3rd Parliament · 3rd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– In view of the speech of the Minister of Trade and Customs last night, I ask the Prime Minister whether, if the selection of Dalgety be re-affirmed, he will place on the Estimates a sum to provide for the laying out of the city being immediately commenced, or whether he agrees with his honorable colleague that that is a matter for the distant future?
– I had not the pleasure of hearing my honorable colleague’s statement, but he probably meant that, in view of the desirability of theearly transfer of the Seat of Government to the Capital, we should be satisfied at first with temporary accommodation, leaving expenditure upon permanent buildings until the future.
– Will a sum be placed on the Estimates for this year ?
– As soon as the Capital Site is determined, the necessary steps will be taken.
– When speaking last night the Minister of Trade and Customs said that he could not recall how he had become possessed of the information to which the honorable member for Maranoa. has referred, but that he would make inquiries on the subject. I should like to know whether he has made any inquiry, and, if so, whether he will now state how he came to be possessed of that which was intended for the private information of the honorable member for Maranoa ? ‘
– I did not tell him.
– I understand that.
– I do not remember how I came by the information ; but I certainly did not obtain it from the honorable member for Maranoa. It came as a surprise to me to learn that the honorable member for North Sydney had been making inquiries, and when the matter, came under my notice I thought the proceeding so strange that I had the information typed.
– There was no treason in my action.
– No; I cannot say how I came by the information. How do we often learn news? People sometimes send information to us by post. I certainly did not obtain this information in the way that the honorable member for Wentworth tries to obtain some.
– I wish to ask the Minis ter, in justice to himself - because I have no qualms about it- whether, if he cannot substantiate the innuendo he has just cast, he will recognise that the constant making of insinuations by a Minister of the Crown - insinuations that cannot be substantiated - must tend to bring not only himself into disfavour, but the office he holds into contempt.
– I think that the honorable member recognises that I had in mind the extraordinary industry which he shows whenhe is allowed access to a file of papers in my Department, and searches them for hours.
– Is not that industry very proper?
– Then why the insinuation ?
– I made no insinuation. All that I wished to convey was that had I obtained my information in the same way I should have remembered it. The information must have come to me in a very casual way, or I should certainly be able to recall how I became possessed of it.
– In view of the fact that some honorable members are still under 30 years of age, does the Minister of Trade and Customs desire to qualify the statement he made last night, that even if Dalgety is chosen as the site of the Federal Capital, no member of this House would live to see it established there?
– Had the right honorable member listened as carefully as I thought he did to my speech last night, he would know that I made no such statement. What I said was that it was unlikely that many of us would see ft. When I was asked why I made that statement, I said we could not build a Federal Parliament House there in a few weeks, or start by dumping down a tent. We know that it will take some little time to erect the necessary buildings. What I really had in mind, as I explained at the time, was that, judging by the result of the last general election–
– Tripe I
– At any rate, judging by the result of the last general election, I thought that honorable members of the Opposition would not be back again.
– Will the Prime Minister have printed the correspondence relating to navigation control laid on the table of the Senate yesterday, and give honorable members an opportunity to discuss the matters therein dealt with, seeing that they are of great constitutional importance, and, in the ordinary course, would not come before us until the Navigation Bill has beendealt with by the Senate?
– I am about to lay on the table a copy of the papers referred to. We have been informed by cablegram that a reply to our criticism of the communication from the Board of Trade was posted yesterday or the day before. It, too, will be printed when received, so that the fullest information may be available to honorable members. I hope that a discussion of the matters involved will not take place in this House until the papers are complete, and we have had the advantage of reading or hearing the debates elsewhere.
MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers : -
Navigation Bill - Reply (dated 15th June, 1908) of Prime Minister to Despatches of Secretary of State for the Colonies, dated 29th November and 1 8th December, 1907 ; together with Memoranda by Department of Trade and Customs on suggested amendments by Board of Trade.
Defence Acts - Military Forces - Additional Regulations (Provisional) 605-608 - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 102 (together with copy of Military Order No. 288, giving particulars).
– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been called to a synopsis of the New South Wales Budget appearing in this morning’s Age? It shows that the socialistic enterprises in New South Wales, after paying interest and working expenses, have returned a surplus of £748,000. Will he have the particulars published for distribution among the antiSocialists of this House ?
– No doubt the honorable member’s purpose has been achieved before his question can be answered.
– Some days ago I drew the attention of the PostmasterGeneral to the fact that in several instances in which interest on telephone services had been guaranteed the works had not yet been carried out, and I asked when money for them would be available. Is he now able to say when, in cases in which persona have offered to guarantee interest on the tost of the undertakings, he will make available to the Deputy PostmasterGeneral sums sufficient for them?
– Every effort is being put forward to make as much money as possible available for these services, and details will be given when the Estimates are laid on the table. Still, it will be impossible to meet at once all the demands for telephone extensions, even where interest has been guaranteed..
– On Tuesday last I asked the Prime. Minister whether he would consider the advisability of causing to be printed a series of lectures on de- fence delivered by Colonel Foster to the students of the Sydney University. Seeing that criticism regarding the Government Defence scheme is being invited from the officers of our forces, and even from privates, I think it will be recognised that the views of a gentleman whom the University of Sydney has appointed to lecture on Military Science, may be worth obtaining. The cost of printing these lectures would be small.
– When answering the question asked the other day, I was not aware that the suggestion had been made to the Minister of Defence. I find that in view of the numerous publications on the subject of defence, he had some hesitation about printing these lectures; but, after conversation, it was agreed that he should look through several contributions of this nature appearing to be valuable, and speak to me again on the subject. The matter has not been lost sight of.
– I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether, if he lays on the table any papers dealing with defence and raising the question of compulsory service as against the present volunteer service system, he will also present some of the adverse criticisms of his scheme - such, for instance, as the views expressed by Admiral Cyprian Bridges, Colonel French, and others - so that honorable members may have an opportunity to read both sides of the question.
– I think that honorable members have already had an opportunity of reading the views expressed on all sides. The simple issue raised by the honorable member for Parker is whether it would not be advisable to print a series of lectures delivered by a military man now in Australia possessing special military knowledge. The publication of such lectures would not lead us far afield as would the printing of cabled comments.
– Has the Government considered the proposed Papuan labour ordinance; and, if so what is its attitude in regard to it ?
– It has been explained that the draft ordinance was prepared with a view to inviting criticism, and two or three months have been given for its discussion. It was drawn up by one of our most experienced officers, but the effect of putting it into legal form was to considerably enlarge his suggestions. I expect to receive amended proposals shortly.
– By way of personal explanation, I wish to say that I learned this morning that, last night, the Minister of Trade and Customs accused the honorable member for North Sydney of doing some dirty work by seeking for information about Moss Vale as a site for the Federal Capital. If any one, it is I who am the guilty party.
– I said nothing about dirty work. My remark was that it seemed that an attempt was being made to evade the Constitution by seeking for a site within the 100-miles limit.
– As a matter of fact, when we were travelling to Sydney on one occasion, I asked the honorable member for North Sydney if it were possible to obtain the information, and I say now that Moss Vale is the most suitable site that could be selected.
– The provision as to the 100-mile limit was inserted in the Constitution to block the selection of Moss Vale.
– That is my impression. I thank the honorable member for North Sydney for obtaining the information in question, and am sorry that Moss Vale is not open to selection.
Wages of Workers
– I wish to ask the Prime Minister a question, without notice, relative to the decision of the High Court that the Excise Tariff (Agricultural Machinery) Act is unconstitutional, and that, consequently, the wage schedule laid down by Mr. Justice Higgins for. observance in connexion with the industry is inoperative. Will the honorable gentleman consider whether Part II. of the Australian Industries Preservation Act 1906, could not be applied to firms engaged in the agricultural implement industry. Sub-section b of section 6 provides that “ unfair competition “ can be dealt with -
If the competition would probably or does in fact result in an inadequate remuneration for labour in the Australian industry.
It appears to me that the provision should be applied to these firms.
– Order. Is the honorable member asking a question?
– Yes, sir. Does not the Prime Minister consider that sub-section b of section 6, and other provisions of the Act, could be applied with a view of compelling firms engaged in the industry to pay the rates which Mr. Justice Higgins declared were fair and reasonable, and any departure from which would, therefore, be unfair and unreasonable?
– The question requires far more consideration than I can give it on the spur of the moment, with merely a recollection of the section to which the honorable member has referred ; but I shall ask my colleague the AttorneyGeneral to consider it.
– I put the question to the Attorney-General last session, and he took no notice of it.
– Will the Minister of Trade and Customs state when the Quarantine Act, passed last session, is likely to be brought into force? At present stock cannot be removed, even for show purposes, from one State to another.
– The Comptroller-General of Customs has visited Queensland and New South Wales, and is now in Tasmania, for the purpose of making inquiries with the object of completing arrangements with the different States for a transfer of the Quarantine Department to the Commonwealth in the easiest and most inexpensive way, and so as to avoid any friction. He has also completed his inquiries in Victoria, and I am hopeful that, on his return from Tasmania, he will be. able to proceed to Western Australia, and that we shall be able to complete arrangements for the transfer of the departments at an early date.
asked the Minister of Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows : - 1 and 2. A report has been asked for as to the desirability of removing the quarters referred to from their present position to a more suitable locality, and the probable cost involved should removal be approved.
The honorable member appears to have made out a very good case. I think his representations as regards removal are justified. It is only a question of cost, and I shall endeavour to meet him as well as I can in the matter.
Telephone Construction : New South Wales
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– I am aware of the very large demands that are being made upon the Department for increased facilities, especially in connexion’ with the telephone system, in all parts of the Commonwealth. Every effort will be made to meet those demands.
Debate resumed from 24th September (vide page 391), on motion by Mr. Groom -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
.- I approach you, Mr. Speaker, in the most timid manner this morning, and have to present to you my credentials. Allow me to tell you, in the most abject way, that I am a New South Wales man. It is necessary, to say that now, and to say it apologetically. I do try to represent New South Wales, and, horror of horrors, I am a Sydney man. We have to make apologies for being allowed to sit here, and a further apology for wishing to say anything on behalf of the State that we represent. If we dare to say anything kind on behalf of Sydney, we are held to be the most narrow-minded individuals that ever walked the political path in Australia.
– Make an apology beforehand for your provincialism.
– I am doing so. My knees are trembling. I am doubtful whether honorable members will allow me to go on. This measure has been before you, sir, so many times, and the arguments about the sites are so well known to you, that I am compelled, on this occasion, to make that apology to you, not only because of the speech of the Minister of Trade and Customs, but because of the speeches of all the statesmen in this House, who claim that they take an Australian view, and that every argument that they use is of the moist patriotic character. The speech delivered last night by the Minister of Trade and Customs, and that must be still ringing in your ears, would have been applied better, not to the Seat of Government Bill, but to an attack made upon the seats of the Government in a motion of censure from this side. The bluster, banter, and bully imported into it, the political vituperation, ancient political history, and attacks upon honorable members on this side, would have been more in keeping in reply to some caustic attack upon the Ministry by means of a motion of censure. That is the spirit that has characterized this debate from start to finish. You can only be Australian in your views, of public affairs if you do not go north of the Murray. Whatever you do, do not go north of the Murray, except as keen lynx-eyed business men, to get the cash and trade of New South Wales. You are no longer a patriot, no longer Australian in your vision, if you go north of the Murray for any other purpose. Honorable members, one after the other, have frankly said that the New South Wales representatives are incompetent to speak upon this matter, and, if they had their way, should not even vote upon it. That is their method of showing what is called the Federal spirit.’
– Who said that?
– Most of the honorable members who have addressed themselves to this question.
– Did not they say that in all probability the members from other States would not be as likely as would the members from New South Wales to be biased in favour of any particular site?
– The members from other States are of superior clay, in their own estimation. They need not pray to God to give them a good conceit of themselves. They have all the personal conceit that God could give them.
– That is not fair, coming from the honorable member for Dalley.
– The honorable member need not take it to himself. Let those whom the cap fits wear it. I do not care whether it is unfair. I have had to sit here to be gibed at, taunted, and sneered at because I dared to speak on behalf of New South Wales, and dared to say that I belonged to Sydney.
– The honorable member ought not to make statements of that kind, because, if the facts were as the honorable member represents them to be, they would afford evidence that I had neglected my duty in this Chair by allowing any. honorable member to be gibed at and taunted because he dared to represent his constituency. I ask the honorable member not to make statements of that kind.
– Surely, Mr. Speaker, your memory is sufficiently keen to recall the fact that the honorable member for Hindmarsh said he took an Australian view of the matter, that the Minister of Trade and Customs also said so, and added that he was not directed by a small mercenary clique in Sydney, or by the leading newspapers in New South Wales. That is what I am referring to. If you do not call those taunts, I do not know what they, are.
– The statements referred to do not justify the remarks that the honorable member made. I ask him now to proceed with ‘ his speech.
– One has to say something strong here to attract honorable members’ attention. We have had to sit here and allow ourselves to be jumped on and lectured by honorable members. Surely all the mental equipment of this Chamber does not rest only within their own skulls. Are they the only patriotic individuals in the community?
– Will ‘the honorable member kindly proceed with his speech?
– I am trying hard to do so, but it seems to me that if one abandons the ordinary polite phrases, and fails to beg pardon for saying anything on ‘behalf of New South Wales, one is not allowed to go any further. If you were on the floor of this House, sir, I am sure_you would not take it lying down if an attack were made on your own State. You would show a little feeling, and would speak, perhaps, more acutely, quite as effectively, and probably more satirically, than I am trying to speak now. Several honorable members have told us that all that the New South Wales members think about is getting the Capital site. But if New South Wales never gets it she will not be bankrupt. I do not wish to come here as a suppliant on behalf of the people of New South Wales, praying that we should be given the Capital site, and asserting that, failing its location close to Sydney, that great city will become bankrupt. I am not going to put my State or my native city in such a position. If my State has no pride in me, I have pride in my State. If the position were reversed - I will put it to you as humbly as I can - and Victoria had had to wait in this way for a settlement, what has taken place so far would not be acircumstance compared with the shrieks and howls that would have arisen in the pressand in this House. The main portion of the speech of the Minister of Trade and Customs was a violent attack upon the leader of the Opposition. I am not here to attempt to defend the right honorable gentleman, who can take care of himself, but surely there was more political fervor about that speech than would be warranted by a broad and patriotic Australian view of the question of settling the site? If the Minister looked ahead about fifty years, and took a purely Australian view, he would place the site further north than Dalgety. I do not blame him as the representative of his constituency for fighting ‘for that site, or for saying that it is the best in New South Wales if he believes that it is. But if he asks me to take an Australian attitude, I ask him to stretch his mental vision forward at least fifty years. He says openly that not many honorable members in this House will see the Capital established. I thoroughly agree with him, if its situation at Dalgety is persevered with. I believe that this Bill will be carried, and that the numbers are against the effort to delete Dalgety. I say that openly, but there is another power to be reckoned with. The Parliament of New South Wales, speaking on behalf of the people of that State, have a right to refuse that site as a just settlement of their claim. For honorable members to say that we cannot speak on this question, except from a narrow point of view, is unvarnished impudence on their part - audacity of the coolest character that I have ever heard. I should not attempt to pull the personal views of any; honorable member to pieces in that way. If I do not do that, I have a right to resent the methods resorted to by the other side. I should be the last to present any. arguments against Dalgety as a site. I think I love my State sufficiently well to love the whole of it, and that my ambitions are as distinctly Australian as those ofany, other honorable member. I endeavour to take an Australian view of the question; and I resent being regarded as narrowminded and parochial, simply because my view is not precisely that of others. It may be that my intellect is weak and puerile, compared with the intellect of the advocates of other sites ; but I am only endeavouring to repeat what I believe to be the opinions of the people of New South Wales. We listened last night to what was no doubt a good fighting speech ; but such an address might, I think, with more propriety, have been delivered within the walls of a Parliament House established at the Federal Capital. If I may use a Biblical1 illustration, I can point to the energetic character who toiled for seven long years for a most exacting task-master, in view of a certain reward. We know how that taskmaster endeavoured to prolong the toil, and deprive the worker of his reward ; but eventually the latter had to be paid in the person of Rachael. The people of New South Wales have been toiling and longing for seven years, and yet “Rachael” is further from their grasp than she was before. The Minister of Trade and Customs, who is so enamoured of the site he favours, and is working so hard for New South Wales and Australia, has openly told us that not many of the present members will be here when the Federal Capital is an accomplished fact. The daily press of Melbourne gloat over the same prospect in their leading articles ; and say that ten or twenty years hence the question may be considered. Their hope is that, in the meantime, a new generation will have arisen, which will have forgotten the provisions of the Constitution, and the terms of the compact entered into by the Premiers in conference.
– The right honorable member for Swan is unable to remember anything about that compact.
– Public men sometimes have very convenient memories; and yet, under the circumstances, surprise is expressed that the people of New South Wales are smarting under the breach of faith. I do not think that the average elector of New South Wales would value very much the presence of the capital within the borders of that State; but he knows what the compact was, and feels that the importance of that division of the Commonwealth warrants it being carried into effect. Why was the compact entered into if it was not intended to carry it out ?
– The Melbourne Age says the Premiers entered into the compact with a wry face.
– Is the honorable member suggesting that there was a sort of confidence trick - that trick of “ Nowyouseeitandnowyoudon’t,” which is played on confiding bucolics, even in this patriotic city of Melbourne? The position has become such that the electors have a sort of feeling that the representatives of New South Wales are not in earnest in the matter. All I know is that to enable me to carry out my duties as a parliamentary representative, I had to forego my home life in Sydney and come to reside in Melbourne. Such a move may be regarded as almost an act of sacrilege on my part, but I am prepared to take the responsibilities, because I found it physically impossible to itravel backwards and forwards each week. I can quite understand the Victorian representatives not “ rushing” this question, but voting for any motion which means delay, and, certainly, in my opinion, “ Dalgety “ does spell delay. Those gentlemen do not seem at all anxious to leave their business or their home life, and undertake long railway journeys in order to perform their public duties. Are we to regard this question from the point of view of territory or of population - are we to gauge it by gum-trees or by people ? If we are to take population into consideration, then the great bulk is north of the Murray, with a tendency to spread still further north. If I were simply casting a vote in the interests of Australiain the near future, Armidate would have my support every time; and that is a view which I expressed eight or nine years ago in the State Parliament of New South Wales, though that site is as far from my electorate as is Dalgety. I simply have regard to the trend of population on the east coast of Australia, and to the immense progress made by Queensland and
New South Wales, particularly in the northern portion of the latter State. From a broad, statesmanlike, liberal stand-point, I ask honorable members to abandon their support of a site in a corner of the Commonwealth, remote from the trend of population, and to vote in favour of the prospectively central site in the New England district. Honorable members interested in the Lyndhurst site have, as did the honorable member for Macquarie, placed their views calmly and dispassionately before us. I do not believe in compacts made outside the Chamber, and I have never attended any meeting called on the question. The Minister of Trade and Customs last night related what took place between himself and the leader of the Opposition.
– There was not much in that.
– I do not know, but the less we have of private meetings to decide public questions, the better. Such an opportunity may, of course, be only another evidence of my puerile mind and weakness. Human nature comes very much to the fore in the discussion of this question; and yet we are taunted by some honorable members, who no doubt regard themselves as bleeding patriots, with not taking a broad Australian view. I can well understand a resident of Melbourne being proud of his city, and I believe that the people of Victoria are as anxious as are the people of New South Wales to have this question settled. The citizens of Australia generally are sick and tired of the question, and. having a fine instinct for justice, they know that, according to the Constitution, the capital city ought to be within the borders of New South Wales. They know that it is not to be located within 100 miles of Sydney, and that that means that it should be located as nearly within that distance of the city as practicable. That is the view of the matter which is taken by the man who does not occupy a public position, and who, so far aspublic affairs are concerned, has only the opportunity once every three years of casting a vote for a parliamentary representative. I believe that if we could take this question to the people of Australia for settlement it would be found that the view I have suggested would be adopted. No man in public life could be better treated than I have been by Victorians, and in my opinion the people of Victoria generally are as ready to respect a bargain, and to carry out the terms of a contract, as are the people of New South Wales. Then who causes the trouble? I believe that it is the politicians and the press who are causing all the trouble. If we take the Age for instance we shall find in its columns the statement that there is no necessity to settle this question for the next 10 or 20 years ; but if we contended that the Tariff question should be hung up for 20 years, the Age would howl, and would try to parade an army of secessionists the next day. .These are the little pin pricks which offend the people of New South Wales, and we can hardly blame some public men if they play upon them. I admit that some do play upon them. I go further, and admit that there are some who hope that this question will not be settled because the grievance on the subject is a part of their political stock-in-trade. Personally, I have no wish to take this question to the electors at the next election as a political* grievance that I may tell my constituents that the people of Victoria and of other States in the Commonwealth’ do not wish that New South Wales should get her allotted benefits from the federal contract. I have no doubt that if you, sir, gave your opinion as Speaker, you would say that a distance not less than 100 miles from Sydney means as nearly as practicable that distance from Sydney in a suitable locality. I have learned the lesson that it would, not be wise to locate the Federal Capital in any of the large cities of Australia. If we are to secure what is called the Federal atmosphere, the Capital of the Commonwealth must be removed to some distance from any of the existing State capitals. Parliamentary life is most tolerable when one is in opposition, and has perfect freedom to give expression to his own opinions, and I am glad to be able to saythat the newspapers have not to-day the commanding influence over the voters and over public men that they had a few years ago. I think it must be very agreeable to you, sir, to find that to-day, in debating public questions, honorable members do not now, as was the practice some time ago, repeat the arguments of the leading articles of their pet organs as the public opinion of the States from which they come. If honorable members give expression to their own views we shall have a better reflex of public opinion in this House. We know that the newspapers are out for business.every time. They make no pretence in the matter, and experience shows that the press of all the large cities endeavour to put a local complexion upon all public acts. Honorable members who are actuated by the Federal idea, and are broadminded Australians, must be only too glad to get away from an atmosphere of that kind. We are being continually told that certain views are only the views of the people of Sydney, but let me inform honorable members that the little back-alley place called Sydney, as some would have us regard that city, has a population of about 600,000, and that that population is rapidly growing. If I may be allowed the boast, I am glad to be able to say that in trade, commerce, and every other attribute, Sydney is. to-day the premier city of Australia. I hope she will continue to be so. She is no poor suppliant for the expenditure of a few thousands or of a few millions of pounds in the establishment of a Federal Capital. I have the honour and privilege to represent an electorate which contains more artisans than any other electorate in Australia. I am proud of the fact, and let me say that my constituents have no wish that this question shall be settled in such a way as to involve the expenditure of a few thou- * sand pounds or even of a few million pounds in their State. At the same time I believe that every man and woman in the electorate holds that the constitutional compact should be respected. I ask for no more than ‘ that. I agree with the leader of the Opposition that in the Federal Capital we do not need a city of Aladdin palaces on a scale of Oriental grandeur, neither do we desire that it should be established on lines of Spartan simplicity. We do not wish that the laws of Lycurgus, who would not permit the erection of any building which required the use of any implement but an axe or saw, should be applied in its erection. Let no member of the Hou’se think that we shall go clown if we do not havethe capital established in the mother State,, although I think it is right I should saythat in that State we think we are being “ taken down ‘ ‘ day by day. No man could have regretted more than I did that a member of this House should makeuse of the question for his own political purposes. For banter, bluster, bully, and political vituperation I never heard the equal of the ‘speech we had’ from the Minister of Trade and Customslast night. I only wish that the right honorable member for East Sydney had been as careful in the past about those whom he took to his political bosom as he is likely to be now. The Minister of Trade and Customs has repaid the right honorable gentleman in a way that he will recognise. Unfortunately, in public life the more loyal and trustworthy a man is the more he is left alone. It is the custom to say of such a man, “ We can set that poor devil aside, because we know where he is every time.” Unfortunately, too much is often done for men who, when they secure political power, make a return in the form of such compliments as we heard last night. No one was more sorry than I was to hear the speech I refer to, because I think that the right honorable member for East Sydney took an Australian and exalted view of the question. All that he said against Dalgety was that it was one of the bleakest spots in Australia, and that is absolutely true. But I do not propose to decry any portion of New South Wales. I think that there are as many available sites for a Federal Capital in Australia as there are seeds in a pomegranate. ‘
– The trouble is that there are too many good sites.
– No; the trouble is that the honorable gentleman is not willing to respect the compact and spirit of the Constitution.
– As the Attorney”General has voted for all the sites he must have respected the terms of the Constitution at some time or other.
– I want the honorable gentleman to respect them now. If the choice of the Dalgety site is reaffirmed, it simply means a further block. The State Government, representing the people of New South Wales, will decline to surrender the territory, as they have a right to do. What will that mean? The people of ‘New South Wales will be told, “You will never get the Capital, and all that you will be able to do is to read in your leisure time section 125 of the Constitution.” I do not desire to appeal to any particular section of this House. Eight or nine years ago mine was the only voice, crying in the wilderness on behalf of a site which seems to especially answer the requirements of those who urge that the trend of population “is northwards. I suggested Armidale. It cannot be said that in so doing I expressed any narrow Sydney view. I tried with this feeble mind of mine to project myself into the future, and to ascertain the direction in which population is going. Today I am equally prepared to support Armidale. But many honorable members want us to go to a place that I will not describe, and which may be compared to a place whose name nearly rhymes -with Armidale. I regret, sir, that I came to cross-purposes with you at the commencement of my remarks with regard to the honorable member for Coolgardie. But last night we had that honorable member, cool, dispassionate, and cynical, posing as a great Australian statesman. He was right up in the top garret, professedly taking a view from the centre of Australia. But let me read a few quotations from a speech delivered by this honorable member six years ago.
– He said last night that if we did not secure a port, we should be traitors to Australia.
– That was his politeness. The House will be interested, I think, in a few extracts from this gentleman’s speech delivered on the 21st February, 1902. In answer to an interjection that there was a splendid harbor near Bombala, the honorable member said -
I was aware of that, but I think our idea is to get some distance away from the sea so that in the event of an attack from a foe our Capital would be to some extent safe.
Six years ago, in the honorable member’s opinion, we ought to get away from the sea so as to be free from- attack. Now, however, he says that we should get as close to the sea as we can, and that if we do not, we shall be traitors. That is one sample of this statesman’s utterances. Take another -
I was sorry that I was not here when the honorable member for Gippsland was speaking, because I understand that he charged representatives of New South Wales with indecent haste in pushing on the selection of the site of the Capital. I do not Think it lies in the mouth of a Victorian member to throw any aspersions on the representatives of New South Wales in this matter, because, after all, the Constitution compels us to give the Capital to that State, and the sooner we do so the better.
What do you think of that, Mr. Speaker? Last night the honorable member asked, “Where is the hurry”? Six years ago he said that it did not lie in the mouth of Victorian members to charge New South Wales with indecent haste. There ‘is a specimen of the consistency of this calm, accurate, judicial statesman from Western Australia, who goes by the name of Mahon.
– What has happened in the meantime?
– How can I tell? I can only refer the honorable member to the statesman who sometimes favours us with his presence in this chamber. Further on the honorable member said -
I would vote for leaving Melbourne tomorrow. That is my opinion of Melbourne.
That was six years ago. I do not know whether the honorable member has a higher appreciation of Melbourne now. But there is no necessity to attack Melbourne. No New South Wales man need disparage one city of Australia in order to praise another. I am proud to think that Australia has a city like Melbourne. I wish there were more of the kind in this country. That is my narrow-minded way of looking, at things. Further, the honorable member for Coolgardie said -
Although of course I am duly grateful for the convenience we have and the hospitality of the Melbourne people, still if it came to a vote I should be prepared to put up with the inevitable discomforts of a new town in order to get awny from this city.
So say all of us.
Now I think we have a right to complain of the subserviency of the Government to the Melbourne morning newspapers. That is really where the whole trouble comes in. The object of these newspapers in advocating the retention of the Parliament in Melbourne is purely mercenary.
That is not the utterance of a narrowminded individual, but of a. gentleman who is a statesman. ‘ I am willing to sit at the feet of Gamaliel and receive instruction from him. It is the mercenary instincts of the newspapers of Melbourne that lead them to desire to keep the Seat of Government in this city ; and if we refer further to the honorable member’s speech we shall learn why they do so. He said -
They would be forced to spend an enormous sum yearly in despatching their telegrams to the head office, if the capital were located elsewhere. Of course,’ a narrow-minded individual like me would never dream that such a view would occur to the conductors of the Melbourne newspapers, as that they wanted to retain the. Seat of Government in Melbourne in order to save about five “bob” a year on telegrams. But that is a view that emanates from a statesman, not from a narrowminded parochialist from New South Wales.
– The honorable member .should not look so severe.
– The honorable member for Melbourne Ports was hopping and popping about like corn in a frying pan when Sydney was being condemned. Now headvises me not to look angry. I assurehim that I am not. But it appears to me that in his opinion one who is full of praises of Victoria and Melbourne is a noble-minded Australian, whereas any man. who says a word for Sydney is a narrowminded provincialist. Personally I like tosee a man stand up for His country, and he deserves well of it when he does so. But it is our business to be federalists, and I should even be prepared to say a good word for the honorable member’s lovely Footscray in return for hisgoodwill on behalf of my Balmain. Apparently so long as we keep below the River Murray we are all right. But if we venture to look beyond that stream, weshall at once be charged with parochialism. The honorable member for Coolgardie continued -
These are the real reasons why they opposeand ridicule the idea of shifting the Parliament, and the honorable member for Gippsland, who is so free in charging- representatives of New South Wales with indecent haste, forgetsthe indecent conduct of these organs of public opinion in this city.
Apart from the newspapers, what is the useof disguising the fact that Melbourne does reapa very substantial advantage in having the Parliament sitting here? The bulk of the printingrequired for both Houses is done at the Victorian Government Printing Office, and in manyother ways Victorians benefit.
That is how a statesman can speak whenit suits him. But I venture to say that if any unfortunate from New South Wales approached within miles of that utterancethere would scarcely be sufficient ink in Melbourne to write him down. It would” be urged immediately that he was returned’ to this Parliament by a mere accident. Can you, sir, wonder that honorable membersdesire to reply to such taunts? As evidence of the view that is entertained of Dalgety I refer honorable members to the pamphlets issued by the Gippsland railway league. When arguments aire advanced for the establishment of that league,, one of” the reasons openly urged is a desire tocapture the trade in the neighbourhood of Dalgety. The members of that league arenot influenced by considerations of the best interests of Australia, but by considera-tion of their own State. Surely if it isright for the people -of Gippsland to act inr their own interests, the residents of sydney may be pardoned for adopting a somewhat similar attitude. I am a representative of New South Wales, but I can occasionally take an Australian view of great public questions.
– The honorable member’s humility is very touching.
– I am obliged to exhibit humility. I am endeavouring to show that a New South Wales representative has to fall upon his knees unless he chooses to chant the song that certain honorable members wish him to chant.
– Keep cool.
– That is all that the honorable member will allow me to keep if I am foolish enough tobe influenced by his utterances or by his vote. “What,” I ask, “is the meaning of the wordreasonable?’ “ Ordinarily it is taken to mean “moderate” or “rational.” Now I put it to honorable members : Is a site that is situated 400 or 500 miles from Sydney within a “reasonable” distance of that city? If we are not prepared to select a site that will probably confer some slight advantage upon Sydney, I say that during the years of long delay which will precede a settlement of this question, that city ought to be the temporary Seat of Government, just as Melbourne has been during the past seven years. Let us give the representatives of Queensland and New South Wales a chance of getting nearer to their homes. The Sydney press openly declares that the New South Wales representation in this Parliament would be very much improved if the temporary Seat of Government were established within her territory. We are assured that there are a number of able men whom the country is simply gasping to see in our public life, but who are unable to give their services to the electors while Melbourne remains the temporary Seat of Government. Let us afford them an opportunity of exhibiting their wonderful political capacity.
– I do not think that the representation of New South Wales can be improved very much.
– I should be better off as a private citizen if the business men of whom I speak would do some good for New South Wales and for Australia. The Sydney newspapers declare that these individuals cannot get away from their patriotic desire to make money for themselves, but that if the Federal City were established nearer to Sydney they would offer their ser- vices to a long-suffering public.
– Does not the same argument apply to the other States?
– The honorable member for Riverina - a suburb of Victoria-
– The interests of which New South Wales has always neglected.
– Whilst the honorable member is a representative of a New South Wales constitutency, whenever there is a chance to extend consideration to the interests of that State-
– The interests of Sydney.
– What is Sydney alongside of Echuca?
– There would not be much Sydney if it were not for back-block towns like Echuca.
– The honorable member for Barrier has been waiting a long time to get in that stiletto interjection. For years I have noted that trait in his character.
– The honorable member supported the Constitution Bill in a form under which this Parliament would have been able to fix the Seat of Government in any part of Australia.
– I opposed the original Bill.
– Yes, but the honorable member afterwards went back upon his attitude.
– The honorable member for Barrier says that I went back upon the attitude which I originally took up.
– Order !
– I must imitate the honorable member’s voice-
– I think it.mustbe apparent to anybody who looks through our Standing Orders that for an honorable member to make a personal reference to another honorable member by imitating his voice or manner is entirely disorderly, and cannot for a moment be permitted.
– The honorable member for Barrier did not choose to say that I opposed the original Constitution Bill because of the conservative provisions which it contained. He did not tell you, sir, that I, without any goading from the Labour Party or direction from it, did my best in New South Wales to procure a more radical Constitution for Australia. He did not tell you, sir, thatI went wherever I could in New South Wales, and said to the people: “Amend the Constitution andyou will not finda stronger Federalist inthe colony than myself.” But he told you, sir, that I went back on the Constitution Bill, insinuating that I was against it on a certain occasion, and in favour of it within a month or two. He had not the decency or the honesty to say that I tried to fight as well as I could to procure a radical Constitution for the people of Australia. That is my answer to his taunt. It seems to me that unless a member of this House has a push and a party behind him he has to fight all sorts and conditions of men. The honorable member would not be heard of in public life if it were not for the support of the Labour League.
– Quite right.
– I am glad that the honorable member has made that admission. When a man, who may not- be blessed with the gigantic intellect that he possesses or the statesmanlike views which he holds, is trying to fight, no matter how indifferently it may be, he has not the ordinary decency to recognise that he is fighting on his own, and if any one has a nice little journey to row here it is myself. I have to fight not only the men on this side, but also the courageous fellows on the other side who try to help me along with stiletto remarks such as those just made by the honorable member.
– What is the matter, captain?
– If a man is applauded and praised he will find any number of persons round him. Those who can give will get support ; but ‘those who have nothing to give can look for support. I am trying to show that in my judgmentthis whole business is pure humbug, and that the sooner the .people of New South Wales know that the better. We are engaged upon the consideration of a Bill “ to determine more definitely the Seat of Government.” I know that the numbers are against the abandonment of Dalgety. The Parliament of New South Wales, speaking on behalf of its people, refused to grant that site, and if the Bill be passed it will simply mean hanging up the question again. It is of no use to pretend by having these fights or struggles that we can do anything for New South Wales. All that I have risen to do this morning is to represent the difficulties of the position. Some honorable members endeavour to scarify a man if he dares to say a word on behalf of his State. He is subjected to all kinds of arguments and expected to submit to all kinds of taunts but I refuse to follow the lead of the Bulletin, a newspaper which , though established in Sydney can never say a kind word on its behalf. I, as an Australian, am quite prepared to wish well to the whole of Australia. I am quite prepared to defend any portion of Australia which I am called upon in my feeble way to defend. But at the same time I shall never allow an opportunity to pass without saying a word or two on behalf of the State to which I belong. If, as the honorable member for Eden-Monaro remarked last night, very few members of this House will see the Federal Capital established in Dalgety, why should we worry about the project now? Certainly he cannot claim that he is carrying out the constitutional compact or acting in the interests of Australia. The Victorian Government have been very kind to us; but
Ave have almost worn out our welcome. We have been here a very long while as non-paying guests of Victoria, and it is time that we had a home of our own. The honorable member for Bendigo and others have said that but for the compact in the Constitution certain things would have occurred. If section 125 had not been inserted in the Constitution the selection of the Capital would not have been delayed for seven years, but probably we should have been established in Ballarat five years ago. You, sir, are aware that the general impression of the members of the Federal Convention was that if no embargo had been placed in the Constitution, Ballarat - a fine city as regards atmosphere and everything else- would have been chosen for the Capital. We should not have found the representatives of Victoria prepared to delay the selection of a site for 10 or 20 years. They would have fought to the very last ditch to see that the question was settled as early as possible. But because they are asked to establish the Capital in another portion of Australia, it is described as a wrong thing. It may be regrettable to Victoria that the southern portions of the Commonwealth are not being populated so quickly as are other portions. But if we profess to be acting in the interests of Australia in this matter, let us establish the capital as close as possible to what will be the centre of the density of population in 20 years. I do not ask for the expenditure of a large sum upon the Capital, because that is not necessary. I want to secure a Federal territory which will not only attract population, but also retain it. Wherever the site is fixed I sincerely trust that it will meet all the practical requirements which have been pointed out by honorable members. I do not want a capital just to attract tourists, because Australia cannot afford to spend a million pounds on making a show city. If a capital is required it is required in order to remove this Parliament from the operation of certain influences. If the erection of a capital is decided upon it will be done because that is required by the Constitution. The main consideration with honorable members should be to select a territory which will not only be suitable in every way for Federal purposes, but also invite population to engage in husbandry. The erection of stylish “edifices has no attraction to me. If we can afford to erect such buildings, well and good; otherwise let us proceed in a practical way. If we were called upon to select a site tomorrow, I should prefer Lyndhurst, because to-day it is practically the centre of the density of population, and, strange to say, if we exclude Western Australia, it is almost a geographical centre, so far as the eastern States are concerned.
– It will be the same for Western Australia by-and-by.
– When a railway is constructed, it will be almost the geographical centre for all the States. _ It possesses all the requirements for a Federal capital, and it has this further recommendation to some honorable members, that it is not close to Sydney. If, however, the settlement of this question is to be delayed. I hope that the capital will be established in the New England district. I am not here to put one site against another. I do not want to canvass Dalgety as a site. But does it seem just or fair to put the capital as it were the knuckle end of a leg of mutton, and to say that that is a suitable arrangement from the Australian stand-point? I am sick and tired of hearing this question brought up in Parliament after Parliament. If in days gone by the representatives of New South Wales had resisted these elusive efforts as they should have clone, the selection of a site would have been accomplished long ago. They should have opposed Government after Government, and resisted the granting of supply, until a decision was come to. In my judgment, the people of New South Wales are sick to death of this question, and do not believe that we are going to settle it. It would be far better for any honor able member to stand up and say straight out, “I do not approve of Dalgety. I am supporting Dalgety in order to defer the transfer of the Seat of Government from Melbourne. We are more comfortable here than we should be anywhere else, and I shall be glad ‘to stay here.” To say that would be frank, and would enable the people of New South Wales to know what to do. To my mind those who say that Dalgety is the best site, and that to propose the selection of some other is not to take an Australian view, are merely making excuses for staying in Melbourne. If I am wrong in thinking so, I, through you, Mr. Speaker, make my respectful apologies to those against whom I offend. I am a native of Sydney, and although its citizens may have no pride in. me, I have pride in them, and take what some honorable members say is the narrow view. That is, I do not think that Dalgety is the best site. I shall, however, listen attentively to the remarks of those who take a broad view, and who, without allowing themselves to be dictated to by any section of the press, will treat New South Wales as they would treat their own States in public matters affecting them.
.- As the debate has been a long one, I would forego my right to speak if there were a probability of a division being taken at once ; but as I know that a number of others desire to address you, Mr. Speaker, I feel compelled to say a word or two in the interests of the citizens who sent me here. The honorable member for Dalley has spoken of the question as largely a political and press one, and attributed to that fact the ill-feeling which its discussion arouses. In that I agree with him, though I am not with him in thinking that bad feeling has been shown in this Chamber towards the representatives of New South Wales, and especially towards the representatives of Sydney constituencies. In my opinion,- every member, no matter what part of the Commonwealth he represents, is fairly treated by his fellows. The New South Wales representatives, however, have had a good deal to put up with because of the attitude towards this question adopted, by the Sydney press and prominent Sydney politicians. The anti-Federal spirit of the present and ex- Premier of New South Wales has been responsible for a good deal of the ill-feeling which has arisen. These gentlemen seemed to think that the discussion of a great national question by this Parliament made their position as head of the State Parliament insignificant ; and representatives of the State, in trying to secure proper recognition of its interests, have been greatly handicapped by their speeches and actions. Several honorable members in this Chamber will be largely influenced in their votes on the Bill by the hostility and degrading insinuations of the Sydney press, and some of the Sydney politicians. As reference has been made to the delay which has occurred in dealing with this question, it cannot be too much emphasized that the Labour Ministry was the first to bring down a Bill for the selection of the Capital site. Unhappily that Ministry was not in power long enough to do much towards giving effect to the determination of Parliament, but it showed an earnest desire for the settlement of this thorny question. It was followed by the Reid-McLean combination, which, while in office, had a very stormy time, and, because of the weakness of its following, and its feebleness in other respects, was not able to do much. But it recognised that the determination of Parliament was final and mandatory. Sir J. H. Carruthers, speaking in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly on the 8th December, 1905, is reported to have said, in reference to an interview between himself, the then Prime Minister, who is the present leader of the Commonwealth Opposition, and the then Minister of Home Affairs, the honorable member for North Sydney -
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.
The then Prime Minister - the present leader of the Opposition - on the 15th December, 1904, said in this Chamber -
I hope that those who have this matter at heart will rest satisfied that the Government will loyally 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 was not said in this Parliament.
– Does the honorable member think that the matter should be re-opened by each successive Parliament ?
– Each new Parliament will demand the opportunity to vote on the subject until the matter is definitely settled.
– I shall do what I can to prevent any re-opening, and to keep the Ministry up to the mark in going on with the work of establishing the Seat of Government on the selected site. I do not know that I would go so far as the honorable member for D alley has threatened to go; but I should go a long way, if it appeared to me that an attempt were being made to delay matters. My complaint against the present Ministry is that it has practically done nothing in this matter.
– That is not correct. The Bill now before the Chamber has been introduced three times. It was blocked in 1906 by the leader of the Opposition, and in 1907 circumstances prevented us from passing it.
– The Government has no excuse for having delayed the matter during a period of four years.
– What could we do if the House would not allow the Bill to be passed ?
– That is a helpless attitude to take up. If a Government cannot give effect to the determinations of Parliament, it should make way for another Ministry. We know that the delay has been largely due to dissension in the Cabinet. Ministers have not been able to agree on the course to be taken in regard to this, and in regard to some other matters. We have been told that if Dalgety is re-affirmed, one of the Ministers will not give way, which means that every step will be opposed by one of the strongest - if not the strongest - man in the combination.
– He said last night that he would resign if Dalgety were reaffirmed.
– I have not much experience of him, but I feel sure that he would rather remain in the Cabinet, and fight the matter out, than resign his portfolio to some one else. I represent a large body of citizens, and if it appears to me that the Government is not pushing forward in this matter, I shall join with others in making myself a nuisance to the Ministry. Should a division be called for on the second reading of the Bill, I shall vote for the motion; but the action of the Government in throwing the measure on the table, and saying : “If the House likes to knock out a portion of the Bill, we shall accept the amendment,” is in effect issuing an invitation to open up again the whole question. If that be so, I do not think that my constituents are satisfied with Dalgety, and if the whole question is going to be thrown open - if there is to be another general scramble - I am going to vote for another site.
– Have the honorable member’s constituents publicly expressed an opinion on the subject?
– I pledged myself to them, that if an opportunity offered to reconsider the selection made, I should vote for Lyndhurst.
– Is it not reasonable to endeavour to secure that opportunity?
– Many honorable members opposite will take care that we do secure it. We find that the Government accept no responsibility for this Bill. They are practically throwing it on the table, and saying to honorable members, “ If you choose to reject Dalgety, we can make a fresh start, and select another site.” In such circumstances I do not intend to miss an opportunity to vote for a site which, I believe, my constituents prefer to Dalgety. If the Government had taken the responsibility for the Bill, and had declared their intention of standing by it, as introduced, I should have been ready to help them to carry it. I should have done so for the reason that I wish to see some definite step taken. It is of far more importance to the people of NewSouth Walesthat something should be done, even in respect of the establishment of the Capital at Dalgety, than that no practical step should be taken in regard to a more suitable site. According to the letter of the law. we might give them some other site, but subsequent administration might delay, for years, any tangible result. I have heard honorable members talk largely about the national aspect of this question, but find it impossible to throw any enthusiasm into the discussion of that phase of it, for the reason that the framers of the Constitution have made it, in my opinion, an absolutely parochial matter.
– Not the framers of the Constitution, but the Premiers in conference.
– They inserted in the Constitution a provision that the Capital should be in New South Wales, and dis tant not less than 100 miles from Sydney. Such a provision prevents us from selecting the very best site, irrespective of its location.
– The provision was inserted at the Premiers’ Conference.
– I am speaking of the Constitution and its framers; and I repeat that all this talk about dealing with the question from a national stand-point is mere “hifalutin.” In order that the people of New South Wales may obtain, without further delay, the advantages that they contracted to receive, I am going to vote not for what I believe to be the best site, but for what I consider a reasonable site.
– That is candid.
– I am candid. Why should we fool the people?
– Can the honorable member expect the representatives of the other States to follow him ?
– Every honorable member has to satisfy his own judgment.
– Is the honorable member viewing the matter from a national stand-point?
– I have already said that the Constitution prevents us from doing so.
– I do not think it does.
– We must exercise our own judgment.
– We are limited to some extent.
– We hear some honorable members declaring that Canberra is a truly national site, while others contend that Dalgety and Lyndhurst may be so described. I am not going to contend that the vote I shall give will be for what, from a national stand-point, is the best site. All I say is that it is a reasonable selection, and that it will conform to the contract which was made with the people of New South Wales. When honorable members - and more particularly the representatives of New South Wales - declare that they intend to cast a national vote, they are indulging in platitudes that may be all very well outside, but will not be accepted here.
– Does the Honorable member mean to speak of the Sydney or the New South Wales stand-point?
– In dealing with this question I have to consider where the bulk of the population of New South
Wales is. When the Attorney-General admitted that New South Wales was entitled to the prestige of the Capital, I was led to interject, “ How can the honorable member contend that the population of New South Wales should have the prestige attaching to the location of the Capital in that State, and yet be denied the material advantages of it?” The people of New South Wales voted to secure, not so much the prestige as the material advantages that would result from the establishment of the Capital there.
– A very sordid view.
– I am candid. In the circumstances we have to consider what site is likely to benefit the greater portion of the people of New South Wales.
– So that the . honorable member thinks that we should select the site that would benefit Sydney most materially?
– And that that motive should be of far greater weight than a desire to serve the people as a. whole.
– I have in view the good of the majority of the people of New South Wales. The honorable member for New England asked if I viewed this matter from the stand-point of Sydney or of New South Wales generally. Let me tell him that in dealing with this question I am not taking into account mere geographical considerations. My desire is to advantage the people, and I am satisfied that the greater proportion of the people of New South Wales live within 25 miles of Sydney.
– But it should be our desire to get away from the curse of centralization.
– Honorable members may rant about the national aspect of this question, and the evils of centralization, but I would ask them whether it is not a fact that the Constitution itself makes this a truly parochial matter. I should like to be able to take a national view of it. but the Constitution renders that impossible.
– That is a narrow-minded view.
– It may be, but I do not intend to play the hypocrite, and to describe as broad-minded that which is really a narrow-minded view. When the bargaining as to the location of the Capital was over, the people of Sydnev were led tn believe that they were to secure material advantages from the establishment of the
Capital in that State. The wharf labourers and dockers of Sydney believed that as the result of the provision that the Capital should be in New South Wales and not less than 100 miles from that city, a site would be chosen which would make Sydney the port of the Capital, and result in increased work for them as well as for warehousemen and others. Did not the artisans in the electorate of Dalley think when they voted at the second referendum that “Sydney would be the port of the Capital, and that they would secure the material advantages arising from its establishment in New South Wales? I am sure that they did, and although such a consideration may leave no room for the national spirit, I feel that it is my duty as a representative of a part of the city of Sydney to do my utmost to see that they secure those advantages.
– Have the honorable member’s constituents told him that they voted for the Constitution Bill because they wanted to secure the material advantages of which he speaks?
– One’s constituents do not each come personally to one to say what they had in view in voting on such a question
– Did the- honorable member’s constituents specify that the Capital should be in any particular locality?
– The Constitution Bill, as first presented to the people of New South Wales, left the situation of the Capital an open question, and-
– And a majority were in favour of it.
– But not the requisite statutory majority. Subsequently the provision that the Capital should be in New South Wales, and not less than 100 miles from Sydney, was inserted in the Bill, and the people of New South Wales accepted it. The only interpretation that I can place on their action is that they wished to secure the material advantages associated with the establishment of the Capital.
– The people of Sydney have given up that idea, because we aire told that they are prepared to give us a line to Canberra, and thence to Jervis Bay
– The people are not bound by the statements of politicians and the press. I am here to do what I believe to be my duty - to carry out what T conceive to be the desires of those who sent me here, and I intend to do so. Let me deal now with the Lyndhurst site. The honorable member for Macquarie has alreadypointed out very exhaustively its many advantages, and I can supplement his testimony from my own personal knowledge of the district. As a boy I bunted over the greater portion of the site, and know almost every foot of it.
– It is a barren place.
– It is not.
– It was when we visited it.
– The district is one of the most fertile in Australia. There may be objections to it on other grounds, but that of infertility cannot be urged against it. I should’ like to mention some of the advantages which in ageneral way this site offers. First of all there is its accessibility. It is on the main western line of New South Wales. There is a proposal to connect that line with Broken Hill, which would bring it into direct touch with Adelaide. When the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway is built, as it will be in time, the site will be brought into direct railway communication with Western Australia. It is connected by the cross line from Blayney to Harden with the southern line and so on to Melbourne. Another connexion now proposed, and I believe actually determined on, is that from the vicinity of Wellington to Werris Creek, which will link the main western line to the main northern line, and bring Lyndhurst into touch with Brisbane. Consequently, this site, from the point of view of accessibility, stands head and shoulders over any other site inNew South Wales. It is also within a few hours’ railway journey of Sydney. I mention that as an inducement to honorable members, for, whatever else may be said about Sydney, they could live there very comfortably. If the Federal Parliament met at Lyndhurst honorable members would be within a few hours of that great city with all its amusements and attractions. A number of honorable members from other States now take up their residence in Sydney, although the Federal Parliament meets in Melbourne. That shows that they recognise the advantages of Sydney from a residential point of view. Whilst there are beauty spots in Victoria and Tasmania which I very much appreciate, there are in and around Sydney beauty spots which cannot be outrivalled in any part of the world. If honorable members want snow- clad hills and a bracing atmosphere such as might be got in the vicinity of Dalgety, they could obtain them within a few hours’ run of Lyndhurst on the Blue Mountains . at Katoomba, Blackheath, and the Jenolan Caves. From the point of view of its advantages to tourists and as a pleasure resort on account of its proximity to the Blue Mountains, we could not have anything better in Australia than the Lyndhurst site. As regards defence, if the site is located at Dalgety-
– We will give the hon orable member all the points for defence in the case of Lyndhurst.
– Then it has all the points for accessibility and defence.
– If it is easy of access is it not open to attack?
– It is easy of access by rail, but an attacking force would have to come over the Blue Mountains, and a point could be selected there where the armies of the world could be defied. From the defence point of view, Lyndhurst would be absolutely inaccessible to the enemy.
– Would not the water at Lyndhurst poison any enemy ?
– I lived for ten years on that water, and would never wish for anything better. On one occasion I had to go droving on the roads, and was for months without a decent drink of water. Ishall never forget the longing I had for one glass of the water from Orange, which is near the Lyndhurst site. There is no doubt that Dalgety has stronger claims than Lyndhurst has from the point of view of water supply, but that is not everything. If that argument were used, Sydney, Melbourne, and a number of the other great cities of the Commonwealth would be debarred as a site for the Capital. From my personal knowledge of almost every foot of the Lyndhurst district, I cansay that there is ample water to supply the needs of any population that is likely to go there for the next 500 years. I have heard it said that some honorable members have seen the Orange water supply, and have asked what use such a supply would be to a Federal Capital, but the Orange scheme is only a Small one for a small country town. Ten times the amount of water now conserved at Orange could be caught and stored there.
– It petered out during the drought.
Mr.J. H. CATTS.- The honorable member is quite mistaken. There could be stored there as much water as would be required for the domestic purposes of any population that is ever likely to be in the Federal Capital. With regard to power for industrial concerns, there are immense coal deposits right at the door. I do not expect that the Federal Capital will be an immense industrial centre anyhow, but if it does become so the coal supply would be sufficient to meet all the requirements of industrial activity. I do not want honorable members to run away with the idea that Lyndhurst has no chance in a vote in this House. Lyndhurst would have a much better chance than Canberra. Canberra is the site around which the hostility and illtimed and ill-judged remarks of our parochial State Premiers have centred, and about which a number of the articles written by the daily press and sent to honorable members have been written. If we could leave Dalgety and Canberra out, and take up Lyndhurst, there would be a better chance of securing the votes of a number of honorable members who are still undecided than by making a fight upon Canberra. If it is not possible to get the Lyndhurst site, it is absolutely impossible to get Canberra. If there is one chance for Canberra in this House, there are two chances for Lyndhurst. Let me examine the votes of some of those honorable members who were in the House on the last occasion. The following voted on the first vote in favour of Lyndhurst : - Mr. Thomas Brown, Mr. Joseph Cook, Mr. Edwards, Mr. Fuller, Mr. Groom, Mr. Hughes, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Kelly, Mr. Liddell, Mr. McDonald, Mr. McWilliams, Mr. Reid, Mr. Bruce Smith, Mr. Spence, Mr. Dugald Thomson, Mr. Wilks, Mr. Willis, and Mr. Wilson. Those honorable members are all in the House now. They thought on the first vote that Lyndhurst was absolutely the best site, under the limitations of the Constitution. The honorable members who voted for that site may, I think be depended on to vote for it again.
– A new site has come into the field.
– That is so, and, thereby has been raised much hostility, which is not displayed in regard to Lyndhurst. Among the new members of the
House who will vote for Lyndhurst are the honorable member for Brisbane, the honorable member for Macquarie, the honorable member for Nepean, and myself; and I have spoken to several other honorable members who appear to be still in doubt as to the step they will take. If those honorable members can be induced to transfer their allegiance to the Lvndhurst site, in the event of the matter being re-opened, there will be a much greater chanceof securing that site as against Dalgety, than there will be of securing Canberra. I have noticed, from the remarks of several honorable members, that, if the Dalgety site be selected, there will not be much hurry on the part of the Government to proceed with the work necessary to fit it for the purposes as a capital ; we are told that the Government will “takethat fence” when they come to it, and so forth. My desireis to have inserted in the Bill a clause which will make it necessary for the Government to report to Parliament periodically as to what has beer done.
– I do not think that that can be done in this Bill.
– At any rate, I can try. Sectionii of the Public Service Act provides -
The Commissioner shall furnish to the Minister for presentation to the Parliament at least once in each year a report on the condition and efficiency of the Public Service….
It will be seen that under that Act the Government are compelled to report to Parliament once in each year.
– The honorable member’s proposal would mean a debate on the Capital site question everyyear.
– At any rate, we should know, at stated periods, whether or not the Government were going on with the work. Then I notice that section 49 of the Audit Act provides -
The Treasurer as soon as conveniently may be after the expiration of every quarter of the financial year shall publish in the Gazettea statement in detail of the receipts and expenditure as well of the Consolidated Revenue Fund as of the Trust Fund and Loan Fund during such quarter together with a comparative statement of such receipts and expenditure. . . .
It will be seen, therefore, that under these two Acts the Government are compelled, in the onecase, to report to Parliament, and, in the other case, to report through the Gazette what has been done. In the case of the Public Service Act, the report must be made once ayear, and, in the case of the Audit Act, it must be made once a quarter; and I can see no difficulty in making a similar provision in the Bill now under discussion, calling upon the Government, either verbally or by means of papers laid on the table, to show what steps have been taken in the preceding session, year, or half-year.
– Such a report might be given without the necessity of inserting such a clause.
– But if there be such a clause we shall be sure to get the report, and, if it were not forthcoming, we could take action.
– For the last four, years we have had a Bill which names Dalgety as the site.
– Does the honorable member desire that we should go on in the same way for another four years. My idea is to have a clause which will make it mandatory on the part of the Government to report, and then, if we find that owing to a split in the Cabinet, the Government are not going on with the matter, or we find any apathy in this connexion, we shall have full information in the report. If one Government does not care to carry out our mandate then we can put in another Government that will. The location of the Federal Capital cannot be settled from national considerations except in a very limited degree. For good or ill, the agreement between the States, as expressed in the Constitution, sets the bounds within which the site may be selected. T.he national aspect presents itself after the location ‘of the future Capital has been determined. It then becomes the duty of all parties to join together to build a home for the legislative and administrative centre of the national Parliament. Here may we bend our united energies, united hopes, and aspirations to the creation of such a national city, which, for modern conveniences, sanitary up-to-dateness, architectural beauty, and health-promoting surroundings will be the joy and pride of the people of Australia.
– After the magnificent flights of the honorable member for Cook, it is rather painful to ask the House to listen to a much more prosaic speaker. However, I do not intend to occupy the attention of honorable members very long - I know that no argument, however potent, will influence the vote of any honorable member ; and I should not have spoken at all but for the remarks last night of the Minister of Trade and Customs,. The speech of that gentleman - and a capital speech it was in a way, although I do not know that it had much reference to the site question - was simply “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
– I think the speech was a masterpiece.
– Then we shall say that it was a masterpiece of sound and fury. Everything was raked up, even some of the dust bins of New South Wales history, as if those had anything whatever to do with the settlement of this question.
– If the question had not been buried in the dust bins it would have been settled long ago.
– At any rate, the question was not buried in the dust bins of’ New South Wales ; and it is about time that we left pre-federation days alone - that we let the dead past bury its dead - and confined ourselves to the operations of our own Parliament. The Minister of Trade and Customs very viciously attacked not only honorable members on this side, but honorable members on his own side, and also one of his own colleagues.
– That shows his impartiality !
– No doubt the Minister was perfectly impartial. But after attacking those honorable members, and proving that, at least, they were dishonorable, he placed them on a pedestal, and praised them, saying as to one that the actions of the leader of the Opposition made him deserving of being held in the memories of the people of Australia.
– No one will deny that !
– The honorable member must understand that I am speaking of favorable memories. I should like to know what weight we can place on such argument. First, the Minister of Trade and Customs denounces honorable members^ as absolutely dishonorable, and the next minute he praises them to the skies in order to remove any wound which he thinks his remarks may have inflicted.
– That ‘is the act of a kind father who flogs his child and then sympathizes with him !
– We have not yet recognised that the Minister of Trade and Customs or the honorable member for Gwydir is the father of this
Parliament, nor do we admit that they have the divine right of a father to administer castigation. I may point to the Minister’s remarks regarding myself as an illustration of how utterly reckless his statements were. The Minister told the House that I had endeavoured to get behind the Constitution in order to bring about the selection of Moss Vale. Some honorable members were not present at the adjournment of the debate last night. The matter arose from a conversation in the train with the member for Maranoa, who expressed himself in favour of Moss Vale. I stated to him that I believed the water supply there insufficient ; and when he expressed surprise that efforts had not been made to select the site, I told him that, as a New South Wales member, I regarded any attempt to alter the Constitution as undesirable, and that without such alteration the selection was impossible. However, the honorable member desired to know what the water supply was, and some further particulars, which I thought I had available at home. I found, however, that that was not so; and, therefore, I obtained the facts from the Public Works Department, and sent them on to the honorable member. That was the beginning and end of that transaction.
– That was sowing the seed of discord in the mind of the honorable member for Maranoa !
– The honorable member for Gwydir, is an adept at sowing the seed of discord. How the Minister of Trade and Customs got the document he flourished I do not know - it seems to have come down from heaven to him - but he made the assertion that I was trying to get round the Constitution in order to have Moss Vale selected. I gave my denial to the statement at the time.
– And the Minister accepted the denial.
– He did not ; he flourished the document in the air, and said, “ Here is proof.” Afterwards, on the motion for the adjournment, I repeated the denial, which was then fully and freely accepted.
– The Minister accepted the denial when he was speaking.
– The Minister did what I have described; that is, when I, two or three times, denied the statement he exclaimed, “Here is the proof,” and flourished the document. I give this merely as a sample of the absolute recklessness of statements that characterized his speech. Had the Minister been in ‘doubt, and contemplated making any charge, he knew I was available in this chamber, and could have told him whether or not I was in favour of disturbing the Constitution in the way suggested. However, the honorable gentleman deliberately took another course ; and when I gave the denial, he refused to do other than flourish the document, which he described as ‘proof of his statement. Actually there was no proof ; and his statement was altogether without foundation.
– The Minister will not tell us where he got the document.
– The honorable gentleman says that he does not know. I have analyzed one of his statements, and I think that if we took the other statements he made last night one by one we should get about the same result. The honorable member made another attack on the right honorable member for East Sydney and myself as members of a Ministry. He charged us with having taken certain action in connexion with the Federal Capital site. Immediately before the Reid-McLean Ministry took office Parliament had selected a site for the Federal Capital. Some of the members of that Ministry were opposed to that site, and had spoken and voted against it. But Parliament had recorded its opinion, and the law was there for administration in the same way as any other measure passed by Parliament. What would have been thought of us as Ministers if we had permitted our individual opinions and personal predilections to influence the administration of our Departments? What would have been said if, instead of trying to give effect to the will of Parliament, we had tried to prevent effect being given to it, either by delaying the establishment of the Capital or by the intrigueing for some other site?
– I believe that the honorable gentleman meant what he wrote in the minute which has been referred to.
– The honorable member for Gwydir may possess his soul in patience. He will find that I shall not shirk anything. I shall allude to the memorandum referred to and shall show that I meant every word of it - and mean it now.
– Then I claim the honorable gentleman’s vote.
– Then the Minister will not get it.
– Then the honorable gentleman should show why he has gone back on what he said in the memorandum.
– I shall show the Minister all he wishes to know, and a little more. I ask what would have been said of us as Ministers if we had not endeavoured to forward the wishes of Parliament? The Reid-McLean Ministry was bound to do one of two things - either to accept the decision of Parliament as embodied in the Seat of Government Act, or to endeavour to secure the repeal of the Act by bringing the matter before Parliament again. We considered that the conclusion arrived at was final and would not be reversed by that [Parliament.
– But did not the ReidMcLean Ministry intend to submit the three sites selected by New South Wales? They said that they were going to give the Federal Parliament an opportunity of considering them.
– We proposed to give Parliament an opportunity to consider not those sites, but the resolution carried by the New South Wales Parliament. Out of respect to the State Parliament, with whom we were dealing in the matter, we were bound to give the Federal Parliament an opportunity of considering the resolution. But we never wavered from the view that the site having been selected, though objectionable to some members of the Ministry, it was our duty to go on with the further stages of the matter, and advance it as faras possible, in order to get the question settled and the Capital established in New South Wales. Now we are attacked by the Minister of Trade and Customs, who admitted that we acted honestly and fairly on that occasion.
– Did not the Minister attack honorable gentlemen opposite for going back on that action?
– No, we have not gone back on it, but I shall show that the present Ministry has gone back on that action. But what did I say in the memorandum which I wrote in reply to certain statements put forward in a letter from the Premier of New South Wales? It was my duty as a Minister of the Crown endeavouring to give effect to the will of Parliament to correct those statements where they were erroneous. In the memorandum referred to I confined myself to that. I did not give my own opinion of Dalgety, and there was only one reference in it to the qualifications of Dalgety. I am prepared to read it line by line if necessary, and I may be corrected if I am wrong.
– Did the honorable gentleman say that the decision was final and mandatory?
– I am dealing with another matter now, but 1 shall referto that statement also. I do not mind the honorable gentleman’s interruptions. I refrained from interrupting him, for another reason altogether, but I ask no protection for myself.
– But I was one of the honorable gentleman’s constituents. Did the honorable gentleman have in mind the fact that I was one of his constituents when he made that statement about Dalgety?
– I have it in mind always. I cannot get it out of my mind. I often wonder why I have such curious constituents. There is only one reference to the qualifications of Dalgety in the memorandum referred to. The Minister read it fairly last night, though I wonder he did not omit it. The Premier of New South Wales, referring to Dalgety, wrote -
That the soil is not of great productive value, nor suitable for irrigation. and in reply to his letter I wrote -
This shows that the Commonwealth has not by its choice proposed to take some of the most productive land of the State.
That is the only reference in the memorandum to the qualifications of Dalgety as a site for the Federal Capital. I have nothing to withdraw from what I said in that memorandum, because I simply corrected statements made by the Premier of New South Wales. At the conclusion of the memorandum, I wrote - and this is what the Minister wanted to hear -
The mandatory provision in the Bill is as regards the determination of the site itself.
That was mandatory enough in the Bill. What there is in that memorandum to take exception to I do not know. Every statement I made in it is correct, and the Minister has not contradicted any of them. I have explained that the only reference to Dalgety was a reply to a statement in the letter received from the Premier of New South Wales suggesting that, in proposing to take 900 square miles of territory, the
Commonwealth did not take the most productive land in the State.
– That was intended to induce the Premier of New South Wales to consent to the selection of Dalgety ?
– It was in pursuance of my duty, as a Minister of the Crown, to carry out the will of Parliament. Although parliamentary position has very little attraction for me, if I were offered the most important political office, I should consider that I should be prepared to subordinate my own views. If, when administering a Department of the Crown, I were to permit my own predilections or previous votes to influence me, I should be unfitted for it, and unworthy of the very lowest position in connexion with the government of the country. It shows the low level to which we are reduced when capital is attempted to be made out of an action of this sort. There is nothing in the memorandum which I need withdraw.
– Hear, hear; I base my case on it.
– The charge is on a par with those made against members of the Labour Party, because they stand together on certain questions.
– That is another matter altogether. The Minister has expressed himself before now as satisfied with the honest treatment of this matter by the Reid-McLean Administration.
Sitting suspended from i to 2.15 p.m.
– I have been endeavouring to show that the Reid Ministry, upon most of the members of which the Minister of Trade and Customs made an attack last night, acted as any Ministry should act, no matter what their private opinion of a measure that they had to administer might be. They had, without fear or favour, to carry out the determination of Parliament in favour of the establishment of the Capital city at Dalgety. May I point out also that we took action without delay. We began as soon as we possibly could to endeavour to get the New South Wales Government to take the steps that were necessary to assist us in carrying to a conclusion the decision of Parliament. But what do we find with the present Government, which contains the great advocate of Dalgety? Four years have passed, and to-day they have re-opened the question for the decision of a subsequent Parliament. I do not say that if this matter goes over from Parliament to Parliament it will not have to be re-opened again. There will be members in. subsequent Parliaments who will claim that they have a right to express an opinion. That is the process to which we seem to be committed. Those who oppose any removal from Melbourne will adopt the means of delay if they can get the Government of’ the day to agree, and the matter will once more be made to stand over until another Parliament is created. I ask honorable members whether the prompt action taken by the Reid Government does not compare favorably with the slack, slow action of this Ministry, which professes to be anxious to fulfil the agreement with New South Wales, and contains the advocate of Dalgety, who professes to be in earnest to have the decision carried into effect? Well, it is a very curious illustration of earnestness when, four years after the decision, we have the matter re-opened in another Parliament, and nothing further done.
– As the result of a conference with the State.
– I do not care about the causes of delay. There has been a delay, and the Government, which had power to act in the previous Parliament,’ failed to act, and has now allowed the question to be re-opened.
– What the State asked was that the Commonwealth should perform its duty.
– The State asked that the Commonwealth should carry out the bond under the Constitution. I take the same, attitude to-day as I did when I was Minister, and if this Parliament comes to a decision even in favour of Dalgety, I, as a New South Wales member, will press on the Ministry the necessity of proceeding with the work in connexion with the Capital. I trust that the whole of the New South Wales members will be with me in that regard.
– As far as I am concerned, the sooner the question is settled the better. I have shown all along that that is my attitude.
– But what will the Attorney-General do with the Treasurer? I admit that there has been a difference between New South Wales members as to the best site. I admit that there was a difference of opinion in New South Wales.
– We have been for the last three and a half years trying to get this question settled by Parliament.
– We have achieved a wonderful result.
– The honorable member knows that there have been difficulties with regard to the constitutional issues in the first place, and, secondly, the leader of the Opposition was responsible for a good deal of delay.
– The At torney-General is aware that those difficulties will always exist. They have to be met.
– Does the honorable member speak on behalf of the New South Wales members when he says that they are anxious to have the question settled?
– I have said clearly what I mean : As a New South Wales member, I hope that when a selection is made, even if it be Dalgety, the decision will be carried into effect, and the Federal Capital established.
– That is consistent with the honorable member’s past action.
– I take up the same attitude now as I did when I was a Minister. I trust that all the New South Wales members will do the same, and that the Government of the State will accept the decision. Although we have not been treated as we ought to have been, and have not secured the fulfilment of the agreement recorded in black and white by the Premiers, yet, as we cannot get that, there is another thing to which we are entitled according to the strict letter of the bond, and that is the establishment of the Capital in New South Wales. Although we object to the site selected, I trust that we shall not put any unreasonable difficulties in the way of the establishment of the Capital there.
– Hear, hear.
– If that attitude is taken we shall be able to test the genuineness of the Ministry and of the Minister of Trade and Customs. We shall then know how long he is going to retain his seat in a Government while the interests of his State are neglected and the interests of the site which he advocates are disregarded. We should look to the Minister of Trade and Customs to insist upon carrying into effect the decision of this Parliament. The honorable gentleman last night taunted some honorable members on this side of the House with having changed their votes on the question. His audacity is beyond measure. He has changed his own vote and opinion. He was originally the advocate of Bombala. Every picture that he paints to-day of the magnificence and superiority of Dalgety he painted on a previous occasion concerning an entirely different site, that of Bombala. Those to whom he refers have not changed their opinions or their votes. Most of us voted in the first instance for Lyndhurst. We stuck to Lyndhurst until the proposition in favour of it was rejected We should stick to it to-day if we could carry a decision in its favour. After that we were compelled to decide between two. sites neither of which did we think as suitable as Lyndhurst. Of course we voted for that which we thought the more nearly fulfilled the conditions of the arrangement with New South Wales. To-day, if we could get the numbers, we should be supporters of Lyndhurst. If we cannot get the numbers, while we think that an inferior site is being chosen we will accept what we consider the least inferior site which there is a. chance of carrying. That is our position. The idea of the Minister of Trade and Customs taunting some of us with havingchanged our position whilst he has absolutely changed his vote by first declaring: that Bombala excelled all other sites, including Dalgety, with which he was acquainted, and then declaring that there was: no site equal to Dalgety, is amazing.
– The Minister explained that last night. He said that there was a. compromise with the right honorable member for East Sydney.
– Will any compromise make what is the best site today an inferior site to-morrow? I am not saying that the Minister would not be justified in changing his opinion for good” reason’s. But he ought also to change his description. He ought not to declare that Bombala is so magnificent as to be beyond comparison the best site in New South Wales, and then, because he saw reason toalter his opinion, declare that Dalgety was undoubtedly incomparably the best site.
– That is what some of those associated with the honorable member have done with regard to Canberra.
– We do not say now that Canberra is the best site. If the Minister of Trade and Customs had taken up that attitude and said : “ I still believe in Bombala as the best site, butcircumstances compel me to vote for Dalgety,” we could not take exception to his attitude. If we were to say that Canberra is absolutely the best site in New South Wales, when we do not think so, we should be liable to the attack that I am making on the Minister of Trade and Customs. The honorable member for Coolgardie put forward an extraordinary argument- that because the selection of a site within a reasonable distance of Sydney was not in the bond, therefore we must pay no attention to a signed agreement, and must act upon the bond, and nothing but the bond. “ I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.” It is the bond, nothing but the bond. But upon another occasion were we asked by that honorable member to stand upon the letter of the bond? No. We have been told by him that we ought to consider the spirit of promises which were made privately - not publicly - and were not embodied in a signed agreement. The very man who, in the case of New South Wales, argues that we should stand by the bond, declared that in the case of his own State, and the transContinental railway, we ought to extend consideration to verbal expressions of opinion which passed between the Premiers of the different States. New South Wales has strong reason to complain of the attitude adopted towards it by some sections of the press and public men of other States and of some members of this Parliament. When it was sought to induce New South Wales to join the Federation what was stated? At that time the opponents of Federation in New South Wales were opposing the second draft Constitution Bill. They were declaring that the concession regarding the Seat of Government would not be observed, at any rate in the spirit of the bond, and that Victoria and the other States would endeavour to establish it in a remote part of New South Wales, as far removed from Sydney as possible. What did the Argus say in this connexion? It stated -
The broad fact is that no English community is ever guilty of deliberate treachery and deceit, and that in this instance the people of Victoria will be as the people in any of the Colonies would be, faithful in word and spirit to their bond. They will not be allowed to break their compact, and they would not seek to do so if allowed.
I do not say that the people of Victoria, or any other State, would fail to respect both the word and spirit of the bond, but I do say that the press and some representatives of other States in this House are not prepared to honour the spirit, if they are willing to observe the letter, of that bond. Others are not prepared to observe either its word or its spirit. Here is what the Age said after Federation had been accomplished, and in the light of this declaration I ask if the people of New South Wales have no right to feel dissatisfaction with” the course of events? -
In time, when we have broken down the unreasonable jealousy of the Mother State, and when the Commonwealth is financially in a position to turn its thoughts to the establishment of a Capital city, we may repeal the fettering conditions of the 125th section, and leave Parliament absolutely free; as it ought to be, to take the very best site available, wherever it may be found.
– That is the confidence trick all right.
– When we find one journal declaring not only that the word, but the spirit, of the bond in regard to the Federal Capital should be respected, and another powerful organ affirming that it should be repudiated, and when we hear honorable members rising in this House and saying, “ You shall have the bond, and nothing but the bond. We will not consider the arrangement which was arrived at by the States Premiers- “
– That is the attitude of the right honorable member for Swan.
– It is the attitude of any honorable member who was a party to that agreement, and who now votes for a site because of its remoteness from Sydney. It was no unreasonable concession which was granted to New South Wales. New South Wales was free-trade - it believed in its policy, and had continuously supported it. It recognised that after Federation had been consummated, it was very probable that that policy would be vetoed by the other States, and that it would be compelled to abandon it. It also felt that its prestige, as the oldest and most populous State of the Commonwealth, might be taken away from it by a southern combination. I ask, Was there not cause for that suspicion in view of what has since taken place? Recognising these facts, the people of New South Wales stipulated that only one concession should be made to it - the concession that the permanent Seat of Government should be established within its territory. Surely that was not an unreasonable condition to impose, and surely it is not unreasonable to ask that the bond shall be honoured in the letter, as well as in the spirit.
– I believe that the agreement arrived at by the States Premiers was approved by the different Parliaments.
– I believe that it was. I only know that I was the first to direct attention to the contents of that document in this House.
– Upon what date did the honorable member do that?
– On the 20th July, 1904.
– Everybody had forgotten the circumstances which the honorable member recalled by his action.
– I will tell the right honorable member how I came to recall that circumstance. It is not at all surprising that, in the stress of subsequent events, the Premiers of the States should have forgotten one of the provisions of the agreement at which they arrived. I had an idea, from recollection, that the agreement contained some such condition.
– What condition?
– That whilst the Seat of Government’ should not be within 100 miles of Sydney, it should be within a “reasonable distance” of that city.
– The honorable member is referring to what is merely an explanatory resolution.
– He is referring to an agreement which was arrived at by the Premiers, and which was embodied in a minute signed by the Chairman.
– But they subsequently defined the term “reasonable distance” to mean “ not less than 100 miles from Svdney.”
– In reply to the interjection of the honorable member for Adelaide, I wish to say that they agreed that the Seat of Government should not be within 100 miles of Sydney, but before that agreement was arrived at. certain discussions took place, and certain arguments were advanced.
– Did they not first agree that the Federal Capitalshould be within New South Wales, so as to prevent Ballarat being selected?
– They agreed that the Seat of Government should be within New South Wales, but not within 100 miles of Sydney.
– In the signed agreement at which they arrived, they embodied an explanatory resolution to the effect that it should be “at a reasonable distance” from Sydney, and they subsequently interpreted “ reasonable distance “ to mean not less than 100 miles from Sydney.
– No. The decision that it should be “ not less than 100 miles from Sydney “ was arrived at first.
– If I show the honorable member a printed copy of the agreement in support of mycontention, will that satisfy him?
– I must ask honorable members not to converse across the chamber, as it renders it most perplexing and difficult for the honorable member who is in possession of the Chair to proceed.
– I have the memorandum which was drawn up by the Premiers after they had decided that the Seat of Government should be within New South Wales territory, but not less than 100 miles from Sydney. They could not insert an explanation of what they meant by a “ reasonable distance” until they had decided that the Seat of Government should be “at a reasonable distance “ from Sydney.
– They embodied in their agreement an explanation of the reasons why they had arrived at a certain decision.
– The honorable member is merely splitting hairs. The fact is that they arrived at a verbal agreement which they embodied in the memorandum. They could not give an explanation of the reasons why they arrived at a certain conclusion until they had reached that conclusion. Here is the resolution -
It is considered that the fixing of the site of the Capital is a question which might well be left to the Parliament to decide; but, in view of the strong expression of opinion in relation to this matter in New South Wales, the Premiers have modified the clause so that, while the Capital cannot be fixed at Sydney or in its neighbourhood, provision is made in the Constitution for its establishment in New South Wales at a reasonable distance from that city.
I draw the attention of the honorable member for Adelaide to the use of the words “ have modified “ in the resolution.
– Does the honorable member think that that resolution should override the broad reading of the section’ of the Constitution?
– I have read the promise that came from Victoria before the Federation of the Colonies was agreed to - after this agreement of. the
Premiers in Melbourne had been come to, and the date of the second referendum was approaching in New South Wales. I do not know whether the honorable member was in the Chamber a short time ago, when I quoted an extract from the Argus, which was seeking to get New South Wales to enter the Federation, and which said that the people of Victoria would not dream of breaking the bond as regards the Capital, that they would carry it out, not merely in the letter, but in the spirit. Honorable members are now asking, “ Do you think that we have any right to take notice of a statement in the Premiers’ agreement when it has not been entered in the bond in the Constitution?”
-I do not think that the honorable member has read the whole of the resolution, because it goes on to say, and the Premiers have therefore agreed that the Capital site shall be distant not less than 100 miles from Sydney.” It follows in natural sequence.
– I read the whole of the extract, which is given in this volume of Hansard. I have a copy of the document, but not with me. The statement in this volume is distinct enough.
The Premiers have modified the clause-
– And that is the modification which the honorable member for Adelaide has read.
– 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.
Could anything be plainer?
– They want to leave out those words as if they did not exist.
– I do not care in what order they appear in the agreement.
– Does the honorable member think that that should be binding on any Parliament elected by the people who voted without it accompanying the provision in the Constitution?
– I remind the honorable member that this statement of the Argus was distributed throughout Victoria. There were statements by public men of Victoria indorsing the view of the Argus, which are contained in this volume, but whichI shall not delay the House by reading, and the agreement was also issued. It was from one of the publications that I obtained the copy which I quoted here in 1904. I had a recollection that there was such an agreement arrived at. I could not obtain a copy of it in this House, nor could I get one from the Victorian Parliament, or New South Wales Parliament. I then looked up some newspapers in advocacy of Federation, which were distributed throughout New South Wales, and which contained that extract from the Premiers’ memorandum that I quoted in 1904. The extract was accompanied by an argument and statement that the people of Australia, and Victoria, which was considered the other rival for the Capital, would never dream of doing anything other than support the agreement, would never dream of dragging the Capital as far from Sydney as they could.
– Is not that a contract specially between the people of Australia and this Parliament? The people voted on the clause as it was presented to them in the Constitution.
– The con tract is not between the people of Australia and this Parliament, but between the people of Australia and the people of New South Wales.
– But the bond they voted on?
– It is nothing but the bond now. Why did we not hear about the bond when the construction of a railway to Western Australia was pro- posed? Prior to Federation, it was the letter and the spirit of the bond that we heard of, whereas, to-day, it is nothing but the letter of the bond.
– Will the honorable member contend that the principle of the last clause of section 125 of the Constitution has been kept by New South Wales -
The Parliament shall sit at Melbourne until it meets at the Seat of Government.
– The Parliament is sitting at Melbourne.
– That is all.
– What more does the honorable member want?
– Everything else. The spirit of the thing has been broken right through. Melbourne is not regarded as the Seat of Government.
– I do not know anything of the sort. Does the honorable member say that Melbourne is not the Seat of Government?
– Certainly not.
– What nonsense ! It is the Seat of Government
– It should be, but is not.
– Give us the Capital in the terms of the spirit of that bond, and we shall not care how it is regarded.
– Why is the GovernorGeneral dragged away to Sydney to be sworn in ?
– Because he happens to arrive there first. Apparently, these very trifling things are begrudged to Sydney by a representative of Victoria.
– That is the spirit.
– Yes, it is the spirit.
– It is petty.
– Yes, and it was arranged by his own Prime Minister, too.
– I, for one, assert most emphatically that the Seat of Government is in Melbourne ; and, judging by recent proceedings, it will continue to be here for a long time, unless the representatives of New South Wales unite to see that the provision of the Constitution is carried into effect, and the selection of this Parliament, for better or for worse, adopted. The effect of quoting the memorandum of the Premiers was shown in the case of Sir George Turner. I do not suppose that any honorable member will say that he is anything but a very fair man. Amongst the people of Victoria, and, I believe, throughout Australia, whatever we may think of his opinions on certain matters, he enjoys that reputation. What was his attitude? Immediately the memorandum was recalled to his memory, and he was shown a copy of it, he said at once, “ Under these circumstances, I think it is reasonable that the Capital should be placed not within 100 miles of Sydney, but not beyond, say, a 200-miles limit.”
– But, after the honorable member spoke, he voted for Southern Monaro.
– No. Sir George Turner did not know anything about my quotation when he voted for that site.
– A month after the honorable member spoke, Sir George Turner voted for it.
– I can refer the honorable member to Sir George Turner as to the correctness of my statement. When I spoke, he did not know that I had produced this extract.
Very often honorable members are not in the chamber, and so do not hear all an honorable member’s speech. When it was brought home to him that the memorandum existed, he made that statement.
– That was after he left the House.
– No, it was before he left the House.
– Where, and when, did he say that?
– He was interviewed.
– Order ! This conversation is irregular.
– Fortunately, Sir George Turner is alive and within easy reach, so that the truth of my statement can be ascertained on reference to him. I do not propose to enter into the relative merits of the sites. That has already been done by many honorable members, and by myself, on previous occasions. I am satisfied to-day that no comparison of sites will affect a single vote. My objection to Dalgety is not that it will ever become other than a New South Wales town. Its situation secures it more than many another place from becoming a Victorian town. It must remain a New South Wales town, and whatever value its trade may be, that trade must go very largely through Sydney.
– I think that the prestige which the Federal Capital will give to any, State is overrated.
– So do I. It is only a sentiment, but it is one which the oldest and most populous State is entitled to get the advantage of.
– The Convention would not give it to New South Wales.
– New South Wales would notenter the Federation until it was given.
– It did come in ; the majority voted in favour of the Bill.
– The State came in, but the State Parliament did not.
– The honorable member is wrong, because New South Wales did not agree to enter the Union until after that arrangement had been made. Otherwise, we should have had the Colonies federated at an earlier date.
– It was a case of the State Parliament being in opposition to a majority of the electors.
– Oh, no. Seventy thousand is not a majority of 310,000.
– I mean a majority of those who voted.
– At the first referendum, a majority of the electors did not vote in favour of the Constitution Bill.
– A majority of the electors did not vote either for or against the Bill.
– No. The enabling Act contained a provision that a certain number of the electors, not a majority, must vote to carry the Bill. I did not agree with the provision, but it was enacted.
– Nor did I.
– The right honorable gentleman did not want that provision inserted in the Bill.
– I opposed it all I could.
– Last night, the right honorable gentleman was attacked by the honorable member for Eden- Monaro as the instigator of that provision for an SO,000 affirmative vote. He was not, because he opposed its insertion in the Bill.
– I believe that the honorable member for Eden-Monaro was the instigator of it.
– At any rate, he voted against it. My right honorable friend, however, was also against the provision, and only accepted it when the House would not allow the Bill to pass without it. Yet the honorable member for Eden-Monaro declared here last night that the right honorable gentleman, as premier of New South Wales, was responsible for the provision. The affirmative vote, which was fixed by Parliament, was not a majority or anything like a majority of the electors.
– - Does the honorable member claim that a majority of the electors should have voted in favour of the Bill before it was accepted?
– I have already told the honorable member that I voted against that provision. It is not unknown, even in regard to institutions connected with the party to which he belongs, that a change of the Constitution requires more than a majority of the votes to be cast in its favour. He knows that, in the case of some institutions with which his party is associated, not a mere majority, but a three-fifths or a twothirds majority is required before a change of the Constitution or rules can be effectedThe New South Wales Parliament - I did not agree with its action - enacted, not that the majority of. the electors must vote for the draft Constitution to secure its acceptance, but that a substantial number - 80,000 - must vote for it.
– The result was that thousands did not vote on the second referendum, believing that the statutory majority would not be obtained.
– That may be so. At any rate, a majority was obtained after the statement of the Victorian newspapers and Victorian representative men, that the Constitution would be observed in the spirit as well as in the letter, had been circulated by the advocates of Federation from one end of the State to the other. There are differences of opinion amongst the representatives of New South Wales, and even amongst the people of the State, as to which is the best site for the Federal Capital, and, for this reason, the delay which has occurred has been tolerated ; but, after the matter has been dealt with again, they will expect the Commonwealth Government and Parliament to carry out the letter of the bond by establishing the Seat of Government in New South Wales as soon as possible. I do not object to the Dalgety site merely because of its distance from Sydney, and I admit that, to some extent, that objection has been weakened by the action of the New South Wales Government and Parliament, who have made it difficult for members here to uphold the constitutional rights of the State, acknowledged in the Premiers’ agreement, by offering the Tumut site, which is still further away from the metropolis. The Tumut and the Canberra sites have the advantage over Dalgety that they are not isolated, but are situated near main arteries of traffic, and, by the construction of connecting lines, much of the traffic of. the continent could be made to flow past them. In the interests not only of the State, but also of the Commonwealth, we should place the Capital on or near the main arteries of traffic. It should not be isolated among mountains, making it difficult of approach except from one direction, but should be easily accessible, not cn 1, to members, many of whom will have to travel there weekly, but to the multitude who will have to visit it on departmental questions, court business, and other matters. Although removed from the influence of the capitals of the States, the heart-blood of the community should flow through it. Therefore, it would’ be a great mistake to select Dalgety, and one which would operate even more against the other States than against New South Wales, for although that site is so near to Victoria it is cut off by natural difficulties from those districts in which the bulk of the population resides. A railway may be made to connect Dalgety with Gippsland, but the cost will be so great as to probably postpone the undertaking for years, while the grades will be so steep, and the curves so sharp, as always to make travelling on it slow. The best answer to the sanguine anticipations of the Minister of Trade and Customs will be the results which will flow from the selection of Dalgety should that site be chosen again, and I hope it will not. I am sorry that the Lyndhurst site has not been selected. The country there is similar to that round Bathurst, though it is not cultivated as the Bathurst country is, and improved with gardens and houses. Bathurst, when viewed from the heights, looks like an English town, surrounded as it is with fields, intersected with hedges and lanes, while, on the other hand, Lyndhurst is ring-barked country, owned by squatters, and little cultivated, so that every one knows how uninteresting it must now appear. But if the Capital were placed there, it would become like Bathurst, the natural beauty of which is undeniable. We are apt to forget, in looking at such towns, that they have taken years, and perhaps centuries, of cultivation, of tree growing, and of architectural development, to create the appearance which we enjoy. Coming to the question of water supply, it must be admitted that it should be possible to provide enough water for a larger population than the Capital may be expected to have fifty years hence. Should its population still further increase, it would be possible to bring water from a greater distance. The criticisms levelled against some of the sites on the score of the want of water supply would, if levelled against Sydney, make that seem an undesirable site for a city. Sydnev has not close to it a water supply anything like sufficient for one-half of its present population, but with the growth of the city it has been possible to bring water a distance of 40 miles, and to-day the supply is ample and excellent.
– It is better to have a good supply on the spot.
– Yes, if that can be got ; but the fact that there is not an unlimited supply of water close to a site is not an insuperable objection to it.
The centrality of Lyndhurst more than any. other qualification, attracted me to it. The site is conveniently situated in respect to Queensland, Victoria, and South Australia. Its distance from the last-named State could be very much reduced by the construction of a railway from Hay to Morgan. But as Lyndhurst has been twice rejected, and as the Canberra site seems now to be the only one likely to be accepted, I shall support it against Dalgety, to which it is in most respects superior, though it has not a large river close at hand. The opportunity to do this is offered by the action of the Ministry in re-opening the question. It is quite right that it should be re-opened in a new Parliament, and the necessity to re-open it is due to the delay of the Government in another Parliament. It has been said that the representatives of New South Wales are influenced by parochial considerations in their choice of a site. The site which secured the approval of a majority of the representatives of that State in the first instance - Lyndhurst - was selected apart altogether from any parochial influence ; it was chosen on what were considered t© be its merits. Canberra, which is now supported, not by many of us as the very best site, is certainly an excellent one, and in some respects is better than Lyndhurst : but it lacks the important qualification of centrality which that site possesses. However, if honorable members choose to reject it and to again select Dalgety, which I think would be a great mistake, I, for one, shall accept that decision as final in this Parliament. I do not wish the question to drag on from Parliament to Parliament, and I shall be one of those who will press the Government to do what the Attorney-General has expressed his willingness to do - to push on, with the least possible delay, the work of providing the accommodation necessary to enable us to establish the Seat of Government there. We ought not to wait until we are in a position to afford to erect palatial buildings. We ought not to wait until palaces for our reception can be prepared there. We cannot afford to take out of the pockets of the people the money that would be necessary for the erection of such edifices. All that we need to do is to provide the accommodation that will be sufficient for our purpose, and to fulfil without delay the undertaking given to New South Wales. If I shall regret anything, in the event of Dalgety being selected, it will be that the Federal .Capital will be practically shut in on three sides for all time; that it will be isolated and conveniently open on only one side to the State in which it lies and to the rest of the Commonwealth. It will certainly be approached more readily from Sydney than from any other capital, and will be far removed from the life’s blood of the community. It will be distant from an express line of railway with a frequent and rapid train service, and will occupy a position of isolation that I do not think will be good for the Capital itself, for New South Wales, or for the people of
.- Although this question has been discussed in this House on, various occasions, I have not previously addressed myself to it, so that I think I may be pardoned for making a few observations at the present time. I do not think that I should have taken part in this debate but for the strictures passed upon the old representatives of Queensland by the honorable member for Brisbane, who declared that we ought to have voted for Armidale as the site nearest the Queensland border.
– I do not think that he said that.
– That was the way he put it.
– The honorable member put it so directly that I do not think there could be any misapprehension as to what he meant. He emphasized the point that he wished to make by saying that those who wanted anything would have to “ hustle “ for it. The choice of that word in such a connexion was not a very happy one, because “hustling” is usually associated with another American word “ boodlering,” and the combination is not a happy one. To resort to such tactics would be to reduce the debate on this question to the lowest level. We have already had this morning a speech by one honorable member who did not hesitate to say that he was hustling for his constituents. If such sentiments were to become general, Parliament would be reduced to a very degraded level indeed. When this question was first before Parliament I voted for Dalgety, on the strength of recommendations made by the Commissioner selected by the Government of New South Wales to inspect the various sites.
– What about the report of the Federal Commission?
– I shall address myself later on to that report. Like most honorable members, I had not then visited the various projected sites, but when I saw Dalgety subsequently I came to the conclusion that I had not made a mistake in. voting for it. The parliamentary party went there under disagreeable weather conditions, but within a very short time the weather was charming. Those who took part in the tour of inspection to which I refer were much impressed by the natural beauties of Dalgety and its possibilities as the site of. the Capital. I should like at this stage to read a paragraph from the preface to the report presented by Mr. Oliver, which I think puts my position and that of many others - particularly Queenslanders - in a reasonable light. I voted on national grounds ; I voted for the site which I thought would be the best in the interests of Australia, and was actuated by the principles so well expressed by Commissioner Oliver. In referring to his appointment he wrote -
I found myself faced by serious preliminary difficulties. The first was a personal one of a kind likely to strain the duty of allegiance to one’s native State; for it was clearly a paramount duty that I should endeavour to discharge my mind of every sentiment and symbol of bias in favour of that State, as well as of any disposition to favour the supposed interests or pretensions of its Capital. To the best of my power and from the stand-point of a sincere federalist, I have done my best to consider the momentous questions involved in the Commission Solely as an Australian citizen, and with an eye striving to look to the future dimensions and requirements of the Australian Commonwealth, and not to the present and temporary advantages or disadvantages which the establishment of the Federal territory and Seat of Government in any particular part of New South Wales might entail on that State or its metropolis.
– And after all that he did not go for Dalgety.
– He did.
– He selected a site 40 miles away.
– The disadvantages which, in the view of the honorable member, attach to Dalgety, would be accentuated in the case of Bombala, the site to which he refers. Consequently, Mr. Oliver selected what in the honorable member’s opinion was really a more indifferent site than Dalgety would have been. One would imagine when listening to the speech of the honorable member for North Sydney that he was a lawyer. He discussed the question from various stand-points, and raked up a good deal of ancient history to support his contention as to the spirit of the bond being kept by this Parliament. I am, and always have been, willing that the spirit of the’ bond shall be kept in all these matters. I voted for the Kalgoorlie -to Port Augusta railway survey on that ground. We, as honorable men, should keep the spirit of the bond as far as we possibly can with those who framed the Constitution, and with their intentions and convictions - so far as they are ascertainable - when they framed it, but when an honorable member of the reputation of the honorable member for North Sydney, whose utterances are always listened to with the greatest respect, and whose opinions carry a great deal of weight, argues about the reasonableness of a particular distance, I ask what does this question of “ reasonable distance,” boiled down, actually mean?
– As far away as you can get.
– That is not fair. We could get. a great deal further away from Sydney, although not in that direction, without leaving the State. The distances, as given in the publications which we have had the privilege of reading, are as follow : - Sydney to Dalgety, 225 miles; Sydney to Canberra, the site most approved of by honorable members opposite, 21 miles less. Where does the reasonableness come in there?
– There is a difference of 100 miles between those two distances.
– I think the difference is much less. Honorable members from New South Wales are willing to accept various sites. They have not all pinned their faith to Canberra or Lyndhurst. Some favour Armidale, which is a good site, but that is 15 miles further away from Sydney than is Dalgety.
– It is nearer the centre of New South Wales.
– That raises another question altogether. If that is to be the consideration, we should not select any of these sites. Honorable members who have spoken from the Opposition side have over and over again emphasized the words “at a reasonable distance from Sydney.” Bombala, the first site recommended, is 15 miles further away from Sydney than is Dalgety. Tumut, which was also accepted as a possible site, is only 20 miles nearer Sydney than Dalgety is. Lyndhurst, which has been highly recommended, and which the honorable member for North Sydney favours, is 191 miles from Sydney, or only 34 miles nearer than is Dalgety. Consequently the argument as to reasonableness of distance is utterly untenable, the differences in the distances are so small. If they amounted to hundreds of miles, some attention might be paid to that argument. Even if the contention of the honorable member for South Sydney, that Dalgety is 100 miles further away from Sydney than Canberra is, were correct
– As the crow flies it is nearly 90 miles further away, according to the scale of the map in the corridor.
– Even granting that, what is 90 miles in a question of this kind ? Considering the natural and climatic conditions, water supply and other features, what has been or can be said in favour of Canberra as against Dalgety? It is practically in the same region; there is a difference of only a few hundred feet in the altitude; all the conditions are practically the same; it is equally as exposed as Dalgety; and there is no comparison between the water supplies. That of Dalgety is so superior to that of any other site, that comparisons become “odorous.” I have here a minute by the right honorable member for Swan who, from his experience in Australia, is most capable of forming an opinion on the question. He treats it very impartially. He took the distance from Sydney as fixed in the Constitution as his first base in dealing with the sites, and then considered the questions of water supply, climate, accessibility by rail from Sydney and Melbourne - even that impartial gentleman left Brisbane entirely out of his calculations - great water power for electric light and driving-power, and other applications of “ electricity, water frontage for recreation, sport, and beauty ; commanding sites for public buildings, fertile territory, and other natural resources, and surrounding and adjacent scenery. In all of these respects he put Dalgety in the forefront of the sites suggested. He treats in his memorandum also of the various temperatures, and gives a remarkable table, which should be interesting to those who refer to Dalgety as a blizzard-swept desert. He gives the temperatures of various places in Australia as contrasted with those of the capital cities in other parts of the world, and proceeds to say -
The only objection to Dalgety that I have heard is that it is too cold in winter, and a comparison of its temperature and rainfall with some of the great capital cities of the world may, therefore, be worth recording. I may point out that it is not so cold as London, Paris, Washington, Ottawa, Vienna, Berlin, Madrid, and St. Petersburg, as an inspection of the table hereunder will show. It should also be borne in mind that, with the exception of Hobart, all the capital cities of Australia ar.e too hot in summer, and those who can afford it go away for a time to a colder climate. If the Federal city were situated at Dalgety, and Parliament were to meet from November to March, all those requiring a cooler climate would visit the Federal city with their families, either as members of Parliament or as tourists, with the result that it would become a fashionable summer resort.
The figures show that the lowest temperature at Dalgety during a number of years, which are not stated, was u degrees, whereas at Ottawa the lowest temperature was –31. 6; London, 4; Berlin, -9.6; Madrid, 10.5; Paris, –14 ; St. Petersburg, -30.3; Rome, 22.6 j Vienna, -8; and Washington, –15. Honorable members will see from these figures that Dalgety cannot be such an unfortunate place climatically as some honorable members seek to make out. I have here a book entitled New South Wales Picturesque Resorts, edited by Mr. W. Lorck, and dedicated to the Governor of the State, Sir Harry Rawson. This book is published with the sanction of the New South Wales Railway ‘Commissioners, and, therefore, I suppose it may be taken as official. Speaking of Dalgety, the editor says -
The name o’f Dalgety has gone forth on the four winds of the world in consequence of its selection by the Federal Parliament as the Federal Capital site. But whether or not the little town on the Snowy River, at the conclusion of the controversy, will have the distinction of possessing within its area the Parliament and Government of the Commonwealth of Australia is a matter which it would be unwise, at the present stage, to speak too positively upon. This much, however, can be said - that the Federal selectors, in choosing Dalgety as the site for the Commonwealth Government, made an unimpeachable choice.
I shall now read just another sentence to show how impartial the editor is - to show that he is not actuated by parochial feeling -
The town, standing in the centre of a rich and fertile district, is possessed of an exhilarating climate, and is so nicely situated that it belongs almost as much to Victoria as New South Wales.
The position of Dalgety is the head and front of its offending. It is too close to the Victorian border. A good deal has been said, though, perhaps, not on the present occasion, in regard to the- area re- quired by the Federal Parliament, and most exaggerated language has been used by the Sydney people and press in this connexion. We have been charged with trying to cut another State out of New South Wales, and told that an area of 900 square miles is unnecessarily large.
– We have been charged with trying to rob New South Wales of some hundreds of miles of blizzard-swept country.
– True, this country is described as blizzard-swept and useless, and yet New South Wales objects to our having it. I have prepared a small diagram which shows, roughly, what an area of 900 square miles would mean as compared with the whole of the State. According to Mr. Knibbs’ latest figures, the area of New South Wales is 310,372 square miles, the square root of which, in round numbers, is 558 miles ; and a square, the enclosing lines of which would be 558 miles long, would enclose an- area equal to that of New South Wales. Each of the lines shown on the diagram is 14 inches long, representing, approximately, ‘560 miles, or 40 miles to the inch. In the corner is shown a small spot of threequarters of an inch square, which, on the same scale, represents 30 miles by 30, or 900 square miles.
– Why, it is only about the size of a postage stamp !
– In proportion to the whole it is not the size of a decent postage stamp. I have drawn a line from the proposed site to Twofold Bay - though I could not draw it on the same scale distinctly enough to be seen with the naked eye. That line represents a strip about two miles wide, being the 20th of an inch, but would if only 20 chains wide represent about 20 square miles, the distance to Twofold Bay being about 80 miles. In my opinion if we had a railway from Dalgety to the sea we could do with a strip of land a quarter of a mile wide throughout ; and yet the other evening I was surprised to hear an honorable member describe such a line as representing a desire to. cut the State in two. When we find railways built on the east coast, and not interfering in the slightest with the intercourse of the people, I do not see why an honorable member should express such an opinion; and the same diagram and figures apply to any other site that mav be selected, if we ask for 900 square miles, which would include all the land necessary for water-catchment area, and so forth. It must be remembered that a considerable area included in the suggested reservation is really mountainous country, which, like similar districts in other countries of the world, may never be otherwise utilized. The honorable member for Coolgardie has suggested that the question should be postponed for twenty-five years, and the suggestion I regard as very sensible. It has been suggested that the trend of population in the Commonwealth is northward, and by that time it is very probable that the centre of the population of Australia will be more nearly at Armidale, or even further north, than it is at present. Then if the site were selected to-day I believe we have no money to spend in the establishment of the city. It would be a considerable time in any case before anything could be done in that direction. I take it that the first thing to do would be to call for competitive designs from every part of the world. It would take a couple of years before they could be sent in and adjudicated upon and a satisfactory plan adopted. Then there would be surveys to make and drainage and other works to carry out. So that it would be 10 years, at any rate, after the selection of the site before Parliament would be able to occupy it. If the letter of the bond is to be kept money must be spent on the establishment of a Federal Capital, but I must say that I should much prefer to see the expenditure involved devoted to defence. That would be much more beneficial to Australia than the establishment of a capital in the bush. In my view the suggestion made by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie is well worthy the attention of honorable members. I hope that he or some other honorable member will bring the matter forward and give us an opportunity to say whether or not we approve of deferring the settlement of the question for a definite or even an indefinite period. My own opinion certainly is that it would be better to hold over the settlement of the question for the present.
.- One cannot avoid taking notice of some of the remarks which were made yesterdav by the Minister of Trade and Customs. I am sure that every member of the House is very sorry to hear that his great effort of last night - and in view of the state of the honorable gentleman’s health it was a great effort - has been followed by unfor- tunate consequences, and that he is now not at all well. In dealing with the question I should like first of all to say that some extraordinary methods have been adopted to bring pressure to bear upon honorable members. Of all the members of this House, I suppose that those who come from Queensland have least reason to be influenced by parochialism in dealing with the selection of the Federal Capital site. What can it possibly matter to a Queensland representative, who must be away from his home during the whole of the parliamentary session, whetherthe site is situated 100 miles this way or that way?
– It is the same with hon orable members from Western Australia.
– That is so, and I am at a loss to understand why honorable members in these States should be suspected of being influenced by any parochial considerations in dealing with the question. We were told last night by the Minister of Trade and Customs that if Queensland representatives did not adopt a certain course they would bring themselves into hostility with the people of Victoria or of some other State, and that their sugar industry would suffer as a consequence. The honorable gentleman’s appeal throughout was to feelings of State jealousy. Personally I do not believe there is a member of the House who is really influenced by any such feelings.
– The Tariff votes showed it.
– The Tariff votes are being constantly harped on, and yet honorable members who, like the honorable member for Boothby, use the Tariff votes as a basis of argument, are aware that in the matter of the Tariff the last election was fought in Queensland upon a definite understanding. From every platform from which I addressed my constituents I pledged myself to adhere to the 1902 Tariff, and I did so consistently.
– That was in the honorable member’s own constituency.
– That is so. I speak only for myself.
– Did the honorable member for Brisbane give the same pledge?
– I do not know what pledge was given by the honorable member for Brisbane, but so far as I am concerned I am able to say that the charge of parochialism in dealing with the Tariff was a silly charge, and it is equally silly as applied to the settlement of the Capital site question.
– It will not affect the vote.
– It will not affect the vote in any way. With regard to the merits of the different sites, I have not had an opportunity of inspecting them, and I must therefore be guided by the official reports. I have gone through those reports very carefully and have conversed with many people about the various sites. I feel that there is a great deal in the contention put forward by honorable members’ for New South Wales. That must be admitted when a man like Sir George Turner frankly says that the agreement come to by the Premiers should have some force. But I do not believe that we should do our duty if, in order to establish the Federal Capital as nearly as practicable within 100 miles of Sydney, we selected an unsuitable site. I am glad that the right honorable member for East Sydney yesterday waived any such claim on the part of New South Wales. In the circumstances I feel that I am perfectly free to choose what I believe to be the best site after considering the matter from every point of view.
– Anywhere in New South Wales.
– Yes ;so long as, other things being equal, we approach as nearly as practicable to the limit of 100 miles from Sydney. I think that New South Wales is fairly entitled to claim that we shall do that. I am glad to think, after studying the Commissioners’ reports, that that can be done. In my opinion, undue importance is attached in all the reports to the water supply required. Whilst it is absolutely necessary that the water supply should be sufficient, it is not necessary that it should be sufficient for the supply of five or six capital cities. If we take the case of two sites, each possessing a water supply sufficient for its requirements, which can be made available without undue expenditure, the fact that the water supply of one was five times as extensive as that of the other would not weigh with me at all. With regard to water power, it is no doubt a. very desirable thing to have it within reasonable distance, and to be able to make use of it, but if that might be claimed of two sites, they would, in my opinion, be on an equality, and I should not regard the fact that one site might have five times the water power necessary as a final argument for its preferment.
– The honorable member would not say that if he were taking up country .
– The honorable member means for pastoral purposes.
– But I am speaking of the selection of a site for a city.
– Would it not be a factor where we are looking for electrical power?
– I intended to refer to that. Honorable members who support Dalgety because that site has the advantage of enormous water power, and might so enable us to obtain electrical power cheaply, appeal to think that there is some probability of the Federal Capital developing into a large industrial centre, but it must be remembered that cheap power is not the only thing necessary for that. There must be ironand coal supplies handy. That is recognised all over America, and I believe the time willcome in Australia when the power will be obtained at the site at which it can be produced most cheaply, whether it be a water or coal site, and transmitted to the place where it is to be used and the raw product most cheaply landed.
– But we want light and power for suburban trams and railways.
– And for the transcontinental railway.
– We shall not run a trans-continental railway 1,100 miles long by electric power.
– We may in the future.
– I have studied the report of the Commissioners appointed by the Federal Government, and it seems to me that, in a general way, Lyndhurst fulfils the conditions which we require. Armidale is a fine site, but not so accessible as Lyndhurst. The fact that the latter is nearer to the Queensland border makes no difference to a Queenslander. Looking at the map, and regarding the question from the point of view of accessibility, it appears to me that Dalgety is right out of consideration. Set away in a distant corner of Australia, it is far removed from all centres of population. But Lyndhurst fulfils all the conditions. I have before me a table of distances, which is very in structive. Lyndhurst is 191 miles from Sydney, and Dalgety 296 miles. Lynd- hurst is 443 miles from Melbourne, and Dalgety 605 miles. I believe that the distance in a direct line is shorter, but we should not be able to take a direct route. These figures show that, from the point of view of accessibility, Dalgety has no claim over Lyndhurst. From Brisbane, there is not much to choose. I do not want to quote a number of figures, but the fact remains that Dalgety is in an inaccessible situation. Even the supporters of that site admit so much. Lyndhurst is available from almost every point of view. The Queensland traffic can easily get there. It will be accessible to the northern traffic when a trans-continental line is built, and the Melbourne traffic can get to it easily. There is already a railway to Lyndhurst, and the means of communication can be improved cheaply. In regard to climate, Lyndhurst is certainly a better site than Dalgety; where the temperature ranges from 104 to 11 degrees. But any one who has lived in a cold climate is aware that it is not only the temperature registered by the thermometer that counts. Take Canada. It is well known that when the thermometer is in the neighbourhood of zero, and there is a strong wind blowing, the weather is far more severe than when the thermometer is much below zero and there is no wind blowing. The same remark applies to Dalgety, which suffers from a windy climate. We are told that members of Parliament will only live there for three out of the twelve months ; but what about those people who will have to live there permanently? On the merits, from the point of view of climate, I think there can be no comparison between Lyndhurst and Dalgety. Lyndhurst- is 2,880 feet above sea level, which is a fair altitude, whilst it is not exposed to the bitter vinds which sweep some portions of the country. It is a well sheltered site.
– I have heard that it is a windy site.
– Every, place in Australia is more or less affected by winds ; but still, .it Lyndhurst you do not have the bitter winds blowing off the spine of Australia - off the snow - -acompanied by dust or sleet. Another great advantage in respect of Lyndhurst is that we can there obtain a good growth of timber. At Dalgety ordinary trees can only be made to grow behind the shelter of firs and pines. As to water supply, the best thing that we can do is to admit at once that there is no site in
Australia that will compare with Dalgety. But we have to look at this matter comparatively. Do we want all the water that is obtainable at Dalgety ? Referring to the report of our own Commissioners, I find that they say, that at Lyndhurst the total minimum supply obtainable from gravitation sources would be sufficient for a population of 89,000 people, which is as many as are likely to be located at the Capital city for the next century. The water obtainable by pumping would provide for an additional 103,000. That is to say, when the population reaches the neighbourhood of 200,000, provision could be made by pumping. That is a reasonable thing. We do not want any more than that. The fact that Dalgety has sufficient water for 10,000,000 people does not make it a better site for 200,000 people. The cost of a water supply by gravitation for Lyndhurst on the basis of an estimated population of 50,000, having regard to capitalization, working expenses, and other expenditure, at 4 per cent., is reckoned at ,£427,000. At Dalgety, I find that a water supply for 50,000 people is estimated to cost £328,000. So that there is only a difference of about £95,000.
– A mere nothing, of course !
– In estimating the requirements of a permanent Capital site we ought not to take much notice of £90,000 for water. It is admitted that for a city of over three hundred thousand people Dalgety has the better resources, from the water supply point of view.
– The difference of £90,000 is in regard to a supply for a small population.
– 1 admit that Dalgety is ahead of every other site in that respect, but it has disadvantages which entirely out-balance that consideration. Even at Dalgety, after we have supplied water for 50,000 or 60,000 people, the question will arise whether pumping will not be necessary. The whole matter will then have to be gone into. But that is not a difficult question. The arguments for Dalgety on the ground of water supply are discounted when the disadvantages attaching to that site are considered. I do not think that we need trouble about the water supply so long as we have a sufficient one. In regard to water power, Dalgety, it must be admitted, has greater resources than Lyndhurst.
But all that we have to consider in selecting the permanent Seat of Government is whether we have a reasonable water supply - a supply sufficient for running tram lines and railways and for generating electric light. At Lyndhurst, according to the Commissioner’s report -
Water power for generating electricity for electric lighting purposes, &c, might be obtained from the following sources : - The Belubla River at the Needles, 24 miles from the city site; the Lachlan River, near Mount Macdonald, 22 miles distant from the city site.
The water which would have to be used for generating power in the case of Dalgety is 25 miles distant from the site. I cannot speak of the relative quantities that would be available.
– Has the honorable member taken into consideration the nearness of the Lithgow coal-fields for the purpose of generating power?
– I have not, I wish to enlarge a little on this question of water, because certain honorable members of the Labour corner made a great point of it.
– Not of the Labour corner.
– Yes. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports specially emphasized it.
– All that I pointed out was that Canberra was a waterless site.
– In Queensland. I believe that we shall solve the difficulties which confront us in connexion with irrigation by establishing central power stations on our coal-fields, and by transmitting thence electric power to those places in which it may be needed, even though those places may be hundreds of miles distant. The same remark is applicable to the Federal Capital site. We shall not necessarily have our industrial centre located in the spot where the power is generated, but at a point where it can be most economically used. In the case of Dalgety, we may generate that power 300 miles inland, but it will, nevertheless, be used upon the coast.
– That is not the case in the great industrial countries of the world.
– In America, it is becoming more and more the case. There the iron works are not always located upon the coast.
– Some of them are situated alongside ‘lakes, which are like inland seas.
– That remark applies particularly to the iron and steel works of America. Consequently the argument that we must have this great source of energy at the Federal Capital carries very little weight. The electric power, I repeat, will be conveyed from the depot where it is generated to the various points at which it can be most economically used. I do not propose to discuss the relative suitability of the various sites for building purposes, as both are good. In regard to the question of fuel, our Commissioners report that at Lyndhurst fuel can be obtained at the local railway station at 15s. per ton, whereas its cost at Dalgety ranges from 20s. to 25s. per ton. That is a very considerable difference. He further says that the immediate outlay involved in the various projected or future lines affecting the prospective means of communication with the Lyndhurst site is practically nil. In perusing the list at the end of the report supplied by the Commonwealth Commissioners, I note that numbers have been placed under various headings for the purpose of indicating the relative merits of the different sites. If we accept these figures. Lyndhurst is much to be preferred to Dalgety. I make these statements, only because those who advocate sites other than Dalgety are presumed to be animated by narrow, provincial feelings.
– I have heard the position put the other way. It has been stated that unless we vote for Canberra, we are narrow and provincial.
– I candidly confess that I have not much more use for- Canberra than I have for Dalgety. If the advocates of Dalgety are actuated by parochial feelings, it seems tq me that they are making a mistake.- If I were a Victorian, I should feel very much more satisfied with Lyndhurst from the stand-point of accessibility than with Dalgety. I am not going to say a word against Dalgety, or to enthuse over Lyndhurst. I believe that the latter site is not a very attractive looking one at present. I never saw a ring-barked area that was. But the country surrounding it is very pleasant and fertile, it produces magnificent timber, and there are splendid gardens there. At Dalgety, on the other hand, the chance of establishing gardens is a very slim one.
– At Dalgety, the honorable member can see as fine a garden filled with European trees as can be seen anywhere.
– I am basing my remarks on the Commissioner’s report. He declares that at Dalgety we may be able to grow trees belonging to the temperate climates, if they are protected by trees of the pine variety. Before resuming my seat, I wish again to draw attention to the pressure which has been brought to bear upon honorable members in this matter. In a vecent letter a correspondent writes to me in these terms -
You Federal folk do odd things and suffer odd things, but this seems to me pure audacity.
He goes on to inform me that he has received a telegram to the following effect -
Do you know if Archer will vote for Dalgety, Federal Capital? Very anxious secure his vote. Reply paid.
The only object of that telegram was to try to induce the press in my electorate to start advocating the adoption of Dalgety, and so force my vote. What other object could there be? Was it not a miserable thing to do? I have nothing to say against the Bulletin beyond that. Then we have had private conversations outside the chamber with the great advocates of Dalgety. First of all, I was asked this question, “Why do you Queenslanders form a cabal with the New South Welshmen “? Then I was told that if we did so we could only expect to have everybody up against us over the sugar industry or something else. Was not that a very paltry thing to say? What does it matter to us where the Federal Capital is fixed?
– I leave the honorable member to settle that question with him.
Colonel Foxton. - I wanted the Capital placed near the centre of population.
– Obviously, it does not matter to Queensland and Queenslanders whether the site is fixed 100 miles this way or that way, so long as it is in a good centre, and is accessible to all people. There is a great deal in the last remarks of the honorable member for North Sydney, that from the national point of view it is most desirable that our Capital city should be near or on the principal arteries of communication between the people of the States. Let us make it as central as possible. It seems to me that there are many considerations to recommend Lyndhurst. Making due allowance for the great water supply at Dalgety, to my mind Lyndhurst has an attraction superior to Dalgety as a site.
– Is it as good as Canberra ?
– I candidly admit that 1 am not very keen on Canberra either. It seems to me that it has been put forward as a sort of compromise. With regard to the remarks of the honorable member for Herbert I think that it would be very much better, in the present temper of affairs, if the choice of the Federal site could be hung up for ten or twenty years. I do not think that the people of Australia have made up their minds about it.
– They do not care a hang about it.
– No. We, as a nation, are just starting on the first steps, I think, of very rapid progress and expansion. The centres of population are changing ; in fact, our whole conditions are changing. We are just starting out into nationhood, and I think that if the settlement of this question were deferred for a certain number of years, though I admit that it is a disability to the Parliament to be sitting in a great centre of population, it would be in the interests of Australia. When the State jealousy and ill-feeling which are now exhibited have died out, we could choose a site in a calm and reasonable frame of mind.
– It would be a gross breach of faith.
– I am glad that the honorable member has made that interjection. I shall not assist in that direction unless the movement is made and accepted by the representatives of New South Wales. I certainly would not submit a proposal, and try to carry it against their wishes. I have only expressed my individual opinion that it would be better for Australia as a whole if that course were taken.
– I do not agree with the honorable member.
.- I rise to make clear my position respecting the Capital site. I am certainly opposed to the Capital being established at the present time. New South Wales is not Australia. Last night the leader of the Opposition said that it had entered into a certain compact. He told us that its people were prepared to take on Customs taxation in order to bring about Federation. Why, sir, that taxation has made New South Wales what it is.
– It was made before that.
– According to the honorable member’s statement the Mother State, which is clamouring for the Federal Capital, is the most prosperous of all the States.
– So it is, in spite of the protectionist policy.
– Some members on the Opposition benches have chided the representatives and people of Victoria with being opposed to New South Wales.
– Not the people of Victoria?
– I think that it cuts both ways.
– It is not the people of Victoria, but the Age puppets.
– I would remind the honorable member for Wentworth that the people of Victoria have been prepared to do more for New South Wales than the latter State has been prepared to do for itself.
– In what way?
– A short time ago New South Wales wanted some wire netting for its people. The object of this illustration is to show that there is no animosity between the two States. While the Government of Victoria were prepared to subsidize to the tune of £1,000 the workmen of New South Wales, the Government of New South Wales were not prepared to subsidize the workmen of either State to the extent of one penny, but were agreeable to import their requirements. Yet it has been alleged from the other side more than once in this debate that the people of Victoria are against New South Wales.
– Nobody said that ; I said the reverse.
– That was the impression which was conveyed to my mind. In my opinion the people of New South Wales are not anxious about the establishment of a Federal Capital.
– How did the honorable member find that out?
– I go over there occasionally, and have a look round-
– The honorable member does not know their feeling.
– The honorable member is prepared to hang up the question of the iron bounty in order to discuss the question of the Federal Capital.
– What has that to do with it?
– While men are out of work, this Parliament has more important business than the discussion of where we should place the Federal Capital, foi the building of which we have no money.
– The honorable member would like to defer the discussion of the question for fifty years.
– I am prepared to allow Sydney to be the Seat of Government foi the next ten years.
– An alteration of the Constitution would be necessary to bring that about, and what chance is there of such an’ alteration ?
– I think that if the question were submitted to the people, they would be found opposed to the establishment of a bush Capital. However, I should vote for its submission to them. In my opinion, it would be better, in the interests of New South Wales and of Australia, if the whole matter were hung up. for twenty-five years.
.- The speech to which we have just listened, and the manner of its reception, furnish the best and most urgent reason for settling this question at the earliest moment possible. More bad blood has been engendered in regard to it than any other coming before us, and so long as it remains unsettled there will be hostility between at least two of the States. This condition of affairs should be ended at the earliest opportunity. That we are now again discussing where the Seat of Government shall be located, and that the debate has occupied nearly a week, is a striking illustration of the ineptitude of parliamentary methods. I urge the Government totake every step to reach finality in the choice of a Capital Site as soon as it can be done. Parliament had already come toa definite determination on the subject, and it is a thousand pities that such decisionwas not absolute and final. I hope that before very long the Government will be in a position to fix the boundaries of the Federal territory. The debate has only been a repetition of arguments we have previously heard, and the mischief is that, earnestly as one may object to these discussions, points crop up which compel further discussion. The representatives of New South Wales are divided as to where the Capital should be, and we who come from -other States cannot therefore be definitely -guided by their utterances. The representatives of Sydney, and of electorates within the influence of the Sydney newspapers, wish us to choose a site whose -situation will benefit that city rather than the Commonwealth. They desire to place the Federal Capital practically in Syd, ne, s back yard. I understand that they take the view that Sydney is entitled to that arrangement by reason of what has been spoken of as the bond in the Constitution. The honorable member for North Sydney said that that should guide us. Apparently it is thought that it should guide us in much the same way as1 the suggestion to a mob not to put under the pump an individual who has incurred its wrath - a suggestion intended to bring about a contrary effect. The Constitution says distinctly that the Capital shall not be within 100 miles of Sydney. That, we are told, means that it should be as near to Sydney as the limit allows. That, however, is not the construction T place on -the provision. I should be glad to have a definite instruction on this matter, because I have no feeling against the people of New South Wales, and do not object to Sydney developing into the great and mighty city which it will be in the future. Indeed I think that Sydney will “be so great and glorious in years to come that it can afford to be magnanimous in this matter. Coming as I do from Western Australia, I have no personal interest, and have made up my mind to deal with the question absolutely on its merits. The honorable member for Batman has just repeated a phrase which has frequently been uttered in this House, and has appeared even more frequently in the Melbourne press, when he spoke of the undesirability of a “ bush “ capital. The honorable and learned member for Angas, in one of those interesting literary addresses to which he is accustomed to treat us, advanced what ihe thought to be excellent reasons why the Federal Capital should not be established an the bush. The honorable member for Batman seems to share his views. Such an argument is the very last that I should have expected to hear from an Australian. This great capital of a great State was mere bush 100 years ago, and the honorable member for Angas is himself the representative of portion of another State capital, which was founded, only a little over seventy years ago, by those artificial methods, which he so emphatically condemns, as against the natural growth of some of the great cities of the world, which he evidently approves. His historical knowledge for once appears to have been at fault, because some of the great cities of the world have undoubtedly been founded upon the careful observation of those who had an eye to the future. We can select many instances of cities so created. We may take Constantinople, Alexandria, St. Petersburg, and many others. The capital of the United States is a case in point, and we have also the capital of the Dominion of Canada. The honorable member for Angas wished us to understand that those qualified to judge had expressed the opinion that the establishment of such capitals as Washington and Ottawa, had been very unfortunate for the countries concerned, and had been condemned. I have been at pains to look through the historical records of both the United States and Canada, and whilst I can find a good many expressions of approval of both those capitals, the condemnations seem to me to be very difficult ro discover. I am strongly of opinion that the Australian Capital should be planted in what is now, to all intents and purposes, bush. There is one argument that ought to be sufficient for every democrat and every one who desires to see the Australian Capital a city which will be at once the envy and admiration of the world. We have heard a great deal about the cost of building such a city ; but I believe that if we establish it in accordance with uptodate methods . and principles, we shall overcome the question of expense. We shall be able to make it pay the cost of its own development, by going into virgin country, and acquiring territory, not one rood of which will be alienated, and the values of which will always remain the heritage of the people of the Commonwealth. In this city of Melbourne, we have a striking instance of the advantage that would have accrued to the State if that course had been adopted. Some little time ago, I came across an illustration, more forcible than a multitude of statistics or arguments, of the advantages which would have accrued to Victoria had this system been adopted. Some seventy years ago, a farmer, settled on land up country from Sydney, went into that city and wandered into an auction room where a sale was being conducted. There he bought a block of land in a remote and almost unknown place, which he was assured would some day be a great city on the shores of Port Phillip, and the name of that place he was told was Melbourne. He secured his paper, and, on returning home, placed it among his other documents, and forgot all about it. , On his death, that paper came into the possession of a brother who succeeded to his estate. After a number of years, he was surprised to have people writing to him and making him wonderful- offers for the block of land in Melbourne. On consulting his lawyers, he was assured that he had a very good thing, and he proceeded to exploit it. We all know the methods adopted in the exploitation of a block of land in a great and rapidly growing city. In a few years, this gentleman found himself in a position to leave Australia, to buy the castle and property of some old family in the Old Land, and to settle there as a magnate. His descendants are there still, drawing from this block of land an income of some ,£40,000 or £50,000 per annum, although they have never contributed a farthing to create its value. It is estimated that the total of these land values in the city of Melbourne is something like £5,000,000 per annum. This value has not been created by those in possession ; it is due entirely to the congregating of people in this centre, and ought therefore to belong to the community as a whole. This is an important consideration, which ought to be kept before the eyes of the people, and in the minds of the members of this democratic Parliament. It gives us one of the very best reasons why we should make haste to establish the Capital in virgin country, and I. am certain that if we follow out such a method as I have indicated, we shall acquire an income that will go far towards meeting nearly all the expenses of the government of the country. I do not know whether the Government have considered this phase of the question in connexion with the THU that they have submitted. I notice that the Bill makes provision for certain matters relating to the acquisition of land, and if there is any danger of its being alienated after we have acquired the land, and before the Parliament has had an opportunity to determine the circumstances under which the Federal City shall be finally established, I hope we shall have inserted in the Bill a provision that will fortify us on that point.
– Parliament would have complete control of that.
– I believe that it would j but my fear is that some step might be taken to alienate portion of the Federal territory before Parliament was consulted.
– The land will be under Commonwealth control when we acquire it.
– But would there, be any possibility of its being alienated by the Government as soon as it came under Commonwealth control, and before Parliament had had an opportunity to consider the principle which I am discussing?
– So far as the Commonwealth was concerned, there would be no alienation from the Crown except under the authority of the Parliament.
– I want to be sure on that point, and, if necessary, shall move a:i amendment that will render it impossible for the lands of the Commonwealth to be exposed to such a danger as I am pointing .out. I wish now to say in conclusion that we must determine where the Capital shall be, and take steps to transfer the Parliament and its machinery at the earliest possible moment. I cannot agree with those who wish to put the question off for twenty-five years. That will mean twenty-five years of increasing hostility between New South Wales and Victoria, and at the end of the time the question will be more difficult than ever to settle. As to the development of population in particular districts, even if at any time there is a trend of population towards the north of Sydney, in another twenty-five years there may be a trend in another direction altogether, so that I do not see that that reason is a satis, factory one. I hope that this will be the last occasion on which Parliament will need to deal with such a measure as is now before us.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Storrer) adjourned.
– I have to announce the receipt of the following telegram from Lord Northcote : - 25th September..
Speaker, Representatives, Federal Parliament House, Melbourne. - Eady Northcote and I deeply appreciate generous resolution adopted in both Houses as representing the people of the Commonwealth. We shall never forget Australian kindness, and wish the country every prosperity. Its interests will always be near to our hearts.
Motion (by Mr. Groom) agreed to -
That leave be given to bring in a Bill for an Act relating to the Australian Bureau of Agriculture.
Bill presented and read a first time.
– In moving-
That the House do now adjourn,
I desire to intimate that in order to prepare the way for the discussion of that very important measure, the Minister of Defence will on Tuesday next, at the commencement of the proceedings, explain the Defence Bill. After he has made his statement the debate will be immediately adjourned. We shall then take up the discussion of the Seat of Government Bill where we have left it to-day, and, I hope, take steps to conclude it as soon as possible.
.- Will sufficient time be allowed between the Minister’s explanation of the Defence Bill and the resumption of the debate on it to allow honorable members to digest the speech?
– Certainly. The object of bringing the Bill forward at that time is to allow such an interval that not only may the speech itself be circulated but that any documents required may be made available.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 4.45 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 25 September 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1908/19080925_reps_3_47/>.