3rd Parliament · 3rd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
-When you ruled last night, Mr. Speaker, that you could not accept an amendment which I wished to move, you gave it as one of your reasons that the Government had decided to allow a ballot to be taken for the selection of one of the sites which have been under consideration by the House. Now, so far as I am aware, no official intimation has been given that this is proposed. I have spoken to nearly half-a-dozen of my friends in the Opposition corner, and they know nothing about it. I ask the Prime Minister if there is to be a ballot?
– It will be necessary to have a ballot if the Bill is defeated, or Dalgety struck out, but under no other circumstances.
– I understand that the postage to England upon weekly newspapers is practically prohibitive, and that if they were sent by the ordinary steamers they could be carried for about one-third of what is now charged. Will the PostmasterGeneral look into the matter, with a view to encouraging the more general use of an excellent means of advertising Australia?
– I shall be glad to have a. conversation with the honorable member on the subject.
– Does the Prime
Minister propose to take the Northern Territory question into consideration this session ?
– Yes. I hope very shortly.
asked the Prime
Minister, upon notice -
– In reply, I have to say that such questions cannot be adequately replied to without either promoting misunderstandings or making an undue trespass on the time of the House. To criticise newspaper criticisms or call for statements of policy by means of interrogatories of this kind cannot prove satisfactory. There will soon be an opportunity of discussing our recent correspondence with the Admiralty. . I will invite the honorable member to defer his questions until then.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– After repeating the remarks just made upon the preceding question, I answer No.1 by saying that the Admiralty despatch, dated August 20th, is regarded by the Government as a great advance towards the acceptance of our naval proposals.
asked the Prime Minister,upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
– I move-
That a Return be laid upon the table of the House showing, of the suburbs in Sydney and Melbourne, where post-offices are located, and of a radius within one mile of the said postoffices -
– I shall oppose the motion.
That the resumption of the debate be made an Order of the Day for Thursday next.
– I move-
That a Return be laid upon the table of the House showing number and value of motor cars, and duty paid thereon, imported into each State of the Commonwealth since 1st January, 1901.
– I shall oppose the motion.
That the resumption of the debate be made an Order of the Day for Thursday, 8th October.
– This is a perfectly innocent motion ; but as there appears to be an intention on thepart of the members of the Opposition to oppose it, I should like to withdraw it.
– As the motion has been made an Order of the Day for 8th October, nothing can be done in regard to it until then. If the honorable member does not move it, or otherwise deal with it, on that date, it will lapse.
– I have no desire now to exercise my right to speak, if the honorable member for Laanecoorie can be allowed to take the motion as formal.
– The House has set down the order of the day for a certain date, and that cannot now be altered.
– According to appointment, His Excellency the GovernorGeneral awaits this House in order that the Address-in-Reply may be presented. I invite honorable members to accompany me.
Mr. Speaker and honorable members proceeded to the Queen’s Hall to present the Address-in-Reply, and, being returned,
Mr. SPEAKER said : I have to report to the House that I presented the AddressinReply to the Governor-General, when His Excellency was pleased to make the following reply : -
Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen. It is with great pleasure that I receive from you the Address adopted by the House of Representatives in reply to the Speech delivered by me on the occasion of the opening of the Third Session of the Third Commonwealth Parliament ; and it affords me very great pleasure to notice the expressions of continued loyalty to the Throne and Person of His Majesty the King.
Mr. HUME COOK laid upon the table the following papers -
Census and Statistics Act -
Trade, Shipping, Oversea Migration, and Finance - Official Bulletin No. 19, July, 1908.
Shipping and Oversea Migration for 1907.
Debate resumed from 29th September, (vide page 491), on motion by Mr. Groom -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
Upon which Mr. Bruce Smith had moved by way of amendment -
That all the words after the word “That” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof : - “ in view of the wide difference of opinion in regard to the most suitable site for an Australian Federal Capital, the final choice be postponed until the year 1921, and that the Government shall forthwith prepare and introduce into Parliament a Bill providing for an alteration ot the Constitution by which the city of Melbourne shall remain as the Seat of Government until the end of the year 1910, and that from the beginning of 1911 until the end of 1920 the Seat of Government shall be fixed in. the city of Sydney, pending the final and permanent selection of a site for the Commonwealth Capital and Seat of Government, in accordance with the terms of the Constitution.”
.- Although I have spoken on ever.y occasion on which this important question has been before the House, and notwithstanding that it has been debated at very great length, I feel that, even at this late stage, there still remain some aspects of it which are worthy of consideration. Nearly every honorable member who has addressed himself to the motion has been at pains to assure the House that he is determined to deal with it from a national stand-point, and judging by their oftrepeated professions, you, Mr. Speaker, must be satisfied on that score. We have had, for instance, . a long speech by the honorable member for New England, who, after declaring that he viewed this question from a national stand-point, concluded by advocating the selection of a site in his own electorate. And so with the Minister of Trade and Customs. The honorable member made the same declaration, and yet we find that of all the sites proposed the only one that recommends itself to him is within his own constituency.
– But what a site ! Has the honorable member read his peroration ?
– I have; but since, owing to indisposition, he is absent, I shall merely say that although I was present during his speech, I did not hear the peroration attributed to him.
– Nor did any one else.
– Then, again, the Treasurer, when this question was before the House on a previous occasion, supported three sites - Albury, Tumut, and Tooma - all within his own electorate. With two notable exceptions - the honorable member for Flinders and the honorable member for
Corangamite - the representatives of Victoria find that a national consideration of this matter will not allow them to vote for a site that is not on or close to the Victorian border. During the Tariff debates we found that there were quite a number of geographical protectionists in the House, and I am forced to the conclusion that, so far as the Federal Capital is concerned, most of the representatives of this State are geographical nationalists.
– That is not a fair statement.
– The honorable member for Bendigo has been congratulated by the Age - the leading Victorian newspaper - on having set aside all sophistries in connexion with what it describes as an alleged secret agreement, and on having declared his intention to look only at the bond as embodied in the Constitution. The honorable member, when speaking last week, was at pains to point out that the construction placed upon section 125 by the Premiers’ Conference was not put before him until many years after the Conference was held. I have no hesitation in saying that the honorable member’s memory iseither at fault, or that in making that assertion he has deliberately attempted tomislead the House. I have before me Quick and Garran’s Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth, for the issue of which the honorable member was primarily responsible, and at page 219 1 find the following -
With regard to the Federal Capital, the Conference reported thus : - “ It is considered that the fixing of the Site of the Capital is a questionwhich might be left to the Parliament to decide; but, in view of the strong expression of opinionin 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 SouthWales at a reasonable distance from that city.”
This work was issued in 1901, so that the honorable member for Bendigo knew thenthat the Premiers had placed such a construction upon the section.
– The Premiers’ memorandum was unearthed some years after the Conference was held.
– The Conference took place in 1899, and this book was issued two years later.
– That, at all events, was some years after the Conference.
– My only contention isthat the honorable member, not long after the Premiers’ Conference, became aware of the construction which the Premiers had placed upon the section, and that when he made the assertion to which 1 have referred his memory was either at fault, or he was playing the game rather low down and with the deliberate object of deceiving the House.
I wish now to say a word or two with regard to the amendment of the honorable member for Parkes. It has been said, time and again, that one of the chief reasons why the settlement of the Federal Capital site question has been so long delayed is that there has been no unanimity, amongst the representatives of New South Wales. Unfortunately there has been great difference of opinion amongst those of us who represent that State. Had ,we been :able to come together earlier, it would have largely influenced the decision of Parliament, and I regret that once again dissension is being created by the action of the honorable and learned member, who was elected ‘by one of the largest metropolitan constituencies. I had hoped that there would be complete unanimity on this occasion, at any rate among the Oppositionists representing New South Wales. We have all been fighting for the rights of that State, and the observance of the compact entered “into with its people by those of the other States, set forth in the Constitution, and in the minute of the Premiers’ Conference.
– We cannot get that.
– We must fight for it to the death. Only by so doing shall we fulfil our duty to those who sent us here. The honorable and learned member invites :Parliament to break the compact.
– To break up the Constitution.
– Yes. If the representatives of New South Wales show them.selves ready to vote for an alteration of “the Constitution, other honorable members may be prepared to go much further than “the honorable and learned member for Parkes desires. His suggestion is not new. A similar one was made some years ago by Mr. Skene, then representing Grampians, and ever since Victorians have been putting it forward as a bait to entrap the representatives of New South Wales. If it were resolved that the Parliament should meet in one of the big cities of the Commonwealth, I should like it to meet in the capital of my native State ; but if an alteration ot the Constitution were agreed to, it might be provided that the Capital should be put anywhere in Australia, in which case New South Wales would lose all chance of preserving her rights.
– What is to prevent the opening up of the question now?
– Nothing; but it does not become New South Wales members to propose an alteration which may have that effect.
– If effect were given to the proposal of the honorable and learned member for Parkes there would have to be expenditure on two capitals, first on one at Sydney, and, later, on another in the Federal territory.
– Yes. I consider that, in the best interests of the people of Australia and of our legislation, Parliament should be removed as far as possible from the influence of the big cities, and should meet in a capital of its own. If the selection of Dalgety is re-affirmed, we shall be faced with a number of difficulties. In the first place, the Treasurer, one of the strongest Ministers in the Cabinet, has declared that, so far as he is concerned, nothing should be done to expedite the building of a capital there. Secondly, there will be the opposition of all those who are against the expenditure of money on a bush capital - and a large number have been influenced in this direction by the daily press of , Victoria. Then, certain honorable members desire that the Federal territory shall comprise at least 900 square miles, and have access to the sea. If Dalgety is re-affirmed with those stipulations, we shall have to deal with a hostile Government in New South Wales ; because it is well known that the Wade Administration will not go out of its way to afford facilities for giving effect to these proposals. The Constitution does not entitle us to an area of 900 square miles, nor to access to the sea.
– Shall we get access to the sea if some other site is chosen ?
– The reply of the Premier of New South Wales to the member representing Allowrie in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly shows that he will be disposed, should a site be selected at Canberra which would meet the wishes of the people, and the requirements of a national- Capital, to facilitate in every reasonable way the* determination of the matter.
– Is he to dictate to the House as to where the Capital is to be?
– Honorable members are looking round for excuses for delay when they ask that question. The Premier of New South Wales has shown no desire to dictate to us. If I had had my way, I would have persuaded him to do something in this matter; but he has been so careful not to dictate, or to suggest to us, that he has absolutely refrained from expressing an opinion on the subject.
– Did he not decline to grant the request for access to the sea from Canberra ?
– He refused to pledge himself to do it.
– And very properly. If he had pledged himself to give it, the honorable members for Balaclava and Riverina would have been the first to say that he was offering a bribe to this Parliament.
– Has not the site been selected ?
– The honorable member must know what has taken place up to now in connexion with this matter. So far as the Canberra site is concerned, Jervis Bay, one of the most magnificent harbors in Australia, is closer to it than Twofold Bay is to Dalgety. Jervis Bay is second only to Sydney Harbor, and is regularly resorted to by the British men of war for firing practice. At Twofold Bay there is not a harbor, as the honorable member for Kooyong showed in a previous debate, from his intimate knowledge of the place. He said that it was farcical to speak of Twofold Bay as a harbor, and that it would require the expenditure of millions of pounds to make it a port. The request fora port even in connexion with Can- berra is a breach of the compact with the people of New South Wales. I shall quote extracts from the speeches of several of those who supported the acceptance of the Constitution on the ground that no matter where the Capital might be placed, Sydney would be its port. The first speech which I shall quote is that of Mr. Justice Barton. He spoke at the Temperance Hall, Sydney, on 1st May, 1899 - which was subsequent to the Premiers’ Conference, and just before the second referendum - with the direct object of influencing the Sydney vote. The right honorable member for East Sydney, and a large number of others who were taking a pro minent part in connexion with the movement, were present.
– The Sydney and suburban vote was against the acceptance of the Constitution on the second referendum.
– Yes, and those of us who were opposing the acceptance of the Constitution know what influence the statements of Sir Edmund Barton and others in this connexion had. We saw their effect upon persons who previously were with us. These are the words used by Sir Edmund Barton -
I am perfectly satisfied that the Federal Capital will be in such a place that Sydney will be the trading port.
On the 13th June, a few weeks afterwards, the same gentleman, speaking at Marrickville, said -
Wherever the Federal Capital was placed Sydney must be the trading port of the Capital.
Those are two very strong statements made by one who was recognised as the leader of the Federal movement in Australia, to Sydney audiences, with the direct object of influencing them to vote for the Constitution Bill.
– Even that did not convert Sydney.
Mr.FULLER. - It did not convert me. at any rate, although I am a Sydneyite. I regret exceedingly, that the people of New South Wales entered Federation under the present Constitution. I did my best against it, but unfortunately there was a sufficient majority the other way. The next leader of the Federal movement to whom I wish to refer was Mr. (now Justice) R. E. O’Connor of the High Court. Speaking on 15th June, 1899, at Balmain, two clays after Sir Edmund Barton spoke at Marrickville, he said -
The Capital being fixed in New South Wales, a vast advantage must accrue to Sydney.
He made that statement in the electorate of the honorable member for Dalley, in the suburb of Sydney where Mort’s Dock is situated, where the wharf labourers work, and where many, large industries are carried on - one of the busiest hives of workers in Australia - to induce those workmen to vote for the Constitution Bill. He succeeded to a certain extent in leading them to believe that with the establishment of the Federal Capital, and the trade coming through the port of Sydney, increased employment would be provided for them. There was to be that material advantage to the port of Sydney by which they, and those dependent onthem, would benefit.
The honorable member for Cook and others who in this House have declared that Sydney was thought to be entitled to some material advantage from the establishment of the Federal Capital are absolutely right. It was thought and put before the people of Sydney and New South Wales that the Capital would be placed in such a position that Sydney would be materially benefited. The next leader to whom I wish to refer is the right honorable member for East Sydney. After coming from the Premiers’ Conference he spoke at Goulburn, on 16th June, 1899, with reference to the Capital, as follows -
I am not saying this to-night to please you. I said it in February last when coming through Albury. They asked me if the Federal Capital would be there, and I said that in my opinion it would be on the southern line a little below Goulburn.
That was the statement of the honorable member for East Sydney, coming fresh from the Premiers’ Conference, at which there was put upon the agreement the construction to which I have already referred.
– I told the people at Albury, on my way back from the Conference, that very thing. They asked me if they would have the Capital.
– Because the right honorable member said it was not human nature for a Sydney man to have to go to Albury.
– It is certainly not human nature for Sydney men to be kept at Melbourne, when we are entitled to have the Capital in New South Wales under the termsof the Constitution.
– The New South Wales members have kept us here all the time.
– Every member of the Opposition in this House has been doing his level best ever since the Federal Parliament first met, to get the compact carried out. A striking example of that is furnished by the fact that when the right honorable member for East Sydney led the Government, with the honorable member for North Sydney as his Minister of Home Affairs, although they were opposed to the Dalgety site, and had fought strongly against it, they were prepared, when in office, to carry out the wish of Parliament in order to get the matter settled. The honorable member for Gippsland is not justified in saying that we have kept the Seat of Government in Melbourne, seeing that our party, when holding the reins of office, did their best to have the Capital established on the site chosen by this Parliament.
– Why do not honorable members opposite use their influence with the Sydney authorities for that purpose?
– This Parliament is capable of doing its own business without attempting to influence the Government of New South Wales. The honorable member for Hume, speaking on 31st May, 1899, at Waverley, is reported to have said -
The excess of population in the Colony in the future would be to the north of Sydney and not to the south of it, and the Capital should be placed in Armidale or somewhere in that direction. Perhaps there might be something in the argument that Sydney should not be the Capital. Still, we had a right for the Capital to be placed within a reasonable distance of the metropolis of New South Wales.
– That is why he voted for Tooma !
– I am not responsible for what the honorable member for Hume does. No doubt his action was contrary to the statement he made to the people of Sydney at that time. I will give him credit for being one of the leading men in New South Wales who fought in the interests of that State when the question of entering the Federation was being decided. I have always been prepared to give him credit for what he did in the fight over the Constitution Bill. The honorable member on that occasion used the exact words - “within a reasonable distance from Sydney” - which appear in the minute of the Premiers’ Conference of that year. This shows clearly that at that time the construction put on the agreement - in his mind and in the minds of many of us - was that while the Capital should not be within 100 miles of Sydney, it should be within a reasonable distance of it. The statements of Sir Edmund Barton, Mr. Justice O’Connor, the right honorable member for East. Sydney, and the honorable member for Hume, ought to besufficient to lead any reasonable man to the conclusion that when the Constitution was being fought for in New South Wales, the people of Sydney and other parts of the State were clearly told that the Capital, while it was not to be in Sydney, was to bewithin a reasonable distance of it, and that wherever it was placed, Sydney would have the opportunity of being its port. It appears to me now that there is no likelihood of the compact being carried out. The very best that could have been obtained was the selection of Canberra, but I now understand that there is no chance of that site being agreed to, and that Dalgety will again be selected by the House. I ask those who are disposed to vote for Dalgety for various reasons - some I am justified in saying will do so with a view to hanging the matter up so that money may not be expended on a bush Capital - if, when Dalgety is again selected, they will insist on the Government finding funds to build the Capital there? Although the compact will not be carried out, the “people of New South Wales are entitled to have immediate steps taken, when Dalgety is again selected, to have the necessary buildings put in such a position that Parliament may meet there at the earliest possible moment. I hope there will be no trickery or intrigue over the matter. We have to face the direct statement of the Treasurer, an influential member of the Cabinet, that he will allow nothing to be done at Dalgety with a view to Parliament meeting there if he can possibly help it, but I trust there will be a sufficient number of honorable members so sincere in the matter as to insist, when Dalgety is chosen, that the Government shall proceed at the earliest moment to carry out, at any rate, that part of the compact with New South Wales. We appear to have had some of the worst sides of political life displayed to this House and to the people of Australia, over the Capital site question. When the Federal Parliament first met, the present Prime Minister and others talked about the higher and rarer atmosphere in which we were to live in the arena of national politics, as compared with the state of affairs previously in existence in the States. But T, as one who had considerable experience in the State Parliament of New South Wales, fail to recognise that we in this Parliament have lived up to that ideal. I am sorry the right honorable member for Swan is not in his place, because he, as Premier of the State of Western Australia, in conference with five other Premiers ‘representing the other States, actually put his signature to a compact which, for a long time past, and even to-day, he has been, and is doing, his best to repudiate. The whole movement to establish the Capital at Dalgety was begun between the present Minister of Trade and Customs and the right honorable member for Swan, in order to ‘ “ down ‘ ‘ their colleague, the present Treasurer, so far as the Capital site was concerned. I ask the honorable member for Fremantle, who so strongly declared last night that he was following the lead of the right honorable member for Swan in the matter, to remember that the report which that right honorable gentleman wrote was not the report of Sir John Forrest, as a surveyor, or as an experienced explorer, but was the report of the right honorable member for Swan, in company with the Minister of Trade and Customs, when both of them were doing their best to “down” their colleague.
– I do not think that is a very nice insinuation.
– It is a strong statement to make, but I am satisfied that that was the beginning of the movement in favour of Dalgety. The right honorable member for Swan repudiates by his action his signature to the minute adopted at the Premiers’ Conference. If the right honorable member for Swan acted in a straightforward and honorable fashion he would feel as Sir George Turner felt when in this House, and would not be using the large influence which he possesses amongst a number of honorable members, not to put the Capital within a reasonable distance of Sydney, but to drag it as far away as he possibly can - to the utmost limits of the State. Surely such an action on the part of a gentleman occupying the high position of the right .honorable member for Swan, in virtual repudiation of his own signature, calls, for strong language. The right honorable gentleman was not at the Conference merely as Sir John Forrest, but as representing , the people of the great State of Western Australia. What a scene there would have been in the House if, in connexion with the transcontinental railway
– Same old yarn !
– It is a yarn worth repeating. What a scene there would have been, if there had been a written and signed’ compact for the construction of that line, and the right honorable member for East Sydney, on behalf of New South Wales, had repudiated his signature, as the right honorable member for .Swan now does inthe case of the Federal Capital !
– Of what use would such a signed understanding be in the face of the Constitution?
– That is an extraordinary construction to put on the Constitution !
– The right honorable member for Swan does not attempt to- dictate the route of the line, but only contends that a line should be constructed.
– Time after time the right honorable member has urged that the line should be constructed, on the ground that it formed one of the inducements for the people of Western Australia to enter the Federation. If it be contended that a mere understanding like that should be carried out, surely the right honorable member ought to be prepared to carry out a compact over his own signature? I have spoken pretty strongly and at greater length than I intended, because I feel that the people of New South Wales are not getting a “ fair deal.” Both inside and outside this House I have done all in my power to have this compact observed; and, whileI regret that the attempts are in vain, I sincerely trust that the New South Wales members will not set the example to other honorable members of supporting the proposed alteration of the Constitution. I trust that the amendment of the honorable member for Parkes will be defeated, because I feel satisfied that if the New South Wales representatives seek to amend the Constitution, the effect will be that, although the Federal Parliament may meet in Sydney for ten years, the Federal Capital will finally be last to New South Wales, and those who have to live there after us will curse the day when their representatives were so treacherous to their best interests.
.- I was very much impressed with the cool, calm, and dispassionate manner in which the honorable member for Parkes submitted his amendment ; in fact, so cool, calm, and dispassionate were his terms that I think the speech earned for itself the additional distinction of being calculated. After his speech I looked very carefully into the wording of the amendment, and I failed to find there the additional claim which the honorable member made for his proposal and his remarks - of being thoroughly impartial. Had they been so, I should have been disposed, after an investigation of the amendment, to give very serious attention to it. But, with the hope that the honorable mem- ber may be able to add the distinction of impartiality, I intend to suggest some additions to his amendment which, if made, will justify more favorable consideration for it than appears to have been given to it at the present time. The first portion of the amendment distinctly means that the hon orable member has no great reverence for the Constitution, and that, if it ever suited his opinions for the time being, he would readily seek an alteration. It would be valuable to place on record the fact that if at any time the honorable member - who, if I read him aright in the past, has stated that he has some reverence for the Constitution - finds that his opinions differ from what is there set down, he will be ready to advocate an amendment. The second part of the amendment proposes that the Seat of Government shall remain where it is for about two and a half years, and thereafter for ten years be fixed in Sydney, and shall there remain - although the amendment is not quite clear on the point - pending a permanent and final solution of the difficulty. That does not appear to me to be a thoroughly impartial proposal; but, in order to make it so, I suggest the addition of words providing that for periods of ten years following the Capital shall be fixed in Brisbane, Hobart, Perth, and Adelaide, in the order named. Honorable members will notice that, with becoming modesty, I leave Adelaide to the last.
– What is to be done then?
– When that time arrives I cannot reasonably expect to enjoy any of the benefits from the fixing of the Capital in Adelaide, but I suggest that it shall remain there pending the per manent settlement of the difficulty, not in the terms of the Constitution, but according to the wish of the then Federal Parliament.
– The honorable member has omitted the Northern Territory, which will probably then be a Federal State.
– It may be that the Northern Territory will have then developed to such an extent as to justify the placing of the Seat of Government there for a further period of ten years.
– The honorable member has not referred to the last words of the amendment, which preclude anything of the kind, providing that the selection shall then be in accordance with the terms of the Constitution.
– Perhaps I did not make myself quite clear. My suggestion is that the amendment be so altered that, at the end of the ten-years’ period in Adelaide the Seat of Government shall remain in that city pending the per- manent settlement, in accordance with, the decision of the then Federal Parliament. We shall then have returned to the situation of the time when certain leading gentlemen of New South Wales sought an alteration of the first draft of the Constitution - which had been approved by all the States and by a majority of the people in New South Wales - and be untrammelled in our choice. If that were the position today, I venture to think that the speeches would be of a less recriminatory character than those to which I have listened during the last week. My chief reason for venturing a few remarks on the Bill is that I have two serious objections to the trend of the debate in a particular quarter. The idea seems to be to still further limit the already regrettably limited power of the [Parliament in the selection of the site, and to cast some sort of odium on honorable members who may, in their discretion, vote for any particular site outside, say, of a limit of 125 miles from Sydney. ‘ There seemed to be in those quarters concerted action, particularly on (he part of three or four honorable members. I noticed a few days ago that the skirmishing was done by the honorable member for West Sydney, ably supported bv what would be termed in military circles the advance guard and rifles of the honorable member for East Sydney, followed by the very heavy artillery of the honorable member for “North Sydney. Bv a singular coincidence, the whole of these three honorable gentlemen represent Sydney. It is noticeable, however, that the honorable member, for South Sydney was not in the concert.
– He is just as keen as the others !
– I have not heard that honorable member speak on the subject, and I cannot condemn ;him on that mere assertion.
– The honorable member for South Sydney mav be a submarine !
– I was not aware that the honorable member’s qualifications extend to submarine engineering. But it seems to me that, to” paraphrase the words of the well-known song, the winds that blow from the South will not breathe on our listening ears in tuneful harmony with those from the West, East, and North. I am surprised to hear it suggested that the honorable member shares the opinions I have indicated, and it merely shows that there are more in the concerted action than I had been led to suppose.
– They are all Sydneyites.
– I do not desire to discuss the question of Sydney versus Melbourne, or any other particular city ; I am quite indifferent respecting rival claims of the kind. In addition to the utterances of honorable members who seek to limit our powers-
– Who seek to interpret our already limited powers.
– If the honorable member will permit me, I shall come to the interpretation ; at least, I hope to say a few words on the “bond” of which we have heard so much. There have been several somewhat flippant remarks made against Dalgety, but no strong reasons were urged against its selection. While I am not committed to voting for that particular spot, I think it would have been preferable had honorable gentlemen who are distinctly opposed to it given some valid reasons, rather than have dealt with it with the flippancy indulged in by the two or three honorable members from Sydney I have mentioned.
– Does the honorable member think that the photographs of Dalgety are flippant?
– I have been taught not to decide on photographs. I do not wish to give the debate a personal turn, but I can assure honorable members that the opinion I formed of one honorable member from a picture in the Bulletin was quite different from the reality. The chief objection of the honorable member for West Sydney seems to be that when he paid one visit to Dalgety, he was struck by a cold wind.
– I was struck bv a cold bath !
– The honorable member assures us that he had a bath at Dalgety, and possibly a great many might benefit from a similar experiment. All we heard from the honorable, member was that the weather was particularly cold, but he was not quite certain on the point until a policeman, who was driving with the party, drew him aside, and whispered that Dalgety experienced very severe winters. I was almost tempted to express* my sympathy for the tender little hot-house plant of the Labour Party in his having been subjected to the cold winds of Dalgety ; but- it seems now that he was subjected there to a cold bath, -and that that is the only reason why he objects to that particular site. I remember, many years ago, paving my first visit to the city of Sydney, of which we have heard so much during this debate, and being met with what was there termed “ a southerly buster.” The whole population then seemed to be making with one accord for the protection, not of ordinary buildings, but of the very strongest of shelters, and had I then formed an opinion of Sydney, I should have missed becoming better acquainted with one of the beauty spots of the world. I suggest therefore to the honorable member for West Sydney that he should again visit Dalgety.
– I decline to do that.
– The honorable member declines to have another cold bath. I was going to suggest that possibly if the honorable member again visited Dalgety, his experience might be similar to mine of Sydney. Then, too, I remember that the Treasurer objected to Dalgety for reasons somewhat similar to those mentioned by my honorable friend. When visiting that site, he was seized with a little pain in his abdomen, and returned post haste to a warmer climate. Possibly he feared the worst, and desired to gradually acclimatize himself. These being practically the only objections that I have heard in the House against the selection of Dalgety, I am forced to look for evidence in favour of the site if I desire to counteract what has been stated here, and the only printed matter that I can discover on the subject is that issued by the people of New South Wales themselves. It has already been quoted during the debate, but I think that it will bear repetition. I refer to a statement in the publication entitled, New South Wales’ Picturesque Resorts: Convenient to the Railways. The very heading is catching. “Picturesque Resorts”! One scarcely goes to a cold, blizzard-swept place, such as Dalgety has been declared to be, when in search of a picturesque resort. We find that this publication is respectfully dedicated to Sir Harry H. Rawson, the Governor of New South Wales, and that is in itself a charm. It certainly justifies our looking more closely into the publication. Itis published with the sanction of the Railways Commissioners of New South Wales, whom we all know.
– We have met them.
– I should imagine from the way he speaks that the honorable member has come into contact with them in a manner that is not satisfactory to himself. We all know, however, that the Railways Commissioners of New South
Wales dare not publish anything of this description without the sanction of the State Government. Here then is an official publication, the source of whichwe dare not question, and which refers to Dalgety in unmistakable terms of approval. I do not say that that convinces me that Dalgety should be chosen; I put it merely against the flippant remarks of honorable members who catch colds and other troubles in that place.
– Does not the publication in question deal with summer tours? An ice chest is a good thing to have, but not to sit on all theyear round.
– No doubt it is, and there are times when even some honorable members require an ice chest.
– The honorable member will find that the publication to which he refers gives only the return fares to Kosciusko and Dalgety. It does not quote single fares.
– If I may be guided by the remarks of the honorable member on this particular subject, as well as by those of others who come from Sydney, I can well understand the authorities of that city refusing to allow single railway tickets to be issued to other districts’, and demanding, on each and every occasion, that those who leave shall return to the city that they so much admire. That, I think, is an answer to the honorable member’s suggestion that the failure of the publishers of this book to quote single fares is due to their desire to get people away from Dalgety. It shows rather that they desire more particularly to keep the people in another centre, although they admit, by this very publication, that an occasional holiday can with profit be passed away from the picturesque centre of Sydney.
– Does the book set forth that these trips should be taken during midwinter?
– The time at which they should be taken must depend entirely on the whim of the traveller. It may profit some to take a holiday tour in ‘the winter, while others may prefer a holiday during the summer months.
– I notice in the book to which the honorable member has referred an advertisement by the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. Does the honorable member agree with that advertisement ?
– I am not referring to advertisements which, as the honorable member pointed out in terms of obloquy the other day, are merely a matter of commerce. He should not ask me to commit myself on a subject on which he speaks with so much warmth. The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation, Company’s advertisement in this book might appeal to me precisely as does the conduct of certain newspapers to the honorable member. The official statement in this publication sets forth that -
This much, however, can be said - that the Federal selectors in choosing Dalgety as the site for the Commonwealth Government made an unimpeachable choice.
That statement is as emphatic as it could possibly be. It carries with it the approval, not only of the Railways Commissioners of New South Wales, but of the Government of New South Wales, and, through those two authorities, the indelible stamp pf approval of the people of that State. No one would believe that the people of New South Wales would leave in office men who could commit themselves to a publication of this description if they thought that it was, as the remarks of the honorable member for West Sydney suggest, of a distinctly deceptive character. That, I think, answers the objection that Dalgety is a place from which we should keep as far away as possible. Having read this eulogy, I think *hat every reference of an objectionable character to Dalgety is defamatory of “the New South Wales Government ; maligns the Railways Commissioners of that State, and Impeaches the whole of the people who leave these persons in authority to deceive an unsuspecting public, whether they travel in winter or summer.
– There is not one part of New South Wales that is not referred to in that book in terms of approval.
– Then we must come to the conclusion that if, in respect of Dalgety, this book is a living lie, it is a living lie also with respect to every resort in New South- Wales. According to the honorable member’s own showing, every person who desires to take a. holiday, and seeks- a picturesque resort in which to spend the time necessary to recuperate, must taboo the whole of New South Wales. I hope that the honorable member, as the result of his having spoken in such terms of a State that he so ably represents, will not suffer great damage. I noticed that the honorable member for :North Sydney, in addressing himself to this question, did not enter into any of these objections to Dalgety. He did not raise any flippant objections to it, or refer to it as having a cold and objectionable climate. I arrived at the conclusion that he rebelled, so far as the concert was concerned, against going so far. He merely touched upon what we have been told is the bond, both in spirit and in letter, of the Constitution. It seems to me that the acumen and legal ability of the honorable member for West Sydney, coupled with the dialectic skill of the right honorable member for East Sydney, have led our honorable friend from the North, with his heavy artillery, into a veritable Colenso. I do not know of any situation that is less tenable than the one taken up by these three honorable members when they seek to still further limit our power to choose a site, and to cast odium upon any honorable member who voles for Dalgety, or any other site situated more than about 125 miles from Sydney. We have heard a great deal about the spirit and the letter of the bond, and many honorable members who have spoken seem to have pinned their faith to something which the Premiers are reported to have agreed upon at the Conference held in 1899. We are justified in carrying back our minds to that period, and in reminding the Premiers themselves, who assert that we should be bound by what was done then, that they were called together, not because of any objection by the people of New South Wales themselves, but because of action taken by the Parliament of New South Wales without consulting its constituents. That action seems to me to have been a breach, not merely of the spirit of the bond, but of the very letter of it, and to have been taken with an utter disregard for the compact arrived at at the Conventions, which were of a thoroughly representative character. The New South Wales Parliament showed an utter- disregard for the feelings of a majority of the people of New South Wales when it carried a Bill which demanded that the affirmative votes at. the Federal referendum should be of a given strength. It was that decision alone that caused the Premiers to assemble. We ha.ve that laid down very clearly in the official document put forward for our consideration. Every line and letter of that document, which refers to the alteration made by the Premiers in the draft Constitution, goes to prove that they were bending to the New
South Wales Parliament, that they were yielding to a certain number of politicians who, perhaps - and I do not desire to be severe - were looking for some avenue for changing their minds on the subject of Federation. In the very first paragraph of the memorandum we have the statement that the Premiers have fully considered the amendment suggested in the resolutions passed by the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales. They were not considering the wishes of the people of New South Wales, or anything but the resolutions of the two Houses of the Parliament of that State. They assembled for no other reason than because that Parliament had deliberately broken a compact in spirit and in letter. They say-
With regard to the resolutions -
Not with regard to any negative or affirmative vote of the people of New South Wales, but with regard to the resolutions of the two Houses. Then follow a few explanatory remarks by which it is sought to bind honorable members in the selection of a site. They say -
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.
Had the Premiers stopped there, all would have been well. That was a very proper expression of what should be done. But they continued - but in view of the strong expression of opinion in relation to this matter in New South Wales -
Here the preliminary canter gets a bit ricketty.
– There had just been a vote taken in New South Wales in regard to the acceptance of the Constitution.
– I am aware of that, and of the fact that a majority voted for its acceptance.
– I suppose, too, that the honorable member knows that there was in force an Act for preventing its acceptance on the vote of a bare majority.
– I have said that such an Act was passed by the New South Wales Parliament, which thereby directly broke the agreement with the other States, in letter and in spirit. That I deeply regret, and so, no doubt, does the honorable member. Had that action not been taken, this Parliament would have been free to locate the Federal Capital where it thought best, and the probability is that Sydney would have been chosen for the Seat of Government. The debarring of Sydney under the present Constitution is to be laid at the door of leading New South Wales politicians of the day, who prevented the compact from being agreed to. The Premiers’ statement says that -
In view of the strong expression of opinion in relation to this matter in New South Wales -
And here, as I pointed out, their preliminary canter becomes a little ricketty. There had been nostrong expression of opinion in New South Wales; the only strong expression of opinion was on the part of the two Houses of Parliament, whose members had not been before their constituents in reference to this matter, and were consequently not in a position to voice their views. The language employed is deceptive, in that it would lead a casual reader to think that there had been a strong expression of opinion by the State, whereas the Conference assembled wholly because of the resolutions passed by the Parliament, which had acted in this matter without authority from its constituents. The docu- ment proceeds- the Premiers have modified the clause.
Why is the word “modified” used? It seems to me that it was used in order to let some one out who had given an emphatic “ no,” and who desired to give an equally emphatic “yes.” The use of the word “ modify “ seems to me almost an abuse of its proper meaning, unless we take it to signify that the intention was to place the Federal Capital as far as possible from Sydney. That interpretation gives colour to the words which follow, and strengthens the impression which some honorable members, at least, have gained, that there was a desire to taboo Sydney, and to fix the Capital as far from it as possible, though within the limits of the State.
– Then the words “ reasonable distance “ are to be taken to mean as far away as we can get?
– I shall deal with those words presently - I hope in what the right honorable member will consider a reasonable way. The original possibility was that the Seat of Government might be placed in Sydney, and the effect of the modification was to remove that possibility. The Premiers said that the Capital should not be located in Sydney, or in its, neighbourhood. We ought almost to be asked for a definition of “ neighbourhood.” I have heard it defined, in relation to some persons, as at least 1,000 miles.
– The provision that the Seat of Government shall be in a territory of 100 square miles shows that all the big cities were barred. We could not get 100 square miles in any of the capitals.
– No; but it would have been possible to secure 100 square miles containing one of the capitals.
– That was not intended by the Convention.
– The right honorable member knows as well as I do that the Convention left the choosing of the ‘Federal Capital absolutely to the Federal Parliament.
– After a great fight as to whether the Federal Capital should be in a country district, or in a big city, the Convention determined to adopt the 100 square miles stipulation, in order to bar the big cities from selection.
– The honorable and learned member for Bendigo says in his book that Victoria insisted on these modifications.
-I have a great admiration for the honorable and learned member, and when his book appeared, read it hungrily. But his statements do not limit the powers of this Parliament in any way, though they may assist to form the opinions of honorable members upon the subjects with which the work so luminously deals.I am not concerned about what was intended. My business is with the existing powers of this Parliament. The right honorable member for East Sydney seems to have taken a prominent part in limiting those powers. He asserts that the draft agreement of the Convention limited therm in respect to the selection of the Federal Capital. But it reads -
The Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be determined by the Parliament, and shall be within territory . . . vested in and belonging to the Commonwealth.
There is no limitation. There is an apparent limitation respecting the minimum area, but the Parliament is left free to acquire territory anywhere within the Commonwealth, and might have chosen either Sydney or Melbourne as the Seat of Government. The assembled Premiers tabooed Sydney and its neighbourhood. I regret that three of those who signed the memorandum have since passed away. I had not the privilege of knowing either Mr. Dickson or Sir Edward Braddon, but after an acquaintance of many years with Mr. Kingston, I do not hesitate to express the opinion that his death was a great national loss to Australia. The Premiers tabooed
Sydney and its neighbourhood - that place was anathema to them - and they provided that the Seat of Government should be at a reasonable distance from it. Every word leads one to suppose that that was their intention, and each was speaking on behalf of his State. Apparently they desired to place the Federal Capital as far as possible from Sydney, but within the territory of New South Wales. Honorable members cannot but be impressed with the wording of this provision in connexion with which concerted action has been taken to limit our already limited powers. When the honorable member for North Sydney was speaking he put the cart before the horse, byclaiming that the provision regarding reasonable distance was subsequent to thatdeclaring that the Capital should be not less than 100 miles fromSydney. Consequent upon tabooing Sydney, the Premiers agreed that the Capital site shall be- distant not less than one hundred miles from Sydney.
I cannot conceive of language more clear.
– It must be 100 miles, but it might be 500 miles, from Sydney .
– It must not be within 100 miles ofSydney, but it can be anywhere else within the limits of New South Wales.
– A subsequent memorandum says that that was not intended.
– Can the honorable member give me a copy of that memorandum? I know of none which gives any explanation of what was meant by the Premiers by the words “ reasonable distance.” The honorable member for West Sydney, in his scouting remarks, sought to get a committal statement from the right honorable member for Swan ; but that gentleman, although a member of the Premiers’ Conference, denied any knowledge of the shadowy understanding which had been referred to.
– Surely he did not do that, seeing that the Chairman’s signature certified to it.
– There is no signature.
– Sir George Turner signed the report.
– I have the report signed, by Sir George Turner, the right honorable member for East Sydney, and the rest of the assembled Premiers, but there is absolutely not one word in it which, other than the actual clause that finally found its way into the Constitution, defines the term “ reasonable distance.” The honorable member for West Sydney attempted to draw the right honorable member for Swan into a net by suggesting that there was a private understanding between the assembled Premiers that the term “reasonable distance “ meant, say, 125 miles from Sydney at the outside.
– The right honorable member said that the 100-mile limit meant asnear the 100-mile limit as possible.
– That is the admission that the honorable member attempted to get from the right honorable member for Swan, but he signally failed.
– But we have it from Sir George Turner.
– I shall be pleased to hear Sir George Turner’s reference to the matter if the honorable member will kindly supply me with a copy.
– It was in an interview after he left the House.
– Surely the honorable member would not ask me to commit myself upon an alleged interview with that gentleman ? Fortunately, Sir George Turner is still amongst us, and we are able, if necessary, to get an expression of opinion from him even now. I assure the honorable member for Parramatta that if he can obtain a statement from Sir George Turner in that direction, it will have great influence with me in the decision that I feel myself forced to come to upon the subject.
Mr.Tudor. - Sir George Turner voted for Dalgety.
– That is not the point I am concerned about. The site does not trouble me at present. My point is that the honorable member for West Sydney attempted to commit the right honorable member for Swan to a statement that there was an understanding that the words “ reasonable distance “ meant about 125 miles from Sydney, and that was followed up - and this is why I spoke of concerted action - by the right honorablemember for East Sydney himself, who was one of the Premiers at the Conference, but who, I noticed, did not definitely commit himself in the whole of his remarks to such a statement.
– Hear, hear !
– Now we have an admission from the right honorable member himself that such an understanding did not exist. I need scarcely go any further. The right honorable member carefully refrained from committing himself to the statement which he, together with the honorable member for West Sydney, attempted to draw from the right honorable member for Swan. Had the right honorable member for Swan committed himself in the direction in which they sought to lead him, those two honorable members might have amplified their statements, andwe should possibly have had a definite assurance that that understanding, which up to the present is confessedly of a distinctly shadowy character, actually existed.
– The right honorable member for Swan did not deny it.
– I rely only on what is in black and white in the printed document.
– I am prepared to rely on that also, and in it there is absolutely nothing, except the clause that finally found its way into the Constitution, which defines the term “reasonable distance” used by the assembled Premiers. I am aware that the right honorable member for Swan did not deny what the honorable member for West Sydney suggested. Perhaps it was because his gentlemanly instincts led him to refrain from a distinct denial, but he most certainly said - and that has to be accepted, unless we have proof to the contrary - that he had no recollection whatever of the incident to which the honorable member for West Sydney referred.
– The honorable member does not consider the right honorable gentleman’s delicate position in this matter, otherwise he would deduce from that a great deal more than appears on the surface.
– I am not justified in deducing any honorable member’s position until he has spoken and committed himself. We come back now to the question of “reasonable distance.” That was defined by the Premiers themselves, and no honorable member should ask the House to be bound by a subsequent interpretation of it. The interpretation is - “ Not less than 100 miles ; inside that area, no possibility of fixing the Capital ; outside of it and within New South Wales territory, yes.” I rose with the object of calling attention to that particular point, because we have heard so much about the spirit and letter of the bond. I emphatically object to being subjected to odium, if I give a vote for Dalgety or any other place dis- tant more than 125 miles from Sydney, on account of any alleged understanding, and I strongly protest against any attempt on the part of honorable members, in the interests of some particular part of the Commonwealth, to still further limit our present powers. It has not been my privilege to see either of the sites, so that I cannot presume to interfere in the controversy as to their respective merits. I thank honorable members for their kind attention.
.- 1 hope the honorable member for Adelaide will not think me presumptuous if 1 congratulate him on a most excellent speech - quite the best new member’s utterance that I have ever had the privilege of listening to. I did not intend to speak on this much-debated question, as everything that can be said upon it has already been said, and I should not have done so but for the remarks of the honorable member for Illawarra, for whose opinion with regard to most subjects I have the greatest possible respect. But that honorable member has accused a number of those who sit in this corner of a breach of faith if they vote for the amendment of the honorable member for Parkes. I am one who always likes to keep his word as his bond, and I resent an imputation of that sort. If honorable members will carry their minds back to the original events that led up to the agreement fixing the position of the Federal Capital at not less than 100 miles from Sydney, they will remember that the people of New South Wales were originally desirous of having the Capital in Sydney itself. If, therefore, this House, in its wisdom, decides to make Sydney the Seat of Government for ten years, the people of New South Wales will be given what they originally wanted, and far more than the bond gives them. If a man who undertakes to give me t, I 00 gives me *£7.00 in settlement of the bond, I do not quarrel with him. I have not come across that type of debtor, but that is the type of men» that we are. We propose to give to the people of New South Wales, not a capital outside the 100-mile limit, but a site in Sydney itself for ten years.
– By “ we “ does the honorable member mean the whole corner, or himself?
– I mean the great bulk of the corner.
– That is not so.
– Then perhaps I may be regarded as using the editorial “we” in that case. The corner speaks each man for himself, for unfortunately we have not yet selected a leader. If, in the exigencies of the Commonwealth, it is found to be desirable to defer the selection of a permanent Seat of Government for a short term - and ten years is a short term in ‘the life of a nation - and we give the people of New South Wales far more than the bond gives them by placing the Seat pf Government for a time in their own capital city, we cannot for a moment be accused of want of faith.
– How about tearing up the Constitution?
– I cannot see that it is tearing up the Constitution. The difference between a referendum on a point of this sort and a referendum on a certain other point that may arise in the future is that in this case all that is asked for is the’ temporary alteration of a small technical point, with the condition that afterwards the original provision is to be restored. It simply means waiving the Constitution for ten years, not altering it for ever. Any man of common sense who surveys the present conditions of Australia must come to the conclusion that this is a most inopportune time to select a site. The population of this great country^ has not yet settled itself. I do not think for a moment that the vast areas away to the north, in Queensland, will always be unpeopled as they are .at present. In ten years’ time they will probably have started to people themselves, and’ it mav be found advisable then to have the Capital much further to the north than is contemplated at present.
– Is not the south going to increase at all ?
– It is only natural to expect that the south will not increase in population so rapidly. Unfortunately it has not such large areas fit for settlement as has the north. Another consideration which has great weight with me is that we are not justified at present from a financial point of view in spending so large a sum of money as the establishment of a permanent “Capital would involve. But I agree with the honorable member for Illawarra that if the House again selects Dalgety, it is necessary, in order to keep faith, that the work of building the Capital there should be carried out, and effect given at once to the agreement with the people of New South Wales. The selection of Dalgety should not be used as a quibble, nor should all sorts of excuses be made for not transferring the Parliament there. If we do not give effect to our decision, faithwill be destroyed in the findings of this House. I feel sure that the intentions expressed by the Attorney-General in introducing the Bill will be speedily given effect to if Dalgety is decided upon. I am convinced that, so far from breaking any bargain by voting for the amendment of the honorable member for Parkes, I shall rather be giving more than the bargain provides for, and from that point of view the people of New South Wales as a whole should be delighted if the amendment were carried. Another objection that has often been urged is that there is no possibility of finding temporary accommodation in Sydney. That I regard as only a trumped-up argument; because I feel perfectly certain that in Sydney there are numbers of buildings which could be made available, or, in any case, temporary erections might be provided. Where there is a will there is a way ; and it is certain that the New South Wales people, if they were so inclined, could meet the situation. Failing the amendment, we have to fall back on the sites already submitted, and the information regarding them. Personally I have not been able to visit any of the sites, but I have travelled over a great part of Australia, and know the districts affected. The report which has most weight with me is that by the right honorable member for Swan, who is eminently fitted, from his past surveying and exploring experience, to undertake such a work.
– The right honorable member’s previous work was carried out in the deserts of Western Australia.
– Even work in a desert may fit a man for work in an oasis, and there are doubtless oases in Western Australia ; as a matter of fact, there is some very fine country in: that State.
– Dalgety is a bit better than the Western Australian desert.
– I am surprised to hear such an admission from the honorable member ; and I feel that it almost forms a justification for my voting for Dalgety.
– Does the honorable member think that Dalgety is the best site in New South Wales?
– No, I do not.
– Is that why the honorable member proposes to vote for it ?
– No; but I think it is the best site which has been submitted. I have given a good deal of attention to the matter, and it seems to me that Dalgety bears the palm in many respects. The only question that arises is whether Dalgety is a reasonable distance from Sydney. Sydney representatives admit that Canberra is a reasonable distance away; and it would appear, therefore, that the question narrows itself down to a difference of about 90 miles.
– Canberra is a compromise.
– I do not think so.
– Canberra is not so unreasonably distant as Dalgety.
– That appears to me to be somewhat in the nature of a quibble. At any rate, when the difference is only 90 miles, we ought to fix upon the site which possesses the most advantages in other respects. I rose chiefly to reply to remarks which impute to honorable members who support the amendment, a want of proper spirit in the observance of the bargain which was made by the Premiers.
– If the honorable member thinks that there are better sites than Dalgety in New South Wales, why does he not vote against Dalgety, so as to bring about the ballot the Government propose?
– One of the reasons why I vote for the amendment is mybelief that in ten years’ time we shall discover many better sites than those now submitted.
– This evergreen question is once more before us, and I hope that it will be now definitely settled. The honorable member for Adelaide delivered an interesting speech, and, as it came from a new member, I shall only make one passing reference to it. The honorable member seems to attach a good deal of importance to the fact that Sydney was barred by the Conference of Premiers. I point out to the honorable member that, when that Conference was called, Sydney was not barred, and that the Premiers had full opportunity to nominate Sydney, when it would have been for the Premier of New South Wales to determine whether he would accept the nomination. It was the Conference that barred Sydney ; and I heard Sir George Turner say, in course of conversation, that a radius of 80 miles was suggested, but that he objected to it on the ground that the Capital might then be placed at Moss Vale. It would appear, therefore, that Sir George Turner was under the impression- indeed, he subsequently stated so - that the Capital site should be fixed somewhere near the limit of 100 miles. The Constitution pro- vides that the Capital shall be “ within territory which shall have been granted or acquired”; and I ask whether the site now proposed has been granted by the State ofNew South Wales. The Bill appears to acknowledge the force of the argument I am advancing, inasmuch as provision is made for accepting territory when it has been granted. Apparently, New South Wales has a right or claim in respect of the territory within which the Federal Capital shall be established; and, if so, I support the State. On the other hand, if New South Wales has no right or claim in this connexion, I have no more to say. Further, if territory is chosen which has not been set aside by the New South Wales Government, but is, on the other hand, opposed by them as unsuitable for the purpose, it will be the duty of the Premier of the State to at once put the machinery in motion to test the action of the Commonwealth Parliament.
– No one takes any exception to that; the Commonwealth has power to “ acquire “ territory.
– That is the alternative. Even the lawyers decline to give any definite opinion as to the proper interpretation of the section of the Constitution which deals with this matter ; but I, as a layman, take the meaning to be that, in the case of New South Wales declining to grant any territory - expressing a disinclination for the Commonwealth to establish the Federal Capital within that State - then the Commonwealth Parliament has the power to acquire territory for the purpose.
– Was the alternative not inserted to meet just that very case?
– I think so, though a lawyer might give a different opinion. Those who had the privilege of sitting in the first Federal Parliament had the opportunity of hearing the opinions of honorable members who are now Justices of the High Court. I remember hearing the opinion of Sir Edmund Barton, and I know the opinions of the other gentlemen ; but those opinions might not prove the same as deliberate expressions from the Bench, where they have the responsibility of interpreting the Constitution.
– Has a Minister no responsibility ?
– Judges have that responsibility, and would go into the question thoroughly before giving a finding. The responsibility of a Minister is a matter on whichI feel very strongly; and the
Government ought to have an opinion on the question of the Capital site. It would appear on looking through the Bill that they have some opinion of the kind, because the scope of the Bill is set down -
To determine more definitely the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth in the neighbourhood of Dalgety.
Those words must be inserted in order to prevent our inserting any other name but that of Dalgety ; and, therefore, the Government apparently intend to stand by that site. I have no complaint on that score ; but if the Commonwealth Parliament makes this Bill law, then I think the Premier of New South Wales should test the claims of that State in the High Court. When, however, the High Court shall have decided, there should be no more delay. I differ from those who think that Dalgety is the most suitable site, though I think it could be adapted to the purpose. In my opinion, however, Bombala would be the better site, because it is so much nearer to the sea; to which we ought to have access. If we select Dalgety, however, I do not think we are entitled to an outlet to the sea; and, for that reason, I regard Canberra as the best site, owing to its accessibility to a finer port than Twofold Bay. I have in my hand a faithfully-drawn plan, showing the depths of water and so forth in both Twofold Bay and Jervis Bay, and the latter has a great advantage, seeing that in the case of the former there must be immense expenditure for dredging. We know that Jervis Bay is big enough for target practice of the great ironclads of the navy, and on that and other grounds I can conceive of no better site than Canberra from the point of view I am now presenting. But the best site of all is at Lyndhurst, which our solid party voted for upon every opportunity. I understand that the. “ numbers are up”; and if Dalgety is chosen, we have the promise of the Prime Minister given on the floor of the House that the work will be proceeded with at once. I disagree with those who believe that large sums will be necessary for the establishment of the Capital. Of course, there must be expenditure wherever we go; for instance, in the erection of a printing and other Government offices. The Federal roots are being firmly embedded in Victoria. We are spending here enormous sums of money, with the result that the removal of the Seat of Government must entail very great loss. The longer we remain here the more difficult it will be for us to shift the Seat of Government. I venture to assert that if we remain here for another ten years, even those most strongly in favour of the establishment of the Capital in New South Wales will be found opposed to our removal on the ground that it would involve too great an outlay. If we were to make Sydney the Seat of Government for the next ten years, there would be just as keen an interest shown in inducing Parliament to. remain there as is displayed by Victorians in keeping us here. In these circumstances, I am of opinion that the Constitution should be adhered to. The framers of it thought that it would be advisable to have the Seat of Government established outside any of the existing State capitals, and we ought to respect their determination. The laying out of the Federal city would cost less than is generally supposed if we were to hold, at the outset, an international exhibition. Such an exposition is really a first-class uptodate city in full going order. The Chicago Exposition is a case in point. The exhibition buildings contained in themselves the essentials of a city life, and yet they were demolished.
– They were put up only to be pulled down again.
Mr. HENRY WILLIS. That is so. In building the exhibition we might have an eye to the erection of permanent structures necessary for art galleries and other public purposes, and in that way we should save a very considerable outlay.
– Where would the visitors come from?
– Exhibits would come from all parts of the world, and so would visitors. Hundreds of thousands of people are ever ready to visit an exhibition, and, as a matter of fact, such displays are constantly being held all over the world. When travelling some fewyears ago, I found in full swing on the Continent exhibitions of which the people of Australia had heard nothing. At the close of the Chicago Exposition many of the exhibits displayed there were sent to San Francisco, where another exhibition, of which we heard practically nothing, was held.
– Where would the honorable member house the visitors?
– Public enterprise would provide ample accommodation. At various watering-places on the Con tinent, buildings which cost thousands to erect are destroyed at the close of the season. At one such place in Holland I saw magnificent buildings demolished when the season closed. Some years ago a great exhibition was held in Melbourne. We have still an interesting relic of it in the buildings in the Exhibition Gardens, where some of the exhibits arestill to be seen, and, though out of date, make a most interesting display. The Exhibition Building here was considered to be good enough for the ceremony incidental to the opening of the First Federal Parliament, and I am sure that if my suggestion were adopted much of the cost of laying out the Federal city would be borne by people from other parts.
– We should save rent that we are now paying, which is equal to interest on £200,000.
– Possibly we should. It is to be hoped that the suggestion that I have made may be adopted, and an international exhibition be organized. There seems to be at present a great deal of waste, due to the division of Federal interests in the cities of the several States, and I think that economies would be effected by the centralization of those interests in the Federal Capital. Some people imagine that the population of the new city would be for many years very small. Possibly it would, but that is no reason why we should not speedily carry out the provisions of the Constitution in this respect, thus establishing a better feeling on the part of the people of New South. Wales towards Federation and causing our national life to expand.
– Hitherto I have not had an opportunity to address myself to this question, and consequently I think it is a duty that I owe to the House and my constituents to state on this occasion why I think we should speedily arrive at a decision as to the site of the Federal Capital. I do not intend to criticise the motives that have actuated honorable members in determining to support the selection of certain sites, or in assuming certain positions with respect to this question. I take it that every honorable member has a right to arrive at his own conclusions in his own way, and it is not a matter of concern to mewhether honorable members have come to their several decisions by satisfying themselves which of the suggested sites is the best,or because they feel bound by the decision of a conference of gentlemen who at the time represented the States of the Union. Those are matters that must be settled by the representatives of the people themselves. My view is that every honorable member should arrive at an independent decision. We, as a Parliament, are charged with the responsibility of fixing the site of the Capital, and the only instructions we have are that it shall not be located within 100 miles of Sydney. Subject to that limitation, and to the further limitation that it shall be in New South Wales, the Parliament may establish the Capital wherever it thinks fit. We may be influenced - and some have a right to foe so influenced - by the opinions expressed bv others, but we are responsible only to our constituents, subject to the Constitution under which this Parliament has been brought into existence. ‘We have nothing to guide us but the conditions . in the Constitution, that the ‘Capital shall not be within 100 miles of Sydney, and that it shall be within New South Wales. It is from that point of view that I propose to consider the different sites that have been suggested. Before doing so, however, I wish to make reference to the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Parkes. This Parliament is charged with the responsibility of carrying out the duties intrusted to it by the Constitution, and amongst those duties is the settlement of the question of the Federal Capital. The honorable member for Parkes proposes that the provision of the Constitution which governs the action of Parliament in dealing with this matter shall be referred to a referendum of the people for amendment. I do not >think that any advantage is to be gained by the amendment suggested. I fail to see how we shall be advantaged by remaining for two years in Melbourne, on the condition that at the end of that time we shall proceed to Sydney, and remain there for a further term of ten years. If it is wrong, and some hold that it is, that the Parliament should meet in Melbourne, because there is a probability of its being dominated by the opinions of the people of this State, and by the city press, “it would be equally wrong for us to go :to Sydney, and to be subjected to similar influences there. I have no sympathy with any amendment of the Constitution which would place us in such a position. I think that it is the wish of the people that we should select as early as possible a site which would become Federal territory, and where we .should not be subject to the influence or domination of any State press. For these reasons I have no sympathy with the amendment. The only amendment of the Constitution for which I should have any sympathy would be one te vary the restriction as to the selection of a site not less than 100 miles from Sydney. Whilst not in favour of the proposal that the Capital should be in> either Sydney or Melbourne, I do say that there are sites within less than 100 miles of Sydney that are better than any that have come under my notice. If I were able, I should be very glad to move - and I gave notice of such a motion last session - that a referendum be taken, with a view to securing an amendment of the Constitution in the direction I have just mentioned. There are sites near the city of Sydney which would be eminently suitable for the Federal Capital - sites such as Mossvale, and others-
– Or the Hawkesbury.
– The Hawkesbury, National Park, Kurringai Chase, and others, might very well be considered. The people of Australia are anxious that a. settlement shall be arrived at, and although there is a disability imposed by the 100-miles limit, I think something should be done, and that, so far as the Constitution provides, we should fix the site of the Capital. No doubt Parliament has considered, in its wisdom, that the selection of a site at an earlier stage would not be so desirable as now. This question has been before the House on more than one occasion, but for reasons for which some one is responsible, nothing definite has taken place, further than that in 1904 it was determined that Dalgety was the most suitable site. The Government have now made what we have a. right to regard as an honest proposal to proceed with this work. The Attorney .-General, in moving the second reading of the Bill, said that the Government were prepared - and I do not know that we should thank them very much - to accept an amendment providing for the omission of the word “ Dalgety,’1 with a view to the insertion of the name of some other site. The House will thus be afforded an opportunity to consider various sites which have been reported upon, if is only fair to the AttorneyGeneral that I should say that he gave a very careful resume of what has led up to the present position, and I am quite prepared to accept as correct his explanations of what led up to our powers in this regard being defined. We are charged with the responsibility of selecting the site which we consider the most suitable, and must not shirk that duty. The time has arrived for dealing with this and other important matters, which I am glad to see on the businesspaper, and the people of New South Wales, and of Australia, want to. know what site we are ‘ going to select. In choosing a site we must be guided by cer- ‘ tain fixed principles. The chosen site should, if possible, be centrally situated. If a site which would be geographically central cannot be chosen, we should select one which would as nearly as possible be in the centre of population, having regard not so much to its distribution at the present day as to that of the future.” Then we must consider questions of climate. The Seat of Government should have an agreeable climate, both for the sake of those whose business will- cause them to reside there, and to attract others who will make it their home, and help to improve it. Regard must also be paid to the character and productiveness of the soil, so that those charged with the laying out of the place can count upon the assistance of nature in the making of it as healthful and pleasant as possible. Water supplyis also of great importance. We should select a place which has a good water supply, or one for which a water supply could be easily obtained. We also need a site where good granite, stone, clay, and other building material can be got. ‘ Then means of access must be considered, as the Capital should be easily visited from other places. I hope, .without wearying the House, to show how the principal sites are affected by these considerations, and to set forth my reasons for the vote I shall give. Albury, Armidale, Bathurst, Bombala, Lake George, Lyndhurst, Tumut, Orange, Canberra, and Dalgety have all been spoken of as suitable sites ; but in this debate the discussion has practically been confined to the relative merits of Armidale - which were dwelt upon by the honorable member for New England - Canberra, and Dalgety. Each site has its special advantages and qualifications. Armidale has a beautiful climate, Canberra is the most centrally situated and easiest of access under present conditions, while Dalgety has the best water, supply. On the other hand,
Armidale is not considered central - though it is more central than it is thought by many to be - and its water supply is believed to be inadequate. So, too, is that of Canberra, while the climate of Dalgety is spoken of as too severe, and its position is not central. Let me deal with the disabilities of the sites in their order. As to the position of Armidale, I would point out that we must consider, not merely the present distribution of population-, but its probable distribution fifty years hence, because we are not legislating merely for the immediate future. Our experience shows that the< population of Australia is moving northwards. New South Wales is developing faster in her northern half, and particularly on her northern rivers, than in her southern half, while Queensland is attracting more population than Victoria. People are flocking from the south to the northern rivers of New South Wales, and from there and elsewhere to Queensland. They go to Queensland partly because the Parliament of that State has very wisely offered special inducements to those who wish to settle on the land. I am sorrythat the Parliaments of the other States have not followed its example. We must also have regard to the probable development of the Northern Territory. Although to-day it is practically blank, it may become thickly populated if wiselyadministered under good laws. Therefore,, it would probably be a great mistake to place the Federal Capital too far to thesouth. It may be contended that we cannot forecast the future, but we are bound to look ahead. At the present time, Armidale is 365 miles by rail from Sydney, 372- from Brisbane, and 942 from Melbourne, the journeys occupying respectively, 14, 16, and 3.1 ;hours. It is, however, proposed to make a line from Wellington to WerrisCreek, which will shorten the distance front Melbourne to Armidale by 133 miles, making it only 809 miles. From Adelaide, when the line from Cobar to Broken Hill and that from Wellington to Werris Creek are made, the distance will be 1,080 miles;, it is now 1,4.17 miles. I am dealing with the distances from the Capitals of the States, because to get from one State to another it is, in nearly every case, necessary to commence the journey from the Capital. It has been suggested that accessibility by water should also be taken into consideration. Well, Armidale can be connected with Coffs Harbor by a railway Of 157 miles.
– Is that a good harbor ?
– Yes ; not in all weathers, though it is to be improved, so that vessels will be able to get in at all times, and steamers large enough to trade with the Old Country may call there for produce. Canberra is 204 miles by rail from Sydney, 929 from Brisbane, and 576 from Melbourne; but the distance from Melbourne” can be shortened to 431 miles. From Adelaide it is now 914 miles, but that distance may be reduced to 769 miles. Dalgety is 298 miles from Sydney, 1,023 from Brisbane, and 607 from Melbourne; but if it were connected with the Bairnsdale line, it would be only 373 miles from Melbourne. It is at present 1,227 miles from Adelaide, but this distance is capable of being reduced to 993 miles. I have taken these figures from the official reports which have been submitted to honorable members, so that they may be looked upon as correct. I mentioned that climate should be taken into account in considering the agreeableness of a site. I find that the mean summer temperature of Armidale is 79.6 degrees, winter 35.2 ; Canberra, summer 69.7, winter 45; Dalgety, summer 63.3, and winter 42.2.
– Those figures are not correct.
– The mean shade temperature at Armidale during spring, summer, autumn, and winter has been respectively 57-6, 68.1, 56.7, and 44.1. They are from the reports submitted to honorable members. If they are not correct, those who laid the reports on the table should be held ‘ responsible. The climate of a place is also affected by its altitude. Armidale is 3,450 feet, Canberra 1,900 feet, and Dalgety 2,650 feet above sea-level. Dalgety’s coldness may perhaps be accounted for byits distance south, combined with its great altitude. The Commissioners, in their report, say -
With regard to climate, in our opinion, Dalgety may be ranked as somewhat better than Bombala, but not equal to Armidale.
The rainfall of these three places must also be considered, because upon it depends largely the productiveness as well as the beauty and water supply of a place. Armidale has an average rainfall of 32.65 inches, Canberra 23 inches, and Dalgety 27.18 inches. A feature that has been considered perhaps more than any other in the discussion of the Capital site is that of water supply. The officers who have been charged with furnishing reports for the New South Wales Government have assumed that a city, such as we hope the Capital will be, will contain within . a reasonable time a population of not more than 50,000 people, and on that assumption they have made their calculations as to water supply. Armidale has three sources of supply - the Guyra River, 25 miles distant; the Woolomombi 23 miles distant; and the McDonald River, 34 miles distant. With regard to these -
In the Guyra catchment there are 80 square miles of hilly country, sparsely populated, with a minimum rainfall of 25 inches. The estimated water available for catchment is 2,610,000,000 gallons, or, after allowing for evaporation, sufficient for 57,000 persons.
The combined sources of the Guyra, Woolomombi, and McDonald Rivers would, with suitable storage, provide a water supply sufficient for 480,000 persons.
Sufficient water to give power for generating electricity for lighting, &c, can be obtained from Muddy and Chandlers Rivers, 24 miles distant, or from the Apsley River, 35 miles distant.
Those figures are sufficient to show that nature, assisted by human skill, has made ample provision for a plentiful water supply at Armidale. The Canberra site is better provided with water supply than I Wa given to suppose. It is generally stated that that site labours under serious disadvantage in that regard, but Mr. Wade, the Chief Engineer of New South Wales, in his report on the subject, says -
The Cotter River is the most suitable source for a water supply. If the catchment area, no square miles, were used to its fullest capacity it would be capable of affording by gravitation a supply of 5,000,000 gallons per day to a city of 250,000 persons.
– Since then gaugings have been taken for seven months of the Cotter and Mowamba Rivers. The Cotter yields more than twice as much as the Mowamba
– I am glad to hear that the flow of water in the Cotter River is even greater than is stated in Mr. Wade’s report -
The area is contiguous to the city, and for maintenance of purity of supply is unsurpassed.
In addition to the supply just referred to, large additional quantities of water can be supplied from the Murrumbidgee by pumping.
By the erection of a dam at the bend below Molonglo River junction with the Murrumbidgee, a large body of water could be conserved in the two rivers, and by means of low weirs in the. Molonglo River boating could be made possible throughout the proposed Federal territory at Canberra and up the Murrumbidgee River for a distance of from 40 to 50 miles.
I have always been led to believe that the water supply of the Dalgety site was beyond comparison with that of any other
Seat of [REPRESENTATIVES.] Government Bill. place, but the figures do not bear out that assertion. The Commissioners, in their report on page 316 of. the Parliamentary Papers, say -
It is proposed to obtain the primary water supply (that is for a population of 50,000) from the Mowamba River, which is the nearest gravitation source to the City site, being distant about 13-A miles.
We have always been told that it would only be necessary to go to the back door and draw water out of the Snowy River.
– The finest water supply is at Tooma.
– I have no information as to that site, nor have I visited it, but I was under the impression that a gravitation scheme could be got for Dalgety at a nearer distance than 13J miles -
Supplementary supplies would be derived from Crakenback, Eucumbene, and Snowy Rivers, which at the points of off-take would each be distant from the City site about 25 miles. When extension beyond the primary supply becomes necessary it may be advisable to compare the cost of pumping by water power from the Snowy River, a short distance above the Site, and above 2 miles from the proposed service reservoir.
The lift required to give a suitable pressure would be about 400 feet.
Water power for electric lighting purposes, &c, could be obtained from the Snowy River, a little above the City site, and additional power could be obtained from the same river about 25 miles distant.
It is only fair to say that each of those three sites has a water supply quite equal’ to what would be required by a Federal Capital for a number of years,” but Dalgety has not the only water supply in Australia, for there are other rivers besides the Snowy which can give a sufficiency of water. The advantages of Dalgety in that respect have been somewhat over-stated. The matter of building material is also important. Armidale has granite, clay for brickmaking, and sand ; while, as regards timber, hardwood and hoop pine are obtainable in close proximity. That site is deficient as regards building material. There is nothing in the reports to show the existence of a supply of freestone suitable for building purposes. The granite found there has been used only for sills and steps, and lias not been tried for building purposes. I. understand that the clay is all right for brickmaking, but the coal supply is a considerable distance away. At’ Canberra, there is granite, and the local people claim that the freestone is suitable for building, but the report shows that the best freestone available anywhere near the site comes from
Marulan. I had an opportunity of seeing the stone used in the local buildings, but it is not fair to form a judgment from that, because I understand that it was taken from near the surface, and was not a fair specimen. I believe that in the Black Mountain, between Canberra and Goul- burn, there is found . a stone which is similar to the bluestone used in Melbourne, and which is claimed to be quite equal to it. If so, it is very valuable, but there is nothing in the reports to bear out that assertion. At Canberra, there is also lime in any quantity, sand and gravel, and clay suitable for brickmaking. The timber isof the class usually found in southern, country, but it is not useful for buildingpurposes. Hardwood timber would have to be carried some distance. The site which shows the best results, so far as soil and’ productiveness are concerned, is Armidale.. It produces wheat and other cereals, maize, potatoes, and fruit. At Canberra the settlershave gone in for cereals, and farming generally is carried on to someextent ; but at Dalgety I could not see that any agriculture was carried on, nor is thereanything in the reports to show it. Thecountry that we travelled over seemed tolend itself more to pastoral than to agricultural purposes. Those are all facts which honorable members should take intoconsideration before forming an opinion as., to the site for the Capital. I am not in favour of Dalgety, and, when the opportunity offers, I shall vote for the deletion! of its name from the Bill, with the idea of substituting another site. I am sure thathonorable members will give serious consideration to the different proposals now before them, for the House knows that- itowes it to the people of Australia, and particularly to those of New South Wales, that this question should be settled. We, as. representatives of the people, have not only a responsibility, but a duty in the matter, and we are also suffering under disabilities by being located in a city and” also in premises which are not our own. We acknowledge the generosity of thepeople of Victoria in allowing us thesecostly premises rent free, and also a residence for the Governor-General ; and wo are certainly indebted to them for putting themselves to the inconvenience of findingother premises for the purposes of their own Parliament. I do not think that the people of Victoria are receiving that great amount of benefit from the presence of theFederal Parliament that some people suggest. However, there should be a Federal -
Capital, and we are charged with the responsibility of selecting one. This is the third or fourth time the matter has been before us ; and I hope that no attempt will be made to thwart what is the will of the people and, I hope, the will of the Government. I shall be glad if, during this session, Parliament adds another to its achievements by selecting that Capital site which will reflect the genuine views of honorable members and be acceptable to the Commonwealth generally.
– I am sorry that, in consequence of illness, the Minister of Trade and Customs is not in his place this afternoon. I always desire to refrain from speaking harshly of a man behind his back - -if I have nasty things to say about a man I like to say them right to his face. The other night that honorable gentleman gave us a good lecture on the national as opposed to the provincial aspect of this question, and then, in order to show his own national spirit, he urged us to vote for a site in his own electorate. If a man can squeeze himself to any narrower limits than that, I have no idea what provincialism is.
– Both Canberra and Dalgety are in the constituency of the Minister of Trade and Customs.
– We are not tied down to these two sites ; the whole of New South Wales, within certain constitutional limits, is open to us.’ The Minister of Trade and Customs accused the honorable member for Brisbane of provincialism because the latter advocated a site which is more central find happens to be a little nearer to Brisbane than Dalgety ; in fact, he had the impudence to go so far as to say that if Queensland members did not vote for Dalgety the sugar duties would be reconsidered and probably repealed.
– That would not lie with the Minister of Trade and Customs.
– I am well aware of that, but the narrowness of his mind is shown when he introduces such an argument in an endeavour to force honorable mambers to vote for Dalgety. It is right that this House should fix the Seat of Government as provided in the Constitution accepted by the people of Australia.
– We selected a site four years ago.
– Then I wonder why the question is brought up to-day, again.
Evidently there is a lack of desire on the part of the Government to carry out the mandate of the House.
– I think there is a lack of desire on the part of any one to go to Dalgety !
– I am with the Treasurer there, because I have no desire to go. As has already been said, honorable members should be actuated by national ideals, and their object should be to select a site that will be of the greatest benefit to the greatest number of the inhabitants of Australia. I have no sympathy at all with the feeling which has been worked up between Sydney and Melbourne. The time is not far distant when, if this feeling is propagated - if this game of “ pulldevilpullbaker “ does not cease between two States which are trying to dominate the Commonwealth - the outside States will have to step in and put an end to it. Let us hope that the selection of the Capital Site will be definitely made, and the erection of the city proceeded with, and also that the possession of Federal territory may have a tendency to create - if it be not in existence already - a national spirit amongst honorable members and Australians generally. Our objection to the Seat of Government being continually in Melbourne does not arise from envy of anyfinancial benefits the Melbourne people may derive; in fact, I think the financial gain in this connexion is very small. My desire is to ratify the agreement entered into by the people of Australia when they federated, and provide a Capital city of our own. While we continue to conduct our business in any of the large capitals we must allow for the influence of environment, which will certainly bc manifested and reflected somewhat in our legislation. There is, therefore, a good deal of justification tr.r the early provision of the Capital. It is very necessary, to my mind, that the Capital should have access to the sea and to a good harbor; and there are several such sites in New South Wales. As to the few sites already advocated, I think that Dalgety is the least desirable. Nature never intended the Eden-Monaro district to be thickly peopled, or otherwise there would have been a population there years ago. Ben Boyd, many years ago, tried to boom’ the district by the expenditure of a large sum of money, but failed. In a pamphlet issued by some one with the object of describing the beauty spots of this territory, we find the following -
Historical records show that Twofold Bay was discovered by Bass on 19th December, 1797, and was surveyed by him the following year, while it was also recorded that there was a settlement there in 1834; but the early history 0/ the locality is practically a recital of the doings of Ben Boyd from the time of his arrival in this State in 1840 up to the time of his death at the hands of the Solomon Islanders in 1851.
Ben Boyd spent a lot of money in trying to establish settlement at Twofold Bay and district, and there are monuments standing there now 1.0 the memory of his folly in attempting to go against the laws of natura. The Mercury, published- at Cooma, gives eleven reasons why Dalgety should be selected, and this is one of them -
Incidentally, it may be mentioned that the proposed site is nearer to “Sydney than to Melbourne; that of all the proposed sites it is the one the cession of which will deprive New South Wales of the least population; and that it comprises a region which has, in recent years at least, cost New South Wales more than it yielded in taxation, therefore me monetary loss to New South Wales will be nil.
The Twofold. Bay Magnet expresses similar views. Here we see how, in spite of all the money spent by the Government, people show no desire to live in the district ; and yet we are asked to accept territory there for the purposes of the* Federal Capital. An inspection of Dalgety made a very poor impression on my mind - and I went there with sn open mind, as one from a distant State, with the one object of selecting the best site possible. The first thing that attracted my attention after having passed through some fairly fertile country on the way to Dalgety was the sand drift on the road. There were net-wire fences along the road for the purpose, I suppose, of checking the spread of the rabbits, and I noticed that there had been a ramp formed by the sand drift on the right-hand side up to the top of the fence. When we came back over the same road the next day we found that the sand had shifted from one side to the other, and had formed a similar ramp. That struck me as an indication of a very high wind, though my own experience rendered no further evidence necessary. When we were driving over to visit the site we found the wind so severe that it took us all our time to hold on; but we were told. “ Oh ! this is nothing; you should have been here last week.” I noticed two or three birds which had flown up against- the fencing, and the wind was so strong that they found it impossible to get away. Those birds, I believe, are there to-day. Another indication of the strong winds that rage there is to be found in the fact that wire fences have to be anchored by means of wires thrown across them at different points, - and weighted with large stones. As we neared the proposed site of the Capital, we found patches of stunted timber. The tallest trees I saw were not more than 12 or 14 feet high, and I noticed that nature had provided them with trunks which at their base were from 6 to 12 feet in diameter, so that they might withstand the prevailing winds. Any tree which had had the temerity, so to speak, to grow fairly high had been bent over till its top reached the ground. Banyans, or in other words, trees with both their extremities in the ground, could be seenthere growing to perfection. The site is covered with a number of granite boulders, and so far as I could learn, the subsoil consists pretty well of granite. That being so, the cost of draining the city, and of making excavations necessary, to the erection of large buildings, would be enormous. It seems to me that the cost would make it almost impossible to beautify the site. I come now to the question of water supply, to which perhaps, having regard’ to the importance that honorable membersattach to it, I should have referred before. I have no hesitation in saying that if Dalgety be selected as the site of the Capital, future householders there will curse those who made that selection, and chiefly because of the faulty water supply. During the last twenty-five years I have had occasion to seriously interest myself in thequestion of the suitability of water for domestic and other purposes, and as the result of mv experience am confident that the water to be obtained in the neighbourhood of Dalgety is so highly charged with magnesia or alum as to be unfit for domesticpur noses.
– Does the magnesia comedown with the snow?
– Wherever they comefrom the substances I have mentioned are to be found in the water. There is a good lot of water there, but not a lot of good” water.
– Has the honorable member any analysis of the water obtainablethere?
– So far as I ran ascertain no analyses have been published” by those who have reported upon the site.
I do not need analyses to justify me in condemning such water as I saw in the Snowy River, in the neighbourhood of Dalgety. Whilst we were there the. representative of the district in the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales sought to demonstrate to us the magnificent opportunities for bathing which the river afforded, and had it not been for some of the visitors he would most assuredly have been drowned. I noticed on the occasion of our visit a church about 24 feet wide by 40 feet long with a chimney that extended across its full width.
– What did the honorable member think that was for?
– Most chimneys are used to carry off smoke from fires, and judging by the size of that chimney a very large fire must be necessary in the building in question. Queenslanders look at these matters more closely than do others, because theycome from a warm climate, and find that of Melbourne is trying enough, to say nothing of a wind-swept desert such as is Dalgety.
– If the climate of Dalgety is worse than that of Melbourne, I shall vote against the site.
– We found a section of the people very anxious to convince us that on the occasion of cur visit we had struck a particularly bad day. It appears to me that every Parliamentary party that has gone there has had the same experience. All have chanced to strike a blizzard or, at all events, a very cold wind. One occasionally picks up information quite unexpectedly, and I recall the fact that when I complained to a local resident of the severity of the weather, he replied unthinkingly - “Call this cold? You ought to have been here last week ! “ We were also informed that, during the previous week, a coach had been overturned whilst traversing the route that we had followed. Any Queenslander who votes for Dalgety will betray the best interests of his State. When the honorable member for Brisbane was speaking a few nights ago, the honorable member for Kennedy interjected that there was a time in the history of the House when the representatives of Queensland were solid and united. Fortunately or unfortunately, the population of Queensland was not behind those representatives in their solidity.
Mr. McDonald. - What about the late Mr. Macdonald-Paterson and the honorable member for Oxley ?
– At all events, the people did not indorse the action of those who preceded some of the present representatives of the State in this House. If our choice is narrowed down to Dalgety and Canberra, I shall vote for the latter. “That site, with its accessibility to Jervis Bay, one of the finest along the seaboard, is much preferable to Dalgety ; but, to my mind, there is astill better one which has not yet been reported on. I refer to a site in the Hunter River district, with Port Stephens as its port. There is a fine stretch of lakes there and scenery that is unsurpassed by that of any other part of New South Wales.
– Is that the place that occasionally gets under water?
– Part of the Hunter River district is occasionally inundated, but that is regarded by the residents rather as a blessing than a curse, since the floods fertilize the valleys to such an extent that their productivity to-day is equal to what it was 100 years ago. A tour of the district has been arranged, and the programme that has been mapped out is as follows -
Starting from Newcastle one joins the North Shore ferry for Stockton, and drives through delightful country for 16 miles to Salt Ash, at the head of Telligerry Creek, Port Stephens. Here a change of conveyance is made, and the trip continued through the mangrove-lined banks of Telligerry Creek into the open waters of Port Stephens- the Great Harbor of the North. Magnificent views are obtained across extensive sheets of water to Karuah, Nelson’s Bay, the Heads, and Duck Hole. . . . From Tea Gardens a fast oil launch will convey the travellers through the lower Myall River, Nellie’s and Chinamen’s Bays, Grasswafer and Broadwater, the latter being the parting of the ways for Bullahdelah and Bungwahl. Crossing the Broadwater, the Upper Myall River is entered, and 10 miles of winding river scenery, with heavily-timbered banks beautified by innumerable staghorns and clumps of bangalow palms to Bullahdelah, at the foot of the Great Alum Mountain. . . . Those who are prepared for a fair climb may visit the quarries, ascending the tramway incline for the purpose, while for a slightly harder effort a magnificent cycloramic view of river, lake, and bushland is obtained from the very summit of the peak. . . About 9 miles from Bullahdelah, on the Wallamba. River, asplendid view overlooking the Myall Lakes is obtained at O’Sullivan’s Gap. Dense masses of ferns, palms, forest giants covered with creepers, elk, and staghorns are met with everywhere. . . . On the return trip a launch will convey the party across the Wallis Lake to be againpickedup by coach for Smith’s Lake and Bungwahl, at the head of the Great Myall Lake. The launch will then proceed through the Great Myall, Upper,and Lower, Booloombayt to the Broadwater and back, viâ the Lower Myall to Tea Gardens.
I know something of the district therein described, and feel certain that a good site could be obtained within from 30 to 50 miles of Port Stephens. But at this hour of the day it is, perhaps, rather late to advocate the claims of a new site. I am inclined to prefer Lyndhurst to the other sites which have been mentioned, though I should vote for Armidale if I thought that the House would agree to it.
– It was badly beaten last time, and there is no hope of carrying it this.
– That being so, I shall vote for Lyndhurst. A writer in the Australian Star, of 23rd September, says -
In his report on Federal Capital sites the Royal Commissioner, the late Mr. Alexander Oliver, said in regard to water supply for Lyndhurst, then known as the Carcoar-Garland site : - “ There would be no difficulty about supplying water for a large population, and also in obtaining power for generating electricity.
A reference to the map will show how direct are the routes of communication betwen Lyndhurst and the Capitals of the respective States, that site possessing the advantage of being on a railway line impinging on the western plains and open to expansion on every hand. In the case of the southern area expansion westward is rendered difficult and costly by the mountainous nature of the country. The lower averages of distances of the Lyndhurst area, together with the much more equable distribution of distances to the respective State Capitals and the possession in a marked degree of the essentials of a Capital, indicate it as a site that would be the crowning glory of the Commonwealth.
This is the opinion of a writer who, no doubt, knew the country with which he was dealing. In my view, once the site is selected, the Government should proceed as rapidly as possible to make arrangements for the establishment of the Seat of Government there; there should not be a continuance of the four-years’ delay which we have had.
.- I should not have risen had not the honorable members for Moreton and Brisbane repeatedly spoken as if they alone represent Queensland. I resent that attitude. Before they were returned, the representatives of Queensland were always solid in respect to questions affecting that State, no matter how they might differ on other questions. Even when the honorable member for Oxley had to deal with such questions, he courteously asked the other representatives of the State to join him. The honorable member for Moreton is a recent comer to Queensland, and knows little about the State outside the butter industry.
– He was quickly appreciated there.
– The butter industry is a great one.
– The butter industry is important, and may some day become one of the most important in the State. These honorable members have, from the lowest political motives - that is, with a view to injure their opponents - been ready to interview Ministers on matters appertaining to Queensland.
– The party to which the honorable member belongs interviewed the Minister of Trade and Customs before we did.
– On no occasion did we interview the Minister to ask for a reduction of wages, as he did on one occasion. In reference to the Capital, I shall take the same course this time as I did last ; that is, I shall vote for Lyndhurst if I get the opportunity, andshall vote in such a way as to create that opportunity. On the last occasion some of the members of the Opposition deserted the Lyndhurst site.
– We stuck to it so long as it was in the running.
– Some of them voted for Dalgety, although they are now condemning that site.There must have been defections, because, although Lyndhurst got the largest number of primary votes, the number recorded in itsfavour gradually grew less. I support Lyndhurst because I think that it is more likely that a city could be created there than at Dalgety, seeing that the district contains iron and coal deposits, and comprises an area of wheat land which extends for hundreds of miles. The New England site is certainly a fine one, but its water supply is not good.
– What about the water supply of Lyndhurst?
– Water can always be conserved where there is a rainfall of 39 inches. The soil round Dalgety is granitic.
– There is basalt within 3 miles of the site.
– The site itself is granitic, and, although towards Bombala there is volcanic soil, hardly an acre of it is fit for the plough, because the rock crops out so much. In the same way there are tens of thousands of acres of beautiful grazing land around the city of Melbourne, but the plough cannot be put into it, because the basaltic rock protrudes over the whole area. In those circumstances there are great difficulties in the way of the selection of the Dalgety site. If a city were built there, it will not be possible to sewer it, for. example. If it were attempted, the cost would run to millions of pounds, because tunnels could not be easily driven through such ground. In fact, I saw red granite there in parts, the rock in some places nearly bordering on diorite. Outside the limit that the honorable member for Wide Hay speaks of, you immediately come in contact with the basalt or bluestone as one sees it in and around Melbourne. I admit that Dalgety has a good water supply, and if that consideration is made the basis of everything required for a great city, of course Dalgety is the spot. I shall record my vote in favour of Lyndhurst. It is not necessary to make long speeches on this question, or to traverse th’e ground that has been covered year after year. The debate has already occupied too much time.
Sitting suspended from 6.27 to 7.45 p..m.
– I do not intend to detain .the House more than a few minutes at this stage of the debate. The subject has been so completely threshed out by the speakers who have preceded me, that anything I can add is not at all likely to be either very instructive 01 very amusing. I understand also that the House is anxious to he.tr a speech from the Treasurer. We are all waiting in cheerful expectancy of that, and 1 should be sorry to keep honorable members from something which will be much more interesting than any remarks that I can offer are likely to be. Had the amendment moved bv the honorable member for Parkes been likely to meet with the concurrence of the great body of members from New South Wales, I for one would, have given it my cordial support. I believe that it would have afforded the best solution in the circumstances of what is undoubtedly a most difficult problem at this stage of Federation, if the temporary Seat of Government had been allowed to pass at the end of the first ten years to Sydney, so as to allow us another ten years’ breathing space before we determined for all time the
Seat of Government of the Commonwealth. In dealing with this subject in July, 1907, on the Address-in-Reply, I said -
All we have to look to is the actual bargain, and if any arrangement of the kind suggested is to come, it can only, if it be any modification of the bargain -
I meant the bargain in the Constitution - be effected at the instance and by the desire of the honorable members who represent New South Wales, which was brought into the Federation by that agreement.
Without their desire to have that amendment of the Constitution, I say that they are perfectly entitled to insist upon the fulfilment of the exact terms of the Constitution as they stand. For that reason I find myself quite unable, as they are unwilling, to support the amendment. We have’ been told by some honorable members that the House has already determined the question of the Capital site. J. venture to .say that that is not so. We have never yet as a House done what the Constitution requires us to do, namely, to determine the Seat of Government. As I understand that muchdebated section, 125, of the Constitution - it would certainly take a bolder man, than I am to pronounce himself in favour of any particular interpretation of certain portions of it, because it is full of the greatest difficulties - the one thing that I should think is ‘quite clear in it is that, before we can say that this House has determined the Seat of the Government, we must have fixed upon the territory which is to be granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth. All that the Seat of Government Act of 1904 did was to say that the Seat of Government “ shall be within 17 miles of Dalgety, in the State of New South Wales.” Taking that by itself, it means that the Seat of Government, if it is regarded as a geographical point, may be at any place within a radius of 17 miles of Dalgety. Consequently that provision does not fix the point at all. The Act goes on to say that-
The territory to be granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth, within which the Seat of Government shall be, should contain an area not less than 900 square miles and have access to the sea.
It does not define the amount of the area; it does not say where that area is to be ; it simply suggests the neighbourhood of where it is to be. There might be any number of territories which quite comply with that Act, any one of which might be the territory “ within which the Seat of Government shall be.” All that the Act amounted to was an expression of opinion by members of the then House that the Seat of Government ought to be somewhere in the neighbourhood of Dalgety.
– It had to be within 17 miles.
– Somewhere within 17 miles of Dalgety.
– That is pretty near.
– But it is not a determination, under the power given by the Constitution, of the Seat of Government. That has never been determined up to this moment.
– The purpose of that Act was to open up negotiations with the State Government.
– I understood at the time, from newspaper reports - I was not a member of the House - that that was simply an authority given to the Executive to openup negotiations with the State of New South Wales, but limiting those negotiations to an area somewhere within 17 miles of Dalgety, and an expression of opinion that the amount of territory to be taken should be at least 900 squaremiles. If that had been a determination of the Seat of Government - an exercise of our constitutional power to determine it - why this Bill ? And what autho rity have we to pass anyother Bill ? Our only authority is to determine the site, and the territory which is to be granted to or acquired by us. If that Act carried out that authority, we have no necessity or authority to proceed further with the matter. For those reasons I venture to say, coming here as a new member, like many other honorable members, that I should not be doing my duty if I were to consider myself hampered in the least by the expression of opinion containedin that Act. I believe it to be my duty, as I believe it now to be the duty of every honorable member, in approaching a subject of such vast and far-reaching importance to the Commonwealth and to our future development, to look at all the existing circumstances which should guide us to a conclusion. We ought not to permit what was merely an expression of the opinion Of the Parliament as then constituted to hamper or impede the exercise of our free judgment in this matter. Coming to the merits of the case, I shall be as concise as possible. I propose to vote against the selection of the site at Dalgety, and shall shortly state my reasons. First of all, I will refer tothat muchdebated question of the compact that was supposed to have been made, and supposed to have been incorrectly embodied in section 125. There was much conflict of testimony, when this subject was discussed on the Address-in-Reply more than a year ago, as to what actually took place ; and I thought I would ask for the opinion of Sir George Turner in the matter. I always regarded Sir George Turner - although he was, in all matters political, opposed to me - as a man of upright and honorable character ; and I took the liberty of privately seeing and asking him, apart from any question of pure legal construction, what was the real spirit of the compromise - what it was understood to be - by those present at the Conference. I first asked Sir George Turner whether he had any objection to telling me, and he assured me he had not. He said that he recollected the matter perfectly, and the intention and understanding was that, provided a suitable site could be obtained anywhere within a reasonable distance of the 100-miles limit, it should be selected. It was never intended, he said, to goto a remote part of the State if a reasonable and suitable place could be got in the neighbourhoodof that limit. He authorized me, or otherwise I should not have referred to the conversation, to make any use of the communication I chose. In dealing with all Federal problems, we are, of course, bound by the letter of the Constitution, and I hope we always shall be until we amend it; but I have always felt that in giving effect to the mandates of the Constitution we ought, as far as possible, to be guided by the spirit in which those mandates were given, and not merely by the letter. I heard the right honorable member for Swan deliver a very impassioned address, relying on a somewhat similar argument, in regard to the implied contract under which Western Australia was induced to enter the Federation. I felt the force of the argument very much ; and, I must say, I was so far converted by the appeal then made to the honorable sense of members, that I voted in favour of the survey, at all events, of a transcontinental railway, in order to see whether such a project is practicable. I cannot see any real distinction between that case and the present. Of course, there are distinctions in detail ; but where we find that there was a real and honorable compact of the kind made we ought, as far as possible, to give effect to it. I do not mean for one moment to say that if there is no suitable site within a reasonable distance of the 100-miles limit we should be forced to go there; but if it is merely a, question of a number of sites, any one of which is comparatively suitable - no one of which stands out preeminently above all - we ought, as far as possible, to give effect to the real spirit of the compact.
– And yet Sir George Turner voted for Tumut and Dalgety !
– I know, and so did other honorable members. I am prepared to admit that a number of honorable members, who ought to have remembered the compact, allowed it to slip from their minds at the time the question was debated; but I am not going to attempt to make myself the judge of the conduct of others. All I say is that, if that were so, it does not touch the real question. If there was such an understanding, and if we can reasonably give effect to it, it is one of those things which would affect my mind considerably, though it would not override all other considerations.
– The New South Wales Government had offered Bombala, Albury, and Tumut.
– I believe that is so, but the New South Wales Government is no more than are honorable members here invested with authority. They are not prevented, if the fact be brought to their minds that there was such an understanding - which, I may say, was really not for their benefit, but for the benefit of the people of New South Wales-
– Was the agreement of the Premiers any more binding than the action of the State Government?
– Neither was binding at all in the strict sense. All I say is that we ought, in the endeavour to bring about a real Federal union - if we are ever to weld ourselves into one Australian nation - to carry out, in the fullest degree, the obligations of good faith, not being bound absolutely by the letter of the compact, but giving effect to its spirit as far as we can. But, apart from the question of whether there was a breach of faith, I find that practically the whole of the representatives of New South Wales - which, although only one State, is still the largest in point of population - are, with one or two exceptions, opposed to the site before us. That is a considera tion which, for my part, I cannot entirely disregard, apart altogether from any question of bargain.
– They are not by any means agreed upon the question whether the site should be as near as possible to the 100-miles limit. ,
– Perhaps not. I know there is a difference of opinion, but the facts I have stated influence me very much. This stipulation or understanding was introduced for the benefit of New South Wales, but it was not to override other considerations of real value, having regard to the interests of the Commonwealth. If we find that New South Wales, as represented by the great body of its members, is strongly opposed to Dalgety, that is certainly a consideration which I, for one, cannot disregard. It would not override, perhaps, the overwhelming advantages of a site which, in itself, was pre-eminently suitable above all others ; but itdoes weigh very considerably with me, when we come to consider the relative merits of sites, a number of which are really on the same plane, at all events, of comparison. We have heard all sorts of conflicting accounts from honorable members who have seen these sites, some praising Dalgety in the very highest degree, and others describing it as a windswept plateau, almost uninhabited. I am under the disadvantage, or, possibly, the advantage, of never having seen any of the sites ; but I try to get down to something solid on which to rest, and I find that the Government . of the Commonwealth appointed a Commission to go into the whole question of the sites. The Commission consisted of four members with whose names honorable members are familiar. They were Mr. Kirkpatrick, who was chairman, Mr. A. W. Howitt, Mr. Henry C. Stanley, and Mr. Graham Stewart. I do not know Mr. Kirkpatrick, but I know Mr. Howitt, who is a man with the very widest knowledge of Australian conditions, the highest integrity and honour, and great strength of mind. The other two gentlemen I do not know, but I understand they come from South Australia.
– One was from Queensland.
– These Commissioners went into the whole question, and examined all the sites. For the purposes of their first report. Dalgety itself as a site was not actually submitted to them, but Bombala was. Without wearying honorable members by going into the various reasons which the Commissioners assigned, I shall merely say that they finally came to a conclusion as to the comparative merits of the various sites for all the purposes of a Capital. I find that Bombala, which is the nearest to Dalgety, “is placed for the purposes of topographical and general suitability last of the seven; for climate it is placed last; for soil and productiveness it is fifth ; for building material and cost of building it is seventh ; for water supply it is fourth, and for accessibility seventh. This impartial, and, so far as I know, intelligent body of Commissioners decided that Bombala is last as to climate, nearly last as to productiveness, last as to cost pf building and building material, last as to accessibility, and last as to general suitability for a Capital site. Those Commissioners were afterwards asked to report separately on the Dalgety site, which was subsequently selected; and this is the summary of their report -
As to topography, and general suitability of site, which latter term is defined to mean picturesqueness, aspect, levels, suitability for arboreal and general horticultural growth, and foundations of buildings, we consider the Dalgety site may be placed on an equality with that of Bombala.
As to general suitability, Dalgety is placed on an equality with that site which they, on a previous examination, had placed last. The report goes on to say -
With regard to climate, in our opinion, it may be ranked as somewhat better than Bombala, but not equal to Armidale.
That is, that as to climate, it is not absolutely the- worst, but next to the worst.
As to soil-productiveness, the district within thirty miles, of the site is less cultivated, and apparently less productive than similar areas round other sites.
In cost of building, and local supplies of building materials, the site may be classed as equal to Bombala.
For water supply it is second only to Tumut.
For water supply, Dalgety is second only to Tumut, where, as apparently admitted by all, the supply is admirable.
– No one agrees that it is only second to Tumut.
– There may be a much more copious flow than at Tumut, but I have no doubt the Commissioners took into consideration, not only the magnitude of the river, but the levels, cost of obtaining the supply, and so forth. There is no question that Dalgety is admirable so far as the supply of water is concerned.
In the matter of accessibility, Dalgety ranks immediately before Bombala, and below the other sites previously, reported upon.
As I said before, had Dalgety presented such outstanding features of advantage as to overwhelm all the other sites suggested, then, for my own part, I should have asked the New South Wales members not to press their claim arising out of an understanding not embodied in the Constitution, and should have been less willing to give weight to their opinion in the matter ; but when I find that this site is classed by the only authoritative body which has yet examined the various sites - when I find it is classed as to all those things which, in my mind are the most important, such as accessibility, general suitability, aspect,, levels, soil, productiveness, and climate - as second last, or nearly as bad as the one they had put last, I feel I am not justified in taking that course. I feel the responsibility that every honorable member has in giving a vote on a question the importance of which is so immense. It is a question, not for this year or next year, but for all time. I feel that it is my duty not to be swayed by the conflicting, and what I cannot helpdescribing as the exaggerated, opinions expressed on both sides in this House - that it is my duty to go back to the authoritative statements made by a Commission appointed especially to examine and report upon the several sites. That, at all events, is solid ground.
– How do tha points work out, on the general average, with respect tothe several sites?
– The Commissioners placed Bombala last and Dalgety next.
– What site did they place- first on the list?
– A site referredto as Albury, but which I think is knownas Table Top, and is about 10 miles north of Albury. I feel a good deal of diffidenceand difficulty in dealing with this question, since I find myself differing in respect tait from a good many of my honorable friends sitting in the same part of theHouse as I do.
– That is nothing.
– I am sure that honorable members will recognise that weshould deal with this question purely on its merits, and I have certainly endeavoured to arrive, on what seems to me the- best evidence available, at a right conclusion. We can all form our different opinions, and I venture to conclude the few remarks I have made by saying that I believe it would be greatly in the interests of the whole of Australia if we could arrive at some conclusion whereby the determination of this all-important question could be postponed for ten or fifteen years. If ‘that is impossible, as it appears to be, judging by the opinions expressed by those who have already spoken on this question, I’ cannot believe that it is desirable to select as the site of the Federal Capital so very remote and inaccessible a place as is Dalgety. Dalgety is removed from all the ordinary streams of communication. It is situated in a remote corner of the Commonwealth, and I cannot believe that it is a site that should be selected, if we really intend to build a Capital upon it, if we do not really wish to use it as a means of indefinitely postponing the work of establishing a Capital - and that I should be the last to advocate.
– And the last to suggest.
– I should not have suggested it had it not been suggested before by many others. I cannot believe that any honorable member has such an idea in his mind. The Government are pledged, if this Bill be passed, to take, at the earliest opportunity, complete measures to give effect to it. I cannot believe, however, that it would tend to the advantage of the Commonwealth to make Dalgety the meeting place of this Parliament. Apart altogether from the huge expense which it would involve, I do not think that the Parliament should go to a place so remote and inaccessible. Dalgety, as I have said, is difficult to approach, and it would be difficult to keep it in ordinary intercourse with other parts of the Commonwealth. It is a place where we should certainly be unlikely to have, for two or three generations hence, a city of any magnitude. If the Federal Capital were established there, it would b<; a city of members of Parliament and public servants. It would be a place from which both members pf Parliament and public servants would endeavour for a considerable portion of the year to get away. I cannot believe that it would be to the advantage of Australia to select that site. I therefore propose to vote against it. Under these circumstances. I cannot disregard, nor do I think that any honorable member should disregard, the fact that the great body of public opinion in the State in which the” Capital is to be established is opposed to the selection of Dalgety. Let me point out one important point in connexion with the Bill that is now before us. We find that it provides that access to the sea should be along a certain line. I have not heard any explanation of the meaning’ of that provision. We propose only to take a certain defined area. We cannot do more. We do not propose to take an area which would give us access to the sea. We provide in one clause that access to the sea should be within 15 miles of a certain surveyed line. What does that mean? It is simply the expression of a devout wish that the Parliament of New South Wales will be good enough to give us that line of communication. We are asked to deliberately select a site which, apart from its advantages or disadvantages, is one to which the great body of public opinion in New South Wales strenuously objects.
– There is no evidence of that.
– I take the opinion expressed by the great bulk of the representatives of New South Wales in this House as being the best evidence of public opinion in that State. We have always considered that we ought to accept the opinions expressed in this House by honorable members as honestly representing the views of their constituents, and when we find the majority of the representatives of New South Wales objecting in the strongest possible terms to the selection of Dalgety, we ought to ask ourselves whether it is wise, if we intend to give effect to our decision - and I hope we do - to choose such a site. We should, in the circumstances, . ask ourselves whether we should select a site which will not have access to the sea, unless the Government of that part of Australia, whose wishes we are flouting, choose to give it to us. I believe that access to the sea is not at all essential to the Federal Capital, but I do think that if we choose a site somewhere near the sea, in order that we may have access to it, that qualification becomes an essential to that site.
– Does the honorable member mean that we should leave to the New South Wales Parliament the choice of a site?
– I do not think that the honorable member really draws from my remarks the inference that his question suggests. I have not proposed anything ot the kind. The honorable member has either not been listening to me, or he has not attempted to understand what I have said. I have said that we are not bound in our choice by the views of the Government, or even the people of New South Wales ; but that unless there are overwhelming conditions in favour of a particular site we ought not to entirely disregard such a united expression of opinion as comes from that quarter here. I have felt ashamed and humiliated as I have listened during the debate to expressions of opinion that indicated the strongest feeling of State against State. I deplore such expressions in the strongest possible language, for it seems to me that they put iff for a very considerable time any real fruition of the Federal compact into which we have entered. I have endeavoured to take up the position that I should assume if there were no Victoria or New South Wales in the Federation. I have endeavoured to take the view that we ought to remember that we are now asked to record our votes on what is certainly a most important question, and a question which differs from almost every other with which we have dealt, inasmuch as once we have taken the step we propose to take in regard to it, we can never . retrace it.
– The honorable member who has just resumed his seat began his speech with the remark that he would not occupy our attention for any length of time, since he understood that I was to follow with a very important statement. I hope that he will not be disappointed when I tell him that that is not my intention; but I feel that since I have had the privilege of being the principal mover in regard to this question - because I was actively interesting myself in it before the establishment of the Federal Parliament - I should not allow the debate to close without making a few observations. Holding as I do strong views upon this matter, I venture to detain the House for a little while, whilst I give expression to them. In the first place, let me say that I was Premier of New South Wales when the question of the Federal Capital first came up, and that, with members of the Parliament of that State, I visited certain suggested sites before the question came before the Commonwealth Legislature. I know what the feeling in New South Wales was at that time, and probably the feeling is the same to-day. Yass was one of the sites that was visited more than once in those days by members of the State Parliament, lt was then considered by the people of New South Wales to be a suitable site,’ and I think that on two occasions I took a party to inspect it. I also visited other sites. I am led to refer to these fact* merely because of my desire to show that the question was under consideration in New South Wales before it was approached by this Parliament. It is not often that I agree with the honorable member for Flinders; but I find myself in agreement with him upon this question.
– Then either one or the other must be wrong.
– I know that I am absolutely right. When the question, first came up for consideration I occupied a position that enabled me to accurately determine what was the feeling of the people of New South Wales. I was at the time the leader of the State Government, and in that capacity I appointed Mr. Oliver to report on the various sites,’ so that in the circumstances it will be admitted that I ought to know fairly well’ what was then the intention and the feeling of the people of that State. I did not appoint Mr. Oliver to select a site, or to make the strongest recommendations in> favour of any particular district. He was appointed simply to make a preliminary investigation of the various sites that werethen being advocated. At the time sometwenty-six sites or more were named, and” Mr. Oliver was appointed with a view of preparing the way for a decision later on. He was not asked to select a site, and” exceeded his instructions in the recommendations which he made.
– He did too well.
– I do not wishto speak in deprecatory terms of Mr. Oliver, because he was a friend, and a man for whom I had a great respect, but T knew his peculiarities.
– - It is strange how manynow agree with his recommendation.
– There ‘are not a dozen who conscientiously agree with him. I shall show how certain members havewobbled from side to side.
– The Treasurershould not say anything against Mr. Oliver.
– T do not intend” to do so ; he was a great frend and frequently accompanied me on fishing excur- sions. We have fished together in Twofold Bay.
– Is it not a fact that the Treasurer has condemned all sites except those in his own district?
– No. I have spoken in the strongest terms in favour of one or two of the western sites.
– The honorable gentleman did not vote for them.
– Yes, I did, as Hansard will show. A great deal of trouble has been caused during the existence of this Parliament by the persistence with which the Opposition have urged an early settlement of this matter. It would be better not to settle it for a considerable time than to choose a wrong site. No press writer, and no member here, can show that a Capital site has ever been chosen in other parts of the world within a shorter period than seventeen years.
– If the Treasurer thought that a site in his constituency would be chosen, he would be anxious to have the matter settled.
– I have been blamed by the right honorable memberfor Swan for not submitting the Tooma site earlier. That is evidence that I have not been anxious to push forward unduly sites in my own electorate. If there are better sites elsewhere, consideration should be given to them. The Federation is young, and great jealousy still exists between the various States, and perhaps between the politicians who represent them. Probably before my lifetime ends, this feeling will have disappeared, or will at least be very much weaker. But if a choice is made at the present time, the people in the future may say that we were actuated by jealousy, and did not do our duty. It took the United States ofAmerica from 1776 to 1791 to select a site, and possession was not taken of the Federal Capital until 1800.
– Was there not bitter feeling in connexion with the matter during the whole of that time?
– I do not think that there was much feeling towards the end. In 1783, when Congress was sitting at Philadelphia, a meeting of soldiers demanded arrears of pay, which caused the Parliament to go to Princeton. There was great contention among the States for the honour of possessing the Federal city, and it was determined that Congress should meet in two cities alternately. It is very strange how the history of the United States has been repeated here. Congress at various times sat at Annapolis, Trenton, and Baltimore, and, on one occasion, New York was nearly chosen as the Capital. But in 1790 a compromise was effected, and it was agreed that, on the States debts being assumed by the nation, the Federal Capital should be given to the South, and George Washington was appointed sole selector of a site, having an area with a frontage of 100 miles to the Potomac to choose from. He chose the site which was adopted, and Congress in 1800 met for the first time in the city which bears his name. In Canada there were two Capitals, until the passing of the Imperial Act of 1840, when the GovernorGeneral, Lord Sydenham, selected Kingston. But the members of the Legislative Assembly, by a majority of two to one, decided, that that was not a desirable place, and on 3rd November, 1843, Montreal was chosen by 51 votes to 27. In 1849, the residents differing from the majority of the legislators in regard to some Bill, sacked and burnt Parliament House, and attacked the Governor-General, Lord Elgin. The Assembly then passed an address to His Excellency, and Parliament sat at Toronto and Quebec alternately for four years. Neither place being considered satisfactory, a resolution was carried in 1857, asking the Queen to fix upon the Seat of Government, and, on the advice of the GovernorGeneral, Ottawa was chosen.
– It was subsequently rejected.
– Yes. In 1858, the Assembly resolved that Ottawa should not be the Seat of Government. In the following year, after a discussion extending over nineteen years, Ottawa was finally decided upon by a small majority; and it was not until 1867, after an interval of twenty-seven years, that the Capital was ultimately occupied by the Canadian Legislature.
– Bitter feeling existed during the whole of that time.
– To some extent. In my opinion, the position taken up in New South Wales, that the Federal Capital should have been chosen in the first eight years of the Union is not a good one.
– Withdraw the Bill.
– I am not speaking for the Government. There has been a great deal of agitation and discontent in New South Wales.
– In Sydney only.
– No; in other parts of the State, too; but I do not think it commendable. It has never been considered desirable that a Capital should be close to the sea-board. The selection of Dalgety was an accident. In 1903 seven sites went to an exhaustive ballot, and after the fifth vote only three remainedLyndhurst, Tumut, and Bombala. On the sixth vote, of sixteen members who had supported Bombala, fifteen transferred their vote to Tumut, which defeated Lyndhurst by 36 votes to 25.
– Up to that time, the Treasurer had voted only for sites in his own district.
– That is very likely. The Tumut site is in my district, and is one of the best which have been recommended. It has an infinitely clearer, cleaner, and better water supply than the Snowy River would furnish. On the 9th August, 1904, there was another ballot. On that occasion, the sites were divided into those in the western, southern, and southeastern districts. That meant Dalgety or Bombala, Tumut, and Lyndhurst. On the first ballot the western site got twenty-five votes, the south-eastern twenty-two votes, and the southern twenty-one votes. The following list shows how honorable members voted on that occasion : -
Western or Lyndhurst. - Brown, Conroy, Cook, J., Edwards, G., Edwards, R., Fuller, Groom, Hughes, Johnson, Kelly, Willis, Wilson, Lee, Liddell, Lonsdale, McDonald, McWilliams, Reid, Robinson, Smith, B., Smith, S., Spence., Thomson (Dugald), Wilkinson, Wilks.
South-Eastern or Bombala. - Batchelor, Bonython, Chapman, Cook (Hume), Crouch, Deakin, Fisher, Forrest, Frazer, Fysh, Gibbs, Glynn, Harper, Higgins, Mauger, McLean, O’Malley, Page, Poynton, Salmon, Storrer, Turner.
Southern or Batlow. - Bamford, Carpenter, Ewing, Fowler, Hutchison, Isaacs, Kennedy, Knox, Lyne, Mahon, Maloney, McCay, McColl, Phillips, Ronald, Skene, Tudor, Watkins, Watson, Webster, Thomson (David).
Analyzing these votes according to the States represented by the above members, the result is as follows -
Southern. - New South Wales, 5 ; Victoria. 10 ; Queensland, 2; Western Australia, 3; South Australia,1.
South-Eastern. - New South Wales, 1 : Victoria, 10; Queensland, 2; South Australia, 4; Western Australia, 2 ; Tasmania, 3.
Western.- New South Wales, 18; Victoria, 2; Queensland, 4; Tasmania, 1.
But for two honorable members being in late trains, Tumut would have been second on that occasion. If those two trains had not been late that night we should have selected Tumut, and not Dalgety.
– Is that the accident the honorable member referred to?
– It is one of them.
– It was the one train, and we were both in it.
– At any rate, but for that accident this outlandish, freezing place would never have been selected. It was an accident pure and simple, and what has caused honorable members to turn their votes backwards and forwards as they have I do not know. The leader of the Opposition said the other night, in answer ing the Minister of Trade and Customs, that the selection of Dalgety was not an accident. I say it was an accident, and the only reason why it is in the running today is that the right honorable member for East Sydney voted, not so much against Tumut as against me. He cast his vote for Dalgety, and this is the mess he has got us into. That was the second stage of the accident, and the action was taken for party purposes.
– I do not know what to say to that dreadful charge.
– It is true. The right honorable member knows that he would not have voted for Dalgety had he not wanted to kill Tumut.
– I was always against Tumut.
– The reason why the honorable member cast his vote for Dalgety was because he and his party desired to destroy the possibility of Tumut being chosen. I have here a list of those honorable members who changed their votes, and who have changed them backwards and forwards more than once. The majority of the votes for Tumut in the fifth ballot - 1903 - were those of Victorians. The largest supporters of Lyndhurst were from New South Wales, with two from Tasmania and five from Queensland. For Bombala there were only sixteen on that occasion, of whom only six were Victorians, the others being mostly from Western Australia and South Australia, with Messrs. Chapman and Clarke from New South Wales. They included the honorable member for Wide Bay, a representative of Queensland, who has never altered his vote, so far as I know, except that on one occasion he did not get an opportunity to vote for one place whose chances were disposed of. That has been the history of the matter up to the present stage. Then came in Welaretrang, or Tooma, which I was urged to submit as a site for the consideration of Parliament.
I have been blamed by the right honorable member for Swan for not submitting it on the first occasion. My reason for not doing so was that, although it was a long way the best site that I have seen, and has by far the best water supply of them all, I felt that some attention should be paid to the strong feeling in Sydney against going so far away.
– The honorable member voted for Albury.
– I did once, but what was the use of voting for it afterwards when it had only four supporters?
– Albury is further away than Welaregang, or as far, from Sydhev.
– It is not as far ; but, through the action ofthe right honorable member for Swan, Dalgety was brought before us - a site 25 miles further away from Sydney than Tooma is - and I thought, if honorable members were going to select a site right down in the far corner of New South Wales, in the very worse position possible, Tooma should be brought in as the best place to be found - although it was further away from Sydney than I had hoped to see the Capital placed. That was the true reason why I did not submit this magnificent site on the first occasion. I regret that many honorable members have not had the opportunityof seeeing Tooma. The right honorable member, who was then Minister of Home Affairs refused to visit that site. That was the sort of fair play I got. When he was my colleague, without my knowing anything about it, although others knew of it, he went up to those two electorates. Others knew where he was going and whom he was going to meet, but the first I heard of his going to examine any site in the centre of my electorate was a telegram from my own people on the spot to say that he had arrived.
– I went with the Prime Minister.
– I know the honorable member did. I telegraphed to two places to get the right honorable member and the Prime Minister to look at Tooma, but, although they were only 10 or 12 miles from it, they took no notice of my telegrams. I was never so treatedbefore by a colleague. I was brought up with Sir George Dibbs and other gentlemen who would not do to a colleague what the right honorable member did to me. All I wanted was that he should meet a man who knew the place and who would show him over it ; but no one knew he was going ; there was, therefore, no one there to show him the place, and he went away from the district without having seen anything really worth seeing. I am sorry to say I am convinced that the honorable member had made up his mindbeforehand. This matter has rankled in my mind for a long time. I was never so treated and never so hurt by a colleague as I was by the right honorable member on that occasion. I said then, and I say now, that I would not have thought of behaving in such an underhand way to a colleague of mine.
– If I acted in an underhand way, so did the Prime Minister.
– The Prime Minister was not the prime mover.
– That is very unfair.
– It is very true.
– It is absolutely untrue.
– I ask the right honorable member for Swan to withdraw that remark.
– Certainly. The honorable member is making a most inaccurate statement, but I do not mind.
– It is so true that the right honorable member cannot disprove it. He cannot disprove the fact that certain telegrams were sent to certain places.
– Was that the time that the honorable member “ passed “ him out of the Ministry ?
– No; but I would “pass” any one out who treated me like that if I had the chance. I have here a list of names which I ask should be published, because I want a record showing exactly how every honorable member voted on every occasion.
– I do not know whether the Treasurer intends that as an intimation to the Hansard staff that those matters should be included in the official report, but, if so, it would begin a very dangerous practice. If the Treasurer could have a page or two inserted, any honorable member could have the same, or perhaps a dozen pages, inserted, and we should be departing entirely from the rule which has hitherto been followed in connexion with the official report. I ask the Treasurer to read to the House the matter which he wishes to include in his speech.
– There is already a precedent for it.
– Those who voted in 1903 for Lyndhurst were -
Brown, Conroy, J. Cook, G. B. Edwards (New South Wales), Fuller, Hughes, Reid, Bruce Smith, Sydney Smith, Spence, Dugald Thomson, Watkins, Wilks, Willis, McLean, McMillan, Thomas, R. Edwards (Queensland), Groom, McDonald, Paterson, Wilkinson, Cameron (Tasmania), and Hartnoll (Tasmania).
Those who voted for Tumut were -
Watson, Lyne, Chanter, Ewing, Sawers, W. Cooke (Victoria), Deakin, Isaacs, Kennedy, Knox, Manifold, Mauger, McCay, McColl, Quick, Skene, Tudor, Turner, Batchelor, Mahon, and O’Malley.
The votes for Bombala were cast by -
Chapman, Clarke, H. Cook, Crouch, Higgins, McLean, McEacharn, Ronald, Salmon, Fisher, Bonython, Kingston, Fowler, Kirwan, Solomon, and Forrest.
Only two of those sixteen were New South Wales members. Out of the sixteen who voted for Bombala, fifteen transferred their votes to Tumut, the honorable member for Wide Bay being the only one to transfer his vote to Lyndhurst. The final count showed Tumut thirty-six votes and Lyndhurst twenty-five.
– How many votes were given for Dalgety ?
– Those sixteen votes were for Bombala, which is about the same site, the only difference being that Dalgety is a little worse. When the Welaregang or Tooma site was brought forward in 1904, the motion was that the word “Welaregang “ be’ inserted, and the divisionlist was as follows -
Ayes : - Bamford, Brown, Carpenter, Chanter, Ewing, Groom, Isaacs, Kennedy, Knox, Sir W. Lyne, Mahon, Maloney, McCay, McColl, Phillips, Ronald, Skene, Spence, David Thomson, Watkins, Webster, Wilson, Robinson, Tudor.. Pairs - Fowler, Hutchison.
Noes : - Batchelor, Conroy, J. Cook, Crouch, Culpin, Deakin, G. B. Edwards, Fisher, Sir John Forrest, Frazer, Gibb, Harper,, Hughes, Johnson, Kelly, Lee, Liddell, Lonsdale,’ Mauger, McDonald, McLean, Mcwilliams, O’Malley, Page, Poynton, Reid, B. Smith, S. Smith, Dugald Thomson, Watson, Wilks, Willis, Chapman, J. H. Cook. Pairs- Storrer, Sir J. Bonython.
Subsequently,. Dalgety was assented to. Thus Dalgety was decided upon, owing to the accident of a late train preventing the arrival of two supporters of Tumut.
– It was not like the honorable gentleman to allow a division to be taken before his friends had arrived.
– The right honorable member may be quite satisfied that. had I known the train was late, the division would not have taken place. I have here record, which I shall not read, but which shows the way in which each honorable member voted, and how some of them wobbled. I think I have shown clearly enough that this long dispute has not been conducted as it should be, and that the votes have not been so straight as could be desired. If Dalgety be chosen people in the future will regard it as the very worst, selection that could have been made. Under all the circumstances, it would only be proper for us to ballot again in order to arrive at the real opinion of the majority of the House.
– The honorable member brought this Bill in.
– The right honorable member knows well enough my relation to the Bill. I know that it is the intention, if Dalgety is defeated, to have a ballot; but my opinion is that, on the facts I have stated, a ballot should be undertaken. If we can get a reasonable and non-hysterical vote in favour of any ‘particular place, I for one, shall bow to the decision; but votes hitherto have varied in a way for which I cannot account, and, in my opinion, there has been a lot of “ underground engineering.” I know that honorable members sometimes give me credit for being able to “ engineer,” but when they do, I may point to the right honorable member for Swan. I am sorry that the Minister of Trade and Customs is kept away by illness, but I must refer to the fact that in one part of his speech he stated that I had spoken in high terms of the Monaro tableland, and of Twofold Bay as a harbor. In Hansard, of 3rd August 1904, the honorable gentleman quoted from a speech I had made in regard to what was known as the Eden railway, to the effect that I thought that country was good, and that Twofold Bay would make a magnificent harbor. In every speech that the honorable gentleman has made from that time until the one of the other night, he has quoted those remarks of mine. I told the Minister of Trade and Customs in 190.1 that I had never been to Monaro, and that the railway to which I was referring was not for the purpose of reaching the miserable poor lands of Monaro, but the rich lands of Bega. Further, I was instigated to make the statement quoted on information given to me by the honorable gentleman himself, and by Sir Henry Parkes; and, as I have said, it had reference solely to Bega and the railway then under consideration. Since then I have, fortunately , had an opportunity of visiting the district, and I can only say that the tablelands of Monaro are the poorest and coldest, and have the least rainfall of any in New South Wales, except, the plains of the west. 1 have taken the trouble to obtain a record of the temperatures taken at Nimitybelle, the nearest place where such records are’ kept. During last winter the lowest temperature in June was 15 degrees, and in July 14 degrees, ‘while in August it was 18 degrees, showing an average daily lowest reading for the three months of 25 degrees.
– That means ice on the ground for three months !
– Or snow. I have received word from Dalgety, though I cannot authenticate the information, that one day last winter the temperature was as low as 10 degrees. At Cooma, which is about 40 miles away, the lowest temperature in June, last winter, was 14 degrees, in July it was 18 degrees, and in August 22 degrees, or an average daily lowest reading over the three months of 30 degrees. I give these figures because I regard them as of vital importance, in considering this question. The late Mr. Groom - the father of the present AttorneyGeneral - who represented Darling Downs in this House in the early days of Federation, and who was one of my oldest friends, was killed by the cold of Melbourne, when attending his parliamentary duties ; and how that gentleman’s son, my colleague, can vote for a place’ where the climate is twice as cold as it is in Melbourne, I cannot understand. If we go to Dalgety, the climate will kill half the older men, most of whom have lived during the whole of their lives in warm climates. Surely it is cold enough in Melbourne, where the temperature is half as high again : and I do not think honorable members really know what they are doing when they talk of supporting Dalgety as the Capital site. I know that the climate is dry and a very good one in summer : but, as I have already said, Dalgety would be impossible as a place of residence for men whose blood has become thin from their living in a hot climate all their lives.
– It would be a good place in which to hold summer sessions. ,
– Is the honorable member so simple as to imagine that a Parliament can always arrange to hold its sessions in summer? When we com menced Federation, it was intended to hold summer sessions, but, as a matter of fact, we have been meeting more in winter than in summer.
– We are compelled to, the elections being in March.
– Really that question is not worth arguing. The point of accessibility is important in the matter of the site. If Dalgety be chosen, the interests of Wyalong, Junee, Wagga, Young, and other places in the Riverina will be prejudiced, because they will be deprived of the opportunity of reaping any benefit from the proposed railway. There are Mount Kosciusko, the Bogongs, and the Kiandra Ranges, lying between the Riverina and the richest part of New South Wales in the south, and in a direct line with the proposed Federal Capital, so that those who desire to journey by rail from, say, the .Riverina to the Capital, will have to go to Goulburn, or to the junction, or come around the other way by that awful route from Bairnsdale to Bondi. People talk about a railway with a grade of 1 in 40, but such a line would bring them only to the foot of the Bondi mountains. It would still be necessary to devise some other means of reaching Dalgety or Bombala. It would be unjust to the people of the Riverina and districts further north, now connected with the railway system of the State, and where produce is largely grown, to select a site which they could reach only by travelling almost to Sydney or to Melbourne. There is no means of access from the Riverina to Dalgety by way of Kosciusko, the Bogongs, or the Kiandra Ranges.
– The honorable member should shake up the Attorney-General.
– I do not like to shake up a colleague. I certainly should not like to shake up the Attorney-General as I have shaken up others.
– The honorable member said that he would abide by a reasonable decision. .What does he consider a reasonable decision?
– I think that honorable members should have a better knowledge of New South Wales and the various suggested sites than they now possess, and that the jealousies that prevail are not calculated to fit representatives of other States to deal calmly with this question. I compliment the honorable member for Flinders on the stand he has taken up. I am so accustomed to hear honorable members advocating the selection of sites in their own electorates that-
– But there is no site in his electorate.
– The selection of Dalgety would mean the extension of the Gippsland railway, and the honorable member for Flinders is a representative of Gippsland. I have here a copy of a statement in respect to Bombala which was made by one of the finest old men that Australia has known. A reference was made to it during a debate in this House some three or four years ago, but I think that it will bear repetition. It was prepared by a man who was a member of the first Victorian Parliament, and I should say that to know him was to trust him. He writes -
My father, Dr. Reid, was the first man who occupied a station on the Monaro Plains. That was in 1828, and the middle of the run was where the town of Cooma now stands. He occupied stations comprising the larger portion of Lower Monaro until the year 1840. That particular part was then considered the very best portion of Monaro Plains. The distance from the boundary of our country to Bombala was 40 miles. It is fearfully cold country in winter, but where we were was much better country than Bombala country. Bombala is subject to exceedingly cold piercing winds. From my own knowledge I say no person in his senses would choose such a place as that for the Federal Capital. My experience was that the stock suffered more from disease, especially catarrh, there than anywhere else. I know neighbours of ours (Macfarlane Brothers) lost 10,000 sheep in a fortnight. Many others suffered the same way. It is a very cold climate for cattle. They are seldom what could be called really fat; nothing more than good moderate store cattle. I have had experience of putting in a crop of wheat and having it blown away by the heavy winds, which was all the easier from the sandy nature of the loam. It is not good country for agriculture. Spots here and there are good, but as a whole it is unsuitable, and would not support a large population. On the eastern side from the top of the mountains to the sea-
I want honorable members to pay special attention to this, because it bears out my own personal experience - you get fair timber -
That is from the top of the mountains down to the sea - but on the main portion the timber is useless except for fuel.
One can scarcely see on any part of Monaro a tree that could be utilized except for fuel. The timber to which reference is made in the reports is that which is found in the district running down from the mountains to the sea, and which is shel tered from the terrible winds that blow on the plateau -
The soil generally is shallow and very stony except in spots. It has never to my knowledge brought forward any produce of consequence. Through the dryness of the country and its being unsuitable for agriculture and bad for stock I found, after my father died, I could do no good ; so left there in 1840, the property having been in our possession for twelve years. I went to the north-west of Victoria, and have been there and on the Murray ever since.
– Where did he go?
– To Wangaratta. Mr. Reid concludes with the statement that he is now eighty-four years of age ; and I may add that he was one of the members of the first Victorian Parliament, being elected in 1859. I put this statement forward as that of a man whose word would not be gainsaid by any one who knew him. Coming, as it does, from a highly respected man, who has had practical experience of the Monaro, it should have some weight with, not only honorable members, but the people generally. The Monaro has never gone ahead. It is all very well to say that its backwardness is due to the want of railway communication. There is nothing in it to make a railway pay. I feel that, when this question was before us on a previous occasion, Tumut was very unfairly treated, and that I was not to blame for failing to then submit the name of Tooma. Rather than vote for Dalgety, which I regard as an impossible site, I should support the selection of a site in the neighbourhood of Orange, or any place where we should be able to carry on the business of the country with some degree of comfort.
– Orange has a cold climate.
– But it is different from that of Dalgety.
– Why not go up to Armidale?
– Armidale possesses a fine climate, and the only reason why it was not fairly considered was that it was difficult to induce members of the Commission to go there, since it was thought to be too far north.
– It will be the centre of the population of Australia in the future.
– In returns prepared by statisticians it is shown that Armidale will be about the centre of the population of Australia twenty-five or thirty years hence. There is no doubt that the trend of population is northwards. It is absurd to propose to establish the Capital on the edge of a precipice, where we may at any time experience an eruption.
– We are now going to have the possibility of earthquakes urged against Dalgety.
– One might be experienced there. I cannot conceive of the House proposing to establish the Capital at that place, and I hope that wiser counsels will prevail. It is said that the question is to be settled to placate New South Wales, but if trouble were likely to occur it would certainly arise from the selection of Dalgety. It would be far better to make no selection now than to determine that the Capital should be established there.
– Is there any crime in placating New South Wales?
– No. I do not think that honorable members of the Opposition are quite accurate in their statement as to the feeling in that regard. 1 know that a good deal of the trouble in respect to this matter has come from a part of Sydney, and I must say that I have not heard here such strong opinions expressed against New South Wales as I have heard uttered in respect to other parts of Australia. The people of New South Wales might reasonably prefer to allow the selection of the Capital to stand over for a time rather than to have selected a site that will never give contentment, and where the resulting Capital would be only an eyesore. I have a duty before me, and I intend, so far as I can, to carry it out. I mean to do my best to prevent the selection of Dalgety. I speak strongly on this question, because I feel strongly about it.
– Five years hence the right honorable member for Swan and the Minister of Trade and Customs will beat the honorable member on this question by ten votes.
– I hope that honorable members will seriously consider this matter, and not make a selection that certainly would not placate New South Wales. I do not know, by the way, that that State should need to be placated. The selection of Dalgety would be harmful to the future of Australia. We should have another straight-out ballot; but I should not like to see that ballot taken too soon. I feel that the old Inter-State jealousies are gradually dying out, and the sooner that they do disappear the better. I hope that honorable members will not act rashly, as they seem disposed to do, but will give the mat ter fair consideration. I trust, too, that if a ballot is taken, we shall not see wobbling such as occurred on the previous occasion.
– Cannot the Treasurer promise a ballot?
– There will be a ballot if the Bill is defeated.
– Will the Government accept an amendment designed to bring about a ballot?
– This is not a party question, and only the Prime Minister can speak on that subject.
– Which site does the Treasurer favour?
– I should like to know which site the right honorable member favours.
– The right honorable member has made up his mind beforehand. I shall not tell him what I am going to do, because I did not get fair treatment from him when, on a previous occasion, I made my intention known to him.
– There are four sites in the Hume electorate, and the right honorable member for Swan wishes to cause trouble between the Treasurer and his constituents.
– I do not think that a small thing like that would cause me any trouble. I am willing to take the responsibility for my vote.
– If Dalgety is not a good site, for which site should we vote?
– Every one of the other sites is better than Dalgety.
– Which is the Treasurer’s choice?
– Tooma is the best site, but I do not say that is my choice.
– What about Batlow?
– I have never said anything about Batlow. Tooma is at the head of the Murray, and has a better water supply than can be obtained from the Snowy or any other river. The obiection to that site is its distance from Sydney, and it was brought forward only when Dalgety became prominent. Although this matter has now been discussed on several occasions, we are only repeating the experience of the United States and of Canada.
– We ought not to repeat their errors.
– If we act too hurriedly, we may do so. I have been compelled to say a few words on the subject, because of its importance, and because of the speeches made by other honorable members in the course of the long discussion which has taken place.
I did not desire to speak on this question this evening, because I expressed my views fully in regard to it towards the end of last session, but my name having been dragged into the discussion very unnecessarily, I think it is incumbent upon me to say one or two words. From the beginning this question has been too much a political matter. The Treasurer and the Minister of Trade and Customs has each done his best to have a site in his electorate chosen, and there has been a conflict between representatives from New South Wales and those from other States. This is much to be regretted, and is largely due to the fact that the business is not being managed as it could be managed if we were to start again from the beginning. In the first place, no proper examination of the suggested sites has been made. When Minister of Home Affairs, I directed a proper examination of the Dalgety, Bombala, and Tumut districts; but the other sites have not been properly surveyed, no contour map of any of them being obtainable. Why has so little interest been taken in this matter by the Government of New South Wales?
– Had the Government of New South Wales done more, it would have been said that it was trying to dictate to the Federal Parliament.
– That could not have been said had it confined its efforts to the furnishing of information. It might fairly have been expected that the Government of New South Wales would have closely examined every site they were prepared to recommend throughout the State, and had proper reports regarding water supplies, contours, and other details, not from Commissioners, as the result of a few days’ inspection, but from experts who had made careful examinations. The city of Goulburn has not been reported on as a suitable site.
– Because it is within the 100-mile limit.
– At any rate, the country between Goulburn and Yass is not within that limit, and there has been no proper survey of it, or of the Lake George site. I did my best to get the New South Wales Government to carry out such a survey, and to ascertain whether a river could not be diverted to keep the lake always full.
– An examination was made.
– Some barometrical observations were obtained, but when I suggested a more detailed examination, the reply was made that the Commonwealth Government ought to get this information for itself. The present trouble has arisen partly from bad management, and partly from political influence.
– Why did the Commonwealth Government have only the Dalgety site surveyed?
– The Tumut, Bombala, and Dalgety districts were the only sites in the running when the examination to which I referred was made.
– There was the Lyndhurst site, too.
– I had left the Department of Home Affairs before that time. I made a report on the Lyndhurst site, though after merely a cursory exanimation of it, because I had no detailed information to go on. The Treasurer has accused me of having done something which was not friendly to him, nor creditable to myself, in not visiting Tooma. From the reports which I have read, Tooma must be a beautiful place, from which the Snowy Mountains are always visible, and where there is an abundant water supply and fertile land. But the Treasurer alone is to blame for that site not having been considered, because he did not bring it forward in time to give an opportunity for its examination. He knew the locality, and he had the power to include it for examination by the Commission, and did not do it. He was then advocating two other sites in his electorate, viz., Albury andTumut.
– He has said thathe did not do so, because Tooma is too far from Sydney.
SirJOHN FORREST.- Yes, but he advocated and voted for Albury, which is further from Sydney, and much closer to Melbourne than to Sydney. No other site could be looked upon more as a Victorian site. The railway distance between Sydney and Tooma is not likely to be much reduced, owing to the rugged nature of some of the intervening country.
– Does the right honorable member say that Tooma is the best site?
SirJOHN FORREST.- I have not been there, but I understand that, apart from the objection that it is too far from Sydney, it is one of the best sites available.
– Will the right honorable member explain why he did not visit it when he was within 12 miles of it?
– The sites which I had parliamentary authority to examine were Tumut, Dalgety, and Bombala. I sent a surveyor to each, and during the parliamentary recess I arranged to make a round trip from Melbourne, through Bairnsdale to Orbost, thence through the ranges to Delegate, and on to Bombala and Dalgety, and thence on to Tumut, coming home by way of Batlow, Tumbarumba, and Germanton. When I was about to start, the Prime Minister asked me if I could find him a seat in the conveyance, and we went off without letting any one know we ‘ were going, as we wished to make the journey privately. The Prime Minister left me at Dalgety, and returned to Melbourne by way of Cooma and Goulburn, while I crossed the hills, passing by Kiandra, to Tumut. There the Prime Minister met me again, and we visited Batlow and Tumbarumba, and arranged for a special train to meet us at Germanton on the Sunday night, to bring us back to Melbourne. At Tumbarumba a request came from the Treasurer that I should visit some place on the Murray, which is now known as Tooma, but we had made our arrangements, and had to travel all day to catch our train. My not visiting the Murray site, to which he asked me to go, has been spoken of by him as an underhand action, which he will never forget, which is as unfair as it is a ridiculous statement of the case. In my visit of inspection, my only thought was to do the duty which devolved upon me, and to confer with the surveyors who were at work. But, although I was two or three days at Dalgety, I did not ask Mr. Scrivener, the surveyor there, his opinion as to the best site, nor in conversation between the Prime Minister and myself was there any exchange of our personal views on the matter. “ Colonel Owen was with us, too, but I did not ask him what his opinion was. I do not do business in that way. It is ‘ my rule to let those whom I employ judge for themselves, and report accordingly. I have never done anything to influence in the slightest, any one’s opinion in regard to the matter. I do not think any member of this House can say that I ever tried to influence him to vote for any place. Although I had charge of this measure for ‘ some months I never had any conversation with a view of influencing Colonel Owen, Mr. Scrivener, Mr. Chesterman, or the Prime Minister, or as to what their opinions were. I waited until they made their reports and placed upon them the responsibility of saying what they thought, - not to echo my views, but to give me the benefit of theirs.
– Why did the right honorable member issue that gratuitous report about Canberra when a member of the Government ?
– I did thai very reluctantly. I recognised that Parliament had decided that Dalgety was to he the site, and until Parliament reversed that decision I felt, as Acting Prime Minister, that it was not right for me to take any part in even appearing to disagree with it, but I was strongly pressed by the Premier of New South Wales, Sir J. H. Carruthers, to go and look at Canberra. Although I was advised by others not to do so, I said “ As you make such a point of it, and I have heard so many opinions about it, I will do it.” I did not like doing it, but I did it. The result ‘was that I made a report which caused a good deal of annoyance to man)’. I can candidly say that I wish I had had nothing to do with it. If one thinks that ohe has any qualifications to do any good for this country, it is better that he should keep the opinion to himself. He will only get himself into trouble if he tries to do what he thinks is right, without having any feeling in the matter at all, and simply leaving people to judge for themselves. I do not want any honorable member to be influenced in the slightest by any opinion- that I have expressed. I have had no interest in the matter. I am not a man such as the honorable member f’ir Illawarra, whom I have always regarded as a friend of mine, described me to be to-day when I was absent. I would not injure this country in order to please a colleague of mine.
– It is not my fault that the right honorable member was not here.
– No, but if those are the motives that are to be attributed ‘to public men in exercising their judgment, this House is no place for me to be in. The honorable member went out of his way - if he said what was reported to me - to attribute to me dishonest motives, as if I should injure myself and my reputation and Australia to please the Minister of Trade and Customs. Why should I do such a thing? Why have I not, as well as the honorable member for Illawarra, the right to have an opinion and judgment of my own? If my judgment does not agree with his, I do not tell him that he is acting dishonestly, and yet I would have just as much right to say so as he had this afternoon to say it of me. I do not want to deal with that aspect of the case any further. It is humiliating to me to even have to mention a charge of that sort, which is based upon foolishness and want of thought. The honorable member must know that it would never do for me or for any one in this House to injure his country in order to please this man or that.
– Why did the right honorable member repudiate his own signature?
– That is another matter. That is not what the honorable member said. In dealing with a public document of that sort the honorable member might say anything he pleased as to what I ought to do, but he must not attribute to me motives which could not actuate any decently honest or sensible person. Charges of that sort are only so much foolish rambling nonsense.
– It would be well if the right honorable member would set an example to Western Australia by sticking to his signature.
– The honorable member need not be insulting.
– I ask the honorable member for Illawarra not to interrupt the right honorable member for Swan. If he desires to make a personal explanation he may do so.
– I have nothing but friendly feelings towards the honorable member, but I resent his bad treatment of me.
– The right honorable member is quite wrong in suggesting that he imputed corrupt motives.
– I understood that the honorable member said I took a certain course to please the Minister of Trade and Customs, and in order to annoy and defeat the wishes of the Treasurer.
– I did not say that the right honorable member did it to please anybody..
– Perhaps I have been misinformed. If so, I withdraw what I have said. I listened with attention to the views of the honorable member for Flinders. There is a great deal of justification, from his point of view, as a new member, for wanting to deal with the matter de novo and to form his own opinion, but he has not been to any of these places, and if we waited until he formed an opinion from ocular demonstration, I am afraid we should have to wait a long while.
– That would apply to a number of members.
– Most honorable members have taken a lot of trouble to inform themselves on the subject. A great many have been to these places. . The trips were called pic-nics, but it is not much of a pic-nic to have to go about the country to form one’s judgment on these Capital sites. I should have liked very much to see a place that was more accessible under existing conditions than Dalgety is. I confess that it is the most inaccessible from Melbourne of ali the sites proposed. The fact that Victorians can be found to vote for it can only be explained by the view that they look ahead to the time when there will be a railway from Melbourne, via Bairnsdale, to Dalgety, which would then be fairly equidistant from Melbourne and Sydney.
– lt will not be equidistant in regard to time.
– I remember stating in my report that it would take from one and a ‘half to two hours longer to reach Dalgety by rail from the Victorian side. One site which has been mentioned, and which I wish had been carefully examined - I have never been to see it, because it has not been in the running - ii in the neighbourhood of Yass. I am informed that water is not easily obtainable there by gravitation. When choosing a site for the future Capital of Australia one ought to get a place to which water can “be brought by gravitation, rather than by pumping. Pumping is all right, and is fairly economical if it has to be done, but it is not so economical or desirable as a supply by gravitation. I certainly should not recommend a site, unless there were grave reasons to justify it, where a plentiful supply of water by gravitation was not available. According to my judgment - and I have had the opportunity of seeing all these places - the best site I have seen is Dalgety. I have had no experience of the blizzards which are alleged to sweep over it in winter, because I have not been there at that season of the year; butit seems strange that in this deliberative body, containing so many disinterested members, there should be found men voting for a place which must be very undesirable, if it is one- tenth as bad as the description given by some honorable members, and especially by the Treasurer to-night.
– They are going to vote for it because they have never been there.
– Surely people are not so unreasonable and foolish? I assume they are doing what they think is right. It is the best site I have seen, without taking into account the blizzards that I have not experienced. I have been there twice - in April or May - and the weather was splendid. As for cold, many of the great cities of the world are colder than Dalgety.I may instance London, New York, Montreal, Ottawa, Paris, and Washington, where the lowest temperature is 15 degrees below zero, whereas Dalgety is 11 degrees above zero, a difference of 25 degrees. I gave in my report on Canberra all the temperatures of the chief cities of the world. Rome, Berlin, Vienna, and many other cities are cold in the winter. Even if Dalgety is cold at that time of the year I do not think the cold will hurt us. I do not see why we should want to live in a hot house. I believe that a cool climate is the best for health and for raising up a sturdy race - not a hot climate, which induces laziness, or, at any rate, the desire not to exert oneself too much. While I am anxious to obtain the best site possible for the Capital, and will not vote for a place that I think inferior to another,I have at the same time no interest in the question beyond a general interest as a citizen of Australia and as a member of this House, to do my best. I have no feeling in the matter. It cannot matter to me very much personally whether the Capital is at Tumut, Lyndhurst, or Dalgety, or on the beautiful slopes of Tooma, so graphically described by the Treasurer; but we ought to try to make up our minds, because Federation will never be completed so long as we are visitors in a great city in one or other of the States. We shall never get away from parochialism to the extent that we wish to so long as we meet in Sydney, Melbourne, or any other large city, because we imbibe every morning the views and interests of those amongst whom we live. It has always seemed to me that a habitation of our own in some central place would be best in the interests of the whole of Australia. We should, therefore settle the matter as soon as we can.
– Does the right honorable member think that Dalgety is, in the terms of the bond that he signed, “ within a reasonable distance of Sydney “?
-I have ex plained that already. I assure the honorable member that, so far as my memory serves me, when the memorandum was drafted by the legal members of the ConferenceSir George Turner, Mr. Kingston, and, I think, the right honorable member for East Sydney - it seemed to comply with their wishes, and I had no strong opinions regarding it.
– But the right honorable member signed it.
– I have no desire to repudiate my signature, but it was a matter more for the representatives of Victoria and New South Wales. Speaking from recollection, I think I and my colleagues from the other States regarded it as a matter which affected Victoria and’ New South Wales more than it did us - if they were agreed we were. As to the exact wording, it is not in my memory that any significance was attached to the words “reasonable distance.”
– Before the minute was signed every word was read to the assembled Premiers.
– And everybody forgot it afterwards, the right honorable member amongst the rest.
– Surely an obligation is not wiped out because it is forgotten.
– I think there is too much being made of the words “ reasonable distance.”
– Western Australia received consideration from New South Wales - the right honorable gentleman got his part of the compact.
– The right honorable member for East Sydney has changed his views so often that, I suppose, he may change them again. That document was drawn up and signed by us, but, as I say, I have no recollection of any significance being placed on the words “reasonable distance.” Further, I have said in the House - and it is recorded in Hansard - that I thought the words “100 miles “ might reasonably be read to mean as near to the 100 miles as possible, but we have never had submitted to us a good site near to the 100 miles limit. After five years’ waiting we have now Canberra, which is 203 miles by railway from Sydney. What other site is there, except, perhaps, Lyndhurst ?
– That site has scarcely been looked at. If such significance was placed on the words “ reasonable distance,” how does it come about that the Government of New South Wales offered Albury, Tumut, Bombala, and also, I believe, Tenterfield, which is somewhere on the borders of Queensland ? How is it that for three or four years no member from New South Wales ever drew attention to any significance in the words? It was only after there had been long discussions, and we had expressed our opinion and made up our minds in regard to the qualifications of the various sites, that representations were made on that score, and we were expected to reverse our decision. I repeat that not a site with any hope of acceptance anywhere near the 100-miles limit has been properly placed before the House.
– There is Lyndhurst.
– I do not like an interior site, with no running water in summer.
– There was a site in the Goulburn district.
– Then why was it not advocated?
– We wished to see if there was any place nearer.
– The Capital site must be a suitable one in every way, because it has to last for ever ; and if any site near the 100-miles limit does not possess all the qualifications, it ought not to be accepted. After five years the New South Wales Government discovered, first, a place called Mahkoolma, and then suggested Canberra, which, by the way, is 203 miles by railway from Sydney. I regret that the people and Government of New South Wales have not done more to place before us more suitable sites nearer the 100- miles limit. We have to look far away into the future, and we must act as patriots. Although Dalgety is the best site, it will be a great trouble for representatives from Victoria for many years to attend Parliament there ; and no one can say that the people of Victoria, in .supporting that site, are looking only to their own interests so far as accessibility is concerned. But time will heal all such difficulties and, doubtless, there will be a railway to Dalgety via Bairnsdale, and another from Sydney. There is no fear that Junee, Wagga, and other places mentioned in the Treasurer’s, electorate will suffer, because the producers there will be able to get their produce to market quite as well with two lines of rails to Sydney as with one ; and I do not think that kind of parochial argument is worth consideration. I do not see why we should expect the Federal Capital to meet all requirements at once; if we can get a good site, we had better put up with a little temporary inconvenience. If I thought that Dalgety would prove unhealthy and unfit for winter residence, I would have nothing to do with its selection ; but no complaints to that effect from the people who live there have reached me.
– What about the letter the Treasurer read from a man who had lived there for so long ?
– On the man’s own showing, he had lived his youth at Dalgety, and gained a strong constitution, which enabled him to survive to a green old age at Wangaratta.
– And that man took his flocks and herds away with him from Dalgety.
– I must ask the honor;) bie member for Lang not to keep up this running comment.
– I am not the only offender.
– The honorable member has distinguished himself above all others by keeping up a constant fire of interjection, and I must ask him to desist.
– I do not think that the letter referred to proves the Treasurer’s case, but rather the contrary.
– If Dalgety is accepted by the State of New South Wales, will the tight honorable member immediately assist in voting the sums of money required to build the Capital?
– The honorable member ought not to ask me that question ; I have never _ given any one the idea that I am not in real earnest in this matter.
– A number of honorable members have said that they will not vote the Supplies.
– If that be so, it would be better to postpone the Bill. I do not think that the amendment of the honorable member for Parkes is desirable, and, rather than it should pass, I would prefer to see the Bill deferred for a few years. If Dalgety is chosen, my desire is - though I know it is not a popular desire - to get there as quickly as possible, and build, not a “ shanty “ in the wilderness, but a fine Parliament House. The Federal Parliament House should < be worthy of the country, and begun on lines which may be extended until we have a Capita as fine as that in Washington. We are not a pauperized country, driven to legislate in a slab hut. If any one desires to defeat the establishment of the Federal Capital, or make the Capital a by-word throughout Australia, he will advocate Parliament being housed in some tumble-down shanty.
– It would take a quarter of a century to build a Parliament House such as that the right honorable member indicates.
– We need not wait until it is finished, and I am only urging that it should be built on lines worthy of the permament home of the Parliament of this great country. I see no reason why we should not begin as we intend to go on, and begin at once. If I thought that the Government or honorable members were not in earnest in this matter, I should be almost ashamed to be connected with it in any way.
– I desire to know, Mr. Speaker, if there is any reason why i should be singled out for special reference in regard to interruptions, when other honorable members are allowed, without any notice being taken, to interrupt as frequently, or perhaps more frequently.
– The honorable member will remember, if he throws his mind back over the last two hours, that I have several times called for order when interjections became undue in number or loudness, but I singled out the honorable member because it seemed to me that, for some time past, he had excelled all others in the frequency and persistency of his interjections.
.- I do not intend to enter into any lengthy discussion on a subject that has been threshed threadbare, but I cannot at this juncture, when the Bill is about to be either passed or rejected, refrain from offering some observations. I have heard it said that when the history of the Federal Capital is written by some unbiased authority, it will not reflect great credit on the Commonwealth Parliament. In regard to the anticipated selection, it will, in my opinion, fail to give satisfaction to the people of Australia, and certainly to the people of the Mother State, which has some right to be considered. We have heard a great deal of the eligibility of certain sites; but, as I said before when giving an elaborate description of the sites, there is none that can compare with a site on the banks of the Murray. If there is one site which should appeal to a man who is without bias or parochial leaning, and whose only desire is to do his best for the future of Australia, it is Tooma. I could dilate for an hour on the many qualities it possesses, but I have no desire to repeat what I said on a former occasion. If Parliament selects Dalgety as the future Seat of Government, they will make the most serious mistake ever made by any Parliament, because no more regrettable decision could be arrived at. The Monaro country in its every feature is uninviting. As the Treasurer said, the selection of any site other than Dalgety would be a comparatively wise act. I would vote for the amendment moved by the honorable member for Parkes if I thought that the choice of Dalgety was the only alternative. There is much to be said in favour of the proposal to postpone the determination of this question until honorable members have a better opportunity to study it and to investigate the various sites, and until public opinion has become more definitely moulded. The feeling to-day is so parochial as to render it practically impossible to deal with this matter in a truly broad spirit. We find some honorable members fighting for the selection of sites within their own electorates, or adjacent to them, whilst others are seeking to carry out the behests of certain newspapers. There are at work influences which are likely to disappear ten or twelve years hence from the world of politics, leaving the whole question to be dealt with in an equitable manner. I am doubtful whether New South Wales would grant the Dalgety territory if we selected it. There is much to indicate v that it would not do so, and nothing to show that it would. The Legislature of that State on the last occasion that this question was deliberately put to a vote practically refused to cede the territory of Dalgety to the Commonwealth. The proposal that Dalgety should be ceded to the Commonwealth was defeated by an overwhelming majority. We should make a very grave mistake, and place this Parliament in a position that it ought not to occupy, by choosing that site, and I fail to see that we shall be acting within the Constitution by selecting it until it shall have been ceded to us. We have now to vote upon this important question, and as the House is weary of the debate, and anxious to divide, I shall content myself by entering an emphatic protest against the selection of Dalgety, and by expressing the hope that the wisdom of the House will lead to the choice of a site enjoying a climate more favorable than is that of that blizzardswept district.
.- Paradoxical though it may appear, the more honorable members speak to this question, the more necessary it seems for others to address themselves to it. From the outset I have not disguised the view I entertain that I am justified in taking any step that may be legitimately taken in this House to postpone the enormous expenditure which the preparation of a new home for the Federal Parliament would entail. For that reason I have persistently stated that I shall record my vote in favour of delay. The suggestion made in the early days of the Parliament, that the Parliament should meet alternately in Melbourne and Sydney, for the same reason obtained my favorable consideration. Although when this question was last before us, as a last resort, I voted for Dalgety, I believe that it is altogether undesirable to undertake at this stage the expenditure that would be involved in establishing the Capital there, and I should be prepared to support the amendment moved by the honorable member for Parkes. I am sure, however, that the honorable member is now convinced that he has not behind him a sufficient number of votes to carry his proposal, and if he presses it to a division I shall have to move as a further amendment the addition of words making it clear that at the end of the ten years’ period to which it refers the Seat of Government shall be removed automatically to Melbourne.
– What would that removal cost?
– I think that it would be well to postpone for twenty years the enormous expenditure attendant upon the establishment of the Federal Capital, which has been foreshadowed by the right honorable member for Swan and others. Within the next few years conditions, I believe, are likely to so alter, that sites now regarded as desirable, will be found less worthy of selection than are others where population has congregated.
– Is the honorable member aware that he is now using the arguments that were employed in New South Wales by the opponents of Federation during the Federal campaign?
– I was in favour of Federation, but I am not in favour of extravagant expenditure. I am satisfied that if the representatives of New South Wales in this Parliament had been able to come forward with a recommendation, unanimously supported by themselves, as well as by the legislature, and the press of that State, the whole question would have received before this the consideration that such a recommendation would deserve. But what do we find? We find the representatives of New South Wales themselves divided with respect to it. There is an utter absence of unanimity amongst the people, the press, and the Parliament of New South Wales upon this question, and consequently they are not in a position to chide us with having obstructed its settlement. To-night the honorable member for Flinders delivered a very thoughtful address, in which he indicated very clearly that under existing circumstances it is quite possible for us to review the whole situation under the Bill now before us. I have all along recognised the many disabilities which would attach to the selection of Dalgety. One threat which has been made by members of the direct Opposition - and I understand that they will be supported in their action by honorable members of the Labour corner - is that if Dalgety is chosen they will insist upon the erection of the necessary buildings being undertaken without delay. Personally, I am strongly of opinion that the Dalgety site should not be finally selected until better facilities from the stand-point of railway communication have been provided. Some time ago I asked the Victorian Railways Engineer-in-Chief to supply me with information regarding the period that would be occupied in travelling between Melbourne and Dalgety. I learned from him that the distance between this city and Dalgety via Bairnsdale and East Gippsland is approximately 350 or 400 miles, and that an ordinary express train would occupy thirteen and a half or fourteen hours in covering the journey. The members of the direct Opposition, knowing that they will command the support of members of the Labour corner, will thus compel the representatives of Victoria and South Australia - who have hitherto been accustomed to return to their homes at the end of each week - to travel to Dalgety via Albury, Goulburn, and Tooma, a distance of 615 miles. The journey by that route would, I understand, occupy nineteen hours. I think that the threat which proceeds from the direct Opposition-
– That is very unfair. We have not chosen Dalgety.
– The honorable member should say “ prediction,” instead of “ threat.”
– I am sure that honorable members will acquit me of having used the term “ threat “ in an offensive sense. I confess that I did think that the proposal to alternate the Federal Capital between Sydney and Melbourne, which found favour in certain quarters in the early days of Federation, was one which would insure the necessary delay in the final selection of the Seat of Government, and admit of ampler consideration. But the honorable member for Flinders has thrown a new light upon this question, and, as a result, I hope that an amendment will be submitted which will afford the House an opportunity of selecting a site which, in my opinion, is a very desirable one - I refer to the Tooma or Wellaregang site. That site possesses advantages upon which it would be almost ridiculous for me to dwell at the present stage, seeing that honorable members are already familiar with them: It is located in a district with which I am very familiar, and which possesses great agricultural resources. I shall vote - if the opportunity presents itself - in favour of my first, selection of Albury, because I regard that as the best possible site. Failing that site, I shall support the claims of Tooma. I am glad to know that honorable members are to be afforded an opportunity of voting for an amendment under which it will be possible to reconsider the whole position. I am sure that every one of- us deeply deplores the absence of the Minister of Trade and Customs tonight as the result of indisposition. Before any discussion takes place upon an alternative proposal of that character, I should like him to be in his place. If the honorable member for Parkes persists in his amendment, I can support it only upon the ground that it will cause delay in the selection of the Seat of Government, and with an amendment clearly providing that after the lapse of a certain period the temporary Seat of Government shall again revert to Melbourne. The Treasurer was perfectly accurate when he stated that when this question was under consideration upon a former occasion a fair vote was not cast in respect of the claims of Tooma. Failing the Albury site, I propose to vote for Tooma again, as the site did not succeed in getting a fair vote on the last occasion. Had that site been treated fairly, I am sure it would have been selected by the Parliament.
– I make no excuse for speaking on this question. My words will be very few. Many peoplehave said to me at various times: “You are lucky in having the Federal Parliament meeting in your constituency.” My answer is that as scon as my vote can assist in moving the Federal Parliament from Melbourne, it will be given in that direction. I am convinced that we ought to decide the question definitely. I have heard it stated that there was a good deal of bargaining in reference to the Federal Capital, but the New South . Wales members said : “If we cannot have the Capital in our State, we will not join the Union.” I shall not enter into that question. I am willing to keep to the bond. New South Wales can have her pound of flesh. But I must admit that I am tired of the continual nagging of afew members from New South Wales. It is getting on our nerves, and we have had quite enough of it. No member from Victoria desires to prevent the Capital being placed in New South Wales, but surely it is right, as the Capital when built will stand for centuries, that we should be careful to choose the best site. Now, what do we want? Primarily, we must have access to the sea. That is a fundamental principle. Secondly, we must have a splendid water supply. I do not agree with the remarks of a medical member of this House on that question. It is true that the germs of hydatids may be found in a running stream. Personally, I believe that the embryo will be found wherever a dog can drink. But the number of hydatid germs in running water is very few as compared with the number found in stagnant pools or placid lakes. The splendid example of Hamburg, in Germany, shows us what can be done in the purification of water. There the people had to contend against a cholera pest fostered bv one of the vilest rivers in Europe. But they have transformed their water supply until it is so pure that the water they drink is nearly as pure as distilled water. If such things can be done with a river that was rotten with disease germs, how much more could be done with a river like the Snowy ? Further, the potentialities of that river in providing us with the motive power of the century - electricity - induce me to give a vote for Dalgety. Another point in favour of that site is that it is one of the healthiest that we have had under consideration. We are told that the weather at Dalgety is cold. I remind honorable members that the stock from which we spring was a race emanating from cold countries. The best part of the blood of the British race comes from a stock emanating from the coldest countries in Europe. I allude, of course, to the AngloSaxon race. Did not the old Vikings come from the cold countries of northern Europe ? The report prepared, by the right honorable member for Swan induced me in the first instance to give my moral support to Dalgety, and the report of Mr. Oliver clinched my convictions on the subject. As to the advantage that I am supposed to enjoy in having the Federal Parliament meeting in my electorate, I can assure honorable members that, although I am quite willing to devote two hours every morning to my political duties in addition to the time I spend at this House in the afternoons and evenings, I find that that time is altogether insufficient to fulfil the demands made upon me. I shall be quite glad to have the Parliament removed from my electorate from that point of view. Another reason why I desire to see the Capital established is that I want to have tried an experiment in land legislation. When Queen Victoria, swept away the miserable memories of Norfolk Island, her advisers entered upon a land experiment there which, if it had been carried to its legitimate end, would, have been very instructive. Why should we not make an experiment in land nationalization in Federal territory and set the States an example which they may see the wisdom of following? As to the cost of building the Capital, I desire to show the Treasurer how our object may be obtained without expense to the community. Silver is worth only 2s. per ounce to-day. If the Treasurer will inquire at the Mint he will find that 2s. worth of silver will produce 4s. 6d. in current coin of the realm. If the Treasurer will expend £1,000,000 on the purchase of Australian silver, produced from Australian mines, bv Australian workers, and will have it minted, he will obtain a profit of £1,200,000, which we could apply to the purposes of the Federal Capital. We could make a profit of 120’ per cent, on that silver. I bring under the notice of the Treasurer not a wild-cat experiment, or an absurd idea, or theory of the Labour Party, but an experiment which has been carried to a successful issue in a part of the British Empire. As the Treasurer is doubtless aware, the Channel Islands were never conquered, but now form a part of the Empire. What happened in Guernsey was this : It had a wise governor in the person of Daniel de Lisle Brock. He asked the people when they could not borrow money from London, “ Have you no bricklayers, or masons, or carpenters?” They replied, “Yes, we have workmen of all kinds.” He then said, “ Why do you not build the market yourselves, without the aid of English money lenders?” John Jacob tells the story in these words -
The estimated cost of the new meat market being about ^4,000, how to raise that amount became the immediate question with the promoters of the scheme? Numerous consultations were held, the upshot of which was that instead of borrowing gold, the promoters determined to issue “ Market House Scrip,” or legal tender notes of their own, founded on the credit of the Island. The politicians of the day called them a set of pestilential innovators for adopting a course so opposed to common sense and ancient custom ; but, notwithstanding all opposition, Market House scrip to the requisite amount, and of various denominations, was ultimately issued _by. the authority of the House of Assembly when ‘Daniel de Lisle Brock was Governor of the Island. The materials were found, the men put to work, the market erected*, and the stalls rented. Every month’s rent reduced the total of the scrip, and in less- than ten years all the scrip was paid back into the public Treasury, stamped, cancelled, and thus ended the life of the Guernsey Market House scrip. But the rents have to this day continued, and are applied to ‘ local improvements.
In ten years the notes were cancelled, and the debt wiped off, and ever since the muni- cipality has been obtaining from£400 to £500a year in revenue. Why cannot we follow that example, erecting our own public buildings, residences, hotels, and lodging houses, and paying for the work by notes secured on the land and buildings, and guaranteed by the Commonwealth Government? Would any man refuse to accept notes which had behind them the security of every valley and hill in Australia?’ As a matter of fact, the notes of the Provincial and Suburban Bank, which has been dead for thirty years, are now current in the back blocks, which shows that the public is not averse from using notes. If this scheme were adopted, the debt would be met in twenty years, and ever afterwards there would be a huge revenue from the various buildings. The propriety of dealing with public works in this way is creatinga great deal of attention in America, and I glory in the fact that the system was first tried under the British flag in a country which enjoyed home rule, and minted its own coinage. I hope that the Federal Capital question will be settled now once and for all. If the choice of Dalgety be re-affirmed, it will be the duty of the Ministry to whole-heartedly give effect to the decision of Parliament. Although I represent a Victorian constituency I love Sydney too much to wish to do its people an injury. I have stated there publicly that, were I a young man beginning life again, I should prefer to start there; and, could I take my friends with me, I should be inclined tosettle there now. But if the Constitution is to be amended, with a view to having the Parliament sitting alternately in Melbourne and Sydney, I say that we should go further, and ask the people to say straight out where they will have the Capital. If the members of the New South Wales Legislature continue to nag, the public of Australia will demand to be heard. A referendum is not as easily taken under our Constitution as in Switzerland, where, if the majority desired to change the Capital-
– I ask the honorable member not to discuss the Swiss Constitution.
– Then I have only to say that if the Constitution is to be amended, I should likethe citizens of Australia to be given an opportunity to finally settle the matter. I shall willingly vote to have the Seat of Government taken away from Melbourne at the first opportunity.
– I avail myself of this opportunity to ask leave to withdraw the amendment which I moved on Tuesday. I do so because I now recognise that most of the representatives of the State from which I come are unwilling to support it, and, consequently, representatives from Queensland, Tasmania, and Victoria hesitate to do so. If those who promised had supported it, I should have carried it ; but as, in the exercise of their judgment they now think it inadvisable to do so, I have no hesitation about taking this course.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
– I should like the Government to consent to an adjournment, because I desire to move an amendment to give an opportunity for the further consideration of this question. That amendment is to this effect–
– I would point out that if the honorable member commences a speech, hecannot move the adjournment ; but it may be convenient for him to proceed a little further, and then ask leave to continue his remarks to-morrow.
– I shall do so. I intend to propose the omission of all the words after the word “ That,” with a view to the insertion of the following words -
In the opinion of this House a further opportunity should be afforded of taking a ballot on other positions besides Dalgety for the Seat of Government before this Bill be further proceeded with.
I wish to speak to that amendment, but, as many honorable members have left the building, I should like to defer my remarks until to-morrow. It is of vital importance to the Commonwealth that this question should be judged, not only from a personal point of view, but also from the national point of view. For that reason,sir, I ask leave to continue my speech on a future occasion.
Leave granted ; debate adjourned.
– In moving -
That the House do now adjourn,
I ask honorable members to be good enough to assist us to-morrow, first of all, to dispose of private members’ business as early as possible. I have no doubt that the honorable member for West Sydney, who has the first motion on the notice-paper, will state his case, but hope that after it has been stated the House will at once pass to the final decision of the question of the Capital site, which has already occupied far too much time, considering the stage we have reached.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 10.51 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 30 September 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1908/19080930_reps_3_47/>.