5th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– In view of the statement made last evening by the honorable member for Riverina, that his health has been so affected by the long hours that he has had to sit here, and the long speeches that he has had to listen to, that, had he known the strenuous time that he was in for, he would not have entered Parliament, will the Prime Minister see if he can do away with Friday sittings ?
– I shall be glad to do away with Friday sittings the moment my honorable friends opposite show us how to get a little business done.
– It is stated in this morning’s newspapers, relative to an alteration of the postage stamp design, that a representation of the laughing jackass is to appear on stamps of one denomination, and that ether designs are also to be used. I ask the PostmasterGeneral if, before printing millions of stamps of various denominations, he will obtain a first pull of the designs, and if unable to supply proofs to each honorable member, will exhibit one set in this building, so that we may offer criticisms upon the designs before they are definitely adopted ?
– The engraver of our bank notes has had great experience in preparing stamps in the Old Country, and has volunteered to sketch out some designs for stamps of different values. I have taken advantage of his kind offer. I shall consider the suggestion of the honorable member.
– Is the Minister able to say what will be the extra cost of printing stamps by a process of steel engraving? He promised to get the information.
– The extra cost is 2d. per 1,000. I do not propose to print all the Commonwealth stamps by the engraving process, but I think it would be to the credit of Australia if some of the stamps of finer quality were printed from steel plates.
– I understand that the Minister is taking advantage of the offer of the Commonwealth note printer to have plates prepared?
– No; designs.
– Does the honorable gentleman intend to use the services of Mr. Harrison in preference to those of Mr. Cooke in the preparation of the plates ?
– Neither gentleman is in my Department. The Treasurer is the Minister to deal with that matter.
– I do not wish to worry the Postmaster-General, but I would like to ascertain whether, in his calculation of 2d. a thousand, he has taken into consideration the cost of the necessary plant to print the steel plate engravings ?
-When the notes required by the Treasury have been printed, an additional Hoe machine will print as many stamps as are required by the steel plate process; but the electrotype process will continue as at present, and probably there will be two-coloured penny stamps in existence at the same time. The estimate of 2d. applies only to the printing by the steel plate process.
– Some time ago the honorable member for Herbert gave me some telegrams complaining that the conditions which had been applied to the sugar industry in Queensland were not being observed, and I promised to forward his representations on the subject to the Queensland Government. I have received these replies from the Premier of Queensland -
Adverting to your letter of the19th ultimo (with enclosures) relative to a statement made by Mr. F. Bamford in the House of Representatives two days previously on the subject of labour conditions and wages in the sugar industry of Queensland, I have the honour to inform you that since the passing of the Sugar Growers (Employees) Act the schedule of wages set out therein has ruled in the said industry, as will be seen from the annexed cutting from Hansard, containing a statement made by the Honorable the Treasurer.
The preparation of regulations, as provided in section 7 of the Sugar Cultivation Act, has been engaging the consideration of the State Law Department and the Ministers charged with the administration of the respective Acts. The issues are various and difficult to provide for adequately, and, being complicated by reason of “Treaty Rightsof Aliens in Queensland,” demand caution.
The Department of Labour is seeing that the full scale of wages provided in the schedule to the Sugar Growers (Employees) Act is paid to all engaged in the sugar industry regardless of nationality, so that the cry of cheap labour cannot be raised. The regulations will very shortly be issued, and will justify and honorably carry out the intention of the Acts.
I have the honour to be,
Your most obedient servant,
The Hon. the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, Melbourne.
The SPEAKER (Hon. W. D. Armstrong,
Lockyer) took the chair at half-past 3 o’clock.
Supersession ok Mackay Wages Board Award.
The TREASURER (Hon. W. H. Barnes, Bulimba) said - I ask leave to make a statement with reference to the Sugar-Growers’ Employees Act.
– Is it the pleasure of the House that the Treasurer be allowed to make a statement with regard to the Sugar Growers’ Employees Act?
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear !
The TREASURER.- It appears that in some of the mills in the north there is an impression - I am referring more particularly to the mills in the Mackay district - that the Mackay Wages Board award, which came into force prior to the passing of the Industrial Peace Act, still remains in force in that district. I had no doubt in my own mind as to what the law was on the question. Certain questions, however, were submitted to the Department of Justice to place the matter beyond doubt. The first question was -
Does the Sugar Employees Act of 1913 supersede the award of the Mackay Wages Board(Government Gazette,19th August, 1911)?
The answer to that question is “ Yes.”
The second question was - “ Does an award of the Mackay Wages Board at a meeting subsequent to the date of the Sugar Employees Act of 1913 supersede that Act?”
The answer to that question is “ Yes.”
The third question was - “If so, how long must rates as prescribed by Sugar Employees Act of 1913be paid?”
The answer to that question is- “ Until the date of the commencement of the new award.”
Apparently, some of the mills imagine that they are in order in paying wages prescribed by the Mackay Wages Board award of1911, and I want it to be clearly understood that such is not the case, but that the rates prescribed by the Sugar Growers’ Employees Act of1913 are the rates that must be paid in the interval between the passing of the Act and the bringing in of a new award. I think it ought to be further stated, to put beyond all doubt the attitude of the Department, that to-day a report came in from Dr. Gibson stating that the award was not being observed, and I caused a telegram to be sent to this effect : - “Communicate with the manager” - I leave out the name of the mill - “ by urgent wire, and inform him that the rates of wages are as prescribed by the Sugar Growers’ Employees Act of1913, and must be paid from the time of the passing of the said Bill until a new award is brought in by the Industrial Board.”
Honorable Members. -Hear, hear !
The TREASURER.- I thought it was a matter of importance, and that it would be as well that it should be known throughout Queensland what the law really is on the subject.
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear !
– What are the rates prescribed under the Sugar Wages Board Act - the interim award? Are they the rates that were in existence prior to the repeal of the Excise and Bounty Act?
– The rates prescribed in the Queensland Statute are practically those which were recommended by the Commission, and were contained in the honorable member’s regulations.
– In view of the reply given yesterday by the PostmasterGeneral to the honorable member for Bass, that the contract for the conveyance of mails to Tasmania has not yet been signed, and in view of the facts that Burnie is 60 miles nearer to Melbourne than Launceston, and that the distance from Launceston to Burnie is 110milesby rail,Iask the honorable gentleman if it is not possible to arrange for three mails a week fromMelbourne direct toBurnie, where thousands of poundsare nowbeing spent inextending thebreakwater? Burnie is the centre of Tasmania, so far as business isconcerned. Why shouldthe steamers have to , go fromBurnie toDevonport, and then on toLaunceston?
– They donot.
-I am glad to hear it. That wasthe oldarrangement.
– When Burnie gets the fine port that the honorable member speaksof, thequestionmay beconsidered, and whathe proposesmay, perhaps, be arrangedforby a slight alteration of the contract.
– As Mr. Griffin , hasbeen engagedby the Government to control theFederal Capital expenditure, will the Honorary Ministerinform the House what period , he hasbeen engaged for, whatsalary isto be paid tohim, and
What are to behis duties?
Mr.KELLY. - I shall be ableto give myhonorable friend someinformation on the matter when the Estimates are under consideration.
– I askthe PrimeMinister whether the Pearling Commission has yet presenteditsreporttothe Governor-General, and, if so, whether the reporthas been laid on the table?
-I am not aware,butI shallendeavour toascertain.
– Has notthe Prime Minister seen in this morning’snewspapers aresumeof theairport?
– Yes, but I can only add that the reporthas been given to the press before being presented to Parliament, and I regret it.
Mr.GROOM. - Theother day thehonorable membersfor East Sydney and Capricorniaaskedwhat deaths from small-poxandfrom vaccinationhave takenplace inSydney.I promisedto obtain the information forhim fromthe NewSouth Wales Boardof
Health.A telegram has been received from the Secretary to the New South Wales HealthDepartment, dated 15th October, which says -
Understood one death at Quarantine Station certified small-pox by medical officer in charge. No deaths from vaccination.
Iam informed as to the death in question that, while the confinementof the deceasedwas the predisposing, small-pox was considered by the medical attendant to be the determining cause of death.
-Is the Minister aware that the person who died at the Quarantine Station was a womanwho 24hoursafterremoval from Sydney gave birth to a child, and died, and that the child is living ?
Mr.SPEAKER.-I haveseveral times pointed out tohonorable members that itis contraryto parliamentary practice and to the StandingOrders to make statements intheguise of aquestion. A question should be put with the object of seeking information, notofliving it. The honorablemember will see that heis giving information to the Minister. ‘He may not ask a question of thatkind.
– Will the Minister , make an inquiry into thefacts that Ihave stated?
– I have justinformed the House that the medical attendant consideredthe confinement the predisposing cause ofdeath. The information onthe subject whichhas been receivedbythe Department is this-
The death referred to is that of the female patient who died shortly after confinement. In this caseitis consideredbythe medical officer in attendance that while the confinement was the predisposing, yet small-poxwas the determining cause -of the death.
– It was a cruel thing to remove that woman to the Quarantine Station.
– Do I understandthe Minister of Trade and Customs to say that heis makingfurther inquiriesabout that death,or is he satisfied with the explanation given by the Health authorities in Sydney ?It seems tomeitisa little over the odds.
– Ihave no reason to question the reports by the officers as to the cause of the death of this woman, but if honorable members desire it,I shall certainly get a further and more detailed report.
– Will the Minister make further inquiries? If the House is satisfied I am not.
– lb lias- been. publicly stated that the woman did not die from small-pox.-
– I shall obtain a report.
– Why. not have the honest truth told, to the public ?’
– It was the honest truth. The honorable member has no right to use such an expression.
Several honorable members rising-
– Order. Will honorable members resume their seats. Here is an illustration of the effect of an irregular practice in asking questions to which I have previously referred. It is contrary to parliamentary practice for honorable members to ask a series of further questions founded on the reply of the Minister to a question already asked. It is clearly laid down in standard authorities that such a practice is disallowed. Here now we have evidence of what the practice is likely to lead to. We are threatened with what is practically a debate by means of a running fire of questions and assertions, direct and by interjection, and replies thereto-
– Mr . “Speaker-
– Order. Will the honorable member resume his seat?
– I wish to ask you a question.
– Will the honorable member be silent. It is not in order for any honorable member to rise in his place, or interrupt the Speaker when he is on his feet. The practice now being resorted to is not in order.
– Then I shall move the adjournment of the House.
– The honorable member is not in order in pursuing his present course. There is a proper way of dealing with these matters, and only in that way can. the honorable member proceed. It does not concern me personally how many questions are submitted, or how they are asked, but it is my duty to see that the Standing Orders are obeyed, and that the business of Parliament is conducted in accordance- with them, and with established parliamentary practice-.
– The honorable mem. ber- asked if I would obtain a further report complete in detail. I shall certainly -do so. While I was speaking the honorable member for Wide Bay interjected that there was something dishonest in my reply. He practically insinuated- that I, or. the officers concerned, had not made an honest statement to the: House-. I do not know whether he persists in that statement.
– Look to youn own side first.
– I- am dealing with the honorable member’s interjection.
– There is- no- side iu this- matter. There- ought nob to be a_n.y side in regard! to iti
– I sincerely hope not: In this particular instance the patients ase removed by the State health authorities to the Commonwealth Quarantine Station, which- has been placed, completely at the- disposal of the State authorities, the Commonwealth acting’ in full sympathy with their administration for the purpose. There has never been a hint or a suggestion-
– Is this a reply?’
– It is a speech.
– Order. The Minister will confine himself to what is necessary for giving: his reply.
– I shall’ certainly ask. for a full and complete report on the whole of the facts, and I shall be only too pleased to lay- it before- the House.
– Will’ the Minister ascertain whether it is a. fact that at the time the* death was- reported, it was stated in, th© press in Melbourne - so- far as I read it - that small-pox had- nothing to do with the” cause of the death of the -mother ?
– I cannot recall^ after three months-
– It- is a concealment of truth.
– The honorable member for Wide Bay now says there has been a concealment of the truth. Do I take it that he is making that charge ? I do not remember seeing ‘it in the papers at the time, but my attention having been- drawn to the matter, I asked for and obtained the report which I have given to the House. 1 shall” get a fuller a<nd more complete statement made, but it is not fair for honorable members by, interjection to make serious assertions against public officers who are doing their best in the interests of the public health of this” community).
– By way of personal explanation I desire to say that I made no charge against the Minister.
– Hear, hear !
– I would like to ask you, sir, whether I understand your ruling correctly that I am not allowed to ask a question of the Minister if I am not satisfied with the reply he has given to another question ?
– The honorable member is not entitled to debate an answer to a question because he is not satisfied with’ the answer. It is clearly laid down by parliamentary authorities that answers to questions must not be made the subject of a debate, and, furthermore, that further questions based on an answer already given by a Minister are distinctly out of order and cannot be allowed, except for the purpose of making clear something that has not been made clear - to further elucidate the reply given.
– On a point of order, sir, I would draw your attention to our own rules and Standing Orders, and to the practice of the House of Commons, where it is almost an everyday occurrence that members ask questions in reference to an answer just given. Is it not the practice that has grown up here of elucidating an answer and facilitating the giving of further information to the advantage of the House and the country ?
– So long as the object of further questions is to elucidate the answer already given, further questions within due limits are permissible, but not when such further questions, either directly or by implication, make charges, or are of a controversial nature. I have before me extracts from May and other authorities dealing with this subject. I do not propose to read them all, but ‘ I shall quote one or two that should suffice for the present case. I have already quoted others governing the general practice relating to questions, which members will find in Hansard. On pages 6098 and 12157 of our own Hansard reports of debates in the year 1907-8 it is laid down -
It is contrary to the Standing Orders for members to obtain by way of interjection two or three consecutive answers to a question.
May, in the 11th edition, page 252, and in the 10th edition, page 240, says -
Further questions without debate or comment may, within due limits, be asked. which are necessary to elucidate the answers already given.
Again. May, in the 11th edition, page 252, and in the 10th edition, page 241, says - question fully answered, whether orally or in print, cannot be renewed. It is also staled in May that an excessive demand for further replies has been drawn attention to by the Speaker, who has intervened by calling upon the next member who has a question on the notice-paper.
I think it is quite clear that the practice of basing questions upon an answer already given is not allowed, except within the limits I have already stated, and that anything approximating to a dialogue or general debate founded on an answer to a question, by means of a series of further questions on the same subject, and further replies, assertions, and contradictions, is not in order.
– I submit that the object of my question was to get a clearer answer from the Minister. I did not understand from the Minister that he was going to make further inquiries which I thought were necessary. I was about to ask whether he would, and you ruled me out of order.
– The Minister has already definitely stated that he would do so.
– it is as well that the matter be cleared up. i ask the Minister of Trade and Customs - who is responsible for the removal of patients to the Quarantine Station, the Federal or the State authorities?
– The State authorities have control over the disease within the State of New South Wales. Cases are reported to them, and they take steps to have persons removed to the Quarantine Station.
“ALL RED” CABLE ROUTE.
– Will the PostmasterGeneral consider the question of entering into negotiations with the British PostmasterGeneral to see whether there is any ‘ possibility of securing the nationalization of the Atlantic Cable ?
– I shall look over the papers again and consider the question.
– I ask the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs, without notice’, how. many newspapers have been prosecuted in the Commonwealth for breaches of the Electoral Act? I would like the Minister to give the names of the papers-, and the electorates in which they are published.
-I shall be very happy to supply information relating to prosecutions initiated if the honorable member will give notice of his question.
– The other day the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs stated that up-to-date rolls could be seen at any post office. I ask him now whether any authority is necessary before these rolls can be produced by the Registrar?
– I did not say they could be seen at any of the post offices. I said they could be seen at the Registrars’ offices. The law requires that the roll shall be at the Registrar’s office in each division, and be available to the public.
– In connexion with the purification of rolls, seeing that lists of objections are being sent in by political and other organizations, I would ask the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs whether he will order the lists of names objected to to be open for inspection ?
– I do not quite understand what the honorable member desires.
– A number of names objected to are sent in, and I presume inquiries are made on them, and certain notices of objections are sent out.I wish to know whether the Minister will allow the lists of those to whom notices of objection are sent out to be inspected. We do not wish to see the names of all those objected to by the organizations. We only wish to see those names the electoral officers think should be objected to, and to whom notices of objection are sent out.
– I have already said that steps are being taken to have lists exhibited at all the Registrars’ offices with all the names objected to.
– Will the Minister take special care to see that those who have a right to be on the roll are not struck off?
– The Chief Electoral Officer, who has the administration of this Department is exercising all the care which the responsibilities attaching to his position require to see that no person is on the roll twice, and that no person is on the roll who is no longer entitled to be on it. Most of the statements that we have been hearing lately are misrepresentations of the simple fact that the Chief Electoral Officer is endea vouring, in this matter, to do his duty by the honest electors of Australia.
– Will the Honorary Minister take steps to see that names which have been improperly struck off the roll - or are proposed to be struck off - are restored, and those which it is proposed to strike off, and which ought not to be struck off are not tampered with ?
– It is practically impossible for the name of a person to be struck off a roll who is entitled to be on it, provided that he complies with all the terms of the law.
– I gave you the name of a person, with the address, to which letters are delivered every day, which was proposed to be struck off the roll.
– The right honorable gentleman gave an insufficient address.
– Nothing of the kind.
– And that mistake would have been corrected immediately had he complied with the law, and informed the electoral Registrar as to the facts.
– The address was not insufficient, as correspondence was delivered at it almost every day.
-I desire to ask the Honorary Minister when the order will be delivered to the Registrars to allow any person to inspect a list of those whose names on the electoral roll are objected to?
– I have already given the Chief Electoral Officer instructions to have the lists prepared as early as possible - I hope within the next few days.
– Will the Honorary Minister have posters printed and exhibited in a conspicuous place in every post-office in the Commonwealth, intimating to electors that the latest true copy of the electoral roll can be inspected there ?
-The inspection of the electoral roll does not take place at the post-office, but at the Electoral Registrar’s office. I shall give attention to the matter.
– That is generally the post-office, as you know.
– No, it is not.
– Order !
– If the honorable member will look up the facts, and in the light of the facts put a question on the notice-.paper, I shall be only too happy to answer it.
Mr. McDONALD Is the Honorary’ Minister aware that in some cases an electorate extends over 500 or 600 miles, and that the office of the Electoral Registrar -is in one corner of it. Does he think it is possible for persons who are 500 or 600 miles ‘away from that office to see that particular roll?
– Section 35 of the Electoral Act reads as follows -
The last .-printed copies of each division roll shall ;be open for public inspection at the chief polting place for the division without fee, and shall be obtainable thereat and at such postoffices in the division as the divisional returning officer .appoints on payment of the price prescribed.
That is with regard to the last printed copies of the divisional roll. So far as the normal changes of the roll are concerned, I doubt whether it is practicable to have those changes exhibited at all the post-offices in an electorate. In big centres where there is a heavy interchange of population going on throughout the year, the work involved would be so constant and so changing that I doubt whether the information would be so satisfactory as if persons were to walk a mile or two as in the cities.
– Walk 500 or 600 miles?
– That is a different case. I shall give consideration to the position raised by my honorable friend, and see what can be done to meet it.
– Will the Honorary Minister cause the posters I refer to to be printed, because an elector then would have an intimation before his eyes that he could inspect the roll ?
– Order ! The question is out of order, because it has already been asked and answered.
– A week ago the Honorary Minister stated that the electoral roll could be inspected at the office of the Electoral Registrar. To-day I received from Ballarat a letter stating that the officer there refused to allow persons to inspect the roll in order to see the names which had been struck off and the names which had been added. I ‘wish, by way of explanation, to say that the gentleman who -refused that permission is . relieving the permanent officer, and that evidently no instructions have been sent out.
– Order !
– Instructions have- been sent out. If the honorable member will give his full information, I have no doubt - at least, I hope’ - we- shall, find’ that the officer has not broken the law, but if he has broken the law the proper steps will be taken, on the- representations of the honorable member,,, to see that no such thing recurs.
– Is the Honorary Minister aware that just prior to the last elections the organizersfor candidates went round to the office of the Electoral Registrars- and put dozens of names on the roll ? Will he see that they are not enabled to do that beforethe next elections come round ?
An Honorable MEMBER - Some thousands were added.
– Probably thousands. I know of dozens-.
– Order ! The honorable member will see ‘that he is now giving.’ information to the Minister and not asking for information. He has informed theMinister that it is a fact that a certain: thing was done, and that is clearly not in order in asking a question.
– I am pleased to hear, sir, that you know it is a fact.
– Will the HonoraryMinister take action to ascertain thenames of the persons who canvassed theelectors prior to the last election for the purpose of putting the names of people on the rolls, and the names of the organizations who paid these canvassers for their services ?
– I ask thehonorable member to put the question on the notice-paper. I request rayhonorable friends now to let us get on with the business, and put the rest of” their questions on the business-paper:
– With regard toquestion No. 1, in the name of the honorable member for Capricornia, asking theTreasurer -
Whether he will cause to be printed a list of the permanent officers of the Commonwealth.Bank Service - a list similar ‘to the list of permanent officers of the Commonwealth Public Service prepared by the Commonwealth PublicService Commissioner pursuant- to section 9 ofthe Commonwealth Public Service- Act?
I would point out that it is identical with a question- which the honorablemember asked yesterday, and which the-
Minister then answered. In the circumstances, it cannot be asked again,
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
What amount of money is provided upon the current year’s Estimates for -
Will the Minister give details of the proposed expenditure ?
– The answers to the questions are -
Flinders Naval Base,£100,000, Home Affairs, Additions, New Works and Buildings, Division 5, Subdivision 7.
Henderson Naval Base,£22,000, Defence Estimates, Division 12.
Owing to unforeseen delays which are inevitable in works of this kind, it is not anticipated that the whole of the above amounts will be spent before 30th June, 1914.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
As the Windsor rifle range has been closed, what steps have been taken to supply the riflemen of that district with a new range as promised by the military authorities?
– Inquiries have been made by the MilitaryCommandant with a view to locating a suitable site, but so far without success. The matter will be expedited as much as possible.
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the questions are -
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– I am unable to answer this question in its present form, as I am not aware that Mr. Herbert Brookes has taken any action which requires him to lodge a return under the provisions of section 172a. of the Electoral Act.
asked the Honorary Minister, upon notice -
– The answer to the questions is - 1 to 3. No Federal rolls for New South Wales are being reprinted in Melbourne, nor will they beif equally satisfactory arrangements can, as anticipated, be made in New South Wales.
The Government Printer, Sydney, was unable to print the Supplemental Rolls for New South Wales at the late Federal Elections, and has intimated his inability to carry out for the Commonwealth a considerable proportion of the Electoral, Meteorological, and other Home Affairs printing, required in New South Wales. I understand other Federal Departments have received similar intimation, and had to take their printing elsewhere.
I do not know what is being done in regard to the reduction of hands employed at the Sydney Government Printing Office, but it does not arise owing to the printing of Federal rolls being voluntarily taken away.
In Committee of Supply (Consideration resumed from 15th October, vide page 2125) :
Upon which Mr. Poynton had moved -
That the item “ Federal Capital at Canberra - towards cost of establishment,£285,000, “ be reduced by£147,000.
. -I wish to address a few remarks to the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs. Seeing that we have had an Administrator in the Federal Territory for at least several months, I did anticipate that a very full report would have been placed before the Committee as to what has been done on the Capital site,” and what is proposed to be done there. We ask for reports in respect to every big undertaking, such as our factories and other places where large sums are being expended. . I think that if there is one item about which the Committee should be fully informed it is the expenditure that has taken place, is taking place, and is proposed to be indulged in on this site. I suggest to the Minister, although quite likely the matter is already in train, that a full report should be obtained in respect to the Federal Territory. For two or three years road construction has been going on there. We should know the number of miles or chains of roads which have been constructed, and the state of the roads, because it all depends on the method of construction and the present state of repair as to whether this alleged asset to the Commonwealth is improving or deteriorating under the operations of the workmen.
– And the cost per mile of day labour.
– I do not mind. I am not afraid of the closest investigation being made with regard to day-labour operations. We had a full-dress debate on that subject the other day, and I suppose we shall have many more, and the more it is discussed the more will day labour come out of the discussion with flying colours. The Honorary Minister intimated the other day that a railway is being constructed from Queanbeyan railway station to the Federal Capital site, a distance of about 8 miles. I think that we should have a report from the Administrator or the Department as to how many miles of the railway have been constructed, and the mileage that will be within the Federal Capital area. The railway, of course, will be a valuable asset to the place. Again, a number of buildings have been erected. We ought to be informed as to whether they are of a permanent or temporary character, and we should be told what expenditure has been incurred upon them. If the original intention in regard to the Federal Capital is carried out, I think we shall have there one of the finest socialistic experiments that has been conducted under theægis of the Federal Parliament; but like some Scotchmen I “ha’e ma doots” as to the intentions of the Government. I understand that brick works were established by the late Government at Canberra, and that the present Ministry intend not only to continue those works, but to establish cement works within the area. These will have to be of considerable magnitude.
– Then the honorable member should be prepared to vote for an increased expenditure.
– I intend to vote for the proposed reduction of the item, for the reason that the information put before us is so scanty that honorable members are not justified in voting for a lump sum expenditure of £285,000. We are not justified in voting for the item without having before us any details, and without knowing what success has attended the expenditure already made on the Capital. I hope that the Minister will give us full information in regard to the brick works and the properties that have been acquired within the Territory. We have at least two, if not three, squatting stations within the Federal Territory, and these, I understand, have been purchased by the Government.
– They were acquired by the late Government.
– Has the money been paid ?
– I do not think so.
– There is a special Loan Bill, which provides for the purchase of those estates.
– The Minister should give us a very complete statement, showing what properties have already been purchased or are in process of purchase, and what other properties must be acquired before the Federal Territory will really become our own, and we can conduct it on socialistic principles. We should also know what prices have been paid, and how much in the pound is being paid in the shape of rates.
– They are paying taxation without representation up there.
– That is not right. The Treasurer told us, I think, that there is something like £2,000 per annum being paid in the shape of rates.
– The previous Administration is getting ripped all to pieces lately by honorable members opposite. Nothing seems to be right - from the Electoral Act downwards.
– That is not so. The Prime Minister knows full well that I have always opposed expenditure on the Federal Capital. My contention is that we should have a complete balance-sheet showing what has actually been expended. If such information were supplied, some, if not all, of the slight opposition still remaining to expenditure on’ the Federal Capital might be wiped away. I shall assist the honorable member for Grey in his effort to reduce this item, and I hope that we shall be supported by quite a contingent of honorable members on the Ministerial side.
.- Unlike the honorable member who has just resumed his seat, I regard this matter from a national point of view. The Capital site was selected some three years ago by very devious methods, of which I believe the Honorary Minister has full knowledge; but we recognise now that the question has been settled, and we are all satisfied with the site. The large expenditure that has already been incurred warrants the statement that the site of the Capital has been settled for all time, and that the work of building the city must go on. We may very well ask ourselves, however, what we have got for our expenditure of over £440,000 up to date. We ought to be able to see something for our money. I have no hesitation in saying that money has been wasted, and that there has been some extravagance in the Federal Capital.
– Have we not two fine pictures of the Capital in the Queen’s Hall?
– We have plenty of pictures and photographs, and there has been plenty of peg-driving by Ministers, but we want something more than that. We are laying the foundation for the expenditure of millions on the Capital, and I wish to know whether the Minister is satisfied with the system in force there. Who is in control of the Capital works? We have there many excellent officers, but everything is controlled from Melbourne. Why can we not have a little Home Huie up there ? Why should we not have on the spot, and in touch with the work going on, the men actually intrusted with the control of the Territory. Colonel Miller, who is supposed to be the Administrator, is an excellent officer, but he is still Secretary for Home Affairs. Is the Minister prepared to actually appoint some one to the position of Administrator, or is he satisfied with the present system, under which we have no one actually in control, and the whole system in a state of chaos?
– Mr. Griffin is now to be in charge.
– But tvb are told that he is not to reside at the Capital. Is he going to direct operations from Melbourne? There is too much of this direction of operations from Melbourne, and I am sick of it. We are to have a railway from Jervis Bay to Canberra, and from Canberra to Yass, but, although surveys have been made, we want to know whether the routes have been definitely fixed. Many statements have been made as to extravagant expenditure in the Federal Territory by the late Ministry. It is the business of the present Ministry, however, not to make charges, but to prove them. If there has been extravagance, then the present Ministry should point out actual instances of it. I am satisfied that money has been wasted. My constituency practically surrounds the Capital, and it suits my constituents that money should be expended there, but i am not disposed to regard with equanimity any waste of public money.
– How has money been wasted up there?
– Some works have cost five times as much as they should have done. The whole Capital is managed and controlled from Melbourne.
– I thought that the Adminstrator was to remain in the Capital.
– The trouble is that the Administrator is too hard worked. I repeat that Colonel Miller is still Secretary for Home Affairs and has not actually received his appointment as Administrator. If he were given sufficient power I think that he would be able to see that everything was carried out properly. He has excellent assistants in Colonel Owen, Mr. Scrivener, and others.
– Not a plan has been prepared for any building.
– Not only is that so, but mistakes have been made. For instance, the Public Works Office and the bank have been built on one of the main avenues of the city.. They are built of cement and wood, and in ordinary circumstances would last thirty or forty years, but, because of this mistake they have to be pulled down. Under the present system we cannot find out who is responsible for this blunder, but I place the responsibility on the shoulders of the Minister. Either an officer or a Commissioner should be placed in charge to make sure that we get a good return for our money. It is all very well to blame the late Government for extravagance at the Federal Capital, but I believe that the day-labour system has been responsible for a good deal of it. I am not opposed to day labour altogether. As a matter of fact, I carry out a good many works by day labour, while, in other cases, I find it more advantageous to resort to the contract system. If honorable members go to the Capital they will find that, although a railway should have been laid down in the first instance, it is just being constructed, and that thousands of tons of timber which should have been conveyed to the Capital by rail have been carted in by teams and stacked, not where they are wanted, but at random. Some roads have cost five times as much as they ought to have done, and, in my opinion, there has been extravagance. A survey has been made for a railway fromJervis Bay to Canberra, but no one can say whether it is to be the permanent route or not.
– The honorable member spoke just now of the survey to Yass.
– The route has been surveyed from Canberra to the Commonwealth boundary, and there is an understanding that the State Government will carry the railway from that point to Yass, so that we shall have a line running from Yass, through Canberra, to Jervis Bay. Honorable members know that at that port we have 10 or 15 miles of a deep-water anchorage, so that, when this railway is built, the whole of the Riverina and every town south of Yass will have railway communication with a deep-water port for their wool, their wheat, and other produce which is a good deal nearer to them than is Sydney. I am afraid that Sydney influence is stepping in to stop the building of that railway, just as the Melbourne influence would stop the building of the Capital, and, unless some definite step is taken by the Ministry, honorable members representing the country constituencies in this House will “ have to get a move on.”
– It is not necessary to develop the Capital in order to develop the port.
– Here is the voice of Melbourne.
– Surely the port should stand on its merits.
-For heaven’s sake let the honorable member get away from his provincialism. He climbs the Melbourne Post Office tower and thinks from that point of vantage he can see the whole world. The honorable member does not seem to care if every wool and wheat grower in that district is called upon to pay for all time for 25 miles of extra railway haulage on his produce. Is he in favour of having everything centralized in this big city? At present many of these people are unable to get their produce to any suitable market. It may be said that this is a matter for the State, but I am sick of hearing responsibility shifted from the Commonwealth to the State, and from the State to the Commonwealth. I want the Minister to say whether he will introduce a different system in the control of affairs at Canberra. The authorities hold over the people owning land there the fact that it may be resumed under the Act at 1908 values. We know that the value of nearly all land has been enhanced tremendously since that time, but the Government will not let the -owners know what they are prepared to pay for their property.
– I thought that all that was settled.
– There is nothing settled yet. The whole thing is in a state of chaos. Some of the persons whose land has been resumed have been paid, and the Minister explained that they had been paid out of loan funds. I understood that the Labour party did not go in for borrowing. It is a matter of indifference to me from what funds resumed lands are paid for, but I say that these people who are having their homes taken from them are entitled to fair play, and to be told what valuation the Government valuators put upon their property, and to be paid for it when it is resumed. I do. not blame the present Minister in charge of the Federal Capital, because he has not been long enough in office to thoroughly grasp the situation. He has a splendid opportunity now to put the establishment of the Capital on a proper basis. Why should we not have, as they have at Washington, three commissioners, to manage the whole thing, instead of depending upon the Secretary of a Department, established in Melbourne? I heard the Minister say in answer to a question this morning that he would give honorable members the information they required about the agreement with Mr.. Griffin when discussing the EstimatesinChief, but we should have that information as soon as it is available. I should like to know whether the statement which has appeared in the press that Mr. Griffin is to reside in Melbourne is correct? Fancy the architect of the Federal Capital living here, instead of on the spot.
– He. must have a staff here to draw up plans’.
– The officers are at Canberra.
– No, they are in Melbourne.
– They ought, not to. be in Melbourne. I want to. know who: is responsible for the. erection of buildings of wood and cement on one of the main avenues of the Capital ? These- buildings would last for thirty years, because they have* been put up well, and yet they will have to be pulled down in a very short time. No one appears to be responsible for what is being done at the Federal Capital, or to know just what is going on there. I should like to know who is responsible for valuing the land proposed to be resumed there. The Government ask the owner of a property to send in his own valuation, and they send up a Government valuator to see whether the valuations agree, but they will not tell the owner of the property what value the Government valuator has put upon it. The people are in fear and trembling; they are being taxed, they have no representation, no one has a right to speak for them in this House, and there is no definite system followed in the conduct of affairs at the Capital.. We have the Secretary of the Home Affairs Office, whose head-quarters are in- Melbourne, and who is supposed to be the Administrator of the Federal Territory. A resident of the Territory desiring to have something done, and an old constituent of mine, writes to me, and I communicate with the Secretary of the Home Affairs Department, who is supposed to live- here- and also at Canberra.
– He is at Canberra constantly.
– I ask the. Minister whether he will take steps to appoint that officer as. Administrator of the Federal Territory, and give him the necessary power ?
– He has the power.
– He has no power, since he has no appointment as Administrator. It would be necessary to pass an Act to give him the power he requires.
– What power would an Act give him that he has not now ?
– He has no- power now to settle disputes, and no power to pay the people whose property has been resumed. If he has power, as the Prime Minister suggests, I should like to know who is responsible for the erection of the buildings on the main avenue, to which I have referred.
– I cannot answer that.
– Those buildings have been erected at considerable expense on one of- the main avenues of the Capital.
– How many buildings have been erected there ?:
– There is the main Works building, which is about 100 feet long, and the bank.
– Does the honorable member think that the passing of an Act would have prevented that? That only means that some one has blundered.
– An officer of the Government may be given plenty of power by a Statute. I am not charging the Prime Minister with the blunder referred to, but I ask him whether he is prepared to correct it?
– I am dealing only with the one point as to whether the Administrator has power, and I say that he has.
– I am glad to have the assurance of the Prime Minister to that effect, as there are a few things which I should like to have done at the Federal Capital in the interests of the people. Is the Prime Minister satisfied that the conduct of affairs at the Federal Capital is satisfactory?
– I do not think that things there are satisfactory; a long way from it.
– Then the honorable gentleman agrees with what I have said. I say that we want some t change there, and the officer stationed there given proper control. There should be some one there in a position to do something definite for the people whose property is being resumed. At present they do not know whether their land is to be resumed next year or on the Day of Judgment.
– We should have full information with regard to the resumption of land.
– I view with suspicion any suggestion from the honorable member, who, so far as this matter is concerned, is a pronounced provincialist. I know that- nearly all Victorians are against the establishment of the Federal Capital.
– I am anxious to guard the Commonwealth Treasury.
– The honorable member for Eden-Monaro fears the Greeks even when they bring gifts.
– Honorable members will generally give me credit for viewing this matter from the broad national stand-point.
– Seeing that the Federal Capital is surrounded by the honorable member’s constituency.
– I admit unreservedly that my constituents are desirous of seeing public expenditure there. There should be £500,000 spent there next year and £1,000,000 in the following year, but my constituents do not desire that the money should be wasted. There are many useful works on which it might be expended under a definite and proper system of control. I appeal to the Minister to establish such a system. I think that the Government have been too modest in the vote which they have put down on these Estimates for the Federal Capital. I should have preferred to see a vote for £500,000.
– That is a truly national feeling.
– Here is another Victorian who, when he climbs the Melbourne Post Office tower, thinks that he sees the world. I have not a word to say against the officers stationed at Canberra. They are able men, and have done good work - Colonel Miller is overworked - but they should be placed in a more definite position, seeing that they are acting under such great difficulties. I think that £2,000,000 or £3,000,000 should be borrowed to put the establishment of the Capital on a proper basis, and if that were done it would pay lor itself and would not involve any expense to the country.
– I agree with the honorable member that it is necessary to give stability of finance to the undertaking if it is to be put upon a proper basis.
– Is’ the Minister prepared to establish some stability of government and control there? As I understand that an honorable member who does not favour the expenditure, and proposes to follow me, has just left the chamber, I shall resume my seat.
.- It is amusing to note the earnest way in which the honorable member for Eden-Monaro has pleaded for this expenditure from a high national stand-point, in view of the fact that he premised his remarks by saying that his constituency surrounds the Federal Capital. The only argument from a national point of view which he put forward was that by the development of a port at Jervis Bay the growers of produce in the district would have 25 miles less haulage to pay for in sending their produce to market. That is, no doubt, a matter of importance, but is it necessary to build a Federal Capital in the wilderness to enable a port to be developed at Jervis Bay ?
Colonel Ryrie. - It is not in the wilderness.
– It is on a wind-swept plain.
-I was not present with honorable members when they visited the Federal Capital. I have not been there, and know it only from viewing the two pictures which are exhibited in the Queen’s Hall. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro has said that thesite of the Capital was determined by devious methods. We know something of the engineering that went on at the time the selection was made, and that one of the most capable engineers engaged in the business was the honorable member himself. If he could have secured a few more votes the Capital would have been established at Bombala.
– The honorable member admits that the present site is a very fine one, and every one who has seen it says the same.
– It would not be a bad site if it had a water supply.
– It is a slander upon Australia to say that one of the best sites in the Commonwealth has no water supply.
– If Canberra has a water supply, why do the Government ask us in these Estimates to vote£40,000 for a reservoir, and £62,500 for cast-iron pipes to convey the water supply ? ‘
– The pipes must be used to take the water through the city.
-The site has not a natural water supply, and we have to go to vast expense to bring water to it when we might have established the Capital on a site with a natural supply.
– The honorable member cannot have read the report, or he would know that we can bring water by gravitation from the Cotter River in a shorter distance than that over which the Melbourne supply has to be brought.
– The Constitution provides for the creation of the Federal Capital, but does not prescribe any time within which that Capital shall be established. The Commonwealth contains a population of only about 4,800,000, and at the present time we are saddled with a huge financial responsibility in building up an Australian
Army and Navy. It is quite unnecessary, therefore to embark upon extravagant expenditure on a Federal Capital at this juncture. As a Victorian I wish to say that the provision that the Federal Capital shall be established in New South Wales outside the 100 miles radius from Sydney, would never have been placed in the Constitution had it not been for Inter-State jealousy. The people of Victoria do not care whether the capital is established in Sydney or not.
– It was the Premier of
Victoria who prevented it going to Sydney.
– New South Wales stipulated that there should not be a free choice in the matter. Its representatives were for grabbing everything for Sydney.
– And the Victorians rushed it. They were in such a hurry to secure Federation that they were prepared to accept it at any price.
– The position was that New South Wales demanded that the capital should be within its own borders. Victoria gave way, but insisted that the capital should be outside a radius of 100 miles from Sydney. Whatever pique may have influenced the framers of our Constitution at that time, we have since had thirteen years of Federation, and . within that period that feeling ought to have passed away. Personally, Iwould rather the Federal Capital were established in Sydney than that millions of money should be wasted on a desert at Canberra.
Colonel Ryrie. - It is not a desert.
– It is.
– Has the honorable member ever been there ?
– I have been over the country.
– Has the honorable member ever been within 20 miles of it?
– Yes, down the coast.
– Some of the finest dairying land on the coast is to be found in the locality which the honorable member has indicated.
– But we are not going to build up a Federal Capital on dairying. If there be any honesty in politics, why should the party upon this side of the Chamber, which condemned the extravagant expenditure upon the Federal Capital of honorable members opposite, sanction the expenditure of a still larger sum upon the same work? I charged the Fisher Government with extravagant and wasteful expenditure upon this undertaking.
– Very few persons took the same foolish view.
– I still entertain the same foolish view. I field that the Fisher Government were wasting money on the Federal Capital, and I maintain that the present Ministry are aggravating their offence. If it be necessary to construct a capital at all, it is cot necessary to do so at this stage of our Federal development.
– Why does not the honorable member propose the repeal of our Constitution ?
– Because it can be easily amended. There would be a very small vote recorded in Victoria in opposition to the Federal Capital being permanently located in Sydney.
– Such a movement would have to pass over my political corpse.
– That is because the honorable member takes the broad national view that the expenditure of money in his own constituency suits his constituents, Of course we, who view the matter from the stand-point of the best interests of Australia, are merely confirmed provincialists. I have not been very long in this House, and I have been very silent while I have been here. Nevertheless, I have been -observant, and it seems to me that whenever there is anything ‘going in the way -of expenditure we have the representatives of New South Wales’ leagued with the Government to scoop in as much of that expenditure as possible. Why should we find the honorable member for South Sydney, and the Honorary Minister, who are diametrically opposed to each other in politics, acting in concert on the present occasion ? I enter my protest against any further expenditure upon the Federal Capital.
– How far will that protest carry the honorable member?
– It will carry me to the extent of voting against this proposed expenditure. As a rule I am prepared to back up my opinion with my vote. I shall vote for the amendment of the honorable -member for Grey. If that protest be not effective, at least I shall have ‘discharged my duty.
– The honorable member may submit another amendment tostill further reduce that expenditure?
– The amount provided on the .Estimates is not sufficient.
– Some honorable members in their greed for expenditure upon the Federal Capital, irresistibly remind me of vultures after carrion. I protest emphatically against any further expenditure at this juncture on the Capital. It is unnecessary, and, even if it wereultimately deter mi ued that the Capital’ should be located on the present site, itwould be quite time enough if we started’ to establish it fifty years hence.
– It was quite refreshing to me tolisten to the remarks of the honorablemember for Henty.
– The honorable member almost agrees with him ?
– No. I intend tovote against the amendment of the honorable member for Grey. But the honorable member for Indi, and every otherConservative Victorian, ought to supportthat amendment, and I intend to show why. During ray last election campaign,, no matter where one went in this State, one’s ears were assailed with denunciationsof the enormous extravagance of the Fisher Government during their three years of office. When these critics were asked in -what way the expenditure should be reduced, there was a significant silence. When they were asked whether they would decrease the expenditure upon defence, they answered “No.” When questioned as to whether they would reduce the expenditure upon old-age pensions .or upon the maternity grant, they would not say “ Yes.” But the moment that the Federal Capital was mentioned, every Conservative candidate howled that he would reduce the expenditure upon itYet we find the burly member for Echuca,, who was one of those- who made the present foolish position possible - who was one of those who voted to place the Federal1 Capital where it is - prepared to increase the expenditure upon that undertaking. He and his political associates howled* against the Fisher Government for spending £140,000 upon it last year, and yet to-day he is prepared to double that expenditure.
– Does the honorable member know what I said upon this .question ?
– The honorable member condemned the Fisher Government for- extravagant expenditure upon the Federal Capital. Yet to-day he will vote for the expenditure that is proposed on these Estimates.
– Will I?
– Every Conservative member should vote for the amendment of the honorable member for Grey.
– Why does the honorable member wish to induce other honorable members to vote in a different way from that in which he himself will vote ?
– The Honorary Minister knows that during the last election campaign ‘he himself charged the Fisher Government with extravagance.
– Not in .this regard. I said that some estimates of expenditure at the Capital were rather extravagant.
– The Honorary Minister .said that the whole of the expenditure of the Fisher Government was extravagant. I believe that if this item had been singled out, the honorable gentleman would have been silent, and would not have howled as he did. At the last elections, I know that the supporters of the honorable member for Corangamite in the southern .portion of that electorate condemned the late Government for their extravagant expenditure on the Federal Capital. Does the honorable member intend to support the present Government in still greater extravagance ?
– The honorable member knows perfectly well what I said about the Capital.
– I do not. I did not hear the honorable member.
– The honorable member knows what I said, and yet he did not hear me.
– I know that the whole of the Committee which supported the honorable member charged the ‘late Government with extravagance in this connexion. -It was at the hennery in Melbourne where all these schemes were hatched, and where this question was made the most of. During the ‘campaign it was disgusting to witness the hypocrisy of honorable members opposite. Wherever one went one was asked by a questioner with a long face, “ What about the extravagance of the Fisher ‘Government?” I:hope, therefore, that -honorable ‘members opposite will -be consistent, and that they will not vote in favour of doubling the alleged extravagance of the Fisher Government in respect of the Federal Capital expenditure. There is one other matter about which i would like to obtain some information. I do not know whether it was advisable to bring Mr. Griffin to Australia to alter the design which had been adopted for the laying out of the city. I feel certain, however, that he is well fitted to discharge the duties which will be imposed upon him by reason of his recent appointment. But after all the money which has been- expended upon main roads and upon the erection of buildings at the Capital, I think it would be a pity if those works had to be torn up.
– No existing works whatsoever are imperilled by this appointment. The temporary buildings on the other side of the water may have to be shifted many years hence, but that would happen in any case.
– I am very pleased to hear that. Had the appointment necessitated the destruction of work already done, the Ministry could have been charged with disgraceful extravagance. But this Government, like the preceding Government, are required to carry on work that Parliament has decided upon. The Fisher Government, when it came into power, had to give effect to an already established policy, and this Government has to do the same tiling. That being the case, .why cannot politicians .be fair to each other when waging their political fights outside ? Had this matter been fairly dealt with, I should have nothing to say against the Ministry in connexion with its proposals. When the Canberra site was selected, it was known that there was not enough water to provide power for the various purposes, nor for domestic use, without a pumping scheme. It is a pity, for this reason, that the Canberra site was chosen.
– You can get water Straight down from the hills.
– There is not enough water at the head of the Cotter to obtain water power by gravitation for a city of any size.
– The river is dry in the summer time.
– The Cotter is a pretty little creek, and contains lovely water, but the stream is deficient in volume. The officials have placed gauges in it whereby they calculate that there will be enough for this and that purpose, and references have been made to the situation of Melbourne and Sydney in regard to water supply; but we needed something better for the Federal Capital, and, as we could have obtained something better, we should have done so. However, the site having been selected, we must make the best of it. I fought against its selection with all the ability at my command, and regret the choice that was made. I have often said that had the honorable member for Eden-Monaro been able to be in his place at the time, those who “ ratted “ would not have done so. They were Victorians who “ ratted.” But the honorable member, finding himself beaten, accepted the situation, and has been content to fight for the necessary expenditure on the selected site. That does him credit. I hope that honorable members generally will take the same attitude. I hope, too, that we shall never again hear about the extravagance of the Fisher Government in connexion with the Federal Capital, seeing that this Government is doing just what the Fisher Government did.
– I should not have risen had not the honorable member for Melbourne Ports stated in effect ‘ that I was elected to oppose all expenditure on the Federal Capital.
– All the honorable member’s committees were opposed to expenditure on the Federal Capital.
– The honorable member told me the other evening that in touring my electorate he found that my committees were all very much against the Federal Capital expenditure. I asked him where he had been, and the first two places he mentioned were Koroit and Port Fairy. They are not in my electorate.
– I know that as well as the honorable member does. I told him that I started from those places, and came this way.
– I found out eventually that the only place in my electorate that the honorable member visited was Colac, and that the portion of the electorate from which he got most of his information was the forest country.
– Where the honorable member for Corangamite got most of his votes !
– Yes; and where there is not a large population. As a member of the first Parliament, I know what happened in regard to the choice of the Federal Capital site. I agree with the honorable member for Melbourne Ports that the right site was not chosen. I voted for another site, and thought that the matter had been finally determined, but, by some conjuring, the question was opened up again, and the Canberra site was selected. That site having been chosen, I am prepared to abide by the decision of Parliament. What I told the electors was that we had promised New South Wales, by a provision in the Constitution, that the Federal Capital Territory should be within its borders. I thought that a mistake was made in putting that provision into the Constitution, and that the Parliament should have been allowed to decide where the Seat of Government should be. Had the matter been left to the Parliament, the question would have been settled in a very short time. But as the provision is in the Constitution, I think”, as I told my electors, that the time has come when we must give full effect to it. It was on these views that I was elected. I said nothing about the great extravagance of the Labour party at the Federal Capital, though I said that the Government in power had spent practically all its income for the year, and I asked, Had we got value for the money? I am prepared to ask now, Will the present Government give us value for the money we are voting? The honorable member for Eden-Monaro has spoken of the great extravagance in the expenditure on the Federal Capital. Whatever Ministers may be in power, they must keep their eyes wide open to prevent extravagant expenditure there. We need the adoption of some system which will prevent waste in the building of the Capital. It will not be necessary to undertake a very heavy expenditure there for very many years to come.
– The appointment of the Works Committee which the Government proposes will steady things a bit.
– I think that it is a good idea. It is not necessary to try to build at once the magnificent city that the honorable member for Darwin used to picture in the first Parliament, in which there were to be fine boulevards and marble statues. We can proceed with the building of the city at a reasonable rate, the work going on gradually from year to year. I am not one of those who, from State jealousy, would try to block the building of the Federal Capital to’ keep the Seat of Government in Melbourne as long as possible. The amount set down in the Estimates is a big one, but the vote will be a growing one if Parliament is to meet at the Federal Capital within the lifetime of the present members.
.- Although I wish to see these Estimates passed at an early hour, I cannot refrain from uttering a word or two about the Federal Capital. I thank the honorable member for Corangamite for his attitude in this matter. It is a fair and an honest one. I am rather surprised at his speech. When I saw the honorable member for Maribyrnong sitting on the other side of the chamber. I thought ‘ ‘ This is a combination of Victorians to oppose the building of the Federal Capital.” The honorable member for Henty has put the Victorian position, and has been backed up by the honorable member for Indi and others. The old cry has been repeated that Victorians are willing to let Sydney be the Capital City, although honorable members know right well that that is impossible. Their desire is to retain the Seat of Government in Melbourne for as long as they can. I was surprised at the attitude of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports. He has gone back on himself a little. He thinks that by attacking the other side for its expenditure on the Capital, and trying to decrease that expenditure, he may put members into a hole. I applaud the action of the Government in proposing a vote of £200,000, because this expenditure is desirable and worthy. Under the Constitution, New South Wales has a right to the Federal Capital, but for thirteen years the matter has been tied up. It now behoves both political parties to combine to develop the Federal Capital Territory. We have selected the site of the Capital, and have spent an enormous sum of money there. ‘ Why should honorable members at this stage talk of reducing expenditure ? To do that would mean, not effec tive development, but delay, and, in many cases, wasteful expenditure.
– Extravagant expenditure means waste.
– Yes; but is there anything to show that the expenditure has been extravagant? Does the honorable member anticipate that the Government that he supports is so incapable that it will be extravagant ? Does he think that the Home Affairs Department and its Ministerial head will spend this money foolishly and loosely? He has no right to anticipate anything of the kind. Mistakes will occur in the expending of large sums of money, but there is no reason to complain of the way in which the money has been spent hitherto. The honorable member for Maribyrnong says that lie wants some details regarding the expenditure. I would point out to him that no details are given in respect to any of the items on the Estimates: there is merely a plain and bald statement of the proposed expenditure. Why should details be given in regard to one item more than another ? I shall be pleased to have a fuller statement as to the manner in which money is to be spent, but the honorable member’s complaint is merely another attempt, such as we have had, year after year, to prevent, if possible, the removal of the Seat of Government to New South Wales. I hope that these attempts will cease. Money has been spent, is being spent, and will be spent at the Federal Capital. New South Wales has a right to have the Seat of Government within its borders, and the representatives of that State are determined to maintain that right. I trust that ho further effort will be made, either to-day or in years to come, to prevent or check the expenditure necessary to build a Federal Capital that will be a credit to the people of Australia.
– I think every honorable member in the House must be interested in the remarks of the honorable member for Eden.Monaro respecting the Federal Capital. It was astonishing that the honorable member should have the temerity to criticise so severely the works carried out on the Capital site, seeing that the increased vote is chiefly due to his profound skill. He nearly secured the fixing of the Capital at Dalgety. which would have been the best site. Unfortunately, he was- defeated - and now he becomes a prime factor in augmenting this annually increasing vote, which I consider should not be expended in this portion of Australia. It. does not only mean an expenditure of £285,000 this year. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro is probably getting more than a hundred miles of railway constructed in his constituency, and there is in prospect the expenditure of hundreds of thousands on lines- radiating from Jervis Bay. So it seems to me that the honorable member showed a considerable amount of courage in criticising the expenditure on the Capital site.
– You are reflecting on the honorable member.
– lt is a reflection on the- Government. Is that how they got the honorable member’s support?
– I do not think that any one has suggested that the terms of the Constitution should be repudiated, but, unfortunately, that section was wrongly placed in the Constitution in the first place, because Parliament has been deprived of its right to select quite untrammelled a site for the Federal Capital. Was it ever contemplated by those who took part in the Federal Convention that the Commonwealth Parliament should be forced into the position of having to build a Capital right away? The compact to choose a site in New South Wales was inserted in the Constitution, and the people subsequently ratified it; and up to now I think Parliament has shown sufficient earnestness in the matter by selecting a site in New South Wales. The selection of the site is now beyond question..
Colonel Ryrie. - Do you mean that, having selected the site, we should do no more?
– I mean that, having carried out the compact by selecting the site, Parliament should only build the Capital when it considers itself warranted in spending the money that will be required for putting up the costly buildings for the housing of Parliament.
– It would be more honest to repudiate the contract outright
– Because the Constitution provided that the site was to be chosen’ in New South Wales; there was no need’ for Parliament to proceed straight away to build the Capital. Such a claim would be. preposterous. It is absurd to say that Parliament, having in view the public interest, should be robbed of its right to- say when this, money shall be expended. So far as the carrying out of the terms of the Constitution is concerned, the bona fides of the Commonwealth Parliament were sufficiently vindicated when the site was selected, and it is quite competent for the Parliament to carry out works on the site selected -when the finances of the country warrant that unproductive expenditure. In- this early stage of our history it seems to me that the guardianship of the public finances is vital to the future of the continent. Our expenditure is increasing by four times the increase in the population. During the last three years the expenditure has increased by 40 per cent., while the increase in population has been no more than 10 per cent., and this cannot continue unless we find ourselves in a position of bankruptcy. This ratio cannot continue, because the pro:ducing units of the continent must supply the revenue.
– Would you use that argument in- regard to new post-offices ?
– I am discussing this matter in relation to the public finances, and I wish to place a few cogent facts before the Committee. We have already incurred a Commonwealth debt to the extent of £16,000,000, and in spite of the enormous revenue expenditure incurred we have a proposal in the Budget to increase that debt by another £3,000,000. Our present interest bill is £870,000 a year. In addition to that we have an annual loss of a quarter of a million to make up from the national finances on the Northern Territory, and we have commitments for defence and other expenditure- within the next few years that will run into something like £47,000,000. In addition to the ordinary outgoings we shall require to spend £35,000,000 on defence, and £5,000,000 on the Kalgoorlie railway. Another £7,000,000 will be needed if we are to run- a railway through the’ centre of Australia, which money can only be> obtained by ^borrowing, and it will be expenditure altogether, independent of the enormous expenditure- that, will be- required” for the: development of the- Northern Territory. Plain facts such as. these cannot be emphasized too frequently. At the same time we propose to add £285,000 to the money already expended on the Federal Capital site; and we. have it- on theauthority of the ex-Minister ofHome Affairs that this is only partof an expenditure of £3,000,000. We are in possessionofno information that will giveus any idea of the comprehensiveness (and character of the scheme to be carriedout on the Federal Capital site. Long before this, we should have had a complete and comprehensive report by a competent body, preferablycomposed of members of the House, based on the fullest evidence,, and after themostexhaustive investigation, to show whether this expenditure is to be a burden or incubus , on the finances of the Commonwealth, or how far it may be possible to make theFederalTerritory reproductive. We have a ‘Territory of 1,000 square miles under our control, and we are told over and over againbyhonorable members representing New South Wales that large areas of this Territory are suitable for cultivation. We are also told that ‘there are hills - I have little doubt about it - that are adapted to successfulreafforestation.
– We could breed Angora goats there.
– The hills should be suitable for hardy animals, such as Angora goats, that do not require much fodder. We have been told by some people, not altogether in a responsible manner, that it is possible to work out a scheme that will ultimately make the Capital site self-supporting, that we might borrow£3,000,000 to spend on it, , and that, in the course of time, the revenue to be derived from the land would pay the interest and (sinking f und cm it. Parliament should know exactly what it is doing in spending the amount of money now on the Estimates. Honorable members should have placed before them a complete scheme. Such can only be obtained by having the fullest investigation, not only inregard to the proposed expenditure on the Territory, but also in regard to the resources of that country. We should know how much land is fit for cultivation. That information could be supplied. We should know how much land can be leased for grazing purposes. It should also be possible to anticipate the population of the city in twenty years, and to what extent that population will provide revenue in the formof city ground rents for the leaseofland from the Crown. These are all business pro positions that do not need the gift of prophecy. They only need investigation by business ‘experts. To recapitulate, we should have inquiryinto the total costof carrying out the public buildings andsurveying the townsnip lots; an estimate of the probable populationin the next twenty years; what revenue is likely to be raisedfrom groundrents ; theextent of cultivation areas, andwhat revenuewe mayexpect in that direction; also, we should know whether it will be possible to grow timber on the hills, or whether the hills : Should be leased for grazing purposes. If wewere in possession of a complete scheme of that kind we should know exactlywhat we were doing in spending this £285,000, towhat extentthat money is to come out of revenue, orwhether itisonly part of anexpenditure which, in thecourse of years, will be reproductive. In the absenceof allthis information it is not just to ask any honorable member to vote away this money whenare have the great commitments which I have already indicated, and fresh commitments which I cannotforecast,but which are bound to arise in the development of Australia. I shall be glad to wait and hear what informationthe Minister is able to present to the Committee respecting this enormously increased vote, but, in the present circumstances, -and in the light of the present information, I shall support the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Grey.
– I have listened with a great deal of interest to what honorable members have said concerning the Federal Capital. It appears to me it is rather late in the day to discuss the question of the suitability of Canberra as the Capital site. We have settled that long ago, and it is futile for the honorable member for Wimmera to talk about entering into a compact and selecting the site and then finishing there.
– I did not say so.
– The honorable member said that that should end the compact.
Mr.Sampson. - I object to these misrepresentations. I rise to a point of order. I did not say that no expenditure should be made. I saidit was theduty of Par- liament to choose the proper time for the expenditure of the money.
– That is not a point of order.
– The honorable member for Wimmera said that the bona fides of this Parliament were sufficiently shown when we selected the site-
– Only for the time being.
– Honorable members have the habit of misrepresenting.
– Order ! Order !
– The honorable member shall not misrepresent me.
– If the honorable member wishes me to name him he is adopting the right course. I called him repeatedly to order, but he continued to interject. As interjections are so often made after the call for order, I shall have to take action, much as I may regret having to do so.
– I noted the words the honorable member said. He said that the bona fides of this Parliament were sufficiently shown when we selected the site.
– Only for the time being. You forgot to add that.
– Then I suppose the lime might be fifty years hence.
– You can so suppose it if you like; but I did not say so.
– The honorable member for Wimmera has another opportunity of replying if he thinks he is misrepresented, but. he must do it in a proper way, and not by disorderly interjections.
– A greater power than the Commonwealth Parliament - the people who accepted the Constitution, and later on agreed to the alteration made in it - has said that the Federal Capital should be in New South Wales. I do not know whether the site selected is the best, but the compact has been entered into and large sums of money have been spent upon the site. My memory was refreshed when I heard the honorable member for Henty, in his usual candid manner, criticising the Ministry and their supporters for the extravagant statements made prior to the last election about the alleged extravagance of the late Ministry. The Women’s National League, the People’s party, the People’s Liberal party, every shire council, borough coun cil, and city council, in every Victorian country electorate, passed resolutions condemning the Labour party for spending £130,000 last year on the Capital site. At the time I thought these statements were unfair, because the expenditure had been strongly supported by a majority of the then Opposition. In; fact, most of the honorable members who were then in Opposition were asking for increased expenditure. Yet one is astounded to-day to find the present Ministry coming down with a proposal - to spend £285,000 this year, or £60,000 more than the Labour Government spent in three years, and there is not one word of protest from the shire councils, the Women’s National League, or any of (hose Liberal bodies in Victoria. If there was any truth in their statements prior to the elections they ought to be found to-day in opposition to the proposal of the Government. One member of the party - the honorable member for Henty - is true to his election pledges. He says he is going to vote against the expenditure of this sum, because he strongly condemned the Fisher Government for expending £100,000 odd last year. He is consistent; but what about other honorable members opposite who were elected mainly because of the charges of extravagance they made against the Fisher Government ? Many of them have been very silent on” this item. The leagues are not taking any action; but, after all, we must recognise that the charges were only made as an electioneering trick to delude the electors into the belief that the Labour Government had been guilty of wilful extravagance. I intend to vote with the Government on this item. I do not see anything wrong in placing the sum on the Estimates. I believe that if the money is carefully expended there can be no better investment for the people of Australia than the building of the Capital. I am surprised to hear a country member such as the honorable member for Wimmera declaring that the Capital should be either Sydney or Melbourne, or the honorable member for Henty saying that it should be Sydney. I am a strong believer in decentralization. I think it would be the height of folly for us to attempt to establish our permanent residence in a State capital. In Victoria, what are we suffering from to-day? Nearly one-half of the population of the State live in and around Melbourne. It is the samo in Sydney. Do honorable members want to perpetuate that evil?
– We are to get only an official population at the Federal Capital.
– We shall get more than an official population.
– It is a fine district, you know.
– I am not going to discuss that question, but I must say that I am not learning much about the Capital site from the representatives of New South Wales. They all come here filled with the one idea. No matter what site had been selected they would be found here ready to defend it’ as a wise choice in the interests of justice and from a broad, national stand-point. I am more than ever convinced that the erection of the Capital will prove a very good investment to our people.
– It would if the right site had been selected.
– It is too late now to discuss that point. The people of Australia are not going to repudiate the obligation into which they entered with the people of New South Wales. The selection of the site for the Capital was left to the determination of Parliament. Older members of the House have declared that there was some underground work in connexion with the selection of the site, but that is a reflection on Parliament! Unfortunately, the people of Australia will have to put up with the site which was chosen. Too much money has been expended on the chosen site to permit of our going back on that decision. I think that the Government are quite justified in asking Parliament to expend a quarter of a million there during the current financial year. It has been said that mistakes have been made at the Capital site, but no proof has been furnished. Charges are easily made, but not easily proved. I believe that with the appointment of a Public Works Committee, as suggested, there is every possibility that the vote will be judiciously expended in the future, as it has been, so far as we know, in the past. I rose mainly to show the inconsistency of the so-called Liberal party. They won several country seats in “Victoria because of the charges of extravagance they made against the Labour Ministry, yet on practically the first important item on these Estimates the Liberal Ministry propose to increase the annual expenditure on the Capital site from £130,000 to £285,000. It is well that the people of Victoria should know the exact position. What would be said by the various antiLabour leagues in this State if the Labour party were in power, and submitted a proposal to expend £285,000 at the Capital site ? I venture to say that the representatives of New South Wales, whether from Eden-Monaro or any other part of that State, would be found strongly supporting the proposed increase. The leagues in Victoria that support honorable members opposite have been bitter in their denunciation of expenditure, yet they are silent to-day. Not a word of protest is heard from them. So long as the Liberal party could secure a majority in this House it mattered not what arguments they used.
– There always has been a strange fusion over this Federal Capital matter.
– There will be another strange fusion. I never thought that I would ever be found voting with the Prime Minister, but I shall do so on this item.
– Are you really going to vote with me to-day?
– I am not looking at this proposal from a Victorian standpoint, but if there are many more cheers from the other side I may have to reconsider my attitude.
– The lion of Ballarat is going to lie down with the lamb of Parramatta.
– I want to. remind the people of Ballarat of how the Prime Minister, when he came to that city, thundered forth about the extravagance of the Labour Ministry. He did not talk about any extravagance in connexion with the Capital site, for he was a New South Welshman then; he left Senator McColl to do the denunciation of extravagance in that direction. Not a word of protest came from the Prime Minister; not a word to point out the truth .of the position. I venture to say that the people of Victoria, when they hear of the increased amount placed on the Estimates by the Liberal Ministry, will know what value to place on the statements of honorable members opposite when they denounce the Labour
Government, which I hope soon to see again on the Treasury bench. The Labour party will then again be denounced for extravagance.
-Whom do you expect to die?
– I do not expect anybody to die, but I am expecting an early dissolution. I notice that I do not get any cheers from the other side now.
– And not on that either.
– You would get a shock if you heard there was a dissolution;
– That might be true.
– Order ! That subject is out of order.
-I am glad, sir, to hear your remark. I trust that the Speaker will be made acquainted with what you have said, and will also rule the subject out of order if it should ever come up for discussion. The land surrounding the Capital site is owned by the people of Australia; every shilling that is spent there will benefit their property, and because of that I am going to vote for the increased item on these Estimates.
. -I was one of those who strongly opposed any expenditure at the Capital site. In ray view we made amistake in precipitating the movement as we did. I look upon it as a great error that we should add tothe cities in Australia. It must be palpable to all that one of the great evils in the Commonwealth to-day is that far too large a percentage of the people live in the cities.
– That is on the seaboard.
– I am credibly informed that the expenditure on the Federal Capital to date, exclusive of the item before the Committee, amounts to very nearly£500,000. It is rather too late in the day, I think, to consider whether we should proceed with the work or not. There is a very serious aspect of the case, however, to be considered. To my mind this is just one of the works which should be referred to a committee in accord with the views of a very large majority on each side. Private members have a very small conception of the manner in which the money already spent on the Federal Capital has been used. If my information is correct, we have spent practically£500,000, and there is an exceedingly small return to show for that expenditure.
– The land cost a lot you know.
– The land cost a portion of that sum.
– That was an exceedingly good bargain, because the land had to be purchased in accordance with the scheme which this Parliament deliberately voted. No objection to the purchase of the land can be raised, and unless some huge blunder is made, the Commonwealth ought to get a good return from that source. The total expenditure to-day, I am credibly informed, is £500,000.
– Including the purchase of the land.
– Yes. That leaves considerably over a quarter of a million spent on the Federal Capital. If that be so, the information before the Committee is exceedingly limited.Not one private member, I repeat, has the slightest idea of how that money has been spent or of what return has been obtained. There are some exceedingly unpleasant rumours afloat as to how a very considerable portion of the money has been expended. It is the duty of the House to see that the Commonwealth gets something like a fair return for the outlay. This is, I think, just one of the proposals which should be referred to a committee, in order that they may find out the whole policy of the Government in that regard. We learnt from the press this morning that a gentleman from America has been appointed for a term of three years to have the supervision of the whole of this work. To what extent is his responsibility to go? Is he to have the entire charge of the expenditure in the Federal Capital?
– Certainly not.
– And the right of private practice as well?
– Parliamentary and Ministerial responsibility will still remain, but we will avail ourselves of his expert knowledge.
-I think that when we were embarking on this large scheme the Government acted very wisely in obtaining the services of a first-class expert. In my opinion, no fault can be found with the man. What we want to know is how far will his duties and responsibilities go. “We ought to have that information while this item is being discussed. Is this officer to have the entire control of the expenditure in the Federal Territory, or are his duties to be confined simply to architectural work - that is, will he formulate plans and allow others to carry them out, aud take the responsibility of the expenditure? The money for the purchase of the land has been voted, the land has been bought, and we are now asked to vote £285,000 for work in regard to the Capital site, but the Committee really does not know what is the general scheme in connexion with the Capital, or how that sum is to be expended. Save for some few details given by the Minister, we know nothing. The best friends of the Federal Capital are those who advise that every shilling expended there shall be spent to the best advantage. Within the next few years “there must be a large expenditure. We have already spent something like halfamillion on the Capital, and must go on with its erection. It is our bounden -duty, however, to see that every shilling is expended in accordance with some well laid out, concrete policy, covering all works. It is common rumour that houses have been built on one of the public avenues, and that either the houses or the avenue will have to be removed.
– They are built, not in the administrative block, but over the water.
– Men who have returned from the Federal Capital have made alarming statements as to the way :i:n which money has been expended there. I am not going to voice those statements.
– There is value for every penny spent there.
– The Committee ought to know whether a good return has been received for our outlay.
– Who was responsible for the building of these houses in the middle of the avenue ?
– i do not know, and very few honorable members do. I entirely disagree with honorable members of the Opposition who have said that we on this side are not to criticise any of the Government proposals. It is a duty of an honorable member, no matter where he sits, to demand more information where more details are necessary, and if he thinks that money is not being spent to ihe “best advantage, he should say so. I have always taken up that position, and shall continue to do so, no matter on which side of the House I sit. I urge the Minister to consider the advisableness of referring this vote to a committee of inquiry, in order that the electors of Australia, who have to find the money, may be satisfied that, having accepted the principle of establishing the Federal Capital, their money is being expended to the best advantage.
– Would the honorable member hang up this expenditure while the inquiry was taking place ?
– i would.
– So that there would be nothing spent on the Federal Capital this year. Indeed, I undertake to say that no Committee could report within- a year on the proposed expenditure for that year.
– It is very much better that large works involving an expenditure of £285,000’ should be hung up pending an inquiry, rather than that the Committee should vote money blindly.
– The honorable member did not say that about the grant to Tasmania.
– No proposal ever presented to the House was the result of a more thorough investigation than that was.
– The Commission was aunanimous one, was it not?
– Not when it started. Some of its members, indeed, were thought at the outset to be almost hostile to Tasmania’s claim. It was only the justice of the claim that led to the bringing in of a unanimous report. I hold that our public works ought to be referred to some Committee for investigation and report. The Commonwealth is, in this matter, in a position different from that of the States. We are proposing to spend money on the Transcontinental Railway, the Northern Territory, the Federal Capital, and, indeed, all over this vast continent, and we have to accept absolutely the reports of the most biased witnesses who could be called upon to furnish information - the reports of the officers in charge of those works. I make no charge against them. If those who know them say that they are thoroughly competent, I am prepared to accept their assurance; but a man who is in charge of a work is the most biased person we could get to report upon it. Is a man likely to report that money has been wrongly spent on works carried out under his direction ? The statement has been made that a number of dredges were obtained by this Department and quickly went to pieces.
– Would the honorable member be satisfied with a non-political expert inquiry ?
– I believe the best inquiry could be made by honorable members of this House.
– Oh, yes; but not if they are going to hold up the work.
– The Minister is asking us to agree to a proposed vote of £285,000 for works in the Federal Capital, although there are persistent rumours that there has been reckless expenditure there.
– That is not correct.
– I think I heard the Minister himself, when in Opposition, make such a statement.
– The honorable member did not.
– We- have all heard statements as to reckless expenditure in connexion with the Federal Capital, and I urge that we should take care that all future expenditure there is in accordance with a well-thought out concrete policy, and that we get a full return for our money. I do not believe that the Commonwealth has got a return for the money that has been expended ; I believe that some of the statements made in this regard are well founded.
– The best way to get at the truth would be to have an expert nonpolitical inquiry of an immediate nature which would not hold up the work.
– Expert inquirers are very often intimately associated with the experts who are carrying on the work into which the inquiry is being conducted. There is often a kind of freemasonry amongst experts who are deputed to criticise each other’s work, so that we cannot obtain from experts the full inquiry that would be secured by means of a committee of honorable members of this House. I do not see why the work should be hung up because of such an inquiry.
– Say that we had an engineer and architect from Canada to inquire ?
– An inquiry is necessary in order that we may learn whether or not our money is being used to the best advantage. It would bewell for the Government to consider the advisableness of setting this matter at rest for all times by a complete investigation as to the way in which works at the Capital have been carried out.
– I am rather astonished at the opposition shown to the building _of the Federal Capital, more especially by the honorable member for Grey, who has moved to reduce the proposed vote in respect of it. There was no obligation on our part to build a railway through the honorable member’s constituency, but the mere fact that we thought an understanding had been entered into in regard to it induced us to provide for the carrying out of that work.
– To develop Australia.
– Yes; we treated it as a national question, but when we are asked to carry out an obligation actually cast upon us by the Constitution, which declares that the Federal Capital shall be located somewhere in New South Wales, we find the honorable member for Grey and others voting against it.
– Members of the Liberal party say that there has been gross extravagance at the Federal £ Capital.
– I take no notice of what some people say in regard to extravagance. The outstanding fact is that this Parliament must carry out the pledge given to the whole of the people of the Commonwealth in regard to the building of the Capital. I understand that over half-a-million has been spent in railway construction in the honorable member’s constituency. What would he say if I moved to reduce an item on the Estimates in relation to it because I heard that there had been some extravagance ?
– The honorable member would be within his rights in doing so;
– I would not do anything of the kind because I think this Parliament should be above such petty acts. A mere assertion by an honorable member that money was being wasted in connexion with railway construction would not justify me in moving to reduce the proposed expenditure hi connexion with it. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro has spoken of gross extravagance and waste of money at the Federal Capital, but any one who is against a proposition can always find a stick” to beat it with. Most of those who have criticised the administration of the Federal Capital are not competent to express an opinion. It would he a marvellous thing if in connexion with such a big undertaking no mistakes had been made.
– No money has been wasted there.
– I do not say that there has been any waste of money; but even if there had been that would be no justification for our stopping all expenditure merely to gratify a few honorable members who desire to gratify their vanity, and to make themselves notorious in regard to this question. The honorable member for Wimmera said we had carried out our obligation to the people by locating the site of the city.
– Until we saw fit to expend the necessary money, and felt that the finances of the Commonwealth would allow of our doing so.
– The honorable member says the state of our finances does not justify any expenditure on the Capital.
– Without a complete scheme.
– Who is to be the judge of what is a complete scheme ? The honorable member and his fellow Victorians or the Parliament? The Commonwealth to-day is in a better financial position than it has ‘ever occupied before, and therefore when the honorable member says that we should wait until we are in a better financial position, we might well ask when are we going to have the Capital.
– But how do the States Stand financially?
– We have had bountiful seasons during the last three or four years. Our revenue is increasing, and we have a surplus, so that the honorable member for Wimmera is wrong when he says that the finances of the Commonwealth are not sound.
– I do not say that.
– The honorable member did not suggest that the financial position of the Commonwealth was unsound when he brought forward his motion for an amendment of the Constitution to allow of Victoria and New South Wales combining to take over the waters of the Murray, and provide a great national irrigation scheme.
– That would be reproductive.
– When thoroughly established, and in full working order, it might be, but millions of pounds would have to be expended upon the scheme before it reached that stage.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 3.15 p.m.
– If we have not sufficient money to spend £285,000 on the Federal Capital, we certainly have not enough to embark upon a huge expenditure on irrigation.
– We should get a return from the expenditure in one case, and in the other we should get no return at all.
– I am obliged to the honorable member for the interjection. He seems to believe, with the honorable member for Wimmera, that a quick return might be expected from an irrigation scheme. We have in this matter the lamp of the past to guide us. I remember when the Yanco irrigation scheme at Burrinjuck was put through the New South Wales Parliament over six years ago by Mr. Lee, who was Minister of Public Works at the time in the Carruthers Government. A large number of men pre employed there, and, although millions have been spent on the work, the scheme is not yet complete, and I do not know when it will be completed. It will, no doubt, eventually return interest upon the cost of construction, but in the meantime the people of New South Wales are being taxed to provide that interest. The honorable member for Wimmera could not have been sincere in his objection to this expenditure on the ground of the financial embarrassment of the Government, seeing that when he was speaking on behalf of the Country party he denounced the Government because they had not proposed to spend millions in extending telegraphic, telephonic, and postal facilities in the country districts. All these works must cost money, and if the Federal finances are in an embarrassed state, how can he expect the Government to carry them out? We know that all this talk is merely moonshine. We are financially in a sound position, and can afford to spend £280,000 on the development of the Federal Territory. The money spent there will be spent upon the improvement of our own Territory, which, as it becomes settled, will be a splendid asset for the Commonwealth.
– It pays something now.
– I believe there is a return of about £.2,000 a year from the Territory at the present time. The honorable member for Maribyrnong wants a detailed account of everything upon which the vote is to be spent. Why does the honorable member insist upon such details in connexion with this item when, he did not insist upon details in connexion with the expenditure upon the Cordite Factory, the Harness Factory, or the Clothing Factory?
– The factories present a balance-sheet and report.
– When the original votes for the establishment of these factories were submitted, the honorable member did nob ask for the details of expenditure. If a Government calls for tenders for a locomotive, the price is fixed at a lump sum, and we do not expect details as to the cost of the boilers or the wheels.
– There are a good many wheels in this business.
– The honorable member for. Maribyrnong wants to sprag the wheels.
– That is so. The honorable member for Henty says that a mistake has been made in the selection of the site, and he repeats the bold, comprehensive statement that he would rather that Sydney or Melbourne were the Federal Capital.
– I did not say Melbourne.
– We will give the honorable member the privilege of saying Melbourne. To carry out his suggestion we should require a referendum of the whole of the people of the Commonwealth to approve of the necessary alteration of the Constitution, and that would cost nearly as much as it is now proposed to spend on the Capital. While the referendum campaign was in progress this Parliament would no doubt be sitting high and dry in Melbourne. I do not blame the honorable member for desiring to keep the Federal Parliament in Melbourne.
– The honorable member did not mention Melbourne.
– It is unnecessary to mention that you have struck a man when you have done it.
– If on a Bill for the establishment of the Capital in Sydney . anamendment was moved to delete the word “Sydney” with a view to the insertion, of the word “Melbourne,” would thehonorable member for Henty vote againstit?
– Not he. These statements- ‘ are made merely with a view to delay the work of establishing the Federal Capital. The honorable member for Franklin wants an elaborate inquiry into all these works at the Federal Capital. That is another scheme to bring about delay. The Minister stated last night that a certain amount will be required for the establishment of cement works. If it were necessary to get the cement required in the building of the city from Germany or London through Melbourne or Sydney, we know that the cost would be enormously increased, and the Government deserve credit for proposing to carry out the establishment of cement works where the -cement is to be used. There Is another vote on the Estimates for the construction of brick work3 at Canberra. The shale is to be found in the district, and I understand that very excellent samples of bricks have been made from it. There will be many hundreds of thousands of bricks required in the erection of the city. We are erecting buildings for the installation of a power-plant torun the machinery used in connexion with the building of the Capital. These buildings are almost completed, and tenders have been called for the installation of the plant. These are the things which the honorable member for Franklin wants an elaborate inquiry into. It is clear that his object is merely delay. I congratulate the Government upon proposing a forward step in carrying out this obligation of the Parliament of the Commonwealth. It is not a matter which should be discussed from the point of view of either political parties or of theStates. We are here as representativesof the whole Commonwealth, under an obligation to give effect to the mandateof the people when they entered into theFederation, that the Federal Capital1 should be established in Federal Territory. The State of New South Wales hasbeen very generous in this matter, and has given us a large tract of country. We have been placed in possession of 900’ square miles of territory, which in a few years’ time will be very valuable indeed.
My only complaint against the Home Affairs Department in connexion with this subject is that they have not pushed on as they might have done with the plansof the buildings. I saw Colonel Owen on the matter, and he said that they could not do so until the sewerage- and water supply systems were completed.
– He .is right.
– I ask the honorable member for Darwin when this building would have been constructed if Victoria had waited for the sewerage system of Melbourne to be completed. This building was sewered only a few years ago. It is nonsense to say that we must wait until the sewerage system is completed before we can complete the erection of buildings in the Federal Capital. Brisbane is a very fine city, in which there are many imposing buildings, but it has not yet been sewered. It is only about thirty years ago that the sewerage system was established in Sydney, and there were at that time many fine buildings in the city. The reason given for not going on with the plans of the buildings will not hold water. It is over twelve months since the plans for the lay-out of the city were accepted, and no permanent, buildings have yet been erected. Some buildings have been erected for the Defence Department, but they are of a temporary character. The honorable member for EdenMonaro complains that some buildings have been erected on one of the main avenues of the Capital, but they are of a temporary character also. They are required for those who will be engaged in the erection of the Capital, and for many years they will not be in the way, and need not be taken down. I have no wish to delay the passage of this vote.
– This is the first indication of rushing that I have seen on the honorable member’s part this session.
– I am not rushing. I shall give the Government every assistance to get this vote through, believing that in supporting it I am acting in the interests of the whole of the people and of the stability of the Federation.
.- According to some honorable members, this is a question which divides us into nationalists and parochialists, but I think that every honorable member in the House must be credited with the sincere desire to honour the Federal compact. The honorable member for Melbourne
Ports tells the electors in my constituency what my attitude on this question was, and he dealt also with the attitude of the honorable member for Corangamite. The honorable member was not long in Corangamite before he got lost, as one might have expected, as soon as he got into the bush. I rise with a definite purpose. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro touched upon a very important point in dealing with this subject. We have no Public Works Committee, and no Committee specially charged with the supervision of expenditure on the Federal Capital. I have never seen anything in the nature of a complete scheme for the building of the Capital put before the people. I do not hesitate to say that we should be prepared to honour every bargain made at the time of Federation, but I do think that so far as the erection of the Federal Capital is concerned we should “ hasten slowly.”
– The honorable member is prepared to honour the bargain, but not as it ought to be honoured, that is at once.
– I expected that from the Honorary Minister. I. think the Government have not done the fair thing in this matter. They should have given the Committee more information. If I am in order in doing so, I desire to intimate that it is my intention to move -
That a Select Committee of the House be appointed to investigate and report upon the- past expenditure within the Federal Capital area, including Jervis Bay, in regard to its practical value and bearing upon a definite and complete scheme and also upon the further expenditure proposed on the Estimates for 1913-14 in a like direction. ‘
– Do the Government accept that as an intimation of a motion of censure ?
– The intentions of the Government on this matter are not known to me. I am responsible only for my own attitude. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports was not correct in saying that I am opposed to expenditure on the Federal Capital. I am prepared to sanction such expenditure upon that undertaking as I think is consistent with the finances of the country. I share, to a large extent, the views expressed by the honorable member for Wimmera in regard to this matter. I. say that this is not the time, to embark, upon a huge expenditure on the Federal.
Capital, for the reason that every £1 which we expend to-day will commit us to an expenditure of £10 in the future. I think that there are matters in the Federal Territory other than the building of the Capital City which should engage our attention. If the area is what some honorable members have described it to be, we ought to have had submitted to us long ago some practical proposition under” which that territory itself would contribute in a large measure to the founding of the Capital.
– Does the honorable member wish to load the territory with the cost of building the city?
– Those who come from the other States, and who . represent a majority of the people who will have to foot the bill for the founding of this Capital, ought to be able to make suggestions as to how the burden on the public exchequer should be relieved in setting up the whole of our Federal activities. I think that a Select Committee might be able to place before the Government the resources of this country. Its members might be able to devise practical proposals which would help considerably to develop the Capital.
– Without imposing any burden on the taxpayers generally?
– It may be in the direction of relieving taxation. We are faced with the fact that in a normal year we have insufficient revenue for our ordinary governmental needs. The founding of a Federal Capital is a national project, but I do not see why it cannot be “accompanied by a reasonable, practicable, financial proposal. At the present time it is merely an incubus on the surplus revenue. How long will it take us to build a capital out of surplus revenue when there is no surplus revenue? Whether my remarks displease honorable members upon either side of the Chamber matters very little to me. I want to see the best means possible adopted to relieve the taxpayers of any undue burden in establishing this new city. I desire now to give notice of my intention to submit the motion which I have outlined on Tuesday next.
– It is not in order for the honorable member to give notice of motion at this stage. But there is nothing to prevent him from inti mating his intention to move in that direction.
– Then I hope that my intimation has been clear and definite. For my own part, I trust that the investigation which I desire will cover even the first £1 which was expended upon the Federal Capital.
– I do not take exception to the views which have been expressed by honorable members as to’ the desirableness of laying down a definite plan in regard to the prospective annual expenditure upon the Federal Capital.
– The honorable gentleman was always opposed to the present site.
– I was not in favour of it; but when it was determined upon by Parliament, I gave my adherence to it. If the Government are in office when Parliament reassembles after the recess, it will be incumbent upon us to lay before honorable members a definite plan as to what we propose to do in regard to the Federal Capital in the future. Personally, I should advocate - and I feel sure the proposal will be agreed to - that we should place before honorable members our intentions in the way of finally establishing this Parliament in the Seat of Government. I notice that the honorable member for Maribyrnong is very inconsistent in his attitude upon this question-
– He was always bad upon it.
– It is said that the honorable member would not like to have to go away from Melbourne. I do not see why he should be so selfish as to expect all the good things to come to him, seeing that the representatives of Western Australia and of other States are obliged to travel such a long way to get here. The representatives of Victoria generally are in accord with the idea that this Parliament should be kept in Melbourne, and I take no exception to their attitude. Personally, it suits me very well to remain in this city. But we must recollect that we are committed to the principle of establishing a Federal Capital in our own Territory, and we are bound to discharge that obligation. I do not think that we are bound to discharge it immediately, but it is a matter for this Parliament to decide how soon we shall do so. It must be recollected that the Government only came into office a week before the close of the present financial year. It takes a little time to gather up the threads of administration, and we have not had sufficient time to determine exactly what we shall do in the future, and the time within which we shall do it. That being so, we are acting wisely in proceeding as we are doing. As I said in my Budget speech, we do not intend to interfere with expenditure to which the country is committed.
– From what page in Hansard is the Treasurer quoting?
– Page 1797. We do not intend to interfere with the expenditure to which the country is committed; but we do intend to go on with the administration of affairs.
– Who said that?
– I did, on the 2nd October of this year. We are only acting as reasonable people would act. We are carrying out the works which are in hand, and to which the country has been committed. In my opinion, the time will arrive next session when we should be able to put before honorable members a detailed scheme of what is proposed to be done in the Federal Capital, together with a full explanation as to how the works there are to be carried out, the estimated cost, and the time within which they are to be completed . Honorable members are pretty well unanimous that, having entered upon this work, we must proceed with it. The money which appears upon these Estimates is intended to cover the cost merely of preliminary operations. We are preparing the way for the decisions of this Parliament as to what buildings shall be erected at the Federal Capital for its own accommodation, for that of the Governor-General, and for the various Departments. These matters will have to be decided next session
– Next session?
– The honorable member for Kennedy occupied the chair in this House so long that one would naturally expect him to be possessed of a judicial temperament. I am sure that we always subordinated our opinions to his rulings, and, therefore, I ought not to expect pin-pricks from’ him. If the Committee is divided in opinion as to whether the expenditure at the Fede- ral Capital should be £150,000 or £280,000, we might now take a division on the question, and then proceed with other business. I appeal to honorable members to do that.
.- After the speech of the Treasurer, the Committee needs an explanation from some other member of the Ministry. He has told us that the Government must go slowly in the development of the Federal Capital, expending money over a long term of years. He said that the Committee could vote this amount now, an”d that after the recess we might decide what we are going to do. What is the use of voting money now if we have not made up our minds what we shall do with it? The tenor of the right honorable gentleman’s speech was that matters should be deferred as much as possible.
– That is the impression left on the minds of the Committee, and the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs, as well as the Prime Minister and the honorable member for Richmond, were looking very serious during the Treasurer’s speech.
Mr. -Kelly. - We did not misapprehend the Treasurer, as the honorable member seems to have done.
– The Honorary Minister knows him. We should be told definitely what the Government are going to do in this matter. There are members on both sides who have supported the Capital expenditure, and they are prepared to vote a reasonable amount for developmental work. The Treasurer tells us now that Ministers are not going to spend any of the money; but that next year - if they are in office, he says - they will come down with a proposal. We should like to know what is to be done now.
– We are going to spend £285,000, if the Committee approves.
.- I expected this Government, instead of proposing a large expenditure on the Federal Capital,- to provide a small amount merely to keep the trees growing that were planted by the honorable meruber for Darwin. In the interests of Australia, economy of that kind is needed. Things have altered very much since the Federal Capital project was first mooted. The Commonwealth had then no Territory of its own, but we- have now the immense Northern Territory, on the development of which we could very well spend the money proposed to be spent on laying out a Capital, and might very well, too, spend money on making the railway from Oodnadatta to Pine Creek, which will give access to the Macdonnell Ranges, where the climate is the finest in the world, and where the Federal Capital might well be located. The Federal Capital Territory, which comprises only 568,227 acres, is very small, compared with the Northern Territory.
– It is very good country.
– It must be, as it carries only 1,762 horses, 8,000 cattle, and 224,000 sheep; but there are rabbits there by the million. If they were to erect a rabbit-proof fence round the Territory, that would improve it in a way that would benefit the people of ‘Australia.
– That is being done.
– The Minister of Home Affairs told us that it is proposed to build a dam at a cost of £40,000. Fancy that expenditure on water conservation in that country. If we were asked to vote for a scheme like the Kalgoorlie water supply, which would be valuable to the people, it would be another matter. At most, there will not be more than 6,000 persons living in the Capital for many years to come, and I do not see the need for spending £40,000 now to provide them with water. I do not think there is any place in Australia more unsuitable for a Federal Capital than is the Canberra site. There is no stone within 70 miles for building purposes, and the wood is fit only for firewood, and not much good for that; while the only water supply is from a little creek called the Cotter. The time will come when some Government will, in the interests of Australia, put a stop to the wicked waste of public money that is now taking place. I am not jealous of Sydney, although I am a South Australian. I say that, if you want a Capital, choose Sydney, or somewhere near Sydney. When coming from the Old Land to Sydney, some Yankees on board the steamer said, “ You people do not know anything about ad vertising. You have this lovely harbor, and no one ever hears of it. They tell us that you are going to build a Capital 100 miles out in the bush.” Parliament will meet in the Capital for only a few months in the year. What will the people resident there have to do during the remaining months ? They will have no facilities for educating their children, nor for living in a civilized way. This year it is proposed to spend £250,000 on preparing for the erection of the Capital, and already nearly £500,000 has been spent, while the return from the Territory is only a little over £2,000.
– It is £5,290 now.
– I took my figures from a book published by the exMinister of Home Affairs. I must say that I found that honorable member extremely careful to study the public interests in making purchases and in getting work carried out on behalf of the Commonwealth in my electorate. I find that £10,000 is to be spent on brickworks in the Federal Capital - evidence that there is no building stone there - and £20,000 on power plant. There is £13,000 for a power house, and they wish to build two large reservoirs, one -at the river for £15,000, and another a little way from it for £15,000. Then £8,000 is to be provided for roads, and there is a sum provided for a bridge over a little creek with a flow of 4,000,000 gallons daily.
– That is only the minimum.
– This is not a matter to be looked at with an eye that is not serious. It is serious for Australia, and it will continue to be serious. If we do not indulge in this expenditure for another fifty years, no one will grumble. If necessary, . let us shift the Capital to Sydney. Sydney is a lovely place, and one to which we would be proud to invite people from all parts of the world. Spending millions will never make Canberra another Sydney. The present expenditure is a wicked waste, and a heavy tax on the people. .During the next ten years there will be people rising up in the Commonwealth who will stop all this expenditure.
– Are you in favour of the Oodnadatta to Pine Creek Railway?
– I should think so, and any man of sense would favour building that railway. In putting questions likethat, the Honorary Minister brings out thebest of his ignorance. I hope in the interests of Australia, that this wicked waste of public money will stop for the next fiftyyears.
– It is amusing how our Victorian friends desire to retain the Capital in Melbourne. I shall support the amendment; and I hope we shall be successful in reducing the vote to what it was last year. I have no sympathy with the amendment forecasted by the honorable member for Wannon. He is simply attempting to side-track the whole issue. The day for inquiry by Royal Commission in connexion with this matter is past. Our only care now is to exercise careful vigilance as to the expenditure of this money. Laying out a city is an expensive matter, and should be done on the soundest lines possible, for the judicious expenditure of £150,000 at the start may mean a considerable saving in the future. Honorable members may be surprised at my supporting the amendment of the honorable member for Grey, but I do so for one reason. The charge levelled against the past Admnistration was their extravagance in connexion with expenditure on the Capital site.
– Is that your only reason?
– Absolutely. There are some questions that should be above party.
– But not above merit.
– We have put the defence of Australia above party, and I think it would be well to put the question of the Federal Capital above party, and I speak as a representative of one of the smaller States that has to foot the bill. This expenditure is not popular in South Australia. The workers there do not resent it so much as the well-to-do. I have had many discussions in regard to it with merchants and the well-to-do people, and my answer has always been that, because the citizens of Australia . placed a certain provision in the Constitution, it should be honoured by both parties. At the last election, the late Government were charged with wanton extravagance in regard to the money they were spending on the Federal Capital site, and, in the face of those charges, how can honorable members supporting thepresent. Ministry vote for double the previous expendi ture? It was to their interests to lie about theiropponents in order toget into office; it was a good thing, in the interests of party politics, to deceive the electors; but is it a good thing forpublic men, and those assisting them, to delude the electors, and throw dust in their eyes by false statements for party purposes? I shall vote for the amendment for that reason. I am in favour of this Capital site. If it came to a question of the Government being beaten on this vote, I should side with them, because I believe in keeping the compact; but I say there should be a recognised principlethat matters of this character are not party questions; and the onlyway this can be brought home to any Government that tries to trifle with a seriousquestion like this for party purposes is to refuse to pass votes. If I can bring the item down, down it shall go for that reason, and for that reason alone. Necessarily the great masses of the people are not experts, and look to their public men to guide them and supply themwith information. If the item is passed as it is, the effect on the general community will be that very little will be thought of certain public men after the statements which they made at the last election for party purposes. There is a remark of Bismarck which it is worth our while to recollect. “ God save us,” he said, “ from a raceof men with hearts of stone and hides of leather.”
-Do you apply that to us?
– I do not apply the remark to honorable members, but I say that nothing will have a greater tendency in that direction than will the evil I have pointed out. I hope that the amendment will be carried as a salutary lesson that, while the compact made by all the States and all the people of the States should be redeemed, the expenditure on the Federal Capital should not be made use of for electioneering purposes, as it was by men who with their tongues in their cheeks, circulated reports which they knew to be false, and never on one single occasion put the issue straight and square before the country.
.- Had I been here when the question of building the Capital at Canberra was first raised, I think I would have voted against the expenditure of any money there, but we must realize the position as it exists to-day, and assist the Government to carry out the work to which the Parliament has been committed. I think it would have been far better had the whole of the expenditure iia connexion with the construction of this city been provided from loan funds, because it is a work for posterity.
– With a proper sinking fund.
– Yes. I have risen to speak on account of the speech made by- the honorable member for EdenMonaro. He represents the . district round the Capital site, and he has told us of the gross extravagance in connexion with the work there, lt does seem absurd to me that honorable’ members should get up and say that the Government are carrying on the same extravagance as has taken place in the past simply because a larger expenditure is proposed on these Estimates. Surely it is not an argument, because more money is asked for now, that we are going to have greater extravagance in the future. There are the commitments of the previous Administration; there are the works essential to the building up of the city, which require more money, and therefore a larger vote is necessary. But we have been told today, on the authority of an honorable member who lives adjacent to the district, that) there ha3 been gross extravagance at the Capital site. It is the duty of Parliament to insist, and I think that before this item is passed we should have a definite assurance from the Prime Minister, that a full inquiry shall be made into the work that has been carried on. Otherwise we shall not be able’ to satisfy the public as to whether there has, or has not, been extravagance. We ought to know the position thoroughly. lt is the duty of the House to appoint a Committee to inquire as to whether in the past, the’ work has been carried out on proper and economical lines, and also to advise Parliament in regard to future expenditure. I recognise that to a very great extent the Minister must be in the hands of the heads of his Department. With the work of Parliament proceeding, and his presence here being continuously necessary, he is not able to go into all the details of the works which are essential. I think we should insist upon the fullest particulars being given to the Committee in re gard to the proposals of the Government’ for the future, what money is to be expended, and how it is to be spent. I am one of those who are entirely opposed to the day-labour system. Many works can be well carried out on that principle, but in ordinary practice I believe that the contract system is far better. However, I do not want to go into the details of that subject now.
– You are courting a discussion.
– I am only expressing an opinion. When we are dealing with the question of railways. I thick I shall be able to discuss the subject much better than I could do on an item of this sort. I only desire now to make my position clear. I think that- the Minister should give us an assurance that Parliament will have fuller information in regard to the methods which are to be adopted for carrying out this great work at the Capital site in the future. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro made statement after statement relating to gross extravagance in the past. As representatives of the people it i9 our duty to see that the extravagance, if it has taken place, is not continued. But the mere1 fact that a larger amount is asked for in these Estimates does not denote that there is going to be extravagance in the future. Our duty is to see that the money is properly expended in the best interests of the people.
– Honorable members who have spoken, especially the new members, have asked for information to be given to the Committee as to what is to be done at the Capital site, and therefore cannot be expected to know that tlie fullest possible information is already in Hansard about the whole scheme.
– There is a definite scheme-
– He is an old member, too, who says “ No.” He should know.
– I do not think that even an old member knows what I am going to say.
– That is quite possible.
– I respectfully submit that it would be just as well to let me finish my sentence. There is a definite plan of development mapped out for the Federal Territory, showing the processes each year by which the Capital is to come to fruition. It has all been before Parliament for some time. Plans have been laid down definitely, and all that we have done recently has been to take care that while that process of evolution is going on the original plan is not seriously departed- from. Mr. Griffin has been retained to see that his own design of the Capital, which won first prize in a world-wide competition, is faithfully and properly carried out.
– That is only the city area. What about the large Federal Territory? We want to know the whole scheme.
– I invite the honorable member to read the statement which was put before the House last year by his own Minister, and if he does he will find all the details.
– It is given in the schedule every two months.
– That is only a catalogue of expenditure; it does not go into thu whole question.
– I confess I do not know what is indicated here. I wish it could be put more plainly, because I am unable to perceive just what is wanted.
– Just a nice word picture.
– I know that there are statements about extravagance. Who makes them, where do they come from, and what are they about? Distinguish between the plan of the Capital, the general scheme outlined, and the method of carrying it into effect. Make a sharp distinction between the two. The statements made from time to time by the honorable member for EdenMonaro are to the effect that there is gross extravagance going on in regard to the employment of labour.
– I do not say that there is now, but it is a matter of public knowledge that there has been.
– If it is not going on now, but has gone on in the past, it will be most difficult for the honorable member to get to know anything about it.
– I do not think so.
– 1 know the honorable member does not, and that for that reason he is asking «for further inquiry. But I hope honorable members will give us some little credit for having tried to sift some of these allegations. It seems to me that we get no credit for what we try to do. I say at once that I do not know where the extravagance is or I would point it out. I believe, however, that what in many respects is a faulty system lias been pursued in regard to the Capital city. I am not here, to say that everything has gone right. I am only pointing out the difficulties of getting to the bottom of these complaints.
– What about the five launches that were bought by the late Government. I believe that they are at the bottom of the sea now.
– Well, if they are they must have been insured, so that the loss will be covered.
– Every one knows that launches were bought, and that bad purchases have been made. There is no need, therefore, for inquiry. But if the honorable member for Wannon would indicate to me what useful purpose could be served by an inquiry, I would give him one to-morrow. Indeed, I would not wait; I would undertake the inquiry myself. But let us get down to bed-rock, in regard to these matters.’ I dissent altogether from the statements that have been made to-day that these works in the Federal Capital should be held up until inquiry has been made. The time has gone by for holding up the building of the Capital, and the work must go on, but in a reasonable way. I never could, and cannot now, understand why Victorian representatives should oppose this expenditure. My own opinion is that byandby we shall see a railway running through Gippsland, and connecting Melbourne with the Federal Capital - a railway that will give a quicker route to Sydney than we have now, and which will bring Melbourne, from every point of view, into pretty close touch with the Federal , Capital. Wisely and properly administered, the Federal Capital should not cost the country one half-penny, and, in my judgment, it will not. The moment this Parliament and the administrative officers of the Commonwealth go there, we shall have such a tremendous accretion to land values as will put this proposition on an entirely satisfactory footing, and make it a paying, and- even a profitable, concern.
– But is not the Committee entitled to have before it a complete scheme indicating all the different phases of this undertaking.
– The time for that is when the general Estimates are before us.
– I hope that the Committee will accept my assurance that we are going, as far as we can, to prevent any waste of money. If honorable members will only give us a little time, we shall sift to the bottom a lot of these, allegations; but everything cannot be done at once. We have been in office only three months, and it is too much to say that everything should be straightened out, every allegation cleared up, explanations made and forecasts given, and plans prepared at once for works which are to proceed for years and years ahead. I say frankly and decisively that such a demand is unreasonable.
– We have been waiting three or four years for such a scheme.
– .Then it is only reasonable that the honorable member should wait another three or four months for it. Whatever happens, this. Government is not. to be held accountable for any delay in this matter. There can be no delay. If my honorable friends will be just a little patient, we shall put before the Committee every scintilla of information in the Department, and they will know exactly what we are doing, what is proposed to be done, and under what conditions. But we cannot do everything in a day.
– The honorable member used pretty strong language last year, when these Estimates were before us, in regard to the lack of information respecting the Federal Capital works.
– And I tell the honorable member now that I do not think things are satisfactory up there. When he asks me why they are not, I can only reply that I believe that dissatisfaction must inhere under the very system which has been carried out there in regard to the employment of labour and other things.
– But there is the purchase of land and other items, about which we ought to have full information.
– So far as I know, the item under discussion does not provide a farthing for the purchase of land. After these Works Estimates are through, a Loan. Bill, will be brought down, and the honorable member will be able then to discuss the question of land tenure in the Federal Territory. He knows that we wish to carry these Works Esimates at once, so that we may go ahead and provide employment for the labour that is dependent on the voting of these sums. The whole question will be considered later - on. There will be many opportunities to discuss the policy of. the whole scheme; but this is neither the place nor the time to discuss the whole policy of the Federal Capital. At this, stage, we have only to say whether the money asked for in this Bill shall be voted for the purpose of the labour waiting to be employed on public works, and voted in time to enable it to be expended within the financial year. A third of the financial year has already gone, and until we can get authority to expend this money it cannot be expended.
– A lot of it has already been spent.
– About £50,000 out of the Treasurer’s Advance. That is all.
– The longer we talk, the more we save.
– And that is what the Prime Minister gets from his majority.
– It strikes me that a good deal of my majority on this particular question is to be found on the Opposition side, but it does not exist to see me through. I am under no delusion on that point. I believe there is a sincere desire on the part of honorable members that the construction of the Capital shall be proceeded with at the earliest possible moment, and I am in hopes that before long we shall be able to propound a scheme which will so conserve the interests of the Territory as to make it, in the near future, a completely selfsupporting proposition. I should like to say one- word, further.. I subscribe entirely to the statement made by the honorable member for Dampier that this money ought to come out of loan funds. It ought to be put to the debit of the Federal Capital. I believe that every penny of it will be repaid with interest in the future, if only wise, business principles be applied to the development and evolution of the Federal Territory.
.: - I. should not have said anythingon this vote if the statement had not been attributed to the honorable member for
Eden-Monaro that there had been extraordinary and wilful extravagance at Canberra. If so, I cannot understand how I did not hear of it. I spent enough time at the Home Affairs office and in the Territory. I suppose that no Minister, in the history of Australasia, ever worked as I did. I was at work from 8 o’clock in the morning till any hour at night, and my name is to be found on the attendancebook at the Home Affairs office the same as that of any other hired man there. I cannot understand how honorable members can get up here and say that they have not received any information. The fact that they have said so is an indication that there are obstructionists, or fools, in this House. For over two and a-half years I issued a schedule of works carried out by the Home Affairs Depart* ment, and everything done in the Federal Territory was set out there. Did honorable members read that schedule? If they did not, what. in the name of God, is the use of publishing any information for them ? The schedule contained the history of works in the Federal Territory for every two months. The present Assistant Minister of Home Affairs has continued the issue of the schedule, and honorable members are supplied with information about all the works that are going on there. Still, they say that they have received no. information, and that there is no system. Of course, there is not if honorable members will not read what is placed before them. “We shall have to start a kindergarten here to teach some honorable members. I challenge any honorable member to look at a copy of Number 13, 14, or 15 of the schedule, and say whether it does not supply information about all the expenditure in the Federal Territory. There is not a word said in this House about the millions we throw away on defence. Although the warships we have built will be on the scrap-heap within the next ten or fifteen years, there is no objection to the money spent upon them. But there is a hueandcry against everything done to carry out the compact entered into with the Government of New South Wales, although, in the Federal Territory, we shall have an asset such as no other nation in the world possesses.
– We have not got it all yet.
– We have got it. The Territory is ours. Eighty thousand acres have been purchased. There is no hurry about the rest, and why should we spend a lot of money before it is necessary to do so? I selected Colonel Miller to take charge of the business, and he is admitted to be a very able administrator. He was selected to carry out the great scheme for the welcome of the American Fleet, and Admiral Sperry told me that he never saw anything better organized.
– He has been turned down.
– He has not been turned down. He is the Administrator of the Federal Territory, though the Government have not yet had time to pass an Act for his appointment.
– Why did not the honorable gentleman’s Government do it?
– They could not do everything. Honorable members must not forget that this Commonwealth Parliament will last longer than either the Labour or the Conservative party. Men are mortal, and they die, but this Parliament is immortal. If the Government are game, I am prepared now to take the whole show off their hands, finance it myself, and make, lots of money out of it. Some honorable members talk about going to Sydney. Let them go to Sydney, and they will have to pay £1,000,000 for 15 or 20 acres of ground near Sydney. Yet here we have 560,000 acres. One of the Yankee financiers who was present at the opening of the Federal Capital said to me, “Lord, if we had only kept the ground at Washington!” Why, in the next fifteen or twenty years the income from ground rents will be almost sufficient to meet the interest on the construction of the Federal Capital. I want honorable members to specify some particular extravagance. I have a fairly good reputation as a business man. I do not trouble about what people say as to my character, but I have some respect for my reputation as a business man. I do not want that to go. I want my honorable friends who make these charges to specify some particular extravagance, and I “hall then ask the Minister to call upon the Administrator of the Federal Territory to investigate the expenditure complained of. I have heard the tale of the fellow who got drunk at Queanbeyan, and of the other fellow who was brought up for chasing him, and said that he was working for the Home Affairs Department. All this is only side-stepping. I know what Colonel Miller is, and if he has neglected his work he ought not to be there. I sent him up there because so many complaints were being made. I am sorry that this House should become such a growling establishment. Ministers have to depend on their officers.
– And the officers should be protected by their Ministers.
– I am sure that those who were present at the laying of the foundation-stone of the commemorative column at the Federal Capital, and saw how people were brought there and sent away again, must have recognised that there was system and organization at work. It is like the talk of Mrs. Somebody, who told Mrs. Somebody-else of what another woman had done. Though, of course, she was not the kind of woman to say anything about any one, she started the report all the same.
– What about the water supply of Canberra?
– We have the Cotter River.
-. - River!
– Yes, it is a beautiful river. I admit that many years ago, in this House, I said that a crow would have to carry his water-bag there. That was before I had information. I talked too quickly and too much then.
– An average daily flow of 23,000,000 gallons is fairly good.
– Yes, it is. I say that at the Federal Capital we have a better water supply than has Melbourne or Sydney.
– Oh, no.
– Yes, we have. The honorable member for South Sydney complains that we have not started to erect the buildings before the completion of the sewerage. Let me tell the honorable member the experience of Melbourne in putting in the sewerage system after the city had been built. If the sewerage system had been put in first 40 per cent, might have been saved in the construction of this city. Accordingly we determined to first establish a water and sewerage system. How can the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs enter upon the erection of buildings until he has put in a water service for the inhabitants of the Capital city?
– What is the estimated cost of the entire project?
– At the end of 500 years it will have cost £5,000,000 or £6,000,000.
– What is the estimated cost of setting up all the Federal activities within the Federal Capital area ?
– It will cost a little over £1,000,000 to get the scheme started upon right lines, but at the end of 500 years the undertaking will have cost £5,000,000 or £6,000,000. There is no hurry about the scheme - it can grow gradually. I am pleased that the Ministry have brought out Mr. Griffin from Chicago. When I was Minister of Home Affairs, I appointed a Board which decided upon a composite plan, out of the different designs which were submitted. I confess that I had not the courage to bring Mr. Griffin to this country, because people would immediately have said that one Yankee was bringing out another. I wish to point out, however, that the Government are not paying this expert a sufficient salary. They are sweating him. From what I can learn, he has an immense business in Chicago.
– Yet he gave it up for £1,000 a year.
– I had a conversation with him, and I found that he is like all other artistic men. He does not wish to see the scheme of his intellect destroyed by somebody else.
– Yet the honorable member appointed a Board which upset his scheme ?
– That Board did good work, because Mr. Griffin has already made changes in his own scheme. That circumstance evidences what we can do if we act in an intelligent way. In the Department of Home Affairs, there is another great man, who is an architect - I refer to Mr. Murdoch. I loaned that officer to the ex -Minister of External Affairs, who sent him to England. The result was that he put 14,000 cubic feet of space more into the Commonwealth offices there than did the London architect. In other words, he increased the rental value of those buildings by £3,000 a year.
– Then why import another man?
– Because Mr. Griffin is the creator of the winning design.
– One man is a town planner, and the other is an architect.
– Exactly. Mr. Murdoch studied the Post Office at Chicago, and also visited Washington, and I am satisfied that the joint labours of that gentleman and of Mr. Griffin will provide us with a great city.
– I am very reluctant to take up the time of the Committee, or to interfere with the progress of business. But I must remind the Prime Minister that there are very deep-lying principles which are affected by this vote - principles which compel honorable members to state their position even at the risk of repeating what they have said on previous occasions. When I entered this House, the question of the site of the Federal Capital had been practically decided. Only one division was taken subsequently, and, on that occasion, I voted for the Government of the day. My opinion is unshaken that we are just about fifty years ahead of our time in making extravagant provision for a Federal Capital.
– Fifty years behind the times.
– We have to respect the provisions of the Constitution, I know. But having secured the site for the Federal Capital, there is no reason why it should not be handled as a business proposition, and there is no reason why we should build the city until the necessity arises. The site has been settled, and considerable commitments have been incurred.
– What did the honorable member say during his election campaign?
Mr.RICHARD FOSTER. - I said what I am saying now. We have been charged by honorable members opposite with having denounced the shocking extravagance of the previous Administration. I do not deny it. Until a thorough examination has been made of whathas been done, I shall continue to denounce that extravagance. If it is proved by a proper impartial tribunal that I am wrong, there is nobody who will more readily apologize to this House and the people of the Commonwealth. But until the expenditure of public money in connexion with the Federal Capital site and other big undertakings has been impartially investigated, I shall continue to say that there has been maladministration in the expenditure of the taxpayers’ money, and an extravagance the extent of which nobody can possibly decide. My statements in the past have been severe, sincere, and conscientious, and they will be repeated until we are afforded an opportunity to prove that they are wrong. I readily admit that the action of the Government in bringing Mr. Griffin to Australia was a splendid one, and one which ought to allay to a considerable extent the misgivings of the people of the Commonwealth. I am still more delighted to find that his expressions of opinion have not been adversely criticised by other experts. I am particularly pleased to know that Mr. Griffin has stated definitely that the natural features of the country surrounding the Federal Capital site are such as lend themselves to the creation of a new and up-to-date city, which will equal anything that we may desire. . Although I have not seen the Federal Capital area, and although I have misgivings, I feel justified in leaving the matter in the hands of the expert who has drawn the accepted designs for the Capital, and has made a personal examination of the site, giving an opinion upon it which has not been controverted by any responsible authority in Australia. I shall, therefore, vote against the amendment of the honorable member for Grey, which, if it means anything at all, means the practical cessation of work on the Capital. We have passed that stage. The opinion of the people, and of the press of the Commonwealth, is that the die has been cast, and the site of the Federal Capital finally determined. Being thus committed, we cannot go back. In regard to the amendment foreshadowed by the honorable member for Wannon, I gather the impression from the statement of the Prime Minister that the Government, if we gave them time, would determine to the satisfaction of honorable members that they were on the right lines, and that they would demonstrate that the site that has been chosen is the site that ought to be built on.
– We are all agreed as to that.
– Then I am willing to vote for a thorough inquiry into the manner in which public money has already been spent on the Capital site.
– In that case, why not postpone the item ?
– I think that it should not be postponed. In the interests of Australia we should proceed with this matter. If the honorable member for Darwin is satisfied that the money that has been expended has been spent on work faithfully carried out, and that the expenditure has been in the interests of the taxpayers, he will vote far a thorough inquiry.
– I have no objection.
– The honorable member is too big a man to object to submit his work to investigation. But the spirit of unrest and distrust throughout the Commonwealth in regard to public expenditure on this and other undertakings will not be allayed until there Has been a thorough and impartial investigation. Those who supported the last Administration will not, if they have confidence in it, oppose an inquiry. I have great admiration foi*, and confidence in, the integrity and ability of Colonel Miller, but as Secretary to the Department of Home Affairs, he held a position requiring the utmost human strength arid ability for the proper performance of its duties. Yet he has been sent to the Federal Capital Territory to act as its Administrator, and the other day, in giving evidence in relation to railway matters, he said that he was Manager of the Commonwealth Railways, and responsible for their construction. One of these railways is the biggest individual proposition that Australia has ever faced. This is the day of specialists and speciali sation.
– Does the honorable member reflect on Colonel Miller?
– No ; but I say that, notwithstanding his ability, .he cannot satisfactorily fill all these positions.
– Has this Ministry altered the arrangement?
– I do not know; but, if not, it should be alteredat the earliest date. Ministerial responsibility cannot be shifted on to the’ shoulders of permanent heads of Departments, because, in the last resort, responsibility cannot properly attach to them. When the time comes, I shall support the proposal of the honorable member for Wannon for an independent and exhaustive inquiry into the expenditure on the Federal Capital site. It would be inappropriate at this moment to deal with other matters, but I hope that the same investigation that is earnestly desired, and that will have to come, in connexion with the expenditure on the Capital site, will be applied to other things. As a Commonwealth, we are a young body in regard to public works. We cannot regard the Commonwealth in the light of an oldestablished public service, where we should have efficiency in every direction, and expert officers of the highest char. acter in every department. We have not the officers, the machinery, or the plant, and, so far as public works are concerned, we are only in our infancy. That being so’, We have begun on a wrong basis, we have adopted wrong principles, and the only thing to do is to institute a thorough inquiry in the interests of tlie people whose money we are spending. Until we do so we are not justified in occupying our positions in the House.
– There seems to be a desire for an inquiry. I suggest that a detailed statement of the expenditure be provided for the Committee, and when, that information is submitted, if honorable members will specify in what particular direction they desire an inquiry, the Government can consider the question. That should meet the views of honorable members generally. I shall give the details and specifications of the expenditure as fully as possible, and I suggest that as we have been a long time discussing this item, we should now take a vote upon it.
– I have no desire to block the business of the country. I hope we shall not have it said again by honorable members on the Ministerial side that we have obstructed business . Speaker -after speaker on that side has risen, -and expressed himself fully on this, matter, and yet we find responsible Ministers going out to the country and saying that the Opposition are continually blocking business. I had no desire to speak on this item this afternoon, and I suggested to the honorable member for Wakefield that if he would refrain from speaking I would do likewise, but the honorable member took no notice of my suggestion. Therefore, I am of opinion that honorable members on the Ministerial side welcome discussion on this item. I read the remarks made by the honorable member for Wakefield when he was on his campaign, and I am surprised at what I have heard from him to-day, because then he did nothing but denounce the expenditure of the Fisher Government. The honorable member said that money was wasted, and poured out like water, on the Federal Capital site, and I really thought that when we met again in the House he would bring down a definite charge. In the same way, Ministers denounced the expenditure on the Federal Capital, but they have not laid their hands on a specific charge. I should like to continue my remarks on another occasion.
– Let us pass this item first.
– When I make an explanation I think the Prime Minister will realize my position. When I first came into this Parliament I found that the Commonwealth had decided on a Capital site. I was made aware that it was in the Constitution that the Capital should be in New South Wales, and, in my opinion, that removed the responsibility from members of Parliament of saying where the Capital should be. And then we were committed to expenditure by the Fisher Government. I stood alone, coming from Tasmania, in supporting the Fisher Government in that respect, because I realized that the people of Australia had entered into an honorable compact with the people of New South Wales to build the Capital in New South Wales, and it would be unfair and unjust to them to refuse to honour the compact. I took that responsibility, and I do not regret having done so; but I wish to explain my attitude, so that my constituents may know why I support this item. In the face of what I have said, will the Prime Minister kindly agree to my continuing my remarks on Tuesday next?
The Honorary Minister has promised to bring down a statement that will delay the item at least until then. If the Honorary Minister brings down the return on Tuesday, the mover of the amendment may withdraw it.
– We have the figures for 1912-13, but we have not yet the information for the two previous years. I have consulted the officers, and they say it will take at least a week to get the return.
– The Honorary Minister evidently admits there is something wrong.
– No. An inquiry was asked for, and the ex-Minister welcomes the proposition.
– I have spent the whole day in the chamber in an atmosphere that is not conducive to one’s good health. I have listened to the debate. I noticed that when the honorable member for Franklin was making innuendoes that there had been certain wasteful expenditure, the Honorary Minister stated that was incorrect, and that was sufficient for me. I am willing to take the word of Ministers and their officers who advise them. Apparently, honorable members are of the opinion that there may be an election in the near future, and they wish to go on to ‘the hustings and say that this “ rash “ expenditure has been incurred. During the time I am in politics, no matter what Government is in power, I shall not make statements without some proof. To do so is unfair to the officers controlling Departments. It is most unjust for politicians, purely for political purposes, to make statements they cannot prove, because they have been told so-and-so. We find a section of young members, led probably by the advice of older members, making statements on the hustings, and putting themselves in false positions. For example, I pity the honorable member for Wannon. He twitted the late member for Wannon for being silent, but before the honorable member has been here long, he will be wishing to heaven he himself had remained silent. He has put himself into a hole to-day. It is deplorable to find any honorable members in such a position. They are desiring to put themselves right at the expense of - whom ? At the expense of the officers of the Departments, who cannot defend themselves. The honorable member for Wannon is trying to side-track this issue, and to bluff the electors by bringing down a proposal in which I question very much whether one honorable member on the other side believes. Why does, he take that course? Suppose that he gets the delay he seeks. What will it mean? It will mean the stoppage of the plant at the Capital site. The machinery will be hung up, and every practical man knows that when machinery is hung up it deteriorates beyond measure. Are we going to incur that waste to enable the honorable member for .Wannon, and a few others who made rash statements on the hustings, to defeat a Government who did more for Australia than any other Government had done ? At the elections these honorable gentlemen made rash statements, and now, to put themselves right in the eyes of the electors, before whom they expect to go shortly, they want to stop the progress of a great undertaking for twelve months at the very least. The country is committed to expenditure at the Capital site. The honorable member for Wimmera is in precisely the same boat. He suggests, purely for political purposes, that it is the honorable member for EdenMonaro who has got this huge sum placed upon the Estimates. The majority of the. Government! The honorable member for Wimmera practically said that the Government had a majority, because they allocated this huge sum to the Capital site section in the constituency of EdenMonaro.
– Will you answer a question ?
– Order !
– There are, 1 believe, quite a number of honorable members who are prepared to support the honorable member for Wannon; hence he may find himself in trouble that he did not expect. I am not going to say how I shall vote on his proposal.
– You are chewing your own words, then?
– All I wish to say now is that it is not my intention to vote for cutting down this item one iota. I am of the opinion that it is absolutely necessary that the Capital should be built, and built as quickly and effectively as possible. I am still of the opinion that the money spent there will not be wasted, because, as we enhance the value of the country by our expenditure, the Commonwealth will participate in the unearned increment. Increasing by leaps .and bounds, like the nails in the shoe, that money will be giving interest, which will give compound interest; and the day is not far distant when the expenditure on the Capital site will be repaid ten-fold. That is the best investment which has ever been made in Australia. All that the little Victorians can see is the little centre in which they are. The honorable member for Wannon cannot get out of the limitation of his own electorate; and to put himself right with his constituents he has to put his own Government in a dreadful hole. I wish to draw the attention of the Chairman to the fact that the Government’s majority has crossed to this side of the chamber. It is quite gratifying to me, as the honorable member for Denison, to know that I have brought him over to this side; and in such good company I feel that he will see the error of his ways, and that we shall have a Labour member for Wannon next time.
– I could not hear you ; that is why I came over to this side.
– An honorable member interjected that the attack of the honorable member for Wakefield was venomous. There is no doubt that it was. The honorable member for Wimmera evidently did not realize what he was saying, because, as soon as the honorable member for Ballarat pinned him to his statement, as it was understood in the Chamber, he wished to make out that he was not responsible for the statement. The honorable member for Ballarat deserves the thanks of not only the people of New South Wales, but the people of Australia, for rising to the occasion and throwing off the fetters of Victoria and the influence of the Victorians, and saying that he will vote for the carrying out of this great national undertaking.
– He is an Australian.
– There is no doubt that the honorable member is an Australian. He displayed great courage in what he did.
– There is no doubt about that.
– I am glad to have that interjection. The honorable member, I understand, represents an electorate which is not very far from the Capital site. What did we hear from him when the question of water supply was mentioned ? He tried to disparage his own country and the people who sent him here. What do honorable members think of a man who is not patriotic enough to have consideration for anything outside hia own electorate?
– Order ! The proceedings are getting too disorderly altogether. I request honorable members to restrain themselves, and allow the honorable member for Denison to make hie speech without this tremendous amount of interruption.
– I rise to order. The honorable member for Denison disparaged me.
– That is not a point of order.
– I cannot hear the honorable member.
– I did not discredit my State, but made a friendly interjection to the honorable member for Darwin, because. I knew he was in favour of the Capital site, and had more information about the water scheme than had anybody else, and that his report on that aspect of the question would be favorable.
– There is no point of order.
– I ask the Prime Minister if he will now consent to. progress being reported?
-I would do anything to call peace down on this assembly-
Motion (by Mr. Joseph Cook) proposed -
That this House do now adjourn.
– As there are quite a number of matters on the business-paper which are halffinished, perhaps the Prime Minister will tell us exactly what business it is proposed to take next week? Will he say whether it is proposed to interpose the Electoral Bill after the Works Estimates have been disposed of, and before we proceed to a discussion of the Budget, so that we may know what business is tobe considered next week 1
– Sufficient for the day is the discussion thereof.
– Bub after?
– I propose to go on with the consideration of the Works Estimates.
– But after the Works Estimates have been dealt with?
– This is a Parliament.
– Is it a Parliament? .1 did not know.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 4.15 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 17 October 1913, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1913/19131017_reps_5_71/>.