in the Age of Friday last, that the Commonwealth Government is making a claim upon the Victorian Government for £1 2,000 odd forvarious services rendered by Post and Telegraph officers; further, whether it is a fact that this claim would not have been made had it not been for some remarks made by the Premier of Victoria. I trust that the Minister will be able to enlighten us upon this point, because it is distinctly stated that the Government are playing a game of tit-for-tat, and that the claim would not have been made but for their resentment of Mr. Bent’s criticisms.
– I understand that some claim against the Victorian Government is being prepared by the Post Office authorities, in consideration of services rendered to the State. I am not aware of the details, or ‘the grounds upon which the claim is made, because it has not yet come to me for presentation.
– The claim is not being made in a spirit of revenge ?
– Certainly not. The relations which have, so far, existed between all the States Governments and this Government have been of the most cordial description. We have had no reason to complain, nor do I think that this Government have given any cause for complaint by the States Governments.
– I desire to know from the Prime Minister what steps, if any, have been taken with a view to secure uniform wharfage rates in the various States?
– Some little time ago I stated that it was the intention of the Government to take whatever steps were possible to persuade the various States authorities - whether the States Governments or bodies acting under their authority - to so regulate their wharfage charges, and to so harmonize them, that no distinction would be drawn between the produce of any of the States ; the idea being, of course, to obviate the necessity for appointing the Inter-State Commission, so far as that aspect of. the matter is concerned. Since then my honorable colleague, the Minister of Trade and Customs has, in one or two cases, asked to be relieved of the work of collecting differential rates, as a preliminary to further action being taken by the States Governments themselves. That has occurred in Victoria. My” honorable colleague holds that we have no power to collect the differential rates, and I believe that the Victorian Government proposes to take action in the direction of equalizing the charges. I have addressed letters upon the subject to some of the other States Governments. I am not yet aware of the detailed proposals which they intend to carry out ; but I am satisfied that there should be no great difficulty in arriving at some arrangement for getting rid of the existing anomalies.
– I wish to ask the Minister of Home Affairs whether, in view of the very serious irregularities that seem to have ocurred in the Electoral Department in Sydney, he will take steps to appoint a Royal Commission to pursue the inquiry commenced by the Electoral Act Committee, which seems to beunable to spare the time necessary to attend to the matter. At present, I need not say any more than that the evidence recently taken in Sydney discloses a very serious state of affairs.
– I do not think that the Select Committee are unable to obtain the evidence necessary to enable them to arrive at a conclusion as to whether or not grave irregularities have occurred. I do not regard it as necessary to appoint a Royal Commission, because I consider that the Select Committee will be in a position to inquire fully into the whole question.. Evidence in rebuttal of that recently given in Sydney will be presented by the Department.
-I desire to ask the Prime Minister, without notice, whether he will take steps to test the legality of the action of the Western Australian Government in granting a subsidy 0for a fast steamer service between Geraldton and Perth.
– I have not had time to look into the matter referred to, and, therefore, I should like further notice before I am called upon to give an answer. I imagine that the subject is rather an important one.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister a question having reference to the offer of certain obsolete field guns, for ornamental purposes, which was recently made to the States Governments. I understand that some of the States Governments have declined to accept the guns upon the conditions laid down in the offer. In view of that fact, and in order that no municipality may be deprived of any guns which it may desire to obtain, will the Government make a similar offer to the municipalities direct?
– I am aware that the Government of Western Australia has intimated that it scarcely cares to accept the responsibility of these obsolete weapons. In some cases - I do not say that my remark applies to all - it seems that the guns are so heavy that a fair expenditure would require to be incurred to remove them, and some people do not care to be saddled with “ white elephants “ of that description.
– Very few of the guns are mounted,
– -That’ is so, and consequently it is necessary to construct carriages or some kind of mounting for them.
– It cost the municipality of Parramatta .£15 to mount their guns.
– It. is satisfactory to know that Parramatta could afford to spend that sum in beautifying its public parks.
– Does that remark apply to any part of Australia, as I have applied for some of the guns for Geelong?
– The Government .entertain no objection to allowing any local body or representative institution to obtain these guns so far as their number will permit. My general impression is that the military, authorities are very anxious to use the storage room which is at present occupied by these obsolete weapons, and therefore they would be extremely glad to get rid of them.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister whether he is prepared to allow of a short suspension of the sitting prior to the ballot being taken in connexion with the Seat of Government Bill. I understand that some of the trains were late to-day - the Sydney express was somewhat behind time - and I believe that one or two honorable members who have come to Melbourne for the express purpose of taking part in the ballot have not yet reached the House. I suppose that there is a disposition upon all sides to allow honorable members who have journeyed here for that purpose an opportUnity of recording their votes.
– How long an interval does the right honorable member suggest?
– I think that a suspension of the sitting until a’ quarter-past 3 would allow a very fair latitude. I know that one or two honorable members who’ have come to Melbourne for the purpose of recording their votes have not yet reached the House. They may put in an appearance at any moment, and I am sure that nobody desires them to be shut out from the ballot for the sake of a minute or two. I would therefore suggest that the sitting of the
House be suspended until a quarter-past 3 o’clock, if the Prime Minister thinks that is a reasonable proposal.
– I have no objection to meeting the convenience of honorable members in the way suggested ; but perhaps some other honorable member might desire a suspension of the sitting for a few minutes longer. If not, . at the conclusion of the ordinary business, Mr. Speaker might leave the chair, and resume it at the hour named.
– If any delay is to occur in the taking of the ballot, I would suggest that the sitting should be suspended for a little longer period - say till half -past 3 o’clock - because there are several honorable members in the city with whom we cannot communicate.
– There are several others who wish to get away.
– I am quite prepared to fall in with the suggestion of the honorable member for Hume.
– In accordance with the arrangement which has been arrived at, I shall leave the chair after questions have been answered until half-past 3 o’clock.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
What was the establishment, strength, and per- centage of efficients of each of the following Volunteer Regiments in New South Wales on the 30th June, 1904 : - 1st Scottish Rifles;
Australian Rifles ;
St. George’s Rifles;
Australian Irish Rifles?
– The following is the information asked for by the honorable and learned member : - _
Mr. Batchelor laid upon the table the following paper : -
Further report by Mr. Surveyor Chesterman on the proposed Federal Capital site at Tooma.
The order of the day for a ballot to determine the district within which the Seat of Government should be situated having been read,
– When a similar ballot was taken last year some rules for the conduct of the ballot were prepared and followed, and I propose, with the approval of the House, that these rules shall again be observed.
Honorable Members.- Hear, hear.
– I understand, Mr. Speaker, that the signature of an honorable member is essential?
– Are honorable members to understand that they must place a cross opposite the area for which they desire to vote?
– Honorable members, of course, may make only one cross and that must be placed opposite the one of the three areas for which they. vote.
The Housethenproceeded to the first ballot.
– The votes were cast in the first ballot as follows: -
The second ballot having been taken,
– The votes were cast in the second ballot as follows: -
Districts. -1, Southern District* (comprising an area of land within a radius of fifty miles from Batlow) ; 2, South-Eastern District (comprising an areaof land within a radius of fifty miles from Bombala) ; 3, Western District (comprising an area of land within a radius of fifty miles from Lyndhurst).
In Committee :
Clause 2 -
It is hereby determined that the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be within that portion of New South Wales bounded on the north by a direct line running from the town of Pambula to the town of Cooma, thence due west to the border of the State of Victoria, and within fifty miles of Bombala, in the State of New South Wales.
– The ballot which has just Keen taken leaves the wording of the clause now under consideration very much as it stands. The Government have stated throughout the discussion thatit was their intention to narrow down the locality to much more restrictive limits than a radius of fifty miles. A radius of fifty miles would include two or three - sites which have been suggested. But the important sites in the South-Eastern District are Bombala and Dalgety. I understand that the majority of honorable members who voted for a site in the South-Eastern District are in favour of the Dalgety site. In order that we may obtain an expression of opinion which will be more definite than the clause at present contains. I think that it would be better for me to move the omission of all the words from “ within “ to”Bombala,” with a view of inserting the words”twenty-five miles from Dalgety.” The radius would give us a sufficient margin to enable the best, site within that district to be selected. It would exclude Bombala and a number of towns which, it is generally agreed, it would not be desirable to select. If the course which I suggest is adopted, it will be understood as an instruction to the Government to obtain a site within a reasonable distance of Dalgety. That, I believe, is what is generally desired. I therefore move -
That the following words be left out : - “ that portion of New South Wales bounded on the north by a direct line running from the town of Pambula to the town of Cooma, thence due west to the border of the State of Victoria, and within fifty miles of Bombala.”
– I wish to obtain a somewhat clearer explanation of what the amendment means than I have been able to gather from the statement of the Minister. Does the amendment mean that when the area is selected any possibility of obtaining a port within the Federal Territory will be excluded; or does it mean that we are choosing the actual Seat of Government, reserving the right at a later stage to take in a port with the territory? It. is due to the Committee that honorable members should know exactly what is meant and how far the proposal goes.
– The territory is dealt with in the next clause. The purpose of the clause under consideration simply is to determine the locality of the Seat of Government.
– That only ?
– Yes, that only. The question of the territory to be chosen will be considered in connexion with clause 3.
– I would suggest to the Minister of Home Affairs that the better way to amend the clause in order to attain the object in view is first to settle which site is the more favoured bv the Committee, Bombala or Dalgety. We should take a vote in order to elicit an expression of opinion as between Bombala and Dalgety. If the proposal which the Minister has submitted is adopted we shall probably find ourselves blocked in the endeavour to obtain a port within the Federal area.
– Not at all.
– Then an amendment will be required in clause 3, which provides that the territory to be acquired is to be the territory mentioned in clause 2. We must first of all obtain an expression of opinion as to whether Bombala or Dalgety should be selected, and we must not deprive ourselves of the right to claim a port, the desirability of which has recommended the Bombala site to many honorable members. To lay it . down in clause 2, as the Minister proposes to do, that the site selected shall be within a radius of twenty-five miles of Dalgety, would, unless clause 3 were amended, exclude all possibility of the territory embracing a port. We should endeavour to leave the Bill as nearly as possible in the state in which the Senate sent it to us. To adopt the amendment proposed by the Minister would be practically to make a new Bill of it.
– The object of the Government is to get a nearer indication of the opinion of the Committee. In order that that may be done, we must first settle the question whether Bombala or Dalgety is to be chosen. That can be determined bv one vote.
– I quite agree with the proposal submitted by the Minister. The words which he proposes to omit are absolutely useless for the purpose for which they have been inserted in the clause. In the first place, they provide that the. Seat of Government shall be within a territory which in one direction would be 150 miles in length, and the description of the territory is then limited by a subsequent description that it shall be within fifty miles of Bombala. As applied to the Seat of Government, the two descriptions are inconsistent. The proper place in which to define the territory is the next clause.
– If it is necessary to define it at all.
– Just so; but the words proposed to be left out are absolutely useless, and are made useless by the subsequent provision that the Seat of Government shall be within fifty miles of Bombala.- I can only account for the inconsistency of the clause by assuming that the various amendments proposed in the Senate created confusion. We are here not to fix a district, but to determine the Seat of Government. We should do that, and we should not leave it to a subsequent selection from a large area which may include several sites.
– I agree with the honorable member for North Sydney as to the vagueness of the clause. I desire to know something with respect to the method by which the Minister proposes to ascertain the desire of the Committee. I should like to say that Governments and Parliaments have, before now, found that it is easier to create a blank than to fill it. If we create a blank in this clause as proposed, there will be nothing to prevent that blank remaining unfilled for’ ever, so far as this Committee is concerned, by a combination of supporters of two’ sites as against the supporters of a third. I am not saying this with any desire to secure an advantage for the site mentioned iri the Bill, or the site which was selected a few minutes ago by honorable members, because neither of them is my first choice. We have had previous examples of combinations. To move that these words should be left out, with a view to insert other words, would.be a .perfectly right course to pursue, in the circumstances, if we knew that, as a matter of course, the striking out of these words would be followed by the formal insertion of the other words proposed. But once these words are left out, the whole question is again enlarged. I should advise the insertion of certain words first, if they could be agreed to, and we could strike out the superfluous words afterwards. My only desire is to secure ‘fair play for all concerned, because, as I say, Bombala and Dalgety are by no means the objects of my primary selection in this matter.
.In accordance with the suggestion of the honorable and learned member for Corinella, it might simplify the procedure, and assuage any fears which some honorable members may entertain of the difficulties’ always liable to crop up in connexion with matters of this sort, if the Minister of Home Affairs were to withdraw his present amendment, and move the ‘insertion, after the word “ within,” of the words “ a radius of twenty-five.” Then any honorable mem- . ber, who desired to do so, could move an amendment upon the amendment, with the object of altering the word “twenty-five” to “ fifty,” if that should be desired.
– Why not make it fifty miles in the first instance?
– Because, in my view, it is absolutely ridiculous to talk of the selection of a site within a radius of fifty miles. The necessity for getting this Bill through is, that Parliament may, by some determination, indicate where it wishes the Federal Capital to be, and if we indicate a territory with a diameter of 100 miles, no one can say that we have thus indicated where the Capital should be. It might be anywhere within that vast range of country.
– We could leave that to the two Governments concerned.
– In my opinion, the Federal Parliament should indicate its choice much more nearly than that, for the benefit of the Government. I do not say that it would be putting too much responsibility upon the Government, but it certainly would be burdening the Government to ask them to interpret the will of the House in making a selection within such an area as that to which I have referred. I think that a radius of twenty-five miles would cover the maximum range of choice which should be allowed. Even that would give a diameter of fifty miles to the circle, and I am rather inclined to agree that that is a little too much.
– It would cover 1,963 square miles.
– That is a very big range. The object should be to CUt the area down to .as fine and definite a point as is consistent with our present information, and with the possibility that a new location may be necessary for the actual site of the Federal city - that is to say, within a mile or two of the particular place we select. I think, therefore, that the better plan, following the suggestion of the honorable and learned member for Corinella, would be to propose the insertion of the words I have indicated, including the words “ twenty-five,” and the Committee could afterwards take a vote upon the insertion of the word Dalgety in lieu of the. word Bombala, if honorable members so desired.
– We have selected the district in which the Seat of Government is to be located, and it has now become our duty to select the site. The best way in which to proceed is to ascertain from the Committee which site within this district honorable members prefer. Four sites have been named and inspected - Dalgety, Bombala, Delegate, and Coolringdon. It appears to me that what we have to do now is to find :but which of those four . sites is favoured by the majority of the members of the Committee. Having done that, the Seat of Government should be fixed within a reasonable distance of the site selected, and twenty-five miles would be a more than ample range, knowing the localities as we d.o. We know that the Bombala site is not more than three or four miles from the town of Bombala; the Dalgety site would be within a radius of five miles of the bridge at Dalgety; the Delegate site would be within three or four miles’ radius of the town of Delegate ; and the Coolringdon site is well known. No doubt the choice of the Committee will be either Dalgety or Bombala. A very few miles from either place would suffice to include the site of the actual Capital, and whether we say ten or twenty-five miles will make no difference in the selection. Then we have the question of the area of the territory, which will have to be considered on clause 3. By the course I suggest, we should let it be well known, that every site in this district has had a fair chance of being dealt with ; whereas, if we adopt the proposal of the Government - though I have no objection to it, personally - it might be thought we were barring the claim of some sites. What we have to do now is to definitely say which site in this district is approved b.y a majority of the Committee.
– I quite agree with the course the Government have taken; in fact, I think they are scarcely definite enough in the amendment. However, the amendment means a better state of things than is contemplated in the clause. So far as I am concerned, as a representative of New South Wales, though I have strongly and consistently endeavoured to procure the selection of Lyndhurst, I have the consolation, after the division which has taken place, of recognising that that division is an honest expression of opinion by the House. I accept that decision as not brought about, as some other position might have been, by any unfair means, but as a fair and honest expression of the views of the majority; The decision’ is much against my own views, but I have at least the satisfaction of feeling that the selection which has been made does represent the honest conviction of the majority of the members of this House. Therefore, so far as I am concerned, I want to help the Government so far as I can. What New South Wales may think is another matter ; it is for New South Wales to look after her own affairs in her own Parliament. I am strongly against the large area, but it must be left to the Government and the people of New South. Wales to look after their own interests. I will do all I can in this Chamber to get the views I represent expressed in the provisions of the Bill ; bur, so long as the procedure is, as it has been, thoroughly bond fide, I am not’ . going to carry my protest further. I wish to say that I accept in good faith this amendment to insert Dalgety, upon the understanding that the site’ is within a reasonable distance of Dalgety, as intended by Parliament. I have made no secret of my view that I should not consider the choice of Dalgety one which, manifestly, I could not regard with some sort of feeling of respect ; I have never denounced that site as one with regard to which I had any sort of decided feeling one way or the other. I am prepared, so far as I am concerned, as a member of this House, to accept the decision, which has been honestly arrived at, without any manipulation of votes; - which expresses a preference as between Lyndhurst and Dalgety.
But 1 do not think that, having now chosen Dalgety, we ought, in the interest of all parties,_to make our selection as definite as possible in the Bill. Of course, I shall accept the Government amendment, to make the radius twenty-five miles, as an improvement on a radius of fifty miles; but I do so on the distinct . understanding that the Government place upon that amendment a reasonable interpretation - that it means Dalgety, and not some other places twentyfive miles away.
– Quite so.
– Why not take a vote on Dalgety as against Bombala?
– I think that would be the straightest course of all.
– The Government should not be tied to a mile or two - there ought to be an allowance of ten miles, at least.
– I desire that we should carry out the spirit of the decision arrived at by the House.
– That is the idea.
– The Government will be charged with carrying out the spirit of the decision ; and the spirit is that the site shall be within the Dalgety district. If it is found that by going a mile or two away from a particular spot a better Site may be found, no human being will raise the slightest objection. But it is to be understood that there must be no sort of undermining, so as to bring about the selection of Bombala.
– Bombala is over thirty miles away.
– The distance is greater, I think; but I should like to be satisfied by the honorable member for EdenMonaro, that he, as the representative of the district in which these two sites are, accepts the decision of the House in regard to Dalgety - that he accepts that decision, just as I do.
– That is a question for the decision of Ministers.
– But I want to be satisfied that the honorable member for EdenMonaro has not in his pocket some other site within twenty-five miles.
– Coolringdon is inside that radius, and I take it, that if the amendment be canned, Dalgetywill be regarded as the centre.
– As honorable members will see, it is not on this clause that the question of territory arises. We are now simply dealing with the spot near which the Capital is to be.
– I agree with the honorable and learned member for Corinella as to the way in which we should proceed. It would be a mistake, I think, to omit a large portion of the clause, with a view to inserting some other words. By so doing we may get into trouble ; and we ought, therefore, to insert after the word”bounded” some words which will clearly express what is intended. The only difficulty is as to the radius.
– Should not the words which I think the honorable member has in mind, be inserted after the word ‘’ within “?
– I suggest that after the word “ bounded,” the following words be inserted : “ by a circle, the radius of which measures seventeen miles from the township of Dalgety.” That is the area marked out on the map as the Dalgety site. With a radius of fifty miles, or even of twenty -five miles, we should increase the subsequent difficulty in settling the site; and I think that a radius of seventeen miles-, as marked on the map, is amply sufficient, as we have already decided on the district. I am quite in accord with the leader of the Opposition that the House has come to an honest and legitimate decision. I have supported Lyndhurst all through, but I recognise the decision now arrived at as one we must respect, and notwithstanding differences of opinion as to the relative merits of the two sites, a decision amply justified by the qualifications of the site chosen. It would be a mistake to create trouble such as we have had in the past, and such as we might be supposed to have got rid of; but difficulty might arise if we created a large circle in which the Seat of Government must ultimately be fixed. If the Government will not adopt my suggestion, I should like to test the feeling of the Committee by moving an amendment in the terms I have indicated.
– The honorable member cannot submitthat amendment. The question before us now is the omission of certain words.
– I am presuming that the amendment to omit certain words will be withdrawn by general consent. I should like the Government to adopt my amendment, which seems to be a simple expression of the desire of the Committee.
– Why a radius of seventeen miles?
– Because that is the area marked out on the map, which I have studied very carefully while the debate has proceeded. It seems to me, in view of the reports of skilled officers, that this area probably contains any site we could have had in mind when discussing the merits of Dalgety. To extend the area to twenty-five miles would be to give a great deal further trouble in th? ultimate decision. >I think the Prime Minister admits himself that we should be wrong in making the area too large - that we should thereby complicate the final settlement. If, however, we have a radius of seventeen miles, as marked on the map, we shall keep faith with the decision of the House, and by adopting the Dalgety district with that limitation, we shall be much nearer to having the exact site fixed beyond all question. If we adopted a larger area, we should probably have other sites submitted, and the whole competition, though narrowed down to ‘ a smaller compass, would practically have to be once more faced.
– I think that some of the speeches which have been made upon the amendment have been a little previous. There is nothing to prevent an honorable member from moving the insertion of any site. It is not to be supposed that we are confined to sites within the South-Eastern District. I intend to move the insertion of a site which is not in that district. The balloting was no doubt honest, but, unfortunately, two honorable members were absent. Had they been here, the South-Eastern District would have been rejected on the first ballot, and the contest would have been between the Southern District and the Western District, which would have entirely altered the position of matters. Honorable members have not yet had an opportunity to give a straight-out vote for or against any particular district. I am not raising this objection for the first time now, because some time ago I suggested to the Minister that an exhaustive ballot should be taken. What we have just had has been only a single ballot, whereas an exhaustive ballot would have pitted every proposed site against every other proposed site. After the first ballot had been taken, and the Southern District rejected, there should have been a ballot between the two remaining sites, and then the southern site should have been pitted against each of those sites. That would have been an exhaustive ballot. I tried to induce the Minister to adopt that manner of balloting, because it is the only fair one. I understand, however, that now it is open to me to move the insertion of any site in the Southern District, while other members could move the insertion of Lyndhurst, Dalgety, Bombala, or any proposed site they wish. This will be the only opportunity to really test the feeling of honorable members in regard to the proposed sites.
– The words proposed to be left out must be left out before the name of any proposed site can be inserted.
– Quite so. [ think that the proposal made by the Mini-, ster in the first instance is the proper one to adopt.
– Why does not the honorable member accept his “ licking “ like a man ?
– I always do so. I compliment the honorable member for Eden-Monaro on the accident which has placed him in- so fortunate a position.
– It was not an accident. There was too great a difference in the numbers for it to be an accident.
– As i have mentioned, there were two honorable members absent when the ballot was taken. One of them is on his way here now, and if, when an adjournment was being asked for, I had received from him the telegram now in my possession, I would have asked for a still further adjournment to enable him to take part in our proceedings.
– But the right honorable member for Adelaide was not accounted for.
– The honorable member to whom I refer is in the train from Echuca, and I know what his opinion is. I think the matter too serious and important to be settled without an exhaustive ballot. Honorable members should have been given a proper opportunity to decide directly upon the sites. I do not wish now to speak upon any of the proposed sites in detail, but I shall later on refer to the conduct of one or two honorable members who would not look at a certain proposed site. I think that if the amendment for the striking out of. certain words be agreed to-
– The question now- before the Committee is, what area should be taken- within what radius of any site the Seat of Government shall be located?
– If the words proposed to be left out, be so left out, it will then be open to any honorable member to move the insertion of any area of country he pleases.
– What the Minister proposes to do now is to move the insertion, after the word “ within,” of other words providing that the Seat of Government shall be- within a radius, of so many miles;. After that amendment has been, carried,, it will be open to any honorable member to move; the insertion of the name of a site.
– The question which will be put from the Chair will be, “ That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the clause.”
– That amendment is to be withdrawn, and the Minister is then going to move another amendment.
– The amendment which the Minister intends to move seems to me not the right one. I think that he should see that his original amendment is put. The right thing to do is to create a blank in the clause. That is the first step to take. When a blank has been created, it will be open to honorable members to move the insertion of Lyndhurst, Bombala, Dalgety, Tumut, or any other name, including even that of the muchopposed Albury.
– And the still moreopposed Lake George site.
– I would not oppose the Lake George site. I never have opposed it.
– The honorable member can propose the insertion of any one of the sixteen sites which he has brought forward.
– I hope that the honorable member will not be offensive. If he is, he will, get a Rolland for his Oliver. I do not wish to say anything about his. success, though, no doubt, it has been obtained by accident. I do not say that, finally, honorable members might not in any case have selected Dalgety, even if the South-Eastern District had been rejected on the first ballot; but every site and territory should be opposed to each of the others, so that honorable membersmay give a direct vote on them all. That is what I wish to see done.
– The winning site ought to beat every other.
– That , is so. But we have nt yet got to that stage.
Mr.Watson. - It is not proposedto prevent that.
– Honorable members will see. that the site which I was advocating, has not yet had an opportunity to compete agairfst the other sites, and it should have that opportunity. If honorable members by a majority select any site, they will find me willing to accept the general verdict; but I wish first to see that there is a fair competition between the sites. I regret that the Minister did not do what I asked him to do first of all, and so arrange the balloting that every site would be opposed to every other site.
– It was a very difficult matter to arrange.
– I do not think so. Every site could have been pitted against every other site. Now, however, the sites wirl have to be voted upon in the ordinary way, and I wish the Minister not to do anything which will prevent an amendment being moved under the Standing Orders - because what has been done hitherto in regard to balloting has been under a suspension ofthe Standing Orders - to . test the feeling of the Committee, in regard to the sites. I do not wish to do more than that. But I should not be doing my duty to the States, to New South Wales, or to Australia, if I did not see that that was done.
– Could we not simplify matters by moving the insertion of the name of a site after the word “ be “? For instance, I might move the insertion of the. words “ at Dalgety.” It would’ be open to any honorable member to moye an amendment. If the words I have indicated were inserted, and others were struck out, the clause would read - . . The Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be (at Dalgety, or any other site that may be determined) in the State of New South Wales.
Then the next clause would have to be amended by the omission of the reference to the area mentioned in clause 2.
– My proposal would meet the views of the honorable member.
– I do not know that it would.
– The honorable, member has not heard it.
– I have heard one proposal, with reference to a twenty-five miles’ radius, which would include Coolringdon, and that would not suit me. I shall not approve of any site which would have to be supplied with water by means, of a pumping scheme. We know that, in the matter of water supply, Dalgety possesses a great advantage over all the other sites.
– Not over all the others.
– Yes, it does. I am quite in sympathy with the attitude assumed by the honorable member for Hume. If two of the supporters of his proposal had not been absent the results might .have been very different.
– No, they would not. Two supporters of the Dalgety site, namely, the right honorable member for Adelaide, and the honorable member for Brisbane, were also absent.
– The honorable member for Barrier was absent, and that is why the honorable member for Brisbane stood out.
– I am quite sure that no honorable members wish to see a selection’ made by means of a catch vote.
– Hear, hear. The site selected should stand against every other.
– Exactly, ‘i trust that, after the site has been selected, allhonorable members will assist the Government in bringing about’ a practical result, because it may be necessary for all of us to make a stand against outside influences in order to achieve our object. I shall wait until I hear what the Minister of Home Affairs proposes. If I do not approve of his amendment, I shall propose to insert the words, “ at Dalgety” after the word “be.”
– The objection to’ the amendment suggested by the honorable member for Grey is that it would be too rigid altogether. If it were determined that the Seat of Government should be at Dalgety, we should be compelled to select a site within the boundaries of the township of that name. I am sure that the honorable member does not wish that. The amendment which I desire to submit is upon the lines of the suggestion of the honorable member for South Sydney, that the Seat of Government should be situated within a radius of seventeen miles from the town of Dalgety., but I have framed my proposal in a somewhat different form. As the Prime Minister has pointed out. it would be better not to create a blank, but to first fix upon a site, and then to afterwards strike out” any words that mav be unnecessary. Before we create a blank, let us decide what we intend to do. I desire to withdraw the present amendment, and to then submit a proposal to insert after the word “ within,” the words “ seventeen miles of.”
– Why not specify a radius of twenty-five miles ? ‘
– I do not care very much whether we- adopt a seventeen or a twenty-five mile radius, but as we are to fix the site and not the territory, I think that the Committee should give the Government a clear indication of the locality in which they desire the Seat of Government to be, and not leave the question too open. If we adopt a radius of seventeen miles from any given point, we shall embrace an area of 900 miles, and surely that should be sufficiently large to afford the Government and their officers the necessary latitude in choosing a site.
– Should not the site be in the centre of the territory ?
– Not necessarily.
– The territory could afterwards be so shaped as to insure that the Capital should be in the centre.
– Under my suggested amendment, it would be open” to the honorable member for Hume to propose some site other than Dalgety. All I suggest at present is that the words “ seventeen miles of “ should be inserted after the word “ within.” Afterwards Dalgety or any other site could be submitted.
Sir William Lyne.My only chance would be to move an amendment upon the first site proposed.
– It would be open to the honorable member to move any amendment he chose. What he desires to obtain is a straight - out vote for or against the Tooma site.
– No; the honorable member for Hume wants to pit the Tooma and Tumut sites against the Dalgety site; two against one would not be fair.
– Every fair opportunity would be afforded to the honorable member for Hume to propose” a site in the Southern District. He could propose his site before ‘any other was submitted to the Committee. I shall place no obstacle in the way of his moving an amendment before that which I have indicated.
– I object to the reduction of the radius to seventeen miles.
– The only question before the Committee at present is t lie omission of certain words embodied in the amendment which the Minister of Home Affairs desires to withdraw.
– I cannot see any reason for the fear entertained by some honorable members that the creation of a blank would allow of an unfair advantage being taken, and of the whole question being “bung up.” The disposition of the Committee is to definitely select a site, and, that being so, it will make no difference whether we create a blank or insert certain words in the first instance. I do not see any objection “to the form of the amendment now before us. I hope that the Minister will not propose to reduce the radius to seventeen miles, because our object in -asking for an area of 900 square miles is “to prevent persons outside the Federal territory from deriving the advantage of the unearned increment accruing from the expenditure upon the Capital.
– I understood that the site was to be selected by means of an exhaustive ballot, but that course has not been followed. I have not had an opportunity to vote for any other than one site . I voted for Lyndhurst on both occasions, but if I were offered a second choice I should .give my support to a site in the Southern District ,as against either of those in the South-Eastern District. We are determining this question for all time, and I think that honorable members should be afforded an opportunity to vote straightout for one site against another. I admit that the Southern District was rejected upon the ballot taken in the House, but that was due to the fact that several honorable members gave . the western site their first preference.
– Which site does the honorable member now prefer?
– I should give my support to the Tooma site.
– The honorable member’s choice has already been knocked out.
– Yes, but L think that an opportunity should be afforded to myself and others to vote in favour of any site which we prefer, as against those which are embraced in the South-Eastern District.
– The honorable member would have an opportunity of doing as he desires if the amendment now before the Committee were withdrawn.
– I cannot understand the attitude assumed by the honorable member for Hume. He has been fairly and squarely beaten, and I do not know what further he wants, The honorable member for Moreton is not satisfied be cause the Lyndhurst site has not been selected, and he now wishes to vote for a site in the Southern District. Apparently, “.he dunno where ‘e are.” If honorable mem- _ bers were to be allowed to back and fill in the way suggested there would be no finality. The position was clearly defined by the Speaker, and I think that we should proceed to make a definite choice. If
Tooma had been selected we should have heard no such question as that which is now raised. I agree with the right honorable member for East Sydney that we have had a good square “go” in connexion with the balloting. There has been no log-rolling, and every honorable member has had a fair opportunity to- vote for the site he preferred. I am pleased to notice that the honorable member for Macquarie is sitting back smiling.
– He has made a good fight and has not turned sour.
– -He accepts his defeat like a man. The honorable member for Hume wants votes to be taken with regard to Tooma, Tumut, Tumberumba, and other sites, and will not be satisfied until Dalgety has been rejected. If both Houses decide that the Capital is to be. established in the South-Eastern District we shall arrive at finality, and the honorable member for Hume will have no more picnic parties to cart around.
– That is a mean thing to say.
– It is absolutely true.
– It is a mean suggestion.
– The honorable member had nothing to say about Tooma last year, but strongly advocated the claims of .Tumut. This year the Tooma site was introduced, and now that it has been rejected, the honorable member wishes to secure the defeat of the Bombala site. If he is a sportsman he should take his defeat like a man.
– I always take my defeats better than does the honorable member.
– I take them as gracefully as I can. I can do no more. If the honorable member can accept defeat more philosophically than I can, that is his gain and my loss. He reminds me of the little boy playing marbles, who, when he is defeated, exclaims : “ Give me back my marbles. You did not beat me fairly.” His action is equivalent to a regular school boy’s trick. The Southern Monaro district has been selected by- this Committee, and the Bombala area has been chosen by the Senate. Consequently, there is every prospect of an agreement being arrived at between the* two Houses. Let us show that we are men by respecting the vote which has been arrived at upon this question.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
– I move-
That after the word “ within,” line 2, the following words be inserted - “ the Southern District, as indicated in the recent ballot.”
I submit this amendment upon the same ground that has been taken by others who have addressed themselves to the question during the course of this debate. I’ contend that we have not had an exhaustive vote as to which site is preferred by a (majority of the Committee. Like the honorable member for Maranoa, I desire to see some finality arrived at, and I move the amendment with a view to ascertaining whether honorable members do not prefer the Tooma site to that of Dalgety.
Mr. REID (East Sydney).- I think that the honorable member is perfectly justified in the course of action which he has adopted. We do not desire to shut out any honorable member who advocates a particular site or to compel him to submit to a legitimate grievance. The amendment submitted will give the advocates of the Tooma site a straight run in this Committee. At the same time I do not pledge myself to vote for it.
Mr. McCAY (Corinella). - I would urge the honorable member for Gwydir to withdraw his amendment. Upon the first ballot I voted for the selection of the Southern District, but when “my choice was defeated I thought that the matter was at an end. I would suggest to the honorable member that he would achieve his purpose more satisfactorily from the stand-point of draftsmanship and of practical work, by waiting until the amendment proposed by the Minister for Home Affairs has been disposed of. The honorable gentleman wishes to insert after the word “ within “ the words “ seventeen miles of,” and I understand that subsequently he will move to insert after the word “of” the word “ Dalgety.” The honorable member for Gwydir will then be afforded an opportunity of ‘proposing by way of amendment to insert before “ Dalgety “ the word “ Tooma.” The adoption of that course will enable the Committee to reach some finality. If the honorable member will agree to my suggestion I shall adhere to my first choice and vote for the selection of the Tooma site, although I do not suppose for a moment that it has any chance of winning. After we have turned our backs upon the vagueness represented by districts, and have set our eyes upon a definite locality, it seems to me very- undesirable that we should retrace our. steps. Per sonally I cannot understand how any honorable member can object to the course proposed by the Government. I ask the honorable member to withdraw his amendment.
Mr. WEBSTER (Gwydir).- I must admit that the suggestion of the honorable andlearned member for Corinella is a thoroughly practicable and reasonable one, and consequently I shall accept it.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Mr. Batchelor) proposed -
That after the word “ within,” . line 2, the following words be inserted, “ seventeen miles of.”
Mr. SPENCE (Darling).- I would point out that the next clause provides that the territory shall be fixed within the area specified in this clause. Consequently, if we decide that it shall be within a radius of seventeen miles of Dalgety, our whole am in seeking to secure a territory surrounding th? site, so that we may obtain from it the unearned increment for the use of the Commonwealth, will be defeated.
– The Federal territory has nothing whatever to do with the Seat of Government.
– It appears to me that it has.
– The word “ territory “ governs the entire provision. The same thing might happen if, instead of fixing a radius of seventeen miles, we fixed one of 1,000 miles.
– I presume, then, that after the site of the Capital has been selected we shall require to enact legislation in respect of the territory surrounding it. If that be so, of course I am satisfied ; but it appears to me that in its present form the Federal territory will embrace an area within a radius of seventeen miles of Dalgety.
– Absolutely no. The two matters are quite distinct.
– I should like the right, honorable member to explain why it is not so. It has occurred to me’ that a greater radius would confer a -greater degree of safety.
– We are now fixing the site of a city only.
– Then the next clause will require to be amended, because it has no meaning in relation to this provision.
– I do not understand why a radius of seventeen miles has been decided upon by the Government. As the Minister of Home Affairs has pointed out that the radius proposed will embrace an area of 900 square miles, I desire to know whether the territory comprised within that area has any relation to the 900 square miles mentioned in clause 3 ?
– None at all.
– I shall vote for the amendment, upon the understanding that I do not subsequently limit myself to that territory. My desire is that the Commonwealth shall possess a port of its own. It was for that reason that I voted for Dalgety.
Amendment agreed to.
Mr. WEBSTER (Gwydir).- I move-
That after the word “ of,” in the words inserted, the word “Welaregang” be inserted.
I do so because of the alteration which has been made in the radius within which the Seat of Government shall be selected. It has now been fixed at seventeen miles. The Tooma and Welaregang sites are identical. The former name has been used by honorable members during this debate, merely because it is that of the township adjacent to the- site, and is better known to honorable members because it is the terminal point of the visits which they paid to that district. I hold that a serious injustice will be done, not only to the people of to-day, but to those of the future, if we do not select the site which is superior, on account of its situation. In spite of all the reports which have been submitted for our consideration - and I have read them very carefully - I claim that the Welaregang site, or one within a radius of seventeenmiles of it, would afford a unique position for the Federal Capital. In discussing” the relative merits of the Tooma and Dalgety sites, I need not recapitulate the statements which I made upon a previous occasion. The climatic conditions obtaining at the two places constitute a most material difference between them. Moreover, the land adjacent to the. Welaregang site is of better quality, and consequently far more productive than is that in the neighbourhood of Dalgety. These two factors have weighed very strongly with me in inducing, me to conclude that the former site is preferable to the latter. Some honorable members affirm that the Commonwealth should possess a port of its own. If it be possible for us to secure a port- and I believe it is very improbable that we can obtain a port in connexion with the Seat of Government in the Southern Monaro district - I hold that no honorable member can express a definite opinion as to the expenditure which will be required to establish it, and to construct a railway to it. In my judgment, the possession of a port is not so essential to the Seat of Government as some honorable members appear to think. I believe that its possession would render the Capital more easy of attack than it would otherwise be.
– Whereabouts at Tooma is there a port?
– I am not speaking of a port at Tooma. The honorable member has a habit of misconstruing the remarks of others.
– I merely put the question to the honorable member; there was a possibility of misunderstanding.
– If the honorable member were speaking there would be a still greater possibility of misapprehension;
– Are we to have another general discussion?
– I intend to express my opinions with regard to the relative merits of Tooma and Dalgety, and, if the opportunity offers, to vote for the better of those sites. If the Federal Capital were connected by railway with a port close at hand, which would be open to attack by an enemy, it would be exposed to great danger - to “a danger which would not exist if the Capital were situate at Welaregang. I trust that a realization of the danger of having a port close at hand will deter honorable members from selecting Dalgety as against Tooma. It is also important that consideration should be -given to the climatic conditions of the, several sites. I have made inquiries from relatives and others who have lived in the Monaro district, and havebeen informed by them that the weather there is intensely cold, and that the winds are almost penetrating in their keenness. Surely honorable members are not anxious to select a site at which they could not reasonably reside for several months in the year. That would be the position if the Capital were established at Dalgety.- At Tooma, however, the climate, in both summer and winter, is ideal, and, so far as I am aware, is unequalled by that of any other part of Australia. I trust that honorable members will recognise that we have to considernot our own personal comfort, but the desirableness of selecting a site which will cause the Capital to be attractive to tourists and others. If the Capital were situated in a picturesque spot, many persons would be induced to visit it from time to time, and in that way we should secure, an increased railway revenue which would assist in the payment of interest on the cost of the railway to the Capital, or on the cost of the establishment of the Federal city itself. Tooma has a water supply, which, in its volume, purity, and permanency, is equal to that of Dalgety, and it has so many other essential elements that I feel that I am doing my duty to the State from which I come in recommending that it be selected. I do not wish to labour this question, because I have already dealt fully with the . Tooma site, but I submit the amendment in order that the Committee may have an opportunity to arrive at a decision that will be in the best interests of all.
– I desire to know, Mr. Chairman, whether the amendment is in order, as I understand that the Welaregang site is not within the South-Eastern District, which the House has selected by ballot. If honorable members turn to the resolution passed on the 27th ultimo, determining the method of selection, they will fmd that it provides that -
The Standing Orders were suspended, and it seems to me thatwe can work only within the authority of the House, and that the resolution as to the method of procedure is binding.
– On the point of order I submit that the taking of the ballot has been practically a mere waste of time. That ballot had no necessary reference to the Bill, and there is nothing in the resolution to which the honorable and learned member has referredwhich relates to the measure now before us. It is open to the Committee to reverse all that we have done by the process of the ballot. The ballotdid not take place in the House, and does not bind us in any way. A certain method of procedure was adopted, purely for the convenience of honorable members, and the Committee is not bound or limited bv it in any way.
– The point of order raised is that the Committee is bound by the result of the ballot. I would point out to the honorable and learned member that the Committee has no official cognizance of a ballot, and that we are dealing with the Bill now before us in the ordinary way. As the honorable member for Parramatta has said, the Standing Orders were suspended for the convenience of honorable members, and to conserve the time of the House. It will be competent for an honorable member to move any amendment, either on this clause or any other clause of the Bill, provided that it is in accordance with the Standing Orders.
– It is remarkable that, with only one exception, every honorable member who inspected the Tooma site came to the conclusion that it was the best that could be selected. Before visiting Dalgety, I was greatly impressed by what I had read and heard of its suitability, and remarked that if it came up to my expectations, it would assuredly receive my vote. I visited the district, and my expectations with but one exception were realized, the exception being in regard to the value of the soil I should have been disappointed had I voted for Dalgety without visiting Tooma, and I feel sure that if honorable members had inspected both Dalgety and Tooma, as I did, the last named district would have secured an exceedingly large majority.
– Would not the selection of Tooma be somewhat out of keeping with the spirit of the Constitution?
– Certainly not. It would be within both the letter and the spirit of the Constitution. The Constitution empowers us to select the best site in New South Wales, provided that it be not less than 100 miles distant from Sydney ; and, therefore, we should not violate its spirit by voting for any site in the Tumut district.
– Why was it agreed that, pending the establishment of the Capital, the Parliament should sit in Melbourne?
– That compact was entered into by the representatives of New South Wales and Victoria, and seemed at the time to be satisfactory to both parties. It was a bargain, and, to my mind, New South Wales is likely in the end to have the best of it.
– Not if Tooma be selected.
– The honorable member seems to desire to secure for New South Wales the whole of the advantages accruing from the establishment of the Capital ; his one fear appears to be that some advantage may accrue to Victoria.
– No ; we merely ask for some little advantage for New South Wales.
– Dalgety is far enough away from Sydney.
– It is also so far away from Victoria as to render it impossible for. that State to secure any benefit from the establishment of the Capital there. The honorable member for Parramatta is adopting a very narrow view of this’ question ; he will be quite satisfied as long as the whole of the advantages go to Sydney.
– I have not said anything of the kind.
– If the Capital be established in the Tooma district, New South Wales will certainly secure the greater advantage. Had it not been considered that the Capital would be an advantage to the State in which it was established, the right honorable member for East Sydney would have fought just as valiantly for its establishment in some other State, as he did for the insertion of the clause in the Constitution providing that it should be located in’ New South Wales.
– Why this attack on me?
– I give the right honorable member the fullest credit for having made an excellent bargain for the State which he represents - a bargain in which the State from which I come will not be able to participate. The establishment of the Capital in New South Wales will be a great disadvantage to South Australia. At present the representatives of that State may attend the sittings of the Parliament in Melbourne, and at the same time give some attention to the businesses in which they are engaged ; but when the Capital is established in New South Wales they will not be able to conduct any private business ; they will have to remain at the Capital during the whole’ of each session.
– They will be very desirable colonists.
– And I admit that New South Wales is a very desirable State for colonists; but I wish to secure the selection of the most eligible site in which to reside.
– A burial ground.
– I have only ‘ to say in reply to the right honorable member that. I did not see a.cemetery in the Tooma district.
– Because the place is not inhabited.
– I begin to think that the sooner it is inhabited the better. I am willing and anxious to see- a large population settled at the earliest moment in that district. It is a much more desirable district than that of Dalgety. I deplore the spirit evinced by some of the representatives of New South Wales, who show that their one great fear is, that Victoria may derive some advantage from the selection of a certain site.
– So far there has been no such suggestion.
– The suggestion may not have been actually made, but actions speak louder than words ; in this instance they halve spoken much louder than words.
– There need te no advantage to either State.
– I speak as a looker-on. I am quite satisfied with the bargain which has been made with New South Wales - the mother State - that “she shall have the« Federal territory within her borders. We are not going to take the Federal Capital away from her. From having the Federal Capital within her territory, New South Wales would certainly derive advantages.
– That is precisely what is proposed to be done - we are taking it awa)’.
– I call attention to the statement of the honorable member for Parramatta that we are going to take the Capital away from New South Wales. Away to where?
– We are going to place a portion of her territory under Federal control and ownership-
– We are going to have Federal control over a very small part of New South Wales, and that will lead to very great advantages to that State. In my opinion, Victoria would not have been a party to the Federal compact if it had not been that her people saw that there was going to be a very great advantage to this State through the Seat of Government being fixed in Melbourne for a considerable time.
– There would have been exactly the same majority for the Constitution if the Seat of Government had been fixed at Brisbane.
– I doubt that statement very much. I doubt whether Victoria would have been a party to the Federal compact if it had not been seen that a considerable advantage would be derived by this State from the Federal Parliament meeting in Melbourne. I believe that every honorable member, representing Victoria, will admit that there has been a considerable advantage in that direction.
– How does that affect the question before us ?
– Order ! I draw the attention of the honorable, and learned member for Werriwa to the fact that the front seat on the right of the Chairman is reserved for Ministers.
– I am in favour of the best district being selected. We have heard the praises of another district sung by the right honorable member for East Sydney-
– We are beaten, and we acknowledge it.
– I believe that all the right honorable member said of the other district was thoroughly justified. But I should have been very glad if he had been able to pay a visit to Tooma.
– I should have done so, if beauty of scenery had been in my mind a chief factor. I admit that it is a beautiful place.
– I thoroughly agree that it is a most beautiful place.
– I objected to it on account of its want of accessibility.
– No matter where we fix the Federal Capital, it is going to be made accessible at the earliest moment. Any part of New South Wales in which we choose to fix the Capital will be made accessible at once.
– Bv whom?
– I shall be sorry if that State is so short-sighted as not to provide access to the Capital. In that case it will be the duty of the Commonwealth Parliament to see that access is at once provided. I am quite satisfied that that will be done. The question of accessibility is the very one that weighs with me in deciding that the best district in which to have the Federal Capital is the Tooma district. The country is as fine as any in New South Wales. It is so good, indeed, that it is only a matter of time when there must be a large increase of population, and when New South Wales would make it accessible to settlers, whether the Capital were fixed there or not. I am quite sure that .that. State will derive a very handsome return from the railway that she constructs to that- district. Of course, New South Wales possesses so much fine territory that I can thoroughly understand that she cannot build railways to every part of the State. But I repeat that the consideration of accessibility need not weigh with honorable members. To my mind, Tooma is just as accessible as Dalgety. As far as railways are concerned, it is not so accessible as Lyndhurst; and the very fact that Lyndhurst, being so accessible, has made so little progress, does not say much in favour of our choosing a sitein that district. At any rate, I am very pleased that we shall have one more opportunity, if not two, to obtain an expression of opinion from honorable members in regard to fixing the Federal Capital in the Tooma district.
– I am rather surprised that the honorable member for Gwydir should have moved this amendment, because, some few weeks ago, he advocated .first choosing an area, and then proceeding with 1 the selection of a site within that area.
– I am still of that opinion.
– I hope so, because on turning to Hansard, page 3598, I find that while the Prime Minister was speaking, the honorable member made a significant interjection. The Prime Minister was saying -
The area within the fifty-miles’ radius “of a given point seems to be an enormous one to select as a site for the Federal Capital - when the honorable member for Gwydir interjected -
The site for the Capital would be selected within that area.
The honorable member was not an irresponsible interjector. As the mover of the motion then being discussed, he interjected with a knowledge of what the result of it would’ be. We have just chosen a site in the South-Eastern District, and the honorable member is not pleased. Surely Tooma can hardly be said to be within the SouthEastern District. Yet the honorable member moves an amendment in favour of that site although its selection would undo the whole of the work which we have just done. For that reason I am somewhat surprised that he should have submitted this ‘proposal. I do riot propose to enter into the question of the relative merits of the sites. We have discussed that matter almost ad nauseam. Nor do I propose to follow the honorable member for Hindmarsh in his highly poetical panegyric with respect to the qualities of the almost uninhabited, region that surrounds Welaregang.
– Has the honorable member seen Welaregang?
– No, but I should certainly have taken advantage of the very generous offer that was made to me to induce me to visit the site, except that, not feeling in the best of ‘health, I feared that it might be fatal to me to visit such an inhospitable region. I do not propose to enter into the question of the relative merits of sites. I merely rose to point out that the honorable member for Gwydir seems to have reversed his former attitude. I think that the action of the Government is perfectly correct. We have reached the stage when we should deal with particular sites within the area the House has just chosen. We are dealing with them now in the best way. But I hope that we shall do nothing to stultify ourselves, by putting the question back to its position of two years ago.
– I think that if the matter of the selection of the Capital Site were determined on its merits, there can be no doubt that the proposal of the honorable member for Gwydir would be accepted. If we looked at this question, not from a provincial stand-point, but from a national stand-point - and that is the aspect in which we should regard it - I believe we should have no hesitation in selecting a site in. the locality indicated in the amendment. It is strictly within the Constitution. It is not only literally within the Constitution, but it is within the spirit of it also, as being within New South Wales,, but not within 100 miles of Sydney. I believe that if. the natural advantages and the prospective advantages to the Federation from the selection of that site were taken into consideration, it would be looked upon by honorable members in this House, and by the members of another Chamber, as the one most suitable to contain the Federal Capital of Australia. It is upon the great Australian river. It is within a district that is practically unlimited in point of its capacity for growth. I do not believe that there is a single requirement of a great national Capital which cannot be obtained near Welaregang or Tooma. If is of easy access, not only to New South Wales, being on a great trunk line of railway ; but is equally easy . of access to Victoria and to South Australia. I do not believe that if we were to estimate the relative advantages of Dalgety, and compare them with those of Tooma or Welaregang, there would be any hesitation whatever in choosing the latter site. Because what would the selection of Dalgety or Bombala mean to the Victorians and South Australians? It would’ mean a tremendous journey ; we should have to go to Cooma, and then come back. The distance, as it appears upon the map, is not at all ‘ indicative of the actual distance that has to be travelled from the Southern States. There is nothing in the. interjections - we have heard, that we shall be infringing the spirit of the Constitution in choosing this site, if we do choose it. There is nothing in the objection that we shall be favouring Victoria or any other State. And though it seems almost hopeless to expect it at this’ stage, I feel that we should be doing right, not only to this State, but to the whole Continent, if we were to choose the Federal Capital in the district now indicated. I cannot help expressing my surprise that so many Victorian members should differ from me in the view which they take upon this subject. I believe that from every stand-point we ought to select Welaregang.
Sir WILLIAM LYNE (Hume).- I do not intend to allow this matter to go to a vote without saying a few words in regard to some of the remarks which have been made. I would allude especially to an observation made, I think, by the honorable member for Wentworth as to the distance of Welaregang from Sydney. I think I also heard the right honorable member for East Sydney make some such reference. First of all, I want to make it clear that New South Wales has practically decided to build a railway to this very spot.
– Practically decided?
– Yes; and that line is to be built, not in the interests of Victoria, but of New South. Wales.
– Has the line from Tumut . to Welaregang been even surveyed ?
– Yes ; it has been reported upon, and carefully examined up to what is ‘ called Yarra Gap, which is the highest point before reaching the proposed Capital Site. The object of building that line is to tap this very district, mainly in the interests of the trade of New South Wales. Of course, there is a double reason, to connect the head of the Murray - the river which is the main artery we have in Australia - with the lower dry plains, with a view to convey stock backwards and forwards, and to secure the Upper Murray trade. What is that trade now ? Where does it go to? Practically the whole of the business at present is done with Melbourne.
– What is the value of that trade ?
– It is very heavy. I think the honorable member for Gippsland has some idea of its value. There are three districts, which mainly supply the Melbourne market with meat, namely, the Upper Murray, Gippsland, and the Western District of Victoria.
– The honorable, member should have mentioned Gippsland first ; it is a long way ahead.
– Probably the honorable member is right, though I should have thought that the Western District came first. Most of the stock, and perhaps the best stock, they get come from the Upper Murray. It was to a ‘large extent to retain part of that trade for the State that the Government of New South Wales commenced a railway, which will be extended right into the very heart of the country where this site is.
– Where are these facts to be found?
– They will be found by reference to the records of the Public Works Department, in Sydney.
– In pigeon-holes there.
– No. Honorable members speak about this site in a manner which betrays their absolute ignorance of the whole matter. I do not think that they knew sufficient of the geography of Australia before the site was mentioned here to be aware . of its existence, which does not say much for their intelligence, or their interest in the State which they represent. This particular site, if selected, would shortly be much nearer to Sydney than it would be, even if connected “by the railway of which I have spoken, because an extension of the Tumut line, which will not be a very expensive affair, will give it direct communication with the metropolis.
– Mr. Surveyor Chesterman says that he cannot be sure that the route is a practicable one.
– The honorable member need not worry about that.
– Mr. Surveyor Chesterman’s report is the only official report which we have.
– And some honorable members appear not to wish for any other information. The . honorable member tried to burke further inquiry in reference to this place. He told us tonight that he was afraid .to visit, it, because of its extreme climate, but the climate, compared with that of Melbourne in winter time, is very mild. This site is at the head vaters of the only river in Australia worthy of the name, and the future large works which will be necessary for the conservation of water for irrigation in New South Wales and Victoria, and to keep the stream navigable, as required by South Australia, will have to be made in that part of the country. It is, moreover, the beauty spot of Australia. I think I have very great cause to complain of the action of the late Minister of Home Affairs - the right honorable member for Swan - in reference to the site, because I feel that he has done a great injustice to it.
– I have “never been there.
– The right honorable member would not go. He would not go when asked specially, or when other members went, nor would he go previously. Yet he complains that we have not sufficient information about the place. He did not wish to see it, because his mind had been made up long ago, for other reasons. .That is the real truth, and it is just as well that honorable members should know it.
– Until recently I had not heard of the site.
– The honorable member heard of it through me a year ago.
– It was referred to in this chamber last year, as , Hansard shows.
– Yes; I spoke of it last year.
– But the honorable member himself was Minister of Home Affairs then.
– Yes, and I have stated times without number A that, amongst other reasons, I did not bring it forward because I thought that the people , of Sydney would consider it too far south. It is not, however, so far south as the Dalgety site, nor is it so inaccessible. .It compares more than favorably with that site, both ,in regard to -accessibility, to climate, scenery, and country. The Government of New South Wales have of their own accord commenced to build a railway to the Upper Murray. It is fifteen years since the railway to Cooma was made, but there has not been enough good land discovered in the Dalgety district to warrant the extension of the line from Cooma to Dalgety. That is the difference between the two districts. One is a poor, stand-still district, while the other is rich and progressing. I feel that the Upper Murray site is not receiving justice at the hands of honorable members, largely because of the action of the right honorable member for Swan.
– Is the Germanton line paying?
– It has not been open very long, so that it is difficult to say. But it has opened up an immense area of good wheat-growing country, which previously could not be cultivated, because of its remoteness from the railway. It did not pay to cart wheat from the district to the only line then existing. Since the Germanton line has been made, however, a great area of land has been converted into wheat paddocks, and a very largequantity of wheat was sent from Germanton last year. As the line is taken up the valley of the Little Billabong Creek, through the Yarra Yarra property, and then on through the very rich valley which I have described, every foot of the land through which it passes will be put under cultivation. I question, however, whether, if the railway were extended to Dalgety there would be any great increase in cultivation. Mr. Russell’s tables show that the valley between the Kiandra Range and the range which falls to the coast is the driest valley on the high .table-lands in the State, and one of the driest and least productive in Australia. I refer to these facts because I feel that honorable members do not know what they are doing in the action which they are taking. It is absurd to say that it is a long distance from Sydney to the Upper Murray site, because the distance, is not long when compared with the distance to the other places which I have mentioned. With regard to the amendment, it is, of course, quite within order, -. and every similar amendment will be in order. If I cannot get the site which I wish for, I would vote for Lake George. When- 1 went there two years ago I expressed myself as not opposed to the Lake George site, and I should have voted for it had it been favorably reported upon. I believe now, however, that it can be turned into one of the finest sites for an inland city, because of the immense sheet of water which would be near it. I think it will be better to choose the Lake George site than to choose the site which seems likely to be chosen. What I chiefly regret is that two honorable members who should have been here when the ballot was taken were not here. If they had been, present the result would have been different.
– Are they here now?
– I believe that one of them is. All I ask for is a straightout vote, so that honorable members may choose fairly between the various sites. If that is done, I shall be satisfied. But I do not wish for a vote to be taken when only half the members of the Committee are present. Therefore, I think it would be well if we determined to take a vote at a certain hour. I know that there is one honorable member who will not be here in any case; but I shall have to put up with that. If, when the question has been fairly decided, the site which I advocate is not chosen, I shall be as chirpy as is the honorable member for EdenMonaro. I hope that I have not appeared in bad humour because the site which I advocate has not been chosen. What I feel sore about is that my late colleague did not give fair play to that site. His opinion on a matter of this kind apparently has weight with honorable members, and had he visited the site, as he was asked to do, I feel confident that his judgment would have led him to declare it to be the best site available. Many of the honorable members who visited that site had previously made up their minds to vote for Dalgety ; but I believe that, with one exception, they afterwards determined to vote for Tooma. I think that the right honorable member for Swan would have .come to a similar decision. There must be something very attractive in the appearance of the district when such a change of opinion as that takes place. Still I do not wish to speak on this subject at any great length. What I suggest is that the vote should be taken, say, half an hour after the resumption of proceedings after the dinner adjournment. I do not wish to appear exacting, but I wish to satisfy myself .that all the sites have been fairly dealt with.
– Honorable members might talk at length then, just as they may now.
– I do not think so. I think that the Committee would be willing to come to a vote without much further discussion.’
– At 8 o’clock ?
– If there is any one away I shall not object to pair. The honorable member for Riverina is here now.
– I know that.
– We will give you a pair for every one who is away.
– Then I shall be ready to come to a vote at any moment.
– That is, a .pair for every one whom the honorable member will guarantee to be a supporter of Tooma.
– I will give that guarantee ; but I do not know how that is to be ascertained until a division is taken.
– The honorable member for Bass, who is a supporter of Dalgety, has had to go home.
– Then the honorable member could be paired with the honorable member for Perth.
– No. The honorable member for Perth is paired with the honorable member for Franklin.
– The honorable member for Franklin could release that pair. If pairs are found for honorable members who have to be away I have no desire to say another word on the Subject.
Mr. WATSON (Bland- Treasurer).- I have riot addressed myself to the merits of the different sites on either occasion when the matter has been before the House. This has not been from any disinclination to declare myself on the subject, but because on the first occasion I was animated by a desire to expedite the decision, and therefore refrained from speaking, and because on the last occasion I was unfortunately prevented from making the remarks I intended to make. Notwithstanding the fact that I have not formally spoken on the subject, honorable members have been aware of the direction in which my preference lies. I desire to say at once that, looked at purely from the stand-point of eligibility, apart from other considerations, I had a decided preference for Lake George. I voted afterwards for Tumut, because I found -it was useless to waste my vote on Lake George, when there was not a sufficient number of honorable members in favour of that site to put it in the run ning. Since the first occasion on which I voted for Tumut, I have consistently supported the Tumut district. I believe that at Batlow we could have got an area of Crown lands of a fertility unexcelled anywhere in New South Wales - and that is saying a great deal - with an elevation that would insure a good climate, well protected by ranges on the south and west from the prevailing winds in the winter time, and easily accessible, with a comparatively small expenditure, from the existing railway. Such a site would also have been a reasonable compromise between the conflicting interests of the two great centres of population in the Commonwealth. Those were advantages which seemed to me to justify my voting for that particular district. But the suggestion now put forward that we should select Welaregang seems to me to be asking the -State of New South Wales to concede too much. I think the general understanding of the spirit of the Constitution was that the site selected should be within a reasonable hauling distance at any rate of the centre of New South Wales. That, I think, was the understanding that the New South Wales people had of the manner in which the Constitution would be interpreted. So long as other considerations were met, that is to say, that the soil, climate, water supply, and features of that sort were satisfactory, I was quite willing to make a concession to honorable members from the south to the extent of meeting them half way, in order that the question might be settled as soon as possible. .My object, further, was not only to insure the early settlement of the actual location, but “that we might enter into occupation of it at the earliest possible moment. I have no doubt that the Welaregang site is all ‘ that honorable members have painted it ; but I do say that it is not within easy distance of either the political or trading centre of New South Wales, and for myself I could not think of going any further south’ than the point I have indicated near Tumut. As one who has a right to regard the understanding on which the people of New South Wales acted when the Constitution Bill was agreed to, I felt that I could not go any further south than that proposal involved. We have had to-day a selection in the House of a site by a majority of honorable members, if not by an overwhelming majority, by at all events a substantial majority. There was no suggestion that any trickery had been resorted to, that honorable members had been in any way improperly influenced, or that there was anything unsatisfactory about the method adopted to arrive at the decision. It does seem to me that it is the duty of the Government primarily, and of honorable members generally, to try to have a settlement of this question arrived at as early as possible. That being so, I feel it to be my duty to stand by the selection the House has made. This matter has yet to go through many stages before everything can be satisfactorily adjusted and finally settled, and the sooner we can put before the people of New South Wales the concrete opinion of the Federal Parliament the earlier we shall arrive at the settlement we hope for in the interests of all concerned.
Question. - That the word “ Welaregang” proposed to be inserted be so inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 10
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment (by Mr. Batchelor) agreed to -
That after the word “ of,” in the words inserted, the word “ Dalgety “ be inserted.
Amendment (by Mr.Batchelor) agreed to-
That all the words after “ Dalgety “ down to and including the word “Bombala” be left out.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 3 -
The territory to be granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth, within which the Seat of Government shall be, shall be within the area mentioned in section 2, and shall contain an area not less than nine hundred square miles.
Amendment (by Mr. Batchelor) agreed to-
That the words “ shall be within the area mentioned in section 2, and “ be left out.
– I move -
That the word “nine” be omitted, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ one.”
– The amendment is very unnecessary, seeing that the Constitution makes that provision already.
– I want to repeat the words of the Constitution - to adhere to the Constitution as nearly as I can.I do not desire to discuss the matter; it has already been debated almost ad nauseam.
– The area of the territory has not been discussed in this Parliament.
– Under the circumstances I content myself with simply submitting the amendment.
– This matter, as the Prime Minister says, has not been debated in this Parliament, though it was discussed at great length on a former occasion. I, therefore, do not propose to take up much time in dealing with this phase of the question on the present occasion. I wish, however, in very few words, to express the strong view I entertain against the whole of this clause. I have always thought and contended that the main and only object of this’ Bill should be the selection of a site for the Federal Capital - that the area of territory around the Capital should be left as a matter of negotiation between the respective Governments. Though I may not agree with the collective view of Parliament, I recognise there is a majority in this, and the other House, in favour of a large area, and I am quite willing to let the majority have their way. But I wish to urge on the Committee that, if only as a matter of courtesy and fairness, we should do that which is always done when one person has to approach another in an endeavour to settle a matter of mutual concernment. No man goes to another, if the latter has any right to be consulted, and begins negotiations by saying, “ Look here, I want so much, and I will have it.” That is not the language of negotiation. If the great Powers negotiated with one another in that way the world would be at war all the year round ; and some of the courtesies of life ought to be preserved even on the part of the Commonwealth of Australia in Parliament assembled. As a matter of human nature andexperience, those who wish to have a large area might extend proper courtesy and consideration towards those from whom that large area is to be acquired.
– Does the right honorable gentleman propose that nothing shall be said in the clause in regard to the area?
– Nothing at all. I am opposed to. the whole clause, but I quite agree that the wishes of Parliament should be made clear, in order that the Government may interpret those wishes.
– This Parliament has not voted upon the question.
– I should like, of course, to test the matter in this Parliament. But I take a preliminary ground against the whole clause - against stipulating 100 -square miles, just as I object to stipulating 900 square miles. I am against an area being provided in an Act of Parliament, because I consider that the area should be a matter of mutual arrangement and agreement. It is not usual to legislate on matters which are to be the subject of negotiation - to begin negotiations with an Act of Parliament stipulating what one side shall have. We may begin by expressing a strong wish or desire; but in order to get as large an area as we can we ought to approach the other side with as much courtesy as we can.
– Did the right honorable gentleman mention that point when he agreed to the stipulation of not less than 100 square miles?
– Mention what?
– Did the right honorable member state the view he now takes, when he was a party to this provision in the Constitution?
– I have had the advantage, to a certain extent, of a legal training, and I know that the law is well settled as to what the expression means.
– Yes, but-
– Will the honorable mem, ber allow me to explain? The honorable member does not seem willing to even allow me to answer his own question. There is a supposition in some quarters that because the expression says the area shall be “ not less than 100 square miles,” the meaning is that the whole of New South Wales may be taken in spite of anything which the people of that State may say. Unfortunately for such a construction of words which affect the property of other people, there is a long line of decisions in the Courts on such expressions as they are used in ordinary contracts throughout the mercantile communities of the world. It is quite common in business contracts to stipulate that, say, so many thousand sheep shall be delivered “more or less;” but no one is allowed, on that account, to claim all the sheep which a man may possess, or to claim that only one sheep may be taken because that is less than the stipulated number. All those expressions are adjudged by the Courts to mean some reasonable relation to the number or quantity named in the contract as a standard. We must remember that if, in a matter of this kind, affecting the property and rights of other people, we endeavour to force a large acquisition of territory by brute strength, the question will probably come before the High Court of Australia. That High Court was created to safeguard the rights of every State against every other State, and against the whole Commonwealth; and I should be surprised to hear a construction by that Court of the words “ not less than 100 square miles “ as meaning that we maytake 300,000 square miles, which is about the area of New South Wales.
– It is not proposed to go quite that length.
– I merely use that as an illustration. If, on the strength of the words “not less,” we may take 900 square miles, we may take 9,000 or 90,000 square miles.
– Does the right honorable gentleman mean to say that we cannot take more than 100 square miles ?
– The area taken must bear some relation to the area mentioned in the Constitution. If my friend admits my contention, I have nothing more to say; it is only a matter of degree. But if the Prime Minister does not admit that reasonable construction, then he thinks that we maytake the whole of the State.
– But we do not propose to take any land by this Bill.
– Then is this clause a mere expression of opinion?
– It is not proposed to take land, and we cannot take land by the Bill.
– ^Surely, as business men, we are passing this clause seriously.
– We cannot coerce New South Wales.
– That last interjection only strengthens my argument. Since we cannot coerce New South Wales we ought to approach that State in at least the same spirit of ordinary courtesy in which we should approach a tallow chandler with whom we desired to negotiate in some little matter of business. Surely we can adopt the manners which prevail amongst business men in matters of mutual concernment - in matters in which one cannot use the whip - involving it may be no more than ,£50, Or ,£10, or £5. Surely the same rule of conduct should be observed by a Parliament in -dealing with another parliamentary authority ? I should like to point out very strongly that, whilst honorable members have an absolute right, and ought to let the Government know what their desires are as to the area of land required - I do not care whether the area required be 100 or 2,000 square miles - they ought not to pass an Act of Parliament declaring that we must have so many thousands or so many hundreds of square miles. That is not the way to go about the business; though it would be a good way if we wanted to quarrel and did not care much whether or not we got what we asked. But amongst business men, and amongst great Governments, negotiations are not begun in that way. It is obvious that both Houses are of opinion that a much larger area than 100 square miles should be acquired for the Federal Capital ; that has been made clear, to my mind, as the wish of Parliament. But the Government, having the wish of Parliament fully in their minds, will be more likely to get what is wanted by entering, as a business man would enter into negotiations with the Government of New South Wales, than by making any absolute demand.
– But if this clause were dropped, would there not be an assumption that Parliament had changed its mind in regard to the large area?
– Not at all ; especially in the light of the ground on which the clause had been dropped. I admit that the Government naturally want some indication of what the wishes of honorable members are in reference to the size of the territory; I do not at all quarrel with that object, which is essentially business-like. The Government are only acting as our agents, and we as a Parliament should let the Government have some idea of what we want. But the Government are more likely to get what is wanted if they approach the Government of New South Wales in a friendly way and so open negotiations, than if they declare that their principals have instructed them that they must get so much. Such a declaration would be force, not reason - it would be’ rudeness, not courtesy. 0 If the affairs of mankind were carried on in that way, very few negotiations would be characterized by friendliness or cordiality. I quite see the difficulty of the Government in this matter. They have simply copied a clause that was framed by the late Parliament. I remember that the late Prime Minister, the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, asked the House, in the same spirit, but in much better language than I can employ, not to insert within the four corners of the Bill an expression of opinion as a matter of legal enactment. That honorable and learned member desired the Government to be left free to do the best they could for Parliament, being of opinion that such a clause as this would embarrass, and not help them.
– Both Houses were against the late Prime Minister.
– But there is now a new Parliament, and this point is important enough to raise. This .clause can be debated, and the Government may infer from the various expressions of opinion, the general tendency of the wishes of honorable members. I have been looking again at the Bill. The title is “A Bill for an Act to determine the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth.” The distinct object of the measure, therefore, is to determine the Seat of Government so far as we can determine it. The Government will then be able to proceed to negotiations with the Government of the State of New South Wales, knowing precisely the site which has been accepted by the Federal Parliament. The provisions of the Constitution point out that the Seat of Government shall be determined practically in this way, and shall be within territory “ which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth.” That is to say, the acquirement of the territory is to precede the determination of the Seat of Government ; but we are properly taking the other course, and first deciding as to the location of the Seat of Government ; because it would be impossible for the Federal Government to begin at all until that had been done. That being the object of the Bill, I strongly urge upon the Committee that the question as to the area of the territory is one for negotiation. The only thing that is certain is that it is not to be less than 100 square miles. I admit that the expression “ not less than 100 square miles “ permits of the acquirement of some reasonable area within the standard set up by that expression. I consider, however, that an area of 900 square miles is not reasonably within the standard of not less than 100 square miles. If this point were submitted to the High Court, I would not presume to say what its opinion would be, but if it followed the decisions relating to the use of similar expressions, which have been given in the Courts for many years past - and there are a number of authorities on the point - it would probably determine that the expression was one which admitted of an excess area, but not necessarily of an excess which was unreasonably large in reference to the standard adopted in the Constitution. The provision in the Constitution is really in -the nature of an agreement or a contract between the Commonwealth and the State of New South Wales. It does not follow the lines of ordinary legislation. Within the lines of ordinary legis-1 at ion. and within our jurisdiction, our laws are omnipotent. . We can say anything we like within our jurisdiction, and there is no power on earth to question what we do. But this- is a matter which falls within those questions for the decision of which the High Court has been established - questions in which the interests or property of a State may be affected by the action of the Commonwealth Government. The High Court has been set up simply to safeguard the rights of the Commonwealth on the one hand, as against each and all of the States, and with equal care and justice to protect the rights of each and all of the States on the other hand, as against the Commonwealth.
– With the consent of the State we could take other territory.
– Decidedly ; by mutual agreement anything that is not criminal can be done. For instance, the New South
Wales and Commonwealth Parliaments might agree to make the area of the territory 100,000 square miles. But there must be mutual agreement. I do not want to force upon the Committee my own opinion as to how large this area should be. I am putting the matter upon much broader ground. We desire to see the negotiations between these two independent powers successfully conducted. We wish them to be of such a character that they will promote good feeling and not increase any bad feeling. I think that if there is one object that a responsible statesman, or member of this House, much more the House as a body, should keep steadily in view, it is that in the exercise of all our powers, and in all the transactions in which we are called upon to engage with any of the States, we should impress them with a sense of our perfect courtesy and fairness, and ‘ of our desire to do everything in a friendly way. Now these are objects with which we all agree, and I wish to point out that the use of the word “ shall “ in this measure is unfortunate. After all, we are merely expressing our opinion. As the honorable and learned member for Indi has pointed out, this measure is not intended to compel a settlement of the question. It merely embodies an expression of opinion. That is the basis of my objection to the use of the word “ shall.” As the clause stands, we, the principals, are employing the Government as our’ agents to deal with the people of New South Wales, through their agents, the Government of that State. We are telling our agents, “ Now you are going into a Conference with the Government of the State of New South Wales to settle ./.- matter in a friendly way. We tell you and we tell them in advance that the Federal territory shall embrace an area of not less than 900 square miles ; in other words, it shall not contain 800’ square miles or 850 square miles, or -even 899 square miles, because the expression ‘ shall not be less than 900 square miles ‘ absolutely precludes the’ selection- of a territory of 899 miles, and it i’s not precluded as a matter of opinion, but by an absolute mandate contained in an Act of Parliament of the Commonwealth.” That is not the language to use in transactions of this kind. When we wish to express an opinion, we should do so in the same courteous language that other people adopt. We should express our opinion, and not issue an ultimatum. The use .of the word ‘“shall,” would make the provision tantamount to an ultimatum. If the British Government sent to the Russian Government, or the German Government, or the American Government, a communication containing the word “ shall “ the national self-respect of Russia, Germany, or the United States would be immediately challenged. Even though a request might be perfectly equitable, and one that ought to be granted, it would, if it were thrown into the shape of an ultimatum, be regarded with hostility and indignation. The Power addressed would consider that its reputation was at stake, and would resent the adoption of such language. That is the language of war, not the language of negotiation. Let honorable members reflect upon the infinite courtesies exchanged, and the forbearance exercised between the Governments of the great nations before they come to the point of open antagonism. Let us remember the trying experiences through which Great Britain and America passed, in connexion with the Alabama case, when those two great peoples were frequently on the verge of war, from which they were saved only by the exhibition of the greatest forbearance and courtesy on both sides. Honorable members will probably recollect the marvellous effect produced by the change of a few words in a despatch sent, at an exciting time, by the Government of Great Britain to the Government of the United States, when those two ‘ gentlemen were taken forcibly from the Trent. We know now that Her Majesty, the late Queen, probably under the advice of the Prince Consort, herself toned down the despatch which was being sent, and it is now believed that, if that communication had been forwarded in its original form, these two’ great nations would have been plunged in war.
– Morley, in his Life of Gladstone, .shows that that was a political fiction.
– Surely the right_ honorable gentleman does not suppose that there is any risk of our being plunged in war with New South Wales over the Capital Site question ?
– No, I do not suggest any<thing pf the kind. If all my honorable friend’s illustrations were viewed in that spirit he would be nowhere. I am simply referring to a matter of history, by way of illustration. If the question were one of military history I should defer to the opinion of the honorable and learned member for Corio, but as it is a mere matter of recollection of historical facts I think I have sufficient authority to warrant my statement.
– I am only quoting Morley against the right honorable gentleman. I quite imagine that he may be regarded as an inferior authority.
– Oh, no. I think that, as an authority, he is almost equal to the honorable and learned member ; that is the highest place I could give him. I stake my recollection of history against that of my honorable and learned friend. However, if I am wrong, it really does not affect the main trend of my remarks, because I think it must be obvious to honorable members that we should avoid the. language of dictation. I do not believe that honorable members have the slightest desire to do that to which I am now Objecting. I feel sure that no honorable member has the slightest desire to use an offensive word or one that would savour of dictation, if some other form of expression would answer the same purpose. I apprehend that the object of those who believe that a large area is absolutely necessary is to express their opinion, and to instruct the Government as their representatives in the strongest possible way. No honorable member desires that at the beginning of the negotiations, before the New South Wales Government is approached, we should deliberately use ‘ the language of dictation and ultimatum, because we should then treat New South Wales as if she were so inferior that even courtesy was not her due. These may seem small matters, but from my own experience the strongest feelings excited between the States have been aroused by the use of unguarded expressions. For instance, an expression used by the late Sir John Robertson, probably as a joke, in a moment of pleasantry, was repeated year after year by those who looked upon it as a kind of insult cast upon one of the most flourishing States of Australia. I know that the Committee is strongly in favour of acquiring an area of 900 square miles. I am strongly opposed to it. I should not object to it, if the Government of New South Wales were willing to grant that area. I do not wish for a moment to stand in the way of the Commonwealth acquiring 900 square miles, if New South Wales is willing to give it, but we must remember that underlying the bargain there is a gift from New South Wales of all the Crown lands within the area, constituting the Federal territory. I cannot recall an instance in the history of diplomacy, or of even savage tribes, where a gift was a matter of discussion and arrangement, in which the word “ shall “ was addressed tothe person from whom the gift was to come, and in which stipulations were made as to the amount of the gift. That would be the language of supreme authority, of brute force, and not the language of propriety, and of good taste, such as is used in ordinary business bargaining. It would not be good policy.
– But wpuld not the gift of Crown lands by New South Wales apply only to lands within an area of 100 square miles?
– I merely wish to suggest to my honorable friend that the Commonwealth is the party which receives.
– New South Wales is not expected to cede all the Crown lands within a territory embracing 900 square miles.
– The interjection of the honorable member has thrown a degree of light upon this matter which has not previously been thrown upon it.
– But the Government of New South Wales will have to surrender its power of taxation upon the residents within the 900 square miles.
– I am not dealing with that aspect of the question at the present moment. I am rather interested in the interjection of the honorable member for Darling, which I have heard for the first time. According to his statement, if we obtain an area of 900 square miles, the intention is that we shall pay for all Crown lands outside an area of 100 square miles.
– I favour the adoption of that course.
– The proposal is new to me.
– I declared myself in favour of it in Sydney.
– Imust have missed the statement of the Prime Minister.
– I understood the right honorable member to say that the Government of New South Wales were expected to give to the Commonwealth all the Crown lands contained within the Federal territory.
– That was my understanding of the matter. We are now told, however, that the Commonwealth is prepared to pay-
– I cannot speak for the Commonwealth, but merely for myself.
– It is an extraordinary proposal, because there is nothing in the Constitution which authorizes that view.
– There is nothing in the Constitution to prevent us from following that course.
– In this connexion, I may be pardoned for quoting the language of the Constitution itself. Section 125 says -
Such territory shall contain an area of not less than 100 square miles, and such portion thereof -
That refers to the territory - not to the 100 square miles - as shall consist of Crown lands shall be granted to the Commonwealth without any payment therefor.
– According to the right honorable member’s argument, the territory is limited to100 square miles.
– As a matter of legal interpretation, I take it to be so. But if I am right, the use of the word “ shall “ in connexion with more than the legal area is all the more objectionable. If we have a constitutional right to take more than 100 square miles - to take 900 square miles, for example - the use of the word “ shall “ is. not so objectionable as it would be if we had a legal right to take only100 square miles, and wished to acquire 900 square miles. In the latter case, the employment of the word “shall” in regard to’ the excess of 800 square miles becomes even worse than I have said ; it becomes ludicrous. We cannot take territory from a State. We have no power to do so. We may acquire the properties of private individuals for the purpose of certain services of the Commonwealth, under the Property for Public Purposes Acquisition Act; but there is no power to take the territory of a State for Federal territory, except within the terms of section 125 of the Constitution. There is no other power which will enable this Parliament to read into that charter of Government 900 square miles for 100 square miles. Of course, the proposal to pay for any Crown lands outside an area of 100 square miles puts the project in a much fairer light, but it does not remove the difficulty that may be created by the wrong use of words. It rather intensifies my objection to that. If we have not the power to acquire 900 square miles, we have no right to say that the Federal territory “ shall “ consist of 900 square miles, because we are dealing with the property of others. Honorable members should always recollect that we are dealing with the property of others, under an agreement with them which is embodied in the Constitution. If we will not respect the terms of our own Constitution, where will our respect for the laws of .the Commonwealth begin? We cannot consider New South Wales an outcast State, in regard to which even the common courtesies of life are unnecessary. I am sure that there is no desire on the part of this Committee to treat New South Wales with any discourtesy. But since there is no desire to do that, why should we do it? We are intelligent business men, and the fact that we do not intend to say a wrong thing, is the strongest possible reason for not saying it. It is not a reason for saying it, and afterwards declaring that we do not mean it. The more we look into the matter the more objectionable does the use of the word “ shall “ appear. This provision really means that the Government shall endeavour to obtain an area’ of 900 square miles. If the proposal now put forward is indorsed by the Committee, the Government will be entitled to say, “ We are prepared to . pay for all Crown lands outside an area of 100 square miles.” But such a declaration by the Committee will be’ merely in the nature’ of an instruction to the Government as their agents. It must not be an ultimatum to the Government of New South Wales. We do not intend to say to the Government and the people of that State, “We have settled all these matters in the Commonwealth. All you have to do is to listen to what we say, and to obey. You shall ‘ give us a ‘Federal territory of 900 square miles. It is true that the Constitution says that the area shall be not less than 100 square miles, and it is equally true that, from the point of view of law, it may be held that the area of the Federal Territory shall be something in reasonable proportion to 100 square miles, but we set all these considerations aside, and affirm that it shall not be less than 900 square miles.” My first .contention is that this clause ought not to be contained in the Bill., It is not cognate to the question of determining the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth, and is not covered by the title. I do not know whether that point has previously been raised, but I ask you, sir, to seriously consider it. I am not aware whether the Standing Orders of this House are exactly similar to those of the New South Wales Legislature; but in that State a rather strict . rule has been laid down with reference to the inclusion in any Bill of matters which do not come within the scope of its title. I admit that the title of this measure can be altered in
Committee, and the adoption of that course would remove my objection. It is perfectly competent for honorable members to alter the title of the Bill, and I have no desire to take advantage of any technical objection.
– Only the order of leave governs the Bill here.
– Quite so. An objection to the title of a Bill can be removed in Committee, and on that ground I will not labour the question. But the other principle has also to t be observed, namely, that the clauses of ‘a Bill shall lie relevant to its scope. I submit that the scope of this measure is limited to the determination of the site for the Seat of Government, and that the intrusion into it of an ultimatum that the Federal territory - which is a different matter altogether- shall embrace an area of not less than 900 square miles is not relevant to its scope.
– We are considering a Bill which originated in the Senate.
– I do not think that fact at all affects the rules relating to Bills. Our . rules govern us “just as fully in ‘the case of Bills which originate in the Senate as they do in the case of other Bills.
– There was no order of leave granted in this case.
– I am not discussing the order of leave. My object is to point out that this particular clause is not relevant to the scope of the Bill. If, in this measure, which has been introduced for the purpose of determining the site of- the Seat of Government, we dealt with the question of the kind of Houses of Parliament which should be erected there, or with the expenditure to which their erection should be limited, I should consider such stipulations foreign to . its scope. If these rules are not observed, we can put anything in the world in a Bill. In a measure to determine the Seat of Government, we might introduce a clause which was designed to alter the criminal law. ‘ Of course the rules of parliamentary procedure are intended to prevent such abuses of legislation. Every Bill is supposed to be confined to the subjects which are relevant to its objects. I consider that this stipulation that the Federal territory shall contain an area of 900 square miles put in the form of an express condition, the effect of which is that we shall have no Capital Site unless that area can be secured, is irrelevant to the scope of the measure. If, with this provision in the
Bill, the Government approached the Government of New South Wales and effected an admirable arrangement for the acquisition of 850 square miles of the best territory of that State, they would be obliged to return to Parliament and ask for its repeal. On the other hand, if we merely express an opinion that the Federal Territory should contain not less than 900 square miles, the Government will not be hampered in that way. I object to the clause in its entirety. I should like our views upon this matter to be put in a form in which they would express our opinion without making use of imperative language. If, instead of the words “ and shall contain an area not less than 900 square miles,” we provided “and it is desirable that the area of such territory should be not less than 900 square miles “ the clause would be absolutely clear as an expression of opinion on the part of the Committee, and theGovernment would know exactly what area we thought should be acquired. In that event, however, if an area of 800 square miles were offered the Government would be free to accept it.
– If the right honorable member were Prime Minister he would be content with an area of 100 square mites.
– What is the use of the honorable and learned member talking of what I would do if I were Prime Minister, when on every occasion that there is a chance of my obtaining that office he votes against me and against his own convictions. I am only one of the humble leaders of the Opposition.
– Long may the honorable member remain so.
– A number of my best friends say the same, although they are influenced by an opposite motive. If the Committee merely desires to express its opinion in a courteous way it should agree to the amendment which I have suggested.
– Would the substitution of the word “ should “ for “ shall “ do?
– It would be an improvement, but would be rather within the category of language which I think unfortunate. The Committee would express its views just as clearly if the amendment which I suggest were made, and the Government would have a much better chance of being liberally dealt with than they would if we approached New South Wales with a club and said, “We shall have 900 square miles of territory.” It is only a mere question of verbiage. If we were at the end of our negotiations - if the Commonwealth Government found that they were met in an unfair way, that the response of the Government of New South Wales to their friendly overtures was couched in unreasonable and dictatorial language - then no one would object to their asserting their manhood and independence by employing words of equal strength. But I do not wish dictatorial and domineering language to be introduced at the beginning of what we hope will be friendly negotiations. If I went to the Attorney-General in a friendly way to settle a matter in which he had some voice, I should not begin by saying - “Look here, Mr. Attorney-General, you must give me so and- so.” If I did the Attorney-General would reply - “ Now, Mr. Reid, do not you think we had better leave fighting to some other time ? Had we not better see if we cannot meet in a friendly way, without using the word ‘‘must ‘ or ‘ shall ‘ “ ? Every man of common-sense would say at once if I were to adopt such an attitude - “ What sort of a man is he to conduct negotiations when he blunders at the start by insulting the other party”?
– The use of the word “ should “ would be better ; it is not so imperative as “ shall.”
– I should not object to the use of the word “ should.” It would certainly be a vast improvement, for although it is a strong word, it is not dictatorial. A man might say - “ It is my opinion, and the area should be 900 square miles “ ; but if he said - “ It is my opinion, and it shall be 900 squaremiles,” he would, in effect, at once introduce the shillelah. This is after all a mere phrase, but I should not take up the time of the Committee in discussing it if I did not think there was something in my objection. We do not wish to expose ourselves to criticism by the use of language which is unnecessary. It is open to us to express our views just as clearly without the use of an ultimatum. The interests involved in the working together of the Commonwealth and a State in a friendly way are surely much greater than are those at issue when two dealers are haggling over a bargain of£50. If hagglers over the smallest . bargains begin their negotiations with courtesy, I think we might well emulate their example in dealing with our national affairs. In this particular case, we are not legislating for the Commonwealth. The use of the word “ shall “ is perfectly proper when the Commonwealth wishes to impose a law relating to matters within its own jurisdiction ; but in this Bill we are dealing with something different. We are approaching New South Wales in a matter of mutual concern, and with a desire to arrive at a mutually friendly settlement. This is not an enactment, but an expression of opinion as to what we think desirable. A man may hold as firmly as he pleases to his opinions without commencing his negotiations in an at all offensive way. I therefore throw out this suggestion to the Government. The clause will be discussed for some little time, and there will be ample opportunity for the Government to think over my proposal. I. should be extremely glad if the Government would even go so far as to introduce the word “ should “ in place of the word “shall.” If that amendment were made, we should give clear expression to our opinion without using language which, to say the least, would be unfriendly, before the merits of the question came to be discussed. As to the substantial point at issue, I am against so large an area as 900 square miles being taken from New South Wales, unless that State itself agrees to give it. If New South Wales were willing to part with 900 square miles of territory, my objection would not be so great; but I should still think that it would be a misfortune for the Commonwealth to become entangled in the control of a larger area of territory than is necessary for the exact purposes of the Federal Capital. That would be a mistake. If we acquired so large an area we should find ourselves in the same position as is Congress in relation to Washington. So far as the people living within the boundaries of the Federal territory are concerned, the Parliament of the United States has to play the part of a municipality; it has to pass municipal laws, as if it were a municipal council. There is no municipal council there.
– The territory is under five Commissioners.
– But under the direct control of Congress.
– They have no municipal council ; the whole business is run on military lines.
– Exactly ; but the Congress of the United States is the legislative body. The Commissioners administer the territory under the Government of the United
States. I doubt the wisdom of the Federal Government entangling itself in matters relating to municipal government.
– We should have to do that even if we secured an area of only 1 00 square miles.
– The smaller the area the less irksome would be the task.
– But the same machinery would be necessary.
– We have more power to make laws for the Federal territory than has Congress, to make laws for the Federal territory of the United States. Under the Constitution we may give representation to the Federal territory, and make laws relating not merely to municipal matters.
– Perhaps so. That would represent a different state of things. I wish to point out that I am not speaking of any voluntary agreement - by mutual agreement the territory piay be as large as we like - but of our view of the matter, subject to the opinion of New South Wales. We must not forget that when the bargain was made it was a bargain for a Federal territory, for one purpose only - a Federal territory, as the home of the Federal Capital. If it had been whispered to the people of New South Wales that under the bargain by which that State agreed to find room for a Federal city we were to obtain room for experiments in land systems - to split up the territory of New South Wales in order that certain views, sound or unsound, might be-
– What sort of experiments could we make in an area of 900 square miles? It is ridiculous to suggest such a thing.
– Is it not ridiculous to urge in support of the proposal that an area of 900 square miles shall be acquired that we desire to have room to make experiments in land legislation ?
– I have never suggested anything of the kind ; I have merely supported the acquiring of an area of 900 square miles, because of a belief that we should retain the unearned increment to the Commonwealth. It is not with a view to experimenting that I support the taking over of so large an area.
– Quite so ; but the honorable gentleman will understand that such remarks have been made?
– By the other side.
– I do not say that the Government have expressed such views; but I think that the supporters of the clause as it stands gave it as one of their reasons for suggesting that we should acquire-
– 20,000 square miles.
– Why not make these experiments in British New Guinea?
– I think we had better experiment with some of these schemes in British New Guinea. There would be an abundance of room for them, and a certain amount of glory would attach to the work. I wish that the Minister of External Affairs would go to British New Guinea and talk to the savages there about the unearned increment.
– I propose to go up there and address them on that subject.
– Then the honorable and learned gentleman will have a big military force handy. The unearned increment ! That is a rather vague expression, which might be applied to a very large area. We might apply it to the whole of New South Wales.
– It is very small.
– It was an argument used in support of the proposal to bury the Capital at Tooma. It is suggested that we shall obtain such an enormous advantage that the further we go from Sydney the better the bargain will be. I know, of course, that the Prime Minister does not suggest anything of the kind. The House may desire to see a large area secured ; but we must not forget that the bargain did not contemplate anything but provision for accommodating the Federal Capital. Nothing beyond that was included in the compact. The moment we enter upon questions as to the unearned increment we may extend the- area in a very indefinite way.
– The increment of value will not extend more than ten or fifteen miles in either direction.
– I do not know. That might be an argument for acquiring far more than 100 square miles of territory, especially if the land belonged to some one else. I think the Attorney-General will admit that if the expression in the Constitution, “ not less than100 square miles,” be submitted to the Court, it will not be held to be so elastic that under it we may take as much more as we please. . I do not think that legal construction is so loose as to allow of that interpretation where the property of another is to be taken. I do not, however, expect the Attorney-General to at once give me an opinion on that question. An area of 100 square miles would be a thoroughly reasonable one for the purposes of the Federal Capital. It is, of course, a mere matter of opinion; I may be absolutely wrong, and those who think that an area of 900 square miles should be acquired may be correct ; but, whatever our opinions may be, the shortest way to secure what we desire, is to begin by treating the person with whom we have to deal in as courteous a way as possible.
– If we are to acquire an area of only 100 square miles, there will be no occasion to strike out the word “ shall,” because the Constitution provides that the area “ shall “ not be less than 100 square miles.
– I feel sure that the majority of the Committee is quite against the view that an area of only 100 square miles should be acquired ; but it is unnecessary to use the word “ shall.”
– The use of the word would not be considered discourteous.
– I have never said that it is discourteous to ask for an area of 900 square miles. All that I say is that when one is asking a man to give him something, it is discourteous to say, “You shall give me such and such a thing.” It is proposed to say to New South Wales, “ You shall give us 900 square miles of territory.”
– It is proposed to acquire that area.
– But a grant is involved.
– The area is to be granted or acquired.
– The Constitution provides that-
Such territory shall contain - the word “ shall “ is used there in one sense - an area of not less than 100 square miles, and such portion thereof as shall consist of Crown lands - there “ shall “ is used in another sense - shall be granted to the Commonwealth - that is absolute - without any payment therefor.
– Is there an area of 100 square miles of Crown lands or anything like it in the proposed Federal territory ?
– There are Crown lands in the proposed Federal area, and whether they comprise an area of 100 square miles or of 900 square miles, they are to be given to the Commonwealth.
– But, as a matter of fact, the Crown lands there do not represent anything like 100 square miles.
Mr.REID. - I do not say for a moment that they do. I do not think that we should find an area of 100 square miles of Crown land in any possible site for a Federal Capital; but if there be only one or fifty square miles of Crown land within the territory the land is to be given to us without payment, although it may be the most valuable inthat part of the State. It might consist of a timber or a water reserve, for various reserves are to be found, and they sometimes comprise the best land that is left. If we were asking a man to give us a sheet of note-paper and some envelopes, we should address him in courteous terms; we should not say, “You shall give us a sheet of note-paper and six envelopes.” That is an illustration of the point that I desire to emphasize. It is a mere matter of expressing our opinion in a courteous way. I hope that the Government will give effect to the view which I have expressed. It is easy to say “shall.” We can all say “shall.” But people who begin with “ shall “ often end differently. Amongst the civilized nations the word “shall” is generally used when negotiations have been broken off. I sincerely hope that the Government will consider the suggestion which I have made, which enables those who believe in having an area of 900 square miles, to express their opinion just as forcibly, though not in mandatory language. Personally, as I have said, I am altogether against the 900 square miles area, but on that point I feel that I am in a minority. I believe that the majority of the Committee is against me.
– Up to this stage the Government have treated the Bill as an open question. But the Government do not treat the matter of area as an open question by any means. They are in favour of acquiring an area of 900 square miles, as proposed in the Bill.
– Do they want a model territory or a model Capital?
– If the honorable member will curtail his impatience he will hear what we want. There has never been any desire on the part of this Government to start a new territory or a new State. An area of 900 square miles would make a very poor sort of territory or State for Australia. One could ride through that extent of country on a bicycle, or in a motor-car, in a little over an hour. The honorable member for Wentworth would probably get through it in less than that time.
– And without a fine.
– Do I understand the honorable gentleman to say that the Government will insist upon this area?
– It is not an open question, as theother provisions of the Bill were.
– But do they insist upon 900 square miles?
– The honorable member is surely misunderstanding me intentionally. I say that the Government do not treat this as an open question. The Government treated the question as to where the Seat of Government should be entirely as an open one.
– TheGovernment divided to conquer, but on this question they unite to conquer.
– Now, we unite to conquer. The Government consider that not less than the 900 square miles should be taken. When I say “ taken,” I mean that that area should be selected - should be comprised within territory to be acquired by or granted to the Commonwealth Government for the establishment of the Seat of Government. The right honorable member for East Sydney stated that this measure was declaratory ; that it was not an enacting measure. Of course that is true. It does not really enact anything. It is a direct expression of the opinion of the Committee, and an instruction to the Government. It is a basis of negotiation on which the Government must take action.
– It ought to have been expressed in a resolution not in an Act of Parliament.
– That consideration is immaterial now.
– It is quite right in the form of a Bill.
– It is an instruction to the Government to negotiate for 900 square miles.
– Not to negotiate ; it says that we must have it. They cannot take less.
– Of course, the Government cannot come to a final agreement, in any case.
– It is a declaration at the point of a revolver to New South Wales.
– It is nothing of the kind. This Parliament will ultimately have to decide upon the area to be acquired.
– Oh, no; surely the Government will give New South Wales a word about an acre or so.
– Did not the right honorable member hear me say “ ultimately “ ? We cannot delegate our powers to the New South Wales Parliament, and this Parliament cannot delegate its powers altogether to the Government.
– What is this Bill for?
– It is a starting point for negotiations with New South Wales, in which this House lays down in no uncertain terms the area which it thinks desirable.
– The Bill does not say “ desirable.”
– Is not any resolution of this House, or any measure that we pass, an expression of the opinion of the House ?
– It is a Bill to “ determine “ the Seat of Government.
– Yes ; it is a Bill to determine where the ‘ Seat of Government shall be; and within that Bill to determine the site, we also say that the territory to be granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth shall contain an area of not less than 900 square miles. As far as the language of the measure goes - that is to say so far as concerns the objection that it is altogether too mandatory to use the word “shall”- the Government really do not feel very strongly on the point.
– What other word could we use if we wish to enact?
– We cannot directly enact by this measure.
– But we do enact. We cannot take the land, but we enact the will of this Parliament that the territory shall consist of such an area.
– Yes; that is the light in which the matter has been regarded throughout.
– The Government cannot alter a word of the Bill when it is- passed.
– I do not think it matters greatly whether the word “ shall “ or the word “ should “ is used.
– The Constitution says that the Parliament shall determine “ the Seat of Government,” but not the territory.
– All that we are able to do is to say that we wish to obtain 900 square miles for the purposes of the Seat of Government, and we do not de sire to adopt any method of placing our views before the Government of New South Wales that may be considered by them to be unnecessarily offensive.
– Do the Government say , that the Bill might read that the Seat of Government “ should be “ at Dalgety ?
– Certainly not.
– Why not?
– The Seat of Government “ shall be “ at Dalgety.
– Why is not that as offensive as the other phrase?
– Because the Constitution gives us the power to determine the Seat of Government ; but it does not give us the power to say that we shall have 900 square miles.
– As a matter of fact, as I have said, I do not think it matters very much whether we use the term “ shall “ or “should “ in this Bill, so long as it is recognised that it is an instruction to the Government to negotiate on these lines for 900 square miles. The word cannot make any difference, because the terms which the Government will adopt in approaching New South Wales will be precisely the same in either case.
– Then the Government will be more polite than their masters. Why should we not be as polite as the Government are going to.be?
– This question was debated at some length on the occasion when the Seat of Government Bill was under consideration during the last Parliament. A vote was taken on this very point - whether the word “ shall “ or the word “ should “ should be used; and I find that a majority of eighteen decided in favour of the word “ should,” which was substituted for “ shall.”
– Then, why did the Government use the word “shall “ in this Bill?
– The measure came down from the Senate in this form. I might point out that amongst those who voted in favour of the word “ should,” were the Prime Minister and several honorable members who are now sitting on this side of the Chamber. Consequently, the word “ shall “ was eliminated as being too mandatory. In my opinion, the chief reason for adopting the word “ should “ as against “ shall “ is that it is more likely to lead to an early satisfactory result. Because there has been, and appears to be, on the part of New South. Wales, an idea that this Commonwealth Parliament is anxious - to adopt an expression which has been used in some quarters - to plunder New South Wales of a portion of her territory.
– The representative of the Government in the Senate last session asked for 20,000 square miles.
– That honorable gentleman stated this session that he was still in favour of 20,000 square miles, but that does -not prove that this Parliament, or this Government, are in favour of asking for 20,000 square miles.
– Did not this Bill originate with Senator McGregor?
– The honorable member knows perfectly well who introduced the Bill in the Senate.
– That statement was enough to frighten New South Wales.
– The honorable member knows that no such request was made by this Parliament, or this Government, nor was it made by any section of this House. Because one member of the Senate-
– The representative of the Government.
– He was not the representative of the Government then. The Government was not in existence at that time. I want to say a few words as to the reason why a larger area is suggested. It has been stated that this provision will deprive New South Wales of a large part of her territory. In speaking on the second reading of “the Bill I said that 900 square miles was only the size of a moderate sheep or cattle run. I say again that it is nothing more than that. Nine hundred square miles is thirty miles by thirty. It is by no means a large extent of territory. New South Wales, during periods of her history, has parted with very much more extensive areas. ‘ The State of Victoria was a portion of New South’ Wales at one time. It is nearly 90,000 square miles in extent. Queensland was also a portion of New South Wales. It is 600,000 square miles in extent. There is more outcry over the 900 square miles that it is now proposed to take jointly, on behalf of all the States, including New South Wales, than there was over the cession of 600,000 square miles when .the State of Queensland- was formed.
– The outcry is about the demand for the area.
– The outcry is only amongst a few politicians, and is raised for party purposes.
– It has been said that New South Wales will suffer a very great deprivation. It was pointed out during the second-reading debate that the unimproved value of the alienated land within a radius of seventeen miles of Dalgety is .£352,000. The value of the land with improvements is ,£460,200.
– What is the value of the Crown land?
– 1 do not know, but we can be pretty certain that the value of the Crown land will be very much less than the value of the alienated land. Those are the valuations for taxation purposes. What really will be the effect of the Commonwealth taking over this territory? The Crown lands not now in occupation will be handed over as a free gift to the Commonwealth, but really all that New South Wales will part with is the jurisdiction over this territory.
– And the revenue from taxation.
– The power of taxation j but against the revenue from taxation there is expenditure to be considered, ‘ and the honorable member must see that the corollary to the power of taxation is the expenditure of the public funds of New South Wales on roads, bridges, school houses, and other such Government works.
– It is very great just there.
– It is considerably more than the revenue.
– The revenue must be precious little, because within this area there are only 3,586 people altogether. We have had some talk about a population of
– That was for a larger area.
– For the same area - 900 square miles.
– We could take in Bombala, and .the population of the territory would then only reach 7,000.
– I point out that under clause 2 there is a larger area defined - 150 miles long.
- Mr. Carruthers was speaking of the proposal to take an area of 900 square miles. It was never proposed in the Senate, or anywhere else, that the area to be acquired should be larger than that. A certain area is defined in clause 2, as it came down to us, but the honorable member is aware that the area proposed to be taken is only some 900 square miles within the area defined by that clause. I repeat that the only effect that will follow the taking over of this territory by the Commonwealth is that the authority having jurisdiction over it will be changed from the New South Wales Parliament to the Commonwealth Parliament. We shall have to pay the cost of government, and we shall receive the revenue from taxation, such as it is. Undoubtedly for some considerable time the Government expenditure will far exceed the revenue derived from the territory. The object of the proposal, of course, is simply that, as the Commonwealth Parliament, representing the people of Australia, will have to pay whatever expenditure is incurred in governing this territory, any increased value which may be considered unearned increment should be retained by the Commonwealth.
– Why should not the Government of New South Wales get it?
– Why should ‘the people of Western Australia, Queensland, Tasmania, and South Australia contribute to enrich the few land-holders who live in this district? - Can the honorable member give any reason which will justify us in increasing the value of the holdings, of the people living there now by Commonwealth; expenditure? If we can retain the enhanced value due to Commonwealth expenditure for the people of the Commonwealth” we should do so.
– Whatever the area decided upon may be the land-owners adjoining will benefit from Commonwealth expenditure.
– They will, to some extent ; but the contention is that we should take a reasonable area. The real question between honorable members opposite and other honorable members is as to where we should draw the line, and we propose to draw the line where we think we are justified in drawing- it from the experience of great cities such as the Federal city may become. No one, at all events, can say that it will not become a large centre of population.
– Do the Government propose to include Twofold Bay in the Federal” territory ?
– The Government make no such proposal. What we say is that the sphere of influence of the Federal city, if it should become a large city - and that is one of the possibilities of the future - is likely to extend over a certain area. We say further that we have a right to retain for the Commonwealth any enhanced value of the land due to the influence of the Federal city. It is useless to say that we should have an area of 5,000 square miles for that purpose, because the sphere of influence of the Federal city could not appreciably extend so far. But we know that in the case of Melbourne and Sydney this sphere of influence can and does extend to a much greater distance than thirty miles from the General Post Office in either of those cities. The ‘proposal is not submitted in order to carry out experiments in the nationalization of the land, or anything of the sort. It was put forward by Sir Edmund Barton, when Prime Min,ister, as an absolutely business proposal, and supported strongly by Sir William McMillan, who was acting-leader of the Opposition at the time.
– That the territory should be 900 square miles in extent?
– No, the idea of the non-alienation of land and the retention of the unearned increment.
– Sir William McMillan said it would make an interesting experiment in land nationalization.
– That is not quite what the honorable gentleman said. I looked up and quoted what he said when speaking on the second reading of the Bill.
– The Minister said just now that the Commonwealth would exercise jurisdiction over this territory; do the Government propose to dispossess the present private owners?
– The land will be acquired by the Federal Parliament.
– And will change owners.
– Of course, there will be a change in the ownership of the land. Those who are now Crown lessees will, after the land has been taken over by the Commonwealth, be still Crown lessees, but lessees of the Commonwealth, and not of the New South Wales Government; whilst, so far as private owners are concerned, they will hold their land from the Commonwealth.
– But the Commonwealth Government will buy them out?
– Yes, and we shall give them the absolute value of their land.
– What need is there to put that in this Bill?
– We are not putting that in this Bill. We are not, in this Bill, laying down any system of land tenure. We do not here say that the land shall not be sold, or anything of the kind. All that we propose to say here is that a certain area shall be acquired as Federal territory, and that it shall be large enough to take in what we consider will be the sphere of influence of Federal expenditure on the Capital.
– The Government insist, I understand, that the area shall be 900 square miles in extent ?
– The Government do insist upon that. But we do not propose to go to the New South Wales Government and say, “ We insist upon 900 square miles.” We desire, if possible, to come to an agreement with the New South Wales Government, and we have no reason to believe that they will not agree to the proposal we make. What is proposed cannot be held to be a disadvantage to New South Wales, nor will it be any disadvantage to the people resident, within the territory. There will be a change of jurisdiction and Government in respect to the territory, and that is practically all the effect that the taking over of this land by the Commonwealth will have.
– But, instead of remaining owners, the existing owners of land within the territory will become lessees of the Commonwealth Government?
– That is a question to be decided afterwards, when the policy governing land tenure is adopted.
– But we are not going to allow private ownership to continue in the heart of the Capital city.
– Of course not, but we are not now threshing out the details of the system of ownership to be adopted. I hope that the Committee will adhere to the area proposed by the Government. The question whether we should use the word “ shall “ or “ should “ does not appear to me to be of special importance.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta). - I refrained from saying anything in moving the amendment, because I thought there would be but little debate. In the first place, I am very much interested in hearing the Minister say that this matter of the area of the Federal territory is not to be an open question, as other provisions of the Bill and other parts of the procedure have been. But when the honorable member makes a distinction of that kind, I wish he would be a little more explicit, and would tell the Committee just what he does mean. Are we to understand that if an area other than that proposed by the Government is carried by the Committee the Government will refuse to go on with the Bill?
– That would be the general acceptation of such a declaration as has been made.
– We have said that it has been an open question with Ministers, as to some provisions of the Bill. They have voted against each other in the matter of the selection of the site, for example; but this matter of the area is a Government question.
– But, so far as Ministerial responsibility is concerned, it is still to be an open question?
– Not at all. It is a Ministerial question. We are in agreement upon it.
– Are we to understand that the Committee may do as they please, and that the intention only is that the Ministry shall vote together on this matter.
– Then I understand the position. I look upon this matter in the light of the genesis of the whole proceeding in another place. I put the statements made use of in arguing the question in another place alongside the very attenuated statements which have been made by Ministers in this Chamber. When this question had its rise in another Chamber, under the control of the Government, and certainly without any effort on their part to check or curb the extravagant language there indulged in -
– The Bill of last year provided for an area of 1,000 square miles.
– It was acknowledged that the original intention was to make socialistic experiments.
– On900squaremiles? I gave the honorable member credit for more intelligence.
– If the Prime Minister would be more patient, and refrain from interjection, he would hear what I have to say.
– There is no proposal by the Government for anylarger area.
– I can say that a member of the Labour Party in another place proposed an area the sides of which would be seventy-five miles long, and he changed that subsequently to an area containing 5,000 square miles. His idea was, and he made no secret of it, to give the various States an object lesson, not only in land nationalization, but also in the nationalization of industries.
– The honorable member is only knocking down a straw.
– The honorable gentleman may fine it down as he pleases, but he is aware that it was intended that a social experiment should be undertaken, and that that was the root of the whole proposal.
– That is ‘utter nonsense.
– On 900 square miles?
– The Prime Minister has said that the Government desire to retain the unearned increment’, or to get as much of it as possible, for the citizens of the Commonwealth.
– I should say so, and so would any other patriotic man.
– Is not that a social experiment?
– Not of the nature at which the honorable member is hinting.
– The honorable gentleman is too impatient to listen to me. I say that he is anxious to make a social experiment, and I think I do the honorable gentleman no injustice in saying that.
– I say that there is no social experiment in the retention of the freehold of the land.
– It is an experiment as applied to a whole country.
– The Government, of which the honorable member was a member, carried -that through in New South Wales, and I helped them.
– No; not in the same way.
– In a more wholesale fashion.
– I have no objection to what the honorable gentleman is proposing to do ; but I see no .reason for enlarging the area beyond what is prescribed in the Constitution.
– It is not beyond what is prescribed £>y the Constitution.
– Interjections are becoming rather too frequent. I suggest to the honorable member for Parramatta that he should not adopt the interrogative form of speech, and I ask Ministers not to interrupt the honorable member.
– I am only anxious for information, and I should like to address some more interrogations to Ministers. I want to know what is the intention of the Government in connexion with this matter; they have not yet explained. If the two Houses reach agreement, will the Bill be sent on in the ordinary, way for the approval of the Governor-General? If so, I should like to know what the position of the Government will then be, as negotiators with the New South Wales Government? Can the Commonwealth Government say to the New South Wales Government, “ We want to negotiate with you as to the area of the Federal Capital,” and at the same’ time, say, “ Here are our limitations, hard and fast, under the seal of the Governor-General “ ? How can the Commonwealth Government begin to negotiate in a matter which has already been determined by the; Parliament ?
– Are the Government to have no limitations?
– Yes; and I think those limitations should have been prescribed in a series of resolutions affirming the opinion of this House.
– Where is the difference?
– The difference is that we “ determine “ an area, and immediately instruct the Government to set about altering that area. Otherwise, where is the object of the negotiations?
– If we fixed the area byresolution, would the position not be the same?
– The difficulty I see is that here is a Bill to determine the Seat of Government ; and I take it that when the act of determination is complete, the transaction is complete, so far as we are concerned. ^ Yet we are told that Mininster, at that’ point, must begin to reopen the matter which we have just deter mined. The whole proceeding seems to my mind, if I may say so without offence, to be just a little absurd. The proper course would have been to get an expression of opinion as clear and definite as we chose —but still only an expression of opinion - from each of the two Houses of the Commonwealth Parliament, land when those expressions of opinion had been brought into agreement, to begin the negotiations. The Commonwealth Government will look very strange if, after we have determined the Seat of Government and its size, they have to begin to negotiate with an entirely different body for the purpose of settling these very matters. This clause seems to me to be entirely unnecessary; but if we do perpetrate this legislative absurdity - for I can call it nothing else - we had better stick to the terms of the Constitution. The amendment simply re-enacts the language of the Constitution, to which no exception can be taken. But when 900 square miles, or 5,000 square miles as has been suggested, or a square, each side of which is seventy-five miles long, is put forward as the irreducible area-
– It has not been said that the territory should be a square, each side of which should be seventy-five miles long.
– But that was suggested in another place. I remind honorable members that the proposal to have an area of 5,000 square miles was only defeated by fourteen votes against ten - an almost equal division. We should, therefore, meet the other Chamber with a simple expression of our opinion that the terms of the Constitution ought to be adhered to, at any rate in this period of negotiation. It is time to fix our ultimate determination after the negotiations have been completed, and when New South Wales has had, as she is entitled to have, and as the Constitution contemplates she shall have, some voice as to the location and size of the Federal territory.
– Like the honorable member who has just spoken, I carefully refrained from contributing to the series of debates which have taken place on this measure, because it was evident that a large enough number of honorable members were taking part in it to bring it sooner or later to a satisfactory settlement. But at this stage I feel compelled to repeat some observations which I made last year upon this very question. The honorable member who has just sat down, has expressed an opinion with which I heartily agree.It seems to me that the whole difficulty which has arisen is the result of a misconceived form of procedure.Iaskhonorable members to allow me to read that section of the Constitution dealing with this matter ; and I think it will then be evident to everybody who regards the question from a thoroughly impartial stand-point, that the whole procedure in regard to this Bill is misconceived. I ask honorable members to place on section 125 of the Constitution an inter pretation of an every-day, common-place character, and then to say whether we are not putting the cart before the horse. Section 125 is as follows: -
The Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be determined by the Parliament, and shall be within territory, which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth, and shall be vested in, and belong to the Commonwealth…..
There is no mistake ; the meaning is not land which shall be granted in the future, but land which “shall have been granted “ or acquired by the Commonwealth. Any one who reads that section in an ordinary way can come to no other conclusion than that it was contemplated that this House should, in some way or other, intimate to the State Parliament of New South Wales the particular territory within which it was desired to select a Capital site ; that the New South Wales Government” should then be invited by this House - not that this House should demand it - to place the territory, including the proposed site, at the disposal of this Parliament ; and that this Parliament should then pass an Act determining the site within the territory which had been so granted by the New South Wales Parliament. It has been suggested, in the course of the debate; that we should introduce into this Bill the word “ should “ instead of “ shall.”
– Would the honorable and learned member propose to first buy the land, and afterwards select the site?
– No, I should not ; I should recommend that whatever area is determined upon should be communicated by resolution to the New South Wales Parliament; that the New South Wales Parliament should then be invited to place that territory at the disposal of the Federal Parliament; that theFederal Parliament should select its Capital site witlhin that territory, and if it wanted further territory, the latter should be acquired either by Act of Parliament or by private purchase.
– Does the honorable and learned member say that the land has to be granted by New South Wales before or after we determine the site?
– The land should be granted before we determine the site.
– Before we know where we are going to have the site?
-I refer the honorable and learned member forIndi to theConstitution. I am not saying what I wish, nor am I saying what the honorable and learned member would like to have done. I am referring only to the Constitution to show what must be done in order to conform with its provisions.
– Does not that sectionof the Constitution simply mean that before the Capital is built, the land shall have been granted oracquired?
– I ask the honorable member for Gippsland to apply to this question the same common sense which he would apply to any business transaction in which he was engaged. I understand the words “ shall have been “ in section 125 to mean something that has occurred beforehand; not something that is to occur in the future.
– Occurred before what?
– If the Constitution had intended that the Capital was to be within territory which shouldbe granted in the future, it would have said, “ which shall be granted,” and not “ which shall have been granted.”
– I should construe that section to mean that the territory must be selected, then acquired, and the Seat of Government then built.
– I am quite with the honorable member, who will see how the difficulty of the “shall” and “should” could have been got over. Instead of passing an Act of Parliament, laying it down in black and white where the territory shall be, of how much land it shall consist, and where the Capital city shall be. and thereby tying the hands of Ministers, who are supposed to negotiate, we should have passed a resolution merely intimating the wishes of the Federal Parliament, as to the particular site which it was desired should be placed at our disposal. Ministers would then have had a free hand to negotiate, and to induce the New South Wales Government to place that territory at our disposal ; and as soon as the land had been granted, we should have been in a position to choose the Capital site.
– The honorable and learned member voted for “ should “ last year.
– After the Bill had been passed. But I shall repeat what I said in 1903. On that occasion, after reading section 125, I said -
Evidently the framers of the Constitution assumed either that some State would grant certain territory, or that the Commonwealth would acquirecertain territory, before Parliament chose a site, and, therefore, the section provides that the Seat of Government shall be determined by the Parliament, not within territory which shall be granted or acquired, but within territory which shall have been granted or acquired. No territory has been granted or acquired, and yet we are asked to pass a Bill to determine the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth.
– I draw the attention of the honorable and learned member to the fact that we are discussing the word “ nine,” in relation to the question of the area, and not the word “ shall.”
– The question of the use of the word “ shall “ or “ should “ has been discussed at great length by the right honorable member for East Sydney, who has been answered by the Minister.
– I understood that the right honorable member for East Sydney was to conclude with an amendment which would have necessitated the withdrawal of the amendment now before the Committee.
– I hope I shall be allowed to answer one observation made by the Minister.
– But if I allow the honorable and learned member to do that, I shall have to allow other honorable members the same latitude.
– The debate has now gone on for two hours, and I have naturally come into it in order to deal with the questions which have been discussed.
– If the honorable member for Parramatta asks leave to withdraw his amendment, and the Committee agree to that course, it will be competent for the honorable and learned member for Parkes to discuss the word “shall.”
– I ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
– I do not now propose to debate the question further whether the wishes of the House should have been expressed in the form of a Bill ; it is too late to do so. Last year, on the same ground, I took this exception to the Seat of Government Bill when it was before the House. I expressed privately to the then Prime Minister the opinion which I am now expressing, namely, that having regard to the wording of section 125, the wishes of the House should have been expressed in the form of a resolution. That course would have got rid of all the difficulty about going to the Government of New South Wales, “ pistol in hand “ ; it would have enabled Ministers to approach the Government of New South Wales, and negotiate with them, with a free hand, for the purpose of having certain territory placed at the disposal of this Parliament. To show that I am not speaking without authority, I ask the Committee to listen to the following passage from Quick and Garran’s Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth : -
The chief question which has arisen in connexion with these words is whether the determination of the Seat of Government rests, in the last resort, solely with the Federal Parliament, or whether the Federal Parliament is limited in its choice to sites offered by the Parliament of New South Wales. The opening words of the section strongly favour the former view ; but it has been argued that the words “ shall be within territory which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth “ point to a prior Act of Cession by the Parliament of New South Wales.
Therefore I am not alone in the view I hold as to the meaning of the words in the Constitution, and I need not remind honorable members that in the interpretation of an Act of Parliament it is the commonly-accepted reading of a section which is taken by a Court. There cannot be two interpretations of the words “ shall have been granted,” because, if the Constitution had contemplated that the Federal Parliament would choose a site within territory to be granted in the future, as we are proposing to do, the words “ shall have been granted “ would not have been used. I do not, I say, contend that we should now seriously consider the substitution of a resolution for an Act of Parliament ; but what I have said is a strong argument in favour of our limiting ourselves to the selection of a site. If, as the honorable member for Parramatta has pointed out, we not only provide in an Act of Parliament for the determination of a certain site, but lay down the area and the limitations of the Federal territory, our Minis.ters will have no power of negotiation. Imagine the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth approaching the Premie- of New South Wales and saying, “ The Parliament of the Commonwealth .has passed an Act determining’ where the Seat of Government shall be, and I now come to you, in accordance with the terms of the Constitution, to ask you to place certain territory at our disposal.” The Premier of New South Wales might .be willing to talk about it ; but the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth would have to say, “ I cannot negotiate with you, because the Federal Parliament has determined where the Seat of Government shall be, and what the limitations and the area of the Federal territory shall be.” If he came back to this House and proposed the acceptance of a smaller area than we had determined upon, we should be in the extraordinary position of having demanded, by Act of Parliament, something which we should have to subsequently forego. Would this Parliament then pass an amending Act, going back upon the original measure ? I ask the Minister in charge of the Bill how he would propose to act under such circumstances. If the Premier of New South Wales said, “ The Constitution provides that the Commonwealth shall have not less than 100 square miles, and we are willing to give you 200 or 300 square miles, but will not entertain a demand for 900 square miles,” we should be in the rather .unpleasant position of having determined upon a certain territory which we could not get. The Premier of New South Wales might very well say, “ You have followed a wrong procedure. Under the Constitution you should have come to us, and told us where you desired your Capital site to be. Then you should have asked us to place at your disposal such territory as you want, and as we are willing to give. Afterwards, it would bi; for you to determine where the Capital should be within the territory thus granted by us.” I do not, I ‘ repeat, make the impracticable proposal that we should revert to the passing of a resolution ; but, having made the mistake of passing in a Bill what should have been in the form of a motion - a mistake which has been pointed out more than once, both to the last Government and to this Government - we should take care that ths measure is sufficiently elastic to give Ministers a free hand, subject to the confirmation of Parliament, to negotiate with the Government of New South Wales. That can be done only by limiting ourselves to an expression of opinion, such as we have in clause 2, as to where the Seat’ of Government should be. Having done that, and a debate having taken place as to what should be the extent of the Commonwealth territory, we should refrain from passing clause 3, and leave it to Ministers to negotiate with the Government of New South Wales on the subject.
– Could we not indicate what area we desire?
– Yes; but the honorable member sees the objection which has been offered to the use, in the Bill, of any other word than the word “shall.” As the right honorable member for East Sydney has pointed out, it would be very unwise to introduce into clause 3 a dicta- torial direction as to the area which the Government of New South Wales should place at our disposal. I see very grave objection to the proposed insertion of the words “ not less than 900 square miles.” I know that there are certain honorable members - though I am not aware who they aic - who think that the harbor of Twofold Bay should be within the Federal territory. If that be agreed upon, whatever territory is arranged for should extend down to the sea, and include Twofold Bay; but if Dalgety were chosen as the site of the Seat of Government, more than 900 square miles of territory’ would be required to take in that Bay. because its distance from Dalgety is no miles.
– Seventy miles is the exact distance.
– An honorable member who I believe to be well versed in the subject has stated that the distance is no miles. That being so, if we selected Dalgety, and wished to take in Twofold Bay, we should have to arrange for a territory no miles long and eight or nine miles broad, which would be an absurdity. If, on the other hand, it is intended to acquire all the country, within thirty miles of the Seat of Government, in order to preserve to the Commonwealth whatever value may be added to it by the presence of the Capital, it will be impossible tn take in Twofold Bay. I ask honorable members whether they have any data for a reasonable expectation that there will be any great increment of value. Every one who regards the probable future of the Capital without enthusiastic and wild expectation, must arrive at the conclusion that it cannot become a great commercial centre. Commercial centres are not made; they evolve out of the economic circumstances of the country. One cannot, by establishing the Parliament in a certain place, evolve a commercial centre out of the few hotels’ and boarding-houses which will be erected for the convenience of those who have to fro there.
– Not without other attractions.
– If the circumstances of the city are. such as to make it an attractive sanatorium for the whole of Australia, a small town may grow up, such as Bowral or Moss Vale, where a large number of people may go in the summer months; but honorable members have only to look at the sanatoria of Australia of . thirty years’ growth to see that the expected increment will be infinitesimal. To suppose that there is going to be any substantial increment at a distance of fifteen miles on either side of the Parliament House, in a district where commerce has never shown an inclination to concentrate, is not worthy of -sensible men, nor would the probability justify the incurring of responsibility in holding an unnecessarily large tract of land.. I shall, therefore, if the occasion arises, vote against the proposal to determine that the area of the Seat of Government shall be not less than 900 square miles. We have no right to ask New South Wales to cede such an area. The Minister instanced the separation of Victoria and of Queensland as still greater concessions, but that was an entirely different matter. At the time, New South Wales was an enormous territory which had not developed to anything like the present importance of the State ; and to secure better local Government, a large part of the southern portion was made into the new Colony of Victoria, while the State of Queensland was divided off on the north. What right have we. however, when the people of New South Wales have accepted a Constitution providing for a territory of “not less than 100 square miles,” to ask tHem to place at our disposal nine times that area?
– The Constitution does not say definitely that the area shall be 100 square miles.
– I admit that the Constitution says “not less than 100 square miles “ ; but if we were to ask our constituents for ,£1,000 a year, on (he ground that Parliament has the power to increase our remuneration to that amount, or if the Governor-General were to say - “ It is provided in the Constitution that I am to have not less than ,£10,000 per annum, and therefore I ask for ,£50,000, ‘* the people would stand aghast. The people of New South Wales would regard the request for a larger area of territory for the Seat of Government in a similar manner. If this clause were omitted altogether we should be in the same position that we should have occupied if a resolution had been adopted. The Bill might then be regarded as a rather didactical expression of opinion on the part of this Parliament that we desired the Capital to be at such and such a place. It would then be open, and it is desirable that it should be open, for the Government to approach New South Wales and ask - not demand,
I but ask - them to place at the disposal of the
Commonwealth Parliament such territory, of an area of not less than 100 square miles, as they felt disposed to give us. I submit, therefore, that although the Government have taken an entirely wrong course in bringing in a Bill instead of submitting a resolution, we should now do our best to so frame the Bill that it will indicate clearly what the Commonwealth Parliament desires with regard to the position of the site, at the same time leaving as much flexibility as possible for the negotiations between the Government and New South Wales. We . should not pass a Bill laying down in definite terms what shall be the area of the territory, because if we do so we shall inevitably tie the hands of the Government, and assume a somewhat offensive attitude towards the Government of New South Wales, which may stand much in the way of our success in dealing with them.
– I have the misfortune to differ very materially from the honorable and learned member for Parkes. I think we should be very careful to remember our duties as well as our rights under the Constitution, and that it has been committed to the Federal Parliament to determine the site of the Federal Capital, and the extent of the area of the Federal territory.
– Without limit.
– Without any further limit than the reasonable discretion of this Parliament.
– Where does the Com.stitution give us that authority?
– I am astonished that any honorable member should overlook, not merely the right, but the duty, of this Parliament to exercise its discretion as to the matters intrusted to it.
– Yes, as to the Seat of Government, not . the Federal territory.
– Does the honorable member mean to say that the Constitution committed to the Government of New South Wales the sole right to determine the area of the Federal territory? Does any honorable member mean to say that we have nothing ‘to do but to determine the spot upon which the Federal Capital shall be built, and that, even as to that, we are to go capinhand to the New South Wales Government ; that we are to admit that it is only by their permission that the place we think most desirable can be selected as the site of the Seat of Government, and that’ if they do not choose to give us that site we shall perforce have to go wherever else they wish? New South Wales made it an essential part of the bargain that the Federal Capital should be established within that State, and with that condition, and the ‘further limitation that the Capital should not be within 100 miles of Sydney, the Constitution provides that it shall be left to the discretion of the Federal Parliament to determine where the Capital shall be, and that the Capital when established shall be within territory of a certain size at least. When the Federal Parliament has determined in its wisdom where the Capital shall be, and what area shall be embraced within the territory surrounding it, then, and then only, will the New South Wales Government be free to exercise its discretion and accede to our request or refuse it.
– Then, according to the honorable and learned member’s argument, we are at the mercy of New South Wales?
– Not solely at the mercy of New South Wales. The arguments used by some honorable members would lead us to suppose that this Parliament ‘ had nothing to say with regard to the determination of the Seat of Government. I contend, however, that this Parliament has not only the first word, but also the last word, although New South Wales also has necessarily some voice in the matter.
– How does the honorable member view the provision in the Constitution that the Capital shall be situated within territory “ which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth.”
– The Constitution provides that the Seat of Government shall be determined by the Parliament of the Commonwealth. It may be determined at any time. It is further provided that the Seat of Government shall be - that is when it exists - within territory which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth. ‘ That is to say, we can determine now, or at any future time, where the Capital shall be. But when it is established - at the moment of its establishment - it shall be within territory which shall have been already granted to or acquired by. the Commonwealth. The granting to the Commonwealth, or the acquisition by the Commonwealth, is antecedent to the establishment of the Capital, but not to the determination of the Seat of Government.
– This Bill determines the territory in which the Capital shall be established, and the area of such territory.
– The honorable and learned member is departing slightly from his original argument.
– But suppose the Government of New South Wales refused to grant the territory desired by the Commonwealth ?
– Then the Capital could not be established unless this Parliament determined to take private land for the purpose. We might, if we chose, select a station embracing a sufficient area of land, and acquire it for the purpose of establishing the Federal Capital. Therefore, we are not wholly dependent upon the New South Wales Government. All that depends upon them is the grant of Crown land free of payment, and the Commonwealth has a power of acquisition, with regard to land other than Crown lands which may be obtained by grant. Honorable members grasp the wrong end of the stick when they say that all we have to do is. merely to say that the Capital shall be at Dalgety, and to go no further ; to give instruction to the Government ; to let them enter upon negotiations with the New South Wales Government, and, if that Government chooses to say, “We will give you only 100 square miles,” to rest content. Is that the will of Parliament? I think not.
– If we cannot get any more, what are we to do?
– Then we should determine not to establish the Capital there.
– That is a distinctly Victorian view of the question.
– According to the honorable and learned member the Commonwealth could demand from New South Wales the whole of her territory.
– We are not doing anything of that kind. As a member of this Parliament I am not willing to surrender the rights and discretion of this Parliament to the will of any State. If in our wisdom we thought that the future requirements of the Federal Capital rendered advisable a reservation of 500, 600, or 900 square miles, should we establish the Capital in a particular area, even though we could secure only 100 square miles? That is not ray view. Although I have been from the first determined that there should beno unnecessary delay in the establishment of the Federal Capital, I am not willing to surrender the duty imposed upon me as a member of this Parliament to see that the best is done for Australia. We have been told that it is our duty to say nothing about the extent of the territory.
– At present.
– Are we ever to do so?
– Yes, certainly.
– Then let us consider where that would lead us. We have been told that we should first pass a resolution indicating our desire for certain territory, and that the Government should then negotiate, and, if possible, secure such territory. How could the Government be empowered to do that by resolution? How could they go to the New South Wales Government and say, “ We want certain territory “ ?
– The resolution would confer the necessary power.
– Could the Government, in such a case, guarantee that the Federal Parliament would afterwards determine that the Capital should be established within that territory ? Certainly not. Suppose the New South Wales Government said, “We will grant you 100 square miles,” and the Federal Parliament afterwards determined that the Capital should not be situated within the territory granted by New South Wales? What would then happen? Are we to hamper any future Parliament? We might pass a resolution to-day, and the Government might enter into negotiations, and before the acquisition of the land was concluded, another Parliament might come into existence, and say, “We think that the site selected is an improper one. and we shall not establish the Capital there.”
– We should not be in any worse position than if we passed this Bill.
– I differ entirely from my honorable and learned friend. If we once pass a Bill enacting that the Capital shall be in a certain spot, and that the Federal territory shall contain a certain area, the moment the territory is acquired the Capital will necessarily be established. In that case, there would be a determination within the meaning ofthe Constitution; whereas a resolution could not be regarded as embodying a determination. Suppose, for instance, we could not obtain quite 100 square miles, or quite 000 square miles - according to the terms of the resolution would the Government be empowered to acquire private land to make good the deficiency? I cannot see that a resolution would convey any such authority. Is it to be said that all the land is to be granted or acquired by the Federal Parliament, and the price paid for it, and that then the Federal Parliament is to sei. about considering whether that territory should embrace the site of the Federal Capital? With all respect to my honorable friends, it appears to me to be absurd to advance any such contention.
– A resumption Actwould have to be passed to empower the Government to take the land, and compensate the owners.
– What we have to do at present is perfectly plain. We have to determine where the Capital shall be, and also the area of public land that shall surround it. and when that is done, and only then, the Government will have a mandate to set about negotiating with the Government of New South Wales, with a view to ascertain whether the desired territory can be obtained. If we can secure it all will be plain ; if we cannot obtain all we require in the shape of Crown lands by grant we can acquire the balance.
– How are we to acquire it ?
Mi. ISAACS.- Under an Act of Parliament.
– Exactly; under a resumption Act.
– A resumption Act would be required under any scheme. We should have to pass a law providing for the resumptions and the payment of a fair price for the land. We should, however, proceed about our work in an orderly manner, and not in the haphazard way suggested by some honorable members. If we do not pass this clause we shall simply enact that the Capital shall be in a certain spot, and, at the same time, say, in effect, “We care not whether or not the territory embraces only 100 square miles.” That is not the will of this Parliament. If we once did ~ that, New South Wales could turn round and say “We shall not give you more than 100 square miles. You have already determined the Seat of the Government, and you cannot help yourselves.” ti I thought for a moment that the use of the word “ shall,” in connexion with the decision as to the area to be comprised within the Federal territory, would offer, in the smallest degree, an affront to New South Wales, I should be one of the ‘ first to agree to substitute some other expression. In my view, however, it would do nothing of the kind. It is not a mandate, but merely a declaration in ordinary parliamentary form’ as to the area which shall be embraced within the Federal territory. The clause is a simple declaration that, in the opinion of this Parliament - and this is the only way ?n which Parliament! can express its opinion definitely - the Federal territory must contain an area of so many square miles. Then, if New South Wales sees its way to give us such territory, we can establish the Capital.
– In other words, we should not honour the bond unless we get something for it.
– Does the honorable member contend that the Federal compact requires us to give New South Wales the Capital ; and that New South Wales is to have the sole voice in determining the extent of the Federal territory.
– It must contain an area of “ not less than 100 square miles.”
– Of course. But my honorable friend wishes to read into the Constitution the . words “ not more “ than 100 square miles.
– Not unreasonably more.
– When a power is vested in Parliament there is no limitation regarding the exercise of that power, save its own discretion.
– Then why limit the power of this Parliament in regard to the smallness of the territory ?
– That condition was imposed by the will of the people, who declared that the area of the Seat of Government should embrace at least too square miles, and as much more as Parliament chose to acquire.
– Why should this Parliament be fettered at all?
– The question which the honorable member should put is, “ Why did not the Constitution fix the area?” The fact remains that it did not. It left the matter to be determined by this Parliament. ‘ I am not urging that 900 square miles is a proper area to acquire. What I am arguing is that it is for this Parliament to decide what is a proper area. That decision is not left to the will or discretion of any State.
– It is not left to this Parliament, either.
– It is for this Parliament to say, as a condition precedent to the establishment of the Seat of Government what area the Federal territory shall comprise. I read into section 125 of the Constitution, practically a direction that Parliament shall determine the area of the Federal territory. Seeing that the Constitution provides that that territory shall embrace not less than 100 square miles, it stands to reason that somebody must determine its extent. Surely it is not a matter for the Government to settle, and as it cannot be settled by the High Court, it must have been left to Parliament to determine.
– The area of 100 square miles mentioned in the Constitution is in itself a limitation.
– It .is a minimum limitation:,
– Parliament cannot enact that the territory shall contain ari area of ninety-nine square miles.
– Exactly. Therefore I say that where the Constitution intends thai a limitation shall be imposed upon Parliament, it expressly declares it, and where it does not intend that a maximum limitation shall apply, it does not declare it. It is idle to talk about what is reasonable. Who is to determine that?
– The limitation is practically in the nature of a general direction.
– The limitation is to be found in our own discretion, and I hope that that will always be reasonably exercised. When we come to determine the area of the Federal territory, which is a totally different matter from that with which we are now dealing, it will no doubt be decided by the best evidence we can bring to bear upon it. I hope that nobody will even consider that by agreeing to the proposal of the Government we shall offer an affront to New South Wales. That is a course of action which I for one would not tolerate for an instant. I do say, however, that this provision is merely a declaration in ordinary enacting form of the will of Parliament. We have declared thai the Seat of Government shall be within seventeen miles of Dalgety. Why should we say to New South Wales, “We shall have that site or we shall take no other?” But we do say it. We declare “ We will not have the Capital at all unless you permit it to be located there.” Suppose that New
South Wales replies, “ Oh, no; we are perfectly willing to provide you with land at Lyndhurst or Lake George, but we are not prepared to give you land at Dal.gety.”
M.r. Kelly. - Doses not the Constitution give us the absolute power to choose a site?
– Of course it does, and it also gives us absolute power to fix the area of the Federal territory. It does not limit that area; it merely fixes the minimum.
– And contains a general direction regarding that area.
– No ; it is not a general direction. Upon one point I agree with the honorable and learned member for Parkes, who affirms that having fixed the site of the Seat of Government at Dalgety it is essential that we should have free access to it.
– I did not say that. I argued upon the hypothesis that some honorable members might think it necessary that there should be free access to the Seat of Government.
– Perhaps I misunderstood my honorable friend.
– Most .certainly.
– If the honorable andlearned member did not argue in that way, he ought to have done so. At a later stage I intend to move that the following words be added to the clause, “ and shall have access to the sea.” I think it is in the highest degree important-
– It is roo miles to the sea from Dalgety.
– I am informed that the distance is only seventy miles. At any rate, the Federal Capital should be freely accessible from the sea. I believe that the Federation ought to have full and unimpeded means of access to the Seat of Government from the sea. It ought to have the means of constructing its own railways. It ought not to be dependent on the goodwill of any State in regard to intervening land. For instance, we ought not to be entirely at the mercy of New South Wales, however well disposed, that State might be, in regard to the means of access to the Federal Capital. We ought not to be compelled to travel to Cooma in order to reach Dalgety, but access to the Seat of Government through Federal territory and by Federal means of transit should be open to all the States in common.
– The better plan would be to resume the whole of New South Wales.
– Is the area of that State so limited that it cannot afford to part with what is equivalent to thirty miles square?
– That is not the provision which is contained in the Bill.
– The measure provides for the acquisition of a territory comprising 900 square miles.
– No. It provides for the acquisition of an area of not less than 900 square miles. The honorable and learned member wishes the Federal territory to extend to the sea.
– Undoubtedly I do.
– Does the honorable and learned member wish to preserve the unearned increment for the Commonwealth?
– That is quite another question. I am dealing now with the means of access to the Seat of Government. I take it that to provide for the expansion of the Federal Capital - irrespective of whether it has a commercial future or only a political one - a very considerable area of territory ought to be acquired. Looking to the future, we ought to see that provision is made for access to the Seat of Government from Twofold Bay through Federal territory.
– Then we ought to select Bombala.
– Why so?
– Because it is much closer to the sea than is Dalgety.
– I am not discussing that matter at the present time. I think I have said all thatI proposed to say, and I do hope that honorable members will recollect - as the other Chamber has recollected - that they are here to declare their will fearlessly, without offence to any State or any person. At the same time, I am absolutely certain that we are not doing anything offensive to the great State of New South Wales - I hope nobody will ever dream that we are - by affirming in plain, simple language, our determination in regard to the area which the Federal territory shall embrace. Under these circumstances, I trust that the Government will retain the clause in its present form.
– The speech of the honorable and learned member for Indi - which I will not venturetoquestion from the standpoint of the legal interpretation which he places on this provision - rather aston ished me, so far as it related to the claim which he considers the Commonwealth has upon New South Wales in regard to the Federal territory. He stated that rather than surrender to the will of any State he would refuse to choose a site for the Seat of Government. I could understand that declaration coming from an honorable member who desires to indefinitely postpone the selection of the Federal Capital, but I cannot understand it coming from one who is ready to promptly give effect to the provisions of the Constitution. Is our will - whatever it may be - without consideration of the rights, the equities, and even the sentiments of New South Wales, to be enforced upon that State, and if that State declines to allow of its enforcement, are we to declare that we will not give effect to the provisions of the Constitution ?
– That is not what I said. What I. said, in effect, was that the will of no State should be allowed to stand in the way of national sentiment and national requirements.
– According to the view entertained by the honorable and learned member, no consideration should be given to the request of that State for ordinary fair treatment, in regard to what was understood to be the meaning of the Constitution. He has told us that, according to his legal opinion, every inch of the State of New South Wales could be resumed by the Commonwealth for Federal territory.
– Who said so?
– The honorable and learned member said so.
– I beg the honorable member’s pardon.
– The honorable and learned member declared that no maximum area was imposed by the Constitution, but only a minimum, and that, therefore, the Commonwealth can take as much as it sees fit. As a matter of fact, I do not think that is so, although I should be very reluctant to set my opinion upon legal matters against that of the honorable and learned member. Still there aremany good lawyers who entertain a very different view. I think that any Court would decide that the area of the Federal territory must reasonably approximate to the minimum of 100 square miles prescribed by the Constitution, unless, as a matter of negotiation, New South Wales chooses to grant a much larger area. Like the honorable member for South Sydney, I am not averse to that State ceding a larger extent of territory if she chooses to do so, although I personally object to large areas.
– Suppose that New South Wales refuses to negotiate with the Commonwealth upon any terms other than by granting it a territory comprising 100 square miles?
– I do not say that that State has any right to adhere too closely to the minimum area of 1 00 square miles. The Constitution declares that there should be an extension of that area if necessary, but the extension should be merely of a give-and-take character, for which we see necessity, or consider the natural features of the country require it. The intention of the Convention in this connexion is very clear, although it was not the Convention which prescribed the minimum area of 100 square miles. The idea of the author of that limitation was that the Federal territory should embrace an area of approximately 100 square miles. The right honorable member for Swan was its author, and from the official report of the Convention debates, I find that when the area of that territory was under consideration, he interjected, “ Make it 100 square miles.” A little later, in speaking, he said -
I should like to see it laid down in the Bill that the Federal area shall contain not less than 100 square miles.
– It was also intended that the large cities should be excluded from becoming the Seat of Government by that provision.
– I cannot say. It appears to me that on that point arguments were advanced upon both sides. Some desired to have the Seat of Government located in the capital of a State, and others did not. Evidently the right honorable member for Swan thought that100 square miles was a desirable area to acquire, in order that the city might be laid out in a manner worthy of its importance. Subsequently the very words which he suggested in the speech to which I have referred were incorporated in the Premiers’ agreement, and embodied in the Constitution, which was accepted by the people of Australia. I do not argue that the Government of New South Wales ought not to give every consideration to the requirements which the Commonwealth may put before it. We must have a given area. In some localities one area would be desir able, and in another a different area. When we demand from a State what we do not yet know will be of the slightest value to us, and without good reason say we must have our own way, we indicate a desire to humiliate that State. It is a proposal, by taking a large area, to cut ourselves off from the State, even if the characteristics of the country we acquire render that area undesirable. The Minister of Home Affairs referred to the question as if the Bill merely provided that an area of 900 square miles shall be acquired, and the honorable and learned member for Indi also spoke of the same area. I interjected at the time that the Bill provides not that an area of 900 square miles shall be acquired, but that an area of “ not less than “ 900 miles shall be secured. That is a very important distinction. Under the clause as it stands it would be possible for the Government to ask, as suggested by an honorable member of another place, for an area of 20,000 square miles. I am altogether opposed to the acquiring of a large area, although I am not averse to negotiations on the part of the Parliament for what may be considered a suitable piece of country. I am personally opposed to the acquiring of a large area simply because I consider that it would be undesirable. No unearned increment would attach to some of the territory taken under such a proposal as this, and it seems to me that in respect to some portion of the area the Commonwealth would regret the purchase that it would be compelled to make. If it be not intended that the area to be acquired shall exceed 900 square miles, why not insert in the Bill a provision to that effect ? Why not provide that an area “ not exceeding 900 square miles” shall be acquired? I believe, however, that objection could be taken to even such a limitation as that, because, by taking over a slightly increased area, we might be able to secure much better boundaries.
– We might fix a minimum and a maximum; there might, perhaps, be some reason for that.
– The minimum is already fixed.
– The honorable member is referring to the minimum fixed by the Constitution ; I am speaking of a minimum and a maximum to be fixed by the Parliament.
– The honorable and learned member does not propose that the area to be acquired should exceed 900 square miles ?
– No,”- I say that we might provide that the area shall be not less than 800 square miles, and not more than 900 square miles.
– Such an alteration would hardly be worth making. The Minister of Home Affairs spoke of the way in which New South Wales had been whittled away since the establishment of that State, and seemed to think that it had become so accustomed to that process that we had only to continue it.
– I did not think anything of the kind.
– The honorable gentleman said that this area and that area had been taken away from New South Wales.
– I said that there was a greater outcry over the proposal to acquire this territory than there was over making Queensland a separate Colony.
– There were good reasons for the establishment of Queensland as a separate State, but I cannot see any reason for the proposal that, without knowing how the land is to be utilized, without a knowledge of the outlines of the territory, without any information as to what area in the vicinity of the Seat of Government is worth taking over, we should take over not less than 900 square miles, whether the land be good or not. We are to provide for a minimum, and to say to the people of New South Wales, “ If you disagree with our proposal we have no right to surrender ourselves to your will, and you shall get no Capital in your State.” That attitude might be followed by eventualities which I should be very sorry to see. In the interests, not of New South Wales, but of Australia, I am absolutely opposed to the idea that we should acquire a territory which we may approach without setting foot on New South Wales soil. If there be anything foreign to a ‘Federal union it is the feeling that we cannot establish our Government in any State - I care not what State it is - without the expectation that the people of that State will become antagonistic to us. If honorable members hold such an opinion, I can only say that we have not advanced far towards the realization of the true spirit of Federal union.
– Do not all our laws indicate that -we have the power to compel the States to do certain things?
– It was not even dreamt of in the Convention or in the Federal Conference, and it has never been dreamt of in certain other Federations. What was the motto of those who advocated Federation ? Was it not “ Ohe people, one destiny ?” Yet here we are seeking to make ourselves a separate people; to insult a State ; to say to the people of that State, “We cannot put such trust in you as to allow it to be necessary for persons to pass through your territory in order to reach the Federal (Capital; we must be able to get from the Federal Capital to the sea without passing over a foot of your soil. If we do not obtain that means of ingress, and of egress, we shall not establish our Capital in your State.” Is that an attitude that is calculated to breed goodwill between the States? Is that an attitude that is likely to make us one people with one destiny? I presume that if this area is obtained the Government will ask for a large vote for fortifications, because of a fear ‘that the people of New South Wales, or of the rest of Australia, may attack the Federal Executive. Instead of seeking to realize the Federal motto, “One people, one destiny,” we are endeavouring to create two separate destinies for the people. We are saying, in effect, to the people of one State, comprising a third of the people of Australia, that we should not trust ourselves to go among them, because if we did we might not be permitted to leave their territory. To my mind that is worse than ridiculous.
– Why do we trust ourselves to come here?
– If we were in danger here we might escape, if we were lucky, by the Yarra, but the suggestion that we cannot trust a State is, to my mind, one of the lowest aspects from which to regard the Federation. If there are other good reasons for this proposal they may ‘be considered ; but how can we expect any State to give us a large portion of its coast line, arid to cut off its own territory north and south, simply for the reason which is implied, if not expressed, that we cannot trust the people of the State to give us means of access to and of egress from the Federal territory. I trust that the word “ should “ will be substituted for the word “ shall “ in the clause. The last Parliament adopted that courteous policy, and we should do the same. The honorable and learned member for Indi says that in the Constitution the word “ shall “ is used in reference to the Seat of Government. In that respect greater courtesy was shown than is proposed to be displayed in connexion with the taking over of the Federal territory. The Government of New South Wales was communicated with in reference to the matter, but even before that stage had been reached it showed its willingness to assist the Federal Parliament in selecting the Seat of Government. It appointed a Commissioner, whom every one will admit was thoroughly impartial - a man without leanings to any State - to inspect a number of sites that were suggested. Over forty sites were put forward, and having inspected those which he considered at all suitable for the purpose, he furnished a report to the State Government. The State Government not only offered the Federal Parliament the choice of any of the best sites, but said - “ As far as possible we shall reserve the Crown lands within these areas so that you may get as much as possible for nothing.”
– I for one do not anticipate the slightest friction in this matter between the Commonwealth and the State.
– If a demand be made for this large area of territory on the ground thai we have a right to demand it - and I, in common with many legal authorities, doubt if we have that right - a difficulty will be created at the very outset.
– I have never said that we have a right to demand.
– But the provision in the Bill is really a demand.
– It is merely an expression of our opinion.
– I should certainly prefer to see the words referred to omitted, but, to meet the views of those who hold a different opinion, one pf two other courses might be followed. We might, first of all, substitute the word “should” for the word “shall.” That would be at least a courteous course to adopt. If the honorable and learned member for Indi thinks that the use of the word “should” would be less effective than would be the use of the word “shall,” his opinion differs from that of others.
– Would it give the Ministry power to accept a less area ?
– The Ministry will not accept any area without submitting the matter to Parliament. I think that the Minister has already told us that that is their intention.
– I do not think that we should.
– I certainly do not.
– The agreement should be submitted to Parliament.
– It will come before the Parliament. Therefore, as a matter of courtesy, the use of the word “ should,” as agreed to by the last Parliament, is preferable to the use of the word “ shall.” I should like to see the clause so amended that it would provide that an area of “not more” than 900 square miles should be taken over, instead of an area of “ not less than “ 900 square miles. That would indicate, at all events, that there was some limit to the authority given to the Government, and to our desire for the acquisition of New South Wales’ territory. According to the Minister of Home, Affairs and others, it is not anticipated that more than 900 square miles will be required. It is rather extraordinary that the honorable and learned member for Indi voted to-day for the Upper Murray district, and that several other honorable members, who share his views on this point, did the same. Half of the unearned increment attaching to the selection of that site would have accrued to land on the Victorian side of the Murray. What, therefore, becomes of the argument as to the unearned increment ? I do not know what weight the honorable and learned member for Indi attaches to it.
– I did not say a word about it.
– But many honorable members, who have advanced that argument, voted for the Upper Murray district, although the selection ot that site would have meant that half of the unearned increment would apply to land in Victoria.
– Parliament, in its wisdom, decided otherwise.
– But it was a very close vote. Is it because the State of New South Wales is concerned that the unearned increment is demanded ? I do not believe that, but look at the appearances. Some members were prepared to put the Capital in a situation where half “the unearned increment would have gone into the pockets of an adjoining State ; but when the Capital is fixed in another position, the State in which it is located is to have no advantage from the unearned increment.
– We think that the people of Australia, who will have to find the money for the Capital, should have the benefit of the increment-
– I have been contending that we have to consider the interests of the people of Australia, but some honorable members appear to think that we are choosing the Capital for the benefit of a separate people, and that it must be barricaded round and kept away from the rest of the people of Australia. I do not object in any way to the unearned increment, if there is any, being received by the Commonwealth Government, or the State Government ; it does not matter which.
– It should be received by the Federal Government, because the people of Australia will pay the money.
– In any case the. amount will not be great.
– It will pay the cost of the buildings, any way.
– It is possible that, in the course of time, the value of the land within the Federal area may rise considerably, but not alone in consequence of the establishment of the Federal Capital there. The only suggested site where the unearned increment was likely to be considerable was Lyndhurst, because that is the only district which has great resources. But at Dalgety I am afraid that we shall have to wait for the unearned increment until land begins to get scarce in Australia. I was in Washington in 1884. It was then a skeleton city. I believe that it has improved very much since then. My visit was long after the city was established. I was amazed, first of’ all, at the beauty and expensiveness of the buildings, and also amazed to see that the cart-wheel streets that radiated from the centre, were nothing but skeleton streets with a few houses dotted here and there about them. I believe there has since been some considerable increase in the population.
– There are 300,000 people there now.
– But does not that include the inhabitants of Georgetown, on the Potomac River? I doubt verv much whether there are 300,000 people in the Federal territory.
– At the time of the centenary the population was given as 298,000.
– It is a verv small territory The whole, including the river town, does not exceed 100 square miles.’
– Probably 200,000 of the inhabitants are negroes.
– In the older town there are two blacks to one white, certainly, but in Washington itself that is not the case. The city may have increased considerably since I was there, but apparently at that time there was very little unearned increment in Washington. If that was the case in Washington, which is situated close to the Potomac River, and right in the centre of busy coastal States, how much can we expect from an area situated in the midst of the Snowy Mountains at Dalgety? I am not finding fault with the site, but am simply pointing out that Dalgety is near no stream that reaches the sea.
– The Snowy River runs to the sea.
– I mean a stream by which traffic can reach the sea. No traffic can at any time reach the sea by means of the Snowy River. I accept the selection which Parliament has made, but I fear it will be a very long time before there is any unearned increment from the site selected.
– Whatever doubts I may have had in the early part of this debate have been entirely removed by the honorable and learned member for Indi. He talked about Federal sentiment and Federal ties, but he desires to strike the hardest bargain possible with New South Wales. His steel-pointed and casehardened idea with regard to the Capital site was enough to destroy the Federal spirit in almost any member of this Chamber. He talked as though a bargain were about to be made between two foreign countries - say, between Russia and Japan at the conclusion of the present war.
– What is the hard bargain?
– The honorable and learned member read the phrase “ not less than 100 square miles “ to mean “ as much more as we can possibly get.” If he fights so bitterly for what is contained in the Constitution, I must interpret in the same way his desire that the Commonwealth shall acquire not less than 900 square miles, as provided in this Bill. If the people of New South Wales have been caught once, they are not likely to be caught again in the same way. “ Once bitten, twice shy.” This is where the hard Bargain comes in. If the honorable and learned member interprets “not less than 100 square miles” to mean that we can take 900 square miles, we may expect that he will interpret “ not less than 900 square miles” to mean that we can take 90,000 square miles, or even the whole of New South Wales.
– I have not said that I agree to that interpretation.
– I think that it is an impudent action, to put in this Bill a demand for so large a territory. The right honorable member for East Sydney said that there is too much ultimatum in it. Let me add that there istoo little pomatum. The Prime Minister can easily approach the Premier of New South Wales, and say that the desire of the Federal Parliament is that 900 square miles shall be acquired. If he can show good reasons, I have no doubt that that area will be granted, and the matter will be over. But in this Bill we are not asking for negotiations. The Minister of Home Affairs points a revolver at the head of the Premier of New South Wales, and says - “ I am not going to negotiate with you; my position is that we must have 900 square miles, and you had better be a good fellow, and grant it.” But now the honorable and learned member for Indi says that he will not be satisfied even with that. He must have access to the territory by sea, because, he says, there is a danger that some time or other Federal members may be molested by the people of New South Wales. That, I suppose, is the Federal spirit ! The honorable and learned member has the impudence to tell us that the people of New South Wales are a race of savages. He is afraid that he would not be able to travel through the territory of that State. We must give him a port. He must have a strip of territory from the Capital city to the sea, seventy miles by twelve. This attitude is not new on the part of the honorable and learned member. He played the same game in the last Parliament with the same motive.
– Is the honorable member responsible for what he is saying?
– Yes, I am.
– I should not have thought it.
– The occasion was when Tumut was selected. The honorable and learned member for Indi moved an amendment that the territory be stretched down to the Murray River, in order to get access to the sea.
– I was not even present when the vote was taken. I believe that it was the honorable member for Grampians who made the proposal, but I was not here.
– I thought that it was the honorable and learned member who started the idea. I apologize to him for making the mistake. New South Wales did not expect to have a model territory carved out of her province. She did not expect to have experiments made in Socialism and collective industry. She took a rational view of this question, and was prepared to grant a certain area of Crown land to the Commonwealth. She did not contemplate that the Commonwealth was to take as much as it liked. If the Prime Minister can approach the Premier of New South Wales and show good reasons for a larger area being granted, probably it will be granted. Butwe should not demand it. The Prime Minister will find that if the people of New South Wales receive proper treatment, and are taken into our confidence, they will not be inclined to strike a niggardly bargain. They have always adopted the policy of open-handedness towards the people of Australia generally. But they certainly are suspicious when Federal members like the honorable and learned member for Indi say that they will not surrender this and that. He must have a Bill, which says that a certain thing shall be done, that there must be an area of not less than 900 square miles - and that may mean any larger area - and that there must be access to the sea. The only lesson to be learnt from this by New South Wales is either that the honorable member wishes to filch too much territory from that State, or that he wishes to further delay the selection of the site.
Mr. REID (East Sydney).- I desire to test the question I raised some time ago, and I now move -
That the word “ shall,” in line 4, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ should.”
I recognise that, although I am opposed to an area of 900 square miles, “the majority of the members of the Committee disagree with me on that point.
– I am not so sure of that.
– The amendment to substitute “ should “ for “ shall “ was carried by a large majority last year.
– I content myself at present with the amendment I have moved. I believe that it will express the view of the majority of honorable members with perfect clearness, and will avoid, what seems to me, to be a positively offensive way of beginning what ought to be a friendly negotiation.
– A great deal too much has been made of the attitude which it is assumed that the Government of New South Wales will take up. We are all agreed with the sentiment expressed by the right honorable member for East Sydney, that the negotiations on this subject between the Commonwealth Government and the Government of New South Wales should be friendly. But it has been inferred, and even asserted, that the Government of New South Wales is so touchy and sensitive on this point that they will quarrel with the Federal Parliament because we use the word “ shall,” and definitely state what it is we desire. Are we to understand that the New South Wales authorities are looking for a quarrel ? As one of the representatives of New South Wales, I cannot help feeling that a number of other representatives of that State are raising a noise about this without any justification. We know that certain remarks have been made on the subject in the New South Wales press, and by some New South Wales politicians ; but no one will tell us that ‘She New South Wales Government will take serious’ notice of those statements. I think it is unfair to them to suggest that they desire to seek a quarrel with the Federal Government.
– Does not the honorable member think they will, when they find that nine times the area mentioned in the Constitution is required?
– The area required does not matter. I am now discussing the terms in which we propose to state what we want. We are all agreed that the negotiations should be friendly, and it is but fair to assume that the New South Wales Government will recognise that, and, personally, I think it is probable that there will be very little discussion about the area suggested. It is unfair to assume that the New South Wales Government will seek to quarrel with the Commonwealth Government, or that the Commonwealth Government will carry on the negotiations from their side in a way which will be annoying or offensive. The New South Wales Government will not analyze and criticise the wording of this provision, as our legal friends have done. Such criticism and analysis may be very necessary in connexion with legal matters, but in business communications between members of Governments, who are men of the world, and have no desire to misunderstand each other, that kind of analysis of terms is not necessary. I have heard no honorable member state that he has any authority from the New South Wales Government for making the assertion that they will object to the terms proposed in this clause. In my judgment the New South Wales people will have no objection to a formal statement of what we are asking for.
– The honorable member for Darling voted for the word “ should “ last session on my motion.
– I do not care whether the word used is “ shall “ or “ should “ ; but I protest against honorable members raising a dust and a stir when all is calm, peaceful, and serene. In my opinion, it is an unfair reflection upon the New South Wales Government to assume that they will analyze this clause in the way suggested, and that if we use the word “ shall,” they will not negotiate with us, but that if we use the word “ should,” they will be prepared to do so. Honorable members in this matter have been making a noise about nothing. We are entitled to assume that the New South Wales Government will act with tact and judgment, and every one admits that the present Prime Minister of the Commonwealth -possesses tact and judgment.
– We should give the honorable gentleman a fair start.
– In my opinion, the Premier of New South Wales, Mr. Waddell, Mr. Carruthers, or whoever he may be, will not quarrel with the Government over this matter. I wish to say a few words about the area. The apparent fear in the minds of some people in New South Wales about our taking 900 square miles, or even a larger area, has puzzled me. I am satisfied with the Government proposal that the area should be 900 square miles. I do not think that less than that area would do. I might give one or two reasons why, in my opinion, we should acquire a much greater area than 100 square miles.
– The question now before the Committee is that the word “ shall “ be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ should.” When that question is disposed of, the honorable member will be at liberty to refer to the area.
– I think there is a great deal more in the contention that we should approach the New South
Wales authorities in this matter in a diplomatic way than some honorable members appear to imagine. I was quite in agreement with the policy of the late Government - who, unfortunately, did not have sufficient back-bone to stand by their policy - that the Seat of Government Bill should fix a certain site, and that the question of the territory should be dealt with by sub sequent legislation, which should be the outcome of negotiations between the Common, wealth Government and the Government of New South Wales, and which should be based on information with respect to the territory proposed to be acquired, which at present we do not possess. We may deal with this matter in a reasonable, diplomatic way, or in an offensive way, and it must not be forgotten that the people of New South Wales are inclined to be a little sensitive on this subject. I remember that on the last occasion, when this matter was dealt with by this Parliament, and when, against the policy of the then Prime Minister, the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, the area proposed to be acquired was stated in the Bill, the Government, the leader of the Opposition, and a large number of honorable members at once committed themselves to an attitude of hostility to the proposal. That was due largely to the way in which it was put. I ask honorable members, on this occasion, to be guided by the experience we have gained in that connexion. The late See Government, in New South Wales, was, if anything, over-friendly to the Federal Government. That is to be accounted for by the fact that it was, to some extent, a Government which had been brought into power by the honorable member for Hume, who was at first the Minister in charge of this measure. So careful were the members of the See Government not to in any way infringe upon the authority of the Federal Government, but on the contrary to consider their wishes in this matter, that although Sir John See was asked to move in the direction of suggesting “a site himself, he resolutely refused to do so, and left the selection entirely to the Federal Government. But as soon as word was sent to New South Wales that this Parliament was asking for a much larger territory than that mentioned in the Constitution, Sir John See, on the very limited information at his disposal, felt compelled to take a hostile stand at once, and the debate which ensued in the State Parliament was decidedly hostile to the Federal proposal, and largely because it was misunderstood. We do not wish to have any misunderstanding with the State Government on this matter. I wish to say that, in supporting the amendment submitted by the leader of the Opposition, I am not opposed to the larger area asked for. My view is that we should adopt the diplomatic method of dealing with this business. In order to prevent friction, and to have it settled as amicably as possible, we should meet the State authorities reasonably. The experience we gained in the last Parliament should teach us that to make anything in the nature of a demand upon New South Wales is not the most diplomatic way in which to secure the concession for which we are seeking. I hope that the Government will agree to the amendment, as it will in some way tone down the request we are making.
– I had hoped to hear from, the Government that they intended to accept this amendment.
– The Government do intend to accept it.
– I mention this, because I see that last year a number of the members of the Government voted in favour of a similar proposal.
– I did not do so.
– -The Minister in charge of the Bill at present did not vote for the proposal, nor, do I think, did the then Minister of Trade and Customs ; but the present Prime Minister, PostmasterGeneral, and Minister of External Affairs all voted in that direction, and -I know they are too consistent to reverse a vote on a matter of this nature.
– Under the circumstances I think, perhaps, it would be better for me to “ climb down “ than to ask my colleagues to reverse their vote. I admit that it is possible we shall be able to carry out these negotiations and bring them to a conclusion more quickly by using the word proposed in preference to any other word ; and, therefore, I am prepared to accept the amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
Mr. ISAACS (Indi).- 1 think there is some force in the observation that the clause as it stands leaves the area unlimited, . and I suggest that there should be a maximum as well as a minimum.
– That would be worse than ever; that would hamper the negotiations more than ever, because there would be an ultimatum with two extremes.
– If the right honorable gentleman is content to leave the clause as it is, I also am content.
– I am content, rather than increase the trouble.
– It appears to me that my suggestion would not increase the trouble. At present it is left open to the Government to ask for as much more territory as they like, though there is a minimum below which the New South Wales Government cannot go. However, if the right honorable member for East Sydney thinks the clause will satisfy New South Wales, I have no more to add.
Amendment (by Mr. Joseph Cook) proposed -
That the word “ nine “ be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ one.”
Mr. SPENCE (Darling).- In regard to the matter of area, there are some considerations which I do not think have been laid before the Committee. There are several requirements of a Capital city which cannot, in my opinion, be complied with if the area be restricted to 100 square miles. For instance, commonage would be required, and there must be quarries for the necessary buildings. Further, it is desirable that the watershed and supply should be within Commonwealth territory ; and there are other considerations, such as the provision of parks, a race-course on which to run the Great Federal Capital Cup Race, and other reserves for recreation. Of course, there cannot be a city in Australia without a -race track ; and I merely suggest these as requirements which it would be difficult to satisfy with an area of 100 square miles. Apart from the consideration of the unearned increment, an area of 900 square miles is not at all too large for the ordinary requirements of such a populous city as we hope to see at no distant date. I hope, therefore, that the Committee will not accept the amendment. In this matter we might, I think, safely trust the Government during the negotiations, to ask for 900 square miles more or less, because we cannot be exact to a yard. It is not fair to assume that the Government, composed of sensible men, will use any technical power they may possess to ask for a great deal more than is absolutely necessary.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).- I recognise that the Committee are against me, and to save time I ask leave to withdraw my amendment. I content myself by saying that I do not think there is the slightest chance of New South Wales agreeing to any such area as that proposed ; and, in my opinion, such an area ought not to be granted.
Mr. REID (East Sydney).- I am glad that the honorable member for Parramatta has withdrawn the amendment. I am just as strongly as is that honorable member against the proposal to take a large area, but I recognise that the majority of honorable members present wish that, at any rate, the attempt shall be made. I bow, with great reluctance, to the decision, feeling that when matters come to negotiation, a mutually conciliatory spirit will be shown.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Mr. ISAACS (Indi). - I beg to move -
That the following words be added, “ and have access to the sea.”
I have before explained why 1 think such a provision’ is desirable, and 1 shall say only two or three words at the present juncture. Without disrespect to any State, I think it is extremely important and desirable that there should be Federal jurisdiction from the Capital to the sea-coast if possible.
– Would the honorable and learned member have submitted the same amendment if Tooma had been chosen ?
– Tooma possesses natural advantages in relation to the Murray River, and in the matter of centrality, which, in my opinion, would have more than compensated for non-access to the sea. But, having chosen Dalgety, it is highly desirable, being possible and not difficult, to have access to the sea.
– 1 ask the Minister in charge to consent to progress being reported.
Mr. REID (East Sydney). - I ask honorable members to endeavour to conclude this business to-night. We adjourned over Friday, and this matter was discussed some time ago, and then thoroughly threshed out. A. great deal of the criticism levelled at us on account of the slow progress made with our business, is, I am afraid, somewhat justified, and I do not think that this matter ought to be taken over to another sitting. It is not as though this was a new proposal, because we have discussed it on all occasions when the question of the Seat of Government has been before us.
– The .right honorable member means that it was discussed in the last Parliament ?
– I feel that we have been going slowly enough in all conscience, and that we ought to finish to-night.
– This is an amendment which requires consideration, and I should have liked to hear those gentlemen who discussed the matter in the last Parliament. It appears to me that a doubt is at once raised as to the distance from the proposed site to the sea, and that, even if that distance be seventy miles, we require to consider what access means.
– The amendment means the division of New South Wales along sixtymiles of country.
– Many honorable members who voted for Dalgety did so because they believed that that site would have access to the sea.
– There will be access ; no fence will be put up.
– But the honorable members referred to believed that the Commonwealth Government would have control of the means of access, and of the land in the immediate neighbourhood of the port.
– And yet those honorable members voted for Tooma, where there would be no access to the sea.
– I am speaking of honorable members who voted not for Tooma, but for Dalgety. I am not speaking of honorable members who voted for Lyndhurst, where there was no possibility of getting any water. There is a great difference between voting for a site with a/i abundance of water, and where it was thought there would be access to a seaport, and voting for a site where, to say the least, I saw no water during my visit. The question arises how much territory do we want, and what is to be the width of the land connecting the territory with the port of Twofold Bay ? What land are we to reserve immediately around the Bay for the purpose of conserving ‘ the interests of the Commonwealth in its control of that part of the territory? Honorable members for Western Australia have said that they voted for Dalgety, not particularly because of the site and its surroundings, but because they thought that some day there will be a port at which they will be able to land, and from which they can be carried by a short line of railway to the Capital without any very great inconvenience.
– It is not necessary for the Commonwealth to own the land to enable honorable members to reach the Capita] in that way ; New South Wales will not stop honorable members.
– But the question arises whether the Commonwealth should not hold that territory. I do not say that it is absolutely necessary that the land should be taken from the control of the State, because I know there would still be access to the harbor. But in view of the fact that the Capital is to be within seventy miles of Twofold Bay, it seems only reasonable that the Commonwealth should control a harbor which is open to attack by an enemy, and which it might be necessary to fortify - a work which could not be carried out by a State.
– It has naval control.
– Yes; but we have no guarantee that the Government of New South Wales will be willing to spend the money necessary to make the port suitable for the purpose.
– Well, they would let the Commonwealth do it.
– Yes, but the questionis : Would the Commonwealth be warranted in the expenditure if it had not possession of the harbor? As we seem to have selected Dalgety largely in the hope that we shall thereby secure a port at Twofold Bay, it is essential that we should have a strip of territory between Dalgety and Twofold Bay which would enable us to connect the Federal Capital with the port, and a strip of land round the foreshores of the Bay, which would enable us to fortify it, and to make it suitable for the purposes of the Commonwealth. I am not able to go very thoroughly into the subject to-night, because I have not had time to examine the map, or to consider the matter in all its bearings : but if we do not get an approach to Twofold Bay, many honorable members will have voted for the Dalgety site under a misapprehension. T shall vote with those who are trying to get as much as they can under Commonwealth control. I object to the Dalgety site, but since it has been selected, I think we should give it a port for the advantage of the people of Western Australia and Tasmania, who will have to travel there by sea.
– Although I was in favour of the selection of Tooma, I had, before seeing that site, ex. pressed myself in favour of Dalgety, and I agree with the honorable member for
Gwydir that quite a number of honorable gentlemen voted for Dalgety in order to obtain a port. The right honorable member for East Sydney has said that the Commonwealth will have access to Twofold Bay in any case, because the Government of New South Wales will not put up fences to debar them; but that argument maybe used in another way. It may be said that the Commonwealth Government will not put up fences. Furthermore, if the Commonwealth obtains possession of Twofold Bay, the State of New South Wales will be saved a large expenditure in making the harbor a good port. I think that if we choose a territory near the sea, it should extend down to the coast, so as to give the Commonwealth an independent outlet.
– It is not necessary to make the proposed amendment in order to bring that about.
– I think it is better to determine that Twofold Bay shall be part of the Federal territory, ‘ and I hope that New South Wales will show sufficient Federal spirit to agree to the arrangement
– If New South Wales shows the same Federal spirit as the other States are showing, it will not give anything to the Commonwealth.
– I think that honor, able members who do not represent New South Wales have shown a large amount of Federal spirit in this matter. Personally it is against my interests’ to have the Capital removed from Melbourne, because it is very convenient for me to be able to get home at the end of the week; but I wish to carry out the provisions of the Constitution, and I believe that it would give complete satisfaction if the Commonwealth were to be granted a territory which would have an independent outlet. Judging from the remarks made by some of the representatives of New South Wales, there will be very little difficulty in getting the people of that State to give us a port, because of the benefits which the State will receive from the Commonwealth expenditure in making the port what it should be. I shall support the amendment.
Mr. BROWN (Canobolas).- I think that it will be better to leave the matter to be settled by diplomacy than to agree to the amendment. If the Government of New South Wales is prepared to include Twofold Bay within the Federal territory, I shall not raise ray voice against the arrangement, but if the State is not pre pared to do so, no vote of mine will be given for the proposal, and there is nothing in the Constitution which will require her to do so. New South Wales interests are supposed to give way whenever the Federal spirit is mentioned, but the Federal spirit is a practically unknown quantity with the representatives of the other States when dealing with New South Wales. What weighed with the members of the last Parliament was the desirability of obtaining access to the Federal Capital without going through New South Wales territory, and that, apparently, is the factor determining the decision on the present occasion. We have been led to suppose that the people of New South Wales are so hostile to Federation that it would be dangerous to have the Commonwealth territory situated entirely within that State. That does not seem to me to be a good exhibition of the Federal spirit.
– The substitution of the word .” should “ f or “ shall “ makes the matter one for negotiation with the Government of New South Wales, and therefore, I think it desirable that we should insert in the clause whatever conditions we wish to impose in regard to the Federal territory. To my mind, the selection made to-night is so unfortunate, in almost every respect, that some compensating advantages are required to make it palatable to the people of the Commonwealth. I believe that future generations will bitterly rue the selection of Dalgety.
– The honorable member is not in order in reflecting upon a vote of the House.
– The one compensating advantage which can be given - and it was to secure this advantage that a large number of honorable members voted for Dalgety - is the possession of a Federal port, and, therefore, I trust that the Committee will agree to the amendment.
– It is hardly fair to absolutely settle this matter to-night, since a considerable number of honorable members, who did not know that it was coming on, are absent.
– They should be here. I have never complained when a vote has been taken in my absence.
– This is the first time I have heard the leader of the Opposition urging the Government to go on with the business in hand.
– The Government are so slow that some one must drive them.
– We have gone right through the Bill to-day, and certainly cannot be accused of delay in connexion with this matter. I propose to take a vote now; but the Government will agree to a recommittal, should it be desired, because a considerable number of members is absent.
– That is fair, if a majority is in favour of a recommittal.
– I think that the Commonwealth Government should have the right to connect the Federal territory by railway with the nearest port, should they desire to do so.
– That right can be negotiated for without the introduction of the proposed provision.
– Quite so. I think, however, that it is well to place these words in the Bill.
– The right to construct a railway would be of no use unless the Commonwealth had the port too.
– The port would be there, in any case. What we desire is access to a port, and we should negotiate for the right to make railway communication to the nearest port. If there were a strip of New South Wales territory between the Federal territory and the’ sea, the State Government might refuse to allow the Commonwealth to construct such a railway as I speak of.
– Why suggest that?
– One would think that we were dealing with Manchuria instead of with New South Wales.
– The attitude which I think New South Wales might take up is that which is being at present assumed by South Australia in respect to the proposed Transcontinental Railway.
– That is gross repudiation in the case of South Australia.
– That may or may not be; but it shows that the’ fear that some honorable members entertain that the Commonwealth may be denied access to the sea is not without foundation.
– The difficulty will not be overcome by the adoption of the amendment.
– I admit that I do not say that it is absolutely necessary to make a distinct provision in the Bill, because’ negotiations must proceed upon the lines indicated.
– The Minister will have a stream of cold water poured down his back when he begins to negotiate.
– That would not paralyze me, or prevent me from carrying out the negotiations on. the lines that this Parliament desires. I do not think that the amendment will make a great deal of difference, but I see no objection to inserting it in the Bill.
– It will only make a further demand upon the New South Wales Government.
– I cannot conceive that the New South Wales Government would refuse to accede to such a reasonable request. The amendment is simply declaratory, and I shall support it.
– There is no objection; we shall all vote for it.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 4 agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
House adjourned at 11.7 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 9 August 1904, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1904/19040809_reps_2_21/>.