22 October 1903

1st Parliament · 2nd Session

The President took the chair at 2 p.m.,. and read prayers.

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– I have to announce to the Senate that I presented to His Excellency the Governor-General the address: which was carried yesterday, and received the following reply : -

Commonwealth of Australia.



I have been profoundly touched by the signal honour you have done me in handing me the Address from each of your two Houses, authoritatively representing as they do the warm-hearted people of Australia. Thatyou have been kind enough to give such generous expression to your feeling that I have done my duty by my Sovereign, the Empire, and Australia during my term of office as Governor-General will be to me an ever-grateful remembrance, and I shall value this Address as one of the highest honours I could possibly receive.

I wish to thank my Ministers and the Members of the first Commonwealth Parliament of Australia for their unvarying kindness and courtesy to me and mine ; and. Lady Tennyson, who has throughout been closely associated with me in the performance of my duties, and, may I add, richly merits your encomium, desires me to convey to you her heartfelt gratitude for your kind words and wishes. She and 1 have spent five truly happy years among you, and the people of Australia will always be very near our hearts, whileyou may rest assured that, wherever I am, I shall continue to advocate their interests to the best of my ability.

It is true that I came into office at a time when many grave difficulties had to be encountered, but by your” common sense,” patience, and perseverance these especial difficulties have been overcome. I shall ever remember with pride that I was His Majesty’s chief representative in Australia when the Constitution of the Commonwealth was being established on a firm basis - that as such I assented to the four great Acts which are the four corner-stones of the Constitution, and helped to place the coping stone on the edifice by the creation of your strong Federal High Court.

In my journeys through Australia I have been enabledtoseeformyselfhowwonderfulthe resources - how rich the products of your country are, and how splendidly loyal are the people.

I have full belief that United Australia will take a high and worthy rank among the nations of the world, and add her contribution to the welfare and the glories of the British race, and aid the Mother country to fulfil her great Imperial mission.


22nd October, 1903.

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Senator PLAYFORD laid upon the table the following paper : -

Correspondence with reference to the proposed transcontinental railway.

Ordered to be printed.

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The PRESIDENT reported the receipt of a message from the House of Representatives intimating that it had agreed to the amendments made by the Senate in the Public Service Regulations, with the exception of amendment No. 1, to which it had disagreed.

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asked the Vice-President of the Executive Council, upon notice -

In the event of the Federal Parliament not coming to a final decision regarding the Capital site this session -

Will the Government appoint a Commissioner or Commissioners to delimit an area of 1,000 square miles, in the neighbourhoods of Bombala and Tumut, that they consider most suitable for a Federal Capital site, giving the following information regarding each area : - (a) accessibility ; (b) means of communication : (c) climate ; (d) topography ; (e) water supply - gravitation or pumping ; (f) drainage; (g) soil; (h) building material ; (i) fuel ; (j) the estimated cost of resumption of each site, by ascertaining from the land-holders within those areas the price they ask for their land ; (k) an estimate of the Federal expenditure that would be, in their opinion, absolutely necessary during the next ten years for each site if selected ?

Will the Government also state whether (in the event of an area of 1,000 square miles being decided upon by Parliament) the Constitution gives them the right to acquire all Crown lands within that area free of cost, and, if not, will they ascertain what the Government of the State of New South Wales is prepared to do regarding those Crown lands outside the 100 square mile minimum ?

Vice-President of the Executive Council · SOUTH AUSTRALIA · Protectionist

– The answer to the honorable senator’s questions is as follows : -

At such short notice it is impossible to give an answer to tile honorable senator’s questions. The matter will be considered by the Cabinet.

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Senator McGREGOR:

asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -

Will the Government consider the advisableness of improving the post-office accommodation at Gawler and Hamley Bridge, in the State of South Australia ; and also connecting by telephone the townships of Blyth and Clare, in the same State?


– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows : -

The Government will obtain reports and consider the advisableness of improving the postoffice accommodation at Gawler and Hamley Bridge ; also of connecting the townships of Blyth and Clare by telephone.

Senator KEATING:

asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council,upon notice -

  1. Is it true that the officers of the Post and Telegraph Department in Tasmania have not yet received payment for overtime work done since December last, although payment for similar work clone in other States has been made ?
  2. If true, when will payment be made to the officers in Tasmania for the overtime work referred to ?

– The answer to the honorable senator’s questions is as follows : - 1 and 2. The Postmaster-General has made inquiry respecting this matter, and has been advised that all claims for overtime have been settled either by payment or by allowing time off, in accordance with the Public Service Regulations.

Senator Keating:

– That is incorrect.


– That is all the answer I can give.

Senator Lt Col NEILD:

asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -

Is it intended to give the letter-sorting and carrying officials in the General Post-office a complete holiday on Christmas Day next, as promised last year but not fully carried into effect?


– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows : -

It is intended to give the letter-sorting and carrying officials in the General Post-office as complete a holiday on Christmas Day next asthe exigencies of the service and the public convenience will permit.

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NOR-GENERAL entered the chamber and, being seated, a message was forwarded to the House of Representatives intimating that His Excellency awaited the attendance of the members in the Senate chamber, who being come with their Speaker,

The Clerk of the Parliaments received from Mr. Speaker the following Bills : -

Appropriation Bill (1903-4)

Appropriation (Works and Buildings) Bill (1903-4)

Supplementary Appropriation Bill (1901-2) and (1902-3)

Supplementary Appropriation (Works and Buildings) Bill (1901-2) and (1902-3)

HIS EXCELLENCY was pleased to notify to the Clerk of the Parliaments his assent to the following Bills : -

Appropriation Bill (1903-4)

Appropriation (Works and Buildings) Bill (1903-4)

Supplementarv Appropriation Bill (1901-2) and (1902-3)

Supplementary Appropriation (Works and Buildings Bill) (1901-2) and 1902-3)

Extradition Bill

High Court Procedure Amendment Bill

Rules Publication Bill

Defence Bill

Commonwealth Public Service Amendment. Bill

Patents Bill

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HIS EXCELLENCY was then pleased to deliver the following speech : -


I am happy to release you from arduous labours, almost continuous since your election, and relieved by only one recess. The work accomplished has been highly exceptional, both in amount and importance. The duty cast upon the first Parliament of the Commonwealth of putting into actual operation the intricate provisions of the Constitution has been discharged with ability, patience, and patriotism. A complete record of your achievements touches most of the great problems that confront the people of Australia. You have faced their solution zealously, boldly, and with marked success

During the present session the constitutional machinery of Federal government has been brought very near to completion.

The High Court of Australia has been established : its procedure has been defined, and Judges whose ability and character deserve the greatest confidence have been appointed.

A uniform system of Defence for the Commonwealth has been established, which, it is confidently hoped, will perfect the organization of our forces, while avoiding all unnecessary expenditure.

A measure has been passed which will enable inventors, with the minimum of expense and trouble, to secure complete protection for their inventions throughout the whole Commonwealth.

Gentlemen of the House of Representatives :

The unanimity with which you have consented to forego six months of the normal term for which you were chosen, for no other reason than to save the expense of a second election over the whole Commonwealth, will be remembered to your honour.

Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives :

I thank you in the name of His Majesty for liberal supplies.

An agreement with the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, providing efficiently and economically for the Naval Defence of Australia, has received ratification.

Measures have also been sanctioned providing facilities for the naturalization of. desirable aliens ; and securing a more equitable distribution of the outlay required for the grant of bounties on sugar grown by white labour.

Several measures of the first importance have been introduced, but not finally dealt with, whose further consideration will be materially assisted by the discussions that have taken place .

Conferences between the Governments interested in the Pacific Cable and between the Commonwealth and State Treasurers in respect to State debts are being arranged, from which many beneficial results are anticipated.

The partial isolation of Western Australia from the rest of the Commonwealth has not ceased to engage the attention of my Advisers. The final report of the EngineersinChief has furnished much essential information, together with reliable estimates. Any authorization of railway communication must be preceded by the consent of two States. One has already agreed, and the assent of the second has been asked.

Itis deeply regretted that no final agreement has been attained with respect to the locality in which the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth is . to be placed, but at least substantial progress has been achieved towards the making of a choice from which great national consequences will ensue.

I now declare this Parliament prorogued until Saturday, 14th November next.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 22 October 1903, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.