1st Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Bill returned from the House of Representatives with a message intimating that it had made one of the amendments requested by the Senate and had not made the remainder.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as. follow : -
asked the Vice-President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Vice-Presi dent of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Vice-
President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Referring to the statement of the Minister of Defence, recorded on pages 4206-7 of Hansard, to the effect that payment for overtime to certain officials in the Post Office, Sydney, “ is now under consideration “ -
Has any decision been arrived at ?
If so, will he communicate same ?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s questions is as follows : - 1 and 2. It is assumed that the honorable senator refers to certainsorters who were not entitled to overtime under the State regulations, having been appointed subsequently to 1893. If so, the Public Service Commissioner decided on 25th August last that they should be paid at the same rate as other sorters doing similar work.
Attorney-General, upon notice -
Having regard to the appointment of officers of the Public Service or returning officers -
Has the question been considered that these returning officers may be called upon to give casting votes ?
Is it considered desirable that a member of the Public Service should be placed in the position of becoming the author of an)’ candidate’s membership of the Legislature ?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -
– The defendants in the cases referred to are the Hon. Alfred Deakin and Sir William Lyne. The statements of case to be submitted to the Supreme Court of “Victoria are now being settled by counsel.
The PRESIDENT laid upon the table a report from the Joint Library Committee, which was read by the CLERK (vide page 6204).
Senator PLAYFORD laid upon the table the following papers : -
Correspondence between the Treasurer and Premier of Victoria with respect to the Commonwealth taking over from that State the loan of £5,000,000.
Ordered to be printed.
Small Arm Ammunition Issue: Alteration of Regulations.
Australian Engineers : Appointments to First Commissions - Regulations.
Public Moneys received or disbursed in connexion with Corps: Financial Administration - Alteration of Regulations.
Australian Light Horse and Infantry: General and Instructional Staffs : Appointment of Officers to - Regulations.
Debate resumed from 14th October (vide page 6099), on motion by Senator Drake -
That the Bill be now read a second time, upon which Senator Dobson had moved, by way of amendment -
That the word “now” be left out with a view to the words “this day six months” being inserted.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).I am sure that honorable senators will share my regret that many expressions of opinion - many incidents - have imparted into this discussion an amount of heat and friction which is extremely undesirable. But, whilst expressing that regret, I feel that the events to which I refer justify me in outlining the attitude which New South Wales takes up. The point from which I start is that the Constitution Act provides that the Federal Capital shall be located in New South Wales with certain restrictions. All that that State asks is that the bargain shall be kept. But, in reply, to our request, we are met with all sorts of objections aimed at the undertaking itself. My reply to the objectors is that the objections are made too late ; that if there was any fault to be found with section 125 it ought to have been found before the Constitution Bill was accepted. When the time comes for carrying out the arrangement, it is demurred to on the ground that it will be too expensive or too inconvenient. The time for those objections to be raised was when New South Wales was asked to enter the Federation. It does appear tome that something approaching a confidence trick is being attempted if, after having secured the co-operation of New South Wales by reason of that section, the undertaking is not carried out at the earliest possible moment.
– The honorable and learned senator has given me a rather different opinion. With a tireless persistency from the time when the Senate first met until now, he has stood forward as the apostle of delay and amendment.
– An apostle of discussion and consideration.
– I shall deal with that point later on, but may I remind the honorable^ and learned senator that he acquiesced in that very provision before it was accepted by New South Wales? Did he stand on a public platform in his own State and tell its people - or, better still, did he tell New South Wales - “Whilst I am accepting the Constitution, it is my intention at the earliest possible moment to seek to amend that provision ? “ Had he taken that course his position would have been unassailable. But as he held his tongue at that time, we must assume that he acquiesced in the arrangement, and certainly by his silence he, like public men in other States, led New South Wales to believe that they agreed to the compact and were prepared to loyally carry it out. These latter-day objections and criticisms seem to me to savour of disloyalty.
– He abandoned the Divorce Bill in order that he might enter the campaign against the Federal Capital site.
– I wish to refer briefly to various events which have created a suspicion in the minds of the people of New South Wales. It will be within the knowledge of honorable senators that action has been contemplated against section 125 of the Constitution. Certainly, within very few months from the meeting of the Parliament, we had the two Melbourne newspapers leading a crusade against the selection of a site, commencing with gentle ridicule of what they were pleased to term “The Bush Capital,” and proceeding until they reached a depth of scurrility which is evidenced by the leading article in to-day’s Age. No public journal of any standing ever fell so low as the Age did to-day, when it launched out into such wild accusations against the integrity of New South Wales.
– Do not take any notice of such a rag.
– It is because of these things, because the public men and the public journals are leading this crusade that New South Wales is obliged to take notice of them.
– Senator Dobson is not a Victorian.
– I do not mean to say that Victoria is alone in her iniquity in this matter, but I am pointing to these various events as justifying the suspicion which has been engendered in the mind of the people of New South Wales. We have the Age today referring to the condition that the Capital should be in New South Wales as a nefarious condition. Did it preach that doctrine when it urged the acceptance of the Constitution ? On the contrary, did it not refer to the section as a graceful concession to the mother State 1
– What is nefarious in that 1
– That is for the Age to say. I am pointing out the attitude which was taken by public men and public journals prior to the acceptance of the Constitution by New South Wales, and at the present time.
– Let the honorable senator vote for Albury and he will have the Age with him.
– I think it probable that the Age would be with me if I voted for Albury, but not even to secure the support of the Age would I vote for a site the selection of which would be a wide departure from the spirit of the Constitution. The same newspaper, speaking on this matter, says that New South Wales exacted a bribe before she would join the union. If that statement had been made before New South Wales came into the Federation does any honorable senator, who knows how closely public opinion was divided in that State with regard to the Commonwealth Bill, think that she would have consented to join ?
– It is only another way of saying that New South Wales insisted upon the concession.
– But the honorable senator and others consented to it also. It is said to be a bribe, and a nefarious condition now, but not a word of that kind was said then. But having brought New South Wales into the Federation by that means, the opponents of this Bill now want to depart from the terms that were agreed upon. Without going beyond the debates of the Senate, we have had declarations made which confirm my statement. We have had honorable senators stating by way of interjection that we might very well delay the establishment of the capital for twenty years. Amendments have been suggested, the effect of which would be practically to alter the Constitution. Only yesterday, Senator Dobson told us that on financial grounds it would be a proper thing to amend the Bill so as to cause delay. I again ask the honorable and learned senator why he did not tell us before New South Wales came into the union that his acceptance of the Commonwealth Bill was conditional on several amendments being made in it ? But he kept that to himself.
– Within three months after Federation was established the NewSouth Wales representatives commenced to agitate for the establishment of the Federal Capital.
– I say that a bargain was made, and that as honorable men you are bound to keep it. “Whether the cost involved will be more or less is immaterial. As I have said, there is a desire in the minds of several people to delay indefinitely “the carrying out of that provision of the Constitution.
– Not indefinitely.
– Then let me ask honorable senators what they mean by a temporary provision ?
– They mean until they <lie.
– Only yesterday we had an interjection from Senator Styles to the effect that it was not the people’s Convention that inserted the Federal Capital provision in the Constitution. What is the “inference from that interjection ? Surely this is getting very close to the contention that the Federal Capital provision was not approved of by the people.
– I merely corrected Senator Neild when he said that the Convention inserted the section in the Constitution. I stated that the Convention never saw it.
– The purpose of the honorable senator’s correction was to show “thai there was some difference between this section of the Constitution and the other sections.
– We accept it as one Constitution now.
– It was accepted by the people.
– But the fact remains that this section, like the balance of the Constitution, was adopted by the people, and it stands there t»-day with only one difference between it and the remainder of the Constitution. There is a marked difference between the provision under which the location of the capital is secured to New South Wales and the rest of the Constitution. The rest of the Constitution is an agreement entered into jointly and severally by the States. But the 125th section is an agreement entered into between New South Wales on the one part, and the people of the other States on the other. It is an arrangement under which New South Wales consented to join the Federation, on the condition that the capital should be within her territory.
– They bribed New South Wales.
– The honorable senator only confirms my view by saying that he regards it as a bribe. When New South Wales is told by such a prominent and experienced public man as Senator Styles is, that the section is a bribe, she has a right to be suspicious. He did not call it a bribe when he advocated the acceptance of the Commonwealth Bill.
– I voted against the first Commonwealth Bill.
– Because it did not contain this 125th section !
– Senator Styles having voted against ‘ the Commonwealth Bill without this section, -afterwards voted for the amended Bill with the section in it.
– Because there were other amendments of which I approved.
– One inference from yesterday’s debate is that, in opposing the selection of the capital, any stick is good enough to beat a dog with. We had Senator Downer stating that the delay in reference to the choosing of the capital was due to want of unanimity . on the part of the New South Wales, representatives. He said that had it not been for that want of unanimity the question would have been settled long since. The bona fides of that statement can be tested in this way : The New South Wales representatives are agreed to-day; but what attitude does Senator Downer take up now 1 Having arrived at what he said was an essential condition - unanimity on the part of the New South Wales representatives - is his support secured 1 Not for one moment. Senator Downer’s attitude reminds me very much of the old fable of the wolf and the lamb. The wolf complained that the lamb was muddying the water from which he was drinking ; but he was reminded that the lamb was on the nether side of the stream, and could not possibly have muddied the water. The wolf, however, wishing to consume the lamb, soon found some other cause for picking a quarrel. That is exactly what Senator Downer has done. He says, in the first instance, that he wishes to have unanimity on the part of the New South Wales representatives ; and when that unanimity is secured he still refuses to carry out the terms of the Constitution. But while Senator Downer wishes to play the part of the wolf, I venture to say that the attitude of New South Wales will not be in any way lamb-like. How do honorable senators propose to carry out the agreement 1 I am told by an interjection that it can be carried out by-and-by - all in good time. How are we to know when honorable senators will be prepared to deal with the question? Senator Dobson has given us some idea as to when he thinks it ought to be dealt with. I believe he has suggested twenty years hence. I am dealing, of course, with the more elaborate protest which the honorable and learned senator has placed before the Senate and the country.
– I should say that we ought to deal with it when the financial strain has passed.
– I want to know when that will be.
– It will be when the millennium is reached.
– If we were to wait until the financial position in the opinion of the opponents of this measure had improved, the delay would be such that Senator Dobson’s proposal would be moderation itself in comparison. It is not wonderful that New South Wales, regarding the arrangement that in the interim Melbourne should be the seat of government as a temporary expedient, should desire those who ask for further delay to indicate definitely when they would be prepared to deal with it if not now. It is perfectly true that no time limit is fixed in the Constitution ; but neither was there any time limit in regard to any other provision, with the . exception of the Tariff.
– There was a time limit to the bookkeeping period and the Braddon section.
– As our means of taxation are practically limited to Customs duties, they all come within the Tariff provision. With that exception, there is no time limit as to when the various obligations imposed upon this Parliament by the Constitution should be carried out. That being so, New South Wales had a perfect right to ask Parliament, as soon as the position of public business permitted, to proceed to carry out that portion of the Federal compact. It is the same with regard tq the Federal Capital as it was in regard to the High Court. There was no time limit fixed in the Constitution with regard to theestablishment of that tribunal, but we all knew that it was intended to proceed with due expedition with its establishment. In the same way New South Wales has a perfect right to ask that the selection of the Federal Capital shall proceed, Parliament being guided by the same consideration. New South Wales certainly expects that this matter shall be determined in our time, and not by the next generation. There is a special reason for that demand, because the only plain difference between the section with which weare dealing, and the other provisions of theConstitution, is the moral obligation underlying it. This provision of the Constitution can be amended as can any other section in it if a majority of the people in a majority of the States approve of any proposed amendment. At present New South Waleshas secured to her by the Constitution that the capital shall be within her territory. The selection of the capital is therefore a recognition of the moral obligation underlyingthat section ; but if that moral obligation is not carried out until twenty years hence, the generation which entered into it will have passed away. I certainly hope that I and most of my honorable friends will still be here twenty years hence ; but if not, I believe I shall have the consolation of meeting them elsewhere - though I admit that I’ am extremely complimentary to them when I say so ! The Premiers of the different States and the public men who guided public opinion, in reference to the bargain with New South Wales to which I am referring, are most of them here( to-day ; and as they helped to make the bargain I decline to believe that they will willingly break it. But as in the course of time they pass away, and another generation comes upon the political scene, it would not be unreasonable if the coming generation were to say - “ We have not had an opportunity of carrying out that arrangement hitherto, and as this is a part of the Constitution which we can amend, and wefind it inconvenient to carry it out, we propose to amend it.” There is on that ground a danger to New South Wales in not carrying out the Constitution now. We recognise that danger, and therefore urge that with all due expedition - bearing in mind our obligations in relation to other public business - this matter shall be proceeded, with and not delayed indefinitely.
– Does not the’ honorable senator think that there is a moral obligation that the capital shall remain for a few years longer in Melbourne 1
– No ; because a temporary expedient is something which is arranged pending a permanent settlement. But I am not surprised at the honorable and learned senator’s attitude, because I have never known a matter upon which he was prepared to come to a permanent decision. Here I may remark that an injustice was done to Senator Dobson in one of the newspapers a few days ago. A list of senators was published showing the sites for which they intended to vote. The only name omitted was that of Senator Dobson. He was put down as doubtful.
– Because I declined to pledge myself when the lists were going round.
– I want to ask honorable senators, in order that they may understand the attitude of New South Wales on this question, to look at it through New South Wales spectacles.
– I am asking the honorable senator to try and look at it from the point of view of the feeling of Victoria.
– The honorable and learned senator should have thought of the position of Victoria before the bargain with New South Wales was made. But we have made the bargain, and now he does not wish to have it carried out. .
– The honorable senator is setting up a bogy and knocking it down again.
-Whether it is a bogy or not will be seen from the fact that three years have elapsed since the Constitution was adopted, and the provision of the Constitution referring to the Federal Capital has not yet been carried out. When the site is selected, five or even ten years will elapse before the Federal Parliament will be sitting in the capital. When it is proposed that the site shall be selected, we are met with demands for an indefinite postponement of the whole matter. We are also met by proposals the effect of which must be to destroy the whole value of the bargain with New South Wales. Sydney has, I think, a right to assume that the capital will be placed at the nearest practical point to the 100-miles limit. Senator Best looks surprised at that proposition. But Senator Downer, speaking yesterday, said, as a Constitutionalist, that the provision with regard to the area, “not less than 100 square miles” meant a site as near to that limit as we could practically get. In other words, “not less than 100 square miles” means anything up to, say, 150 square miles, and as near to that limit as possible.
– Can the honorable senator get any other lawyer in the Senate to verify that view ? If so, I shall be more amazed than ever.
– I am not dealing with the area of the territory to be acquired, but with Senator Downer’s contention that “ not less than 100 square miles” means within reasonable touch of that area. When the Constitution said that the Federal territory should not be less than 100 miles from Sydney, it meant that it was to be as near to 100 miles of Sydney as we could find a suitable site. I would confirm that view by reminding honorable senators of the negotiations which led up to the insertion of that section in the Constitution. There was first of all a demand from New South Wales that the capital should be located in Sydney. The representatives of the other States said - “No, but we will meet you by saying that you may have the Federal territory 100 miles from Sydney.” That was the answer. The New South- Wales people asked for Sydney, and the reply was - “No, but you can have it 100 miles away from Sydney.”
– The provision meant “ in New South Wales, but not within 100 miles of Sydney.”
– And that is what it says.
– I quite agree that that is what it says. But, while that is the position, it is idle to disguise the factors that were at work. The dispute as to the capital arose out of the long-standing jealousy between Sydney and Melbourne.
– On the part of Sydney.
– That is quite immaterial. It is open for me to accuse Melbourne, but my desire is to discuss the facts. There was jealousy between the two States, and New South Wales declined to enter the Federation unless the capital were located at Sydney. The answer of the other States was, “ We shall not do that, but you can have the capital in New South Wales, though not within 100 miles of Sydney.” The purpose of that condition was to have the capital in such a locality that it would not he within the centre of the influence of Melbourne. Do honorable senators mean to tell me that there would be any concession to New South Wales if the capital were placed at Albury %
– Undoubtedly !
– If the capital were placed at Albury, or near the borders of Queensland, it would be keeping the word of promise to the ear, but breaking it otherwise. The whole purpose of placing the capital in New South Wales was to give that State the advantages which would result from the possession of the capital.
– The honorable senator is confusing New South Wales with Sydney.
– I am doing nothing of the kind ; I am referring to the jealousy and rivalry there was between the two States, as to which should obtain most advantage from the possession of the capital.
– In this Chamber we do not know cities, but only States.
– I do not think that Senator Clemons knows that much sometimes. Whilst we may attempt to disguise the facts, which are more or less sordid, they existed, and it is necessary to consider them in order to get a proper interpretation of the provision.
– Why, in the case of Melbourne, was a limit not created within which the capital should not be placed 1
– As I understand, such a condition was assumed to be unnecessary.
– Why was it not stipulated that the capital site should not be within 1, 00 miles of Melbourne1!
– That is the question.
– If honorable senators want to say that that is the letter of the bond, well and good. I am not affirming that the capital should be within the 100 miles limit of Sydney, but simply showing what was the opinion of New South Wales ; and that State thinks that she does all that is required of her if she consents to the capital being equi-distant from Melbourne and Sydney.
– New South Wales offered us Albury as one of the sites we might choose.
– New South Wales offered Albury as a site to be examined ; and, if I remember rightly, one of the gentlemen who was largely instrumental in having that site included is a colleague of the Vice-President of the Executive Council. But the action of the representative of Albury can hardly bind the State of New South Wales.
– Albury was recommended by Sir Henry Parkes.
– Is Senator Best prepared to indorse all the opinions of Sir Henry Parkes ?
– Certainly not.
– I wish now to refer to the two conditions which, if adopted, will largely weaken its value of the concession to New South Wales. First, there is the contention that the capital should be on the border of the State ; and, secondly, that the area should be greatly enlarged.
– Does the honorable senator not drink that these proposals are made in good faith, and not in order to thwart or check New South Wales ]
– I do not quite follow the honorable and learned senator ; and, if he does not mind, I shall proceed with my remarks.
– I gathered, from the honorable senator’s previous remarks, that he thought these proposals were made in order to deprive New South Wales of her rights.
– I did not say so. What I said was. that the effect of the proposals is to largely destroy the value of section 125 to New South Wales.
– But not to deprive New South Wales of any constitutional rights.
– It would deprive New South Wales of one legal right, as I shall endeavour to show. I venture to say that if, prior to voting on the Constitution, the section had declared that the capital should be in the territory of New South Wales, but not less than 100 miles from Sydney, and on the border, the Constitution would never have been accepted. New South Wales would have regarded such a proposal as simply a fraud - as offering in words something not intended to be given in fact.
– Then New South Wales only came into Federation because she got the capital ?
– That was the turning point with New South Wales.
– New South Wales had refused the previous Bill.
– Personally I voted against both Constitution Bills, though on entirely different grounds from any relating to the Federal Capital, so that my position is clear. It is idle now to inquire as to whether it was a lofty motive or otherwise on the part of New South Wales.
– And now New South Wales is going for her “pound of flesh.”
– The “pound of flesh” was conceded to New South Wales, and if the other States objected, they ought to have rejected the Constitution, with that condition in it. The attitude of honorable senators, even as shown in their interjections, reminds me of that neat little story in David Harum. David had struck a “rank jib,” but he purchased it and sold it, with the recommendation that the horse was free and without blemish, could trot a mile in 2 min. 30 sec., could be driven by a lady as well as a man, and could stand without hitching. We all know what happened ; and honorable senators are giving a guarantee which, on its face, appears right enough, but underneath there is a reservation which, if acted upon, will largely destroy the value of the concession to New South Wales. As a reason why the capital should be on the border-line, we have the preposterous proposition that New South Wales is likely to tear up her railway lines, adopt prohibitive railway tariffs, or in some other way hamper the work of the Federal Government. I cannot think that those who advance that suggestion believe it themselves.
– I quite agree with the honorable senator.
– A case which requires to be buttressed by arguments or statements of thatkind must be rather weak. If New South Wales did attempt anything of the kind, I have sufficient belief in the innate powers of the Constitution to think that the Federal Government would find ways and means of carrying on their business. If there would be such a danger, in regard to the Federal territory, there is an equal danger to-day ; but I never fear when I get into the train at Sydney that my Melbourne friends will tear up the railway lines, in order that I may not be able to come to the Federal Parliament, and speak on behalf of my
State. Nor do I anticipate that any of the other States would take any such ridiculous and extravagant action.
– What is there in the argument that we should have a Federal territory?
– That matter was dealt with by Senator Dobson yesterday, and I think that every one knows the reasons which make it desirable to have a Federal territory. It is quite a different matter to suggest that Federal representatives may not pass over the territory of a State, or if they do, that they will incur danger. I am sure that Senator Dobson does not believe any such suggestion.
– I do not believe it, as is shown by the fact that I should like the Federal Capital to be in Sydney.
– The second proposal, to which I take exception, is that the 100 square miles shall be extended to 1,000 square miles. Honorable senators contend that the Constitution gives a right to take a larger area, because the section provides that the territory shall contain an area of “not less than 100 square miles.” The argument is that we may take any area in excess of that mentioned. Would it be contended that the Commonwealth had the power to take the whole State of New Wales?
– We do not want the whole.
– It does not matter whether we want it or not-have we the legal right to take it? If there be the legal right to take ten times the area mentioned in the Constitution-
– We have a legal right to take as much as New South Wales chooses to give.
– That, of course, means no right at all. But is it contended that the Commonwealth has the legal right to take an area in excess of 100 square miles? If so, the only logical conclusion of that is that the Commonwealth may take the whole of New South Wales, being not less than 1 00 miles from Sydney. Does any one contend that such a proposition will hold water?
– We do not want it.
– I am asking whether we have the right to take it ? If we have not the right to take the whole of New South Wales, we have no right to take 1,000 square miles. If there be the right to take more than 100 square miles, why the moderation in multiplying the area by only ten? I think I lay down a very fair proposition when I say that this section gives the Commonwealth the right to take such an area as may be necessary for Federal purposes. The language in the Constitution - “ not less than 100 square miles “ - is exactly the language used in the Bill we are discussing, which provides that the area shall not be less than 1,000 square miles. If the language in the Constitution justifies us in taking ten times the area mentioned, and this Bill becomes law, the latter may be interpreted as meaning that we may take ten times the area there mentioned, namely, 10,000 square miles, or 6,400,000 acres.
– Surely the honorable senator does not think that this is a compulsory acquisition Bill ? The Commonwealth can accept, but cannot seize.
– If we insist on this provision in the Bill, knowing that we cannot get the area without the consent of New South Wales, and that New South Wales is not prepared to grant it, what follows? We shall be laying down conditions the acceptance of which is impossible, and which must nullify altogether the concession to New South Wales.
– Not at all.
– We should be laying down conditions the acceptance of which we know is impossible, and the effect of which will be to indefinitely delay the settlement of the question.
– The Bill merely empowers the Commonwealth to accept 1,000 square miles, if New South Wales will grant that area.
– But if New South Wales declines to grant that large area, and the Commonwealth declines to accept a smaller area, what happens ? If the larger area is taken it will absolutely despoil New South Wales, because we shall be taking something to which we have no right.
– The Bill is not worth twopence so far as that goes, seeing that the Commonwealth cannot take the land.
– If we have the right to take the words, “ not less than 100 square miles,” as meaning 1,000 square miles, then under the Bill it could be argued that we were entitled to take the words, “ not less than 1,000 square miles,” as meaning 10,000 square miles. It is provided that whatever area of Crown lands may be within the Federal territory shall be granted free to the Commonwealth. It is not only the 100 square miles which has to be granted free.
– Yes, it is.
– The Constitution is clear on the point.
– It is not clear, and I think that the common-sense of the Federal Parliament will arrive at the conclusion that any area over 100 square miles must be paid for.
– Section 125 of the Constitution provides that such portions of the Federal territory as consist of Crown lands shall be granted to the Commonwealth without payment. Whether we select 100 square miles, 1,000 square miles, or 10,000 square miles, every acre of Crown land must be granted without payment.
– There may be very little Crown land in the area.
– It does not matter whether there be little or much. The very fact that honorable senators who propose this larger area are prepared to pay for it, shows that they know their claim is not equitable. Honorable senators, when they talk about paying for any excess area, entirely overlook the fact that the Constitution proposes, in no doubtful language, that all Crown land within the area shall pass to the Commonwealth without payment. I feel quite certain that New South Wales is not prepared to make such a large surrender. Sir John See affirmed the other day that he was not prepared to grant an inch more than 64,000 acres. I have had no means of communicating with Sir John See as to what really was in his mind, but I regard his words as the naturally impatient answer of a man to what he believes to be an outrageous demand. I am safe in saying, however, that New South Wales will willingly and freely grant any land which is necessary for the fit and proper purposes of a Federal territory. What *s New South Wales asked to do to-day? New South Wales is asked to grant land for the purposes of a scheme of land nationalization.
– That provision was proposed at the instance of the Labour Party, and submitted to by a weak Government.
– And advocated throughout Victoria by many candidates.
– I do not at all object : in fact, I subscribe to the idea that the. ownership of the land within the Federal territory should remain with the Federal authorities ; but that can be done with 100 square miles just as well as with 1,000 square miles. I contend that, however right the principle may be, if Members of Parliament want to carry out an experiment with rural land it ought to be carried out in their own States, and with their own land. I would remind Senator Smith of the opportunity afforded by the broad acres of Western Australia for carrying out these political ideas, which, to my mind, are very suggestive of political youth. For the purposes of a Federal Capital 100 square miles is ample, and within that area the land nationalization experiment could be carried out. There is one other argument which is used in support of the proposition for a larger area, and which at first sight appears to have some weight. The argument is that the Federal territory shall be of such magnitude as will insure an increment in value sufficient to enable the capital to be selfsupporting - in other words, to make its creation a good financial transaction. Those who advance that argument surely have very little knowledge either of the land proposed to be taken or of the land laws of New South Wales. In the first place, if 1,000 square miles be taken around either Tumut or Bombala, the great bulk of the land will be found to be distinctly poor. But whether the land be poor or rich makes no difference to the point which I wish to emphasize, namely, that before the Commonwealth can get any return, the value of that land will have to multiply four times. In New South Wales at the present time, the principle adopted by . the Government is to charge a rental of percent, on the capital value. I assume, from interjections we have heard, that for any excess area taken honorable senators are willing that the Commonwealth should give New South Wales some financial recompense. If the Commonwealth Government take over the land at the capital value, they will have to let it at a rental of per cent., or they will find no tenants, for the simple reason that immediately outside the Federal territory the New South Wales Government will be offering land at that rental. Any rental less than 5 per cent, will give no adequate return, allowing for the cost of a Lands 12 d 2
Department j so that, as I say, there can be no adequate return unless the land multiplies in value four times. Do honorable senators suppose that rural lands, stretching for sixty or seventy miles in the neighbourhood of a small capital, will multiply their value to that extent within any appreciable distance of time. I venture to say that it will be one of the most disastrous speculations ever indulged in if the Commonwealth, under the circumstances, seeks to acquire an area as a matter of purchase. I now desire to briefly say a word or two as to the arguments advanced on the merits of particular sites. I recognise that the contest is now narrowed down to Bombala and Tumut. I know my own State of New South Wales very well, and have a good general knowledge of Queensland ; and I cannot shut my eyes to the fact that the eastern coast of Australia is destined to carry by far the larger portion of the population of the continent. That being so, I should, quite apart from its undoubted merits, have preferred Armidale ; but I recognise that that site is impossible, in view of the pronounced opinions of honorable senators. While I regard Armidale as destined to be the centre oE the future population of the continent, I regard Lyndhurst as the present centre ; but recognising the opinion of my fellow members, I have to forego my preference for that site and to choose between Tumut and Bombala. I have no hesitation in making my choice ; but I would like to point out the somewhat inconsistent attitude of those who have spoken for Bombala. Yesterday we had Senator Downer strongly objecting to any material increase of the area beyond 100 square miles, but supporting Bombala and demanding a seaport. The land of New South Wales not being any more elastic than that of South Australia, he has not shown us yet how, while confining himself to the minimum of 100 square miles, he is going to have Bombala and a seaport within the Federal territory. Now we “come to the arguments advanced by Senator Dobson in favour of the same site. He affirms that one essential condition is that the Federal territory shall have a seaport. Only one of the sites suggested has a seaport, and that is Bombala. While he affirms that there is only one site which complies with that essential condition, yet he asks time to consider what site shall be selected. If, in his view, a seaport is an essential condition, he cannot logically ask any more time in which to consider the selection of a site, because there is only one site which possesses that requisite. I have spoken at greater length than I intended to do. I have sought, so far as I could, to put the facts before honorable senators as they present themselves to the minds of New South Welshmen. I would ask honorable senators to extend some consideration to the wishes, or, if they like, to the sensitiveness of New South Wales. What we ask is what we think we’ are legally entitled to ask - that, without any undue delay, steps shall be taken to determine the seat of government. I am not going to say that there should be any immediate effort to incur a large expenditure - I should oppose such a proposal - but I think that New South Wales” has the right to ask, if only as an evidence of good faith on the part of the Federation, that the selection of a site shall be made now.
– I happen to be one of those who very earnestly desire that this question of the Federal territory, within which the seat of government has evidently to be placed, shall be settled at the earliest possible moment. ‘ I thoroughly agree with much of what Senator Millen has said upon that subject. I think, without reservation or equivocation, that it is due in the first place to New South Wales that it should be settled as early as possible.
– Therefore, the honorable and learned senator will vote against Bombala 1
– Why should I be against Bombala ? On the contrary, I expect my honorable friend to support Bombala, and so solve the question. If all those who have doubts with respect to Tumut will immediately declare, by way of interjection, that they favour Bombala, we might end the sitting at once, and the session at a very early date. It is due, not merely to New South Wales, but to the Constitution and to the Commonwealth, that we should, at the earliest possible moment, define this territory within the borders of New South Wales, in order that we may settle at what part of the Federal area the seat of government shall be placed. That is what the Constitution requires of us. That is what all of us contemplated when entering into the Federal bargain. I do not agree with Senator Millen that it was the intention of the people of this country - who, in the final resort, declared the Constitution under which they intended to live - that that area of Federal territory should be placed as near as possible to Sydney, or to the 100-mile limit outside Sydney. I think that the language of the Constitution expresses plainly what was the intention of everybody - that it should be within the State of New South Wales, but not within 100 miles of Sydney. And it was a weakness on the part of my honorable friend’s very able advocacy of the principle to which we are seeking to give effect that he should have suggested that a part of the inducement to New South Wales was that in respect of this provision the capital should be placed contiguous to the 100-mile limit. I do not think with Senator Walker that the selection of the Federal territory and the establishment of the capital within that territory stand at all on the same footing as the establishment of the executive, the legislative, or the judiciary parts of the Constitution. I mean that the thing is equally extravagant from that point of view, as, I venture to think, with all submission, my honorable friend’s suggestion about placing the territory contiguous to the 100-mile limit is extravagant from the other point of view.
– Does not the honorable and learned senator think that it meant within the sphere of New South Wales influence as against Victorian influence t
– I do not think that that was any element in the matter.
– It was, in New South Wales.
– I really do not believe that it was in New South Wales, although I know there was a feeling of rivalry between the two States, or, perhaps, to reduce it to a narrower limit, between the two cities. In the Convention, it was proposed by Sir William Lyne that Sydney should be made the capital in the Constitution, and it was supposed that the proposal was made not seriously, but in order to take wind out of the sails of Mr. Reid. It was abandoned, and the choice was left in the Constitution to the Parliament. I wish absolutely to dissociate myself from those who have suggested as a reason against Tumut, or any other site, that it would be in such a position within New South Wales as to be a kind of pocket borough for Sydney, or, in other words, that “it would be so under the control of Sydney that, if the proceedings of the Commonwealth Government or Parliament displeased that State, the rails could be taken up, and -the gates closed, when we should be without either ingress or egress in respect to the Federal territory. I do not believe for an instant that there is any foundation for a suggestion of that kind. My honorable friend, Senator Dobson, in a moment of heedless rhetoric, gave expression to that “view, but I assume that he spoke unthinkingly, and without any serious intention of offering it as an argument.
– I only pointed out what might be done. I did not express my -own view.
– The “idea ought not to be put forward that it might be done. I do not believe that the -settlement of this question is to be advanced one yard by stirring up strife, or by the introduction of other elements of heat or friction in addition to those which already exist in the rivalry between the two cities. We have examples of that rivalry frequently. It is absurd that we cannot enter into a discussion of this question without imputing motives, and suggesting courses of action which might be very proper on the part of some barbarous potentate or community in the centre of Africa, but which we can hardly attribute to any portion of the Australian Continent. Whilst I venture to think that it is our business to get “the question settled at the earliest possible moment, still I am not prepared, and I do not think any of us are prepared to ;yield up our right of criticism, or surrender our judgment on a particular site, merely to have the question finally settled within the next day or two. There has been very great delay. The blame for that delay has rightly been placed on the shoulders of the Government, because it has been inexcusable. Speaking in May last on the Address-in-Reply, I said that it would have been perfectly easy to have had initial steps taken with a view to determining the position of the Federal territory. It might have been advanced a stage or two, -and we might then have been able without -difficulty to arrive at a final settlement before the session closed. The Parliament is in no way to blame. The people of New South Wales have to blame only the Ministry, and an particular the late Minister for Home
Affairs, who has simply dallied and dodged with this question during the past six months. It is placing all of us in an exceedingly embarrassing position to have this matter brought up for determination just as the sands in the glass of this Parliament are about run out. However, we have to deal with the question as far as we can. In what way are we asked to deal with it? The Bill seems to me to be founded on an entire misapprehension of the position under the Constitution. How such a Bill was ever framed by any one who has sought to apply an intelligent apprehension to the provisions of the Constitution under which it is supposed to be done, I cannot conceive. The Bill says -
It is hereby determined that the seat of Government shall be at or near Tumut.
That is not what the Constitution requires us to do. The Bill is perfectly ineffective, it seems to me. It amounts to nothing more than the expression of a wish on the part of the Parliament in respect to a particular locality.
– Section 125 of the Constitution says that it “ shall be determined by the Parliament.”
– I was going to acquit my honorable and learned friend of being a party to this extraordinary Bill, which exhibits on its face not one gleam of intelligent apprehension of what the Constitution means. Under section 125 the seat of government has to be determined by the Parliament ; but where ?
Within territory which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth.
That has never been done.
– Does not the honorable and learned senator think that we should first choose a site ?
– No ; we should first choose the territory. If the honorable senator will reflect for a minute he will see that we are putting the cart before the horse.
– That is hair splitting.
– We have no more right to determine the position of the seat of government until the territory is allocated than we have to determine anything else with which we have no concern.
– No we have to determine the locality first.
– My honorable and learned friend happens to be Attorney-General, but he will have to study the Constitution a little more than he has done.
– I know all about this.
– How are we to get the Federal territory ‘( This matter has been discussed from a point of view which is altogether misleading. Senator Millen discussed with very great force the position in respect to the 100-mile limit. Naturally he got confused by the expression “not less than 100 miles,” and he sought to differentiate between the right to insist on anything over 100 square miles and the 100-mile limit. Allow me to say that they are both in the same position. I do not believe that this Parliament can take one single square inch of territory without the consent of .New South Wales. It is of no use to blink the fact.
– It is all under offer to us.
– I am not talking about the offers, but about our performing a farce, as though we were a circus indulging in some kind of burlesque entertainment.
– No ; we leave that to the honorable and learned senator’s leader.
– The honorable and learned senator is a mere clown, but of a milder type. Why should he make an offensive remark like that 1
– Why should the honorable and learned senator make an offensive remark to me !
– I made no offensive remark to the honorable and learned gentleman. Why should he drag in my leader, and talk in that way 1
– It is quite right when the honorable and learned senator talks about our being a circus.
– The honorable and learned senator ought to be ashamed of himself.
– I am not ; but I am ashamed of the honorable and learned senator’s leader.
– The idea of the Attorney-General making a statement like that in a House of this description ! He is not worthy of his position when he says such a thing
– Nor is the honorable and learned senator, and he never has been.
– Let us take the position under the Bill. This territory - whether we desire 1 0, 50, 1 00, or 10,000 square miles - must be the subject of cession by New South Wales. Therefore, those who desire to have more than ] 00 square miles are perfectly entitled to put in that request as well as any other request. It is just as effective to say, “ We desire that the area of this territory shall be 1,000 square miles,” as it is to express a desire that it should be 50 square miles.
– Does not the honorable and learned senator admit that it is absurd to proceed by Bill ?
– I say that it would have been just as effective and more appropriate if we had proceeded by resolution. But having got the Bill, it may be treated as a resolution. What is misleading about the Bill is that it professes to determine the seat of government before the territory has been granted or required - before we have declared the territory within which the seat of government may be chosen.
– Does the honorable and learned senator say that a Bill is not the proper way to express the determination of Parliament ?
– What determination ?
– The honorable and learned senator said just now that it should have been done by resolution ; but I hold that a Bill is the proper way to express any determination of Parliament, and he ought to know that.
– I would tell the Attorney-General, if he would only listen and apply his intelligence while he listens, that we cannot determine the seat of government until the territory has been granted or acquired.
– I say that the proper way to express the determination of Parliament is by a Bill.
– The proper way would be for the two Houses of the Parliament to pass a joint resolution practically asking New South Walesto say that the Federal territory shall be in a particular place, and that area, if granted by that State, would becomethe Federal territory, and we should then be in a position to declare where the seat of
Government should be. That is the only course that it seems to me to be possible to take. Look at what has been done. The Bill says -
It is hereby determined that the seat of Government shall be at or near Tumut.
I say that that is not in accordance with the Constitution. The Constitution lays it down that the seat of Government shall be within, territory “ which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth.” And the grant or acquisition must be by means of cession on the part of New South Wales. Everybody who has studied the subject as it was expounded in connexion with the district of Columbia in the United States, knows perfectly well that that district was ceded to the Federal Government. There was no intention in our Constitution to
Alter that method. We are not dealing with the acquisition of a bit of land for a postoffice, or some other public building. We are dealing with territory, and the only means by which one State or self-governing community can obtain territory from another is by cession or by conquest. This is by cession. Whatever the Commonwealth Parliament decides to be the locality, whether it be an area of 100 square miles or any reasonable area beyond that - I have no hesitation in saying that the State of New South Wales will immediately cede it.
– Is not New South Wales compelled to do so ?
– Is not that State compelled by the Constitution 1
– The only way by which we can escape from the absurdity pointed out in connexion with the words “not less than “ is by applying the same rule to an area ot over 100square miles as we should apply to an area “ of not less than “ 100 square miles. If we want 1,000 square miles we cannot enforce it. If we want less than 100 square miles what power have we got to enforce it ? None. The Federal territory must be obtained by cession from New South Wales, and, therefore, when we attempt by this Bill to go through the farce of using the language of enactment–
– This is only with regard to Crown lands.
– No ; alienated land is just as much the territory of New South Wales as is unalienated land, except that alienated land will have to be paid for, and unalienated land will not.
– Did not the New South Wales Parliament agree that 100 square miles should be ceded 1
I no doubt that the Parliament of New South I Wales will cede that territory to the Com- I monwealth.
– I think they must.
– I have no reason to suppose they will not. But until they cede the territory we cannot determine where the capital shall be ; and that is the point to which I wish to direct the attention of the Senate.
– They will not cede any territory until we have determined where it is to be.
– I take the view that it is not susceptible of reasonable argument that “ not less than 1 00 square miles” means about 100 square miles. It means as much as you like ; and the very fact that the words are “ not less than “ indicate that it means as rauch as you like. It may be 10,000 square miles or the whole State of New South Wales, if you please ; but subject to the condition that New South Wales must cede it, whatever the area is. If we are guided by that consideration in regard to the words “ not less than “ it is as plain as possible what the framers of the Constitution meant, and what the Premiers meant, when they added those words to this particular part of the Constitution. If that is the case, and if the territory is subject to cession, I can only treat this Bill as an expression of the wish of the Parliament that the Federal area - whatever may be determined upon - shall be in the neighbourhood of a particular locality. I think it is an unfortunate thing that that wish is to be expressed by Bill. It appears to me that that matter has not been carefully thought out.
– Oh, yes it has.
– The thoughts applied to it must have been of a very muddy order. ^
– That is only the honorable and learned senator’s opinion.
– It has been thrown upon the floor like a bone to be gnawed at. The Government previously introduced a lot of arrangements for a conference, which would have degraded this Senate and sacrificed its integrity to th greater numbers of the other House. So that really they have been exploring for some method of carrying the section of the Constitution into effect, and they have hit upon this method, by a Bill which declares its purpose in extraordinary words, which I venture to think no one has ever seen in a Bill or Act of Parliament before -
It is hereby determined that the seat of government of the Commonwealth shall be at or near Tumut, and the territory granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth within which the seat of government shall be should contain an area - “Whoever read such language as that in an Act of Parliament ? We know that Acts of Parliament either declare or enact something, but I never saw before in an Act of Parliament an expression of a pious wish such as we are asked to insert in this Bill that the area of the Federal territory should be extended. Let us declare, if that is our opinion, by saying, emphatically and plainly, that we should like the Federal territory to be 1,000 square miles in area.
– Let us say “ shall “ or nothing.
– Yes ; “ shall” or nothing. Let us accompany that by words which will show that we intend no discourtesy to New South Wales, and that we do not wish to be peremptory ; but let us express ourselves in such a way as to indicate whatour view on the subject is.If that is our meaning, there is no doubt about our right to express it. It is as possible for us to say what additional area we shall acquire as to limit it to 100 square miles. I do not know that the words “ not less than “ were introduced for the purpose of enabling us to take a larger area as some honorable senators seem to think, so as to embrace a port or a means of access by river. I know that in the American Constitution the words were “not exceeding” 100 square miles. The intention in that case was perfectly obvious. They wanted for a capital simply a place for a city with some elbow room; but we may require a larger area for the purposeof taking in - as some honorable senators say there is great necessity for doing - access to a river or a water frontage. It should not be forgotten that in regard to the District of Columbia, a portion of that territory was given by Maryland, and the other portion byVirginia. The two portions ran astride of the PotomacRiver, so that there was access by water. Fifty or sixty years ago - in 1846, I think - Virginia received back her portion of thirty-four square miles and left the territory as it is now, some sixty-four or sixty-six squaremiles in area. But probably it was the intention of the framers of the Constitution, and of the Premiers who inserted this provision, to give greater scope and expansiveness ; and it may be all the better for us that it should be so. But whether that was the intention or not, there is no doubt that this Bill does not decide matters. This Bill is only an expression of a wish. Whatever the form of enactment may be, both as to locality and as to area, and whetherwe shall get the territory or not - I have no doubt we shall get it - it must be obtained by cession from the Government and the people of New South Wales and not by virtue of any right of this Parliament to compulsorily acquire it. That being the view which I take of this Bill - that it gives expression to a wish - it is impossible for me to support the amendment moved by Senator Dobson. I do not know what his idea was in moving it in. relation to a matter that has reached this stage. I rather agree with Senator Millen, who seems to think that Senator Dobson is very like a rudderless ship on an unknown sea and does not know quite where he is on this question. I do not know whether it is that he wants the site not to be selected at all, or whether he wishes to defeat this Bill as a lever to undoing the Constitution and ultimately putting the Federal Capital in Sydney. Is that what he means? Does he mean this amendment to be an insidious attempt to override the Constitution 1 My honorable and learned friend is constantly committing these little assaults - making these little nibbles, as I may call them - upon the Constitution. I do not know, in the present instance, if that is his intention or not ?
– I want Senator Symon to tell us what he proposes to do.
– I always thought my honorable and learned friend was a true Federalist, but I begin to doubt it, because I find that whenever he is making these attacks upon the Constitution he waves the flag of economy. We have heard that before, in regard to a much more vital part of the Constitution. As far as this particular matter is concerned, I think it would be a great mistake to carry Senator Dobson’s. amendment. It is very much better for us “to take the view that, as we have this Bill before us - irregular as it may be - it gives us an opportunity of reducing to a limit of two the eligible sites. Whether we insert the name of Bombala or retain the name of Tumut, it will be wise for us to come to a decision upon the measure. If we insert the name of Bombala, and the other branch of the Legislature does not agree with us in that respect, we shall at any rate have reduced the conflict for the present to these two places, and shall have an opportunity later on, with, I hope, more knowledge and information, and, perhaps,
After more thought, of determining finally where the Federal Capital shall be.
– The honorable and learned senator has not the courage of his opinions. I thought we were all going wrong, according to him.
– Senator Dobson is always going wrong ; but if he votes for Bombala he will be absolutely fight in the present instance. I intend to vote for Bombala, not because I intend to put my opinion dogmatically against the opinion of those who think that there are serious objections to that site, but for other reasons. I listened with great interest to some of the speeches made yesterday, with a view of eliciting information. The first speech made in advocacy of Tumut from the New South Wales side was not, to ray mind, convincing. But while I shall vote for Bombala, I wish -to say very plainly that if the matter is not settled now I reserve to myself distinctly the right, upon further investigation and further discussion, to change my mind upon the whole subject. I am prepared, if the matter is settled now, to accept Bombala and be satisfied with it.
– The honorable and learned senator seems to be a little bit “ wobbly “ about it.
– What is my little wobble compared with Senator Dobson’s huge wobble? He is the champion wobbler of Australia. I think that it is deplorable that we should at this late stage, when the candle of our legislative work is burning out, be called upon to determine this great historical question. But still, if we are to determine it, I am going to vote for Bombala, reserving to myself the right, if I get further information later on, and good reasons are given for some of the other sites, to change my mind, and to vote for a preferable site when the permanent and final selection of the seat of government is made.
– In addressing myself to the question before the Chair, I want to try, if possible, to follow the example set by several honorable senators who have preceded me, and to speak in such a way as to leave no sting behind. I must confess that, when I reflect upon some of the speeches that have been delivered, I come to the conclusion that there has been a good deal of irritation expressed. I, however, want to discuss it in a calm and temperate spirit, and to arrive at what I regard as a proper determination. Senator Symon has said that the course we are pursuing is not the proper one. Whether his contention be correct or not, if we pass this Bill it will be a deliberate expression of opinion by the Senate. When we previously discussed the subject, the Senate showed the way in which, in its opinion, the Government should deal with it, and the proposition agreed to on the motion of Senator McGregor directed the Government to proceed by means of a Bill. We have two propositions before us. In the first place we have the Bill, the second reading of which has been moved ; and, secondly, we have an amendment proposed by Senator Dobson that the Bill be read this day six months. The object of the amendment is to shelve the Bill. I intend to support it. I have no hesitation in saying that it would be a good thing if the Bill were shelved under present circumstances ; and if Senator Dobson’s proposal is not carried, I shall divide the Senate on the motion for the second reading, in order that I may express, by my vote, the opinion which I entertain. If the Government are successful in carrying the motion for the second reading of the measure, I shall vote for the site which I think ought to be selected ; but if I cannot secure the choice of my first preference, I shall do what I can with the object of preventing the Bill from becoming law. Probably in the end I may adopt the position which has been taken up by Senator Symon, and vote for Bombala ; though I reserve to myself the right to alter my opinion in the light of the further knowledge which I may acquire in regard to any alternative site that may be proposed. Senator Dobson submitted a number of reasons in favour of his amendment, and with some of those reasons, though not with all, I agree. I was pleased to listen to Senator Downer. As was pointed out yesterday, this is probably the last occasion on which we shall hear the honorable and learned senator in the Senate, seeing that he has renounced his intention of resigning his seat ; and I should like to take the opportunity of expressing my personal opinion that his deliverance of yesterday is a credit to himself and undoubtedly expresses the Australian view. This afternoon, Senator Symon blamed the Government for the attitude which they have taken up on this question. The honorable and learned senator charged the Government with neglect of duty in not submitting the Bill before this late period of the session. I do not, however, blame the Government, who, so far as I can see, could have adopted no other course. We have only to remember the vast amount of legislative work which had to be done in order to agree that the Government could not have introduced a measure relating to the capital site at an earlier date. While this is true, however, my main objection to the measure is that it has been left to the dying hours of the last session of the first Parliament.
– We must be doing something in our dying hours.
– That is quite true, if it be only praying for our souls. In a matter of such importance as the choice of a Federal Capital, it would have been better if the Government had given more time for its consideration, or, at this stage of the session, had excised it from their programme. The question of the Federal Capital has given most of us a great deal of difficulty. I have read the reports of the Royal Commission, and of Mr Oliver, and have followed the evidence given by the various witnesses, in addition to personally inspecting every one of the proposed sites. Yet, after all, I confess that it has not been easy for me to make up my mind. There has been much conflict of opinion ; and everything points to the fact that there is not sufficient information before us to enable us to arrive at a proper decision. A good deal has been said as to the rights of New South Wales, and there is no doubt that section 125 of the Constitution declares that the Federal Capital shall be within that State, subject to certain obligations and conditions. I admit that the right of New South Wales is unchallengeable, and I should be no party to any proposal to go behind the agreement under the Constitution. But, in urging delay, I thoroughly believe I am acting in the interests not only of New South Wale3, but of the whole of the people of Australia. There is no mandatory provision in the Constitution that the Federal Capital shall be fixed within a specified time. We all know, however, that from the beginning, there has been a feverish anxiety that the first Parliament should enact all the legislation contemplated by the Constitution. The speeches which have been delivered by the representatives of New South Wales show that the proposal to now fix the Federal Capital is made entirely in the interests of that State. While it is perfectly true that the Constitution, as accepted, contained a provision that the Federal territory should be within New South Wales, the people of Australia, when the Constitution was before them, did not give the question that consideration which it deserves. The people now are seriously reconsidering the position, and there is a reaction in regard to many matters connected with the Federal movement. The people of Australia are not readily swallowing everything told them, as they did when Federation was being advocated ; and time is bringing forth fresh developments.
– Victoria swallowed the biggest bite, seeing that the voting in that State in favour of Federation was three to one.
– I deny that Victoria “swallowed the biggest bite.” I believe that the people of the Commonwealth desire to express their opinion on matters Federal at the forthcoming elections, and they have a perfect right to do so. We cannot disguise the fact that honorable senators desire to protect the interests of their own States, and I am only doing my duty in expressing what I believe to be the opinions and desires of the people of Victoria. If the question of the Federal Capital be relegated to the new Parliament which is to meet a few months hence, and it is then shown to be the desire of the States to carry out the bargain with New South Wales, I shall be prepared to do all that is reasonable to that end. We ought to realize the seriousness of the step we are asked to take. We are choosing a Federal
Capital not for to-day, but, as has been well said, for all time. The opinions of Mr. Oliver, the opinions of the Royal Commission, and the opinions of those witnesses who favour certain districts, are diametrically opposed. Mr. Oliver flatly contradicts the Royal Commission, and in turn the Royal Commission ridicules the findings of Mr. Oliver. The site first chosen by Mr. Oliver is placed last in the list of the Royal Commission, and Mr. Oliver returns the compliment. Even the representatives of New South Wales are not in agreement on the question.
– In what respect ?
– Representatives are advocating various sites. While there was a combination in another place in favour of Lyndhurst, the vote was taken under peculiar circumstances, and it was shown that the New South Wales representatives were not unanimous even in regard to that site.
– Lyndhurst got a very substantial vote.
– At any rate, thev are not unanimous, and I honestly believe that if the selection of the site were postponed, the representatives of New South Wales would, in the end, be better pleased than would even the representatives of other States.
– Is the honorable senator j justified in saying that ?.
– I think I am, and the honorable senator ought to know that what I am saying is correct.
– It is simply an expression of Senator Barrett’s opinion.
– It is an opinion formed after hearing speeches, not only here, but in another place, and after conversations with members of the Parliament. What are the essential points of section 125 1 It is provided, first, that the site shall be determined by Parliament; secondly, that the territory granted or acquired shall be owned by the Commonwealth; thirdly, that the land must be vested in and belong to the Commonwealth ; fourthly, that it shall be distant not less than 100 miles from Sydney; fifthly, that it shall contain not less than 100 square miles ; and sixthly, that the Parliament shall sit in Melbourne until it meets at the seat of Government. If one may judge from the speeches delivered, the whole trouble in regard to the matter arises from the fact that for the present the seat of government is in Victoria. When representatives of New South Wales talk about “ the bond,” it is well that they should be reminded that there are other bonds. From the time this Parliament first met until the present moment, New South Wales representatives have been urging that the seat of government should- be moved to that State ; and if they do not carry out their share of the bargain under the Constitution, they will have only themselves to blame, should New South Wales eventually lose the honour of having the Federal territory within her boundaries. As to the area, the Constitution provides that it shall not be less than 100 square miles ; and my reading of the provision is that this, or any future Parliament, is not bound to that area. If it had been intended to confine the Federal territory to 100 square miles, the framers of the Constitution would have made that fact quite clear. No limit, however, is placed to the area, and the House of Representatives has declared that it is desirable to acquire 1,000 square miles. I do not think that there is any intention to contend that the Government of New South Wales can be compelled to grant more than 100 square miles ; but if in the wisdom of Parliament 1,000 square miles is deemed to be a proper area, we are quite within our rights in asking that it shall be ceded to us on equitable terms. In regard to this, and many other sections, the people of Australia did not realize what they were doing when they accepted the Constitution; and if there be an unwise provision in regard to the Federal territory or any other matter, surely we have a right to make the best arrangements possible under the circumstances. Some honorable senators have spoken as though the proposed extension of the Federal territory had been suddenly sprung upon the Federal Parliament. They must be aware that on nearly every platform in all the States of the Commonwealth candidates for the Federal Parliament advocated that a greater area than 100 square miles should be acquired. Some spoke of 1,”000 square miles, others of 5,000 square miles, and on many platforms I advocated that the territory acquired should be as large as possible, and also that the land should never be sold, but should be held by the Government of the Commonwealth in trust for the generations to come.
– No candidate ever proposed anything to the contrary.
– I am prepared to give a vote on this question in keeping with my election pledges, and when we come to consider that provision of this Bill, I shall be prepared to vote for it. Several objections have been urged against the proposal. In the first place it has been hotly opposed by representatives of New South Wales, and it has recently been publicly opposed by the State Premier of New South Wales, Sir John See. In my opinion that gentleman has very unwisely declared that he will not give us an inch beyond the area to which we are entitled under the Constitution, and I suppose he refers to the area of 100 square miles. I believe that members of the Federal Parliament are entitled to say what area they think ought to be acquired in the best interests of the people of Australia, and if any trouble subsequently arises the people of the State of New South Wales must be held responsible for it, because they will be going back upon the bond, which is conditional, and can only be Carried out if the conditions are faithfully adhered to. If the authorities in New South Wales throw obstacles in the way, it may be found that the greatest injury will be done to that State. If they fail to carry out a reasonable bargain proposed by the Federal Parliament they may find that there is such a thing as an alteration of the Constitution. It may be decided that the whole of the people of Australia shall be given the right to say where in future the Federal Capital shall be located. In discussing this question, we must have some consideration for the expense in which the people of the Commonwealth may be involved. Estimates of the probable cost have varied from £200,000 to £2,000,000, and in considering this Bill we require to look ahead and consider the probable cost. It is of no use for us to shut our eyes to facts. Once we carry the proposal of this Bill, it will be all moonshine to suppose that but a small sum of money will be spent upon the future Federal Capital. I have no doubt that the very fact that the capital has been selected, and that we are about to build, will entail upon the people of the Commonwealth the expenditure of a large amount of money. Personally, I should have no objection to the selection of the locality in which the Federal Capital is to be situated if therewere some agreement or undertaking that, at all events for the present, there should not be any large expenditure of money in connexion with it. In my judgment therequirements of the Commonwealth do not require it. We can go on as we have been doing for the present. No one anticipated, that during the first three years of its existence the Federal Parliament would decide this important question. There is a furtherconsideration to which I should like honorable senators who have not yet spoken to address themselves. I should like to know where the large amount of money which will be involved in carrying, out this proposal is to come from. Is it to be provided from loan or out of revenue? Honorablesenators of the Labour Party have recentlydeclared that, so far as our spending power is concerned, it must in the future depend upon the revenue derived from Customs. If we are to take this money from revenue and remain true to the principle affirmed, I desire to know how it is possible to provide the large amount of money which will be necessary to carry out this scheme. To live within our means should be our motto in dealing with this matter. That is a sound policy for individuals, and it is also a sound policy to urge upon the nation. If we do not proceed upon such a policy, extra taxation will have to be imposed upon the people of the States,, and I do not believe that they are at present prepared to stand it. The whole proposal is unnecessary. Australia does not require it. I intend to give my vote in such a way as to enable, not only the people of thisState, but of the whole Commonwealth,, to express their opinion upon the subject. I shall therefore, in the first place, vote for the amendment moved by Senator Dobson ; in the second place, I shall divide the House on the Bill, if I can get another honorable senator to help me; in the third place,, if I am forced to make a selection, I shall vote for that site which, in my opinion, will be best in the interests of Australia. If I am not successful in that I shall be guided by events; but, in any case, I shall dowhat I can to bring about delay in regardto this matter.
– I need hardly rise to speak, as I intend to support Senator Dobson’s amendment that the Bill be read this day six months. There are, however, a few aspects of the question which I should like to submit to honorable senators who intend to vote for the second reading of this Bill. My reason for supporting the amendment is that a Federal Capital is not required.
– The honorable senator is an extremist.
– We are progressive.
– I can well under stand that honorable senators representing New South Wales desire not only to see a Federal Capital site selected, but also to see the Federal Capital in course of erection. I should not object if our population was increasing as rapidly as it ought to be, and if we had had several good seasons instead of several bad ones. The reason why, under those circumstances, I should not object is because it is in the bond - a foolish bargain, I admit, but one which, in my opinion, must be kept, but later on. I should like to know who wants this capital ?
– Not Senator Styles.
– Certainly not ! What section of the people of the Commonwealth wants this capital 1 Who cares about putting their hands in their pockets and stumping up in support of it ? The question raised by Senator Barrett just now is worthy of consideration. Where are the funds to come from 1 How are we to borrow money in the face of the decision arrived at last session by honorable members of both Houses ? They were quite unanimous in refusing to allow the Government to borrow £500,000 for increasing the postal and telegraphic facilities of the whole of the States of the Commonwealth.
– There was no necessity for that.
– And that money would have been spent on labour.
– Honorable members of both Houses decided that those improvements must be provided for out of revenue, but I apprehend that some honorable senators, who were so very particular about the finances last year, will be found ready to vote for the floating of a loan in order to create this sentimental city in the back blocks of New South Wales.
– There is no necessity for that.
– I wish to know who requires this capital. Is it the Federal Legislature or the people of the Commonwealth?
– The people of New South Wales.
– I wish to know whether it is the members of the Federal Parliament who require a Federal Capital at once, or the people of the Commonwealth, and not any particular section of it. If Federal legislators require a Federal Capital for their convenience, I remind them that they cannot get one more centrally situated than is Melbourne. A glance at the map of Australia will prove that. In the Senate we have equal representation of the States. The little State of Tasmania has six representatives, who have as much right to be considered as have the six representatives of the big State of New South Wales. And in this matter, involving the spending of a lot of borrowed money, or even of revenue, the whole of the people must be considered. The people of South Australia and of Western Australia must also be considered. If it is contended that the people require a Federal Capital, what do they require it for ? Is it required for commercial and industrial purposes? Surely we have sufficient towns for the existing population of Australia? If a town had been required in the back blocks of New South Wales, in the neighbourhood of any particular site which may be selected, it would have been established there before now. If it is contended that a Federal Capital is required for commercial purposes, it will be admitted that some of the sites named would be of very little use to commercial men. There would be no outlook for them at Tumut or Lyndhurst, stuck away, as they are, in the middle of the State of New South Wales. None of the taxpapers of the community require this capital, and it is not wanted for Legislative, industrial, commercial, or defence purposes. If it could be shown that the establishment of the Federal Capital would increase the wealth of Australia by £5 I should be prepared to think over the matter. Railways, public works, and buildings do not form the State. People are essential to the building up of a nation. Does any one suppose that the creation of a town in any part of Australia would induce people to come here from abroad? If the Federal Capital were established, no doubt a large number of people would flock to it, as to a new gold diggings, and within a very short time possibly 20,000 people might be gathered together there, with the object of improving their positions in life. These people would have to be kept by the taxpayers’ money. Every penny of it -would have to come from that source, because it could not be drawn from any other.
– But some private works would be carried on, besides those in which the Commonwealth engage.
– But the money would have to come out of the pockets of the taxpayers.
– If a public-house were built at the Federal Capital the taxpayers would not have to defray the cost of its erection.
– Still the money would come out of the taxpayers’ pockets. From what other source could it be derived 1 The capital would not be established for commercial or industrial purposes, and if people flocked there from other parts of Australia they would leave vacant houses behind them. The Attorney-General appealed to us last night as level-headed common-sense business men ; but he did not give us anything to think about. He made a number of bald statements ; but he did not tell us the probable cost of the buildings at the Federal Capital, or how the necessary funds were to be obtained. The only estimate submitted to us is that framed by Mr. Oliver, and presented to the New South Wales Parliament on the 30th October, 1900 - three years ago. The Commission of Experts appointed by the Government did not furnish any idea as to the probable cost of the capital. The Commissioners spent a great deal of time in visiting the proposed sites, and although they were selected for their special knowledge they left us entirely in the dark upon the point I have mentioned. Mr. Oliver is the President of the Land Court of New South Wales and is a very able man. His figures indicate the idea which prevails in New South Wales as to the character of the buildings which should be erected at the Federal Capital. The cost of Parliament House is set down at ±’750,000. That is a very good beginning.
– Mr. Oliver was thinking about Melbourne when he made that estimate.
– He was thinking about getting Melbourne money with which to build it. The Governor-General’s residence is estimated to cost £75,000, and the Post Office - out in the back-blocks of New South Wales - £100,000. The military academy, barracks, arsenal and factory, and Commandant’s residence are estimated to cost £200,000. These figures are very amusing, no doubt ; but there will be another tale to tell when the people have to find the money. The Courts of Justice and various offices connected with them, are expected to cost £300,000. When tired legislators feel that they want a little relaxation, a National Hall, with an art gallery, which is expected to cost £150,000, will be at their disposal. Sundry other buildings are estimated to cost £292,500. Among these are official residences for the Ministers of State, which are expected to COSt rom £7,500 to £10,000 each ; £250,000 is the amount set down as the cost of laying out of the city, and the total amount of the estimate is £2,117,500. I should call this “ laying out “ the taxpayers instead of laying out the Federal City. The items which I have quoted are quite exclusive of works connected with water supply, sewerage, lighting, or means of access. This is the only estimate which has been submitted to Parliament, and the only guide as to the money which will probably be spent.
– We are not considering that now. We are discussing the selection of the seat of government.
– But what will happen when we have selected the site? When we have decided where the capital is to be established, we shall at once be called upon to vote £30,000 or £50,000 for carrying out survey and other similar works. Next year we shall probably be required to find £150,000, and then, when we are fairly committed to the enterprise, the Government of the day, urged on by their supporters from New South Wales, will ask for £250,000 more. So the game will go merrily on, year after year, until millions have been sunk in this alleged Federal Capital. Now let us see if we can understand why the representatives of New South Wales are so anxious to see the Federal Capital established. If we assume that the total expenditure upon the capital will be £3,000,000-1 believe it will be nearer £5,000,000- New South Wales would only have to contribute 36-10 per cent, of that amount, or £1,083,000. The other five States would have to contribute nearly £2,000,000, which would be spent in New South Wales. That, however, would represent only a small part of the loss sustained by the other States. The drain of population to which they would be subjected is worthy of consideration. I find that within ten years of the establishment of Washington, the Federal Capital of the United States, 24,000 people were congregated there. If a similar number of people were gathered together at the Federal Capital within the same period, they would represent a value to the Commonwealth of £7,000,000. The value to the State of every person - man, woman, and child - in Australia is £350, and, therefore, 20.000 persons at the Federal Capital would represent a total value of £7,000,000. Of the people who went to the capital, New South Wales would probably contribute 7,000 or S,000, and the balance would come from other States, which would be poorer to the extent to which they were deprived of population, whilst New South Wales would be so much the richer.
– Not New South Wales, but the Commonwealth.
– I say that New South Wales would be the richer. The Commonwealthwould not gain one sixpence, because, so far as the Commonwealth is concerned, a man is just as valuable in Queensland as at the Federal Capital.
– What has Victoria gained by our coming here ?
– I do not know that she has gained a great deal. When I speak of the population of the capital, I do not refer to birds of passage like the VicePresident of the Executive Council.
– The Victorian Government wants to tax such birds of passage.
– I quite understand why the people of New South Wales object to our acquiring anything more than 100 square miles of their territory. Personally I should like to appropriate 10,000 square miles. New South Wales has an area 50 per cent, larger than that of the French Republic or the great German Empire, and 1,000 square miles would represent only one three-hundredth part of the total. The people of New South Wales believe that there will be a large population at the Federal Capital, and that if the area of the Federal territory is limited, the residents within it will have to obtain their food and other supplies from New South Wales. They do not care to give us enough territory to enable us to grow food for our own people. Senator Symon said that if the Federal Capital were established upon a small block of 100 square miles in the middle of New South Wales, the people of that State would not take advantage of that fact to put the screw on the Federal Parliament if they wanted anything from it.
– Hear, hear.
– The result of the vote taken upon the proposals embodied in the Bill, flatly contradict that idea. The conditions laid down in connexion with the capital site require that it shall be fifty miles long and twenty miles wide, that it shall extend from Tumut to the River Murray, and that it shall have a frontage of twenty miles to that river. This was done in order that at any future time it should not be within the power of the Government or Parliament of New South Wales to bring any undue pressure upon the Commonwealth Government. We do not believe that the present Parliament of IIS ew South Wales, which is acquainted with all the circumstances, would take any undue advantage of us ; but we cannot answer for the conduct of later Parliaments. Therefore the House of Representatives wisely decided by an overwhelming majority that the Federal territory should extend to the Victorian border. I do not know how senators from New South Wales can explain away the fact that eight representatives of that State voted for the provision to which I have referred. Probably they believed that the time might come when the Parliament of New South Wales would take an unfair advantage of the Commonwealth if the FederaCapital were surrounded on all sides by New South Wales territory.
– No New South Welshman voted under that belief.
– Why did the members of the House of Representatives decide that the Federal territory should take this particular shape and extend to the Victorian border - to the dividing line between two States 1
– The position was never put in the other House in that way.
– Eight representatives of New South Wales supported that propositi, the voting being thirty-five in favour of it and eleven against it - a majority of twentyfour. It is worth the while of honorable senators to consider whether we ought not to insist that the Federal territory shall touch either the sea-coast or the boundary of one State other than New South Wales.
– Victoria, for instance.
–The New South Wales representatives are always taunting us with that rubbishy idea. I do not believe that there is a man or woman in this State who wishes to repudiate the foolish bargain which was made by the Premiers of the States in reference to the Federal Capital. We indorsed it with our eyes open, and we are prepared to abide by it. It is merely a question of whether we can afford at the present time to waste some hundreds of thousands, possibly some millions, of pounds in building a city in the backblocks amongst mosquitoes and dead blacks.
-Gol. Gould. - Would the honorable senator mistrust Victoria as much as he does New South Wales 1
– Yes; there is no difference between the people of the two States. If “Victoria were located upon the other side of the Murray its people would probably be just as bad - if that is possible - as are the people of New South Wales.
– I hope not.
– I know that it requires an effort of the imagination to conceive of such a possibility.
– Victorians have been going to New South Wales by thousands.
– To help to keep the people there.
– And every one of them was worth £350.
– Senator Smith opened my eyes a little yesterday when he produced this map, and pointed out what we are invited to do. As honorable senators are aware, a Commission was appointed by the New South Wales Government, and subsequently another Commission by the Barton Government, for the purpose of investigating the claims of what were regarded as eligible sites for the future Federal Capital. Those two bodies cost thousands of pounds. They examined the rival sites but did not even mention either of these which are now recommended for our adoption. Indeed, there are not half-a-dozen senators who have inspected them. Personally, I have not been within miles of them. We have been told by Senator Gould that New South Welshmen are very much better than are the people of the other
States. In this connexion it is worth noting that at the present time the Government of South Australia refuses to give its sanction to the construction of the alleged transcontinental railway through its territory - a work which the residents of Western Australia consider would prove the salvation of the Commonwealth. I point to this fact to show that it is possible that the Parliament of a State may adopt a certain course of action. Consequently it would be well to place it beyond their power to do so. Senator Gould admitted yesterday that, under the Constitution, no time limit was imposed within which the capital site must be selected. But I do not know that anybody wishes to take advantage of that fact. At the same time, let us use a little common sense, and exercise ordinary business prudence in connexion with this matter. Had the framers of the Constitution thought it necessary to embody a time limit in that instrument of government they would unquestionably have done so, just as they did in connexion with the abolition of the’ InterState duties. In that case they clearly set out that a uniform Tariff should come into operation within two years from th« inauguration of the Commonwealth. Similarly they fixed five years as the limit of the bookkeeping period and ten years as the term during which the’ Braddon clause should remain operative. I do not believe that the fact that a constitutional compact was made that New South Wales should have the Federal Capital had any appreciable effect upon the result of the referendum in that State.
– The people refused to join the Federation till that compact was made.
– Then they were bribed by the promise that they would have the Federal Capital 1
– But what about Victorians, who desired to be the bribers’!
– According to the statement of the honorable and learned senator, New South Wales would not enter the Federation until she was bribed, not by Victoria alone, but by the other States. It is a singular fact that the people from the other side of the little creek, called the Murray, are always ready to attack Victoria. They altogether overlook the other States. In speaking upon this Bill yesterday, Senator Walker advanced a very conclusive argument in favour of the selection of a site which nobody has ever seen, save the members of the two expert bodies to which I have referred, both of which condemned it. He said that Sir George Turner is the Treasurer of the Commonwealth, and therefore we ought to vote for Tumut.
– I said that Sir George Turner had voted for Tumut.
– Sir George Turner has never inspected the site at Tumut any more than I have.
– But he voted for it.
– With his eyes shut. “ But,” remarked Senator Gould, “ there were other considerations which induced the people of New South Wales to vote for Federation.” Of course there were. The real considerations were those which prompted thousands, who, in common with myself, had voted against Federal Union upon the first referendum to vote in favour of it upon the second. The Federal Capital was not a factor in determining their views. Indeed, it was never thought of except by a few politicians who wished to be returned to the Commonwealth Parliament. The real considerations which prompted the people of New South Wales to support Federation upon the second occasion was the alteration which had been made in clause 57, which relates to disputes between the two Houses, and the still greater alteration which had been effected in clause 128. Still another consideration was that, upon the first referendum, Mr. Reid had said “ No,” whilst upon the second he said “Yes.”
– The Victorians carried the first Bill by five to one.
– They did not carry it by as large a majority as they did the second Bill. That shows that my statement is correct. A larger proportion of the people voted for the second Bill than supported the first. In New South Wales 20,000 more votes were cast in favour of Federal Union upon the second referendum than were recorded upon the first, not because that State was to be granted the Federal Capital, but because of the substantial amendments to which I have alluded.
– Why did they not accept the first Bill ?
– I have just been explaining. I am exceedingly sorry that Senator Neild is absent from his place upon the present occasion. Yesterday he made some remarks concerning me to which I desired to reply. I had intended to speak to him very seriously.
– He will get it in Hansard.
– I have a note or two upon his remarks with reference to my occupation. He had no right to indulge in statements of that sort. I regret that he is absent, because I should have liked to prick that particular bladder.
– Your occupation is quite as honorable as is his.
– Yes ; I have never never had anything to do with atmospheric gas, or even with an insurance office. I shall support Senator Dobson’s amendment upon the ground that a Federal Capital is not needed. No honorable senator can tell me why he wishes the Commonwealth Parliament to be removed from Melbourne. Honorable senators are always grumbling about the Argus and the Age, because they get “ prodded “ by them. I shouldlike toknow whether those newspapers have influenced the votes which have been recorded here. Have they caused any honorable senator to vote or speak in a way which he thought was not right 1
– Certainly not.
– Then why do honorable senators wish to run away from these two big dailies.
– Because there is a bad smell about the Yarra ?
– I do not know that that is a sufficient reason. To my mind such an interjection is very uncalled for. The idea that a bad smell could exist in any part of Melbourne is preposterous. If I had to vote for any site I should certainly support Armidale. Only yesterday Senators Gould and Pulsford told us that, in a generation or two, Armidale will probably be the centre of population in Australia.
– It will be much nearer the centre.
– That is the very best reason which could be advanced why we should not build the Federal Capital now. According to Senator Pulsford it may be found, in the course of a generation or two, that we have erected it upon the outskirts of population. Yesterday the honorable senator read us some figures which nobody understood - not even himself. He was perfectly satisfied that he was right.
If they proved anything at all they demonstrated that the site of the capital ought not now to be selected, but that we should wait until Armidale becomes the centre of population in Australia.
– Fifty years hence.
– That argument was used by both Senator Gould and Senator Pulsford, and it is an argument for delay. We know that Armidale is an excellent site, and I could quite understand them saying, “ Let us defer the selection of a site until population has gravitated north and Armidale becomes, a generation or two hence, the centre of population in the Commonwealth. In the meantime we shall remain in Melbourne, where we have the free use of a magnificent building which cost the people of Victoria £600,000, as well as the free use of a residence for the Governor-General.”
– Will the people of Victoria continue to exhibit that generosity towards us ?
– There is no reason to believe that they will not. Through the Premier of the day the people of Victoria said to Sir Edmund Barton, “ Here are two Parliament Houses ; take which you like.” Inferentially they also said that we might occupy these buildings as long as we pleased. The late Prime Minister, with that intelligence which we know him to possess, selected the better of the two buildings. No limit was placed upon the term of our occupation, and we may remain here as long as we please. We may continue to occupy these buildings free of charge, although the people of Victoria have to pay £21,000 a year interest in respect of the capital expenditure upon them. As long as Victoria does not complain, the Federal Parliament should not do so. If Senator Gould occupied free of charge a handsome dwelling on the capital cost of which the owner was paying £200 or £300 a year interest, he would be quite ready to continue to remain in occupation on those terms.
– No ; I should expect to pay rent, and would be prepared to do so.
– The honorable and learned senator would not volunteer to pay for the use of the dwelling.
– I should.
– Then why not ask the Federal Parliament to volunteer to pay for the use of these buildings ? There is a splendid opening for some patriot to move that a rental of £21,000 per annum be paid by the Federal Government for the use of these buildings. I know that as a Victorian I shall be charged with parochialism in opposing the immediate erection of a Federal Capital. It will be said that I am unfederal and unpatriotic, and a good many other “ uns “ will be employed in expressing disapproval of my action. I am here, however, as a member of the States House. I am here not to represent any particular section of the people, but as one of six senators who have the honour to represent Victoria ; and I shall do my best to conserve the interests of the people of the State as a whole. I think that I am best preserving the interests of the people of the State, and of the whole Commonwealth to boot, by opposing any present expenditure on a Federal Capital site, not to speak of a Federal Capital.
Senator McGREGOR (South Australia).I do not think it would be wise to allow this matter to be finally settled solely from the stand-point of the representatives of Victoria and New South Wales. The representatives of those two States appear to take a vital interest in the question; but honorable senators from all the other States are entitled to have a voice in the determination of the locality of the site and the expenditure which shall be incurred in connexion with it. Much has been said as to the desirableness of selecting a site nearer Sydney than Melbourne, and vice versa; but I believe that the majority of honorable senators representing the other States hold the opinion that the interests of the Commonwealth, rather than the individual interests of those two cities, should be considered. It has been said that if the Federal Parliament, acting on behalf of the people of the Commonwealth, is not prepared to accept any site or area which the Government of New South Wales chooses to offer, “something must happen.” I should like to call the attention of honorable senators from New South Wales, not to what might happen but to what in that event would happen. If the people of New South Wales were not prepared to meet the wishes of the Federal Parliament, acting in the interests of the people of Australia, the sittings of the Parliament would continue to be held in Melbourne. That, I conclude, would be the ultimate position. Honorable senators are called upon to determine the most suitable locality in which to establish the capital, and the area -which should be acquired. To my mind it would be in the interests of Australia, and in no wise prejudicial to the individual States of Victoria or New South Wales, to acquire an area considerably in excess of 1,000 square miles. I am about to make a proposal - not with the intention of delaying the selection of a site, or of doing anything to aggravate the people of New South Wales - that we should acquire a large territory. The people of New South Wales will have’ no right to take exception to my proposition, for residents of the territory which I have in view have, within the last twenty years, asked that it should be separated from that State and attached to Victoria. It comprises the Riverina and the district eastward to the sea. I think that the Federal territory should take in not only Tumut, Batlow, Yarrangobilly, and several other places which have been referred to as an inducement to the selection of a certain site, but the whole area between the thirty-fifth parallel of latitude and the Victorian border. The Murrumbidgee would form the northern and western boundary, whilst the territory would be bounded on the south and slightly to the west by the Murray. That would mean an area of about 20,000 square miles. Such a proposal probably startles honorable senators from New South Wales.
– Not in the least ; we have. passed that stage.
– Until recently, little was done by the Government of New South Wales to develop that stretch of country, and they should, therefore, have no hesitation in ceding it to the Commonwealth. I entirely agree with the statement made by Senator Symon that we shall have no power, so far as the Parliament itself is concerned, to acquire any territory until the Government or the people of New South Wales are prepared to cede it to us. In the event of a refusal the only course open to us would be to present an address to the British Parliament requesting them to amend the Constitution so as to compel New South Wales to cede the required territory to the Commonwealth. Honorable senators must recollect that our Constitution is an Act of the British Parliament, and the course I have indicated would thus be open to us.
– We had better annex Victoria.
– The honorable i and learned senator need not be alarmed.
The members of the British Parliament are men of common-sense, and they would far rather allow the Commonwealth to acquire an area of 20,000 square miles from a State comprising a territory of nearly 360,000 square miles than cut? off so large a slice of country from a small State like Victoria. Some people will be disposed to question my assertion as to the extent of New South Wales. We are all prone to exaggerate. When honorable senators representing New South Wales wish to make it appear that the State is only a small one, they say that it contains an area of only 310,000 square miles. If, on the other hand, they are blowing about its immensity, they assert that it contains an area of 360,000 square miles. I cannot absolutely say which of these statements is correct, but the truth must lie between the two extremes. I have not the least doubt that if the Constitution were amended so as to enable the Commonwealth Parliament and Government to find a home, several States, including even the small State of Victoria, would not object to hand over an area of 1,000 square miles in some quiet corner where the Federal pilgrims might rest in peace. Would it not be to the advantage of the people of Australia for the Commonwealth to acquire an area as large as that which I have indicated? If an area of 100 square miles in a central part of New South Wales were set apart for the purposes of the Federal Capital, it would, undoubtedly be an advantage to that State, as it would provide a new market for its produce, while its railway income would also be increased, because New South Wales might put restrictions on the introduction and the carriage of produce from any other State. It might say that because there was swine fever in Victoria the people in the Federal Capital should eat only New South Wales pork.
– Where would the InterState Commission be. ?
– It has not been appointed. Although I know that there might be a way of getting over a difficulty of that kind, still it is better to have the territory so situated that it would never arise. Why should we put ourselves in a difficulty when it can be avoided ? Suppose that we accepted the strip of country which Senator Styles pointed out on the map, and wanted to construct a railway from the Federal Capital, it could not be done without the consent of New South “Wales, unless it was a line to the Victorian border ; but even in that case we should have to ask the permission of Victoria to carry the railway any further. Why should the Federal Government, or the people of Australia not included in Victoria or New South Wales, be placed in a position of that description t That is one of ‘he reasons why I favour the acquisition or cession of a territory containing 20,000 square miles ; and I think it would be a fair thing for the Commonwealth to take over a portion of the public debt of New South Wales, proportionate to the amount which has been spent in the development of that country, and to add 10 per cent, to that amount, so that there would be no grievance left behind.
– It could not be done under the Constitution.
– The honorable senator is suggesting how he would alter the Constitution.
– There is no necessity to alter the Constitution, because under subsection 39 of section 51 we have ample power to carry out my suggestion.
– “ Matters incidental to the execution of any power.”
– And all the powers of the Parliament are defined.
– The Parliament is empowered to acquire a Federal territory, and if it is incidental to the exercise of that power that we should pay New South Wales or take over a portion of its debt equivalent to the amount expended on that territory, it can be done under the authority of that sub-section.
-Col. Gould. - It will be a matter of agreement with New South Wales.
– If that territory were acquired by or ceded to the Commonwealth, it would include two of the best harbors in Australia. Jervis Bay is, in my opinion, as good as Sydney Harbor, and Twofold Bay is very little inferior to it. We could construct a railway anywhere within that territory ; it would not be necessary to get the permission of New South Wales or Victoria, because the construction of the line could be authorized by the Federal Parliament with the consent of the representatives of those States. By carrying out certain improvements we should add to the value of something that belonged to the people of Australia. In a large territory of that kind ifc would be almost impossible to create ‘any value which, except in a very incidental manner, would overlap the territory of New South Wales and Victoria. We should be entirely isolated from the possibility of acquiring an undue benefit at the cost of any State. We should be doing good to the whole Commonwealth. Once we decided to select the territory, all interest in the capital site would collapse in the rest of New South Wales. The people of Lyndhurst, Orange, Armidale, and other places would at once cease their agitation for the establishment of the Seat of government. Once this territory was acquired by the Commonwealth a proper site could be quietly selected for the capital. I should not care whether it was established at Albury, Tumut, Lake George, or Bombala. It would amount to the same thing in the end. We should have all the benefits that would be conferred on the Commonwealth by the inclusion of those different sites in the Federal territory. If the representatives from the different States do not indorse my suggestions, then the next territory I am bound to advocate is a territory which would include Twofold Bay, and that is generally recognised as the Bombala site. It would be necessary to acquire an area of about 2,000 or 3,000 square miles, in which all kinds of climate could be found. A cold climate could be obtained up at Kiandra, in the Snowy Mountains ; a temperate climate at Dalgety or Bombala; or a genial, warm climate in the neighbourhood of Eden. The capital could be established in the most suitable portion of that area. I desire to point out why it is necessary to acquire a greater area in one locality than in another. In some localities a small area might suffice for the requirements of a Federal Capital ; but in another locality a much larger area would be required. And that only convinces me of the wisdom of those who framed a provision so elastic that the size of the area maybe decided according to the nature of the locality. What do we want in a Federal territory ? In the first place, we want a country which will give us an- ample water supply, and to achieve that object we must have a sufficient area to contain all the catchment for that water supply. Suppose that we had an area of 100 square miles in a certain position, and the catchment for the water supply to the capital was outside that area. It would be in the power of New South Wales at any time to say that it required all this water supply for irrigation purposes, and so place the Federal territory in exactly the same position as New South Wales and Victoria are attempting to place South Australia with respect to the River Murray. We do not want the Commonwealth to be placed in a difficulty of that kind. We want the Federal territory and the seat of government to be entirely independent of the State, out of which it may be carved, or which it may adjoin. In the case of Bombala, we should require to have 2,000 or 3,000 square miles, so as to include the entire catchment for the water supply.
– 2,000 or 3,000 square miles’?
– Yes. What difference would that make to New South Wales 1 Take a line north of Twofold Bay and extend it to Mount Kosciusko, and see what New South Wales has ever done for that territory. It has been almost entirely neglected. If it has been neglected to that extent, then it is a territory which New South Wales ought to be glad to get rid of, or one which the residents ought to be glad to see surrendered by New South Wales. To my mind it is the place to which the least objection should be made by New South Wales. Another advantage is that that territory is almost exactly equidistant from Sydney and Melbourne. Is that an objection to the representatives of Victoria ? Is it an objection to the representatives of New South Wales ? If the latter say that they wish the Federal territory to be nearer Sydney than Melbourne, they at once admit that they have some ulterior design or motive in making that selection. This territory would not only be equidistant from the two cities, but would possess almost every climate that could be desired. Some honorable senators who have not been there will say that they could not live there ; that the wind would blow the hair off their heads. But many persons who have never been in Southern Monaro have had their hair blown off their heads. In this territory we find fertile country. Some persons may ask - “ If it is fertile country, why was it not developed; long ago ? “ In the northern portions of New South Wales we find very fertile country which has only been partially developed. In Riverina we find some country which is very fertile - why has it not been developed ? According to all accounts there is some very fine country called Batlow - why has it not been developed 1 Simply because it would not bring grist to the mill of the Sydney commercialists.
– Oh, no !
– The honorable senatorknows very well that nothing has ever been done in New South Wales that did not have the effect of increasing the importance of Sydney. Anything that has been done by private enterprise in any portion of the territory of that State that would have the effect of jeopardizing the position of Sydney has been blanketed by the New South Wales Government on the very first opportunity. One has only to go to Twofold Bay to find evidence of that fact. The tableland on which Bombala is situated is exceedingly fertile in many places. There may be rough ranges, but when one gets half way to Eden, one reaches a stretch of country very similar to the high lands near Adelaide, and capable of equal development. For fruit-growing, vegetable-growing, and production of all descriptions, there is not a better place in all Australia. There are hundreds of thousands of acres of that description. Therefore, who will tell us. that this is not a suitable place for the Federal Capital 1 I do not wish to weary honorable senators by a description of the country, but I should like them to go and see it for themselves. When some honorable senators tell us that they are going to vote, first, to hang up the decision for six months, and then for such a site as would delay the final selection, I am almost inclined to vote against the site which they support. I do not like conduct of that description. I should like to see them more straightforward in their actions. If they are favorable to bringing the Federal Capital into existence as soon as possible they should say so. If they are in favour of repudiating the obligation we are under to New South Wales and the Commonwealth, they should declare themselves to that effect, and not adopt a course of action that is not creditable to themselves or to Parliament. The enormous costwhich Senator Styles talks about need not alarm the Commonwealth for a moment. In the first place, if we select the Federal Capital to-night, how many years will it require before very large sums of money can be spent? The first thing would be to enter into negotiations with the New South Go- j vera ment to acquire the land ; and, judging from the present temper of that body, those negotiations would extend over two or three years. Then the territory would have to be surveyed ; all the preliminary clearing would have to be done; competitive designs for public buildings would have to be invited ; and tenders would have to be called for. The representatives of “Victoria, who are anxious that the Federal Parliament should remain in occupancy of this building for ten or fifteen years, need have no alarm. We could proceed gradually with the work. Every year we could devote £100,000 out of revenue, or accumulate that amount of money, for the purposes of the capital, and thus prevent the necessity of borrowing. We should be quite justified in doing that, and could after a while erect all the buildings that are really necessary for the accommodation of the Commonwealth Parliament and its officers. We are not going to enter upon the policy outlined by Mr. Oliver, as quoted by Senator Styles. We are not going to build mansions for the Prime Minister, the Minister for Defence, and the other members of the Commonwealth Go eminent. Those who are to occupy these high positions will have to stay at a hotel or provide house accommodation for themselves. If we were to build houses for the Federal Ministers, we should have just as much right to provide cottages for the Labour members. Indeed, that would be only fair. We pay the Federal Ministers large salaries, and they are quite able to build houses for themselves. Certainly, if they are to have houses, we should let the poor labour men have four-roomed cottages. I think that Senator Styles was simply drawing the long bow, or painting a very exaggerated picture, by his remarks in that respect. We have been told that every one who has inquired into the position lays stress upon the need for accessibility. What does accessibility mean, to most people ? It means the easiest way to get to a place, and the easiest method of getting away again. If we chose the best position answering that description, we should select Albury, Yass, or Goulbourn. But accessibility to my mind has nothing whatever to do with present convenience. It has to do with the possibility of providing conveniences. If we can provide at Tumut, Bombala, or Lake George, facilities equal to those provided in any other site, the first-named places will be just as accessible as the others. Suppose we were to select Bombala. The New South Wales Government has two or three times placed upon the Estimates a sum of money for building a railway from Cooma to Bombala. The Victorian Government has two or three times surveyed lines from Bairnsdale to Delegate on the border. If we were to select any site on the Southern Monaro plains, there would be a race between New South Wales and Victoria as to which would first connect its territory with the Federal territory. If the States decided not to build railways, we should still be in an independent position. All we should have to do - and we have full power under the Constitution to do it - would be to construct a railway to Eden, and to buy a yacht similar to the one owned by the New South Wales Government. Then the Federal Government could take its members of Parliament anywhere it liked. Therefore, in respect to accessibility, Bombala is the site that is most favoured by nature. If Victoria decided to build a railway from Bairnsdale to the border, it would run through country that, up to the present time, is undeveloped. It is country that is well worthy of development, and in which a railway would pay handsomely. It has great potentialities in regard to mining, agriculture, and the timber trade.
– The country is very disappointing, I believe. There is a very small proportion of good land.
– The honorable and learned senator, with his vacillating turn of mind, has very little influence, and his opinion is not worth much so far as I am concerned.
– I am mentioning a fact.
– I am also mentioning a fact, from personal knowledge, and that influences me to a greater extent than does the opinion of the honorable and learned senator. If he were to tell me anything for a fact, I should have to get my friends to look up the authorities and verify it before I could take it for granted. But it does not much matter whether the New
South “Wales Government undertakes the construction of a railway from Cooma or not, because when the Commonwealth Government has constructed a line from the tableland to Eden, if a line were constructed to Kiama, north of Jervis Bay, we should do just as much good as would be done by New South Wales by constructing the Cooma line. If that line were constructed it would practically be the shortest route from Melbourne to Sydney. That would be an advantage from which we as a Commonwealth would have the right to profit. I do not care what the opinion of honorable senators may be ; if they do not give me substantial facte to prove that Tumut or any other place possesses advantages superior to those of Bombala I shall vote for what I think is the best site. I come to my conclusion as to what is the best site, not from the reports of experts, in whom I have very little confidence, but from my own observation. We are told that near Tumut there are the Yarrangobilly Caves; but it must be remembered that these caves are not very far from Bombala. If one goes to Dalgety and is taken to Buckley’s Crossing, one of the charms claimed for the district is that it is in proximity to those very caves; and it seems strange that what is a charm on one side of the Dividing Range should be urged as an objection on the other side. I shall not be moved from my determination except for substantial reasons, though, of course, the substantial reasons must not come in the form of brickbats or missiles of that description. I hope this matter will receive the closest attention, and that nothing definite will be done until we have made up our minds as to what is the best site, not in the interests of New South Wales or Victoria, but in the interests of the people of Australia. Senator Pearce has already given some indication of the enormous cost which would be involved by our remaining in Melbourne or removing to Sydney. That honorable senator has shown conclusively that the most economical position in which the seat of government can be established is on fairly good land with a fairly good climate, where the least possible improvements have been made, so that the people of Australia may get every advantage from the unearned increment. 1 hope that the matter will be settled this session, and that future generations of Australians will have no reason to regret the choice we make.
Question - That the word proposed to be left out be left out - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 21
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I should like to say a few words in reply on the main question. I am very glad to be confirmed in the opinion I formed originally that there is a minority, and only a small minority, in favour of delay, and that a majority of senators sincerely desire that this matter shall be settled. I trust that the purposes of delay will not be served by any differences of opinion between the two Houses. I consider that the Government are not to blame for the fact that this measure has been brought forward at a late period of the session. Senator after senator on the other side has in an off-hand way, without going into details, asserted that the Government are to be blamed for any delay there may have been.
– And also honorable senators on the Government side.
– The same assertion has been made by honorable senators on my own side. No doubt the charge arises from the fact that every senator in his own mind places the public business in a certain order of importance, and is of opinion that particular measures ought to be introduced before others. But it is for the Government to determine the order in which business shall be introduced. Honorable senators know what a vast amount of business this Parliament had to undertake, and the Government ought to be acquitted of having in any way unnecessarily delayed this particular matter. I must strongly protest against the statements which have been made in reference to my colleague, the Minister for Trade and Customs. Whatever may be said of the Government generally, it is most unfair to charge the Minister for Trade and Customs with having at any time been slack in pressing this matter of the Federal Capital.
– The Minister for Trade and Customs was blamed for affording honorable senators facilities for inspecting the proposed sites.
– The Minister for Trade and Customs afforded those facilities to members of both Houses, and has given every assistance to parliamentary representatives who desired to view the sites on their own account. In addition, the honorable gentleman furnished members of both Houses with all the available literature on the subject the moment it was available; in fact, he has supplied all the material possible to enable us to arrive at a decision.
– The Minister for Trade and Customs has even been called the “ Minister for Picnics.”
– No doubt, the honorable gentleman has been called all sorts of hard names ; but it is most unjust that any delay there may have been should be ascribed to his action. I rose particularly to reply to observations which have been made as to the proper interpretation of section 1 25 of the Constitution. It has been said by some honorable senators, and apparently accepted by others as if it were a statement which did not admit of contradiction, that under that section it is absolutely necessary that in the first place New South Wales should cede territory. One honorable senator went so far as to say that it is absolutely useless for us now to pass a Bill of this nature - that we must wait until New South Wales has ceded some territory before we express the determination of Parliament as to where the seat of government shall be.
– We may pass a resolution.
– Whether we proceed hy resolution or by Bill, we are told that it is not proper to express the determination now, but that we ought to wait until New South Wales grants the territory. By a wrong construction of the section, it is said that if New South Wales should refuse - because that is what the contention means - to cede any territory, then all the provisions of the Constitution with regard to choosing the seat of government are absolutely nugatory. It is contended that, under such circumstances, we could not move at all, because there is no power to acquire territory by any other means. But that is not the opinion generally held on the subject. When I introduced the Bill, I said it was not my desire to raise these questions. I could see no necessity for doing so, for the reason that the Government of New South Wales have been hitherto, and are now, working so amicably with us as to leave no doubt whatever that as soon as we indicate in a proper constitutional manner the particular territory we desire, they will be ready and willing to do all that is necessary to a friendly settlement of the question. As representing the Commonwealth Government, I cannot allow to pass unchallenged the statement that if the Government of New South Wales were to refuse to cede territory there would be no power to acquire land for the seat of government. Senator McGregor is the only speaker up to the present who has pointed out that under sub-section 39 of section 51 there is power to do everything incidental to the carrying out of the main objects of the Constitution.
– That section does not give power to take territory.
– The honorable senator is quite at liberty to express that opinion. I admit that the interpretation of section 125 presents considerable difficulty. I know that section 111 provides for the surrender of territory, but I am not prepared to agree with Senator Gould that, in the last resort, there is no power in the Constitution to enable us to acquire land as Federal territory. To show that an opinion has been given on this subject contrary to that which has been so very confidently expressed in the Senate this afternoon, I refer honorable senators to Quick and Garran. At page 981, in a discussion of the term “Granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth,” the authors say -
The only conclusion is that the words “or acquired “ refer to a different mode of acquisition ; and the true interpretation seems to be that failing an agreement between New South Wales and the Commonwealth, this section confers upon the
Federal Parliament a reserve power to acquire a site without the concurrence of the Parliament of New South Wales.
– Does the honorable and learned senator cite that as an authority?
– I shall cite something else as an authority presently for the honorable and learned senator, if he will allow me to submit the matter in proper order. Quick and Garran say further -
In other words the power to determine the seat of government, coupled with the direction that the seat of government shall be within territory granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth, implies that the Commonwealth in the absence of a grant has power to acquire the necessary territory without grant.”
Then the authors refer in corroboration of this opinion to the proceedings of the Convention. I may as well read what they say-
That this was the intention of the framers seems clear from the history of the section. In the Adelaide Bill it was provided simply that the seat of government “shall be determined by the Parliament.” At the Melbourne session, the words “and shall be within Federal territory “ were added. This was expanded by the Premier’s Conference to read, “And shall be within territory which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth, and shall be vested in and belong to the Commonwealth.” The object appears to have been to supplement the power of surrender or acceptance by a special power of acquisition, to make it clear that the duty of the Federal Parliament to determine the site could not be blocked by a refusal of New South Wales to surrender the territory needed.
– Does the honorable and learned senator think that an expression of the intentions of the framers of the Constitution give us power to acquire property? The thing is absurd.
– An expression of the intention of the framers of the Constitution would not, of course, give any such power ; but we see from it what they desired to enact.
– “When we know what their intention was, it is worth nothing.
– Quick and Garran say that the object was to prevent the determination of the site by the Federal Parliament being blocked by a refusal of New South Wales to surrender the territory needed. They say further -
This view seems to be supported by a general perusal of the section. There is a clear declaration that the seat of government is to be determined by the Parliament, but there is no declaration that the concurrence of New South Wales is essential. Had that been the intention, it would ‘ surely have been expressly mentioned, and not, left to be gathered by implication - and especially by implication from such wide words as “granted or acquired.”
This also will befound interesting as the opinion of the authors of this work upon several of the contentions which have been urged during this debate - “Against this construction it may be urged that whilst the Federal territory is to contain an. area of “not less than 100 square miles” no maximum limit is fixed. It can hardly be supposed that the Federal Parliament has power to federalize an unlimited area of New South Wales as a seat of government. But the answer seems to be that the power only extends to the acquisition of an area reasonably necessary for the purpose ; and, perhaps, in the case of acquisition without surrender, the reasonable maximum would be held not to exceed, or greatly exceed, the minimum of 100 square miles.”
I quote that as the opinion of the authors of this work, and as being entitled to as much respect as the opinion of some honorable senators who have given us the value of their advice upon the subject this afternoon.
– Will the honorable and learned senator give us his opinion ? We would rather have it.
– I shall give the opinion of seme one else first. I do not know that I am required at this stage to give my own opinion.
– As a friendly criticism, I suggest that the honorable and learned senator should reserve it.
– When I am in trouble about some constitutional question I shall know where to seek for advice. It was stated during the course of the debate that the Government had admitted that they could not acquire land for this purpose under the Property for Public Purposes Acquisition Act. We have been told that the ex- Vice-President of the Executive Council said that in order to acquire land for the purpose of a Federal Capital it would be necessary to bring in another Bill. The honorable senator who said that misquoted the statement of Senator O’Connor. What Senator O’Connor said was that the Property for Public Purposes AcquisitionBill would apply to the acquisition of land for the Federal Capital ; but seeing that it was proposed by the Government to deal with that land after it was acquired in a special way, it would be necessary to pass another Bill in order todo so. I notice that Senator Symon followed Senator O’Connor on that occasion - but no objection appears to have been taken to the former’s remarks. At page 2017 of Hansard for last year, in introducing the Property for Public Purposes Acquisition
Bill, Senator O’Connor is reported to have said : -
There is a third class of acquisition of land for public purposes, which I will deal with separately, for, although the provisions of this Bill will be applicable to it, it will have to be dealt with principally by a special enactment. This is the acquisition of the Federal territory which may be necessary for the site of the Federal Capital. It is impossible to sa3’ now whether the territory which will be determined upon for the site of the Federal Capital will be property entirely granted by the State of New South Wales, as it may be, or whether it will be necessary to use the compulsory powers of the Constitution in order to acquire some site. But whichever course is followed, the Government have determined to make a new departure with regard to the holding of property within that territory. They have decided to reserve for the people of the Commonwealth for all time the benefit of the increase in value. They will not alienate a single foot of territory ; but it will be dealt with on some principle of leasing which will preserve to the people the benefit of what has been described as “the unearned increment” ; that is to say, the benefit which arises from the increasing value brought about by the whole people of the Commonwealth . That will be preserved for all time to the Commonwealth itself. It is quite evident that such a principle cannot be dealt with just in what may be described as a slap-dash method.
The honorable and learned senator was showing the necessity for the introduction of a separate measure to deal specially with that part of the subject. Then Senator Millen interjected -
Does that apply to land to be acquired under this Act, or is the honorable and learned gentleman speaking now only of a future Bill which may be introduced?
To that Senator O’Connor replied -
I am pointing out that this Bill may be and can be applied in respect of land acquired for the purpose of Federal territory ; but I am pointing out .it the same time that the considerations which must dominate the disposition of the Federal territory will be of so different a kind from that which applies to ordinal land that it will be necessary to have special legislation to deal with the acquisition and disposition of lands in the Federal territory. I make this statement, although it is but incidentally now, because this is a matter of policy which has been determined upon and which it is just as well that the Senate should be aware of as soon as possible. So that honorable members who ma)’ be discussing this question, having in view the Federal territory in which the Federal Capital will be, must always remember that there must be some special legislation to deal with that, and that the application of this Bill to territories such as I have described must be more or less incidental.
In the Bill now under discussion, it is provided that compensation shall be assessed in a certain way ; but that in other respects it shall be subject to the provisions of section 1 9 of the Property for Public Purposes Acquisition Act. I had no desire to touch upon this subject, but I have dealt with it somewhat fully to show that Senator Symon was absolutely wrong in telling us that we ought to wait until New South Wales has come forward and ceded certain territory. That would appear to be an upside-down arrangement.
– Senator Symon did not say that.
– The honorable and learned senator said that it was absolutely useless for us to proceed with this Bill, because we could do nothing whatever unless New South Wales ceded certain territory.
– No; the honorable and learned senator said we should approach New South Wales.
– In any case, Senator Downer said that.
– I hope the honorable and learned senator is not deliberately misquoting Senator Symon.
– I am not deliberately misquoting the honorable and learned senator.
– Then the honorable and learned senator is quoting Senator Symon inaccurately.
– I do not think so. However, we shall see by the report. The honorable and learned senator also said that we were not proceeding in the right way by, bringing in a Bill, and that we should have proceeded by resolution. Is that correct 1
– Now the honorable and learned senator is accurate.
– Well, Senator Symon was quite wrong there also. What we have to do under section 125 of the Constitution is to express the determination of Parliament. If honorable senators will turn to the first section of the Constitution they will find that Parliament consists of the King, the Senate, and the House of Representatives, and I say that the only constitutional way in which we can express the determination of Parliament upon this subject is by means of a Bill passed by both Houses of the Federal Parliament and assented to by the King.
– The Senate directed the Government to introduce a Bill.
– Is this the only opportunity afforded for bringing in a Bill? Could not a Bill have followed a resolution ?
– A Bill might be introduced following a resolution ; but Senator Symon has told us that we are not right in introducing a Bill to deal with this subject. Clearly we are right in introducing this subject by means of a Bill. It is necessary that the determination of Parliament should be expressed by an Act of Parliament, and the proper way, therefore, is to bring in a Bill.
– What does it matter ?
– What does it matter so long as the honorable senator secures delay?
– As Senator Barrett has reminded me, we were told that we ought to have brought in a Bill when the Government submitted a motion in the Senate for. a Conference with the House of Representatives - and I am very sorry that proposal for a Conference was not accepted. I am sure that would have been the right thing to do.
– The Government made a proposal for a Conference, and then dropped it.
– Honorable senators said - “Let the Government take the responsibility of bringing in a Bill.”
– That is so. We have brought in a Bill, and, as soon as it comes before the Senate, honorable senators tell us we have done wrong. They try to throw contempt upon the work of the Government, and they say we should proceed by resolution.
– Senator Symon never said that the Government should bring in a Bill. The honorable and learned senator was not here. The Attorney-General is misleading the Senate again.
– I did not say that Senator Symon told us that we should have brought in a Bill. I say that when we brought forward the motion for a Conference, we were told by a majority of honorable senators that we should have proceeded by Bill. I have no doubt Senator Symon was not here; the honorable and learned senator generally is not here.
– That is untrue.
– Order. The honorable and learned senator must withdraw that remark.
– I withdraw it. I will say that Senator Drake’s remark is inaccurate. I think the Attorney-General should be made to withdraw his statement respecting Senator Symon. It is grossly inaccurate.
– Senator Symon is here nearly every week.
– The honorable and learned senator is here too often for the comfort of the Government.
– It is a cowardly thing to say in the honorable and learned senator’s absence.
– I will say that the honorable and learned senator does not attend very regularly.
– I ask whether Senator Clemons is right in accusing the AttorneyGeneral of making a cowardly statement.
– I think it is far better that these personal allusions should not be made.
– I ask as a matter of order whether Senator Clemons is entitled to make such an accusation ?
– It is certainly out of order to accuse an honorable senator of making a cowardly statement, or of saying what is not true.
– I have withdrawn the accusation.
– I have only a word or two more to add. I feel sure that a majority of honorable senators must agree with me that the Government are adopting a proper course.
– In seeking for delay ?
– In seeking to obtain an expression by means of a Bill of the determination of Parliament with regard to the seat of government, it is proper that the Government should take this course of action, in order to enable the Government of New South Wales to meet us, as I believe they will, in a friendly spirit. I had no wish to raise this question of the acquisition of territory. In introducing the second reading of the Bill, I said that I was perfectly sure that the Government of New South Wales would be prepared to meet us. There was no necessity whatever to raise the question; but, as it had been raised, I felt bound to point out that the opinion expressed by some honorable senators is not the opinion held by the Government on this subject.
– There is nothing very wonderful about that.
– I hope we shall pass the Bill, and that by this means we shall indicate to the Government of New South “Wales where we desire the seat of government to be. If we do that I am perfectly sure that the Government of New South “Wales will, as they have always done up to the present time, meet us in a most friendly manner, and that there will be no necessity whatever to raise the question of the ultimate power of the Federal Parliament in the matter.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– There is a division of opinion among honorable senators as to whether I should proceed with ray contingent notice of motion relating to an exhaustive “ballot, or leave the Bill to be dealt with in the ordinary way. I am willing to abandon my motion if honorable senators so desire.
– “We shall be told that we did not select the site by exhaustive Pallot.
– My reason for placing the contingent notice of motion upon the paper-
– The Minister cannot speak unless he intends to move the motion of which he has given notice.
– Could I not give my reason for not proceeding with the motion?
– Then I shall not say anything further. I do not intend to proceed with the motion.
Question - That the Senate resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole for the consideration of the Bill - put.
– I hope that the Government will adhere to their proposal for an exhaustive ballot-
– The honorable senator cannot speak at this stage. The Standing Orders provide that motions such as that now before the Chair shall be submitted without discussion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
In Committee :
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 -
It is hereby determined that the seat of government of the” Commonwealth shall be at or near Tumut, and the territory granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth within which the seat of government shall be should contain an area of not less than 1,000 square miles, and shall extend to the River Murray and the River Mumimbidgee.
Provided that the site shall be within a distance of twenty-five miles from Tumut, and at an altitude of not less than fifteen hundred feet above the sea.
– I had hoped that the Government would adhere to the programme which they arranged, so that every honorable senator might have had an opportunity of showing the interest taken by him in any particular site by means of the exhaustive ballot. If we omitted Tumut from the clause, could we then proceed to test the feeling of senators with regard to each separate site by means of an exhaustive ballot?
– It is not competent for the Committee to now take part in an exhaustive ballot, but it appears to me that the same result may be achieved by adopting the ordinary method of procedure. Suppose, for instance, that some honorable senator desired to propose the insertion of the word “ Albury “ before the word “ Tumut,” it would be competent for him to do so. If that proposal were rejected, it would be open for any other honorable senator to move the insertion of the word “ Bombala,” and take a similar vote. If the name of any other site be inserted, the word “ Tumut “ must, of course, be subsequently omitted.
– I proceed to take advantage of your suggestion, Mr. Chairman, by moving -
That after the word “ near,” line 2, the word “ Lyndhurst “ be inserted.
I have already said all that I wish to say with regard to the latter site, and I shall therefore abstain from making a speech on this occasion.
– Would it not be better to first leave out the word “Tumut “ - if that is the desire of the Committee - and to thus create a blank which might afterwards be filled by the insertion of the name of the site which meets with the most favour. I am not asking for your ruling, Mr. Chairman, so much as for your direction.
– I think that it would be more desirable to proceed in the way I suggest. Of course, if any other site be selected the word “Tumut” must be omitted. But for the present the feeling of honorable senators can be tested by a series of amendments for the insertion of the names of other sites.
– I fear that the effect of following your suggestion will be to bring about an exhaustive ballot by indirect methods. If the amendment were carried we should have to proceed immediately afterwards to omit the word “ Tumut.” Honorable senators who desire to proceed to an exhaustive ballot will have an opportunity of doing so, whilst others who would prefer to proceed in the ordinary way, as in connexion with other Bills, will be unable to adopt the course which they think most desirable. The invariable practice is to first strike out the words to which objec-tion is taken, and to afterwards insert others.
– The honorable senator is under a misapprehension if he suggests that we are not adopting the ordinary procedure. The course I have suggested is frequently followed.
– Under the course of procedure now being adopted no opportunity will be afforded to take a vote upon the Tumut site, unless all the other sites are rejected. If it were proposed to omit the word “ Tumut “ in the first instance, those who were in favour of that site would have an opportunity to give direct expression to their preference. In the event of a blank being created we could test the feeling of the Committee in exactly the same manner with regard to each site in turn until one secured a majority of votes.
– The honorable senator is really challenging my ruling. There is already an amendment before the Chair to which the honorable senator must confine his remarks.
– I can only say that no vote can be taken with regard to the Tumut site.
– I entirely agree with your suggestion, Mr. Chairman, as to the’ course to be followed. If the Committee do not agree to the amendment proposed by Senator Pulsford, some other honorable senator will be at liberty to propose another site. If we decide to insert the name of any other site we can then omit Tumut. If, however, each of the other sites fails to secure a majority of votes, Tumut will remain in the Rill. “When I spoke on the motion for the second reading of the Bill I indicated my ideas in reference to the extent of the Federal territory. I wish to intimate that it does not matter to me what site is selected by the Committee, but, in discussing this Bill, it is absolutely necessary that we should determine the area of the Federal territory. If Tumut be chosen, I am quite prepared to allow the other provisions of the measure to pass, with the exception of that relating to the area of the territory which is to be acquired. If Bombala be selected, I shall be content to adopt a similar course. But I wish to alter the boundaries of the territory as prescribed in this Bill so that it shall include an area extending from the 35th parallel of latitude south adjoining the Murrumbidgee, and extending to the River Murray and the Victorian border running eastward. In the case of Lyndhurst, it does not matter whether we secure a territory of one square mile or 100 square miles, because the advantages to be derived by the Commonwealth from such a selection are nU, whereas the benefits to be reaped by New South Wales are paramount. I think that the representatives of any other State in the Commonwealth ought to regard this question from that stand-point, remembering that they should not study the interests of those who wish to have the Federal Capital located within sight of the masts of the ships in Port Jackson.
– I wish to speak upon this question with very great brevity, because I recognise that the Senate has arrived at a decision which relieves certain of its members of considerable difficulty. Had the Senate decided to take an exhaustive ballot upon these sites, some of us would have been placed in the invidious position of having to record eight votes against sites, each of which constitutes a centre of population in our respective electorates. Whilst I am at all times willing to face the music in support of what I believe to be right, I do not desire needlessly to come to loggerheads with those whom I represent.
– The only place that the honorable senator has to fear is Waverley Cemetery.
– I should never’ be afraid of the Waverley Cemetery, even if it were desecrated by the remains of the honorable senator who has interrupted me.
– I make that remark in a Pickwickian sense, and if the feelings of my honorable friend are hurt by it, I shall withdraw it. Of course, I do not expect that the amendment which has been submitted by Senator Pulsford will be carried. Nevertheless, I would point out that the Lyndhurst site is almost the least populous of all the sites.
– Therefore the honorable senator has the least need to be afraid of it.
– I ask honorable senators to refrainfrom interruption.
.- Surely I am not raising anybody’s “dander” this evening ! With perhaps one exception, there is not a site suggested which possesses so small a population as does Lyndhurst.
– There are not many votes there.
.- I intend to stop speaking every time I am interrupted. Surely I am not offending anybody by offering these few remarks. It is little short of disgraceful that I am not allowed to speak without interruption. I repeat that no other locality can give me less support than Lyndhurst, and in advocating the claims of that particular site I must, therefore, be speaking without the smallest shadow of suspicion that I wish to gain any political advantage. But I advocate its selection upon two or three grounds. First of all there is no other site which to my mind offers greater advantages of centrality than does Lyndhurst. Its climate is admirable. As regards accessibility it would be possible to commence building operations there tomorrow morning, because the railway runs through the proposed site of the city streets. Consequently we have in the Lyndhurst site centrality for the present and the future. We have also the conditions of an admirable climate and of accessibility from the south. By the completion of two lines of railway which are in course of construction, Lyndhurst will become more central for South Australia and Western Australia, and in the near future for Queensland also, than any one of the other sites except that of Armidale, for which I entertain a great regard, but the selection of which I do not advocate, because I recognise that it would be futile to do so. For similar reasons I do not propose to speak about any of the other sites. I will further add that Lyndhurst possesses an admirable water supply. I make that statement upon the authority of one of the chief officers in the Water Conservation Department of New South Wales. How the Federal Capital Sites Commission managed to tot up the extraordinary sum which they estimate would be required to provide an adequate water supply for Lyndhurst is so utterly beyond the limits of human comprehension, that I must put it down to one of those accidents which sometimes happen, even to Royal Commissions. The water supply of that particular site is second to none. Moreover, the private lands there could be purchased more cheaply than could the lands at any of the other sites.
– How does the honorable senator arrive at that conclusion? He cannot have read the Commission’s report.
– I am not responsible for all the vagaries of the report of the Federal Capital Sites Commission. In view of the fact that two Royal Commissions are diametrically opposed to one another upon a good many points, I do not think it is advisable that any honorable senator should endeavour to achieve perfection as regards his information. I merely speak from knowledge which I obtained personally on the ground.
– TowhattwoRoyal Commissions does the honorable senator refer?
– I refer to the report which was presented by Mr. Oliver-
– Was he appointed a Royal Commission ?
– If he was not appointed by a “ Victoria, by the grace of God,” he was, at any rate, appointed under the great seal of New South Wales. I really do not recollect whether he was appointed in the terms of a Royal Commission or of a State Commission.
– In any case, the honorable senator disputes his verdict.
– No ; but when Mr. Oliver differs so transparently from the findings of the Federal Capital Sites Commission, it is scarcely reasonable to suppose that I can explain their differences here. I should be only beating the air. What would be the value of an ex parte opinion given in that way? Nevertheless, Engineer Manning, of the Water Conservation Department of New South Wales -an officer who was engaged upon the Lyndhurst site for months taking the levels - assured me in conversation the other day that a single embankment would suffice to conserve enough water there to construct a winding lake through and beyond the limits of the city site upwards of thirty miles in length. If Mr. Manning is wrong I cannot pretend to put him right ; but I have no reason to suppose that he is wrong.
– Mr. Stanley, of the Federal Capital Sites Commission, disputes the accuracy of that statement.
– I have given my reasons for supporting the Lyndhurst site as briefly as I possibly could. I should have been able to state them in a much shorter time if an attempt had not been made to make me the central figure of a Christy Minstrel troupe by asking me all sorts of conundrums. I shall vote for the amendment of Senator Pulsford.
– I intend to support the amendment. Last night, in speaking upon the second reading of the Bill, I advanced several reasons which weighed very strongly with me in coming to the conclusion that Lyndhurst was about the most favorably situated site of the whole of those which were examined by the Federal Capital Sites Commission. I also pointed out that in the other Chamber a very large vote was cast in favour of Lyndhurst. Although I know that very much exception has been taken to that vote upon the ground that it was largely given by the representatives of New South Wales, I do not think that is a reason of which one need be ashamed. I take it that the representatives of the parent State are better acquainted with the position and value of the different sites than are the representatives of other States in this Parliament. When, therefore, we find a consensus of opinion in New South Wales in favour of one particular site it indicates very clearly that it must be possessed of very great merit. I do not intend to detain the Committee by reading any of the quotations which I put before the Senate yesterday with regard to the suitability of Lyndhurst, but there are one or two other matters to which I desire to refer. The report of the Commissioners points out in unmistakable terms the suitability of that site for the purposes of a great city. It shows that if the capital were erected there it would have all the advantages of centrality and picturesqueness, and that the site is desirable from every other point of view.
– According to the Commissioners it is not nearly as good a site as Tumut.
– My reading of the report is that the Commissioners consider that Lyndhurst has the advantage. As some question has been raised in regard to the water supply of that site, I would point out that according to the report -
A dam 70 feet high constructed across the Coombing rivulet where the elevation is 2,824 feet above sea level - or 600 feet higher than the point at which it is proposed to erect the capital - and where there is a very suitable place for a storage reservoir, would impound about 2,200,000,000 gallons of water.
This is only one of five different sources of water supply to which the Commissioners refer. It is nine miles distant from the site. The cost which would be incurred in establishing the necessary works would be £159,400 ; while the cost of resuming the alienated portion of the catchment area would be £111,500, making a total of £270,900.
– The report shows that two schemes would be necessary in order to supply a population of 50,000.
.- The report states that the Coombing rivulet scheme would be sufficient for a population of 40,000, and that when the population of the capital exceeded that total, it would be necessary to resort to a second scheme. Many years will elapse however before the population of the capital is anything like 40,000, So much for the question of water supply. I should like now to point out to honorable senators that when the appointment of the Royal Commission was being discussed in another place, the present Minister for Trade and Customs, said -
I have always recognised that the neighbourhood of Orange and the sites proposed at Bathurst and Lyndhurst are really part and parcel of the same area, and would have to be included in the Federal territory if any site near the Canobolas were selected, otherwise the territory which is available at the latter place would be insufficient.
At this stage Mr. G. B. Edwards interjected -
Has the Minister any reason to believe that the New South Wales Government will give the Commonwealth a larger area of Crown lands than that which is provided for in the Constitution ?
This debate took place over twelve months ago, and the reply made by the Minister to the interjection was - “ No.” That answer may have some bearing on an argument which may be raised at a later stage. The Minister continued -
There is no doubt that Orange, Bathurst, and Lyndhurst occupy an advantageous situation in relation to all the Australian capitals, and if a proposal which I submitted in 1885 had been adopted, and the railway had been extended from Cobar to Broken Hill, and a connexion had been made between Wellington or Dubbo and Werris Creek, there would have been, practically, a direct route to those sites from both Adelaide and Brisbane, and it would have been impossible to overlook them. I understand that the Government of New South Wales is about to construct both of the lines to which I have referred, which will thus furnish us with a direct line to Brisbane. Honorable members will remember that when they undertook the last parliamentary visit of inspection, they left here by the express and reached Orange in time for breakfast. The distance between the two places is much shorter than is the distance from Melbourne to Sydney. … In addition to that, when the line was carried through to Adelaide, and later on to Perth, Orange will occupy a most unique position.
I think that this quotation from a speech which was delivered some twelve months or more ago shows clearly that the Minister for Trade and Customs, whose ministerial life has been spent for the most part in New SouthW ales, thinks, from his knowledge of the State, that Orange would be a most suitable site for the capital, and would meet all the requirements of the present time. As has also been pointed out, the population of Australia is gradually centreing morearound that site than around any other; and in any case the railways mentioned by the Minister, if constructed, will give the residents of the various States an opportunity to reach Lvndhurst without touching at either of the capital cities of Victoria or New South Wales. I trust that honorable senators, when called upon to vote, will bear in mind the several advantages that appertain to Lyndhurst.
– They will not.
.- It may be that they will not do so at the present time-
– We have not lost sight of them.
.- I am glad to have that statement from the honorable senator. It is possible, and indeed probable, that there will not be a majority of votes cast in favour of Lyndhurst, but if an honorable senator really considers a certain site to be the most suitable for the capital it is just as well that he should state his reasons for that belief. It may be that the names of two or three other sites will be submitted to the Committee, and that one or other of them will be inserted in the Bill.
Question - That the word “Lyndhurst” proposed to be inserted be inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 15
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment by (Senator Fraser) proposed -
That after the word “near,” line 2, the word “ Albury “ be inserted.
Senator McGREGOR (South Australia). - I think that it is right that we should fairly discuss the merits of every site.
Question - That the word “ Albury “ proposed to be inserted be inserted - put. The Committee divided,
Ayes … … … 6
Noes … … … 23
Majority … … 17
Question so resolved in the negative.
– As I am firmly persuaded that every honorable senator has made up his mind, and that there is no possibility of altering a vote by talking, not even the vote of Senator Dobson, I move -
That, after the word “near,” line 2, the word ‘ Bombala “ be inserted.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 9
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Senator Playford) agreed to -
That the word “ Tumut,” line 3, be left out.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).I desire the omission of all the words after “ Bombala,” but, as other amendments have been indicated, perhaps it will be more convenient if in the first instance I move -
That the word “ and,” line 3, be left out.
I do not propose to elaborate the arguments on which my opposition to that portion of the clause is based, as they were stated rather fully in my second-reading speech.
– I desire to move the omission of all the words after “ Bombala,” for the purpose of inserting the following words - and shall include an area extending from the 35th parallel of latitude south adjoining the Murrumbidgee and extending to the River Murray and the Victorian border, running eastward.
– I desire to know, sir, whether, if the amendment of Senator Millen is carried, it will be competent for an honorable senator to move the insertion of other words. Our proceedings will be simplified if you will rule that it can be done.
– I desire to emphasize the point which has been raised by Senator Clemons, because I have an amendment to move, which I think is absolutely necessary to give effect to the determination of the Committee. I take it, sir, that many honorable senators voted for Bombala on the ground, first, that , in its vicinity there is a port which we might be able to acquire, and that the capital ought to have a port ; and, secondly, that there is a large area of no particular value at the present moment which might be included in the Federal territory, and acquired without much trouble or opposition on the part of the mother State. The words which I desire to insert after “Bombala,” unless the AttorneyGeneral has a better amendment to move, are -
Provided that the area of land to be granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth shall comprise the port of Twofold Bay and the whole of the lands surrounding such port to a depth of five miles, and a strip of land of the width of ten miles, extending from the seat of government to Twofold Bay.
It seems to me that an amendment of that kind is absolutely necessary in order to give effect to the determination of the Committee. I take it that we have no particular survey of this land, and no one can tell me, whether the territory between Bombala and the port of Twofold Bay embraces an area of 1,000, 2,000, or 3,000 square miles. I am firmly of opinion that we have no right to acquire such a large area against the will of New South W ales. I therefore desire to safeguard our Act by putting in a provision that it may be declared void by proclamation, if within a certain time we do not acquire that area, and do not arrange on satisfactory terms for access to the seat of government by railway extensions from Bairnsdale, in Victoria, and from Cooma, in New South Wales.
– We should put a rope round Tasmania, and pull it alongside.
– That is rather a stupid and insipid interjection.
– I regret to say that interjections are far too frequent, and I ask honorable senators to allow the speaker to proceed.
– I have intimated that unless the Government have a cut-and-dried amendment to submit, I desire that provision to be inserted.
– Why not allow the Government to take charge of the Bill?
– Will my honorable friend allow me to speak ? It seems to me that honorable senators wish to settle the question of the capital site without hearing any arguments. The air seems to be charged with electricity, excitement, and impertinence.
– If we are to strike out a word which is to indicate the intention of the Committee to strike out the remainder of the clause, honorable senators, who support the amendment, will discover that no other words will be put in. The result will be that we shall lose the provision with regard to the area being a thousand square miles. Those honorable senators who have carefully read the report of Mr. Commissioner Oliver, will see that he recommends to the Government of New South Wales that an area of something like 1,000 square miles should be ceded. We certainly do not want to lose the 1,000 square miles provision. Therefore, I ask the Chairman to put the question, that after the word “Bombala,” Senator McGregor’s amendment be inserted. Undoubtedly that amendment will be defeated. Then Senator Dobson can move his amendment withrespect to Twofold Bay, and that will be defeated. Thus we shall retain the 1,000 square miles provision. If the course which I recommend is not taken, alterations will be made in the clause which I am satisfied that the majority of honorable senators do not desire to make.
– It is my duty, as far as I can, to protect the amendments about to be proposed by honorable senators. Up to the present two amendments have been mentioned : the first by Senator Millen to strike out the word and,” and the second that indicated by Senator McGregor, which, as far as I can see, would come in after the word “ extend.” If there are any other amendments to be moved, prior to the word “extend,” I shall have to protect the rights of those senators who desire to move them. If there are no others, I shall take Senator Millen’s amendment first.
– I have indicated the nature of my amendment. I have given my reasons for it, and do not intend to enter into a further argument as to why we should include the area I suggest. I wish to hear arguments as to why we should not include so large an area.
– In view of the fact that it is well known, though it has not been intimated officially, that there is no possible hope of Bombala being accepted by another place, I think I shall be falling in with the view of those who wish to establish a “ Bellamyite “ colony, if I propose to insert after the word “ Commonwealth “ the words -
The whole of New South Wales, with the exception of the land contained within the 100 miles limit set forth in the Constitution Act.
– It appears to me that the amendment which I ought to put first, is that of Senator Millen, who desires to strike out the word “ and,” with the ultimate intention of striking out the balance of the clause. The second amendment which I shall put will be that of Senator McGregor ; and the third will be that of Senator Neild.
– If Senator Millen’s amendment is put in the manner indicated, we shall have a combination of parties voting to achieve an object which none of them wish to effect. Senator Millen’s object is to strike out the word “and,” in order to indicate that those who vote for that amendment wish to strike out the remainder of the clause. We shall have those who agree with Senator McGregor combining with Senator Millen, and those who believe in having 1,000 square miles, also combining with him, to create a blank. In order to give the Committee an intelligent method of expressing its opinion, Senator McGregor’s amendment should come immediately after the word “ Bombala.” Then Senator Millen’s amendment can afterwards be considered on its merits, or we can take Senator Dobson’s amendment if he intends to propose one. Speaking for myself, I desire to strike out the words relating to the Murray and the Murrumbidgee, but to retain the 1,000 square miles provision. How can I express that opinion by striking out the word “and ”?
– Some strange confusion has arisen as to what would be the effect of my amendment. I would willingly withdraw it if there were any justification for so doing ; but there is none, as I shall show. It has been suggested by the VicePresident of the Executive Council that there will be some strange and unholy combination to support my amendment. But the opposite will be the case. I propose to strike out the word “ and “ with a view of striking out the remainder of the clause. The combinations will take place to defeat me, because both Senator Dobson and Senator McGregor will require the word “ and “ in order to make sense of the amendments which they intend to propose. Therefore, they will vote against me. For these reasons, without any desire to be discourteous, I decline to withdraw it.
– I desire to indicate that I intend to propose in due course that all the words after the word “ miles” up to and including the word “sea” be omitted.
- Senator Playford has already given notice of an amendment to that effect. 1 hope that the Committee fully realize the position of matters. The amendment now before the Chair is -
That the word “ and “ be left out.
– I am afraid that by the time we finish discussing this question we shall find ourselves in a very awkward fix. We shall find that we have reduced this Bill to an absolute farce. Honorable senators cannot realize too clearly the importance of the views that have been expressed by more than one honorable senator as to the true construction of the 125th section of the Constitution. It has been pointed out very clearly by Senator Symon and others that we have no power to dictate to the Government of New South Wales with regard to taking an extensive area such as 100 square miles. If that be the case how can we go to the Government of New South -Wales with a request for a greater area ?
– The honorable and learned senator is discussing Senator McGregor’s amendment.
– I am discussing the question of the 1,000 square miles. We know perfectly well that there is to be a territory only for the purpose of establishing the capital city of the Commonwealth, and the Constitution says that there shall be no territory granted or acquired by the Commonwealth of an area less than 100 square miles, all the Crown land within that territory to be given free by the Government of New South Wales. Honorable senators ought to realize that it is proposed to approach the Government of New South Wales with a demand that there shall be granted 1,000 square miles, or, failing that, the Commonwealth will not have the territory at Bombala. It has been stated by the Government of New South Wales over and over again that they are prepared to cede the necessary area of 100 square miles prescribed by law ; and why should we put ourselves in the position of asking more than we are entitled to under the Constitution? It has been pointed out that if we want a cession of territory we have to go to New South Wales for it. Do honorable senators not know that the rights of the States are protected by the Constitution against the inroads of the Commonwealth - that no new State can be formed out of a State except by the consent of that State ? It is utterly absurd to attempt to dictate to New South Wales in this matter. Within the last few days it has been stated on both sides in the Parliament of New South Wales that that State is not prepared to give more than 100 square miles.
– The proposal for 1,000 square miles is not made by the Senate, but by the House of Representatives.
.- If the House of Representatives makes an improper, undesirable, or impossible proposal, we are not bound to accept it ; our duty is to ask for that to which we are entitled by law. It would appear as though honorable senators desire to take a position of antagonism to the State Parliament of New South Wales in relation to the Federal Capital.
– We want only 20,000 square miles.
.- The honorable senator desires another State to act as a buffer between New South Wales and Victoria; but even if he lives to the age of Methuselah his desire will not be realized. No power on earth except the authority of an Imperial Act can compel New South Wales to part with any area.
– Do not get cross.
– I am not cross ; I only desire to save the honorable senator from making himself absurd. I refer honorable senators again to section 111 of the Constitution, which protects the States from any attempts of this character. Section 111 provides that the Parliament of the State may surrender any part of the State to the Commonwealth. Section 123 provides -
The Parliament of the Commonwealth ma)’, with the consent of the Parliament of a State, and the approval of the majority of the electors of the State voting upon the question, increase, diminish, or otherwise alter the limits of the State…..
– The language of the clause before us is not mandatory. The word used is “ should “ and not “ shall.”
.- An Act of Parliament is supposed to direct something or other. Section 124 provides how a State may be formed, and that can only be done with the consent of the Parliaments of the States affected. It is not until we come to section 125 that we find really what our powers are in regard to establishing a capital site. I defy any honorable senator to find any other provision within the Constitution enabling us to obtain land for the purposes of a Federal territory. Some honorable senators have laid stress on the word “acquire,” but that word does not help them in the slightest.
-Col. Neild. - I ask that there shall be order, because I cannot hear a word the honorable senator says.
– Honorable senators do not want to hear.
– I ask whether the Vice-President of the Executive Council is in order in making an insulting remark ?
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council has made no remark that lean ask him to withdraw.
– I accept your decision, Mr. Chairman, but I can tell the Vice-President of the Executive Council that nobody wants to hear him, and that if he chooses to speak impertinently he must expect impertinence in return.
– That is a proper retort.
– Will honorable senators endeavour to compose themselves ?
– It is possible that the Vice-President of the Executive Council did not mean to be insulting.
– I did not mean anything of the kind, only I was not surprised at honorable senators not listening.
– Honorable senators are only beating the wind when they attempt to lay down lines which clearly cannot be followed out. If there had been a simple resolution to the effect that it was desirable for the Government to obtain 1,000 square miles, nobody could have objected ; and, as a matter of order and right, it would only be for the Government of New South Wales to state whether they could or could not agree to the request. I ask honorable senators to realize that we are entitled only to the area prescribed in the Constitution, and that it is much better to confine our attention to that area. If we desire that there should be further negotiations, the proper course is to invite the Government by resolutions to conduct those negotiations ; but to place the stipulation in an Act of Parliament means that we shall accept the Bombala site, contingent only on New South Wales granting additional areas of land. We are really going to the New South Wales Government with a “ stand and deliver” demand. If the New South Wales Government say that they are prepared to give 100 square miles and no more, can it be believed that the majority of honorable senators, holding the views they do in regard to the particular site, would be prepared to accept that area? Honorable senators are urging that we should acquire not only the tableland, but also the port sixty miles away. I do not deal with Senator McGregor’s amendment, because that is really not before us now; though if my objection to the 1,000 square miles is so strong, it may be realized how much stronger my opposition would be to the proposal to take over what is really a great State. I do not believe that Senator McGregor will get half-a-dozen members to support his amendment. In dealing with matters of this kind it is well to look facts
J fairly and squarely in the face, and, parti cularly in view of the present state of feeling in the Parliament of New South Wales, not to ask for more than that to which we are entitled.
– I have not taken part in this debate hitherto, because I really question the utility of our occupying time over this matter. The majority of honorable senators have decided on a certain site, and ther vote means that the question of the selection of the Federal territory is to be hung up indefinitely.
– We shall see. I am as much entitled to take up the role of prophet as is Senator Gould, and in my opinion this question will not be settled this session, owing to the fact that the six Victorians have arrayed themselves on the side of Bombala.
– What does the honorable senator wish us to do ? Surely we have a right to vote ?
– I should like the honorable senator to be a little magnanimous. He and his colleagues have had three years’ experience of the Federal Parliament, and, judging from the local newspapers, they do not think we are very desirable citizens, and are willing that we should go away to the State of New South Wales. Senator Millen has submitted a proposal which, if carried, will indefinitely postpone the establishment of a Federal Capital. I am not prepared to vote for the establishment of a seat of government unless the territory is to be made selfsupporting. I refuse to place a burden on the taxpayers of the backblocks of Queensland, for example, in the shape of a contribution towards meeting the cost of the expensive buildings which will be necessary within the Federal territory.
– Then why did the honorable senator vote for the establishment of a Federal High Court?
– Any one who has followed the present discussion must have understood that it was recognised on all hands that there should be an area of at least 1,000 square miles. Mr. Oliver himself recommended that an area of that size should be acquired.
– At the very least.
– Mr. Oliver’s recommendation was that the increased value given to the land by the establishment of the capital should go towards the cost of building the capital.
– The honorable senator did not adopt Mr. Oliver’s recommendation as to the site.
– I took one of the sites recommended by Mr. Oliver.
– Can Mr. Oliver overrule the Premier and the leader of the Opposition in New South Wales ?
– I do not want to say anything harsh ; but I am inclined to say that the Premier in New South Wales in this connexion is a mere “ fly on the wheel.” The Federal Parliament has the Constitution, and so long as we abide by that Constitution we are superior to the Government of New South Wales or any State Parliament. Clause 125 enables us to acquire an area of not less than 100 square miles - that is the minimum. I recommend Senator Gould to read sub-section 39 of section 51.
– That does not apply.
– Section 1 25 gives authority to this Parliament to select a capital site, and sub-section 39 of section 51 provides that the Parliament shall have powers to make laws relating to -
Matters incidental to the execution of any power vested by this Constitution in the Parliament, or in either House thereof, or in the Government of the Commonwealth, or in the Federal Judicature, or in any Department or officer of the Commonwealth.
We may make laws regarding any power vested in us by the Constitution, and we are given power to acquire territory, within which shall be the seat of government.
– Let us take all the territory at once.
– That is an extreme view. The honorable senator is like all the extremists of the Kyabram party. He is now taking an extreme view, as he does on every question.
– I am sometimes with the honorable senator.
– Those are the very exceptional occasions when extremes meet and the honorable senator enjoys a few lucid intervals. Senator Pearce, in speaking upon the second reading of the Bill, mentioned the fact that some years ago the site of the city of Melbourne was bought for a few thousand pounds. To-day, without regard to this or any other of the buildings in the city, it has improved in value until it is worth £15,000,000. We cannot expect that the site of the seat of government of the Commonwealth will attain a value of several millions for many years to come ; but we can expect that there will be a value given to the land which we select as the seat of government that will go to some one. If we act wisely we shall see that that value shall accrue to the Commonwealth, and in that way we may be able to save the general taxpayer from bearing a burden. If on the other hand we adopt the view expressed by Senator Millen and some other honorable senators, the collectively earned increment will go to private speculators in land, to land jobbers, and land boomsters, like the Honorable Thomas Bent and other people. With the knowledge which we have of the disasters which follow land booms, and the knowledge we possess respecting the immense wealth secured by people like Sir Daniel Cooper in New South Wales, by acquiring land at a low price and then leasing it, it is our duty to see that we keep the collectively earned increment of Commonwealth lands for the people of the Commonwealth. If I thought that the acquisition of the Federal territory was going to result in a burden being imposed on the taxpayers of the Commonwealth to meet the expenditure necessary for the establishment of the Federal Capital, I should refuse to go out of Melbourne, notwithstanding the fact that the refusal would be a breach of the compact made with New South Wales to select the capital in that State. When Senator Millen and other honorable senators from New South Wales tell us that not a single representative from New South Wales will be returned to the next Federal Parliament who will not be pledged against the proposal that 1,000 square miles should be acquired by the Commonwealth as Federal territory, I tell those honorable senators that I do not believe they know public opinion in New South Wales. I have no doubt that the decision arrived at by the Committee this evening will have the effect of hanging up the settlement of this question until next session. But I believe that we shall then find that every representative from New South Wales returned to the House of Representatives or to the Senate will be in favour, not only of giving us 1,000 square miles-
– But 20,000 square miles.
– I will not say that. I think there is a limit. They will be in favour of giving us an area of 1,000 square miles, and they will fall in with the view that we shall keep that area as Crown lands of the Commonwealth, lease it to those who may desire to use it, and use the money acquired in that way to pay interest upon the large suras which it will be necessary to expend in building the Federal city.
– I do not propose to reply generally to the remarks made by Senator Higgs as to the desirability of acquiring an area of 1,000 square miles ; but the honorable senator has pointed out that in his judgment sub-section 39 of section 51 will enable the Federal Parliament to deal with the acquisition of such an area in the way he has indicated should the necessity arise. I point out to the honorable senator that subsection 39 of section 51 provides that the Parliament shall have power to make laws, amongst other things, for -
Matters incidental to the execution of any power vested by this Constitution in the Parliament.
There is no power vested by this Constitution in the Parliament to resume lands at any one of the sites for the Federal Capital. Section 125 of the Constitution enables this Parliament to determine where the seat of government of the Commonwealth shall be- within territory which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth.
Until we have acquired the territory, whether by way of cession or grant or any other means, sub-section 39 of section 51 cannot come into operation, because under section 1 25 we are given power only to fix the seat of government within territory we have acquired. Sub-section 39 of section 51 will undoubtedly help us in dealing with any matters incidental thereto ; but it clearly will not enable the Federal Government to acquire or resume any part of the State for the purpose of securing a Federal territory.
– How is it that we came to pass the Property for Public Purposes Acquisition Act?
.- Simply because we have the power to acquire property for any purposes in connexion with the matters referred toin section 51. For instance, we can acquire property for a
Custom-house, post-office, for defence purposes, or for a quarantine station. We can acquire such property by virtue of the Constitution, and by legislation under it; but sub-section 39, which Senator Higgs relies upon, does not enable us to acquire land for a Federal territory in order to fix the seat of government there.
– I desire to ask your ruling, Mr. Chairman, as to ‘whether you can put to the Committee the amendment proposed to be moved by Senator McGregor?
– I can only deal with it when it is brought up.
– I desire to draw attention to the fact that Senator McGregor includes in his amendment land within the 100-miles limit. The whole of Jervis Bay is within the 100-miles limit.
– I thought that Ministers, knowing full well, as I suppose they did, that Bombala would be selected by a large majority of the Committee of the Senate, would have been ready with some provision which would have enabled us to give effect to the determination of the Committee, which, I persume, will be the determination of the Senate. I know well that one cannot draft an important amendment at the table during a debate ; but I should like to inform honorable senators that I intend to propose a second amendment, and I would ask them to listen to the two amendments stated together. Honorable senators will see that while they will not clear away the difficulties, they indicate a way’ in which they can be got rid of. I believe most firmly that Senator Downer was perfectly right when he said that the Constitution does not authorize us to take 1,000 square miles of territory. Honorable senators must recollect that the Constitution is a contract. It is not in this case a question of fixing the site. Wherever we fix the site, New South Wales has contracted to grant the whole of the Crown land within the Federal area free of cost. I am satisfied, however, that any High Court will put a reasonable limit upon the words not less than 100 square miles. I cannot conceive for a moment that it will be admitted that we can multiply the area stated in the Constitution by ten, and multiply in the same way the area of Crown lands which the mother State must give to the Commonwealth free of charge. I, therefore, desire to indicate that when my turn comes I shall move the two following amendments. After the word “ should,” line 5, I propose to add the following words : -
Comprise an area of not less than 100 square miles, and also the port of Twofold Bay and the whole of the land surrounding such port to a depth of five miles, and a strip of land of the width of ten miles extending from the seat of government to the port of Twofold Bay.
My reason for the amendment, in a word, is that I am told that it would require 2,000 square miles to take in the seat of government at Bombala with a strip of land fourteen miles wide down to the port. I am informed by a man who knows more of Federal law and other law than I do, because he is a leading and experienced barrister, that if we do fix the seat of government this session it can be unfixed again. I see no reason why it should not. If honorable senators fix the seat of government of the Commonwealth in a moribund Parliament, and the electors, by a substantial voice, speak in a contrary direction, I believe the Federal Parliament will be in a position to repeal the Act after an election. I wish to proceed upon business lines. I have no desire to give a whip hand over us to those with whom we may Have to deal in order to acquire Federal territory, a port, or anything else, and I therefore propose to add these words as a second amendment -
Provided that if within two years from the passing of this Act the Governor-General shall, by proclamation, declare that the GovernorGeneral in Council has not been able, on terms which they deem satisfactory, to acquire and have granted to the Commonwealth the area of land, the port of Twofold Bay, and the strips of land before mentioned ; and to arrange for the extension of the railway from Bairnsdale in Gippsland to the Victorian border in the direction of the seat of government, and of the railway from Cooma, in the State of New South Wales, to the seat of government, this Act shall thenceforth be repealed.
– I have been sitting very quietly, although like other honorable senators, I should like to make half-a-dozen speeches, more or less.
– The honorable senator has talked more than any one else.
.- I have not played the fool in indicating-
– Order ! The honorable senator will take his seat. There have been far too many personalities and too much heat introduced into this debate. I ask the honorable senator to confine himself to debating the question before the Chair in an orderly way.
.- Then I hope that you, sir, will protect me from impertinent interjections.
– The honorable senator ought to be made to withdraw ; he is a grossly insulting fellow.
– What is to be done with that person over there ?
– The honorable senator called Senator Dobson a fool.
– I rise to a point of order. I object to Senator Neild, who, I believe, called me a fool as plainly as he could speak just now, imputing impertinence and insulting conduct to other honorable senators. The honorable senator has made more insulting remarks than all the other honorable senators present put together.
– If Senator Dobson complains that Senator Neild has used any unparliamentary language-
– I shall make no complaint, but the honorable senator is saying that he is sinned against, when it is he who is the sinner. I do not want any apology.
– We must make allowance for the honorable senator.
– I must ask honorable senators to pay deference to the wishes of the chair.
– I indicated my desire to follow the illustrious example set me by some other honorable senators in making a few speeches ; but, although I have been paying close attention to business, I am at present wholly at a loss to know what is the question before the Committee, because there have been at least half-a-dozen amendments indicated.
– Then there are more fools than one in the Chamber.
– I draw your attention, Mr. Chairman, to the fact that Senator “ Amendment “ Dobson has called some one in this Chamber a fool. I choose, as a point of order, to take that observation to myself, and I desire its withdrawal. I consider it offensive, and I require its withdrawal.
– I withdraw it at once.
.- I wish the honorable and learned senator would withdraw himself instead.
– If honorable senators think that I am going to allow this constant interruption of the debate to continue they are mistaken.
– Are those observations addressed to me ? I have not said a word. I hope your remarks were not addressed to me, because if they were–
– Will the honorable senator proceed?
– Pardon me, sir–
– I ask the honorable senator to proceed.
.- No. Under the circumstances I decline to proceed. Such a condition of affairs is scandalous.
-Will the honorable senator be silent ?
.- I do not think I have a right to be silent.
– I am told that I am paired with Senator Glassey. I do not know whether that is correct or not, but under the circumstances I do not propose to vote.
Question - That the word “and” proposed to be left out be left out - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 9
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment (by Senator McGregor) proposed -
That after the word “and,” line 3, the following words be inserted: - “Shall include an area extending from the 35th parallel of latitude south adjoining the Murrumbidgee, and extending to the River Murray and the Victorian border, running eastward.”
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).I would ask senators before coming to a decision with regard to this amendment to look at the map and gain some idea of the large area which is proposed to be included.
– I am in some doubt upon that question after the way in which some of the votes have resulted. I did not think that the majority of the Committee would sanction the proposal that the Commonwealth should acquire an area of not less than 1,000 square miles. The thirtyfifth parallel of latitude enters the coast of New South Wales to the north of Jervis Bay, and the extensive territory contemplated by the amendment would embrace one-third of the coast line of New South Wales. I think that as a representative of the State which is threatened, I have a right to protest against what I regard as the biggest legislative steal ever proposed in a civilized community.
– We could not take territory without the consent of New South Wales.
– That is very fortunate for New South Wales, because the honorable senator would do so if he could. There is no virtue in abstaining from theft when a policeman is on hand. It is proposed to take fully a third of the coast line of New South Wales, and to embrace within the Federal territory a very large proportion of the best lands in the State.
– But the New South Wales Government never did anything for that part of the country.
– That has nothing to do with the honorable senator, because it is entirely a State matter. I would sooner lose the capital fifty thousand times over than consent to such a proposal.
Senator DOBSON (Tasmania) . - I move -
That after the word “ should,” line 5, the following words be inserted: - “comprise an area of not less than 100 square miles, and also the port of Twofold Bay, the whole of the land surrounding such port to a depth of five miles, and a strip of land of the width of ten miles, extending from the scat of government to Twofold Bay. “
I presume that honorable senators who have, selected Bombala desire to acquire a port, and to have the territory in the immediate neighbourhood of such port to themselves. I am informed by a gentleman who knows something about the matter that a territory of 1,000 square miles would not be sufficient if we desired to include a site for the capital at Bombala, the port of Twofold Bay, and a strip of territory connecting the two. It certainly would not enable us to acquire the area extending in another direction necessary for the purposes of water supply. I long ago stated that I should not move an amendment if the Government were prepared to submit a proper proposal to us, but I contend that an area of 1,000 square miles would not be sufficient. Then, again, we could only acquire such an enormous area by negotiation and compromise. We should have no right to demand it. I judge from the debate which took place in another place, and from the remarks of honorable senators, that they would like to have the port of Twofold Bay entirely under the control of the Commonwealth, and not to leave one portion of that harbor in the hands of the State. It would not be desirable to have a dual harbor control, and therefore I think that some amendment of the kind submitted is necessary. I suggest that this discussion might be allowed to proceed a little further, and that it should then be adjourned in order to afford the Government an opportunity to present a proposal.
– Oh no, that would be outrageous.
– T really do not understand my honorable friend’s objection to a little delay, which would give us further time for consideration.
Amendment (by Senator Playford) proposed -
That the following words be left out : - “and shall extend to the River Murray and the River Mumimbidgee. Provided that the site shall be within a distance of twenty-five miles from Tumut, and at an altitude of not less than 1,500 feet above the sea. “
Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania). - -I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council if he intends to retain the word “ should “ in the clause. It merely expresses a wish, and is altogether out of place in a Bill.
– I intend to retain the word “should,” because there is some doubt as to whether the Commonwealth could acquire the land compulsorily. That is the reason why the word “ should “ was substited for “ shall.” There is a doubt in my mind - which is not a legal mind - as to whether we can acquire any territory whatever without the consent of New South Wales, and, therefore, I think it is desirable to retain the word “ should.”
Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania). - I am more than satisfied with the explanation of the Vice-President of the Executive Council, and I shall do my best to retain the word “should.”
– I should like to say to the representatives of New South Wales that there are two ways of resuming this land. Under the Constitution we may possess the power of resumption, but if any difficulties are placed in the way of our acquiring the necessary territory we may find it convenient to remain in Melbourne.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 3 -
Land acquired by the Commonwealth for the purposes of the seat of government, or the surrounding territory shall not be assessed at a value exceeding the value thereof on the first day of January one thousand nine hundred and three, but in other respects shall be subject to the provisions of section nineteen of the Property for Public Purposes Acquisition Act, 1901.
– -I move -
That the word “ three,” line 5, be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “one.”
– What is the use of that 1
– I do not intend to try to satisfy Senator Zeal’s thirst for knowledge. Other honorable senators however will probably wish to be informed of the reasons underlying my proposal. My view is that the land in the districts of Bombala, Tumut, and Orange - the three places which were recommended by Mr. Oliver - have considerably increased in value since that gentleman presented his report. That additional value has resulted from a belief that one of these sites will be the future seat of government of the Commonwealth. Not a single act on the part of any resident of that area is responsible for the enhanced value of which I speak. I claim that that increased value properly belongs to the people of the Commonwealth, and that they should receive the benefit of it. The House of Representatives has decided that the value of the land which may be acquired shall be taken to be its value upon the 1st January, 1903.
– A very fair proposal, too.
– That is the honorable senator’s view. He is a good parochial sort who looks after the interests of New South Wales. All the adults of that State are his constituents. Every man who owns land there possesses a vote, and every woman also. It is therefore only natural that he should endeavour to see-
– Most of the landowners in New South Wales vote for those of the same fiscal faith as the honorable senator.
– That interjection reminds me of the fact that Senator Millen and others of his fiscal faith have frequently told us that their sole desire is to lighten the burdens of the taxpayer.
– The honorable senator is taking notice of a disorderly interjection.
– Myobjectin endeavouring to’ substitute the word “ one “ for “ three” is to relieve the burden which will otherwise be imposed upon the taxpayer. Senator Millen objects to that. Therefore when he talks about lightening the burden of taxation upon the miner, and when Senator Neild speaks of reducing the burden which is imposed upon the person who uses the mangle, I consider that their professions are somewhat hypocritical. This is a practical proposal to relieve the taxpayer. I visited Tumut quite recently, and I found that since the Federal Capital Sites Commission presented their report the land there has increased in value to the extent of some pounds per acre.
– There have been no sales there, so what is the use of talking nonsense ?
– I think that I have a complete answer to the honorable senator.
– If the VicePresident’s answer resembles some of his explanations it will not be very satisfactory. I repeat that since it was suggested that Tumut, Orange, and Bombala were places at which the seat of government of the Commonwealth should be established, the land there has increased in value. Who is responsible for that increased value? Certainly not the people who own the land. If any added value has accrued to that land by reason of the fact that it is proposed to establish the Federal Capital at one of these sites, that value I submit is the property of the people of the Commonwealth. Therefore I claim that we shall inflict no injustice whatever by making the provisions of this clause retrospective.
– Senator Higgs has alluded to the fact that in various localities which have been offered by the New South Wales Government as eligible sites for the Federal Capital land values have increased. He attributes that increase to the knowledge that one of these sites will probably be chosen as the future seat of government of the Commonwealth. But I. would point out to him that since these sites were offered to the Commonwealth land values in districts which have a reliable rainfall have increased all over Australia. In South Australia for example the value of agricultural land within Goyder’s line of rainfall has increased by more than £1 per acre. That is not due to the fact that the future Federal Capital is likely to be located in that territory. The same influences have operated in New South Wales. Land values there have increased because the price of produce, such as wheat, hay, and meat, has increased. As far as the Government have been able to ascertain there has been no increased value given to the lands surrounding Bombala, Tumut, and Orange by reason of the likelihood that one of those sites would be chosen forthe Federal Capital. The value of lands of a similar character hundreds and thousands of miles distant has increased in an equal degree. Surely Senator Higgs does not wish us to rob the owners of these lands of the benefits to which they are justly entitled. The. Government must oppose the amendment.
– Senator Higgs desires the Commonwealth to obtain the benefit of any increased value which may be given to the lands surrounding the site which is selected by reason of the Federal Capital being located there. Section 19 of the Property for Public Purposes Acquisition Act provides for that.
– It has nothing whatever to do with it.
– Section 19 of the Act provides -
In estimating the compensation to be paid, regard shall in every case be had, by the valuators or adjusters, not only to the value of the land taken, but also to the damage (if any) caused-
I take it that what Senator Higgs has said is perfectly right, and that we ought to provide in this Bill what I thought we were going to provide, because I distinctly recollect that the exPresident of the Executive Council declared that a special Act would be introduced in reference to the capital site. Why not declare that no added value shall be given to the land which may be resumed by reason of the purpose for which it is selected ?
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).I should like to inform the Committee of something which has transpired in New South Wales, and which absolutely confirms the statement of the “Vice-President of the Executive Council. The Land Tax Commissioners there, in the exercise of the powers which are conferred upon them by the Land Tax Act, have recently been appraising the values upon which that tax is levied. Their invariable experience has been that, as the result of the drought, the values of land situated within the better rainfall districts have shown an upward tendency, not merely in particular localities, but throughout the whole of the State. On the other hand, land values in the more droughty districts have exhibited a falling tendency. Even if it could be shown that an increase has occurred in the value of certain of the Bombala lands, it would be beyond the ingenuity of man to determine how much of that increase is due to the impr oved condition of affairs generally, and how much to the probability that the locality in question will be chosen as the Federal Capital site. I would further ask if the laws which we pass are to deal with one individual in one way and with another in another? The Property for Public Purposes Acquisition Act declares that where we resume land under that Act we must acquire it at its value upon the 1st January previously. Why should not the same principle apply here ? Above all things it is necessary in resuming these lands to provide that if an error is made it shall not be in the nature of a distinct injustice to the individuals who are chiefly affected by our action.
Question - That the word “three” proposed to be left out be left out - put. The Committee divided
Ayes … … … 10
Noes … … … 19
Majority … … 9
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I have no desire that this Bill shall be sent to another place in a form which will enable holes to be picked in it. I am of opinion that the owners of property whose land is acquired by us should be liberally treated. I think that they ought to be allowed to add 10 per cent. to the value of their land as compensation for compulsory sale ; but that they should not receive one penny in respect of a rise in value due to any report or hope or suspicion of the selection of a site in the neighbourhood of their property. I, therefore, hold that certain words in section 19 of the Property for Public Purposes Acquisition Act should be added to the clause.
– That section already applies. .
– I do not think so.
– The matter is certainly provided for.
– I wish to see a proviso added to the clause that, in assessing the value of the land, the valuators shall not take into account any rise in value due to the selection of the site of the capital. I move -
That the following words be added: - “except that the valuators or the justice, in estimating the value of the land, shall not take into consideration any enhancement in the value of the interest of the claimant in such land.”
– There is no occasion for this amendment, as the object which the honorable and learned senator has in view is already covered by the words in the clause - but in other respects shall be subject to the pro-, visions of section 19 of the Property for Public Purposes Acquisition Act 1901.
– It is evident, as the Vice-President of the Executive Council has pointed out, that Senator Dobson has failed to notice that section 19 of the Property for Public Purposes Acquisition Act affirms in definite language exactly what he desires now to affirm. Paragraph b of section 19 provides that the assessors - shall assess the same - that is, the land - according to what they find to have been the value of the land, estate, or interest of the claimant on the first day of January last preceding the date of acquisition, but- and here are the words to which I invite the attention of Senator Dobson - without reference to any alteration in such value arising from the proposal to carry out the public purpose for which the land is taken.
Unless Senator Dobson contends that the acquirement of land as part of a Federal territory would not be for “public purpose,” the object which he has in view is sufficiently provided for.
Senator DOBSON (Tasmania). - I have pleasure in withdrawing my amendment. When I stated that the answer to Senator Higgs’ proposal was to be found in the Act itself, I was contradicted, and was thus put off the track.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause agreed to.
– I move -
That the following new clause be inserted: - “4. Crown land granted to, and land other than Crown land acquired by, the Commonwealth within the Federal territory shall not be alienated.”
I take this provision from a Bill of which I gave notice some time ago, and which is now in print.
– I rise to a point of order. I would ask you to say, Mr. Chairman, whether the amendment is within the scope of the Bill. This is a measure simply to determine the seat of government of the Commonwealth, and I contend that it would not be within the scope of the Bill to provide how the land acquired for this purpose shall be dealt with. That is a matter which must be provided for in another measure.
– On the point of order, I wish to say that if there is anything in the honorable and learned senator’s contention, then half the provisions in this Bill are beyond the order of leave. The Bill is for an Act “ to determine the seat of Government of the Commonwealth,” and the moment we pass a clause providing that the seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be at or near Tumut, or any other place, we carry out the intentions of the order of leave.
– We may go further than that.
– Inasmuch as the Bill contains provisions, not only as to the seat of government of the Commonwealth, and as to the area of the land to be acquired, but provisions relating to the acquisition of land within the Federal territory, I think I am on sound ground in contending that we are entitled to insert in it a clause declaring that the land which we acquire shall not be alienated. If my amendment be out of order, I would ask Senator Gould to say how a clause relating to the assessment of the value of the land comprising the Federal territory - which is something quite apart from the question -of the seat of government - is within the order of leave.
– In reply to the honorable senator, I would point out, first of all, that this Bill has been sent up from another place, and that, even if some of its provisions were beyond the order of leave, it is questionable how far the Senate, as the Chamber in which the measure was not originated, would be justified in rejecting them. The question of area relates to the question of the seat of government. I admit that if the measure originated in this Chamber there would be grave doubt as to how far we should be justified in inserting in it the provisions contained in clause 3 ; but, as this is simply a Bill to determine the site of the seat of government, it cannot be extended so as to provide against the principle of alienation. The question of alienation of land has nothing to do with the determination of the seat of government.
– It is always very difficult to determine exactly the borderline or limitation as to the subject-matter of a Bill. Standing order 194 provides that -
Any amendment may be made to any part of the Bill, provided the same be relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill, and be otherwise in conformity with the rules and orders of the Senate.
The object of the Bill is solely to determine the seat of government of the Commonwealth, the Constitution Act providing of course that the seat of government shall be within the Federal territory. It is quite true that reference is made in the Bill to territory, but the honorable senator is seeking to introduce something which would deal with the internal management of that territory. It appears to me that the amendment which he now proposes is not within the scope of the Bill. He might as well seek to introduce something referring to the liquor traffic as to the internal management of the land within that territory ; and, consequently, I think that the amendment is out of order.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - This is a fitting opportunity for me to express the hope that the Senate favours the nonalienation of Federal territory. I accept your decision, Mr. Chairman. I am satisfied now, on reconsideration, that you are right. If you had not ruled the amendment out of order, I should have withdrawn it, because several honorable senators indicated to me that, whilst they were in favour of such a proposition, they thought that it could more properly be dealt with in another measure.
– I have been told by an authority, whose opinion I do not care to dispute, that this area of 1,000 square miles will not be sufficient. I wish the Bill to be passed in a form which will do credit to the Senate, and not to be told after it has left our hands that the area will not be sufficient.
– The honorable and learned member cannot discuss the clauses of the Bill on the question that the preamble be agreed to.
– I desire to submit my amendment as a new clause.
– It cannot be done because we are now dealing with the preamble.
– I would ask you, sir, to allow me to move my amendment to the effect that unless the GovernorGeneral in Council can secure the land and everything else satisfactorily, within a period of two years or any other time which may be preferred, the Bill shall be null and void.
– I have passed on to the preamble, and it is too late now for the honorable and learned senator to move the insertion of a new7 clause.
– May I remind you, sir, that nothing has transpired between your ruling Senator Higgs’ amendment out of order and the rising of Senator Dobson.
– Yes. On two occasions I put the question that the preamble as printed be the preamble of the Bill.
Preamble agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Motion (by Senator Playford) proposed -
That the Bill be reported with amendments.
Senator DOBSON (Tasmania). - I presume that I am in order in. calling ‘ the attention of Senator Playford to the fact that his own colleague has told me that an area of 1,500 square miles, if not more, will be wanted. With that information in our possession, why should we allow the Bill to leave the Committee in this shape? We have selected the Bombala site, and suggested an area which would not give us the very port for which we have been asking. We shall have to go up in one direction to obtain the necessary area in order to procure a water supply and electric power. We shall have to get all the lands surrounding the capital site, and then take a broad strip to Twofold Bay and the lands surrounding that port.
– Is the honorable and learned senator going to move for the reconsideration of the Bill?
– Yes, unless the Vice-President of the Executive Council or the Attorney-General can give me a satisfactory explanation.
– Does not the honorable and learned senator see that thereis no limit as to the area which can be taken?
– The words “ not less than “ are in the clause.
– Will the honorable and learned senator give me his motion ?
– I am asked not to proceed with the motion. I ask my honorable friend, Senator Playford, to consider what he is doing.
– I shall.
– It is not proposed to pass the Bill through all its stages today?
– Will the honorable and learned senator get a surveyor to tell us how much land will be obtainable at Bombala ?
– I do not think I can.
– A surveyor would be able to give an idea as to the area. Will the honorable senator get that done before the third reading of the Bill is moved?
– As the Senate is to meet at half -past 10 o’clock to-morrow, I shall not have time to consult a surveyor.
– Will the honorable senator try to have it done?
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill reported with amendments.
Bill returned from the House of Representatives with the following message : -
The House of Representatives returns to the Senate the Bill intituled “ A Bill for an Act to provide for the Naval and Military Defence and Protection of the Commonwealth and of the several States,” and acquaints the Semite that the House of Representatives has agreed to the amendments made by the Senate, with the exception of amendments Nos. 12, 15, 22, 23, 61,. and 62.
The House of Representatives has agreed to amendment No. 15 with an amendment, but has not agreed to amendment No. 23, but has made amendments in the clause proposed to be omitted, as indicated by the annexed Schedule, and has disagreed to amendments Nos. 12, 22, 61, and 62 for the -reasons assigned herewith.
The House of Representatives desires the concurrence of the Senate to the amendments to Amendments, and desires its reconsideration of the Bill in respect to the amendments disagreed to.
House of Representatives,
Melbourne, 14th October, 1903.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Drake) read a first time.
Motion (by Senator Playford) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council if he will arrange for a record of the attendances of honorable senators during the session to be printed prior to the prorogation ?
– That is a matter for the officers of the Senate to attend to.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned ab 10.21 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 15 October 1903, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1903/19031015_senate_1_17/>.