House of Representatives
14 October 1904

2nd Parliament · 1st Session



Mr. Speaker took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.

page 5589

PERSONAL EXPLANATION

Mr HENRY WILLIS:
Robertson

– I wish to make a personal explanation. In today’s Argus the leader of the Opposition is reported to have said last night -

Mr. Willis, in his speech, said that the Labour Party was -so well organized that there should be no dissolution at the present time. He was aware that the feeling of the country was against the Ministry, and therefore did not desire a dissolution.

I have consulted Hansard, which, as honorable members know, is a verbatim report, and I find that the words which I used were these -

Honorable members opposite have derived some satisfaction from a reckless statement of the honorable member for Wilmot, that were a dissolution to take place at the present time, the polls would be swept by the Labour Party. The honorable member might be able to let’ himself down softly in that way, but he could not deceive me, nor could he deceive Mr. Tom Mann, who has said that honorable members opposite would go further than they now profess to be prepared to go, and that if they were candid and honest, and said what they really believed in,’ . they would go the full lengthof. Socialism, according to the Fabian Essays, and of the socialistic movement of England, and the Continent.; but he adds that they are not supported by the people.

There is a great difference between the two statements. I think that my views as reported in Hansard are very clearly and definitely set out.

page 5589

QUESTION

SUGAR BOUNTY ACT

Mr FISHER:
WIDE BAY, QUEENSLAND

– I wish to know from the Prime Minister if he has received a communication from the Premier of Queensland regarding’ the continuance of the Sugar Bounty Act, and dealing with the whole subject. If he has, will he be good enough to lay it upon the table ?

Mr REID:
Minister for External Affairs · EAST SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · Free Trade

– No such communication has yet reached me, but if such a letter is received, there will be no objection to laying it on the table.

page 5589

MANUFACTURES ENCOURAGEMENT BILL

Mr WEBSTER:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES

– Is it a fact that, prior to the defeat of the Watson Government, a promise was made to the honorable member for Eden-Monaro, conditionally or un. conditionally, that he would be given charge of the Manufactures Encouragement Bill if the then Government was put out of office, and the present Government came into power?

Mr REID:
Free Trade

– It is not a fact.

page 5590

REFUND OF DUTY

SirWILLIAM LYNE. - Can the Minister of Trade and Customs give the House any information regarding a claim made by Mr. Sandford for a refund of duty on steel rails paid some time ago? The matter was afterwards taken into court. I wish to know if the Government have withdrawn their defence, and if they are now prepared to pay. the claim. If so, willthe Minister lay the papers upon the table? I do not ask the question in any hostile spirit ; but if the Government have done what I think they have done, I wish the papers to be made public, so that my action, and that of some of my colleagues, in reference to the matter may be disclosed.

Mr McLEAN:
Minister for Trade and Customs · GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · Protectionist

– The matter came under my notice a little time ago, as one which had been partly dealt with by my predecessors. On making inquiries, I found that the equities of the case were with Mr. Sandford, and I therefore sent instructions to Sydney not’ to enter a defence.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES

– Will the Minister lay on the table the papers connected with the matter?

Mr McLEAN:

– There is no objection- to doing so.

page 5590

QUESTION

PREFERENCE. TO LOCAL TENDERERS

Mr TUDOR:
for Mr. Crouch

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice - (1)Whether he proposes to carry out the policy that in all Government contracts preference shall be given to local manufactures and products?

  1. Whether he will cause to be inserted in all Government contracts a condition that goods which can be reasonably manufactured in Australia should have preference over similar articles manufactured outside?
Mr REID:
Free Trade

– The following are the replies to the honorable ^member’s questions : -

  1. No general rule has been adopted. Each case will be judged on its merits, with the desire to make use of Australian articles where conditions justify.
  2. The present system will be adhered to.
Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -

  1. Whether he has yet submitted to the Cabinet the question of continuing the practice of distinguishing between Australian and European tenderers by giving the former an advantage of 15 per cent, over the latter in their dealings with his Department?
  2. If he has so submitted the question, have his colleagues approved of the continuance of the practice?
  3. Can he point to any constitutional or legis lative authority for such differential treatment of Commonwealth citizens, on the ground of nationality ?
Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I would point out to the honorable and learned memberthat this question has already been answered by the reply given by the Prime Minister to the question just asked by the honorable member for Yarra.

Mr Reid:

– Is the honorable membergoing to answer questions, or are Ministers to be allowed to do so?

Mr Mahon:

– I shall see that Ministers answer the questions which- are asked. I shall put another set on the notice-paper.

Mr Reid:

– That is a very terrible. threat.

Mr Mahon:

– I shall see that. the Prime Minister does not bull-doze the House, in that way.

Mr SPEAKER:

– Order. It will be impossible for meto carry out my duties as. Speaker unless I am supported by honorable members.

page 5590

QUESTION

FIRST COMMONWEALTH CONTINGENT

Mr HARPER:
MERNDA, VICTORIA

asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -

  1. Why have the members of. the First Commonwealth Contingent, which returned from South Africa about two years ago, not - yet received their medals, although the members of the Second Commonwealth Contingent have, it is said, received theirs?
  2. Are the members of the First Commonwealth Contingent to receive extra medals from the Commonwealth Government? If so, when will these be presented?
Mr McCAY:
Minister for Defence · CORINELLA, VICTORIA · Protectionist

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

  1. Neither the members, of the First nor the Second Commonwealth Contingent have yet received their medals ; but advice was recently received from- the Home Government that they would shortly be ready for issue, and they may now, therefore, soon be expected. The delay, that has taken place in the matter has been occasioned, it is understood, by the large number of medals to be issued, and the necessaTy checking of the Rolls.
  2. It is not intended by the Government to award any extra medals to members of the First Commonwealth Contingent.

“EXISTING AND ACCRUING RIGHTS.”

Mr GLYNN:
ANGAS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -

Referring to his answer to the question of the honorable member for Barker, on 8th September, on the matter of the annual increases to civil servants under State Acts, and generally to the matter of existing and accruing rights under section 84 of the Commonwealth Constitution -

Are the law officers, including the AttorneyGeneral, of opinion that none of the following payments or rights under State Acts in force when the Department of the State became subject to the Executive control ‘of the Commonwealth, are existing or accruing rights within the meaning of the Constitution : -

Annual salaries.

Prescribed annual increases of such salaries.

Commission on work done by an officer as part of the duties, or by reason, of his office.

Are the law officers of opinion that rights under such State Acts may be taken away by a Federal Act? If Yes-

What, in the opinion of the law officers, are existing or accruing rights within the meaning of Section 84 of the Constitution?

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

– The answer to the honorable and learned member’s questions is as follows : -

It is considered generally undesirable to furnish legal opinions given by law officers of the Crown to the ex-Government, especially when the cases submitted may come before the High Court for decision. As already partially intimated in reply to a previous question, it may be stated that it was held by the Crown Law Officers that, on confirmation by the GovernorGeneral, the classification of the service made by the Public Service Commissioner supersedes the State Acts as regard salaries, increments, and allowances.

The present Attorney-General has given no opinion on the matters referred to.

page 5591

QUESTION

PUBLIC SERVICE CLASSIFICATION

Mr LONSDALE:
NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES

asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -

  1. Since the scheme for the classification of the Public Service has been presented to this House, has the Commissioner informed any public officers that they are not entitled to the grade assigned to them therein, but to a lower one?
  2. If so, on what grounds, and in how many instances in respect of each State?
Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– The answer to . the honorable member’s questions is as follows : - 1 and 2. A clerical error occurs in the printed classification, whereby six officers in the New South Wales Customs are given wrong designa tion; when this was discovered, the Commissioner notified the officers of same. They are described as third instead of fourth class inspectors, but the mistake is self-evident, as the classification and pay of the officers show their positions as in the fourth class. Five of the officers referred to have been granted an increase in the classification. The Commissioner is not aware of any other similar cases.

page 5591

QUESTION

PROVISIONAL PATENT REGULATIONS

Mr EWING:
for Mr. Deakin

asked the Minister of Trade and Customs, upon notice -

  1. When the provisional Patent regulations tentatively adopted on 31st May are proposed to bc finally approved?
  2. Whether any and what alterations are intended to be made in the provisional regulations?
  3. Whether those interested will be afforded an opportunity of making suggestions relating to the regulations, as proposed to be amended?
  4. When will the first complete specifications under the Federal Patents Act be accepted?
Mr McLEAN:
Protectionist

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

  1. Probably within the next fortnight.
  2. Yes ; such alterations as the working of the provisional regulations may prove necessary or desirable will be made in accordance with the piactice in such cases. They will probably, however, be of a slight character.
  3. In accordance with the Rules Publication Act, the regulations were gazetted on the 31st May last, and persons interested had then sixty days’ notice in which to make any suggestions. A few suggestions have been received, and these have been given due consideration.
  4. Complete specifications will be accepted when the indexes of the State Patent Offices have been put in order. The difficulty of bringing the Act into effective operation in this connexion was clearly indicated by Mr. Deakin when the Bill was under discussion in Parliament during its second reading, when the Honorable member remarked that it would probably take a considerable time before complete specifications could be accepted.(Vide Hansard, 29th September, 1903, page 5507 ; and 30th September, page 5591.)

The Patents indexes and records of all States except New South Wales are now being carefully inspected, but in regard to - the last-mentioned State a difficulty has arisen, which it is hoped may be shortly adjusted. The Commissioner is using every effort to push on with this work.

page 5591

QUESTION

TEMPORARY OFFICIALS : CUSTOMS DEPARTMENT

Mr LONSDALE:

asked the Minister of Trade and Customs, upon notice -

Whether it is the intention of the Public Service Commissioner to recommend that the exemption of certain officers in the temporary service of the Department of Trade and Customs at Sydney (enumerated in notification of 23rd June) shall be renewed at and from 1st October, 1904, in those cases where the officers have carried out their duties in a satisfactory and efficient manner?

Mr McLEAN:
Protectionist

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

Pending re-adjustment of the permanent staff consequent on classification, the exemption of certain officers in the temporary service of the Department of Trade and Customs, at Sydney, has been renewed from the1st October, 1904, for three months. Such exemption will not, it is anticipated, be extended further, and the persons concerned cannot be made permanent officials.

page 5592

QUESTION

FEDERAL CAPITAL SITE

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -

  1. Whether the Government is yet in a position to say how much of the 900 square miles to be appropriated for Federal Capital purposes consists of Crown lands such as the Commonwealth is entitled to ask the Government of New South Wales to grant free of change, and what proportion of such area is private property such as the Commonwealth will require to resume and pay for?
  2. If not yet in a position to give an answer, how soon does he anticipate being able to do so?
Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– The information desired by the honorable and learned member is not yet complete, and I would ask him to repeat the question on Tuesday next, when I think that a reply can be furnished.

Mr HUTCHISON:
for Sir Langdon Bonython

asked the Minister of Home Affairs, uppn notice -

Whether, in his negotiations with the New South Wales Government in regard to Federal territory, he will endeavour to provide that the teiritory shall include the watershed from which the water supply for the Capital must be obtained ?

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

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

Provision for the preservation of the catchment area has already been proposed in the- negotiations, and will continue to receive attention.

page 5592

QUESTION

HIGH COURT

Mr EWING:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

If he will’ lay upon the table of the House a return showing the amount of work performed by the High Court during the first year of its existence, viz. : -

A list of the cases heard, with a very brief indication of the nature of each case ;

A list of the cases awaiting hearing, with similar details;

What has been about the average period taken in dealing with an appeal by the High Court ;

What was approximately the period which an appeal to the Privy Council involved before the decision was registered in the local courts?

Mr REID:

– I should like the honorable member to move for the production of the information he desires, in the shape of a return.

Mr THOMAS:
BARRIER, NEW SOUTH WALES

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

Whether he will lay upon the table of the House a return showing -

The number of full days on which the High Court sat, and dealt with causes during the first year of its existence, distinguishing the days -

When one Judge sat alone?

When the three Judges sat to gether ?

The number of appeals sent to the Privy Council, and the number of appeals sent to the High Court, during the same period ; and how many, of the latter appeals could have been taken to the Privy Council?

The time spent by the Judges in travel ling?

The number of causes finally disposed of by the Court in each State?

The allowance and travelling expenses (apart from salaries) of the Judges during the year?

The allowance and travelling expenses (apart from salaries) of the associates, marshals, tipstaffs, and other functionaries of the Court during the year?

The amount of other expenditure in connexion with the Court during the year?

Mr REID:

-I would ask the honorable member to follow the course I have just suggested to the honorable member for Richmond, and to move for a return. There will be no objection to such a motion, but I desire to suggest one or two alterations in form which would tend to further the object the honorable member has in view.

page 5592

QUESTION

NATIVES OF INDIA

Mr FISHER:
for Mr. Higgins

asked the Minister of External Affairs, upon notice -

  1. Is he aware of any pledge given by the British Government, by treaty, or proclamation, or otherwise, to the effect that natives of India are to be admitted to all parts of the British Empire?-
  2. If so, can he obtain and communicate to this House the date and full particulars of any such pledge?
Mr REID:
Free Trade

– In reply to the honorable member, I have to say that I am not aware of any pledge given by the British Government.

page 5592

QUESTION

GENERAL OFFICER COMMANDING

Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT

asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -

Whether the Government intend to re-appoint Major-General Hutton as head of the Austraiian Military Forces?

Mr McCAY:
Protectionist

– The General Officer Commanding has not made any request or suggestion to the Government that his term of office should be extended. On the contrary, some time ago, he asked that the usual arrangements might be made to enable him to return to England in the usual way at the termination of his command, and such arrangements have been proceeded with.

page 5593

KALGOORLIE TO PORT AUGUSTA RAILWAY SURVEY BILL

Second Reading

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

– I think that I shall best serve the interests of the House if, after the full discussion, including the statement made by myself, which took place at a previous stage, I now content myself with moving -

That the Bill be now read a second time.

Mr WATKINS:
Newcastle

– I should like to know whether any provision has been made upon the lines of the suggestion put forward by me during the previous debate, rhat experts should accompany the survey party, with a view to reporting upon the mineral resources of the country along the route of the proposed railway.

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

– That matter will receive the fullest consideration.

Mr. LONSDALE (New England).During the previous discussion upon this matter I suggested that the Bill should contain some provision for the reservation of the land along the route of the proposed railway against- alienation by the States Governments. I stated that if that was not provided for I should certainly oppose the Bill. Whilst the survey is being made, no opportunity should be afforded to any. one to monopolize the land along the proposed route, and this is the proper time to make provision against it. What would be the use of making the railway if the land were gone?

Mr Fowler:

– Is the land going to dissolve into thin air?

Mr LONSDALE:

– The honorable mem ber is very smart. He knows very well that I refer to the land passing into the hands of private individuals.

Mr Fowler:

– Why does not the honorable member advocate the single tax?

Mr LONSDALE:

– I am advocating it in this connexion, and if the honorable member has any desire to help the masses of whom he is so fond of speaking, he will prevent individualism-

Mr SPEAKER:

– I must confine the debate to the question before the Chair, which,, so far as I can see, has nothing to do with Socialism or individualism. The question is “ That the Bill be now read a second time.”

Mr LONSDALE:

– My point is that the Bill provides for the survey of a proposed line of railway through the territory of two States, and I desire that the land should be protected by proclamation against being monopolized by individuals. I think that I am justified in speaking upon that joint, because, unless some provision is made for reserving the land, I shall oppose the survey.

Mr Fowler:

– Would the honorable member reserve the minerals in the land from exploitation?

Mr LONSDALE:

– I would reserve both the land and any minerals which it may contain for the benefit of the Commonwealth. The money received from the sale of the land could afterwards be applied to liquidating the cost of constructing the railway. I merely desire what is fair. I wish the Commonwealth to be protected in its expenditure, and I desire to prevent any expenditure being incurred in the interests of private capitalists. I am aware that the Commonwealth has no power to reserve this land, but I ask that the Bill shall provide that the States shall reserve it.

Mr Groom:

– We cannot insert such a provision in a Railway Survey Bill.

Mr LONSDALE:

– We can refuse to pass the Bill unless the States consent to reserve the land. It is useless to attempt to wriggle out of that position. I take it that the members of the Labour Party desire to prevent the capitalist from obtaining an advantage over other persons, and that, consequently, they will support my suggestion. I merely say that a man shall have what he himself earns. I am prepared to do my best to block this Bill unless some provision of the character I have indicated be inserted in it. It appears to me that the advocates of the measure are prepared to sacrifice every principle simply to suit the needs of their own States.

Sir JOHN FORREST:
Swan

– I take no exception to the honorable member’s desire that the States through which the proposed railway will pass should reserve a reasonable area upon each side of it, but I fail to see how they can do that until the route has been determined. I am sure that if the Ministry make representations upon the subject to the Western. Australian Government no difficulty will be experienced in inducing them to give effect to their views. At the same time, nobody desires that any . mineral wealth which may be discovered shall not be worked. Personally, I am of opinion that no minerals will be found in Western Australia except within about 250 miles of Kalgoorlie. Indeed, in a private letter which I received the other day it was stated that a mining lease comprising ninety-six acres had been ‘applied for, about 250 miles to the east of Kurnalpie, which- would be somewhere near the probable route of the railway. Of course it would be altogether adverse to the interests of the Commonwealth to place any restrictions whatever upon the working of mineral leases: But I am convinced that no difficulty will be experienced in inducing the Government of Western Australia to reserve from alienation- any reasonable area upon each side of the projected line. I am sure that the representatives of that State share my opinion. Probably it would be advisable to set apart, say, twenty or thirty miles upon each side of the railway, but of course there would be nothing to prevent that area from being leased for pastoral purposes, as the land is quite, suitable for pastoral purposes when water is procured. At the present time, however, we do not know the exact route which the line will follow. I can assure honorable members that it is not merely the value of country which the railway will traverse which induces me and those associated with me to advocateits construction. I. am impelled to do so from a desire to connect the eastern States with Western Australia, and thus to make Federation a reality. Until a Bill authorizing the construction of the line is before us, I think that the honorable member’s suggestion is premature.

Mr POYNTON:
Grey

– I am not quite sure as to what the honorable member for New England desires. Does he wish to reserve’ an area upon each side of the proposed line for all time?

Mr Lonsdale:

– No.

Mr POYNTON:

– I would remind, the honorable’ member that there is a land tax operative in South Australia. I understand that he believes in a land tax.

Mr Lonsdale:

– I do.

Mr POYNTON:

– I would point out to him that any land which might be alienated would be subject to a land tax. Personally, I do not see how we can define the particular locality in which any area should be reserved at the present time. The honorable member ought to be quite satisfied, seeing that in South Australia a land tax is in operation.

Mr Lonsdale:

– I am not satisfied with the kind of land tax that is levied there. I am of opinion that the country upon each side of the projected line should be reserved by the States which it will traverse. After the railway has been constructed it might be sold.

Mr POYNTON:

– I have no doubt as to South Australia’s attitude upon this matter. That State would be quite prepared to reserve land upon each side of the proposed line for certain purposes, but the suggestion that we should make provision for it in this Bill, even though we do not know the route which the railway will follow, seems to me a very impracticable one. If the honorable member will defer his proposal until the measure authorizing the construction of the line’ is under consideration he will be acting wisely.

Mr FOWLER:
Perth

– I am quite in sympathy with the object which the honorable member for New England wishes to attain, but I contend that the present is not an opportune time to give effect to his suggestion. I can assure him that the members of the present Western Australian Government are fully seized of the necessity for preventing any unfair exploitation of the resources of that State. The previous Government were called upon to: deal with several cases in which attempts were made by syndicates to obtain undue control of large areas. These were promptly frustrated. If my memory serves me correctly, I think that even in the direction which the railway is intended to take some veiy active gentlemen endeavoured some’ time ago to secure large blocks of land. However, their little scheme was discovered, and quickly thwarted. The honorable mem- ber for New England may rest assured that the Western Australian Government are fully alive to the need for preventing exploitation of the national resources in theway that he fears. As regards mineral’ wealth, however, I confess that the positionis somewhat different.

Mr Mcwilliams:

– The land is no good, and the minerals are.

Mr FOWLER:

– I believe that the land is good. To a large extent it is unknown territory, but the honorable member knowsthat discoveries are being made which show that parts of the world that a few years ago were regarded as utterly worthless are of immense value.

Mr Hutchison:

– Like the desert in South Australia.

Mr FOWLER:

– That is a case in point ; but I have more particularly in mind the great country of Siberia. A few years ago it was regarded as a terrible wilderness, and the worst criminals were consigned there in order that fitting punishment might” meet their misdeeds; but it is now being found excellent for settlement. I merely mention this as an illustration of the discoveries that will probably be made when this particular portion of Australia is being surveyed. I trust that competent men will be sent with the party with a view to reveal the resources of that belt of country. If that be done I believe it will be found that considerable mineral wealth exists there. I would ask that the consideration be kept before the House that this after, all is merely a legitimate inquiry, and that Western Australia is fairly entitled to expect that a matter of this kind, which is of considerable national import, will be taken in hand by the Federal Parliament now that the opportunity offers. I feel satisfied that the result of the inquiry, if it be undertaken, will be to add another valuable province to the Australian Commonwealth.

Mr REID:
Minister of External Affairs · East Sydney · Free Trade

. -I believe that every honorable member is in. full sympathy with the object which the honorable member for New England has in view. If such precautions as he suggests had been taken from the beginning, in connexion with the extension of railways throughout Australia, I believe that the whole of our railway debts would be represented by the value of the lands in the neighbourhood of the lines. Innumerable difficulties arise where the land has been alienated, but I believe that there is no such difficulty in connexion ‘with almost the whole extent of. the country to be traversed by this projected1 line..

Mr Page:

– What afcout South Australia?

Mr REID:

– I understand that the whole of the country is within the Crown lands of South Australia and Western Australia. We cannot in any way interfere with the management of those Crown lands, either by the Parliament or the Government of South Australia, or by the Parliament or Government of Western ‘Australia. My honorable friend, I am sure, does not intend that we should1-. But there is an obvious utility in directing the attention of those within whose government such matters are to the importance of the step suggested, and I can assure the House that I shall feel no difficulty in my own relations’ with the Premiers of those or other Australian States in entering upon the fullest correspondence with them on such a matter as that now before us.

Mr Thomas:

– South Australia was prepared to give the land to a private company to build the railway.

Mr REID:

– I feel sure that in all these matters of great public importance, there will be no sensitiveness preventing the free interchange of views ; and I can assure my honorable friend, the member for New England, and also the honorable member for Newcastle: - who made the most important suggestion that as the work progresses surveys for mineral purposes should be made - that while these are matters which are entirely beyond our individual power as a Commonwealth, I feel confident that the different States Governments will be only too glad to have our assistance and cooperation in dealing with them. I can assure the House that all these matters will be placed fully before the Governments concerned.

Mr KELLY:
Wentworth

– When the consideration of the Governor- General’s message, was before us, the honorable and learned member for Parkes made the eminently wise suggestion that in dealing with this proposed survey we should endeavour to insure. that the States of Western Australia and South Australia, in the event of the Commonwealth failing to construct the line within a reasonable period of the completion of the survey, should bear the- cost of the survey,, for which we are now arranging to provide; I have only risen at the pfesent juncture to let the Minister in charge of the Bill know that, in the- event of the honorable and learned- member for Parkes failing when we go into Committee to move an amendment in. the direction I have outlined,. I shall, myself submit an amendment in the direction- -

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The honorable member for Parramatta proposes to move an amendment.

Mr KELLY:

– As I understand that an amendment isto be moved, I shall refrain from making any further observations at this stage. I thought it fair to let the Minister in charge of’ the Bill know what I intended to do.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I never feel sadder than when I have to differ from the right honorable member for Swan and the other representatives of Western Australia. I sympathize with them in their desire, as the right honorable member says, to connect the east with the west, and so consummate the great scheme of Australian Union ; but there are practical considerations which ought not to be overlooked. The proposal made by the honorable member for New England is not without precedent, I think, in all the States. For two and a half years L. as Minister controlling the construction of railways in New South Wales, laid it down as an indispensable condition that in every instance a reserve of ten miles should be made on each side of any State railway which was to be constructed, and I have reason to know that, in consequence of that action, a very considerable increment accrued to the State.

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

– That matter was dealt with in each case when the Bill providing for the construction of the line was before Parliament.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– That is so. I quite admit that, in a Bill of the description now before us, we cannot provide for the actual reservation of land ; but we must remember, as business men, that this is an initial step that may ultimately lead to the construction of a line costing £5,000,000 or £6,000,000.

Sir John Forrest:

– Do not say £5,000,000.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Then I shall say £3,000,000.

Sir John Forrest:

– That is nearer the mark.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The principle involved is the same whether it be a line costing £100,000 or £10,000,000. “It must be ‘admitted by every honorable member that if a syndicate were to come tomorrow to the Commonwealth Parliament, or to go to the Western Australian Government, with an offer to construct the line, and propose, as a condition of the expenditure of so large a sum, that they should have a- reservation, and ultimately a gift, of a very large extent of territory on both sides of the line,, it would be regarded as a very business-like proposal, and one which any syndicate or any company would be. justified in making at all events, for the consideration of the Government about to have the railway constructed.

Mr Fowler:

– Western Australia has suffered severely from that policy in the past, and will not incur the same suffering again.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– We are asked to embark on a preliminary survey, and if . honorable members consider for a moment they will be able to follow and acquiesce in the line of argument I am about to take. This expenditure is proposed for the purpose of laying down,’ in a rough way, perhaps, the line which this particular railway is intended to take in the future. I do not say that there will be shown, within a mile, the exact route which will ultimately be taken, but there will be an indication, as the result of a survey made at the expense of the Commonwealth, of the particular direction which the railway will follow. We all know that the intimation of the line of survey will be the signal for a number of adventurous spirits, whom I am not prepared for a moment to denounce - it will be the signal for a number of enterprising men to look round with . a view to purchasing land, which we know in some parts of Western Australia-

Sir John Forrest. According to law, there can be no purchase of land in those districts in Western Australia.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Well, then, it will be the signal for them to acquire land in some sort of way. I should be very sorry to approach the Western Australian Government with an offer, even to purchase land, a good deal of which has not yet been explored, from the fear they might accept my money. I am quite sure that we may readily assume that if anybody were to approach the Western Australian Government

Sir John Forrest:

– The honorable and learned member ought not to libel Western Australia.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I do not know that I am libelling Western Australia by saying that the people there are a businesslike community, prepared to sell land for money. I am quite satisfied that if any one were to approach the Western Australian Government and offer to take up land on long lease or in a freehold for money payment, the offer would be welcomed. But my point - from “which the interjections are calculated to divert me - is that the moment this line of survey is, I shall not say determined, but indicated, a number of enterprising capitalists will endeavour tc« get hold of land in the vicinity. They will know very well that should it become necessary to resume land, the test of the compensation will be what was given for it and what it was worth before the railway was actually undertaken. On the other hand, if the land is not resumed, the occupiers will acquire the increment which results from the construction of the railway through what, at present, is unexplored country. I consider it necessary that before embarking on this expenditure of ,£20,000, we should require the, two Governments through whose territory the line is likely to run, to satisfy the Commonwealth Government that they have reserved from sale or lease a large extent of territory on each side. . The object is that when we, as a Parliament, hereafter undertake the actual construction, we may lay it down as a condition that the Commonwealth shall, in some form or other, have a quid fro quo in the shape of a large extent of territory which would represent compensation for the outlay. The honorable member for Perth suggested that this is an inopportune time to consider this matter. If I thought that the time was inopportune I should not attempt to stop the progress of the Bill at this stage ; but we are now about to sanction the expenditure of about ,£20,000, for what purpose? For the purpose of showing the world the line that this railway is likely to take - for the purpose of pointing out to enterprising men, the particular direction in which it will pay them to take up land. If something is not done at this stage, we shall probably be told When we come to sanction the actual expenditure on the construction of the ‘line, and we ask Western Australia and South Australia to offer some quid fro quo in the shape of land concessions, “ It is too late ; the moment the survey was completed the whole of the land along the line was taken up bv enterprising capitalists.”

Sir John Forrest:

– A great furore is being made about this matter !

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The right honorable member for Swan says that we are getting up a great furore; but he is a keen business man himself, and I am quite sure he appreciates the logic of my argument.

Sir John Forrest:

– It would be a dishonorable thing for the Western Australian Government to do.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– It is hardly fair for the right honorable gentleman to say that the suggestion I make, which involves the Western Australian Government in some action, would be dishonorable.

Sir John Forrest:

– I say it would be dishonorable on the part of the Western Australian Government to do such a thing.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I do not think the right honorable gentleman is right in suggesting that I am proposing something which would involve the Western Australian Government in a dishonorable action.

Sir John Forrest:

– I beg the honorable and learned member’s pardon, but I did not say what he now attributes to me. What I wished to imply was that if the Western Australian Government sold or disposed of the land while we were considering the advisability of constructing the railway, they would be acting discreditably and dishonorably

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I am speaking from practical experience. I know that the New South Wales Government directed the resumption of land on each side of a railway at the time of survey - directly there was an indication of the line along which a railway was to be constructed.

Mr DAVID THOMSON:
CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND · ALP

– Otherwise we should have all the “ land-sharks “ at work.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I will not use the word “ sharks,” because I think it represents too hysterical a view of the position. A number of enterprising capitalists are willing to invest money with a view to the settlement of the country, and we need not allow our differences of opinion as to how those gentlemen should be characterized to interfere with the question we are considering. We all admit that there are in the community men with money who would seize upon any opportunity to get such land at the cheapest possible price; and if the Commonwealth is going to construct the line, it is the Commonwealth, and not capitalists outside, who should be considered.

Mr King O’malley:

– Hear, hear ! The honorable and learned member’ is a good Socialist.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I am afraid that some honorable members are individualists without knowing it. If this is a Bill which will immediately lead to the determination of the line along which the proposed railway is to be constructed, then this is .the occasion for taking steps to require the two States Governments concerned to reserve land on each side to a width which this Parliament may determine. We know very well that in connexion with a railway which has been constructed in a northerly part’ of. South

Australia bv private enterprise, a concession of a very extraordinary and, perhaps, startling character has been offered by the State Government.

Mr Hutchison:

– That was one of the most shocking concessions ever suggested.

Mr Mahon:

– It was a concession offered and not considered good enough toy any syndicate in the world.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Honorable members know that similar concessions have been granted in Queensland and New Zealand.

Mr Mahon:

– And also in Western Australia.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I ask honorable members for Western Australia what objection they can have to the suggestion I have made? The Western Australian Government would only be asked to undertake to reserve a certain width of land along the whole line of railway immediately the route is ascertained. If no objection to the SuKgestion can be fairly offered, then the Western Australian people and representatives ought to assist any one who seeks to impose such a condition. I, therefore, thoroughly approve of the suggestion made by the honorable member for New England, and I do not hesitate to say that this is not only the most opportune occasion, but the only occasion, on which such a proposal can be effectively made.

Mr JOHNSON:
Lang

– I am thoroughly in accord with the principles just enunciated by the honorable and learned member for Parkes. I confess I am not quite sure whether this was the occasion to raise this particular point, but the arguments which have been addressed to the House convince me that the present opportunity should be seized by the Government to enter into negotiations or correspondence with the Governments of the States concerned, with a view to preserve the public rights in the public lands along the route of the proposed railway. I have often expressed the opinion that the honorable and learned member for Parkes was a democrat, and I think that the speech he has just delivered fully bears out that contention. Some of our honorable friends interjected that the honorable and learned member’s proposal was an example of Socialism. But there is a distinct difference between this proposal and socialistic proposals, because in this case the public rights in. the lands are sought to be preserved. There is’ no suggestion to nationalize any private capital or any private industrial enterprise. It is a purely protective act so far as the rights of the general public are concerned, having for its object the prevention of public rights in public property being invaded for private gain. In the past we have had so much experience of the extent to which public lands have been exploited by private individuals, when public expenditure has enhanced their value, that it is our duty to see that the public rights are preserved before sums of money are voted by the Federal Parliament which would have the effect of enhancing the value of the public estate. The lands through which this survey is proposed to be made still belong to South Australia and Western Australia. It is only reasonable that the Government should enter into communication with those States, with a view to preserving to the public a certain proportion of the lands on each side of the route surveyed, and so prevent their passing into the hands of private individuals.

Mr Fowler:

– That is practically the policy of Western Australia.

Mr JOHNSON:

– That may be so, but the trouble is that honorable members who represent different portions of the two States in this Parliament have not the power to speak for them, or to say what their Governments will do in this connexion. They may have full sympathy with the ideas which are here expressed, but they have no power to say that this or that will be done. The only way in which we can get a satisfactory assurance that these things will be done will be by negotiations such as those which are proposed, and which I am very glad to hear have been promised by the Prime Minister. I hope that they will lead to a recognition of the. necessity of preserving the public rights in the lands through which the railway will ultimately pass.

Mr WILSON:
Corangamite

– We should first bear in mind the fact that the survey or the construction of this railway has been made a Commonwealth matter. It ought to be shown bv its advocates that either the survey or the building of the railway, would be of considerable -benefit to the whole of the Commonwealth. I have read most carefully the case as put forward by people in Western Australia; I have read as many other papers as I . could get, as well as portions of the diaries of celebrated explorers who went through part of this country, tout I have not found one recommendation for a survey of this line at present.

Mr Fowler:

– I am afraid that the honorable member started with a decided prejudice.

Mr WILSON:

– If I were to allow private reasons to rise above public considerations I should vote for the construction of this railway, in order to have a rapid connexion between this side of the continent and Perth. But I feel that the first question we have to consider is whether the Commonwealth is justified in incurring this expenditure at the present moment. All the evidence points distinctly in the opposite direction.

Mr Frazer:

– Is the honorable member against getting information ?

Mr WILSON:

– It is not a question of getting information.

Mr Frazer:

– It is absolutely so.

Mr WILSON:

– We are already provided with a considerable amount of information on the subject. We have had a very close inquiry ; we have had many persons going through portions of this country, and, so far as can be ascertained, the best thing that one can get to eat there is a wurrung or a chockalock, and one’s supply of water has to be carried. I feel that the construction of this railway may be very necessary when the hands of civilization in Port Augusta and Kalgoorlie have stretched out nearer to one another than they have done. But that I think will riot be until some time next century.

Mr Hutchison:

– We have a splendid gold and copper field there now.

Mr WILSON:

– There may be a splendid gold and copper field. I can tell the honorable member of another part of Western Australia where there is a splendid gold-field, and where copper, gems, and other things can be found, if they could be worked.

Mr Hutchison:

– -But in this case any quantity of payable gold is being taken out. Hundreds of men are working on the field.

Mr WILSON:

– Evidently the honorable member seems to know more about the position than a great many persons do.

Mr Hutchison:

– Of course I know about my own country

Mr WILSON:

– Yes ; but the honorable member has discovered a marvellous gold and copper mine of which no one else has ever heard I think.

Mr Hutchison:

– What nonsense ! It is known on the Stock Exchange here.

Mr WILSON:

– -Will this gold and copper field, of which the honorable member speaks, justify the expenditure of £5,000,000 in the construction of a railway across the continent ?

Mr Hutchison:

– Certainly not, of itself.

Mr WILSON:

– Probably there are gold and copper mines, and very good sheep walks, and perhaps good dairying country in the centre of Australia. But the duty of this Parliament is to allow further development to go on in that direction before it enters upon any expenditure on a project of this kind.

Mr Carpenter:

– Would not the honorable member assist inquiry ?

Mr WILSON:

– I shall not vote for the expenditure of one penny on this railway until we have proof that there is some justification for its construction in the near future.

Mr Fowler:

– Why not give us a chance to get the proof?

Mr WILSON:

– My honorable friends will have that chance at some time in the next century, when I shall not be here to vote either for or against the project.

Mr SPENCE:
Darling

– It is noticeable that so far we have not heard to-d’ay anything about a large tract of stony and useless country. It is rather pleasing to find that honorable members on the other side have discovered that there is good land between Port Augusta and Kalgoorlie.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I am assuming that it is rolling plain.

Mr SPENCE:

– Previously we heard different opinions expressed. I do not know whether recent developments have had the result of throwing any light on the character of the country lying between these two points, but that would appear to be the case. From the first, I have been favorable to a survey of this line being made. In this case, as in others, we can reasonably . ask the Government to carry out their declared policy of consulting the States concerned. We should have an assurance that the States concerned are prepared to guarantee the reservation of the adjacent lands, for the reasons already given, before a survey is commenced. I do not see how we could” very well make that stipulation in the Bill, because we have no control over the lands in the Commonwealth. We are entering upon an undertaking which is of an exceptional nature. What is proposed is practically to give a bonus to the two States which are most directly interested in the survey and construction of this line. Honorable members may feel that the construction of the line is likely to follow the survey, and, personally. F think it will. I hold the view that probably in a few years we shall have the whole of the railway systems of the

States under the control of the Commonwealth, and, therefore, I am not so much alarmed as are some other honorable members that the Commonwealth should be requested to undertake the construction of this line. I do not suppose we shall rush into the undertaking for some little time. What is proposed is certainly an important departure, in connexion with which we should be assured of the distinct co-operation of the States. The honorable members for New England and Parkes have pointed out what usually takes place .when railways are projected, and there can be no doubt that persons would be found very glad to take up a large area of land along the route of this railway. They would be able to get it at a very cheap rate, and they would naturally regard it is a very good speculation. So far from opposing this measure, T am in favour of it, but I think, with the honorable members to whom I have referred, .that we should have a distinct pledge from Ministers that they will ask the Governments of both the States interested for an assurance that the land for a certain distance on each side of the proposed line will be reserved from alienation. If this were done, we should be in a position to refuse to survey or construct the line later if the States Governments failed to give that assurance. We know (that some persons are always on the watch for an opportunity to acquire land along the route of a projected railway for speculative purposes. No one can find fault with them for that, but it is our duty to see that the public interests are not sacrificed to the private interests of any syndicate. For that reason, I am heartily in accord with the ‘suggestion of the honorable member for New England, that, in this instance, steps should be taken to see that the interests of the public are conserved. The construction of this railway will be a very great undertaking, involving many important considerations that are not now before us. The whole question of the management of railways by the Commonwealth, and the setting up of a new Commonwealth Department is involved. In connexion with such undertakings the States are protected by the fact that thev have control of the land. In New South Wales we not only reserve land from alienation, but we have introduced, the betterment principle in connexion with railway construction. In South Australia there is a land tax which may operate with a somewhat similar effect, but the Com- monwealth Government would have no such protection, if it were to undertake the construction of a railway. It is, therefore, desirable, when the construction of the line is not yet before us, that we should look ahead to what our position would be if we should agree eventually to undertake it. I hold the opinion that the States chiefly concerned should undertake the construction of the line, unless some move is made to bring all the railway systems under the control of the Commonwealth Government. It would not do, I think, to have divided control of railways; because the construction of branch lines following the general development of the country would involve very difficult problems. I have always believed that the Commonwealth Government should have control of all the railways, and I have no fear that if that were the case we should be able to overcome all these difficulties. I have no doubt that the people of Western Australia would be in a position to undertake the survey, and perhaps the construction of the line, but we have to recognise the fact that South Australia is not a rich State, and we are, therefore, justified in offering the comparatively small sum which, would be required to carry out a survey of the line.

Mr Kelly:

– Does the honorable member think that the sum proposed will cover the whole cost?

Mr SPENCE:

-The Bill proposes £20,000 as the outside cost of the survey. From what I have read concerning the country, and from what I have heard from persons who know it, it would appear to be very easy country for the purposes of railway survey and construction. A very large area of the country is comparatively flat, and is not covered with scrub to any great extent, so that the cost of survey should not be very great. I believe that the Government will be prepared to give the assurance for which we ask.

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

– Hear, hear.

Mr SPENCE:

– There should, I think, be no objection to the proposal if we have an assurance from the Government that they will make it a condition precedent to the survey that a favorable reply shall be received from the States Governments to a communication requesting them to guarantee the reservation of a certain area of land on each side of the line.

Mr Page:

– What is the good of it unless it is put in the Bill?

Mr SPENCE:

– I fail to see how we can put it in the Bill, as we have no power under the Constitution to control the lands of the States, and further, until the survey is made, we should not be in a position to plot the lands which ought to be reserved.. Western Australia is practically cut off from the Commonwealth under existing circumstances as effectually as if it were an island, and I agree with the general contention of Western Australian representatives in this connexion.

Mr Page:

– Why not build a line to Tasmania, which is also cut off?

Mr SPENCE:

– We may probably later on have a service of flying machines; ! to provide communication with Tasmania. I have no doubt, that the States would give the guarantee suggested, because we have the assurance that Western Australia has acted upon the principle, and the honorable member for Perth tells us that the Western Australian Government has already refused to allow a syndicate to take up land on the route of this very line. If the States Governments are prepared to give the assurance to which I have referred, I see no objection to the measure.

Mr SALMON:
Laanecoorie

– I hope honorable members will forgive me. if I make a few observations on this question, about which I frankly admit that I feel very strongly. We were told during a previous debate that a distinct bargain had been made in connexion with this particular matter. I have seen no official confirmation of any such bargain. Although some of the people of Western Australia may have been induced to vote for the Federal Constitution Bill on grounds other than the provisions contained in it, and for reasons other than were put forward in the rest of the States, this House is not bound by the arguments used there by the advocates of the Bill. But if we pass the measure now before us, we shall be committed to the construction of the proposed railway, probably at no distant date. It may be that its construction will be postponed, because of an unfavorable report, but, in agreeing to the survey, we are committing ourselves to a first step towards the construction of the line, which we shall not be able to retrace. In my opinion, the only justification for considering the proposal at the present juncture is that it will provide a means of defence. I do not think that the alleged advantages to be obtained by a quicker carriage of mails should weigh with us at all. But, even so far as defence is concerned, I feel that there are many other ways in which the money could be more advantageously expended. The two States most concerned are South Australia and Western Australia. We have had very strong representations of the opinion of the people of Western Australia in regard to the proposal, but the opinion of the people of South Australia has not been nearly so strongly expressed here.

Mr Page:

– They do not wish for the railway.

Mr SALMON:

– That is my opinion.

Mr Hutchison:

– That is because they wish to see the railway to the Northern Territory constructed first.

Mr SALMON:

– Judging by the reports which I have read, and the speeches which I have heard in this Chamber, the representatives of South Australia are not keen about this proposal’.

Mr Mahon:

– What South Australian members have spoken against it?

Mr SALMON:

– -The honorable member for Barker said there was no immediate hurry and no great desire for the line in South Australia.

Mr Mahon:

– No.

Mr SALMON:

– Well, the honorable member will not deny that the honorable member for Barker was lukewarm in regard to the proposal.

Mr Mahon:

– He is not hostile to the construction of the line.

Mr SALMON:

– I have not said that the representatives of South Australia are hostile to the construction of the line; but they are not keen about it.

Mr Mahon:

– That is what the honorable member says now ; but he conveyed the impression at first that they are hostile. As a matter of fact, nearly all the representatives of South Australia are very favorable to the project.

Mr SALMON:

– That is very different from being strong advocates of it. Mr. O’Connor, in paragraph 26 of his report, says -

During its construction very considerable benefit would accrue to several of the States of the Commonwealth, and more especially to Western Australia and South Australia, through the supply of various materials required for construction works, and also food for the men engaged, including increase in revenue of railways by carriage of same over the local lines.

I think that that will be generally admitted. If the representatives of South Australia are not strong and strenuous advocates of the line, it behoves the representatives of other States, which will not benefit so directly, to pause before agreeing to the tremendous outlay proposed. Mr. O’Connor estimated that the cost of rails, connexions, points, and so on. will be about £1,155,000, and the total expenditure £1,155,000, He assumes that an average speed of forty miles an hour will be maintained by the trains, and he allows for the use of 60-lb. rails. I do not set myself up as a railway expert, but I know that it has been the experience of Victoria that heavy trains cannot safely be run at an express speed on 60-lb. rails. If we use such rails, and the traffic proves to be heavy, we shall be faced almost immediately with the necessity of spending a great deal more money to improve the line.

Sir John Forrest:

Mr. O’Connor recommended heavier rails than 60-lb. rails.

Mr SALMON:

– Yes; but that would make the cost much greater than £1,155,000. As the weight of rails is increased their price increases considerably.

Mr Hutchison:

– But it pays to use heavy rails.

Mr SALMON:

– When the traffic is sufficiently heavy to justify their use, because, where light rails are used for heavy traffic, the cost of maintenance is enormous. Honorable members are asked to believe that the total cost of the line will be about £4,600,000, but if they take into consideration the nature of the permanent way that is provided for, and the fact that heavy trains are to be run over the line at high rates of speed, they will see that that estimate would soon be exceeded.

Sir John Forrest:

– No; the actual cost would be less. Mr. O’Connor took the longer route.

Mr SALMON:

– The honorable member for Perth alluded to the fact that the railway would traverse what is to a large extent unknown territory.

Sir John Forrest:

– It is not unknown territory. Every inch of it is known.

Mr SALMON:

– Then the statements of two of the representatives of Western Australia in regard to it are contradictory.

Mr Fowler:

– Its capabilities are largely unknown.

Mr SALMON:

– In paragraph 23 of the report it is stated that, even on the moderate estimate of cost which has been made, the Commonwealth will have to bear for some years an annual loss of £28,000. Mr. O’Connor goes on to say -

But this result would no doubt improve in the course of time, such being the history of railways all over the world.

I am not prepared to commit the Commonwealth to a huge expenditure upon the prospect of such an improvement.

Mr Mcwilliams:

– In the case of ordinary railways, .the estimate of cost may be increased by 50 per cent., and that of the revenue decreased by a similar proportion.

Mr SALMON:

– Even at a moderate estimate pf the cost of construction and maintenance, we have to face an inevitable deficit of £28,000 per annum for a series of years. I would ask honorable members to remember what took place when we were discussing the expenditure that would be involved if a dissolution took place. The opinion was then expressed that one of the first considerations ;should be economy, and, if honorable members cast their memories back still further, they will remember that we agreed without demur to a proposition that we should go before the electors at the same time as the members of the Senate, in order to save the cost of a second election. In the face of these facts, how are we going to justify an expenditure which is so unwarranted at the present time, and which would go so far towards minimizing the benefit conferred upon the Commonwealth by our previous action in this Parliament ?

Sir John Forrest:

– £20,000 is a terribly large amount.

Mr SALMON:

-The right honorable gentleman is accustomed ,’to deal with enormous sums in a fashion with which other Ministers are unfamiliar. Fortunately for him, he was backed up by a substantial majority of the people of his State, and I admit that he expended large sums of money to the greatest advantage. However, as I am opposed to borrowing, so far as the Commonwealth is concerned, and I do not consider it advisable to impose direct taxation, I cannot follow the right honorable gentleman in treating lightly the expenditure of even £20,000. The honorable member for Darling told us that under the Constitution we could exercise no control over the land along the route of the proposed line, and upon that ground he based his opposition to any proposal to engraft upon the Bill a provision that the States should first agree to certain reservations of land. I would’ suggest, however, that we surely have the right to make conditions in respect to the expenditure of a large sum of money upon such a work as that contemplated.

Mr Frazer:

– Any excuse is good enough, if the honorable member objects to the proposal.

Mr SALMON:

– That may be the view of the honorable member, but I take very much higher ground than he supposes. It has been proposed that we should take over the debts of the States, and it is possible that prior to assuming their responsibilities in that regard, we shall make it a condition that they shall hand over the control of the railways to the Commonwealth.

Sir John Forrest:

– They are not likely to hand them over.

Mr SALMON:

– If we could make a condition of that kind, surely we could provide that the land along the route ofthe proposed railway should be vested in the Commonwealth.

Mr Fowler:

– We shall require to see a much better Federal spirit evinced before the States intrust any more concerns to the Commonwealth.

Mr SALMON:

– The honorable member for Perth told us that the experience of Western Australia in. connexion with the construction of railways had been so unfortunate that he did not think that it would undertake any further works of that de: scription.

Mr Fowler:

– I was referring only to private railways constructed on the land grant system.

Mr SALMON:

– I beg the honorable member’s pardon. I misunderstood his remarks. The Western Australian Government could not reasonably object to a proviso such as that indicated.

Mr Fowler:

– They would welcome it.

Mr SALMON:

-I believe that this is the proper time to make the condition. It would be of no use for us to wait until the work had been commenced or completed. It must be remembered that no fixed sum of money has been allocated to cover the cost of the survey, and that our experience in the past is that estimates in connexion with works of this kind are very frequently exceeded. If the work were in progress, and it were found that£20,000 was not sufficient, the Government would have no compunction about asking for a further sum of, say,£10,000 or £20,000. After having committed ourselves to the expenditure of the first amount, we could scarcely avoid making the additional appropriation necessary for the completion of the work. During a recent debate frequent reference was made to the ultimate aims of a certain party in this House We must not lose sight of the aims of those honorable members who are in favour of the proposed survey. Their aim is the construction of the line, and those honorable members who do not believe in that are fully justified in opposing the proposed survey.

Mr Fowler:

– If our advocacy is not justified, the survey will demonstrate it.

Mr SALMON:

– I desire to know what the survey will prove.

Mr Hutchison:

– The honorable member would not oppose the construction of the railway until he had the fullest information upon the subject?

Mr SALMON:

– I already have quite sufficient information to enable me to make up my mind. Surely the honorable member will allow me to be the judge as to what is sufficient in that particular regard.

Mr Mahon:

– There is nothing in the proposal for the benefit of the electors of Laanecoorie ; ‘that is the secret of the honorable member’s opposition.

Mr SALMON:

– I shall take no notice of that suggestion. What is the survey to prove? According to one honorable member, we do not know this country j but, so far as we can judge from the reports, it is a waterless waste. The right honorable member for Swan tells us that the country is thoroughly well known, and that it has already been surveyed, whilst other honorable members state that we know nothing about it. Honorable members have evidently shaped their arguments to fit the circumstances as they have arisen. When it is suggested that a substantial area of land should be reserved along the proposed route, we are told by some honorable members that the land is absolutely worthless - that it is a desert.

Sir John Forrest:

– Who said that ?

Mr SALMON:

– The honorable member for Darling.

Mr Poynton:

– He stated that other people had said so.

Sir John Forrest:

– The honorable member for Darling has not been over the country.

Mr SALMON:

– The right honorable member for Swan tells us’ that the railway line will pass through magnificent country, and that fine stretches of rolling downs will be opened up by the line.

Sir John Forrest:

– That is quite correct, and if the honorable member will look at Mr. Muir’s report he will see that statement borne out.

Mr SALMON:

– I think that we shall be thoroughly justified in postponing, at any rate for a period, the survey of the proposed line, and especially its construction. The honorable member for Newcastle made a most valuable suggestion, and I am glad that the Minister of Home Affairs has already intimated that it is the intention of the Government to adopt it. I desire to make another suggestion. I hope that if it is decided to construct the railway, provision will be made for the adoption of the method which has proved so beneficial in Victoria, namely, the butty-gang system. We have had a number of light railways constructed in Victoria-

Mr SPEAKER:

– I would remind the honorable member that we are not now dealing with the question of construction, but of survey.

Mr SALMON:

– I hope that, as the result of the survey, the Government will take means to provide, not only against the exploitation of the lands along the line of route, but also that the construction shall be carried out under Government supervision upon the system which has proved so successful in Victoria. In the past we have suffered severely as the result of the enormous profits which have been wrung, from nearly all the States by contractors

Sir John Forrest:

– We do not suffer from that nowadays.

Mr SALMON:

– We do. I trust that further large sums will not be thrown away in that direction. I hope that a clause will be inserted in this Bill providing for the reservation of the lands upon each side of the proposed railway. If the survey be carried out I trust that it will be conducted as economically as possible, and that Parliament will not be subsequently asked to provide a further sum of money to complete a work which a considerable section of this House deems both inadvisable and inopportune.

Mr SKENE:
Grampians

– I could understand the speech of the honorable member for Laanecoorie if it had been delivered after the proposed trial survey had been made. He affirms that he has obtained sufficient information’ to warrant him in deciding against a survey of the route of the projected railway. Where he has derived that information I cannot even conjecture. At first I was disposed to think that there was no justification for a survey of the line, but the more I looked into the matter the more I became convinced that there were sufficient grounds to warrant it being undertaken. I have read reports which state that there are millions of acres of grassy land along the probable route of the line. I have perused the report of the right honorable member for Swan upon the country to the south, and I have also studied the accounts furnished by Mr. Muir and others. According to these authorities there are millions of acres of grassy land along the probable route of the line, and that fact seems to me at least to justify further investigation. As I stated on a previous occasion, unless the country between Port Augusta and Kalgoorlie possesses better possibilities than at first sight present themselves, I shall not vote for the- construction of the line. My fears are n6t only on account of the character of the land, but also on account of the want of the water. Apparently the representatives of Western Australia think that there will be sufficient justification for the construction of the line if the fact be established that good land exists between Port Augusta and the Western Australian border, even though there may not be any prospect of a large traffic upon’ it. I cannot understand why the honorable member for Laanecoorie should twit the right honorable member for Swan with talking lightly about the expenditure of millions of pounds. Some men can handle millions sterling better than others can handle pence, and, seeing that the right honorable member has always justified any large expenditure for which he is responsible, I think- that we ought to seriously regard his views upon this question instead of jeering at them. Honorable members have repeatedly jeered at the right honorable member for Swan for declaring that he had expended millions of pounds, whilst acknowledging in the same breath that he had spent those millions well. Verv early in the debate the right honorable member declared that he believed this line would pay, and that he made the statement fully conscious of the fact that he had a reputation to lose. Of course we may say that he is interested in Western Australia.

Mr Salmon:

– Is that an argument whichshould appeal to this House?

Mr Fowler:

– The objections which are now being urged against the Transcontinental Railway were urged in opposition to the Coolgardie water scheme, which is paying handsomely to-day.

Mr SKENE:

– I recollect my father telling me that in the early days of Victoria he was able to lead his horse over what are now grassy plains without putting his foot upon a solitary blade of verdure. The fact that there are millions of acres of grassy land, some of it timbered, upon the probable route of the proposed line indicates that there is a . possibility of obtaining water at no very great depth. To my mind, the proposed survey should be one of an exploratory character, and especially so in regard to the supply of water. I understand that to the north of the Great Australian Bight there is a stretch of limestone country where water can be obtained only at a very great depth, if at all. That is the chief difficulty which has to be confronted. A thorough search should be made for water, as the survey progresses.

Mr Page:

– The right honorable member for Swan says that he can conserve water along the route.

Mr SKENE:

– Water may be obtained from certain catchment areas, but I have grave doubt about it, because I understand that it soaks away very rapidly. As the survey proceeds, I am of opinion that efforts should be made to obtain water by sinking. The country to be traversed is of limestone formation, and is not likely to prove rich in minerals. I am heartily in sympathy with the idea that the land upon each side. of the line for a reasonable distance should be reserved.

Mr Page:

– How many shares would the honorable member be prepared to take in a private syndicate formed for the purpose of consttucting this line?

Mr SKENE:

– I have never had anything to do with the construction, of railways. The honorable member for Corangamite said that a century hence, when population has been settled upon the country which the line will traverse, it will be time enough to undertake its construction. To my mind, that is not the way to develop our resources. If he had visited America he would know that the railways there are pushed out from the various centres, and that settlement follows. Under the landgrant system there, it. is customary to give those persons who undertake the construction of railways every alternate block, It is idle to say to the people, “ Go out into the interior and live there as best you can for some years, and then we will construct a railway.” That is not exhibiting an enterprising spirit. If the country which the proposed line would traverse proves to be of good quality, and if water can be found along the route, we shall have some justification for constructing it. That is my reason for voting for the second reading of this measure. If the survey does not disclose that the land is worth opening up, and likely to be able to support a population, I shall not be disposed to go any further.

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

– And if the survey is favorable, is the honorable member prepared to vote for the construction of the railway immediately?

Mr SKENE:

– If a sufficient supply of water is available,, and if the country proves to be of good quality, I shall be prepared to support the construction of the line within a reasonable period. Under such circumstances, I shall be obliged to take into consideration the fact that there is a large gold-field at Kalgoorlie, and that the competition by sea cannot be so keen as it otherwise would be, because goods intended for that centre have first to be transported to Perth, and then forwarded by rail for a distance of 400 miles east. There is, first of all, the gold-fields population, which is likely to be employed for the next fifty years in opening up those fields, and if in addition to that fact the report of the survey party shows that there is. good country to be developed and that a water supply is available, I shall feel justified, but not otherwise, in voting for the line. The report might show that there is good grazing or agricultural country along the line of route, but unless it also sets forth that water could be obtained at a reasonable depth to aid in developing the country I should not vote for the construction of the railway.

Mr Mcwilliams:

– But this Bill makes no provision for testing the water supply.

Mr SKENE:

– I should like to ask the Minister of Home Affairs if provision will be made in that direction. It has been suggested that the mineral resources of the country should receive attention, but while that is undoubtedly a very important matter, it is still more important that the water supply should be tested. If the land itself were ever so suitable for grazing or agricultural purposes, it would be valueless without a proper water supply.

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

– To what extent does the honorable member suggest that tests should be made? Does he propose that bores should be put down?

Mr SKENE:

– Bores should be put down at likely places along the route.

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

– But the total cost would have to be kept within £20,000.

Mr SKENE:

– The survey will be of very little value to the advocates of the line, unless it shows that the country is good and that water is available. I do not know whether the Minister has any faith in the divining rod, but from some information which I have received lately I am inclined to attach some importance to its use. Some of my friends have employed it with very successful results. In any event, steps should be taken to test the water supply, either by putting down bores, or in some other effective way. I certainly intend to support the proposal outlined by the honorable and learned member for Parkes. ‘ We should have some indication from the Governments of Western Australia and South Australia that they are prepared to reserve the land along both sides of the line. If the land is fit to be opened up by a railway, it is only reasonable that the Commonwealth should1 receive some benefit from it.

Mr CULPIN:
Brisbane

– I voted against the introduction of this measure solely for the reason that I considered it premature, and I am afraid that I shall have to vote against the Bill itself, even though it be amended as suggested. The time is hardly ripe for the making of a survey, ‘but no one can say that it would be premature, at this stage, to give effect to the- suggestion, made by the honorable and learned member, for Parkes, that, the land along both sides of the proposed route should be reserved. That is a most necessary and .reasonable precaution to take. The sooner the possibility that this land may be- required is provided for the better it will be. We have already adopted a somewhat similar course in , dealing with the lands required for the purposes of the Federal Capital, by providing, in the Property for Public Purposes Acquisition Act, that land acquired by the Commonwealth shall be assessed at its value on. the 1st January preceding the date of acquisition. In these circumstances, I think it would be well to provide in this Bill for the reservation of the land on both sides of the line.

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

– The Bill providing for the construction of the line would be the proper one in which to make such a provision.

Mr CULPIN:

– I ‘do- not agree with the honorable gentleman. I hold that it should be inserted in the measure now before us. We made provision for the valuation of the land to be acquired for the purposes of the Federal Capital before1 we had actually decided upon the site of the capital, and I think that we may well provide in this Bill for the reservation of the land along the route of the1 projected railway. I shall support the honorable member for New England in any proposal he may make in that direction, believing that in doing so I shall assist in improving the Bill, and that the time is opportune to take such action.

Mr KING O’MALLEY:
Darwin

– I think that the House owes a debt of. gratitude to the honorable and learned member for Parkes for the splendid suggestion that steps should be taken to secure the reservation of the land along the projected route, because the taxpayers of the Commonwealth will have to pay for the construction of the railway. The cost will fall, not upon any one member of the community, but upon the whole of the people of the States. Great corporations often secure millions of acres of land on both, sides of lines of railways, and, locking it up for centuries, prevent settlement along them. If a private corporation were to obtain a. grant of land on each side of this projected railway, the country would probably not be populated for a hundred years. The land would be locked up, just as is the case along some of the railways, in the United States of America.. I. should oppose the selling of the land,, but if the suggestion ma’de by the£ honorable and learned member for Parkes were acted upon, the Commonwealth would be able, by selling the land, to recoup itself in respect of the cost of carrying out the survey, and constructing the. line; Unless I were prepared to vote for the. building of the railway, I should not vote! for the making of the survey.,

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

– That is the proper position to take up.

Mr KING O’MALLEY:

– No honorable member has a right to pledge the revenue of the State which he represents in this way unless he is prepared to vote for the construction of the line if the survey shows that it would be a legitimate investment. I am bound to say, from what I have heard from the right honorable member for Swan - who is perhaps the greatest explorer now in the Southern Hemispherethat I think the line would be a good investment. Every honorable member who proposes to vote for this Bill must not let ft be a salve to his conscience’ that he will not do anything further towards the carrying out of this work. The suggestion of the honorable and learned member for Parkes gives me a clearer view of the position than I previously had. I am amazed that I did not think of it myself. It only shows that the honorable and learned member is in a fair way to become a real genuine Socialist, and as a Socialist I hope to follow him. If the report of the’ survey party be such as to legitimately recommend the construction of the line, what will be the next step ? The five representatives of Western Australia in this House, although they may be divided on some political issues, are united on this.

Mr Hutchison:

– This is not solely a Western Australian matter.

Mr KING O’MALLEY:

– The representatives of Western Australia are pushing it forward. If it were not for them it would be dead.

Mr Fowler:

– And the people of South Australia are with us.

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

– The building of the line would not have been thought of but for Western Australia.

Mr KING O’MALLEY:

– It is the Western Australian representatives who have brought this question to its present prominent position. It is their battling and their buttonholing - their declarations that if honorable members did not vote for this railway they might as well clear out of Parliament - that have made this Bill possible to-day. As soon as this survey has shown that the railway ought to be built, what will be the next move on the chess-board? The five Western Australian representatives will be all over the various rooms of Parliament House. - in the streets, and all over the place - praising to the very heavens the glorious opportunity now presented to build this railway to their State. And an honorable member who refuses to support the line will find an organization’ as strong as a Japanese army to upset all his calculation. I shall positively be afraid to go into the Labour Party’s room.

Mr Hutchison:

– Nonsense ! Talk sense !

Mr KING O’MALLEY:

– The honorable member for Hindmarsh is capable of nothing but sense, whereas I. may have been born without any. What I do know is that for the last three years I have heard nothing from the five members of Western Australia but the merits of this line - wherever I went, upstairs or downstairs, I had to listen to the same story. Those honorable members may disagree on other matters, but they are absolutely united, as to the necessity for this line. Why should the Commonwealth not have grants of land in the same way as have private corporations?

Mr Frazer:

– Let the honorable member take care that he does not play into the hands of the Opposition.

Mr KING O’MALLEY:

– That interjection is all very fine. When we are spending the people’s money, we ought not to think of Opposition, Government, or anybody else, but only of those who sent us here.

Mr Lonsdale:

– We have only the right to do what is right.

Mr KING O’MALLEY:

– That is so. I shall vote for this Bill, but on condition that a clause such as that suggested by the honorable and learned member for Parkes is inserted, so that the Governments of Western Australia and South Australia may be called upon to set apart a certain width of. land on each side of the line. Such a provision would enable Tasmania to get back the money which is taken from the people of that State for the . purposes of this railway. What interest have the people of King Island, or of Tasmania generally, in this railway? Of course, when we raise the question of sentiment, or point to the necessity for military protection against outside aggression, Tasmania is interested. I do not desire to take up much time in discussing this matter, but merely to put myself right in the eyes of the public. The Bill should provide that private corporations and private “ land sharks “ and other “ boom boosters,” should not be allowed to tie up land, and then demand immense compensation from the Commonwealth before the line can be constructed.

Mr HUTCHISON:
Hindmarsh

– I am very pleased to hear the good sound socialistic views expressed by the honorable and learned member for Parkes - to hear that he is of opinion that a certain area of territory on each side of this proposed railway ought to be held by the State. But the question which we have before us just now is whether we shall have a survey made in order to decide as to the wisdom, or otherwise, of constructing the line. The time to impose conditions is after .we have come to an affirmative decision. If the result of the survey does not satisfy me, I am not going to vote for the construction of a railway to

Western Australia. I am thoroughly satisfied, however, from what I know of the country, that the survey party will be able to report that there is every .justification for entering on this enterprise. As to preserving the country from getting into the hands of speculators, I would point out that for several years it was the policy of the South Australian Government that there should be no alienation of Crown land. Under a resolution of the Parliament of that State, not a foot of land was alienated for many years. Unfortunately, about two years ago, a reactionary Government came into power in South Australia - though I feel satisfied that that Government will be ‘compelled to resign office in a very few months. There are decided indications that the same forward movement we have witnessed in other States will also be witnessed in Western Australia; and should that prove to be the case, we may depend that the policy to which I have referred will come into operation. At the present time, in Western Australia, there is a Labour Government in power, and I feel quite sure that even if that Government leave office the labour section in the local Parliament will be strong enough to secure that no injustice is perpetrated on the community by speculators. Under all the circumstances, I do not think we have1 anything to fear in that regard. Surely the honorable members for Lang .and New England ought to be quite satisfied that the Commonwealth Parliament has the power to impose land taxation? The reason why a good many South Australians are opposed to the construction of this line is their anxiety to first have a railway to the Northern Territory.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– How can the Commonwealth gather in land taxation?

Mr HUTCHISON:

– The Commonwealth has power now to impose land taxation. There was an” extraordinary proposal that the South Australian Government should allow a private company to build a railway to the Northern Territory, and receive in exchange something like 75,000,000 acres, with all the minerals included.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– In alternate blocks.

Mr HUTCHISON:

– It was a most unreasonable proposal, and I am satisfied that if the scheme had been carried out, the Federal Parliament would very soon have imposed a land’ tax in order to remove so glaring an injustice. This was one of the biggest offers of the kind ever made in the history of the world.-

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

– lt was a monstrous piece of “ Doodling.”

Mr HUTCHISON:

– The proposal was to hand over a tract of country larger than Victoria and Tasmania combined - “larger than the whole of the United Kingdom’ - with all the minerals, in return for a “ shoddy “ line, which would allow of the passage of a train once a week, at the rate of twenty miles an hour. No wonder the proposal did not meet with success, and I am sure that the honorable and learned member for Parkes would have assisted to prevent such an iniquity. The honorable member for Corangamite says that we have no information which would justify the construction of this line. So far as South Australia is concerned, I am satisfied that if the line be built, more than one Tarcoola goldfield will be discovered. At Tarcoola, one mine alone has employed 300 men for years, and has turned out at least 50,000 ounces of gold up to date.

Mr Salmon:

– Tarcoola has cost the Commonweal tha good deal of money already.

Mr HUTCHISON:

– I must admit that Tarcoola has been treated very graciously by the Commonwealth. The progress of that field has, however, been retarded for two reasons. In the first place, two gentlemen Were prepared to take the opening up of the field into their own hands, and, consequently, there was not that prominence which is usually given through the Stock Exchange to other fields. I am. satisfied that with more publicity, several millions of money would have been invested in this part of the country. About twentyfive miles on this side of Tarcoola very payable gold has been found ; in fact, the stone has been assayed up to three ounces to the ton.

Mr Henry Willis:

– What quantity went 30z. to the ton - an assay parcel ?

Mr HUTCHISON:

– No; a huge parcel has been proved. The honorable member for Grey can give all particulars, and show that enormous samples have yielded much better results than that. I can tell the honorable member that the mines are putting up a battery there, and are perfectly satisfied that it will pay handsomely. This country has been proved.

Mr Fowler:

– It must be good stuff to give that result in that out-of-the-way place.

Mr HUTCHISON:

– At the Mount Gunson copper-field, ninety-five miles from Port Augusta, thousands of tons of copper have been taken out. I have seen numerous parcels sent down. A large profit has been made out of the field, notwithstanding the enormous freight for that distance, ninetyfive miles, over a sandy tract, and the freight thence to Port Adelaide, another distance of 300 miles. On that copper-field many hundreds of thousands of tons of ore may be seen on the surface. Of course it is of low grade, but we all know that low-grade copper pays, so long as there is cheap means of transit. I have gone over the whole of the country up to the border of Western Australia, and much of it is splendid pastoral country. Unfortunately, it has experienced droughts, but then all Australia suffers periodically from droughts. When the seasons are good, as they now are, very large sums of money are spent in that country, and very large returns are received. I am perfectly satisfied that, so far as the South Australian portion is concerned, this railway would yield a handsome return. The honorable member for Laanecoorie said that the honorable member for Darling stated that the country to be traversed is a desert. Possibly, some persons believe that it is a desert. In South Australia, we have a large tract of country over which its representatives pass every week. For many years this country has been called a waterless desert, but it has been proved to be capable of growing almost anything. I am quite satisfied that a great proportion of the country which is believed to be desert in the two States, along the proposed route of this line, will be found to be, if not agricultural country, at any rate good pastoral country and undoubtedly good mineral country. From the fact that he is supporting the proposal for a survey, I should take it that the honorable member for Darling does not. hold the opinion which has been attributed to him. It has been said that the land is not known. I.t is a remarkable fact that some time ago a private syndicate was prepared to build this line on the land grant system. It would be pretty careful to ascertain the nature of the country in which it proposed to invest the enormous sum required to build such a railway. There is no philanthropy about a syndicate, and the members of this syndicate were quite satisfied that they were going to have a very good thing on.

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

– Did they make a de finite commercial offer ?

Mr HUTCHISON:

– Undoubtedly, just as is done in connexion with other schemes.

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

– Where is it? Why is it not in evidence?

Mr HUTCHISON:

– It is in evidence

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

– It is not here.

Mr HUTCHISON:

– I thoroughly agree that all possible information ought to be gleaned by the survey party, not only as to minerals, but also as to the water, and as to whether it can be obtained without expensive boring. I feel sure that the survey party would consider that to be part of .their duty, and as all that is now asked for is the expenditure of £20,000 to see whether there eis any_ justification for building a railway which would be of advantage to the Commonwealth without being an unnecessarily heavy burden on the taxpayers, the proposal shall have n:y hearty support.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:
Robertson

– I listened with considerable interest to the last speaker* The facts which he brought forward are rather convincing to me against the construction of the line. Knowing, as I do, the enterprise of the people of South Australia in undertaking the construction of the Port Darwin railway for a distance of 1,000 miles or more at their own expense, and learning from the honorable member about the wonderful mineral resources of the western part of that State, and the large area of agricultural land which is there available for settlement, it does seem to me a remarkable thing that they will not construct a railway through this country.

Mr Hutchison:

– But we are a very small population, with a heavy burden.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– The honorable member puts that forward as the reason. But, in reply, let me say that the people of South Australia will not allow the line to be constructed at the present time, even by the Commonwealth.

Mr Carpenter:

– How does the honorable member know that?

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– The people of South Australia are opposed to its construction. We know that there is sufficient evidence that the Government of the State has not given its assent to the survey of a route through its territory, and is opposed to the construction of a railway. 3

Mr Carpenter:

– It has never said so.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– If the prospects., of a line 400 miles long were bright, from my knowledge of South Australia, which is much longer, I think, than that of the last speaker, and my personal knowledge of the men at the head of affairs, having been reared with them, I submit that they would not be slow to give their consent to its construction at the expense of the Commonwealth.

Mr Mahon:

– Does not the honorable member know that it is because they have in view a rival scheme?

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– It is not the rival scheme which stands in the way. Their fear is that the Kalgoorlie trade would find its way to New South Wales, and not down to Adelaide. That is the reason for the opposition of the people of South Australia.

Mr Hutchison:

– No ; “memSers of the Government are interesting themselves in the other scheme.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– In South Australia, as far back as I can remember, the construction of a land grant railway to the Northern Territory has been advocated, but no one could ever be got to take the enterprise in hand. The late Mr. Rowland Rees, who “passed away only yesterday, was a strong advocate for the adoption of the land grant system. Other leaders of his day advocated its adoption, but no one could be found to take on the enterprise. The honorable member for Hindmarsh has stated that a short time since a syndicate was prepared to construct this railway on the land grant system. Now, if it was a good thing for a syndicate, would it not be a much better thing for the State? His knowledge of human nature ought to convince him that the promoters of a railway on the land grant system would be the “ first robbers.” They would do well out of it, and those who came afterwards might do very badly. The “ first robber “ is always prepared to go in, so long as he can gull and rob the public, but the people who bear the burden are those who afterwards suffer. So much, then, for the honorable member’s statements, which go to show me that this is not such a good thing as he would lead us to believe. He referred to the Tarcoola district as a place where there are yields of 3 ozs. to the ton. South Australia will not construct a railway, nor would she construct a telegraph line at her own expense to the place.

Mr Mahon:

– It was at the request ot South Australia that the Commonwealth put up the line.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– The State would not construct that telegraph line at her own expense.

Mr Watson:

– But practically she did, for she was debited with the cost of its construction.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– The State would not do the work at her own expense.

Mr Watson:

– She did.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– The Commonwealth Government constructed it.

Mr Watson:

– But the cost of construction was charged to South Australia under the bookkeeping system.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– I am leading up to that. I have it on the highest authority, that of Sir Charles Todd, that the loss on the line is a very great burden to South Australia.

Mr Batchelor:

– No, he recommended it.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– In all probability he did, but he says now that it was a mistake, and a very heavy loss has been suffered by South Australia on the construction of that line.

Mr Batchelor:

– I do not think he can have said it was a mistake.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– There is a very great deal of copper in the district, but we are told that it is of a low grade. At Kadina, Moonta, and Wallaroo there are very large deposits of .copper ore which can be hewn out in great blocks, but the owners of ‘ the mines “apparently think that it does not pay so well to work them as to hold them. Honorable members can readily understand that the people of South Australia would not undertake the construction of a railway line for the transport of copper ore of a very low grade. I look at this matter as a business man, and I say that if the conditions were such as to warrant the construction of the proposed railway, I should be justified in spending ,£20,000 in surveying a route through that country ; but if the conditions are such as not to warrant the construction of the railway, I should not be a business man if I threw away £20,000. It would be putting money into a speculation as hazardous as horse-racing. As I am not in favour of spending £^5,000,000 of Commonwealth money on the construction of a railway line which I believe would not warrant that expenditure, I am not justified in voting for the expenditure of ,£20,000 on the survey of the line, because I feel that it would be money thrown away. The honorable member for Hindmarsh has said that the syndicate would have constructed a very indifferent kind of railway in South Australia. I am reminded by that observation that in South Australia from ‘Terowie the railway is constructed on a narrow gauge, and that would necessitate another break of gauge. It is probable that a railway on a very narrow gauge would be constructed right through the desert country, causing a further break.

Sir John Forrest:

– To what gauge does the honorable member refer?

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– There is a 3ft 6in. gauge at Petersburg.

Sir John Forrest:

– We said nothing about the gauge ; we left that to the Commonwealth to decide. Western Australia is satisfied to leave it to the Commonwealth to fix the’ gauge.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– If a gauge of 4ft. 81/2in. were a’dopted for the line, that would involve another break of gauge.

Sir John Forrest:

– Where would the break be ?

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– There would be a break of gauge necessary at Terowie, and another at Petersburg, and there would have to be another break of gauge at Port Augusta.

Sir William Lyne:

– The honorable member has made a mistake.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– That is so. I overlooked the fact that the line extends from Petersburg to Port Augusta, but there would be a break at Terowie, and at Port Augusta, and there would be another break between Port Augusta and Kalgoorlie. Western Australia has had some experience of the land grant system. I have been over the line from Albany to Perth, which is constructed on that system - the chess-board plan - and at the time I passed over it I know the whole talk and scandal on the road was that although the contracting company were granted alternate blocks, they were allowed to extend the area, almost indefinitely, in any direction, so long as they did not take more than the aggregate area allowed under the terms of construction. I can see no force in the suggestion that land along the proposed line should be reserved for the. benefit of the Commonwealth. Assuming that the land was reserved by the States Governments for the benefit of the Commonwealth, let me remind the honorable member for Hindmarsh that when a reactionary Government, such as the honorable member referred to, came into power, it might set aside the reservation and sell the land. That has been done in all parts of Australia before, and it might be done again. In such circumstances, honorable members will see that there would be no safeguard in the reservation proposed. If land is to be reserved in the way proposed for the benefit of the Commonwealth, and the Commonwealth is to be recouped its expenditure on the railway from that land, would it not be better that the States should construct the railway keep the land themselves, and recoup themselves from it? If this proposal is such a good thing, and the resources of the country are so great as to warrant the expenditure necessary for the construction of this line, the States could keep the land and recoup themselves for their outlay on the line. Does the honorable and learned member for Parkes propose that the Government of the Commonwealth should acquire land and set up a Crown lands administration in competition with the States?

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– We could easily make it a condition that after the railway is constructed Western Australia should sell these lands and recoup the Commonwealth to the extent of their value.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– The honorable and learned member evidently was not listening to my remarks, or he would know that I have already dealt with that phase of the question. If this proposal is such a good thing, and the’ expenditure could be recouped from these lands, I ask why the States should not themselves construct the railway? Honorable members must be aware that it is because the undertaking is too hazardous, and because they know the country much better than we do, that they are not prepared to incur the heavy loss which they know would be entailed, and prefer to experiment at the expense of the whole Commonwealth. I say that it is not advisable that we should have a Commonwealth Crown Lands Department in competition with those of the States until we have reached the stage of unification which is looked forward to by some honorable members. Something has been said with respect to the land system which should be enforced in the Federal Capital. I think it will have to be governed by a special Act of Parliament, some form of local government measure, but I have no wish to introduce a discussion upon that question. I repeat that, as a business man, I would not undertake to expend £20,000 on the survey of this line unless I were prepared to go the full length of spending £5,000,000 on its construction. I am supported in the view I take of the matter by the right honorable member for Swan, who has said that if we spend the £20,000 on the survey we should complete the construction of the line.

Mr MALONEY:
Melbourne

– I wish to say a few words in regard, to this matter. In the first place, I differ from the honorable member for Laanecoorie in the view which he takes of the proposed railway as a means of defence. In my opinion, parallel steel rails are the chief factors in modern warfare. I think that the railways of the Continent should be under the complete and dominating control of the Federal Government. 1 approve, too, of the suggestion that a reservation should be made on each side of the proposed line, though I admit the difficulty of getting the two States which are chiefly concerned to agree to set apart a strip fifty miles wide, that is, twenty-five miles on each side of the rails. If such a reservation were guaranteed, I should vote for the construction of the railway. Inasmuch as Western Australia at the present time is the largest gold-producing State in the Commonwealth, it would have been a gracious act on the part of the Government of the State to suggest to the Treasurer of the Commonwealth that the sum required for the proposed survey should be deducted from the Customs duties otherwise returnable to it. If they put an export duty upon their gold, they could easily raise the money themselves. Western Australia is the specially privileged State in the union. However, I have risen chiefly to show that the proposed railway could be constructed without costing the Commonwealth a single penny piece. The island of Guernsey, as honorable members are no doubt aware, is not a dependency of the Empire, but an allied State, because the Channel Islands were never conquered by Great Britain. In 1823 the people of Guernsey wished to build a market-place, but, as in those days borrowing was not so easy as it is now, it was determined to issue £1 notes with which to pay the brickmakers, stonemasons, and other artisans employed in the construction, and they, together with the contractors and shopkeepers, agreed to accept those notes as ordinary legal tender. The market was built, and each year, as the rents were collected, so many of the notes were recalled and burned, and at the end of ten years the people had a splendid rentpr oducing property, the construction of which had cost them nothing in interest, the only financial charge being the expense of printing the notes. That system of payment for public works still prevails in those islands. If the people require a water mill, they do not borrow money at high rates of interest to pay for its construction, but they issue notes such as I have described. . As late as March of this year a note issued in connexion with their education system was recalled and burnt. Mr. James

Harvey, in his work on paper money, published in London in 1877, has written of the Guernsey transaction in these words -

The States of Guernsey having determined to build a meat market, voted£4,000 to defray the cost. The market notes were guaranteed by the whole property of the island, said to be worth £4,000,000 sterling. These notes did not bear any interest, nor were they convertible into the precious metals - they were tokens, not possessing any intrinsic value, but only that conventional or representative value which they received from the authority of the States by which they were issued. They were the symbols of the real money of the island. They were worthless to any other community than Guernsey, and, therefore, there was no inducement to, their exportation. Consequently, they remained permanently in local circulation for local purposes. They were inscribed “Guernsey Meat Market Notes,” and numbered from 1 to 4,000, each note representing £1 in the currency of the island. They were legal tender by the authority of the States. With these notes the States paid the contractor, and with them the contractor paid his workmen, and all who supplied him with materials. They were freely taken by tradesmen for goods, by landlords for rent, by the authorities for taxes.

In due season the Market House was completed, rand the butchers’ stalls, with some public rooms constructed over them, were let for the total annual rental of£400. At the expiration of ten years all the notes were received by the States and cancelled, but the meat market has returned a clear annual revenue to the Stales, and continues to afford accommodation without having cost a f ai thing in taxes to any citizen of the States.

If a tract of country fifty miles wide were reserved., that would give a good security for a similar Commonwealth note issue, while behind that security would be the guarantee of the Commonwealth Government. In the event of some such method of raising money as that being followed, my vote would gladly be given for the proposed work. At the present time, however, the proposal absolutely stinks in the nostrils of a great number of persons in Victoria, who ask, “Why should the Commonwealth go to this great expense?” The adoption of the method of financing the undertaking which I have suggested would disarm criticism, and is worthy of consideration. I wish to pay my meed of praise to a gentleman who does not wish his name to be made known, who has gathered together books on financial subjects which are absent from every library in Australia. They are books which contain doctrines opposed to the established methods of capital, and have disappeared from the Parliamentary Library and from the Free Public Library, while they are not obtainable in any other of our public libraries. The American people have only just in time rescued from oblivion the narrative of the building of the Guernsey meat market, which I have read. If what 1 have suggested cannot be carried out, I think that the Government of Western Australia might allow the Commonwealth to pay the£20,000 required for the proposed survey out of the Customs revenue otherwise returnable to the State.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Hume

– The matter now under discussion is one which should be considered quite apart from any party spirit. The question of constructing a railway to connect Western Australia with the eastern States has been under discussion for many years - prior to the time that Fremantle superseded Albany as the first port of call for the English mail steamers. Many years ago I succeeded in persuading the Parliament of New South Wales to pass resolutions in favour of extending a railway from Cobar to Wilcannia and Broken Hill, and I gave as one of the reasons for advocating the construction of the line that it would probably form portion of a line which would be carried right through to Western Australia. I have seen no reason to change the opinion I then held. In fact, the developments which have since taken place in connexion with Federation have strengthened my belief that a line such as that now projected should be constructed. I know that a large number of persons, especially in Victoria and South Australia, are opposed to the construction of the line, but I cannot conceive upon what grounds. I shall unhesitatingly vote in favour of what I believe to be a great national work. It has been said that the prospective traffic would not warrant the construction of such a railway. That might be said in nine cases cut of ten ; but as the country becomes opened up, and large centres of population are connected by rail, the traffic increases, until ultimately, in most cases, the revenue returns become satisfactory. In many places traffic cannot be developed unless a railway is constructed.

Sir Langdon Bonython:

– Could the honorable member quote a case similar to that now under consideration?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– This is an exceptional case. If it were not so, I should not advocate the construction of the railway as a national work. If it were proposed merely for the development of any one State I should throw the responsibility of its construction upon the persons directly interested. I heard all the discussions which took place at the Federal Convention with regard to ‘bringing Wester!! Aus tralia into the Federation, and I have no hesitation in saying that it was fully anticipated, and practically concurred in, that the proposed railway connexion should be made.

Mr Mahon:

– By the Commonwealth.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– Yes. At that particular time the great object in view was to induce Western Australia to join the Federal union, and there can be no thorough union between that State and her eastern sisters . until railway communication is established.

Mr Mahon:

– Then if Western Australia had insisted upon the construction of the railway being agreed to, there is no doubt that would have been conce’ded ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– I have not the slightest doubt that if a resolution had been submitted committing the Commonwealth to the construction of the railway it would have been carried. I have very little doubt that the proposed railway will pay, because many of the passengers arriving here from Great Britain and other parts of the world in the steamers which make Fremantle their first port of call would doubtless be glad to avail themselves of the opportunity to save two or three days by making the overland journey from Fremantle across to Sydney or Brisbane, or other parts of the eastern States. In the same way, passengers leaving Australia for London could also effect a great saving of time by making the overland journey from Melbourne or Sydney - perhaps to a greater extent from Sydney than from Melbourne - and I fully believe that a large percentage would join the steamer at Fremantle, instead of going round by sea.

Sir Langdon Bonython:

– The experience gained in connexion with Adelaide does not justify that impression.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– Adelaide does not bear quite the same relation to the other States as Fremantle would if the propcsed railway were constructed. One matter which has an important bearing upon the question of the cost of maintaining the railway is the saving in time that would be effected by the carriage of the English mails overland from Fremantle to the eastern States. If two or three days could be saved in that way the public convenience would be promoted, and the desire of the community for the speediest possible means of communication between Australia and Great Britain would be, in some degree, attained. I cannot understand the attitude assumed by one or two honorable members.

The honorable member for Robertson is opposed to the project, but I would point out that no portion of New South Wales would derive greater benefits than would the district represented by the honorable member from the construction of a railway to connect Fremantle with Sydney. An enormously increased traffic would pass through Dubbo and Cobar. It seems to me that the honorable member was speaking absolutely against the interests of his own constituents and of the people of New South Wales.

Mr Batchelor:

– Does the honorable member mean that the traffic should be conveyed right across to Sydney without passing through Adelaide?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– I believe that a great portion of the traffic would be carried to Sydney via Broken Hill and Cobar.

Sir John Forrest:

– Only the Sydney portion.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– The honorable member for Boothby must not suppose that, in dealing with matters of national importance, Adelaide or any other part of Australia is to be specially considered.

Sir Langdon Bonython:

– Nor must Sydney.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– I quite agree with the honorable member. As I said just now, had I been supported as I should have been many years ago, railway communication would have been extended to Broken Hil! long before this, and ninetenths of the traffic which now passes through Adelaide would have been conveyed to Sydney.

Sir Langdon Bonython:

– Would that have been of any advantage to Australia?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– At that time I made the proposal to a very large extent in the interests of New South Wales, and with a special view to the development of the country between Cobar and Broken Hill.

Sir Langdon Bonython:

– What is the character of that country?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– The settlement there at present is wholly pastoral, but there is plenty of good country along the banks of the Darling, and between Cobar and Broken Hill that could be turned to much better account if better means of communication were provided.

Sir Langdon Bonython:

– Is not that a drought-stricken tract ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– We have a great deal of drought-stricken country in New South Wales, but there is much more in South Australia. To the north of Peters burg there is a great extent of country that is subject to far worse droughts than are experienced in any part of New South Wales.

Sir Langdon Bonython:

– The honorable member ‘refers to the country nearest to the borders of New South Wales.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– I refer to the country bordering upon New South Wales and extending for two-thirds of the distance to Port Darwin. I cannot understand why the honorable member for Parramatta should oppose the construction of the railway. The coal mining industry at Lithgow, in his electorate, would derive especial benefit from the construction of a railway to Broken Hill, because a large quantity of coal would be hauled to meet the requirements of the population inland. Then, again, huge forests of some of the best timber in New South Wales are to be found almost adjacent to the present terminus of that line. There are vast forests of ironbark which would be used for mining and other purposes if there were any means of communication available. I make these remarks to justify my action in connexion with that railway* Upon two occasions I succeeded in passing measures authorizing its construction through the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales ; but both of these were rejected by the Legislative- Council. Some reference has been made to the break of gauge. I must admit that- if it is proposed to adopt any- . thing save the 4ft. 8in. gauge upon the projected line, it will very materially influence my vote. That is the standard gauge of the world, and I have no hesitation in saying that if we construct this railway upon the 3ft. 6in. gauge, it will prove a failure. Upon that gauge it is impossible to carry over long distances heavy loads, such as can be carried upon the 4ft. 81/2in. gauge.

Mr Johnson:

– The adoption of the 3ft. 6in. gauge would be tantamount to absolutely throwing money away.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– I repeat that unless we decide upon a gauge of 4ft. 81/2in., my vote will be very materially influenced.

Sir John Forrest:

– The House can settle that matter. - Sir WILLIAM LYNE.- I am aware that the question is not under consideration- at the present moment, but, nevertheless, I may be permitted to refer to it incidentally. This Bill contemplates only a preliminary’ vote for the purpose of ascertaining the results of a trial survey. When that survey has been completed, we shall have an opportunity to discuss the question of the gauge which we shall adopt.

Sir Langdon Bonython:

– The honorable member realizes that the 4ft. 8 1/2in. gauge is neither that of Victoria nor of South Australia?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– Nevertheless, it is the gauge of the world, and the concensus of opinion amongst the most eminent engineers is that it is the most economical gauge.

Mr Batchelor:

– No.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– I was not Minister of Works in New South Wales for many years without understanding something about this matter. The speed which can be attained upon the projected line enters v. ry largely into the question of the wisdom or otherwise of constructing it. Unless we cart travel at a high rate of speed, it would be idle to build it, because too many days would be occupied in traversing the distance between the eastern States and Kalgoorlie. If, however, it is possible to reach a speed of forty or fifty miles per hour, the time occupied in the conveyance of mails to and from Great Britain will be very materially lessened.

Sir John Forrest:

– We should effect a saving of four days in the case of Brisbane, and of three in the case of Sydney.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– I believe that there would be a very considerable reduction indeed. That result, however,, can only be achieved by adopting, the universal gauge, and by travelling at a high rate of speed. I should not have known so much about this country had it not been for the fact that some years ago, in conjunction with several others, I contemplated taking up a large portion of it. We obtained a most authentic report upon a large area which the proposed railway would traverse, with a view to taking it up.

Mr Batchelor:

– Where was that?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– It was . about half-way between Port Augusta and Kalgoorlie.

Mr Batchelor:

– Was it on the Nullabor -Plains?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– I cannot remember the name of the locality, but I distinctly recollect the description of the country which was furnshed to us. For the first fifty miles from the sea the land is lowlying. Then it rises abruptly to a tableland, which to a large extent is composed of limestone. As honorable members are aware, limestone country is usually safe stock country.

Mr Wilson:

– If it has the rainfall.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– There is no doubt that it is dry country, and that is why we did not take it up. We feared that it might be afflicted with drought. This country is practically undeveloped. In the report which was supplied to us, mention was made of three springs, one of which is situated ten miles from the coast, another some fifty miles from the coast . just where the sudden rise takes place to the limestone table-land, and a third in the limestone country itself. When this area is developed, I have not the slightest doubt that water will be obtainable by sinking.

Mr Fowler:

– The party which was sent out by the Western Australian Government discovered several artesian wells.

Mr Carpenter:

– And one bore of fresh water.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– When I was considering this matter some years ago I came to the conclusion that fresh water would be found. Although we are bound to strike supplies of salt water, caused by its percolating through minerals, I am satisfied that if bores are put down fresh water will be discovered. The result of such a policy would be to make this country three or four times as productive as it would be in the absence of communication. In that way we may expect very much more in the shape of a return than we can at present estimate. That return would also assist in defraying the expense of constructing the proposed line. I am under the impression that the Western Australian Government are prepared to guarantee the working expenses of the line and interest upon it for a certain period.

Sir John Forrest:

– They have guaranteed the South Autralian loss upon it for tcn years

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– I do not think that we can expect Western Australia to do more than protect South Australia from loss, and to defray its share of any loss which may be incurred.

Mr Tudor:

– It has guaranteed onetenth of the loss only

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– I have very little doubt that if it were necessary to do so in order to induce the Commonwealth to construct this railway . and thus to obtain communication with the eastern States, the Government of Western Australia would go even further than they have done. Under these circumstances, I cannot see any reason why we should object to a trial survey of the railway being undertaken. The honorable and learned member for Parkes has foreshadowed an amendment providing for the reservation of the land on both sides of the projected line. I do not think it would be wise to amend the Bill in that direction. The proper course for the Federal Government to pursue would be to at once communicate with the Governments of Western Australia and of South Australia, with a view to ascertain what land along the route is held under lease, and also the length of tenure.

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

– What area has not been sold?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– I do not think that any of the land has been sold.

Mr Poynton:

– Not an acre has been sold along the proposed route.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– But a large area has been leased, and I think we ought to ascertain the length of tenure which the lessees enjoy.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– That is immaterial.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– I think it is important, because the leases may have more than ten years to run. Most of the land has been ‘leased.

Sir John Forrest:

– No.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Even if it has been leased, we cannot make this Bill retrospective.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– I . thought that some honorable member from Western Australia would be able to tell me the tenure of these leases.

Sir John Forrest:

– They have about twenty years to run.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– I know that a considerable area has recently been leased. I certainly think it would be unwise . to make such an amendment as the honorable and learned member for Parkes suggests, because it might hamper, and, to some extent, frighten the Government of Western Australia. But the Federal Government should ask the Government of that State to refifain from leasing any” more land along the route until the matter shall have been finally dealt with.

Mr Carpenter:

– They have already put a stop to further leasing.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– That shows that they recognise the point which I have in mind. This, after all, is a small matter, so far as the future of the railway is concerned. The project affects, not only

Western Australia, but the eastern States. If the line be constructed, it will doubtless lead to a large quantity of produce grown in Eastern Australia being sold along the route right through to Kalgoorlie. A wonderful development has taken place in Western Australia, and we have to look to still greater developments. I do not know so much about the agricultural resources of the country. Doubtless they will be materially developed, but a great expansion in the mineral resources of that State will certainly take place. Another Kalgoorlie may not be discovered, but I have no doubt that rich belts of mineral country will be opened up. The construction of this railway would lead to the discovery and development of mineral tracts of country as yet unknown, and, in any event, every additional sovereign produced in any of the States must tend to the benefit of the whole Commonwealth. For these reasons I desire to emphasize my opinion that the Bill should not be trammelled in any way, but that it should be passed, as practically one step towards carrying out the moral undertaking entered into with the people of Western Australia before that State became part and parcel of the Commonwealth.

Mr McWILLIAMS:
Franklin

– I think that the question before us requires very serious consideration. The Bill makes absolutely no provision whatever for that examination of the country which many honorable members supporting the proposed survey believe to be necessary. It provides solely for an engineering survey. The terms of the Bill, so far as my reading of it goes, would absolutely prevent the expenditure of any moneys under it in securing reports on the resources of the country to be traversed, or in making tests to determine whether a water supply is available. If the engineering survey proves that which I take it is the object of the Bill - that a railway can be constructed between the given points - we shall still be in exactly the same position as we occupy to-day, so far as our knowledge of the nature of the country and the possibilities of a permanent water supply is concerned. I am one of those who hold that this preliminary, at- all events, is essentially a State matter. Before asking the Parliament of the Commonwealth to construct the railway the Government of Western Australia should have afforded us that information which many honorable members think should be in our possession.

Mr Fowler:

– Even if they had done so, the honorable member would; have said that the information was biased and untrustworthy.

Mr.Mcwilliams.-I should not.I believe that if the Government of Western Australia desired to obtain a report on the nature of the country to be traversed, it would - just as the Government of any other State would do - secure the services of competent, reliable men, and i certainly think it would be presumption on my part to dare to challenge the reports of reliable experts.

Mr Fowler:

– Several reports have already been placed before us by the Stale Government.

Mr mcwilliams:

– i have given those reports fair consideration, but they do not contain the information which 1, in common with many other honorable members, desire. The one great need of the country to be served by the railway is a water supply. The right honorable member for Swan is in a position to give the House better Information on a subject of this kind than perhaps are most other men in Australia. We know that for many years he was engaged in exploration work in Western Austral’.!, and i understand that his reports go to shew that whilst the nature of the country is favorable to a considerable degree, there is no proof of anything like a permanent water supply along the proposed line of route. i would ask the Minister, in reply, to tell the House, first of all, whether the money that we are about to vote will be sufficient to provide for an engineering survey, and also for the geological survey that we believe is necessary, more particularly for the purpose of testing the water supply. Will the Bill, for example, cover the cost of putting down bores ? Will it be possible for the Government, under the terms of the Bill,to expend money on purposes other than that for which it expressly provides? These are fair questions to put to the Minister. i am not opposing this measure because of any direct personal hostility, either to the project itself, or to the State of Western Australia, but i d’o think that at the present time, having regard to the financial position of some at least of the States, it is our bounden duty to take every reasonable precaution before sanctioning expenditure on a work which must ultimately entail an outlay of, roughly speaking,£5,000.000.

Mr Carpenter:

– That is what we are doing.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– I am convinced that the representativ es of Western Australia believe they are perfectly justified in urging the construction of the line, and at the same time I believe that they do not object to all reasonable precautions being taken, and to proper tests being made in order that we may determine whether the railway is an undertaking on which the Commonwealth should embark. I cannot believe that representatives of Western Australia desire to plunge the Commonwealth into an expenditure of£5,000,000 on a railway unless they believe there will be some substantial return. That being the case, is it not advisable on their part to assist us in getting such information as will enable the Government to proceed with the work? I repeat that under the terms of the Bill it will not be possible to obtain the information on which the Government could ask the House to sanction the construction of this line. I refuse to believe that either the representatives of Western Australia, the members of the Government, or honorable members who are supporting this Bill, believe ‘that it is merely a sop - that we are going to spend£18,000 or£20,000 and then allow the matter to drop. I am quite certain that no honorable member would advocate for a moment that we should undertake this survey unless we are prepared to proceed with the constructidn of the railway.

Mr Hutchison:

– Whether the surveyor’s report be good, bad, or indifferent?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– Certainly not.If we take the honorable members most directly interested, in a proper sense, in this railway, I believe none would be found to advocate the construction of the line unless the report prove satisfactory. If the report is satisfactory from an engineering standpoint, what will be our position ? We shall then have to pass a vote for the purpose of a geological report, or such a report as will enable us, the engineering conditions being satisfactory, to decide whether the line is warranted. The Bill before us will not enable such a report to be obtained. I ask honorable members to read the Bill, and then say whether it will enable the Government to expend even £100 in obtaining information such as I have indicated. Is there one honorable member who will say that£18,000 is sufficient to obtain a proper engineering survey, and also such a report on the nature of the country as we should have before undertaking a work of the kind ?

Honorable members this afternoon have set the good example of short . speeches ; but before I conclude I should like to briefly draw the attention of honorable members to the financial position of some of the States. Two of the States, at least, are very severely pressed, owing to the Federal Government not returning them a sufficient sum of money from the Customs revenue to enable them: to carry on the public administration as they would wish.

Sir John Forrest:

– Western Australia sends Tasmania, a good present every year.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

-I am not blaming Western Australia, for obtaining terms before- entering- the Federation - that was only a reasonable precaution; My only regret is that the representatives of other States, were not sufficiently imbued with the precaution that the right honorable member for Swan, and those who acted with him, displayed in protecting the revenue of their State.

Sir John Forrest:

– The Western Australian people pay for the special terms they have.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– And, therefore, they are entitled to all the revenue for which they are prepared to tax themselves. The Federal. Government has almost reached the expenditure limit of 25 per cent, and if we embark on works of the character now under consideration we shall find the Government compelled to resort to direct taxation, because, very fortunately for some of the States, 75 per cent, of the Customs revenue must be returned for a few years longer. Unless we are prepared to face this question, and provide a sufficient sum to enable us to obtain all information, and then, if that informa-. tion is satisfactory, to proceed with the construction of the railway, we ought not to pass this Bill. If we do pass the measure, we should tell the people of Australia that we are doing so in good faith; and if the surve y report is satisfactory, it is the bounden duty of the Government to give effect to the hcision of the House. I do not believe there is an honorable member who is deliberately attempting to fool the people of Western Australia, and if that be so, the work ought to be proceeded with in the event of a satisfactory report. That must be the result, unless we are deliberately passing this Bill merely to afford the people of Western Australia a barren satisfaction. Is the Federal Government, or the Parliament, or the States prepared to undertake at the present time, or even in a short time, an expenditure of£5, 000,000 or £6, 000,000? I am one of those who believe that we are not prepared for that expenditure, and, in that belief, I shall have to vote against the Bill. But if the Bill be passed we should insert a provision such as has. been suggested by the honorable member for New England and the honorable and learned member for Parkes, to provide that there shall be at least some chance of the Commonwealth obtaining a return for the money expended. I was absent for. some little time this morning, attending a fruit conference, but I heard two or three honorable members from Western Australia say that they were prepared, and that they believed the people and Government- of Western Australia were prepared, to make a land reservation along the line of railway, to be handed over to the Commonwealth.

Mr Fowler:

– Not to be handed over to the Commonwealth, but to be preserved against speculation.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– Then it is a case of “Thank you for nothing.” I understand that South Australia was prepared a little time ago to make a land grant to a private syndicate if it would construct a railway. If it is a fair thing for the State to hand over the land to a private company-

Mr Fowler:

– But it is not a fair thing, and that is what we object to.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– Then let the State construct the railway and keep the land.

Mr Watson:

– Ought South Australia to make use of that provision to prevent a survey from taking place?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– I think that there is a great deal in what the honorable member has said. I’ believe that the Government and the Parliament of South Australia are not particularly anxious for this railway to be constructed’. It is very deeply to be regretted that such is the case.

Mr Poynton:

– It is the- shipping companies which are against its construction. They control the Government to-day.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– Then, I hope that the people of South Australia will very soon take the matter into their own hands, and see that these monopolies are broken down. But if that State were as honest and anxious as Western Australia in this matter, I believe that it could be arranged by those States without reference to the Federal Parliament. That I think would be the infinitely preferable way. At the present time we have not a mile of Federal railway, and we are now asked to embark upon the construction of a Federal line to dove-tail in . between States’ railways, and the resulting complications might be very serious.

Mr Fowler:

– This is the first step towards federalizing the States railways.

Mr.Mcwilliams.-If the states railways were federalized, the only question we should have to consider would be, is this railway of such a character that we could seriously and reasonably sanction its construction at the cost of the people of the Commonwealth ? I do not wish to look at this proposal too much from a State point of view. But I would invite honorable members to remember that the two States which have the smallest populations, and whose public revenues are somewhat seriously embarrassed are Queensland and Tasmania. From a direct stand-point neither of those States can possibly hope to obtain the slightest advantage from the construction of this railway.

Sir John Forrest:

– We send Tasmania a good present every year.

Mr DAVID THOMSON:
CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND · ALP

– We get nothing from’ Western Australia.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– I do not intend to be led into a discussion of the merits or demerits of the different States, nor shall” I attempt to pit one Stateagainst another. But I would remind those who ask us to consider this question in a Federal spirit to remember that we also can ask them to look at it in a Federal spirit, and bear in mind that if the cost of the Commonwealth were increased, it would be done directly at the expense of the people of Queensland and Tasmania, upon whom direct taxation would have to be imposed to make good the deficiency in their revenues. Holding, as I do first, that this project more directly concerns Western Australia and South Australia, and that, therefore, before the Commonwealth is asked to incur any expenditure, they should furnish that information which we are now asked to obtain ; secondly, that the Bill is of such a character, that, if passed, it would not enable the Government to get such information as the House would be satisfied with, before it could authorize the construction of the railway; and, thirdly, which is a more important consideration with me, that the finances of two States are in such a condition that the passing of this vote might ultimately have the effect of imposing direct taxation upon their people, I shall have to oppose the motion. But if the second reading be carried I shall assist those who will attempt- to place in the Bill at least some provision by which the Commonwealth would be able to get back a direct return for the outlay which it is asked to incur.

Mr BATCHELOR:
Boothby

– Several honorable members, particularly the right honorable member for Swan, have expressed some surprise at the fact that the people of South Australia do not seem to be wildly enthusiastic about this proposal. The reason has been supplied by the honorable member for Hunie, who has pointed out as one of the’ chief advantages of the railway that passengers could’ run . straight across from Kalgoorlie to Sydney without -going near Adelaide and Melbourne.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I do not think that he meant that. What he meant was that they could run up to Broken Hill, and proceed thence via Wilcannia and Cobar to Sydney.

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

– How are they going to get across from Port Augusta to New South Wales ?

Mr BATCHELOR:

– From Port Augusta to Broken Hill, as the honorable member knows, there is a railway; ‘and a connexion from Broken Hill to Cobar could easily be made by New South Wales, so that there would be direct communication between Perth and Sydney.

Mr DAVID THOMSON:
CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND · ALP

– So there would be between Adelaide and Perth.

Mr BATCHELOR:

– Yes. The honorable member for Hume said that one stipulation upon which his vote for the construction qf this railway would depend would be that its gauge should be 4ft. 8jin., as in New South Wales. The gauge is 3ft. 6in. from Port Augusta to Terowie and from Terowie to Cockburn, 5ft. 3m. from Terowie to Adelaide and from Adelaide to Melbourne, and 4ft. 8½in. from Cobar to Sydney. The honorable member has indicated that his anxiety is to make Kalgoorlie, as it were, a suburb of Sydney. I do not mean to suggest that he deliberately advocates that a gauge of 4ft. 8½in. should be adopted for this connecting link, with a view to preventing any traffic from going down from Adelaide to Melbourne.

Mr Johnson:

– Four feet eight and a half inches is the world’s standard gauge.

Mr BATCHELOR:

– It is, but the honorable member forgets that Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia have not a single mile of railway of that gauge.

Mr Johnson:

– But there must be a uniform gauge adopted at some time.

Mr BATCHELOR:

– It will be seen that a stipulation that the! connecting link must be constructed on a 4ft. 8 1/2in. gauge would present for a considerable time very serious complications. There would be a break of gauge at Port Augusta, Terowie, and Kalgoorlie. So that in the centre of the Transcontinental Railway there would be a strip of 1,100 miles with a gauge of 4ft. 8 1/2in

Sir John Forrest:

– Western Australia has agreed to alter the gauge of her railway to any gauge - which may be agreed to by this Parliament.

Mr BATCHELOR:

– So far as Western Australia was concerned, that would prevent any complication from arising, but it is unreasonable to expect South Australia to alter the gauge of. the line between Port Augusta and Cockburn, in order to connect with the railway system of New South Wales, unless at the same time she altered the gauge of the line to Adelaide.

Mr Fowler:

– That might fairly be a Commonwealth project also as part of the general scheme.

Mr BATCHELOR:

– As part of a general scheme altering the railway gauges throughout Australia to a standard gauge, which undoubtedly is the 4ft. 8 1/2in gauge, there might be no objection to it. It is rather much to expect South Australians to be enthusiastic for the construction, of a line, when the conditions on which it is proposed to construct it, would simply prevent the settled portions of their State from deriving the smallest benefit from it. On the part of those who think this line advisable and a proper undertaking far the Commonwealth, it is a great mistake to put forward that kind of argument, and to lay down conditions which must necessarily arouse antagonism in States to whose interests those conditions would be diametrically opposed. I do not object to the survey of this line, but before I would agree to its construction I should certainly stipulate that the northern route, via Tarcoola, and not that along the sea-coast, should be adopted. If the northern route were adopted, it is probable that it would lead to the development of some country. It would take the line through country the value of which is at present but little known. From the information which has been supplied by the Government Geologist of South Australia, it is known that a very large area of that country is within the mineral and gold- bearing belt, and there is a possibility, and perhaps a strong probability, of development along that line. If the southern route via Eucla were adopted, the railway would be for all time in competition with sea carriage, which is the most serious competition that any railway could face. Further, if that route were adopted, there could be no possibility of the development of any fresh country. It goes through limestone country the whole way. The honorable member for Grey knows the route very well, and has travelled it a great many times, and I have been over a great portion of it. We have both been over the northern route as far, at any rate, as Tarcoola, and the potentialities of the two routes cannot be compared. I intend to vote for the second reading of the Bill. The construction of the railway is another matter altogether, and it will have to depend upon the results of the proposed survey. I must not be understood for a moment as in any sense pledging myself to vote for the construction of the railway, but I do think it is worth while to ascertain which is the best route for such a line, and what are the possibilities of development to which it would give rise. Even the carrying out of the survey might lead to the development of some country. I had not the pleasure of hearing the speech of the honorable and learned member for Parkes, and I have not up to the present grasped the advantages of the amendment which he has foreshadowed.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The proposal is simply to require the two States to reserve twenty-five miles on each side of the line as a condition precedent to the proposed expenditure.

Mr BATCHELOR:

– I know what the proposal is, but I have not yet grasped its advantages. If the object of the amendment is to prevent the alienation of land, the proposal is one which I hardly expected would emanate from the honorable and learned member for Parkes.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I am not so bad as the honorable gentleman thinks.

Mr Frazer:

– We cannot be sure that the honorable and learned member’s desire is not to kill the whole proposal.

Mr BATCHELOR:

– That is just what I wish to get at.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– It is not for nationalization purposes.

Mr BATCHELOR:

– I should not object if the intention were to prevent for all time the alienation of this land, in order t’hat the increased value given to it by the construction of the railway, should remain in the pockets of the people.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– What people?

Mr BATCHELOR:

– The people of the Commonwealth. I see that the honorable and learned member makes a distinction. If the Commonwealth finds the money, the honorable and learned member does not think that the States should be allowed to retain the increased value given to the (and.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I say that the land should remain as an asset in reserve, so that the Commonwealth, by-and-by, in undertaking the construction of the line might stipulate, that there should be some means of disposing of it in the interests of the Commonwealth towards ‘ recouping the outlav.

Mr BATCHELOR:

– I want something more than that. There are some practical difficulties in the way of what the honorable and learned member proposes. The limit of twenty-five miles on each side of the line would probably take in all the land that has so far been developed.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I intend to provide only for Crown lands.

Mr BATCHELOR:

– A good deal of this land is under mineral lease, and pastoral occupation. I am informed by the honorable member for Grey, that for 270 miles along the proposed route, the land is held under pastoral lease. I do not know what is the tenure of these pastoral leases, but certainly some of them have a tenure of forty-two years. I understand that the honorable and learned member for Parkes does not propose to interfere with those leases.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– No, only to prevent sales and fresh leases.

Mr BATCHELOR:

– And the proposal would not affect mineral leases which are now held.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– It would not affect mining in any way, either past or future leases.

Mr BATCHELOR:

– The reservation which the honorable and learned member suggests, would include much of the mineral country which has been proved to exist along the line between Tarcoola and Port Augusta. It would take in country where there are enormous deposits of ‘copper ore of low grade, which so far have not been worked,, chiefly because of the cost of carriage. This country is well worth developing, .and whether the Commonwealth undertake the con struction of this railway or not, I feel sure that the Tarcoola district will, before many years are past, justify the State in the construction of a line. The honorable member’ for Robertson told us that Sir Charles Todd has said that the construction of the telegraph line was a mistake, because, temporarily, it has not paid; but as a matter of fact, Sir Charles Todd recommended the construction of the line.

Mr. Mahon. Only under pressure, I think.

Mr BATCHELOR:

– Where was the pressure ?

Mr Mahon:

– From the Government of his own State I suppose.

Mr Hutchison:

– He recommended it to the South Australian Parliament.

Mr BATCHELOR:

– That is so; we know t’hat no telegraph lines are more highly remunerative than are those connecting mining fields, and there is certainly every probability that the Tarcoola field would prove to be a very valuable field.

Mr Mahon:

– I do not think the line is paying office rent at present.

Mr BATCHELOR:

– The field is at present under a cloud. But a great many of the world’s most important gold-fields have experienced their ups and downs.

Mr Poynton:

– There are 300 men working on the Tarcoola field yet, and it has paid its way through.

Mr BATCHELOR:

– I have not the least fear that the Tarcoola field will turn out to be a very valuable field. The district is to a very large extent gold-bearing, and it is certainly worthy of careful prospecting. If it had railway communication there is no doubt it would be developed to a very much greater extent than it can be now, when the cost of the carriage of ore is so very high. Supplies have been carreid on camels for a considerable time, and of course the cost involved is so high as to be prohibitive of mining development unless with very high returns. As I believe that there are possibilities of considerable mining development along the line between Tarcoola and Port Augusta, and between Port Augusta and Kalgoorlie, I intend to vote for this measure. From the point of view of agricultural or pastoral development I am not sanguine as to the prospects of the proposed line. The country, so far as is known, is not suited for these purposes. The Gawler Range country is practically deserted. There are practically neither sheep nor cattle on that country now.

Sir John Forrest:

– There used to be a great many.

Mr BATCHELOR:

– There were up to about 1893. Probably drought had something to do with the desertion of the country, and the low price of wool coming after the drought, followed by the inroads of the rabbits, would also be factors. A very large amount of development took place as the result of men going there with plenty of money. But not much money has been ma”de on the Gawler Range country. However, it would not be traversed if the line took a more northerly route, in which case it would pass through a much better pastoral district,’ the runholders there having managed to maintain their footing, and in some cases to do exceedingly well, even in very ba’d seasons. While I believe that the survey of the proposed route is justifiable, and shall therefore vote for the Bill, I do not pledge myself to vote for the construction of the proposed railway until I’ have seen the reports of the surveyors.

Mr CARPENTER:
Fremantle

– The vi.ry handsome majority which was obtained for the motion for the appropriation of money for the purposes of this Bill was very much appreciated by the people of Western Australia, who, as I have remarked before in this Chamber, have long felt that hitherto they have not reaped any of the practical and tangible benefits from Federation which the other States have received, although they have borne their share of the cost. They regard the vote to which I refer as an assurance that their claim that this great work should be at least considered is recognised. Although we understand that some of those who voted for the resolution, and will vote for this Bill, do not pledge themselves to vote for the construction of the proposed” railway, we are sanguine that when the survey and accompanying explorations are made, we shall have such a tale to tell that the opposition to the proposal will not be greater than the present opposition to the Bill. I wish to express my gratification that only three members of the Labour Party voted against the motion, though it was in no sense a party question. I should like now to deal with one or two objections which have been raised to this proposal. The honorable” member for Franklin has complained that Western. Australia has not done all that she should have done in preparing reports on the scheme. He thinks that she should have gone to the length of making the survey, a suggestion with which I shall deal later on. As for ordinary information, the Government of the State has done all that a Government could do to obtain it, and to place it before the House, and I regret that the1 speeches of some honorable members indicate that they have not made that study of the reports which have been furnished to them which they might reasonably have been expected to make. Had they done so, we should not have heard some of the statements which have been made in regard to the absence of water and the nature of the country to be traversed. I sympathize as much as any one does with the Governments of those States which are in financial difficulties. Both Tasmania and Queensland are struggling with a shortage of funds, and are straining every nerve to make up deficiencies. But they are not alone. Western Australia has to face similar difficulties. We may be in a better position to meet our obligations ; but it must be remembered that we have a falling revenue, and that the special means of revenue which we now enjoy under the Constitution will shortly come to an end. Those who referred to the poverty of their own States as a reason for not voting for the proposed survey must therefore remember that Western Australia is also being called upon to use extra efforts to make1 both ends meet. It seemed to me that the honorable member for Laanecoorie took a very narrow view of this question. His attitude reminded me of the struggles which have taken place in our States Legislatures in regard to railway proposals. Frequently proposals for the construction of railways, which had everything to recommend them, have been shelved for a long time, owing to the predominance of local considerations. I am afraid that a similar spirit has been introduced into this debate, because the honorable member for Laanecoorie and others have made the question one of State against State. Victoria owes much of its prosperity to its railways. The settlement of the country, and the development of its resources have been possible only because enterprising public men in years gone by built railways to places which were then uninhabited. Therefore, those who urge hat we should wait for population to extend along the route of the proposed railway before entering upon its construction, ignore all the lessons of our past experience. The railway would help to develop the country, and those honorable members who are in favour of inducing people to come here, and of providing facilities for settlement, should at least be consistent, and support an enterprise which will do more to open up the continent than many anticipate. With reference to the proposal for the reservation of land along the line of route, I am glad that the honorable and learned member for Parkes has advanced so far along the line of democratic legislation as to advocate the principle of the nationalization of land. It will be refreshing to his constituents, and to the democrats of Australia generally, to find the honorable and learned member, who is so notoriously conservative, adopting such an attitude. I desire, however, to know exactly what he means. If he proposes that the Commonwealth should construct the line only upon what would practically amount to the land grant system, I join issue with him at once. If he insists that before even the survey is entered upon the States of Western Australia and South Australia shall hand over a certain portion of their territory to :the Commonwealth, he is raising an entirely new consideration. If, on the other hand, he desires merely to prevent private land speculators from deriving the advantage of the increased value given to the land by the construction of the railway, I am perfectly in accord with him. I am quite sure that that was all the honorable member for New England intended. He wished to prevent private speculators from doing as they have done so often, namely, securing the land along the line of the proposed railway, and simply waiting for the State to spend its money in order that their profits might be secured. We are willing that that should be done, but we do not .think that the States should be treated as if they were private speculators. If it be held that some return should be made by the States which derive the greatest benefit from the construction of the line, I would point out that Western Australia has already proved her sincerity, and has shown herself willing to make every effort in her power to recoup any loss that may accrue.

Mr Tudor:

– How?

Mr CARPENTER:

– In the first place, she has spent thousands of pounds in sending OUt exploration parties, and boring parties, and in preparing reports for the use of honorable members. Then she has made an offer to South Australia that she will make good any loss that that State may incur for ten years after the construction of the line.

Mr Tudor:

– That is, one-eleventh of the total loss.

Mr CARPENTER:

– One-eleventh, in addition to her own share. She has shown, also that she is prepared to deal in a liberal spirit in respect to any loss that’ the Commonwealth itself may suffer. In view of these three distinct offers, I think I can. claim that Western Australia is at least prepared to pay for her portion of the unearned increment. If honorable members want to put the screw on, and to insist upon our handing a large slice of our territory over to the Commonwealth, I think they are going too ‘ far. If the consent of Western Australia to join the Federal Union had been given subject to the condition that the railway should be constructed, there would have been no objection to such a provision as that now suggested. The same principle that was applied to New South Wales in connexion with the granting of territory for the purposes of the Federal Capital Site, might reasonably have operated in regard to the construction of the proposed railway, if that had been in the bond. But I contend that it is unfair to insist upon taking from us- a slice of our territory, in consideration of the construction of a railway to which we contend we are unconditionally entitled. The railway itself is naturally a Federal work. If the capitals of the other States had not been connected by rail - if, for instance, Sydney and Brisbane had not been so connected- - the strongest representations would have been made, and rightly so, by honorable members from New South Wales and Queensland for the construction of the necessary line by the Commonwealth.

Sir John Forrest:

– Especially if one State would not assist the other.

Mr CARPENTER:

– There is little doubt that in such a case one State would assist the other. I regard the connexion of the States capitals by rail as a matter of Federal importance, and in the exceptional circumstances of Western Australia and South Australia, we have a right to ask that the project now before us shall be regarded, not from a State point of view, but as a work of a national character, which, when constructed, will benefit the whole of Australia

Mr DAVID THOMSON:
CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND · ALP

– It is my misfortune that I cannot view this question in that broad, Federal spirit which seems to animate some honorable members. Queensland should not be asked to contribute anv money towards the construction of a railway such as that now proposed. The line would pass through territory which, so far as we know, is a desert. If the country had been any good, it. would have been taken up by capitalists long ago. Some honorable members have referred to the probabilities of obtaining abundant supplies of artesian water, whilst others have expressed the belief that valuable mineral deposits will be brought . to light. If the countrv is mineralized, however, no artesian water will be struck, because artesian water is obtained only in country of cretaceous formation, which never occurs in a mineral belt. As is well known, ever since Queensland joined the Commonwealth she has suffered a very considerable loss of revenue, and I object to that State making any contribution towards the cost of a survey of the proposed line. If Western Australia and South Australia desire to obtain the benefits which a Transcontinental Railway would confer they should at least defray the expense connected with a trial survey of the route to be traversed. The Commonwealth would then be in a position to decide whether or not it should undertake the construction of the line.

Mr Carpenter:

– Who is defraying the cost of the abolition of kanaka labour in Queensland ?

Mr DAVID THOMSON:
CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND · ALP

– The honorable member may take all the kanakas and all the black, brown, and brindle population of Queensland. We do not want them. I maintain that the Commonwealth is paying nothing whatever for the abolition of the: kanakas. As a matter of fact, it is deriving a revenue from the sugar which is produced exclusively by white labour. I fail to see that the proposed railway will confer any benefit upon the States other than South Australia and Western Australia. Queensland is in a very impecunious position at the present time. Relatively to population, she is burdened with one of the heaviest national debts in the world, and I object to that State being called upon to make any contribution towards the construction of a Transcontinental Railway. I know that my constituents share my views upon this question. I would further point out that if this line is ever built it will not pay for axle grease. Reference has been made to the gold-fields. I was engaged in mining some few years ago, and, speaking as a practical man, I believe that the Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie goldfieldswill decline within afew years.

Mr Fowler:

– Has the honorable member ever been there?

Mr DAVID THOMSON:
CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND · ALP

– Yes ; I was there before the honorable member.

Mr Fowler:

– I do not think so.

Mr DAVID THOMSON:
CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND · ALP

– At any rate, I was there in 1894.

Mr Fowler:

– I was there prior to that.

Mr DAVID THOMSON:
CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND · ALP

– The honorable member could not see much prior to that period, for the simple reason that there was nothing to be seen. Kalgoorlie may be a very fine place to-day, but there is no doubt that it is declining in importance, anc? in another decade I predict that neither Kalgoorlie nor Coolgardie will be what they are at present.

Mr Frazer:

– They will be better.

Mr DAVID THOMSON:
CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND · ALP

– I have very grave doubts upon that point. We have not. a sufficient guarantee of -their permanency to justify us in expending money upon the survey or construction of the proposed line. For that reason I shall oppose the Bill upon every possible opportunity.

Mr PAGE:
Maranoa

– Like the honorable member for Capricornia, I am opposed to this Bill, lock, stock, and barrel. If the Prime Minister would introduce a Bill providing for the construction of a railway from Port Darwin to Longreach, in Central Queensland, I should have no hesitation in supporting the measure, because that line would benefit the whole of the Commonwealth. Some time ago the right honorable member for Swan, in a fit of sanity or insanity, declared that only last year a profit of£4,000,000 was made out of the mines in Western Australia.

Sir John Forrest:

– I said , £2,000,000.

Mr PAGE:

– If such an enormous profit was derived from the output of gold there, why was not a portion of it devoted to paying the cost of the proposed survev? If I support this Bill, I shall be practically committed to voting for the construction of the projected railway. Should the result of the survey prove favorable, I shall be pledged to almost an unlimited expenditure.

Sir John Forrest:

– The honorable member is wrong.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Suppose that the country turns out to be a desert?

Mr PAGE:

– According to the right honorable member for Swan, itis not a desert. Moreover, I am assuming that it turns out “ trumps.” When a man has a horse for sale, he does not usually tell the buyer all about its demerits, but he dilates upon its merits.

Mr Frazer:

– We wish to demonstrate both the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed line.

Mr PAGE:

– Personally, I can see no advantage which will accrue to Queensland.

Sir John Forrest:

– The ‘honorable member should consider the interests of the Commonwealth, and not those of Queensland alone.

Mr PAGE:

– The right honorable member sings another tune when Western Australia is affected.

Mr Fowler:

– What about the sugar bounties ?

Mr PAGE:

– The quickest way to solve the problem connected with the sugar industry is to give us free-trade in sugar. I should be willing to vote for the abolition of the duty upon that article to-morrow.

Sir John Forrest:

– Western Australia has to pay her share of that bounty.

Mr PAGE:

– Why should she do otherwise? If the construction of this railway is. really a matter of Federal concern, surely the great sugar industry of Queensland is equally a matter of Commonwealth importance ?

Sir John Forrest:

– I am not complaining.

Mr PAGE:

– We are asked to agree to the expenditure of £20,000 on a special survey ; but, I am afraid that that will not be sufficient to complete the work.

Sir John Forrest:

– I think it will.

Mr PAGE:

– I am satisfied that it will not. During my membership of the Queensland Parliament, various sums were placed on the Estimates to enable permanent surveys of projected lines to be made, but in no instance was the amount first set apart for the work found to be sufficient, and the Government were compelled to come down to the House with a request for a further vote. If the provision now proposed to be made be insufficient, we shall have to agree to a further expenditure to complete the survey. I am satisfied that £100,000 will barely complete it.

Mr Frazer:

– Oh !

Mr PAGE:

– It is all very well for the representatives of Western Australia to say that we must find this* money, but, as the honorable member for Capricornia has very wisely pointed out, the Treasurer of

Queensland does not know what to do in order to make both ends meet.

An Honorable Member. - Tax the capitalists.

Mr PAGE:

– Who are the capitalists? After all, the people have to find the money. -I should not be faithful to the trust reposed in me by my constituents if I were to agree to the placing of this additional shackle upon them at the present time. The Treasurer of Queensland is at a loss to know how to keep the State expenditure within its income, and now we are asked to impose a further burden on Queensland in common with the other States. I do not wish to pay special attention to the position, of Queensland. The cost of this work will have to be borne by all the States, and we do not know what expenditure will be necessary in time to come in the construction of this railway. I am sorry to find myself in disagreement with the right honorable member for Swan in regard to this Bill, but I know that he will accept my criticism in the spirit in which it is offered. If I could see my way clear, consistently with my duty to my constituents, to vote for the Bill, I should do so, but in the present circumstances I do not think it would be right for me to support it.

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:
EdenMonaro

– I intend1 to vote for this Bill, not in the interests of Western Australia, but because I believe it was part of the Federal compact that the Transcontinental Railway should be” constructed by the Commonwealth. I shall also vote for the Bill, because I believe that the Federal Union will never be complete until this line has been made. Another reason why I support the measure is that I think the making of the survey will do much to open up the great mineral resources of the west - the fringe of which some of us have been privileged to visit - and take away the workless workers of the east, who desire to reach the rich gold stores of the western State. It will open up new country and fresh markets, and bring about that real union at which the Federation aims. I am- unable to see how we shall ever be able properly to defend the Commonwealth until we are in a position to convey our troops by rail from east to west. A number of other reasons might be advanced in support of this measure. and it is singular that honorable members should “ harp “ upon the Government proposal, more particularly when the Bill now before us provides for an expenditure of only £”20,000.

Mr Page:

– Now is the time to “ harp “ upon it.

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:

– We require further information as to the nature of the country. In many of the States large sums have been expended in surveying the routes. of projected railways, and in some cases the information so obtained has been such that even some of the warmest advocates of the lines have declined to further advocate their construction. A vast tract of the country through which the Transcontinental Railway would pass remains practically unexplored, and the carrying out of the survey may open up new avenues of employment for tens of thousands of persons. If it results in the discovery of only another Golden Mile something will have been accomplished. Fresh discoveries of mineral wealth are being made almost every week in the western State. We have tens of thousands ofidle men in the eastern States, and they would be glad to find employment in the west. In these circumstances it seems to me little short of marvellous that honorable members should hesitate to expend , £20,000 in obtaining the information necessary to guide us in coming to a decision in regard to the construction of the line. Even from the point of view of the mineral resources that may be developed by the making of this survey, we shall certainly be justified in going on with the work. If in any of the ofhei States the prospect of discovering a new gold-field - of opening up a new avenue of employment, and finding fresh scope for business people - were one-fifth, or even one-tenth, as great as that which this undertaking offers, how readily those who guide the destinies of that Statewould expend the money necessary to further that development.

Mr Kelly:

-There are great sources of wealth remaining undeveloped in the honorable member’s own constituency.

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:

– The hon- or able and learned member for Parkes takes up the position that the Commonwealth should not ‘be’ asked to bear this expenditure. I have heard him say again and again that the Union should be a thorough one, and that we should not look at the questions ‘ which from time to time come before us from a provincial standpoint. What if a ‘ work proposed to’ be undertaken by the’ Commonwealth would be slightly more advantageous to South Australia/ Western Australia, or Queensland than to the other States? Why view these matters from a provincial aspect? This is a Federal undertaking. It was part of the Federal compact, and if Western Australia had insisted on its being provided for in the Constitution itself, no doubt its request would have been gladly granted.

Mr Mahon:

– Does the honorable member really believe that?

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:

– I do. My honorable friend, of course, asks the question because he thinks that the right honorable member for Swan should have stood out more strongly than he did for provision being made in the Constitution for the building of the railway, or that it was due to his unsophisticated nature that he did not demand as much as he might have done. Perhaps he considered that there were other concessions which it would be impossible

I to secure after the compact had been sealed, and, recognising that sooner or later the Federation would be compelled to make this line, he probably accepted those concessions which he was doubtful of obtaining withoutexpress provision being made for them in the Constitution, and left the carrying; out of this work by the Federation to a certain extent to chance, believing that it would certainly be carried out. I, too, view this matter from the stand-point of New South Wales, and I know that there are many men in that State who are out of employment, and desire a chance to reach the gold-fields df the west. . They also need the new markets which this railway will enable them to secure. Consequently, I shall’ support the Bill. We are not asked to take a leap in the dark. We are simply called upon to vote for the making of a survey in order to obtain information that will guide us in determining whether the railway should be made. Any one who has visited the west must recognise that, after all, prospecting has not been carried on there to any very considerable extent, prospectors being handicapped in going out to the backblocks by want of water and other difficulties. But looking at the possibilities of that great State, honorable members must be strongly disposed to follow the lead of its representatives. They now call upon us to help them to open up this territory, assuring us that if we do so, we shall discover fresh avenues of employment for our people, and cause other cities to spring up like those which have already grown in the west - like mushrooms in “the night.

Mr STORRER:
Bass

– It was not my intention to take up the time of the House by dealing with this matter, for it was fully discussed a few weeks ago, and but for the assertion made by the last speaker, that the building of this railway was part of the Federal compact, I should not have spoken. If I could find that the construction of the line was provided for in the Constitution accepted by the people of Western Australia in. common with those of the other States, I should vote for the Bill; but I have failed to discover any reference to it in the Constitution, or to find that there was any Federal compact which would justify us in making this survey.

Sir John Forrest:

– What about defence ?

Mr STORRER:

– The argument that the railway is necessary for the defence of the Commonwealth has frequently been used ; but as I dealt with that phase of the question when the matter was before us on a previous occasion,. I shall not now refer to it. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro has spoken of the large number of men in New South Wales, and other States, who aire ‘anxious to obtain employment, and would readily go to the west. Surely we are not asked to believe that the unemployed in Victoria, New South Wales, or any’ part of eastern Australia would travel west by this railway if it were constructed ? Such persons could not afford the high fares which will be charged, and would inevitably choose the cheaper route by sea.

Mr Fowler:

– People cannot go to the gold-fields by steamer. There is at present a long railway journey to be faced at the end of the voyage to the West.

Mr STORRER:

– If the railway for which the honorable member is so anxious were constructed, it would still be cheaper to travel to Fremantle by sea, and thence by rail to the gold-fields. If Tasmanian politicians had been as wide awake as was the right honorable member for Swan, that State would have been able to retain its Customs revenue. But the Tasmanian representatives did not ask for that privilege before the Constitution was voted on, and we are now willing to abide by the bargain which was then made. In my opinion, however, Tasmania was very badly treated when she was not allowed to keep her Customs revenue for a time. I do not think that we have any right to vote any sum of money for railways until the States’ railways have been taken over by the Commonwealth.

Mr BROWN:
Canobolas

– I have supported this proposal up to the present stage, but I confess I cannot become so enthusiastic on the subject as was the honorable member for. Eden-Monaro a few minutes ago. The Bill before us leads us into new avenues, and we ought to consider very carefully before we commit ourselves. In the first place, the States have not seen fit to hand over the control of the railways to the Federal Parliament. If the administration of the railways had been one of the transferred functions, the proposal before us would have merited very earnest consideration. At present, however, we are prac’tically asked to initiate a work which tha States primarily interested do not seem disposed to undertake. No doubt this is a very large project, and its magnitude may be one reason why the States I have indicated are not disposed to further it. But I cannot think that the construction of such a railway will bring about the great development which the honorable member for EdenMonaro would lead us to suppose. If that were so, this project would invite almost immediate State action. I have supported this proposal hitherto, and I shall give it my vote to-day, because I recognise that the people of Western Australia received, in effect, a promise that something in this direction would be done as an inducement to them to enter into the Federal compact.

Mr Fowler:

– We received definite promises from many of the leaders of. the Federal movement.

Mr BROWN:

– I understand that is so, and while there is no provision in the Constitution like that, for instance, relating to the Federal Capital, I am prepared, as far as I can, to honour the understanding then arrived a’t. One reason why I think we ought to consider a vote of this kind is that it affects two State’s - that it is not wholly confined to one State. True, the project affects one State more than another, but neither Western Australia nor South Australia can a’dvance without the assistance and co-operation of the other. It seems to me that by making this exploratory survey we may induce those two States to undertake the actual work of construction. If, after we pass this Bill to-day, we are called upon to consider the propriety of expending money on the actual construction, a new issue will be raised, which I must then consider. I wish to say, however, that in voting for the proposal before us, I do not feel that I am pledging myself or my State to the carrying out of this particular work. We are simply paving a way for the States primarily interested to combine in order to carry out the work.

Mr. DUGALD THOMSON (Minister of Home Affairs - North Sydney). - I shall refer very briefly to some points which have been raised in the course of the debate. First,I think the discussion has taken lines that should precede a Bill for the construction of a railway, rather than lines that should precede a proposal for a mere survey. The honorable member for Bass said that there was nothing in the Constitution engaging the Commonwealth to construct such a railway ; and with that we must all agree. But I think it has been demonstrated to the satisfaction of the majority of honorable members that when, during the discussion of the Constitution, the other States decided- that Western Australia, owing to that isolation, would not, and could not, in her own interests, enter the Union,, the ‘people of that State were induced, by certain promises, if not of the removal of that isolation, at least, of an inquiry into the practicability of its removal, to come to a decision which rather surprised the people of the eastern States.

Mr Mahon:

– The promises went much further than that.

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

– I say that is the very smallest claim, and it can be well supported by evidence.

Mr PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920

– Who made those promises?

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

– Several of the leading men connected with the Federal movement.

Mr Page:

– I never saw anything about such promises in the reports of the Convention debates.

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

– I do not wish to enter into that question at this time. I can only say that that is the conclusion I have come to, and it is the conclusion which must be come to by any one who looks into the matter carefully.

Mr Page:

– The reports of the Convention is where one would expect to find some reference to this matter.

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

– No, because it was not a matter which it was proposed to provide for in the Constitution.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– And it was not provided for in the Constitution.

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

– As to certain proposals which have been made, and which I fear may prove hampering proposals, T am perfectly at one with tho.v honorable members who wish , to preserve to the Commonwealth and to the States the increment in value which will be given to lands along this railway line if it is ever constructed. But by endeavouring to put such a conditioninto this Bill, those honorable members are practically giving into the hands of South Australia- a State, the Government of which have been of late more or less antagonistic to the proposed construction of this line - what ought to be retained in the hands of the Commonwealth. That, I think, is not desirable. I quite agree that it is desirable, in the negotiations which must take place with the Governments of those two States, the Commonwealth Government should sefe that satisfactory arrangements are made before the survey is proceeded with. But I do not think that we should put in are Act of Parliament a rigid provision which might not be capable of being adhered to by the States concerned, and which omitted a great many other things equally important which ought to form part of the negotiations prior to any survey being made. That is my opinion on that matter, and I hope that it will receive from honorable members their consideration. Several suggestions, and very proper ones, have been made by the honorable member for Newcastle and1 the honorable member for Grampians, as re-, gard’s testing the country for minerals, for pastoral purposes, and for water supply. These, of course, should receive consideration. I do not see that that can be done out of this survey vote. It must be a matter for united action by the States, in whose interests settlement would take place on the lands, mining enterprises would be developed, and - apart from the supply of water for railway purposes - a discovery of water would be made. The proposed vote is not sufficient to enable the Commonwealth, to undertake these inquiries. But I thinkthat when an expedition for one purpose was crossing the territory, the States concerned might arrange for united action in those other directions. I do not. think I have any more to say, except to refer to the statement by the honorable member for Franklin, that he would be perfectly willing that a survey should be made by the State of Western. Australia, and that a decision should be come to on that report. We have had several reports from that source. I think that any report ought to be such as would command respect from this Parliament, not merely as regards the capacity of its compiler, but also as regards the unbiased position of those who superintended the work of the survey. For these reasons, especially for the very important reason that I think Western Australia has a claim to satisfaction, so far as an inquiry goes, I support the proposal. I recognise that there will be a great many questions to be faced after a survey is made. We shall have to consider all the information which the report may contain, and, further, to face the very important financial consideration, not merely whether the line shall be constructed, but whether it shall be constructed immediately, or at a later period. But as regards gathering information and seeking to satisfy the people of Western Australia that we are determined not to keep them isolated, but to carry out what they were led to expect before Federation - an inquiry to see if we can remove the isolation - I think that the Bill should receive from every honorable member favorable consideration.

Question put. The House divided.

AYES: 34

NOES: 12

Majority………22

AYES

NOES

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and committed pro formâ.

House adjourned at 4.2 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 14 October 1904, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1904/19041014_reps_2_22/>.