1st Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I wish to know from thePostmaster-General if funds are provided in the Appropriation Bill to enable the Government to comply with those sections of the Public Service Act which require the payment of a certain minimum wage? When ore thoseprovisions likely to take effect?
– The money will be paidfrom theTreasurer’s advance,for which £200,000 is provided in the Appropriation Bill. ThePublic Service Commissioner is now taking steps tobring the Act into operation,and the Treasurer has stated thatthe payments under the sections referred to will be made to datefrom the 1st July last.
SenatorCHARLESTON.-Thefollowing paragraph appeared inyesterday’s issue of the MelbourneArgus: -
Members of the State Hansard staffs look forward to sixmonths’ recess in which to recuperate afterthe strain ofasession’sreporting. But for the federal Hansard staff there isnotto be any such respite. There will bo a Royalcommission atwork when theHouses prorogue, and two other commissions willshortly be created by Ministers, one to inspect the capital sites, the other to value the transferredservices.”After they have had,say, a month’sholiday,” it isMinisters’ intention to instruct theHandsard staff to report the proceedings ofthese commissions, “so that for them the recess will not mean six months’ spell.”
Upon that paragraph,I wish toask the President, without notice -AretheHansard reporters under the control oftheGovernment, or under the control of the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives ? Prior to accepting their appointments, did the Prime Minister, through the Chief Reporter, intimate to the Hansard reporters that it would be no part of their official duty to report Royal commissions, and that they would have the parliamentary recess to themselves? Has the Acting Prime Minister made any attempt or expressed a desire to break the terms of the conditions under which theHansard reporters accepted service under the Parliament of the Commonwealth ? Will thePresident resist any attempts by the Government to impose Ministerial duties upon the Hansard reporters, or to instruct or interfere with parliamentary officials in any way ?
ThePRESIDENT.- Section 14 of the Public Service Act provides that officers of the Senate, officers of the House of Representatives, officers of the Parliamentary Library, and officers of the Parliamentary Reporting Staff shall be considered separate departments, of which the last two are under the joint control of the Speaker and myself. As to the intimation from the.Prime Minister, through the Chief Reporter, to the members of the staff, I have no positive knowledge ; but, so far as my researches go, I do not think that the Prime Minister made any such promise. I cannot answer the third question by a mere affirmative or negative. A few weeks ago, when the Government desired that a member of the Hansard staff should report the proceedings of a certain commission, the Acting Prime Minister wroteto the Speaker and myself, asking that instructions might begiven to that effect. Inreply to the last question, I may say that it would be the duty ofthe Speaker and myself, under the Act to which I have referred, to resist any attempt by the Ministry - though I do not think it.at.all probable that such an attemptwould be made - to control the Parliamentary Reporting Staff.If Ministers desire that the Staff shall do certainwork during the recess, they willundoubtedly applytotheSpeaker and myself.
Senator DRAKE laid upon the table
Statementshowing cost ofdepartments in Tasmania transferred tothe Commonwealth.
Ordered to beprinted.
Additional Estimatesfor additions, newworks and buildings,1902-3.
Regulations under Customs Act.
Royal Assent reported.
Bill received from House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator O’Connor) read a first time.
Billreceived from House of Representatives, and (on motion by SenatorO’Connor) read afirst time.
That the standing orders be suspended to enable the Bill to be read a second time forthwith.
If the motion is agreed to, it will enable us to proceed with the second reading today instead of to-morrow.
– We cannot consent to that.
– The Then it will be necessary for me to mention the reasons, which appearto be exceedinglystrong, in favour of adopting the course I propose. It will be remembered that when the Senate adjourned for the last short vacation, it was stated by me that, with a view to save time, I intended ‘to ask forthe suspension ofthe standing orders, so that this Bill might be read a second time as soon as possible after our reassembling. I should have asked honorable senators to meet a day earlier if I had anticipated any objection to the course now proposed. If we are tofinish the business of the session this weekit is essential that we should proceed assoon as possible with the consideration ofthis measure. It is not as if theBill had been sprung upon the House. The measure simply authorizesthepayment of the amounts contained in the Estimates, whichhavebeen circulated amongsthonorable senatorsfor a considerable time. I would not ask honorablesenatorsto agree to the motion if there were any likelihood that theywouldbe placed at a disadvantage inthe discussion ofthe measure.
– I hardly understood the intention of the Minister. I recognise that if we are to be reasonably expeditious in transacting theremaining business of the session it is desirable that the motion should be agreed to. The Minister was quite correct in saying that when we adjourned ten days ago it was understood that on re-assembling, we should deal with the Appropriation Bill, and copies of the Estimates were circulated . amongst honorable senators with that object in view. If the consideration of the Bill is delayed until to-morrow, honorable senators will be in no better position to discuss it than if the second reading is proceeded with to-day, and as we shall have the fullest opportunity of dealing with the Schedule in committee, and of submitting suggestions or requests to the other Chamber, I am quite prepared to support the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill returned from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator O’Connor) read a first time.
Bill returned from House of Representatives with the following message : -
Message No. 66.
The House of Representatives returns to the Senate the Bill intituled “ A Bill for an Act to regulate Parliamentary Elections,” and acquaints the Senate that the House of Representatives does not now insist on its amendment’s Nos. 21, 22, 23,24, .114, 180, and 11)2, to which the Senate has disagreed.
F. W. Homer,
House of Representatives,
Melbourne, 3rd October, 1902.
– I think it is my duty to’ acquaint honorable senators that this Message does not exactly follow the ordinary wording. It acquaints us with the fact that the House of Representatives does not “ now “ insist upon its amendments. This implies that it may insist upon its amendments at some other -time. I do not think, however, that there is any importance to be attached to the form in which the Message reaches us, because this is the final stage of the Bill, and the House of Representatives will not have any further opportunity of dealing with it.
– A - All that is intended to be conveyed is that at a former stage the amendments were insisted upon, and that they are no longer insisted upon.
– Then the Message should have been worded, “ The House of Representatives does not further insist.”
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The The answer to the honorable senator’s questions is as follows : -
– that it will be convenient to honorable senators if I immediately proceed to move the motion standing in my name with reference to the proposed sites for the federal capital. Afterwards my honorable colleague, the Postmaster-General, will move the second reading of the Parliamentary Allowances Bill, and when that is disposed of I shall move the second reading of the Appropriation Bill. I therefore move -
That, with a view to obtain necessary information that will enable the Parliament of the Commonwealth to select a site for the seat of government, a committee of experts should be appointed to examine and report upon sites in the following localities : - -Albury, Armidale, Bombala, Lake George, Orange, which, in consequence of their proximity to Orange, includes Bathurst and Lyndhurst, Tumut, in relation to accessibility, building materials, climate, drainage, physical conditions and soil, water supply with rainfall, general suitability, and such other salient matters as may be approved by the Honorable the Minister for Home Affairs. Such report to be submitted to the Federal Government on or before the 30th April next.
The proposal which is involved in this resolution is in reality an Executive act, and might very well have been carried out by the Government upon its own responsibility. But in pursuance of the duty of the Ministry to bring forward, at the earliest moment practicable, measures for obtaining the decision of Parliament upon a site in New South Wales for the federal capital, the obligation is cast upon Parliament to determine that site. On many occasions it has been admitted in both Houses that Parliament ought to set about the discharge of that duty as early as possible. I think it will be realized that it is impossible to deal with the matter during the current session, but it certainly ought to be - and as far as the Government are concerned, will be - dealt with next session. In order to enable Parliament to come to a definite conclusion upon the site to be selected, it is necessary that some information, such as is suggested in this motion, should be placed at the disposal of honorable members. It is also requisite that that information should be authoritative and exact, and that it should come from sources which are well- informed, and which are responsible to the Government and the public for its accuracy. Therefore the Ministry have thought it wise upon a matter of this importance - seeing that Parliament will eventually have to decide upon the site - to ask its approval of the appointment of a committee to make a special examination of the sites enumerated in this motion. As honorable senators are aware, the other Chamber has’ already passed a similar resolution, and, in fulfilment of the promise which I made some time ago, I submit it to the Senate. I trust that it will meet with the unanimous assent of honorable senators, for reasons which I shall shortly state. Everyone, I think, will recognise that it is absolutely essential that we should be placed in possession of the information indicated in the motion in respect of a certain number of sites which have a fair chance of being selected. As honorable senators are doubtless aware, at the outset something like 43 sites in New South Wales were submitted to Mr. Oliver, who made the original inquiry. “Various advantages attach to each of these sites, but it will be generally admitted that only a few of them come within the field of choice. This proposal indicates in a general way the neighbourhood of the sites which are worth consideration. Of course nothing which can be done by the experts whom it is proposed to appoint, and no effect which can be given to this resolution, will preclude Parliament from discussing any particular site when the matter comes to be considered. It can then deal with any site which it may desire. But I think that definite information should be obtained only in regard to those sites from which the final selection is likely to be made, because the examination of all the localities which are claimants for the distinction of becoming the federal capital would involve a large expenditure, a great portion of which would be absolutely useless. Under.this proposal expenditure upon the eligible sites is narrowed down to those places which are well worthy of consideration in our ultimate decision.
– Practically to the exclusion of all other sites.
– The There is no doubt that that will be the result unless some provision is made hereafter for’ a special inquiry in regard to other localities. But, as I have already pointed out, Parliament is not in any way debarred from considering any site. We have now arrived at a time when we must obtain some information regarding the sites from . which the federal capital is ‘likely to be selected. We are not narrowing down that selection in any way. There are eight sites mentioned in the proposal, which I think includes all those which will probably be taken into consideration. The points upon which information is to be sought are in regard to accessibility, building materials, climate, drainage, physical conditions and soil, water supply, rainfall, and general suitability. In regard to most - if not all - of these sites an inquiry of a general character was made by Mr. Oliver, and I do not think that we can too highly commend the manner in which that gentleman did his work. It was not only exploratory work of a most valuable character, but it dealt with the question in a broad way, and laid down certain principles which I think will prove of very great assistance to us when we come to consider the matter hereafter. I do not say that I agree with everything that has been stated by the commissioner, and particularly with his view of the Constitutional aspect of this question. Nevertheless, he has made certain very valuable hints regarding the principles upon which the question should be dealt with, apart from his practical suggestions with respect to the different sites. At the same time, the work which he performed does not supply information ofa sufficiently detailed, specific, or authoritative character to enable Parliament to definitely come to a conclusion upon a particular site. The expert testimony of which he made use, sometimes by way of evidence, and sometimes by way of reports, deals only in a very general way with these sites. What we propose is that’ the experts themselves shall visit the localities, examine the conditions obtaining there, direct flying surveys, and do such other work as they may deem to be necessary. We hope that the result of their inquiries and inspections will be to give Parliament a body of information which will enable it to make a definite choice of the capital site.
– What kind of experts are to be appointed?
– The They will comprise engineers with a special knowledge of water supply, probably a skilled and experienced architect, and some persons possessing a knowledge of the laying out of cities from the points of view of sanitation, water supply, and the beauty of physical surroundings. All these matters will be considered in the selection of the experts to be appointed.
– Will an agricultural expert be included amongst them ?
– I d I do not know that it will be necessary to adopt that course. I do not think it is requisite for. me to add anything further, and I hope that this Chamber will follow the example of the other House and complete the parliamentary approval for which the Government asks, in taking this most important step towards the selection of the federal capital site. Honorable senators will observe that the report of the experts to be appointed is to be available by the 30th April next year.
– How many experts is it proposed to appoint?
SenatorO’CONNOR. - I cannot supply the honorable senator with that information. If the report is available by the 30th April next, undoubtedly it will give this Parliament and the Government an ample opportunity for considering all the recommendations which have been made, and all the facts which have been collected. Nothing in the report will be binding, either upon the Government or upon Parliament, but. nevertheless it is a report which we oughtto have in sufficient time to enable us to deal with the matter earlynext session, and, therefore, I think it is wise to provide that it should be available by the datefixed.
– I hope that the Government will insist upon that condition being carried out.
– The The object of embodying it in the proposal is, that it shall be insisted upon:
– I am very glad that the Government have taken another forward step in connexion with choosing the federal capital site. Of course we areall aware that there has been a good deal of complaint against the delay on the part of the Government in dealing with this question. At the same time, I am one of those who realize that they have had to deal with a multitude of other matters, and, therefore, I have been prepared to make an allowance for what many have regarded as an undue delay. But we have now arrived at the position that a definite proposal has already been placed before one House, and is now before this Chamber. A definite date has been fixed at which it is intended to obtain reports on the various localities under consideration. I join in the remark made by Senator Millen just now, that this date should not be regarded as a date fixed simply for the purpose of persuading senators that a certain thing will be doneby theend of April, but as a date which the experts will be given clearly to understand must not be exceeded if by any possibility that can be avoided. I hope, also, that when the report is submitted, if Parliament is not in session, and not likely to be within a very briefperiod; theGovernment will not delay its presentation until Parliament does meet, but that steps will be taken to send copies to members of both Chambers as soon as it can be printed. I know, of course, that the Government have to accept the responsibility of: making a recommendation, but that in no wise acquits honorable senators of the responsibility, no matter what: State they may represent, of taking part in a decision that will be of great moment to the whole of the Commonwealth, not only in the immediate future, but perhaps more particularly in years to come, when the density of population has somewhat changed. It has been pointed out that this motion will in no wise hamper honorable senators, or preclude Parliament from deciding on any other site. But it would be well if the fact were realized that this is really the time at which we are selecting the sites we may consider the most suitable. However suitable another site might appear, if advocated in the future by honorable members in either House, it would stand no chance in the face of the expert reports on the particular sites which we are now called on to approve. I hope that honorable senators will realize the position, and, if other sites occur to them as desirable, they will be included inthelist nowsubmitted. Of course, I do not wish to see included any sites that may be regarded as impracticable or improbable of selection, but if there are other sites regarded as likely to be suitable, they ought to be placed in the list now. I know that the inclusion of othersites may incur a little more expense; but it is better that the expense should be incurred if the report is to be, as I understand it is intended to be, onethatwill give all theinformation necessary to guide us in selecting the site of the future federal capital. The Vice-President of the Executive Council has acknowledged the indebtedness of the community to Mr. Oliver’s researches, and I would point out that one of the three sites on the suitability of which that gentleman pressed most strongly is entirely left out of the question. I am referring to Yass, the omission of which is a mistake, seeing that it commended itself strongly to Mr. Oliver, who was making a special report on the suitability of the various sites. It may be said by the Vice - President of the Executive Council that the committee of experts are appointed to report on “sites in the following localities,” and that, therefore, other places than those the names of which are mentioned will be examined. But in my opinion Yass is entitled to have its name placed on the list.
– Why not strike out Albury and Armidale ?
– At present I do not propose to strike out any names, because there seems to be a desire in the other Chamber that all these places shall be reported on, and it is only fair that there should be an opportunity of considering them. It may be said that Lake George will include Yass and Goulburn; but as, under the heading of Orange, provision is made to inspect Bathurst and Lyndhurst because of their proximity, it is only reasonable to call for reports on Yass and Goulburn. As to Bombala, I would remind honorable senators that some 30 or 35 miles away from that place there is another known as Dalgety; which is regarded by many persons as really themost eligible site in that part of the country. In theMonaro district, Dalgety, for many considerations, is looked on as the best site ; at any rate, it is regarded as a better site than Bombala. Personally, I have no knowledge of the particular places ; but I understand from gentlemen who have been there that Dalgety is a very suitable site to have included amongst those to be examined. I hope, therefore, that honorable senators will be prepared to accept the suggestion that the three sites of Goulburn, Yass, and Dalgety shall be considered in the preparation of the report by experts. In examining the Lake George site there will be little difficulty in also examining Goulburn and Yass, both of which were visited by Mr. Oliver, who particularly pointed out one of them as most eligible.
– G - Goulburn and Yass will necessarily be considered in dealing with the question of the water supply for Lake George, and Dalgety will also be considered in conjunction with Bombala.
-Col. GOULD. - But Dalgety is 30 or 35 miles from Bombala, and is regarded as unquestionably the superior site of the two. Representatives of thewestern district of New South Wales induced the Minister for Home Affairs to include Bathurst and Lyndhurst, and for similar reasons I wish the three sites I have mentioned included. We should then have sufficient information to enable us to come to a definite conclusion as to the site to be ultimately selected. Before resuming my seat, I again impress on the Government, now that they have made a definite movement, to press it to finality without any undue delay. I hope the Government will see that this is one of the first matters to be dealt with on the re-assembling of Parliament next session.
– Unlike Senator Gould, I do not rise as an amiable apologist for Governmental delay in this matter. The preparation of the notice of motion could not occupy more than a day ; at any rate, it could not occupy the Cabinet more than an entire sitting. The debate in the other Chamber showed, as I have no . doubt the debate in this Chamber will also show, that only an hour or two is necessary for dealing with this or any similar motion. I do not see any reason why the Government should have taken a year and nine months to incubate a little notice of motion of a very simple character, leading, as I say, to a debate of an hour or two at the most in each Chamber. While I do not agree with Senator Gould on the point of Government responsibility in this matter, I do agree with him entirely in what he has said with reference to the omission of certain sites which have been recognised in Mr. Oliver’s report - recognised by the visiting members of both Chambers and, I may say, publicly recognised, at any rate in New South Wales, as eligible - while at the same time other sites are named which I suppose no persons, except those with local enthuiasm, expect to see selected. Instead of merely asking theVicePresident of the Executive Council to insert some of those missing links in the chain of federal capital research, I should like to submit an amendment specifically naming Dalgety, Goulburn, and Yass.
– Where is Dalgety ?
– Dalgety is on the Snowy River, and possesses the most abundant water supply which was seen by the visiting parliamentarians during their long ramble. The President of this Chamber, who visited these sites, if he were to take part in the debate, would, I think, be disposed to take the same view as myself ; but, in order not to be guilty of any indecorum, I shall simply say that the members of both Chambers who took part in the visit would probably agree that there is no reason to specify Bathurst and Lyndhurst after Orange, and not specify Goulburn and Yass after Lake George. If it is proper to specify in one case, I think it is proper to specify in the other. Lake George, Goulburn, and Yass are not on the same line of railway ; at the same time, Lyndhurst is not on the same line as Orange, though Bathurst and Orange are on the same line. Goulburn and Yass are on the same line, but not on the same line as Lake George. The various considerations that are to govern the report seem to be all in order, though what “ other salient matters “ may be, I do not know. One would think that in a year and nine months the “ other salient matters” would have been settled with some element of finality.
-That is a dragnet provision.
– It is a sort of drag-net provision which affords an opportunity to the committee of experts to report on other matters, such, for instance, as the inclusion of Eden in the Bombala site, and so forth. But the Vice-President of the Executive Council will see that it is just as reasonable to specifically name important localities in the south of New South Wales as to specifically include important localities in the west ; and I hope, therefore, that the amendment I have suggested will not meet with Ministerial opposition. I am quite sure that at this stage, at any rate, there is no question of local influences governing our actions. I do not suppose there is any one who has any idea which place will be ultimately selected. I myself have not the least idea, and I have not attempted in any shape or form to make up my mind. I see that almost every site possesses some element of advantage, but when we get the report conveying to us authoritative information on all points, and not only on one or two, we shall be able to come to a conclusion. At present I am wholly unable to decide, and wholly indisposed to do so. Under these circumstances, there can be no personal feeling or local interest in the selection. If the VicePresident of the Executive Council will agree to alter the motion in the direction I have indicated, I shall not submit an amendment. The honorable and learned senator will see that in taking my present course I am not actuated in any way by antagonism to the motion, and I have no desire to force his band in any way. Will the honorable and learned senator accept the amendment ?
SenatorO’Connor. - I am not in a position to reply to the honorable senator just now, but I am making some inquiries, and I hope to be able to do so in a little while.
.- Under the circumstances, if I do not submit an amendment now, shall I be at liberty to do so afterwards?
– The honorable senator cannot do that.
– In that case, I shall now move an amendment in accordance with the wish I have expressed, but the Senate will understand that I shall be prepared to withdraw it if the VicePresident of the Executive Council will take action. I move -
That the words “including Dalgety “ be inserted after the word “Bombala,” and that the words “including Goulburn and Yass” be inserted after the words “ Lake George.”
– I think the Government have been well advised in deciding to appoint without delay a committee of experts to inspect some of the sites proposed for the federal capital.
– How much will the inquiry cost?
– I shall refer to that matter presently. We know that our friends across the Murray are somewhat restive with regard to what they consider the delay on the part of the Federal Government in preparingfor the choice of a site for the federal capital. Personally I do not think that any undue delay has occurred; but I am very glad that the Government propose at once to appoint a committee of experts, and I sincerely hope that next session we shall definitely decide the site of the future capital of the Commonwealth. I think it is absolutely necessary that a committee of experts should be appointed to inspect these sites, and to give us information relating to them, before we arrive at this very important conclusion. It will be one of the most monumental, if not one of the most important, acts performed by this Parliament.
– We shall not be able to deal with the question during the life of the present Parliament.
– I say that we should deal with it next session. We must have the fullest information that we can possibly obtain before we arrive at a decision. But what I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council is -and this is really my reason for speaking to the motion - whether he can inform the Senate of the number of experts proposed to be appointed. A rumor has been published in the press that it is the intention of the Government to appoint six experts - that it is their desire that one expert should be selected from each State.
I hope the Government will not lend themselves to such an absurdity.
– A - As a matter of fact that question has not in any way been taken into consideration by the Government as a Government. Neither the personnel nor the number of experts to be appointed on the committee has been considered.
– I mention the matter only as a statement which I read in the press. I do not see why it should be necessary to have a committee of more than three experts. Surely three should be ample to inspect the sites.
– If we take them from New South Wales we shall give satisfaction.
– We do not desire to take them all from New South Wales. For my part the Government, if they choose to do so, may select them from different States. But surely it is unnecessary for us to say that we must have one expert from each State - and to go to the extraordinary expense of appointing six highly paid experts - in order to report on these sites. I hope we shall not be influenced by any such parochical motives. The number of sites proposed to be inspected also involves the question of expense. I believe that those honorable senators who visited the proposed sites consider that there are not more than four which will have a chance in the final selection.
– I do not think they consider that there are more than four which have a possible chance of being included in the final list. Under these circumstances, why is it necessary for the Government to propose that eight sites shall be inspected, and for an honorable senator from New South Wales to propose that several others be added to the list ?
– It will only get us into bad repute.
– I do not blame the representatives of New South Wales. Perhaps they desire to please as many as possible of their constituents. The whole of New South Wales is their constituency, and, no doubt, it would please their constituents if a large number of sites were included in the list to be inspected. What I desire to impress upon the Senate is that many of the proposals of the Government lead to great expense and extravagance. We are proposing now to appoint a certain number of experts. The Government have not yet informed ns what that number will be. It may be three or. a dozen. They propose also that eight sites shall be inspected, and an amendment has been submitted to add three or four more to the list.
– Why not move that the number shall not exceed three ?
-I do not propose to move an amendment. The House of Representatives has considered this matter. They have proposed that eight sites shall be inspected, and if “Dalgety” is added after the word “ Bombala,” just as Orange and district has been included in the terms of the motion, I shall be perfectly satisfied. But to add Goulburn and Yass and other like places, for which I do not think any honorable senator would vote, would be simply to add greatly to the expenses of the Commonwealth without any .good result.
– Yass is on the main line, and its inspection would occupy very little time.
– I hope that in deciding this matter the Senate will not sanction an indefinite proposal such as this, which might lead to a very great expense. An inspection such as is now proposed might involve the “Commonwealth in an expenditure of £5,000 or £6,000. To appoint perhaps six experts consisting of eminent engineers and others - who if they had to leave their ordinary avocations would have to be very highly paid - would be to run the Commonwealth into very great and absolutely unnecessary expense. I trust that the “Vice-President will let us know the number of experts proposed to be appointed, and that the number of sites to be inspected will not exceed the number set down in the motion.
– It appears to me that it would have been quite competent for another place, without consulting the Senate, to have appointed a committee of experts to inquire into the merits of these various sites. It is not an unusual thing’ for either branch of the Legislature when it requires information to obtain that information in the best possible way, and according to its own sense of the means by which it should be acquired. The motion has been brought up to us from another place in which the representatives of New South Wales exceed in number those of any other State. >It has been brought up courteously from the House of Representatives as a request that we coincide in their proposal to obtain information in respect of certain sites in the cheapest possible way. They had a perfect right to obtain that information without consulting us.
– We have a perfect right to ask for information for our own use.
– We have a perfect right to appoint another committee; to multiply the inquiries ; to increase to an infinite extent the expense, and the delay - a consideration which, I think, will appeal to honorable senators from New South Wales - quite indefinitely. The Constitution provides that the capital shall be somewhere in New South Wales, and until the Constitution is altered it is our duty to do the best we can to carry put its conditions. In this respect, as in all other matters, I shall be found supporting the Constitution. The members of another place feel that they require further information to enable them to make a selection. “Undoubtedly they do require more information. .It is very easy for us to say that we have all the information we require. Some honorable senators went to New South Wales and saw what was to be seen of the various proposed sites, and we are quite satisfied to act on the report furnished by “Mr. Oliver, who is a most able man. But we should be taking an extraordinary step if we proceeded to select a site for the federal capital without obtaining more information than we possess in respect of matters which cannot have been adequately considered. The motion came before the House of Representatives, in which there is a greater number of representatives from New South Wales than there is from any other State. That House was practically unanimous in limiting the sites to be inspected to those named in the motion, and they ask us very courteously, and quite unnecessarily, to join them in appointing a committee of experts to make inquiries as to which is the most suitable of .these sites. So far as I am concerned, I mean .to vote for the motion entirely as it stands. Incidentally, the inquiry will probably go further. I can very well conceive that, without enlarging the terms of the motion, it might go even as .’far. as Senator Neild desires it should go. I hope that, whether we -assent to: the motion or not, we shall not delay the consideration of other business which is more important, and which we desire to reach as soon as possible. This motion will not settle the site of the federal capital. We shall require to takefurther action.Although they may be necessary to the final conclusion, the opinions of the experts will not be the sole matters upon which we shall act. There may be questions of policy much broader than anything which the committee of experts could put before us.
– It appears to me that the feverish haste of the representatives of New South Wales to have the question of the capital site settled, in my opinion, prematurely, is very largely responsible for the blundering fashion in which the Commonwealth Parliamenthas approached the subject. I think every honorable senator is agreed that the choice of the capital city is one of the most important questions that could occupy the attention of this Parliament. I contend that there is not only no hurry in regard to this question, but that we should approach it with the fullest and most ample consideration. Honorable senators from New South Wales, more especially, do not appear to realize that when we choose the capital we shall choose it for all time.
– We fully realize that.
– We may choose a site in haste, and possibly repent at leisure.
– Is this motion indicative of haste?
– At all events,we shall not be able to alter our decision. If an Act of Parliament passed this session were found to be defective it could be remedied next session.If some bad act of administration were committed it also could be remedied ; but if we make a bad choice of the capital site it cannot be remedied. That being the case, it appears to methat we ought to exhaust every means of obtaining information before we definitely fix upon anything. So faras I can view the question, weappear to be beginning entirely at the wrong end. We do not seem to know what we want ourselves. What do we want in the way of a capital site? Have honorable senators anything in their mind with regard to a site ? I may tellhonorable senators that I have an idealsite in mymindIwish thesite to comprise a port, and to be composed of a defined and clearly-cut territory, which shallbe independent of any of the States. I wish that there shall be available a large area of Crownlands, or at least of lands that are not thickly populated, as I wish to see an experiment in land nationalization attempted. With these ideals before me,.I have my mind pretty well made up as to which of the sites proposed wouldsuit me best. But I think that we ought, as a Senateand House of Representatives, to have a clear idea of what we desire in the way of a site. We have a number of sites proposed to be visited. Some of them are thickly and others very sparsely populated. Some are towns and others are bush. It seems to me that we are in the position of a young lord who has come intohis inheritance and, desiring to have a residence built, gives his architects a general instruction - “build me a residence.” He does nottell them where he wants it, whether by the sea shore, on a river side, in a valley, or on mountain top. He does not even tell them what is to be the size of it, or whether he wishes that there shall be extensive grounds about it.He gives them a sort of blank cheque to do as they please. That appears to meto be the position in which theCommonwealth stands. Where do we want this site?Do we desire that there shall be a port or do we not? Do we think that the site should be in some thickly-populated part of the country, or do we desire tofound this capital upon virgin territory?Do we aspire to build from the foundation, or are we merely to have a structure of shreds and patches, built upon some old settlement, andupon a rottenfoundation ? We should have all these matters definitely settled before we set out to find the site. Let us know what we really want, because that, it appears to me, is the crux of the whole question. We propose to give these experts a roving commission. They are to go and see Albury, which, I believe, is not in it at. all.
-Hear, hear, or Armidale either.
SenatorSTEWART. - Well, I should very much like to seeArmidale chosen as the site of the capital.
An Honorable Senator. - Where is the seaport ?
– There is a seaport there also. Ishould liketosee that place chosen, because I believe that within the next century Armidale will be very much nearer the centre of population than any of the other places in the list. But I recognise fully that to-day Armidale is not in it. I am very sorry to have to think so, because we shall have the position in Queensland repeated again in the Commonwealth. We have the capital of Queensland situated away in the south-eastern corner of that immense territory.
– It could not be put any further away.
– No ; it could not be any further away from the people, and I am afraid we shall have the Commonwealth capital in a similar position, unless we are very careful. We have Bombala in the list, and I believe that is the best site available. Then we have Orange, and I do not think that place has any chance, notwithstanding its great natural advantages, and no doubt they are many. Tumut, it appears to me, is very high in the running.
– The honorable senator should not give himself away.
– No, I shall not. Another matter we have to consider is the cost of the capital. Are we to pay huge sums of money for the resumption of land?
– We need not resume an acre unless we wish to do so.
– That is what I desire to know. I wish to know what is the policy of the Federal Parliament upon the question. Are we to be made the victims of land speculators? These are matters which it appears to me should be definitely cleared up before we proceed with a motion of this character. The Government, hurried into taking up this question by the impatience of our New South Wales friends, are going about the whole matter in the wrong way. I certainly think thatDalgety and Edon ought to be included with Bombala, as the whole district ought to be examined by the experts. We should settle definitely the kind of site we desire and the area of the site. I think the area is a most important matter. I desire to see a large area resumed for the federal capital, where an experiment in land nationalization can be effectively tried.
– New South Wales is to give 100 square miles. Surely that is enough to start with?
– Ten miles each way. Why, that is nothing.
– It is only a fair-sized paddock.
– It is only a fairsized paddock, as Senator Styles says. I think we should have a place 50 miles or 100 miles each way.
– Why limit it ?
– We must have some limit ; wecannot make the whole of the Commonwealth the federal capital site. Besides, if we did not limit it, our New South Wales friends might object, and might proceed immediately to agitate for secession as some of our Queensland politicians have done. In any case, I cannot support the amendment moved by Senator Neild, because its effect will be to pile up expense unnecessarily. I can easily understand how the honorable senator has come to move the amendment. He represents all New South Wales, and, of course, he has the interests of his constituents at heart, and is anxious that each locality shall be placated as far as possible. But we have to consider the resources of the Commonwealth and the public purse. We know that a number of these proposed sites have no more chance of being selected as the site of the capital than has Armidale. That being the case, it is merely piling up expense unnecessarily to include them in this motion. I shall vote against the amendment.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales). I must congratulate Senator Stewart upon the development of a distinctly humorous faculty. He has been chiding the Government for their undue and indecent haste in this matter, and yet he has given us ample proof that he has proceeded at a rate which has left the Government hopelessly in the rear. The Government, with all the indecent haste to which the honorable senator has referred, has only reached the stage of asking for an inquiry, while Senator Stewart, who objects to this haste, has reached the point at which he is prepared to make his selection, and has, in fact, made it. He hasgiven us ample proof that he has gone much further than the Government.
– I know what I want.
– If the honorable senator in the time at his disposal has made up his mindas to which of the proposed sites should be voted for, surely he cannot charge the Government with undue haste when they have only reached the point of asking for an inquiry. I am not going to accuse the Government of having acted in . a hasty manner. Were I inclined to make any accusation, my criticism would take an entirely different tone. But I congratulate the Government, after a lapse of some eighteen or twenty months, upon having decided upon what after all, as Senator O’Connor has properly remarked, is merely an Executive Act. I desire to urge one or two reasons why the towns mentioned, Yass and Goulburn, should be specifically included in this motion. Senator Downer has said that the other House, where the interests of New South Wales are numerically well represented, has been contented to allow the motion to pass in the form in which it has reached the Senate, but the honorable and learned senator omitted to say that the Minister for Home Affairs stated there that the Lake George site included Goulburn and Yass.
– That ought to be enough.
– Any one who takes a perfunctory view of the matter, as Senator McGregor evidently does, may hold that view but seeing that the same arguments were applied to Orange and Bathurst, it might reasonably be held that as the House of Representatives had in one case specifically included certain sites, their failure to do so in regard to Lake George expressed the desire of the House to exclude these sites.
– Bathurst and Orange have less chance.
– Their chance has nothing to do with the matter. Seeing that we are referring the question to experts, either we intend that they shall make a full inquiry into the suitability of these places, or we are including them in this motion merely for the sake of padding. It is intended by the Executive who have framed the motion that Lake George shall include Goulburn .and Yass, and, that being so, there will be no further expense incurred b)’ including the names of those towns in the motion. According to the Minister for Home Affairs, the inquiry is to be extended to these places, and the only additional expense, therefore, of accepting the amendment will be the cost of setting up the two words “Yass” and “Goulburn” in the records of the Senate. On the other hand, if they are not included, it may be held that the fact that Parliament failed to include them in the motion was a distinct intimation that no inquiry concerning them is desired. I trust, for these reasons, the Vice-President of the Executive Council will see his way to agree to the inclusion of the three towns . mentioned: With regard to the date, I interjected that I trusted the Government would insist upon the 30th of April being observed. Senator O’Connor, with a look of surprise, replied that the date had been included in the motion with the intention that it should be observed.
– A - And it will be.
– I am very glad to hear that. I take more comfort from the honorable and learned senator’s interjection that the date will be observed, than I could take from his reply to my interjection that it has been included in the motion for that purpose, because I have a knowledge, limited though it may be, of motions beingsubmitted to a House of Parliament which have not always been observed, and some of which indeed were never intended to be observed. I am, therefore, particularly pleased to have the assurance of the VicePresident of the Executive Council that the date referred to here will be adhered to.
Senator MACFARLANE (Tasmania).I hope the Vice-President of the Executive Council will support the statement made in another place, that the towns mentioned in this motion include the districts. That, I think, is really the meaning of the amendment which has been moved. If that is not to be understood, I would especially urge the claims of Dalgety in conjunction with Bombala, as there is there, I think, the largest water supply in the Commonwealth.
– A man does not live by water alone.
– A good water supply must be a most essential element for consideration. The federal capital will require the finest water supply that can be secured. An inspection of Dalgety will add little if anything to the expense, as I knowit was intended originally that it should be included in the investigation of the Bombala site. There was a slight mistake in the first report of the water supply of Bombala, “ because it was stated that the water supply of the Snowy River could be utilized hy gravitation from a moderate distance. That has since been altered in a later report, showing that we should require to go a long distance in order to get a gravitation supply from the Snowy River. That river, flowing from the Australian Alps, the only snowy mountains in the Commonwealth, gives the finest water supply upon this continent. I am convinced that that district, with the great advantage - of an extra port, will lead us- to look to it as one of- the best sites which it is possible for us to obtain. I have not visited the other sites myself, and therefore I do not feel bound in any way to one particular site ; but I certainly think that a good water supply ought to be a guiding feature in the selection of a federal capital. The matter of accessibility is, after all, of minor importance, as we are looking years ahead. The accessibility of any site will vary according to the movements of the population.
– We should have a site where an enemy could not reach us.
– We are not likely to be much troubled in. that direction, but a fine climate, a fine water supply, and a fine soil are the three principal considerations that ought to be kept in view by Parliament.
– It is my intention to support Senator Neild’s amendment, which- 1 hope the VicePresident ofl the Executive Council will see his- way to accept. I notice that the terms of” the motion state that the enquiry is tobe made into- “general suitability and other salient’ matters.” I take this opportunity of’ saying that I1 hope, with Senator Stewart, that’ one. of the “ salient matters “ considered will be the. extent of unalienated land in the area selected. It was understood during the last Federal elections that- not a- few of the New South Wales- candidates announced that they hoped to see an opportunity taken to test the ‘principle, of the. non-alienation of. land. Some of. tHe suggested’ sites-, eligible, though they. may. be-, in other, respects, have Ii fear, very little; unalienated land in their neigh: bourhood It was- understood, by many of: us- that.it. was-very desirable to have a large area, of unalienated ‘land connected with the. site of.” the: capital, so. that the. Commonwealth might’ be the ground landlord, and: benefit from.’ the unearned increment through the increase.in population. I> trust, therefore;, that one of the.’” salient matters” referred1’ to. will be the> question- of< the area of: unalienated, land available.
– Five New South Wales senators out of the six returned from that State have spoken to-day, and I fear that it may be considered churlish on the part of a Victorian to raise his voice, even by way of the mildest protest.
– S - So long as it is only one of the six Victorians it does not matter !
– As it happens to be the best one of the six, it does matter ! I, at any rate, do not intend by any means to give a dumb vote, whatever may be thought. I hardly like the idea of appointing an architect as a member of the commission. I should have thought that the proper way of setting to work to build a town would be to be ready to build before appointing an architect. An architect’s duties consist in designing buildings and superintending their erection.
– Would not an architect be a useful man in determining the building material available 1
– No ; an architect has not, in that particular, the opportunities possessed by a civil engineer with some experience in constructing public works. The building material used on a large public contract would almost suffice to build a small town. There are more bricks used in connexion with a large job like the Melbourne sewerage than an ordinary architect would use in two lifetimes. Eight suggested sites have been chosen, upon which the experts are to report, and it is proposed to add three more to the number. The six experts are to examine thoroughly into eleven sites in six months ! If they go seriously into the work, they will have to run lines of levels in all directions. They cannot tell whether any scheme of water gravitation can be carried out unless they take levels.
– Does the honorable senator know that, in the case of many of the suggested sites, levels have already been taken in connexion with inquiries concerning water supply 1
– No. doubt a good, deal of: the work has already been. done. 1 am only pointing out that if honorable senators expect this- work to be done in six months, they are very much mistaken, in my opinion. It will take the experts nearer sixteen months :than six. to inquire into eight sites. If honorable senators make a calculation they will find that there will be only twenty working days for each site, even if there are no holidays. If eleven sites are to be reported upon, the experts will have only fourteen working days for each site, including holidays. Surely that is not a sufficient time to enable them to make a proper examination? There is one thing that I should have liked to see done. That is, that the Government of New South Wales should have been consulted as to the best position for the federal capital. Who could know better than those at the head of affairs in New South Wales which would be the most suitable place for this sentimental capital?
– It is a “sentimental capital “ now, is it ? It was a “ substantial concession “ before !
– It is nothing but pure sentiment, from beginning to end ; the feeling is that the parent State should be at the head of the Commonwealth. I am not grumbling that that sentiment should exist, but I contend that it is nothing but sentiment. Nor shall I throw any obstacles in the way of the capital being built, if I am here when the matter comes to be decided ; but it appears to me that the Government of New South Wales ought to have been asked to go into the question, and reduce the number of suggested sites to three or four.
– They have already made an inquiry.
– But we take no notice of what they have done. The Commonwealth Government pick out eight sites, and three more are proposed to be added by New South Wales senators.
– One of which was included in Mr. Oliver’s selections.
– I have a great deal of confidence in Mr. Oliver. Indeed, I wonder why we want any other experts to be appointed after he has made his inquiry. We have no information as to the intentions of the Government with regard to the committee of experts. A question has been asked as to how. many were to be appointed, but the information has not been supplied. It is, however, expected that the work will be done in six months. Does not every one of us knowthat time after time, in cases of this kind, when commissions or committees or boards have been appointed, they have after a little while asked for an extension of time, and a few thousand pounds have been added to the cost ? If this board of experts at the end of six months say that they have not been able to do their work, I shall say - “ I can quite believe that.”
– Three new sites were added in the other Chamber.
– I am not complaining of that sort of thing ; but I think that the Government of New South Wales and its officers should be better able to judge than we are as to the most suitable sites for the capital.
– They will say Sydney.
– Of course, the Constitution provides that the capital cannot be located at Sydney. Is it seriously intended in these days of retrenchment that we ought to spend money in erecting a town where no town is needed? Is this new town required for commercial, industrial, or defence purposes? No.It is required because the Constitution provides that a federal capital shall be built. No doubt it will be built, but my own opinion is that there would be plenty of time to build a capital many years hence, when Australia is in a better position financially than she is now, and when our population has largely increased. We shall then be better able to judge of the trend of the population. It has been pointed out by Senator Stewart - and the remark was indorsed by Senator Millen - that in course of time it is probable that Armidale will be the principal centre in New South Wales. I quite believe that myself.
– Repudiation viâ delay - that is what the honorable senator is aiming at !
– No, I am not. I said in commencing my speech that, as a Victorian, I should speak under some disadvantage, but these insinuations will not tie my tongue. The capital is to be built out of the money of the taxpayers, and it is to be supported year in and year out by the taxpayers. It will not be able to support itself. A few weeks ago the New South Wales senators were asking Parliament to abandon or suspend the fodder duties. Why? They gave a very good reason from their point of view - because thousands of stock in New South Wales were dying, because settlers were suffering, and because tens of thousands of’ workers wen? affected by a disastrous drought extending over some years. We were told of the decrease in the number of stock upon some of the runs, and there can be no doubt that it will be some years before the States that have suffered from the drought will recover. It is impossible to grow sheep and bullocks in a day or two, even with good seasons. Yet, in the face of these facts, we are going to tax the people of this continent in order to build a town that is not wanted for any purpose except to gratify the sentimental idea of having a federal capital in New South Wales.
– I wish the honorable senator had made a few speeches like that before the adoption of the Commonwealth Bill.
– I think I was rather warm on the subject at that time. It is said that we require to have a federal capital away from the big centres of population. What for ‘( Is it contended that, because the Federal Parliament sits in Melbourne, the man in the street or the press of “Victoria have influenced the ideas of any member of the Parliament - have influenced a single speech, or a single sentence in a single speech, or a single vote t
– We know that it has.
– Does Senator Styles think that his remarks are relevant to the motion before the Senate 1
– I wish to show why I do not want the federal capital to be determined upon at this time.
– The motion is as to what sites shall be reported upon by several experts.
– I think that it is premature to report on any sites.
– The question is not whether we shall have a federal capital or not. That is settled by the Constitution. The question is as to which of the proposed sites shall be reported upon.
– I recognise that we must have a capital, but I contend that this is a most unfortunate time to tax the people in order to build a town that is not wanted.
– Would the honorable senator say when he thinks it should be built ?
– I should say, when times have improved. Look at yesterday’s paper and to day’s. Look at the stories told of the dreadful sufferings to which our people have had to submit in the northwestern portion of Victoria. Their stock have died by thousands through the drought. Yet we are proposing *° aSk these people to put their hands in their pockets to build a town where a town is not wanted - or, at any rate, to take the preliminary steps for the building of a town. If we are to spend money upon the erection of the federal capital, it will have to be borrowed money. Surely every one of us must realize that, if we are to borrow money, it would be much better to spend it on supplying the people who are suffering from the drought with a water supply and irrigation works. If we are to borrow money, let us spend it on reproductive works, and not on- works that are totally unnecessary. I am trying to show that we do not want this capital now.
– The honorable member must see that that is not the question before the Senate. The question is as to the appointment of a committee to report.
– Of course, lam bound to bow to your ruling, but it seems to me that if we postpone this matter for a year or two no harm will bedone, but, on the contrary, a great deal of good. People will then probably be better able to put their hands in their pockets to pay for this preliminary work. I have no doubt that the inquiry will cost £4,000 or £5,000 right away, and before it is concluded I venture to say that the cost will not be less than from £5,000 to £10,000. The people of these States are not in a position to spend that money just now. The President says that I have no right upon this motion to introduce the question of whether we are to have a federal capital or not; but, apart from whether the capital is to be built now, or at a later stage, I would point out that when it is built we shall occupy it only for four or five months in the year, whilst for the remaining seven or eight months it will be abandoned. Members of Parliament will be away at their homes in the various States, Ministers will also be absent, taking their officers away with them, and the federal capital will be abandoned to caretakers. The expenditure proposed is quite unwarranted. If I vote against this motion now, it will be said that I did so because I am a Victorian. But I shall support what I honestly believe to be the proper course - the postponement of the matter for a year or two, or until times improve. At all events, if we are to select a capital site at all, I should like to see one selected which will be not less than 10,000 miles in extent. What is the use of having an area only ten miles square - 100 square miles in all ? Some honorable senators have paddocks nearly as large as that. We require an area of 100 miles each way.
– The honorable senator would include Melbourne at one end and Sydney at the other.
– No ; an area such as I suggest would only be one thirty-first part of New South Wales. There are 311,000 square miles in New South Wales, and 10,000 square miles of that would only be a mere speck on the map. We require to have such an area that the Commonwealth will be able to derive an income from it, and may be able within its territory to produce all the foodstuffs that it requires. What is the use of 100 square miles for such a purpose as that ? It is a mere patch.
– A very big patch.
– -It would be a very big patch of town areas, of course. If we were to select 100 square miles, including some goodsized inland towns - take Orange, for instance -the cost would be about £3,000,000, and then the territory would not grow enough foodstuff to supply its people. I hope that these experts will be wisely selected, and will choose a site where there is a large area of Crown land available, at a good elevation, and with a water supply which will be sufficient, not only to supply the capital with water, but to allow of the irrigation of the surrounding country, so that intense culture may be undertaken by the people who live there. If only a small area of ground is secured, as would bc the case with some of the suggested sites, we shall be simply buying up a country town at the expense of taxpayers who are at the present time unable to obtain feed for their stock.
Senator PLAYFORD (South Australia). I think that it is a mistake to discuss this matter as Senator Styles has discussed it. The question now to be considered is’ not whether we shall or shall not select a capital site, or whether we shall or shall not buy or obtain a large or small area for that purpose. The Constitution, which was accepted by the people of Australia, provides most distinctly that a .site for the capital shall be chosen by Parliament, and that it shall be situated somewhere in the mother State, but not within 100 miles of Sydney, and in common fairness to the people of New South Wales, we should make the choice as early as possible. The New South Wales Government are now keeping out of the market Crown land which it is thought might be selected for the site of the- federal capital, but we cannot expect them to reserve large areas of land indefinitely. Once we decide where the capital is to be, they will be able to do as they like with the rest of their land. But with regard to the motion now before the Senate, it must not be forgotten that Mr. Alexander Oliver, as a special commissioner, investigated the claims of the various sites submitted to him, and made to the Government of New South Wales a valuable report upon them. Although that report, and the data upon which it is based, are available to us, the Government now ask us to agree to the appointment of a committee of experts, who will only duplicate the information already at our disposal. The proposed committee is not to say which in its opinion is the best site ; that responsibility is left upon our shoulders; it is to be appointed simply to duplicate information already in our possession. Mr. Oliver’s report tells us what area of Crown land is available in connexion with the several sites, and the character of the soil there, and gives all information in regard to accessibility, building materials, climate, drainage, physical conditions, soil, water supply, rainfall, and general suitability. In my opinion, all that is’ necessary is for members of this Parliament to visit the various sites, and to come to a decision in regard to them upon what they see, and the information supplied by Mr. Oliver. I intend to visit such sites as I think are eligible, and shall then be in a position, with the data furnished by Mr. Oliver, to make up my mind on the subject. The building of the federal capital is quite another matter. I fear that the prolonged drought which we have had will prevent the Commonwealth from being in a position for many years to come to spend money upon an unreproductive work of this kind. What money we expend upon works and buildings must be spent upon reproductive, undertakings. Personally, I am sorry that the House of Representatives has asked us to concur in this motion. We have already spent over £3,000 in connexion with the selection of a site.
– I did not know that the amount was so large. This committee will cost another £5,000, and perhaps £10,000. If: the members of it are extravagant, and employ surveyors and other experts to obtain information for them, it. will be impossible to say what the investigation will cost, and I do not think we shall be better off when it is finished than we are now. As for making investigations with regard to places like Albury and Armidale, it is admittedly absurd to suppose that either of them will be chosen. We do not want to be roasted in Albury, and we are not going to such an out-of-the-way place as Armidale. We must select a situation between the two capitals of Victoria and New South Wales. No matter how suitable the climate and other conditions, we do not want to go north of Sydney. We have not been informed as to the number of the expensive experts whom it is proposed to appoint. I contend that three would be sufficient. An architect is the last person I should think of appointing asone of them. Any civil engineer would take into consideration the possibilities of drainageand general suitability of the site for a large city. The man who determined the site of Adelaide in 1840 or 1S42 was a civil engineer, and he chose the best site in the neighbourhood. Surely civil engineers have learnt something since then, and in considering this matter they would certainly keep in view all the necessities of the case, so that we might have a healthy, well-ordered city, in an equable climate. An architect: will be needed only when we commence- to build the capital. But, although I am opposed to the motion, since I regard it as a mistake, and will bring about a waste of money, I am willing to agree to it, as the House of Representatives think it to be. necessary, and have asked us to concur. I hope, however, that the expense will be made as little as possible. We have already thrown away £.4,000 of; the money of the Common wealth in the selection of - a site, and the investigation of this committee will cost not less than another £4,000. It must be remembered that the Minister who has charge of the matter has certainly no reputation as an economist.
– The Senate is- much indebted to Senator Playford for his plain and practical speech. I agree with him that the proposal to appoint a committee of experts to report upon the suggested sites for the federal capital will involve a waste of money, and I think the Senate ought to reject it, In taking this attitude, I shall probably be regarded as opposed to the early settlement of this question, but honorable senators who think that of me will be under an entirely wrong impression. ‘ We agreed that the federal capital should be located in New South Wales, and we should adhere to the terms of our compact, and settle the question as speedily as possible, consistently with economy, and the future prospects of the Federation. We are, however, beginning at the wrong place, because, if we had done our duty, we should have considered Mr. Oliver’s report first.
– Hear, hear ; a magnificent report.
– We should have gone to the trouble of studying that report. I venture to think that very few honorable senators have read it to any extent. As I did not expect this matter to be brought before us until next session, I have not thoroughly studied the report. I have only glanced through it to obtain information in connexion with the inspection of the sites by members of this Chamber. The Minister for Home Affairs is to appoint the proposed committee of” experts, and no doubt the honorable gentleman, in his large-minded and generous way, will consider it necessary to have a large and comprehensive body of gentlemen. It is scarcely to be expected that the experts will be able to furnish their report within the time allotted. .Honorable senators will see that Mr. Oliver’s commission directed him to furnish his report within six months, but when he presented it some time after that term had elapsed, he expressed regret that he had found it impossible to complete his work within the specified time.
– But look at the number of sites he had to inspect !
– It is true that he inspected a. great number df sites, but there is nothing, in the motion to limit the work of the committee of experts to the sites which are mentioned. It was stated by the Minister for. Home Affairs that, if further information were forthcoming.regarding any site which was not named in the motion, he would instruct the committee to extend their inquiries in order to embrace it. The terms of the motion are not sufficiently definite. In the first place, if we agree to it we ought to fix the number of experts, and in the next place bind them down to consider a certain number of sites, discarding those which have been included merely for political purposes. I think that honorable members of this Parliament should, as far as possible, ignore electioneering considerations. It would suit Queensland to have the federal capital near Armidale^ and I have no doubt that, as a politician, I shall be expected to vote in favour of that site ; but, when I see that other sites are more suitable, I am quite willing to exclude Armidale from the range of the inquiry, and also Albury. I think only three sites can be considered in the final selection.
– What arethey 1 ‘
– Tumut, Orange, and Bombala* If honorable senators were to carefully study Mr. Oliver’s report, they would be able, -with the assistance of their own observations, to select the sites which should be considered when the final selection has to be made. After that. we could obtain the assistance of an engineer, an architect, and also an agricultural expert, in order to assist us in deciding, the order of preference. When the proposed committee of experts have brought up their report, we shall have to study, it and Mr. Oliver’s report as well. This will double our work to no good purpose. The “Vice-President of the Executive Council seems- to regard as somewhat, amusing, the suggestion that, an agricultural, expert should be appointed, but if we are to include within the federal capital site a large area of country, surely we ought to select territory that will be useful for the purposes of settlement. We surely will not select a number of’ stony ridges, but endeavour to secure a large area of such agricultural land, as will support a considerable population. At the risk of being misunderstood; I intend to vote against the motion. The representatives of New. South Wales are doubtless: taking the popular course in doing, everything they can to expedite the. selection of the site, and because we are. opposed to hurrying it on in an extravagant way, we are accused of repudiation. ‘Senator Millen asked Senator Styles- and. others why they did not adopt, them present tone: regarding the selection-, of the federal capital before the federal referendum was- taken. He implied that if New South Wales had been aware of the attitude which some honorable senators would adopt she would not have entered the Federation.
– I argued against the compact with regard to the federal capital at all my meetings.
– But, unfortunately, the honorable senator’s speeches were not read in New South Wales. Those made by the right honorable Mr. G. H. Reid did, however, strike the public attention. When he was at Eden he said he saw no reason why that place should not be selected as the site for the federal capital, and he made similar statements regarding.Goulburn, Bathurst and other places from one end of the State to the other. The result was- that at the second referendum the country party strongly supported the federal movement, because the residents in a large number of places looked forward to the possibility of the federal capital site being fixed in their respective districts. Now, because we desire that a careful course should be adopted, we are accused of’ repudiation. We should wait until next session, and then consider Mr. Oliver’s report in all its bearings, and proceed to make a final selection. We ought - then to be better able to consider the question. A severe drought has affected many parts of the Common-= wealth, and we are not now in a position to incur the expenditure that will be involved in the establishment of the capital, and the erection of the necessary buildings for official purposes. I desire to direct attentionto a portion of Mr. Oliver’s report, in which he refers to the probable expenditure upon the capital. He says that it. will be necessary to expend upon the erection of. Houses of Parliament, ‘ £750,000 ; Governor-Gene; ral.’s residence, £75,000 ; Post-office, £100,000 ; Custom-house, £-50,000 ; Secretariat, £S0,000 ; military academy, barracks, Commandant’s residence, arsenal and factory, £200,000; Treasury, £50,000; courts of’ justice, federal, law offices, records house, &c., £300,000 ; national hall, withart gallery and library, £1.50,000’; departmental buildings, £S0,000 ; Prime Minister’s official residence, £10,000 ; Minister for War, £7,600; Treasurer, £.7,500; Agent-General, £7,500 ; laying, out city, &c, £250,000,. making, a. grand total of £2,117;500.
– T - That was the estimate of the committee of architects.
– Those figures may be multiplied by three.
– Probably they will, especial!)’ if we select the Bombala site, and construct harbor works at Eden, which will cost at least £1,000,000 of money. The New South Wales Government and the people of that State have spent several thousands of pounds in preparing information for us, and they are quite satisfied that we should make our selection upon Mr. Oliver’s report. It is now proposed, however, that we should incur further expense, and obtain information of a character almost exactly similar to that already furnished by Mr. Oliver. The consideration of this matter may be very well postponed until next session. We have already attempted to do too much within the time at our disposal, and we have brought a great deal of trouble, upon ourselves in consequence. The people of New South Wales will be satisfied if we deal with the federal capital question next session. We may as well candidly admit that the present proposal is a wasteful one. The Minister for Home Affairs has already brought the Commonwealth Parliament into very bad repute, and it is time that we shut down upon his extravagance.
– I think that the representatives of New South Wales are to be in some measure excused for pressing forward the selection of the site for the federal capital, because the people of that State are under the impression that some unnecessary delay is taking place. By agreeing to the motion, however, we shall tend to complicate matters rather than promote a settlement. It is proposed that a large number of experts shall be appointed to report upon questions which have already been dealt with by one of the most able men in New South Wales, Mr. Oliver. This ‘ gentleman has reported on various sites, and has given us the benefit of his careful and deliberate opinions, and I do not see what is to be gained by appointing a board of experts. The only effect will be to indefinitely add to the waste which has already taken place. I would ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council what he imagines this board of experts will cost? Every expert will require to be paid at least twenty guineas per day, and it will be to their interest to spin out the inquiry to the very last moment. As has been pointed out by Senator Playford, we do not require the services of professional men. I make that statement despite the fact that ‘ I am a professional man myself. As a rule, professional men move in certain grooves, and consequently they are not so well fitted to determine a large question such as this, as are men of common sense or commercial men. In New South Wales the various municipalities and towns interested in the settlement of this question have obtained a large amount of very useful information relating to the geology of their respective localities, the quantity of stone available for building purposes, and the prospect of obtaining an adequate water supply. In my opinion, the difficulties which beset the Government will be considerably multiplied if the Senate does not insist upon specifying the number of experts to be appointed. I hold that three experts are ample to determine this question. If the Government appoint more than that number, they will increase the difficulties of arriving at a decision, because each expert will have his own particular fad, which he will push to the extreme, and thus the presentation of their report will be delayed. Is it not possible for the Vice-President of the Executive Council to remain satisfied with the discussion that has taken place, and allow the whole matter to be dealt with hereafter? Nothing would induce me to set aside the claims of New South Wales in connexion with the capital site, because I recognise that that State made great sacrifices to join the Federation. Indeed, if the matter rested with me, I should vote for making Sydney the capital. But the mere selection of the capital site will not solve the. other difficulties connected with this question. The fact remains that a town will have to be built and government offices erected. Do honorable senators imagine that the Houses of Parliament can be built for anything like Mr. Oliver’s estimate ? I hold that they will cost three or four times as much. Every estimate in Mr. Oliver’s report will require to be multiplied three or four-fold.
– The honorable senator is now condemning Mr. Oliver’s report.
– I am condemning his estimate of the expenditure necessary for the erection of the requisite buildings. What did the erection of the Parliament Houses in Adelaide cost?
– If I had the contract, I could build a very good Parliament House for £750,000.
- Senator McGregor knows that what Mr. Oliver proposes is impossible. In view of all the circumstances, I think that the Government would be best consulting their own interests, and those of the Commonwealth, if they allowed the consideration of this matter to be deferred till next session.
– I agree with those speakers who think that the selection of the federal capital site should be made as speedily as possible. I am sorry that I cannot agree with the position taken up by Senator Styles, because he usually entertains a very reasonable view of these matters. I am thoroughly in accord with Senator Playford that it is extremely unfair to New South Wales to allow the selection of the capital site to be hung up indefinitely. The Constitution provides that a site in New South Wales shall be selected, and it seems to me to be our duty - subject to the adoption of proper precautionary measures - to select that site as soon as possible. Unless the Government were prepared to accept Mr. Oliver’s report as final, I hold that the two parliamentary visits of inspection which were paid to the eligible sites represent an absolute waste of money. The very best proof that they did involve such a waste is to be found in the fact that the Government now submit a proposal asking the Senate to agree to a further investigation by experts. Moreover, if the. cost of those expeditions does not represent an absolute waste of money, this House should have been asked to indicate to the experts - assuming that any expert report was necessary - the exact two or three sites which, in its opinion, occupy a prominent position, so that the expense of conducting the proposed investigation should be as limited as possible. The question which presents itself to my mind is - “What ought we todo under the circumstances?” I hold a very strong opinion as to what we ought to do, and I say distinctly that we ought to negative the motion. I am not going to be a party to placing in the hands of the Minister for Home Affairs an unlimited power of expenditure. Had the resolution specified the number of experts to be appointed, together with the amount of money to be expended upon their investigations, and had I been satisfied with the limitations proposed, I should have been prepared to support it. As, however, it gives the Government an absolutely free hand as regards expenditure, I shall oppose it.
– I am pleased that this debate has taken place, because it gives honorable senators who have not made up their minds upon this matter an opportunity of obtaining information from the utterances of those who have already spoken. Every one will admit that, under the Constitution, we are bound to establish the federal capital in New South Wales, and I believe it is the desire of every honorable senator to see the provisions of the Constitution in this regard carried out as speedily as possible. For that reason I intend to support the resolution which has been submitted. It is all very well for us to talk about economy-
– It is the very best thing that we could talk about.
– Senator Matheson is always talking of economy, but it is of the penny wise and pound foolish order. In my judgment, it would be far better for us to spend £2,000 or £3,000, or even £8,000 or £10,000, in instituting the most complete inquiry as to the merits of the various eligible sites than to incur an expenditure of hundreds of thousands of pounds in the future in remedying. mistakes which would probably flow from too hasty a selection. I have no hesitation in declaring that Mr. Oliver’s report is an excellent one; neither have I any backwardness in affirming - despite what has been said by Senator Matheson - that the parliamentary visits of inspection to the various sites have been productive of a great deal of good.
– What has that to do with the selection of the capital site ?
- Senator Matheson does not know what he is talking about.
– I am talking of the federal capital site.
– That is what we are all talking about, and shall be for two or three years to come. I will undertake to say that the members of Parliament who inspected’ the various sites learned something about the natural features of the country. In addition to that, those who have perused Mr. Oliver’s report have gained a great deal of information in connexion with matters upon which it is necessary they should be informed before being called upon to decide a question of this kind. Notwithstanding these facts, it is essential that we should obtain the evidence of experts upon a..good many points other than those which have been traversed by Mr. Oliver, or noted by visitors to the different sites. In the first place, I hope that the Commonwealth Parliament will not select the capital site without knowing something of the geological formation of the country. I do not imply that we ought to be made acquainted with its formation a thousand feet below the surface, but certainly I should like to know something about the foundations upon which the capital is to be built.
– We must not build it upon sand.
– That remark proves how ignorantSenator Smith is in regard to this matter. The capital of Western Australia is built upon sand, and it stands very well. A great many other cities have been erected upon sand, and have stood very well. Information regarding the geological formation of the various eligible localities can be secured only by expert examination. Then we have to ascertain the suitability of the country from the stand-point of building materials apart from stone. I agree that it might have been better to specify the number and character of the experts to be appointed in the motion. That, however, has not been done. The other House seems to be perfectly satisfied that the experts will be properly appointed, and that their instructions will be of such a character that nothing will be done which would in any way endanger the stability of the capital when once it has been selected. At first I was inclined to support the proposal to add Yass and Goulburn to the Lake George site, and Dalgetyto the Bombala site. But I think we can rely on both the Government and the experts not to regard Bombala, for instance, as meaning only the little village, nor to assume that Lake George merely means the sheet of water so named, thoughI fancy that if the experts went to Lake George just now they would find no lake at all. When we speak of Bombala, Lake George, or even Albury or Orange, I take it that we mean a large area of land in the neighbourhood, and not the immediatetownships or villages.
– That is not Sir William Lyne’s idea.
– Honorable senators seem to know better what Sir William Lyne meansthan does that gentleman himself.
– Sir William Lyne has expressed what he means.
– Any commonsense person must know that Bombala does not mean merely the village, but means a possible federal site in that locality.
– The site we inspected near Bombala does not include the village.
– I cannot imagine why Lyndhurst and other places similarly situated were specially mentioned in the motion as included within the district of Orange. I believe that when the experts are appointed they will examine the most suitable places, and not only the townships specified. Some people have ridiculed the idea that we should take into consideration the character of the country as regards agricultural and pastoral qualities ; but, in my opinion, that is what we should . consider. Senator Zeal laysmuch stress on the question of expense ; but is there any senator who imagines that the expense contemplated hasto be incurred immediately? Does any honorable senator imagine that the Federal Parliament will be sitting in a new federal capital within at leastten years?
-Then caretakers will have to be paid to look after the buildingsfor tenyears.
– The buildings are not there yet, and, consequently, do not requireany caretakers. This is a matter of which Senator Zeal should have some knowledge, seeing that he describes himself as a practical and professional man. Even the honorable senator could not, in less than ten years after the site had been determined, conclude the business of resuming and surveying the land, and callingfor competitive designs and tenders. Senator Higgsand his friendSenator Zeal seem to be astounded at the expense; but ifthe federal capital were actually in existence, how much more would it cost so far as the Commonwealth Government are concerned ?Do honorable senators expect that offices can be provided everywherefor nothing ? Do they not know that, wherever the Commonwealth does business, it will have to pay for office accommodation? It does not signify whether the Commonwealth Government do their business in premises of their own or have to hire premises. If the rent of the latter is equivalent to the interest on the money necessary to provide the former, who isgoing to lose or gain? The Commonwealth will gain, perhaps, by living in its own premises, and I do not think that the honorable senators I have named need be alarmed. We should hasten the establishment of the federal capital, which will afford object-lessons, not only to the Commonwealth, but to many other parts of the world. Only fancy what could be done in a federal territory ifwe had the right men representing the Australian Commonwealth ! Look at the lessons which could be taught in connexion with land tenure and land improvements !Look at the lessons which could be taught in connexion with the liquor traffic and other social matters which the Commonwealth Parliament may have to deal with in the future ! In view of all these possibilities, we ought to make all haste to carry out the provision so distinctly made in the Constitution. There is no necessity for alarm ; it does not matter how fast we travel, we cannot travel so fast as to bring about a calamity. All matters of this kind take time; every step has to be assented to by Parliament, and everything hasto be done under the supervision of the people’s representatives, and, therefore, under the supervision of the people. The best thing we can do is to pass the motion, obtain all the information we can, and, as soon as possible, select the federal site.
– I do not think that I can support the amendment, which goes in the direction of still further delaying the settlement of the federal capital site. That also is ray complaint against the proposal of the Government. We have already spent a large sum of money with the object of determining the site of a future federal capital. I understood that the object of the parliamentary visits was to reduce the number of sites to three, on which we should then obtain such expert knowledge as would enable us to come to a final decision. Why has that plan not been carried out? We have plenty of information before us in the report of Mr. Oliver to. enable us to say that there are three sites which we think equally good, and which ought to be submitted to a committee of experts. The proposal now before us takes us back to where we commenced. Mr. Oliver reported on about 23 sites, and in the motion there are mentioned seven or eight sites, which, from all I can gather, may include all those originally considered by the commissioner from New South Wales. And then, after all, I suppose members of Parliament will again be asked to visit the sites. I ask Senator Neild to give me an opportunity of testing the opinion of the Senate by moving to omit from the motion all the names except Bombala, Orange, and Tumut.
– W - What good will be done by that, seeing that the House of Representatives has passed a resolution asking the Government to inquire as to all the sites mentioned?
– The Senate is quite within its rights in considering such an amendment as I suggest. As a result of the parliamentary visit of inspection, I am prepared to say that I require expert guidance as to only three sites.
– If members of the House of Representatives want guidance as to other sites, why should they not have it ?
– The members of the House of Representatives have Mr. Oliver’s report, and they have had the same opportunities as I have had of inspecting the sites. It is the general opinion that there are only three sites “in the running.” I undertake to say that there is no member of either House who was with the parliamentary party of inspection who willseriouslycontend that any site beyond those that I suggest should be reserved for the experts. Mr. Oliver in hisreport mentioned Bombala, Orange, and Tumut, though he also included Yass.
– Mr. Oliver put Yass first, and now, without any explanation, it is proposed to drop that place.
– Any one who has visited Yass would agree to dropping it as a possible federal site, not only on account of the water supply, but on general grounds.
– The water supply atYass is as good as that in any of the included sites.
– If honorable senators who were with the parliamentary party of inspection will vote as they have spoken, they will support the amendment which I have suggested. What senator would advocate the expenditure of money in connexion with the Armidale site ? All that Queensland members can say in its favour is that it is nearer Queensland, and they practitically admit that it has no chance of selection. Even if the experts were to report on Armidale as the most suitable site, we may be certain that that site would not be chosen. I want this matter settled at the very earliest opportunity, and that can be done only by narrowing the sites to the smallest possible number. We ought to carry out the declared intention of the Government, which was to reduce the number of sites to three, and then appoint a committee of experts to report. I ask Senator Neild to temporarily withdraw his amendment in order to enable me to test the opinion of the committee in the way I have suggested.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Senator Pearce) proposed -
That the words “Albury, Armidale, Orange,” be omitted.
– Although I agree with Senator Pearce that neither Albury nor Armidale has any chance of being selected as the site of the federal capital, I regard the amendment as placing us in a very undesirable position in our relations with the other House. Even if the amendment be carried, Albury and Armidale will be inspected in accordance with the resolution passed by the House of Representatives. I, therefore, do not think we should gain anything by supporting Senator Pearce’s amendment. This motion will not go back to the House of Representatives for reconsideration, and the Minister for Home Affairs will be in honour bound to respect the wishes of another place and to allow all the sites named in the motion to be inspected.
– -Did the honorable senator raise that objection to the earlier amendment 1
– No, for the reason .that it would not have applied. Under the amendment which has been temporarily withdraw it was proposed that, while all the sites’ named in the motion shall be inspected as desired by the House of Representatives, certain other sites should also be reported on. It was not proposed to omit any of the sites named in the motion. Wes believe that if that amendment be carried our wishes will be met by the Government, and that, as a matter of courtesy, the committee will be directed to report upon the additional sites. In view of the number of representatives of New South Wales in the Ministry, I am surprised that the Government have, not been more in earnest in dealing with this question. I think that in this matter they have been .trifling with the Parliament. In the first place, they invited the Senate to inspect some thirteen or fifteen sites, and honorable senators were driven about night and day at enormous expense. We are now told that the total cost of the inspection made by members of each House is over £4,000, although on last year’s Estimates provision was made for an expenditure of only £3,000. I did not join in the parliamentary inspection. I had read very carefully the report furnished by Mr. Oliver, and I was satisfied to accept that report, and, when I should have a favorable opportunity, to inspect those sites, which my perusal of that report led me to believe would be acceptable even to those honorable senators who joined in the tour. I was of opinion that, immediately after the parliamentary inspection, the Government would have appointed a committee of experts to report upon the sites chosen. But what has been the result of the inspection 1 At very great inconvenience, honorable senators set out upon what has been described as a picnic, but which m)7 experience teaches me could have very little of the associations of a picnic. They were rushed from place to place, and the time at their disposal was altogether insufficient to enable them to furnish a fair report on what they saw. But they have not even been asked to furnish a report, or to say what sites should, in their opinion, be examined by the experts. The Minister for Home Affairs, in the exercise of .his own discretion, selected Albury, Bombala, Lake George, Orange, and Tumut as the sites to bo visited by the committee of experts. He made that selection without consulting honorable members of either House, and therefore all. the labour devoted by them to the work of inspection has been practically thrown aside. The Minister has said practically that that work is of no service. We are asked to do to-day what we should have been asked in the first place to do upon the report furnished to us by Mr. Oliver. The action of the State Government in appointing Mr. Oliver to furnish a report, clearly shows that they fully realized the importance of this great question. Had the other States refused to allow the capital to be in New South Wales, we should not have had federation to-day. That concession having been granted, and being really one of the conditions upon which the Commonwealth was established, the Government of New South Wales immediately, and at great expense, set about making a selection of sites suitable for the capital. What have we done with that selection ?
– Pooh-poohed it for two years.
– We have simply laid it aside as if nothing had been clone by the State Government. Honorable members of both Houses were taken away on a tour of inspection, but their views are now to be practically set aside, and we are asked by the Minister for Home Affairs to agree to the appointment, at great expense, of a committee of experts, to report on the sites named in this motion. From the information placed at their disposal by the Government of New South Wales, the Commonwealth Government should have been in a position, in the first place, to send out experts to report upon the qualifications of the suggested sites for the capital city. Upon the receipt of their report honorable members would then have been able, without any great trouble or expense, to inspect the three or four sites to which the list would have been narrowed down. I can see quite clearly from the speech made in another place by the Minister for “Home Affairs that he does not intend to include Yass in the list of places to be reported on by the committee. If we are to have a report which will really be worth anything, and which will satisfy honorable senators, it must also cover an inspection of Yass and certain other places which a large number of honorable senators appear to be inclined to accept. Without any knowledge as to the probable cost or the number of experts to be appointed, we are asked to take this step. In my opinion, the Government are blameworthy for the very indifferent way in which they have from the very first gone about this important work. They have squandered the people’s money, and they have done nothing really to further the selection of a site for the capital. 46 s
– -So many other honorable senators have desired to speak that I have been unable before to submit to the Senate two amendments which I framed an hour or two ago. They ma)’’ or may not meet the views of honorable senators ; but I am firmly convinced that they indicate the way in which we should proceed, and I therefore feel it my duty to present them. In the first place, I should like to refer to the embarrassment which I always feel in dealing with this matter, from the fact that some honorable senators from New South Wales seem to think - most sincerely, no doubt - that the selection of a federal capital has been unduly delayed. There is absolutely no foundation for that belief. It appears to me tobe most unreasonable to accuse the Government of having, even for one moment, delayed this matter. We have only just completed our. consideration of the Customs Tariff Bill ; we have yet to deal with the Judiciary Bill’ and the Defence Bill, and the machinery of the Commonwealth has hardly been set in. motion J yet we are told that the G overnment have delayed this matter, because a site has not been selected. In my opinion, we ought to have something like continuity of policy in a matter of this kind. We ought to act with common sense, and gather upas we go the information with which we have been supplied. That is exactly what Ministers are not asking of us to-day. Some thirteen honorable senators and some twenty members of the House of Representatives have visited various sites, and. have had a most useful and instructive trip. We have all had the advantage of perusing to a greater or less extent the admirablereport furnished by Mr. Oliver ; and those of us who have visited the sites, with Mr. Oliver’s report in our hands, are no doubt able to study it more thoroughly than thosewho have not done so. I should like to. know what necessary information there is - other than the technical engineering details, which must be obtained at the last moment - that Mr. Oliver has not given to us. In view of the two parliamentary inspections which have been made, and of the fact that: more than one-half of the members of theFederal Parliament are acquainted with a number of the proposed sites, and seeing that we have Mr. Oliver’s report dealingwith all important matters in our hands, I think that, in order that we may have that continuity of policy to which I have referred, it is the duty of the Government to ask each House of the Federal Parliament to select, by ballot, three or four sites to submit to the experts.
– B - By ballot?
– The selection should be made in such a way as would enable honorable members of both Houses to give a direct vote as to the three or four sites which they think are worthy of our consideration. Until we do that we shall absolutely ignore all that we have done in this matter. To be asked to carry the motion in its present form is practically to be asked to make a new start. And all for what reason? I am afraid simply to show our friends from New South Wales that we are doing something. But we have done something. In spite of the important legislation with which we have had to deal, we have found time to obtain a report, and to make two visits of inspection. Let us act upon those visits. Let us show to the people of New South Wales particularly, and the people of the Commonwealth as a whole, that some result is likely to be obtained from the expenditure of £4,000 upon the parliamentary inspections. Is the result to be that, without showing that we have any opinions upon this subject, and without taking advantage of Mr. Oliver’s report, we are going to appoint another committee of experts to do the same work over again ? Undoubtedly they will go over the work again, except that they may go a little more fully into the matter than Mr. Oliver has done.
– And there is no guarantee that we shall not have another committee.
– What strikes me as being peculiar is this : Although Yass may not be in the running, we know that apart from the question of water supply there seems to be a most admirable site there, and that Mr. Oliver speaks most hopefully and enthusiastically in regard to it. I therefore contend that Parliament should say, by the individual vote of every honorable member, whether or not Yass is to be included in the expert inspection of sites. If I may be permitted to do so, I feel bound to express the opinion that this is an off-hand or slipshod way of dealing with the selection of a site for the capital of the Commonwealth. This is not the way in which a selection should be made. Every honorable senator should give his vote on each of these sites. The question is most important, and I shrink from the idea of omitting Yass from the list in the way now proposed.
– We cannot bind the House of Representatives.
– I do not say that we can.
– I - I hope the honorable and learned senator will shrink from omitting Albury from the list.
– Are we to allow the House of Representatives to bind us? Are we to say, as Senator Downer has said, that because the House of Representatives have requested that certain information shall be obtained, we ought to vote blindly for their request? If they asked simply for a return of certain figures or something of the kind, the position would be different. But this is a matter of vital importance, and we shall be wanting in our duty, unless every honorable senator conscientiously selects the sites to be inspected by the experts, so that we may be guided by the best advice that can be obtained in making a selection. There are two amendments which I propose to submit. The first is -
That the words, “not exceeding three,” be inserted after the word “ experts.”
It seems to me that three experts would be amply sufficient for the purpose. The members of the committee will be highly skilled, and therefore highly paid. Let them do their work exhaustively, and let them have ample time in which to carry it out. I know that their fees will be enormous, and I therefore desire to see the number fixed at three. I suggested to Senator Smith when he was speaking some time ago that he should move that only three experts be appointed, but as he did not do so I shall submit an amendment to that effect. The next amendment whichI desire to put before the Senate would make the motion read -
Such sites, not exceeding three, as shall be selected by a ballot of the members of both Houses of Parliament as to accessibility, building materials, climate, drainage, together with the cost of erecting a suitable Parliament House, Governor-General’s residence, Federal offices, and of laying-out, draining, and ornamenting the sites chosen, and maintaining an ample water supply thereto, and such other salient matters as may be approved by the Honorable the Minister for Home Affairs. Such report to be submitted to the Federal Government on or before the 30th of April next.
It appears to methat if we adopt the method I have suggested, we shall deal with the matter in a common-sense and logical way.
– W - When does the honorable and learned senator propose that the ballot shall be taken?
-The honorable and learned member again raises the question of delay, and I suppose certain other honorable senators will agree with him that my proposal is an attempt to cause further delay. I say that it is not, and that there has been no undue delay. In view of all the work which Ministers - and Senator O’Connor amongst them - have had to do, it is simply marvellous that they have found time to advance this question as far as they have done. If there is to be any further allegation of delay it will only make me more desirous than ever of giving utterance on every occasion to the earnest views which I hold in regard to this question. Although I can forgive my honorable friends opposite for “barracking” as they do, and asserting that there has been delay - perhaps it is quite natural that they should do so - it is my duty to point out that there has. been no delay. How many honorable senators have had time to read, let alone digest, Mr. Oliver’s report? How many representatives from New South Wales, including those in another place, have really digested the report? I make bold to say that two- thirds of the members have not read or digested it. It is, therefore, monstrous to ask that we should have another report of experts costing £4,000 or £5,000, and imagine that in that way we shall be pushing forward the selection of a site.
– T - The honorable and learned senator might answer my question as to when he proposes we should take a ballot.
– I propose that we should take it whenever Ministers think they can take it. Senator Playford has said that it is a bounden duty we owe to New South Wales to select this site at the earliest possible moment, because we are preventing land settlement, New South Wales having undertaken to keep so many sites at our disposal. In answer to that, I point out that the Minister for Home Affairs in another place allowed names to be added to the list prepared, I suppose, after due thought by the Government, which will involve the locking up of two more areas of Crown lands. Then my honorable friends, Senators Neild and Gould, and Senator Macfarlane, I believe with the concurrence of some of the. people of New South Wales, suggest that the list should be further added to, and that further areas of Crown lands should be locked up. Do not let us be hurried into deciding this matter unduly, becauseof an argument of that sort. If there is anything in the argument it plays into my hands, and is an additional reason for the amendments I propose. We are not bound to prorogue on Thursday next. We can take another day to consider this subject, and on the question of locking up lands in New South Wales, I say that if members of the Federal Parliament ballot for three sites to be reported upon, the areas of land connected with the other sites can be thrown open for settlement.
– Does the honorable and learned senator think that we should take the ballot this session ?
– Idonotthinkthatthe ballot should be taken this session. I think we are going ahead too fast in the matter. Honorable members of both Houses should have the recess in which to read and digest Mr. Oliver’s report, because until they have done that they will not feel in a position to vote in connexion with such a ballot as I propose. With the questions involved in the Tariff still reeling in our brains, and the consideration of the Defence and other Estimates before us this week, we shall not be fit to go to a ballot upon this question.
– T - The honorable and learned senator has said before that he does not want the question settled for ten years.
– I desire, in this matter, that we should act as common-sense business men. I desire, as a senator, to act in this matter as though it were one affecting my personal pocket and prosperity, which to some extent it does, and I therefore object to act in the way in which I am asked by this motion to act. It appears to me that if we are going to appoint a highlyskilled committee of experts to report on this matter it is better that we should get all the information we can from them. Although the motion closes by asking that they should report on “ such other salient matters as may be approved of by the Minister,” I think the cost is a very important matter, and I shall therefore move, as a further amendment, that before the words “ such other salient matter,” there should be inserted the words “ together with the estimated cost of erecting a suitable Parliament House, Governor-General’s residence, and federal offices, and of laying out, draining, and ornamenting the site chosen, and obtaining an ample supply of water thereto.”
– In connexion with each site?
– In connexion with each site, certainly. That is a reason for reducing the number to be reported upon to three. If we go further and require this information about ten sites, according to my honorable friend, Senator Styles, who knows more about these matters than most of us, it will take a year to supply the information required.
– W - We must have the capital designed before we can say what the honorable and learned senator proposes will cost.
– I thought my honorable and learned friend, or some other honorable senator, would suggest something about designs, but when we commence to build, the first thing we shall do will be to employ an architect direct, or to give a prize for plans. If architects and engineers are going to report on these sites, we shall not expect them to give such details as will be required for working plans when builders are being asked to tender for the construction of the buildings. We shall want from them only the roughest estimate they can give from their skill and knowledge.
– Without having visited the sites ?
– My honorable friend seems to forget that these men will be inspecting the sites, that they will have to take levels, and will have to mark out the areas with pegs.
– Nonsense !
– And they will have to make inquiries concerning the water supply. When they have done that they may just as well, when they are sitting together considering their report, make up up their minds, in view of the accessibility by railway, the building stone, and material for bricks available, and everything of that kind, as to what the cost of the buildings to which I have referred will be. Senator Zeal says that this is all nonsense, but I point out that the honorable senator’s opinion as to what this committee are to do is absolutely opposed to Senator O’Connor’s idea on the subject. We have. a difference of opinion as to how many persons are to be appointed to the committee, and the class of men to be appointed. Our professional friend, Senator Zeal, who is an engineer, seems to differ from others as to what the duties of the committee should be. I do not desire to take up time unnecessarily in submitting these amendments. I consider it is our bounden duty to make use of the information we have obtained, and, as Members of Parliament, to take the responsibility of our own actions. We should therefore, in my opinion, select two, three, or four sites, and submit them to the committee of experts for report.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Senator Dobson) proposed -
That the words “ not exceeding three “ be inserted after the word “experts.”
– If we are not careful we shall get this matter altogether mixed up. I have listened quietly to the discussion to try to discover the best way out of the difficulties that surround the question, but I think that the last proposals made are more confusing than any which have preceded them. We have before us practically four sets of proposals upon this question. Let me say, in the first place, that I do not favour the last proposal, and especially the suggestion that we should ballot for sites to be reported upon. This is a question upon which every honorable member should take the responsibility of saying which site he prefers. I must also say that the Government should have taken the responsibility of submitting to Parliament definite proposals upon the important question before us. They have not done that, and they have not assumed the responsibility which, in my opinion, they should have assumed. Under all the circumstances, I am inclined to vote against all the proposals submitted this afternoon. I desire to allay suspicion on the part of honorable senators from New South Wales with re,gard to my vote upon this question. I said, upon another matter a few days ago, that I recognise that it is the undoubted right of the parent State, according to the Constitution, to have the federal capital established within her territory. I am not one of those who will depart from the bargain or agreement made under the Constitution. That is the right of New South Wales, and it should be adhered to. But I remind honorable senators that we have here quite a number of sites presented for our consideration. It has been openly asserted, and we all believe, that a number of them are really not in the running at all. For my self, I am not prepared to strike out Albury as against Armidale, because I consider that Albury has as much claim to selection as either Armidale or Lake George. I think it has as good a chance of selection as Yass, or any other site that might be proposed. Under all the circumstances, I feel that this is not one of those questions in connexion with which this Chamber has any need to hurry. I again repeat that I think the Government should have undertaken some responsibility in the matter. I should have liked them to submit a proposal with regard to two sites, and to ask our opinion with respect to them. In the meantime they could have supplied us with the information which is being sought for under the motion before us. At present I think this proposal will lead to only a waste of public money, and I am not prepared to support it.
– Mr. Oliver’s report has been referred to in terms of commendation by nearly every honorable senator who has spoken. That is satisfactory to New South Wales. There are one or two things which I should like to point out, especially to those who think that the proposed committee must cost a very large sum of money. I find by Mr. Oliver’s report, which I hold in my hand, that he received his instructions to prepare a report on the 14th November, 1899, and that his report was handed in on the 26th October of the following year. So that Mr. Oliver occupied only a little over eleven months in preparing his report, notwithstanding the fact that he still continued the performance of his ordinary professional duties in New South Wales, and that he had to report not merely upon three or six sites, but upon no less than 23 sites. If the number of sites to be reported on by the committee be limited to eight or ten it is quite evident that the members of the committee need not take up a period of time exceeding that mentioned in the motion. I should imagine that if the instructions to the committee include a statement that there is no necessity to do again the work which has already been done in Mr. Oliver’s report, the labours of the committee will be considerably reduced. There are some objections to this motion. It is too vague, and it leaves too much in the hands of the Minister, while there is too great a possibility of extravagance being perpetrated under it, which I think honorable senators from New SouthWales should be the first to do their best to prevent. With regard to the expense of the trips of inspection taken by members of both Houses of the Federal Parliament, I should like honorable senators to bear in mind that a majority of members representing New South Wales opposed those trips. I opposed the trip proposed for members of the Senate, and I did not accompany those who took part in it for various reasons.
– The honorable senator opposed the trip because it was a Government proposal.
– Whatever the reasons were, the trips were not encouraged by a majoiity of senators from New South Wales, and whatever the expense attending them may have been, it must not be laid to the door of honorable senators from that State.
– How many senators from New South Wales took part in the trip?
– I do not know. I did not go.
– I did.
– Senator Walker was present with the inspecting party for a portion of the time. I should like to refer to a remark made by Senator Zeal. According to the honorable senator, the cost of building the federal capital must be £10,000,000. But I think the honorable senator considerably discounted the value of his estimate by drawing a remarkable distinction between professional and common-sense men, and then adding that he was a professional man. According to his own statement, the marvellous estimate of the honorable senator is not a commonsense one, nor do I think it is.
– It is a true one.
– The honorable senator’s idea that the expense of the committee proposed may run into a great many thousands of pounds is, I think, very far fetched. At the same time I think it is very desirable that the Senate should express some opinion upon the point, and ask the Government to give more details, so as to assure us that the expenses will be kept down. I myself think that a committee of three would do the work better than a committee of six or a larger number. I do not see the desirability of having a large number of experts appointed, nor the necessity of paying the gentlemen who are to do the work very heavy fees. Those who have the honour of making such a report will have attained to a height of distinction in their professional career that will be worth a great deal of money to them. Therefore, in my opinion, a fee. of between £500 and £750 for each of the three gentlemen would be accepted, and the best talent in the Commonwealth could be obtained. I believe that the report could be produced in the period named at an expenditure not exceeding about £2,500. I wish to draw attention to a statement in Mr. Oliver’s report with regard to water supply. I read, in regard to Buckley’s Crossing, which is another name for Dalgety -
The supply at Dalgety is decidedly the best.
It is therefore a reasonable thing for us to ask that Dalgety should be included in the list. Honorable senators must not take it upon themselves to say rashly to the other House - -“You want certain sites reported upon, and we object to having them included.” We should not interfere with the desire of the honorable members of another place to have certain sites inspected. On the other hand, the members of the House of Representatives ought to be willing, if we desire to have one or two sites added to the list, to allow us to add them. I do not see any objection to that whatever. If we look at this subject in a reasonable, common-sense view, and decide to carry out the proposal in a business-like sort of way, we shall do good. At the same time, I adhere to the view expressed some time ago, and which honorable senators laughed at me for expressing. T think it would have been a good thing if long since we had despatched a request to the King to appoint a small commission to come out, and select one or two sites for us. This selection might have been made long ago, and we might now have been engaged in determining which of the two or three sites should be finally chosen. But honorable senators stand- on their dignity, and say - “We are competent to make “a selection.” Of course we are competent to make a selection, but there will be any amount of quarrelling about it ; whereas if we had had a commission from England to fix the matter up it would have been practically determined, and need not have cost more than the amount spent upon the so-called picnics.
– I - It would take two or three years to teach the commissioners from the home country anything about Australia.
– I think that a reasonable settlement of the matter may be arrived at by accepting the addition of one or two sites to the list that has been proposed. We should also arrive at some arrangement as to a reasonable limitation of the number to form the committee, and a reasonable sum to cover their expenses.
– I I feel strongly inclined to support that portion of Senator Dobson’s amendment which lays down the principle that only three experts shall be appointed. It is certainly a defect in the motion before us that the number of experts is not stated. Half-a-dozen may be chosen. Indeed, I understand that it is really in the minds of some honorable senators that there will probably be one expert chosen from each State. I confess that I think three would be ample. I shall therefore support Senator Dobson in his amendment, which, I understand, will be put first.
Senator O’CONNOR (In reply).- I am afraid that if the Senate were to listen to all the advice that has been given to it this afternoon in regard to the motion, it would find itself in a most extraordinary position. I should like to remind the Senate of what the motion really is, and in what position honorable senators stand in regard to it. In the first place, as I said in my opening observations, this is a matter of executive administration, in regard to which it was not necessary to ask for the opinion of Parliament.
– But the Government desire Parliament to take the responsibility for the expenditure.
– T - That is not so. The Government might very well have taken upon themselves the responsibility of determining upon this course of action. They might have decided the matter upon an item in the Estimates, and in the Appropriation Bill. But they did not take that course because they felt that it was only right, in regard to a decision which, to a certain extent, shut out a number of proposed sites from the field of inquiry, that both Houses of Parliament should have an opportunity of expressing an opinion. For that reason, the consent of Parliament was asked, not upon a resolution which had to be passed in one House, and to be forwarded to the other, but upon two independent resolutions. The motion which I am proposing now is absolutely independent of the resolution which has been passed by the House of Representatives. The position therefore, is this: The other House, which contains representatives of New South Wales and of all the other States, has agreed, I think unanimously, to this motion.
– Pardon me - after puttingin the names of three other places.
– I s I said that the other House agreed to this resolution - that is, the resolution which I now propose.
– This is not the resolution as introduced by the Government.
– I - I am speaking of only this resolution. The other House having decided that that was a right course for the Government to take, what is the position the Government are in? It certainly would be most discourteous to the other House if the Government were to refuse to carry out that resolution. It would be most discourteous to the House of Representatives if the Government refused to carry into effect a resolution passed at their instance. I do not wish to put too strongly the position in which the Senate would find itself if it made the amendments which have been proposed, but I desire to place before honorable senators the position of the Government in the matter. It would be impossible for us to refrain from appointing experts to make inquiries into this matter in the terms of the resolution passed by the House of Representatives.
– I - If the Senate refused to pass the motion now before it, the responsibility for the cost of the investigation would rest upon the House of Representatives.
– U - Undoubtedly. The Government cannot disregard the resolution of the House of Representatives.
– Then the concurrence of the Senate is not wanted.
– A - Although the motion has been moved independently in each Chamber, the Senate is asked to concur in the resolution which has been passed by the House of Representatives. If the motion before the Senate were one for the final selection of the site, it would not have been brought forward as it has. It is, however, a motion merely to empower the Government to take a certain course in regard to the making of further inquiries, and the expense of the investigation is limited by confining the inquiries of the experts to certain sites which are specifically mentioned. Senator Dobson has moved to restrict the number of experts to not more than three. I see no reason myself why three should not be sufficient ; but, on the other hand, good reasons may be shown why there should be four or five, and the matter, it seems to me, might very well be left to the Government. We shall be responsible to Parliament for the appointments we make, and if improper persons are appointed, or too many experts are chosen, or more money than is reasonable under the circumstances is expended, our action will be open to criticism and to condemnation. In view of the terms of the resolution carried by the House of Representatives, the Government would be in a very difficult position if the Senate restricted the number of experts to three, and we found it necessary to appoint more than three. I hope that honorable senators will see that it would be a niggling way of dealing with the matter to restrict the number of experts in the way proposed. Senator Dobson really seems to have a bee in his bonnet on this subject. He takes the view that there is no reason for selecting the capital site for the next ten years, and he has said that he would prefer the seat of Govenment to remain in Melbourne for that period. Therefore, I may be pardoned for looking with some suspicion upon his suggestions in regard to this motion. Let me, in the first place, call attention to the importance of dealing with the matter at as early a date as possible; Not only is it provided in the Constitution that the capital shall be in New South Wales, but that provision was placed in the Constitution under circumstances of a specially significant character. New South Wales was the State which held out longest, and it was only after a conference of Premiers, at which certain terms were agreed upon, that that State entered the union, one of the factors which brought about that decision being that thu federal capital was to be there. It is impossible to ignore the significance of those circumstances. The selection of the capital site should be looked upon, not only as a constitutional obligation, but as an obligation whose performance involves the national honour of the Commonwealth, and should be scrupulously fulfilled in every particular. The people of New South Wales must be convinced that Parliament wishes to fulfil it at the earliest moment possible, but that we do not desire to jump at any hasty conclusion, and are, therefore, causing inquiries to be made in reference to the sites which they have decided should be inquired into.
– It is for this Parliament, not for the people of New South Wales, to say what sites shall be inquired into.
– T - The House of Representatives having unanimously decided that ‘certain sites should be inquired into, it would be ungracious on the part of the Senate, and might be considered paltering with the obligations of the Commonwealth, if we decided to exclude certain sites from consideration.
– The Government have already decided to exclude the Yass site.
– Other sites besides those mentioned will be inquired into, whether we like it or not.
– I - In that case, what is the use of making a limitation? The motion provides for an inquiry into the merits of certain sites in regard to which the representatives of New South Wales desire inquiry to be made, and the Senate should not exclude any of those sites. The whole of the representatives of New South Wales, both in the House of Representatives and in this Chamber, say that inquiries should be made into these sites. Does it rest, therefore, with other senators, such as Senator Pearce, to say - “ We are determined, without waiting for more evidence on the subject, to exclude all but three of the sites named “ 1 Senator Pearce has told us that he has seen the various sites, and is of opinion that only three should be inquired into, notwithstanding the fact that all the representatives of New South Wales in the House of Representatives, and all the New South Wales senators, are in favour of an investigation of a larger number of sites.
– The Government, in inviting me to visit the various sites, asked me to make up my mind in regard to their merits.
– B - Because the honorable senator may have made up his mind, is that a reason why information should be denied to other Members of Parliament who have not done so ? I do not think it is necessary to elaborate this argument. It seems to me that the position must appeal to the sensitive feeling of honour which exists here in regard to the fulfilment of the obligations of the Commonwealth. Senator Pearce has named the three sites which he thinks should be further investigated, but Senator Dobson proposes to choose three for investigation by an expedient which, in my opinion, does not deserve serious consideration. He wishes to provide for the selection of three sites by ballot. But how could such a selection be made without the fullest information in regard to all possible sites? We have not yet got that information, and it would be most unwise and improper for us to exclude all but three sites from consideration without it. It seems to me that both amendments, if carried, would place the Senate in a somewhat ludicrous position, that they would be ineffective, and are altogether opposed to the sense of honorable obligation which must be felt by every member of the Senate in regard to this matter. I come now to the amendment of Senator Neild, which is of a very different character.
– It provides for an extension, not for a limitation.
– Yes Yes ; and therefore what I have said in regard to. limitations has no application to it. I object to the amendment, however, because the inquiries which are within the scope of the motion are of a very extensive character, involving, as they do, an investigation as to accessibility, building materials, climate, drainage, and many other matters, including general suitability. I do not agree with Senator Neild that such extensive inquiries should be made in regard to every site which has been brought forward ; but I repeat what was said in the House of Representatives by the Minister for Home Affairs, that, in considering the water SupplY of the Lake George site, the water supply of the country surrounding Yass must necessarily be taken into consideration. With regard to the Bombala site, I agree with Senator McGregor that the term means the whole of the locality surrounding Bombala, and embraces any portion of country between there and Eden which the experts may think should be inquired into. Therefore, in dealing with the water supply of Bombala, the flow of the Snowy River and its tributaries about Dalgety must be investigated. If upon investigation it is found that the water supply of Yass, or of other suggested sites, would be adequate, further inquiries will be directed as to their general eligibility ; but where information in regard to water supply is not satisfactory, the Government take the view that further investigation should not be proceeded with. There is no intention to exclude the consideration of likely sites.
– Is there any connexion between the Lake George, the Goulburn, and the Yass sites in regard to water supply ?
– Y - Yes. A permanent water supply for Lake George, for Yass, or for Goulburn must be looked for in the Murrumbidgee. The source of water supply in one case is the source of supply in all three. So in regard to the Bombala site. While the distance between Bombala and Dalgety is a good many miles, the same country must be examined in respect to either site. I repeat the statement made in the other Chamber, that in carrying into effect the terms of this motion the Minister will not be bound down by any hardandfast rules which would compel him to exclude from consideration sites whose water supply is found to be sufficient. I ask the Senate to reject all amendments, and to pass the motion as it stands.
Question - That the words “ not exceeding three” be inserted after the word “experts “ - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 10
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Senator Dobson) negatived -
That the word “such” be inserted after the word ‘ ‘ upon” with a view to add after the word “sites” the words “ not exceeding three, as shall be selected by a ballot of the members of both Houses of Parliament as to.”
Amendment (by Senator Dobson) proposed -
That the word” Albury “ be omitted.
Question - That the word “ Albury,” proposed to be omitted, stand part of the motion - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … …8
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment (by Senator Pearce) negatived -
That the word “ Armidale “ be omitted.
Amendment (by Senator Lt.-Col. Neild) put -
That the words “ including Dalgety “ be inserted after the word “Bombala.”
The Senate divided.
Majority….. … 2
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment (by Senator Lt.-Col. Neild) put -
That the words “including Goulburn and Yass” be inserted after the words “Lake George.”
The Senate divided.
Majority … … 12
Question so resolved in the negative:
Question, as amended, put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 12
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
That, with a view to obtain necessary information that will enable the Parliament of the Commonwealth to select a site for the seat of Government, a committee of experts, not exceeding three, should be appointed to examine and report upon sites in the following localities : - Albury, Armidale, Bombala, Lake George, Orange, which, in consequence of their proximity to Orange, includes Bathurst and Lyndhurst, Tumut, in relation to accessibility, building materials, climate, drainage, physical conditions and soil, water supply and rainfall, general suitability ; and such other salient matters as may be approved by the honorable the Minister for Home Affairs. Such report to be submitted to the Federal Government on or before the 30th April next.
.- I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
It is not necessary for me to make any long speech in moving the second reading of this measure, because the matter to which it refers has already been discussed, and I think that honorablesenators generally are in favour of the proposals which it contains. The allowance to members of Parliament with which it deals, formed the subject of a clause in the Electoral Bill. In committee, however, an objection was taken to the provision upon the ground that it did not come within the scope of the title of the measure. As there appeared to be a great deal in that objection, it was deemed wise to adopt the safe course of embodying it in a separate Bill. Consequently, the clause was struck out and incorporated in the measure which is now before honorable senators.
– As this Bill had its origin in an amendment which I moved in the Electoral Bill, I am naturally gratified that the proposal made by me, though in somewhat different words, has been submitted in a form, which from a constitutional point of view cannot be questioned. But I rose chiefly to call the attention of the Minister to a little point in connexion with sub-clause (2) of clause 2. While under sub-clause (1) the provision in regard to the allowance to senators must necessarily apply only to future members of the Senate, I think it is quite open to discussion whether, if sub-clause (2) be carried in its present form, it will not apply to members of the present House of Representatives, and entitle them to payment for the period which intervened between the date of their election and that of their being sworn in. It is quite clear that that could not happen in the case of senators, because paragraph («) speaks of “ the first election after a dissolution of the Senate.” As there has been no dissolution, this clause could not apply to present members of the Senate, whereas sub-clause (2) might apply to members of the present House of Representatives, and, if so, would be retrospective in its operation to that extent. It is just as well that attention should be drawn to this matter. I do not speak positively upon it, because I do not pretend to be capable of interpreting the provisions of a Bill as a lawyer might do. Having drawn attention to the matter and congratulated the Minister upon the introduction of the measure, I heartily support its second reading.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee :
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 (Allowances to members).
– It will be noticed that under this provision the pay of senators who are returned at the first election after a dissolution of both Houses of the Legislature is to commence from the day of their election. Paragraph (c) provides that the allowance to a senator who is chosen to fill a casual vacancy shall be calculated from the day on which his name is certified by the Governor of a State to the Governor-General. The allowance to each member of the House of Representatives is to be reckoned from the pay ©f his election, whereas in the case of ordinary elections for the Senate it is to commence from the 1st January. Why is it not to be reckoned from the day of election as in the case of members of the House of Representatives ?
– Because in that case they, would be receiving a double payment. Senators hold their positions till the 31st December, irrespective of whether or not they are re-elected.
– I was not aware of that.
– Upon the question which has been raised by Senator Playford, I desire to point out that, under the Constitution Act, members of the Senate have to offer themselves for re-election upon a date which is anterior to the expiry of their parliamentary term. For instance, some honorable senators will vacate their seats on the 31st December next year, and will be called upon to offer themselves for re-election prior to the expiration of their parliamentary term. Thus, every honorable senator, irrespective of whether or not he is re-elected, will receive his allowance up till the 31st December next year. This particular clause is designed to prevent a double payment: The duties of a senator who is elected at the end of the year will not commence till the 1 st January.
– Senator Neild has raised the question of whether sub-clause (2) is retrospective. I am not sure that it was intended to be retrospective.
– It was stated in the other House that the clause was intended to be retrospective.
– I should think, from the reading of the clause, that it will have a retrospective operation, and in that case I do not see why the same provision should not apply to senators. The allowance has been dated from the date of swearing in for both senators and members of the House of Representatives, and paragraph (a) of subclause 1 will make no alteration in that respect, because it only applies to future elections after a double dissolution, whereas according to sub-section (2) the allowance to each member of the House of Representatives is clearly to date from the day of his election without any qualification. I, therefore, think that this will apply to the allowance of members of the present House of Representatives.
– If sub section (2) is to apply to existing members of the House of Representatives, the same provision ought to apply to members of the Senate. I am sure there is no one who wishes to belittle this Chamber, claiming as we do to be a co-ordinate body, so far as to make the distinction which would be made if my interpretation be correct.
– We must remember section 13 of the Constitution.
– Then this Bill is in conflict with the Constitution.
– Not so far as the Senate is concerned.
– I have not yet heard a good sound reason why, if the remuneration of the members of the House of Representatives is to date from the day of their election, the same provision should not apply to members of the Senate. It is quite clear that paragraph (a) of sub-clause (1) does not apply to the existing Senate, seeing that it only deals with elections of senators under circumstances entirely different from those which prevailed when we were elected. Paragraph (Jj) refers to the case of a senator chosen to fill a place “ which is to become vacant in rotation from the first day of January following the day of his election.” That certainly does not apply to present senators. Paragraph (?) refers to the case of a senator chosen or appointed to fill a casual vacancy, and in that case the allowance is to be reckoned “from the day on which his name is certified by the Governor of the State to the Governor-General.” That does not apply to any one here. But sub-section (2) has no qualification, simply providing that “the allowance to each member of the House of Representatives under section 4S of the Constitution shall be reckoned from the day of his election.” That applies to the existing members as well as to future members of the House of Representatives. If the effect of the Bill is to date back the payment of members of the House of Representatives, then, on the ground of the equality of the two Houses, the same provision should apply to the Senate. I cannot allow the clause to go without some further explanation on this point.
Senator PLAYFORD (South Australia). - Section 48 of the Constitution is quite explicit : -
Until the Parliament otherwise provides each senator and each member of the House of Representatives shall receive an allowance of ? 400 per year to be reckoned from the day on which he takes his seat.
Will this Bill override the Constitution so far as the first Parliament is concerned ? Can we, under the words, “Until the Parliament otherwise provides “ legislate retrospectively 1 I do not think that that was the intention.
. never intended that this clause should be retrospective.
– In the other House, Sir William Lyne interjected that honorable members were entitled to the extra pay.
– I - I am expressing the view of the Government when I say that the sub-clause is not intended to be retrospective, and with a view to making the provision clearer, I move -
That before the words “ the allowance,” in subclause (2), the words “In any election after the passing of this Act,” be inserted.
– I do not think that the words which Senator O’Connor proposes shall be inserted are absolutely correct. The allowance does not take place during the election, and it would be well for the Government to take time to accurately draft the amendment, so as not to make us appear ridiculous in the eyes of the other House.
– I have an amendment which will come before that of Senator O’Connor’s, and I should like to have an opportunity to move it.
– I - In order to meet the convenience of “Senator Stewart, I ask leave to temporarily withdraw my amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Senator STEWART (Queensland). - I move -
That the words “the first day of January following,” in paragraph Ji) of sub-clause (1), be omitted.
The object of the amendment is to provide that a senator’s salary shall begin from the day of his election, in the same way as does the salary of a member of the House of Representatives.
– Then two senators will draw salary for the same period.
– A senator cannot hold a seat when another has been appointed in his place.
SenatorDrake. - A senator does not retire until the 31st December, and the election is held previously.
– If that is the case, I ask leave to withdraw my amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - Since Senator O’Connor has temporarily withdrawn his amendment, I ask the Senate to take into consideration paragraph (6) of subclause (1). Senators elected next year will not come under sub-clause (2), which refers to the House of Representatives, but will draw their allowance from the 1st January. Why should a senator wait until the 1st January ?
– Because the sitting senator will draw the allowance until the 31st December.
– The new man does not assume office until the 1st January.
– T - The Commonwealth should pay only one salary.
– No doubt the Commonwealth should pay only one salary, but I imagine that the elections for the Senate will take place next year sometime about November.
– But the retiring member holds office until the 31st December.
– How can a retiring senator hold office after he has been defeated ? If a senator is defeated in November, why should he draw an allowance until the 31st December?
– The Constitution so provides.
– In my opinion the Constitution is being interfered with by this Bill, which proposes to do something to alter section 48. Supposing a senator is chosen in my place in November, why should I continue to draw the allowance until the 31st December, my successor having to wait until January ?
– Your opponent would know the conditions before he decided to stand against you.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales). - I understand that Senator O’Connor has temporarily withdrawn his amendment, and therefore I move -
That all the words in paragraph (a) of subclause (1) after the word “election “ be omitted, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ from the day of his election.”
I am dealing entirely with the present Parliament, and, assuming that Senator O’Connor’s amendment is not put and carried, the result ofmy amendment will be to make the date of the payment of the allowance to the first Federal Parliament the same as that of subsequent Parliaments. If the provision that members of the House of Representatives shall be paid from the date of their election rather than from the date of taking their seats is an excellent one to apply to the House of Representatives in future Parliaments, it must be an equally good one to apply to the present Parliament. I am not prepared to enter into any nice discrimination favouring those who are to come after us rather than the Parliament as it exists to-day. If my amendmentbe carried, it will mean that in the case of honorable senators their remuneration will date from the day of their election, and if sub-section (2) is allowed to stand without the qualification which Senator O’Connor proposes to insert, the remuneration of members of the House of Representatives will also date from the day of their election.
– I think that Senator Millen has overlooked section 13 of the Constitution which provides that -
The election to fill vacant places - - that is, in the Senate - shall be made in the year at the expiration of which the places are to become vacant,
Therefore, an honorable senator’s term of office does not expire until the expiration of the year. Then the section goes on to provide that -
For the purposes of this section the term of service of a senator shall be taken to begin on the 1st day of January following the day of his election, except in the cases of the first election and of the election next after any dissolution of the Senate, when it shall be taken to begin on the 1st day of January preceding the day of his election.
It seems to me that clause 2 of this Bill has been framed to fit in with section 13 of the Constitution, so that a new senator shall be elected to fill his office from the 1st day of January, while a former senator, who is not re-elected, will continue to be a senator during the year, so far as pay is concerned.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).The remarks made by Senator Baker are absolutely correct, but they in no way bear upon the amendment I have submitted. That amendment does not deal with senators elected in the future. I am dealing entirely with honorable senators who at present- constitute the Senate. It is proposed with regard to members of the House of Representatives that both in the future and at present their remuneration shall date from the day of election, and not as hitherto, from the day of taking their seats. There is no reason why members of the House of Representatives elected next year should be placed in a more favoured position than are existing members. Therefore, I desire to see sub-clause (2) remain as it is. I take it that under that sub-clause members of the present House of Representatives would be entitled to claim remuneration from the day of election. If the remuneration of the existing members of the House of Representatives is to be upon that basis, then the same principle should be followed in calculating the remuneration of honorable , senators.
– The honorable senator should apply it in the case of a Senate elected after a double dissolution.
– That is provided for in the Bill as it stands.
– Then it should apply with greater force to the Senate as at present constituted.
– Exactly ; the honorable and learned senator furnishes me with another argument. In the case of a Senate elected after a double dissolution, which is the nearest parallel we can have to the elections which brought this House into existence, honorable senators are to be paid from the date of their election. Why should not the present members be paid upon the same basis.
– The meaning of Senator Millen’s amendment is perfectly clear. If Parliament decided that sub-clause (2) should stand as it is, and that it - should be retrospective so far as the House of Representatives is concerned, it would be equally fair that the Bill should be retrospective so far as it relates to the Senate. But I do not know whether the honorable senator has noticed that what he is proposing now is decidedly in conflict with section 13 of the Constitution. In that section it is provided that in the case of the first election - that is, our own “case - the service is to date, not from the day of election, but from the 1st January previously.
Therefore, if honorable senators were to claim to be paid for the term of their service, these honorable senators would go back, not to the day of their election, but to the 1st of January, 1901.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - My honorable and learned friend is confusing two totally different matters. He lays down two propositions, both of which we admit are correct, but which, I am sure Senator Millen will agree with me, have no relevancy one to the other. The honorable and learned senator confuses the term of office with the term of payment. Under the system which has hitherto existed these two matters have been kept separate. The Constitution practically provides that the term of existence »f the present Senate dates from 1st January, 1901, but it does not make the 1st January the day from which pay shall commence. It fixes a totally different date, so that the two things, the date from which the duration of office starts, and the date from which payment begins, are kept distinct. Now, it is proposed by Senator “Millen not to bring the two dates together, but to bring them somewhat closer to each other. The term of office, under the Constitution, dates from the 1st January, 1901, but the term of payment dates from the 9th May, 1901. All that Senator Millen’s amendment proposes to do is necessarily to leave the date of service alone, but to substitute the 29 th Mardi for the 9th May.
– Only in the case of this Parliament, all other Parliaments being provided for.
– Exactly. I would suggest that Senator Millen should not press his amendment at this stage, but that Senator Oconnor should move the amendment which he is drafting. The House of Representatives passed the clause with an absolute assurance from the Minister for Home Affairs that it would have the effect of giving them back pay. That was unquestionably the statement made by the Minister for Home Affairs.
– He said that it might not mean more than three months.
.- The Minister said that he did not object to honorable members getting the extra money if it covered only a period of three months, but as a matter of fact it will cover a period of only six weeks. My suggestion is that the Minister should test the feeling of the committee as to the passing of the sub-clause relating to the House of Representatives as it now stands. If it is passed in its present form, the Bill should be recommitted, and Senator Millen should then move his amendment. I think that -would be perhaps the best -way of testing the matter, because I do not suppose that at this stage of the session we desire to get into conflict with another place over a question which relates to their personal rights and privileges.
Senator PLAYFORD (South Australia). - I think it would be a great deal better for Senator Millen not to move his amendment, and for us to set our faces against any proposal of this kind. We stood for election with a clear knowledge that the Constitution provided that we should not receive payment until a certain time. At the date of my election I was a member of the State Legislature. I did not resign then, and I continued to take my allowance of £200 a year up to the date on which I was sworn in as a member of the Senate. If we are to be given back pay in respect of the six weeks or two months, as the case may be, which elapsed prior to the date on which we were sworn in, I shall have, in common honesty, to return to the people of South Australia the amount which I received during that period. We should not make a move in this direction. We were elected under a Constitution which told us unmistakably when our pay would commence, and we have no right, in common honesty, to put public money in our pockets in the way suggested. I trust that the leader of the Government will at once move his amendment so as to make it absolutely clear that the clause is not to apply retrospectively to the House of Representatives. Then we shall be on fair, straight, and honorable grounds.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).I would remind my honorable friend that, apart from my amendment, we are proposing in this Bill to do the very thing which he says ought not to be done. Section 48 of the Constitution, to which he has referred, states that the allowance shall be reckoned from the date on which a member takes his seat. That applies to members of both Houses ; but this very Bill is for the purpose of getting away from that section. It provides that members of the House of Representatives shall be paid, not according to the Constitution, from the day on which they take their seats, but from the day of election. When we were elected we understood that the provision in section 48, in regard to allowances to members, would stand - “ Until the Parliament otherwise provides,” but I did not take that as being conclusive as to what Parliament would do. If this provision in the Bill would be fair and equitable for future members, would it be inequitable if applied to present members of both Houses ?
– Undoubtedly ; because members of the present Parliament stood with their eyes open.
– T - The honorable member who has just spoken has referred to section 4S of the Constitution. It is true that that section gives certain power to the Parliament, and that is the power we are exercising. I take it that Senator Playford’s objection is not that there is no power to do this, but that, under the circumstances, Parliament ought not to do it. I took up the position before that this allowance should not be made retrospective. I think the same rule must apply in both Houses. It is, perhaps, my duty now to point out that there is another and a constitutional objection, which raises a difficult question as to whether it is competent for the Senate to make such an amendment.
– It is increasing the burdens of the people.
– S - Section 53 of the Constitution provides that -
The Senate may not amend any proposed law so as to increase an3’ proposed charge or burden upon the people.
That seems to me to make it impossible, constitutionally, to propose such an amendment.
– It might be suggested.
– T - That is possible, but it is a question whether, under all the circumstances, that course should be followed. I am dealing with this now as an amendment, and it seems to me quite clear that, as such, it ought not to be proposed. The amendment I suggest is quite different, since its effect would be to decrease the charge or burden upon the people.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales). - I must certainly admit that the objection raised by the Vice-President of the Executive Council is an extremely delicate one. It would be very inconvenient for us at the close of the session to have to discuss a matter of the kind, and under the circumstances, I ask leave to withdraw my amendment.
Senator Sir RICHARD BAKER (South Australia). - Before permission is given for the withdrawal of the amendment I may be permitted to point out that I entirely disagree with the proposition laid down by the Vice-President of the Executive Council, namely, that the section of the Constitution which provides that -
The Senate may not amend any proposed law so as to increase any proposed charge or burden upon the people - applies to the appropriation of revenue. I strongly object to that proposition. I do not think this is the proper time to raise a constitutional question of that sort, but I have looked into it most carefully, and I have come to the conclusion that the words which I have just quoted do not apply to an appropriation of revenue. Under the circumstances, as Senator Millen wishes to withdraw his amendment, I shall not argue the question, but I wish to put ray opinion upon record.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
– . - The criticisms offered to my first amendment to sub-clause (2) were, I think, perfectly correct. I have found it necessary to recast the sub-clause to a certain extent, and I have drafted an amendment which will make it perfectly clear. I move -
That all the words after the word “allowance” in sub-clause (3) be omitted with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ under section 48 of the Constitution to each member of the House of Representatives, shall be reckoned, in the case of a member elected after the pissing of this Act, from the day of his election.”
SenatorWALKER (New SouthWales). - I am very pleased that Senator O’Connor has proposed this amendment. To strengthen the honorable and learned senator’s hands, I may mention that had he not done so, honorable members of the other House would have been entitled to claim in the aggregate £3,750. There would have been practically a month and a half of arrears, and 75 members at £50 each would have meant £3,750. I think it would be very undesirable for this Parliament to attempt retrospective legislation of that kind.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - I do not know whether I can properly bring the matter up on this clause, but I think that this Bill might very well comprehend a clause to provide that the £400 each paid to salaried Ministers, or a portion thereof, should be handed to the unpaid Ministers, who seem to be doing quite as much wort as the paid Ministers.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Bill reported with an amendment.
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The Bill is one to appropriate a sum of £3,986,794. Of that sum £1,365,597 has already been appropriated under Supply Bill No. 15, the last Supply Bill passed giving Supply from July to October. As regards that amount this Bill proposes a confirmation and re-vote. As regards the rest of the year, ending 30th June, 1903, the vote proposed under this Bill is £2,621,197, making the vote for the total expenditure of the year, under the schedule, the first amount I have mentioned. These Estimates may also be divided in another way.For expenditure proper to the year ending 30th June, 1903, an amount of £3,903,591 is provided, and for arrears for the period ending 30th June of last year a sum of £83,203, making together the total sum I first stated. This Bill, in common with all Bills drawn in this form, contains two parts - first, that which appropriates the sum required for the year 1902-3; and second, that covering the arrears unpaid during last year. I do not think it is necessary to go into any details as to the items of this appropriation, because it would be impossible to discuss the question of general expenditure and revenue without making something in the nature of a financial statement, which I do not think is necessary or would be appropriate in moving the second reading of this Bill. There is, however, one matter to which I should like to refer, and that is the Defence vote. It will be in the recollection of honorable senators that when last year’s Estimates were going through in another place, a promise was made by the Minister for Defence to reduce the amount of the Estimates then submitted by £131,000 for the year. That promise has been more than carried out, because, comparing the
Estimates of military expenditure for last year with those submitted for this year, a saving of £175,198 is shown to have been effected.
– We have had no Royal reception ; that is one reason.
– The The actual saving has only been something like £63,998. That is accounted for by the fact that the expenditure during last year did not come up to the estimate for various causes. One was that recruiting was stopped in October, and vacancies as they arose have not been filled up since. Another was that a number of soldiers and officers were on active service in South Africa, and while there they were paid by the Imperial Government. These and other matters connected directly or indirectly with defence account for a difference between the Estimates and the actual expenditure for last year of a little over £111,200. That is the reason why it is that, while there is a saving of£175,198, comparing the Estimates for the two years, there is in reality a saving of only £63,998. In addition to the saving already effected, the Government have promised, through the Acting Minister for Defence in the other House, that they will reduce the vote still further during the coming year. The vote, as it stands, is made up of military expenditure, totalling £762,014,and an amount of £25,137 for allowances. I may here explain with regard to these allowances that they are necessary concomitants of reductions made under, I think, any humane system of administration. It has become necessary for the sake of economy to dispense with the services of a number of officers and men, and in the case of all of them the practice has been adopted, which has already obtained in some of the States, of giving them compensation or gratuities on the basis of one month’s pay for each year of service. In the carrying out of that, an amount of £25,137 is involved.
– Are those figures in the supplementary Estimates for last year, or in the Estimates for the current year?
– I a I am dealing only with the current year’s Estimates. The details of these compensations will be found on page 139 of the schedule to this Bill. The honorable and learned senator will see there that they are divided into two portions. First of all there is given two months’ pay, which amounts to £5,042 ; and then there is additional compensation amounting to £20,095. The additional compensation is on the same basis as the compensation of the two months’ pay. I say, therefore, that in dealing with these Estimates as a whole, in reference to the statement I am about to make, that amount for allowances must be eliminated, because it is an amount upon which we do not see that any reduction can be made. Whenever it is necessary to dispense with services on account of retrenchment we think that these allowances ought to be paid.
– Have not many of the officers been dispensed with under the regulations on account of age, and not on account of the non-necessity of retaining their services?
– Tha That may be so with regard to some of them, but I know that with regard to many, their services have been dispensed with on account of the necessity for cutting down expenditure. Many of them we should be entitled to dispense with in accordance with the regulations in any case, but I think I am right in saying that a large proportion of them - I think the greater proportion - have had their services dispensed with in the way I have stated, and compensation has been paid on that account. Leaving that item out of consideration, there is a sum of £762,014 asthe amount of expenditure of the Defence Department; and the Acting Minister for Defence has undertaken to reduce that amount in the next year’s Estimates down to £700,000. It will be impossible to make the whole of that reduction during this year, because the greater portion of the year has elapsed, but it is intended to reduce as much as possible during this year. We hope that the reduction upon this year’s Estimates will be at least £30,000. But in the next year’s Estimates the Minister has undertaken that the total amount shall be brought down to £700,000. That can be accomplished only by means of the same very rigorous cutting down as the retrenchment already made has been accomplished by. I shall, of course, be glad to answer any questions, and to deal with any matters which may be brought forward in the debate, but it did not appear to me to be necessary to make specific reference to any department ‘except that of defence at this stage.
– “What was the total cost of defence to the States prior to the federal referendum ?
– I c I cannot state that at this moment.
– Was it not £500,000?
– T - The estimate of the cost of defence under federation was £750,000. I shall be able to give fuller particulars when I speak in reply.
– That was for what Mr. King O’Malley would call the “gildedspurred roosters.”
– I d I do not know about that ; but I think that in this matter of defence, although it is quite right that the pruning knife should be applied without any mercy whatever where it is necessary, we must not run into the opposite extreme. I think we must remember that if our defence is to be a reality, it must be efficient. If we spend this large amount of money on defence, surely it is on the supposition that some day we shall be attacked, and must be ready for attack. Otherwise, all this money might as’ well be pitched into the sea. Without saying how far economy can go, as this matter appears to us, it is very difficult indeed to insure anything like efficiency in the service if great reductions are to be made. However, that is not a matter that I intend to deal with now j but, in answer to what Senator Higgs has said, I wish to say that I think the Senate will find that the amount by which we propose to reduce these Estimates - nearly £70,000 - will bring the total amount down to certainly £50,000 less than was the estimated cost of defence under federation.
– How many men can the Commonwealth put into the field ?
– The The answer to the honorable senator is, that without the rifle clubs, 26,000 men can be put into the field ; with the rifle clubs,- 20,000 more ; that is, including all our capacity, 46,000 men.
– The rifle clubs are going to be disbanded.
– I d I do not know why the honorable senator should say that.
– Are the rifle clubs getting anything in the way of training?
– Tha That point will be settled when the scheme of the General Officer Commanding is thoroughly carried out. There is no doubt that, as far as possible, the rifle clubs should be made amenable to some slight discipline, at all events ; and there is no doubt also that some selection ought to be made of the men we allow to join the clubs. Of course, the rifle clubs cost a large sum of money.
– Thirty shillings a head.
– Yes Yes ; and for that expenditure the men should not only become good shots, but should be in the position of being able to be used as an organized body even if they learn only the elements of discipline. In asking the Senate to read the Bill a second time, I again state that if any question should be asked, or any matters raised, during the discussion, I shall be able to deal with them in reply.
– Have the Government considered whether it is wise to retrench much further until we have passed the Defence Bill and affirmed our [policy in this respect ?
– I h I have already said that I do not see how retrenchment can go further than the Acting Minister for Defence has already promised that it shall go. H.e has promised to cut the total amount down to £700,000 a year. The opinion of the Minister is that that can be done, but I should not like to say that we can go further.
– Are any increases of salary provided for on the basis of the Estimates to any officers apart from the Defence department altogether ?
– No. No. There are no increments, but,there is a scale of salaries laid down, and there are several cases in which that scale has been exceeded. In those cases reductions have been made. There are other cases in which the salaries of officers were below the scale. In those cases, to bring about uniformity, there have been increases. But in a large class of cases where the officers received an allowance, as well as salary, the allowance has been done away with. We think it only a reasonable thing to put upon the face of the vote exactly what the payment made to any officer is. Many ‘of these are cases in which the salary has hitherto been given in one part of the Estimates and the allowance in another. In those cases the allowance is done away with, and in some such instances the salary may be increased - that is to say, the amount of the allowances was a portion of the salary, and is now put on to the salary and the whole sum voted together. But there are no real increases in the amount of remuneration. The sums paid are all put plainly under the one heading, so that honorable senators will know where to find them.
– If more officers are retrenched, can the Vice-President of the Executive Council say anything as to the principle upon which they will be compensated ?
– I - I have already said that the basis of compensation is that which has been adopted hitherto in New South Wales, and several of the other services - the payment of a month’s salary for each year of service.
– I formally second the motion that this Appropriation Bill be read a second time, because it is inevitable that that must be done. In dealing with the measure, I propose as briefly as possible to follow the example of Senator O’Connor, and speak almost entirely with regard to the question of defence. But before reaching that stage, I wish to say a few words in reference to the vote of £10,000 for members’ travelling expenses. This is a corresponding vote to one which we should have passed last year . if the Appropriation Bill had come before us - which it did not; and it amounts to the same sum as we passed in the several Supply Bills which dribbled before us month by month. I understand, from allusions that have appeared in the press, that it is the intention of the Minister for Home Affairs to devote a certain portion - possibly a large portion - of this sum to a Parliamentary excursion round the continent of Australia. I wish to protest, in the strongest way possible - and I hope the Senate will support me - against a proposal to expend money in this direction. I wish to point out how utterly reckless the Minister for Home Affairs is in dealing with these matters. As I understand it, his first proposal was that the services of the South Australian man-of-war, the Protector, should be availed of for this purpose. Now, sir, the Protector, as the Minister ought to have known extremely well - because he is
Acting Minister for Defence - has only accommodation for two or three people in excess of her crew. That is the first objection, and a very fatal objection it is, to the utilization of that boat for this purpose. But then there is an even more important objection than that. That is, that the Protector is not manned. To enable the Protector to go to sea for the purpose of this cruise it would have been necessary to call out the reserves of the Commonwealth. The crew of the Protector, as any honorable senator can find by turning to page 50 of the Estimates, consists of a captain, a paymaster, two gunners, an armourer, two engineers, nine petty officers, a carpenter’s mate, two stokers, and a ward-room steward. They have not even got an able seaman for the vessel. They had one A.B., but his services were dispensed with under the scheme of retrenchment. So that we should have been in this position - that the whole of the acting crew of the Protector would have had to be called out, and we should have had to pay for special services rendered; the vessel would have had to be coaled and victualled ; and all this expenditure would have been thrown upon the Commonwealth simply in order that a few Members of Parliament - because I cannot find from inquiries which I have made that many members would go upon the trip - might have had an. interesting spree in the company of their wives ! I wish to lay particular stress upon this point, that the Minister for Home Affairs stated in the other Chamber that he sees no reason why members of Parliament should not be accompanied on this trip by their wives.
– W - Why does the honorable senator assume that the trip will take place?
– Because I have read paragraphs to that effect in the newspapers, and the information is stated to have been obtained on the authority of the Minister for Home Affairs.
– T - The honorable senator is making a very violent assumption.
– I go further. I have seen it reported in the newspapers that the Minister for Home Affairs refused in the other Chamber to deny that he is organizing the trip.
– Why should he deny it?
– If he does not intend the trip to take place, it was his duty to deny it, to relieve the country from the anxiety felt in regard to this absolutely unwarranted expenditure. In spite of what the Vice-President of the Executive Council says, I am of opinion that the Minister for Home Affairs intends to organize the trip. He will be absolutely an autocrat in the matter, and will have only himself to consult. Only the other day it was stated in the press that he contemplates chartering the steam yacht Victoria, which belongs to the New South Wales Government. I do not wish to be misunderstood in this connexion. I believe that it is most desirable that members of Parliament should have every reasonable facility for visiting every part of Australia, and that they should make themselves acquainted with localities which they have not previously seen. I have benefited considerably by having been able to travel about New South Wales and Victoria, and I think it desirable that honorable members from the eastern States should visit Western Australia, and that honorable members from the southern and western states should visit Queensland. But this travelling should be done on the most economical lines possible. The money of the country ought not to be wasted upon “sprees,” and that is what the contemplated trip will inevitably result in. I see no reason why members should be accompanied on these occasions by their wives at the expense of the Commonwealth. It is a very proper thing that they should, where possible, take their wives with them, but I do not think that their wives should travel at the expense of the Commonwealth. I do not propose to elaborate the matter further. I feel convinced that the trip will take place, and I have therefore put my protest against it on record. I wish* now to deal with the Defence Estimates. Senator O’Connor has pointed out that last year the Government promised to reduce the expenditure in the Defence department by £1 30,000. I believe that that has been done. At any rate, I do not propose to discuss any question connected with the Estimates of last year. What I intend to deal with is the actual expenditure of last year, and to compare it with the estimated expenditure for the present year. The Government take credit for a total decrease in the expenditure of the Department of Defence amounting to £63,998. 1 propose to show honorable senators how this saving has been made, and how it affects ‘the efficiency of the defence forces.
In the first place, there is a saving claimed of £1,343 in the chief administration, but this is really no saving, but on the contrary, an increase in that division of the service. A decrease of £2,031 is accounted for by the fact that a Naval and Military Commission which sat last ‘year, and which cost the Commonwealth that amount, is no longer necessary, but there has been an increase of £700 in this department, £500 having been added to salaries, £100 to travelling expenses, and 100 to the vote for clerical assistance. The next saving is the sum of £9,739 for the Royal reception, but the Government cannot take credit for the non-occurrence of an exceptional expenditure like that. There is another saving of £864 in connexion with the furnishing of the Victoria barracks, on the St. Kildaroad, Melbourne. It is easily understood that it is unnecessary to expend that amount upon furniture every year. A so-called saving of £15,000 is obtained by purchasing 2,000 instead of 5,000 rifles this year.If that is a saving, it is at the expense of the efficiency and satisfactory condition of our defence forces. With regard to the naval items, I frankly confess that I havebeen unable to analyse them satisfactorily. If the Government like to take credit for having saved £20,000 by dispensing with nearly all the permanent naval forces, they are welcome to do so. I cannot express any opinion upon the matter, because I have not had sufficient time in which to make inquiries, but it seems to me that the number of men in our naval forces is now absolutely insufficient. Then we come to a saving of £930 upon King George’s Sound. So far as the permanent forces are concerned, the Estimates are based upon what is called an establishment, which was gazetted by the Government on the 12th ult, and which provides that there shall be a certain number of officers and men in each company of artillery. The Estimates provide for the salary and pay of the number of officers and men who, according to the Minister for Home Affairs and the General Officer Commanding, are necessary for the manning of the forts. The cost of the garrison at Albany, according to the establishment which the Minister for Home Affairs considers necessary for efficiency, would be £2,9S0. But on the Estimates we have this little line, “ Less estimated savings, £1,416.” When Senator O’Connor was talking just now of the strength of the
Commonwealth forces, he assumed that the figures he gave us were good, but, as a matter of fact, they are not. No recruiting for any of the artillery regiments has taken place during the current year, and the amount set down for the Albany garrison is only £1,650. A major, lieutenant, company sergeant-major, and company quarter-master sergeant, whose salaries amount to £850, are retained, and the balance goes to pay the rank and file. That is the position in which Albany, a most important naval port and coal depot, has been reduced to gratify this somewhat illogical desire for retrenchment to which the Minister for Home Affairs has had to submit.
– The retrenchment has been at the wrong end.
– Yes. I propose to deal with the question later on, in connexion with the proposed further reduction of £60,000. I am convinced, however, from the inquiries which I have made, that Albany, is at present garrisoned by only two commissioned officers, two warrant officers, and a few men. While there should be a garrison of 36 non-commissioned officers and men, .there are probably not more than fifteen there.
– It is a skeleton army with a big head.
– Yes. I agree with the honorable senator who interjected a little while ago that it would be better to say frankly that we cannot afford the expense, and to shut up our forts, than to make fools of ourselves by playing at having garrisons. This is a sort of Chinese game of “ making face.” The people are led to suppose that our forts would prove effective in the defence of the country. They see that 40 men and a certain number of guns are provided for the defence of a certain port, but they do not know that the fort is really being garrisoned by two or three officers, a very few men, and a band. The next so-called saving is made in the New South Wales estimates and amounts to £5,938. This is arrived at by the absolute sacrifice of ammunition. The figures, which I have taken the care to tabulate, are as follow : -
I am giving these figures, not because I suppose that honorable senators will pay the least attention to them, but because I wish them to be recorded in Hansard, so that they may be referred to afterwards. There is an estimated .reduction of expenditure on ammunition for the current year of £S,24S. What does that show? That, far from there having been any reduction in New South Wales, there has been an absolute increase - exactly as there was in the case of the chief administration - amounting to’ £2,310. Thus vanishes the reduction upon which the Government- and the Minister for Home Affairs are pluming themselves. Now we come to Victoria, which is in exactly the same position. Here we have an alleged saving of £18,361, which has been arrived at in a similar manner, as is shown by the following table : -
So that the so-called saving - that is, the amount not spent this year compared with what was spent last year - is £46,781.
– Is not that the way every one saves 1
– Yes ; but they do not make reductions by sacrificing bread and butter. The ammunition is the bread and butter of the Defence Forces. They have sacrificed the ammunition and have increased the expenses of administration. Although I have shown that the saving on ammunition as between last year’s expenditure and the estimated outlay for the current year is £46,781, the saving shown in the Estimates is only £1S,761. Therefore, the Government have increased the sum spent on the military administration in Victoria by £2S,420. This is the way in which the Government have juggled with figures and have attempted to impose upon the credulity of honorable members in both Houses. These increases are in nearly every case to be found under the head of contingencies. As has been frequently noticed when we have been dealing with Supply Bills, it is absolutely impossible to analyze the way in which the money is spent under this heading. In Queensland a so-called saving of £16,952 has been effected, and this has been arrived at by making ‘ no provision whatever for ammunition. *The whole of the firing is to be done at the cost of the supplies which Queensland already has on hand. The expenditure upon ammunition last year is not given. All the details have been carefully blocked out. The headings are there, but the figures are absent. The expenditure upon ammunition is included under the head of contingencies) which are represented by £32,106. I have arrived at the proportion of that amount which was probably spent in ammunition in this way : In every other State the contingency vote has been largely increased as compared with last year, and in order to estimate the amount which was spent in ammunition in Queensland I have taken the contingency vote of this year, which amounts to £12,530, as the amount which, leaving ammunition out of the question, was devoted to a similar purpose last year. It is perfectly safe to do this, because I am certain that, as in the other States, the contingency vote in Queensland has been largely increased for the current year. By deducting this amount from the contingency vote of last year, I arrive at the amount which was probably spent in ammunition, namely, £19,576. The actual saving in Queensland is shown to be £16,952, so that if I am right - I may be wrong, because the departmental officials have very carefully prevented me from obtaining correct information - the saving has been made entirely at the expense of the ammunition supplies of the State. I would ask honorable senators if that is a desirable position for the Minister for Defence to place us in? “We must absolve the General Officer Commanding from all blame, because the chief administration is responsible for the way in which these so-called savings have been made. The whole of the figures are placed before the Minister, and it is his duty to see that savings are made in this or the other direction. All Major-General Hutton can do is to make proposals for the approval of the Minister. I ask if it is desirable that the savings should be effected in the way I have indicated. I say; - “ No.” In South Australia there is an increase in the expenditure of £7,772, and to analyze the figures relating to the South Australian Defence forces is an extremely interesting occupation. Last year, in that State, £347 was spent in the purchase of small-arm ammunition, and £31 upon ammunition and stores for forts, making a total of £378. We see that the Government will perforce have to spend a considerable sum on ammunition this year. The votes for the current year are to be found on page 115 of the Estimates. It is proposed to spend upon artillery ammunition £150, and upon smallarm ammunition £2,200 ; so that the increased expenditure upon ammunition is to be £1,972. These figures form a splendid object-lesson, which I wish to apply in this way : I have directed attention to the enormous sums which should have been spent in ammunition this year, but which it is proposed to save, because it is desired to cut down the cost of the Defence department. It is perfectly clear, from what has occurred in South Australia, that next year all our stores will be depleted. We shall have no ammunition in the country, and whether or not we desire a reduction in the expenditure, we shall be involved in a large expenditure in order to make up for the savings, erroneously so-called, of this year. As bearing out what I said just now regarding the contingency vote, I can give an example taken from South Australia. The permanent forces in that State last year cost £6,065. This year the expenditure is estimated at £8,956. This increase is, to a large extent, due to the fact that the instructional branch has been transferred from the auxiliary forces to the permanent staff. That is merely a bookkeeping change. Last year the active forces and reserves cost £13,854, whereas this year it is proposed to expend £11,271. These figures show a reduction almost equivalent to the increase in the cost of the permanent forces. That increase is a little larger because of the very much debated appointment of instuctional officers, who were sent to South Aus- ‘ tralia from Queensland or New South “Wales, and whose transfer involves an increased expenditure of something like £1,000. Whilst contingencies last year represented an expenditure of £11,270, this year it is proposed to expend £18,734. As in all the Supply Bills which have been submitted to us, it is absolutely impossible to check the expenditure under the head of contingencies, and it is a pity that this vicious system should be pursued in the Defence department. No data whatever is given with regard to the expenditure in Western Australia last year. We are furnished with the total figures only, and it is impossible to ascertain how the proposed increased expenditure of £1,116 is arrived at. I hope I have made absolutely clear to honorable senators the manner in which these reductions have been brought about. To my mind, they have been effected entirely at the sacrifice of a sufficient supply of ammunition, and I do not see that the Government are entitled to take any credit to themselves for having effected a saving. Any person could do that by starving his establishment. But a very much more serious position arises in connexion with the reduction of £30,000 which the Vice-President of the Executive Council has informed us the Acting Minister for Defence intends to effect in the expenditure during the last six months of the current year. I understand from statements in the press, which I believe are accurate-
– They are always accurate.
– No, they are usually inaccurate, but upon this occasion I believe that they are correct. Statements have appeared in the press that the savings which it is proposed to effect will ‘be exclusively confined to the permanent military forces. It is hardly credible that the Acting Minister for Defence agreed to effect this reduction without entering the slightest protest and without calling for a division, even though such a reduction had the effect of converting into an absolute piece of stupidity his establishment Gazette of the 12th of September last. Here we find a responsible Minister sitting down with the General Officer Commanding and solemnly drawing up a paper in which he stated that a certain establishment of artillery was necessary for the proper defence of Australia. That establishment included four companies of artillery for Sydney, three companies for Victoria, half a company for.Tasmania, and half a company for Western Australia. All these particulars appeared in the Gazette of the date I have mentioned. In connexion with these nominal establishments no recruiting has been done, and consequently they must be very far below their proper strength at the present moment. Yet we, find the Minister coolly accepting a suggestion made by an honorable member in another place that these establishments shall be practically annihilated, because I do not see how they can be further reduced without wiping out either the entire staff or the whole of the forces. The staff without the forceswill be of no value, and nice versa. That, however, must be the inevitable result of the proposed reduction. I desire briefly to explain to the Senate the present position of affairs. At Thursday Island there should be 75 officers and men. of the permanent forces. The pay of these forces, as shown upon the Estimates, is for the full complement. But then there is a little clause, to which I have already called attention, which reads - “ Less estimated saving “ a further reduction of 10 per cent. That means that the highly paid men will be retained, and that a 10 per cent, saving will be effected upon the wages paid to the gunners. At Albany, a reduction has been made of 50 per cent., and I doubt if there are fifteen effective gunners stationed at that place. In New South Wales there were to be four batteries of garrison artillery, in addition to a battery of field artillery, with a total strength of 450 men. These men have already been reduced 10 per cent, below par in wages, which means a great deal more than 10 per cent, below par in men. In Victoria, there should have been 32’S men, whose wages are already 25 per cent, below par, which means 50 per cent, below par in men. In Queensland there has been a reduction of one-eighth. Therefore, I am perfectly justified in saying that if the proposed reduction of £30,000 is effected in the way proposed by the Acting Minister for Defence, there will either be no staff or no permanent force. But whatever the result, there is absolutely no responsible’ government in the Commonwealth. The Acting Minister for Defence put before the country an establishment, the maintenance of which he apparently- considered was essential. If he did not so Consider it, he ought never to have signed or approved of the plans. But he did sign and approve of them, and yet at the first gust of public opinion thrown at him across the floor of the other Chamber, he abandoned his position, and said in effect - “I will consent to the reduction in order that I may have a quiet time. I shall not meet the House again for six months.” If that sort of thing is to be tolerated, the sooner we_ do awa)’ with all pretence of responsible government, and place the whole administration in the hands of some autocrat, the better. There is another question to which I wish ‘to address myself, namely, that of the subsidy of £106,000 which is annually paid to the Imperial naval authorities. That is another case- in which, during the next six months, we shall be absolutely at the mercy of a dictator. Honorable senators must have 3een, in the newspapers, reports of the utterances of Sir John Forrest upon this subject. At Vancouver he declared that Australia is bound to increase the naval subsidy payable to the Imperial Government to £200,000. That represents an additional expenditure of £94,000. What will probably happen during the recess % At the present time we find that a parliamentary trip -is being organized without legislative authority. After the recess honorable senators will return to their legislative duties to find themselves committed to an additional annual contribution of £94,000 to the Imperial Navy. When they object, they will be told that the expenditure is the result of an Executive act. I believe that scarcely anybody appreciates the utter worthlessness of the bargain into which we entered with the Imperial Government some years ago, and which is operative at the present time.
– It is the best bargain that was ever made.
– I differ from Senator Sargood’s view of the matter. We contribute an annual subsidy of 106,000 to the Imperial Navy, and what do we receive in return for it 1 We get a nominal protection only, because when we come to read the treatises and works of those who understand this matter, we are informed that at the first breath of war the fleet would be withdrawn from our shores.
– That would constitute- the best defence that we could possibly have.
-I am afraid that Senator Sargood is mixing up the defence of the Empire with that of Australia. I agree with the view which he entertains, that the withdrawal of the auxiliary squadron from Australian waters to attack an enemy in its strongholds would constitute the best defence that could be made on behalf of the Empire. But I would point out that the whole of the enemy’s fleet might not be hemmed in elsewhere. Two or three of their frigates or gunboats might threaten our shores, in which case we should have only the old Cerberus and Protector with which to oppose them. Our primary consideration should be the defence of Australia.
– We cannot consider that apart from the defence of the Empire
– Head what Captain Mahon, of the United States of America, has written upon this question.
– Captain Mahon is strongly of opinion that a local navy ought to be established in each of the Australian States. He urges that each State should establish a fleet of its own as a nursery for its own sailors, and he strongly deprecates any reliance being placed upon the paid forces of another part of the Empire. . He says that such a system banishes the independence of a country and is a bad policy to pursue.
– Captain Mahon does not say that we should always keep our fleet in our own waters.
- Senator Playford is attempting to put words into my mouth which I never uttered.
– Why does the honorable senator object to the fleet which we have going out to fight the enemy elsewhere ?
– If such a course were followed, what would be left behind ? Simply our forts and our land forces ! But what hostile ship would be foolish enough to come within range of our forts if it could interrupt our commerce without so doing ? As a contributor to one of the newspapers put it the other day, our forts are simply “ fixed policemen.” That is why I object to the withdrawal of the fleet from our shores, and to the payment of a subsidy to Great Britain. We do not retain control of any one of the vessels. If we were sufficiently wealthy to be able to. provide for the retention of a certain number of ships in case of an outbreak of hostilities, I should be quite prepared to sanction the payment of that subsidy. But our primary duty is to make proper provision for the defence of Australia. By so doing we should be giving quite as much assistance to the Empire as we should render it by providing for the maintenance of a fleet which in time of emergency would be withdrawn from Australian waters, thus leaving the Commonwealth at the mercy of the enemy. Let us suppose that under such circumstances a hostile ship took up a position off our coast.What would happen? Every one knows the story of the Alabama. In a month or two such a vessel could accomplish more mischief than we could remedy in eight or ten years by keeping up our navy.
– S - Supposing that our trade routes were closed by a fleet 3,000 or 4,000 miles from Australia, what would be the position then?
-The position would be that the British Navy had been wiped out, and we, without a boat of our own, would have to look after ourselves. If our trade routes were blocked miles away from the coast of Australia it would simply mean that the British fleet had been annihilated.
– I - Is it not better that that should be prevented?
– I do not object to preventing such a catastrophe.
– I - Is it not better that the fleet should go out and sink the enemy before the latter gets near Australia ?
– By all means let the British fleet do that - do not leave the work to our four or five little gun-boats. I want the House to realize that under the existing agreement with
Great Britain, owing to the default of this Government in not dealing with the question this session, we are practically tied up for another three years. We have to give notice at the end of the year to terminate the agreement two years later. Owing to the fact that this matter has not been dealt with this session, we cannot give notice before the end of next year, provided the business is dealt with during next session, and two years more must elapse before the agreement is terminated. Thus for three years we are committed to an arrangement to pay £106,000 per annum to the British Government.
– Are we really committed, or is that not a mere assumption ?
– Under the agreement with Great Britain, we are committed to furnish £106,000 per annum.
– Are we committed to the new proposal of £200,000 a year ?
– C - Certainly not.
– I understand that the Government are committed, subject to the approval of Parliament. The Government, through the Prime Minister and the Minister for Defence, have committed themselves to lay this proposal before Parliament, and to support it. Does Senator O’Connor say that the Government are not committed to support the proposal?
– I - I did not say a word.
– I beg the honorable gentleman’s pardon ; I certainly thought’ he said the Government were not committed to support the proposal. At any rate, we may assume, for the purpose of argument, that the Government do mean to support the proposal, which, as the Government have a majority in the House of Representatives, will probably be carried. I have looked carefully into the matter, because I particularly want to see how the money can be applied to the benefit of Australia during the periodof three years, at the expiration of which I hope the present arrangement with the British Government will cease. Honorable senators who want to study the subject cannot do better than read Captain Cresswell’s report, which has been laid on the table of the House, and forms an extremely valuable work. The only question on which Captain Cresswell, to my mind, makes rather a mistake is in his estimate of the cost of the cruiser which he proposes the Commonwealth shall acquire. After going carefully into everything that can be read on the subject, I find the authorities all agree that it is unnecessary for a country to have a higher calibre of guns, or a higher class of boat for its protection - at any rate, of a much higher class - than that likely to be brought against it. The authorities appear to agree that third-class cruisers are ample for the protection of the ports and local trade of Australia ; and when Captain Cresswell recommended the adoption of a second-class cruiser, I think he went further than there was any necessity to go, thus prejudicing his plan by a proposal to spend a much larger sum of money than necessary. Captain Cresswell proposed a second-class cruiser of the Highflyer type, which would cost £300,000; but a boat of an inferior type, known as a third-class cruiser can be got for £136,000. I propose very shortly to show the Senate how with £97,000 we could, at any rate, start with three third-class cruisers. We may assume either that the British Government lend the boats to us and take a rent for them, or that we buy them with borrowed money and pay interest. In this respect the matter is as broad as it is long ; in either case we pay the equivalent of rent. The only advantage in hiring the boats would be that when we ceased to pay rent we should return them, and should not have lost the capital. That is a considerable advantage, but honorable senators should not be led into thinking that this constitutes a very “ great pull “ for us. As a matter of fact, the hulls of these ships, according to the authorities, do not deteriorate at the rate generally supposed. A boat twenty years old to-day is probably as efficient, so far as the hull is concerned, as a boat built ten or fifteen years hence. It is apparently the armament that differs in value, and this, of course, has to be renewed.
– And the engines 1
– The engines, of course, have to be renewed year by year. I have here the exact statistics of the initial cost and cost of up-keep of the third-class cruisers which form part of the auxiliary squadron. For a third-class cruiser, the capital cost involved is £136,000; and with 3 per cent, as the figure at which the British Government could afford to let us these ships, we have a yearly rental of £4,0S0. The annual cost of keeping up these ships’ with a certain permanent crew and the rest partially-paid men - in exactly the same way as the manning of the Cerberus is kept up at Melbourne - on the same basis ‘ of equipment as that of vessels of this class now in Sydney Harbor - is £26,000. That means a total annual charge of £30,080 for each ship, and that sum multiplied by three is £90,000 per annum. If that sum has necessarily to be spent in naval defence, and we adopt such a plan as I have indicated, we might have one of these ships for the training of the naval forces in, at any rate, Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria. I submit that such a plan is perfectly feasible. I do not intend to go into figures and details, because time does not permit, and I hope the House will accept my assurance that this annual cost of £26,000 has been very carefully worked out on the basis of the actual expenditure on the ships forming part of the auxiliary squadron now at Sydney. The advantage is that we should be able to get our men trained for naval defence, whereas that at present is not possible.’ - Senator Playford. - We shall get a certain portion of our men trained under the new arrangement.
– The honorable senator is quite correct, but we cannot ascertain at present how many men will be trained, or what their position will be in relation to the Commonwealth. So far as I can make out, the men are to be removed but of the control of the Commonwealth, and what is to my mind a most peculiar and hardly feasible arrangement is to be made under which our sailors would receive pay on one scale, while the rest of His Majesty’s fleet would receive pay on another scale. I cannot go into details on this point, because details are not available; but, as I judge from what I see in the newspapers, that is a sketch outline of the proposal.
– Lord Brassey evidently contemplates something of the sort.
– I have been reading Lord Brassey’s Naval Annual, and I find that he urges that the British Government should hand over to Australia the three third-class cruisers, at present in Sydney Harbor, for the very purpose which I have suggested.
– Lord Brassey contends that Australia would make a good recruiting ground.
– That is so. On page 440 of the Naval Annual, Lord Brassey says that the 5,600 tons type of second-class of cruiser of 320 feet length has great advantages over the 265 feet boat of the Mildura class, when going full speed against a heavy sea. Lord Brassey also says that our squadrons in the Pacific are our reserve for China. Then he goes on to say that under these circumstances the auxiliary squadron ought to be supplemented by second-class cruisers, while the third-class boats are handed over to the Commonwealth Government in exactly the same way as the Cerberus was handed over on loan, in order to form the means of training the very reserves to which Senator Pearce alludes. That is what I advocate as the proper way in which, to set about the naval defence of Australia. Captain Mahon, Lord Brassey, and every other authority, including even the writer of the prize essay for the Naval and Military Institute in London, advocate a- similar proposal. The press in England also advocate this plan, and practically the only people who do not are the Government we have set over our heads to conduct the affairs of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Government are the only people, apart from the British Government, who do not see the absolute necessity for spending money in the first place on ourselves. I do not want to be misunderstood. I do not say that in the future, when we have properly provided for our own defence, we should not continue, if we have the means, to help to augment the British fleet ; but until we have a fleet of our own, which we can control ourselves and use for the protection of our own commerce, it is perfect folly for us to spend money in the way we have done for the past twelve years - the total being £1,272,000, leaving out New Zealand - for which we have nothing whatever to show. The money has simply been poured into the sea so far as we are concerned, and I deprecate a .continuance of that state of affairs. What I deprecate more than anything else is that the Minister for Defence should go to England and advocate a project like this, although he knows perfectly well that it is contrary to the feeling throughout Australia. Indeed, the Minister for Defence went so far as to say that he did not care a snap of the finger for the opinion of Australia. That is the action of the man at the head of the Defence department, and I do not think that it ought to be tolerated.
– Parliament will deal with the question as its wisdom dictates.
– The honorable senator is too sanguine. No doubt Parliament will deal with the question, but it will find its hands forced unless a strong protest is made before the prorogation. We shall find ourselves committed to the scheme, and shall be told that such unforeseen exigencies have arisen that the Government are compelled to move, as an Executive act, knowing, as they do, that they could not carry the proposal through Parliament. It will then truly be found that the Minister for Defence does not care a snap of his fingers for the opinion of Australia.
– T - The Minister for Defence never said anything of the sort.
– It is so reported in the press.
– I rise for the purpose of putting in a word for the proposal, or alleged proposal, to give facilities to federal members of Parliament to visit the distant States of the Commonwealth. I know that in doing so ‘ I shall be denounced as one who advocates extravagance ; but I am of opinion that the money spent will bring in a return to the Commonwealth. I do not say that anything in the shape of a picnic, should be provided, or that it is necessary to make provision for the wives of members to accompany the party, but I do say that it would be an advantage to the State which I represent if members of the Federal Parliament could be given an opportunity to visit it. I am surprised that any representative of Western Australia should deprecate expenditure in that direction; but I can well understand the yelping press of Collins-street denouncing it. Victoria is well looked after by the Federal Parliament. The Parliament meets here, and we know the federal wants of Victoria. But the Federal Parliament is entirely ignorant of the position of Western Australia, and of the federal wants of that State, except in so far as her representatives can put those wants before the Legislature. There is nothing like ocular demonstration. We are going to ask the Parliament to connect Western Australia by rail with the eastern States, and the best argument for the construction of the line would be secured by taking honorable members . of both Houses over to Western Australia to see the developments which have taken place.
– Do not take them over the proposed route of the line.
– One of the best arguments would be secured by taking the party over the proposed route. The honorable senator does not know the country.
– He knows the country along the proposed route so far as South Australia is concerned.
– That may be ; but if the honorable senator thinks that the country through which the line will run in Western Australia is a desert, he is very much mistaken. The very interjection made by him shows how necessary it is that members of this Parliament should be given an opportunity to remove some of their misapprehensions. There are many other questions with which we have to deal. We have had it hurled at the Government, and at the labour party, that we dealt too hastily with kanaka legislation, as applied to Queensland. It has been said that we should first have visited Queensland and seen the conditions under which kanaka labour is employed. The very same objection may be raised if we ask Parliament to legislate in regard to the construction of the transcontinental railway. No doubt it will be said then that an opportunity should have been given to the members of the Legislature to visit the country. But these economists never support any proposal when it is first made. After the work has been done they are wise in their generation, and tell us what should have been done. If the G overnment had proposed to appoint a Royal commission to visit Queensland in connexion with theproposed kanaka legislation, the very journals who now say they should have done so would have denounced it. They have denounced .the appointment of Royal commissions in State affairs, and would do the same in regard to federal matters. I ask honorable senators not to be led away by the trumpetings of the two journals in Collins-street, who denounce the proposed expenditure in connexion with the visit to Western Australia, for the reason that Victoria will not receive any immediate benefit from it. This Parliament has to regard the Commonwealth. It has to look beyond Victoria, and not to be influenced simply by the Victorian press.
– The proposal is being denounced all over the country. I know it is denounced in South Australia.
– It is not being denounced all over the country. The Premier of Western Australia, who is a true Western Australian - a native of the State, who wishes to see his State take the position which it should occupy in the Federation - has telegraphed to the Government commending the proposal. I am sure he has the State Parliament at his back in that commendation, and I am confident that Queensland would welcome a visit from the members of this Parliament. How can honorable members make such visits’! It takes members of the Federal- Parliament all their time to carry on, and to visit and look after the interests of the States they represent. It is not reasonable - on the contrary, it is mean - to ask honorable members to visit States of which they are not the direct representatives unless facilities are afforded them to do so. I hope that the Government will not be influenced by these petty cries for economy - for economy that is not real economy- and that they will not allow the interests of the distant States to suffer, because in Victoria we have a party which does not seem to know what real economy is; a party that is prepared to adopt a cheeseparing policy in every direction except that in which it would injure their own particular State. As a representative of a distant State, I am prepared to take the responsibility of voting for the expenditure necessary in connexion with the proposed visit to Western Australia. By all means let it be carried out upon economical lines, but I hope that facilities will be given to members to make the visit. If they are, I believe that the people of the distant States will appreciate the action of the Government. I am not speaking from a personal stand-point ; I do not anticipate that I shall be able to take part in the trip, but I recognise that it will do the State I represent an immense amount of good. The very important question of the pearl fisheries has yet to be legislated upon. I believe the Government intend to ask Parliament to legislate upon it in the near future; but how can we do so merely upon- the evidence contained in the reports furnished to us 1
The reports contain conflicting evidence - evidence which I might read in one way and Senator Dobson in another. Those who take an interest in the question and wish to legislate wisely and justly, should be given an opportunity to investigate on the spot the conditions under which the industry is conducted, and to see for themselves whether it is possible to carry on the industry in a way that will not infringe upon the principle of a White Australia. The proposed visit would be of great assistance to honorable members of this Parliament in dealing with that question, and I hope the Government will give the facilities which the)’ contemplate. As to the Bill before us, I think it is somewhat of a misfortune that we were not first given an opportunity to go through the Estimates, because there are many questions which I think could be better debated upon them rather than in connexion with this Bill.
– They can be debated when we are dealing with the schedule in .committee.
– The defence expenditure is one which I think should receive the earnest consideration of the Parliament. I do not wholly agree with Senator Matheson, although I think - his speech .was a critical one, worthy of every consideration, both at the hands of the Government and of the Opposition. He has given us much food for reflection, and certainly on the face of them his figures appear to be incontrovertible. To my mind, the significant feature of the defence expenditure is that, notwithstanding all the pruning and retrenchment that is going on, the Headquarters Staff is not . suffering in the slightest degree. On the contrary, it is swelling and increasing. I should like the Government to give us some fuller explanation than has been given on this point. When we entered into federation, it was with the idea that we were going to federate the great departments of State, and that we should be able to save a large amount of money in each State by decreasing the expenditure on the various Headquarters Staffs. It seems to me that that has not been done ; that our Head-quarters Staffs in all the States are costing as much as before ; and that superadded to them we have now a Federal Head-quarters Staff. If that is so, and I have not been able to gather from these Estimates that it is not, it is a distinct breach of faith with the people of Australia. The people understood that when we entered into federation we should not have superadded upon the administration of the States another administration on the part of the Commonwealth. They understood that the administration of the Commonwealth would take the place of the administration of the States, and that in that way a substantial saving would be effected. I was disappointed that the “VicePresident of the Executive Council did not indicate whether there had been any saving as the result of federation. I hope that when he replies he will do so. I believe that some greater efficiency than we had before has been secured, owing to the fact that we have now a federal control of our Defence Forces. I should like to see the idea put forward by Senator Matheson as to the control of the naval forces - an idea which I have Jong cherished, and which has my hearty sympathy - carried out. It is the line along which the future naval policy of Australia must run. Undoubted])’, it seems not only unwise, but small and mean, that the people of Australia should contemplate nothing more than a mere contribution to Imperial defence, in which we have no say, which is not distinctively Australian, and which in time of need may not be at our service. I think we should render the truest service to the Empire if we gave our closest attention to the building up of a purely Australian navy. As Senator Matheson has indicated - and I have read articles by naval experts which bear out his contention - we could carry out this project, with an expenditure much less than that to which we are now committed. We could have a more’ efficient force, and the further guarantee that that force would be used for the defence of Australia. We have not that guarantee at present. We do not know whether in time of war the Admiralty authorities would recognise the claim which we possess for protection. I contend that we have a claim ; but would they recognise it? Would they not first recognise the claims of the mercantile marine of the Empire rather than the claims of our ports for protection ? When we come to think of what would be the position of Great Britain in time of war - how her food supply would be threatened at once - does it not appear that the primal idea in the minds of the Admiralty authorities would be to defend the food supply ? Our boats would be withdrawn for that purpose, and we should be left at the sweet will of the enemy. It seems to me that the Government would proceed along truly national lines, and that they would be at the same time true to the Empire if in the early days of the Commonwealth, and when contemplating a new arrangement with the British Government, they were to lay the lines of a future distinctively Australian navy. That would be a wise policy, and we should be sure to get something for our money. I hope that if the Government contemplate further retrenchment in connexion with the Defence Estimates they will pay some attention to the enormous Head-quarters Staffs. Exclusive of allowances we are paying to the States Head-quarters Staffs £14,742 per annum, and £15,255 to the Headquarters Staff for the Commonwealth, making a total payment of £29,997. That total is exclusive of administration expenses. It relates merely to the salaries paid to the officers, and it is altogether too great. It is wholly out of proportion to the amount which we are spending on our defences. To my mind one significant comparison was made in another place, andthat is that Canada, with a larger population than the Commonwealth possesses, with a long frontier line facing a foreign power - because the people of the United States, although practically of the same blood, are to all intents and purpose a foreign power - does not have anything like such a large expenditure on defence as we have. We have also to remember that Canada is in close proximity to European nations. It would be in immediate clanger of attack in case of a European war, but her defence expenditure is only something like £500,000 a year. According to the figures which were given in another place, and which were not controverted, that expenditure enables them to provide for a much larger defence force than we have.
– Look at the pay of the men.
– Certainly. But I do not think that they have the large administrative staffs that we have.
– They have a strong Imperial force there.
– I think we are following a line that is too ambitious. I think that for many years we should rely more largely upon the volunteer movement. Volunteers have proved themselves in South
Africa - because it must be remembered that the Boer was practically a volunteersoldier - to be able to adapt himself quickly to the circumstances of war. There, too, the barrackroom officer has not compared favorably with the citizen or volunteer officer. All that is necessary for our coast defence is a force of trained artillerymen - and let me me say here that I should like some guarantee from the Government that we are getting trained artillerymen for the money we are expending upon them. I am told that in Sydney some of the men who figure on our Estimates as trained artillerymen scarcely ever see a gun from one week’s end to another, and that their time is spent in waiting upon officers, sweeping out offices, opening and shutting doors, acting as telephone attendants, and as messengers and orderlies.
– There is a great deal too much of that.
– If we are paying for these men as office and telephone attendants and messengers, they should be put down as such in the Estimates. It is misleading the people and the Parliament to say that we are paying for trained artillerymen, when in case of war we shall find that these men know nothing whatever about artillery. We are depending upon these men for the nucleus of an artillery force, but instead of learning the science of artillery, an intricate science requiring years of study to master it, they are acting as messengers. If this is the case, I hope’ the Government will tell us straight out how many men are being trained as artillerymen, and how many are acting as orderlies for officers. It is a mistake to ask us to pass large sums of money as salaries for these men when they are not carrying out the duties for which they are paid.
– I think that we may well remember that the Federal Treasurer is in a very different position to a State Treasurer. He has not merely to look after our federal finances, but to endeavour not to disarrange the State finances any more than is absolutely necessary. In glancing through the speech of the Treasurer, I was greatly struck by the patriotic sentiment running through it. We have just heard a very interesting address from Senator Matheson. Personally, I am inclined to think that efficiency is the great consideration in matters of defence, and when it becomes a question of expenditure as against efficiency, I for one shall support efficiency, even though it should cost a good deal. There is no use in having any system of defence unless it provides a real defence. With regard to the trip to different parts of Australia, alluded to by Senator Pearce, I personally think that it would be of great advantage to the Commonwealth if all members of the Federal Parliament had a greater knowledge than many have at present of States other than i their own. I am, therefore, not one of those who look upon the proposed trip as a picnic. Far from it. Unfortunately, I shall not be able to go myself. I have some knowledge of the northern part of Australia, which some other honorable senators have not; but I have never had the pleasure of visiting Port Darwin, or the northern parts of Western Australia. I think that the proposed trip will be an education to those who are able to go, and those who do not go will probably derive benefit from hearing the experiences of those who do.
– How far inland are they to go 1
– I hope they will have time in various places to go inland, and that they will not be in too great a hurry. I should like them to have an opportunity of visiting some of the sugar plantations, that they may know something of the way in which they are conducted. I think also, that they ought to visit the scene of the operations of the pearl-fishing industry, that they may be able to judge for themselves whether or not there should be exceptional legislation to deal with that industry. As Senator Pearce has said, it was understood that when federation was accomplished certain economies would result. It was not, however, so necessary that the Federal Parliament should be particularly economical, as that the Governments of the States should see. that they followed up federation by the adoption of economical methods themselves. Yet what do we find 1 Speaking more particularly of the State of which I have the honour to be one of the representatives, we find that while the original estimate of new expenditure was £300,000 a year, I see by the figures here that the estimated new expenditure for the year ending 30th June next is £207,198. The Treasurer has told us that that represents ls. 4½d. per head of the population of the whole of the Commonwealth. The original estimate of £300,000 for new expenditure upon the population at that time represented ls. 1 0£d. per head. So that I maintain that the new expenditure of the Federation has been kept well within the estimate mentioned by those who advocated the acceptance of federation. In the case of New South Wales it was well known that we would have a much larger income from customs duties than we had before federation. I estimated that the revenue from customs in that State would probably be from £700,000 to £1,000,000 more than it had previously been. When I advocated the acceptance of the Commonwealth Bill I said that would give the local Treasurer an opportunity of reducing other taxation. But he has never done so. The New South Wales people are suffering, but they must not blame us. Let them blame their own Parliament. Why do not their own State Ministers propose to reduce taxation ? What have we seen1? The then Premier, before the inauguration of federation - for the sake of popularity, Tam afraid ; I hope I am wrong, but it seemed to me very much like it - brought forward am old-age pension scheme before he had the money to carry it out. It was generally understood that when the old-age pension scheme came into force it would result in the reduction of certain benevolent and charitable allowances. But it has not had much effect in that way. I find by the figures I have here that in the year 1S99 the total vote for charitable allowances in New South Wales amounted to £430,000 a year. What is it now? It now amounts to £925,000 a year, and as the old-age pensions account for only £565,000 of that sum, it is evident that only £70,000 has been saved upon the former vote of £430,000 for charitable allowances. There has, therefore, been very little economy in that line. I am not saying whether there should or should not have been such economy, but I am endeavouring to show that people are blaming the Federation for what they should blame themselves for.
– They do not believe in following the bad lead of Victoria in making the poor and the sick meet the deficit.
– I am referring now to the time of the federal campaign. I thought it my duty to issue a small pamphlet, from which, with the permission of honorable senators, I will extract a few lines. I am frequently twitted in New South Wales with being one of those who have got the people of that State into this mess. But I am never ashamed of being a federalist, and I always defend myself. I drew attention to the matter in my pamphlet. I estimated at the time that it was probable that New South Wales would receive from Customs revenue about £1,000,000 a year more than she had previous])’ received, and I asked what was the Treasurer to do with it. I went on to say -
Surely he ought to abolish in, the meantine land and income taxes, terminate the present pernicious system of treating proceeds of land sales as revenue -
They still go on selling land, and calling the proceeds income - and devote the remainder to the relief of burdens, or to grunting endowments to municipalities or local government bodies, to reduction in developmental railway rates, &e. “Not at all,” say the wise men.
And the wise men say so still. “Most of the 125 members of the Assembly, judging by past experience, would, as did the Assyrian, ‘comedown like the wolf on the fold,’ and would insist upon a scramble to placate their constituents, and, of course, merely incidentally secure themselves in their parliamentary positions.” Surely the electors have the remedy in their own hands, and whether they rise to the occasion or not, do not let them at all events blame the Federal Parliament, whose supreme duty it will be to weld the Commonwealth into a compact whole on principles of equity, and with as little derangement of State finances as is compatible with safety to the body politic, whose interests they represent, and, of course, ought to guard.
– H - Hear, hear. I wonder at the honorable senator voting for freetrade after that.
– That is exactly why I should vote for it. I am ‘not going to give up my free-trade principles because of the ad captandum arguments of my honorable and learned friend opposite. I looked to federation for Inter-State free-trade, and I argued that when the people saw the benefits of Inter-State free-trade, they would say”Why only Inter-State free-trade ; why not free-trade with the world V
– H - Hear, hear ; and get all our revenue from land taxation 1
– Direct taxation might follow afterwards if it were found necessary. Notwithstanding their professions of economy, the New South Wales Parliament have kept up, as honorable senators know, a total membership of 1 25. They have introduced what some of my friends in the labour corner will strongly approve of - a minimum wage of 7s. a day upon Government works. That is an expense which was not anticipated.
– It is highly appro- ciated, though.
– They have also introduced a system which - 1; for one, do not approve of, the system of day labour, instead of the contract system for public works - a very much more expensive system. What is to be done ? We have to look to the whole of Australia, and not merely to our own States, and we must ask what at the present time is to be done to bring about the saving which many of us said would be brought about by federation. I have no hesitation in saying that the greatest step in the direction of economy has not yet been taken, though I am glad to learn that the Treasurer has it in his mind, and that is an attempt to bring about the conversion and consolidation of the whole of the debts of the States. I am in hope that the Federal Treasurer will, during the recess, consult with the Treasurers of the States, to see what system can be brought in as soon as possible to introduce Australian consols. I see that the Victorian Government have loans maturing in January 1904, amounting to upwards of. £5,000,000, upon portions of which they are paying 4£ and 4 per cent. By that time we should be able- to substitute federal consols for those loans, and in that way save Victoria £50,000 a year in interest. We should also bring about this consolidation in the interests of Queensland, and of the little State of Tasmania, whose finances have been considerably upset by the Tariff, I took some trouble in the days gone by to look into this matter, and I consulted London experts upon the subject. I may perhaps be permitted to read one short extract to show what they think about it. Mr. David George, the London manager of the Bank of New South Wales, and a gentleman who has been for nearly 40 years in the service of the bank, speaks upon various systems suggested, after consultation with leading stockbrokers, Messrs Linton, Clarke and Co., who corroborate his view. He says -
Thirdly, as to bringing about a consolidation into Australasian consuls at once of all the various debts of the colonies - this, we believe, would be the best plan, but in order to carry it out a large conversion scheme would have to be introduced. The whole question depends upon terms - that is to say, the quid pro quo - that would be offered to the holders of the different stocks to induce them to change their present securities into stock of the consolidated fund. This, of course, will lie a difficult and delicate matter to arrange, and it will require to be placed in the hands of actuarial experts of great experience and skill to ascertain the relative values of the different loans of the separate colonies to a single interminable -
I draw special attention to that word. We shall not have the expense of continually renewing loans - consolidated inscribed stock ; and the most influential medium will have to bo employed to launch the scheme, and to find an opportune time for the purpose. The varying dates of maturity and rates of interest, and the feeling existing here as to the position which the different colonies afford as security for their loans, will all have to be taken into account. Present holders cannot be compelled to exchange their security, and therefore sufficiently liberal terms will have to be offered to induce the great bulk of them to fall in with the conversion scheme. The different merits and values of the loans of the various colonics will make it difficult to ascertain an all-round satisfactory basis of exchange.
If we succeed in that way, we shall in time save, at all events,¼ per cent. per annum on £200,000,000 of loan indebtedness, and that means £500,000 a year. When it is remembered that the expenditure on account of federation will probably not exceed £300,000ayear,it is evident that we shall in this way be able to save a considerable sum of money to Australia. If we are not able to produce economies in some other directions, the Federation is not to blame. When we calculated that £300,000 would probably be the original expenditure on account of federation, we did not reckon upon a minimum wage of 7s. per day; so that that expenditure has to be added to the estimate. At that time also, we did not think of the payment of £20,000 a year on account of New Guinea, which also has to be added to the original estimate. These facts go to prove that we have not been uneconomical in our federal administration. In regard to the so-called bookkeeping system, I take my full share of the responsibility, but 1 think that Sir George Turner’s figures prove conclusively that by the adoption of that system we have safeguarded some of the States. I see that for the year 1 902-3 the difference made by the bookkeeping system to Western Australia amounts to £642,000. That is the amount which Western Australia would have lost if the bookkeeping system had not been adopted. Surely we could not have expected Western Australia to come ink the Federation if thatloss had had to be faced,
On the other hand, some of the other States would have received more than they are now getting. Victoria, for instance, would have received nearly £400,000 a year more than she now gets. I am quite prepared to acknowledge my share of the responsibility as being one of the minor factors in supporting federation. I will close my remarks by quoting section 105 of the Constitution; which gives us the power to consolidate the State debts. That section reads as follows : -
The Parliament may take over from the States their public debts as existing at the establishment of the Commonwealth, or a proportion thereof, according to the respective numbers of their people, as shown by the latest statistics of the Commonwealth, and may convert, renew, or consolidate such debts, or any part thereof ; and the States shall indemnify the Commonwealth in respect of the debts taken over, and thereafter the interest payable in respect of the debts shall be deducted and retained from the portions of the surplus revenue of the Commonwealth, payable to the several States, or if such surplus is insufficient, or if there is no surplus, then the deficiency, or the whole amount, shall be paid by the several States.
I shall reserve any further remarks which I have to make until we get into committee on the Bill.
– Has the honorable senator got the figures showing the effect of the bookkeeping sections upon Queensland and Tasmania?
– Yes; had we not had the bookkeeping sections Queensland would have benefited by £107,000, and Tasmania would have benefited by £60,000. South Australia would have benefited by £13,000, whilst New South Wales would have lost £38,000 on the year.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Keefe) adjourned.
Senate adjourned at 10.36 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 7 October 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1902/19021007_senate_1_12/>.