2nd Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I desire the leave of the Senate to move, without notice, that the report prepared by Sir John Forrest on Lyndhurst as a Federal Capital site be. laid upon the table.
– I do not think that the honorable senator ought to move the motion.
– Not with the consent of the Senate ?
– No ; I do riot think so.
– It has been done before, sir.
– I know that it has.’ But I have thought over the matter, and come to the conclusion that it is a most objectionable practice for honorable senators to move motions, without notice, even with the consent of the Senate. There may be only twelve senators present, and, if no one objects, a motion may be moved and carried of which the majority of the senators have had no notice. This is one of the matters, in which I think that a practice ought to be laid down. I do not think that a motion ought to be moved without notice unless the Standing Orders are suspended, which’ can be done at any time by an absolute majority pf the Senate. Standing Order 100 was made to prevent motions from being moved without notice, and carried, to which the majority of the Senate may be opposed. But if motions are moved- without notice, simply by leave of the Senate, when possibly only twelve senators are present, all of whom may be favorable to the motion, the other twenty-four senators, who may be strongly opposed to the motion, will have no opportunity of voting against such motion. I think that the practice is objectionable, and ought not to be permitted. I acknowledge that this has been done, but it has been done inadvertently. I believe that this practice may lead to most undesirable results. In my opinion, motions ought not to be moved without notice, unless the Standing Orders are suspended.
– I think I can suggest a :way by which the difficulty can be got over. If Senator Smith will give notice of the motion for to-morrow, the Government will have no objection to its being treated as formal business. I shall endeavour to have the paper with me, when I will lay it upon the table, and move that it be printed before the notice of motion is called on.
– May I point out to you, sir, that standing order 109 implies that what Senator Smith proposes to do may be done by leave of the Senate. It seems to me that so long as that standing order remains as it is, every senator has the right to take advantage of’ it, and that practically we ought not to repeal its operation without very grave consideration. It reads as follows : -
No senator shall, unless by leave of the Senate -
That means that by leave of the Senate he may move a motion - - unless it be otherwise specially provided by the Standing Orders -
That is. that we may make a standing order forbidding it to be done - - make any motion, except in pursuance of notice openly given at a previous sitting of the Senate, and duly entered on the notice-paper.
It seems to me that Senator Smith is absolutely in order so long as the Senate will give him leave to proceed with his motion.
– I am quite willing to admit that the standing order appears to be in conflict with what I have said, but I submit to the Senate that the reasons 1 have given are very strong and powerful.
– For repealing the standing order, undoubtedly !
– Not for repealing, but for qualifying the standing order. It says -
No senator shall, unless by leave of the Senate, unless it be otherwise specially provided by the Standing Orders. ‘
The question is, is it otherwise specially provided by the Standing Orders?
– If honorable senators will read the Standing Orders, I think they will see that the intention is that no motion shall be moved unless notice has been given.
– Unless by leave of the Senate.
– I submit that this is a matter which the Senate ought to deal with. I do not wish to take upon myself the responsibility of deciding it. I have given the reasons why I think that it is a most objectionable practice to adopt ; but if the standing order is construed, as Senator Symon thinks it ought to be - a construction I am not prepared to disagree with - -of course, I must obey it in the same way as every other honorable senator must do.
– But any one senator may object to the motion.
– Yes. I suggest that it is a matter which requires consideration, and if Senator Smith will give notice of the motion for to-morrow in pursuance of the request made by the leader of the Senate, it will get over the difficulty for the present time.
– There is no doubt, sir, that the reasons given by you are exceedingly weighty reasons for the Senate to give this concession with great caution. They are very strong reasons to be taken into consideration by the Senate before- granting leave, but I think that it would be a dangerous thing for us to whittle away the right which the standing order confers on honorable senators. The reasons which are suggested might, on a particular motion, be very strong reasons for withholding the leave; but, in introducing the standing order into our code, it was recognised that, in cases of urgency, or in cases where it was unnecessary that notice should be given, or in cases where the Senate might be unanimous, there ought to be, no obstacle placed in the way of any honorable senator from moving a particular motion. Under the standing order, the Senate has the power in its own hands.
– One senator has the power.
– One senator has the power to object. It is with thegreatest submission that I differ from the view of the President, because I think that this is a very salutary standing order which may be applicable in circumstances of urgency, and in other circumstances .which we can readily conceive of.
– There is another course open to a senator, and that is to move the adjournment of the Senate.
– That course is intended for a different purpose. A senator can only move the adjournment of the Senate, with a view to ventilate a subject of urgency ; he cannot submit a motion on a subject. But standing order 109 places it in the power of the Senate to allow a senator to move a motion which may be carried, and may produce some result. If the motion of Senator Smith is one which the Senate feels might well be moved at once, it is a pity that he should not be permitted to move it, otherwise it is throwing doubt on the efficacy of the standing order.
– In the first place, I think that Senator Smith is premature at this stage, because standing orders 62 and 70 provide for the routine of business. Before he moves his motion, if it can be moved, we ought to deal with notices of motions and questions, the answers to questions on notice, and the re-arrangement of business.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The Government has no such intention.
asked the Vice-President 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 foi-, low: - 1 and 2. It is intended to appoint a Royal Commission to inquire into all the circumstances connected with the incident, but the precise terms of the Commission have not yet been settled.
asked the Vice-President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
Is it a fact that duty is charged upon parts of reapers and binders and mowers, although they are free of duty?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows : -
Reapers and binders and mowers are free of duty and all integral parts thereof also. Accessories only of such machines, e.g., whiffle-trees, which are’ detachable, and form no portion of the machine itself, which is complete without such additions, are not free, but dutiable under their respective headings.
– I desire to ask the Minister if the Government have any evidence to satisfy themselves that these imported whiffle-trees and yokes have been used otherwise than in connexion with harvesters and mowers?
– I am not aware that they have been used for any other purpose. I have received no information from the Department of Trade and Customs, but I shall look into the matter. ‘
– I desire to know j E the honorable gentleman will procure that information, and furnish an answer to the question tomorrow?
Printed Matter, and Newspaper Rates
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Printed matter cannot be distributed by post at the newspaper rate of postage, unless it has been registered as a newspaper by the Deputy Postmaster-General of a State, in accordance with the provisions of section 29 of the Post and Telegraph Act; and, before such resignation is effected, the Deputy Postmaster-General is required to satisfy himself that the publication comes within the definition of a newspaper as laid down in section 28 of the Act, as interpreted by the Crown Law Officers.
asked the Vice-President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
Has the Government any objection to supply members of Parliament with copies of the judgments in Pedder v. D’ Emden and The Sydney Municipal Council v. The Commonwealth ?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows : -
Revised copies of the reports of these cases have not been received in the Attorney-General’s office, but the Attorney-General is communicating with the publishers of the Commonwealth Law reports to see if he can obtain copies for the use of honorable members of both Houses.
– With regard to your ruling, sir, that I cannot move a motion without notice by leave of the Senate-
– I may say that on consideration I shall not object to the honorable senator moving the motion by leave. Is it the wish of the Senate that Senator Smith have leave to move the motion? There being no dissentient voice, leave is given, under standing order 109.
Motion (by Senator Staniforth Smith) proposed -
That there be laid upon the table of the Senate the report by Sir John Forrest on Lyndhurst as a Federal Capital site.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia).I desire to ask one or two questions on the motion.
– The honorable senator does not wish to ask who Sir John Forrest is?
– No. I am aware of the identity of that right honorable gentleman. I desire to .know whether what is asked for is the report compiled by the late Minister for Home Affairs, or .a report compiled by Sir John Forrest after he had given up that office?
– It is the completion of a report which Sir John Forrest started when he was Minister of Home Affairs.
– If it is merely a report by Sir John Forrest, as a private member of the House of Representatives, I think we ought to reject the motion, otherwise I fail to see why the Senate should not ask for a report from myself in favour of Bombala. I should be very happy to compile one which might have some weight with honorable senators in inducing them to select Bombala as the site of the Federal Capital. What is now proposed appears to be a very peculiar way of bringing pressure to bear on honorable members to induce them to select a particular site, because the obvious intention is to influence honorable senators in their determination. I hope we shall be told whether the report asked for was compiled by Sir John Forrest after he resigned office as Minister of Home Affairs.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).I should like to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council also, whether the report now called for is the one which he was asked to produce last week, and which he declined to produce on the ground that it was merely a document prepared- by a private .gentleman who happens to be a member of the House of Representatives. The Vice-President of the Executive Council, at the time, gave very good reasons why the report to which he referred should not be laid upon the table, and they were substantially those .which have been stated by Senator Pearce. If this is the same document, I should be glad to know it before I am called upon to vote on this motion.
– I may state that I previously refused to lay this paper upon the table of the Senate, because, as Senator Pearce has suggested, if I did so, it would be my duty, on request, to lay upon the table any paper prepared by any honorable senator. If an unofficial document of this character is to be laid upon the table, some honorable senator should make a motion to that effect.
– It must be something like the celebrated “ Memorandum of Defence.”
– If the Senate concurs in such a motion, I shall be justified in laying the paper upon the table. If the motion moved by Senator Smith is carried, I shall endeavour to procure a copy of the paper called for, and to lay it upon the table to-morrow.
– I do not know whether I am in” the same position as Senator Millen, but I desire more light on this subject. What is this paper? A printed document has been furnished, I suppose, to other honorable senators as well as to myself, which purports to be a report by the late Minister of Home Affairs, Sir John Forrest, on the subject of the Capital site, and dealing at. some length with a site called Dalgety. I understand that what is now asked for is a report which was compiled since the disappearance of the late Government by Sir John Forrest.
– It is a recantation of previous opinions.
– We cannot say that, but I believe that it is a report written by Sir John Forrest since he left office.
– It is the completion of a report which the right honorable gentleman commenced when in office.
– Such a report could not come before us with the authority of a report by a Minister of the Crown. Still we might have it for what it is worth, and I can see no objection to its being laid upon the table if honorable senators desire to see it. I am one of those who wish to obtain all the information which can be got in connexion with the proposed sites for the Federal Capital. I have not been able to visit them myself, and I have, therefore, to depend very largely on the opinions of others. If from any source we can get further evidence to guide us in theselection of a site we should do no harm in obtaining it.
– Would the honorableand learned senator extend the same privilege to us all ?
– If my honorable friend, Senator Pearce, should prepare a report’ on the subject, for which task he is eminently capable, I should be delighted to have an opportunity of perusing it, and I should still be further delighted’ if it were printed under the authority of a resolution of the Senate. The report now asked for may be an unofficial document, emanating from an honorable member in another place, but no harm could result fromhaving it placed upon the table if it contains information which will be of assistance to us. I am disposed to allow it to-, be supplied.
– I hope the motion will be carried. If the late Ministry had remained in office for another week the report now asked for would have been presented to the Senate as’ a report by a Minister of the Crown, and’ would have been laid upon the table. The right honorable gentleman who has compiled it is a professional man, having a knowledge of surveying, and we should be- pleased to have the benefit of his knowledge on the subject.
- Senator Pearce has scarcely put the position fairly in asking us to regard the report called for as. being entirely an unofficial document. The fact is that the preparation of the document was begun by Sir John Forrest when he was Minister of Home Affairs, and it, therefore, carries with it something more than an unofficial stamp. As it probably throws some light on the merits of various suggested sites, I do not see why it should not be laid upon the table. I cannot understand the conflicting attitude of Senators Pearce and Millen.
– The honorable and learned senator is not called on to do so.
– I am trying to do so, but I find it extremely difficult. I am aware that Senator Pearce favours the selection of Bombala, as I do, but I’ hope he is not afraid to have placed upon the table a report on any other site. Senator Millen is in favour of the selection of Lyndhurst, but I cannot understand why he should object to the production of a report by Sir John For-“ rest on that site, I think it is’ desirable that we should have the report, and I shall support the motion.
– A great deal that I intended to say on the motion has already been said by other honorable senators. I shall not oppose the motion for one reason already given, that had Sir John Forrest remained in office a few days longer, the report now asked for would have been an official document. Another reason is that this document may throw a little more light on the subject, because we are aware that Sir John Forrest is a surveyor by profession, and is in a position to give evidence of value in helping us to arrive at a proper conclusion. I make the statement straight out that I am in favour of Bombala, no matter what is contained in Sir John John Forrest’s document. I have already read the substance of the document in the press, and I saw nothing in it to induce me to change my opinion. There may be something in the document which will cause honorable senators who are now in favour of Lyndhurst to look with more favorable eyes on Bombala. No harm can be done by agreeing to the motion. This cannot be considered as a precedent, because no other paper of the kind can be laid upon the table without a motion first being moved.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH (Western Australia). - I am sure that it must be the wish of honorable senators that all the information which can possibly be obtained on the suggested sites for the Federal Capital should be before us, when we are asked to come to a momentous decision on so important a matter. The report for which I am asking is really the balance of a general report, prepared by Sir John Forrest, and started when he was Minister of Home Affairs. The right honorable gentleman determined to report on three sites, the Monaro site, Tumut, and Lyndhurst. After he had reported on two of the sites, the tenure of office of the Ministry of which he was a member came to an end. Sir John Forrest subsequently visited Lyndhurst, and made the report which I seek to have placed’ upon the” table.
– What sites had the right honorable gentleman reported on?
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.Tumut and Dalgety.
– The right honorable gentleman was not qualified to report on the Tumut sites, because he did not see them.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.In my opinion, the report by Sir John Forrest, as Minister of Home Affairs, will be of very little use to us, unless we have the document for which I am asking, as it is but the completion of that report; and we require it for purposes of comparison. We have a report on Bombala, and the merits of that site are compared on a specific basis with important features connected with Tumut. Without a report on the advantages or disadvantages of Lyndhurst, for purposes of comparison, the portion of the report which we already have will be of little value.
– Sir John Forrest favours Dalgety, not Bombala.
– That does not affect the question. We want all the information we can get with regard to the various sites proposed. The matter is urgent, because the third order of the day on the notice-paper for to-day is the second reading of the Seat of Government Bill, and we ought to have the information for which I ask in our possession before we are called upon to discuss that Bill. As I have said, the document I ask for is really but the’ completion of the report commenced by Sir John Forrest when Minister of Home Affairs.
– Has it been published, or- is it now in the hands of the Ministry ?
– I bV live it is in the hands of the Ministry, but it has not been laid upon the table, and it has not been printed. I desire that it should be before us that we may know what it contains before we discuss the merits of the various sites proposed. I hope that honorable senators will support the motion.
– Before putting the motion, I ask the permission of the Senate to alter its wording, because I understand that the Vice-President of the Executive Council is not in possession of the report itself, but only of a copy of it.
– That is so.
– It would, therefore, be better to put the motion in this form -
That there be laid upon the table of the Senate a copy of a report by Sir John Forrest on Lyndhurst as a Federal Capital site*.
Question amended accordingly, and resolved in the affirmative.
Senator McGREGOR laid upon the table the following papers: -
Transfers approved by the Governor-General, Appropriation Act 1003-4, dated 19th May, 1904.
Report by Inspector- General Owen on proposed Federal Capital Sites in the Southern Monaro and Tumut districts.
– I move -
That leave be given to introduce a Bill for an Act relating to Fraudulent Trade Marks.
I do not propose to debate this matter until a more fitting opportunity arises on the second reading of the Bill
– I wish to ask the VicePresident of the Executive Council, if, without entering into any details, ha can intimate whether the Bill he proposes to introduce is substantially the same as the Merchandise Marks Bill, introduced by the late Government. My reason for asking is that I carefully compared the Bill introduced by the late Government with the English law on the subject, and found that it was substantially a reproduction of the English law. I do not wish to have to go through the same process in connexion with this Bill if it is substantially the same.’ If the honorable senator could give the intimation I ask for, it would te of great convenience.
– Several alterations have been made. The Bill is similar in purpose to the Merchandise Marks Bill, introduced by the late Government, but it is considerably shortened and simplified.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
– - I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
In introducing this Bill, I am only carrying out a work that was commenced by the previous Government. This Bill differs in but a very small- degree from that which was previously before Parliament. I shall point out the differences as I go along. Every honorable senator will recognise that there is nothing of a party character in the measure. I believe that every honorable senator has his own opinion with respect to the most suitable site for the Seat of Government for the Commonwealth, and will be prepared to express his opinion in support of the site he favours, as compared with any other. Like the former Ministry, the members of the present Government are divided in opinion as to the locality which should be chosen for the seat of Government. Some think that one place, and some that another, is the most suitable for the purpose. There should, therefore, be no opposition to a measure of this kind because the Government introduce it. I . should like to give some reasons why we should, as soon as possible, fix on a site for the Federal Capital. The first reason is, that it is plainly indicated in the Constitution that as soon as possible the Government of the Commonwealth should be carried on within territory, and at a Capital entirely controlled by, and belonging to, the Commonwealth. That is indicated by the Constitution, and it is our duty, I think, as soon as we possibly can, to carry out the intention of the framers of that Constitution. There are other reasons of a different character. While Melbourne, in the minds of some people, would be a very pleasant place in which to carry on the Government, there are others who may think that Sydney would be a pleasant place. I am sure that Senator Symon, according to his opinions, expressed in the Convention, would rather have Mount Gambier selected. We all differ in that respect.
– Mount Gambier, of course, is ideally the best place !
– Naturally, I entirely agree with the honorable and learned senator in that opinion ; but the Constitution does not permit us to select either of those places. There is also this to be said. According to our experience up to the present time, the Commonwealth is paying quite enough in respect to the cost of government in Melbourne to justify lis in. selecting a place of our own. In Melbourne we have to obtain - sometimes after a considerable amount of difficulty - offices to carry on the administrative work of the Government. First of all, we- have a difficulty in getting such offices. When we do get them, we find that in many instances they are not at all suitable for the purposes for which they are rented. We also have to pay such a very high rental that it would be far better for us to be somewhere in the bush where land values would be lower, and where we could get much better accommodation for a smaller amount of money.
– Any one who wishes to come to see me has to stand out on the staircase.
– I often knock corners off* myself in going about the present Commonwealth offices.
-Col. Neild. - Can the honorable senator state what is, roughly speaking, about the amount which the Government pay in rent for the buildings occupied in Melbourne ?
-At present, in rent for offices that are necessary, we pay an amount of over .£3,000 per annum. But, supposing that it were ultimately decided to remain in a place like Melbourne, and we were permanently to occupy a building like this, do honorable senators think it would be fair to expect the State Government to allow us to do . so without paying rent? I am sure that no one would expect any such thing. This building, up to the present time, has cost over £800,000, and before it could be finished it would cost nearly £1,250,000. We should be expected to pay the interest ‘ on that amount. That will give honorable senators an idea of what it would cost the Commonwealth Government to remain in Melbourne. If we went to Sydney, I dare say it would not cost a penny less. On the other hand, suppose we were not to continue in occupation of this building, but. nevertheless, decide to remain in Melbourne, or go to Sydney. What should we have to do i We should have to resume, or acquire, or have granted to us. some place on which te build an edifice such as we have here. We might not go to the same expense as has.been incurred on this building. But what would it cost to buy either in Melbourne or Sydney suitable land on which to build? It would cost at least £500,000. When we had acquired the site, we should be expected to put up buildings somewhat in harmony with the surroundings, and those buildings would not . cost less than £500,000. So that honorable senator:-, can form an ‘ idea of the expenditure that would be incurred in remaining in Melbourne. But there is another consideration. If ‘we were to go to a territory selected in the State of New South Wales, as provided by “the Constitution, and were to put up buildings there, even if they cost us £1,000,000, the value added to the territory would belong entirely to the Commonwealth. But if we spent money in Melbourne or Sydney, the Commonwealth would receive very little in the way of return. It would go mostly into the pockets of private land-owners or speculators. We have no desire to do anything that would injure these gentlemen, but -we have also no desire to do anything to put money into their pockets at the cost of the people of Australia. That is one of the most substantial reasons why, as soon as possible, we should shift to a Capital of our own. . Some people imagine - and expression has been given to the idea in the press, and from many a platform in Victoria and New South Wales - that we are going to spend the money of the people of Australia lavishly in some bush capital, amongst kangaroos and emus. How absurd such an idea is ! Yet some people spend hours in endeavouring to demonstrate that it is true.
-Col. Neild. - Kyabramites.
– Well, such people are hardly accountable for their actions or opinions. I think I have indicated what it means to remain settled either in Melbourne or Sydney or in any State capital; and J shall show later on that such n course had never, or seldom, been followed by any of the federations or confederations that have been formed. If we do go to one of these outlandish places where there are no roads, railways, bridges, or anything of that description, and the territory becomes the absolute property of the Commonwealth, every pound we spend in the erection of Commonwealth buildings, such as Parliament Houses, offices for carrying on the administrative work, roads, streets, bridges, water conservation, or railways, will be adding value to property that belongs to the people of Australia. That is a position which we should look at seriously; and it furnishes a very good reason why, as soon as we posibly can, we should shift to this bush capital that we have heard spoken of so often in derision. Before asking honorable senators to consider or to vote on the clauses of the Bill, or to make amendments in it, I think it would be desirable as far as lies in my power to give the Senate, as shortly as I can, an account of the1 e’xperience of other countries. I intend to deal entirely with English-speaking peoples. If we turn to Canada, what position do we find there? We find that before 1840 Canada was divided into two Provinces - Upper and Lower Canada. The people came to the conclusion that if they formed a kind of union or alliance - or whatever it might be called - it would be well for them to have a common Seat of Government. They left the Governor to decided where it should be. He selected a place called Kingstown; and I think that that would be a very good name for the Federal Capital. Dickens’ opinion, when he visited that place, was that Kingstown was a place, one half of which was burnt down, and the other half not yet built up. But he had no idea how that place would turn out in days to come. Instead of its being a delapidated town now, we find that it has a very important commercial position. Then the people of Canada decided to make Montreal the Seat of Government. But, for one reason or another, the people of Montreal thought that things’ were not going as they ought to go, and the mob behaved in such a manner as to set lire to the Parliament House. This conduct disgusted the representatives of the people, who then thought that the best thing they could do was to adopt a suggestion very similar to that put forward here by my honorable and learned friend Senator Dobson. That was that they should have a migratory Seat of Government ; and as there were only two Provinces, Upper and Lower Canada, they made up their minds that they would hold the Seat of Government alternately in Quebec and Toronto. They carried on this system for a little while, but it was very unsatisfactory - just’ as any proposition such as Senator Dobson has indicated would be unsatisfactory in Australia - and, not being equal to the settlement of the question themselves, they asked Her late Majesty Queen Victoria to settle it for them. In 1857 she decided that the capital of the Dominion should be on the banks of the Ottawa, and Ottawa was mentioned as the name 10 be affixed to the locality where Her Majesty - no doubt, with the advice of those in authority - selected the site. In the first instance, the Canadians rejected the proposed site, but next year they accepted it; and from the time of the acceptation of Ottowa as the Seat of Government of Canada I do not think that any regret has been expressed up to the present. I want to point out the differences in ths situation between Canada and Australia. I think that the Seat of Government in Canada was selected in 1857. The Federation of Canada did not take place until 1867. So that really the Canadians had a Seat of Government provided for them before Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick - which were the original States of the Canadian Union - became federated. In 1870, 1871, and 1873 respectively, Manitoba, British Columbia, and Prince Edward Island came into the Federation. A magnificent place was made of Ottawa - a place for which almost every Canadian who has ever visited it, or has any knowledge of it, has a great feeling . of patriotic pride. The Canadians regard their capital city as one of the most glorious places in the world ; and from every description of it which I have seen or heard, I think they are justly entitled to entertain those feelings. It took them a very long time before they established a city of any importance in that part of the world. But in 1891 the population of Ottawa amounted to over 44,000 souls. Those figures show how it grew, and there is every possibility that the Federal territory which will be granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth Government, will show the same, or even greater, results in the way of progress. Adjoining Canada is another Federation - the United States of America. Most honor- able senators know, from the history of that country, that when the United States seceded from British rule, they had a kind of Federation, and were looking for a Seat of Government. But it was many years before they came to a decision in that regard. Their experience was exactly of the same character as that of Canada. First the Seat of Government of the Federation was located in Philadelphia. They had some trouble with the soldiers there, and they removed to Princetown, in New Jersey. That locality did not satisfy them, and from time to time - from motives exhibiting selfishness, and the same parochial feelings, that we sometimes see exhibited in Australia - the claims of New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore were advocated. I dare say that a score of other places whose names to-day can scarcely be found on the map, were also advocated. But something occurred in the United States that assisted them in determining on a site for their Federal Capital - something that I do not think will ever occur in Australia. That was in connexion with the assumption of States debts by the Federal Government. The representatives of two parties, Jefferson and Hamilton - one representing the North, and the other the South - were both in favour of the assumption of the States debts. They determined that they would do all they possibly could to bring about that end. They thought that the easiest way to do it was by granting to Virginia and Maryland the honour of having the Seat of Government in their territory. The whole thing, according to the accounts I have ‘ read, was settled at a banquet over champagne and sherry. I do not think that we have had to do anything of that kind yet.
– There is a “ good time coming,” perhaps.
– I hope -there is a “good time coming.” I want to point out the situation that existed in the United States, and the difference between that situation and the one existing in the States which form the Australian. Federation. Here we have every one of our States feeling that it will lose something; and if they are not ‘ afraid of losing something themselves, they are afraid that another State will gain an advantage over them. But in the United States, New York offered the Government of .the Federation the use of its Parliamentary buildings and offices; Philadelphia did the same; and Baltimore actually offered to raise the money to build new offices for the Federation. I do not hear of any State Government in Australia rushing to do anything of that description. When, through this agreement between Jefferson and Hamilton, it was ultimately decided that the seat of go- vernment should be ceded to Virginia and Maryland, what did the States do? If they were granted the Seat of Government, Virginia was prepared to pay $120,000 towards the cost of resuming land, and the erection of public buildings, on condition that Maryland should provide two-fifths of the amount, namely, $72,000. Afterwards the Government of Maryland lent the Federal Government a sum of $100,000 ; and I do not know whether it has ever been repaid. Here are the States of America rushing to assist the Federation to accomplish the object of good government, but we cannot get any offers of that description from the States of Australia up to the present time. Victoria is the only State that has really made a sacrifice, because she has given us the free use of her Houses of Parliament, and her Government House. The American Constitution provided that the Congress was to fix the Seat of Government, and that it was to be in a territory not exceeding ten miles square, that is 100 square miles. The Federation . has regretted that stipulation ever since, and has had to make many attempts to enlarge the area. It was from, the American experience, I believe, that the members of our Convention took the idea of having an area of 100 square miles, but, instead of saying that the area was not to exceed 100 square miles, they wisely said that it was not to be less than 100 square miles, thereby giving the people of the Commonwealth, through their representatives in Parliament, an opportunity of selecting an area in accordance with the’ circumstances of the situation. Every one must recognise that in one locality it might be quite sufficient to have an area of 1,060 square miles, but that in another locality it would be much better to have an area of 5,000 square miles, and we must look at the question from that point of view. I wish to show the opportunities and advantages which the States of Virginia and Maryland gave to the Government of the Federation. They threw open for selection a piece of country extending from the eastern branch of the Potomac to Williamsport ‘ at the mouth of another tributary. The President of the Republic was deputed to select a site, and he had a range from the eastern branch of the Potomac to Williamsport, a distance of ‘over 80 miles in which to make his ‘ selection. That is one reason why it would be wise to give whomsoever is to make the definite selection of a site for the Commonwealth, as wide a range as possible, always subject to the assent of this Parliament. The territory in which Washington is situated was described by those who were opposed to any proceeding of the kind, as nothing but a “ howling, malarial wilderness,” just as we in Australia have been told that the localities we have been considering are in the desert or the wilderness, and all that sort of thing. My desire is to warn honorable senators against those persons both inside and outside Parliament who talk about hot winds, dust-storms, and cyclones in one position, and blizzards and frosty biting winds in another. When the site was selected in America the landowners in the area gave to the Government all the land which was necessary for the purposes of public avenues, streets, and public reserves. Are we likely to get anybody in the Commonwealth to do this thing? I hope so, though I hardly expect it. In America, the rest of the land required was purchased from the owners, and it was purchased in a manner that was very advantageous at that time, although it may not have turned out so since. The Government took so many blocks, arid they only reserved so many blocks. From the sale of the blocks that they took, the Government got sufficient money to pay for the purchase. The original owners, by securing the unearned increment in what they still held, made very large profits, but ‘still the Government got what they really required for absolutely nothing. I am afraid that we are scarcely in a position to make a similar bargain in any portion of New South Wales. But I do not think that we desire to do so. I hope that the people of Australia, through their representatives, will provide that all the unearned increment in whatever territory may be selected, shall belong to the Commonwealth. I might state that, up to a very recent date, the total sum spent on the buildings in Ottawa was about 8,000,000 dollars, or ^1,600,000; and the total sum spent at about that time in Washington was about 41,000,000 dollars, or .£8,200,000. Originally, both Ottawa and Washington were started in a very humble way, and I think that the progress which they have made has justified the action of their founders. We hear some persons saying that Australia is in an entirely different position from either Canada or America. They remind us of the area and the population of America as well as Canada, and they ask why should a population of less than 4,000,000 persons aspire to have a Federal Capital. In 1867, when the people of the North American Colonies decided to federate, they had a city which was suitable for the purposes of a Federal Capital - their population numbered only a liltle over 3,686,000 persons, while the people of the United States, when they went in for a Federal union and a Federal Capital, numbered only 3,639,000 persons. When, in 1901, a Constitution was drafted for Australia, which provided for a Federal Capital, its population numbered about 3.773,000; to that we were in exactly the same, if not a better position, than was either Canada or America at this time. We ought to take a lesson from the example of those countries, and I hope that we shall make the same progress as they have since they went in for a Federal Government. The Constitution Bill which was drafted in Sydney in 1891 provided that the Seat of Government should be determined by the Parliament ; that, until it was so determined, the Government should be carried on in some place within the Commonwealth, selected bv the Governors of the States ; and that, in the event of their not agreeing, it should be selected bv the Governor-General. The original draft of the Constitution Bill of 1897 provided, in clause 124, that the Federal Capital ‘should be selected by the Parliament of the Commonwealth, ‘ and should be in a territory belonging to the’ Commonwealth, and that, until that decision was made, the course prescribed in the Draft Constitution of 1891 should be followed. New South Wales, or some of her representatives, thought that the interests of that State had not been sufficiently well considered. In the Convention an attempt was made to provide in the Constitution that Sydney should be the Seat of Government ; but the proposal commanded -only five supporters. Mr., now Sir, Alexander Peacock then moved that the Seat of Government should be in Melbourne, merely with the intention of showing that the representatives of Victoria were just as unselfish as the representatives ‘ of New South Wales, and his proposal commanded only three supporters. In the Draft Constitutions of 1891 and 1897 it was left entirely to the
Parliament to say whether the Seat of Government should be in New South Wales or anywhere else. New South Wales did not accept the Constitution Bill of 1898, and; therefore, something had to be done. At the Premiers’ Conference in Melbourne -a new method was adopted, and so section 125 of the Constitution provides that the Parliament of the Commonwealth shall select the Federal territory in New South “Wales, and that it shall not be less than 100 square miles in area, and distant not less than 100 miles from Sydney. It was provided, in order to satisfy some of the other States, that the Seat of Government was not to be within 100 miles of Sydney, and, in order to satisfy Victoria, that the Parliament was to sit in Melbourne until it selected a site.
– Until they met at the Seat of Government.
– It was provided that until such time as the Parliament of the Commonwealth had selected a Seat of Government, and every preparation had been made, the Government should be car-
Tied on, and the Parliament should sit in Melbourne.
– Until they met at the Seat of Government.
– Yes ; but it cannot meet there until a site is selected. I am sure that honorable senators will recognise by this time that as soon as ever the Seat of Government is selected, and the necessary accommodation is provided, they will be in as great a hurry to go from here as the Israelites were to go from Egypt.
– Does the Minister think that the Victorians will?
– Yes, the Victorians will be glad to go, because they will get away from the controlling influence of local opinion and parochial sentiment. They will get among the kangaroos and emus, and will have freer minds and more patriotic sentiments.
– In .what journal is that parochialism and loc.il opinion represented ?
– In every journal I have read except the labour journals, which are impartial. Some difficulty may arise in connexion with the acquisition of the territory in which the Seat of Government is to be’ fixed. It will be remembered that section 125 of the Constitution not only provides for the selection of a site for the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth, but also provides for the territory in which that Seat of Government is to be located. And a difficulty has arisen in the minds of some persons with respect to the area which should be included in that territory. I have heard some persons say that the Government of New South Wales, unlike the Governments of Virginia and Baltimore, why rushed to the assistance of the Federal Government, not only with territory, but also with money, will not grant more than 100 square miles to the Commonwealth. The section also provides that the Federal territory is to be granted or acquired by the Commonwealth, and is to be vested in and belong to the Commonwealth, ami that any Crown lands contained in ihat Federal territory are to be granted to the Commonwealth by the State without any payment therefor. I wish to say something else in connexion with that. When we come to deal with the question of area, we should consider what are the powers conferred on the Parliament of the Commonwealth by the Constitution. It is said that, because “not less than 100 square miles “ is the term used in the Constitution, that only- means 101, 102, or 103 square miles; that, in fact, a very little additional area may be considered as fulfilling all the requirements of the Constitution ; but that, if we desired to secure an area of 200 or 2,000 square miles, that would be a. breach of the conditions laid down in the Constitution under which we federated, and which the people adopted. Those who hold such opinions should look at another portion of the section, which says - - shall be not less than. 100 miles distant from Sydney.
If the section meant that the area to be acquired should be, say, 101, or 110 square miles, and that that would fill the conditions of the Constitution, the same thing should apply in. connexion with the distance from Sydney ; but no one has ever attempted to put that forward as an argument. If we can go 300 miles from Sydney to select a site for the Capital, we have just as much right to acquire 3,000 square miles as 300 or 100 square miles.
– Many persons in New South Wales, particularly residents of Bathurst and places near Sydney, maintain that the Commonwealth. Parliament will not be justified in going more than a trifle over 100 miles from Sydney to select the site for the. Capital.
– That is what I am trying to deal with.
– They are consistent.
– I am trying to show that they are inconsistent. This is the position : The New South Wales people or the Parliament of New South Wales, refuses to consent to the acquisition by the Commonwealth of an area that is, to a material extent, over 100 square miles.
– The Premier of New South Wales, Sir John See, has objected.
– The State Premier has objected. I “desire to call the attention of honorable senators to the powers vested in the Commonwealth Parliament by the Constitution. They have only to turn to sub’-section xxxi of section 51, and they will there find that the Commonwealth Parliament has power to pass legislation for the acquisition of property from any State or person for any purpose.
– Why does not the honorable senator finish the section?
Senator- McGREGOR. - There is no necessity to finish it. It says that the property must be acquired “ on just terms.”
– The limitation to which I refer is that we can take only property which is necessary for the purposes of the Commonwealth. The honorable senator must show that the acquisition of a large area, such as he suggests, is necessary.
– I hope I shall be able to show that it is necessary for the purposes of the Commonwealth.
– The section does not say that.
– It only says -
For any purpose in respect of which the Parliament has power to make laws. I wish to show that the Parliament has power to make laws in respect of any territory. If honorable senators will turn to section 52 of the Constitution they will find that the Commonwealth Parliament has power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to all places acquired’ for public purposes, and if they turn to section 11 1 they will find that the Commonwealth Parliament can take any country under its control that may be ceded to the Commonwealth by a State. When these sections are taken in connexion with section 125 it will be seen that the Commonwealth Parliament has power, when the time arrives, to say, “ This is the territory we want, and under our Property Acquisition Act we have power to take it.”
– Could we take the whole of New South Wales ?
– We could take the whole State on the honorable senator’s argument.
– With the exception of the country within the 100 miles radius from Sydney.
– We could leave the people of New South Wales that territory, but it would not be necessary to do what the honorable senators suggest. I point out that we are required to acquire territory on “just terms,” and it w.ould not be just to New South Wales to take away from that State any extent of territory which would be detrimental to its interests. But if it could be shown that we could take 5,000 square miles, not only without injuring New South Wales, but that by doing so we should be conferring an advantage on that State and the Commonwealth at the same time, the condition with respect to “just terms” would be fulfilled. If that could not be shown, the terms on which it was proposed to acquire that area would not be just. There are circumstances in which we could take 5,000 square miles without injury to New South Wales. The point I wish to make is that it does not matter what the people, of New South Wales think. They may, if they choose, cup up “rusty” ; but the Commonwealth Parliament has power to do what its members think proper in order to carry out the provisions of the Constitution. I hope that no friction will ever arise. I hope that when the Commonwealth Parliament has decided where the Seat of Government is to be we shall enter into peaceful negotiations with the authorities in New South Wales, and that -we shall find that they will be just as willing to carry out the provisions of the Constitution as are the authorities in any other State of the Commonwealth. I am convinced that they will. At present there may be a little friction, but that is only because- there is jealousy’ and rivalry, between one proposed locality and another.
– No; between certain politicians. ‘
– Certain politicians represent certain districts, and consequently they are scarcely competent judges in the matter.
– They misrepresent them.
– I shall not be so hard as to say that, but every one will acknowledge that the representatives of other
States in the Federal Parliament will be unbiased in the matter, and will be prepared to do what is best in the interests of Australia, without being actuated by petty considerations as to how what they propose will affect their constituents.
– The honorable senator thinks that those who will do the talking will be better judges than those who have to surrender the territory.
– Does not the honorable senator see that when we enter into negotiations with New South Wales in order to carry out the intention of the Constitution, everything will be put before the authorities of that State? I point out also to the honorable senator that, should difficulty arise with respect to the area that the Commonwealth should acquire from New South Wales we have a High Court for the purpose of interpreting the Constitution, and I think the people of New South Wales will be perfectly satisfied to submit such a question to that Court.
– Senator Millen has not read section 111.
– I have, and I am trying to see what earthly connexion it has with this matter.
– We are on a different point now. Under section 125 there may be some room for doubt as to its interpretation with respect to the Government of New South Wales ceding to the Commonwealth all the land in the Federal territory that is Crown land. If the Crown lands to be ceded were of a worthless character, and unoccupied, no difficulty might be raised in New South Wales to the granting of them to the Commonwealth. But if those lands were leased and returning a considerable rent to the Government of New South Wales, or if the Government were deriving a considerable amount in taxation through their occupation, there might be some objection in the minds* of the people of that State to granting them to the Commonwealth.
– Section 125 says “ granted to or acquired by.”
– That is a different thing. The section says also that all Crown lands within the territory shall be granted. But “ acquired “ in that section means acquired from an individual or the State of New South Wales. I now refer to other Crown lands ; and if there is a difference of opinion with respect to what are “just terms” in the proposed acquisition of Crown lands that may be occupied, and returning revenue to the State by way of rent or taxation, is there not the High Court to go to for the settlement of a question of that description also?
– According to the argument which the honorable senator addressed to the. Senate just now, the High Court could only say whether the Commonwealth had a right to take territory of whatever area the Parliament pleased, without paying for anything.
– The High Court could say that if it pleased, but it could also decide what was a correct interpretation of the expression “ just terms “ in subsection xxxi. of section 51.
– The Constitution specially gives the Commonwealth the Crown lands within the area.
– I hope we shall get them for nothing. Why should we not get them for nothing from New South Wales under the term’s of the Constitution ?
– Then there will be no need to ask the High Court to determine their value?
– But the people of New South Wales or the Parliament of that State may object to it, and I am pointing out that there need be no difficulty in settling the question through the medium of the tribunal which the Constitution has established above even the Commonwealth Parliament. With respect to the. area to be acquired, though I may differ from other honorable senators, and from other members of the present Ministry, I have always expressed the opinion that we should have a sufficient area, so as not to allow the unearned increment which will follow the building and improvement of the Federal Capital to extend beyond the bounds of the Federal territory. In this respect, I point out that 100 square miles is nothing. If we take Melbourne, for instance, what will Senator Styles tell us is the boundary of the influence of the improvement of this city? It extends beyond Mordialloc, sixteen or seventeen miles from here. It extends beyond Williamstown, and beyond Braybrook.
– There is an area of 132 square miles within what is called the “metropolitan area.”
– The metropolitan area is only that over which the corporation has power, but if we include the I suburbs of Melbourne, we shall find that the area covered is over 450 square miles. That means an area with a radius of fifteen miles, and we have not then included all the country influenced by the improvement of the city of Melbourne.
-Col. Gould. - How long will it be before we shall have a population of 500,000 people settled in the Federal Capital ?
– It does not matter how long. We are providing not for to-day or to-morrow, for next year, or for the next twenty years. When we are selecting the site for the Federal Capital, and the territory in which it is to stand, we should not make the mistake that was made in the United States-where the area secured was only ten miles square or 100 square miles.
-Col. Gould. - Thirty square miles of which was afterwards re-ceded.
– And the Federal authorities have been sorry ever since that they did not secure 3..000 instead of 100 square miles. We hope that in the near future the Capital of the Commonwealth will be a city of importance. It will greatly depend on the locality in which it is to be situated, how soon that time may arrive. If the Capital is established in one place it may never be important. It may be as Kingstown was in Canada, for when that city was burnt down it was abandoned. It may be as Princetown or Germantown was in the United States of America, never occupied for any length of time. Germantown was approved in one session and rejected in. the next,- and it was ‘rejected for very good reasons. Here we should have a territory in which the Federal city will have some chance to improve, and I am trying to show that it must comprise an area of much more than 100 square miles. If we go east, west, south, and north, for fifteen miles to reach the boundaries of the growth of greater Melbourne we have an area of over 450 square miles, and I ask honorable senators what the area will be in 100 years?
– It is too large now.
-.- I am talking of things as they are. The honorable senator would, no doubt, desire that all the improvement should take place on his station that it might increase the value of his property. I am reminded by the honorable senator of the old lady who said of Glasgow that it would be a fine place “ if it were out in the country.” We are talking of things as they are. We have cities like Melbourne, Sydney, London, Manchester,
Glasgow, and Liverpool. The conditions of life have brought them into existence, and will maintain them- in existence. I shall tell honorable senators the reason why. Improvements in machinery and methods of cultivation, and production, have made it possible for one man to produce as much now as ten produced 100’ years ago. The alteration of conditions has also given an opportunity to a man in . the country to wear ten shirts for one he could wear’ 100 or 200 years ago.
– He could not wear them all at once.
– That is so, but men do not need to go naked so often as many had to do in the honorable senator’s youthful days. -I have no doubt that Senator Zeal, when he was young, saw hundreds of persons who had “to go barefooted in the cold weather, and hundreds of others who, when their shirt was at the wash, had to go . to bed. The improvements in the methods of production have affected all those conditions.
– Thanks to individualism.
– I hope that continued improvement will alter conditions to a much greater extent in the near future. The result is that fewer people are required to live on the land, and a greater number in the manufacturing centres. That is an economic truth which no one will deny. I am not in favour of centralization any more than is Senator Fraser, but I am pointing out that with respect to the cities I have mentioned 100 square miles is not onetenth of the area which is required for them. So far as my private opinion is concerned, it would be much better if the Commonwealth Parliament elected to acquire a territorv of 5,000 square miles.
– Would not 20.000 square miles be better?
– I wish to be fair to New South Wales, and I shall show that I am fair. If honorable senators will take the 36th parallel of latitude from the sea to its junction with the River Murray, and take the Victorian border east from there, they will see that a territory is included which has not been developed to any material extent by New South Wales. The Government of .that State is getting very little revenue from that territory, and is never likely to do much with it. But let that territory be ceded to the Commonwealth, and give the Commonwealth Parliament an opportunity of establishing a
Federal Capital there, and the development of that Capital will in the near future be equal to that of Melbourne or Sydney. Itf, on the contrary, the Federal Capital is located at Lyndhurst, or Bathurst, in some little valley where there is no room for expansion, in a country which is not worth living in, and where there are only crows to keep one company, we shall be endangering the prospects of its growth, and . doing an injury and an injustice to the Commonwealth. I have endeavoured to explain the experiences of other countries. I have given a history of the means devised for securing this Federal Capital for New South Wales, and have shown how they have been developed by the different Conventions which have been held for the establishment of the Commonwealth. As I have no desire to occupy the time of the Senate at too great a length, I think it is my duty now to deal with the Bill itself. If honorable senators will take the trouble to look at the measure, they will find that it is only a short Bill of four clauses^ Clause 2 provides that the site shall be selected somewhere twenty-five miles from “blank.”
– Where is “blank?”
– As far as the honorable senator is concerned, “ blank “ will be Heaven. I am not gong” to argue where “blank” will be in this measure. I know where I should like it to be, and probably other honorable senators are in the same position. We have had reports on the various sites, and honorable senators have had opportunities of visiting them. I think that our minds ought to be made up by this time. Clause 3 provides for the area of the Federal territory. There has been a slight departure from the propositions put forward by the late Government in this instance. Under this Bill the area of the territory is to be “ not less than the area contained bv a square whose side is thirty miles in length.”
– That precludes Twofold Bay from being selected.
– I should like honorable senators to include Twofold Bay. I am not going to oppose them if they desire to provide that the area shall be 5,000 square miles. Such an area would certainly include Twofold Bay. It will be seen from the construction of the clause that it is not absolutely necessary that the area should be a square. It must be an area equal to a space whose side is thirty- miles in length; so that the territory may be of irregular shape.
– It is a clumsy way of stating it: Why does not the Bill state the number of square miles, and leave out the words “ contained bv ‘a square “ ?
– I do not think there is any difference between saying “ not less than 900 square miles” and’ what the Bill states. Can the honorable senator make a square whose sides are thirty miles in length, any less or more than 900’ square miles ?
– Why does not the Bill simply say “ 900 square miles “ ?
– It is merely a different way of stating it.
– Only one is much simpler to the multitude than the other.
– One is a great deal easier to understand than the other;
– I do not suppose that the Government will resign if the clause is altered to “not less than a thousand square miles.” The fourth clause provides for the granting and acquisition of the territory. I think that all these clauses are absolutely necessary in a Bill of this description. I have every confidence in putting the Bill before honorable senators.I believe they will give it fair play; and when it is passed by the Senate - as I am almost certain it will pass - and goes down to another place, I think that the discussion that will take place here and the influence of the vote that is given by the Senate will so affect the opinion of honorable members in another place that the probability is that within a very short time we shall have fixed the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth of Australia. When that is done I hope that we shall have done something that we shall never have any reason to regret, but that, on the contrary, in hundreds of years to come, the people of this country, instead of finding fault with what the Commonwealth Parliament did in 1904, will remember them with respect and with reverence.
– I beg to second the motion.
– The Minister began bv assuring the Senate that - as we had previously understood - the subject matter of this Bill is not really in its essence, whatever it may be in some of its details, a party question. But I think we must all have been struck with amazement that the Minister should have managed to infuse so much vehemence into a speech dealing with a non.-party Bill, in proposing its second reading. It seems to be not so much what is in the Bill, as a sort of unexpressed and reserved land nationalization, which is not in it, that has animated and stimulated my honorable friend’s eloquence. I think, too, if he will bear with me for one moment, that it was undesirable that he should have uttered the jibe that fell from him because of a perfectly courteous interjection from Senator Fraser. My honorable friend made a mistake in asserting, even controversially, that nothing would satisfy that honorable senator except to have the Capital site on one of his own stations.
– Senator Fraser knows that that was only fun.
– That is not exactly the way to carry a non-party Bill of this description through this Senate.
– I expected something a little better from the Vice-President of the Executive Council.
– These questions of land nationalization, of non-alienation, like murder, will out, even in a speech dealing with a non-party measure. This Bill, in essence and principle, is one to which the Senate may unanimously give its assent. We have done that before. We shall do it again. It is a Bill, the object of which deeply concerns New South Wales. But it also deeply concerns the entire Commonwealth. It concerns New South Wales because it is in fulfilment of a pledge given by the Constitution, on. the faith of which New South Wales came into this Union; and I think we must all feel that New South Wales is entitled to have that pledge redeemed, and the question definitely settled at the earliest possible moment, in order that, at any rate, that source of friction or discontent may be removed. In the next place, it deeply concerns the people of the Commonwealth, ‘because it is desirable in the interests of the Commonwealth that this little question - because, after all, it is a small question - should be settled and got rid of.
– It is very important, though.
– My honorable friend is quite right. I do not dissent from the eloquent expressions he made use of in his speech. It is an impor tant question in one sense. But it is a small question in another. It is determined by the Constitution that the Seat of Government of this Commonwealth shall be in New South Wales. There is not getting away from that.
– How does the honorable and learned senator arrive at the conclusion that New South Wales came into the Federation in consequence of section 125 ?
– I will tell my honorable friend in one instant, but I should like to finish what I have to say in reference to the exceedingly appropriate interjection of the Minister - namely, that the question is important. I said that it was in essence a small question; he said it was important. I say that it is both. It is important from one aspect and sm’all from another. It is small in this respect, that it merely involves the choice of a locality, which must be within a particular State. We are altogether free from the difficulty and the trouble which was encountered both in the United States and Canada, in consequence of the absence of such a provision as the Convention inserted in our Constitution, with the aid of a Conference of Premiers, and with the consent of the people of Australia, eliminating the struggle on the part of one State as against another to have the Federal Capital within its limits. As long as the Constitution remains as it is, the Federal Territory can only be within the State of New South Wales. Therefore, the small point of the problem is all that remains, namely, what part of New South Wales is practically the most convenient, is best in the interests- of the people of the Commonwealth, and from the point of view of the administration of the affairs of the Commonwealth for the site to be in. Conditions of health, conditions of convenience of access - all these things are elements ; but are only elements which have to be considered. The introduction of the other matters to which passing allusion was made, are entirely, it seems to me, with all respect, beside the question. Let us determine the site. It is right that we should. It is in fulfilment of good faith that we should. Let us determine it now. We may do what we like when we come to provide the money “for the purpose of building. We may postpone it, or cut down the Estimates. We may, if we chose, say that Parliament shall assemble in a bark hut.
– It is not likely.
– Or “Under the spreading chestnut tree.”
– Not under the auspices of the present Government. I am putting it as to what may be done under tha auspices of any Government with less extravagant opinions, and which might cut down the expenditure in such a way as would lay us open to commendation for our economy. But these are all details, and, therefore, in aid of what has already been put to the Senate, I urge that it is beside the question to say that we should postpone this matter until another day. The people of Australia do not .want us’ to postpone it, because we are not proposing now to incur one ha’porth of expenditure.
– Our choosing- of the site will, release some districts which are now tied up.
– It will confer a benefit in that way.
– That is so. We have heard something about the open door. In this case there happen to be nine doors open. Originally there were a great many more. As my honorable friend points out, in dealing with this matter we are releasing the people in the sites which are not chosen from uncertainty, and allowing them to go about their daily business, without being harassed by the prospect of the untold wealth which is to be spread amongst them in consequence of the establishment of the Federal Capital. My honorable friend, Senator Styles - and I refer to this because I respect any ‘interject - tion that comes from him - has asked me how I know that New South Wales was affected in coming into the Federation by this question. At the first referendum the minimum of votes was not obtained in New South Wales, and consequently the Commonwealth Bill was rejected. Union was impossible without New South Wales. Every one recognised that. Then came the Conference of Premiers. One of the elements which was of essential influence in bringing New South Wales to support the union, was the provision that the Federal Capital should be in her territory.
– A bribe.
– Of course, the honorable senator can call any bargain a bribe. I do not grudge him the use of a phrase which may be offensive to’ New South Wales if he chooses to put it in that way. We may call it a bribe,- or part of a bargain. At all events, it was one element in the bargain. If it be a bribe, it must also be remembered that one of the conditions conceded to Victoria was that the Seat of Government should be in Victoria until the Capital was finally selected.
– That ‘ was a little bribe.
– Victoria approved of the .first Commonwealth Bill in which no such provision was inserted.
– New South Wales got what my friend would call a handsome bribe, but Victoria was content with a little peddling bribe.
– Victoria acquiesced in Federation without anything of the kind, in consenting to the first Bill which did not contain any such provision, if the honorable and learned senator recollects.
– I know all about that. The provision was put in to meet the wishes of New South Wales, and to achieve the Union by making it fairly certain that she would have the Capital within her territory. Whether we call it a bribe or a bargain, or a condition, or anything else we please, it was upon the face of that provision that New South Wales came in. Victoria was placated by the joy of our being temporarily here, and she was also satisfied to remove the selfishness of Sydney by giving New South Wales the Capital permanently. Having got New South Wales into the Federation in this way, are we going to turn round and repudiate the bargain? That is a novel principle in political bargains. But I do not believe that my honorable friend would put himself in that position. I do not believe that Victoria wishes to do so.
– Is the repudiation of political bargains a novelty ? It is becoming rather common now a days.
– That is a large question. It may be “ in the air.” But whatever may be said as to expenditure, and as to the time for constructing buildings, and that sort of thing-
– That is the point. Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON*- This is not the time to deal with it. Let us redeem our pledge.
– A noble sentiment ! Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON.- It is a sentiment of simple,’ plain honesty; and when my honorable friend comes to consider the position, I am sure he will acquiesce in the appeal made from the Ministerial side of the Chamber, that this Bil! should be passed, so far as its second reading is concerned, without any delay or hesitation. The prototype of this Bill when introduced in the last Parliament was a little different, and was the subject of three amendments. These amendments, or, at least, two of them, were not persisted in. One amendment, moved by Senator. Higgs against any alienation of the lands within the territory, was ruled out of order; but, speaking from memory, I think an intimation was given that if it had not been ruled out of order, it would have been withdrawn. Then Senator McGregor moved an amendment, which would have had the effect of extending the territory from the 35th parallel of south latitude to the River Murray, extending eastwards, and Senator Dobson also submitted an amendment, providing, I suppose in the interests of Tasmanian shipping, that the territory should include Twofold Bay.
– There was another amendment by Senator Dobson that the Bill should be read that day six months.
– I am dealing with the amendments made in Committee with regard to the structure of the measure.
– Does the honorable and learned senator mind saying on what particular date Senator Dobson moved that amendment ?
– As Senator Dobson is not present, I shall leave it to the Minister for Defence to distinguish between dates. On that occasion, I pointed out that as it seemed to me, a Bill framed as that was - and as the present Bill is - was scarcely one in which to give effect to the constitutional position. Senator Drake, who was then leading for the Government, differed from me on that point, but I think that there was a little misunderstanding between us. I did not venture to suggest that a Bill was not a proper way in which to give effect to the will of ‘Parliament, but that it was not a proper way in which to give expression to a mere wish on the part of Parliament. I contended that the better way would have been to pass resolutions conveying the desire of Parliament for a particular locality or particular area, which should then be made the subject of what has been described as peaceful negotiations with the New South Wales Government.
– The honorable and learned member believes in red-tape and circumlocution.
– I do not ; but I believe in respecting the rights and legal position of a State. I am strongly of the opinion, which I then ex. pressed, and which I do not intend to elaborate now, that honorable senators are under a misapprehension when they think that we can positively, premptorily, and finally enact that we may select a particular territory in New South Wales, and that the New South Wales Goverment shall hand over that territory to the Commonwealth.
– That is not alleged.
– I may not have expressed myself as clearly as I should on the occasion to which I refer, or, possibly, Senator Drake thought my remarks more controversial than they were; but the honorable senator indicated what is really my view, and the view on which I shall support the second reading of the Bill, namely, that the measure, in effect, merely expresses the wish of the Commonwealth Parliament. My view is that the territory, as distinguished from the Seat of Government, which has to be placed within the territory, is the subject of cession on the part of the New South Wale’s Government, and not the subject of acquisition bv any enactment that the Federal Government can pass.
– The Commonwealth can acquire the land.
– I do not think that the Commonwealth can acquire the land.
– Is the Commonwealth going to traffic in land ?
– The object of that part of the Constitution is the same as the corresponding part of the United States Constitution. There is to be a territory ceded by a particular State - in America it was by State or States, while here it is by one State - and when that territory has been defined and ceded - that is, when the control of New South Wales over it has been given up- the land, so far as it is Crown land granted to us without price, or private land, for which we can pay at any time, is ours to do what we like with under the Constitution. Then is the time for us to determine the absolute site of the Seat of Government, the territory being Commonwealth property. If honorable senators will look at the section of the Constitution referred to, they will have no difficulty in seeing that that was clearly the intention. What has to be determined by this Parliament is the Seat of Government; but that is something distinct from the territory to be ceded and acquired, as is shown by the next two lines - and shall be within territory which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth.
– “ Acquired “ means acquired from private individuals.
– That is so. The section to which I am referring is section 125.
– Section in deals with territory ceded or acquired. ‘
– That is because the land cannot be vested in the Commonwealth unless it is granted or acquired by the ordinary processes by which land is conveyed from one man to another, or from one State to another.
– Does the section not go on to say “ or belonging to “ ?
– The words referred to are used in consequence of the granting or acquisition, and the section does not say “ or belonging to,” but- - which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth, and shall be vested, in and belong to the Commonwealth.
That is merely emphasizing the fact that once the land is granted - either Crown land ceded, or private land acquired - then it shall be vested in, and belong to the Commonwealth for ever.
– Territory can be acquired if it belongs to a State ; we can acquire land for any purpose.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council has not quite grasped my point. In my opinion, it is an absurd proposition that New South Wales shall be called upon to hand over to us any territory we like, which shall then become ours and be controlled by us. The language of the Constitution in this particular may not be as accurate as it should have been, but, when we contrast it with the language of the United States, Constitution, we see at once that the two provisions were intended to be on the same footing. The intention is not that the Commonwealth Parliament shall ride roughshod over New South Wales, and confiscate the property of that State.
– Read section in.
– I know section 11.1 perfectly, but at present I am dealing with section 125, which has nothing to do with the former section. Section 125 was inserted for the express purpose of dealing with the Federal Capital.
– Why are not the same terms used?
– The Minister knows that when there is a provision in a Bill or Constitution dealing specifically with one subject, that provision cannot be overruled or whittled away by some general provision applicable to some other subjects.
– This is not a general provision.
– My friends must not think that I am asking, anybody not to agree to the passing of a Bill expressing the wish of Parliament. I think the desire ought to be expressed in other language, but, while I do not differ with the Bill on that account, I want to express my view plainly. My friends from New South Wales, and those honorable senators who think differently, will then plainly understand the attitude I take from the constitutional point of view. We ought not to approach this subject with the idea that we are legislating adversely to New South- Wales, or to the New South Wales Government or Parliament. I think it inadvisable, on constitutional grounds, and certainly inadvisable on the grounds of expediency, to attempt to dictate to the New South Wales Parliament, and declare willynilly - if I may use a common expression - what territory we are determined to take for Commonwealth purposes.
– Especially when we have no right to do so.
– It has also to be remembered that the land involved is not a piece here and there, butthat “ territory “ is the expression used. That is to say, we are to carve out, or New South Wales is to cede to us, a portion of terri-. tory, the soil of which, and not merely the governmental jurisdiction of which, is to become the property of the Commonwealth.
– Do not forget that, according to section 11 1 there must always be the consent of New South Wales.
– The Minister seems to forget the language of his’ own Bill. In clause 2 we read - “ shall be within twenty-five miles of” so-and-so. Suppose we choose under the Bill to select the area which contains the richest mines in New’ South Wales, do honorable senators think for a moment that New South Wales would be obliged to hand over such territory?
– Those would not be Crown lands.
– Yes, they would.
– They would be- Crown lands, subject to mineral leases. Is it part of the policy of the Government, for instance, to confiscate the Broken Hill mines? It is said that the Federal territory has to be nationalized - that there has to be’ no alienation. Suppose we desired to aid our revenue, and included the Great Cobar Mine within the territory, do honorable senators not think that New South Wales would have something to say ? I cannot believe it possible that any man can have such an insane idea as that the Commonwealth would do such a thing in defiance of New South Wales and her interests.
– The Minister for Defence has pointed out that the land “must be taken with the consent of New South Wales.
– The Bill does not say that.
– Instead of trying to score a point, will the honorable and learned member kindly read section in?
– I am endeavouring in the most friendly way to assist the Government, but the Minister might as well ask me to read the Bankruptcy Act as to read section 111 at this point. Later, however, I shall read section in with the utmost care.
– When the honorable and learned senator is on another point, I suppose ?
– Yes, when I am on another point. It will be seen that I do not. read clause 2 according to its language, because, if I did, I should say that the Commonwealth Parliament was going a long way to precipitate a difficulty with New South Wales. The clause says -
It is hereby determined that the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be within twenty-five miles of-
Suppose we were to fill in the blank with “Broken Hill,” would not the New South Wales people have something to say? If the land is taken with consent, then it must be the subject of negotiation with New South Wales.
– Every law we pass is subject to the Constitution.
– All we are doing is expressing a desire, or choice, which we hope will be communicated to the
Government of New South Wales, and we further hope that that Government will fall in with it, as I am sure they will, unless there is some overwhelming reason to the contrary. It must not be supposed that because we use the word “ shall,” New South Wales has finally and irrevocably to submit. That is the view I take in regard to the Bill generally. It is not competent .for us, even as to the territory itself, to say that it shall be - that is, that it shall irrevocably, without the consent of New South Wales- - be in a particular place. The Vice-President of the Executive Council, in an interesting portion of his speech, referred to the story of the adjustment of the Capital sites question in Canada and the United States. In some respects his narrative was historically accurate, but in one important respect it was not. Canada was not at all in the position of Australia; the Canadian people were not spared the difficulty of settling in what part of the Canadian provinces the Capital should be placed. There was a struggle for the Capital’ between the different provinces, and it was in consequence of that - and not the much lesser difficulty with which we have to deal-, of merely expressing our wish - that the question had to be referred to Queen Victoria, who finally chose Ottawa. But when the Vice-President of the Executive Council came to deal with the United States, I think he had been misled, particularly in regard to the area. ‘ He alluded to the mode in which Washington was chosen, and to the arrangement made between Jefferson and Hamilton, which led to the settlement. That was not a very admirable or very praiseworthy episode in the history of either of these two men. It forms one of the few blemishes on, not the eminent, but the super-eminent,, reputation of Alexander Hamilton. There was a contest between north and south as to whether the Capital should be in one or the other, and there was a difficult financial question which - amongst other financial questions, left to Hamilton, with a genius never equalled, to solve for the United States - in the throes of discussion. Hamilton gave away the. claims of the north, in order to secure the support, or neutrality, of Jefferson, in regard to the Capital site. He agreed that if Jefferson supported, or did not oppose his financial proposals, he would withdraw the competition of the north.
– It must have been a kind of coalition.
– Something like the coalition that was proposed with the Labour Party a week or two ago. The Vice-President of the Executive Council, in dealing with this matter, was mistaken in one thing. Under the Constitution of the United States, the area was limited to not more than 100 square miles, and instead of the United States finding that insufficient, and struggling against the restriction, the Government, as late as 1846, restored to Virginia a portion of that State which had been included in the original area. And the Federal area in the United States now is not 100 square miles, but only seventy square miles.
– Sixty-nine and a quarter square miles.
– My honorable friend is nothing if not accurate in figures. I am obliged to him for the correction. The whole argument that my honorable friend has addressed to the Senate for the enlargement of the area, founded on the experience of America, utterly crumbles and falls to the ground, because it has been found, and is now found, adequate for a capital, which contains 240,000 people, and meets all the necessities of the Government, not of a population of 4,000,000 such as we have in Australia, but of a population of nearly 80,000,000; in a country which, by reason of its resources, wealth, and enterprise, stands in the front rank of all nations. My honorable friend told us that the people of that country were dissatisfied with the area of the Federal territory. But I have shown that the dissatisfaction was in their having too big an area, and that it was reduced. I should like to- see the evidence of any dissatisfaction with the more limited area of sixtynine and a quarter square miles.
– The honorable and learned senator is regarding the matter from a different point of view altogether.
– I know that my honorable friend has in the back ground, for next session, that reserve policy of non-alienation of Crown lands. In the Bill we are not asked to deal with that question, but with the area.
An area not less than the ‘area contained by a square whose side is thirty miles in length. The term “square” is utterly misleading. It ought to be described as an area of 900 square miles, so that we may know wherewe are. I do not like that way of drawing a Bill. Until my honorable friend made his explanation, I thought that it meant a square, or a rectangle, with each side thirty miles in length. If it is to be simply an area of 900 square miles, it may wander like that celebrated gerrymandering scheme of American notoriety from the north of New South Wales to the south, or from the Pacific Ocean on the east to the borders of South Australia.
– That is only done to suit physical features.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON. There is nothing definite in that. But, passing from that point, why is it to be 900 square miles ; why is there to be this increase of area? If it is to be 900 square miles, why not make it 3,000 square miles? As my honorable friend said, the Ministry have no policy about it. They will agree to 5,000 square miles if any one will move an amendment to that effect. If it is merely the expression of a pious wish on the part of this Parliament to have 900 square miles, and that is to be the subject of peaceful negotiation with New South Wales, well and good. But if by this Bill we are to “indicate that the territory to be granted or acquired by the - Commonwealth shall contain an area of not less than 900 square miles, we might just as well provide that it shall contain the whole of New South Wales outside the 100-mile limit.
– Why? Give some reasonable ground for making a statement of that kind.
– The reason I give is contained in the question - . Where is the limit to be drawn ?
– Has not the honorable and learned senator already pointed out the limit?
– My, view is that the limit is 100 square miles, or thereabouts, or so much more as New South Wales will consent to give. Under the language of section 125 we can take as much as we like, but that is not its spirit or intention. If we are going to take 900 square miles, there is no reason given why it should be limited to that area.
– Why did not the Constitution say 100 square miles?
– The Constitution is as plain as possible.
– No, it is not.
– It was not meant by the Constitution to permit the Commonwealth to have an area in which to provide for experiments in land nationalization, or to create a new State.
– There is nothing in this Bill to say so.
– What does the Minister want it for?
– He implied it distinctly in his speech.
– The object of the provision in the Constitution, as I think every one will agree, was to provide for a Capital site, and not to provide for experiments in land nationalization. Another reason which my honorable friend gave was that it was to prevent the overflowing of the unearned increment beyond the boundaries of the Federal territory. If that is to be the reason, where is that to end? If it is thought that 900 square miles will suffice, some of us may think that it will take 10,000 square miles to keep all the benefit of the Federal Capital from reaching beyond its boundaries, and the- position would be that we should be practically taking from New South Wales her territory and setting up a new State of our own. Honorable senators will recollect another part of.the history of the United States to which “my honorable friend did not refer. The principle of Federation is that the Federal entity should not have any territorial power except that which is absolutely necessary for the particular purposes of its own Government The whole essence of federalism is against territorial jurisdiction. The exceptions are ingrafted on that principle for the purposes of necessity. That is, if you have a fortification, if you have various other things which are provided for in the Constitution, then, of course, they come under Federal jurisdiction. But federalism, in its essence, is utterly opposed to territorial jurisdiction. For instance, in America, the territory of Columbia has no representation in Congress. It is not a State, it has no municipal government. Its affairs are administered by two or three commissioners appointed, I think, by the President, -with the consent of the Senate. That is probably how the affairs of our territory will be governed. Do honorable senators suppose that we could have a senator or a member “in the House of Representatives to represent the Federal territory ? We could not ; nobody would consent to it.
– The residents will have no votes, poor beggars ! Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON. - No ; and that reminds me that the residents in the Federal territory of Columbia and in1- the city of Washington, although they are citizens of the United States, are not citizens with any representation in Congress, and are not citizens of any State.
– That- is not according to our Constitution, as the honorable and learned senator will see if he reads section 122.
– In Washington, have they not a muncipal form of government ?
– They have two or three Commissioners, but they have no municipal government, in the ordinary sense of the term.
– The honorable and learned senator will admit that we are not bound to follow them.
– Under the provisions of the Constitution the Federal Parliament may give the residents of the Federal territory municipal powers, or appoint Commissioners, or do anything else. And when the population gets large enough to make up the quota which is necessary in respect of other constituencies, it may even give them representation in the House of Representatives, under the Constitution. But do honorable senators think that, for many a day to come, the Parliament would give these persons six members, or even one member in the Senate? When will it be that these people will have a member in the House of Representatives? Senator McGregor pictured London and Manchester as having a big area. He pictured greater Melbourne with an area of 450 square miles. Senator Styles interjected that the metropolitan area was 132 square miles. When shall we have that area in the Federal Capital ? Never within the lives of this generation, and many generations yet to come. The object in withdrawing the Federal Capital from great cities like Melbourne and Sydney, and chiefly, I suppose, from Adelaide, is not to prevent the possibility of a great mercantile centre being established. The object is that we may sit in dignified solitude and isolation, away from those malign journalistic influences which my honorable friend incidentally alluded to, and which are to him the embodiment of all parochialism and narrow local influence. But we are not going to establish a great commercial capital, as everybody knows. Therefore all these illustrations drawn from London Manchester, Melbourne, and Sydney are beside the question ; they do not really affect the question one whit.
– The honorable and learned senator has not a good opinion of the River Murray.
– I have an excellent opinion of that river. I should like very much to see the Federal territory abutting on a river just as the Federal territory in the United States abuts on the -Potomac. But, on the other hand, I have no sympathy with those who desire to include Twofold Bay or any port. I doubt if New South Wales would consent to a valuable port being given away to the Commonwealth.
– It is of no value to New South Wales.
– I am not saying that it is. but there are prejudices which are wrapped round these things, and as it is not going to be a commercial Capital, but a legislative and administrative Capital, we do not want anything of the kind.
– We shall have a navy.
– Why deny us water access ?
– I would do almost anything for Tasmania, and I do not know that I should violently oppose Twofold Bay being included in this wonderful streak of Federal territory of 900 square miles, if it is to be that area, if the Government of New South Wales will consent. All I say is that I have no sympathy with that desire. At the same time “I should like very much to see the Federal territory planted by a river-side. If that could be done on the Murray, the great river of Australia, or if not on the Murray, on some other useful and permanent stream, that condition would be satisfied. However that may be, I feel that I ought to oppose, and I hope the Senate will not consent to, the provision for thirty miles square in the imperative form of expression to be found in clause
– Will the honorable and learned senator say how we are to get any unearned increment if, as he suggests. there will be no population in the new city ?
– I do not say that we shall get unearned increment ; it is the Vice-President of the Executive Council who has said so. Every one must know quite well that for many a day the population of the Federal Capital will be chiefly confined to Commonwealth officials, and .the members of the Parliament, when it happens to be sitting. These are the views I take with regard to the constitutional position. I desire as fervently as anybody to see the matter settled, for the reasons I have stated. There is a choice of places, and last year I voted for Bombala, because, so far as I could see, it was on the whole the spot which at that time seemed to me to fulfil most adequately the conditions which ought to influence us in our selection - the conditions of climate, convenience of access, and other points which have been so fully dealt with by the various Commissioners. I said at that time, however, that although I voted for Bombala on that occasion, if the question was not then finally dealt with I reserved to myself the liberty to change my mind when the matter came up on another occasion.
– I hope the honorable and learned senator will exercise that liberty.
– I propose to do so, but I hope that in doing so
I shall not disappoint my honorable friends. If I exercise that liberty by giving up my first choice, it will probably be because the report which we have had from the late Minister for Home Affairs, on the Dalgety site, has made so considerable an impression on my mind that I am not sure that if the matter were put to a vote to-day I should not be found voting, in the first instance, for that site. I do not now speak finally, because I desire to listen to what honorable senators have to say. Many of them have made an inspection of several of the sites, and they are more familiar with the practical aspect of the question than I am.. I shall be largely guided by them, but my choice will, I think, be between the two sites, Dalgety and Bombala. I shall take great interest in all that may be said in comparing these two places ; but I may say that I think there is no likelihood of my view being diverted in favour of places further to the north, such as Tumut and Lyndhurst, to which I am aware that some of my’ honorable friends from New South Wales attach more importance and which they think far more suitable than either Bombala or Dalgety. I thoroughly agree with what the Vice-President of the Executive Council has said as to his hope that by this Bill we shall settle the question, so far as the Commonwealth Parliament is concerned, during the present session. I hope that by passing this measure, in harmony with the desire of Parliament, we shall be able to remove all cause of bitterness and discontent, and such criticisms and cavillings as may arise from the selection of a locality as favouring Victoria against. New South Wales. I hope we shall also remove difficulties which may arise from those notions, by whatever name they may be called - notions of economy, or otherwise - which have justified some persons in speaking against the selection of a Capital site at once, and have induced them to contend that it would be better to delay the matter for some time to come, when really delay is adding to the mischief to the Commonwealth, and affecting the character and reputation for good faith of this Parliament in postponing the doing of something which the sooner it is done the better, if it is to be done at all. were well done if done quickly.
– I shall not occupy the -time of the Senate at any great length, and I shall endeavour, in addressing myself to this subject, to speak with as much moderation as possible, and as is compatible with a proper enunciation of the views of a representative of the State in which this matter naturally occupies a great deal of attention. I desire, first of all, to congratulate the Government upon the promptness with which they have taken in hand the settlement of a matter which has hitherto been the subject of some delay. I think the Government are entitled to credit in that regard.
– They have nothing else to go on with.
– Senator Dobson may, place that interpretation on the action of the Government, but, without any reservation at all, I sincerely offer them my congratulations on the promptitude with which they have acted. The matter has been held over for something like three yea-rs now. During that time efforts, more or less serious, have been made, which have suggested to the people of New South Wales that the matter” would be indefinitely postponed. There have been proposals for a six-months’ adjournment, and proposals to put the settlement of the matter off for twenty years. The inaction of the late Government naturally induced in New South Wales the idea that there was no serious intention anywhere to complete that part of of the Constitution, which provided for the selection and establishment of the Federal Capital. For these reasons the present Government in attempting to carry out this provision of the Constitution promptly are entitled to the congratulations, not only of the Senate, but of the whole of the people of Australia.
– I hope this is not an annointing with oil, preparatory to the use of the razor.
– No, ‘it is not, for I have more congratulations to offer. I wish also to congratulate the Vice-President of the Executive Council on having so far abandoned his previous attitude on this question as to be silent with respect to the thousands of .square miles which he thought ought to be secured, and upon being prepared now to agree to the acquisition of a very much more . reasonable area.
-Col. Neild. - What is the difference between 900 square miles and 1,000 square miles?
– I remind the honorable senator that the. Vice-President of the Executive Council originally proposed that the. Federal territory should contain an area of 20,000 square miles. He was speaking then from the Opposition corner. The honorable senator then wanted a quarter of New South Wales, more or less. He did not want merely a Federal territory, such as that suggested in the Constitution, but a new State. He claimed everything south of the 35th parallel of latitude. Nothing less would satisfy the honorable senator when he sat on this side.
– That was very complimentary to Senator Millen’s State.
-*- Yes ; but we were entitled to regard it very much as we should regard the compliments of a man who put his hands into our pockets, and wanted to take something to which he had no right. When the honorable senator spoke from this side of the Chamber, he not only advocated a Federal territory of 20,000 square miles, but affirmed that nothing less than 2,000 or 3,000 square miles would suffice for the Federal Capital. In view of his very emphatic declarations to that effect, I am entitled now to congratulate the honorable senator upon the acceptance of more moderate views.
– I think he must be astonished at his own moderation.
– I can also congratulate the State of New South Wales on the sobering effects which the responsibili- ties of office appear to have exercised on the Vice-President of the Executive Council.
– I do not want 20,000 square miles this time.
– I have congratulated the honorable senator on the acceptance by him of more moderate views. I shall not associate his moderation with his altered position, but I shall merely draw attention to the fact that the proposal which he now submits to the Senate is very different from that which he submitted only a few months ago from the seat which he used to .occupy in this Chamber. One matter with which the honorable senator dealt when he spoke last I shall deal with now, because he has been silent upon the point this afternoon. When he previously discussed a Bill, similar to that now before us, the honorable senator pointed out thatalthough we were asked to select a site, there need not be any fear that anything would be done after the selection had been made. So far as. I can remember, he said that there would be ten or fifteen years delay after the selection of the site before anything practical would be done in the way of establishing the Federal Capital.
– I meant that a great deal of time would be occupied in surveying the land and clearing it, and erecting buildings - in a legitimate way. T did not mean that there should be any intentional delay.
– I do not wish to be misunderstood. The honorable senator when he addressed the Senate previously upon the question, pointed out that those who wished for delay need not be afraid, because it would be ten or fifteen 5-ears after the selection of the site before anything could be done in a practical way in the erection of buildings into which the Federal Parliament could move. The honorable senator has said - nothing upon that point to-day, but I desire to address myself to it. Touching the point raised by Senator Symon, in the sentence in which he said that we should place upon the statute-book an announcement of the redemption of - our pledges, I should like to say that it can hardly be called a redemption of the constitutional pledge if we merely select the site and do nothing with it.
– I never meant that ; I meant that we should go on with the work.
– Just so; but the honorable senator, speaking a few months ago, expressed the opinion that in the natural order of events it would take ten or fifteen years to establish the Federal Capital. I say that it ought not to take ten or fifteen years. If we are to establish a Federal Capital at all some practical step should be taken without any waste of time after the site is selected, and without undue extravagance.
– Half the time mentioned should be sufficient.
– I do not propose to fix a limitation of time, but I take it that to delay fifteen years before any practical steps are taken would be merely to keep the letter of the promise, and not the essence of it.
– What I meant by the reference to the limitation was that the matter was not dealt with in the Bill. I did not mean that the matter should be postponed.
– I quite agree with that.
– I did not mean to postpone it.
– I am glad to hear the honorable and learned senator’s explanation. It is idle to think that we shall be carrying out the portion of the Federal Constitution dealing with the selection of the territory if we merely select the territory and then say that we do not propose to do anything more for years to come.
– Hear, hear.
– I should like to say to those who urge expense as the reason for delay, that no New South Wales representative advocates any lavish expenditure. I venture to say - of course, I have no right to speak for my colleagues, but I believe that they agree with me - that the general feeling in New South Wales is entirely favorable to reasonable economy. When it is urged on the ground of expense that the building of the Capital ought to be delayed, I reply that that is an argument which might have applied before the Constitution was adopted, but ought not to be heard of afterwards. If those who urge that argument believe in delay on the ground of expense, they ought to have gone round and asked the electors not to adopt the Constitution, because it would involve the imposition of this expenditure upon them.
– It was of insufficient importance as compared with the achievement of Federation.
– Is it of sufficient importance to repudiate the bargain?
– There is no repudiation.
– -It would have been a reasonable argument to point Out to the electors as a fault in the Bill, and as one reason why they should vote against . it. that they should shrink from it because it would impose upon them these financial obligations. But it is no argument whatever, seeing that they accepted the Bill with the knowledge that that Bill would require an expenditure, which they, at that time, were prepared to meet. I want to deal now with the question of the enlarged area. The other matters to which the Bill refers can be more properly dealt with in Committee. But the question of the enlarged area is important. I do not suppose that New South Wales is going to be at all niggardly about a few acres, or for the matter of that about a few thousand acres. But without stating - as I have no authority to do - what area New South Wales is prepared to give, I think I am safe in saying that New South Wales will willingly give up any area which is requisite for Federal purposes.
– Who is to be. the judge of ihe area required?
– I am satisfied to take the Constitution. It mentions the purposes for which the territory is to be acquired. I say that if New South Wales is prepared to give up any area which is necessary for Federal purposes, and doesgive up that area, she gives up all that wehave a right to ask her to give up. The question is whether 100 square miles is sufficient for Federal purposes.
– For what purposes, does the Federation require an enlarged area ?
– For water supply.
– That is a tangiblereason. I am perfectly certain that New South Wales will give land adequatefor’ a catchment area.
– We also want to make sure that the suburbs of the Federal city are within the Federal area.
– There are only two good reasons which I have heardurged in favour of an enlarged area. The other two reasons which have been urged are, first that the increment resulting from the establishment of the Federal Capital shall be reaped by the Federation, an-f secondly that an enlarged area will permit of an interesting experiment in land nationalization. First of all, as to the Federation acquiring the increment of value which may be created : I ask, is it a Federal purpose to acquire land in order to obtain the increment which may result from the creation of the Capital in New South Wales? I say, on the contrary, that whenthe Capital was given to New South Wales, a portion of the benefit from it was expected to be secured by New South Wales.
– Their railways would benefit from it.
– Would not. New South Wales receive a benefit ?
– But what right have honorable senators to claim that benefit for; the Federation?
– Or to limit ‘ it?
– Or to limit it? On the same principle the Federal Government might say - “We propose to establish a small-arms factory, which will have the effect of employing a number of men. Wehave, therefore, the fight to resume all the. territory around it, on the ground that, once the factory is established and affords employment for labour, the surrounding land will go up in value.”
– The same thing might be said of a new post-office.
– It might be said of any other public building that was erected by the Commonwealth, that, in order to secure the increment arising from the enhanced value, the Federation should take possession of the surrounding land. It was intended that New South Wales should secure some benefit from having the Federal Capital within her territory. If we so enlarge the area as to secure the whole of that increment in value to the Federation, what benefit will New South Wales secure? As to the land nationalization idea, I ask fairly and squarely, what is the Federal purpose there? Is it set out in the thirty - nine articles of the Constitution? Is there any word in the Constitution that gives the Federation power to deal in land nationalization ?
– The Constitution gives us the power to acquire land.
– Yes, for purposes set forth in the Constitution. If we have power to acquire land for purposes of land nationalization, the Federation can buy up every acre of land in every State in order to do the same thing. There must be a limit to it.
– It is a purpose alien to the Constitution.
– That happy phrase entirely expresses it - it is a purpose entirely alien to the Constitution. The Constitution gives the Commonwealth ample power to secure any property it requires, for public purposes. But it is no purpose of the Constitution in order to carry out land nationalization schemes to acquire theFederal territory.
– It seems to me that the Commonwealth can deal with its own land as it likes.
– I am dealing with the arguments used in favour of this larger area, one argument being that if we acquire a larger area we can carry out a scheme of land nationalization. I say that that is not a Federal purpose. Land nationalization is a matter of State policy. People who believe in land nationalization can endeavour to go in for it through the instrumentality of the States Governments. If they do, I only hope they will have a more hopeful field for the experiment
than has been afforded in New South Wales. We have had some generations of experiment there, and the result has been a ghastly failure. I am prepared to mak’e a public recantation of my faith in this matter. A few years ago I entered the State Parliament,, and lent some assistance in passing the Land Act of 1894 into law. It had for its cardinal purpose the substitution of leasehold for freehold.
– And the Government there only leased land from which the settlers were either burnt out, starved out, or washed out.
– The honorable senator would not use language of that sort if he had a little more knowledge of the subject. Any man who has any knowledge of land questions in New South Wales will agree with me that there has been no more pathetic failure than is written in the history of the Homestead Selection and Settlement Lease policy of that State. In confirmation of that statement let me briefly trace the history of that land policy. Many men in New South Wales, like myself, originally believed in the leasing system. Shortly after this system was adopted, when the Farmers’ and Settlers’ Association met, a proposal was made to enable them to convert their holdings into conditional purchases.
– Does the honorable senator think that those remarks are relevant to the subject matter of this Bill?
– I do, Mr. President, or I should not have made them. I am showing the failure of land nationalization schemes in New South Wales.
– Is there anything in this Bill having relation -to that subject ?
– Arguments have been used as to why the Commonwealth ought to have this larger area, and I am giving reasons why it should not. A few years ago, as I have said, the Farmers and Settlers’ Association scouted the idea of converting these leaseholds into freeholds. A year or two afterwards, when the matter came on for discussion again, the division of opinion upon the subject was practically equal. But more recently On two distinct occasions they have affirmed the principle of converting these leasehold areas into freeholds. These areas are held in blocks of from 200 to 300 acres up to 1,200 acres.
– Will the farmers grow more wheat if th’ey are converted?
– No; but there is less humbug in having Government inspectors coming on to the settlements and seeing what the. growers are doing and what they are growing. We have never in New South Wales had a fair appraisement of land values. In some cases the Government were getting more than they ought to get, and in other cases they were getting too little.
– There must be very incompetent men on that side then.
– They are not less competent than are the officials on the Victorian side of the river. I am acquainted with the conditions on both sides. I have now dealt with the two principal arguments in favour of the larger area. I do not want to be drawn into a general argument upon the policy of land nationalization, but I say - and here is mv objection to this enlarged area - that it is no part of the conditions of the Federal Union to go in for. land nationalization schemes, and that’ we have no right to ask New South Wales to surrender more territory than is necessary for the purposes set out in the Constitution itself. If New South Wales desires that its Crown lands shall be dealt with under a land nationalization scheme it can deal with them in that manner. It owes no obligations to the Federation in that respect. When the Federal Government goes to the Government of New South Wales for the acquisition of territory in that State, I feel perfectly satisfied that in regard to any request for an area sufficient for all legitimate Federal supplies - such as a water supply, or for any of the proper accessories of a Capital site - New South Wales will meet the Federation in a generous mood.. But she must not be blamed if she puts her foot down, and says, “ We are not’ prepared to give you a large area of land that is not required for the purposes of establishing a Federal home, or for legitimate Federal purposes but for other reasons - for some social experiments with which you have nothing to do. At any rate, if you want to have something to do with them, you are not going to do it at our expense.” For these reasons I shall certainly, when we get into Committee - probably without much hope of success - move for the limitation of the area.
– Hear, hear. Senator MILLEN. - The honorable member seems pleased at mv recognition of the facts. I recognise that in matters of this kind people who want to get something are not likely to be shifted by any arguments which I am likely to address to them. I recognise their attachment to the land nationalization ideal. But I think they have altogether mistaken the arena in which that experiment ought to be carried out. That is one amendment which I shall seek to have made in the Bill. The other is on. a smaller point, and simply relates to putting in better language the provision in re,gard to tha area which it is proposed to acquire.
– I, like the New South Wales senators, think that the time is quite ripe for the settlement of this Federal Capital question, and I am glad that the Government have seen fit to bring it forward as one of the first measures for this Senate to deal with. ‘ I also join with Senator Millen in saying that it will not be sufficient to merely select the site, and then allow the matter to remain in abeyance. If we are to have a settlement of the question, it must be a genuine settlement; the selection of the site should be followed by a real commencement with the buildings and necessary offices for the Parliament and the Public Departments. I vote for the Bill on the distinct understanding that the measure is not merely “ bluff.” but is to be followed by action in the direction Ihave indicated ; and I believe that is the position of other honorable senators. I am pleased to see that the somewhat strenuous opposition which at one time Was offered to this project, especially in Victoria, has almost died out, and that now Victoria and Victorians, and the press of Victoria particularly, are coming to recognise that this is a contract which, in all honour, should be respected and carried- out. The Bill before us is on the same lines as that previously introduced, and in its provisions has regard to the opinions expressed in this House last session. The proposed area has been enlarged; and I am somewhat surprised at the arguments of Senators Symon and Millen against this proposal. Those senators say that, because the Constitution provides that the area shall . not be less than 100 square miles, we must take that as an indication of the maximum area. I wonder if those honorable senators will extend the same line, of reasoning to the provision which prevents the Federal Capital being fixed within a certain distance of Sydney. Because the Constitution says that the Federal Capital shall not be within 100 miles. of Sydney, are we to contend that the site shall not be more than 100 miles away? Are we to say that the ring drawn around Sydney by the framers of the Constitution must touch some part of the Capital site?
– The honorable senator must admit that my definition is fair - an area sufficient for Federal purposes.
– But the honorable senator seemed to indicate that, in his opinion, the minimum area mentioned in the Constitution should be taken as the maximum. At any rate, Senator Symon took that view.
– That would be handicapping the Federal Capital enormously.
– Of course it would ; and Ave have only to look at the proposition to see how ridiculous it is. If it is ridiculous to say that, because of the language of the Constitution, the Federal Capital must not be more’ than 100 miles from Sydney, then it is equally ridiculous to apply the same reasoning to the Federal area, because both sections are exactly the same in language, namely, “ shall not be less than.” The framers of the Constitution laid down the minimum in both cases, and left it to this Parliament to say what the maximum should be. . It is left to us to say whether the area shall be 200 square miles or 900 square miles; but Senator Symon asked us what would be the position, supposing 900 square miles were asked for, and Kew South Wales refused to give such an area. It is the province of this Parliament to determine what shall be the area of the territory,, and that is what we are now doing for the purpose of keeping the bargain which the people of Australia entered into with New South Wales. If New South Wales, in a spirit of obstinacy, says - “ Notwithstanding that you were clearly given powers by the Constitution, and that you are exercising those powers according to your judgment, we, in our judgment, think you are doing wrong, and will place every obstacle in- the way of carrying out the contract” - if New South Wales took up such a foolish position, that State must expect the logical result, namely, that the Commonwealth would reply, “ Very well, if you will not allow us to carry out the contract, we shall take other means; if you carry your obstinacy so far as to refuse to come to an agreement, except on your own terms, we shall appeal to the people of Australia to give us power to approach some other State of the Commonwealth.” I 3e 2 point out to New South Wales representatives, and to the New South Wales Parliament, that we have always had that reserve power in the event of obstinacy being carried to such an extent.
– Is an appeal for fair treatment to be called obstinacy ?
– I claim th’at the conditions as to the Federal Capital are placed by the Constitution in our hands. If when we draw up those conditions, the State Parliament continually refuses to acquiesce, unless the settlement be on its own terms-
– Except it be on constitutional terms.
– If a State refuses to come to a settlement except on its own terms, we have the manifest alternative, which I suggest we should take, of altering the Constitution so that an arrangement may be come to with some other State.
– The honorable senator hardly states that point fairly.
-Col. Neild. - No doubt any part of the Constitution may be altered, but such a proceeding would be unfair.
– Such a proceeding would not be fair unless a State carried its objection to the point I have indicated. If obstinacy is carried to such an extent, and an alteration of the Constitution be made, the blame will not lie with the Federal Parliament, but with the ‘ Parliament who placed obstacles in the way. Senator Millen contends that we are entitled to take as much territory as is requisite for the proper carrying on of the functions of the Federal Parliament.
– A few acres might suffice for that.
– No doubt a few acres might suffice. For instance, it might be very difficult to prove that a water supply is necessary for carrying on the functions of the Federal Government, and a five-acre block on the banks of the Snowy river, with a few feet of the river, might be all that was requisite. If the New South Wales Parliament are to be permitted to say that we shall have only as much territory as is requisite to carry on the parliamentary functions of the Federal Government
– It must be .100 square miles.
– Surely my language was plain; I said 100 square miles or any additional area necessary for the purposes of the Federal Government.
– But if it is admitted that an adequate water supply is necessary to the carrying out of the provisions. of the Constitution, we might have to ask for more than 900 square miles ; at any rate, we should probably have to ask for more than 100 square miles. According to Senator Millen, the Parliament of New South Wales could very well argue that a water supply is not necessary to the functions of the Government.
– I admit all that the honorable senator may say against New South Wales and the New South Wales Parliament; but does he think that any Parliament would say a water supply is not necessary for a city?
– Judging by the arguments used in regard to limiting the area, I give the New South Wales State Parliament a good deal of credit for what it might do. It seems to me that it would be in the best interests of New South Wales if the Commonwealth were allowed to take as large an area as possible. If we obtain one of the areas suggested, that very fact will increase the value of land for hundreds of miles around, and will provide settlers with a local market, which they do not at present possess. Surely New South Wales representatives should take such facts into consideration. The more successful the Federal Capital may be from a commercial stand-point, and the greater population there may be settled there, the greater will be the advantage to New South Wales outside the Federal area. In a Federal Capital I suppose a population of 2,000 people is all that would be necessary for carrying on the functions of the Government; but if we can obtain an area sufficient to guarantee that there will be a commercial, as well as a political city, we may reasonably anticipate a population of perhaps 50,000, which would manifestly be of great advantage to farmers, gardeners, timber getters, coal-miners, and producers for hundreds of miles around. In that way New South Wales would reap a substantial advantage from the establishment of the Capital. Senator Millen, in attempting to combat the arguments in favour of land nationalization, made rather an unfair comparison. In order to prove that it would not be of advantage to the Commonwealth to have a system of land nationalization in the Federal territory he instanced the experience of New South Wales, as alleged in respect to the leasing of agricultural land.
– But the larger area desired in the Federal territory is not for city purposes.
– I am now dealing with the Federal city, and pointing out that the leasing system will be proposed not merely for the agricultural land, but also for’ the town land.
– I agree with the honorable senator as to the town land.
– Senator Millen compared the system as applied to land in the Federal territory, with the system which he said existed in New South Wales.
– I was ‘dealing only with lands in the larger area necessarily outside the city.
– I may tell the honorable senator that in Kalgoorlie, which is now worthy of the term of a city, great blocks of buildings are erected on building leases, the present occupiers or builders having no freehold.
– There is the- same in Svdney. -‘Senator PEARCE. - And yet it is found that in Kalgoorlie the leasehold system does not prevent people putting up palatial buildings.
– Are those State or private leases?
– Private leases. Unfortunately the State parted with the freehold many years ago.
– The municipality of Kalgoorlie have land which is let on building leases.
– I know, personally, several of the Kalgoorlie ground landlords, who have lived for years in luxury and affluence in Perth.
-Col. Gould. - On ground rents ?
– Yes, on ground rents, derived from land which was obtained from the State, in the first instance, for a mere song. Senator Smith can give more information than I can as to the Kalgoorlie municipality, which -derives a very substantial rental from lands let out on building leases to various tradespeople, who have erected very good buildings. The leasehold system is in operation in every one of our great cities, where, in very few cases, will it be found that the actual shopkeepers are the owners of the land, the owners, many of them, living in England or elsewhere on the rents. The difference is that the owners, instead of being the Government or the people, are private individuals.
– The shopkeepers want all their capital for their business, and very often have not sufficient.
– The want of capital is an additional reason for having a leasehold system, under which all the capital may be devoted to the business, and need not, half of it, be devoted to buying out private landlords at fancy prices.
– There are the two forms of investment.
– And we propose to cut off one, so that there may be more capital to invest in the other. In regard to the Bill itself, I have some slight criticism to offer. Clause 2, it seems to me, places senators in a difficult position, providing as it does -
It is hereby determined that the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be within twenty-five miles of in the State of
New South Wales.
Senator Symon said that, according to the later reports, there is a distinct bias in favour of Dalgety. If we vote in this particular for Bombala we shall be in this position - that while we might have a majority here who are in favour of Dalgety, as being the best of the Monaro site’s - Bombala is the term which is generally used to cover all the Monaro sites - if we vote for Bombala because of Dalgety being more than twenty-five miles distant, we shall leave out Dalgety. I think that, instead of putting in the word “ Bombala,” it would be better to put in the words “ Southern Monaro.” I throw out this suggestion for the consideration of those who favour a Bombala site, and, if necessary, I shall move an amendment to strike out the 25 miles and to fill the blank with the words “ Southern Monaro,” leaving the Parliament quite free to choose the .best site in the Southern Monaro district. With regard to Senator Symon’s objection to the shape of the area to be taken, I consider that the Government have adopted the best system, because, as Senator McGregor interjected, there might be natural configurations which would necessitate our taking an irregularly-shaped block. I should prefer, if it could be done - and I believe it is practicable - that we should take a ring of country round the harbor of Twofold Bay, and a strip, say, half-a-mile broad for a railway from Twofold Bay up to Bombala, where the Federal Capital would be established.
– It would be in the shape of a dumb-bell.
– Yes ; and it would be a very good figure of speech, too, because the Capital would be the nucleus of our military arm, and the other end of the dumb-bell would represent our naval arm. Seeing that the Parliament, which is to control the defence of Australia, will be assembled, perhaps, at Bombala, and that the naval force will be stationed in Sydney Harbor, or, perhaps, scattered among the ports of the Commonwealth, and the Naval Department will necessarily be housed near the head-quarters of the Fleet, I think that there is a distinct advantage in having the port of Eden included in the Federal territory; but to take a square block, would necessitate our going somewhere near the area of 50,000 acres, which was at one time suggested by Senator McGregor. I suggest that it is advisable to pass the clause in this form, as it would allow us to take a port, the necessary land for a railway line, and a site in the interior for the Capital. With regard to the amount of compensation, I think that the Government have been very lenient to the land-owners. .They might very well have gone back, and fixed the value at that . which obtained at the establishment of the Commonwealth.
– Does the honorable senator allow nothing for the increase which has been going on in certain districts ever since that time?
– I think that the increase has resulted from agitations of Federal Capital leagues, and not from the growth of population.
– In one district it is due to a distinct agricultural development.
– If the honorable senator is referring to Tumut, he will find that the developmental value there is due to the fact that New South Wales has built a railway to that town.
– I am not speaking of that place, but of a district in which dairying has become established.
– With regard to the various sites, I can only say that, on a previous occasion, I voted for Bombala, and, like Senator Symon, I feel inclined to transfer my allegiance to Dalgety. But if we -are to understand that no port is to be given, I must’ say that, after the visit to Tumut, I see very little to choose from between Dalgety and Tumut. Certainly the Tumut land is richer, and I believe would support a larger population, but one of the great advantages in taking a site in the Monaro district, is the proximity to a port, and, therefore, the advantage from the defence point of view.
– I desire to pay a sincere compliment to the Minister for introducing this measure at an early date, as it indicates a desire on the part of the Government to fulfil a constitutional obligation; but I am not altogether at one with the honorable gentleman with reference to one or two features of the Bill. I have some personal interest . in this matter, inasmuch as, perhaps, I was more responsible than any other person for the fact of the Constitution providing that the Capital should be somewhere in the State from which I come. I was the member of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales who carried through all its crucial stages in that House the measure popularly known as the 80,000 vote Act that caused the rejection of Federation on the first referendum. That was followed by the Premiers’ Conference in which the provision for placing the Capital . somewhere in New South Wales was agreed upon.
– The honorable senator is responsible for the provision that the Capital shall be in New South Wales.
– I did not say that. I accept the responsibility for the passage of the Bill which brought about the failure of the first referendum vote. But I did not agree with the bargain which was subsequently made,, because, as -regards the limit, I subsequently moved in the Legislative Assembly an amendment to provide for a maximum of 200 miles as an addition to the minimum of 100 miles. I maintain that the people of New South Wales never for one moment supposed that the provision in the Constitution limiting the choice to an area more than 100 miles from Sydney was to be strained to its greatest possible limit, and the site of the Capital was to be on the very borders of the State. I understand that there are practically only two sites in the running at the present time, namely, Lyndhurst and Dalgety.
– How about Tumut?
.- There are supporters of Tumut ‘ as there are of Bombala; but I am not attempting to say who is in favour of one or other of the sites. I am speaking of the concensus of opinion in this Parliament, and taking the opinion by and large, as the mariners say, of the members ,of the two Chambers, I have come to the conclusion that there are now only two sites in the running, namely, Lyndhurst, on account of its present and increasing centrality; and Dalgety, on account of its water supply being superior to that possessed by any other site or by any capital in Australia. I remember how I was reviled by a section of the Sydney press six or seven years ago for stating in my. place in the Legislative Assembly that it would be five years before a Federal Capital was established. I said that it would take at least two years to select a site, and at least three years to erect the buildings.
– The honorable senator was 50 per cent, out in his first tip, because three years have passed, and it has notcome off yet.
– Yes; it shows that L made a very liberal estimate. By the enthusiasts in our part of the Commonwealth, and by a section of the daily press, I was fairly reviled for making a statement which was considered utterly unworthy of the true Federal spirit that ought to actuate all Australians. A period of over three years has passed, and still the site has not been selected. We hear something this afternoon about the possibility that, if we do select the site now, we may have to wait fifteen years for the buildings. I feel sure that any one in this Parliament who enter-: tains such an extreme view must be in a most minute minority. When I compare clause 3 of this Bill with section 125 of the Constitution Act, I find that an enormous departure has been taken. The Constitution, in section 125, says that -
Such territory shall contain an area of not less than 100 square miles. but this Bill, in clause 3, says -
The territory …. shall contain an area not less than the area contained by a square whose side is thirty miles in length.
I fail to see why there should be such an enormous departure from the intention of the Constitution when no valid reason has been given.
– That is only a declaration of opinion. What it means is that the area shall not be less than thirty miles square.
.- The only difference is that one is a declaration for not less than a certain area, and the other is a declaration for not less than nine times that area. They are both declarations, but the
Minister for Defence will see that, if we pass the Bill in the form in which it is submitted, it will be just as competent to extend the 900 square miles to nine times that area, because, in both cases, exactly the same phrase - “ not less than “ - is used.
– It is only to be done by consent.
.- If, at the end of three years we deliberately take nine times the area prescribed in the Constitution, wa might find before the end of another three years that we want 8,000 square miles. There would be very little of New South Wales left.
– The area would be stated in the Bill.
– There is no limitation in the Bill, any more than in the Constitution. The area as stated in the Bill would be not less than 900 square miles. If the Government in introducing the Bill had actually fixed a limit with respect to area there would be something to fight for, but I fail to see how we can possibly be asked to support a piece of legislation which is just as indefinite in the form of this Bill as in the Constitution. Senator Millen. - This is Only running the minimum up.
.- That is all.
– Is not that a matter for communication between the two contracting parties?
– Why not say, “not more than “ a certain area ?
– The Bill can be altered in Committee. We are now considering the second reading. ‘.
D-. - I have already indicated my feeling of dissatisfac tion with the provision in the Constitution which limits the selection of the site of the Federal Capital to some place not less than 100 miles from Sydney. I have regretted that when the distance from Sydney of 100 miles was fixed as a minimum there was no maximum fixed, and for the same reasons I should like to see a maximum as well as a minimum area fixed by this Bill. At present no maximum is fixed, and the area is to be 900 square miles, and as much more as perhaps some Ministry less reasonable than the present might wish to grab. It is impossible to suppose that the, present Ministry have any desire to filibuster the territory of New South Wales in any unreasonable manner. -But it is just possible that, owing to the casualties of political existence before this matter is settled, some other persons may be intrusted with the government of the Commonwealth. . … : , ‘
– There are no casualties on our side. All the dead and. wounded are on the other side.
.- If my honorable friends have achieved the elixir of political and human life, they are more singularly fortunate than any similar number of gentlemen with whom I have had the pleasure of coming in contact. I point out that there are casualties in thelives of Ministries, as well as of individuals, and if we pass this measure in its present form, and proceed to enter into those charming negotiations to which the Minister for Defence has referred, we may find that before those intricate, ‘ troublesome, and onerous negotiations are completed, in the course of long years, some Ministry less reasonably disposed may have . come into power, and, acting on the authority of this Bill, they mav claim a great deal more than the 900 square miles stated here, not as the maximum area to be acquired, but merely as the minimum area, which may be exceeded to any extent that the necessities of , the Ministry of the day may seem to require. For these reasons I shall, in Committee, support any action which may be taken that will have a tendency to limit, in some more reasonable form, the area which it will be open to the authorities of the Commonwealth to acquire. Senator Pearce has been good enough to tell us of all the calamities which may fall upon the people of New South Wales if they are not disposed to give any area, from 900 square miles and upwards, that may be demanded under this Bill. The honorable senator promised us an alteration of the Constitution. I do not know where Bombala “would be then, poor thing,” as the nursery rhyme has it. We might then, perhaps, find that instead of being somewhere in New South Wales, the Federal Capital might be located in the interesting locality known as Coolgardie. That once pleasant sea-port, Albany, might be fixed upon, and in fact all sorts of things might happen if the honorable senator’s threat were carried into effect. I do not think, however, that the people of Australia will be called upon to alter the Constitution in any such direction. I think there will be sufficent good sense displayed between the Federal Parliament, the State Parliament of New South Wales, and the people of that State, to enable them to arrive at a. reasonable and just determination, particularly when difficulties which cannot otherwise be adjusted, can, no doubt, on appeal, be presented to the High Court, and the High Court can determine what is necessary under the Constitution for the purposes of the Commonwealth. It cannot possibly be that it is the duty of the Commonwealth to seek huge areas for, say, agricultural or pastoral experiment. If it is not competent for the Commonwealth to take large areas for carrying out a project, say, for growing cabbages for all Australia, it cannot, to my mind, be any more a duty of the Commonwealth, imposed by the Constitution, to seek large areas even for so admirable an. experiment as that of land nationalization. When the last speaker was concluding his remarks, something was said about leaseholds in the vicinity of Sydney, and Senator Millen has made reference to the unfortunate, and as he phrased it, “ the pathetic failure,” of leaseholds for agricultural and pastoral purposes in New South Wales. I can also refer, not perhaps, to the failure, but at least tq the extraordinary disability imposed upon large areas surrounding the city of Sydnev, in consequence of the 99 years’ lease system existing there.
– Quite the reverse is the case in connexion with the New Zealand leaseholds.
– Let me say that the New Zealand system has not been sufficiently long in force to give the tenants experience of reappraisement, which comes on shortly.
– It has been so long in force that if there had been failures they would have been published before now.
– I was speaking with reference to leaseholds in the State of New South Wales, and I can refer just to one matter to show the difference between freehold and leasehold. In respect of the power to borrow money there is a disability placed upon leasehold property that no process of legislation can get rid of.
– The owner of a freehold very often finds it difficult to get rid of the usurer, when he has to borrow money.
– I am aware that these interruptions are made in a kindly spirit and in perfect good humour ; but they are still somewhat disturbing to one who is seeking to submit certain propositions. My proposition is that we may have a large area for our Federal territory - it could not be said that it was required for the Capital, because no city that ever existed, or ever will exist, in Australia, a country with a limited rainfall, could require 900 square miles for its accommodation. We shall never have one that will require ninety square miles to accommodate it. A limitation of human occupation has been fixed by the scanty rainfall which, so far as we can learn from science, has existed in Australia for all time, and is likely to continue to exist. On that account we are never likely in this part of the world to have a city requiring accommodation for such a huge population as has been suggested. But, apart from the site, what are we going to do with the rest of the Federal territory? It is proposed, with a view to obtaining the unearned increment, as it is called, that we shall run. some system of leasehold. It may be called land nationalization or simply leasing, as it comes to very much the same thing with the State as landlord. If we have that system in force within the Federal area, how will land within that area compete with the freehold land of New South Wales existing immediately outside it? In our experience in New South Wales the man who can obtain freehold will prefer it- to leasehold in ninety - nine cases out of 100.
– That is because it gives him a better chance if he wants to mortgage it.
.– Precisely ; that is the point I made just now. It makes a difference of one, and frequently of two per cent, where a man requires to borrow money. I can refer honorable senators to the great areas in the vicinity of Sydney on the Holt-Sutherland estate, with charming water frontages, railway accommodation, and proximity to one of thi: greatest parks in Australia, and yet the land cannot be let at 7s. 6d. an acre per annum, or thereabouts. There is very little settlement upon it, with the exception of a few people who are keeping poultry farms, whilst freehold land in the immediate vicinity fetches a good price. I point out that, if we are to acquire a great area as Federal territory, we shall, in human probability, be merely burdening the Commonwealth with an area of land which will be more of a nursery for noxious weeds and a haunt for noxious birds and beasts than anything else.
– Not if we select Tumut.
.- Some years ago a law was passed in New South Wales dividing all the pastoral holdings into, presumably, equal parts. The pastoralists continued to hold one-half of their holdings, whilst the other half reverted to the State, and was let on short leases. What was the result? Nearly the whole of those portion of the holdings which reverted to the State, and were subsequently dealt with as leaseholds, became but nurseries for noxious weeds and the haunts of noxious animals. Senator Millen, who has, perhaps, a larger knowledge of the western country of New South Wales than any other man I ever met, will bear me out when I say that those resumed areas, as they w«re called, in scores and hundreds of cases became a -perfect curse to the occupants of the adjacent holdings.
– That was because of the absence of water.
– The whole trouble there was due to dummying.
– No. I am speaking of the western area of New South Wales, and the dummying took place in what is known as the central area.
– The resumed areas were not dummied or selected, but abandoned, and there are 8,000,000 acres of them there to-day.
– They were only abandoned because they had no water frontages.
– Similar country held under other conditions continues to be occupied.
– We have had exactly the same experience in the mallee in Victoria.
– Because no water can be got there.
.- There is no doubt that it must be the same wherever we go. These difficulties are not peculiar to New South Wales. In every place where human occupation goes on, and is largelylimited or controlled by questions of finance, it is clear that where men cannot borrow money on an unsatisfactory freehold title, they cannot borrow on an unsatisfactory leasehold title, and there is this further difference, that whilst a freehold title may have some flaw iri it, which renders it unsatisfactory, the mare fact that it is leasehold makes the title unsatisfactory in the other case. It makes it unsatisfactory, because, however willing people may be to lend money on properties of the kind, trustees cannot do it. Until very recently trustees in England could not lend money on colonial securities. Exactly in the same way trustees cannot lend money on mortgage of leasehold properties. That limits the amounts available for investment on such properties, and hampers the unfortunate occupant who desires to improve his holding. It is all very well to say that people should not borrow. The world could not go on without borrowing. Australia could not have been developed without borrowing. We should not be sitting in this building without borrowing. We should not have a mile of railway to travel on without borrowing. If the world’s operations were limited to a cash basis it would be reduced to such a state that the crash of another planet falling on it would be a small disaster in comparison. My honorable friend, Senator Millen, gave utterance to a sentiment which I should have used had I. spoken first - and which I now cordially indorse - that so far as New South .Wales is concerned, I believe that every representative of that State, no matter in which House he may sit, will willingly subscribe to the proposition that a suitable area for the needs of the Federal City should be granted. There would be the utmost willingness to provide all the additional land which was requisite to secure the purity of the* water supply of the Federal City. Personally, I should be willing to vote for any area that it could be shown was at all necessary to secure an abundant supply of water and the control of the watershed.
– That is, by gravitation.
.- I should undoubtedly prefer gravitation to pumping. In that way it seems to me that if we are going to discuss what particular sites we may favour, there can be no question that Dalgety takes first place for water supply amongst possible sites. The drawback is that there is no line of railway to Dalgety, and many miles of additional railway are requisite to make a through connexion either with Melbourne or Sydney. While I desire to see the fulfilment of this obligation of the Constitution, I certainly wish to see the Federal Capital established in a position, that will give through traffic between the great cities of Australia. I do not want to see the Federal Capital established at the end of a railway siding, or a siding 100 miles long.-, ‘ There ought to be through communication between the great cities. When
I’ say the great cities, I do not mean Melbourne and Sydney only. I mean all the great cities, because while Melbourne and Sydney are most immediately connected, there are also Brisbane and Adelaide, and by-and-by there . will be Perth linked together. If we could build a bridge across to Tasmania, that also would be a most desirable thing ; but I only know of one man who could doit, or would be willing to do it, if we provided him with the money, and his name is the Honorable E. W. O’sullivan. We cannot have that, but we can have the Capital on a railway line that will connect Brisbane and Sydney on the north, and Melbourne and Adelaide on the south. In my opinion that connexion should exist. . The other site to which I have made reference is Lyndhurst. The water supply there is not so good as it is at Dalgety. It does not compare with that site in that respect. Still, I believe the water supply of Lyndhurst to be ample. From the information which I have from Government officers, I do not believe there can be any doubt with regard to the water supply there; I further point out the splendid centrality of Lyndhurst as being on the line directly north of Melbourne, where that line runs almost straight north, instead o’f winding away east,as it does to reach, Sydney. With the future connexions to the South Australian railway system on the one side, lines actually in process of construction now so far as New South Wales is concerned, only one link is required to make an almost direct line to Brisbane. There, can. be no doubt about the centrality of Lyndhurst as compared with any one of . the other sites that are at all in the running. Year by year that site must become more and more central ; because, unquestionably the trend of population and the development of occupation is northwards.
– To Queensland.
– To Queensland. The sea-board corner of New South Wales has been filling up to a remarkable extent, and, as Senator Dawson has correctly shown, the trend is right up the eastern coast. Already the population of the eastern coast entirely outnumbers the population of any other -part of the Commonwealth on a similarly sized area. Of course I am not talking of any little sections. That development must “ continue. Why? For the simple reason that the eastern coast of Australia is, as yet, less developed than the south coast. And, as we go northwards along the east coast, we get the finest rainfall in Australia. As I have said, rainfall is the true test of the limits of human occupation in any part of the world. It is the test, not only of human occupation, but of occupation by the brute creation, and, still further, by the plants and grasses which make possible the occupation to which I have made reference.
– Rainfall is not the test of occupation at the North and South Poles.
– Unfortunately, I have not been at either of those charming summer residences. I do not know what the rainfall is either at the North Pole or the South Pole. But we can look all over the known globe, and no one can pay the least attention to the rainfalls of the countries of the world without knowing that what I have said is a truism - that rainfall is the test of occupation. Recognising that fact, we have a right to expect a greater growth of population northwards than even westwards. I am not making any unpleasant remarks about any locality, because I know the great possibilities of the west. ‘ I am aware that there is an immense area awaiting development there. But, on the other hand, to the north we have a country’ that . will carry a population immensely larger than it at present sustains. For these reasons I think we have a right’ to look rather to the north than to the south of New South Wales. -or, at least, to some, central position therein, for a suitable site for the Capital that this Chamber has evinced, I will not say an enthusiastic, but at least a kindly and laudable disposition to select a site and to see a Capital erected thereon, under . the terms of the obligation contained in the Commonwealth Constitution.
– I am very glad to see that in the debate, so far as it has gone, every speaker has evinced an earnest desire thatthis question may be settled as soon as possible, and that the bond we entered into with New South Wales prior to Federation shall be carried out in spirit, as well as in letter. I feel sure that during this session that obligation will be honorably met, and I am not going to strike a discordant note in this debate. I ‘am as anxious as any honorable senator that this matter should be settled, and I go further, ‘and say that when we do decide upon a site we’ should, without any reasonable delay, take steps to establish ourselves within the territory selected. The first steps taken with regard to the Capital site were so long ago as November, 1899, when Mr. Oliver was appointed by the New South Wales Government to inspect certain localities. Mr. Oliver is the President of the New South Wales Land Court, and, possessed of extensive knowledge of that State, was eminently qualified for the duties he had to perform. Subsequently a Royal Commission of four members from the different States, with Mr. Fitzpatrick as chairman, was appointed, and we were furnished with an exhaustive report, together with plans and other information. There has also been a personal inspection of the majority of the selected sites, by nearly every member of both Houses ; and I sincerely hope that, with other information which we have, and information which we ought to have, we shall be enabled to come to a decision. Last session we narrowed the choice from twenty sites to two or three sites; and in this connexion I have a certain complaint to make against the Government. Towards the end of last session the Minister for Home Affairs asked for a sum of about ^2,000, in order to obtain reports on the two or three sites which remained open to discussion, and a surveyor thoroughly conversant with the district was appointed to inspect Monaro, with a second surveyor, a resident of Tumut, to inspect and report on the latter area. The Chief Inspector of Public Works, Colonel Owen, was also asked to make an inspection, and he reported on all three sites, or, at any rate, on the Monaro and Tumut districts. Then Sir John Forrest, who was Minister for Home Affairs, made a report ; and the complaint I have against the Government, is that we did not obtain that report in its entirety without having almost to violate the Standing Orders, and besiege the Government for about three days. We now (have the report of Sir John Forrest ; but the reports of the two surveyors, Messrs. Chesterman and Scrivener, who were commissioned about six months ago, have not yet been laid on the table of the Senate. I do not know how much of the £2,000 was spent in obtaining these two reports from experts; but I do not see why there should have been any expenditure if honorable senators are to be placed in no better position than they were during last Parliament to come to .a right decision. These reports have not yet .been seen by. any member of the Senate, although they were laid on the table of the House of Representatives six days ago. I do not see why this should be so, considering that these reports were called for by the Minister of Home Affairs, and that the Senate was the first Chamber to. consider the question of the Capital site. Seeing that this is an urgent matter, and that the Government ought todesire “honorable senators to have the fullest information, why were the . reports not printed and circulated? If” we do not receive those reports the ,£2,000, or whatever was the cost, is money absolutely wasted ; and the Government must admit that they have treated the Senate .’with scant courtesy, and have shown no anxious desire to supply the fullest information. I hope the omission will be rectified at the earliest opportunity, although I know that we must make allowances for the Government. In the first place, the Government are new to office, and have an enormous- number of routine administrative matters to attend to; and further, they have had a particularly trying time. They have had the sword of Damocles hanging over their heads, and that in itself is enough to somewhat distract their attention. Indeed, for the last week or two I think the Government have been in rather a- worse position than the Russians, seeing that there have been two parties trying to bottle up the Government. Under the circumstances, I think the Government may be excused ; but it is most unfortunate that when we are asked to decide this most momentous matter - perhaps, one of the most monumental we shall have to decide - the two expert reports, which we particularly want, are not laid on the table, although the Government have had them in their possession for six days.
– How can the honorable senator congratulate us on settling the matter promptly when we have not the necessary information ?
– I am not congratulating Senator Dobson, because I have not heard him speak; but I congratulate other honorable, senators on the desire they have evinced to have this matter settled at once.
– Without the information which the honorable senator says is so important ?
– The information is in the hands of the Government, and could be given to us to-morrow. Last session’ I asked the Government for certain information to guide us to a decision. We then contemplated only two sites, and I asked the Government to get the surveyors to mark out in each district an area of 1,000 square miles in the position they thought most suitable for Federal territory, and then to obtain from the residents an idea of what would be the cost of nationalizing that land. That information could have easily been obtained, and it would have been a splendid guide to us in refuting the statements of those who say that an enormous expense must be undertaken in order to establish, the Federal Capital. I know that, so far as regards Dalgety, and also, I believe. Batlow, a large area is Crown lands, and the cost of resumption would be very small. I also asked the Government whether, if we selected an area of, say, 1,000 square miles, we should have the right under our Constitution to take the whole of the Crown lands free. That is a legal question on which I ask the Government to obtain the opinion of the Attorney-General. I also asked that the surveyors, or the Chief Inspector of Public Works, should prepare an estimate of what they thought would be the minimum cost of the Federal Capital during the first ten years. Such information would not only have been useful to ourselves, but would have served to answer the absurd statements made by a lot of people that, if we establish the Federal Capital in New South Wales, we must spend millions and millions in thi first fe.v years. However, my suggestions were no* acted upon, and we are in the position of not having the information which I desired. Senator Symon made a very telling point when he said that we have no right to select a site in New South Wales unless we first get the consent of the New South Wales Government.
– Did the honorable and learned senator mean an area beyond 100 square miles, or any site?
– The honorable and learned senator meant that we had no right to select any site, and he gave some illustrations of “his argument. He asked whether, if we took Broken Hill, it was likely-
– We could. not take that area - that is the answer.
– He pointed out that, if we could take 1,000 square miles of Crown lands in any part of New South Wales, and we took Broken
Hill, which is within the area allowed to us, we should come to an impossible position, because New South Wales would not give up such territory. The honorable and learned member also instanced, in a similar way, the Great Cobar mine. But he quite overlooked the fact that the New South Wales Government commissioned Mr. Oliver to select certain sites for the Federal Government, and that he selected a great number. On Mr. Oliver’s report, the New South Wales Government asked the then Prime Minister, Sir Edmund Barton, to select certain of the sites, and Sir Edmund Barton selected about twenty. Then the New South Wales Government reserved a large area on each of these sites, so that the Federal Government could decide on any one of them. Does not all Senator Symon’s carefully built-up argument fall to the ground when we know that the Dalgety, Tumut, Lyndhurst, and other sites are already reserved by the New South Wales Government for the special use of the Commonwealth Government, if the latter choose to make a selection?
– That does not necessarily bind the New South Wales Government.
– But is it not a recognition that if we want land within any of those areas it is there for us ? Is it not perfectly evident that the New South Wales Government “ would raise no objection to our taking a reasonable area, seeing that they have already reserved the land? Then there is the question of whether we should have the right .to take 900 square miles. If it is desired to have a large area in order to nationalize it, irrespective of the actual ‘ requirements of the Federal Capital, I am one of those who believe that we have no right to take that course. But I am strongly of opinion that we have a perfect right to take sufficient land, so that the city and suburbs shall be self-contained and under one jurisdiction, so that the whole of the catchment area shall be in Federal territory, and our source of water supply shall not be polluted, so that we can create artificial lakes and form large parks. When we come to consider the question from that point of view I contend that an area of 900 square miles is not at all too much.
– It depends on the situation.
– Certainly it depends on the situation ; but I am speaking in general terms. The Bill postulates an area of thirty miles square. That means that if the Capital were placed in the very centre there would be New South Wales territory within fifteen miles. It is contemplated, if the site is at Dalgety, to have a lake three miles across. If the Capital is built even in the centre of the Federal territory - and it is not altogether probable that it will - we must have an area fifteen miles round in order to insure that for all. time the suburbs shall be in Federal territory. What would be the effect if the city were in the Federal territory, and the suburbs in New South Wales? We should have divided jurisdiction. One authority would control the suburbs, and a totally distinct authority would control the city. If we wished to bring in a system of tramways or a water supply, we should have endless difficulty with two jurisdictions, which possibly, though I hope not, might be in hostility to each other. We ought to provide for the extension of a city which is to last perhaps for thousands of years. It is impossible for us to say to what number the population of the Capital will grow, and if it is only equal to that of Washington, it will be 250,000. That is a place with no trade and commerce, whereas our Capital may be a place with trade. In some of these sites the land is auriferous, and suitable for growing fruit and wheat. With railway communication the areas may become very populous areas. We may have a town which in time may approach Chicago in point of importance. If the Government of New South Wales is reasonable, it will recognise that, in asking for an area of 900 square miles, we are not trying to found a State on the principle of land nationalization, although I hope that we shall do that with the area, but are seeking to insure that tha city and suburbs shall be under one jurisdiction, and that we shall have plenty of room in which to lay out parks and reserves, and conserve water. Honorable senators, in discussing this question so far, have not made any comparison between the three sites, because they have had no further information, except Sir John Forrest’s report, of which only a portion has been printed, than was available last session. By going to the Clerk of Records and to the Minister of Home Affairs to see the reports, although they are not printed, I have been able roughly to make a comparison between the’ three sites - Lyndhurst, Tumut or Batlow, and Monaro. It is admitted that Lyndhurst has a fine climate. Senator
Neild made a great point of its centrality. But I do not think that centrality is one of the most important aspects in considering the question of a site. If it is decided the Federal Capital shall be in the centre of all future population, then, perhaps, it will have to be built in the desert country. But if we take a site like Tumut or Dalgety, we are only within 250 miles from the geometric centre of population. Surely, if in a continent of 3,000,000 square miles, we put the site within 250 miles of the centre of population, we shall be going as near enough to accessibility from all parts as we should require. I think that the claim that we shall select Lyndhurst, because it happens to be nearer the centre of population, is an untenable one, or is a factor which should not weigh against the question of water supply, climate, and other considerations which are of such vital importance. Although the climate of Lyndhurst is good, it is subject to great extremes. The lowest rate of temperature there is 15-mA- degrees, or 16 degrees below freezing point; it suggests to us a Polar expedition. It has a lower temperature than any site except Bathurst and Armidale. So that no reading at any of the two southern sites - Batlow and Tumut on the one hand, or the Monaro tableland on the other - is so low as that. At Lyndhurst the frosts are frequent and severe, and the soil is not so good as the soil at Bathurst and Orange. It is described in the report as being somewhat poor. The average wheat yield is n bushels at Lyndhurst, and 12 bushels at Dalgety.
– That would not affect the Federal Parliament.
– The fecundity of the soil for a Federal Capital area is a matter of small moment. We desire to have ground where parks can- be laid out, and vegetables and fruits grown; but, so far as the foundations of the city are concerned, it is always acknowledged that the best site is that which is stony. The important factor in regard to Lyndhurst which was admitted by Senator Neild, is that the water supply is not good.
– Not equal to that of the Snowy, he said.
– The Royal Commission, after visiting Lyndhurst, said that the Coombing rivulet was practically dry - and that is relied on as the chief source of water supply - and put Lyndhurst fifth in the sites, so far as water supply is concerned. In no single factor - and this can hardly be said of any other site - has Lyndhurst been put first by any Commission or inspector that has ever visited it. The cost of resumption at Lyndhurst is very heavy. The ground is mostly selected, and in order to reclaim our catchment area the Commission estimate that we should have to expend , £160,160. Of all the sites it is the most expensive catchment area to reclaim. Sir John Forrest says -
Lyndhurst in no wav compares with Dalgety as a suitable site. None” of the creeks I saw were running when I visited Lyndhurst on 5th April.
Every source of water supply to Lyndhurst was dry on the 5th April, when Sir John Forres; was there, and that was practically the case when the Royal Commission made their visit.
– Not running; there is a very great . difference between the two things.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.Well, the creeks were not running. Mr. Pridham, who made a very exhaustive report of the water supply, of Lyndhurst, stated that in order to supply water to 180,000 persons - and that of course is very much less than the population of Washington - the expense would be , £2,728,000.
– Oh, that is nothing.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.Of course it is nothing to a millionaire, but we have to carry on the government with due economy. That estimate, of course, includes a pumping scheme from the Lachlan river, because it is recognised that these four or five streams would not be a reliable source of water supply. We must remember that we have to obtain water by conservation, and not by perennial streams. If we have reservoirs of water in the summer time, it becomes stagnant, and is not so healthy as that in a running stream. Again, Lyndhurst will have no water frontage. That, I think, is an important fact with regard to a Capital site. When we come to another most important factor - the generation of electricity - we find that the water supply there is only sufficient, according to Mr. Pridham’s report, to generate electricity to the extent of. 300 horse-power. Electricity is a very important economic factor, and I think it is going to be more so in the future. When I was in Launceston quite recently I was very much surprised to find that electricity was generated and sold at ½d.. per unit.
– The cheapest supply in Australia.
– And that is due to Municipal Socialism;
– Yes. There is an illustration which should guide us to have a large supply of running water near the Federal Capital, in order to generate electricity, not only for lighting the city, but for developing motive power and running railways or tramways. I am sure that Senator Styles, as an old railway engineer and contractor, will agree with me in that. Now let us take the site of Tumut. The Commission stated that they were only to inspect sites that had a sufficient elevation, and 1,500 feet was fixed as the limit. I was astonished to find that in the report about Tumut they mentioned that they inspected sites far below that elevation. Mr. Scrivener has naively said that this was according to subsequent instructions, but from whom those instructions were received we do not know. We have reports upon Tumut and contiguous places from Sir John Forrest, Colonel Owen, and Mr. Chesterman.
– And from the four Commissioners.
– I shall speak of that later. From what I have stated in regard to water supply, the Lyndhurst site must be considered out of the running in that respect. We have then to consider the Tumut site, and the Bombala site, including the areas contiguous to those places. When we’ come to compare them we find a great similarity between those sites. They are situated only eighty or ninety miles apart, and are divided bv a range of hills. They are both forty miles from the Victorian border. They are situated at about the same altitude, 2,500 feet, and both require thirty miles of railway to connect them with the railway system of New South Wales. - The climate is verv similar at both places,- and both occupy commanding positions. These are the aspects of similarity between the two sites to which I think it is admitted we have narrowed the choice.
– What two sites?
-I am speaking of Batlow and Dalgety. I have taken these sites, becausein the case of Dalgety I am in favour of the suggestion made by Senator Pearce, that a Monaro site should be included in the Bill, and Dalgety, from the information we have already received; is, in my opinion, tha best site in that district. I take Batlow on the other hand, because Tumut, being low down, is a hot, steamy place surrounded by hills, and is quite unsuitable for a Federal Capital.
– It has the finest climate in Australia.
– Under the instructions first given that the site must have an elevation of 1,500 feet. Tumut, Goodara, and Lacmalac could not. be included.
– We are not limited to that now.
– No, but I think our common sense should limit us in that way.
– Does the honorable senator mean to say that it will require thirty miles of railway to connect Batlow with’ the present railway system ?
– Twenty seven miles is the exact distance stated by Mr. Chesterman, and the distance between Cooma and Dalgety is thirty miles. I have now to mention the points of difference between these sites, and they arise with respect to the water supply, the water power for electricity, water frontage for recreation, and appearance, and the suitability of the sites for the erection of public buildings. It is in connexion with these matters that dissimilarity occurs between these two sites which are otherwise so similar. Mr. Scrivener reports that the water supply of Dalgety is the finest in Australia. This is due to the Snowy River, which Colonel Owen mentions in his report as one of the finest rivers in Australia, coming as it does from the perennial snows of Mount Kosciusko and its ranges. It is pure water, and it makes the site of Dalgety the best in the whole of Australia, so far as water supply is concerned. By a gravitation scheme, involving thirteen miles of piping,, a supply of 8,000,000 gallons can be obtained, or sufficient to supply 100.000 people. This can be secured at small expense, and it could be extended if desired to supply a population of 500,000 or 1,000,000. There is a frontage to one of the finest rivers in Australia, and a 30 feet weir on the site would create a lake three miles in length and of considerable width. The principal portion of the city would be formed on the high ground of a kind of promontory.
– To whose report is the honorable senator referring?
– To the report of Mr. Scrivener, the surveyor.
The water power within thirty miles of the site is sufficient to generate electricity to the extent of 70,000 to 100,000 horse-power. That is to be compared with the 300 horse-power which could be secured at Lyndhurst, and with about an equal power which could be secured at the Batlow sire. This would be sufficient, not only to light the city, and give all the motive power required for the city, but to run railways if necessary from Dalgety to Cooma, to the Victorian border, or to Twofold Bay. It must not be forgotten that this is the very cheapest motive power we could get. In his report. Mr. Scrivener says that everywhere in the district ornamental fruit tress grow well, with very little attention, and he regards the district as admirably adapted for dairying and fruit culture. The Batlow site is described by Mr. Chesterman, a gentleman who has lived in the district just as Mr. Scrivener has lived in the Dalgety district. He says that of all the sites around Tumut that at Batlow is the best with respect to climate, soil, and water supply, and it is situated above the elevation of 1,500 feet. At Tumut there is admittedly a splendid supply of water, though it is not quite equal to the supply afforded at Dalget by the Snowy River. ‘But when one leaves Tumut, and goes 20 miles up in the ranges to Batlow, the water supply is very different. It is very important to remember that, when speaking of the Batlow site, we cannot look for the water supply to be found at Tumut.
– Who says that?
– I say so, on the authority of Mr. Chesterman. He says that the total catchment area of Batlow is only 40 square miles. This is the catchment area which is expected to provide a water supply for a huge city’. Mr. Chesterman admits that it would be sufficient for a population of only 72,000. He gives as the summer flow of the Buddong, Main Gilmore, and Little Gilmore rivers, 40 gallons, 20 gallons, and 15 gallons per second, respectively.
– What about theHoneysuckle, which is the main stream of all? ‘
– It is not mentioned by Mr. Chesterman. He evidently considered it so far away that the cost of making use of it would be prohibitive.
– A big mining field at Cherry Hills is kept going by gravitation from the Honeysuckle.
– It is not mentioned by Mr. Chesterman, who I am sure has given as favorable a report of the site as he could. I dare say that in winter these streams become swollen torrents, but they are nothing like the Snowy River, and are not snow fed. It is impossible to suppose that these little trickling rivulets could provide a water supply for a huge city. Colonel Owen, who went up to inspect the Tumut sites, says that none of them, which are above an elevationof 1,500 feet, can have anything like a water frontage. That is what we must reconcile ourselves to if we select such a site as Batlow. Now, as to water power. We are told that with 200 feet of head the volume of water of the streams to which I have referred would develop only 200-horse power, which is so infinitesimal as to be unworthy of consideration. If we take these three points of water supply, water frontage, and j water power, there is no comparison between Batlow and Dalgety. This view is borne out by the surveyors, by Sir John Forrest, and Colonel Owen. The Batlow site is above the 1,500 feet elevation, and the surveyor savs that Godara is a better site, but it is under the elevation of 1,500 feet.
– Sir John Forrest never saw the Batlow site. I was in Tumut when he declined to go there.
– The comparisons made by the surveyors I have quoted show that in respect to the important factors to which I have referred there should be no doubt as to which of these sites we should select. I have pointed out that in many other respects there appears to be a remarkable similarity between the two sites. I should like to mention this statement with regard to the character of the site so far as its suitability for the erection of public buildings is concerned. With respect to Batlow, the surveyor says -
The great drawback to the site is the comparative steepness of some of the slopes, rendering the projection of a symmetrical design a matter of some difficulty, and construction costly.
400 acres, including, and extending easterly from the present village, would afford suitable ground for the business part of the city. About one and a half miles further north 600 acres of pood building ground, somewhat irregularly shaped. The site must be classed as a ridgy one.
That means that we should have 400 acres on top of some rising ground, upon which we could build a part of the Federal Capital, and a mile and a half away there are 600 acres upon which another portion of it might be built, whilst the suburbs would probably be found tumbling and sprawling between the two.
– That might be found useful, as we are to have two parties in Federal politics in future.
– The members of each party might retire to their own hill, and there defy each other. The surveyor further reports -
It is difficult to see how any large sheet of water fairly convenient to the site could be created. Contour plans cover an area of seven and three-quarter miles (two and three-quarter miles square), and the surrounding country is not suited for city extension.
Referring again to Dalgety, I quote from the report of the Royal Commission, of which Mr. Fitzpatrick was chairman. That Commission was considered to be somewhat hostile to the claims of the Monaro district. Whether it was so or not, I am not in a position to say, but it can be no disadvantage to a particular site if in advocating it one can quote the opinions of those who have been considered hostile to it. Mr. Fitzpatricks Commission reports:. -
With regard to climate, in our opinion, it may be ranked as somewhat better than Bombala, but not equal to Armidale.
For water supply it is second only to Bombala.
As to cost of resumption, the site at Dalgety is least costly of all the sites reported upon, and the catchment area for primary source of supply is the least costly, with the exception of Tumut.
Speaking with regard to building material, the report says -
There is a cream-coloured sandstone about ten miles from the site, and a clayey sandstone twenty miles distant. The latter is described as cutting easily, but hardens on exposure. Granite abounds in the district in the form of outcropping boulders, but no quarry has been opened. There is also plenty of basalt and bluestone. The best quarry of the latter is at Hazeldene, about twenty miles from the site, where the stone is a very dark blue, more like trachyte, and is harder than the Melbourne bluestone. The largest outcrops of limestone are about six miles north of Cooma. The stone from this place produces a good lime, which is said to be stronger than that at Marulan. Abundance of clay suitable for brick-making is obtainable in’ various parts of the district, and excellent hand-made bricks have been produced. There is plenty of good sand and other material for making concrete.
With regard to fuel and timber suitable for firewood, there is a large supply within easy distance of the site. I am giving this information from the report of a Royal
Commission, which is supposed to be hostile to Dalgety -
The nearest coal-field -from which supplies could be drawn is on the Southern line, about 170 miles from Cooma. The cost of coal delivered at Cooma from this source of supply would be about 20s. per ton ; or from the western collieries about 25s.
To sum up the question with regard to Dalgety, it is, as I have pointed out, absolutely the cheapest site, and, I think I have shown, one of the best sites we could possibly get. Only thirty miles of railway are required on an even grade. I have travelled on the road from Cooma to Dalgety. It is a piece of level road. The other road, from Tumut to ‘ Batlow, is severe. One has to rise over 1,000 feet, and there is a great deal of cutting and filling, according to the reports given by the surveyor. So that railway connexion with Dalgety will be very cheap, comparatively speaking. In regard to resumption, I have shown from the reports that the Dalgety site is cheaper than any other site ; and the water supply is more plentiful and cheaper than at any other site. It compares in these respects favorably with Batlow, which all those who have inspected the sites contiguous to Tumut have stated to be the best site above 1,500 feet. When we consider water supply, water frontage, and water power, which are of vital importance, we shall find that Dalgety is infinitely superior to the Batlow site, whilst with regard to the cost of building material, resuming land, and water supply, it is absolutely cheaper than any other site.
– The Batlow land is all Crown land ; it would be given free.
– I am quoting from the report df the surveyors.
– From a man who is evidently biased.
– I have given the names of the surveyors. The reports are in the hands of the Government, and. can be laid upon the table. I am sure that the Government is desirous that the fullest information shall be given to honorable senators, and it is only because their time has been taken up in other ways that they have omitted to furnish those reports to Parliament. I ask honorable senators to read the information to which I have alluded, and see if I have not given a fair comparison of the various sites. I believe that when honorable senators do that, they will say that the Dalgety site, or some site on the Southern Monaro table land, is the best for the future Capital of the Australian Commonwealth.
– There seems to be a strong disinclination on the part of some honorable senators to speak at present. I had hoped to hear Senator Styles and Senator Dobson express their views before I spoke.
– Will New South Wales allow Victoria to take the lead on a question like this?
– Sometimes it is as well to have an opportunity of replying to the statements which are made. I think that the question as to which is the most suitable site would more properly be considered when we are dealing with the Bill in Committee. The measure itself is cast upon simple lines. In the first place we are called on to declare that the site for the Capital shall be in a certain portion of New South Wales, the name of which is to be filled in late* on; and secondly that there shall be a minimum area. As to where the site is to be, unfortunately the Government do not occupy any better position than their predecessors. There seems to be a difference of opinion in their own ranks, and they are endeavouring to throw on Parliament the responsibility and the onus of determining for their guidance where the Federal Capital should be located. They are making no attempt to guide Parliament. It is unfortunate that this position should be taken up, because there must be a majority of the Government in favour of one site or the other. It would be far better to let Parliament know exactly what attitude the Government themselves are going to take up.
– We are going to put the Bill through. That is our attitude.
– With the blank as it stands?
– We want to give honorable senators an opportunity.’
– And not make a suggestion themselves?
– I suggest Tumut.
.- Does Senator McGregor intend to ask the Senate to fill up the blank by inserting the word “Tumut”?
– No ; I am in favour of Dalgety.
.- And I presume that other members of the Government are in favour of other places. The Government are not prepared to lead Parliament in one direction or the other. They will not say that any one site is superior to another. They say:: “We are going to allow you to lead us and we will take anything you give.” They do not care which we suggest. Honorable senators are perfectly well aware that a majority of the New South Wales representatives have indicated a preference for Lyndhurst, as against any other site which has been submitted. I am .not at this moment going to discuss the relative merits of Lyndhurst, Dalgety, or Tumut.
– This Bill is designed to settle the district in which the site shall be selected, in order to release the other districts.
.- I shall not discuss the site now for two reasons. In the first place, it ought to be dealt with in Committee rather than in the Senate, and speeches that may be delivered here at this stage in favour of one site or another may have to be repeated next week. In the next place, a large amount of information has been obtained since the matter was debated last session. We have not got that information yet. While I give credit to the Government for their desire to have the question settled, we ought to be put in possession of the fullest possible information, so that the decision of the Senate may not be one which we shall see fit to go back upon. We have a report from Sir John Forrest dealing with the Tumut and Southern Monaro districts. It has been determined by the Senate that we shall have printed Sir John Forrest’s .report on the Lyndhurst site. The Government have in their possession the reports of Mr. Pridham, Mr. Scrivener, Mr. Chesterman, and Colonel Owen. Where are those reports?
– Senator Smith, has quoted Mr. Scrivener’s report.
.- Senator Smith has seen the documents, because he has been to the Government offices and inspected them. But they should be tabled. We should have the benefit of them before we are called on to deal with this measure in Committee. Senator McGregor, in moving the second reading of the Bill, said he had no doubt that whatever decision was arrived at by the. Senate,’ would carry very great weight with honorable members in another place. So it ought. But if we have not got the information which honorable members in another place will have when they discuss the Bill, they will say - “ These gentlemen were unaware of this fact and. that fact, this report and that report, and therefore their decision is not worthy of the weight and consideration that would have attached to it if they had been acquainted with the whole of the available information.” Honorable senators know perfectly well that I do not desire to delay the selection of the site, but I hope that we shall be posted up with the fullest and latest information in order that we may arrive at an opinion based upon all the facts .that are available.
– Does the honorable and learned senator really want more information than we have now?
.- I think that if it were worth the while of the Government to get further information, it is worth their while to give it to the Senate. I know that Senator Dawson has a strong leaning towards one particular site. He has an opportunity of seeing these new reports, as a Minister. That opportunity has been denied to honorable senators.
– That is not quite correct.
– We have not had the same access to them as the honorable senator has had. Possibly the perusal of these reports might alter my opinion with regard to the vote I gave last session in regard to Lyndhurst. Nevertheless, I desire to have an opportunity of considering them, and of arriving at a conclusion as to whether I was correct in giving that vote.
– These reports will cost more money than the Federal Capital itself.
– I cannot help that. This is a matter not for a few years, but for all time, and we should be very careful in regard to it. I also want to know how the blank is to be filled up. Do the Government propose to take an exhaustive ballot, so as to allow any honorable senator who thinks that one site should be put in to have an opportunity of inserting it? In the other House, in the first instance, there was an exhaustive ballot before one site was placed in the Bill. When the Bill came to us from another House, there was a place already named ; but we are initiating the Bill now, and it is reasonable that we should, if possible, by means of an exhaustive ballot, arrive at what may be the decision of a majority of honorable senators. For the sake of argument, let us suppose that there are three sites in the running. No. 1 site is proposed in the Bill, but the advocates of Nos. 2 and 3 sites join’ together in order to reject No. 1, although No. 1 might, under ordinary circumstances, get a majority.
– If we do not have an exhaustive ballot, it is possible that the blank mav never be rilled in.
.- That is possible, because the advocates of the two sites may always vote against the third.
– But there are nine sites.
.- Then the advocates of eight sites may combine against, the ninth. A good deal qf stress, has- been laid on the necessity for a very large area. This matter was dealt with pretty exhaustively by the delegates who were sent by the States to consider the Constitution Bill in the first instance, and they arrived at the conclusion that an area of not less than 100 square miles would be ample for the requirements of the Commonwealth.
– “ Not less “ than 100 square miles.
– Now we have this Bill, requiring hot less than thirty miles square, or the very much greater area of 900 square miles, as against 100 square miles. We are now saying that we will not be satisfied, and will not leave the Government in a position to be satisfied, with a smaller area than that mentioned in the Bill. How much better it would be if the Government were able to go into these negotiations - for after all this Bill only enables them to negotiate - with a free hand to select an area of not less than 100 square miles. The Government would not be tied to the minimum, but if the circumstances were such as to justify them in doing so, they could go up to the 900 square miles. I do not think it is any part of the duty of the Government to establish any experimental State - to experiment with legislation on land nationalization, or any other such project. It has been pointed out by Senator Symon that that is no part of the duty of the Commonwealth Government. We are created under a Constitution which gives us certain specific powers and rights, and, strictly, we are not entitled to go beyond those powers and rights. It is true that the Federal territory will be under our guidance and any laws we see fit to make; but it was never contemplated that the Commonwealth would be put into a position to establish another State, in which we. could carry on a different system of legislation in reference to any of the great topics of subjects that come up for discussion from time to time’.
– Does that argument not also apply to an area of 100 square miles ?
.- An area of 100 square miles would not enable us to enter into any large scheme of that character ; but would give us an opportunity to establish a Federal city.
– And to try a scheme of land nationalization as well.
.- If the Commonwealth liked to lease the city lands, that is entirely within its power, but we are not entitled to establish agricultural or pastoral industries under such a system as that of land nationalization.
– Does the Constitution forbid it?
– It is not what the Constitution forbids, but what the Constitution gives us the right to do that we have to consider at the present moment. All rights, except those given to us by the Constitution, remain with the States.
– The Constitution gives us the right to deal with Commonwealth land.
– Naturally ; but the Constitution does not give the right to acquire enormous areas in order to try some “fad” or other.
– That depends on the majority in Parliament.
.- When I use the word “ fad “ I do not wish to speak of any project with disrespect, but I merely adopt it as an easy expression.
– We are entitled to ask for what lands we want.
.- No doubt the Commonwealth can go to the State Government and say - “ We want a large area, which’ we make a sine qua von, and we will not take less.”
– That is not asked; it is a matter of agreement.
.- The contention has been raised by members of the Government and others that if there is any unearned increment, in consequence of the establishment of the Capital, it should go into the pockets of the Commonwealth Government.
.- If that contention is to be carried to its logical conclusion the Federal area will have to be extended to an indefinite extent, in order to absorb that unearned increment.
– But only the unearned increment within the territory is referred to.
.- But it will be necessary to enlarge the territory to such an extent that there will be no possibility of unearned increment being lost in connexion with it.
– If that be so, we shall have to take in all New South Wales.
– If the unearned increment has to extend to the whole of New South Wales, I am afraid it will not be for many generations yet.
– But New South Wales would be entitled to it.
– As the honorable senator interjects, would not New South Wales be entitled to the unearned increment? The Federal territory will be within the borders of New’ South Wales ; and why ? Not for the simple charm of taking land away from New South Wales. That State would very soon say, ‘ ‘ You are placing us at a disadvantage so far as our territory is concerned in relation to the other States.” If there is any benefit to be obtained from the unearned increment New South Wales is entitled to that benefit.
– I mean the unearned increment beyond any reasonable area that may- be taken for Commonwealth purposes.
– That is outside the Commonwealth area?
D- Outside the Commonwealth area, whatever it may be; and, therefore, the Commonwealth has no right to extend the area in order to prevent New South Wales obtaining the benefit.
– The possibility of an unearned increment outside the Commonwealth area ought to be an inducement to New South Wales to give the land.
.- But it is sought to remove that inducement by saying - “ We will take care that there shall be no unearned increment.” There is no doubt that any land required beyond 100 square miles, for water conservation, or anything of that kind, would be readily given by New South Wales.
– For suburbs?
.- Any reasonable area would be given by New South Wales; but why go to that State with a bludgeon, and say, “ Unless you give a certain area far in excess of that provided for in the Constitution, the Federal Capital shall not be within your border.”
– That is not the position.
.- It is very like going with a bludgeon, when we admit that we have the power to treat, but not the power to take, and still insist on having an area thirty miles square. There ought to be the utmost freedom in all the negotiations, and ample opportunity afforded for coming to an amicable agreement, without one side or the other attempting to impose what would be regarded as an unreasonable condition.
– Why does the New South Wales Government reserve the land?
– Because the New South Wales Government desire to give the Federal Government the fullest possible opportunity to select the most suitable site within the State.
– The New South Wales Government have not reserved an unlimited area around each proposed site, but only . the area mentioned in the Constitution.
.- There is no doubt that we have the unquestionable right to deal with this as a matter of bargain and agreement. I do not know whether the Minister for Defence would go so far as to say that the Commonwealth Parliament has power to resume land in New South Wales, whether or not the New South Wales Government object. If a contention of that kind is made, I say at once that not one rood or acre can be taken without consent. It is perfectly true that there is power under the Constitution to acquire land from any State or person for public purposes, but that power applies only to land required for post-offices, Customs houses, defence purposes, and so forth, and does not apply to land for the purpose of establishing a Federal Capital. There is a distinct provision under the Constitution that there shall be no limitation or diminution in the limits of a State without the consent of that ‘ State - except on such terms and conditions as* may be agreed on.
– Section in minimizes that provision.
– The Minister for Defence has talked much about section in, but, for the life of me, I do not see exactly its applicability. That section provides that the Parliament of the State may surrender a part of the State to the Commonwealth.
– Surely that is a bargain.
– But if the State Government says that they will not surrender the land ?
– Then there can be no bargain, fhat is all.
.- There is no right to take land without the consent of the State, and that is where the difficulty lies. The New South Wales Government may say that they are prepared to give 100 square miles in a particular locality, and any such further area as may be necessary for water supply, but the Commonwealth cannot insist on taking land without consent.
– What is to prevent the Commonwealth, if more than the 100 square miles of land is required, from purchasing Crown lands? There is nothing in the Constitution to saythat the Commonwealth cannot purchase land.
– The Commonwealth may acquire land in that way ; but still that land remains a portion of New South Wales, and not a portion of the Federal territory.
– If we purchase the land, surely it becomes Federal territory.
– The land remains subject to the ordinary laws of the State. No doubt a man living on it would not be subject to taxation by the State, but still, ultimately, the fee would be in the Crown as represented by the State. The desire, apparently, is to get that land out of the hands of the State into the hands of the Commonwealth, so that the former could have no possible control over it.
– Absolutely that is so.
.- It might as well be said that we could purchase land in Victoria, and there establish a territory and govern it.
– What is the difference between the New South Wales Government selling land to the Commonwealth, and selling it to any private individual?
– None at all.-
– Then why all the objection ?
– The control of the land would still be vested in the State.
– The land could not be under State law if it had been purchased bv the Commonwealth.
– It would, to a very great extent, because it would not have been acquired by the Commonwealth in the way the Constitution intends the Commonwealth shall have an opportunity of acquiring properties. It must be remembered that, when the Constitution was accepted, every condition laid down was taken in good faith by the people of each individual State, and we have no right to go beyond the Constitution, or attempt to do so, unless we have the concurrence of the States. I admit that if New South Wales consents to give twenty or fifty miles square, a bargain might be arranged, but before any attempt is made to obtain the larger area, there ought to be power to deal with that State in such a way that if it should prove a square of twenty-five miles is sufficient, the Commonwealth Government may be in a position to recommend that area to the whole of the Commonwealth.
– Would the honorable and learned member mind looking at section 25. sub-section1., of the Constitution?
– That section provides -
The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have exclusive power to make laws. . . with respect to -
The Seat of Government of the Commonwealth, and all places acquired by the Commonwealth Government for public purposes.
– The land may be acquired by bargain - by purchase or exchange.
.- That section refers to post offices, Customs houses, land required for defence works, andi so on. If the Commonwealth acquire land for the Seat of Government, there is power to make laws ; but what I argue is that we cannot acquire lands in any way we see fit, and, taking it altogether away from the State, make it Commonwealth property.
– The consent of the State is not in dispute.
– The Commonwealth can acquire land for specific purposes. If the Government of New South Wales say that the Commonwealth can take this area of thirty miles square, wherever it may be, then I admit that it will become Commonwealth property, and the land which has been alienated can be acquired by the Commonwealth and dealt with in whatever way it may seem fit, but it has to get the consent of New South Wales before it can touch one rood or acre of the land.
– We must get the territory before we get the land.
.- Yes; even with regard to an area of 100 square miles.
– We are only asking for the consent of New South Wales, and our terms are set out in this Bill.
– Is this the way in which the Government propose to enter into a bargain? Are they to go to New South Wales and say that the Parliament of the Commonwealth has declared that -
The territory to be granted to or acquired bv the Commonwealth, within which the Seat of Government shall be, shall contain an area not less than the area contained by a square whose side is 30 miles in length.
– They have every right to do that.
.- Is that bargaining ?
– Yes; these are our terms.
.- The State of New South Wales desires the terms of the provision in the Constitution to be carried out honestly and straightforwardly.
– They want the Capital, and we want the land.
.- I believe that if it should come to a question of necessity’ it would be willing to give more than the area which is mentioned in the Bill. I think that Senator Pearce indicated that if the State would not come to terms the Parliament would take steps to alter the Constitution, and get an opportunity of selecting the Capital site somewhere else. I hope that honorable senators will at any rate grant us an opportunity to make ourselves fully acquainted with the various reports which have recently come to hand, and consent to an amendment in the Bill reducing the area which they say they intend to take to the limit prescribed in the Constitution.
– There is no limit prescribed in the Constitution ; that is a mistake.
– I do not rise with any great pleasure to speak on this very important question, because I shall have to advocate what in this Chamber is, I believe, a very unpopular side. I think I may say that outside this building the policy which I and some others advocate is thoroughly believed in. From inquiries I have been making for months, I might say for years, past in Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales, and South Australia, I think that an overwhelming majority of the electors of the Commonwealth believe that the early selection of the site and the early construction of a Capital will be a waste of money, and is absolutely uncalled for by the conditions under which we are living and trying to prosper.
– What evidence is there to that effect?
– I am quite aware that I am speaking on the unpopular side, but I ask honorable senators to bear with me for a little while, and to answer my statements at the proper time if they can. It is my duty to put my view forcibly and clearly before the Senate, and before I resume my seat I shall move an amendment which may,, or may not, meet with acceptance. Let us ask ourselves for one moment why it is that we are called on to read this Bill a second time at this juncture. I was certainly a little amused at one or two senators from New South Wales iri congratulating, the , Ministers en having dealt so promptly with this very important question. I desire to congratulate the Ministers on having obtained possession of the Treasury bench by fair and honest means. But I am not going to be insincere and to congratulate them on dealing so promptly with this question, when I know the reason is that they have no other business to go on with. They have ‘not yet had time to lay upon the table those important reports, without which it is impossible for us to come to a proper, conclusion.
– It is not their fault that they did not reach the Treasury bench earlier.
– I do not say that it is. But it is their fault, in trying to please my honorable friend, in pushing this Bill on with undue haste, and asking us to discuss it and come to a decision, when the reports that have been ordered and paid for have not been produced here, and no honorable senator has ever seen them, but my very industrious friend, Senator Smith. I cannot congratulate the Government on taking this course. On the other hand, I must find fault with ‘them, and ask why it is that they have so far forgotten their duty to the electors ? Why have they’ so far forgotten their policy of economy, and their desire not to waste time and to be extravagant, as to push on this matter with undue and indecent haste? Unfortunately, a state of things has arisen in regard to this question, which I fear it is of absolutely no use to argue against. It is absolutely an unwholesome state of affairs. It arises from the fact that our friends in
New South Wales, rightly or wrongly - I believe wrongly - have got it into their heads that we, or the Commonwealth, at some future date, may repudiate what they are pleased to term the bond mentioned in the Constitution. If that is the honest conviction of a large number of persons in that State, as I suppose it is, I have every sympathy with those honorable senators who are trying to allay the feeling. But I think that they ought rather to try to allay it by telling the people, as they honestly can do, that no member of either Housie of this Parliament desires to repudiate the bond in the Constitution. It is stated there so plainly that I cannot conceive of anybody getting the idea into his head that there can ever be, either now or in the future, an agitation to deprive the mother State of what are her constitutional rights.
– The honorable and learned senator started one himself.
– I have not started any such movement. I have repudiated it every time I have spoken. But because this grievance has been manufactured, because this supposed breaking of the bond has been created in the minds of timid or thoughtless men, is this Parliament to be dragooned into passing this Bill ? When the Vice-President of the Executive Council and the Prime Minister were explaining the policy of the Government they each practically stated that the only reason for pushing on with this measure is that it will allay this supposed feeling in the mother State. Is that the way in which we are to do our business, to become statesmen, and to work out the Federal Constitution? The only reason which the Prime Minister gave us was that he recognised the enormous influence which the Bill would have in allaying’ this feeling in New South Wales, and bringing that State and Victoria closer together in brotherly love. I believe he said that it would create a broader and more sympathetic national life. Is that not all. balderdash? Are we here to perform the most important act that the Constitution has given us to do because some people in New South Wales, with a newspaper or two, believe that some people in Victoria, with a newspaper or two, are trying to keep the Seat of Government in Melbourne, and prevent a provision iri the Constitution from being carried out? I repudiate any such feeling. If any. one inside or outside the Senate, or any newspaper editors, hold that opinion, they are entitled to do so. But I do not believe that it has the slightest foundation in fact. I decline to be drawn one inch along a path which I know to be wrong, because of any petty, miserable, stupid feeling which they say exists, but whose existence I deny. The Prime Minister has defended his policy, not only on that ground, but also on the ground that the passing of this Bill will allay the feeling among a great number of’ the people that to build the Capital now, or in the immediate future, would be a waste of money. And, knowing that he has that feeling to meet, how does he proceed ? He gets over the argument by saying that, if we are common-sense people,” who are willing to go ahead on. economic lines, to cut our coat according to our cloth, there need be no extravagance in the construction of buildings on a colossal or magnificent design. He goes on to say that for twenty years the Parliament of this State was content to meet in the building in which we are assembled, in two rooms, which cost about £20.000. I do not know where he got his information, but if these two chambers were put up for that sum, it is news to me. His idea is that we should erect two chambers, which we can improve, and which will do us for twenty years. By that means, and that means only, he is trying to avoid the charge of extravagance and waste of money which he knows can be truthfully hurled against his Government. How does Senator McGregor intend to swallow the policy of the Prime Minister ? How is he going to meet my hon,orable friends on my right as! well as Senators Pearce and Smith, who declare that to select a site is not enough, that unless we go on with reasonable speed to build an expensive Capital, we shall still be breaking the bond and repudiating the constitutional rights of the mother State? A large majority of honorable senators are going, I presume - I am not - to follow the policy of the Prime Minister; but I ask Senator McGregor to take notice that the senators from New. South Wales and some other States will all contend that that is not a proper policy to pursue; that if only that step is taken, we shall still be repudiating the bond. I do not believe that myself, but there are the two arguments, which I leave the Ministers at the table and my honorable friends from New South Wales to fight out in the best way they can.
– They guarantee no limit to the expenditure.
– I am obliged to the honorable and learned senator. The Vice-
President of the Executive Council has not gone into particulars. He has given us no practical information as to what the Government intend to do. I desire to ask the honorable senator whether he can give us any idea how soon the Government propose to commence the construction df the Federal Capital ; what is the amount which they propose to expend per annum on its construction ; and whether they propose to construct it from loan money, or out of revenue ?
– No information which the Vice-President of the Executive Council can give will satisfy the honorable and learned senator.
– Senator Millen makes a very ungenerous interjection. I am referring to what are essential factors. I am asking what are proper questions, and I should be open to blame if I allowed this debate to close without doing so. I have laid the ground which entitles me to ask these questions which Senator Millen is so unjust as to interrupt, because they do not quite suit his book. It is of infinite importance that we should know how Ministers intend to proceed after they have, on arguments which are fallacious, induced the Senate to select a particular site. I ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, or the Minister for Defence to tell honorable senators from what money the Government propose to construct the Capital, how much is to be spent per. annum in ils construction, and when they hope that the Federal Parliament will be able to meet there. “Senator Dawson. - I can tell the honorable and learned senator now. We are going to make money out of the Capital, not to spend money upon it.
– I have heard that kind of argument before. I undertake to say that if the proposal were to construct a railway to the moon, Ministers, whoever they might be, could find good reasons why the work should be undertaken if it were a part of their policy. Members of the present Government, concluding that it is a popular thing to proceed with this measure at once, are, no doubt, prepared to use every possible argument to justify their action.
– The honorable arid learned senator has said that it is popular outside to advocate delay in this matter.
– I think we should act in the matter on economical, prudent, and safe lines, and the way in which this
Federal Capital question has been dealt with from its inception, has not redounded Lo the credit of those who have brought it forward as statesmen, or as cautious practical men of business. I make the statement, without fear of contradiction, that we have never once debated the question in the Senate without being at a disadvantage for want of information. We have never debated the question without having to complain of a lack of sufficient data and expert knowledge to enable us to come to a reasonable decision. The debate which has taken place on this Bill bears out what I say. Honorable members are rushing the matter through with undue haste, and though there are reports on the subject in the building, they are not in print, and are not before us. I venture, respectfully, to contradict Senator Pearce, and to tell him that the question is not yet ripe for decision. I do not feel called on to go into the question, as I think it is more a matter for experts.
– Can we get better expert information than we have?
– I was in favour cf a Southern Monaro site, but if it is to be a question between Dalgety and Bombala, I am not competent to settle it. I recollect that when I visited Dalgety, I thought the scenery was magnificent, and I preferred it to the scenery of the Bombala site. The Snowy River runs right through the township, and to have that river running through the Federal Capital would be a very great advantage indeed. I was exceedingly pleased also with the Bombala site, with the rivers, there, and the undulating, well-grassed country. With respect, to all these matters, I think I shall have clone my duty if I indicate by my voice the locality in which I think the Federal Capital site should be situated, and it should be left for surveyors, engineers, and other experts to decide as between Dalgety and Bombala, the precise site for the Capital. I am, therefore, in favour of the suggestion made by Senator Pearce that it would be better to include in the Bill a reference to Southern Monaro, which would include both Bombala and Dalgety, as they are practically in the same locality. That the question is not now ripe for settlement is shown by the arguments we have heard from Senators Symon, Pearce, and other honorable senators. We are faced with a great difficulty with respect to the land. The Constitution says that the area must be not less than 100 square miles, and Ministers are asking that we should take 900 square miles. So far as I know anything about the construction of a deed, an Act of Parliament or a Constitution, I do not believe that the High Court would ever give us such an area, unless with the full consent of New South Wales. I cannot conceive that when a minimum is placed in the Constitution, the High Court would agree that we could multiply the minimum area by nine. The moment that Ministers made up their minds that we should acquire 900 square miles, it was their duty to have negotiated with the New South Wales Government before bringing in a Bill of this character. They should have communicated with the authorities in the mother State, and should have said, “ We desire not only to acquire the site for Federal purposes, for which the area mentioned in the Constitution would be quite sufficient, but we wish also to try a little experiment in land nationalization. We desire to go a little beyond the spirit and meaning of the Constitution, and we, therefore, ask you to authorize us to come before the Federal Parliament with a Bill which will cover those purposes.” In my opinion, they were bound to have done that before they introduced this measure. We should not be asked to stultify ourselves by passing a Bill for the acquisition of a large slice c-f the territory of New South Wales, when our own common sense tells us, and honorable senators from New South Wales tell us, that that can only be done with the consent of the people of New South Wales. I believe that the people and Government of New South Wales will readily make arrangements to meet us in this matter. I believe they are prepared to negotiate with us for the acquisition of a very much larger area of land than is provided for in the Constitution, if we can justify the demand by pointing out that it would be not only for the benefit of the Commonwealth, but for the benefit of New South Wales. But all that must be done by negotiation, and I respectfully contend that in this matter negotiation should precede legislation. I say that, the question is not yet ripe for settlement, and we ought not, and dare not, as statesmen pass this Bill, in the form in which it is put before us. I am satisfied that the Southern Monaro district is a suitable district in which to locate the Federal Capital. Elevation, climate, water supply, and rainfall are suitable, but I have always been in a very great Quandary with respect to the necessary railways which must be constructed. The harbor works and railways which would be required, were the Federal Capital established at Bombala, would tend to make that the most expensive site suggested. I grant that were those railways and harbor works constructed, they would not only benefit the Federal Capital, but the Commonwealth and the State of New South Wales, as they would be the means of building up a commercial city, and would give another port to New South Wales and the Commonwealth. In that view it is perhaps not correct to say that Bombala would ultimately be the most costly site.
– Is it not necessary that we should select a site before we enter upon negotiations ?
– In my opinion it is not. If the Vice-President of the Executive Council were a business man dealing with his own property, I am satisfied that he would not without full investigation select a site for a city by Act of Parliament. I suppose that such a selection will be irrevocable. I do not know whether Senator Symon has ever dealt with that point. If we pass a Bill in which we specify a particular site, is the selection we make irrevocable?
– No; we could repeal the Act just as we could any other that we passed. That is what we should have to do if New South Wales objected ; we should have to back down.
– After passing the Act we might have to repeal it. This is another phase of the subject, and I say that as business men, if we owned these territories, we would not select a site for a big city at Bombala without knowing how the necessary railways were to be constructed. Is the Federal Parliament to build every railway necessary - to the port, to the Victorian border, and to connect the Capital with the New South Wales system? The Victorian Government may “not agree to construct a railway to the border from Bairnsdale, and the New South Wales Government might not agree to build a railway from Cooma to Bombala. Are not these questions, involving the expenditure of millions of money, of enormous importance ? They are questions which we w-ould certainly consider if the territory belonged to us. As trustees for the public, it is our duty to consider them with some business acumen. Are we to erect this
Capital in the bush without knowing how we are to get access to it? We can secure access to it by building railways, but does it follow that the Federal Parliament will ever build those railways? The Victorian State authorities might not agree to build a railway from Bairnsdale to the border, and might tell us to do as we liked. Suppose the New South Wales Government told the Federal authorities that they would not construct a line from Cooma to the Federal Capital at Bombala without a ‘guarantee of 4 per cent, for seven years, which is the term after which, I understand, a railway is supposed to begin to pay. Senator Styles will be able to say whether it is not an axiom that a railway cannot be expected to pay for seven years after it is constructed. Suppose the New South Wales authorities should be pleased to say - “ You have chosen a site in a district which we do not approve, and against the. ad vice -of a majority of honorable senators representing New South Wales. Now, get along in the best way you can. We shall be prepared to build a railway from Cooma to the Federal Capital only on receiving a guarantee of 4 per cent, for seven years.” I have been accustomed to look on matters from the family solicitor’s point of view, and I do not think I can do any harm in looking at this great question from the point of view of a humble family solicitor. I say that we shall do wrong if we select a site when we do not know absolutely all the difficulties with which we shall be confronted in converting it into a magnificent city in the centuries to come. I come now to the question of what we are going to gain as a Parliament from the proposed Federal Capital. I have not heard the Vice-President of the Executive Council on this question. We know that Sir Edmund Barton, when Prime Minister, always said that if we wanted to develop national ideas, and to get rid of local, provincial, and narrow ideas, we must have some bit of land which we can call Federal territory. This mere fact of squatting down with the kangaroos in the Bombala grasses was, according to the right honorable gentleman, to give us national ideas. All I have to say is that, to my mind, that is sheer nonsense. All honorable members of the present Government may not have expressed the same view; they no doubt think that they will quieten New South Wales by selecting a site, and that we shall thus broaden our views, and become more national. I ask honorable members to examine the statement. We have heard that this was the course adopted in Canada and in the United States of America, and it is claimed that, when the Federal authorities secured a national territory, it had the effect of developing national ideas. I absolutely deny that. To my mind it is sheer, absolute nonsense. We may have narrow and provincial ideas expressed in Melbourne and Sydney, if we have the wrong men, and we may have national, Imperial ideas expressed ‘ at Bombala or on Mount Kosciusko, if we have the right men. I do not mean to say that there is parochialism in the big cities of Australia, and I do not desire to get away from Melbourne or Sydney. I do not want to get away from the newspapers. I should like, wherever I am, to have them delivered at my door at six in the morning, and to have as many of them as possible. I do not know that anything is to be gained by burying ourselves in an inaccessible place. What is to be done the moment the Capital is built ? There will be the Parliament House and the Federal offices. Are all the Government officials going to live there? If thev do, they will vacate their houses in Melbourne or Sydney, and those places will lose the benefit of the expenditure of their salaries. I should like to know whether Ministers are going to live at Bombala, if that place is selected? I will undertake to say that for years to come Ministers will not be found there. They will be there as little as they can be. We shall find them galloping all over the country. Their permanent homes will not be in the Capital for which thev are clamouring. We shall simply have a repetition of what took place here during the first three years of the existence of the Commonwealth, when secretaries and under-secretaries, clerks, military officers, and officials of all sorts were scampering up and down the Commonwealth, and sending in heavy bills for their expenses. These are important matters, because if the expenditure is increased in these directions the burden upon the States will be the heavier. I beg to state that we have already got beyond the £300,000, mentioned in the Adelaide estimate. Notwithstanding the professed desires of the Labour Party to cut down expenditure, we have exceeded that estimate, altough we have not yet appointed our High Commissioner nor our Inter- State Commission - which we never wanted, and, I hope, shall never have - arid have not got the Capital.
– The latest figures do not show that we have exceeded the £300,000 estimate.
– I am not speaking about what the “ other “ expenditure is, although a great deal of that expenditure is largely the result of Federal legislation.
– The Federal expenditure does not exceed £300,000.
– I shall be very happy if the honorable senator can show me from the Estimates, that I am wrong.
– The honorable and learned senator is including the sugar bonuses and other expenditure of that kind.
– No; I am not. I am simply referring to the expenditure which we are piling up, and new offices which are being created, for which we shall have to pay. Each of the newly-appointed High Court Judges has an associate, and they are rushing about all over the country. I think .1 little expenditure might be .saved in that direction. I know perfectly well that the Adelaide estimate will be exceeded, as matters stand. If this Federal Capital is constructed in the near future, as my honorable friends from New South Wales desire, it will be greatly exceeded. We shall, in that way, have broken faith with the people, or, at any rate, shall not have kept our promise to them in not keeping the Federal expenditure at a reasonable amount.
– Does the honorable and learned senator know that since this Government came into office they have saved many large items of expenditure that had been sanctioned by Parliament on the Estimates of the late Government?
– I am not at all surprised to hear my honorable friend say that.
– Is not the honorable and learned senator shocked ?
– I am not shocked at all. I have done the same thing myself. I have saved sums of money that were voted at the instance of a- previous Government. When a member of Parliament becomes a Minister, he becomes anxious to save money, and is much more careful than he was as a private member. He knows that the whip is being held over him. My honorable friends are only doing what other Ministries have done. I caution those honorable senators who are not yet Ministers not to vote away money which they might very fairly save. I want to point out that some honorable senators are under a delusion - and I submit this with all respect - with regard to this leasing system. They suppose that .By leasing land for ten, fifteen, or twenty “years, as the case may be, they are going to obtain a considerable amount of money, which will quite pay the interest on the sum which we shall spend in constructing the Capital, making our artificial lakes, providing our water supply, our drainage system, our streets, and so on. I do not believe anything of the sort. I am quite willing to admit that the rents will bring in a fair sum, and that that sum will increase. But the initial outlay of establishing the Capital will be so enormous that the rent which the Government receive will not in any degree pay the interest. We have had instances given by honorable senators on both sides of the chamber, as to the ghastly failure of the leasing system in New South Wales. It has been a perfect and absolute failure. Senator Pearce says that it has been a considerable success in Kalgoorlie. But that was not a scheme of land nationalization. It was simply a scheme by which private owners who got hold of land in the early days retained it after Kalgoorlie became the centre of one of the most wonderful gold-fields on the face of the earth. They then let it out on lease in building sites.
– The municipality also did the same.
– Yes; I can quite understand that that has been a success. But we cannot, if we construct a city which we do not want, and have not got the population to fill, or the resources to support, have a white elephant of that sort which will compare with a successful gold-field. I shall be very glad indeed if any honorable senator can give me an illustration which will show that this scheme of letting .building sites on lease has succeeded in any large city. People are accustomed to have the fee-simple of land of that kind, and we cannot expect important banks to be built, large hotels to be constructed, and buildings and lodging-houses to be put up on leased land, which is liable to be re-assessed every ten years or so. Is there any case of a large city of this sort where blocks have been readily seized upon for building purposes, though no freehold has been obtainable? We cannot possibly expect men to put up palatial hotels and great shops if we tell them that every ten or fifteen years the rant will be liable to be raised, according to the unearned increment. I only hope that, for our own sakes, the supporters of this system are correct in their views. I think, however, that they are partly wrong. I do not believe that business people in Melbourne or Sydney will be anxious to obtain a site, the rent for which will be liable to be raised after they have put up expensive buildings. They will never know what their obligations are.
– We shall have national public-houses there, with free drinks !
– We are only speculating in this matter. I do not think any one can tell us what will happen till the lots are advertised, and the conditions of lease are made known. Then, and then only, will we see whether the business people of this Commonwealth will show any eagerness to compete for these lots without obtaining the fee-simple.
– Look at the bidding in Sydney the other day. There were no bids at all/
– Of course, it all depends on the conditions. If these rents are to be appraised every twenty years, it will be another matter. But if we do as Senator Best tells me has been done in Victoria - have an appraisement every ten years - that will frighten men who would otherwise be inclined to go in for buildings in the Federal Capital.
—-What they do in Victoria is no guide to what should be done in Australia. They do funny things here.
– Another argument why we should not rush with undue haste into this matter is that only recently we have had a new site recommended to us. Almost every one of us went to Bombala through Dalgety. We all saw Dalgety, but it was never considered to be in the running, and was never spoken of until the other day. Sir John Forrest, who was then a Minister of the Crown, went there and inspected it. He obtained evidence, and furnished a report since he ceased to be a Minister. It was only in consequence of his report that Dalgety came to the front. I am not sure that it has not turned out to be the best site of the lot. So that if we had settled this matter when we were urged to do so last year, we should undoubtedly have left out the very site which is now, I believe, going to be one of the most popular of all the proposed sites. Does not this entitle me to say that the question is not ripe for settlement? Does it not justify me in saying that this artificial, unreal feeling which the
New South Wales representatives believe to have arisen is no reason why we should depart from the course which businesslike and sensible men ought to take? It seems to me to be the best evidence we can have of how this question has been rushed. Ministers have been goaded and spurred into doing something by the representatives of New South Wales, although they knew that the question was not ripe for settlement. It has been, said that a reason why we should choose the site is that the people of New South Wales are keeping land tied up. Did any one ever hear a more futile reason than that? There are three sites which may be chosen, and we have requested the Government of New South Wales not to sell any land in any of them, because we may choose one ; but cannot they let the land for ten years or so? Cannot they turn it to account under grazing licences? Are they such fools that they must keep this land absolutely free from occupation? ‘ Cannot they make use of it ‘in any way ? Certainly they can.
– If the honorable and learned senator knew anything whatever about the subject, he would be aware that he is talking absolute “ Tommy nonsense.”
– I am inclined to think that the nonsense is on the side of the New South Wales representatives. I fancy that if I owned New South Wales, and was told that some few years hence an area would be wanted for a Federal Capital, but no one knew the exact day, I should make it my business to let the land on lease for five, seven, or ten years.
– On land leased for five years for pastoral purposes, what improvements would be made? Is no such thing as a water supply wanted for stock?
– I am aware that where these sites have been inspected, and certainly at Bombala, there is plenty of water afforded by the Snowy and other rivers.
– Does the honorable and learned senator suppose that that supply would water all the area of the supposed grazing leases ?
– I should fancy it would water seven-tenths of that area.
– Then the honorable member knows very little about pastoral matters.
- Senator Millen is trying to invent excuses for pushing this matter on, but I have not heard from him a single argument which could be addressed to common-sense business men. The State of New South Wales has been living at the rate of about £2,000,000 a year from the sale of Crown lands, and I think that now she must have pretty well sold every acre worth anything in those localities. This is one of the arguments which has been rammed down our throats so often that it has stuck in the case of some who are fools enough to believe it. But I am not one of those fools. In order to test the feeling of the Senate, I move -
That all the words after “be” be left out, with a view to insert, in lieu thereof, the words “ laid aside for the present in order to save the taxpayer from a large, and, at present, unnecessary outlay, and to enable senators to consider the additional reports recently obtained by the Government, and to enable Ministers to arrange with the Government of New South Wales for the surrender by that State to the Commonwealth, of the land which Parliament may desire to acquire in the locality which may be selected as a site for a Capital, and to arrange with the States interested, the terms and conditions upon which the railways necessary to give access to the Capital, and to the port (if any) of the proposed site should be constructed and opened for traffic.”
– I am doubtful whether that amendment is in order.
– We have had this question before the Senate previously,- and I think I have before submitted an amendment of this kind.
– The honorable member is quite in order in moving that the Bill be laid aside, but it is another matter whether he is in order in submitting a series of propositions.
– I think I ought to be allowed to state, on the face of the amendment, my reasons for submitting it.
– Our standing orders, relating to second readings, are as follows : - iS.v On the Order of the Day being read for the Second Reading of a Bill, the Question shall be proposed “That this Bill be now read a second time.” 186. Amendments may be moved to such Question by leaving out “ now “ and adding “ this day six months,” which, if carried, shall finally dispose of the Bill ; or the Previous Question may be moved. 187. No other amendment may be moved to such Question except in the form of a resolution strictly relevant to the Bill.
– I submit that my amendment is strictly relevant to the Bill, which, I ask, shall be laid aside until we obtain information which honorable senators know we ought to possess. I should like to say a word or two before you decide on the point of order, and to point out that every idea in the amendment was gathered during the course of the debate.
– In all the Parliaments that I know of, the practice, under similar standing orders, ‘ Kas been to move either that a Bill be laid aside, or that it be read a second time that day six months. But Senator Dobson wants to submit a series of propositions, which he asks the Senate to affirm, but which, although they may have something; to do with the matter before us, I cannot say are all strictly relevant to the Bill. The honorable and learned senator proposes -
That the Bill be laid aside for the present, in order to save the taxpayer from a large, and, at present, unnecessary, outlay -
That is a debatable proposition which really is not strictly relevant to the Bill. There is nothing in the Bill about expenditure - and. to enable senators to consider the additional reports recently obtained by the Government, and to enable Ministers to arrange with the Government of New South Wales for the surrender by that State, to the Commonwealth, of land which Parliament may desire to acquire in the locality which may be selected as a site for a Capital ; and to arrange with the States interested, the terms and conditions upon which the railways necessary to give access to the Capital, and to the port (if any) of the proposed site, shall be constructed and opened for traffic.
I think I am bound to rule that the proposal is not in order as an amendment on the motion for the second reading of the Bill.
– I suggest that I be permitted to withdraw that portion of the amendment which speaks of unnecessary outlay. I contend that all the other parts are very relevant to the Bill, as simply repeating what has been said all through the debate.
– The honorable and learned senator will be quite in order in moving that the Bill be laid aside for the present. The propositions to which he asks the Senate to agree are really his reasons for asking that the Bill be laid aside.
– They are the reasons that were given by honorable senators during the debate.
– Are those reasons relevant ?
– I do not think they are strictly relevant to the Bill. However, I shall hear Senator Dobson on the point of order.
– May I say a word? The same rule as is implied in our Standing Orders governs the proceeding in the House of Commons. At page 447 of May we read: -
The principle of relevancy in an amendment (on a motion for second reading) governs every - such proposed resolution, which must, therefore, “ strictly relate to the Bill which the House, by its order, has resolved upon considering,” and must not include in its scope other Bills then standing for consideration by the House. Nor may such an amendment deal with the provisions of the Bill upon which it is moved, nor anticipate amendments thereto which may be moved in Committee.
The principle laid down is this -
It is also competent to a member who desires to place on record any special reasons for not agreeing to the second reading of a Bill, to move, as an amendment to the question, a resolution declaratory of some principle adverse to, or differing from, the principles, policy, or provisions of the Bill ; or expressing opinions as to any circumstances connected with its introduction or prosecution ; or otherwise opposed to its progress; or seeking further information in relation to the Bill by Committees, commissioners, the production of papers or other evidence, ‘ or, in the Lords, the opinions of the Judges.
– They can only apply when our Standing Orders are silent.
– Will the Minister listen to what he has overlooked? The term “relevancy” simply means in this case that the opinions which Senator Dobson expresses must be relevant to the subjectmatter of the Bill. I do not say that all, but most, of the amendment is relevant.
– All except that part relating to taxation.
– I am not sure that that is not relevant.
– Who is the judge of relevancy ?
– The Senate. The amendment is a little long, but it all bears on the question whether the Bill ought to be read a second time.
– Is the direction to Ministers relevant ?
– I do not say that everything in the amendment is relevant. Senator Dobson gives reasons why the Bill should not be read a second time, and certainly that part relating to senators and Ministers requiring information is relevant.
– The principle which Senator Symon has referred to does not apply., unless our Standing Orders are silent.
– Our Standing Orders in this connexion are the same as those of the House of Commons, and the meaning is that an amendment must not travel outside the scope of the Bill.
– The whole question is as to whether this’ amendment is, or is not, strictly relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill ; and, if the terms of the amendment are carefully considered, I think the answer must be in the affirmative. Senator Dobson says that the Bill ought to be laid aside for the present - in order to save the taxpayers a large, and, at present, unnecessary outlay.
I do not say anything about that first paragraph, but the amendment goes on - and to enable senators to obtain additional reports recently obtained by the Government.
– I think that is quite in order.
– The amendment proceeds - and to enable Ministers to arrange with the Government of New South Wales for the surrender by that State to the Commonwealth of the land which Parliament may desire to acquire.
– That is nonsense !
– The very object of the Bill is the acquisition of land, and it is conceded that the Government of New South Wales must consent to the grant of the land. The amendment expresses the opinion that the Bill is premature unless negotiations have taken place, and some arrangement made with the Government of New South Wales ; and, consequently Senator Dobson says that, before the Senate is called on to consider the Bill, it is essential that we should, at least, know the mind of the Government of that State, in order to guide us to a decision. It is admitted that, constitutionally, we cannot compulsorily take territory without consulting the State Government, and I contend that that paragraph is strictly relevant. The amendment goes on to say - and to arrange with the Stales interested, the terms and conditions upon which the railways necessary to give access to the Capital, and to the port (if any) should be constructed and opened for traffic.
– Is ‘ that relevant ? ‘
– That is strictly relevant.
– Why not simply move that the Bill be laid aside?
– The amendment sets out that before a site is selected we ought to know the prospects there are of securing railway communication with the particular site. Could anything be more reasonable from a business or practical stand-point? On the other hand, we are asked to select a site without any knowledge as to the wishes and desires of New South Wales, although ‘we cannot select the site, or construct a railway without the consent of the Government of that State. Hence the honorable and learned senator, reasonably to my mind, contends that he must know the views of the* Government of New South Wales, and the prospects of our getting railway communication to this particular site.
– That is only another device to tie it up.
– Admitting, for the sake of argument, that it is, then I submit that it is a perfectly legitimate amendment for the honorable and learned senator to move.
– That part of the amendment which refers to time for gaining information is strictly relevant to the subjectmatter of the Bill; but the portion which refers to Ministers conferring with the Government of New South Wales, or any other Government, for the purpose of finding out whether they are willing to cede this territory, and the portion which refers to the construction of railways, has nothing to do with a Bill whose object is to select a site for the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth. How can we possibly negotiate with the Government of New South Wales, or any other Government, until a site has been selected? We cannot go to the Government of New South Wales and ask for any information about Dalgety or Tumut, when we do not know whether it will be selected or not?
– The honorable senator might as well say that we should not get reports on the sites.
– We could get information about every place in New South Wales if we liked, but that has nothing to do with this Bill. It will be time for the Commonwealth to negotiate with New South Wales when the site has been selected. What has it to do with this Bill whether we go to the Federal Capital in a balloon, or a train, or an aerial ship ? Nothing ! Senator Dobson was quite willing to stick to the portions of his amendment which you. sir, considered relevant until he was backed up by learned senators, who are generally wrong when we come to discuss the interpretation of the Constitution, or even of a standing order.
– Although Senator Symon correctly quoted from May, that -
It is competent to a member who desires to place on record any special reasons for not agreeing to the second reading of a Bill to move as an amendment to the question a resolution declaratory of some principle adverse to or different from the principles, policy, or provisions of the Bill, he did not quote that passage which says -
The ordinary practice is to move an amendment to the question by leaving out the word “ now “ and adding “three months,” “six months,” cr any other term beyond the probable duration of the session.
– Why should I quote what everybody knows? That is the standing order.
– I wish to point out that, under the standing order of the House of Commons, the ordinary practice is for a member not to take the line which has been adopted by Senator Dobson, but to move that the Bill be read a second time, either this day six months, or this day three months. We have decided to discard the practice of the House of Commons, and to set up a practice of our own. I take it that on this point of order the practice of the Senate in the future, will be decided. Admitting, for the sake of argument, that the’ amendment is relevant, is it advisable that we. should lay down a rule that, on the second reading of a Bill, a senator may move an amendment which should properly be moved in Committee, in order to “ stone-wall “ or perhaps shelve the Bill, when in Committee we have ample opportunity to move any amendment that we may require to move? If that rule is laid down, even although in unusual cases it has been allowed in the House of Commons, it will be initiating a verv undesirable practice.
– Our Standing Orders sanction it.
– They do not. I take it that we are as much governed by standing order 186 as by standing order 187. The latter says -
No other amendment may be moved to such question except in the form of a resolution strictly relevant to the Bill.
The President can lay down a practice.
– He cannot repeal a standing order.
– The President can lay down a rule that the only amendment to be moved at this stage shall be an amendment to read the Bill this day six months, or this day three months, or an amendment to refer the Bill to a Select Committee.
– The application of the standing order cannot be limited to those questions.
– It can very well be limited, not to the question of the contents of the Bill, but to the question of when it should be read a second time, and what attitude should be adopted. I submit that such a practice as Senator Dobson seeks to initiate, although it has been permitted in extraordinary cases by the House of Commons, would be highly undesirable.
– The House of Commons has the same standing order as we have.
– It has never been availed of, except in most extraordinary cases. I submit that it is a straining of the standing order to say that on a motion, which is strictly relevant to a Bill, an honorable senator can move, as a reason for shelving the Bill, any amendment which is relevant to its clauses. At this stage of this Bill the discussion should be confined to its main principle, and that is the selection of a site for the Federal Capital. The proposals of Senator Dobson may arise out of the selection of a site, but they certainly are not relevant to that question.
– The contention of Senator Dobson, and those who are supporting him in his attitude, even if it were in strict conformity with the literal interpretation of the Standing Orders, is aimed at the very principle which guides us in parliamentary discussion. Senator Pearce has suggested the difficulties with which we should be confronted if we adopted this attitude.
– Why should we abandon a privilege?
– The custom of Parliament - and in our Standing Orders we have ‘not deviated from that custom - has been that on the second reading of a Bill, its principles, and not its details, shall be discussed. The proper place for discussing the details of a Bill and moving amendments is in Committee, but we have not yet reached that stage.
– Will not this amendment defeat the second reading of the Bill if it is carried?
– That is the object of the standing order.
– Standing orders 185, 186, and 187 come under the heading of “ Second Reading.” At this stage of a Bill it is its principles and not its details which are under our consideration. I hold that, no matter how the literal interpretation of these rules may be strained, it is not competent for any honorable senator to come down here and under cover of a statement that he would submit a motion which was purely relevant to the contents of the Bill anticipate a Committee discussion.
– Where is the Committee discussion?
– Senator Dobson, in his motion, has not only gone into all the details of the Bill, but has gone into details which, in his opinion, it ought to contain.
– He does not want them in the Bill.
– That is the reason why I think that qualification of the word relevant appears in standing order 187.
No other .amendment may be moved to such question except in the form of a resolution strictly relevant to the Bill.
That means that it must be relevant to the principle of the Bill. The honorable senator is using these as pegs upon which to hang a series of motions which I submit it is not competent for him to move at this stage.
– Not to defeat the second reading?
– Certainly not.
– Not if they are relevant1 to the Bill ?
– I submit that relevancy to the Bill in this case means strict relevancy to the principle, and not to the details of the Bill. If the course adopted by the honorable and learned senator is acquiesced in by the Senate, we shall be exposing ourselves to the dangers suggested by Senator Pearce. We may have a Bill consisting, not of three or four clauses, but of 300 or 400 clauses, in connexion with which some honorable senator may move, at the second-reading stage, not that the Bill be read this day six months - the ordinary motion to shelve a measure - but that it be referred back for the purpose of inquiring into this, that, and the other matter. We might, in the case of a Bill such as the Navigation Bill or the Arbitration and Conciliation Bill, have an honorable senator anticipating the Committee stage of the Bill, and framing an elaborate motion, having for its object what Senator Symon suggests is Senator Dobson’s object in this case - the shelving of the Bill.
– I do not suggest that any more than that an amendment that the Bill be read this day six months would shelve the Bill, and in the same sense, by relevant resolution.
– Surely the honorable and learned senator must see that in connexion with a measure containing a much larger number of clauses, if the course proposed by Senator Dobson is approved, of, any honorable senator will be able to submit a motion having for its ultimate object the shelving of the Bill, and as a kind of secondary object, the announcement of certain principles which the honorable senator holds, and on which he bars adequate discussion. He might utilize this second-reading stage of the measure against the intention of the Standing Orders for the announcement of principles of. a varied character, which might extend throughout the whole ambit of a comprehensive measure.
– If the resolutions were relevant to the Bill, should not that be allowed?
– No; I take the view that the Standing Orders to which reference has been made in this debate refer solely to the second-reading stage, and I submit that it is not competent for Senator Dobson to move any motion at this stage, having reference to details which occur in the Bill, or which from his point of view should occur in the Bill.
– I take it that the President will not adopt the suggestion made by Senators Pearce and Keating, and deprive Senator Dobson of the advantage of standing order 187. We have been listening to arguments which do not appear to me to be very relevant to the point of order. Under standing order 187, instead of moving that the Bill be read this day six months, Senator Dobson is entitled to move any other amendment which is strictly relevant to the Bill, and the simple duty which the President is asked to perform at the present time is to decide whether the motion submitted is relevant to the Bill. If the President rules that it is relevant, he will have decided that the motion is in order. If a portion of the motion is held to be irrelevant that portion will be out of order, but the remaining portion of the motion mav be in order. Senator Best has already intimated in the clearest possible way that a large portion of the motion submitted by Senator Dobson is certainly relevant to the Bill.
– Does the honorable and learned senator think that the reference to the railway is relevant ?
– I am not contending that every word contained in the amend-
ment submitted by Senator Dobson should be admitted, but that if every word in it is held by the President to be relevant to the Bill, the amendment, as submitted, is just as much in order as would be a proposal that the Bill be read this day six months.
– But supposing that some portion of it is held not to be relevant?
– The amendment is not in order as to that, and that portion can be eliminated.
– I have contended that the President ought to rule that the whole of the amendment is relevant to the Bill, or that some portion of it is not relevant. That which is not relevant will not be in order, and must be rejected.
– That is destructive of the whole amendment.
– If standing order 187 is held to be unsatisfactory, the way to get rid of it is to repeal it, and not to ignore it. Senators Pearce and Keating desire that the President shall rule in such a way as to ignore standing order 187, and decide that it is unsatisfactory. It forms a part of our Standing Orders, and so long as it does, some value must be attached to it. The intention is perfectly clear, and if any, or the whole, of the amendment submitted is relevant to the Bill, it is as much in order as would be an amendment that the Bill be read this day six months.
– What Senator Dobson proposes is not to move an amendment, but to bring in a new Bill.
– The standing order which I am asked to interpret and give a ruling upon, is- standing order 187. The question I have to decide under that standing order is whether the motion which Senator Dobson proposes to move is in order, and is strictly relevant to the Bill. I point out, in the first instance, that the honorable and learned senator has mixed up in his motion a large number of propositions, which, if voted upon at all, ought to be voted upon separately by the Senate. If the honorable and learned senator had given notice of a motion in the ordinary way,, calling for a decision of the Senate upon these various propositions, his motion could not be put in its present form, because it would not be in order. If that were the only reason, it would be quite sufficient to force me to rule that the one motion containing all these propositions is out of order. It is a motion containing a number of propositions which ought to be voted upon separately. The very foundation of our Standing Orders is that each member of the Senate should have the right to an expression of opinion by vote upon every proposition brought forward. He could not have that right in connexion with this motion, because there are a great many matters mixed up in the one motion, with some of which ha might agree, and with others of which he might not agree. I can quote several rulings by Speakers of the House of Commons on this very point, to show how much the operation of a similar standing order has been restricted in the House of Commons. Under the heading “ Resolution must be pertinent to the Bill,” I find this in Denison’s and Brand’s Decisions -
An amendment foreign to the subject matter of the Bill is not in order.
Mr. Ayrton moved as an amendment to the question of the second reading “ That in the opinion of this House the Coal Tax. and the London Bridge Approaches Fund should be continued until 31st July, 1862.”
Mr. Speaker said he did not see anything in the Bill about the London Bridge Approaches Fund, and therefore the amendment of the honorable and learned member for - the Tower Hamlets was not in order.
No doubt if Mr. Ayrton had confined his amendment .to the Bill itself, and had said nothing in it about the London Bridge Approaches Fund, it would have been in order. I fancy that Senator Dobson’s motion is liable to the same criticism. There is nothing about expenditure in this Bill. I give another example -
On the motion for the second reading of a Bill no amendment irrelevant to the question can be moved.
Consolidated Fund (Appropriation Dill) Second reading,
Motion made and question proposed - “ That the Bill be now read a second lime.”
Amendment proposed - “ That it is inexpedient to proceed with any legislation at this period, except such as is absolutely necessary for the government of this country.”
I -think that amendment was quite as relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill in question, as the motion now before the Senate is relevant to the Bill we are considering.
– Here it is proposed to ask the Senate to say that it is inexpedient to proceed with the provisions of this Bill until something else has been done.
– Until certain information has been obtained.
– Information relevant to the Bill.
– Another example may be given -
An amendment is not in order which is not relevant to the motion to which it refers.
Prevention of Crime (Ireland) Bill.
On motion made and question proposed - “That the Bill be now read a second time,”
Mr. O’Donnell rose 10 move the following amendment : - “ That outrage and disaffection in Ireland are due above all to the unjust and merciless eviction of upwards of 40,000 men, women, and children by the police and military forces of. the Crown -
And so on through a long series of resolutions. That amendment was ruled out of order. I do not say that the motion submitted by Senator Dobson may not be amended, but in its present form I do not think I can put it as an amendment, because it asks the Senate to affirm the proposition that the Bill shall not be proceeded with until something else is done.
– About railways. .
– About railways, and about negotiations with the State Government of New South Wales, concerning some site which is not mentioned ; and because in one motion the honorable and learned senator includes a series of propositions which should be voted upon separately. Honorable senators have a right to say that each of these propositions should be put and voted upon separately.
– In view of your ruling, sir, I am prepared to make a suggestion in regard to the alteration of my amendment. I will cut out the two portions objected to. But as we have passed the usual adjournment hour, I should be very glad to have an adjournment at this stage.
– The honorable and learned senator is speaking now. ‘
– I can ask leave to continue my speech to-morrow. That will enable me to submit my amendments in a new form.
– I am quite willing to agree to an adjournment, but I do not know how it is to be brought about. Some one will have to move the adjournment of the debate. Has the debate on the President’s ruling finished ? That ruling’ can be challenged. If I am not in error, the question with regard to the Presidents ruling can be taken up to-morrow.
—It is not challenged.
– I am not going to challenge the ruling. I accept it. _ But I intend to move my .amendment in an amended form tomorrow.
The FRESIDENT.—-This raises a question which is not provided for by our Standing Orders. Can a senator, in the middle of his speech, without any motion that the Senate adjourn, ask leave to continue that speech on a future day ? I am not giving any opinion about it, but it is not provided for by our Standing Orders. Whether it is a convenient practice or not is for the Senate to decide. There may- be a difference of opinion. I take it that Senator Dobson, in the middle of his- speech, asks leave to continue his remarks at the next sitting of the Senate. If that leave is given, I shall take it as a precedent, and it will, in future, be the practice of the Senate.
– It has always been so.
– In South Australia that practice was not permitted, because it was argued that it would be an objectionable course of procedure to permit a member to talk’ up to a certain time, and_ then have the debate adjourned. But it is entirely a matter for the Senate. I will put the question now, that leave be granted for Senator Dobson to continue his remarks tor morrow.
– Rather than establish an undesirable precedent,, it would be better to find some other way of accomplishing what is desired.
– - This course has been followed before.
– I know that it has been done within the last few days in another place.
– It has been done in the Senate in the case of Senator Fraser, and also in the case of Senator Matheson.
– It has been done once or twice in the Senate.
– If it is not desirable to continue the practice, there is another way in which it will be perfectly legitimate 3 f 2 for Senator Dobson to continue, his remarks and submit his amendment to-morrow.
– I take it’ that the Seriate has given leave to Senator Dobson to continue his speech.
– Some one will have to more that the debate be adjourned.
Motion (by Senator Walker) proposed -
That the debate !.*e adjourned.
– That is one of the. difficulties. Senator Walker moves the adjournment of the debate, and, according to our Standing Orders, the senator who moves the adjournment of the debate has the right to speak when the debate is resumed.
– -He can give way.
– The Senate has already given leave to Senator Dobson to continue his speech to-morrow. I think I am right in saying that when that leave has been given either in the Senate or in the House of Representatives, or in the House’ of Assembly in South Australia, the senator who obtained that leave was in the same position as a member who moved the adjournment of the debate. Senator Dobson has obtained leave to continue the debate to-morrow, and I submit that the debate is adjourned accordingly.
– The debate is not adjourned accordingly,. Senator Walker has moved that the debate be adjourned.
– I think, sir, that probablv you will reconsider that view.
– This matter is not provided for by our Standing Orders, and we are making our practice. I am pointing out that in making this practice we may get into little difficulties.
Motion agreed to ; debate adjourned.
Senate adjourned at 10.40 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 25 May 1904, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1904/19040525_senate_2_19/>.