3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30p.m., and read prayers.
– In view of the statement made some time since by the Prime Minister, that it is necessary to pass an Act to protect persons in the use or quotation of Mr. Beale’s report, I wish to know whether the honorable and learned gentleman will be prepared to introduce the Bill before Parliament prorogues.
– Notice of motion respecting the Bill is on the business-paper.
– Will the measure be introduced ?
– I hope so.
– Isthe Minister of Trade and Customs prepared to pass, before Parliament is prorogued, a measure regulating the importation of patent medicines?
– I should be glad to do so, though I am afraid that there will not be much opportunity, especially if we are to close the session before Easter.
asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are - 1.Yes.
asked the Minister of Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow :. -
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The following information has been furnished by the Deputy Postmaster-General, Sydney-
asked the Prime
Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are -
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is-
A Bill is in draft, and when submitted to Cabinet all recommendations of the Public Service Commissioner will be considered.
Mr. MAUGER laid upon the table the following paper -
Postmaster-General’s Department. - Papers in regard to the promotion of Ernest Arthur Blakney (Hobart, Tasmania), from the position of Clerical Assistant, Class 5, to that of Clerk, Class 4, Clerical Division. (Dated 10th May, 1907, to11th February, 1908).
The Clerk laid upon the table the following paper -
Public Servants over Age Limit retired or retained. - Return to an Order of the House, dated 18th March, 1908.
– Yesterday the honorable member for Hindmarsh asked a question, without notice, in reference to certain contraventions of the Customs Act by Messrs. Harris, Scarfe, and Company, of Adelaide. I am informed that the eight contraventions referred to .are not part of the seventeen charges mentioned, and have no connexion whatever with them. They were merely technical contraventions of the Act, such as clerical errors, &c. Contraventions of this kind are of frequent occur- .rence in all the States, and, as no fraud is imputed in such instances, they are dealt with under Part XV. of the Act, and a small penalty usually imposed.- The particular eight instances in question were quite ordinary instances of this kind, and their number is explained by the fact that they cover a period of about fifteen months, having been held over on the advice of the Crown Solicitor.
– Honorable members are doubtless aware that the AttorneyGeneral has suffered during the last few days from a rather severe throat and chest attack. But he insisted on being present to-day to move the second reading of this measure. Apparently he did not think that the Order of the Day would be’ reached so soon, and allowed for the ordinary interval for the answering of questions without notice. Not having prepared myself with the data, it is unnecessary for me to make any further remarks ; but in moving -
That this Bill be now read a second time - I wish to intimate that my colleague will be here within a few moments.
– He is really, not fit to be here.
– I doubt if he is; but at his own desire I consented to his being present to move the second reading, and make an explanatory statement.
– We do not expect him to attend if he is not well enough.
– He preferred to be here, and will arrive immediately. If any honorable member is prepared to speak, I shall resume my seat, and the AttorneyGeneral can follow him.
.- The general feeling in this House on the present occasion must be one of satisfaction because of the opportunity now offered to endeavour to settle the. vexed question of the site of the Federal Capital. At the present time I do not wish to enter upon any inquiry as to the causes of the delay which has occurred. But 1 think I represent the general feeling in New South Wales upon this subject when I say that the people of that State are strongly dissatisfied with that delay. So long t ago as 1903 - five years since - the Government took up this question, and endeavoured to settle it. More than two years ago - namely on the 13th December, 1905 - Mr. Isaacs, then Attorney-General of the Commonwealth, stated that the Government intended to introduce a Bill to determine the question, and to carry it to a conclusion during that session. From that time to this no such Bill has been introduced, and no effort has been made to settle the matter. I do not wish to enlarge upon these details, because we have at last an . opportunity to endeavour to terminate the difficulty. Honorable members, I’ think, will not feel aggrieved at the interest shown in this matter by the representatives of New South Wales. Honorable members from each of the six, States have never been blamed for exhibiting some degree of zeal in connexion with matters which, although Federal, peculiarly affect their own divisions of the Commonwealth. I look upon any criticism of our desire to press this matter to its conclusion as most unfair. I am not at all sure that the Government have chosen the best method of dealing with the question, but am quite prepared to accept that which they have chosen. I understand from the statement made by the Prime Minister that the Government propose that we should go into .Committee ; and that if the word “Dalgety” is removed from the Bill pro»gress should be reported, and that the Government should then submit resolutions for a ballot. The effect of that action would not be to exclude Dalgety or any other site from the ‘ final selection. I assume that in fairness to those who advocate the .selection’ of Dalgety “it would not be considered a final vote with regard to that site. Dalgety would be entitled with other sites to be considered in any ballot carried out. I would suggest to the Government that a more convenient course would be to test the opinion of the House upon the motion for the second reading of the Bill. The Bill is described as being one “ to determine more definitely the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth in the neighbourhood of Dalgety.” If a majority of this House is in favour of retaining the word “ Dalgety “ in the
Bill, that majority will naturally vote for the second reading of the measure; but those of us who do not propose to vote in that way would be placed in an entirely false position, by affirming the second reading of a Bill to determine more definitely the site in the neighbourhood of Dalgety, and then proceeding in Committee to eliminate from that Bill the one word which does more definitely determine that site.
– The right honorable member means to move that on the motion for the second reading.
– So long as the Government will understand that in so voting the usual interpretation placed upon’ the throwing out of a Government measure on the motion for its second reading will not be adopted ; but that the vote will be simply regarded as the most convenient way of testing this matter. It is idle to ask an honorable member to affirm the second reading of a Bill to more definitely determine the Seat of Government at a certain place if, when- the Bill is taken into Committee, his first act will be to vote for the elimination of that site from the Bill. The more logical, shortest, and most effectual way of determining this question will be, therefore, to decide whether things shall be left as they are on, the motion that the Bill be now read a second time. Those in favour of the proposition naturally and properly will vote for that second reading.
– Why not allow the Bill to stand, and create a blank in Committee?
– Unfortunately, in this case the one word is, so to speak, the Bill; What I am going to suggest is that if we struck out that word we should leave the Bill in skeleton form with no site named in rt, because we could not deal with that matter in Committee.. It would have to be dealt with by ballot in the whole House.
– I understand the Prime Minister has indicated his acceptance of that view.
– Thai: the question shall be tested on the second reading?
– -Yes; I think that would be the simplest form to adopt. I wish in advance to earn the gratitude of honorable members, in the hope that I maybe heard for a moment or two, by endeavouring to deal with this subject as briefly as possible; because I think that it would be a pity if we unnecessarily protracted this debate. I desire to remind honorable members of the agreement arrived at at the Premiers’ Conference, which met in the beginning of the year 1899. As honorable .members will recollect, after the first referendum it was found that the people of New South Wales had not by the requisite majority affirmed Federation. I, as the head of the Government of New South Wales in those days, suggested a Conference of the Premiers of the six States. That Conference was held, and I submitted to it a number of points. I think ‘that honorable members will agree with me that in -effecting the abolition from the Constitution Bill of a provision which would have meant that at a joint sitting of both Houses, held after a general’ election, 66 votes out of the total of in would not have been/ effectual ‘to carry any proposition, I rendered a substantial service, and added to the democratic lines upon which the Constitution is undoubtedly framed. I also, think that in putting a period to the iron-bound provision in the Braddon clause another substantial service was rendered to the people of Australia, although I am the last one to withhold from the States a proper, if more elastic, form of protection for their financial interests. Well, these were two large ‘ matters, and honorable members may consider this a small matter. They may think that the attitude which I took up in claiming the Federal Capital site for New South Wales was a narrow one. But so far as I am concerned, I took the view, in the interests of- the Federation, and as the leader in tHat great battle before the second referendum, that with these three alternatives in the draft Constitution I could look forward to an assured victory for the cause, whilst in the absence of any one of them I could not have the same confidence. I based this claim to the Federal Capital Site upon a higher ground than that. Viewed in the light of the interests of the Australia of the future, I formed the opinion - to which I still adhere - that, in the inevitable development of our national- greatness, it will be found that the ultimate centre of the millions who will inhabit this great continent will be somewhere in the State of New South Wales.
– As a matter of fact, statisticians place it at Armidale.
– That prediction confirms my contention that it will be in New South Wales. But whether that be so or not honorable members, I feel sure - whatever their views may be - will at least begin with a disposition to honour,, if possible, the terms of the -arrangement arrived at. I shall never forget the effect which the right honorable member for Swan produced upon this House by the earnest and eloquent appeal which he made for an honorable observance of that which was never reduced to the formal binding terms of a written agreement. He appealed to us not on the basis of an agreement expressed in plain black and white and signed by every one of the Premiers of the States, but on the faith of that which he regarded as amounting to some sort of an honorable understanding. He will remember that I honestly responded to his call. From the first time that he made that appeal to me I have loyally striven to the extent of my power and influence to give effect to that understanding. I call upon him to act in the same honorable spirit towards the understanding which he signed in black and white with reference to New South Wales. I think that I may fairly make that appeal. I honoured his appeal, which rested upon more flimsy ground - which was not set forth in so many words, and signed, sealed and delivered - and I ask him in the light of his own signature, and honouring his own agreement, to remember that whilst the Premiers’ Conference would not allow the Federal Capital to be located in the neighbourhood of Sydney, whilst it stipulated that it must be at least 100 miles distant, it expressly agreed that it should be within a “ reasonable distance “ of that city. I wish at once to make the admission that I do not expect the House to carry out even that honorable and well-expressed agreement, if, as a matter of fact, there is no reasonable site within a “reasonable distance” of Sydney. I do not wish to interpret that bond as we interpret bonds between men of business, if there be no site which can reasonably be regarded as a proper one for the Federal Capital within the ordinary meaning of the language within a “reasonable distance” of Sydney. I am not here to say that the Federation should be blind to the future interests of the people of Australia to the extent of selecting an unreasonable and unsuitable site because it happens to be within a certain degree of contiguity to Sydney. But I do take up this position : that if within a “reasonable distance” of Sydney there is such a site available this House - if it recognises the honour which springs, from agreements between representatives of great communities - will honour the Premiers’ agreement. It is, I think, in the nature of an agreement which rises to the highest degree of sanctity, because it was upon the faith of that agreement that the people of New South Wales were asked to cast their votes in favour of entering this Federation. It is quite different from the ordinary kind of agreement, for a breach of which some measure of damages awarded by a Court will suffice. This is not that sort of agreement. The people of New South Wales, above the signatures of the Premiers of the six States, were told, “ If you join this Federation, we agree and promise, on behalf of the people of our respective communities, to do this thing.”
– And did not the Government of which the right honorable member was the head agree to adhere to Dalgety since it had been selected by this Parliament ?
– My Government made no such agreement. No such agreement was ever made. Governments cannot write out bargains between great communities. The bargain resulting from the Premiers’ Conference was not between this Government and that - it was an honorable understanding between the great bulk of the communities of Australia. If the honorable member will pardon me for saying so, it was possible for the Parliaments and the peoples of those States to have raised their voices in repudiation of that agreement. It was published, I think, in the early days of February, 1899 - about the 1st or 2nd February of that year- and the vote was not taken until the middle of 1899. All through those months there was no voice raised to suggest to the people of New South Wales that the agreement which had been entered into by the Premiers of the States was one which would be dishonoured by any single State.
– Very few people knew anything about that agreement.
– Unfortunately ignorance is no excuse for dishonesty. Ignorance cannot be pleaded against a solemn agreement upon the’ faith of which a national vote has been cast. I should like the honorable member for a moment to give the representatives of New South Wales credit for one shred of the patriotic zeal which he and his friends from South Australia always display for the rights of that State down to the smallest and most insignificant.
– Would the right honor-, able member have agreed to the 100 miles limit in the absence of the other proviso?
– Of course not. It was a part of that proviso. I felt that the proposition made to me by Sir George Turner was a reasonable one. Since I was barring all Victoria; and all the other States, I felt .it was quite reasonable for him to say to- me, “ Well, Mr. Reid, I will bar Sydney, and the territory within 100 miles of it.” I consented to that arrangement. But there was added to that provision another provision, namely, that, although the Federal Capital was to be at least 100 miles distant from Sydney, it was to be within a “ reasonable distance “ of that city, not recognising Sydney merely, but looking upon it as a pivot around which most of the interests of New South Wales revolve.
– How did that proviso become eliminated from the draft Constitution ?
– I suppose that I was guilty of this unfortunate weakness - that I looked upon this agreement signed by the six Premiers as quite good enough for me. I did not act in the spirit of the man who is dealing with hucksters in trade. The part of the bargain which I put in the Constitution was that to which Sir George Turner attached so much importance. In the light of events, which I did not foresee - and I am obliged to my honorable and learned friend for his reminder - if would have been wise if I had realized that the most solemn agreement does not always bind unless every term of the agreement is expressed.
– It was only by inadvertence it was left out?
– Sheer inadvertence. I can assure the honorable member for Flinders that- the reason this was not placed in ‘the Constitution was that I was perfectly satisfied with the written undertaking on the part of the Premiers of the six States. For months it was open to the States Parliaments ‘to repudiate the undertaking; but the whole question went to the ejectors on that basis, and, in the light of events, I regret I did not place the words kit the Constitution.
– Did the amendment go to the electors in the section as it stands in the Constitution?
– Although it may take up time, I should like to make the matter a little clearer. The whole of this question was threshed’ out in the Parliament of New South Wales before ‘the Conference of Premiers. I must remind honorable members that this was not an ordinary Conference of Premiers. Before I asked the Premiers to meet me, all these points were, as I say,- threshed out in the Parliament of New South Wales, and these terms about the Capital Site were, a part of the arrangement which I submitted to the assembled Premiers. If honorable members will not regard this minute signed by the Premiers as & proper guide for interpreting the section’, in order to get the spirit of the section, they are taking, a course which I did not .expect. I expect an honorable spirit on the part of honorable members. I know it is open’ to them to take points, and say, “ It was not in the bond, and, since that be so, what do .we care for any understanding at which the Premiers arrived?” But is there a man’ in New South Wales, Victoria, or any of the other States, who would have changed his vote because that arrangement had been arrived at ? Who will say that any of the people of Victoria would have reversed their vote for Federation because of the Premiers’ minute?
– Does the right honorable member think it was fair to put the clause to the people without the minute of the Premiers?
– I do not desire to enter further into this matter. There are two ways of looking at the question. If itis to be subject to the scrutiny of proof, as in a Police Court, or any other kind of Court, there are, I admit, a number of loopholes by which the honorable understanding can be escaped. But if the spirit of agreements or understandings arrived at from time to time between great communities, represented by their trusted leaders, are to be interpreted in this way, there will be an end to international communication or agreement of any sort. What Act of Parliament records the solemn obligations into which representatives of great nations enter at Conferences of the kind? What Act of Parliament guarantees the honour of a great nation for the full performance of its treaty obligations? The fact is, that this was an understanding expressed in black and white, and signed. Those who choose to repudiate that understanding are perfectly at liberty to. do so, because there can be no suit for breach of agreement, or for penalties. All that will remain to the people of New South Wales will be the feeling that on an understanding, which was an anxious and important one to them,’ and on the faith of which they joined Federation, the Commonwealth has not acted in that honorable spirit in w. hick it acted to the. right honorable member for Swan in connexion with another question not expressed in the terms of a written agreement. Where is ‘the provision in the Constitution that there shall be a railway established between this side of the continent and Western Australia? We did not ask the right honorable member for Swan to prove his case as if in a Police Court ; indeed, I think we went, perhaps, further than the strict rule required.
– Do not make this a personal matter; I am advocating the interests of Australia, and of my own State. Mr. REID. - Then I desire the right honorable member to begin by advocating those interests within the limits of the agreement.
– The right honorable member for East Sydney has taken a very definite and straightforward action in regard to the railway, but his followers have not shared his views.
– Honorable members are in such a strong position that they might fairly say, “ Well, if you had any such understanding, it was due to the public that, in the report of your deliberations, it should be set out in black and white.” But this was no secret, nebulous understanding. It was put in black and white, signed by each of the Premiers,- and published throughout the length and breadth of Australia. As I say, I do not desire to labour this point too much. If honorable members will not act on the understanding, there is no power on earth to compel them to do so. I can only appeal to their sense of what is fair and right ; and I now dismiss altogether that part of the question. As I say, honorable members are entitled, in spite of this provision in the agreement, to have some site suggested to them which is a reasonable and sufficient site for the purpose. I do not contest that view for a moment ; but it is always subject to the fact . that the reasonable site must be a reasonable distance from Sydney, and that, if there is no reasonable site within that distance, Parliament must do the best it can. Now, I submit that there are at least two magnificent sites within a reasonable distance of Sydney, one of which is Lyndhurst.
– The best of all !
– Well, Lyndhurst, as honorable members know, stood absolutely at the top in three of the ballots which were taken - it may have been in five out of six ballots - and being a little under, I think, Bombala, or Tumut, it had a commanding position until the very last. Since then another site has been brought under the notice of Parliament, and that is also within a reasonable distance of Sydney. When I use the. term “ Sydney,” it is only with reference to the State of New South Wales. Some pivotal point has to be mentioned ; and in this connexion, “ Sydney “ merely represents the whole of the interests of the whole of New South Wales. The site I refer to is Canberra, which was not in the list of those submitted at the first ballots. That fact, in itself, is not, of course, a disadvantage, because we must remember that Dalgety, which now stands in the Seat of Government Bill, did not receive a single vote on the first ballot. It is an extraordinary circumstance that, from the sixty or seventy honorable members assembled, Dalgety, out of the six sites submitted, did not receive one vote. Dalgety did not even get the vote of the honorable member for EdenMonaro.
– The right honorable member knows very well the reason Dalgety did not get my vote !
– It was because the honorable member could not give two votes at one time.
– Because we made up our minds to go for Bombala, as being in the district.
– I do not blame the honorable member for that, though it does not alter the facts.’ All I say is that Dalgety did not find a place among the six or eight sites in the first ballot.
– Yet”, when it was selected, the right honorable member asked us to stand by the selection.
– And pledged himself to do so.
– My super-angelic friend, the member for Grey, has at times been confronted with the choice between two undesirable alternatives, and has then undoubtedly exercised his common sense by selecting the less ob- jectionable one.- I then stuck to Dalgety like wax, because if I let it go I should have got something worse. Whilst in office, I was bound to stand by Dalgety so long as it represented the deliberate will of the Legislature. But can it be said that I, or any other honorable member whose first choice Dalgety was not, am bound by the selection of Dalgety if an opportunity is given for making a better choice? A person who chooses one of two evils is not thereby debarred from choosing good when the opportunity arrives. That is my answer to my honorable friend. I consider Lyndhurst a magnificent site. It was my first choice, and would be so again to-day had I not reason to believe that Canberra will be given much more support.
– Why not give Lyndhurst a chance ?
– I should be glad to do so if I thought there was any possibility of Lyndhurst being chosen. If I see no prospect of that, I must, in the exercise of my intelligence, vote for the next best site. In my opinion, on this occasion Lyndhurst will not occupy as strong a position as it did formerly.
– On the day on which we visited Lyndhurst, there was a duststorm which could beat any that occur at Kalgoorlie.
– Accidents like that are a source of satisfaction to thirsty travellers. I was in Kalgoorlie when, for nearly eight days, the thermometer never went below about 150 degrees, although the moment the Federal politicians left, the temperature fell about 50 degrees. I have no prejudice against Kalgoorlie om that account.
– :The honorable gentleman would not regard it as a suitable site for the Federal Capital.
– Although the weather during my stay was not all that could be desired, I should say that Kalgoorlie must be one of the finest places in Australia to live in - if you have a thirst. I look upon Canberra as the site likely to be more acceptable than Lyndhurst to honorable members generally, and it is therefore important to consider its advantages and disadvantages. Had its merits been discussed prior to the first ballot, I should not now occupy time in detailing them. But, whilst the good points of Dalgety, Bombala, Lyndhurst, and a number of other sites have been exhaustively reviewed more than once in previous Parliaments, those of Canberra have not yet. I think, been discussed, and therefore I propose to advance a few reasons why this site might well be chosen in honorable fulfilment of the agreement amongst the Premiers, as being within a reasonable distance of Sydney,. I do not wish to express any opinions of my own ; I prefer to give the House the! benefit of those of the Engineer-in-Chief of Public Works for New South Wales, an eminent officer who visited the site, and devoted his professional talents to drawing up a report upon it. As this report is in the hands of honorable members, I do not propose to occupy time with lengthy quotations from it, though I may be allowed to pick out one or two recommendations of Canberra which it ‘contains.
– Was the report based on that of Mr. Scrivener?
– It is the report of Mr. Wade, who visited the locality, arid saw it for himself, besides having the information collected by other officers.
– It was backed up by Mr. Lloyd’s report.
– Several other officers visited Canberra, and Mr. Wade personally checked their reports. Mr. Chanter. - Mr. Scrivener was sent there bv the Commonwealth.
– That may be; I have not his report by me. Beauty is one “ of the considerations to which we must pay heed in choosing a site, and Mr. Wade says of Canberra -
In general- suitability for the purposes of a Federal Capital City Site, Canberra compares most favorably with any site yet suggested. The extent of gently undulating country suitable for building exceeds that of any of those other sites, while the low hills generally surrounding the city area, with the foot hills in the middle distance to the south, and the high peaks again in the far distance forming the mountains of the southern watershed of the Mumimbidgee, give it an attraction as regards scenery unsurpassed by the others suggested.
Of course, this is only Mr. Wade’s opinion, which I do not wish to force on the House as. the final word on the matter ; I merely submit it . as the opinion of the Chief Engineer in the State. The existence of a water supply is another great consideration. Mr. Wade recognises it as of paramount importance, and says that -
The Cotter River is the most suitable source for a water supply. Its catchment consists wholly of uninhabited mountain country.
If there is one thing eminently desirable in connexion with a water supply it is that the catchment area shall be mountainous and uninhabited. Mr. Wade says that the boundaries rise to “.elevated peaks many thousands of feet in height, which are snow -clad during the winter months.” Thus there is snow in the neighbourhood of the proposed site, which, therefore, possesses one of the crowning charms of Dalgety. He continues -
The water running off is soft, and nearly always sufficiently clear for human consumption without nitration ; when slight turbidity does arise after heavy rainfall, the sedimentation resulting from the passage through a storage reservoir is all that will be required. The investigation as regards levels so far undertaken has been of a preliminary nature by means of aneroid.; these levels show that a gravitation scheme can be obtained to command the whole city area, with an ample head for- fire and other purposes.
A gravitation water supply is the ideal one. Many difficulties may be overcome by pumping, but the advantages of gravitation are unquestionable. The report continues -
The available gathering ground above the elevation necessary fo.r gravitation, and a suitable site for storage, is no square miles. This area, I consider, if utilized to its fullest capacity is capable of affording a supply to a city of a quarter of a million of inhabitants.
In addition, there is within 36 miles the gigantic work now under construction at Barren Jack, which will impound a volume of water estimated to be larger than that in Sydney Harbor, affording one of the greatest water supplies in the world. Not only is there a gravitation water supply sufficient to meet the wants of a city of 250,000 inhabitants, which points to a distant time, but there is also behind it the gigantic Barren Jack reservoir, which will N» one of the greatest artificial water reserves in the .world, and will also provide power for the generating of electricity.
– Will water be brought from Barren Jack to Canberra by gravitation?
– The Barren Jack water is not needed; but the artificial lake there will be one of the grandest water spaces in the interior of Australia, and within a reasonable holiday excursion distance.
– To what height would the water have to be pumped to convey it from Barren Jack to Canberra?
– If I could give the honorable member the information I would, lit I do not wish to go into facts with which I am not fa’miliar. and it is not necessary to regard Barren Jack as a source of water supply.
– It is not a suitable water supply, but it will serve to generate power.
– The water impounded at Barren Jack will not be needed, for the Federal Capital, but it will be there in case of emergencies. Mr. Wade suggests that -
The magnificent inland lake resulting from the construction of this reservoir will afford, within reasonable distance from the City, a pleasure’ resort, where boating, yachting, &c, can be indulged in, almost as in Sydney Harbor; and will also afford an easy means of access to the feeder streams, which are at the present time amply stocked with trout.
Thus the water spaces of this district share, the surpassing charms of Dalgety. Honorable members will be able to enjoy their fishing expeditions. Mr. Wade continues -
Facilities exist for the construction of a weir across the Murrumbidgee, immediately below the junction of the Molonglo River; the water held back would form an artificial lake within g miles of the City.
So that within nine miles of the site there are facilities for a magnificent artificial lake -
Some of the high peaks in the vicinity of the watershed of the Murrumbidgee, although falling short of the height of Kosciusko, will give opportunities for mountaineering and change to high altitudes within practically similar distances of Kosciusko to Dalgety.
The question of railway communication is also very important. There is railway communication already within/ a mile or two of this spot, and by the construction nf a short line from the main! southern railway it is possible to connect the site with the whole railway system of New South Wales. As a matter of fact, it is already connected by rail with every part of the railway area of Australia. I. shall not ddeal with other matters affecting the site. I h’ave pointed out that it is within reach of lofty eminences ; that it is beautiful in the matter of scenery ; that ft’ is within reach of lofty mountains ; that it has a magnificent water supply ; and the most excellent building materials. In my view it answers every requirement which could be sought for in connexion with the Federal Capital. I want to leave the discussion of this question without endeavouring to disparage in any way any of the other proposed sites. I am not going to disparage Dalgety because I am advocating the claims of Canberra; I do not wish to gain any support by disparaging that site. I simply urge that’ in Canberra we have a beautiful site for the Capital,the selection of which would incidentally, satisfy, in the most honorable way, the expectations of the people of New South Walesounded uupon the agreement to which I have referred. There are one or two other considerations of a general character which do not concern the merits of a particular site. It has been said in some quarters that it would be a mistake to build a Federal Capital ; that the Seat of Government should remain, in Melbourne, or should alternate between Melbourne and Sydney. I do not believe the Federal Parliament: will ever breathe a Federal atmosphere in any great city of Australia:. At one moment Victorians are attacked here for their provincialism, and in the next, representatives of New South Wales are attacked in the same way. Then’, again, the Tasmanians, the South Australians, and the Queenslanders are from time to time charged with provincialism. But the greatest of all provincialism in Australia comes out of the newspaper offices. Whilst it sits in Melbourne - -and probably it would be the same if we sat in Sydney - this Parliament is every daly under a sort of bombardment which does not represent a truly Australian sentiment, nor breathe the true Federal spirit, but which gives rise to fresh issues of discontentment and separation between the representatives of the different States.
– Shall we escape that evil by establishing a Federal Capital ?
– I think so, end we shall also be able to improve the conditions under which the Federal Parliament meets. I do not shrink from the neighbourhood of organs of public opinion. The newspapers of Australia, if they like, can have their representatives by the thousand at the Federal Capital. One of the advantages of -a country capital, so far as we are personally concerned, will be that we shall be more under the glare of public observation in such a place than we are in any of our great cities. Let every organ of public opinion in Australia send its representatives to the Federal Capital ; but my experience is that it is only in a Federal Capital that we can hope to secure the development of a truly national spirit. It seems to be an economic arrangement to meet in this magnificent’ building, which cost Victoria a million sterling; but is it consistent with the dignity of the Federal Parliament that it should be a non-paying guest of one of the States ? That has been our position for the last seven years.
– Victoria does not so regard it.
– That may be; but we are the people who are getting free lodgings, and we should have some generous feeling about the matter..
– I have not heard any expression of opinion on the part of Victoria in the direction mentioned by the right honorable member.
– I admit that, but when we are in the ‘house of the most hospitable entertainer, there is sometimes the consideration that we should not intrude too long, upon his hospitality - that we ought to have a house’ of our own. Surely this Parliament should have a house of its own. . It is the design of the Constitution, at any rate, that we should, and, if we do not respect the idea, let us at least respect the terms of the Constitution, which makes a Federal Capital, and a Federal Parliament sitting in its own house, an integral part of the Federation. As one of the inhabitants’ of another State, I wish to. acknowledge in the strongest terms the unselfish liberality extended to this Parliament by the Government and people of Victoria. It was no light matter for the State Parliament to leave this magnificent edifice, and to take up temporary quarters at the Exhibition Building, in order that we might be accommodated with the greatest comfort and convenience. lt is only right that we should be deeply grateful to themembers of- the Parliament of theState of Victoria; but the time has come when we should cease to be the guests of any one State. The time has come when we should set up our own-‘ house. One objection raised against our doing so is that it would be very expensive. The establishment of a capital in a crowded city would be infinitely more expensive thanwould be its establishment in the country. If we choose to set about the founding of the Capital in an extravagant way, we maydo a gross ‘injustice to the people of Australia ; but surely we shall not take it for granted that we are going to so disregard’ our duty ? Surely we are not going toerect palatial edifices for the GovernorGeneral, the Parliament, and our officers inthe early days of our existence? Surely we can emulate the majestic simplicity of the early American patriots? For sometime they had no magnificent edifices. As the Federation grew in majesty, strength,, and wealth . such appurtenances grew with it ; but the idea of establishing an expensive series of buildings at the Federal’ Capital has been invented in order to disparage us and to disparage our duty in respect of this matter.
– Has not America expended over ^8,000,000 on her buildings ?
– She may have spent $8,000,000, but the suggestion that she has spent j£8, 000,000 upon them makes one gasp. If I thought that the Federal Capital would cost us ,£8,000,000 within the next ten years I should be the first to vote against it. I trust, however, that we have no such intention.
– How could we put a stop to the expenditure once we commenced ?
– Surely the presence in the House of men of the brainy intelligence of the honorable member and others would be sufficient to prevent anything of the kind. I look forward to the establishment of a Federal Capital having no element of extravagance connected with it. The extravagance of a building is not in thecomfort Or the accommodation which it affords ; it relates to outside show. A most comfortable and convenient! building can be erected at moderate cost on a plan which provides for .internal details. Does my honorable friend the Minister of Trade and Customs, ever dream in connexion with that magnificent site of his - which is waiting so impatiently for the glories of the future - of squandering millions on the banks of the Snowy River? I am sure that he would be the first to vote against any such extravagance, even if it were designed to glorify his own electorate. I do not think that any honorable member has any . idea of squandering the public money in the erection of magnificent exteriors, which may well wait until the strength and wealth of this country will honestly permit of them. Therefore, in supporting the establishment of the Federal Capital I emphatically repudiate any suggestion of extravagance. The question of access to the sea has also been discussed. Some say, “You want a site like Dalgety because it is safe from attack from the sea.” Others again say, “ You want access to the sea.” Do not let iris forget that access to the sea implies access from the sea. I admit; that Dalgety is an absolutely safe site for the Capital so far as that consideration is concerned ; but I claim the same merit for Canberra. It occupies an equally safe position. 1 think I am not wrong in saying that it is as near the -sea as is Dalgety.
– It is nearer: - and nearer a better harbor than is Twofold Bay.
– It is nearer by rail, roughly speaking, but not as the crow flies.
– And there is certainly no great gap between Canberra and the sea.
– In that respect the two sites are practically equal. In Jervis Bay, which would be the port of Canberra, we should have one of the finest natural harbors in the world. It is a harbor which encloses water - not a harbor which extends its wide embrace to the waters of the Pacific. I have had the pleasure of spending some time at Eden, on Twofold Bay, where there is a magnificent sheet of water. But the great drawback of the Bay is that it is magnificently open to the Pacific. Those who have been there know that the wharf, which is in the most suitable place, is sp small that steamers cannot be brought right alongside, I went there by the Wakitipu, and that was my experience. Part of such vessels extend beyond the wharf, which will accommodate only one vessel on each side. I should, in fairness, state that there is very little traffic there at the present time. I do not suggest that if traffic increased human enterprise would not provide better accommodation, but I do not think that I am unfairly stating the position when I say that the great drawback to Twofold Bay is that there is an enormous expanse of water between the two headlands. On the other hand, Jervis Bay, like Sydney Harbor, has two heads within a comparatively close distance; which enfold an enormous water area, securely protected from every storm that blows.
– It is landlocked.
– Practically it is. It will .hus be seen that, so far as access to the sea is concerned, Canberra has access to one of the finest harbors in the world.. If we selected Dalgety, and obtained access to Twofold Bay, we should have to construct enormous works to make it a port worthy of the name. I should like honorable members to consider these matters. It is idle to twit honorable members with the votes they give in connexion with the different sites. I have just been informed that the Prime Minister says that he did not agree, to take a test division upon the motion for the second reading of the Bill.
– I think that the right honorable member- will find it better to take the division in Committee.
– Earlier in the afternoon I suggested that it would be more convenient to take a test division upon the motion for the second reading of the measure, and I understood that the Prime Minister acquiesced in my suggestion.
– The proper place to take it is in Committee.
– I will point out why it ought not to be taken in Committee. I invite honorable members to look at the title of the Bill, which reads -
A Bill for an Act to determine more definitely the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth in the neighbourhood of Dalgety.
Why in the name of common sense should honorable members who are opposed to the site be asked to affirm the second reading of a Bill and to go into Committee “to determine more definitely the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth in the neighbourhood of Dalgety?” Why should they be asked to stultify themselves by doing that? The first thing which they will do in Committee will be to vote against determining “ more definitely the Seat of Government in the neighbourhood of Dalgety “ if there is a majority against that site.
– “ If.”
– That is the test. The test should not be a Committee test in regard to a detail of the Bill; but should be on the Bill itself. Those who are in favour of the selection of Dalgety ought to vote for the second reading of the measure in order to carry it through Committee. But those who are not in favour of that site should not be asked to affirm the second reading of a Bill “ to determine more definitely the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth in the neighbourhood of Dalgety.”
– The Prime Minister stated by way of interjection that we could move to strike out the word “Dalgety” upon the motion for the second reading of the Bill.
– We cannot do that. When I suggested that the division should be taken upon the motion for the second reading of the measure, I understood that the Prime Minister concurred in my suggestion.
– I intended to consider it, and afterwards consulted my colleagues, who thought it better to take the test division upon a proposal in Committee to leave out the word “ Dalgety.”
Mr. REID. I suggest that the course which I have indicated is the better one. Of course the Prime Minister understands that this is strictly a non-party question. Upon this Bill we stand upon absolutely non-party ground, seeing that different
Ministers intend to vote in different ways. Consequently there need be no delicacy whatever about the question. If the Government had submitted the Bill as a united Government there might have been some feeling of delicacy about the rejection of the motion for its second reading. But in this instance the Government submit the Bill to us for the purpose either of choosing or rejecting Dalgety. That being so,I say, that it is absurd for those who intend to vote for any site other than Dalgety to affirm the second reading of this Bill.
– By negativing the second reading of the measure we should throw out the whole Capital question.
– No. It is understood that if in Committee the word “ Dalgety “ is eliminated the whole Bill will be emasculated, and we shall then proceed to an exhaustive ballot. So that whether we negative the second reading of the measure or not is immaterial. If it reaches the Committee the bowels of the measure will go, and with its bowels, its life. We must not stand upon these ridiculous points.
– It is a small question.
– It would not be if the Federal Capitalwere to be located in Tasmania. It would then be one of the burning questions of Commonwealth policy.
– We do not want it.
– Because the State which the honorable member represents cannot get it.
– The State which the right honorable member represents has not yet got it.
– It has not. But is that the sort of argument with which we are to be met in discussing this question? It reflects almost the schoolboy code of morality which makes a boy’s marbles unsafe. We are asking for the recognition of this right of ours, and I am sure the honorable member for Franklin will be the very first to give the matter the most honorable and candid consideration. If there be a majority in favour of Dalgety, I suggest that by affirming the second reading of the Bill, the whole question will be settled.
– Let us vote either for the retention of the name “ Dalgety,” or for its rejection.
– Why should I proceed to consider a proposition to which I am opposed ? Why should I go in a round-about way to excise a word from a Bill, when, by negativing the Bill itself, I can accomplish exactly what I desire? What waste of time is involved in this procedure ! There may be advantages in going into Committee, which have nothing to do with the merits of the case-
– There may be advantages in acting in th way that the right honorable member wishes us to act.
– Is not the course which I suggest the usual one? If the House is asked to affirm the second reading of this Bill to determine more definitely the Seat of Government of the’ Commonwealth, in the neighbourhood of Dalgety, how are those who are opposed to that site to give expression to their opinions? They are asked to vote “Yes-no.” I have had enough of that.
– The right honorable member always, says that, and then does it again.
– The course suggested by the Government would be a ridiculous exhibition of affirmative and negative. We are asked to affirm our intention to go into Committee to more definitely fix Dalgety as the site of the Federal Capital, although we intend afterwards to knock out that site. I invite the House to adopt the more direct course which I have outlined.
– I must apologize to the leader of the Opposition for making my appearance a little late, and for not being able to move the second reading of the Bill. In approaching this question, I feel - and I have always felt - that under the Constitution this House is under a solemn obligation to do its best to establisha Federal Capital. I agree with the right honorable member for East Sydney that until that question is settled, there will always be a source of conflict between certain portions of Australia and the rest of the Commonwealth. Of course, it is desirable that, that source of conflict should be removed. If honorable members will look at the history of this Parliament they must recognise that it has done its best from the very foundation of the Commonwealth to get a complete and satisfactory settlement of this question. Further, I believe that when clause 125 was inferred in the draft Constitution, and when the Capital of New South Wales was eliminated from that Constitution as one of the places which might be chosen, the parties to the arrangement had a definite purpose in view. That purpose was to afford this Parliament an opportunity of selecting a Federal Capital at a place in New South Wales where it would be absolutely free from the dominating influences of any of the. large centres of population. It was intended that the Federal Capital should be reasonably distant from Sydney, so that when it had been established it would not be under the suspicion of being subject more or less to the dominating influences of the State capital. I feel that it is a real evil for the Seat of Government to be located in any of our capital cities. Whilst it is so located Parliament must depend, not upon its own inherent power, but upon the State in which it sits, for the support and dignity which ought to attach to its own position. For this reason it was found necessary in the United States and in Canada to establish a Federal Capital. In just the same way, I believe, that it will be found more necessary in the future to establish a Federal Capital in the Commonwealth so that this Parliament may reflect the true national opinion of Australia. It does not follow that because we meet in Victoria that we are dominated by the Victorian press or by the Victorian people. This House has already exhibited its independence of judgment in many decisions at which it has arrived. But we have to satisfy the people of this continent that Parliament is not being subjected to Victorian influences. Wherever we go we hear it suggested that whilst the Commonwealth Parliament continues to meet in Melbourne it is practically under Victorian control, and, for instance, that Victoria has influenced it in the shaping of the Tariff.
– It has influenced a certain section of Parliament, anyhow.
– I do not think that the honorable member has been subjected to much of that influence. However, honorable members know their own consciences best.
– Nine-tenths of the literature addressed to this Parliament on Tariff questions emanated from Victoria.
– When the first Tariff was being framed my own experience was that quite as finely prepared briefs came from New South Wales as from any other State. I do not find fault with that. The people of that State were perfectly entitled to see that their representatives were supplied with proper information. But I hold that this House has not been influenced by
Victorian considerations. . Of course the honorable member for Parkes is of opinion that we are subject to such, influences, and therefore he very naturally says, “ Get us out of Melbourne,’ and by all means get us away from Sydney too.” My own opinion is that if the electors of New South Wales were induced by the leaders of the various political parties to believe that under Federation certain things were likely to be accomplished, and if they acted on the faith of that understanding, we should, as far as possible, honor the bond. In the same way we should honor the agreement with Western Australia. But the question which we have to ask ourselves is, “What was the view put before the people of New South Wales prior to the consummation of Federation “ ? As a matter of fact, we know that the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, passed the following resolution -
That clause 124 should be amended, and provision made in the Bill for the establishment of a Federal Capital in such place within the boundaries of New -South Wales as the Federal Parliament may determine.
That was the view of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly.
– If it had not. been for the provision relating to the 100 miles limit this Parliament would have been meeting in Sydney to-day.
– That may be so.
– From what is the AttorneyGeneral quoting?
– From the resolution passed by the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales prior to the insertion in the. draft Constitution of the proviso relating to the 100 miles limit. Subsequently the right honorable member for East Sydney, as Premier of that State, attended the Conference of Premiers, at which the provision relating to the Federal Capital was amended to the form in which it stands to-day. That Conference . agreed to the clause as afterwards amended and issued it with a memorandum which set forth reasons for the amendment. The words are as follow - lt is considered that the fixing of the Site of Capital is a- question which might well be left to the Parliament to decide ; but, in view of the strong expression of opinion in relation to this matter in New South Wales, the Premiers have modified the clause, so that while the Capital cannot be fixed at Sydney, or in its neighbourhood, provision is made in the Constitution for its establishment in New South Wales at a reasonable distance from that city.
These were the reasons given, and . the clause was issued in its present form.
Nothing was heard of this memorandum until 1905 - practically five years afterwards.
– It was known and forgotten.
– The right honorable member for East Sydney, the right honorable member for Swan, and Sir George Turner were all at the Conference, and yet that memorandum was never mentioned until the year 1905.
– It was mentioned by Sir George Turner.
– Incidentally ; but it was never regarded in the light of a compact or mentioned as such.
– Sir George Turner does not say that, but the very opposite.
– Will the right honorable mem’ber for East Sydney say that, duringthe whole of the debates on this question in this Parliament, until Dalgety was fixed upon, this memorandum was ever mentioned here ?
– Yes ; it was mentioned by the honorable member for North Sydney.
– But only by that honorable member.
– Nevertheless, the compact is still there.
– When the New South Wales Government offered all the sites “to us for selection, was that memorandum regarded in any way as- controlling or influencing our- decision? The sites considered by Mr. Oliver went as far distant as Wentworth.
– That was a submission of sites merely for the purpose of inquiry. That is very paltry argument on the part of the Attorney-General !
– It is not a paltry argument.
– Albury was included in the sites.
– That is so.
– Surely the Attorney-General does not read the document in that way?
– - The AttorneyGeneral does not argue that, because it was not mentioned, the document is not binding?
– I am merely showing that this memorandum could not have made a very strong impression, when only one representative from New South Wales mentioned’ it in the course of the discussion.
– The document was printed at “Sydney for the Commonwealth.
– 1 have no doubt that the right honorable member for East Sydney, when he had the document printed, had some object; but I think we may all frankly admit that the document was forgotten. When the ballot was taken, both the right honorable member for- Swan and Sir George Turned voted for Dalgety ; and yet they were not charged with breach of faith - there was no appeal then to the right honorable member for Swan that he should “ honour the bond,” and. he voted as he believed he was entitled to vote. Assuming, however, that the understanding was such as has been suggested, what is the interpretation to be placed on the words used? In fixing a site we are asked to say that the test is to be reasonable distance - from Sydney. I do not ‘think that the right honorable member for East Sydney or any other honorable member would push the argument further than that, according to their reading of the memorandum, the capital site must be at a reasonable distance from Sydney. When Dalgety was decided upon, was it ever alleged that it was not at a reasonable distance from Sydney?
– Then the House decided that Dalgety was a reasonable distance.
– That is another matter.
– Who but Parliament it-, self has to determine this question ?
– Is it reasonable to go as far away as we can get?
– We might have selected Wentworth.
– And what about Tumut?
– Or Tooma?
– If we examine the matter according to the memorandum, we find the claim is that every honorable member is bound to apply the test, “ Is the site a reasonable distance from Sydney?”
– The furthermost boundary would not be a reasonable distance.
– I do not ‘belong to Victoria, but I belong to Australia; and, looking at the whole question from an Australian stand-point, I hold that in fixing the capital site we have to honour the bond - that is to say, we must establish the Federal Capital at the earliest possible date, and it must be in New South Wales ; the seat of Government must not remain longer in Melbourne thin, is reasonably necessary for the selection of the site and provision for the capital, and the site selected must be at such a distance from Sydney as to be in no way under the control or domination of that capital.
– I think that is an unassailable argument !
– That is, in my opinion, how we should approach this question. At the same time we ought not to fix on a site that would be practically Victorian. It would not be fair to fix the site in such a way that New South Wales would be deprived of ‘‘the prestige which would follow from the establishment of the Federal Capital within her borders. I do not think, therefore, that we ought to apply the test suggested by ‘the right honorable member for East Sydney, and decide that Dalgety must be excluded by the terms of the Constitution, or even by the terms of the memorandum, from, the consideration of this House. I think we have acted fairly in choosing the site that we have; and I ask honorable members to remember that the choice was not made hurriedly.
– Dalgety did not get the biggest straight-out vote.
– It is the site that Parliament has chosen, and it is the only site which commanded a majority of both Houses. On the 16th December, 1905, I traced the history df this question up to that date. In a despatch to the Prime Minster of 6th May, 1906, honorable members will find a precis of this history, and a more complete precis in a further despatch dated 28th November, 1907. The history shows that in the year 1899. the New South Wales Government appointed Mr. Olivera Royal Commissioner, and that that gentleman recommended the three districts of Southern Monaro, Yass, and Orange. Immediately after the Commonwealth was established, the Prime Minister, Sir Edmund Barton, asked New South Wales to offer sites, and the three recommended by Mr. Oliver, including the area of Dalgety, were submitted. The- members of both Houses of the Federal Parliament visited the sites, including that at Dalgety, and in 1902 this House, by resolution, agreed to the appointment of a Commission to inquire into the merits of the sites offered, and of ‘these sites Dalgety was one. That Commission reported in 1903, and amongst the places on which they reported was Bombala.. At a later stage, a special report was made on Dalgety as under offer. In that year there was a difference of opinion between the two Houses, one being in favour of
Tumut, and the other being in favour of Bombala; but in 1904 the present Seat of Government Act was passed, in which both Houses chose Dalgety. It will be seen that until 1904 these sites were under offer to the Commonwealth, and Dalgety was never objected to on the ground of its unreasonable distance from Sydney.
– The site was objected to as one which we had no power to select.
– I think the honorable’ member is incorrect. In 1904, the Seat of ‘Government Act was passed. It was assented to. on the 16th August of. the same year, and during all that time the Mew South Wales Government and Parliament took no exception to our selecting the Dalgety area.
– The AttorneyGeneral is wrong there, because it was urged at the time that this Parliament had no power to take the Dalgety area.
– I am now speaking of the attitude of the Government and Parliament of New South Wales, and pointing out that they took no exception to the selection of Dalgety, and’, furthermore, they absolutely set aside land in Southern Monaro, and did not allow any settlement to take place.
– The AttorneyGeneral is wrong.
– I can assure the honorable member that I have looked carefully at all the papers, and that I know what I am saying.
– Then, why has the Commonwealth not acted on the selection?
– The Commonwealth has acted on the selection. However, I was pointing out that up to 1904 the New South Wales Government and Parliament did nothing but acquiesce in the action we took. They allowed us to select Dalgety.
– How could the New South Wales Parliament interfere with the Commonwealth Parliament?
– It was in December, 1904, that the New South Wales Parliament raised the first objection, and passed a resolution- in favour of three sites being offered, and among which Dalgety was not included.
– There were honorable members here who objected to the choice of Dalgety.
– I have no doubt that individual members may .have raised ob jections, but I am now dealing with the action of a corporate body. In ^1904, the Seat of Government Act was passed, and it set out -
It is hereby determined that the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be within seventeen miles of Dalgety, in the State of New South Wales.
The view taken by the then Minister of Home Affairs, acting, I presume, under advice, was that which we put on the section - that Parliament having decided that the site shall be within the area named, the Government must act accordingly, and, in’ any negotiations with New South Wales, regard the section as mandatory.
– Of course..
– Negotiations were opened with New South Wales, in the endeavour to settle the question. The right honorable member for East Sydney admitted that he desired another choice; but he said that he accepted Dalgety - as the next commendable ; and I am prepared, just as staunchly as ever, to support the choice of the Parliament. My own impression, as against that of others in ‘New South Wales, who so much assail this selection, is that it is absolutely the best that New South Wales is ever likely to get - that any change would absolutely be for the worse.
The Reid-McLean Administration was defeated, and the present Government came into power. We were asked by the New South Wales Government if there was a change of policy on this question, or whether we took up the same attitude as our predecessors, and we replied that we regarded the Act as mandatory. The Premier, of the State then asked us if we would submit the constitutional issues to the High Court, and we replied “Yes,” and requested his Government to commence an action. He desired that we should drive in a peg; but it was pointed out that the Act gave us no authority to do so, as it did not define in metes and bounds any particular area, nor did it confer on the Commonwealth a foot of territory in New South Wales. We stated, however, that we were willing to prepare a short measure to enable the constitutional issues to be. tested. Accordingly, our AttorneyGeneral and the Attorney-General of New South Wales met in conference, and the Bill is the result. The present Premier of “New South Wales said -
As to the actual effect of this Statute, Mr. Isaacs and myself were not entirely in agreement. On the one hand, it was argued that it is a quasi, or partial, determination of the Seat of Government in so far as the Federal
Parliament has declared that no area outside that within a radius of 17 miles of Dalgety will be considered by the Federal Parliament in negotiating for a seat of Government; and to that extent it is binding, both upon the Federal Parliament and the State of New South Wales. On the other hand, it is contended that this Statute is a mere registration of the opinion of the Federal Parliament, and that it is no more binding upon the State than a joint resolution of the two Houses. This resolution may be revoked, and the Seat of Government subsequently determined within territory quite outside the Dalgety area. Whichever view is correct is really immaterial at the present time, because both Governments seem now to agree that the next step is to define some area by metes and bounds ; next to open negotiations for the grant or requisition of that territory ; and, finally, when such territory becomes the property of the Commonwealth, in terms of the Constitution, it will be necessary for Parliament by formal Act to determine the Seat of Government within that area.
The New South Wales Government claimed the right to determine the territory. It read section 125 of the Constitution to provide that the grant or transfer of territory to the Commonwealth is a condition precedent to the determination of the site by the Commonwealth. We took the view that three stages are contemplated, the first being the determination of the Seat of Government by the Commonwealth. The section reads -
The Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be determined by the Parliament; and shall be within territory which shall have been granted.
– “ Shall have been.”
– How is the Commonwealth to obtain the territory unless the State grants it?
– It may acquire it.
– The Commonwealth has not the power to take land from a State.
– The section provides, in the first place, that the Parliament of the Commonwealth shall determine the Seat of Government; that has been done by the passing of the Seat of Government Act. The next thing to be done is to define the territory which we desire, and the third step to be taken is to approach the State, and ask that the land may be conveyed to us. We are providing by the Bill for those things to be done. If the State contends that our action is illegal, it can obtain a decision from the High Court, and we are introducing the Bill to enable that to be done if the State so desires if.
– Does not the honorable member think that it would be a calamity if things came to that pass?
– Yes ; but I have such confidence in the people of New South Wales-
– As to believe that they will give us anything we ask for.
– As to believe that they will deal reasonably in this matter.
– Their attitude will depend largely on ours.
– The people of New. South Wales will not, I am sure, support the claim that the State, and not the Commonwealth, has the right to determine the Seat of Government. The opinion of Sir Julian Salamons and Mr. Cecil B. Stephen was taken by the State Government, and has been published in a parliamentary paper. They said -
By this section -
Section 125 of the Constitution - the acquisition of the territory by the Commonwealth must, we advise, take place before the determination of the seat of Government by the Parliament: We are of opinion that the right not only to determine the “ Seat of Government,” but also by necessary inference the right to determine the position in New South Wales of the Federal territory is vested in the Parliament. No “territory” can be transferred to the Commonwealth without the Commonwealth’s assent. The course adopted (in passing the recent Act, the Seat of Government Act) is, we think, a convenient one : for otherwise there might be something in the nature of an absolute deadlock, as it is quite conceivable that the Commonwealth, through the Federal Executive, might acquire by grant or otherwise land in New South Wales which would be legally “ vested in and belonging to the Commonwealth,” but. no part of such land might be deemed by the Parliament suitable for the Seat of Government.”
– Subject to conditions. We all admit that.
– The claim has been practically made by the New South Wales Parliament that it has the right to determine the matter, and that we must place the Capital in such territory as may have been granted to us.
– That is the effect of the opinion just read.
– That opinion is that the Commonwealth Parliament has the right to determine the territory.
– Subject to something having been. done.
– We say that the Seat of Government must first be determined, that then we must get the territory granted to us, . and that, thirdly, it having been granted to us, we must finally establish the Capital within it.
– The logic of that is that we cannot take it until it has been placed at our disposal.
– If we were put to it, we could exercise our constitutional power of compulsory acquisition. I do not mention that as a threat, or to interfere in any way with the fair or impartial . consideration of the question.
– Does the Minister propose to acquire Crown land by force ?
– It will not be necessary ; but I would mention that under the Lands for Public Purposes Acquisition Act we have already exercised the power to acquire Crown land.
– Far public purposes ?
– The creation of a new State?
– If we were put to it, we have the power to acquire for the purpose of the Seat of Government; but I do not wish to discuss the matter, because I do not think that it will ever be necessary to exercise that power. There is a saving common sense in British communities which enables them to adjust their disputes fairly and honorably.
– New South Wales wishes us to show the possession of saving common sense in our interpretation of the Premiers’ agreement.
– Does the honorable member say that the- spirit of the agreement was not observed in the selection of Dalgety ?
– That is the opinion of the people of the State.
– What would be an unreasonable distance?
– I do not think that Tooma or a site on the Tweed River would be within a reasonable distance.
– Dalgety is only 20 miles from the border of New South Wales.
– It is difficult to define what is reasonable ; every one must have his own opinion on the subject. My view is that the Constitution intends that New South Wales shall obtain the substantial, benefits arising from the possession of the Federal Capital ; but that the Capital shall not be under the dominating influence of Sydney.
– If the Capital were situated at Canberra it would not be under the dominating influence of Sydney.
– That is a matter- of Opinion. I’ think that Dalgety is not at an unreasonable distance from Sydney, and will not be under the dominating influence of that city. Dalgety was chosen fairly and honorably, as the result of a plain, straight-out vote. No trickery was resorted to. If, on this occasion, that site is struck out of the Bill, the people of Australia will not be satisfied unless it, as well as its rivals, is dealt with by an exhaustive ballot, as on the previous occasion.
– That is only fair.
– Whichever site is. chosen should beat every other.
– Yes. The Government wish to have the matter settled. We desire to have the territory defined if Parliament still approves of Dalgety. There is time to pass the Bill through this House, and also. I think . through the Senate, provided that it be carried in its present form.
– Surely the Government wilt find time for it to be dealt with if some other, site be selected ?
– Certainly ; they will do their best.” We should then be able during the recess to approach trie Government of New South Wales. We consider that the proper course to adopt is to carry the second’ reading of the Bill, and in Committee totake a test vote on the question of whether or not the words “ Schedule A,” which includes Dalgety, should stand.
– It would be ridiculous to vote on the boundaries if we did not approve of the site. .
– The elimination of the words “ Schedule A “ would be an indication that the House desired the selection to> be re-considered. If such an amendment were carried, a motion would be immediately submitted to permit of an exhaustiveballot on all the competing sites. If theHouse then determined once more in favour of Dalgety, we should simply have to recommit the Bill, re-insert the schedule, and send it to another place without delay. We consider that the whole question could be expeditiously dealt with in that way.
– T do not think that a schedule of boundaries should be in such aBill.
– If the House makes another selection, it will be necessary for us to repeal the Act of 1904, and to introduce an entirely fresh measure, fixing thenew site.
– Would the Government favour the repeal o’f the Act of 1904?
– Members of the Ministry have a free hand. I feel bound by the decision of this House.
– Then the honorable member would not exercise his own judgment?
– I have exercised my judgment in favour of Dalgety. My own opinion is that that site was chosen after a fair and honest fight, and that it comprises all the essentials for a truly great national capital. That being so, I intend to stand by its selection.
– Then the honorable member is going to stand by a site which will be far removed from the future centre of population in Australia.
– I did not say so.
– The honorable member said that the statisticians showed that the centre of population in Australia hereafter would be Armidale.
– But does the honorable member propose that Armidale should be selected ?
– I should like it to be chosen.
– I believe that if we had regard more to the future than to the present we should select that site.
– And yet the honorable member proposes to stand by the selection of Dalgety, which is’ as far from Armidale as we could go in that direction.
– My purpose is to stand by the. decision of this Parliament. I propose to state shortly the purposes of the Bill. It is designed to determine more definitely the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth in the neighbourhood of Dalgety, and the territory there within which it shall be. This Parliament has chosen Dalgety, but under the Act of 1904 the territory is’ not defined or delimited. As the Attorney-General pointed out in his memorandum of 20th October, 1905, having fixed and chosen the site the next step is to define the metes and bounds of that territory. The original Act provides that the site shall be within 17 miles of Dalgety. That provision is mandatory, but the next section is merely directory.
– They were “mandatory, but were amended in Committee.
– The honorable and’ learned member is correct. It now provides that the a.rea of the territory “should” be 900 square miles, and that . there “should” ‘be access to the sea. This section is practically a direction to the Government as to what shall be done in negotiating with the Government of New South Wales. Instructions were given- to Mr. Scrivener to prepare different . areas of choice, and in a paper printed on 15th December, 1905, will be found a statement of what he proposes as to the Federal City. He first of all selects an area of 100 square miles, -and then he deals with an area of 200 square miles, an area suggested by. the resolution passed by the Parliament of New South Wales. He was also asked to fix what he considered was the smallest possible area that we could safely acquire for the purposes of a Federal City. He ‘determined that that area should be 630 square miles, and in answer to a further request that he should state the area that ought to be acquired to provide for water supply, water power, and sewerage, he reported that the desirable area should be 1,050 square miles. The exact area necessary for the Federal Capital depends, of course, upon the location of the site.
– Do we desire to secure a larger area because of the poorness of the country in the neighbourhood of Dalgety?
– We must acquire a fairly large area to insure the purity of our water supply.
– The selection of a large area was proposed because the Labour Party desired to make some experiments in regard to land nationalization.
– Other honorable members voted for the acquisition of a larger area., not on that ground, but because they thought it necessary that we should have complete control over our water supply and sources’ of water power. The 900 square mile area is defined in Schedule A in accordance with Mr. Scrivener’s proposal. The Bill authorizes the Government to obtain that area from the State of New South Wales -
To the full extent to which the territory can be granted by the State within the meaning of section one hundred and twenty-five of the Constitution. ‘ .
That is to say, the State has power to grant te-. us certain land as Federal territory, so that we may exercise sovereign jurisdiction over it. Clause 4 provides that from the day when the grant and acceptance take effect all estate and interests held by any person from the State of New South Wales, within the territory granted and accepted, shall be held from the Commonwealth on the same terms and conditions as’ they were then held from the State. In other words, those- who hold estates in fee simple will hold them from us under the same tenure. The position will be the same with regard to leasehold so that we shall thus obtain complete control over the tenants.
– What is the opinion, of the Parliament of New South Wales as to the site to be selected ?
– We know that the Parliament of New South Wales objected to Dalgety.
– And yet the honorable member desires to force the selection of that site on the people of New South Wales.
– The Seat of Government Act of 1904 is binding on the Parliament until it is repealed.
– Surely something is due to the people of the State, part of whose territory is to be acquired?
– Every consideration has been given to them.
– I do not think so.
– The honorable member does not represent all the people of New South Wales.
– The Bill also provides for the continuance of State laws in respect to the territory until the Federal Parliament enacts new laws and for valuation of lands in the Federal territory. Provision is likewise made for access between the territory described in Schedule A and the sea, clause 7 providing that it shall be within a distance of 15 miles on either side of the line described in Schedule B. In conclusion., I think we shall.be well advised in passing this measure. I do not suggest that the Parliament should not give every consideration to the expressed will of the New South Wales Legislature.
– Did the honorable member vote on the last occasion for Dalgety ?
– No; I votedfor Tumut as against Dalgety, and before that for Lyndhurst.
– No one would dream of blaming the honorable member for voting for Lyndhurst.
– I do not blame any honorable member for exercising his vote and his conscience in this Parliament. The Parliament of New South Wales has expressed a desire that three other sites shall be considered, and the procedure we propose will not preclude the fullest consideration being given to the wishes of the people of that State. If the House is in favour of Dalgety as against all other sites, however, there is no reason why this
Bill should not be passed. This Parliament made a choice after the fullest consideration, and after large sums had been expended upon the inquiries of a Royal Commission, and on visits of inspection.
– That was four years ago, and nothing has been done since then.
– Because the honorable member has always blocked us.
– In what way?
– In the year 1904, the Reid Ministry came into power. They retired from office in 1905. Immediately the present Government assumed the reins of power, the ex- Premier of New South Wales, Mr. Carruthers, endeavoured to arrange with us for a special case being stated for decision by the High Court; but, after negotiations had proceeded for some time, disagreement was arrived at. Immediately that result was brought about, a Bill relating to this question was tabled in this House. In 1905, the right honorable member for East Sydney asked us - because another site had been mentioned in the interim - not to proceed with the measure, and his wish was acceded to. In 1906, when Parliament again met, we were invited by the New South Wales Government to consider the claims of still another site, which had not been submitted to the State Parliament - I refer to Mahkoolmah. The Government immediately promised to give that site consideration, and visits of inspection to it were organized. It was really during one of these visits that Canberra was discovered. It’ was not until September, 1906, that we obtained a report on Canberra from the State of New South Wales.
– By doing all these things, the Government themselves admitted that no final selection of the Capital Site had been made.
– The Government desired to give every opportunity to the people of New South Wales to make representations in regard to these sites. I repeat that it was in September, 1906, when we obtained’ a report on Canberra, and only in October of that year Parliament was prorogued. There was no time to deal with the matter in the interim. Parliament met again last year, and the first thing that the Government did was to table this Bill. Subsequently, requests were made to us to permit of further visits being made to Canberra, Dalgety, and Tooma.
The Government have done everything that they could reasonably be expected to do under the circumstances, and, considering the great work of the session, namely, the framing of the new Tariff, I hold that this Bill has been brought forward at the earliest possible moment. We have shown every consideration, not only to the people of New South Wales, but to the State Government, and I therefore, ask the House to again affirm the selection of Dalgety by the passage of this measure.
– I regret that the right honorable member for East Sydney should have introduced into this debate the question of honorable conduct, so far as it affects myself. It seems to me that he has been a long time thinking over the matter, seeing that seven years have elapsed since the first Commonwealth Parliament assembled here, that the question of the Federal Capital has been discussed many times since, and that until now it has never been suggested that either myself or any other honorable member, in casting his vote upon this important question, has not had the most complete freedom of action, and has been actuated by other than an honorable desire to do what was right. Had it not been for the remarks of the right honorable member, I should not have addressed myself tothis question so soon, but I feel that his observations in regard to myself as a member of the Premiers’ Conference of 1899 were altogether unnecessary, and that they were totally unjustified. When the amendment of the Constitution was adopted by the Premiers’ Conference on the urgent representation of the right honorable member, as Premier of New South Wales, I had no knowledge whatever of any of the eligible sites in that State. At that time, all that we knew was that Moss Vale was outside the 100 miles limit. With the exception probably of the right honorable member himself there was not a single Premier who knew anything about the districts in which eligible sites were available. The right honorable member has endeavoured to institute an analogy between his action in supporting the proposal for connecting Western Australia with Eastern Australia by railway, and the attitude which I take up in regard to the question of the Capital Site. In reply, I merely wish to say that upon the transcontinental railway question, I have never done more than to use every legitimate endeavour to induce honorable mem bers to see eye to eye with me. I have merely quoted the promises which were made by the leaders of various parties in Australia prior to Federation, with a view to inducing the people of Western Australia to enter the Union. In short, I have never done anything in regard to that project which has not been above-board. I have never said that if somebody would not do something for me, I would not do something for him.
– Who has done that?
– Apparently, there is a feeling abroad that, because some New South Wales representatives acted in a generous federal and national spirit in regard to the vote which they cast in favour of that great project, I should, upon this occasion, reverse my previous opinions andactions, and throw in my lot with them, quite irrespective of my own views upon this question.
– That is not the case at all.
– In regard to the amendment by the Premiers’ Conference of the Constitution as it was passed by the Convention, the right honorable member for East Sydney, as Premier of New South Wales, never suggested - nor did any other member of the Premiers’ Conference - that the words which we inserted in clause 125 in any way limited the future choice of a site for the Federal Capital. We merely declared that “ the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth should be in theState of New South Wales, and be distant not less than 100 miles from Sydney.”
– Then what do the other words mean ?
– I shall come to that presently. The alteration which was effected, and which was intended to be a concession - because the right honorable member assured the Premiers that it would make a great difference to the vote in favour of Federation in New South Wales - merely, declared that the Capital should be in New South Wales, and not less than 100 miles from Sydney.
– We should have had no Federation in the absence of that provision.
– I do not agree with the honorable member. We know very well that the electors of that State, by a majority of about 70,000, voted in favour of Federation when there was no provision in the draft Constitution providing that the Federal Capital shouldbe in New South Wales.
– All the representatives of the other States know more about New South Wales than do its own representatives.
– Upon this question I very much regret to find myself not in accord with a majority of the representatives of New South Wales in this Chamber. I do not look upon it as a local question in any sense of the word. So far as I am concerned, it cannot be a local matter, because whatever site may ultimately be decided upon it will be far removed from the State which I represent. It is only quite recently that the word “ reasonable,” which is to be found in the padding of the report covering the clauses recommended by the Premiers’ Conference, has assumed any great importance.
– Does the right honorable member call it “ padding?”
– I do not care what it is called.
– It is something that the Premiers themselves, of whom the right honorable member was one, inserted in their report.
– I wish the honorable member would not look atme in such a hostile way. I am most friendly disposed towards him in every sense.
– Upon this question I am afraid that the right honorable member is hostile.
– The proposal to construct the transcontinental railway was not incorporated in the draft Constitution, and yet we have sanctioned a survey of the line.
– The right honorable member acted in the way that he considered right towards a neighbouring State, and I have never lost an opportunity of saying so. I have always declared that in regard to the transcontinental railway he has been one of the best friends of Western Australia. New South Wales initiated proceedings in connexion with the selection of the Federal Capital by appointing the late Mr. Oliver, to report upon eligible sites. He reported upon Albury, Tumut, Bombala, and other places. It was not until after this Parliament had actually selected Dalgety that that State began to urge objections to its choice. In fact,I think that the action of the Parliament and the Government of New South Wales means not only that the site shall be in that State, but that its Government and Parliament shall approve of it. All I can say is that the right honorable member for East Sydney, as Premier of New South Wales, never suggested such a thing at the Premiers’ Conference.
– I do not suggest it now.
– I had no recollection whatever of the word “ reasonable “ being embodied in the report of that Conference until somebody unearthed it years, afterwards. After the Conference had terminated, I did not again study the report. I took for my guide what I considered embodied the views of the Conference, namely, the words inserted in the Constitution. But, after all, what is “reasonable?” Canberra is supposed to be within a reasonable distance of Sydney, and Dalgety is not. But there is only a difference of 93 miles between their respective distances by railway from Sydney. In other words, 203 miles is regarded as a “ reasonable “ distance from that city, whilst 296 miles is not.
– Dalgety is within 20 miles of the farthest point from Sydney in that direction.
– Delegate, near the border of Victoria, is quite 50 miles from Dalgety. But the right honorable member knows very well that it is farther from Sydney to Tooma and Albury than it is from Sydney to Dalgety. I repeat that, in the opinion of some honorable members, 203 miles is considered a “ reasonable” distance from Sydney, whilst 296 miles is considered an “ unreasonable “ distance. Ninety-three miles makes all the difference, according to their views. Now, although I do not regard Dalgety as an ideal site - in many ways I can imagine a better one - I still believe that it is the best of the sites which have been submitted, and that, taking it all. round, it far surpasses Canberra. I regret that I should have had to take a rather prominent part in connexion with this Capital Site question, because it has brought me into conflict of opinion with honorable members in this House with whom I do not desire to be in conflict. However, I was unavoidably drawn into the matter in my capacity as Minister of Home Affairs, when I was asked to report upon certain sites. After I ceased to be Minister of Home Affairs I was asked to visit Lyndhurst, and last year I was specially requested by Mr. Carruthers, the then Premier of New South Wales, to visit Canberra, and express my opinion as to its eligibility. I complied with these requests; and, because I have given honorable members the benefit of my experience, I am regarded by some as adverse to the interests of New South Wales. I have no axe to grind - no feeling in the matter; the selection of the Capital Site will not in any way affect me, or the StateI represent. But this is a question on which we are all expected to express our views to the best of our ability ; and if we possess any special knowledge on such a question to give Parliament the advantage of it. I have not asked any one to vote in the way that I vote. I have not asked any honorable member in the corner where I sit to vote with me, nor did I make any such request when I was a member of the Government. I shall exercise my vote in the way my judgment dictates, leaving others to do the same. Let us, however, go back to 1898, just after the Federal Convention, and see what was done by the New South Wales Government, of which the right honorable member for East Sydney was Premier. On the 12th October, 1898, amongst a number of resolutions in view of the forthcoming Premiers’ Conference, the right honorable gentleman moved one to the effect that the New South Wales Parliament desired to submit for the consideration of the other States “ that clause 125 should be amended, and provision made in the Bill for the establishment of the Federal Capital in such place within the boundaries of New South Wales as the Federal Parliament may determine.” Surely those words are clear enough.
– That resolution did not bar Sydney ; but subsequently, on the barring of Sydney, other words were added in the Conference, and gave rise to a new situation.
– I may say that the right honorable gentleman, when he submitted that resolution to the New South Wales Parliament on12th October, 1898, appeared to be ill at ease, if I may judge from reading his speech. The right honorable gentleman had been to the Federal Convention, and had discussed this question as the leader of the New South Wales delegates ; and he did not seem to be desirous of interfering, if he could avoid it, with the work of the Convention. He made all sorts of excuses for submitting that motion ; he said that he admitted he did not like doing so, and went so far as to say that if Queensland were in the Federation - Queensland not having been represented at the Convention - “ the position would have been considerably different.” With that resolution, and many others, the right honorable gentleman came to the. Premiers’ Conference, and urged, as he had a right to do, in the most persuasive way, that the Seat of the Commonwealth Government should be in New South Wales. That was agreed to, principally, I think, because it was thought that such a concession would very much help to obtain a vote in favour of Federation by the people of that State! On the12th October, 1898, as reported on page 1340 of volume 94 of the New South Wales Hansard, the right honorable gentleman said -
I admit at once that if we were to go further - that is, further than saying that the Capital should be in New South Wales - and endeavour ourselves to decide in what particular spot in this great Colony, bordering three other Colonies, the Capital of the Commonwealth should be fixed, we should absolutely cease to have any justification. I am prepared to leave to the wisdom of the Federal Parliament the arrangement as to the particular spot in this great Colony where the Capital should be fixed. I am prepared absolutely to leave that to the Federal Parliament.
– Hear, hear. But the Premiers barred Sydney, and then I had to say that, at any rate, the Federal Capital must be a reasonable distance from Sydney.
– And the right honorable gentleman apparently thinks that a distance of 203 miles is reasonable, while a distance of 296 miles is not.
– I think that a difference of 100 miles, which places the Federal Capital at the borders of another State, is in an unreasonable direction. Howmuch further could we get in an unreasonable direction ?
– I shall show directly. The Seat of Government Bill was passed, and Dalgety was decided upon. At the time the right honorable member for East Sydney was Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, and it appears that while he was Prime Minister he and the then Minister for Home Affairs, the honorable member for North Sydney, had an interview with the then Premier of New South Wales, Mr. Carruthers, which was reported to the Parliament of New South Wales on 8th December, 1905, as reported in the New South Wales Hansard, page 4810. Mr. Carruthers said -
Interviews took place between Mr. Reid, Mr. Dugald Thomson, and myself - the result was that Mr. Reid and Mr. Dugald Thomson stated that the Seat of Government Act 1904, passed by the Federal. Parliament, was, in regard to the selection of Dalgety as a site, mandatory, final, and binding on the State of New South Wales - that the terms of that Act fixing the area at goo square miles, with access to the sea, were open to discussion, but that the location of the territory at Dalgety was mandatory, final, and binding on New South Wales as well as on the Commonwealth.
– Not on New South Wales. How could it be? N.o doubt it is binding, so long as it remains law.
– I am quoting from the New South Wales Hansard the words used by Mr. Carruthers, the then Premier of New South Wales.
– The selection was not binding on New South Wales. The people of that State could agitate for a reopening of the question.
– Again, on the 15th December, 1904, after the Bill had been passed, the right honorable gentleman, when he was Prime Minister, said in this House -
It is my earnest wish that the provisions of the Constitution shall be carried out loyally on both sides. If they are, the Federal Capital will be established in New South Wales at no distant date, but, just as it is possible for the Federal Parliament ‘in its treatment of the subject to so act that there will be no Capital in New South Wales within a reasonable time, it is possible for the Government and Parliament of New South Wales to so act that there will be no Federal Capital in New South Wales within a reasonable time, unless we have an inherent right to select the Capital by our own will. That is a question of serious importance which I hope will never have to be considered. I hope that those who have this matter at heart will rest satisfied that the Government will loyalty regard the decision of this Parliament, unless it is rescinded, and, so far as I am concerned, any attempt to rescind it will meet with my strongest opposition.
– That is, I would not change for a worse site; but if I could be shown a better site, I should have ripped up the decision in a minute. At that time, there was no prospect of Canberra - it was Tooma then.
– Dalgety was the site fixed in the Bill.
– But it was desired to have Tooma, and I adhered to Dalgety.
– This is not a party or a State question. It is a national question ; because it is of the greatest importance that the Federal Capital shall be on the best site possible in New South Wales, so that those who come after us shall applaud our choice. The present difficulty with the New South Wales Go- vernment .and Parliament was never foreseen by any of us. It was never contemplated in the early days of this Parliament that, after we had selected a site, there would be any objections raised on the part of the Government of New South Wales. It was only recently that the late Premier of New South Wales seemed to take such an idea into his head; and from that time forth there has been trouble and delay. All this is very much to be regretted, because a great deal of harm has been done even to Federation and to the Federal Parliament. I feel that it would be almost better to defer the question for some time - until, say, we can think more federally than we do at present. It has been suggested that the Commonwealth Parliament should sit in Sydney for the next decade in order to avoid the present unpleasant position. The reading of the Constitution is as clear as possible ; it never was intended other than that this Parliament should have the settlement of the site for the Seat of Government.
– In association with the Parliament of New South Wales.
– That idea was never in the minds of the Premiers who inserted the provision in the Constitution. No such idea, I venture to say, was in the mind of the right honorable member for East Sydney, when he was so earnestly and persuasively urging the Premiers’ Conference that words should be inserted in the Constitution providing that the Seat of Government should be in New South Wales. The Premiers might fairly- have assumed that the New South Wales Parliament and people would be gratified to have the Capital within their borders, and would be only too willing, as-in the case of the Government of Victoria, to give the Federal Government and Parliament every concession and help. .It was never thought that the New South Wales Parliament and Government would ask for a concession not provided for in the Constitution, and that, having got it, they would not then be satisfied, but would insist on being, permitted to select the locality of the site for the Capital City. In effect, the New South Wales Government and Parliament say, “ No site will be regarded as suitable which is not approved by us.”
– They do not say anything of the kind. “Sir JOHN FORREST.- But that is what their action amounts to.
– They do not suggest a site nearly 300 miles away.
– There is no site that has been recommended by any one that is as good as Dalgety, nearer to Sydney, in my opinion.
– Yes, there is.
– Then it has not been put forward. I should not ob,ject to the site being a good deal closer to Sydney, if we could get a site with the same water, supply, and other advantages that are possessed bv Dalgety.
– What about Yass?
– Yass is so high, I believe, that a water supply by gravitation is impossible. I find that the strongest opponents to certain’ of the sites mentioned are those who have never paid any visits pf inspection, but are quite willing to combat the views of others who have taken that trouble. Data are very valuable, but the advantages of a personal inspection cannot be over-estimated. I have visited all the sites but Tooma, having been to Dalgety twice, and to Canberra once.
– How long did the right honorable member spend at Canberra ?
– I spent a day at Canberra, and visited the junction of the Cotter River with the Mumimbidgee River, and two or three days at Dalgety. Tooma is far nearer Melbourne than Sydney, and only 1,000 feet above sea level. Therefore that site does not commend itself to me.
– It is 20 miles nearer Sydnev than Dalgety is.
– It may be nearer in a straight line, but by existing routes it is not so near. B.y the existing railway the distance to Tumut is 322 miles, and Tooma must be 50 miles further, so that Tooma is, by existing railway and road, 372 miles, as against Dalgety 296 miles. One would have thought that the New South Wales Government, if in earnest about the Canberra site, would have done what I did in regard to the other sites, where contour surveys were made to- ascertain their suitability for town purposes. We were not content with an aneroid examination.
– The; aneroid readings at Canberra have since been checked by rough surveys.
– I have not seen the report.
– It has been published.
– I am rather surprised that Dalgety is objected to because of its distance from Sydney, seeing that the honorable member for South Sydney was in favour of the Batlow site, which is about 20 miles south of Tumut, and about 340 miles from Sydney.
– Batlow is not 200 miles from Sydney in a straight line.
– One cannot, travel .between the two places in a straight line. Of course, Dalgety is also nearer by a straight line than it is by the present routes. Then the Treasurer voted for the Albury site, which is 392 miles from Sydney. A number of honorable members supported the Tumut site, among them being the honorable member for South Sydney, who was also in favour of Batlow.
– Batlow is nearer to Tumut, but it was the Batlow, not the Tumut, site that I supported.
– By the existing railway Tumut is. 322 miles from Sydney. All three sites are further away from Sydney than is Dalgety, which is only 296 miles away. I h awe this advantage or disadvantage in dealing with the question, that I have put my pen to paper, so that every one knows my opinions.
– The right honorable member made only one day’s visit to Canberra, and had not the advantage of any surveys.
– I visited Dalgety on two occasions, and spent several days there. I was also able to take advantage of exhaustive surveys, which had been made to ascertain the contour of the site and the nature of the water supply. On the 15th April. 1904, I wrote a report on my visit to Dalgety, concluding with the following passage -
The snowy mountain of Kosciusco is situated about 40 miles from Dalgety, and, in the event of a Federal. City being built, the Snowy Mountains and Mount Kosciusco, which has an altitude of 7,738 feet above the sea, the highest point on the Australian continent, will be an everlasting interest and pleasure to visitors, and tourists, as well as to its residents. Viewed from the standard of the factors set forth….. the Dalgety Site, in my opinion, fulfils the qualifications to a larger extent than any other Site ‘ in the SouthernMonaro or Tumut districts under the four headings (i), [e), (/), and (i), and under no factor is it inferior to any of the others. It has also by far the best water supply, and is the most picturesque of all the Sites examined. It is also conveniently situated between Sydney and Melbourne, and when railway communication is made between Cooma and Bairnsdale will be only eight or nine hours from Sydney and ‘ Melbourne. . It would attract visitors’ and tourists from all parts of Australia in the summer, by reason of its climate, the attractions of the Snowy Mountains, and the. fishing in the Snowy River.
The headings there mentioned refer to the abundant water supply the availability of water power for generating electricity, and the advantages for recreation, sport, and beauty obtained by a water frontage. I also visited Canberra at the earnest request of the ex- Premier of New South Wales, and of it I wrote -
It. will be seen that, in my judgment, Canberra does not favorably compare with Dalgety in the factors of abundant water supply ; in water power for generating electricity for light, for railways and tramways, and for all mechanical appliances; in water frontages to a perennial river capable of being made into a deep lake 10 miles long of ever running water; in commanding approach and sites for public buildings ; and in being within 40 miles of the highest range on the Australian Continent, which culminates in Mount Kosciusco, 7,23s feet above the level of the sea.
– The right honorable member thought himself capable of judging as to the water -supply of Canberra after one short visit. It took a trained engineer a month to investigate the subject. The honorable member went there with his mind made up.
– That is an ungenerous remark. I had all the reports of. the surveyors and engineers at that date, which is only a year ago - nothing new has been obtained since.
– The report looks like it.
– The right honorable mem? ber feels that he discovered Dalgety, and that, no doubt, makes him take a more favorable view of its advantages.
– Every one knows that the Snowy River is one of the finest streams in Australia, and that it furnishes a perennial water supply. As to accessibility, I say -at once that, although I regard Dalgety as the best site, it is, in my opinion, the one most difficult of access from Melbourne at the present time.
– - No doubt .about that.
– Why should the people of Melbourne be penalized ?
– I have no motive other than public duty in advocating Dalgety ; I merely wish to do what is, in my’ judgment, best in the interests of the Commonwealth. . Dalgety will not always be as hard of access from Melbourne as it is now.
– Why has the right honorable member flouted the wishes of the people of New South Wales in this matter?
– I have not desired to do so. Referring to Canberra and Dalgety, I have written -
By the existing railway Canberra is 93 miles nearer to Sydney than Dalgety, and 3ri miles hearer to Sydney than to Melbourne. Canberra is 203 miles by the existing railway from Sydney, and Dalgety is 296 miles from Sydney. The distance from Melbourne to Canberra by the present railway, vid Goulburn and Queanbeyan, is 5r4 miles,, and to Dalgety, vid Goulburn, Queanbeyan, and Cooma the distance by existing railway from Melbourne is 607 miles, but by constructing a loop line of railway from Yass’ to Queanbeyan, a distance of 48 miles, railway communication would be provided for Canberra from Sydney 203 miles, and from Melbourne 435 miles. When the railway is constructed from Cooma to Bairnsdale -
I do not think that I would recommend Dalgety, if it were to be always situated as it is now - the distance from Sydney to Dalgety will be 296 miles, and from Melbourne, vid Bairnsdale, .353 miles, and these two great cities would in that case be fairly equally distant from the Federal Seat of Government, which, in itself, would be a matter of immense public convenience.
– It is estimated that such a railway would cost ^’2, 000,000.
– I have been through the country from Bairnsdale, vid Orbost and Delegate, and I see no insuperable difficulty in building this railway, and am sure that all that country will not be left unutilized and waste for long. The line must be made within a short time, for without a railway that large part of Victoria must remain undeveloped. Until a railway from Bairnsdale to Dalgety is constructed, the latter will be 607 miles .from Melbourne by rail, whereas the representatives of New South Wales will have to travel by rail only 296 miles from Sydney in order to reach it.
– And, according to the right honorable member, that railway is to be constructed almost immediately.
– I do not know what are the intentions of the Victorian Government ; .but I feel confident that it will be constructed in the early future. Before Dalgety will be conveniently available for the people of Melbourne, a railway from Bairnsdale to Dalgety will have to be constructed. When the extension of the railway from Cooma, to Dalgety, 31. miles, is constructed, the distance from Sydney to Dalgety by rail will then be 296 miles, and. from Dalgety to Melbourne, via Bairnsdale, 353 miles. It is desirable that a substantial line on which trains may travel at high speed shall be built.
– Such a line could not be constructed . over such rough country.
– I think that it could. It is merely a question of expenditure. . The Commonwealth might fairly help the States to build substantial lines of railway to the Federal Capital. This is not the first occasion on which such a suggestion has been made, and I certainly think that it would be reasonable for the Commonwealth to assist the States to construct more substantial lines than their own requirements would demand. For instance, the line from Goulburn to Cooma is a very light one, over which trains could not travel at a high rate of speed. A’ considerably increased expenditure would be involved in laying down a fast line from Goulburn to Cooma and Dalgety’, and thence to Orbost and Bairnsdale. The Commonwealth might well, therefore, assist the States in placing the Federal Capital on the high road between the great cities of Sydney and Melbourne. I see no reason why there should not be one of the finest railways in the world from Melbourne, via Bairnsdale, to Sydney, via the Federal Capital.
– There is no difficulty, except the nature of the country.
– I have been over the country, and do not share the honorable member’s view. _ A large portion of the territory to be traversed would be suitable for closer settlement.
– Railway engineers do not think much of it.
– I noticed land suitable for closer settlement, and also an area of auriferous country. In conclusion, I must say that I have not appreciated the interjections pf honorable members. In listening to them, one would think that I had some ulterior purpose in view, and had no desire to consider the interests of the people of New South Wales’. We often differ in this House, and there is no sub- ject upon which we might more fully be expected to differ than this. No one can surely suggest that in supporting the selection of Dalgety I am seeking to please my own constituents, or indeed anybody ; my desire is only that the Parliament shall arrive at the best and most satisfactory decision. I regret that I have been forced into a position in which I am brought into controversy with others with whom I desire to. be on the best of terms, and to work with under the most friendly conditions. I am sorry to differ from my friends the majority of the representatives of New South Wales. I wish I could vote with them. If I consulted my personal wishes I’ should do so, but I could not honestly or consistently say by my vote that I prefer Canberra to Dalgety as the site for the future capital of the Commonwealth.
– It seems to me that there is a number of circumstances which justify the reopening of this question. A little time ago, when the matter was discussed in this House, the honorable member for EdenMonaro said that in my desire to have it re-opened I was going back upon a statement which I had made, whilst holding office some four years ago, that the Capital Site had ‘been dealt with finally. I think it well to detain the House for a moment or two while I point out what I did say on the occasion in question. With Hansard before me, I deny absolutely that I expressed the opinion that the question was finally settled. What I did say was that in view of the circumstances then existing - the fact that an amendment was before the Chair to upset a vote taken only a few minutes previously - the Government of which I was leader could not countenance any such reversal as was proposed. A majority of honorable members had decided to choose the south-eastern district of New South Wales, which includes Bombala and Dalgety, as the site for the Federal Capital. Within a few minutes after . that decision had been arrived at, an amendment was moved to include the Tooma district in the Bill. I had always been opposed to Tooma, but apart from my personal predilection it seemed to me that in view df the vote arrived at only a few minutes before, we were compelled to abide’ by the decision of the House, fully and freely expressed.
– The answer to all such criticism is that it has taken the present . Government three years to take one step towards finally settling the question.
– I prefaced my observations with the statement that there were grave reasons for attempting to ascertain whether the decision arrived at some four years ago was still the determination of this Parliament. I do not suppose that any one will accuse me of joining in the chorus raised by some people in New South Wales about the sacrifices that have been made by that State in the interests of Federation. I have always attempted to hold the Federal banner loyally aloft in that State during the whole time that I have been one of its representatives in this Parliament. I have steadfastly deprecated any attempt to introduce parochialism into the consideration of Federal questions. But a man would indeed be blind if, knowing anything of .the conditions existing in New South Wales to-day, he did not acknowledge that there is, if not a majority, at all events a strong minority of the people of that State exceedingly ‘ dissatisfied with the position in- respect to the Capital. There can be no doubt that that dissatisfaction exists amongst a very strong minority, if not a majority, of the people.
– Is this not a Federal question within the limits of the Constitution ?’
– I hope to be able to show that the Federal advantage is bound up with the re-opening of this question, and I trust that in dealing with it the honorable’ member will be prepared to adopt the Federal, and not the parochial, aspect dictated by the Age and Argus. In order to secure the successful working of a Constitution such as ours, our first aim should be to remove any legitimate causes .of friction between the Commonwealth and the States. A- bargain was made in respect of the Federal Capital Site. I was prepared when the Constitution Bill was before the people of New South Wale’s to trust the Federal Parliament to determine the site of the Federal Capital ; I was quite prepared to accept the Constitution without any restrictions at all in that regard if provision were made in it for certain other matters. A large number of the people of New South Wales, however, disagreed with that view, and a bargain was made in the terms set forth by the right honorable member for East Sydney, who was then leader of the Government of New South Wales, and was responsible at the time for the activity which brought Federation into existence. The feeling now in existence in New South Wales is that that bargain has not been honoured by the selection of Dalgety. It is held that Dalgety is removed from New South Wales influence, that it i’s practically cut off from the centre of commercial and political activity in that State, and that its selection therefore is not in accordance with the spirit of the agreement which was entered into. When the right honorable member for Swan taunts me with .having voted for Batlow, which is distant, as the crow flies, less than 200 miles from Sydney, I feel constrained to reply that, unlike him, I am not bound by the terms of any agreement. I was not a party to an agreement that the capital must be within a reasonable distance of Sydney. Even if I were so bound, I could still vote for Batlow, which is less than 200 miles from Sydney, and yet keep more nearly to the agreement to which the right honorable member put his name than the right honorable member is doing. It is considerably nearer Sydney than is Dalgety, and in every respect is more in touch with it. That being bo, if I were bound by the agreement, I should feel that in voting for Batlow I should more nearly conform to the conditions of that agreement than the right honorable member will do by voting for Dalgety. His attitude is to me absolutely inexplicable. That an honorable member should urge the Federal Parliament to honour an agreement which at the best was only a verbal one - I refer to the agreement with regard to the construction of the transcontinental railway to Kalgoorlie - that he should dilate in the most poetic terms upon the necessity of honouring the bond and respecting what was at the most only a verbal agreement-
– I am not a dodger - I am not a log-roller.
Mx. WATSON.- The right honorable member has no right to apply those terms to me.
– The . honorable member is insinuating that because he was generous to me, I should be generous to him. -Mr. WATSON. - I do not want generosity from the right honorable member. I demand simple justice. The right honorable member used every legitimate argument to urge upon honorable members the desirableness of honouring what he regarded as an understanding with the people of Western Australia. The House rose to the occasion, and met ‘him generously in that connexion. But now, when he is confronted with his own signature to an agreement, he finds a thousand reasons for back-‘ ing out of it.
– The honorable member is insinuating discreditable conduct on my part.
– It is a most curious lapse on the part of the right honorable member. To me it is inexplicable that he - who made so much of a bargain being kept in regard to his own State-
– In regard to the .people of Western Australia.
– Exactly. I recollect the right honorable member threatening, only a short time ago, that if the bargain in respect of the transcontinental railway were not kept, he would head a secession movement.
– When was that?
– Whilst the right honorable member was in office, and sat upon the Treasury Bench.
– I never said that I would “head” the movement.
– The right honorable member said that he would throw his influence in that direction, and I take it far granted that- a man like himself who has proved his capacity on many a hard-fought field would be at the head of any movement with which he was identified.
– There is no analogy between the two positions. The right honorable member for Swan denies that any bargain was entered into in the case of the Federal Capital.
– Can he go back upon his Own written agreement? Here are the words to which he attached his signature.
– A site 203 miles distant from Sydney is within a “ reasonable “ distance of that city, whilst a site within 296 miles is not.
– I will give the right honorable member my interpretation of the word “reasonable” in a moment. It may bc different from his own.
– Let us deal with the subject.
– I must deal with the right honorable member first. He signed the following memorandum explanatory of the amendments in the draft Constitution agreed to by the Conference of Premiers in Melbourne -
It is considered that the fixing of the Site of Capital is a- question which might well be left to the Parliament to decide ; but, in view of the strong expression of opinion in relation to this matter in New South Wales, the Premiers have modified the clause, so that while the Capital cannot be fixed at Sydney, or in its neighbourhood, provision is made in the Constitution for its establishment in New South Wales at a reasonable distance from that city.
– Read the next paragraph.
– It reads-
And the Premiers have therefore agreed that instead of the old clause a new one should be substituted.
– What was the new clause to which they agreed?
– It is incorporated in the Constitution.
– But it contains no reference to the Federal Capital being within a “reasonable” distance of Sydney.
– I am not suggesting that honorable members who were not a party to this bargain should be bound by it.
– Does not the honorable member think that Parliament ought to be bound by it?
– I think that Parliament should endeavour to honour a bargain of that sort if it possibly can. Bu’t the right honorable member foi Swan now attempts to back out of ‘his bargain upon the plea that Dalgety is within a reasonable distance of Sydney. If to go away from Sydney as far as one possibly can. is to remain within a reasonable distance of it, language must have changed its meaning during recent years.
– Dalgety is not so far from Sydney as is Batlow.
– It is further than Batlow. The surveyed distance from Sydney to Batlow is less than 200 miles.
– That is not the distance by railway.
– But the railway takes an eccentric turn to the west. That, however, does not affect the question at all. I wish now to deal with a most improper breach of the agreement arrived at by the Premiers’ Conference upon the part of the right honorable member for Swan. He was exceedingly anxious that we should observe another agreement which was not committed to writing, in regard to his own State.
– I have never said that there was an agreement in respect of the matter to which the honorable member refers. I have merely quoted the utterances of prominent men who induced the people of Western Australia to join the ‘Federation.
– The right honorable member asked us to honour the understanding upon which Western Australia entered the Federation1. Now what is “ reasonable “ ? I should say that those gentlemen who agreed that the Federal Capital should be within a “ reasonable” distance of Sydney meant that the nearest suitable site (to the 100 miles limit should be chosen.
– Having regard to the fact that the arrangement was in the nature of a concession to that State?
– That is why the honorable member voted for Batlow.
– The right honorable member, must be exceedingly confused. He forgets that I am not bound by any agreement. Those who were parties to the agreement arrived at by the Premiers’ Conference should certainly endeavour to give effect to it. Other honorable members are free to exercise their own judgment in regard to this matter.
– Why was not this line of reasoning adopted years ago,?
– I do not know that the statute of - limitations has been exceeded in regard to a written contract for tha performance of certain obligations. The fact that the agreement was not stressed by honorable members should not relieve the right honorable member of his. responsibility.
– Does not the honorable member think it strange that it was not mentioned?
– I should prefer that it bad been mentioned. But the fact that the right honorable member’s creditor did not present his bill within a few days would not relieve him of the necessity of paying it. In my view, there is a sufficient degree of irritation upon this question throughout New South Wales to compel the attention of every thoughtful member of this House. It seems to me desirable, in the interests of the Commonwealth, that wherever possible, friction should be removed from the path of Federation. While I do not sympathize with all the arguments which have been advanced by New South Wales, I must say that the continuance of the existing state of feeling there - and perhaps its accentuation in *the near future by continued litigation regarding the respective rights of the Commonwealth and the State
Governments - will be one of the worst things which can possibly happen, so far as Federation is concerned. While I have no sympathy with a number of the charges that have been made regarding the Commonwealth, while I have denied them and endeavoured to ridicule them from the public platform, I have to acknowledge that the reiteration of those grievances - and particularly the grievance in respect of the Federal Capital - tends widely to prejudice the views of many persons in New South Wales regarding Federation.
– The oft-repeated delusion becomes a reality?
– Yes. The easiest way to remove a disease of that sort is to remove its cause.
– To pander to it.
– It may be very heroic to stand up and say, “We will adhere to the letter of our power, and snap our fin- gers at those who think that they are being defrauded of their just claims.” But I do not know that that is the way to insure that this Commonwealth shall secure the best results to the people of Australia.
– There are men in New South Wales as well as in the other States.
– But to meet such a feeling we should not be justified in choosing for the Federal Capital a site which is otherwise unsuitable. .Those representatives of New South Wales who feel that Dalgety does not meet the requirements of the situation have the responsibility cast upon them ‘ of pointing to a site which is suitable. That, it seems to me, is the proper attitude to demand from those who complain of the treatment to which New South Wales is being subjected. Whilst we should not sacrifice one iota of our requirements in connexion with the site, still I hold that it is worth the while of members of this Parliament to consider whether they cannot - without any undue surrender of the interests pf Australia. - remove once and for all the friction, the irritation, and the dissatisfaction that undoubtedly exist In respect of this matter in the mother State. Now, coming to the question immediately before us, there can be no possible objection to a comparison of the sites under review. The sites have been narrowed down to very few : and, so far as one can see, there are only three that have any chance of being approved by a majority of honorable members.
– Question !
– I merely say what I believe to be the case, and, of course/ I may be .mistaken. As I have not visited the Tooma site, I do not propose to say anything in regard to it, beyond expressing the opinion that the situation is too far from the centre of New South Wales to demand my support, and that I think it suffers from the same disability that was raised against Albury, Wagga, and other towns in the Riverina, namely, that it is too’ low in elevation for a Capital Site.
– It does not meet with the condition laid down by the right honorable member for Swan, that the site must be over 1,500 feet high.
– That is so; and, so far as I have been able to ascertain, the elevation of Tooma is about 1,000 feet.
– The elevation of Tooma is 1,100 feet odd, and in some places it is 1,550 feet.
– The Trigonometrical Station at Tooma, which, of course, is on the highest point for miles around, is under 1,500 feet, and it does not appear to me that a country with an elevation of, perhaps, a little over 1,000 feet meets the requirements so far as climate is concerned.
– I suppose the honorable member knows that the climate at Tooma is magnificent.
– I am afraid that, as at Albury and Wagga, the climate would be too warm in summer. However, I have not seen Tooma, and I do not propose to consider that site for the reason that I gave before, namely, that it is too far away from the centre of New South Wales. The other two sites, Dalgety and Canberra, are, I think, “ in the running “ ; and I am prepared to accept the definition of points that appeared in the Melbourne Age of this morning. The writer pointed out that in the selection of a site, we had to consider accessibility, water supply, climate, building and drainage facilities, and’ fertility of the soil.
– Tooma has all these advantages, whereas the other sites have not.
– I have no desire to dispute with the honorable member as to the merits of Tooma, but I differ from him as to the other places, because I have visited them, and I am in a position to speak with some knowledge. I am not aware that the honorable member for Indi has visited either Canberra or Dalgety.
– I have not.
– Therefore. I .have an advantage. First, we have to consider the matter of accessibility ; and we are told by the Melbourne Age that Canberra is 203 miles from Sydney, and 435 miles from Melbourne, and the writer expresses a preference for Dalgety because it is only 353 miles from Melbourne, and 296 miles from Sydney. That is to say, Dalgety is more nearly equi-distant,. and,’ therefore, more desirable. Of course, the 353 miles distance is contingent on the construction of the proposed railway through Gippsland. The. right honorable member for Swan has spoken about this railway as being a certainty in the near future; but I am rather inclined to think a considerable time will lapse before that work is carried out ; and I have some knowledge of the conditions which prevail in that part of the country. I was a member of the Public Works Committee of New South Wales in 1898 or 1899, when an inquiry was made into the advisability or otherwise of constructing a railway to Bombala, and the question incidentally arose of the possibility of connecting with Bairnsdale, in Victoria, and with the port of Eden. The evidence given in regard to a line from Victoria to junction with a line at Bombala and Delegate, was that it would cost an enormous sum, even over the most favorable route that had so far been discovered.
– The estimated cost was .£2,000,000.
– The estimated cost was £1,250,000.
– The cost referred to by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro is not the cost of the railway on the tableland in New South Wales, but the cost of the railway along the coast, after which it will be necessary to incur further expenditure in carrying a line over the coastal ranges to Bombala and then to Delegate. This, of course, adds enormously to the total cost.
– The cost of the line from Dalgety to Bairnsdale, via Bendoc, was estimated at ,£1,324,000.
– I thought the estimated cost was £1,500,000. But the objection 1 take is not altogether the cost. We had it in evidence before the Public Works Committee that, if a train were started from Melbourne by the route just mentioned by the honorable member for Gippsland, for Sydney, it would take twice as long to reach its destination as would a train by the Albury route. That, is entirely due to the grades and curves without which the line could not be made. When we consider that for a distance of thirty miles between Bairnsdale and Bendoc, the grades and curves, though they are not continuous, are equal to1 in 33, it is evident that considerable time must be allowed for any through traffic.
– And the expense of running would be great.
– Of course. The right honorable member for Swan shakes his head when I say that it would take very much longer for the through traffic over that line than over the existing line.
– Does the honorable member mean to say that better grades could not be found?
– If better grades were found an enormous additional sum would have to be spent in finding them.
– And the line would have to be extended.
– Quite so.
– We drove forty- miles in one day in that country.
– I am quite willing to pit the engineer’s survey against the right honorable gentleman’s casual inspection from a buggy.
– It will be possible to improve the route.
– Of course, but at the cost of additional money and length of line.
– Does the honorable member know that in the last three weeks, the Works Committee of the Victorian Parliament have visited that part of the State, and declared that they will build the railway, irrespective of any considerations relating to the Federal Capital ?
– I was not aware of the fact, and I do not know that that decision settles the question. Even if the Works Committee of the State do recommend that the line be constructed, it does not remove the objection that no through traffic will result owing to the length of time occupied in transit.
– Victoria has no object in promoting through traffic.
– Quite so; and in this connexion I prefer to rely on the Railway Commissioners of New South Wales and Victoria, rather than on the statements of laymen like honorable members and myself.
– The Canadian Pacific Railway goes over the Rockies.
– But in Canada there is an important through traffic to serve, whereas, in the case under discussion, there is a through line already in existence, and, therefore, no inducement to incur the enormous expense.
– It would connect the States with the national Parliament.
– The right honorable member suggests that the national welfare demands that millions, or hundreds of thousands of pounds, at any rate, should be spent on a railway in order to convey a few members of Parliament once a week . to the Federal Capital.
-The honorable member takes a pessimistic view of the future of the country !
– I have been over the border into this country, and I think the prospects would justify a local line, and a local line only, because there will never be any through traffic.
– Do not say “ never.”
– What I say is that there will be no through traffic in our time, or for many a long day to come. So far as I can gather, it would be possible to travel from Sydney to Canberra in between six and seven hours ; and if a line of about 40 miles were constructed - and we understand the State Government are willing to . construct it - between Yass and Queanbeyan, we should be able to travel from Melbourne to Canberra in about twelve hours.
– How so?
– I am taking the present time-table, and allowing another hour for the journey from Yass.
– But the distance is doubled.
– But it is easier country. We know, for instance, that the speed from Albury to Melbourne is considerably greater than the speed from Sydney to Albury, owing to the easier nature of the former country. Under all the circumstances, I regard Canberra as sufficiently accessible, though the Age this morning contends that the site is inaccessible in that it will always lack a port. If we desire a port, and not a site on which to build a port, it seems to me that we ought to go to Jervis Bay.
– Will the New South Wales Government give usCanberra with Jervis Bay ?
– I should certainly vote for having access to Jervis Bay.
– Are the New South Wales Government prepared tr> grant, after survey, of course, means of communication with Jervis Bay, and sufficient ground at the port?
– I do not know what the ideas of the New South Wales Government are.
– No one who knows the country would seriously propose to place a railway there.
– That is a kind of argument to which we are accustomed, and the .value of which we know how to estimate. I am inclined to think from expressions of opinion I have heard, that the New South Wales Government are likely to oppose any granting of territory to the sea, whether from Dalgety or from Canberra. I do not see any objection to making such a concession, nor do I recognise that it would do injury to New South Wales, and” if any vote or action of mine could advance the matter, I should be prepared to give it.
– We are asked to deal with an offer made by New South Wales, and we, therefore, wish to know what the offer is.
– I am willing to translate my opinions into actions if opportunity arises.
– What offer are we likely to get in connexion with Dalgety?
– None. The State Government - as I think, properly - object to the Dalgety site, and will put every obstacle in the way of its final selection. If this Parliament retains it, I dare say the matter will be fought out in the Law Courts, which will not do any good.
– In New South Wales the dog-in-the-manger spirit has been shown all through.
– It is those who wish to keep the Capital in Melbourne who are ruled bv the dog-in-the-manger spirit.
– I would vote to move it from Melbourne to-morrow.
– I hope that the honorable member will, by his vote, show that he does not support that policy, and thus confound those people in Sydney^ who are for ever talking of the solidarity of the opposition of Victoria. There is no comparison between the port nearest to Canberra and that nearest to Dalgety. The distance from Dalgety to Eden, by the best survey so far made, is about no- miles.
– Has a line been surveyed from Canberra to Jervis Bay ?
– No; there is only an engineer’s estimate of the possibilities. The distance is about 120 miles. From Dalgety to Eden, as the crow flies, is about 80 miles ; but the engineering difficulties stretch out’ the travelling distance to over j 00 miles. I was a member of a Committee which inquired into the matter, and have a good memory of the facts ascertained, so that I am speaking with some little knowledge.
– Would a line from Dalgety to Eden have to touch at Bombala?
– For commercial reasons, any railway would have to do so, and the line surveyed goes through Bombala. Then it would cost a large sum of money to make a port at Eden. The Canberra site is 7 miles from the railway at Queanbeyan, though it is proposed to construct a loop line from Yass, on the main southern line.
– Is the church on the site?
– I suppose so. Personally, I think it would be better to go nearer the Murrumbidgee.
– The site offered touches the Murrumbidgee.
– After getting to the railway line, you would continue along it in the direction of Sydney, to about Farrago, a distance of about 30 miles, branching off from there to the coast.
– Has any railway engineer said that a line could be made through to the coast, and given an estimate’ of its cost ?
– No survey has been made, because there has been no reason for it; but it is stated that the fall is so gradual that the cost of construction would be much less than the cost of making a line from Dalgety to the sea-board. Then”, again, although Canberra is further from Jervis Bay than Dalgety is from Eden, 30 miles of any railway that would be used to connect the two places are already constructed. Further, at Jervis Bay we have a good port.
– One hundred and twenty square miles in area.
– Yes. The warships manoeuvre there, and practice firing, hotwithstanding that some of them draw 30 feet.
– It is a rival of Sydney Harbor !
– As a harbor it is as good, though it is not so pretty. Longman’s Gazetteer, a world-wide publication, says that it is “ one of the most safe, commodious, and accessible harbors in .the world.”
– Is it possible to have, before we conclude the debate, a statement as to the intentions of the New. South Wales Government in regard to the control of Jervis Bay?
– And whether a railway can be -made there?
– That is a question of cost.
– There would be no difficulty about making a railway, and whatever difficulties there may be in getting control of Jervis Bay, they would not be so great as if Twofold Bay were concerned. Personally, I do not regard it as important that there should be a port. Sections 112 and 51 of the Constitution make it impossible for New South Wales to put any hindrance in the way of trade or communication with the Capital.
– That is quite clear. Is Jervis Bay less or more than 100 miles from Sydney?
– It is about 100 miles from Sydney. We shall have the choice of the harbors of the Commonwealth for our future Navy ; but I am prepared to do all I can to facilitate the granting to the Commonwealth of a right of access to a port like Jervis Bay.
– And control?
– Control of a portion of the bay.
– I should like to know what New South Wales is prepared to offer.
– If New South Wales ga.ve control over a portion of Jervis Bay, she would lie doing very well. In any case, part of her own territory would abut on the bay.
– The Commonwealth would have the right to make a railway to a harbor.
– If the desire to do so were properly represented to the New South Wales Government, permission should be given.
– A railway for defence purposes can be made without the consent of the State through which it passes.
– A statement in this morning’s Age shows an ignorance of the actual facts. “Unless this Parliament is satisfied that a proposed site has an abundant, or even superabundant, water supply, it should not seriously be considered.
– That is, without pumping? ‘
– Whether by pumping or gravitation.
– Pumping means constant expense.
– Kalgoorlie is supplied by a pumping scheme from a distance of 400 or 500 miles ; but the suggestion that Canberra will have to rely on a pumping scheme is a vile invention, fabricated from interested motives.
– Was not such a scheme recommended bv the Chief Engineer for New South Wales? ‘
– One engineer recommended a pumping scheme ; but the Royal Commission recommended a pumping scheme in the first place for Dalgety. The statement published by the Bulletin, and circulated amongst honorable members, to the effect that Canberra’s water supply must be pumped over mountains some thousands of feet high, is an absolute invention, and reflects no credit on those responsible for it. Similar statements have been .circulated in other directions.
– The Bulletin’s illustrations are equally misleading.
– The obsession of the directors of that paper in regard to Dalgety is the most amusing thing I have seen for a long while. A week or two ago they published a fancy picture of the Dalgety of the future, with palatial buildings in the. middle distance, leading down to an artificial lake, apparently made by- damming the Snowy, while behind, dominating everything, was a magnificent sugar-loaf mountain, capped with snow, the chief feature in the artist’s creation. The initiated know that Dalgety is 40 miles from Mount Kosciusko, and that mountain must be approached within a. few miles before it can be seen from that direction. Kosciusko cannot be seen from any point close, to Dalgety. One has to travel some miles from Dalgety to obtain a view of it, and when one does see the range one is in doubt as to which of the peaks is Kosciusko.
– It can be seen from Nimitybelle, which is 30 miles further away.
– Of ‘course it can. . The honorable member is evidently attempting to impose on the sweet innocence of this
Chamber. He has, apparently, forgotten the old saying as to the forest not being visible for the trees. Nimitybelle is the most inhospitable spot that I have ever seen.
– Is that where a man was frozen to death?
– It is said that such occurrences are common there. Nimitybelle is some distance from Dalgety, ‘ and at 11 higher altitude, so that from ft one can obtain a view of the range of which Kosciusko forms a part. I defy the honorable member for Eden-Monaro to say that he can, within 20 miles of Dalgety, show any one Kosciusko.- .
– I will undertake to show any one, from within. 5 miles of. Dalgety, a good view of Kosciusko.
– I am prepared to forfeit £50 to the . hospitals if the honorable member can do so.
– Notwithstanding the
Bulletin photograph !
– That view was not a photograph, but a sketch so imaginative that it would fail, to deceive any one who had been to Dalgety.
– Then it is like most of the Bulletin writings?
– The Bulletin has its lucid moments, but it did not publish that sketch in one of them. In the vestibule there are on view a couple of photographs of the Snowy River “ above Dalgety.” 1 hope honorable members will note the indefiniteness of the statement. We have no information as to how far above Dalgety those photographs were taken, but we know that views of what, in the parlance of photographers, are “pretty bits” or “ little nooks,” can be obtained at almost any point on a river. The honorable member for Boothby and I yesterday recognised one of the photographs as having been taken at a point about 40 miles above Dalgety, where we fished a couple of . years ago.
– -The river flows through Dalgety.
– Certainly: If we desire to take photographs of picturesque spots, I dare say we can find such views within a reasonable distance of almost any town-.
– There are . plenty on the Murrumbidgee.
-The Murrumbidgee mountains abound in picturesque views only a few miles from the Canberra site.
– One might as well exhibit a picture of Healesville as a view seen from Melbourne as exhibit the photographs of the Snowy River, now in the vestibule, as views of Dalgety.
– Quite so. While- the advocates of Dalgety exhibit pictures of the river “above” that town, they are careful not to publish any of Dalgety itself: They know that such pictures would not faintly impress any one, and they, therefore, keep them carefully in the background, while they scour the country for a hundred miles in search of picturesque views of the Snowy River “ above Dalgety.’!
– The honorable member knows why we have not more photographs of Dalgety. The Premier of New. South Wales would not supply any, although he sent along views of Canberra-
– If the honorable member or his supporters are responsible for the photographs of the Snowy River, on exhibition in the vestibule, I think I. am justified in saving that they would have shown a little more candour bv displaying photographs of Dalgety itself.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to f-m-
– Shortly before we adjourned for dinner I was alluding to the mis-statements made with respect to the water supply available at Canberra. No one denies the magnificent possibilities which the proximity of the Snowy River to Dalgety offers in respect to water both for domestic supply and for power purposes. It is undoubtedly a magnificent stream. I have fished on it at various points, and at different times, and have always found a fine sheet of water.
– Are there any good . catches to be made?
– There are plenty of trout, and we can also offer the sportsman good trout fishing on the Gooradigbee and other rivers near Canberra. It is, of course, important that the selected site should have a good water supply, and, in complaining of the misrepresentations of Canberra in this respect, I desire to point out the water possibilities of that district. The engineers of the State Government have suggested that the Cotter River catchment should be utilized for the water supply of the Canberra site.
– And transferred to the Commonwealth.
– That is so. A cletailed investigation made by the engineers of the New South Wales Government shows that the Cotter can supply, by gravitation, a city of 250,000. The Bulletin says that it is not such a big stream as the Snowy. That is true.
– One can walk across the Snowy at places.
– But there is usually a fine body of water in that river. The . possibilities of a water supply, however, do not necessarily depend upon a large volume of water that is always running; they depend rather upon the possibilities of storage and the run off of the catchment. The . Cotter is able to supply, by gravitation, a city of 250,000 people, and there’are quite a number of other suitable water supplies in the near vicinity of Canberra.
– I admit that there are.
– But it has been urged that a supply for Canberra will have to be obtained, as the Bulletin alleges, by pumping water over high mountains.
– And the Bulletin publishes a photograph of the mountains. ,
– Which are real enough, and that is more than can be said of some of the Bulletin’s illustrations of Dalgety. Those who have seen the report of the Royal Commission on Capital Sites will remember that an investigation was made of the Molonglo and Queanbeyan Rivers as sources of water supply for the Lake George site, and that, according to a plan prepared by Captain Gipps, the Molonglo, at a point nearly 400 feet above Canberra, and only 15 miles in air line from it, could supply water to meet the wants of, not 250,000 people, but several times that number.
– The river does not run all the vear round.
– No; but at the point named there is a gorge in which could be stored 8,000,000,000 cubic feet, if a wall about too feet high were erected, and the run off of the Molonglo catchment is estimated to be. more than sufficient to fill that reservoir once a year. Tine Molonglo, the Upper Murrumbidgee, the Gooradigbee, the Cotter, the Queanbeyan, and the Gudgenby all have their sources in high mountains. They have a good run off, a good catchment, and a good average rainfall, with the result that storage basins for water supply purposes can be filled from them. On the Upper Queanbeyan, within’ 25 miles of Canberra, the Commissioners selected a site for the supply of Lake George, passing over the nearer site on the Molonglo, . because it was not sufficiently high to supply by gravitation the whole of the proposed city area at Lake George. But the site on the Queanbeyan was held to be sufficiently lofty, and to be capable of storing all the water required for the Capital Site there. This second point on the river is within a short distance of Canberra. Then we come to the Upper Murrumbidgee, where the supply is perennial, and where the facilities for storage are great, to say nothing of the Gudgenby or the Cotter. Mr. Wade and his officers estimate that the Gudgenby will allow of the storage of a body of water as large as that obtainable from the Cotter,and that the Gooradigbee, at a short distance from Canberra, can also be relied upon. That being so, we have a network of rivers surrounding the Canberra site, which can be tapped one after the other if it is thought necessary.
– A district of streams.
– That is inevitably so, having regard to the mountainous country which surrounds Canberra, and makes it a sort of amphitheatre. On the east, south and south-west lie a series of mountains which naturally mean broken country, and streams that are nearly all permanent. These are facts that can be obtained from official sources, and some of them are to be found in the report of the Royal Commission, upon the Lake George site. The map published by the Commission will show how short is the distance between the take-off of any of these suggested sources of supply and the site at Canberra. It has been’ urged by the right honorable member for Swan that even if a sufficient supply of water for domestic purposes can be obtained at Canberra, the supply is not sufficient for power purposes. In that relation, the engineers of New South Wales say that on the Murrumbidgee, a, few miles below the suggested site, a weir could be constructed at comparatively small cost, which would back up an immense sheet of water on that river and part of the Molonglo - a lake which would be sufficient to supply power for lighting the city by electricity and supplying it. I think, with electric power for trams, without touching the Barren Jack reservoir. But assuming that the power available on the Lower Murrumbidgee is not sufficient, I would point out that Barren Jack is within 40 miles in a direct line of the suggested site. At Barren Jack the State Government will have thousands of horse-power going to waste because they propose to store water there for irrigation purposes, and have no means of utilizing the power which will be available. So that the city site of Canberra can be supplied with power from Barren Jack at a very small , cost and with absolute certainty so far as its transmission is concerned.
– Would Barren Jack be within the Federal territory?
– No. But the irrigable land upon the Lower Murrumbidgee will be watered from Barren Jack, and power will be generated there which will go to waste unless the Federal authorities choose to’ use it.
– The New South Wales Government may use the whole of it.
– The right honorable member knows that power might be generated and utilized without interfering with irrigation.
– But a fall is required.
– The engineers say that there is a sufficient fall to generate an ample supply of electricity.
– But I am speaking of a fall for’ irrigation purposes.
– There is a certain level above which the New South Wales Government do not intend that the reservoir shall fill.
– There is a fall pf 200 feet.
– That is from the top of the dam. The right honorable member for Swan has sufficient professional knowledge to know that with the immense body of water that will be passing down the Murrumbidgee from Barren Jack a very large fall will not be required to generate an immense horse-power.
– What is the distance from Canberra ?
– Only 40 miles.
– Plenty of power will be required over that distance.
– The honorable member should know that in America at the present time there are electric power transmission installations that convey power over 200 miles without losing so much in transit as to render the enterprise unprofitable. .
– But look at the power that they have.
– Has the honorable member any conception of the power which will be stored at Barren Jack? Need I remind him that the Barren Jack reservoir will hold one and a half times as much water as Sydney Harbor. This volume of water is intended to irrigate about 2,000,000 acres of land.
– Is it advisable that this motive power should be outside the Federal territory ?
– If the State authorities do not require it, I presume that they will be prepared to let us have it at a reasonable price.
– We have no guarantee of that. They may require it for themselves.
– The probabilities are against that theory, because in Sydnev coal is very cheap and Canberra is a long way off - some 240 miles..
– In any case the Barren Jack scheme is merely put forward as a supplementary scheme.
– There are not likely to be any manufacturing interests in the close vicinity of Barren Jack to absorb the power which will be running to waste. This immense body of water will be passing down to the Lower MurrumBidgee, and will remain unutilized unless the Commonwealth Government comes along with some proposal for its absorption. But as the honorable member for Lang reminds me this scheme is merely a supplementary one. The engineers state that sufficient power for all purposes can be generated within the area which will be Federal territory.
– Within 100 square miles ?
-r-No, we shall require a larger area than that. From the standpoint pf a domestic water supply there is sufficient available in the near vicinity of Canberra to provide by means Of gravitation for a population many times larger than that which will need to be provided for. According to my estimate, within 30 miles of Canberra a sufficient supply is available to meet the requirements of nearly 2,000,000 people.
– To supply a city containing 2,000,000 inhabitants?
– Yes; and .to supply that number by means of gravitation and not by pumping. These facts dispose of the suggestion that a domestic supply cannot be obtained.
– Do “the engineers say that?
– The supply mentioned in their estimate is sufficient for approximately 2,000,000 persons. If during the first twenty years of. its existence we have a population of 50,000 at the Federal Capital, I think it will be going ahead just as rapidly as most of us anticipate. When we realize that the Cotter River catchment is sufficient to provide for 250,000 inhabitants we can cast aside all the other schemes except on the ground of expense. I merely wish to show the ample supply of water that is available if we choose to tap all these various sources. Another feature which has been alluded to as- of all importance in connexion with this question .is that of climate. I do not contend that the climate of Dalgety is likely to be an unhealthy one. Probably it might have a bad effect upon delicate persons, but upon persons of ordinarily robust constitutions I’ do riot think that it would be objectionable, except from the stand-point of comfort. My opinion is that a city at the elevation of the Dalgety site, having regard to its exposed position, is bound to suffer severely from bitter wind’s in the winter.
– From blizzards.
– It is only reasonable to expect something of the sort.. A little while ago the Minister of Trade and Customs spoke of Nimitybelle. Now Nimitybelle is not much higher, if it is higher at all, than is Dalgety.
– It is 500- feet higher.
– In any case it owes its pre-eminence as a cold place in the cooler months of the year to the fact that it occupies an exposed position. It is open to all the winds that blow. The coldness of the prevailing winds coming over the Snowy Mountains is accentuated before they, reach Nimitybelle, and consequently they make the climate a very disagreeable, though not an unhealthy, one. The same remark is applicable to Dalgety. It is situated in an exposed position. There is nothing tq protect it from the severity of the winds which sweep over the Monaro Plains in the winter. Whatever degree of normal cold exists in that locality is very much intensified by the winds that have. free play there. It is only from the stand-point of situation that I wish’ to contrast Canberra with Dalgety. Canberra is situated at a considerably -lower altitude - : it is about 2,000 feet - which may account for some difference in the temperature itself. But it is because it is surrounded by hills which protect it from the winds that it possesses a decided advantage. It occupies a sheltered situation, and whilst sufficiently high te be cool, is sufficiently enclosed to afford protection against the winter winds.
– It also has a very fine sub-soil, and is well drained.
– The Age this morning remarks that Canberra and Dalgety are about equal from the stand-point of soil and climate. I maintain that, from the point of view of climate, Canberra, possesses a decided advantage,’ whilst in the matter of soil, no comparison can be instituted. Within 15 miles of Dalgety the land is no better than second-class pastoral land.
– ‘Would not the respective values of the land at Canberra and Dalgety provide a fair test?
– Other things being equal.
– If land within 10 miles of Dalgety will realize more than land 10 miles from. Canberra, surely that is a fair indication of the relative values?
– I am always on the alert when the Minister of Trade’ and Customs’ makes a statement, because it is safe to assume that he has something concealed. Within 5 miles of Canberra, on the Queanbeyan side, there is exceedingly poor land. I am not to be “’ got at “ by a suggestion of that sort. I am speaking of the quality of the land within the respective sites themselves and within a reasonable distance of them. The good land upon the Canberra side commences about 5 miles out of Queanbeyan and continues for 40 miles to Yass. The site itself is upon good soil - in fact, I think that some of it- is too good to build upon.
– It has a good foundation, I suppose. ‘
– Th e soil is good, and upon the Canberra flats it is much too good for building purposes. Just outside the city, at Jininderra, there is some of the best agricultural land one can desire to see. That is within 4 miles of the centre of the city site. But the site itself is upon excellent soil. On the other hand, within fifteen miles of Dalgety is to be found a granitic soil of recent origin, with boulders protruding all over the place. Of course, these might be removed, but their mere presence in such numbers is proof of my statement that the soil is of recent granitic formation. I believe that in the photographs of Dalgety the boulders in the vicinity of the site have been carefully draped to represent trees - the only trees to be found there. In their naked beauty it was felt that they were a reproach to the site. So far as farming is concerned, the Dalgety site, in my opinion, does not nearly approach the site at Canberra. We have been told that a bad foundation will be found to exist at the latter place. I do not wish to pit my knowledge against that of the right honorable member for Swan.
– The honorable member has often done that.
– The Age this morning, in the plenitude of its knowledge, rises to remark that the foundation at Canberra is very unsatisfactory. But I quote here the opinion of Mr. A. L. Lloyd, Chief Surveyor in the Department of Public Works, who, on the 28th March, 1906, after detailed investigation, reported on this amongst other sites. Mr. Lloyd reported in regard to Canberra, and another site nearer the Murrumbidgee Mountains, and I am inclined to think that the latter is the better.
– I saw that site.
– Well, Mr. Lloyd said, in reference to what he described as “ Site ];’ ‘ which was the one nearer the Murrumbidgee -
Extensive area of fairly rolling, undulating country. Good elevation, fair soil, excellent drainage’. The views surrounding this site are extensive and beautiful.
Then in regard to “Site K,” which, included part of the .present site, he said - ‘
Extensive rolling, undulating country, well adapted for building upon. Extensive views. Fa,”r soil, good elevation and drainage.
– What about the foundations on the plain ?
– He says they are good for building on, and excellent for drainage.
– It looked to me like an alluvial flat.
– It might present that appearance, but Mr. Lloyd reported in the way I have quoted. A great deal has been said about the aesthetic interest that would attach to having the site at Dalgety, because of the glorious scenery and so forth. My experience of Dalgety is that, while there is a. fine open prospect-
– It is open moor.
– It. does look a little barren. I was going’ to say that, while there is a fine prospect from one standpoint, there is nothing in the way of natural, features to strike the eye beyond the river. There are no local hills of importance, and no background of mountains on which the eye can rest with any satisfaction. It is true that Mount Kosciusko is within 40 miles, but that is not of much advantage when one’s perambulations are confined to a city. From this stand-point, therefore,’ I regard Dalgety as unsatisfactory. There is, of course, the river frontage, but beyond that there is nothing of the picturesque to commend the site. At Canberra, on the other hand, there is the plain in the centre, and foot hills all round, varying the general appearance of the country ; and beyond that, after further rolling foot hills, we have, on the south-west and south, the Murrumbidgee Mountains, towering as a background and proving a most effective foil to the other scenery.
– The honorable gentleman is getting quite poetical !
– No ; I am sorry to say that the poetic gift has been denied me. But I was certainly impressed at Canberra by the picturesque appearance, which ought to commend the site, to all who desire the beautiful. In the vicinity there are mountain gorges, which afford every diversity of scenery, and I have been informed by trout fishers that there are most interesting places in the heart of the Murrumbidgee Mountains, full of beauty, and within a short distance of the suggested site. I do not say that picturesqueness alone should decide the question ; but, other’ things being equal, I think the beautiful ought to turn the scale. While I admit the superiority of the water supply at Dalgety, I contend there are other advantages in favour of Canberra, where the water supply can be provided in’ the way I have indicated. I am strongly convinced that the continuance of the present situation is likely to work injury to the future of Australia. I have endeavoured to view this question free from any Sydney or New South Wales influence, and to have regard only to the interests of Australia. If Australia is to become a nation such as we desire to see,, we must, at the earliest possible opportunity, get away- from the influences that are always alleged to surround a Parliament meeting in a big centre of population. As the right honorable member for East Sydney said to-night, while we sit in one centre of population, it is certain that there will be some degree of jealousy and prejudice in the other centres in respect df the work done. I believe that the Canberra site is one that fairly fulfils all the conditions which I have laid down as desirable in the case of a Capital Site; and I express the earnest hope that honorable members will hesitate before they confirm the decision arrived at four years ago in favour of a site that, in my opinion, is not the best, having regard to the object in view.
– I anticipate that a large number of honorable members, especially representatives of New South Wales, will desire to speak on this question, and, therefore, I shall compress the few remarks I have to make into as short a space as possible. I should like; however, to acknowledge the very great assistance which we have received from the speech of the honorable member for South Sydney. I am quite sure that the speech of that honorable gentleman will have the effect, not only of curtailing the number of speeches to be delivered, but of relieving those who do speak of a large part of the subject-matter of the speeches they may have intended to make. The honorable member Iws dealt with almost every utilitarian aspect of the question, and has touched very usefully on the aesthetic side. One of the most valuable parts of his speech was that in which he emphasized, from his own personal knowledge, as one who was for a time Prime Minister, the very great disadvantage under which the Commonwealth and its Legislature suffers from the temporary Seat of Government being placed in one of the capitals. For my part I have always contended, not only that the Parliament should not sit in Melbourne, but that there would be equal objection to its sitting in. Sydney. I should be one of the first to oppose moving this Parliament to Sydney, either permanently, or for a limited period. I am satisfied that all of which we have now to complain in Melbourne in regard to the advantages to Victoria ; in regard to the bias in favour of Victoria; and in regard to the influence of the Victorian press would apply, equally to New South Wales and New South Wales institutions, if this Parliament were to sit in Sydney. The honorable member has emphasized that point so clearly and forcibly, that I shall not attempt to supplement what he has’ said. One of the most important, although, perhaps, one of the least interesting aspects of this question, is the legal one. A very large number of honorable members seem to be under the impression - especially those who were not in Parliament at the time - that the Commonwealth has, in a thoroughly legal and proper manner, adopted- Dal,gety as the Capital. I should think that even the speech of the Attorney-General would have convinced honorable members that such is not the case. It was contended in 1903, and in 1904, not only by myself, but by others, that the course which was then about to be adopted in the selection of a Capital Site was unconstitutional. The section of the Constitution which enables this Parliament to select the Capital Site distinctly provides that it shall be an area which has either been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth. The actual words of the section are -
The Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be determined by the Parliament, and shall be within territory which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth, and shall be vested in and belong la the Commonwealth, and,- if. New South Wales be an original State, shall be in that State, and be distant not less than one hundred miles from Sydney.
In 1903, I ‘took the liberty of making the following remarks -
Evidently the framers of the Constitutionassumed either that some State would grant certain territory, or that the Commonwealth would acquire certain territory, before Parliament chose a site, and, therefore, the section provides that the Seat of Government shall be determined by the Parliament, not within territory which shall be granted or acquired, but within territory which “ shall have been “ granted or acquired. No territory has been granted or acquired, and yet we are asked to pass a Bill to determine the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth.
– Is not that our present position ?
– Exactly. In 1904, 1 said -
It seems to me that the whole difficulty which has arisen is the result of a misconceived form of procedure.
Then I went on to quote the section in the Constitution. I have always thought that the function of an Attorney-General is to “ hold the scales “ in laying information on any legal question before the House. But to-day the honorable gentleman assumed the attitude of the advocate, and contended at length, and with force, that what has been done is perfectly constitutional. But I ask, as I have asked before, if this House has, within its constitutional rights, chosen the Capital Site, why does the Government not act on the choice, and put in a peg, or some other ‘symbol of ownership, in order to give the New South Wales Government an opportunity to bring the whole question before the High Court, in an action for trespass? The Government are evidently conscious- of their unconstitutional position, and have hesitated to put into force the legal power alleged to exist. I am not alone in. the opinion I then expressed; for since that time, Mr. Wade, the Premier of New South Wales, has taken the opinion .of Sir Julian Salomons and Mr. Cecil Stephen, two of the ablest and most experienced counsel in the senior State, to the same effect. The passing_ of that Act was, admittedly, . an indication to the State of New South Wales of the desire of the Commonwealth Parliament that a site at Dalgety should be ceded ; but inasmuch as it was only the first step towards obtaining it, there is not the same objection to dealing with the question now as there would be if we were actually re-opening the whole matter. The Act is. ineffectual for the purpose of. obtaining a site for the Commonwealth. That view is taken by the two authors who wrote The Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth, the recognised treatise upon the Constitution. They say - .
The chief question which has arisen in connexion with these words is whether the determination of the Seat of Government rests, in the last resort, solely with the Federal Parliament, ot whether the Federal Parliament is limited in its choice to sites offered by the Parliament of New South Wales.
T’he Annotated Constitution was published before this Parliament met. ‘ We have not only the authority of the author’s of this work that there is something to be said in favour of this view, but also the best available legal opinions in New South Wales. The point is important ; because a number of honorable members, who were not members of the Parliament in 1904, are possibly under the impression that the Parliament has done all that the Constitution required, in order to possess the Commonwealth of a site, and possibly this is operating to induce them to hesitate about interfering with the choice which is being made. Although the Attorney-General has adopted the role of advocate for Dalgety, he has not cited a single legal opinion against the view which I have put forward from the recognised treatise on the Constitution, as the basis of the opinion furnished to the Premier of New South Wales.
– What guarantee have we that any site which, we may choose will be ceded ?
– If the site chosen is one which the Parliament of New South Wales has expressed itself willing to cede, there will be no delay.
– We have always taken the ground that there should be negotiation before legislation.
– Yes. This, like many more questions involving State as well as Commonwealth rights, should be, not the subject .of aggressive legislation, but of preliminary conciliatory meetings to secure an amicable arrangement.
– Land at Dalgety was offered, and then withdrawn.
– Land at Bombala, which is the same thing.
– It is all Southern Monaro.
– There is a distance of something like 40 miles between Dalgety and Bombala. We have been reminded recently of the desirability of not legislating on the border land of Commonwealth and State rights’, where interests may clash, without trying first to arrange amicably questions of which a forced settlement might lead to reprisals. No decision made by us could be more far-reaching than this. If we were to finally determine upon a site unfavorably regarded by the great body of the people of New South Wales, there would probably result a great deal of unnecessary friction. I do not emphasize the statement so as to give any one the chance to say that it has been held out as a threat; “but it will be generally admitted that it is highly desirable, where it can be done without running counter to the interests of Australia, to arrange matters of mutual concern, so as to leave the best possible feeling between the States and the Commonwealth. Canberra is a. site favorably regarded by the Premier of New South ‘Wales, who ‘commands a large majority in the Legislative Assembly of the State.
– If the honorable member had read the reports of the recent Parliamentary proceedings of the State, h© would see that this gentleman has only recently carried by substantial majorities measures which received the determined opposition of his opponents. Those who know the position of parties there are awarethat a promise made by him is practically equivalent to a promise made by the State”. At all events, that is the opinion which most people would glean f rom a careful, survey of the situation.
– Many members of the State Opposition are with him in this.
– Does the hdnorable member argue that the territory must be ceded by the State in the first instance?
– Yes. This is not the Parliament that chose Dalgety. That site was illegally chosen by a Parliament differently constituted. Our proceedings even now will be merely an indication to the people of New South Wales as to the site which we desire it to cede to us.
– Is every Parliament to take a vote on the matter?
– No. If we choose a site within the compact entered into with New South Wales, the steps necessary to place it at our disposal will be taken bef ore any other Parliament can consider the matter. All that we can do now is to indicate, as a preliminary requisite to action, the site which we desire. I wish to say a word in regard to the compact entered into by the Premiers, and the attitude of the right honorable member for Swan. The leader of the Opposition said that he remembered vividly the perfervid appeal made by the right honorable member to the House - and I remember it, too - to give effect to an implied contract with the people of. Western Australia in regard to a proposed trans-continental railway.
– I did not say that ; I saidthat the public men of Australia held out to the people of Western Australia the hope that the railway would be made, and thus induced them to vote for the Constitution.
– The right honorable member asked us to keep faith with the people of Western Australia.
– He said that there was an honorableunderstanding.
– That there was an honorable understanding, although it was not set out in the Constitution.
– I said that the people of Western Australia agreed to Federation, expecting to get the railway.
– The right honorable member may have used better language than mine ; but I am stating the plain, bald effect of his contention. I challenge him to deny that he has said that there was “ an honorable understanding,” and that he appealed to us to observe it. I understood the right honorable member for East Sydney to say in the same spirit, “ I appeal to the right honorable member for Swan to observe, not an implied or verbal understanding, but the written undertaking to which he, as Premier of Western Australia, . subscribed, that a’ site should be chosen within a reasonable distance from’ Sydney.”
– What is a reasonable distance?
– Was the agreement ever submitted to the Parliaments of the States?
– When Premiers meet in conference, it is recognised that they bind those whom they represent.
– Ts it not usual for their agreements to be submitted to Parliament?’
– The honorable member knows what occurred. The AttorneyGeneral has now stated that the New South Wales Parliament left the choice of the Capital unconditionally to rhe Federal Parliament ; but, as has beert explained, it was subsequently stipulated’ by Sir George Turner, then Premier of Victoria, that a site should not be choseo. in or within 1.00 miles of Sydney. That altered the whole situation. The leader of the Opposition, who was then Premier of New South Wales, thereupon said, in effect : “If Sydney is to be barred, I insist upon a further stipulation, a perfectly justifiable one.” He said, “ If you bar Sydney, and the country within a radius of100 miles, there must be a further stipulation - not a mere verbal or implied understanding.”
– When did he say that ?
– At the Conference.
– He did not.
– The condition was put into writing, that although the Capital should not be in. Sydney, or within100 miles, it should be “within a reasonable distance.”
– That is not the language employed. “ At a reasonable distance from Sydney “ is very different from “ within a reasonable distance of Sydney.” .
– I do not recognise any difference. The right honorable member for Swan actually signed that document in which he undertook to recognise the right of New South Wales to have the Capital established at a reasonable distance from Sydney. I do not wish to discuss this phase of the question further than to say that the appeal made by the leader of the Opposition to the right honorable mem-, ber for Swan was a very reasonable one. He said, in effect : “ We recognised your appeal to us with regard to the Western Australian railway; we recognised your statement that there was an implied obligation, on the part of the Commonwealth to construct that line, and you ought now to recognise something that is infinitely more binding - an agreement contained in a written document which you yourself signed.” That was a rational appeal, but. instead of receiving it in the spirit in which it was made, and resolving to reciprocate, the right honorable member worked himself into a passion, and made some observations that were not called for. _ A great deal has been said in the Victorian press, as well as at public meetings in Victoria, with reference to what is described as the “bush capital.” All that has been said on that score can be speedily disposed of. Honorable members will realize by glancing at the short history of this movement that had it not been for the stand which the people of Victoria took, through their representative, Sir George Turner, there would have been a possibility of the Capital being established in Sydney. Sir George Turner,, as the representative of Victoria, said, in effect, at the Conference of Premiers: “ We bar Sydney, and we object to the Capital being established within a radius of 100 miles of that city.”
– That was after the Premier of New South Wales had said : “ In this matter, Ave bar all Australia, except New South Wales.”
– He said nothing of the kind. If the Capital is established in what is popularly described _ as “the bush,” it will be due to the action t’aken by Victoria through its then Premier, Sir George Turner, in stipulating as a condition to their acceptance of the Constitution that the Capital should not be within 1.00 miles of .Sydney.
– The right honorable member for East Sydney suggested that it should not be within 75 miles of Sydney.
– I -am discussing the broad general question and not the views of individuals.
– The honorable member is not right in placing the blame on Sir George Turner’s shoulders.’
– I am not condemning his action. I am- merely pointing out that if the Capital is established “in the bush,” as it is called, it will be due to the action taken by Victoria, through its Premier, and that therefore it ill becomes the press and the people of this State to now say : “ We object to a bush capital.”
Mfr Wilks. - I do not think that the people of Victoria are much concerned about the matter. It is the press that is responsible for the agitation.
– The people may not be so much concerned; but the press nowadays is the mouthpiece of the public. Whatever may be said of its independence, we know that just as the meteorologist is’ constantly on the watch for weather conditions, so the newspaper editors are ever on the watch to determine which way popular feeling is running, and that they write their articles accordingly. I have read in both the Argus and the Age -articles deliberatel v advocating . the indefinite postponement of the determination of this question. The Age in one article said in effect : “ It is true that the Constitution provides that the Capital shall be within New South Wales, but it does not say when it shall be established.” Therefore, to use its own words, we are to deal with this question on the principle of the Merchant of Venice, and let the people of New South Wales have the Capital established in that State at -some future time! The attitude of the Argus is equally reprehensible. In one of its leading articles, it deliberately advocated the indefinite postponement of the. question. At the general election some five years ago, it supported- for the Senate four candidates who placed in the forefront of their platform the words: “ The indefinite postponement of the choice of a Capital,” -and who received 100,000 votes from the people of Victoria, although proposing to make that unrighteous breach of. the compact.
– Those are Tory tactics.
– They were also the tactics of the Age, which the honorable member may describe as he pleases.
– The Age is as bad.
– A good deal has been said of the advantages to be derived from .visiting the various suggested sites. I am one of the few honorable members who have not yet visited any of them. I contend that I am equally as competent as those who have visited them to express an opinion on the question. In my view, there is no qualification in respect of a Capital Site which cannot be indicated to this House quite as well on paper as by personal inspection. The question of water supply is one for engineers to deal with in reports. The question of soil can also be dealt with in reports, whilst the question of climate cannot be determined in a visit of a day. We have had an ironical illustration of the value of one-day visits to suggested sites so far as the determination of the suitability of the climate is concerned. A party of honorable members happened to visit Albury on a very hot day, and. after their departure the people protested against the suitability of that town as a site for the Federal Capital being determined by that one visit, on the ground that the day in question was one of the hottest that had ever been experienced there. They urged that the average temperature should be taken, and that a residence of a few months would enable us to judge whether, so far as climate was concerned, Albury would be a desirable site. Thus a visit to any of the sites is of no service in enabling us to determine the suitability of theclimate. With regard to scenery, what do we find? We have exposed in this House photographs which have been deliberately faked to mislead honorable members. We have one photograph, evidently taken by an artist, portraying a view of the Snowy River, on which some aesthetic individuals might arrive at a determination.
– It .is a fine picture.
– It is, and it portrays magnificent scenery, but it has one drawback.
– If the honorable member has not been to Dalgety, how can he express an opinion with respect to the picture ?
– 1 base my opinion on the judgment of an honorable member who has been there. The honorable member for South Sydney, who was for some years the honorable member’s ‘ leader in this House, stated to-night that he recognised the photograph as that of a scene on the river 40 miles above Dalgety ! That photograph was exposed for the edification of honorable members, and to enable them to judge of the merits of Dalgety. Yet, on the evidence of the honorable member for South Sydney, who has visited the Snowy River as a fisherman, it is a picture of the river at a point 40 miles above Dalgety, -and quite beyond the proposed Federal territory.
– That is immaterial. It is a picture of the Snowy River, from which it is proposed that we shall draw our water supply.
– Some wag has since added to the inscription, “View of the Snowy River “ the words “ 40 miles above Dalgety,” so that honorable members will now know the truth about it. I speak without any- bias. 1 am glad that, that statement provokes laughter. At one time I was rather inclined to favour Dalgety. I knew that it had a very fine water supply, ana that if the Parliament could be induced to sit only during the summer months the climate would be all that could be desired. I always felt that it was too far from Sydney, but reflected that it was possible that, in the future, there might be a railway from the Capital to Eden, and that people might thus be able to reach it from Sydney or Melbourne by large steamers touching at that port. The more I know of Eden as a. port, however, the more satisfied I am that it would be impossible to induce steamers of any size to call there regularly in order toaccommodate a few members .from Melbourne or Sydney. I have arrived, therefore at the conclusion - a fact which I never recognised before - that the people of Sydney, desiring to visit the Capital, would have to travel to the most southeasterlyportion of New South Wales in order to reach it, whilst Victorians would have totravel from Melbourne to Goulburn - whichis only a four hours’ railway journey from Sydney- and would then have * to travel southwards ‘for eight hours. In other words, the time occupied in travelling from Melbourne to the Capital - putting aside Adelaide and other places - would beequivalent to a railway journey four hourslonger than that between Melbourne and Sydney. We have been told by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro that the Victorian Government will construct a railway to Dalgety.
– What I stated’ was that Mr. Bent said last week that he intended to carry a railway from Bairnsdale to the Border, wherever the Capital might be fixed.
– We all know what such promises mean. It has been admitted by the honorable member for Gippsland that the estimated cost of a railway to continue the Victorian system from Bairnsdale to the foot of the mountains 3
– That is not what I said.
– I understood the honorable member to say that such an extension would cost £1,400,000.’ Is it likely that Victoria would construct a line of railway to the foot of the mountains, which are very similar to the Blue Mountains of New South Wales,’ and then’ extend it over those mountains at a cost of some hundreds of thousands of pounds, in order to carry ten or fifteen members every week to the Federal Capital? If the line of railway contemplated by this State is designed merely for commercial purposes, it is not likely to .be carried over a range of mountains in order to reach part of another State in which Victoria cannot trade. Therefore, we have to take the estimated cost of £1,400,000 plus whatever it would cost - if Victoria were foolish enough to build it - to construct a line over mountains as difficult to negotiate as are the Blue Mountains of New South Wales.
– It was estimated, some three years ago, that such a line would cost £3,000,000.
– I am not at all surprised. Dalgety, then, is in that position, so far as a railway on the Victorian side is concerned.
– To say nothing of an expenditure of £2,000,000 01 £3,000,000 in providing a breakwater.
– I do not wish to exaggerate the figures. If the Victorian representatives were compelled to travel from Melbourne to Goulburn, and then undertake an eight hours’ railway journey in a south-easterly direction, that would be equivalent to their travelling on to Newcastle. Only one interpretation can be put upon this continued attempt to advocate the claims of Dalgety.’
– Would the honorable member regard Dalgety as a suitable site if that railway were built?
– I would not regard it as being as suitable a site as Canberra. But honorable members know for themselves what chance there is of inducing Victoria to spend £2,000,000 or £3,000,000 upon the construction of that railway. The right honorable member for Swan realized that thoroughly when he suggested, apparently as a sop, that theCommonwealth should step in and assist Victoria to build a line over those mountains for Federal purposes.
– I did not say Victoria only ; I mentioned assistance to both. States.
– I understood the right honorable member to say that the Commonwealth should help Victoria to climb those mountains with ‘.a railway
– And also help New South Wales.
– New South Wales would not want that help.
– I know a good deal about the matter - perhaps more than the honorable member thinks.
– As a matter of fact, when Minister of Public Works in New South Wales eighteen years ago, I officially . opened the railway to Cooma and had the extended line to Delegate surveyed, so that it was contemplated long before Federation was accomplished.
– It was a line to Bombala that the honorable member had surveyed.
– A line of railway to Dalgety would be a commercial failway. But where the project fails is in expecting that Victoria would complete a railway over the mountains merely for the purpose of taking honorable members into the Federal Capital.
– There are millionsof pounds’ worth of timber in that country, and plenty of good soil, in addition to> minerals.
– I am not supporting Canberra because I regard it as the best possible site. If I were asked to name absolutely the best site I should reply “Lyndhurst.” But I now recognise that unless something in the nature of a compromise is effected between Victoria and New South Wales there is very little chance of this question being settled.
– The honorable member has not seen any of the sites.
– The right honorable member has a sort of fever for ocular demonstration of everything. I confess that I do not see the need of any such demonstration. In the matter of a Federal Capital Site I do not think that ocular demonstration can serve any useful purpose except to show honorable members the scenery surrounding it, and that scenery can be reproduced by honest photography. In the vestibule of this House there are some very honest . photographs of the Canberra site. I shall vote for that site, not because I think it. is the best one, but because I think it is the nearest approach to it. If I could see a site nearly half way between Sydney” and Melbourne I should vote for it in order to avoid disputes hereafter. Had a site been available at Yass and had a sufficient water supply been forthcoming, I should have supported ,it.
– Will the honorable member test the question of the selection of Lyndhurst again?
– I do not know that honorable members would support me if I did so. The honorable member, although he has only been a brief period in political life, must recognise that under the system of exhaustive ballot there is a danger that one may lose the site which he favours most. If the honorable member can satisfy me that if I propose the selection of Lyndhurst I shall obtain it, I am prepared to take action in the direction he suggests. I repeat, I shall vote for Canberra, because it constitutes the fairest compromise which can be made.
– Is it not a fact that the Canberra site is supported by the .Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Telegraph?
– I take my data from proper sources. The honorable member may vote for Dalgety because the Age advocates its selection. I do not say that it is so. The Age is not a paper to which I go for light and leading. If I desired to find a way out of a difficulty - a very subtle way - I might go to that journal for assistance, but for light and leading I should not consult- it. I shall support the Canberra site, because it represents the nearest approach to a fair compromise between the two capitals. I understand from the honorable member for South Sydney that Canberra is twelve hours distant from Melbourne, and eight hours distant from Sydney. Honorable members from New South Wales have to spend thirty-two hours in the train each week in order to attend to their parliamentary duties. As we have done that for seven years, I do not think that we are asking anything very unreasonable when we ask - in spite of the con dition inserted in the Premiers’ memorandum - that a site shall be chosen, which, according to the honorable member for South Sydney, is fitted in every way for the purposes of a Federal Capital.
– Did not the honorable member lay it down in a former speech that the Federal Capital should be equally inconveniently situated for everybody?
– I did.’ I held that it ought to be equally inconvenient-
– And equally accessible.
– And equally accessible or inaccessible. I ‘ felt that, if we could get into a place where the inconvenience to all the States would be fairly balanced, we should be likely to get our work accomplished in a shorter period, because there would be no other occupation to divert honorable members from the task of legislation.
– Then we ought to go to Oodnadatta.
– No. I did not say that we should go to as inaccessible a place as we could get, but) that the inconvenience should be equally distributed. With regard to the cost of establishing a Federal Capital I desire to say one or two words. I know that this aspect of the question has formed a very useful peg upon which to hang many objections. Just before the referendum upon the Constitution Bill took place in New South Wales, -a great dispute occurred in that State as to what would be the extra cost of Federation. The two opposing parties in that State - the Federalists’ and the anti-Billites - determined to have the question inquired into before the vote of the electors was taken. The anti-Billites chose as their representative a well-known Legislative Councillor of Sydney, and the Federalists selected myself. We chose as an umpire Mr. Russell French, the general manager of the Bank of New South Wales. These two gentlemen in their report estimated that the annual interest upon the- expenditure involved in building the Capital would be ,£75,000. That is to say, they calculated that it would cost £2,500;600. But we must recollect that that- was the anti-Billite view. I took exception to their estimate, and. accordingly had to file with their report anaddendum stating that I thoroughly disagreed with that feature of it. I have had an opportunity from time to time of consulting the Government Architect of New South Wales upon this que’stion. He has collected plans, diagrams, and sections of all the great parliament houses in the world, and he has expressed the opinion that for present purposes - for the building of both Houses of Parliament, for the erection of Government House, and of the necessaryCommonwealth offices - the cost need not exceed some £200,000 or £300,000. Of course we could not have marble halls or a White House-
– We could not have a building like the one in which we are meeting.
– No, because this building cost £1,000,000. But we could have a building which would cover us, and whichwould provide us with the necessary accommodation to perform our legislative work. When people talk about the erection of a Federal Capital involving an expenditure of £1,000,000, £2,000,000, and , £3,000,000 they “talk with their foot.” Nothing of the kind is required. All that is necessary is a moderate expenditure, such asI have indicated, to enable us to carry on our work. I think that most of us are sufficiently democratic to be willing to put up with a very simple, substantial building for the purpose. One more word about the outlet to the sea. We all know that with regard to the Dalgety site it has been proposed as a very desirable adjunct that there should be access to the ocean. Now, the only part of the coast which could be reached within a reasonable distance of Dalgety is Twofold Bay. I know Twofold Bay very well, and Isay that it really is not a port. A port would have to be created there, and at very great expense, oecause it is open and exposed to the ocean.On the other hand, Jervis Bay possesses 120 square miles of deep water anchorage.
– In the event of the Canberra site being chosen, does the honorable member suggest that Jervis Bay should be taken over by the Commonwealth?
– I suggest that every opportunity should be afforded this Parliament to construct a line of railway there. I do not think that anybody desires to obtain control over a harbor of that sort. It is open to the whole world. The British Fleet in Australian waters visits Jervis Bay very frequently to practise gunnery. It anchors in one corner of it, and a person can be in another corner of it without being aware of the fleet’s presence.
– What can be the object of having communication with that port by railway if we have not control over a sufficient portion of its seaboard ?
– Does the honorable member mean that the Commonwealth should own it?
– Then I would not support any such proposal. I am quite sure that the people of New South Wales would not consent to completely hand over to the Commonwealth the finest port which Australia possesses.
– I am afraid that the honorable member misunderstands my question. I asked whether we should not have control over a sufficient portion of the Bay to make a harbor of our own ?
– The harbor is already there. Probably the honorable member desires some opportunity to construct buildings such as those which have been constructed upon Garden Island in Port Jackson. I have no hesitation in saying that just as New South Wales has given the British Fleet in our waters every facilitv tobuild al necessary works, docks, &c. for the repair of its ships in Sydney Harbor, so she would be willing to afford the Commonwealth every opportunity and convenience, and possibly to set aside portion of the harbor for naval purposes.
– If we have that assurance, it will make the position very much easier.
– The honorable member, of course, understands that we cannot bind the Parliament of New South Wales, or introduce such a stipulation into any Bill. If this House chooses a site which is fa.vorably regarded bv New South Wales, and thus gets the good-will of the people of that State, I am sure that we. shall find ourselves treated in an openhanded, generous way; because the desire will doubtless be to make the site as fine as possible for the honour of the State, as well as for the honour of the Commonwealth. If honorable members think it essential to have communication with a harbor, that condition is fulfilled in the case of Canberra. I shall vote for the site I have just mentioned, not because I believe it is the very best, but because it represents the nearest approach to a compromise between the two great capitals of Sydney and Melbourne.
.- We have heard a good deal to-night about the desirableness of having this matter finally decided, and we have been told that until it is decided there will be friction. But how is the question to be decided if every selection we make is received by New South Wales in the way that the selection of Dalgety has been received? It would appear that the only way for us to have this matter settled is to give up all our rights and, cap in hand, ask the New South Wales. Parliament to kindly tell us which site we may select.
– That is a good Federal spirit !
– It is the spirit in which New South Wales has always approached this question. We have heard a good deal about this compact of the Premiers; but it is very singular that the view presented to-night was never pressed on the House on any former occasion. It is true that the honorable member for North Sydney referred to a compact in a speech he. made in 1904 ; but he never pressed it as a reason why the right honorable member for Swan and Sir George Turner should vote for a site within what is called a “ reasonable distance of Sydney.” So little was this compact considered, that in both ballots Sir George Turner voted for the Southern Monaro site.
– But Sir George Turner afterwards said that had he thought of that agreement, he would not have voted for Dalgety.
– It is of no use Sir George Turner saying that now, when he has no vote on the question.
– The word of Sir George Turner will be taken quite as readily as that of the honorable member.
– Sir George Turner was in the House when the honorable member for North Sydney referred to the matter, so that he cannot say he did not know of it.
– Does the honorable, member hear every word that is said in the House ?
– I quoted that agreement at a later stage.
– The honorable member spoke in July, and the vote was taken in August.
– I quoted the compact in a thin house, and many honorable members never heard the quotation.
– The majority of the people of New South Wales adopted the Constitution, as originally -drawn, without any regard to this agreement.
– Not a majority of the people of -New South Wales - only 70,000 out of
– I am using the usual language when referring to such matters, and I mean the majority of the people who were sufficiently interested to record their votes. The memorandum points out that originally it was provided that the Seat of Government should be determined by the Commonwealth Parliament, and should be within territory vested in the Commonwealth. It will be seen that under that provision the whole of Australia was open to the Commonwealth; and the Constitution, with that provision in it, was adopted by a majority of the voters of New South Wales.
– Why was the Constitution defeated in New South Wales?
– It was not defeated by a majority of the people; the statutory majority was altered by New South Wales after the agreement as to the minimum had been entered into. However, let us read what, the previous compact was -
It is considered that the fixing of the Site of Capital is a “question which might be left to the Parliament to decide; but, in view of the strong expression of opinion in relation to this matter in New South Wales, the Premiers have modified the clause, so that while the Capital cannot be fixed at Sydney, or in its neighbourhood, provision is made in the Constitution for its establishment in New South Wales at a reasonable distance from that city, and the Premiers have therefore agreed that in lieu of the original clause the following clause shall be substituted : - “ The Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be determined by the Parliament, and shall be within territory which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth, and shall be vested in and belong to the Commonwealth, and if New South Wales be an original State shall be in that State, and be distant not less than one hundred miles from Sydney.”
– That was the form to crystallize the idea of “ within a reasonable distance of Sydney.”
– It was a form which was so crystallized as to leave out what is now alleged to be the essence of the contract. The right honorable member for East Sydney knows, as a lawyer, that what binds people is the document which represents the final conclusion of their agreement - the document in which all their discussions and negotiations are reduced to writing.
– Had I known that I was going to meet men like the honorable member I would have had the stipulation as the essence of the bond.
– Do honorable members think that the people of the other five
Stales - who do not seem to be considered at all in this matter - would have accepted the Constitution had. this compact or agreement been included?
– Yes; they would have done anything to get New South Wales to join the Federation.
– At the time when the amended Constitution was before the people each of the Melbourne morning newspapers circulated a memorandum explaining the amended arrangement. The Argus memorandum was prepared by Sir John Quick, and in it we find this reference -
The amendment first in interest, if not in importance, is that relating to the Site .of the future Capita-l of the Commonwealth. Under the Bill as framed by the Convention it was provided that the Seat of Government should be determined by the Federal Parliament, and that it should be’ within Federal territory. The amendment now proposed is- that the Seat of Government shall be in New South Wales,” and be distant not less than 100 miles from’ Sydney. In nil probability, if the matter had been left in the hands of the Federal Parliament, the Capital would have ‘ been fixed somewhere in New South Wales ; her strong claim, founded on seniority and the vast and suitable territory available for such a purpose, would have told in her favour.
There is not a word there about a reasonable distance from Sydney. The Age memorandum was prepared by Mr. Isaacs and Mr. Mackay, the present Minister of Lands of Victoria, and contains the following -
With regard to the Site of the Capital, the Federal Parliament was previously unrestricted in its choice provided the place selected was within territory vested in the Commonwealth. By the amendment the Parliament is limited to a selection within New South Wales, at a distance of at least 100 miles from Sydney. . The compact made must and will be honorably adhered to, and there will, it is hoped aid believed, be not a moment’s unnecessary delay in the fulfilment of the intention of ihe parties in arriving at the agreement. But in makins the concession sentiment has already had full weight given to it, and it will be the manifest duty of the Parliament within the limits assigned to it, to select, as the seat of government, whatever site it considers most in the interests of the Commonwealth as a whole.
There is not a word there about a reasonable distance from Sydney. The electors when they voted certainly did not believe that in the matter of the Federal Capital they were to be confined to within a reasonable distance of the 100-mile limit. If that ‘were the intention, why did not the right honorable member for East Sydney insert words to the effect that the Federal Capital must be at a distance of not less than 100 miles, nor more than 200 miles, from Sydney?
– Had I thought of it I should have had red seals opposite -the signatures.
– The red seals would have been of no use; the provision should have been in the Constitution. One of the very first acts of the first Prime Minister of the. Commonwealth was to write’ and consult the Government of New South Wales. One honorable member has. asked why the Commonwealth Government are always asking the opinion of the New South Wales Government on this, that, or the other subject. In my opinion, we have had too much consideration altogether for the States, not merely in the matter under discussion, but in financial matters ; and our courtesy has been mistaken for weakness, and played upon. Sir Edmund Barton, on the 13th April, 1901, addressed the following letter to the Chief Secretary of New South Wales -
I have the honour, on behalf of the Government of the Commonwealth, to inquire whether the Government of the State of New South Wales is prepared to offer to the Commonwealth, under the provisions of the Commonwealth of Australia- ‘Constitution Act any Sites for the Federal District or Territory within which the Capital of the Commonwealth is to be situated.
I have to intimate that the Federal Government desires to consider offers of tracts of larger area than the minimum prescribed in the 125th section of the Constitution Act, and would suggest ‘that in the meantime, the Government of New South Wales may, in the public interest of ‘ the whole Commonwealth, take steps to secure unalienated land within any areas offered from losing the character of “ Crown lands “ within the section, until a decision in the matter is arrived at.
We were told to-night by the honorable member for Parke’s that we may accept . the promise of the present Premier of New South Wales that we shall Obtain the Canberra site if we select it. On the 24th April, 1901, Sir John See, the then Premier of New South Wales, replied to Sir Edmund Barton in the following terms -
In acknowledging receipt of your letter with regard to the Site for the Federal Capital of the Commonwealth, I have the honour to submit to your Government the choice of the three Sites mentioned in the report of the Royal Commission which was appointed to collect evidence with reference to the suitability of the Sites for the purpose. A copy of that report is now forwarded herewith, and from the appendices attached thereto all particulars as to area, position, water supply, &c, can be obtained.. I desire also to state that if any other Site in New South Wales be considered by your Government’ to be more suitable for the purposes of the Federal Capital than those recommended in the report, I shall be glad to receive any further representations from you, and will endeavour, as far as possible, to meet your views. I further desire to inform you that, pending the decision of the Parliament of the Commonwealth in this matter, steps have been taken to prevent the alienation of Crown lands within any of the three Sites recommended by the Commissioner.
– Since that date the Parliament of New South Wales has come to another decision.
– We do not know when we shall get to the end of its decisions.
– The honorable member speaks in terms of contempt of New South Wales, .but what does he suggest should be done?
– I do not speak with contempt df New South Wales.
– The rules of debate allow every honorable member to speak to any question if he chooses to do so, and whether his views are or are not acceptable to the House, it is disorderly for others to so interrupt him that he cannot make his speech in his own way. A speaker is not compelled to frame his remarks to suit those whom he is addressing. He may speak as he will, and I ask the honorable member to allow the honorable member for Gippsland to pursue his own course.
– We asked th© New South Wales Government to offer a site. It had previously, in a Federal spirit, appointed a Commissioner to report on suggested sites, and he had recommended Southern Monaro, .Yass, and Lyndhurst - J think in the order named- Southern Monaro was, however, first. Those sites were offered to us in the letter which I have read, and in j 904 or 1905 this Parliament selected a Southern Monaro site. If we are to take the offer of Mr. Wade as the offer of - New South Wales, cannot we also take’ the offer of Sir John See as the offer of that State? The trouble about Dalgety has arisen owing to the fact that the antiFederal cry is thought to be good for election purposes. We hear about the friction in New South Wales, but is no allowance to be made for possible friction in the other States? Are we to take anything that New South Wales offers? The honorable member fbr South Sydney practically said that dissatisfaction in the State would not cease until we do what the people there wish us to do; but we shall derogate from our position if we accept whatever site the New South Wales Parliament chooses to. offer. The honorable member was not prepared to say that a majority of the people of New South Wales is opposed to the selection of Dalgety. At most,, he would speak only .of a strong minority.
– If a referendum were taken, the honorable member would be convinced.
– Before the last general elections, the ex-Premier of the State thought th? there was a strong feeling against Federation-, but had the leader of the Opposition there had the courage at the first to do as his party here did, when they went over to help him at the last moment, namely, to raise the Federal flag, he would have won on that flag. If we were to fight New South Wales on the question
– Sydney, not New South Wales.
– It is only amongst a small section of the people of Sydney that there is dissatisfaction. Most of the people of New South Wales would consent to any selection we might make. If we stick to Dalgety, and the people of NewSouth Wales will not do what we wish, we must simply knock at the door until the territory is ceded to us, or take steps to acquire it. During the last seven years I have frequently addressed public meetings on the subject of Federation, and have always advocated -the establishment of what is called the “ Bush Capital “ because one of. the conditions under which we, federated was that the Capital should be in New South Wales. We, in Melbourne, have gained great advantage by reason of the location of the temporary seat of Government here, but the blame for the -delay in removing to a permanent Capital rests entirely, with the Government of New South Wales. If they had acted in the same spirit in which action was taken at the commencement of Federation, the Federal city would be pretty well in hand now.
– This Parliament has altered its decision] on the subject.
– Hardly that; this House chose Tumut, and the Senate chose Bombala, in Southern’ Monaro. Then on the second occasion, this Parliament selected Dalgety, in Southern Monaro. The honorable and learned member, for Parkes gave us to understand that the authors of the
Annotated Constitution support the contention: .that the territory must be ceded by New South Wales before we can select it. In support of that view he read this passage -
It has been argued that the words “ shall be within territory which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth “ point to a prior act of cession by the Parliament of New South Wales, and that - no express power to “acquire” being given by this section - ;the acquisition must be by surrender and acceptance under section in.
But he did not read this passage a little lower down -
In other words, the power to determine the Seat of Government, coupled with the direction that the Seat of Government shall be within territory granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth, implies that the Commonwealth, in the absence of a grant, has power to acquire the necessary territory without grant. This view seems to be supported by a general perusal of the section. There is a clear declaration that’ the Seat of Government is to be determined by the Parliament, but there is no declaration that the concurrence of New South Wales is essential. . Had that been the intention, it would surely have been expressly mentioned, and not left to be gathered by implication - and especially by implication ‘from such wide words as “ granted or acquired.”
I do not propose to discuss at length the merits of the various sites. That has been done over and over again. I was surprised, when I heard the honorable member for South Sydney describe the Canberra site in such glowing terms, seeing that it has been only recently discovered. The Commissioner, who reported on the various suggested sites put forward in all parts of the State, seems to have overlooked it. The representatives of New South Wales, when putting forward their best sites, also overlooked it.
– We followed the scriptural injunction, and kept the .best to the last.
– I think it has been kept too long.
– Similarly Dalgety was overlooked.
– No. It. was part of the Southern Monaro district recommended by Mr. Oliver.
– And Canberra is part of the Yass district.
– To show the little value of the compact to which reference has been made, the honorable member for South Sydney, when twitted by the right honorable member for Swan for voting for the Batlow site, which was very far from Sydney, said that he was riot bound by the compact. If he is not bound, why should we be bound? It may be open to honorable members to twit the right honorable member for Swan with goings back on his agreement; but why did they not do so when Sir George Turner was here. ‘ They rely now on something he said when he could no longer give a vote on the subject.
– He voted for Dalgety.
– He said that he would not have done so had he remembered the memorandum. .
– The honorable member for South Sydney was complimented, I think for the first time by the honorable member for Parkes, upon the speech which he made to-night. Amongst his objections to Dalgety was the one that it is too far from Sydney. The right honorable member for Swan asked, “ Why should Canberra, which is 203 miles from Sydney, be considered within a reasonable distance, and Dalgety, which is only 296 miles away, be considered too far?” The honorable gentleman then spoke about distances as the crow flies. But we must have regard to distances by the most accessible routes.
– Is not the 100. miles limit interpreted as the crow flies?
– Yes, I will concede that. But in a direct line, even, Dalgety is only .228 miles from Sydney. The Commissioners appointed by the Commonwealth say in regard to Dalgety, on page 6 of their report - page 319 of the papers for 1903-
The distances by direct measurement .from the capital cities of the several States are as under .- -
It will’ thus be seen that Dalgety is practically equi-distant from Melbourne and Sydney. It has been insinuated in one breath, by the honorable member for South Sydney and the honorable member for Parkes, that Dalgety has been selected in the interests of Victoria, while in the next it has been asserted that it cannot possibly be reached from Melbourne save by a railway journey via Goulburn, and that the construction of a direct line would involve an enormous expenditure. In view of these statements, how can it be said that Dalgety has been selected in the interests of this State? The cost of railway construction, however, has been greatly overestimated by those honorable members. The Royal Commission reported that the approximate estimated cost of a line from Cooma to Bairnsdale, vid Bombala and Bondi, would be £1,518,000. That is very different from the statement made’ by the honorable member for Parkes that it would cost £3,000,000 to construct a line from Bairnsdale to. the foot of the mountains. The Commissioners further reported that to construct a line from Bairnsdale vid Bendoc and Dalgety would involve an expenditure of £1,466,000.
– What was the estimate of the Victorian engineers?
– I do not remember.
– Is it not peculiar that the honorable member has not consulted the reports of the engineers of this State ?
– The Royal Commission obtained all the available information from the Railway Departments of both States, and their report, from which I have quoted, was rather unfavorable to the selection of Dalgety. As a matter of fact, to my own knowledge, four different routes to the border have been suggested, and there is now under consideration a direct route, vid Buchan and Bendoc, about 30. miles shorter than the others which” have been suggested, which it is said would not be more expensive. We are told that there is no possibility of a line to the border being constructed. The Premier of Victoria, however, has emphatically declared his intention to ask Parliament to construct it. The proposal has been referred to the Railways Standing Committee for investigation, and. surveyors are now engaged in surveying a route from Orbost up to the Bemm river, and then up the Camm River valley, vid Bondi, to Dalgety. There is every probability of the line being constructed at a very early date, irrespective of whether or not the Capital be established at Dalgety. Such a line would open up a vast territory which has long been awaiting development - a territory which honorable members who have not seen it seem to imagine they are best able to describe. The right honorable member for Swan said he had crossed the country in question, and that it contained excellent land and timber; and those who have traversed it will recognise the truth of - his statements. ‘ It comprises a large area of rich land, through which a line could easily be carried. Victoria does not propose to build such a railway merely for the sake of the Federal Capital. It proposes to construct it - and it should have been constructed long ago - to open up the eastern portion of the State. It is strange that so much has been said of late in a deprecatory spirit of the port of Eden. When the honorable member for Lang was discussing this question a few nights ago, and praising Jervis Bay, he .was asked by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie, “ Will New South Wales give us Jervis Bay with Canberra ? “ The honorable member for Lang replied, “I am not talking about that.”
– I have no recollection of the interjection or the reply attributed to me.
– I have; because I particularly noted it at the time. The honorable member, for Parkes, when a similar question was put to him to-night, went one further, and said that he would be no party to giving the Commonwealth control of Jervis .Bay.
– Does the honorable member expect that the Commonwealth would obtain control of Eden if Dalgety were selected ?
– A simpler way out of the difficulty would be to pass a law making New South Wales Federal territory.
– lt would be better to do that than to pass a law. permitting New South Wales to annex the rest of the Commonwealth, as she apparently desires to do. We have heard a great deal about the climate of Dalgety. A bulletin on the Climate and Meteorology of Australia, issued last week by the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology, contains a comparison of rainfalls and temperatures of places which have been referred to as possible sites for the Commonwealth Capital-. That table shows that there is a difference of only about 5 degrees between the mean summer temperature of Canberra and Dalgety. The average mean summer temperature at Canberra is 69.7 as against 63.3 at Dalgety; the average mean winter temperature of the Canberra district is 45.0, as against 42.2 at Dalgety. The highest temperature on record in respect of the Canberra district is 109.0 and 104.0 in respect of Dalgety ; whilst the lowest on record is 16.0 for the Canberra district and 11.0 at Dalgety. Then again, it is shown that the temperature of the average hottest month at Canberra is 72.0 as against 67.0 at Dalgety, and that the temperature of the average coldest month is 42.0 in the Canberra district and 40.0 at Dalgety. We were told on a former occasion by the honorable member for North Sydney that -
The Capital should be in a portion of the country where ‘ settlement is gravitating, and where there will be a tendency for population to gravitate in the future. It should not only be on a railway line, but, if possible, on a line which connects, or will connect, the different States and be used as a main line.
The honorable member now favours a site which is not on any line of railway ; but would be reached by means of a branch line. On the other hand, if Dalgety were selected it would be on a - railway which would become the main line connecting the capitals of New South Wales and Victoria. It certainly fills the bill so far as that consideration is concerned. It is unnecessary, however, to discuss every detail. As the honorable member for Parkes has said, full information can be obtained from the reports which have been available for some time ; but I am sure that if Dalgety, were the finest spot on earth it would not meet with the approval of the representatives of New South Wales, who are supporting Canberra. If we wish to deal finally with this question we must regard it from a purely Australian point of view. To-day the whole’ question has been discussed from the points of view of Melbourne- and Sydney. What about the interests of the other States? Is no consideration to be given to Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, or Queensland?
– Does the honorable member contend that they have a voice in the matter?
– Certainly. The people of Australia as a whole have a voice in determining the question, and their representatives here should select what they believe to be the best site in the interests of Australia, not only for the present, but for the future. Having made such a selection - and I believe that in selecting Dalgety they have done so - the Parliament ought to stand by it, and keep knocking at the door until New South Wales hands over the territory. If New South Wales refuses to do so, we shall have to take other steps, but I believe that when the Government of that State realize that we are firmly wedded to
Dalgety, all friction will cease, and that the site will be offered to us in the same spirit as it was offered t.o the Commonwealth by Sir John See, the then Premier of New South Wales,’ when the Federation was first established.
– In congratulating the honorable member for South Sydney on the excellent speech which he has made tonight, I think I may safely say that he has covered the ground so well that there is no necessity for those who follow him and share his views, to go into full details as to the merits of the two sites with which he dealt. I should be glad if I could congratulate the honorable member for Gippsland as I can the ° honorable member for South Sydney. It is only natural that the honorable member for Gippsland should support the selection of Dalgety, having regard to its proximity to his own constituency ; but he has to-night given expression to the very sentiments which, when published in New South Wiles, cause the people of that State to doubt the honesty and fairness of Victoria in regard to the settlement of this question.
– We may have doubts in regard to the honesty of New South Wales with respect to this matter, but, of course, that is immaterial.
– Victoria has had no occasion to doubt the desire of New South Wales to carry out any compact which she has entered into. We must remember that New South Wales has had her own fiscal policy reversed by the Commonwealth.
– She ordered that reversal ; she did not have to submit to it, as the honorable member suggests.
– That is not so.
– The result of the last general election shows that she did so.
– New South Wales has never voted for protection. The honorable member for Gippsland has practically said that no one was bound, by the agreement arrived at by the Conference of Premiers”.
– The honorable member for South Sydney said so.
– The honorable member for South Sydney said that he was’ not individually bound by that agreement, but the honorable member for Gippsland went further by declaring that he could find nothing binding in it. When those who practically arranged the terms upon which all the States entered the Federation, and who subscribed their names to their interpretation of the provision in the Constitution relating to the Federal Capital, affirm that they are not bound by the agreement arrived at, they practically confess that they induced the States to enter the Federal union under a compact from which they have now absolutely departed. I think that the honorable member for South Sydney sufficiently contrasted the attitude assumed by the right honorable member for Swan towards the trans-continental railway - as to which no compact existed - with his attitude towards a compact which he himself signed. ‘Sufficient has been said to show the absolute inconsistency of his position. . The honorable member for Gippsland has declared that we should fight New South Wales upon this question.
– If New South Wales makes us fight.
– The honorable member said he thought that we had remained quiet long enough, and that we ought to fight New South Wales. If that spirit is to guide our deliberations -
– The honorable member himself says that the representatives of Victoria are preventing the Parliament from meeting in New South Wales.
– I say so ?
– The honorable member’s party says so.
– Do all the members of that party say so?
– All the representatives of Sydney constituencies say so. When I go to Sydney I am constantly asked, “ When are you going to give us the Capital?”
-That may be perfectly true. But to suggest that all the members of this party declare that all the members from another State are preventingthis Parliament from meeting in the Federal Capital is notcorrect. I have never heard that statement made previously. On the contrary, I have declared that the members of this House have always been ready to deal with the question of the Federal Capital when it was brought forward.The remarks of the honorable member for Gippsland in regard to the Commonwealth fighting New South Wales are much to be deprecated. We desire amity. We wish all reasonable sites which can be brought forward to be carefully considered with a view to doing what is right to each State. It has also been said that the New South Wales Government are not likely to hand over the control of Jervis Bay to the Commonwealth. Surely any such request would be an extraordinary one. To suggest, that an enormous harbor like that - a harbor which is capable of being used not merely for Commonwealth but also for State purposes - should be handed over to the Commonwealth is a very big request. But if New South Wales, thinking that the Commonwealth had chosen a suitable site, and that it desired to give effect to the provisions of the Constitution, would provide any shipping facilities at. Eden, would it not provide far greater facilities at Jervis Bay ?
– But will it?
– How can I answer that question ?
– I quite recognise the honorable member’s difficulty with such a Premier in office.
– Could the honorable member tell me what the Victorian Parliament woulddo under similar circumstances?
– If Victoria had sucha harbor she would hand it over at once - so would South Australia.
– If the New South Wales Government and Parliament think that that State is being fairly treated, no doubt they will be as liberal in their treatment of the Commonwealth as they have shown themselves to be in the past. Another point which has been raised by the honorable member for Gippsland and by the Attorney-General is that the New South Wales authorities allowed an inspection of eligible sites throughout that State. Did that exhibit any narrow spirit? New South Wales gave the Commonwealth the right of inspection from border to border. Why ? Because there might not be, near the 100 miles limit, a really suitable site. Consequently it allowed the Commonwealth to search from end to end of the State, so that if a suitable site were not found near the 100 miles limit we should beat perfect liberty to select a site further away. Whv is an attempt made to turn the generosity of New South Wales against that State ? The claim by the New South Wales representatives is that near to the 100 miles limit - at any rate within a reasonable distance of it - there are sites not only equal to Dalgety, but superior to it, and that consequently we have no right to forget the conditions of the agree-‘ ment arrived at by the Premiers’ Conference. That is a perfectly legitimate position. I come now to the statement of the right honorable member for Swan, that at the earlier stages in the selection of a Federal Capital Site some honorable members representing New South Wales voted for more distant sites. May I point out that, owing to the Premiers’ agreement having gone out of print, no copies of it could be obtained for some years. I recollected that there had been a document of the sort, and that its terms had been circulated in handbill form by the supporters of Federation throughout’ New South Wales. However, I could not obtain a copy of it either from this Parliament, from the Victorian Parliament, or from the New South Wales Parliament. At last, however, I found, not a copy of the document itself, but a copy of the handbill that had been circulated in New South Wales, and which quoted it.
– The honorable member is speaking of a quite recent period.
– I am speaking of 1904 or 1905. Towards the conclusion of a debate upon this question, I quoted that document in this House. I felt sure from my own recollection that the terms of the agreement arrived at by the Premiers were not being fulfilled, and when I found the document in question that idea was confirmed. But even then I did not like to lay too much stress upon the document as it was not the original and had not been issued by authority. During the Federal campaign, when it was pointed out by many persons who were opposed to the draft Constitution Bill, that Victoria would delay the settlement of the Capital Site question for a long time, and would not support any site that was not near its own border, the agreement arrived at by the Premiers was relied upon, and was issued broadcast, as an answer.
– That agreement was printed in the Age in Tune, 1899.
– At any rate, I could not come across a copy until I found the one to which I refer. After that, a search was made, and a copy of the agreement issued by authority was found in one of the State Parliaments. This the Commonwealth1 had printed. To show that that document changed the views of some honorable members I may mention that Sir George Turner - who had forgotten the explanation which it contained of the arrangement arrived at in regard to the Federal Capital - stated that in the light of that agreement it would only be fair - so long as there was a suitable site available - to select a site between 100 miles and 200 miles distant from Sydney.
– Did he make that statement publicly ?
– He made it, I think, in this Chamber. If the honorable member desires to do so he is at liberty to ring him up to-morrow, and I have no doubt that he will vouch for the accuracy of my statement.
– He could not have placed much value upon the arrangement arrived at, seeing that he had forgotten it.
– In the multiplicity of their occupations, politicians frequently forget.
– Does not the honorable member think that the electors of Australia have . given the sovereign opinion upon this question ?
– Of course they have, and they gave that sovereign opinion in view of the decision of the Conference, and, in New South Wales, in view of the distribution of this very memorandum.
– Sydney and suburbs voted against Federation.
– Is New South Wales, a member of the Union, not to be treated fairly simply because Sydney and suburbs voted against Federation? ‘
– The country districts voted for Federation.
– I am astonished that the honorable member, from whom I always expect fair and logical argument, should make such a suggestion. My own constituency voted against the first Bill, but I took my stand in favour of . Federation.
– What I mean is that the facts show that the opposition is confined to Sydney.
– Nothing of the sort. The honorable member really says that, because Sydney and suburbs voted against Federation, the opposition to the Dalgety site is confined to Sydney and suburbs.
– What I mean is that the memorandum did not appear to influence public opinion to any extent in Sydney on the second occasion.
– How was it, then, that a sufficient majority was obtained on the second occasion?
– That majority was found in the country districts.
– But in Sydney and suburbs there was a larger favorable vote on the second occasion. .
– The right honorable member for East Sydney changed his opinion, and he carried the majority. That is how the larger vote was obtained.
– The honorable member is quite wrong, or otherwise, why did the: right honorable member not carry the majority for his own Government in the State? The honorable member for Melbourne represents the attitude which we see everywhere.
– What I desire to point out is that the public had not an opportunity of voting, with a full knowledge of the memorandum, as well as with a full knowledge of the clause in the Constitution.
– And, therefore, it would appear it would be justifiable for those who signed that memorandum, and who represented the people at the time, to “go back “ on it.
– There is not much difference between 203 miles and 296 miles.
– The right ‘honorable member knows that the 203 miles represents a compromise.
– That is so, and, therefore, I am supporting Canberra, although I previously voted for Lyndhurst.
– Lyndhurst is not much of a place to vote for !
– Both Dalgety and Lyndhurst have advantages of their own, and I am still in favour of the latter place; although I admit that Canberra has a better water supply, and better natural features. These advantages on the part of Canberra, however, do not, in my view, counterbalance the centrality of Lyndhurst, which is most convenient, in point of distance, for all the States of the Commonwealth.
– Will the honorable member vote for Lyndhurst if that place be proposed ?
– If we cannot get the site we desire, we have to try to bring about a compromise. If I thought that Lyndhurst would be selected, I should prefer it for the reasons I have given, because I think that,, with storage, sufficient water could be provided for a very considerable city ; and there are other means of supply when the population justified the expenditure. This water question, though important, can be made too much of. It is peculiar that one of the objections made to Botany Bay by the Commander of the First Fleet was, that the water supply was not good enough, being obtained from certain swamps close to the sea shore. We know that the Commander sent out an expedition to find another harbor, and fortunately found a very fine one - Port Jackson - but the water supply which he deemed insufficient supplied Sydney until the population of that city was nearly 250,000. It was very fine water, which oozed through the sands, and was pumped to Sydney; and it was only when the population got so large that the water did not ooze quickly enough to supply their requirements, that the present scheme had to be adopted. Therefore, I say that it. would be easy, when the population demanded it, to increase the water supplyfrom places in the vicinity of Lyndhurst. I admit that the population will never get too great for the water supply at either Canberra or Dalgety. During the discussion, the Minister of Trade and Customs interjected that I had stated that the selection of Dalgety was conclusive. I happened to be the Minister who had to deal with the matter after Parliament had made the selection, and, although I voted and spoke against the selection, it was not for ‘me as Minister to consider whether the laws I had to administer were altogether in accord with my own opinions.I, therefore, told the New South Wales Government, that so far as I was concerned, the selection was then conclusive, and I had to act upon it; and I think that was a perfectly proper and consistent attitude.
– Why did the honorable gentleman not settle the matter while he was Minister?
– I was not Minister very long ; and the people of New South Wales objected to the site, not merely because it was not in accordance with the spirit of the agreement, but because it was not considered suitable in the interests of. the Commonwealth or the State.
– The honorable member voted for Dalgety.
– Only in the fifth or sixth ballot, and then as against a worse site.
– The honorable member voted for Dalgety against Tooma, and it was fair to ask whv.
– The Minister, in his innocence, asks me to justify a vote which I gave some years ago, and to compare the sites which were then considered ; and I refuse to do so.
– Why did the honorable member, as Minister, say that the question was then finally settled?
– As Minister, I had to regard the matter as finally settled by Parliament. Suppose I had opposed the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway Survey Bill, and, when it had been carried, I had been appointed Minister, would the Minister of Trade and Customs expect me to allow my own opinions and feelings to influence me in carrying out that Act? If Ministers are loyal to Parliament, they must subordinate their own views in carrying out legislation. I do not think I have been unfair towards Dalgety, but I am convinced that it is not! the best site for a Federal Capital. Up to the time of the selection of Dalgety, the New South Wales Government allowed the Commonwealth every liberty in this connexion ; but I believe that a considerable majority of the people of New South Wales - though I do not profess to state what the majority is - consider that that is a wrong site, and that it was selected only because it was as far as could be from Sydney.
– Where is there a better site nearer Sydney? This Canberra site was found only the other day.
– Dalgety was found only the other day. Mr. Oliver did not consider it equal to Bombala.
– I suppose that Bombala would be more objectionable to the honorable member than is Dalgety..
– I do’ not mind answering, at the proper time, questions regarding any site, but my opin’on on the Bombala site is on record, and the right honorable member can refer to it. Surely we should pay respect to the feelings of a large number of persons, when good grounds can be shown for their irritation. If Western Australia or any other State was concerned, there would have been much more bitter and angry complaints from its representatives than have been made by the representatives of New South Wales, most of whom have tried to secure an amicable settlement.
– We heard a good deal on the subject during the first three years. It was mentioned nearly every grievance day. Mr. DUGALD THOMSON.- Representations were made, and very properly ; but there was not. the outcry that would have been heard, I think, from the representatives of any other State.
– We never threatened secession.
– No; notwithstanding all the temptations to do so. I have too much faith in the advantages of Federation to talk about secession in a case of this sort. But the people of New South Wales feel strongly on the matter, and I think that if honorable members will look into it fairly, they will admit that there is a good deal oi reason for their feeling. This Parliament has attempted to depart from the spirit of the understanding, and has passed by better sites in order to remove the Seat of Governmentas far as possible from Sydney, and as near as possible to the borders of another State. I do not think the people of New South Wales’ are likely to be satisfied with such an arrangement. The right honorable member for Swan has asked, where is there a better site than Dalgety ? In my opinion, Canberra is superior in almost every respect.
– Has the honorable member been to both ?
– Yes, I have spent several days at Dalgety, and was a day at Canberra, but I had had some previous acquaintance with the district. Coming now to the listed requirements of the right honorable member for Swan, both sites are more than100 miles from Sydney. Dalgety fulfils that requirement very completely, being nearly 300 miles away. Both sites are more than 1,500 feet above sealevel, the Dalgety site, according to the right honorable member for Swan, being at a height of 2,500 feet, and, according to the Commissioners, at a height of 2,690 feet. A site at such a height, especially on a plateau like Dalgety, must be exceedingly cold and inhospitable.
– A record of temperatures has been published.
– I have heard persons who have been in the Antarctic say that the cold there is not unbearable when the weather is perfectly still, but that when a blizzard is blowing a man may lose his life by going 200 yards from his ship or his house. . I have visited Dalgety on a beautiful sunshiny day in May ; but we had not driven half way when the driver asked me to hold the reins as his hands were too cold to hold them.. This he had to do, notwithstanding that he was wearing thick gloves and heavy clothing. Dalgety has a plentiful water supply; but Canberra also fulfils every requirement in that respect. The honorable member for South Sydney has said that 2,000,000 people could be supplied.
– I did not say anything to the contrary.
– Then the right honorable member agrees with the statement. I admit that the Snowy is a larger river than those on the Canberra site; but, whereas, it has been photographed where there are pools, the Canberra streams have been photographed where there are shallows. At Dalgety there are places where one can walk across the Snowy.
– The Cotter is a smaller stream.
– Yes, but there are others.
– What others ?
– The Queanbeyan and the Molonglo.
– Both were absolutely dry last year, so that they could not supply the town of ‘ Queanbeyan with water.
– There is no dam above Queanbeyan. The Queanbeyan River was selected by the Commonwealth Commissioners as the site for the Lake George water supply.
– There is also the Murrumbidgee, and, if the population justified it, water could be drawn from the Snowy mountains. The Minister talks about rivers running dry ; but what has been stated about the Sydney water scheme, which is capable of supply ing 60 gallons per head per day to a population of 2,250,000.
– For seven months of last year the people of Sydney could not use their garden sprinklers.
– In a report on Canberra, it is stated that -
The quantity of water available from the Cotter catchment cannot be estimated from the flow of the stream at any particular period. In the case of the magnificent catchment area of the Sydney water supply, which is capable of supplying 60 gallons per head per day to two and a quarter million people, the total run off of the rivers fell as low as 1,200,000 gallons a day in 1902; but, by means of proper storage, such dry periods are satisfactorily tided over and the average requirements maintained.
The right honorable member for Swan, in his minute on the Canberra site, deals with the question of good climate during summer and winter. It must be evident to any one that the climate cannot be as equable, at an elevation of 2,700 feet, as it is at a better sheltered site with an altitude of 1,900 feet. I admit that, as the right honorable member for Swan has pointed out, Dalgety possesses superior water power, but would remind honorable members that water power can be obtained from some of the rivers in the Canberra district, and more particularly from the Murrumbidgee. It must not be forgotten that the water supply of Dalgety would be drawn, not from the Snowy, but from another stream, the catchment area and. flow of which is 50 per cent, less than that from which the supply for Canberra would be obtained.
– It is to be drawn from two creeks in the Dalgety district.
– From the Mowamba, the Eucumbene, and the Crackenback. If manufacturing were indulged in to any extent on the Snowy River, or much settlement took place there, the water would be contaminated, and, in order to obtain a supply by gravitation, it was recommended that the creeks I have named should be tapped. The right honorable member for Swan also deals with the question of “ water frontage for recreation, sport, and beauty “ at Canberra and Dalgety. Such frontages can be obtained at Canberra by constructing artificial lakes, and so forth. Then the right honorable member refers to “ surrounding and adjacent scenery, with great natural features, within convenient distance.” The beauty spots which can be reached from Dalgety, and to which the right honorable member refers, can also be reached from Canberra. They are not much further from Canberra than from Dalgety, and there, are certain beauty spots near Canberra which are far more distant from Dalgety. I desire now to refer to what is’ described as the Bulletin post-card, which has been sent to most honorable members.
– The Bulletin is a very reliable newspaper.
– We ought not to pass by its action without making some protest. In the post-card addressed to me there appears the statement -
The .Bulletin asks the- Honorable Dugald Thomson, M.P., to hesitate before giving a provincial vote against Dalgety.
– That is a direct insult.
– When a newspaper attempts to log-roll in this way, and addresses such ‘ remarks to honorable members, it is time for us to take steps to prevent the Americanizing of Australian politics.
– Other newspapers have made threats.
– Newspapers may make what remarks they, like in their columns, but when one chooses to address honorable members in this way it time for us to protest.
– What is the objection?
-.- If the honorable member does not recognise it, it is useless for me to attempt to point it out to him. What are the arguments used by the Bulletin ? 1 allude to them because they have been adopted by some honorable members. It is said, for instance, that Dalgety should be the Australian Capital because -
It is one of the Sites reserved by the State Government of New South Wales as possible locations for a Capital. That is to say, it was formally offered, so far as the New South Wales State Government could be persuaded to formally offer any place.
That is not correct.
– It is.
– It is not, as compared with the offer of other sites, made by the State Government. Then it is said - …
It is in the locality which is declared by an officer appointed by the State Government of New South Wales to report on possible Sites to be the very best of all those which he had discovered.
As a matter of fact, it was Bombala on which the officer reported favorably.
– There is no difference.
– The two sites are absolutely different. We have the further statement that -
It is a fairly fertile region if Joseph Carruthers can be relied upon. Joseph promised to extend the railway from Cooma to Bombala because the richness of the country called aloud for better means of communication, and Joseph had heard the call in his ear.
I make no allusion to the way in which reference is made to Mr. Carruthers ; but will any one say that Mr. Carruthers, when Premier of New South Wales proposed to construct a railway to Dalgety ? As a matter of fact, he proposed to construct a line from- Cooma to Bombala along a route that would pass away from
Dalgety. The further statement is made in the Bulletin post -card that -
If a fair-sized area is taken the Federal .city will have ‘its own port. « The sources of its water supply will be within its own territory and under its own control -
Does any one imagine that the Snowy River will, be granted right up to its source as the water supply of the territory ? New South Wales would not be likely to do anything of the kind. No State would be justified in making such a grant. The statement is absolutely incorrect. The paragraph continues - so that no disgruntled State Government can cut off that water supply or carelessly allow it to become contaminated. It will also have a land outlet into two States, so that it won’t be wholly dependent on any State Government for railway and road communication with the outer world.
Is that correct ?
– I do not think it is.
– Nor do I. So far as the question of outlet is concerned, it would not be less under the control of a State than Canberra would be. Il is surrounded by State .territory, . and could be interfered with if that State desired to do so. As a matter of fact, however, the State, if it attempted anything of the kind, could not maintain its interference.
– The Constitution would prevent it from doing so.
– That is so. Then it is said -
Furthermore, Monaro is a strongly defensible Site. It is absolutely essential that Australia should not have its Parliament, Cabinet, official and military head-quarters, treasury^ chief ‘arsenal, and all the machinery of Government, in a coastal city where the first attack might scatter the whole governmental machine into the bush.
– That is an argument in favour of Tooma.
– It is a still stronger argument in favour’ of the selection of a site in the Macdonnell ranges, which was recently suggested by an explorer. All the suggested sites are perfectly free from such attacks. It is also declared by the Bulletin that - of all the proposed Sites, it is the one the cession of which will deprive New South Wales of the least population ; and that it .comprises a region- which has in recent years at least cost New South Wales more than it yielded in taxation, therefore, the monetary loss to New South Wales will be nil.
That is a strong recommendation in favour of its selection ! In other words, Dalgety, as a district does not pay its way, although- if has been settled as long as most parts of New South Wales.
– But has not enjoyed railway communication.
– There is a railway not far away.
– The Treasurer said, it was one of the finest districts in Australia, and ought to have a railway.
– He referred to Monaro, and not to Dalgety.
– And that is the same thing.
– One might as well speak of London as England because it is in England as speak of Dalgety and Monaro as one and the same. Perhaps the right honorable member will say that there is no difference between Dalgety and Canberra, as they are in the same locality. I do not wish it fo be thought that I am endeavouring to depreciate the merits of Dalgety. I am giving my real opinion of it as a site, and I say that it is, in my view, inferior to Canberra.
– Has the honorable member seen it ?
– Yes ; I have seen both sites.
– But the honorable member has not seen Tooma.
– No. But I have been in the Monaro district more than once, and upon, the last occasion I saw the particular site proposed. I have shown why the people of New South Wales have some reason for the very strong feeling which they entertain regarding the action of this Parliament. Seeing that that feeling of irritation may grow into something worse, surely, if we can remove it by any reasonable compromise, it is our duty to do so. I am, endeavouring to meet the people of New South Wales by abandoning my first choice in favour of a compromise. When we enter into such close relationship with a State, as we must do when we establish the Federal Capital in New South Wales, surely it is well for us to enter its territory upon the most amicable terms. Surely it is to our interest to foster feelings of mutual goodwill. I can see an objection to any such compromise only if the interests of Australia would be sacrificed. I do not see nor wish to see any such thing. I should not argue in favour of the selection of Canberra if I thought that it was an inferior site to that of Dalgety. But I think it is a superior one. I am sure that Sf a majority of honorable members visited both places, and compared them, they would come to the conclusion that Canberra was preferable to Dalgety.
– A majority ofhonorable members would also say that Tooma was superior to Canberra.
– That may be so. But I do not know that it would fulfil the conditions of the Constitution any more than do some of the other sites which have been suggested. When reasonable ground exists for resentment, which may grow, and which it is not desirable that we should permit to grow, surely, if without sacrificing the interests of Australia, we can effect a reasonable compromise, it is our duty to do so. I maintain that we ought not to encourage dissension, but that our endeavour should be to foster amity, and to induce the great State of New South Wales, which possesses over one-third of the population of Australia, and which has not always hitherto proved itself unreasonable in its treatment of the Commonwealth, to work cordially with us. I believe that we can do this by agreeing to a compromise, which will carry out the intention of the Constitution, and its attached memorandum, without wronging the Commonwealth in any way.
Debate (on motion of Mr. Maloney) adjourned.
– I have received the following message from the Senate-
The Senate, having taken into consideration Message No. 24 of the House of Representatives, dated 2nd April, 10,08, acquaints the House of Representatives that the Senate has agreed to the following resolutions : -
That the Select Committee of, the Senate appointed to inquire into and report upon procedure in cases of breach of privilege be empowered, jointly with the Select Committee similarly appointed by the House of Representatives, to inquire into and report upon any recent allegations reflecting upon. Parliament or any of the members thereof, and for such purposes to exercise all such powers as have been conferredby this Senate.
That a Message be sent to the House of Representatives conveying the above resolution.
Melbourne, 8th April,1908.
House adjourned at 11.3 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 8 April 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1908/19080408_reps_3_45/>.