2nd Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers;
– - I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, will he obtain and lay on the table of the Senate a copy’ of the report of the two Mosely Commissions on Industrialism and Education, which sat in’ America ?
– I should like the honorable and learned senator to give notice of the question, and if the Government, are agreeable I shall have the papers procured as soon as possible.
– I desire to ask the. Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice -
– The Government have taken no steps.
– That is not an answer to my question.
– I desire to ask a question arising out of the question just asked by Senator Dobson.
– I would point out to-‘ you, sir, that the Vice-President of the Executive Council has not answered my question.
– =1 cannot make the: Minister answer a question.
– No, sir; but Senator Pearce is about to ask a question relative to my question. -
– Senator Pearcecan ask, without notice,, any question whether it arises Out of the question of the . honorable and learned senator or not.
– I wish to ask the Vice-President of the . Executive Council, if the attention of the Government has been drawn to the fact that when members pf the Labour Party deliver electioneering addresses,, they are continually boycotted by the press, and their speeches are never reported; and if they intend to take any steps to compel the press to cease this boycott of Labour?
– I do not think that that is correct.
– I have no official knowledge of such conditions.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow: -
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council., upon notice. -
Will the Government take into consideration the advisability of the Sessions of Parliament being held in the summer months as far as practicable ?
– - The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows -
Members of the Government arc in favour of an arrangement such as that suggested.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
Were the crew of the Norwegian s.s. Inger mustered before being permitted to clear out before leaving Sydney on the 3rd ult., in accordance with the provisions of section 3, paragraph k of the Immigration Restriction Act 1901 ?
If not, will the Government cause a full iiquiry into this matter?
– The answers t< the honorable senator’s questions are as follow -
– The third question has not been answered.
– If the honorable senator desires it, I shall endeavour to give a fuller answer as soon as possible.
Senator McGREGOR laid upon the table the following papers : -
Amended regulations under the Public Service Act relating to Life Assurance.
Paper relating to the proposed retirement of Mr. Sholl, Deputy Postmaster-General for Western Australia.
Debate resumed from 26th May (vide page 1604), on motion by Senator McGregor.
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– I have to thank the Senate for allowing me permission to continue my speech, although it was nearly completed when the debate was adjourned on the 25th May. With regard to the amendment, which was ruled out of order, it appeared to me, sir. that the reasons which you gave were such that I could hardly answer, but I propose to move an amendment to the motion for the second reading, and I shall point out why I do not feel at liberty to move that the Bill be read a second time this day six months. If I moved an amendment of that kind, my very sensitive friends on my right would say that I desired to repudiate the bond which they are pleased to say is in the Constitution. But, for some reasons, I desire to see the Bill laid aside, and I think that the amendment I have in my hand will be found by you to be relevant to the Bill.
– According to the Standing Orders it must be strictly relevant to the Bill.
– It is strictly relevant to the Bill. I propose to move -
That nil the words after the word “ That,” line i, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words : - “ in view of the expense of carrying on the Federal Government, and the financial position of the Commonwealth, the Senate is not prepared to proceed with this Bill at present.”
– There is nothing’ in the Bill about any expenditure. It is merely a Bill for the purpose of choosing a site for the Seat of Government that may or may not be followed by expenditure. I do not think that the amendment is strictly relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill.
– Not- the acquisition of 900 square miles of territory ?
– It involves expense. .
– That is another matter.
– It appears to me that in its very nature the Bill must involve enormous expense.
– Not necessarily.
– Practically ‘the Prime Minister has admitted that it will, and my honorable friends on my right say that unless that enormous expense is proceeded with at once it will be regarded by them as a repudiation of the compact which they say is contained in the Constitution. The mere acquisition of an area of 900 square miles must involve a considerable expense, and it appears to me that I ought to be allowed to move an amendment, taking it for granted, as we must do, that the Bill does involve a considerable expense. I submit, sir, with all respect, that, for the reasons I have mentioned. I ought not to be placed in the position of having to move that the Bill be read a second time this day six months, and that I ought to be allowed to place on our records such an amendment as will show to the Commonwealth the reasons why, if it does, the Senate has come to that decision. It appears to me that the amendment is in order, as it is strict! v relevant to the Bill.
– Is the honorable and learned senator disputing the ruling?
– No. If the President has absolutely made up his mind that it cannot be moved, of course I must accept his decision.
– The honorable and learned senator consulted me on this amendment before the Senate met this afternoon, and I told him then, and I say now, that if we can have an amendment of this nature concerning this Bill, we can have an amendment of a similar nature concerning every Bill, and the consequence will be that, in discussing the question of whether a Bill should be read a second time, we shall discuss the general financial proposals of the Commonwealth, and other measures for expenditure which may or may not come before us. I think that the rule is a good and salutary one - it has been applied in the House of Commons, and in all the States Legislatures that I know of - that the amendment must be strictly relevant to the Bill. Therefore, I rule that the honorable and learned senator cannot move the amendment.
– May I, sir, without disputing your ruling on that point, remind you that the acquisition of the enormous territory which the Bill provides for, to some extent involves a large question of expenditure ?
– The honorable and learned senator will see that that expenditure must be authorized by an appropriation of revenue or a loan.
– I quite understand that; but when I desired to move an amendment before to the effect that the terms and conditions on which we could acquire the land from the mother State ought to be gone into before we pass the Bill, it was ruled out of order. I am inclined to think that it was more relevant to the Bill than the one I wished to submit this afternoon. 1 must admit that I wrapped up that amendment with two or three others. I desire to move -
That all the words after the word “That,” line 1, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words : - “this Senate is of opinion that the Bill should be postponed until the Government have found out on what terms, and whether they can. acquire the land mentioned in the Bill from the mother State.
-Col. Neild. - There is no land mentioned in the Bill.
– I mean the land which is proposed to be acquired. I submit that the amendment is in order.
– The honorable and learned senator will see I hat he is asking an impossibility. H3 is asking that before a Bill is passed, fixing the site of the Federal Capital, the Government shall ascertain what the land will cost ; but how can that be done? The Federal Capital Site may be at Lyndhurst, or Broken Hill, or Newcastle, and how can the Government find out what it will cost before the selection of the site has been made?
– It appears to me, sir, that the Government can and ought to fmd out from New South Wales whether they can acquire nine times the area mentioned in the Constitution.
– That is another matter : that is not the object of the amendment, which is to ascertain the cost of the site.
– No, sir; I propose that the Bill shall not be proceeded with until the Government have found out whether they can secure the land mentioned therein, and upon what terms and conditions it can be obtained.
– How can they do that, when they do not know the site ?
– It appears to me that they can ; but, of course, if you rule the amendment out of order, I must bow to your decision. I consider that the question of expense has a very great deal to do with the Bill. It is a matter of common notoriety that the expenses of the Commonwealth have been more than was anticipated. It was never contemplated by any of us that ^50,000 a year more would be spent on increases in the salaries of our lower-paid officers. It was never contemplated that we should pay ^90,000 a year for sugar bonuses in connexion with the policy of a While Australia. When we add to the Federal expenditure those sums, and also the sum of ^50.000 which Sir Frederick Holder included in his estimate for interest on the cost of construction of Capital buildings, it will be seen that we have enormously exceeded the estimate on which the electors voted “ Yes “ at the referendum.
– Every one knew that the estimate had been merely prepared to make the Constitution attractive to the people.’ Nobody accepted it.
– I think that the estimate was not prepared simply to make the Constitution attractive to the people, but as a business-like document which we might regard as reasonably correct, and I am pointing out- that it has been ex-
ceeded. I pass from that point to the financial position of the Commonwealth. This is not a time when we can consider the question of constructing buildings, creating a city that we do not need, and constructing an enormous number of miles of railway for which the country is not yet ripe, I have been reading the reports which have recently been laid upon the table, and if we choose, as I think we ought, a place in thf district of Southern Monaro for the Federal Capital, the expenditure on railways alone to make that Capital accessible, will be sim ply enormous. All that expenditure ought to be saved for at least another generation and, rightly or wrongly, I contend that we have no right to think about building the Capital until we have about double our present population. It is all very well for honorable senators to cite the examples of America and Canada. There is no possibility of the population of Australia increasing in anything like the same degree as it did in those two great countries. It is of no use to compare our circum-stances with theirs, because our population is smaller, and we have fewer resources and far less revenue. For all these reasons I think that the question of cost must be faced by every honorable senator who is going to vote for the second reading of the Bill. Now, in working out the Federal Constitution, what do the electors expect of us? Do they expect that we shall put the cart before the horse, tile the roof before we have laid the foundations? Did ever a single elector dream that we should be barracked into building a Federal Capital before we had made proper provision for our Judiciary, or before we had matured a scheme for the defence of the Commonwealth ? Even now, sir, we have not done with the question of defence, or the basis on which our Army or Navy is to be carried on. While these questions are unsettled, and men have not made up their minds about them, and we seem incapable of doing anything in the way of legislation - for very few Bills are passed - this is not a time, I submit, to consider the question of building a Federal Capital. Honorable senators will ask me what the alternative is; whether we are going to do nothing? I should say that we ought to do nothing for some years to come. And if they say that that is not carrying out the bond as regards New South Wales, I fall back on an idea which has been wrongly put into my mouth, but which I have adopted from the Melbourne Argus on more than one occasion - namely, that if there is to be. this jealousy - if it is to be supposed that delaying the building of the Federal Capital, which, as prudent, cautious financiers, we ought to do, will inflict hardship on New South Wales, Ave might ‘ allow the Seat of Government to be in Melbourne for a few years, and then transfer it to Sydney for a few years. Then, if our financial position, the increase of our population and our land settlement justify the building of another city, we can consider the, question. Is there anything unfair or unreasonable in that suggestion ? Is it not the idea of cautious financiers, desiring to make progress with prudence ? There is at once an alternative to my plan of trying to delay the completion of the Capital for some years to come.
– We should have to alter the Constitution.
– I place no great stress on any slavish following of the Constitution. There is no doubt that it will have to be amended. Ministers are even now suggesting that it should be amended in order to enable the Government to give effect to a motion carried by the Senate for the nationalization of the tobacco industry. It would be wise for us to use our judgment in deciding the way in which it should be altered, and then, perhaps, three or four years hence, we may be ready to submit the necessary amendments to the electors. I contend that we should be wise in striking out the ridiculous provision requiring that the Federal Capital hall be situated not less than 100 miles :rom Sydney, in order that those of us who desire that the Capital shall be fixed in Sydney - with, of course, compensating advantages to Melbourne - may have an opportunity of giving effect to that desire. The compensating advantages to be given to Melbourne could be easily decided by a few hours conference. When I was in Sydney a few months ago I was glad to learn that the right honorable member for East Sydney, Mr. Reid, when in office in New South Wales, passed through both Houses of the State Legislature a vote of ^572,000 for building new Parliament Houses in the’ Sydney Domain, close to the existing Parliament Houses of that State. I ask why, in the name of common-sense, those Parliament Houses should not be built at a much less cost than ^572.000, and should not then be rented to the Federal Government?
After having been in Melbourne for a few years we could then meet in Sydney for a few years more, and when we knew how we were progressing we’ should be in a better position to say whether we could stand the inconvenience, cost, and trouble of building an expensive Federal Capital at Bombala or anywhere else.
– We could repudiate the whole thing.
– The honorable senator has repudiation on the brain.
– The honorable and learned senator has it in his amendment.
– It is wonderful that the honorable senator, who is usually so intelligent and logical, should suggest that thi people of Australia are capable of repudiating a bargain deliberately entered into by them.
– I referred to the honorable and learned senator, and not to the people of Australia.
– The honorable senator must have heard me say many times that the idea of locating the Federal Capital permanently outside the borders of the mother State is, to my mind, unthinkable; but I consider that, to strike out of the Constitution the 100 miles limit from Sydney, which was only a compromise, and a very bacl compromise, would be a statesmanlike and proper thing to do. If Sydney were the Federal Capital, there is’ no doubt that it could be made one of the greatest cities of the world, but we shall not make a Capital located nt Tumut or Bombala one of the greatest cities of the* world in 1,000 years. It should not be forgotten that such an alteration in the Constitution, as I suggest, must be submitted to the electors; and how, then, can Senator Millen say that I propose repudiation ? The honorable senator is aware that, before any such alteration could be made, it would have to be carried by a majority of the electors in each of the States. No State can be forced into agreement with an amendment of the Constitution against the will of its people. The honorable senator is, therefore, forgetting the very basis of the democratic Constitution he is sent here to carry out. I contend that my suggestion offers a very good alternative, and would be preferable to rushing into expenditure at the present time. On a previous occasion I quoted from Hansard the policy of the present Prime Minister on this subject. I find now that either the honorable gentleman or Hansard must have made a mistake. The Prime Minister appeared to think that there would be great -extravagance in building a Federal Capital at once, and in order to get rid of that charge as affecting labour members, he pointed out that we might do as Victoria did - be content for twenty years with a building costing no more than ^£20,000. As a matter of fact, I believe that the building with which the people of Victoria were contented cost ^200,000. I understand that it was a skeleton of this building, with the two Legislative Chambers completed. That is the Prime Minister’s alternative policy. But the policy of Ministers at present is emphatically not to proceed with the construction of the Federal Capital at once, even though we should pass this Bill, and when it is proceeded with, that it should be only in the most meagre fashion. Away with all these tentative proposals. This is but another miserable compromise, which I protest against on behalf of my State.. It is much better to delay the settlement of the question until we see how we progress in population, settlement, and revenue, and in financial and industrial prosperity. Surely these are but the suggestions of common sense ? ‘ Whether they are accepted by honorable senators or not, I can tell them that thousands of people outside believe in them. Wherever I go I ask for opinions on the subject, and I hear no other view expressed. I should like to say that even now we are in the clark on many important subjects connected with this matter, which are deserving of long and anxious debate by the Senate. Senator Symon has told us that he does not care to have a port belonging to or close to the Federal Capital. According to the honorable and learned senator, all that is required is a national territory on’ which we can construct Houses of Parliament and public buildings. That is not my idea, and I believe that many members of the Senate voted for Bombala because there was a port within fifty miles of that site. I was prepared to vote for that site, not only because I thought a port necessary, but because I desired that there should be something to justify the enormous expenditure that would be involved; and it struck me that if we made a selection in the south-east corner of New South Wales, we could have the Federal Capital surrounded by a large area of agricultural land which, in time, would be found suitable for closer settlement, and we could have a port within reasonable dis tance for the export of produce from that territory. There would then be a prospect of the establishment of another commercial city, which would ultimately justify the beginning of the establishment of the Federal Capital within a reasonable time. Senator Symon takes away that argument by his suggestion that we do not require a port.
– We do not require a commercial capital which will be a rival of the capitals of the States.
– I am aware that we do not; but we certainly do require something to justify the establishment of the proposed political capital. I find that honorable senators are now disposed to consider Dalgety a better site than Bombala, and I should . here like to refer to a remark made by the President. The honorable senator has said that if we are to have a Federal Capital removed from all local and provincial influences, from Sydney or Melbourne influences, we must, locate it in the back blocks, and it will also be necessary that the site selected shall be between the capitals of the two adjoining States. The honorable senator pointed out that it must not be fixed in the middle of New South Wales, or any other State; that we must not be dependent on the railways of any one State to take us to the capital. If we were to select Bombala we should have a site through which the Snowy River runs; the territory would be between New South Wales and Victoria, and we should have a port available. This would comply with all the technical and theoretical qualifications suggested as necessary, though I personally think they are not necessary.
– The SnowyRiver is not near the Bombala site.
– It is not far from Bombala.
– It is within 1,000 miles, no doubt !
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council has given us an intelligent history of the establishment of Washington and Ottawa, but it will be admitted that there can be very little comparison made between their circumstances and ours. Every feature in the progress of Washington preaches to us delay, prudence, and caution. I have stated here before, that sixty years after Washington was commenced it was described as nothing but “ a collection of mud and negroes.” I have pointed out that the growth of that city was exceedingly slow and disappointing to every one. The politicians went there because they were compelled to do so, and it was forty years after the establishment of the city was begun, before Webster, the great Minister, had a house of his own there. I venture to say that it cannot be contended that we must build a Capital upon a vacant piece of land, on the ground that undue local influence in either Melbourne or Sydney would be sufficient to prevent us carrying on our legislation properly in either of those cities. It appears to me that on the score of convenience the proposed Federal Capital will be cursed by those who have to work in it. We shall not be able to get Ministers to reside there. The Departments will have to be established there, and I ask honorable senators to contemplate the inconvenience of establishing the administrative branches of the Departments of Defence, Customs, Post and Telegraphs, Patents, and all the other Departments in an out-of-the-way locality, to which one must, write, or which one must visit personally, in order to get business done. Would it not be much better to have the Capital here in Melbourne for a time, and later on in Sydney, until it could be permanently fixed in that city, with certain compensating advantages given to Melbourne ? I should like to ask Senator Millen and other, honorable senators who are fond of criticising myself in this matter, what they really consider are the rights of Victoria under the Constitution? Until the Federal Parliament meets at the permanent Capital of the Commonwealth it is to meet at Melbourne. The Victorian State Government went to an expense of ,£50,000, or more, in fitting up another building for the State Parliament, in order to give us this building. For all time to come, when the permanent site is selected, the Federal Parliament is to meet in the mother State. Has Melbourne no rights as regards the interval between the present time and the time when the Seat of Government, or the Capital, is permanently fixed?. Was it fair to Melbourne that our honorable friends in New South Wales should commence urging and insisting, during the first session of the Federal Parliament, on the site of the Capital being chosen at once.’ I am sure that Sir George Turner, who was a party to this particular section of the Constitution, would not agree that that is a reasonable interpretation of it.
-Col. Neild. - During the first session of the Federal Parliament the honorable and learned senator went to Bombala, and promised that he would vote for the selection of that site.
– Has Melbourne norights in this matter? I contend that she has, though we do not hear very much about them.
– What are the advantages to Victoria of having the Federal Parliament sitting in Victoria?
– I do not know that the advantages are very great, and for the life of me, I cannot see what all the troubleis about; but the people of New South Wales have got it into their heads that it is their right to have the Capital located within that State, and they cannot get it nut. Consequently, it would appear, we must have a reference to the subject on the noticepaper, session after session, and month aftermonth. We are being barracked into making the selection before we are ready to do so. The fact that, since our meeting last week, three reports have been furnished tous, and another is to come in, shows that, on this occasion also, the Government have started the discussion of the matter before it is ripe for discussion. In further justification of what I have said, I would refer honorable senators to the report received from Lt. -Col. Owen, the Inspector-General of Works. He was sent to inspect the sites, and comparing Bombala and Tumut districts, he said -
I am not in a position to judge regarding one of the principle factors, viz.’, Climate. The residents in both the Monaro and Tumut districts claim an excellent climate all the year round. The Tumut residents will, not admit that the valleys are subject to a humid heat in the summer (although they find it possible togrow maize and tobacco) ; and Monaro residents will not admit to a frigid climate in winter, notwithstanding the existence of a snow-capped mountain range to the west, and close by. This is a question that, as stated above, should be put to a practical test before the selection is made.
There we have our Inspector of Works stating that the question of climate should be practically tested before the choice of a site is made.
– In any case, the report upon the climate would be only a personal one.
– Lt. -Col. Owen further reports -
I believe, however, that it will be found that the climate at Batlow is the best of all the proposed sites. If it is found that the climate of Monaro is intolerable in the winter it would be a great mistake to select a site in that district. If, however, the climate in Monaro, although, cold, is found riot to be unbearably so, then I am of opinion that the selection as between the sites under consideration should be made in the Monaro district.
Senator Matheson has suggested that it will be a personal matter ; but I take it that we should -be able to secure reliable data in respect to the climate of these places.
– But we shall have only the personal opinion of the man who makes the report.
– Have we not already got information on the subject from people who have been there for twenty years?
– I think not, because, as the Inspector-General of Works points out, the local residents are prejudiced. I should imagine that residents in both the districts would be able to give us the facts; but Senator Smith must admit that we are influenced sometimes by conscious or unconscious bias. It is on that account that Lt.-Col. Owen says that, before we select the site, we should have proper data collected, because, as he points out, if the climate of Monaro is so intolerably cold, as has been stated, it would be undesirable to have the Federal Capital located there.
– Does the honorable and learned gentleman require more information ?
– I do, and I am pointing out that our Inspector-General of Works is of opinion that we should have further information before we make the choice of a site. It appears to me that we should pass a series of motions before deciding on the site. We should decide whether a further report is necessary, and whether we require merely to secure a piece of land on which to erect some buildings, on the ground that until, we have a bit of land of our own we cannot have national ideas. To my mind that is mere humbug. I think we should consider a series of motions on all the salient points before making a selection between the Tumut and Southern Monaro sites. If a Monaro site is chosen it will require a great deal of skill, time, and trouble to decide which is the best site in Southern Monaro. I lay great stress on the point made by the President, that if it is necessary to select a site between the big cities of Sydney and Melbourne
– That is Tumut, which ds equi-distant between the two.
– I am not prepared now to move the amendment which I previously read,, but I move -
That the word “ now “ be left out with a view to adding the words “ this day six months.”
– In common with other representatives of New South Wales, I shall certainly vote against Senator Dobson’s amendment. It is always a pleasure to listen to such a breezy speech as that with which the honorable and learned senator has favoured the Senate. I must say that every reference to the Federal Capital site would appear to have the same effect on Senator Dobson as that which a red rag is said to have on a wild bull. I hope the honorable senator will, in the future, credit the New South Wales people with having a little common-sense, and with not having any wish to put Australia to an enormous and unnecessary expense. When Senator Styles interjected the word “ bribery “ during Senator Symon’s speech, I imagine he must have done so jocularly, otherwise any railway contractor, who stipulated for certain conditions before signing a contract, would be equally guilty of such a charge. If New South Wales was guilty of accepting a “ bribe,” what about Victoria, at whose instance it was provided in the Constitution that the Federal Parliament should sit in Melbourne until it1 met at the Federal Capital?
– The Federal Parliament had to sit somewhere.
– -New South Wales, which is the most populous State, made enormous sacrifices in order to enter Federation. She did so by surrendering, even temporarily, her glorious system of freetrade. However, when the mother State gave up her fiscal system, she. asked for the prestige which would result from the Federal territory being within her borders. In common with Senator Dobson, I wish to express my thanks to Senator McGregor for the interesting speech with which he introduced this Bill. I am glad to see that the responsibilities of office have had a very taming effect on the Vice-President of the Executive Council, inasmuch as when previously he wished for 20,000 square miles, he is now content with 900 square miles.
– I still wish for 20,000 square miles.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council is now asking for only 4J per cent, of the area which he previously favoured. Senator Symon’s judicial mind was displayed in his clear explanation of the constitutional aspect of the question before us ; and it behoves us, without further delay, to see that this provision of the Constitution is carried out. We have now been nearly three years and’ a half under Federation, and yet the selection of the Federal Capital site - which the New South Wales people supposed, in their simplicity, would be made during the first session - is apparently as far off as ever. Senator Pearce made, as he thought, a good point when he said that if the words “ not less than 100 square miles “ meant only 100 square miles, then the provision that the Capital city shall not be within 1.00 miles of Sydney, must mean that the Capital site must not- be beyond 100 miles from Sydney. Bui the circumstances of the two cases are quite different. The people of New South Wales are quite willing that the Federal Capital shall be equidistant from Melbourne and Sy’dney ; and 1 am quite willing to admit that if we say the distance of 100 miles shall extend to 300 miles, the area of 100 square miles may also extend to 300 square miles, if such is necessary for the purposes of a catchment area. At the same ‘time, when we get into Committee, it would be better to mention the maximum as well as the minimum area, because, if the minimum be increased to 900 square miles, what is the maximum to be? If it is held that the minimum may be converted into 900 square miles, that will mean a considerable alteration of the original provision in the Constitution.
– Where would the honorable senator draw the line as to the distance of the Federal Capital from Sydney ?
– About 300 miles from Sydney, or half-way between the two capitals of New South Wales and Victoria; and there are several places which fulfil that condition, notably Tumut. On the 14th of October last I spoke at some length on this question, and I therefore see no reason to inflict on the House a repetition of what I then said, considering that I have not changed the opinion I then expressed. We cannot forget, however, that we have had a report from four Commissioners.
– Independent men from the other ‘States.
– The Commissioners were Messrs. Kirkpatrick, Stanley, Howitt, and Stewart, who, after giving the matter careful examination, placed Tumut first on the list.
– They destroyed all the evidence, did they not?
– These Commissioners gave an independent report, in which I have full confidence. On the strength of that report, I actually withdraw my preference for Bombala; and I have’ beentwitted once or twice for doing so. I da not, however, place my judgment before that of experts.
– Does the honorable senator pin his faith to that report ?
– I do.
– Then the honorable senator is lost !
– I may be right, orI may be wrong ; but I admit that I pin mv faith to that report. I happen to have known Mr. Stanley for about forty years, and I believe -him incapable pf embodving in that report what he did not know to bV facts.
– Mr. Stanley is one of the best engineers in Queensland.
– I am glad that, for once, the Minister of Defence and I agree. In the report to which I have referred, we are told that in the Tumut district there is a catchment area of -103 square miles, which, with the exception of 120 acres, is still Crown land. The New South Wales Government are, therefore, in a position tohand over 103 square miles of Crown territory as catchment area alone, while, in the estimation of the Commissioners, the 120 acres could be purchased for something like ,£j8o. I can assure Senator Dobson that there, need not be any enormous expense, such as. he fears, in connexion with the acquirement of the area. In the opinion of the experts, Tumut and its vicinity present the following attractions: - Fine climate, fertility of soil, picturesque scenery, a rainfall of 32 inches, as compared with 26 inches at Dalgety, a splendid water supply by gravitation, railway communication completed, and a large hall of two stories, capable, with slight outlay, of accommodating this Parliament. It will beseen that we might go to Tumut within thenext six months, and be fairly comfortable.
– We could not live in the hall.
– The only other site comparable with Tumut is, in my opinion, Dalgety, and that is owing to itsmagnificent water supply. I understand that in summer the climate at Dalgety is everything that could be desired; but in winter it is so cold that, apparently, trees will not grow there. Dalgety is on the eastern side of the Snowy Mountains, and the westerly winds, which are trying enough under ordinary circumstances, must be trebly trying when they come over a snow-capped mountain range. Only this morning a member of another place, with whom I travelled from New South Wales, told me that in Newcastle (he had met a man who had spent thirty years in the Dalgety district, and who applied to it a very uncomplimentary name, which I shall not repeat.
– But that man had lived there for thirty years?
– And was glad to :get away. Personally, I come from a cold country, so that I am not thinking of myself in this connexion; but we have to consider others who, like the Minister of Defence, come from warm climates. It would not be fair to ask such men to spend the remained of their days in a place where they would be liable to be frozen up. The report -of Lt.-Col. Owen is rather interesting and suggestive. We are told that none of the Monaro sites are surrounded by fine scenery, and that the immediate surroundings of Dalgety, excepting the river scenery, are dreary in the extreme; owing to the absence of trees and the abundance of granite boulders. Surely we desire that the Federal Capital shall be in a picturesque locality? Lt.-Col. Owen goes on to suggest tree planting, in order to remove the barrenness of the aspect. Is not such a suggestion indicative that Nature has not already provided trees?
– There’ are great open plains in Northern Victoria, and in the Riverina, where the climate is extremely hot, -and yet there are no trees on them.
– I was under the impression that Dalgety had a gravitation water supply; but I find, to my surprise, that Lt. -Col. Owen suggests pumping by electricity.
– That is in regard to Bombala.
– If the Capital were fixed at Dalgety, it would mean the construction of thirty miles of railway ; and who would carry out the work? Senator Pearce. - New South Wales:
– I know that the Vice-President of the Executive Council desires that any railway in Federal territory shall belong to the Federation, and. that is a difficulty which would be ‘ surmounted by the ‘ selection of Tumut. Another suggestion I should like to make is that, as New South Wales has to grant the territory, it would be well to mention two sites in the Bill, and leave the decision to the New South Wales Parliament. The adoption of that course would, to some extent, eliminate friction, and might induce the New South Wales authorities to more willingly give a larger area than they would give if we were, so to speak, to present a pistol at their heads. Senator Pearce said that if New South Wales did not act reasonably, we ought to alter the Constitution, and fix the Capital in some other State.
– That could not be done without the consent of New South Wales.
– It would not be found so easy to alter the Constitution, seeing that four States out of the six would have to agree. I doubt very much whether four States would be guilty of what I should regard as an act of repudiation.
– If New South Wales were unreasonable, five States out of the six would agree.
– What is unreasonable?
– That is the point at issue. I am not saying that New South Wales is unreasonable; but the honorable senator is supposing that contingency.
– As regards recent reports by Sir John Forrest, Lt.-Col. Owen,, and others, they were limited to sites having an elevation of 1,500 feet, so that the claims of Tumut have to some extent been overlooked. I do not see that the choice should be so restricted, especially when no provision to that effect is made in the Bill ; and, in my opinion, a fall of 1,000 feet is sufficient to provide for perfect sanitation. I have previously told the Senate that in days gone by, I lived in Toowoomba, in Queensland, and found the climate excellent, and we are told that Tumut has even a better climate. The fact that maize, and tobacco, are grown in the neighbourhood is no proof that Tumut is not a healthy place. I believe that in Victoria there are many places where maize is grown, but no one says that Victoria has a sub-tropical climate.” Whatever we do, I hope we shall act in good faith to the mother State. This is a matter involving States rights, and we from New South Wales feel’ that the rights of that State should be vigorously defended.
We hear a good deal about the unearned increment, and no doubt there is such a thing. There may, however, be a decrement, and I have here a letter from Messrs. Cameron Bros., the well-known auctioneers and valuers of Brisbane, which shows how very dangerous it is to suppose that land will always go up in value. I had some business with Messrs. Cameron Bros, in reference to an estate, in Canada, represented by me, and the firm wrote to me -
We regret extremely to report the enormous depreciation that has taken place in this locality, but when you consider that for fourteen years the values of Brisbane property have been steadily receding, you will understand that in many cases even larger reductions than these have been made. Not long ago we sold a property at Southport for £17, which formerly changed hands at ^1,700. . . . There is no doubt, even in first-rate properties, a startling falling off has taken place. One property we might mention in Adelaide-street, which we are endeavouring to sell, on behalf of the trustees . . . for the sum pf £3,000, ‘was formerly sold for £10,000, and only twelve months ago £4,000 was refused for it.
– The higher prices paid were in the “ boom “ time.
– Is any mention made of the State making a refund in the case of the decrement?
– I think not. I am under the impression that the smaller the area the greater proportionately will be the. unearned increment. No doubt, in Melbourne and Sydney, the unearned increment is very considerable, but a few miles out from these cities, land can be bought at a very small advance on the original price. Seventeen years ago I paid duty on land near Sydney valued at £60 an acre, which has since been sold at £12 an acre.
– Does the honorable senator not know that the “ boom “ in Brisbane occurred ten years ago, and that when it burst the financiers pot into trouble?
– Why does Senator Walker not quote the prices of Collinsstreet property ?
– I will quote another case. In George-street, Sydney, land has been sold at £1,500 a foot, and other land purchased at £800 a foot, sold last year for ,£400 per foot.
– Who gave the £1,500 a foot?
– People from New York.
– Was that price paid to the Government?
– No; but the Government have been selling land in Martinplace, Sydney, for £700 a foot, and it must not be taken for granted that therewould always be an unearned increment in. the Federal area. In this regard we ought, not to be too grand in our ideas.
–Senator Walker has given us good- reasonswhy no Federal Capital should be selected; but, passing that by, I ask - Where: is the money coming from to repay the Commonwealth for the “ expenditure we have heard so much about ?’ 1’ did feel some little hesitation in opposing, the Government in this case, but when I find that they are supported by the leader of the permanent Opposition, aided and. abetted by Senators Walker, Millen, Neild,, and others, I have no hesitation at all inopposing them. I think it should give uspause, and cause Captain Watson, who isnow in charge of the good ship Commonwealth - and steering from the steerage, let me add - to do as the old gentleman did in olden times, lash himself to the mast, stuff the ears of his followers with wax, and refuse to listen to the Sirens, because, if hedoes, the ship will sooner or later be lured! on to the rocks.
– If we had done that, the honorable senator would not be speaking.
– Whatever a Government may do they must never deserve thepraise of these Tories, because if they dotheir doom will be sealed. Senator Millen* asked the other day a question that he had’ asked on a previous occasion. He wished! to know whether the electors of the Commonwealth were not cautioned against accepting, not the Convention Bill, but thePremiers’ Bill, when the 125th clause had’ been inserted. The obvious reply to thequestion, as I interjected, is that it would have been vt.y unwise to wreck that Bill simply because of a provision which set forth that the Capital, when selected, should” be within the boundaries of New South Wales or any other State. That would not have been a sufficient cause for rejecting the Bill. The electors might havebeen told over and over again that it was to be so, but that, I feel quite sure, did” not influence many votes. I wonder why there is all this hurry about selectinga site. It was pointed out the other day by Senator Dobson that it is only eight months since the Senate, by an absolutemajority - by nineteen votes - declared that .
Bombala was the best site in New South Wales. And now i have not the slightest hesitation in saying that there will be an absolute majority, if the senators are here in any number, in favour of another site some thirty or forty miles away. If we postpone the consideration of the matter for another eight months, it is only fair to assume that another site may be selected and approved of by a majority. Let it be borne in mind, that if this Bill is passed, it will be distinguishable from other legislation. It cannot very well be repealed after the money has been expended, if it should be found that we have selected a wrong site.
– But we are not proposing to spend any money under this Bill ; we are only selecting a locality.
– I quite understand that we are selecting a locality, but Senator McGregor told the Senate the other day that the expenditure would commence forthwith, and there is not the slightest doubt that it will.
– Whatever Government is in power, they will commence to : spend the money forthwith. Why select a site if they do not intend to do so? It would be ridiculous to select a site, and allow it to remain idle for a number of years without taking any step towards the creation of a Federal City.
– That will be dealt with in another Bill.
– I am quite aware of that. The object of this Bill is merely to select a Federal territory. The site of the Capital will be in that territory, and the money will then begin to flow towards that spot from the taxpayers’ pockets.
– Parliament will have to be consulted before any money can be spent on it.
– We know that Parliament will have to be consulted, but what majority of either House would oust a Government for spending£300,000, £400,000, or £500,000 a year on that territory? The reply from the Government would be, “ You agreed that a city should be built there, and why should we not build it ?” There is not one of us, after being a party to the selection of the Capital who would vote against the Government if “it did spend the money. We all readily admit that a compact was entered into between five States and one State that the Federal Capital should be situated in that one State. But time is not the essence of t hat compact. If it was, why was it not stated in the Bill?
– Nobody ever contemplated that the nation would break faith.
– There is no one contemplating now that the nation, or any part of it, will break faith. It is only a question as to whether the expenditure of this money should commence almost immediately or be postponed for a time. There is no man or woman,I am sure, in this or any other State who would desire to break faith with New South Wales, but if time was the essence of the compact, why was that not indicated in the Constitution, as was done in the case of the imposition of uniform duties ?
– Then the honorable senator would not regard it as a breach of faith if it were nob done for 1,000 years ?
– Yes, I would. I think that it ought not to be put off for too lengthened a period.
– Then time is the essence of the compact.
– A period was fixed for the operation of the book-keeping system, and the Braddon section, and why was it not provided that the building of the Capital was to be begun within so many years ? It seems tome, therefore, that time is not the essence of the compact. When Senator Trenwith speaks of delaying the erection of the capital for 1,000 years, or even for twenty or thirty years, he is making a ridiculous suggestion.
– It is only a question of degree.
– Yes ; and if we were in flourishing circumstances it might reasonably be said - “ Let us begin to build the Capital; we have money to throw away, and we may as well throw it away there as elsewhere.”
– Seeing that we are poor, had we not better do this economical thing as quickly as possible?
– I shall show, before I sit down, even to the satisfaction of the honorable senator, who I know is open to conviction, that it will be much more economical to remain where we are, as long as the people of Victoria consent to allow us to remain in this building free of rent. They have never complained, nor have they entered a single protest against our occupation of the building, They will let us know when they are tired of allowing us to remain here rent free.
– I am afraid that the honorable senator is making a statement which is not quite accurate.
– There have only been a few individual growlers.
– Yes. I have heard members of the State Parliament complain because we were occupying comfortable chambers which they had had to give up.
– They are not- Victoria.
– No; T have heard these gentlemen complain time after time. I said to one of them on one occasion - “Well, it is only for your own convenience that you desire to come back here.” and he said - “ Certainly, for my own convenience I want to occupy this building.”
– Did not Victoria’s representatives object ?
– No. A Bill was passed by the State Parliament, under which the Premier of the day was given full power to act. He offered the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth the choice of this building or the other, and the latter very wisely, in the interests of the Commonwealth, selected this building, and there the matter ended. There has been nothing said about the matter since that time by those who were responsible.
– I admit that Victoria has been very generous.
– I, later on, intend to contrast New South Wales with Victoria in the matter of generosity. Let me point out. that it is not a Victorian who has raised this issue at all. A representative from the State of Tasmania has led the opposition to the immediate selection of a site all through the piece.
– Not all the time.
– Senator Dobson is not accused, nor is Tasmania accused, of any jealousy of New South Wales, but a Victorian dare not open his mouth in opposition to an extravagant expenditure, as it may appear to me, without being accused of having some feeling in the matter.
– Hear, hear. There is no feeling whatever.
– Here is what the leader of the New South Wales contingent, the Right Honorable G. H. Reid, said -
He heartily sympathized with the public of Australia in their fear that the old fearful mistakes would be repeated. As far as he could he would prevent the Com mon wen 1th from being launched into expenditure, which it was never less able to bear than at the present time.
That statement was made by Mr. Reid it* addressing a Victorian audience last winter in reference to the Federal Capital. I wonder what the new Capital is required for? Is it required for social purposes?’ I have no doubt that it would be a very pleasant picture to see Senator Smith basking in the smiles of the beauties of Dalgety,, and incidentally handing round afternoon tea, but we do not wish to create a Federal1 Capital for that purpose. Do we not know that in Washington during the recessall the men hie themselves away to the commercial and industrial centres, and that when a young lady is to come out, as it is-‘ called, there are not sufficient young men. in her circle of acquaintances to get up a ball or a dance, and the poor young creaturehas to be content with afternoon tea amongst her own sex? That is the sort of thing; which will happen in the new Capital for about seven months out of the year. It has. been admitted on all hands that a Federal’ city is not required for commercial or industrial purposes. We are over-towned inAustralia now. One-third of the population is congregated in four capital sites.
– That shows that there is too much concentration.
– It shows that thereis too much concentration, in the cities, and* not sufficient people on the land. And yet we are asked to build another city, in orderthat another 40,000 or 50,000 may fly’ to it. from the land, so as to have a more comfortable existence. A new city is not. needed for defence purposes. The Minister of Defence would be no more effective therewith his legions at his back than he is iri* Melbourne. It is not needed for administrative purposes, and if it is it will not bethe centre of populated Australia. Melbourne is the centre of populated Australia.
– When did thehonorable senator find that out?
– I did not find itout. It was found out by the Royal Commission to which Senator Walker pins hisfaith, and which was appointed by ‘theBarton Government.
– But the population istravelling north.
– Honorable senatorswill see how Senator Walker will fall intothe trap I am setting for him. This iswhat the Royal Commission said-
In estimating the accessibility of the proposed* Capital site, there are strong reasons for accepting Sydney as practically the centre of” population, and therefore of convenience, for Queensland and most populous parts of New South Wales, and Melbourne as the centre of convenience for Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania, so far as travel to and from the Federal Capital is concerned.
Therefore Melbourne is more convenient for four States and a part of a fifth State.
– Why. New South Wales and Queensland contain half the population of Australia.
– I am quoting from the authority to which my honorable friend pins his faith.
– With regard to sites.
– I am speaking of a locality from which to administer the affairs of the Commonwealth, and, according to the report furnished by paid experts, Melbourne is more centrally situated than any other place.
– No: it is more accessible.
– I am not arguing that the Capital should remain here always, but pointing out that we do not need to build a new city for merely administrative purposes. The taxpayers do not want millions to be spent on a Federal city; they have not millions to spend, it seems to me, on the erection of a town which would be occupied for only five months out of the year, and left for seven months to the caretakers and poor storekeepers, who might go fossicking round the country in order to prevent themselves from going melancholy mad. Of course, Senator Smith would be there all the time, but he would be engaged, not in fossicking round the country, but in handing round tea. The Parliament would sit all day, because in that place no one would have any occupation. The party leader of Senator Walker, the Right Honorable G. H. Reid, says that thev would have nothing to do. Senator McGregor pointed out the other day that population gravitated to Ottawa. There is no doubt that the statement is true. I believe it comprises 79,453 persons, if Senator Walker gave the exact number.
– The honorable senator means Washington.
– It is quite true that the people did gravitate to the Capital city. Ottawa; but the point is overlooked that whereas it is within 3,000 miles of Europe Australia is 12,000 miles away.
– What has Europe t<> do with the question?
– The proximity of Europe has much to do with the popula tion of Canada. The distance from Europe is only 3,000 miles, and the fare a couple of pounds. It is a very different thing to undertake the voyage of 12,000 miles to Australia. Again, if a man is not satisfied with Canada, r.e has only to cross into the United States. There is no such alternative here. If Australia does not suit a man, it is not very easy for him to find a place that will, except, perhaps, South Africa.
– If Australia does not suit him, he cannot be suited.
– That is quite true; but the people at home do not know that, otherwise they would come here in large numbers. They do know that Canada is close at hand, and that the United States is right alongside the Dominion. I ask whether the establishment of this Capital will attract one single individual from outside Australia.
– Yes; and many married ones.
– Not a single individual will be attracted to Australia by the establishment of the proposed Capital. What will happen will be this: People will flock to it from other parts of Australia in order to better their position. Some, by doing so, will, no doubt, better their position, but that will not increase the wealth of Australia by a single sixpence. If there are 50,000 people in the Federal Capital who will have gravitated there from other parts of Australia the result will be that the other parts of Australia will be only so much poorer.
– That is not so, because the Capital will have taken surplus population-
– The honorable senator talks of “ surplus population “ when he knows that we could do with millions on our land. To talk of surplus population- in Australia is absurd. Only a few weeks ago Senator Dawson declared that the Labour Party had no objection to immigration, provided the immigrants went on the land.
– That is right ; but the honorable senator should allow me to finish my sentence.
– There is not much land to give them at present, as in Victoria it is in the hands of large land-holders. Let us hope that those large land-holders will see their way shortly to cut up their holdings in order that smaller settlers may be induced to go on the land.
– What I wished to say was that people being attracted to the Federal Capital would relieve the congestion of population in the large cities^ and as those people would go to a place where they could be settled on the land, they would thus increase the prosperity of the country.
– I cannot understand that it would lead to any increase of the prosperity of Australia as a whole, though I can understand that the prosperity of New South Wales might be increased by the establishment of the Federal Capital within that State. It is suggested that it should be established in a little square block of & paddock, which some persons from New South Wales would give us. There are honorable senators in this Chamber who have larger paddocks for their sheep than the ten miles square which some persons suggested would be sufficient for the Commonwealth. Is this Federal city needed for legislative purposes ?
– The Minister of War, as he has been called, says yes. Why ? Does the honorable senator admit that the fact that the Federal Parliament sits in Melbourne has influenced one sentence of his speeches or one vote which he has given. He will not admit that, nor will any other honorable senator, or any member of the Federal Parliament.
– Because it might be used against him on his trial.
– We have been told that honorable senators wish to get away from the malign influence of the Melbourne press. We have heard the honorable and learned senator who leads the permanent Opposition say that.
– No; I wish to remain in tEe bosom of the Melbourne press.
– It.has been said that members of the Federal Parliament desire to get away from Melbourne because of the influence of their surroundings and environment here, but there is not a single member of the Parliament who will admit that he has been influenced in his actions as a Federal member, by the fact that the Federal Parliament meets in Melbourne. What, then, becomes of the allegation that we should go away into the back blocks of New South Wales because members of the Federal Parliament are influenced by their environment here.
– Honorable senators will not admit that they are themselves in fluenced, but they contend that other honorable senators are influenced.
– As no member of the Federal Parliament will admit that “he has been influenced by the fact that the Parliament sits in Melbourne, why should we go anywhere else? Sir John See, who, I understand, is a level-headed man, though I have not the honour of his acquaintance, strongly opposes the establishment of the Federal Capital, although it is to be within the territory of New South Wales. He is in a position to understand the feeling in his State better than most of us, and though he has declared that he would like the Federal Parliament to sit in Sydney, he has also said that, sooner than agree to the building of a new Capital, he would be prepared to allow the Parliament to remain in Melbourne for the time being. I do not know what his motives are, but there is just a possibility that he would like the Federal Capital business kept back, by suggesting that the roo square miles provided for in the Constitution should be adhered to. He might like it to go forth that the Government and Parliament of New South Wales refuse to give the Federal authority more than 100 square miles minimum, with the view that that will block the whole thing for a time. That is possible, but I do not believe that Sir John See is so narrow-minded as to contend that we should have only the minimum area fixed ‘ by the Act. I think he must have some other reason. As to the suggestion that it was bv concession that the Federal Capital was to be .permanently located in New South Wales, I remember interjecting, the other day - I think when Senator Symon was speaking - “ The people of New South Wales were bribed then.”
– That was a jocular remark.
– Oh, yes. I have too high an opinion of my countrymen on the other side of the Murray to believe for a moment that that had the slightest influence in inducing them to accept the second Commonwealth Bill - the Premiers’ Bill, not the Convention Bill. I do not believe it weighed with them one jot. We are told that the majority vote in favour of the . second Bill was very much larger than that in favour of the first. It was larger by r 9,000. We were told last session, and the inference now is the same, that that was owing to section 125 which appeared in the second Bill. If that be so, I should like to know what caused the increase of 30,000 in the majority in favour of the second Bill in South Australia, a State with only onefourth of the people of New South Wales ? And how do honorable senators account for the fact that in Victoria, with a population approximating that of New South Wales, the majority in favour of the second Bill was increased by 64,000 votes. If it is claimed that the increase of the majority in New South Wales was due to the provision fixing the Capital in that State, one would expect that the people of Victoria would have been anxious to get rid of that section. There is nothing in the argument at all. I should be content to have referred to the people of New South Wales the question whether we should begin our expenditure on the Federal Capital now, or delay the matta; for some years, and I should be prepared to abide by their decision, if the question were put fairly before them. The only people who would vote for. the immediate establishment of the Capital would be those who might think that they had an off-chance of its being built in their neighbourhood. The great bulk of the people of New South Wales would say - “ No ; you can do very well as you are. We do not care about spending some millions of Commonwealth money in the erection of a city which we believe is not required.” There was another reason, in addition to that which I have given, for the increase of the majority in favour of the second Commonwealth Bill submitted to the electors of New South Wales. It was this - the then Premier of the State, the Right Honorable G. H. Reid, on the first occasion said “ Yes-No,” and n the second occasion he said “ Yes.” The right honorable gentleman had a large following behind him, and that is the reason why the majority in favour of the second Bil! was increased, although New South Wales had broken the compact by increasing the minimum affirmative vote required from 50.000 to 80,000.
– Did not the right honorable gentleman say “ Yes,” because the question of the location of the Federal Capital had been settled?
– He may have dons so ; but I am stating what has been reported, that he said “Yes-No” on the fir-;t occasion, and emphatically “ Yes “ on the second, and that, no doubt-, caused a considerable increase in the number of votes cast in favour of the second Commonwealth Bill. In my opinion, the area provided for in the Bill before us is altogether too small. I would point out to honorable senators that this area stands, in proportion to the total area of the territory of New South Wales, as one acre to half a square mile, or 320 acres. An area one mile long by halfamile wide would contain 320 acres, and the proposed territory would be one 340th part of the whole area of New South Wales. This is a nice condition of things. People talk about huckstering, but I ask honorable senators to consider the position. Suppose an honorable senator having 340 acres was in partnership with five other persons, and said to his partners, “ I will give you one acre out of the 340 acres I have.” Do honorable senators believe that he would be likely to go so far as to saddle his gift by a condition that the acre given should be situated right in the middle of the area he retained, so that at any time he might shut down upon his partners if they did not, in his opinion, behave themselves ? Is it not . reasonable to suppose that he would be prepared to give his partners an acre out of the 340 with a frontage to a road, in order that they might have access to their property at any time. What is proposed here is, however, the huckstering, not of the people of New South Wales, but of some of the public men of that State. I ask honorable senators to look at the contrast between the conduct of some of the public men of New South Wales and that of the public men of Victoria.
– Tommy Bent.
– I am speaking now of the Federal Parliament, and not of Tommy Bent, or any one outside. The Vice-President of the Executive Council told us that this building cost ^800,000. There is another building on the St. Kilda road which, with the ground surrounding it, must be worth quite that money, and yet these properties, together with a magnificent library, have been handed over to the Federal Parliament free of cost by the people of Victoria. Now, when we ask for a few hundred square miles out of a territory 50 per cent, greater than the area of France, or the mighty German ‘ Empire, and double the area of the Empire of Japan, we are met with a ‘huckstering suggestion that we are bound by the area referred to in the Constitution.
– Not by the people of New South Wales.
– I have said that it is not due to the people of that State. I remind honorable senators that section 125 of the Constitution provides also the limit from Sydney within which the Federal Capital shall be established. This is referred to usually as the “ 100-mile radius from Sydney.” I notice that none of the representatives from New South Wales or elsewhere raise any objection to the Federal Capital being established 300 miles from Sydney. Bombala is. roughly speaking, 300 miles from that city. They, however, strongly object to more than 100 square miles being included in the Federal territory. If it had been the intention of the framers of the Constitution that the Federal territory should be limited to 100 square miles, the Constitution would have read, “ 100 square miles, more or less,” or it would have included a maximum as well as a minimum area. There is no maximum provided with respect to the limit of distance from Sydney. The words used in each case are exactly the same. The section provides that the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be distant “ not less than 100 miles from Svdney,” and the territory is to be an area. of “not less than joo square miles,” but although exactly the same words are used in each case an absolutely different construction is put upon them. In one case it is contended that to establish ish the Capital 300 miles from Sydney would, be quite right, because the Constitution provides for it; whilst in the other case it is contended that an area of 100 square miles substantially is all that should be given to the Commonwealth.
– If the honorable senator will wait until he sees how honorable senators from New South Wales vote, he will find that an effort will be made to select a site as close to the 100-mile limit from Sydney as possible.
- I do not think so, because I believe that the representatives of New South Wales will consider the railways of that State in fixing the Federal Capital. They will assume that the hundreds of thousands of tons of building materials and goods required for the Capital, as well as the passenger traffic to it, must be taken over the State railways from Sydney.
– That is hardly fair.
– I believe it to be true. I do not see any objection to fixing the Capital 300 miles from Sydney.
– Is the honorable senator not aware that nearly all the New South Wales senators are voting for- Lyndhurst?
– Hear, hear. The site nearest to the 100 miles limit from Sydney.
– I do not know that they are. I am not aware that they voted in that way last year.
– I did not.
– All the New South Wales senators, with the exception of Senator Walker.
– Who takes a broad view of the subject.
– Senator Pearce raised a very pertinent question the other day, when he reminded us that the great bulk of an area of 100 square miles would possibly be required for water supply. Senator Walker has said that 120 square miles would be required for water supply.
– No ; 103 square miles.
– I was near enough. It appears that the Delegate River Kas a watershed of ninety-six square miles itself, fifty-six square miles of which are in Victoria. The Royal Commissioners have said that they have no doubt that the people ot Victoria would be prepared to hand over that area of fifty-six square miles to the Federal authorities. I have not the slightestdoubt that they would. If that be so, and the watershed is to occupy practically the whole of the 10b square miles, where is the city to be, and where will the beautiful suburban residences of which we have heard be built? Are thev to be built within the watershed ? I notice that my honorable friends did not refer to the report of the New South Wales Commissioner, His Honour the President of the Land Court. Mr. Alexander Oliver, who was appointed bv the New South Wales Executive Council in 1899, before Federation was achieved, to report on the Federal Capital sites. Mr. Oliver is an able man, who took great pains with his work. I am glad that Senator Walker acquiesces, and the honorable senator will no doubt admit that we could not have found a more suitable man in Australia to report on the subject.
– He is not a universal genius ! 1
– I am speaking of this particular subject.
– Honorable senators from New South Wales do not like him because he favours Bombala.
– Here is what he said -
Lorn; before I hari finished my visits of inspection, the conviction was forced on me that 100 square miles would not be nearly enough for the Federal Territory. But I was disposed to think that there ought to be no considerable excess over the prescribed minimum, and that although 25 per cent, of excess might be permissible, the offer of an area much larger than that minimum was not contemplated by >the framers of the enactment.
That no doubt suits my honorable friends from New South Wales, but I do not stop there. I quote from a report from their own man, handed to us for our information. It was prepared under the direction of the New South Wales Parliament, and laid before that Parliament on the 30th October, 1900, as a parliamentary paper, and a copy of it was then sent by the Government of New South Wales to the Federal Government. Mr. Oliver said also -
Further consideration has made me abandon this opinion. To the Commonwealth, or partnership of Australian States, the acquisition of a territory very much larger than the minimum area will, I am convinced, prove of inestimable benefit.
His Honour then gives his views as to the area needed, and he said -
This Southern Monaro Federal Territory site of 125 square miles (80,000 acres) is, in my opinion, altogether inadequate, and an extension of area is suggested, which would increase the area up to 1,200 square miles approximately.
That was Mr. Olivers advice to the Parliament which appointed him, and it ought to have some weight, coming from an authority like the President of the Land Court of New South Wales. Another question referred to by Senator Dobson is worthy of consideration, namely, that the Federal territory should abut on another State, or on the sea coast. My own preference is for a territory abutting on the sea coast. If Bombala or some other Southern Monaro site be selected, and only 100 square miles he allotted, all idea of reaching the port of Eden must be abandoned ; and such conditions are, in my view, absurd. A site in the same locality would also preclude the idea of the Federal territory abutting on “Victoria ; but that is a matter about which I do not mucK care. Mr. Oliver is of opinion that a seaport is almost indispensable, and in his report he said -
In the first place, the inclusion in the Federal Territory of Southern Monaro of a harbor like Twofold Bay, with at least from 5 to 6 square miles of safe anchorage for the largest ocean going steamers, secured bv a north and south breakwater of no extraordinary dimensions or cost And of a railway connexion with that harbor, bo1’ railway and harbor, and a sufficient area of adi.” cent country to bc Commonwealth property, distinguish this site from all others …. thi– harbor, being Crown land, would cost the Commonwealth nothing for resumption.
If the Seat of Government were to be located on the Monaro tableland, and connected by rail with a harbor such as Twofold Bay, the Commonwealth would acquire an invaluable naval base, situate - nearly half-way between the two State capitals that offer the greatest temptations to an enemy - Sydney and Melbourne. The eastern States of Australia would acquire a harbor of refuge, or for refitting ships in distress, or for coaling. I: ti Commonwealth is to have a navy of its own, or even a training-ship, Twofold Bay would be a convenient station, particularly for gunnery practice, and suggests itself as the convenient headquarters for the Naval Commandant. As the breakwaters would be fortified, the Port of Eden could be made practically impregnable. With such a harbor the Commonwealth would have two routes for reaching the various State Capitals - one by sea, the other by land - and for facilitating the collection, mobilization, and despatch of troops, munitions, and equipments.
The lumber cargoes from the other side of the Pacific could be discharged direct on the Eden wharf, and the same facilities would exist for 5 cargoes of coal, stone, roofing-slates, tiles, cement, and all other kinds of building material ; and thus every State of the Federation would have a common commercial heritage in a harbor second only to Port Jackson.
What these and other advantages might mean in the course of a generation or two it is impossible to predict and, perhaps, difficult to exaggerate.
The Royal Commission of last year declared that- with a railway between the Federal Capital and Twofold Bay, 10 per cent, would be saved on the cost of building; and that, of course, is a very important item. ‘ The representatives of New South Wales will doubtless strongly oppose any railway connexion between Twofold Bay and the Capital, for the reason that there is a distance of 300 miles from Sydney, and the desire is that all the supplies for the Federal Capital should pass through Sydney and over the New South Wales railways. That may be a narrowminded, but it is what is regarded as a business view. What is desired is easy access to the Federal Capital at any time. Senator Dobson the other day charged the Government with not having given any estimates of the cost, but I do not think that complaint is well founded. Reliable estimates of cost have been supplied to every member of the Commonwealth Parliament. Mr. Oliver shows an estimate of the cost of access, water supply, land resumption, and laying out and erecting the city, and I shall read what he states on the last point. Mr. Oliver, in his report, adopted the view of certain experts, who mav be known to senators from New South Wales. These experts were not the Royal Commission of last year, but were prominent professional men in New South Wales, and the cost, according to them, will be -
– For the next fifty years?
– All that money is to be expended within tha next few years.
Mr. Oliver stated in his report
That the above are the buildings that will probably be necessary .’ . . . after the necessary arrangements have been made for access, water supply and sewerage, and housing the operatives. -
I ask honorable senators whether the names of the following gentlemen who prepared and signed that estimate are not sufficient to carry some weight, apart from the opinions expressed by Mr. Oliver -
Mr. O. Allen Mansfield, F.R.J. B.A. (chairman), New South Wales ; Mr. W. L. Vernon, F.R.J.B.A., Government Architect of New South Wales; Mr. John Barton, F.R.J.B.A., president of the Institute of Architects, New South Wales and Mr. Geo. Knibbs, president of the Institute of Surveyors of New South Wales, and Surveying lecturer, University of Sydney.
In addition, the Engineer-in-Chief of Harbors and Rivers, Mr. Darley, who is a man of great ability, has given an estimate of the cost of construction of two breakwaters, and of making Twofold Bay a perfectly safe anchorage for the largest vessels afloat. The total is .?1,028,000. The Federal Government appointed the Royal Commission T. have referred to. and to their report I disire to direct special attention. The questions which were reported on, included means of access, water supply, and land resumption, but not the probable cost of the public buildings. It seems clear, there fore, that the Barton Government accepted! the estimate of the cost of public buildings, as set forth in Mr. Oliver’s report. Trieinference is fair and reasonable that the Government were satisfied, and believed Parliament to be satisfied with the estimate sub,mitted by Mr. Oliver, or, rather, by hisexperts, through him, to the New South Wales Parliament and the Commonwealth. Parliament. The Royal Commission^ of which Senator Walker appearsto think so much, estimated ?931.000 asthe cost of connecting Bombala with the port of Eden by railway, and ?330,915 as the cost of the water supply for 50,000- people. It will be seen that the Commission even went into odd pounds, and checked and somewhat reduced Mr. Oliver’s figures. These estimates were all made on the assumption of a Capital with a population, of 50,000. No estimate was given either by Mr. Oliver or those who succeeded him. as to the cost of sewerage, drainage, and lighting, but from my knowledge of suchmatters, I should put that cost down asat least, ?10 per head, or ^?500,000. The expenditure on buildings in six or sevenyears is estimated at ?2,117,500.
– In six or seven years?
– From the time we begin laying out the city.
– But the cost estimated is that for a city of 50,000- people.
– It would be unwiseto wait until there was a population of 50,000 before beginning to carry out those works.
– I hope that ?750,000 will not be spent on the Parliament buildings.
– -I do not say that these’ estimates would be adhered to rigidly. I am merely drawing attention to the estimates which have been placed in the hands of every Member of Parliament.
– Mr. Oliver never said* that this expenditure would be spread oversix years.
- Mr. Oliver gives .a period from one year upwards. The National Gallery has to be completed in ten years, and the Parliament Houses and other public buildings in seven years, according to Mr. Oliver.
– Those estimates do not bind the Government.
– I am not saying that the estimates bind anybody, but merely drawing attention to figures laid before the
Federal Parliament, and adopted, so to speak, by three Commonwealth Governments.
– They have not been adopted by any Government.
– Then why are not proper estimates given, if these before us are not sound ?
– Because we have not before us the question of erecting these buildings.
– The first question is the selection of the site, and we do not want estimates for buildings until we know where we are to place those buildings.
– Last year the whole matter was discussed. Seeing that directly the site is selected the expenditure will begin, .we ought to know something beforehand of what we are going to do. Surely we will not select the Capital, and, with our eyes shut, start an expenditure of which we know nothing. We are told by the Government that the expenditure will, and, I think, rightly, begin directly the site is selected.
– According to the Prime Minister the expenditure will be £30,000 for five years.
– That is as ridiculous an estimate as the other.
– The railway communication with the port must be built at once, and the necessary works at the port constructed immediately. Nearly all the building material could be brought from within sixty miles by sea, but otherwise, without railway communication, it would have to be hauled overland 300 miles from Sydney. According to Mr. Oliver, the harbor works would cost £1,028,000, which, with my estimate as to sewerage, drainage, and lighting, brings us up to a total of £4,907,415.
– Over what length of time does the honorable senator spread the expenditure on lighting ?
– That expenditure, along with the expenditure on water supply, will, of course, extend over many years.
– And so in regard to the sewerage.
– That may be admitted.
– -Probably twenty years.
– As building goes on. water supply will be necessary; but the time may not be half or quarter that suggested bv Senator Pearce. Directly the foundations are laid buildings will be con nected with the sewerage, and the water supply will be necessary to enable the building work to go on.
– The honorable senator’s sewerage estimate is based on a pos- .sible population of 50,000 people, and it will be twenty years before there is that population.
– My contention is that the expenditure to which I am referring will not increase the wealth of Australia. The money must come out of the pockets of the taxpayers, and this Federal Capital will have to be “ spoon-fed “ for generations to come.
– On the contrary, the Federal Capital will commence to “ feed “ almost immediately.
– Where will the money come from ?
– The nationalization of the land.
– Every shilling will come from the taxpayer, and the return will simply be a matter of interest. Money does riot come from the clouds, and is not found on the seashore.
– It will come from the soil.
– It cannot come from the soil unless those honorable senators, who wander about during the recess, discover some mineral resources.
– A lot of land will be brought into cultivation.
– I appear not to have made it clear that if 50,000 people were taken, for instance, from Adelaide, and placed on the Federal area, Adelaide would be so much the poorer. The movement would increase the wealth of New South Wales, and we should get some money back, but every sixpence spent must come out of the taxpayer’s pocket.
– Is it not possible to get people from somewhere outside Australia ?
– My argument is that the Federal Capital will not induce people to come to Australia.
– It might stop people from going .to South. Africa.
– There is plenty of land now, and I think the area ought to be at least 1 0,000 square miles. That appears to be, and is, a large area, but what is it compared with the 3,000.000 square miles of Australia, or the 310,000 square miles of the parent State?
– Does the honorable senator wish to make a new State?
– I want to make the Federal territory self-supporting - large enough to produce everything required within its borders. The New South Wales representatives want the area to be 100 square miles, so that it shall not be possible to grow even a cabbage within its borders, and all supplies must be obtained from that State.
– The Federal Capital will increase land values.
– Of course it will, for fifty miles round.
– New South Wales imports her cabbages from Victoria.
– That may be so. but I dare say the time will come when even in New South Wales the people will learn to grow cabbages.
– Does the honorable senator know where the “ Cabbage garden ‘ ‘ is?
– Yes. and I am pleased to contrast the “ Cabbage garden ‘ ‘ with the Squatter’s run on the other side of the Murray. The expenditure to which I have drawn attention would, on the basis of population, be apportioned as follows: -
My point is that it is unnecessary to incur this expenditure at once. I have been showing that we do not want the Federal Capital now. Let us wait until we have a few more millions of people in Australia and a few more good seasons.
– We have as large a population as Canada had when her Federal Capital was built.
– People lived in mud huts there for years, T have heard. We do not want to do that. We want to have decent buildings.
– The honorable senator has given us the debit side of the case. What is the credit side?
– There is no credit side. If a resident in the Federal Capital be a Federal officer or a member of Parliament, it is true that he will spend his salary’ there. But where will the money come from ? It will come out of the pockets of the people of Australia. They will be no better off than if the money were spent in Melbourne, Sydney, or Adelaide. The expenditure in the Federal Capital will not increase the wealth of Australia by one penny per annum:
– The honorablesenator has to pay income tax while he isresident in Victoria.
– The honorable senator is endeavouring to draw, not a red herring, but a red whale across the trail !
– Will not the Commonwealth receive some money back in rent?
– Yes; I recognise that. But all the rent that is paid in the Federal Capital will not increase thewealth of Australia.
– Is populationwealth ?
– Of course population is wealth. It is not the railways nor the buildings that constitute the wealth of a country but its population. Every person resident here is worth so much money to> the country. The capital value of every man, woman, and child in Australia is estimated to be £350 at the least.
– The honorable senator’s argument presupposes that the population of Australia is going to be stationary.
– The population will’ increase all over Australia, but the fact of our having the Federal Capital will not cause more people to be born, nor ‘ will it induce population to come here from outside. But I have not yet quite done with thequestion from the point of view of expenditure. In addition to the outlay by the Commonwealth, there will be the Outlay of the States in constructing: railways. It is admitted on all sides that the Federal Capital should be connected1 by rail with Melbourne and Sydney.
– Tumut is connected! already.
– Tumut is out of the running. We need not worry about that site. We would not have Tumut at a gift. In addition to the expenditure which I have already outlined, Victoria and New South Wales would have to spend altogether’ £1,518,500 on railways.
– What railways are. thev ?
– First, the railway from Cooma through New South Walesterritory is estimated to cost £337.000. That line will run to the border. That isan amended estimate. The former one is much larger. It is the estimate of the Commission of experts appointed last year.
– About forty miles: of it will run through comparatively easycountry.
– I do not intend to argue about the cost of these lines. I am stating what the Royal Commission, after inquiry, estimated. They said that it would cost, first of all, £337,000 to make the railway from Cooma to the border. The railway from the border to Bairnsdale would cost £1,181,000. These estimates are both less than the estimates of the EngineersinChief for the respective States. The estimates furnished to Mr. Oliver by the New South Wales Engineer-in-Chief, and by Mr. Rennick, the Victorian Engineer-in-Chief, amounted, together, to £2.000,000. The revised estimates are nearly £500,000 less. According to these estimates, £6,425,915 will have to be expended by the Commonwealth and States taxpayers. The taxpayers of these States will have to pay, between them, £1,518,500; in addition to the estimated Commonwealth, expenditure.
– Will they not receive any incidental advantage in addition to having the Capital ?
- Mr. Rennick says that they will not. The contribution of New South Wales to the Commonwealth expenditure, will be £1,776,108, and the railway expenditure, according to- the estimates furnished to the Royal Commission, £533,339. Victoria will have to pay £1.523,407 as her share of the Commonwealth expenditure, and £985,56.1 for her railway extensions.
– Does the honorable senator make any allowance for connecting Western Australia by rail with the eastern States ?
– No, I do not.
– Why not?
– Because -Victoria will have to pay her own share for railway extension to the Federal Capital, and I hope that she will refuse to pay any share for the construction of Inter-State railways, except, through her own territory.
– Is the north-eastern portion of Gippsland of no use?
– It is not very good country.
– The Commonwealth is now paying £3,000 per annum for office rent in Melbourne.
– We shall have to pay £150,000 in interest for outlay in connexion with the Federal Capital. Where then will the saving come in? It is true that some portion of the £150,000 will “be returned in ‘ rent from, our own people; but that will not increase the wealth of Australia.
– That is not the: point. The main point is the nationalized* Capital area.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council has told us that we pay £3,000 a year in Melbourne in office rent.
– For very inadequateaccommodation.
– Suppose we do pay three .times that sum, it is very much less than the amou.it that we would haveto pay in interest on the Federal Capital expenditure. Let me read to honorable senators what the Chief Railways Commissioner of Victoria reported to the Royal Commission last year. This is the latest information. He said that as the line from; Melbourne to Sydney via the Federal’ Capital would be about too miles longer than via Albury, it would “ probably be used only by those’ having business withthe Capital.” He added, however -
That at some not very distant date the Victorian portion of the line from Bairnsdale viaOrbost will probably have to be constructed for State purposes, as it will. open up some fertilecountry.
– That is the consideration which I suggested when I asked what incidental advantages there were.
– I recognise that. Now let us hear what Mr. Rennick, the Engineer-in-Chief, who has been over theground, and is the highest authority we have, says on the point -
So far, as may be judged by surface indication, the greater part of the country between. Bairnsdale and Delegate. . . . appears of a very inferior character, and quite unfit tomaintain under present industrial conditions of Victoria any considerable population. . . The question is, would any such line be justified within a reasonable period of, say twentyyears.
That opinion seems like a damper, does it not ? It looks as though we were not going” to have that line constructed by Victoria. If it is not constructed, we shall have te- travel 286 miles further round from Melbourne to reach the Federal Capital.
– We shall never have the line built.
– At any rate, such a line will not be built for many years tocome. I will next quote what the Chief Commissioner of the New South Wales railways said. His estimate was higher than the estimate of the Royal Commission -
The line from Cooma would be necessary in order to bring the site (Bombala) into communication with the State (New South Wales) railway system. . . . the other lines would be required to make it conveniently accessible from the Southern States. . . .
He also states that -
The construction of the New South Wales portion of the Bombala-Bairnsdale line could only be justified on the ground of the necessity for connecting the Federal Capital, if at Bombala, with Melbourne direct.
– The New South Wales Parliament has twice passed an Act lo connect Bombala with Cooma.
– They would have to construct thirty-two miles of railway to connect Cooma with Dalgety. That would leave fifty-nine miles to connect Dalgety with the Victorian border. ‘ Then the Chief Engineer asserts that we should not be justified in making the connecting link .with Melbourne. If that be the case, we can hardly expect New South Wales to construct that line at her own cost. Victoria might refuse to spend £1,000,000 on that railway, in the face of the report of Mr. Rennick, if his conclusion was supported by subsequent investigation. If I were a mem ber of the State Parliament, I should never sanction expenditure on such a line. Suppose New South Wales says - “We decline to construct any railway beyond the thirtytwo miles from Cooma to the Federal Capital, at Dalgety.1’ The Commonwealth Parliament might say - “ If you will not construct the line we will.” New South Wales might reply - “ We will not give you permission to build your railway through our territory.” I do not say that the present New South Wales Parliament would do so. I am looking ahead. I am considering the matter in the light of what is possible in this connexion.
– Does the honorable senator mean to say that we should be likely to build the Capital, without receiving assurances that New South Wales would build the line?
– The New South Wales Parliament might say - “ We want the trade to gravitate to Sydney, and do not want any of it to go to Melbourne.” What has forced these matters under my notice, is the tenacity with which the too square miles minimum limit provision has been insisted on by the New South Wales representatives. I cannot help feeling that there is a reason for that. Even supposing that New South Wales did give permission to the Commonwealth to build sixty miles of railway line, there would still be the £1,000,000 worth of railway to build from the border to Bairnsdale. If the Commonwealth built the- one line it would have to build the other. There is no question about that. I should say that Victoria would be only too glad to give permission to build the line from the border to Bairnsdale.
– She would build it herself.
– I have my doubts about that. If Victoria had intended to build the line she would have done so before now. I venture to say that if Senator Trenwith and I were still members of ths Victorian Railways Standing Committee, and it were proposed to build that line at a cost of £1,000,000, he would not vote for its construction.
– Stick to Tumut, and we shall be all right.
– We would sooner build two railways than that.
– If what I have suggested were io happen, we should be in a fix. The proper preliminary to building the Capital is to ascertain from the New South Wales Government whether they will construct the fifty-nine miles of railways from the capital to the border, and to ask Victoria whether she will construct the railway from the border to Bairnsdale.
– Surely the preliminary is to decide where the Capital shall be.
– Could we not say, “ If we decide on the Capital being located at Dalgety, will you do so and so, or allow us to do it?” If we had to construct the railways the expenditure altogether would be £6,500,000. The only estimate with which fault can be found is with regard to the £2,117,000 for buildings. If we knocked off a million from buildings the expenditure, on railways and the Capital would still he £5,500,000. If we knocked off the total estimate for buildings, the expenditure would be still £4,500,000. Those figures are founded upon estimates which cannot be challenged, made on the results of flying surveys. Tt is, of course, for the majority to decide whether it is worth while to enter on such an enormous expenditure at this particular time. I should like to have these figures published in detail, so as to strengthen the hands of those who say that such expenditure should not be incurred just now. I should be quite willing to abide by the opinion of the people of New South Wales at a referendum as to whether this expenditure should be undertaken or whether it should be postponed for five or seven years. I would abide loyally by the decision of the New South Wales people, and would never afterwards
Open my lips in opposition to the construction of the Capital, whatever the decision was. But I look on what is now proposed as nothing less than a gigantic squandering of publicmoney. In the name of common sense and common business prudence, if we must Spend £4,000,000 or £5.000.000, or even £2,000.000 - and it must be borrowed, because it cannot be dug out of the ground - let it be spent in settling people on the lands of Australia, in providing a water supply for districts possessing, fertile soil but an inadequate rainfall. There would be some sense in pursuing that policy.
– Is there no fertile soil in the proposed Capital sites?
– We could not expend £4.000,000 or £5,000.000 on the land within the Federal Territory. That sum would, I believe, place 2,500 families on the land at a cost of £200 each. I would sooner give those persons £200 each and put them on the land than spend it in the way proposed.
– On what land ?
– On the best lands of Australia.
– The honorable senator was in favour of the Federal Territory containing an area of 5,000 square miles.
– Yes, if we could get the area in a certain place. I cannot tell whether soil is good or bad, but I know when it is very bad. Whether any ot these lands are fit for carrying on agriculture or horticulture I do not know. But what I do say is- that if the money of the taxpayers is to be spent, let it be spent in the direction in which a business man would do. Give £5,000,000 to a hard-headed shrewd business man, and ask him this question - “Will you put 2,500 families on the land at a cost of £200 each, or spend the money in erecting a Federal Capital “ ? - that is, in order that we may get away from what has been described as the malign influence of the Melbourne press and Melbourne public opinion, neither of which, in my opinion, has the slightest influence on any speech or vote given in the Federal Parliament.
– I rise, sir, to draw your attention to the fact that there is no quorum. (Quorum formed.)
– I desire to address a few words tothe Senate at this stage, as I may be absent when the Committee stage is reached. Judging by the tenor of the remarks which have fallen from Senator Styles and the senators from New South Wales, I am afraid that if we are to do justice to this all-important subject, the senators from the other States will have to turn a deaf ear to pretty well all that has been said by the senators from either Victoria or New South Wales. I am quite sure that they are not in a frame of mind to do justice to it.
– What about the senator from Tasmania?
– Unfortunately he is in the same position as the Victorians. I think that if” we are “to do justice to the subject, the Kyabram cry, or the Sydneyside politicians’ socialistic ghost-hunting cries, will have to be put into the background.
– Are not those cries as good as the cries of the Labour Party ?
– I do noi think’ so. The honorable and learned senator has consistently opposed every proposition that has yet been made with reference to the Federal Capital. I believe that’ if this matter were left to him it never would be settled.
– That is not. a fair comment.
– Evidently that opinion is shared by a writer who, in a very impartial manner, has dealt with some statements of the honorable and learned senator which were published in a newspaper. For his edification I propose toquote from the Economical Review of July last an article by Mr. R. E. Macnaghten. I am not familiar with the name of the writer.
– He is a Tasmanianwho has a craze on the subject. He thinksthat we ought to build a Capital which would vie with the capitals of the world.
– The writer seems, to be pretty familiar with the subject which he has handled very intelligently. This ishis opinion of Senator Dobson’s proposal’ to have a Capital perambulating from Melbourne to Sydney.
– As a temporary measure.
– According to the figures given in this article by the writer a perambulating Capital would be more expensive than a permanent Capital on the site chosen by the Senate last year. The writer says -
In a signed article in the Examiner, a newspaper published in Launceston, Tasmania, Senator Dobson, to whom the idea of substituting Sydney for the constitutional capital is principally, if not solely, due, writes : - “ I believe there are thousands of persons who shrink, as I do, from advocating the enormous expenditure which must result from building a capital in the ‘ back-blocks.’ “ On what principle of economics Mr. Dobson can consider that it will be cheaper to house, say, 20,000 persons -
– Twenty thousand persons ? That is quite enough to condemn anything that that gentleman says.
– I think that before the lapse of many years we shall have a population of 20.000 persons in the Federal Capital, if it is going to be worthy of the name at all. - in an over-populated city, where building land has already reached enormous prices, rather than on a virgin site, where land can be obtainedat “ prairie value,” I am at a loss to discover. As a matter of fact, one of the chief and most obvious reasons for building our capital on a new site, is the immediate and inevitable economy which will thereby be effected. The number of persons attracted to the Federal Seat of Government, whether it be at Bombala, Sydney, or elsewhere, will presumably be the same. At Bombala the estimated value of the land (as given in the carefullyprepared and admirably-illustrated Proposed Federal Capital Sites, issued by authority of the New South Wales Government), is from £1 10s. to £5or £7anacre. At a rough estimate the city might be supposed to occupy, at the commencement, four square miles, of which two square miles might be deducted for streets and open spaces. This would give two square miles of 1,280 acres, of which the value would immediately become, on the average, probably not less than£i,ooo an acre, giving a rough total value of 280,000. If we estimate the purchase money at so high a figure as £5 an acre, the total spent on purchasing the actual four square miles included in the above computation would only be£12,800, so that, if my figures are approximately correct, there would be an immediate clear gain of a very large sum. Though some of the land might not be worth the estimated average value per acre, it must, on the other hand, be remembered that in the main business centres it would probably far exceed it. If Sydney had been selected as the Federal Capital, a similar increase of population must inevitably have occurred. Additional building land would in one direction or another, have had to be made available. No doubt the process in such a case would be practically invisible and unnoticed, except in the case of the purchase of particular sites for definite Federal purposes. But it would none the less exist. A large increase in the value of building land round Sydney would undoubtedly take place. For that unearned increment some one would have to pay. Money for the necessary extra buildings, whether public or private, would have to be obtained. In the case of Sydney, the borrowing would presumably be arranged by private enterprise. But if, as I have suggested, the land were let at Bombala on ninety-nine years’ leases. there is no reason why the necessary finances should not be obtained in precisely the same way.
In my opinion the writer has handled the subject very well, and the intelligent manner in which he has dealt with land values, the cost of buildings, and so forth, goes to prove that by adopting the proposal of Senator Dobson we should incur quite as great expense from time to time as we should by establishing the Capital on a site and making land values in a district in which the soil is of very little value. Therefore, looking at the matter, even from the honorable senator’s stand -point of cheeseparing economy, we have every reason for saying that we should, as soon as possible, select a site, and acquire the unearned increment which we know must accrue in any virgin district such as Bombala or Southern Monaro. Iam not tied down to Bombala any more than to Delegate or Dalgety. So far as I can judge - and I have seen the sites lately - the best site is Delegate, not Dalgety. It is almost as good a site as Dalgety for water power. The Delegate River may not be as large as the Snowy River, but I feel quite sure that it would be equal to all the requirements of the Federal Capital. The soil of the Delegate district is much superior to that of Bombala, and undoubtedly far superior to the soil of Dalgety. The climate is said to be much warmer than the climate in any part of the table-land of Southern Monaro. It is an old camping ground of the aboriginal race. A blackfellow does not camp on the coldest part of a country. Naturally he selects a snug or warm locality, and makes it his camping ground. Delegate has long been known as an old camping groundofthe aboriginal race. Not only has it a good soil, but it has a much better climate than any other part of the table-land of Southern Monaro. It is near the border of Victoria, but I am afraid that we shall not get the area of 5,000 square miles which, it is suggested, is the least we should take.
– We shall try, anyhow.
– I am willing to try to get as much land as we possibly can, but I am afraid that we shall be obliged to fix the Federal Capital as near the border as possible in order that we may have a territory not surrounded by New South
Wales, aif some honorable senators have proposed. If we want an independent territory - one abutting on the boundary of Victoria - I think that we shall have to take Delegate instead of Dalgety.
– How far is Delegate from the Victorian border?
– About three miles.
– That is so. There is a part of the Delegate hill on the Victorian side of the border. That would of necessity be a part of the Federal site. I hope that we shall get rid of parochial ideas and do justice to the subject. If we are not to set aside the ideas of Kyabram, it would be better that we should not deal with the subject at all. We cannot do justice to the Federal Capital site by the adoption of any cheese-paring policy. I agree with what has been said by Senator Styles about the expenditure involved. A large expenditure is inevitable. We cannot erect the fine-blocks of buildings which will be necessary if the Federal Capital is to do us credit without the expenditure of a large sum of money. The Federal Parliament House, for instance, should not be constructed on a less grand scale than the building which we occupy at the present time. If any other course were pursued it would be suggested that we were content to play second fiddle.to the States.
– I hope we shall play double bass in the matter of extravagance.
– It is not a question of extravagance, but a question of the requirements essential for the Parliament of Australia. I should not consent to the erection of a building which could not be considered suitable for a national Parliament. If the Australian Parliament is to be worth;.’ of the Commonwealth we should have a Parliament House in the Federal Capital at least as good as that which’ we occupy at the present time.
– Has the honorable senator read the Prime Minister’s idea of what should be done?
– I have, but I do not agree with him as to the expenditure he proposes. I think it would not be sufficient to provide the buildings which we require. If we consider .what has been done in other national capitals we shall get some idea of the cost of the structures they have erected, and I have yet to learn that they are considered more costly than was necessary. I ask honorable senators to consider the ‘new Parliament
House which is being erected in Perth, and that which is to be erected in Sydney.
– The one to be erected in Perth will cost only £50,000.
– lt is only for the use of a State Parliament. If we were to erect a building such as that being erected in Perth it would not be suitable for the national Parliament of Australia.
– Western Australia hasabout one-sixteenth of the population of Australia.
– They have as many State members as we have members of the Federal Parliament.
– If seating capacity were the only consideration, we could very easily erect a big barn, which! would accommodate a greater number of members than we have at present.
– Does not the honorable senator think that a lot of money hasbeen wasted on this building?
– Let us get some idea of the structures which have been’ erected in other countries for somewhat similar purposes. I have ‘in my hand a book entitled Canada and its Capital. It is a work by the Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons, and gives a description of thepublic buildings at Ottawa. Without reference to the Governor’s residence and the offices for the various public Departments,. I find that Parliament House cost morethan £1,000,000. I am not sure that that is more than the people of Canada werejustified in spending for the accommodation of their national Parliament.
– This building cost more than that.
– I think not, though by the time it is completed, it may have cost nearly that amount. I hope that the future Federal Parliament House will’ be equal to that erected at Ottawa, and if wc are to have such a building as that. I am sure that the £20,000 a year proposed to bespent upon it will be found to be altogether insufficient. I shall quote, for honorablesenators, a brief description of the public buildings at Ottawa -
The beauty and attraction of the city are due to the concentration here of political interest. The situation on the -bluffs of the Ottawa riveris commanding, and gives fine opportunity for architectural display. The group of Government buildings is surpassingly fine. The Parliament House and the department buildings oni three sides of a square are exceedingly effective in colour, and the perfection of gothic details, especially iri ‘‘ie noble towers. There- are few groups of buildings anywhere so pleasing to the eye, or that appeal more strongly to one’s sense of dignity and beauty.
The Parliament buildings proper provide accommodation for the Senate and the House of Commons, and the library is so near as to form a portion of them. The eastern, western, and southern blocks are departmental buildings, and enclose a vast quadrangle which is laid out in walks, and drives, and spacious lawns. Drives and walks also encircle the buildings, and one of the latter is the famous lovers’ walk -
– That is what we want.
– I was sure that would suit Senator Styles. The quotation continues - which is carried along among the rocks and trees upon the side of the high cliff overlooking the river, and affords a lovely promenade nearly half-a-mile in length. The grounds occupied “by the national buildings are some 30 acres in extent, and on three sides commands views up and down the river, with the wooded Laurentian Hills in the distance. The terrace, which sweeps round the north side of the Parliament buildings and library, goes to the very edge of the cliff, and affords a prospect of unrivalled beauty.
When reference is made to the area which should be acquired, I may remind honorable senators that the National Park, attached to the city of Ottawa, is r.773 square miles in extent. I find also that the National Park of Canada, known as Banff Park, has an area of 5,000 square miles. Yet, here, honorable senators talk of establishing the Federal Capital on a little ten-mile block. It is ridiculous to suggest such an area for such a purpose. We have some honorable senators, from New South Wales, contending that a square mile or two more than the area mentioned in the Constitution would be sufficient. Recognising, as I do, the amount of money which must be spent on the Capital, I should not be prepared to vote for the expenditure of a pound until I was quite sure that we should secure an area that would justify the expenditure necessary, if we are to have a Federal Capital worthy f the name.
– It should not be less than 5,000 square miles in extent.
– Five thousand square . miles would be little enough, and .100 square miles is so unreasonably small an area that I am sure the people of New South Wales, if appealed to, would be willing to give us the area for which I hope we shall ask, at least 5,000 square miles. I have been told by members of the New South Wales State Parliament that they would not be afraid to contest any constituency in that State in support1 of the grant of a much larger area than is mentioned in the Constitution.
– Why cannot the Ministry whom the honorable senator supports write to the Government of New South Wales’ to find out what thev will be prepared to give us?
– I take it that the passage of this Bill is the necessary initial step, and we must first of all settle on the district in which the Federal Capital is to be situated. It would be of no use to negotiate with the Government of New South’ Wales for the area required before we had agreed on the district in which it was to be selected. I remind honorable senators that the selection of the district will have a great deal to do with the area which can be acquired. It would be more difficult to secure 1,000 square miles in the Tumut district than it would be to secure 5,000 square miles in the district of Southern Monaro.
– No, it would not.
– The difference in the value of land in the two districts is the best proof of what I say.
– There is a large area of Crown land around Batlow.
– So much of it that it is stacked up, and you slip off it now and again.
– The Crown lands in the Tumut district are of very little use, or they would have been settled before now.
– There has been no railway communication.
– Railway communication has “been provided not so very far from. Tumut. There is good land in the Southern Monaro district, and especially at Delegate. The land about Dalgety is somewhat inferior. A good return could be secured from land in the neighbourhood of Delegate, and we should have something to compensate us for money spent in that district should the Federal Capital be located there. The suggestion that we should spend millions of money in any district in New South Wales, in order merely to enable a few landholders in the adjoining State to benefit by our expenditure, is one which I am satisfied the people of Australia will not entertain for a mo- ‘ ment. I arn prepared to support the Government in the proposal they have made, but I am sorry they have reduced the minimum area to that mentioned in the Bill. I think Senator McGregor’s proposal in the last Parliament was a more satisfactory one than that which he has submitted on this
Occasion. However, that is a matter which we can remedy in Committee, and I merely Say now that I shall never agree to the expenditure of public money to the extent which will be necessary, unless we can secure a suitable area.
– I think that the people of New South Wales have just cause to complain of many of the statements which have been made in the Senate in regard to their State. New South Wales has always been the State of the open door. Her people have always been friendly with the people of the neighbouring States. I do not know of any occurrence in the past history of that State which, in any way, justifies the slurs which from time to time have been .cast upon New South Wales by honorable senators. I do not know of any reason why any member of the Federal Parliament should hesitate to accept a Capital site, which will be wholly enclosed in New South Wales. The people of that State are as loyal Australians as can be found anywhere, and the idea that we require a sort of covered channel of communication to the Federal Capital is absurd. I should like to offer one remark about the provision in the Constitution requiring that the Federal Capital shall be in New South Wales. Senator Styles has spoken of it as a bribe. If it was a bribe, I remind the honorable senator that it is Victoria that has been guilty of the bribery.
– I said that I did not believe that my fellow countrymen across the Murray would look for a bribe.
– I pass that by. If it can be shown that any just reason exists why the Federal Capital should not be in New South Wales, or that that section was, in any shape or form, either a bribe or a mistake, honorable senators can rely on me to do what I can to have it repealed.
– It was a compromise.
– I do not rely on that section in the Constitution when I ask for a fulfilment of the arrangement. Looking at Australia as a whole, we find that for years past, and at the present time - and probably it will be so for years to come - the population centre is in New South Wales.
– And in the future the drift will be towards Queensland.
– Since I spoke last year some new senators have come into the House, and I should like very briefly to repeat what I then said on this question. The first complete census of Australia was made in 1861, and from the figures I find that the latitude of the centre of the population was then in the neighbourhood of Albury. The census .cif 1901 showed that the latitude of the centre of population had shifted north 125 miles, and was, in fact, somewhere in the neighbourhood of Lyndhurst. If the population goes north at the same rate, it will, in the course of another twenty-five or thirty years, be in the centre of New England.
– In that case, the Capital ought ‘to be in New England twenty-five or thirty years hence, and we are doing wrong in selecting a site further south.
– The western sites are as far south as the Federal Capital ought to be. I am now discussing the right of New South Wales to have the Capital within her borders, and the figures and facts connected with the population show that this section in the Constitution is not a concession, but the recognition of a right,
– No one disputes that.
– But that is disputed.
– The section was put in as a compromise, which gives New South Wales a right.
– Statements have been made to the effect that New ‘ South Wales has sought, and is seeking, for something to which she is not entitled - that she has been guilty of some sharp practices.
– New South Wales adopted one way to get what she certainly would have got, under better conditions, another way.
– I do not know that. I do not think it can be denied that New South Wales has always been the State with the “ open door “ - that New South Wales has always been friendly with all theStates, and that she is not only the mother State, but the State with the largest population. Seeing that to-day she is, and for many years to come must be, the centre of population, where should’ the Capital site be selected? A few days ago I saw in the newspapers a letter giving, the size of certain potatoes and pears grown at Batlow. I do not say that these features ought to be forgotten, but the great and’ overwhelming consideration is to obtain a Capital site to which all can readily obtainaccess. Bombala, which is favoured by many, is far away from the centre of population ; indeed, the centre of population is yearly becoming more distant from that point. Senator Styles spoke of Sydney being the centre for certain parts of Australia, and of Melbourne being the centre for certain other parts j but it can readily be seen that the time is coming when people who desire to get from Queensland, South Australia anr! Western Australia, to the centre of Australia, will travel through neither Sydney nor Melbourne. A continuation of the railway from what is known as Werris Creek to the western line of New South Wales would convey’ people from Brisbane to the western site in less time than is now required to go to Sydney.
– Which western site?
– Any one of the sites. As to South Australia, it is only necessary to continue the railway from Broken Hill to Cobar in order to afford ready access to the centre of population in New South Wales. It is only a question of a little time before these two railway extensions will be made.
– But the link is ,not complete - there is no railway from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie..
– Do honorable senators realize that Kalgoorlie is in the same latitude as New England in New South Wales? I am sure that honorable senators scarcely know how far north the important centres of population in Western Australia are. Undoubtedly a railway will in the future be built across Australia; and then, I am sure, members of the Commonwealth Parliament and visitors will not care to travel by sea to Melbourne, and thence to a place like Bombala. We must have regard not only to the facts as we find them to-day. but to the development which is going m before our eyes.
– The honorable senator seems to be making out a splendid case for a reasonable delay.
– Not at all. I cannot but congratulate Senator McGregor on his -recantation Or repentance. On the 15th October last Senator McGregor, speaking in the Senate, said -
To my mind, it would be in the interests of Australia, and in nowise prejudicial to the individual States of Victoria or New South Wales, to acquire an area considerably in excess of 1,000 square miles.
– I say so still.
– The honorable senator went on -
I am about .to make a proposal - not with the intention of delaying the selection of a site, or of doing anything to aggravate the people o’f New South Wales - that we should acquire a large territory …. It comprises the Riverina and the district eastward to the sea. I think that the Federal territory should take in not only Tumut, Batlow, Yarrangobilly, and several other places which have been referred to as an inducement to the selection of a certain site, but the whole area between the 35th parallel of latitude and the Victorian border. The Murrumbidgee would form the northern and western boundary, whilst the territory would be bounded on the south, and slightly to the west, by the Murray. That would mean an area of about 20,000 square miles.
I congratulate the Vice-President of the Executive Council on his having repented of this . proposed dismemberment of ‘New South Wales.
– I have not repented.
– I did not have the pleasure of hearing the honorable senator speak the other day, but I have read his remarks, in which he expressed the opinion that the area ought to consist of 5,000 square miles. It will be seen that he dropped from 20.000 square miles to 5,000 square miles, while in the Bill only 900 square miles is mentioned. Such a reduction is very considerable, and shows the sobering effect of official responsibility. It would be very desirable if we could have fourteen Cabinet Ministers in the Senate, because we should then have that number of gentlemen experiencing all the sobering influences of responsibility, which could not fail to be in the interests of the prosperity of the Commonwealth.
– The honorable senator means fourteen members of the Labour Party.
– I did not say so. Very exaggerated ideas are entertained by some persons on the subject of unearned increment. We have heard of unearned increment where people are able to buy land ; but if we erect a Federal Capital, and warn all the world that not one single acre, yard, or foot may be privately owned, that will practically be a notice, which will be accepted, to keep away. The majority of people who desire to settle, want land in order to make homes for themselves ; they wish to go somewhere where they can assist in raising the value of land and obtain advantage thereby. I am afraid that, in the Federal Territory, under circumstances such as have been foreshadowed, the growth of population and the unearned increment will be exceedingly small for many long years to come. About three months ago I told the people of New South Wales that I had a great deal of sympathy with those who hold that we ought to have some idea about the expenditure necessary in connexion with the Federal Capital. I said, on that occasion, that the people of New South Wales had not quite appreciated the strength of feeling in favour of economy which was to be observed in the various other States, and I pointed out that it was the duty of all interested to have the negotiations smoothly conducted. I :have every sympathy with those who say that we ought to know where we are going in this matter. I do not believe that we ought 10 select a site, and then regard that, as settling the question for years to come; that would be a fraudulent settlement of the question. On the other hand, I do not believe in our raising up a city without having any idea -as to what we are going to do thereafter. I added, on the occasion referred to, that, in mv opinion, it was very desirable that buildings of a moderate character should be erected for the accommodation of the Parliament and its officers, and that, after a while, these buildings might stand as a suburb of the city finally to be built. I have gone further than that, and have discussed the matter with a well-known New South Wales ^banker. My idea is that £500,000 might suffice for years to come for all the needs of this Federal Capital, and I asked the banker whether he thought it was possible to arrange for raising the money. As a New South Welshman, I am prepared to limit the proposal to that extent. I think it would be very desirable for whatever Government deals with this matter to look at it from beginning to end, and put solid proposals before Parliament, not only as to the site, but as to what is to be done when the site is selected, to meet the wants of the Federal Parliament for some years to come. That would be a statesmanlike position. I deprecate the views of Senator Dobson, and do not, like him, advocate what tends to delay or to defeat the intentions of the Bill. But, at the same time, his objections with regard to expenditure ought to be met, and I am prepared, as one New South Wales senator, to meet them.
– Is the honorable senator prepared to meet them by voting for Senator Dobson’s amendment?
– It is not very likely. Senator Dobson wishes to put the Bill in the waste-paper basket for the present.
– At all events, until I get the information which Senator Pulsford says I ought to have.
Senator- PULSFORD. - As we have the Bill before us now, we should vote upon it. We ought at once to proceed with the selection of the Federal Capital, and then make some temporary arrangements by building in what will ultimately be the suburbs of the Federal City. That is a reasonable proposal. We should then have buildings which would be suitable for the meeting of one House of thirty-six members, and another of seventy-two members, which buildings would become very useful for public purposes in the suburbs of what would ultimately be as fine a city as our means would enable us to erect. Some such understanding as that could be arrived at, although it need not be embodied in this Bill. It might be taken for granted that something of the kind was to follow, and that the arrangements were to be on such lines as I have indicated.
– I have very few remarks to make on the second reading of the Bill. I shall defer further observations as to the locality until we reach the Committee stage. But I should like to say something on the general question, in reply to some arguments which have been advanced. I do not think that any one of us doubts for a moment that the honorable and learned senator who has moved the amendment is heart-whole in his objection to the projected selection of site, and the building of the Federal Capi-t’al. We know very well that Senator Dobson has been a straight-out and fearless opponent of every proposal for the selection of the capital site. But we cannot allow him to assume that he alone has a regard for the financial situation of the Commonwealth and its component parts. I believe that other honorable senators have jus; as much regard for the financial needs of the State they represent as Senator Dobson has. His object is to defer the selection” of the she for an indefinite time. There is one phase of the question to which he might very well have addressed himself. The Government of New South Wales has locked up from settlement a number of areas, until the Capital site is chosen.
– I did deal with that. I showed how easy it would be to make use of ‘those areas.
– It seems to me that that is an important phase of the question. Here is a State in which, according to the Constitution, the Federal Capital must be located. The Government of that State has reserved from selection areas of Crown land in the neighbourhood of sites, one of which is likely to be chosen. Those areas have been tied up for something like three years. According to the argument of Senator Dobson they should be tied up for an indefinite period.
– It is a pity that the New South Wales Government did not tie up a great deal more land.
– I agree with the honorable senator. But in fairness to New South Wales, we should not delay the settlement of this question any longer than is necessary.
– Does the honorable senator think that New South Wales is losing anything by locking up that land ?
– I think it is probable. The New South Wales senators know better than I do, but I think it likely that New South Wales has lost, and is losing, money in consequence of the land in question having been kept out of occupation. I oppose the idea that Senator Dobson is especially the advocate of economy in this Senate.
– That is the honorable senator’s idea, not mine.
– He appears to think that none of the senators, who are anxious to have this question settled, have any regard for economy. I, on the contrary, am satisfied that every other honorable senator is just as anxious as Senator Dobson is. while adhering to the terms of the Constitution, to act consistently with his duty to the State which he represents. Every honorable senator is anxious to consider the finances not only of his own, but of all the” States. It seems to me to be very likely that the site chosen will be somewhere in the Southern Monaro district. Even if it is to be in the Tumut district - say, at Batlow - assuming that we can get the 900 square miles, which we want, I do not think that the Commonwealth will be making a bad bargain financially. I may say that I would not consent to spend a single penny on the Federal Capital unless we could get a very large area.
– -Say 300 square miles.
– I am glad that the honorable senator has agreed to extend the area to that degree.
– I said so last year.
– It might be well to defer the settlement of the matter for a few years longer. Senator Walker might then come up to our opinions. I do not think ihat the people of New South Wales are behind the Parliament of that State in objecting to the Commonwealth having so large an area. Whether the Capital be in the neighbourhood of Batlow, or in Southern Monaro - preferably at Dalgety - is it not almost a certainty that when we select a site, and the railway is constructed, a great deal of the land which is now lying idle will be brought into cultivation? Is it not a certainty that land which is now used merely for feeding stock will be brought into closer settlement? In view of our experience of land settlement in the other States, there is a probability that the land which we acquire - whether it be Crown land or purchased land - will develop in value within a very few years. If we acquire 900 square miles, it will mean 576,000 acres. Supposing that half that area is what I may call “useable” land - .say, land of first, second, or third class quality. That means that in a few years 288,000 acres will be used. I do not think that it is taking a very optimistic view, or indulging in hopes for an extravagant increase of value, if we say that that land” will increase up to say £2 per acre in value.
– That is putting it very mildly.
– Of course I am speaking of what is likely to happen within a few years - perhaps in five or even ten years. If in that time we could get an increase in the value of that land of £2 per acre, that in itself would be a very good bargain for the Commonwealth. It would represent a profit which the Commonwealth had made of over £500,000, assuming that every acre was purchased land, and also assuming that one-half of the Capital area was totally valueless, except as a catchment area. Accepting that calculation the Commonwealth Government would have made a very good bargain indeed. But, of course, the land acquired by the Commonwealth is not to be sold.
– We should be in our own home, and should not be regarded as interlopers.
– Well, I do not think that the Victorian Parliament hasdone anything to make us think that it regards us as interlopers. The Victorian people have been exceedingly kind to us. They have behaved in an extremely generous manner.
– I say nothing of the Victorian people. I was speaking of certain persons in authority in Victoria.
– We cannot make the Victorian members of Parliament bear the responsiblity for the utterances of a few. I am aware that some hard things have been said of the Federal Parliament and Federal members by some leading persons in Victoria. One leading man has even gone so far as to call Federal members “guttersnipes.” But we need not trouble about that. It is not the intention of the Federal Parliament to sell one acre of the Federal territory. But even taking the rental value, the figures which I have used are a very fair basis, and assuming that we intended to purchase the land and re-sell it, we should make a profit of £500,000. We should make the same profit proportionately on a rental basis. Another argument is that we are now paying rent for our Commonwealth offices, and we know that that rent is largely based on the ground value of the land on which the buildings are standing in Melbourne. Senator Dobson wishes to alter the Constitution so as to allow the Capital to be alternately in Melbourne and Sydney for ten years. But that proposal means that we would continue to be the guest of Victoria for ten years, and then become the guest of New South Wales for a similar term. If the Capital were to be alternately in Melbourne and Sydney for ten years, and we were to erect our own buildings, what would become of the cry about the extra expense of building the Capital now ? If we had to erect, in Melbourne or Sydney, the necessary offices for the administration of the Departments, we should have to pay hundreds of pounds per foot for the land. But we propose to go into our own territory, where the land will be valued at so many shillings per acre instead of so many hundred pounds per foot. I hope that the Federal Parliament will never sanction the erection of extravagant buildings. It is not to be supposed, however, that the Parliament House of the Commonwealth will be very much smaller or meaner-looking than the Parliament House of any State. The same remark will apply to the design of the administrative buildings. There is no doubt that this argument of expense appeals very largely to a majority of the electors outside New South Wales. But while it is a very strong argument, it is one which, I think, ought to be met with every fair argument, instead of being pandered to as some honor able senators try to pander to it. We ought to say that we intend either to keep the bargain made with New South Wales, in a fixed time, or to ask the people of Australia by referendum to alter the Constitution and break the compact that was made with New South Wales. I hope that the amendment will be defeated, and that within the next few hours the site of the Federal Capital will be chosen, so far as the Senate is concerned.
– Whilst I have not made up my mind as to what site I shall vote for, I have definitely made up my mind to try, if possible, to secure for the Federal Territory an area of at least 5,000 square miles. Believing, wholeheartedly, in reserving the land for the people, and desiring to secure as much as possible of the unearned increment as far as land values are concerned, for the whole of the Commonwealth, I intend to move certain amendments when we get into Committee. Last week certain honorable senators took exception to the proposed area of 900 square miles, and asked what was intended to be done with that extent of territory. Well, for my part, I am desirous of seeing land reserved for a national theatre, where encouragement shall be given to Australian artists, literary men, and playwriters. I am also desirous of seeing land reserved for a national arsenal, a national small-arms factory, a national public house, and a national clothing factory. I hope that, in the course of a few years, the tobacco, cigar, and cigarette industry will be nationalized, and that space will be reserved in the Capital area for the industry. To every observing man the advantages of the collective ownership of land, as opposed to the private ownership of land, are apparent. There are many senators who hold the idea that land decreases in value. In this city, certain lands have decreased in value, but they had fictitious values. Probably they have now reached their real values.
– Just as the mines on the Slock Exchange fall in value?
– Yes. As an evidence of community-created values, let me mention that a little over sixty years ago, four blocks of land in Melbourne were sold by the Crown at public auction for £1,073, a”d that three or four years ago that land was valued by a gentleman capable of estimating its value at £5,33I>000In all probability in sixty years’ time the National Capital area will have a very large population. Every increase in the population will increase the value of the land, and if the land belongs to all the citizens of the Commonwealth they will receive that advantage. Senator Dobson asked the other day for some concrete example of the advantages of the collective ownership of land, as against the private ownership of land. We need not go outside this State. In .1846 the corporation known as the Melbourne City Council claimed from the Government as a Crown grant the block of land which is bounded by Collins-street, Market-street, Little Flinders-street, and William-street. They decided not to sell the land, but to erect buildings to the value of abou: £30,000, and to let the remainder on building leases to a Mr. Miller, who, I understand, erected buildings to the value of about £70,000. About two years ago his lease expired, and all the buildings, together with the enhanced value of the whole of the land, belong to the city council - in other words, ‘to the taxpayers of the city- The city council drew from that property a rental of about £8,000 in 1902, and a rental of £7,700 last year. Bendigo furnishes another splendid example. Many years ago its city council obtained from the Government a block of land at Charing Cross, Pall Mall. They decided not to sell the land, but to le; it on building leases, and buildings were erected thereon. Two years ago the leases of the lands expired, and property valued at £24,000, and yielding a rental of -£2,000 a year, now belongs to the city council. In every State in the Commonwealth, and in almost every country in the world, the evils of the private ownership of land are manifesting themselves. In New Zealand we find splendid examples of land being granted to applicants on leases in perpetuity. These leases for 999 years are meeting with general approval. When Senator Millen was speaking the other day he said that there had been as yet no revaluation in connexion with the leases, and that when one was made the probability was that strong exception would be taken to the leasing system. I may inform the honorable senator, who is not present at this moment, that there is no re-valuation so far as those leases are concerned’.
– That was the mistake made in connexion with it.
– Yes ; and the strong argument which is used by advanced democrats in. New Zealand is that these leases are obtained at a certain price, and no matter what amounts are expended by the Government in constructing railways and building bridges, and thus enhancing the value of the lands, they are not revalued, and no additional taxation is imposed on the lease-holders. Recently the Premier of Western Australia urged strong reasons in favour of the nationalization of land. Speaking at Fremantle on the 6th April last on his policy, Mr. James said -
Long leases would be sold of town-site blocks, which would give security of tenure, and at the same time secure to the State, after a time* a constantly increasing revenue in the shape of portion of the unearned increment, which now went into the pockets of private indi* victuals.
The proposed area of 900 square miles for the Federal territory is wholly inadequate. . I think that the Senate would be wise, and that future generations would see the wisdom which it manifested at this period of its existence, if it carried the amendment I intend to submit later on to provide that the area shall be not less than 5,000 square miles. That area belonging to all the citizens of the Commonwealth, would perhaps in the course of half a century yield rentals sufficient to meet the expenditure that would be incurred in connection with the Commonwealth Government.
– I think that the remarks made by Senator Dobson, however they may be’ disagreed from by honorable senators, fairly echo the present opinions of his constituents. I make that statement quite frankly, although I do not intend to support his amendment. I differ from my honorable friends on your right, sir, because I do not always believe that the voice of public opinion should be followed by a person placed in a responsible and representative position. I know that the people of Tasmania generally are. under the impression that if we now decide on the location of the Federal Capital site that decision will be immediately followed by some very rash and extravagant expenditure. That is their real dread, but whatever their opinion may be, it seems to ma that Tasmania, as one of a number of States, made a fair and honorable compact, with New South Wales, and that the keeping of that compact ought not to be delayed. Apart from that consideration, there is a business aspect to be considered. Inasmuch as we are to get practically for nothing a certain area of land so far as it is owned by the State, it stands to reason, that it would be a good business thing for us to select the area while we have the largest possible amount of territory to select from, and not to delay the selection until we shall have to purchase from private owners the land which, so far as it is State-owned, can now be got for practically nothing. I regret very much that in this matter the Government have followed the example of their predecessors, which, in my opinion, was not a good one.
– Was not the honorable senator a supporter of the previous Government ?
– I did net come into the Senate as the supporter or opponent of any Government, and we have enough of party government elsewhere. What we have a right to expect from the Government is a decision by that body on important matters which are submitted to the Senate. The previous Government contained a member for Bombala, and a member for Tumut who, I believe, tried to be a member for another possible site at the same time. Possibly other members of the Government represented other localities. Honorable gentlemen occupying a position as members of His Majesty’s Government ought to be members for Australia, and not for any particular district. One of the great features of the present Government Party is that they agreed upon- principles and upon important measures, and vote en bloc for whatever the majority decides in favour of. I do not know that that is justifiable in the case of private members, but it is a principle which should rule in the Cabinet, and honorable senators and honorable members of another place had, I think, a right to expect that the honorable gentleman intrusted with the responsibility of Government should have accepted it fully, and have been prepared to recommend the selection of a particular site to the Federal Parliament as the best that could be selected.
– The honorable senator does not believe in a number of parties in Parliament, and yet he desires to make this a party question.
– The honorable senator is misconstruing what I said. This is not a party question, but it will be admitted that the question of where the Federal Capital shall be situated is of vital importance. However, we are left to the guidance of honorable senators who are personally, or politically, interested, and must form our own judgment upon the information supplied to lis. I have no doubt honorable senators will do so as conscientiously
as they can. I do not propose to support the amendment moved by Senator Dobson, but I shall vote for the second reading of the Bill, as a mere affirmation on the part of the Senate of our preference for a particular site, and as a compliance with the contract into which we have entered with New South Wales. It appears to me that Senator Symon’s contention was unanswerable. The selection of an area or territory of 100 square miles, or an area approximating thereto, is our right, but the selection of any larger area and the conditions under which it shall be ceded to the Commonwealth by New South Wales, it seems to me, are matters for negotiation. I should like to see the reference to the area to be acquired eliminated from this Bill, and that it should be made a measure simply affirming the view of the Senate that the site selected for the Federal Capital should be Bombala, Dalgety, Tumut, or whatever other site may be decided on. If we do that, and then empower the Government to negotiate, it seems to me that they will be able later on to put before us a great deal of information which Parliament has a right to expect from them, and which has not been furnished .during the present debate.
– What information is that ?
– 1 can tell the honorable senator. I admired very much the speech delivered by his honorable colleague in introducing the Bill. It showed a great deal of historical research, and was very interesting^ but from a business aspect I think it failed to a large extent. Wherever we decide to construct the Federal Capital a. certain amount of railway construction must be undertaken, and Senator McGregor failed to indicate by whom it would be undertaken. He did not ‘ state that the Federal Government should undertake the construction of the necessary connecting links between the Federal Capital and existing States railway systems. If, for instance, the Capital were to be situated at Bombala, it would reqiuire to be connected with Cooma, in New South Wales, and with Bairnsdale, in Victoria. The construction of the connecting lines would involve nearly £2,000,000, and it is this consideration which has lead to the idea that great extravagance is intended in connection with the Federal Capital.
– Those are not ques tions involved in the selection of a site.
– They are so closely associated with it that we have a right to hear the- views of the Government upon them. When we go back to our constituents they may say - “You selected Bombala ; how are you going to get there ?’ ‘
– The Government will not select Bombala.
– I presume that were Bombala selected, the selection would be as much the selection of the Government as it would be my selection.
– No; it would be the selection of the Federal Parliament.
– I have already said that in my opinion the Government are evading their responsibilities in not recommending to Parliament the selection of a particular site. As Parliament has had thrown upon it the duty of selecting the sites, we should be told what is to be done with respect to the expenditure necessary to connect the Federal Capital with the States railway systems. If we make the connecting railways ourselves, will they be constructed through Federal or State territory ?
– Surely that is a matter for negotiation and agreement.
– Exactly so; but we should know something about what is intended.
– No business man would go on with the matter without that information.
– Another thing which I desire to know is whether it is proposed that we should create a new State ? We should have heard more about that. In place of the Commonwealth securing as much territory as the people of New South Wales chose to give us beyond that to which we are entitled under the Constitution, it is proposed that we should acquire a very large territory. I do not think that we require a very large territory.
– What area does the honorable senator think we should acquire ?
– I do not indicate the area, because I think it would be foolish for us to say how much or how little is required to establish a city, or to create a new State. I say that we should know what the intention of the Government is. The Vice-President of the Executive Council has intimated that he thinks we should acquire 5,000 square miles, but he has not told us the purpose for which that area would be required. If the intention is to create a new State, we should have heard a great deal more about it, because, if there is one thing more than another in connexion with which the States are protected by. the Constitution, it is the creation of new States.
– Is the honorable senator’s objection to a territory within a territory ?
– I say that the matter is of so much importance that we should know what is the intention of the Government regarding it. If the Government propose to acquire a great deal more territory than is necessary for the establishment of the Federal Capital, the Senate is entitled to know what purpose the Government have in view. The question has been raised whether we have the right, in an Act of this Parliament, to declare the area of territory we require. O.n that point I am prepared to take the advice of honorable senators who have given more study to the Constitution than I have.. It would appear that the Government, in asking for a large area, have some other object in view, in addition to the establishment of the Federal Capital. I am not saying whether they are right or wrong, but if that is their intention, we should know it. I call the attention of honorable senators to section 122 of the Constitution, which provides -
The Parliament may make laws for the government of any territory surrendered by any State to, and accepted by, the Commonwealth, or of any territory placed by the Queen, under the authority of, and accepted by, the Commonwealth, or otherwise acquired by the Commonwealth -
The Commonwealth has power to acquire territory only for Commonwealth purposes, and it will naturally have power to govern its own territory ; but we have not the right, as a Commonwealth Parliament, to acquire as much of the territory of a State as we please. We must show some good reason for demanding the acquisition of territory.
– Who is to decide the point ?
– I presume that the High Court would decide it if it ever arose. The section continues - and may allow the representation of such territory in either House of the Parliament to the extent and on ‘the terms which it thinks fit.
It seems to me that that section permits the Federal Parliament to create a State subject to certain conditions ; but if honorable senators will look a little further on they will find that section 124 provides - .
A new State may be formed by separation, of territory from a State, but only with the consent of the Parliament thereof.
– Surely that is a matter for negotiation and agreement.
– That is so; and yet, before there has been any negotiation or agreement, the members, of the present Government indicate that they are willing to vote for the acquisition of 5,000 square miles of territory.
– That would not be a new State. What is the difference between a State and a Territory ?
– The difference is very plain. A State is entitled to be represented in the Senate, whilst a Territory is not.
– Then no one has made any such proposal, or hinted at such a thing.
– Will Senator Mulcahy read the first part of section 125.
– It is a fine thing to set up a straw “man, because it is so easy to knock him down again.
– I wish that Senator de Largie would not be quite so cynical. I am hot setting up anything but what I believe to be right. Senator Dawson has asked me to read the first part of section 125. It is as follows: -
The Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be determined by the Parliament, and shall be within territory which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth. , ‘
What is the honorable senator’s contention with respect to that ?
– I contend that we have power under that section to acquire that territory for our sole purposes.
– I admit that ; but I think we might have been taken into the confidence of the Government, and they might have told us what they propose to do in the matter of private ownership -within the territory which we shall select for the purposes of the Federal Capital. There may be, and very probably will be, two or three villages within the area acquired, and there may be a number of small blocks owned by settlers. Is it proposed to take the land from those people?
– They will be bought out.
– Is it proposed that we shall take away the little homesteads of these people whether we require them or not?
– Compensation will be given if we want the land.
– I am not aware that there is any proposition to steal the land.
– I can give the honorable senator my positive assurance, as Minister of Defence, that I have no intention of sending a contingent to deprive anybody, of their holdings.
– That is very satisfactory, but, at the same time, it is no answer to the charge that we have not been made sufficiently acquainted with the Government’s intentions on this important point.
– The order of leave will have to be extended if all these particulars are to be inserted in the Bill.
– I do not want the particulars inserted in the Bill, but we certainly ought to have more information. If the Bill simply affirms that a certain site is the most desirable, and does no more, I can heartily support the measure. If we can get a larger area than 100 square miles from the Government of New South Wales, I shall be very glad. And now I desire to say a few words on the question of the unearned increment. I should like to see the State or the people get the benefit of the values which they, have created. As to the method by which that may be brought about, there are differences of opinion. There are differences of opinion whether we should grant perpetual leases, or leases for ninety-nine years, or certain shorter leases with the right of purchase; and whatever may be the best business way - by that I mean the best for the whole people of Australia - I shall strongly favour. I know that there will be much discussion on this point, and very conflicting opinions advanced ; but I have seen land, even in an ephemeral township, enhanced enormously in value by the fact that a comparatively few people intended to settle there. I can see that when we do commence the building of, what must ultimately become an important city*though that may not result for a good manyyears - we shall commence to create values in land, the benefit of which should in the greater proportion be enjoyed by the State. I do not believe in altogether wiping out private individual enterprise. We have to consider human nature, one of the most universal features of which is the desire to own a piece of land. The greatest land nationalizer would like a piece of land which he could call his own.
– A lease for 999 years would practically make the land the individual’s own.
– So I should think. In this matter we should pay some regard to the State from which we get the territory. Whatever may be said by some honorable senators, a condition was imposed by New South. Wales, for what? For the benefit of New South Wales; and if we have accepted that contract we must respect it, and, other things being equal with regard to the Commonwealth, consider what may suit that State. If we can do anything which, while not being mischievous in regard to Federal matters, will be beneficial to New South Wales, we should do it.
– The real spirit of the contract is that the territory selected shallbe within the sphere of influence of New South Wales, as against the influence of other portions of Australia.
– The Federal Capital area will not only be within the borders of New South Wales, but will naturally lead to the creation of a centre of population, and provide a market for the producers of that State.
– The Capital must be within the sphere of influence of New South Wales if it is within that State.
– I do not know that we can prevent the Federal Capital being within the sphere of influence of New South Wales. We cannot have the Federal Capital on the ocean. I do not know whether Senator de Largie is raising any objection to the Federal Capital being within the sphere of influence of New South Wales.
– It is a fact to be considered.
– If we churlishly tried to deprive New South Wales of a certain amount of benefit which would accrue from the establishment of the’ Capital, we should be doing an unjust thing, although I know that we have, first of all, to consider the rights of the Commonwealth. A great many honorable senators have referred to the merits of the various sites ; but that is a matter which had better be left for discussion in Committee. I say frankly that, although I have read a good deal of what has been published, I do not think any one would suffer if the actual settlement of the site were not hurried at the Committee stage. I am not going to ask as a favour to be given an opportunity to see the various places, but 1 should like the Senate to have plenty of time to discuss the matter, when, possibly, the political clouds, which now hang over us, have disappeared.
– The clouds have gone. .
– I am glad to hear that from the Minister, and it is to be hoped that the clouds will not bank up again in the morning. I have said enough to indicate that I am in favour of selecting the area in fulfilment of an honorable contract. I am also in favour of respecting the rights of the State from which we get the area, and of taking as much land as we can get - that seems only to be good business.
– Is the honorable senator in favour of having a seaport ?
– It seems desirable to have a seaport with easy access to the city.
– Within the terri- tory ?
– I should not like to go that far, because that might mean asking for an unreasonable area of territory. There is no need for haste in the matter, and it would be much better if the Federal Government and the New South Wales Government . were to negotiate and make the best terms for both parties.
It is necessary that whatever benefits accrue from the increase of land values, which must necessarily occur, should absolutely, or as nearly as possible, belong to the Commonwealth. The day will come when the land surrounding the Federal Capital will increase in value. We are not legislating for the present, but for all time. What we do affects future generations. Feeling assured that the prospects before Australia are great in every respect, I recognise that we must conserve the rights of those who are to follow after us. Therefore, it is necessary for us to extend the Capital area to a greater extent than is provided for in the Bill. It has been said, probably with some force, that the Government themselves should clearly indicate their intentions in regard to the Bill. It appears, however, that the Government have submitted it as a non-party measure. It has been accepted as such from the fact that it simply complies with the provision of the Constitution. That being so, the important point is not what is the intention of the Government, but what is the intention of Parliament. I hope that, in dealing with the Bill in Committee, we shall keep before us the necessity of providing for an area such as will reflect the highest credit upon this Parliament, and will provide the essentials necessary to build up, ultimately, a large Capital city, giving to those who live within it such advantages as are enjoyed in the most uptodate cities. It has been suggested by one honorable senator that we should consider the advisability of this Parliament becoming a sort of travelling pedlar, spending a few years in Melbourne, and then going to Sydney for a few years. Probably he might have suggested, as a further recreation, that members of the Commonwealth Parliament should afterwards repair to Perth- for a few years, and have a little taste of the good things that may be enjoyed in Western Australia. Probably, as a Western Australian, I should do well to advocate that idea. I am satisfied that if it were carried out, we should have the aid of the eloquence of the honorable senator who made the suggestion in promoting the establishment of railway connexion between Western Australia and the eastern States, in order to take members of Parliament across safely. The Western Australians may have missed a chance in that respect, but in other respects I intend to support the Bill, and to vote for an amendment in favour pf an extended area.
– I should like to say a few words in connexion with this Bill. I do not wish it to be supposed that I am in the least degree opposed to the principle of the establishment of the Federal Capital. I agree with most honorable senators who have spoken on the subject that it is absolutely incumbent on this Parliament to take some steps to settle the site of the future Federal Capital. But what I do think is that this new Government have, rather unfortunately, and rather slavishly, followed the lines of a Bill which was introduced by the previous Government - a Government which rarely introduced anything in a form in which it was practicable, or should have been introduced. That was our experience of the legislation which they invariably brought forward. I do not wish to take up the time of the Senate in elaborating that point, but I shall come directly to the clauses to which I take exception, arid which I hope to see altered. By any business man this measure would be divided into two Bills. If I wished to build a house for myself on a particularly choice site, or to lay out a city from which I was going to derive a very large profit, I, as a business man, would first of all settle my site, and when that was settled I should then, and only then, commence to negotiate with the owners of the property for such an area as I might consider essential for my purpose. This Bill combines the two operations, and that is where, to my mind, it fatally fails to be of use. The best proof that we can have that it is defective in that respect was furnished by the last speaker, in the expression of his hope that the Federal Capital would have a port. I do not know if he has carefully considered the area necessary to provide a port in the case of each of the proposed sites ; but he would find, if he considered the question, that if any one of certain sites were selected it would be absolutely impossible to obtain a port within any reasonable area, or the area that is mentioned in the Bill.
– That is right.
– Under these circumstances it seems to me that if is absurd to endeavour to fix the area in a Bill before we agree to a site. Let me state my own objection. I am anxious that if a certain site is selected, to wit, a site in Southern Monaro, we should be in touch with the Victorian frontier. There are three sites available, and suggested in that district, but for each an entirely different area would be necessary to attain that purpose. It is,- therefore, impossible for me in Committee to advocate any particular area with any arguments worth using, because in the absence of technical advice, I should be unable to say the exact area that I require, just as Senator Henderson would be equally unable to say the exact area that he required to get contact with a port, if that was considered desirable. My objection is emphasized by the remarks which fell from the Minister of Defence, when Senator Mulcahy was speaking. He pointed out that the Government take no responsibility for the site, and, therefore, the matter is left in a nebulous condition. The point is that the Government take no responsibility for the site, but that the Parliament is to. take that responsibility, and until it has fixed the site, it is imposible for us to discuss the area. To discuss the area we must have technical advice, and our technical advisers must go on to the site, survey it, and take all the local circumstances into account “before they can advise us properly.
– That is what I asked the Government to do in the first Parliament - to get every information for us.
– Undoubtedly the honorable senator was absolutely in the right - I did not happen to be present when the other Bill was debated as I had left the State - and in that case, it is more inexplicable to me that the present Government should have fallen into the same mistake that was made by the previous Government. That is my objection to the Bill as it stands, and I would seriously ask Senator McGregor to take it into account, and, if .he can, to explain how he means to deal with it. This is not a question simply of protecting a catchment area ; it is not a question, as some honorable senators have suggested, of making a fresh State. I do not suppose that any honorable senator who advocates a large area - and I for one believe that a large area is essential to the success df the scheme - desires to make a fresh State. But what we do desire is that from every point of view this Capital shall be situated in a territory that is absolutely suitable for the purpose for which it is intended; and to do that we, as business men, should first of all choose the site, and later on, after we have received proper advice, pass another Bill dealing with the territory.
– I support the second reading of the Bill, which I think is necessary in order to give effect to what is expressed in the Constitution. I know that the feeling in the community is that the Federal Parliament should do something in this direction, so that ‘every person may know exactly what position it means to take up. I do not believe for a moment that this is only to be an expression of opinion with the view of keeping faith with New South Wales. I believethat the Federal Parliament not only intends to keep faith with New South Wales by selecting a site, but will be prepared when the site is chosen, and we have come to an understanding with its Government concerning the area of the territory, to take steps towards establishing its habitation in’ the new Capital. I think that it is a wise idea to keep the political capital of the Federation as far away as we can from the commercial capital of either New South Wales or Victoria. The question of the cost of railway construction has been introduced here. A certain amount of expense may be incurred before we can make the place accessible, especially if it is in Southern Monaro, but I do not think that the Government should be able at this stage to give any information on the cost of providing that accessibility. The Federal Government will not be responsible for any railway that is built outside the Federal territory, and consequently the time when the State Government will be prepared to build the railway to the limit of the Federal territory will be a matter for negotiation between the Governments.
– And between the Federal Government and the Victorian Government as to the railway from this side.
– Yes. ‘ It will rest to a very great extent with the States Governments to say whether they wish the Federal Parliament to take up its habitation in the new Capital or not. After negotiations between the Federal Government and the Government of New South Wales, the latter will be prepared to take their share of the responsibility of extending the railway to the boundary of the Federal territory, and I take it, that in their turn the Federal Government will be prepared to continue the line to the site of the Capital. I am prepared to go even further than the Government in the matter of the site. I hold that the Federal Government should at least have a port in the Federal territory, wherever it may be situated. What has been our experience in the past? We have had a few vessels under an agreement with the old country, and the movements of those few vessels have caused a certain amount of discontent in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide. I believe that there has been a considerable amount of correspondence by the States Governments regarding even the work done on those ships, although they were not under the control of any State, but under independent control. We are responsible for the establishment of a Navy. So far as I know, there is no Government which does not work with its own dockyards, which does not look after its own interests in that respect The Federal
Government should be in a position, I contend, not only to see that their ships are secure, but to do away with all friction between the various capitals. With Federal dock- yards, there ‘ will be no necessity for the Government to put work out here or there, to send a ship to Brisbane, another to Adelaide, and another to Melbourne ; but they will be able to do their own work in their own place. It would be more satisfactory to the States as a whole for the Federal Parliament to have full control of their own work than to have to deal with the States Governments. The old country has a number of dock-yards, every Continental power has a number of dockyards in which it carries out its own work. It is only a week or two since the Senate, by a large majority, passed a resolution ‘ in favour of the Commonwealth establishing iron-works for the purpose of supplying the raw material for work to be carried on here. If the Government - whether they have to amend the Constitution or not - are prepared to go to that extent, then I take it that they will also be prepared to go further, and to carry out the work of building their own ships if necessary. I concur in the view that the land” in the Federal Territory should be held by the Commonwealth, and should not be sold to private people. Whilst it may be said that this view does not find favour with persons desiring to settle on their own freeholds, and to have something, on the security of which they can raise money if they should want to effect improvements - still at the same time we cannot shut our eyes to this fact : that from one end of Australia to the other the feeling is growing that, instead of intending settlers having to put the capital they have at their command into the land before they are able to do anything to produce a living, they should be allowed to pay a nominal rental. They could then use their capital to . the best advantage, whereas now they are too often compelled to practically cripple themselves. In nearly every one of the States, and, certainly, in the State from which I come, the Governments are buying back thousands of acres of land, for the simple reason that while there are millions of acres, probably just as good, at some distance from railway communication, the lands upon which it is possible for men to settle successfully are in the hands of private owners, and must be re-purchased.
– And re-sold.
– That is the weakness of the system.
– That is the cause of its success.
– I do not agree with the honorable senator. The men who have gone on the re-purchased lands have done so under favourable conditions, which have been the cause of the success of the system so far as settlement is concerned. If they had had to go to the persons who owned the land, and put down, in the first instance, a considerable amount of their capital for its purchase, they would not have been able to succeed. Under the system adopted they have been able to keep their capital for the first two years, because during that period they are not required to pay anything to the Government.
– They pay the original deposit.
– They have to pay only a portion of the survey fee.
– They have to pay the original deposit, before they get possession of the land, and then they get two or three years before they are required to make further payments.
– They are allowed two years before they are required to make further payments, and the payment of the purchase money is extended over a term of thirty years. That -is what has enabled people to make a success of settlement on re-purchased lands. Wherever the territory required for Commonwealth purposes is selected, I think it will be necessary that it should contain a considerable amount of good land, and not only of highlands. What I understand is that, in connexion with the Southern Monaro site, it is proposed to take over the control of territory extending down to the sea-coast, and taking in, also, a portion of the highlands, and, if that be the case, we should be able not merely to try an experiment, but, I believe, to make a success of a system which ultimately must extend very greatly in Australia. It is a system which will enable people to make the best use of the land without being obliged to sink all their capital in its purchase before they are in a position to do anything with it. There is perhaps no heed that I should express my opinion as to the site to be selected. I have so far seen only the Southern Monaro sites, but I have secured the reports issued to members of the previous Parliament, and have endeavoured to make myself acquainted with the opinions of men who, I believe, were selec ted to report on the suitability of various sites on account of their special ability for the purpose. So far I must confess that I have not been able to find in any of the reports anything which has led me to change the opinion which I have formed, that the sites in Southern Monaro are the best. The fact that I hold very strongly the_.opinion that the Federal Capital site should be within reasonable distance of the seaboard, and that it is absolutely necessary that there should be a port in the Federal Territory, would incline me to vote for a Southern Monaro site in any case. I shall vote against Senator Dobson’s amendment, and in support of the second reading of the Bill.
– I do not propose to say very much about this matter. Last session I voted for Bombala. I have not made up my mind as to the site which I shall support this session, but it will be the best. When we are considering the Bill in Committee we shall, I hope, receive more information. I do not think it at all necessary that we should have a port in connexion with the Federal Capital. The Capital of the United States has no port, nor has the Capital of Canada, and we know ‘that the capitals of many other countries have no ports connected with them. The Federal authority is not intended to be a producing power, but a governmental power. It is not intended that in the Federal territory we shall produce wheat,’ wine, gold, and such like, and there is, therefore, no necessity that we should have a port connected with the Capital for purposes of trade. I believe that there is no necessity for hurry in the selection of a site. The people of New South Wales, we are given to understand, take a different view, but I can assure them that so far as Victorians are concerned, and I know their opinions, they have never had the slightest intention of proposing any alteration of ‘the section of the Constitution which gives to New South Wales the Seat of the Federal Government. A delay of two or three years, or even of a decade is nothing in the history of a people.
– Does not the honorable senator desire to see the Federal Capital himself?
– I am not very particular about it. I should vote to-morrow for dealing with the question if I thought there was the slightest chance of Sydney being selected as the Federal Capital. I intimated in the Federal Con- vention when the Constitution was being framed that, so far as I was concerned., I had no objection to the parent State having that advantage, if it be an advantage. I do not think there is much advantage in it, though certainly it is convenient for members of the federal Parliament to reside in the State in which the Capital is fixed. It is, however, too late now to talk of giving the position to Sydney, because the Constitution would require to be altered to carry that into effect, and I do not know that there is any very large number of people who are in favour of that suggestion. I am not now so much in favour of the selection of Bombala, as I was last session. I mav say that I did not then vote for Bombala, with the idea that it would be permanently selected as the site of the Federal Capital, because I knew that we should have another opportunity of making a selection. Probably after we have done with this Bill we shall still have a further opportunity of discussing the question, and no harm will be done if we have. We may change our minds again if we are given a further opportunity. It must be admitted that, if Bombala be selected, it will necessitate very heavy expenditure, and as one understanding the Commonwealth and its financial bearings fairly well, I say that we should not be justified in spending a huge sum of money on the Federal Capital at the present time. There are directions in which we could spend money reproductively, but money spent on the Federal Capital would not be reproductive. The idea which has been suggested of borrowing, or, I should rather say, of exacting money from the depositors in banks, is. to my mind an outrageous and monstrous idea.
– A forced loan.
– There is no doubt it would be a forced loan, and that is proposed to provide money to build the Capital.
– Does the honorable senator think that there is anything in the Bill about a forced loan for the Federal Capital ?
– It is not in the Bill, but it is referred to just as the land nationalization scheme has been referred to.
– This Bill contains no provision relating to either subject.
– Bombala- is not in the Bill, and, perhaps we could not refer to that site ?
– There is not much in the Bill. The proper course to pursue in dealing with this question would be for the Government to enter into correspondence with the State Government of New South Wales, and arrange preliminaries with them. They could then introduce a Bill to deal with the matter finally. Do honorable senators believe that the State of New South Wales will be willing to concede 900,000 acres ?
– On what terms?
– The terms in the Bill are that New South Wales must give the land for nothing.
– The terms in the Bill are that the Crown lands must be ceded, but the freehold lands must be purchased.
– The Constitution is nothing to some honorable senators.
– It would appear that it is not, and that they are prepared to wipe it out of existence. Can honorable senators believe thai! the Government of New South Wales will cede nearly 1,000,000 acres of land to the Federal Government when the Constitution exacts from them only 64,000 acres?
– At least 64,000 acres; but perhaps we might find a Capital in some other State.
– I would prefer to buy Tasmania right out as a Federal territory.
– The honorable senator cannot have it.
– The Tasmanian people can utilize their country better than the purchaser would.
– They have not done very much so far. Senator Dobson worked up a pretty big deficit.
– They are going on very well ; but that is beside the matter. If we suppose, for the sake of argument, that we acquired 10,000,000 acres, and settled people on them, giving them perpetual leases, how long would they remain as leaseholders ? I can fancy Senator Dawson on the platform as a candidate seeking the support of a thousand leaseholders in the Federal territory. “ You ought to get your Crown grants for those leaseholds,” is what the honorable senator would probably say.
– That- is what the people are crying out for in New Zealand to-day.
– I was coming to that. In New Zealand they have had the leasehold system, and . there is at this moment a majority in the New Zealand Parliament prepared to compel the Government of that Colony to give Crown grants for their leaseholds.
– The same thing is happening in New South Wales.
– The same thing has happened in Victoria and New South Wales, and it will happen in every country where individuals are placed in a position to force a Government, and the Government is in a position to yield. The leasehold business will not hold water. Every Government that has existed in Australia has given way, and Governments will continue to do so. Where is the wisdom of establishing a system of leasehold when we know that the leaseholders will desire to have a home. It is inherent in the Britisher to demand his freehold - to make his home his castle.
– And when he is offered a better price he sells it.
– And buys another.
– Where are the “ homes “ that were bought in Bourke-street ?
– I know that 46 per cent, of the homes in Victoria are owned by the occupiers, and I wish the figure was 100 per cent.
– Coghlan says that the figure is only 15 per cent.
– Coghlan cannot say that ; I know the statistics of the State very well. I hope that when a site is selected, no lavish expenditure will be entered on, and that the Federal Capital will enjoy a good climate and abundance of water. I am not aware whether the Government has supplied the information which was asked for the other day.
– We have had those reports.
– They have not been distributed.
– At any rate, I have not been supplied with them. Up to the present I have not made up my mind for which site I shall vote, because, before doing so, I wish to have the fullest information. I shall not vote for postponing this question, preferring that it should be dealt with at once.
– On behalf of the Government I have every right to be satisfied with the character of the debate, which has not been conducted in anything like a party spirit; and I believe that, to the finish, fair play will be given, and honorable senators allowed to express their opinions by their votes. When the site isselected I hope the Government - whatever Government may be in power - will take steps to proceed as rapidly aspossible with the creation of the Capital city. I desire to reply to one or two objections raised to the Bill, and also to one or two objections suggested in connexion with the manner ‘m which I introduced it. Senator Symon said that I was entirely wrong about the opinions of the American people as to the area on which Washington is situated; and, of course, Senator Walker had to correct the honorable and learned gentleman’s figures to the extent of three-quarters of a mile. I advise Senator Walker not to be so particular in a .small matter of this description. Some of the rivers in America, in case of flood, have not the slightest compunction in washing away anything from half an acre to five acres of land; and, since Senator Symon made his calculation, a disaster of the kind may have reduced the area to the extent mentioned by Senator Walker The result is that both Senator Symon and Senator Walker may be absolutely correct; and, if both can be correct and differ from eachother, I can be correct and differ from both of them. The statements of Senator Symon were made for the purpose of leading the Senate and the public to believe that the thirty square miles in Columbia was re-ceded because the Federal area was too large. If honorable senators take the trouble to investigate the history of the question they willi find that the reason was nothing of the sort ; and I shall show, in verv few minutes, that my statement with reference to the general regret in the minds of the American people as to the smallness of the area at the Seat of Government, is absolutely correct. At the institution of every Commonwealth, Federation, or other form of Government, thereare many dissatisfied persons; and their dissatisfaction rankles in their minds for years. I hope, however, that past experience will teach the people of Australia not to follow that very bad’ example. From the foundation of Washington up to 1846, there was a continuous attempt to remove the Seat of Government from that place ; and in introducing thisBill’, I indicated how the Seat of the American Government came to be fixed. It was brought about by a combination of parties, who had very little interest in the question- of the Seat of Government, their interest lying principally in accomplishing the assumption of the debts of the States. But the agitation continued up to 1846. We find that a portion of the Columbia area was on one side of the river, and the main portion on the opposite side, and in or about the year mentioned there was an attempt made to remove the Seat of Government. The county of Alexandria, which comprised the thirty square miles re-ceded, was on the opposite side of. the river from, that on which the greater portion, if not the whole, of the Government buildings were situated ; and the residents of that county considered they were being neglected by the Federal authorities, and applied to be incorporated with the State of Virginia. Those who were in favour of removing the Seat of Government seized this opportunity, along with every other that presented itself, for re-ceding this portion of the territory.’ It must be remembered that this took place fifty-eight, years ago, when it was probable that less than 100 square miles would satisfy some of the American people. But in 1892 what do we find? The people in that year had to pay 1,200,000 dollars, equal to £240,000, or £160 an acre, for a piece of ground to form the Rock Creek Park of 1,500 acres. We see that although in 1846 it might be possible to spare a very large slice, it was in 1892 necessary to buy 1,500 acres back, at a cost of £160 an acre. Does’ that not prove that even in 1892 the Columbia district was too small for the purposes of the Government in the United States? And if it was too small in 1892, what will it be twenty or fifty years hence? The people of the United States recognise that they made a mistake, not only in selecting the present site, but in selecting such a small area. A good deal has been said about the unearned increment, but, as you, Mr. President, have correctly pointed out, that question has nothing to do with the Bill, unless in the discussion of the area that ought to be selected or acquired by the Commonwealth for the purpose of establishing the Seat of Government. As to the power of the Commonwealth, I think we have a sufficient authority in Sir Edmund Barton, who, when introducing a similar “Sill in another place, pointed out the probability that the Commonwealth Parliament can acquire the necessary territory. According to section 125, on which this Bill is founded, the Seat of Government is to be fixed by the Parliament of the Commonwealth, and it is to be in an area granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth, in whom it is vested. Surely, if Parliament is to select the site, they have the right to say whether it should be 100, 1,000, or 5,000 square miles? The Commonwealth Parliament has the right to decide as to the suitability of the country in which it proposes to have the Seat of Government. In one place it might be necessary to acquire only fifty square miles, as in the case, for instance, of an island. In another position 100 square miles might do, but, having the power, the Commonwealth Parliament may select a site in such a position that 5,000 square miles would be necessary. I say that under the Constitution the Commonwealth Parliament has a right to acquire or have the land granted ; and section 51, sub-section xxxi., and also sections .111, 122, and 52 give the Commonwealth power to legislate ‘ for territory owned by the Commonwealth.
– Does the honorable senator mean that the Commonwealth has a right to take what land it likes, irrespective 6T the wishes of New South Wales?
– I believe, and even Sir Edmund Barton has stated-
– I want to know what the honorable senator says, and not what Sir Edmund Barton says.
– I believe that the Commonwealth has power to take whatever area it may think necessary.
– Without any limit?
– Yes, so long as it is not less than 100 square miles.
– So long as the area is not less than 100 square miles, the Commonwealth has a right to take as much land as it likes, outside a radius of 100 miles from Sydney.
– Then the Commonwealth may take all New South Wales except that part within the roo mile limit?
– I am not saying this for the purpose of alarming the representatives of New South Wales.
– The honorable senator is by no means alarming us.
-Col. Neild. - We are only amused.
– Honorable senators know very well that the Commonwealth would not attempt to do anything unreasonable, and I believe that the people of New South Wales are also reasonable. When the negotiations are entered into with respect to the territory in which the Seat of Government is to be situated, everything will go on all right. But I wish to point out why, in my opinion, we should have a large territory, if it isto be situated either at Bombala or Dalgety. The first reason is, that we want to secure the advantage of all the unearned increment for the people of the Commonwealth. Then, as the Seat of Government ought to be chosen for its geographical features, and Southern Monaro would provide all the natural features we desire, we should have a large territory so as to include them. The Seat of Government of the Commonwealth ought to attract people from all parts of the world. This is where I disagree with the Prime Minister himself, or with any one else, who says that we ought to put up some buildings of a temporary character, whether at Dalgety, Tumut, or Bombala, in which to carry on the functions of the Government. If we did that, we should be doing what, in many instances, is prohibited in connexion with private property. Suppose a man buys 200 or 300 acres of land in a suburb of a city. He cuts it up into blocks and disposes of it to individuals on certain conditions. He takes very good care, if he has any sense, not to allow the occupier of any one of those suburban blocks to put up a tin shanty that would disgrace the locality and keep others from building there. If we wish to attract population, visitors, and sightseers to the Seat of Government, we must put up buildings in harmony with the dignity of the Commonwealth. If we wish people to come from Melbourne, where they can see such buildings as this, and others in other parts of the city, we must provide something worth looking at. We should go there with the intention of making the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth a place worth while going to see.
– I agree that that cannot be done immediately. But that is the way in which we ought to proceed. That is what was done in Ottawa and in Washington. I have previously explained that at Washington the Federal Government had at first to pay very little for its buildings, because the States of Virginia and Maryland assisted them. They had to pay very little for the land either, because the disposal of one portion of the land paid for the other part. If we want to make the Seat of Government attractive, we must have a large area. We have been told by Senator de Largie, and I find that the statement is quite correct, that in the city of Ottawa there is a public park containing 1,700 square miles. Why should not we have a national park in connexion with the Capital city ? But how could we cram one into 100 square miles? In Sydney they have a national park about twenty miles from the city, containing an area of 36,000 acres. They have another park called Ku-ring-gai Chase, containing 35,000 acres. How can we provide attractions like that in an area of 100 square miles? Is the Capital of the Commonwealth to be less favorably situated with respect to public parks than the city of Sydney? It is also to be remembered that in Australia the flora and fauna are gradually becoming extinct. Just as the black population are vanishing, so are the animals, the birds, and the native vegetation. In the district which I have in my mind, there are thousands of square miles that would be suitable for the establishment of a national park. Instead of that being an injury to New South Wales it would be a distinct benefit to her. The country in Southern Monaro, from the edge of the table-land half-way down to the sea coast, would be splendid for the purpose of protecting the flora and fauna of Australia. Reserves of that kind should not be in close proximity to a large city. They should be twenty or forty miles away, connected by railway with the city, so that the boys could not be continually birds’ -nesting and destroying everything of interest. These are additional reasons for selecting a large area. Further, work like meteorological forecasting requires that we should have within the area a place like Mount Kosciusko, which is, perhaps, the most favorable situation in Australia for such a purpose.
– We should get frost-bitten there.
– If the honorable senator went up to Kosciusko and got frostbitten, the calamity would be deeply regretted by his friends in the Senate. He knows that where meteorological observatories are established the whole population does not go and live there. One or two officers reside there, and they are adequately protected in every way. I am merely showing that all these things should be considered in the laying out of the Federal Territory. Again, in respect of water supply, there is no territory more suitable than that which I have indicated. For the purpose of having the absolute control of the water supply under the Commonwealth Govern- ment, it is necessary to have a large area. The mountain ranges at the back would tend to attract visitors from every part of New South Wales if communication were provided. That brings me to another point - the railways. We are told that railway communication will cost an immense sum.
– Quite right.
– If it would cost an immense amount to build railways, and the country is not worth developing, I should say - “Do not have them.” But there is no portion of that territory that I know of that is not worthy of development by railway communication, whether the Federal Capital is established there or not. Honorable senators are probably aware that the New South Wales Parliament has twice passed an Act for the purpose of carrying the railway from Cooma to Bombala. Probably the fact that the Federal Capital may be located there has prevented the New South Wales people from carrying out their intentions in that respect.
– No;, it is impecuniosity.
– The honorable senator knows the reason for that.
– Of course I do.
– In the other direction - from Bairnsdale to the New South Wales border - I maintain that the country is thoroughly worthy of development. Better authorities than I am have declared as much. The route for that railway has been surveyed. When the survey was made there was no talk of establishing the Commonwealth Seat of Government across the border. Why did the Victorian Government spend money on having three surveys made? Was it not for the purpose of developing that country, independently of whether the Federal Capital was established in the neighbourhood ? If the value of the country was in the minds of the Victorian experts when they recommended surveys, is it not more worthy of development when the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth is established in Southern Monaro? When the railway from Cooma to the Commonwealth territory, and the line from Bairnsdale to the New South Wales border are constructed, the Commonwealth itself will provide railways within its own territory. But the Commonwealth has. no right to be charged with the cost of establishing railway connexion from Bairnsdale to Delegate, or from Cooma to the Federal territory. Those matters affect the States. Honorable senators are aware that it is not within the power of the Commonwealth, except with the consent of the States, to build an inch of railway outside its own territory. But I honestly believe that if the Seat of Government were decided upon and steps were taken for the purpose of establishing it finally, both New South Wales and Victoria, in their own interests, and to develop their own country, would hurry the construction of those lines. They would see which could get there first. Of course New South Wales has a very greatadvantage, but Victoria, with her energy would no doubt soon overtake the larger State. Senator Dobson is continually grumbling. I do not intend to dilate on the necessity for a seaport, although I believe in it myself. It will be time enough when the second reading of the Bill is carried to deal with that. But I cannot help alluding to such grumbling senators as Senator Dobson and Senator Fraser - although I do not put Senator Fraser in the same category with Senator Dobson, with the idea of suggesting that he grumbles half as much. I interjected when Senator Dobson was speaking, that his first attempt to move an amendment, or even the amendment which is now before the Senate, was for the purpose of killing somebody, whilst not being accused of murder and hanged for it. That is, the position in which he puts himself. Senator Fraser and Senator Dobson tell us that before we pass a Bill of this description we ought to negotiate with the New South Wales Government. For the purpose of doing what? The first question that would be asked would be what site do you intend to decide on. There are so many eligible sites in New South Wales that the Government of that State would require to know what site we intended to decide on before they could enter into negotiations with us. These honorable senators remind me of a thoughtful parent ordering a suit of clothes for his child before it is born, when he does not know whether it will need a pair of breeches or a skirt. That is exactly the position they are in. How can we negotiate with New South Wales until we can say - “ This is the place that we wish to negotiate about “ ? It is our duty as a Parliament to pass the Bill, and then to enter into negotiations with New South Wales. I hope that we shall soon get into Committee on the Bill, and when honorable senators get tired of Committee work - I know that many honorable senators wish to have a look at one thing and another elsewhere -
I shall be prepared to report progress. It is the desire of the Government, I may say, that this Bill and the Fraudulent Trade Marks Bill should be carried through the Senate as- speedily as possible. If this Bill is passed, and fair progress is made with the other Bill, seeing that we have only one-half the senators here, and so much time has been wasted in another place, it may be considered advisable to give honorable senators an adjournment rather than to ask them to meet here for one or two days in the week to do only a small amount of business. I think they will all agree that it would be better to have a substantial adjournment, and to come back when they could be fully employed.
– Until Christmas?
– I do not intend to agree to any suggestion of that sort. I hope that the amendment of Senator Dobson will be defeated, and that the Bill will be read a second time, and taken into Committee.
Question- That the word “now,” proposed to be left out, be so left out - put. The Senate divided.
Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment negatived. , Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee :
Clause 1. (Short title.)
– May I ask Senator McGregor whether he intends to proceed with this very important measure, without giving the information which some of us have asked for, and which Senator Pulsford, with a great deal of candour and sincerity, for which I thank him, has said that we ought to have? The senator from New South Wales has at last put those of us who object to the early selection of a site in a proper and fair position. He intimated that he does recognise now that there are certain pieces of information which are of great importance, and he thinks that the citizens of the other States have a perfect right to understand the intentions of the Government, to know on what terms they think that they can secure this land, what money they intend to spend, and how long they propose to take to spend it.
– I rise to order. I submit, sir, that the honorable and learned senator must confine his remarks to the clause before the Committee.
– I have to rule that the observations of Senator Dobson are not strictly relevant to the clause.
– I think that Senator Dobson will recognise that on clauses 2, 3, and 4, he will have plenty of opportunity for discussing all the details that are in the Bill.
– Does my honorable friend intend to proceed with this clause?
– 1 have already said that if honorable senators will pass the formal clauses I shall agree to report progress, and ask leave to sit again.
– On this day six months ?’
– No ; to-morrow. I have stated that it is the desire of the Government to get this measure passed as quickly as possible. It is all nonsense for some persons to talk about want of information after tons of information in connexion with this question have been supplied. The only particulars that are not available are some details - which are of no consequence in themselves - In connexion with Mr. Scrivener’s report on Southern Monaro. I do not think there is any necessity for delaying the passage of the Bill. I believe that honorable senators wish to settle the question, and the sooner it is settled the more satisfactory it will be to all the members of the Senate, and we may then have a chance of adjourning for a reasonable, period, in order to give another place time to catch up to us.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).If I understand Senator McGregor aright he proposes, on this clause being passed, to report progress. I wish to draw the attention of the Committee to what appears to me to be a. serious matter, with a view to some steps being taken to safeguard the’ danger, which, I think, lurks in our present procedure In dealing with a later clause, some honorable senator will propose an amendment to fill the blank. Now, unless we adopt the procedure which was followed when this matter was previously before the Senate we shall probably land ourselves in a difficulty’, because it might happen that if a definite proposal were before the Committee in favour of one place, the advocates of all other places would combine to vote against it, with the result that we should never fill the blank.
– There has been an amendment circulated to fill that blank.
– That does not matter. If the first proposal is to put in a certain place, the advocates °f all the other places will combine to vote against it, and when a second place is proposed the advocates of all the other places will combine to knock them out, and we may finish up with a blank still in the Bill.
– Would it not be better to wait until we get to that clause?
– I remind the honorable senator that if I wait until progress is reported I shall have lost my opportunity to speak.
– No; the honorable senator can speak when the next clause comes on for discussion.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council nas said that he intends to report progress as soon as clause 1 is passed.
– I have reluctantly to rule the honorable senator out of order.
– I knew that you would do so, Mr. Chairman, but I direct your attention, and that of the Government, to the fact that we are, perhaps unconsciously, being led into a difficult position, and I look to the Government to devise some means to extricate us from it.
– I may be permitted to point out, that S’enator Millen’s fears are not justified. When clause 1 is disposed of, the Vice-President of the Executive Council will not move to report progress until after clause 2 is called on by the Chairman, and then any suggestion which Senator Millen may have to make can be made.
– I think the remarks made by Senator Millen have been misapprehended The Vice-President of the Executive Council, in accordance with usage, has taken the opportunity on clause 1 to indicate the course he intends to pursue in connexion with the Bill. He. has said that clause 1 being passed, and the next clause called on, he proposes to move to report progress.
– Surely it will then be open to honorable senators to raise a discussion as to how the blank should be filled.
– Senator Millen has not suggested a discussion of the kind on clause 2, nor has the honorable senator initiated such a discussion. He has, in a friendly way, discussed the suggestion of the Vice-President of the Executive Council as to the course of business, and asks that between now and the resumption of the Committee to-morrow, the Government will consider the course which ought to be pursued in regard to clause 2. Attention has been directed to what occurred last year, when there was an exhaustive ballot taken in order that the views of every section of the Senate might be ascertained, and that we might not be placed in the awkward position, to which the honorable senator has referred, of amendments in favour of one site being defeated by a combination of all honorable senators in’ favour of other sites. Senator Millen desires that possible combinations of honorable senators in favour of different sites to defeat those in favour of a particular site should be prevented.
– I point out to Senator Symon that I propose simply to carry clause’ 1, and then, after allowing the next clause to be put to the Committee, .to ask honorable senators to state the amendments which they propose to move. I shall then ask leave to report progress ; and, between this time and the resumption of the Committee to-morrow, every consideration will be given to the suggestions of Senator Millen, and everything will be done that we can do to dear the way for ‘a legitimate decision of the Senate.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 2 -
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 PEARCE (Western Australia).^ I wish to move an amendment upon clause 2.
– T thought the VicePresident of the Executive Council intended to report progress.
– So I will. When honorable senators have announced the amendments they intend to propose, so that we may have an opportunity of considering them.
– The moving of amendments is just what I desired to avoid.
– If it can be shown that the amendment which I intend to move will prevent the proper transaction of business, I shall be prepared to withdraw it. It is as follows : -
That the words “twenty-five miles of,” line 3, be left out with n view to insert in lieu thereof the following words : - “ an area bounded on the north by a line running parallel with, and twelve miles south of, the thirty-sixth parallel of smith latitude.”
– I ask the Chairman not to put that amendment yet, because I would point out that, if it is put from the Chair, it becomes the property of the- Committee, and any single member of the Senate .can then object to its withdrawal. It is perfectly clear that what Senator McGregor proposed to do was to allow us to have an exhaustive ballot to-morrow, or, at all events, to consider the course to be pursued. It would, therefore, be very much better not to have any amendment submitted at the present moment.
– It was not my desire that any amendment should be submitted now;
– Senator Pearce will see that, if he were to move his amendment now, he would complicate matters exceedingly. If he succeeded in striking out the words “ twenty-five miles of,” it would humbug the whole clause. If the honorable ‘ senator’s subsequent amendment were defeated, we should have to insert some other limit, or recast the clause altogether. I suggest, foi- the honorable senator’s consideration, that .he should move his amendment in another form. He should not move to strike out the words “ twenty-five miles of,” but that the words which he has read should be inserted after the word “ within.” If that amendment is defeated, the words of the clause will then remain as they are.
– I am prepared to accept the suggestion.
– I desire to indicate that it is my intention to move certain amendments1 in the clause.
I do not propose to interfere with the words “ twenty-five miles of,” but I propose to move that, after the blank, the words “ or within twenty-five miles of- “ be inserted, and I then propose to add, at the end of the clause, the words “ leaving it to the Parliament of the State of New South Wales to decide as to which of these sites shall be granted to the Government of this Commonwealth;” Progress reported.
Senate adjourned at 9.20 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 1 June 1904, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1904/19040601_senate_2_19/>.