2nd Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
PRINTING OF DOCUMENTS.
Senator MACFARLANE (Tasmania).I should like to ask the Vice-President pf the Executive Council, without notice, whether the Government will take steps to have the printing of necessary documents done more expeditiously than at present? I belong to a Select Committee before which evidence was taken last week. Printed copies were only put into our hands this morning, at 10 o’clock, and we had not. time to read them before business commenced. I hope that the Government will endeavour to take some steps to have printing more expeditiously clone.
Senator McGREGOR. GOR. - I should like the honorable senator to give notice of that question. ‘ I do not know the particulars.
Senator Lt.-Col. Gould. - It is a simple thing - to expedite the printing of documents. The printing is very slow here. I do not suppose that there is a slower Parliament in the world in that respect.
Senator MCGREGOR.- The Commonwealth has not control over the Printing Office.
The PRESIDENT.- The Printing Office is a Department of the State of Victoria.
Senator MACFARLANE.- I give notice of the question for to-morrow.
Motion (by Senator Lt.-Col. Neild) agreed to -
That one month’s leave of absence be granted to Senator Gray on account of illness.
Motion (by Senator Higgs) agreed to - That there be laid upon the table of the Senate copies of all papers in connexion with the Secret
Service Code incident.
Order of the Day for the bringing up of the report of the Select Committee on the case of Senator Lt.-Col. Neild read.
Motion (bv Senator Playford) agreed to-
That the Select Committee have leave to extend the time for bringing up their report to this day three weeks.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 26th May, vide page 1600).
– I move -
That progress be reported.
The Vice-President of the Executive Council asked me last night if I would give way. in regard to this matter, because there was an anxiety on the part of the Senate to proceed with the Seat of Government Bill. I am sure that, if I postpone this business, it will not affect the promise which was made to me at the last sitting. As the regulations in question are not pressing upon anybody at the present time, I have no objection to a postponement.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I move -
That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire -
That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers, and records. 3’. That the Committee consist of Senators de Largie, Staniforth Smith, Stewart, O’Keefe, Findley,’ Neild, and Higgs..
– Before Senator Higgs proceeds with his motion, I desire to point out that my name is mentioned as a member of th» proposed Select Committee. In view of the fact that I am affected by a Select Committee which is now sitting to inquire into certain other military matters, I do not think it .would be proper for me to be a member of the Select Committee. I therefore ask Senator Higgs to be kind enough to substitute another name.
– By leave of the Senate I propose to substitute the name of Senator Styles for that of Senator Neild.
Motion amended accordingly.
– I also ask leave to further amend the motion by omitting the words “ the truth or otherwise of.” The motion will then read -
That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire as to the reasons given. - and so on.
Motion further amended accordingly.
– Before ‘ Senator Higgs proceeds further, I desire to say that I wish to have my name removed from the motion.
– If the honorable senator objects to being a member of the Committee after the case which I shall briefly state, I shall have no objection to his withdrawal. The case of Major Carroll, which has at various times and in various ways come under the notice of the Federal Parliament, is one about which there are some most peculiar features - features which I think can only be investigated by a Select Committee of the Senate. Major Carroll is a Queensland military officer, who was retrenched.
– By whom?
– By the General Officer Commanding the Military Forces of the Commonwealth. On his retrenchment Major Carroll received the following letter: -
The Grange, Melbourne.
Dear Captain Carroll,
Colonel Hoad has just shown me your very proper and soldierly letter in reply to his communication to you of the sad intelligence of. your retrenchment. I need hardly say how painful it is to me to have to be the means of placing so many useful and deserving officers upon the unattached list. The reductions directed by the Government must bear hardly on us all, either directly or indirectly, and you have my full sympathy.
Yours very truly,
Edward H. Hutton. P.S. - Your request shall be borne in mind.
The request referred to in Major-General Hutton ‘s letter was one made by Major Carroll that he should be placed on the unattached list. That would have enabled Major Carroll when times got better to be taken on again on full pay. It will be noticed that the letter from Major-General Hutton is a very sympathetic one, speaking of the “sad intelligence” of Major Carroll’s retrenchment, and of the fact that MajorGeneral Hutton had the “fullest sympathy “ with him. It further stated that his request to be placed on the unattached list would be “ borne in mind.” But Major Carroll, according to his own statement - and I may say that I am giving his statements, recognising that they represent only one side of the case - thinking that all was well, arranged for a passage to Aden, with a view of being attached to the Somaliland expedition. He came to Melbourne, saw Major-General Hutton, and said to him in effect - “ As the Commonwealth cannot afford to keep me, will you cable to the General Officer Commanding at Aden, and get me attached to the column which is operating in Somaliland?” Major-General Hutton said - “You can go up as a private soldier.” That meant that
Major Carroll could go up as a camp follower, and secure employment if he could get it.
– That is exactly what was done with a lieutenant-colonel in Canada, in connexion with the Boer war, by the same Major-General.
– There was nothing irregular in Major Carroll’s request that a cable should be sent to Aden. It would have been the best way of getting employment for him. Finally, Major-General Hutton said to Major Carroll - “You have gone behind my back. It has been reported to me that you have been bothering the Minister of Defence. I do not care what any one else may do ; you will get no more employment in my time.”
– That, I suppose, is Major Carroll’s statement from recollection?
– So far as Major Carroll can recollect, those were the words which were used by Major-General Hutton. It appears, according to Major Carroll’s statement, that he met the then Minister of Defence, Sir John Forrest, in Sydney - at the Hotel Australia, I think he said. Being very well acquainted with Sir John Forrest and his family, he mentioned to Sir John, not, he thought, in his capacity as Minister of Defence, but as a personal friend, that he was about to be retrenched, and that he thought it very hard. However, when Major-General Hutton spoke to him in those terms, Major Carroll thought there must be something at the back of his retrenchment beyond the stated reason that he was retrenched on the ground of economy. He endeavoured to find out the reasons- for his retrenchment. After eight months of repeated requests in various quarters, Major-General Hutton gave three reasons for Major Carroll’s retrenchment. They were as follow : -
– What interval elapsed between the time when Major-General Hutton wrote the letter, which has been referred to, and the time when these reasons were stated?
– The interval must have been about eight months.
– Were those reasons called for by the Minister?
– I imagine that they were called for by the Minister of Defence, who, I believe, at that time, was Senator Drake.
– I do not think so. From what papers is the honorable senator quoting ?
– From the papers of the Defence Department. I am under the impression that it was during the term pf office of Senator Drake as Minister of Defence that Major Carroll was supplied with the reasons given by Major-General Hutton for his retirement.
– Can the honorable senator not supply the date?
– The reasons, as I have quoted them, will be found amongst the papers in the Defence Department, and can be produced. Major Carroll denies absolutely the justice and truth of these reasons in the following signed statement with which he has furnished me -
My name is John Walter Maxwell Carroll, and I am 43 years of age.
My rank that of Major. Vide A.O. of South Africa, from 7th July, 1901, and Queensland Government Gazette, 29th November, 1901, and G.O. No. 29, of 1902.
I entered the Queensland land service on probation on 27th February, 1898. Three months afterwards I passed the examination for Lieutenant in the Queensland Defence Force, Artillery branch.
I was attached to the Permanent Force, and paid from their pay sheets.
I remained with “A” Battery until 1891.
I then applied to be placed on the unattached list, as I had to go to England on private affairs.
I was granted one month’s leave on full pay, and sailed shortly afterwards as an officer of the Queensland Artillery, and was attached to the Royal Field Artillery at Aldershot by General J. F. Owen, R.A., Commandant of Queensland. I then served with the 4th Field Battery under Major Pickwoad, and then with the 57th Field Battery under Major Martin until 18,92. This service was carried out at my own expense.
I then passed the examination for the rank of Captain, and was gazetted in Queensland as having passed such examination.
After leaving Aldershot I went to the London Royal Veterinary College, as some Artillery officers did a short course at Aldershot. I wished to go further with a regular veterinary course, and I passed two examinations whilst there.
In May, 1893, I sent to Queensland to ask that my Imperial service should be allowed to count as service in the Queensland Defence Force; and I was allowed by the Commandant to remain on the list of unattached officers, provided that I obtained and forwarded particulars of the work performed by me with the Imperial Forces.
In 1894 I went to Aldershot, and served with “ G “ Battery of Royal Horse Artillery under Major Hunt, and afterwards with the 4th Hussars under Colonel Brabazon. I sent certificates of such service, which .were approved. This exhibit also conveys to me the Commandant’s satisfaction at the progress I was making in my military studies.
Whilst in England I also went to the Royal Gymnasium, and underwent a course of physical training, obtaining an extra certificate.
In 1899 I completed the course, and obtained a certificate from Colonel Fox, which he had specially endorsed as follows : - “This officer deserves the highest credit for the constant pains he has taken to master the work in all its branches.”
In 1896-7 I obtained leave from the AgentGeneral of Queensland to accept the position of Her Majesty’s Commissioners in West Africa, and I was duly appointed by the Secretary of State for the ‘Colonies. Under this Commission I held Courts, superintended trade, and performed general administrative work in connexion with seven very large native tribes.
On my return to England, having been invalided home, I was offered the Commissionership to the Shire Highlands in East Africa by Lord Salisbury, in 1898, through his Secretary, on the recommendation of the Assistant AdjutantGeneral for Artillery at the War Office, who knew that I had served at Aldershot with the Field and Horse Artillery, and had been well reported upon. I refused this position, and accepted a Staff appointment in Queensland under General Gunter.
As regards the reasons for my appointment, I would refer you to a letter by Major-General Gunter. In this General Gunter refers to the favorable reports as regards both my character and my bearing ; and he suggested that I should be appointed an adjutant, on probation, and that I should be immediately attached to an infantry regiment at Aldershot for a period of three or four months, the confirmation of my appointment being contingent on my passing an examination before leaving England. During this period General Gunter recommended that my salary should run on.
The whole of the time that I was in England going through courses of instruction to obtain the highest efficiency in the profession, so as to qualify myself for the highest positions that profession could offer, I did so at my own expense. My certificates and letters from the commanders under whom I served should show the various courses which I have undergone.
I never at any time lost my commission as an officer of the Queensland Defence Forces.
I would mention that in 1896, when I was appointed as a Commissioner in West Africa, that I applied for local rank of captain as all the Imperial officers who were lieutenants had been given such local rank ; and I stated at the time that I had eight years’ service, and passed for my captaincy. The application was refused, on account of a minute written on it by the A.A.G., who said that I had never passed the examination as stated, and that it would be most undesirable that
I should be given the local rank of captain. 1 then referred to General Owen’s promise that my name should be kept on the unattached list, in recognition of my services, provided that the records of my service with the Imperial troops were sent in ; and I was then replaced on the unattached list.
My service with the Queensland Defence Force has been continuous since 1S88.
As regards my appointment to the Permanent Staff in 1S99, 1 claim that it was purely upon the ground of my merits, and in recognition of the efficiency which I had attained through undergoing the various courses of instruction in England in my capacity as- a Queensland officer. I never applied to any one for appointment except to the Commandant, and I brought no political or other influence to bear in the matter.
After I received a letter from Major-General Gunter, I went to Aldershot at the request of the Queensland Defence authorities, and was attached to the rst Royal Sussex Regiment. I passed my examinations, and was well recommended by Colonel Donne, then in command of the Royal Sussex.
After this service I returned to Queensland.
I would point out that it is extraordinary, if it were true, that having been “ found unsatisfactory “ after three years’ service in the Queensland Permanent Forces, I should have been re-appointed to the Permanent Staff at a later date.
On my return to Queensland, I was sent to Charters Towers as Adjutant. I did altogether five months service in Queensland after my arrival there, then went ‘to South Africa as Adjutant 1st Queensland Infantry Brigade.
Early in the year 1900, I went with the rst Queensland Imperial Bushmen to South Africa, as Adjutant. I was on active service in the field until I got fever, and was sent into the Field Hospital, and got leave of absence when convalescent. During my leave of absence I went to Queensland and back to recruit my health at sea.
During the time I served in South Africa, I was under the command of Lt.-Col. Aytoun, and held my position as Adjutant throughout, until invalided at the beginning of September or October.
Lt.-Col. Aytoun showed the confidence he had in me by putting me in charge of practically one-third of the regiment; and at the conclusion of the War he recommended me for the War Bonus as quite satisfactory, the word “ quite “ will be found in the records to be underlined in red ink.
On the expiration of the sick-leave, to which I have already referred, I rejoined my Contingent, but not as Adjutant, as another officer had been appointed to that position in the meantime (Lt. Ferguson, 1st Q.I.B.). I was, however, given the command of “ F “ Squadron of the Regiment, the 1st Q.I.B. I continued on active service with the Contingent, until July, 1901, and I went to the front, and re-joined my regiment near Pietersburg, North Transvaal, within seven days of landing.
I was on active service all the time, and served under Colonel Jeffries in the North Transvaal, and General Plumer in operations around Bethel and Piet Retief. I was then appointed Provost Marshal to the column then under Colonel Gallway.
I was injured near Utrecht, and was put in hospital two days before the Contingent left foi home.
The General Officer Commanding at Natal cabled to Queensland to be allowed to retain my services. Leave was granted by the Premier of Queensland in July, 1901. I was attached to the Royal Field Artillery, and I served with, and commanded the 20th Battery, R.F.A. in Natal and East Transvaal. (Exhibit No. 6 in office of Minister for Defence).
I was promoted by Lord Kitchener to the full rank of Major, and this promotion was approved in Queensland (Queensland Government Gazette, 29th November, 1901).
On 12th March 1902, I was peremptorily recalled from South Africa by the authorities - A.A.G., C.F. - although the Imperial Authorities were still desirous of retaining my services in South Africa. I had the offer of two appointments in South Africa, but feeling duty bound, I obeyed orders, and returned to Queensland.
I was gazetted in Army Orders in South Africa as a Major of the Queensland Permanent Staff, subject to the approval of the Queensland Government. This was approved, and my appointment was gazetted as Major in the Queensland Government Gazette.
I was appointed to the rank of Major by Lord Kitchener, on the recommendation of Major King, D.S.O., R.F.A., who was in command of my Battery in South Africa.
I was the only officer from Australia who commanded a Battery of Royal Field Artillery. I would also refer to the fact that I know a report of a highly satisfactory nature was sent to Head-Quarters, Queensland, by General Burne-Murdoch, commanding Newcastle Subdistrict, in regard to my services.
When I learnt to my surprise that I had been retrenched, I made inquiries as to all the papers and records of my career as an officer, but found that the same had been destroyed by an order of a Board, which sat four days before I returned from South Africa.
The destruction of these documents places me at a distinct disadvantage. I have nothing to fear from any inquiries amongst the officers with whom I served. These records contained particulars of my services in England, and I was desirous of placing all the papers before the G.O.C. for his consideration.
As regards my service in Australia, since my return, I would point out that I was recalled by cable on the 14th March, 1902, and came back in command of the troopship Custodian, having about 500 officers and men on board, whom I landed in perfect order. The troops comprised the Fifth Victorian Mounted Rifles,’ and details of Queenslanders.
On the 5th June, 190a, I received notice of mv retrenchment in Queensland. I was informed in the letter conveying my dismissal that it was verv probable lhat I would be engaged in my present capacity elsewhere ; and I was asked if I were willing or otherwise to accept service in another State as adjutant. After this I was sent temporarily to New South Wales (see General Order 164^ of 1902), and I was again retrenched when the next retrenchment took place in October, 1902.
Up to this time I had not received any intimation that my services were considered so unsatis-a- factory that I should not be retained as a permanent officer of the Commonwealth.
When I called for a statement of the reasons for my retrenchment, the same were delayed until about” the 19th September, 1903. I have been for over eight months attempting to obtain satisfactory reasons, and also to receive an explanation as to why my documents and records of service hae. been destroyed.
I claim that upon my record, my services might have been retained in the Commonwealth in priority to the officers junior to myself, who have been promoted. I have spent the whole of my life qualifying myself to be an efficient officer. I have obtained my training at my own expense ; I served my Queen in active service upon the field, and fought to preserve the reputation of Australians as members of the Empire; and it seems to me unjust that after these years of service and of training I should be retrenched, and that others should be placed over my head.
It is to be regretted that Major-General Hutton, after eight months careful deliberation, should have put his name to charges, which I submit, upon my records, and upon the reason’s which I have given in the above letter, are not only unjust to myself, but in one instance, that is to say, the Premier of Queensland, unfair to a -person who was occupying a high official position in that State.
Unfortunately, Major-General Hutton appears to have acted upon reports, which, in view of the facts that I have put before you, I submit are absolutely and utterly incapable of proof. 1 think that it is not fair and just to me that after so many years of self-sacrifice in the interests ot my country, my reputation should be taken away from me on mere ex -parte statements.
I would further add that after I had been retrenched on the 23rd October, 1902, I wrote (Exhibit 10) to the Chief Staff Officer, New South Wales, as I was desirous of obtaining active service in Somaliland. I was referred to Major-General Hutton in Melbourne; but being confident that I would receive a satisfactory reply from the Department, after my many years of service in Queensland, England, and West and South Africa, I went so far as to take my steamer passage to Aden by P. and O. I came on to Melbourne, and saw MajorGeneral Hutton, and my request to him was that he should cable at my expense to the Officer Commanding at the base at Aden,, stating that I was proceeding to Aden, and would be glad if he could attach me without pay to the column. Major-General Hutton declined to do this, stating that I could go as a civilian if I liked, and that I had been retrenched out of the service. He seemed to think that because I had been retrenched from the Permanent Staff, that my commission in Queensland from the King had been cancelled.
I have also another complaint to make, with respect to my rank as Major. I have already shown that I received the rank of Major, which was not local or temporary. On reference to the Army Orders issued in South Africa, and to the Queensland Government Gazette of the 29th November, 1901, it will be seen that I am given the. rank and title of Major in the Permanent Forces of Queensland, and in G.O. 29, of 1902, on my returning to Australia. An atempt has been made to put me back to the status of a Captain; and on several occasions
I have complained of my treatment in this respect, viz., on the 22nd July, 1902; 31st July, 1902; and the 7th August, 1902; but failing to obtain any redress, I wrote on the 14th September, 1902, and asked that this matter should be referred, to the “ highest authority.” I received a reply from the A.A.G., Colonel Mackenzie, informing me that the matter had been referred to Head-Quarters for decision, and that the General Officer Commanding had decided that I should be informed that my promotion was promotion only in South Africa.
I was promoted to this rank in South Africa on the recommendation of my Commanding Officer, Major King, K.F.A., by Lord Kitchener, acting for H.M. the King; and the promotion was confirmed in -the Queensland Government Gazette, 29 - n - or. In G.O., 244, of 22 - 12 - 02, I am shown as an Honorary Major, and bracketed with three other officers whose promotion was in each instance temporary from Queensland, or local in South Africa.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,”
Honorable senators will see from the statement by Major Carroll that he has a very good case for investigation by a Select Committee. This officer is forty-three years of age, so that he is in the prime of life, and it would appear that he has had a very honorable career. He left Queensland, not, as Major-General Hutton says,- because his services had been unsatisfactory, but in order to go to England at his own’ expense, and endeavour to qualify himself to fill any position in the Military Forces of the Commonwealth. Having passed several examinations in different branches of defence in the old country, he returned to Queensland, from whence he volunteered, without any pressure being exercised on him, for the South African war. In South Africa he appears to have served with distinction, and his name appears in at least one of Mr. Bennett-Burleigh’s despatches to the London Daily Chronicle. He returned to Queensland, but insisted on once more proceeding to the seat of war, although his services could have been retained in Australia. It is strikingly peculiar that Major Carroll, when in South Africa on active service, received a cable instructing him to return to Queensland, and that four days before he arrived the records of his career were destroyed by order of a_ board. The destruction of the records of an officer’s career is absolutely prohibited.
– Senator Drake will admit that, according to the King’s Regulations, it is a crime for any person to destroy an officer’s records.
– There is a periodical destruction of papers.
– That is a different matter altogether. I am not now referring to the periodical destruction of papers, but
0* the destruction of the records of an officer’s career. Anyone acquainted with business methods knows that it is necessary to occasionally destroy papers; otherwise room could not be found for them. But **Senator Drake, as a military officer, knows that it is a crime, punishable by certain severe penalties, to destroy any officer’s records.
– The matter was inquired into, and the report was that these papers were unimportant.
– The allegation is that this Board sat and destroyed Major Carroll’s records as an officer four days before he landed, thus depriving him of any opportunity of referring to them.
– An account was kept of the papers, and the report was that they were unimportant.
– However that may be, Major Carroll for the past fourteen months has been endeavouring to get an inquiry into his case. This officer has been subjected to indignities which require some explanation ; and if he has had the long and honorable career outlined in the statement I have read, honorable senators will admit that some explanation is required of the fact that his name does not appear in the Army List of 1904, under the heading of “War Services of Colonial Officers.” Major Carroll served with distinction in South Africa, and returned a second time to the field ; but his name is omitted from the list of officers who there saw active service. Officers who served in the same contingent have their names in this list; and why should that of Major Carroll be omitted? His name appears amongst those of retired officers, but, unlike the other cases, there does not appear opposite his the symbol of active service, namely, crossed swords.
– Is that the same list?
– I think the names are under different headings.
– The heading I refer to is - “ War Services of Colonial Officers,” and in this Major Carroll’s name does not appear.
– Is that not a list of officers who, at the time it appeared, were on active service?
– It is a list of officers who have seen active service.
– Is it not a list of officers Still employed in the forces of the Commonwealth ?
– I am not prepared to reply to that question. Major Carroll claims that the military authorities have attempted to take away his full rank ofmajor and substitute that of honorary major. Another peculiarity of the case is that Major Carroll is about the only officer amongst those retrenched at the same time who is only forty-three years of age ; all the other officers, with one or two exceptions, are gentlemen who have reached the retiring age in their respective ranks, and might have been placed on the unattached list under any circumstances. At the present time Major Carroll is under a cloud, and, after a long career of honorable service, has no possible chance of obtaining employment, unless an inquiry be held.
– He will get no “ show “ after an inquiry-
– I do not know whether or not Major Carroll will get a “ show “ after an inquiry, but he asks that a Committee be appointed to inquire into the reasons given by Major-General Hutton for his retirement. The reasons given were that Major Carroll had been found unsatisfactory in Queensland, that he had made himself useful to the then Premier of Queensland, Sir Hugh Nelson; and that he had been found unsatisfactory in South Africa.
– If we know thereasons, why have an inquiry on that score? All we want to know is whether Major Carroll has been justly treated.
– I withdrew the words, “ the truth or . otherwise of,” at the request of the Minister of Defence,, who thought that, without their adoption,. Major Carroll could have all the inquiry he needed. I have no desire to give offence to any person, and for that reason I withdraw the words. Major Carroll is; quite willing to submit himself to any physical or military test in order to prove his capacity as an officer, and with .these observations I submit the motion.
– I beg to ask the mover of the motion to remove my name from the Committee? From an ex parte statement a very good case has been made out for inquiry, but I should like to see on the Committee some person with military experience. Speaking generally, honorable senators have no knowledge of military procedure, practice, or etiquette, questions relating to which will be involved in the inquiry proposed. I suggest that my name be withdrawn in favour of the name of some honorable senator who has had military experience, such as Lt.-Col. Gould or Major Drake, whose presence would, perhaps, save the Committee from making mistakes.
– I may be allowed to explain that I asked Senator Smith to act, because I was desirous of making the Select Committee representative. I asked Senator Gould to be good enough to serve, and I did so on the very ground suggested by Senator Smith ; but Senator Gould pointed out that he had urgent business, and might not be able to attend. If Senator Drake would be kind enough to act on the Committee I should be very glad.
– There are obvious reasons why I should rather not act on the Committee.
– -The motion has been submitted, and it is competent to move an amendment to strike out one name and substitute another. Unless the senator in charge of the motion asks leave to amend it I must put it as now submitted; alteration can be made only by amendment. Do I understand that Senator Higgs does nol fall in with Senator Smith’s suggestion?
– I asked leave to amend the motion by withdrawing Senator Smith’s name.
– In order to substitute what name?
– The name of Senator Playford.
– Perhaps the best way would be to appoint the Select Committee by ballot.
– I do not think so. If the Senate appoint an Honorable senator to a Select Committee, the honorable senator is bound to act.
– It is a duty, and not a privilege, to serve on a Select Committee ; and if a senator appointed cannot or will not attend, he must ask leave to be excused* I am now waiting for Senator Higgs to ask leave to substitute a name.
– If there is any possibility of the proposal falling through, I consent to serve on the Committee.
– I have absolutely no objection to this proposed Select Committee. The case of Major Carroll is very well known to me. I have gone through the whole of that gentleman’s own statement, and I have since had the advantage of perusing the papers which are at the disposal of the Minister in charge of the Defence Department.
– Can the Minister give us any reply to the statement of Major Carroll ?
– To reply to the statement is not within my province. The position appears to me to be this - Major Carroll has been trying for a long time to obtain an inquiry, in order to find out if the reasons given for his retrenchment were or were not the real reasons. Major Carroll alleges that the reasons given were not the real reasons.
– That is a very serious charge.
– Does Major Carroll not go further, and allege that the statements made in regard to his retrenchment are not correct?
– I believe that, in the time of Sir’ John Forrest as Minister of Defence, this matter did not receive any strict departmental scrutiny, and,’ later on, Senator Drake, when Minister, did not consider it worthy of attention. My predecessor, Mr. Chapman, held a Departmental Inquiry, which was, .however, unsatisfactory to both the General Officer Commanding and Major Carroll. The result of the De,partmental Inquiry was that Mr. Chapman wrote a minute - which I have here, and which any honorable senator may see - to the effect that the reasons given for the retirement of Major Carroll were not the proper reasons - that it was on account of retrenchment that the officer was retired. In that minute Mr. Chapman . pointed out that he absolved Major Carroll from any aspersions on his character as a good and efficient officer, stating, as I say, that it was on the score of retrenchment only that he was retired. If the General Officer Commanding, on the other hand, said that Major Carroll was a good and efficient officer, who therefore should never have been retired, why was it that the Department retained the services of junior officers, who had not seen so much active service, and had not worked so meritoriously on the battle-field? The position now is that, not only Major Carroll, but- also the General Officer Commanding, desire an inquiry, the latter in order to show that Major Carroll was retired because he was not a good officer. The Department is in a happy position, in so far that both disputants desire an inquiry; and, therefore, I see no reason why the proposed Select Committee should not be appointed.
– Having heard the statement of Senator Higgs, coupled with that of the Minister of Defence, it appears to me evident that this is a case in which inquiry should be made into the whole of the surrounding circumstances, with a view to justice being done. If Major Carroll’s statement is correct, he has evidently been dealt with very harshly and unfairly ; and if a Select Committee were to arrive at a similar conclusion, I have no doubt the Government of the day would take steps to repair the injury done to this gentleman. If, on the other hand, it be found that statements adverse to his efficiency are correct, we shall at any rate have the satisfaction of knowing that the whole subject has been inquired into, and possibly it will be allowed to rest there. My experience in regard to Select Committees is this - that where a man can show a good prima facie reason for an inquiry into any complaint he may have in regard to the way in which he has been -.treated by a Government or by any officers, an inquiry should at once’ be made into his case. It is above all things essential that whatever steps are taken by a Government in dealing with their officers, those steps should be abundantly justified, and should be of such a character that) when the fullest light of day is let in the public are satisfied that no mistake has been made, either intentionally or otherwise. I notice frequently that when, unfortunately, officers are retrenched from the Public Service, an uneasy feeling gets abroad, owing to statements made by themselves, that they have not been properly dealt with.
– Every retrenched officer says that.
– In some cases there is a prima facie reason for the complaint. I think that in this instance a prima facie case has been made out. I may add that the matter was mentioned to me last session. From the ex parte statement then made, it seemed to me that there was a good case for inquiry. I should be happy to sit upon the Committee, except that I feel my time is so much occupied at present that it would be impossible for ‘me to give proper attention to the sittings. That being the case, I thought that the proper course for me to pursue was to ask Senator Higgs not to nominate me, in order that he might substitute another honorable senator, who could give proper attention to the matter. I do not think that it is a matter of great moment in a Committee of this nature to appoint senators who have had military experience. The object is to inquire into the circumstances attendant on Major Carroll’s dismissal, and not to say whether he was or was not an efficient officer. The Committee will inquire into the records.
– There has been a Departmental Committee previously, but the report was favorable to neither side.
.- If the Departmental Committee was unable to furnish a satisfactory report, it is an additional reason why a Select Committee of the Senate should be appointed to see that justice is done.
– I should not like to say a single word on this case, so far as the character of Major Carroll is concerned. I was Minister of Defence, as is well known to the Senate, for about six weeks. During that time I formed the opinion that this was a case which should be inquired into. But I thought that the proper tribunal to inquire into it would be a body of military officers.
– Who would be under the authority of the General Officer Commanding.
– I think it is a matter which should be inquired into departmentally, by men who possess military knowledge and experience.
– When the conduct of the General Officer Commanding is concerned, his officers cannot be brought into the inquiry.’
– I think that it is better that matters affecting military discipline should be inquired into by a military tribunal. I understand that my successor in office did appoint a Committee. I do not know how it was constituted ; but an inquiry was held.
– There was a Departmental Inquiry.
– I very much regret that it is not possible to have a military in- quiry, and to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion in that way, because there are obvious disadvantages in having matters of this kind inquired into by a Parliamentary Committee. I do not know whether there is any probability of a successful result from an inquiry by the Select Committee nominated by Senator Higgs. There is only one other aspect of the matter to which I think it right to refer, because it rather reflects on the- military management in Queensland. That is in regard to what is called the destruction of papers. When the case first came to my knowledge it ap- peared to me from the way in which it was put that there was an implied charge that when Major Carroll was on his way back to Australia, and two or three days before he arrived, some important papers were destroyed, in order to prejudice his case. The statement made just now. by Senator Higgs bears the same inference. That matter, however, was inquired into, and the report that came to hand was, to my mind, satisfactory. It was to the effect that a Board had been constituted according to the King’s Regulations for the periodical examination and destruction of unnecessary papers in the office. That Board sat. Numerous papers were examined, and they were noted and destroyed. The report stated that there were only two or three papers - I am speaking from memory - relating in any way to Major Carroll, and that the destruction of those papers could not have in any way injuriously affected him. I do not know whether the report was made while I was Minister, or while my predecessor was in office.
– Were those papers records of Major Carroll’s services in South Africa ?
– There was one paper about his passing an examination, but that paper was. also published in the Government Gazette, so that he could not sustain any disadvantage from its being destroyed.
– Surely the destruction of the original document must have been some disadvantage?
– Seeing that it was published in the Government Gazette, I do not think that it could have been a document which belonged .to Major Carroll. Otherwise, it would not have been in the possession of the office. The papers destroyed were simply records in the office, which, according to the King’s Regulations, are periodically destroyed. An account was taken by the Board of every paper destroyed. Of course I am speaking from memory ; but my recollection is that the report of the Board that caused these papers to be destroyed was entirely satisfactory. If this case is going to be inquired into by a Committee, the particulars will be brought up, and the Committee will come to a conclusion as to whether there was in any way, in the destruction of those papers/anything that prejudiced Major Carroll. But I myself was satisfied that there was not.
– I do not think that any of us would like to be asked constantly to sit as a court of appeal on the actions of the General Officer Commanding our Military Forces. It is a very thankless task, and I do not think that it is justifiable to institute such an inquiry unless there is an absolute miscarriage of justice. It seems to me that in this case there has been a miscarriage of justice. I hold in my hand a document which Senator Higgs has lent to me, and from which it appears that, after some repeated demands for reasons for his retrenchment, Major-General Hutton told Major. Carroll what the reasons were. There are three reasons given, which Major Carroll copied himself from official documents. Those reasons are as follow: -
Nothing more damaging against an officer could- possibly be alleged than these charges - that he was found unsatisfactory in Queensland, and unsatisfactory’ when we were fighting for the Empire in South Africa. The miscarriage of justice appears to me to be that the late Minister of Defence held a departmental inquiry, and that the result was that these were given as the reasons for which Major Carroll was dismissed.
– He was exonerated from those charges.
– It is a matter that certainly should be inquired into ; and we should sheet home to the persons who were guilty of treating this officer in what appears to be a very unjust and unfaithful manner.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).The statement just made by the Minister for Defence seems to me to be rather startling in its nature. The honorable senator has said that the departmental committee, which has been referred to, completely exonerated Major Carroll.
– It cleared his character as a good and efficient officer, and negatived those reasons.
– If the Government is satisfied that Major Carroll’s character has been cleared, why are they not taking action at once? Why wait for a Select Committee to be appointed ? It seems to me that the whole of this matter is rather more serious than a demand for inquiry into the case put forward by Senator Higgs. I should like to say before going further that it appears that there is a growing tendency on the part of every individual who has been dismissed from any public appointment, to conceive himself to be the subject of an injustice, and to appeal to Parliament. There is also a growing tendency on the part of Parliament to turn a too-ready ear to cases of this kind. I do not say that about this case, but I do want, with all respect, to suggest that Parliament does not require to do anything to extend the practice to which I have referred - at any rate if it desires to maintain discipline, not merely in the Military Forces, but in all the public Departments.
– Surely the honorable senator ought to know that there are other considerations.
– I do, and one of them I have referred to just now. The Minister of Defence has made a statement practically against the previous Government, whom he has charged with a want of readiness to do what they knew to be the right thing. With a singular lack of courage the present Government come to the Senate and practically ask us to appear to force them to do what they know to be right.
– That is not correct.
– I construe the facts in that way. Here is an admission by the Minister of Defence that, as the result of a departmental inquiry, the accusations against Major Carroll are proved to be wrong, and that Major Carroll is proved to be right. Any man in a position of Ministerial responsibility who, knowing that there is any one suffering injustice, and that it is within his power to put it right, refrains from taking action to do so, is entitled to all the rebuke that can be heaped upon him. I object, as a matter of principle, to making Parliament pretend to do things, and I say that this is a pretence from beginning to end.
– No, it is not; both parties want the inquiry.
– It is a pretence to force the Minister of Defence to do something. He knows that there is something that ought to be done, and refrains from doing it. The Senate should pass not the motion now before us, . but one of strong condemnation. I was hoping that the Minister of Defence would have suggested an explanation of his previous association with this case. We know that the Minister, before he took office, had moved on behalf of Major Carroll himself.
– That is right.
– I thought that probably, having associated himself with the case previously, the Minister rather shrank from making it appear that he was acting as an advocate in the one case, and taking up the position of a judge later on. But the expression which he has just used has deprived him of that excuse. He has stated that a departmental committee has sat, and has exonerated Major Carroll.
– They have negatived the reasons read out by Senator Dobson, but they have not reinstated Major Carroll.
– If that is so those reasons are wrong, and Major Carroll is the victim of an injustice.
– Does not the honorable senator realize the other position - that if Major-General Hutton can show that there are reasons why Major Carroll should be retired, even though those reasons may be wrong, an inquiry should be held to elucidate the fact?
– It seems to me that if wrong reasons have been given, and those reasons reflect on Major “Carroll, it does not matter whether there were any other reasons for his dismissal or not.
– He ought to be given an opportunity of proving that even those reasons are right.
– That brings me back to this point : Has every dismissed officer a prescriptive right to have his case inquired into by a Committee of Parliament? If the Minister is going to hold out to every officer that he can come here and have a’ Committee appointed, we can say good-bye to discipline altogether. It will be a very serious matter if Parliament itself is- going to encourage that idea. I draw attention to this curious fact : Honorable senators opposite were strong advocates of military retrenchment when the Estimates were before Parliament. At the instance of their party in another place, a resolution, was passed in favour of a curtailment of the military estimates. It was laid down that the criticisms were directed, not against the citizen soldiery, but against officers with gold lace and clanking swords. But the moment the General Officer Commanding gives- effect to that direction, and dismisses one of the officers - that dismissal being approved of by the Government of the day - honorable senators opposite, and their party, turn round and attack the General Officer Commanding for what he has done.
– At one time Major Carroll was represented by Major-General Hutton to be a good officer, but, subsequently, the Major-General turned round and gave reasons for his dismissal.
– If the Government accept that view they are much to blame. I am dealing with the attitude of the party which called for military retrenchment, but which is sympathetic with regard to every individual who is retrenched.
– The Government have been’ in office only a few weeks.
– I am speaking of the Labour Party, who clamoured for retrenchment, but who are now moving what is practically a vote of censure on the officer, who carried out that retrenchment.
– Junior officers were kept on and senior officers were retired.
– If that statement be correct-
– We want a Committee to find out whether the statement is correct or not.
– What is the Department and what is the Minister for? They draw salaries, and we have a right to expect that the work for which they are paid shall be carried out. I know that the amount paid to them’ is quite insufficient ; but still we have a right to expect that the services shall be rendered. The Department and the Minister are there to see that the work is properly done.- Instead of doing that, what does the Minister say ? He says - “ Here is a wrong ; Parliament must be brought to the rescue, .and set it right; I am incompetent to do so.” It means that the Defence Department is incompetent to decide whether an officer has been rightly dismissed or not, and has to fall back on Parliament to tell the Department what to do. It must be remembered that three Ministers of Defence have dealt with this matter.
– No, they have not.
– Three Ministers have dealt with it - Sir John Forrest, Senator Drake, and Mr. Chapman - and one Minister acknowledges his incompetence to deal with it. The fourth Minister comes to Parliament and affirms, not merely that there is a case for inquiry, but that an absolute wrong has been done, though at the same time he shrinks from putting that wrong right.
– I have very little doubt that, had the present Government taken the action which Senator Millen seems to think they should have taken, as responsible Ministers, the honorable senator would have been found amongst their most severe critics for having so soon after their assumption of office, done something reflecting discredit on the General Officer Commanding. If it is suggested that there has been any want of fairness shown by the ‘Government in not taking certain action after the departmental inquiry was found to have exonerated Major Carroll, the blame for that attaches to the last Government.
– How long ago was that inquiry made?
– It was some time before the last Government resigned office. I recollect that the then Minister of Defence, in reply to a question, read a statement in the House of Representatives to the effect (hat no blame of any kind attached to Major Carroll. That statement appeared in the press. If the then Government had done the right thing, they would, according to Senator Millen, have immediately reinstated that officer, and the blame for not having reinstated him under the circumstances attaches to them.
– I understand that the report only came in just before Mr. Chapman retired from office.
– The late Government really had not time to deal with the matter.
– I was under the impression that the then Minister of Defence, Mr. Chapman, some weeks before the late Government resigned, had come to the opinion which found expression in the statement to which I have referred. I repeat that very serious criticism would have been passed on the present, or any other Ministry if, a few hours after assuming office, they took so serious a step against the General Officer Commanding as to pass what would be a severe condemnation on him, by reinstating Major Carroll. If we are to believe the evidence which has been submitted to us by Senator Higgs, MajorGeneral Hutton has stated that Major Carsoli proved so unsatisfactory an officer that fee was not fit to remain in the force. In view of the statement made by the present Minister of Defence, that the General Officer Commanding is not satisfied with the Shieling of the Departmental Committee, ind wishes for the appointment of the Select Committee now proposed, -it must be patent that he believes he can prove that he was right in the action he took. He would not otherwise be anxious - for the appointment of this Select Committee. On the other hand, Major Carroll also asks for the inquiry, and, on the evidence submitted by Senator Higgs, if true, he appears to have a good case. If it is not true the Committee will find that out.
– If it is true, what is to be done?
– I should think tha.t the officer in question would be at once reinstated, and his character cleared.
– Would the honorable senator stop short there?
– I would not, decidedly; but I believe that it would not be fair for the Senate or the present Ministry to go any further without fuller information on the dispute. ‘ Senator Millen suggests that we should at once pass the severest condemnation on the General Officer Commanding. That is the only meaning of the honorable senator’s speech.
– Nothing could be stronger than what the Minister for Defence has. already said.
– I beg the honorable senator’s pardon. What the Minister says is that in fairness to both parties the right thing to do is to have the inquiry proposed. I am satisfied that there will be a large majority in the Senate for’ the appointment of the proposed Select Committee.
– Surely the Minister of Defence is not going’ to shelter himself for his inaction behind any alleged fear of criticism on the part of the public, the press, Senator Millen, or other honorable senators.
– Does the honorable and learned senator, from his knowledge of me, think it necessary to ask a question of that kind?
– It has just been alleged that the inaction of the Minister of Defence in the circumstances is due to the fact that- he and his Government fear hostile criticism.
– Nothing of the kind.
– We are accustomed to that kind of thing.
– Surely the Minister of Defence will not take up that attitude. We have had in the course of the debate a reference to a departmental inquiry into the reasons alleged by Major-General Hutton for the retirement of Major Carroll. As a result of that inquiry, it has been proved that the reasons given by the General Officer Commanding for the retirement of Major’ Carroll were incorrect reasons.
Senator- Dawson. - According to the dictum of my predecessor.
– That is so; and what I desire now to ask the Minister of Defence is, whether he accepts the result of that departmental inquiry ?
– No. What I say is that, the General Officer Commanding now objects to the finding. Major Carroll also objects to it ; the two disputants now desire an inquiry by a Select Committee of the Senate, and I say we should let them have it.
– I take.it then that the Minister of Defence has no opinion as to whether the result of the departmental inquiry was or was not a correct one, and does not intend to be bound by it?
– Certainly not.
– It is now stated that the General Officer Commanding and Major Carroll, as a consequence of that, wish this Select Committee fo be appointed ; and we are, therefore, being forced into the position Senator Millen has suggested - if any two individuals wish for the appointment of a Select Committee this Parliament ought to grant it. Are there not other means of redress to which resort should be had in the first instance, and which should be exhausted before any inquiry by a Select Committee of the Senate -is made?
– Surely the honorable and learned senator would not refuse to consider each case on its merits.
– Certainly not. But we do not require superfluous inquiries when there are other means of entering into the consideration of the matters in issue which should first be adopted before resort is had to Parliament, which should be the last, and not the first, resort. In these cases, in the first instance, resort should be had to the proper means of redress controlled by the responsible heads of Departments. If the Minister of Defence does not intend to be bound by the departmental inquiry in this case, can he not institute another departmental inquiry ? If the Minister should shrink from doing that-
– I do not like the word ““shrink.” I do not shrink from doing anything.
– I am not using the word in any offensive sense. Senator Millen has suggested that there is some indisposition on the part of the Minister to deal with this case, because of his previous connexion with it as a private member of the Senate.
– I say that in my deliberate opinion the fairest thing to both parties to the dispute is to grant the proposed inquiry.
– The Minister prefers a Select Committee of the Senate to a departmental inquiry.
– Whether the Select Committee be appointed because of any indisposition on the part of the Minister of Defence to consider the matter, or for any other reason which may be suggested, it seems to me that the subject is not being dealt with by the Minister, but by Parliament; and I contend that in the first instance resort should be had in these cases to the responsible heads of Departments. The fact that the two parties to this dispute desire an inquiry by a Select Committee is no reason for granting it.
– May I point out before the honorable and learned senator proceeds any further on those lines, that it would be a deliberate insult to the General Officer Commanding if another departmental inquiry were held.
– I think it will be a deliberate insult to the General Officer Commanding if this Select Committee is appointed to inquire into the truth or otherwise of the reasons alleged for the retirement of Major Carroll.
– I agree with the honorable senator. I say that the desire of both these parties to have an inquiry by a Select Committee, no matter how strong it may be, is no justification whatever, in the absence of any other reason, for the appointment of the proposed Select Committee.
– The General Officer Commanding can only be a witness ; he will not be a party to it at all.
– Whether he be a witness or not, the General Officer Commanding will undoubtedly be a party in this case, because the whole question is as to the truth or otherwise of the reasons assigned by him for the retirement of Major Carroll. This was a matter entirely for the Department in the first instance, and to blame the last Minister of Defence for not having dealt with it, and, at the same time, to excuse’ the present Minister for not dealing with it, and for shunting it on to the Senate, seems to me to be most illogical. From what we have heard, the last Minister of Defence instituted a departmental inquiry, and a report was presented. I contend that if the successor of the last Minister of Defence declines to be bound by the finding of the departmental inquiry, there is only one course open to him, and that is of his own motion to institute another departmental inquiry.
– He could not do that without passing a vote of censure on the General Officer Commanding.
– We should not be asked to appoint a Select Committee until that has been done. If the Minister declines to be bound by the finding of the departmental inquiry, what will be the position of the General Officer Commanding? What will be his position in connexion with the proposed Select Committee, which, it is said, he desires to have appointed ? Does he accept the finding of the departmental inquiry to the extent that th” reasons he alleged were not the correct reasons, and say now that he is prepared to go further, and give other reasons, which he did not allege in the first instance? If he does, will a consideration of those reasons be ‘within the scope of the functions of the proposed Select Committee ? Suppose- the General Officer Commanding should say - “ So far as the departmental inquiry goes I am prepared to admit that the reasons I alleged for the retirement of Major Carroll were not the correct reasons, but despite that I am prepared to justify ray action by showing that for other reasons which I did not then allege he should have been retired.” Where will the Select Committee be then ? This will show that the inquiry should proceed on proper lines, and under the control of the responsible heads of the Defence Department. We have not had during the debate the slightest ‘ suggestion that if the reasons alleged by the General Officer Commanding for the retirement of Major Carroll are not the correct reasons he still has other reasons by which he is prepared to stand or fall in justifying the action he took. If the General Officer Commanding should take up that attitude, I venture to think that under the terms of the motion it will be difficult for the Select Committee to know where they are. The Committee is to be appointed to inquire only - and to inquire as to what? And to report - report, if at all, to whom?
– To report to the Senate.
– It is to be appointed to inquire into this case, and if the General Officer Commanding says that there are other reasons for the .(retirement of Major Carroll-
– He will say it to the Committee if he says it at all.
– If he does say it, will the Select Committee have power to inquire into those other reasons?
– Under the second paragraph of the motion which authorizes the Select Committee to inquire whether Major Carroll has been- justly treated.
– As the matter stands at present, a departmental inquiry having been held, Major Carroll having been exonerated from any blame implied in the reasons alleged for his retirement ; and no action upon that finding having been taken by either the late Minister or the present Minister of Defence, we should not at this stage be asked to appoint a Select Committee to inquire into the question, but the present Minister of Defence should be prepared to take the responsibility of the whole matter one way or the other.
– I desire, as shortly as I can, to put the position from the point of view of the Government. I wish, if possible, to shorten the debate, because if we intend to appoint a Select Committee we should do it as expeditiously as we can. On the evidence submitted by Senator Higgs, every honorable senator must admit that something ought ‘ to be done to clear this matter up. Now, with respect to the position of the Government, ito is not the question whether the General Officer Commanding has been telling the truth or otherwise in the charges alleged against Major Carroll that concerns the Government. We have just recently come into office, I might say under peculiar circumstances. The departmental inquiry was instituted by the previous Administration, and those appointed to make the inquiry had actually reported.
– Not long before the late Ministry retired.
– It does not matter if it were only five minutes ‘ before. Those appointed to make the inquiry had reported, and no action was taken on the report.
– No action could be taken in five minutes.
– The previous Government might not have had time or inclination to take action. Another Government is suddenly placed in their position, something occurs, and would it not be an act of discourtesy to the previous Government if the present Government suddenly took a step which their predecessors failed to take, either -from want of time or want of inclination? That is the position in which we find ourselves. As the matter has now been brought up by a private member of the Senate, I think it is fair that the proposed Select Committee should be appointed. There should have been no reason to ask whom the Committee would report to. The Committee will report to the Senate, and the public will be made aware of the true position of affairs. Then either the Government, the General Officer Commanding, or Major Carroll must take the consequences- If the report of the Select Committee is adverse to the Government, they must face Parliament on that account. If it is adverse to the General Officer Commanding, he has to bear the consequences; and, in the same manner, if the report is against Major Carroll, he must do the same thing. In all the circumstances I think that further argument is unnecessary. I am sure that honorable senators desire that justice shall be done to everybody. Thesuggestion that every trumpery case may be brought before the Senate or the House of Representatives on a motion for the appointment of a Select Committee is only the introduction of a red herring. No matter what case is brought before either House of theFederal Parliament, it will be dealt with on its merits. If honorable senators think that there is nothing in the case submitted by Senator Higgs, let them refuse to appoint the Select Committee asked for. If, on the other hand, they believe that there is anything connected with it which justifies an inquiry, they will appoint the Committee.
– I quite sympathize with Senator Millen in his view of the question before the Senate. This Chamber ought to be very cautious in granting Committees of Inquiry for the purpose of dealing with the grievances of public officers. The Commonwealth has only just commenced its career, but there is already a considerable staff in all the Departments, and as the business grows in magnitude, that staff must increase. But there has been taken some precaution to provide means’ by which disputes’ inside the Departments may be adjusted - by which difficulties, or seeming injustices, may be remedied.
– That is, so far as the civil staff is concerned.
– In the Military Department it is all important that complete discipline should be preserved, and that Parliament should always have at its disposal a Ministry with the capacity and courage to take the responsibility of assuring themselves that justice is being done, or of themselves doing justice. The other day the Minister, very wisely I think, showed his strong feeling on the point, when he questioned the propriety of a soldier saying anything in Parliament with reference to the practices or actions of military officers, either superior or inferior. The Minister of Defence took that view on the ground that by such utterances, discipline is imperilled. .
– This is not a matter of discipline.
– If this Committee be appointed it will do exactly what the Minister of Defence appears very anxious not to do - it will insult the General Officer Commanding.
– That officer seeks the insult himself.
– I do not know whether or not the General Officer Commanding “seeks” this insult; at any rate, I do not think that affects the question. If it be true, however, he asks to have his character cleared; and such a desire is, I think, evidence of weakness’ on his part. The General Officer Commanding should be prepared to say, “ I have done this, and
I am right.” The Minister of Defence and the Vice-President of the Executive Council seem to take the view that it would be an insult to the preceding Government if the present Government were to do. something which the preceding Government had not time to do. It is difficult to see where the insult comes in.
– I said more; I think I mentioned something about “ inclination.” This case has been a long time under review.
– It has been suggested by Senator Playford that the departmental report on this case was submitted not many minutes or hours before the retirement of the late Government; that, however, does not seem to affect the question. If the late Government had not time to deal with the matter, they are not to blame, but if they had no inclination to do what ought to have been done, they are to be blamed. The late Government, however, have gone ; and if they had not, the Government who succeed them ought to have, the proper inclination. I am dealing now with the argument which has been presented; but I urge on the Senate that there does not appear to me any justification for the appointment of a Select Committee.
– If the report referred to was handed in nearly three months before the late Government retired, would the honorable senator say that that Government had not time to deal with it ?
– I have not said that the late Government had not time, because I do not know whether they had or not.
– Then the delay must have had something to do with the matter of inclination.
– If the report was sent in three months before the late Government retired, the late Government may be said to have dealt with it ; that is to say, they must have decided that, notwithstanding the report, the action of the Officer in Command had their indorsement. The Minister of Defence, by interjection, has emphatically said that the report completely exonerates Major Carroll.
– The Minister of Defence never said anything of the kind.
– Those were his exact words.
– I said that the report negatived the reasons given.
– The Minister said that the report completely exonerates
Major Carroll, so far as the alleged reasons are concerned. If the Minister of Defence has not time to-day he will have time tomorrow ; and he has power to act in this matter if he thinks the late Government were wrong in their conclusion. Under the circumstances, there is no need for inquiry by a Select Committee. The Minister of Defence has power to act on the report presented to the late Ministry, the report having become the property of the Cabinet ; and he can say, “ The last Government did an injustice to Major Carroll, and, as the trustee of the Commonwealth, I undertake to see that justice is done.” That is a perfectly understandable position, and one which the Government ought to take. I quite sympathize with the question put, I think, by Senator Millen - “ What is the Government for?” Until the Government have decided, a Committee of the Senate is clearly superfluous. Machinery is created under the Constitution for doing justice in every case, and the only instances in which a Committee should be appointed are those in which the Senate have not confidence in what the Government do. I do not know whether votes of want of confidence can be submitted in the Senate ; but, if a proposal of this kind were made in another place, and the Government had any grit, it would would be accepted on the understanding that it was a vote of want of confidence.
– Nonsense !
– It is clearly so, because it is an inquiry to ascertain whether an act of the Government is just or unjust; and it is an act of the Government, seeing that there is a responsible Minister at the head of the Department. I do not want to cavil, because I recognise that the present Government have had very little opportunity of knowing much of any of the Departments. The Government have only been a very little time in power, and all who have any experience of the Ministerial position, know that it takes some time to become acquainted with all the circumstances of a huge Department like that of Defence.” I am trying, however, .to urge that we ought not to appoint this Committee on any evidence that .has been presented to us, owing to the danger of establishing a precedent in the case of any or every dismissed or suspended officer. Now that this matter has been discussed, I have every confidence, whether the Committee be appointed or not, that the Government will inquire and satisfy themselves, and that the
Minister will take some action on his own responsibility.
– I have no objection to doing that, but I should prefer a Committee.
– No doubt the Minister would prefer the line of least resistance^ - the line of the greatest convenience. But, after all, we have a Government and Ministers in whom we have confidence, and whom we expect to take, not necessarily the- most convenient, but the most appropriate and proper course. This is, no doubt, a difficult and delicate question, but it is one with which Ministers ought to deal, and with which the Senate should not attempt to interfere until dissatisfied withMinisterial action.
– As a rule, Senator Higgs, when submitting matters to the Senate, affords all the information necessary to enable honorable senators to arrive at a conclusion. On the present occasion, however, the honorable senator has omitted one very important fact, which was only casually elicited subsequently. That was the important fact that the case of Major Carroll has already been the subject of a departmental inquiry. On that point, Senator Higgs never uttered a word, although, as I say, it is most important that honorable senators should be aware of the circumstances. Then, again, we ought to have before us the report which resulted from that departmental inquiry. We have heard that that report stated that the reasons given by Major-General Hutton were not the correct reasons for what, perhaps, I ought not to call a’ dismissal, but the removal of Major Carroll from the active list.
– The honorable senatorwas leader of the Government at the time in this Chamber. Why did he not lay the papers on the table?
– I was not at the head of the Defence Department.
– And the question was never raised in the Senate.
– So far as I know, this is the first time I have heard anything of the case. The papers of the Defence Department were not likely to come before me. except some questions were asked in the Senate. The Minister of Defence ought, certainly, to have been prepared with a very clear and explicit statement of the facts of the case. It would be a great mistake for members of the Senate to take out of the hands of the Executive work which the latter ought to perform; such a step- ought not to be taken in the absence of a very good cause. What are the members of the Executive for but to administer the different Departments, and see that justice is done amongst all the public servants, civil and military ? In no case ought the Government to shelter themselves behind a Select Committee in regard to matters which they are specially called upon to administerThere is no justification for the Government referring this question to a. Select Committee - shunting this particular work on to members of the Senate.
– The Government are doing nothing of the kind.
– I should imagine that the Minister1 of Defence is prepared to look into the question, and impartially and fairly come to a conclusion as to the proper course under the circumstances, and that he will take the responsibility of giving effect to his decision. Select Committees certainly ought not to be appointed for the purpose of inquiring into little departmental troubles and squabbles. I know nothing about the merits of this case; I only know that such cases are not those in which members of the Senate should be asked to practically do the work of the Government. No doubt important questions may arise, on which Parliament, be fore coming to a decision desires to have before it the result of exhaustive inquiries by Select Committees ; but such cases do not include those of a purely departmental and executive character. Under the circumstances, I hope that the Government will ask Senator Higgs to withdraw his motion, and allow the Government to look into the question. If that be done, I feel confident that the Government will do what is right and proper, and that we shall hear no more of the case.
– I entirely agree with the remarks of Senators Trenwith and Playford. If every little departmental grievance is to be brought before the Senate, we shall be in session from one year’s end to the other; we shall have to be a Government, instead of a Senate called to perform parliamentary duties. The Minister ought to assume responsibility, and if he acts wisely and fairly, he will get credit for his administration. Unless the Minister is prepared to assume responsibility, it will show that he has not the courage to do the right thing, even when he knows what the right thing is ; and it is tomfoolery to shift Ministerial responsibilities on to honorable senators or members of another place. I hope that, in any case, the papers to which reference has been made will be laid on the table, so that honorable senators may peruse them before deciding as to the appointment of a Select Committee. Surely “we are entitled to have from the Government the report issued in connexion with the departmental inquiry.
– The honorable senator must remember that it is not the Government by whom this Select Committee is proposed.
– But if the Government encourage or acquiesce in a motion for a Select Committee, then, to all intents and purposes, the Government are responsible. The Government ought to put their backs up at the proper time, and not shirk responsibility. I am speaking emphatically, because I feel, emphatically that the Minister would do himself credit by taking responsibility. I disagree with the proposal to appoint a Select Committee on the ipse dixit of any honorable senator or senators.
– I trust that Senator Higgs will take the advice tendered and withdraw the motion, and propose in lieu thereof, that the report resulting from the departmental inquiry be laid on the table. We should then be able to judge whether a Select Committee is really required. If inquiry proves that Major Carroll . has been badly treated, no doubt the Government will take the responsibility of seeing that justice is done.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - I have no predilection for Select Committees, and I am sure that no honorable senator, after an experience of one or two of them, would have any great desire to serve on them. I think that that stands to the credit of those honorable members who are willing to serve on this Select Committee; it stands to my credit in this respect, that we must see that a very great injustice has been done to Major Carroll before he would ask for the appointment of a Select Committee. Senators Keating, Playford, and Trenwith have dwelt on the necessity for any Government to take responsibility. The last thing, they say, that a Government should do is to shelter itself behind the cegis of a Select Committee ; they should inquire, and, if an injustice has been done, see that the officer injured is recompensed or reinstated. It is very singular that these honorable senators happened to be strong supporters of the last Government.
– I do not know that that is a wise method of discussing the question, because that cannot be said of me.
– The honorable senator who said that we as a Parliament must always have a Government prepared to do its duty took his place here behind the last Government, and I am proposing to read to the Senate a minute by the late Minister of Defence to see if I cannot get him to withdraw his opposition to my motion.
– I desire to know, sir, if the papers which are about to be quoted from are to be made available to the Senate, in accordance with standing order 350.
– If an honorable senator quotes from a paper, he ought to be prepared to lay it upon the table. I do not know what paper Senator Higgs intends to quote from.
– I propose to quote from the minute written by the late Minister of Defence, Mr. Chapman, on the report of the departmental inquiry. I asked Senator Dawson if I could use the paper, and he sees? no objection to my doing so.
– I submit, sir, that Senator Higgs is not entitled, in his reply, to introduce fresh matter.
– I do not feel justified in preventing Senator Higgs from introducing fresh matter in his reply. It is very inconvenient, I admit, that fresh matter should be introduced, by a senator in his reply; but I have never known such an objection to be taken, and, certainly, I have never known such an objection to be upheld. The honorable senator can, in his reply, introduce any relevant matter which has not been referred to in the debate, and he ought to be prepared to lay this paper upon the table if ordered by the Senate.
– I am prepared, and I hope that the Hansard reporter will take down my quotation from the document-
– Will this document be made a paper of the Senate?
– The Minister of Defence has stated so.
When retrenchment was in contemplation, the merits of officers concerned were taken into careful consideration by the then Minister of Defence, in conjunction with the General Officer Commanding ; and T think a bad precedent would be created bv re-considering what was then done.
No doubt there were many officers who felt themselves aggrieved by the decisions then arrived at - that is a feeling which naturally and inevitably accompanies all retrenchment; but opinions of this kind cannot in any way override the action of constitutional authority, or deprive the conclu sions arrived at of that finality which is essential to the successful control of the Military Forces.
Unfortunately, on all such occasions, it becomes the painful duty of a Department to sacrifice the services of some competent officer ; and it is not necessary that charges of want of competence should be brought against those who suffer in the process of retrenchment.
With regard to Major Carroll’s complaint, thathe has been for over eight months attempting to obtain satisfactory reasons, and also to receive an explanation as to why documents and records of service had been destroyed, I find that on 1/9/03 he was informed that only three papers in connexion with him were destroyed, and that none of these constitute records of service.
As regards his claim to promotion, he has been dealt with similarly to other officers serving ‘in South Africa, by his rank being confirmed as honorary rank in “the Military Forces of the Commonwealth.
Now comes a paragraph to which I direct the attention of Senators Playford, Trenwith, Keating, and Drake -
After a careful consideration of the papers, it appears to me that Major Carroll rendered good service in South Africa; that he is a good and zealous officer, and that no imputation of any kind rests on his character. But, unfortunately, the necessity for economy in military expenditure remains ; and where further expenditure takes place it should not, in my opinion, be directed to an increase in officers and men so much as to a more substantial addition of arms and equipments.
Minister of State for Defence. The result of the inquiry was that the late Minister of Defence found that Major Carroll had rendered good service in South Africa, that he was a good and zealous officer, and that no imputation rested on his character.
– I ask honorable senators to say whether the case, as it is now presented, does not show the necessity for the appointment of a Select Committee.
– No ; it shows the necessity for action on the part of the present Minister.
– No. The exact point is that the General Officer Commanding how objects to the finding that Major Carroll is a good officer. Surely the two sides must be heard.
– Why does not the honorable gentleman hear them?
– I cannot, because there has been one departmental inquiry, already.
– Senator Playford says, in effect, “ Give him a billet as soon as you can.”
– When there is one vacant.
– Senator Trenwith says, in effect, “Let the Minister of Defence institute ah inquiry into the matter, and if he should find that an injustice has been done, let him give Major Carroll his billet, and make no reflection on the action of the late Ministry, which, . after an inquiry and after a period of fourteen months, found that there was no stain on his character, but refused to do anything.” We desire to know, through the medium of a Select Committee, whether what the late Minister of Defence says in his minute is true. I ask honorable senators to contrast his statement that there is no stain on the character of Major Carroll, that, in his opinion, he rendered good service in South Africa, and is a good and efficient officer, with the statement of Major-General Hutton that he dismissed Major Carroll because he was found unsatisfactory in Queensland, because he used political influence with the Premier, Sir Hugh Nelson, and because he was found unsatisfactory in South Africa. Surely the difference between those statements must convince the Senate that an inquiry by a Select Committee is necessary. I think that the action of the present Government can be. defended in every way. Why should they be expected on any ground to institute another departmental inquiry? That would be a reflection on their predecessors, and a reflection, as Mr. Chapman says in his minute, on the General Officer Commanding.
– Is not this a reflection on both the past and present Ministers of Defence ?
– I do not think it is a reflection on the present Government. During their brief term of office they have been met with all kinds of attack from every side.
– What ! what !
– “ What ! what!” says Senator Fraser, when we know that he has been one of the most active in endeavouring to bring about the downfall of the Ministry. The further I inquire into this matter, the more convinced I am of the necessity that there should be not only a parliamentary inquiry, but a parliamentary inquiry which would allow the people of the Commonwealth to know something about our military methods. It involves no question about our supply of arms or ammunition, our plans of defence, the state of our forts and guns, and so forth. It only concerns the methods of dealing with officers in our
Military and Naval Forces. I hope the Senate will not be swayed by those who have opposed the motion, but will grant a Select Committee.
Motion (by Senator Millen) agreed to -
That the document quoted by Senator Higgs be laid upon the table.
– I now lay the document upon the table.
Question - That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire - (a) As to the reasons given by’ the General Officer Commanding, for the retrenchment of Major J. W. M. Carroll from the Defence Forces of the Commonwealth - put. The Senate divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative. Paragraph b, and sub-sections 2 and 3 agreed to. Resolved -
Motion (by Senator Higgs) agreed to.
That the Committee have power to report on Thursday, 30th June.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - I beg to move -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as will permit of the press being present during the hearing of the case.
The object of this motion is that representatives of the press may be present, and reports of the proceedings published from day to day.
– The honorable senator does not carry out that intention by this motion. It only permits members of the press to be present, but it does not say that they may publish reports.
– By leave, I will amend my motion by adding the words “ and to publish reports from time to time.” Motion amended accordingly.
– I do not think I need give many reasons for this motion.
– I think the senator will have to give very strong reasons.
– I cannot understand why honorable senators should be anxious to carry on a Star Chamber procedure. That is what it amounts to.
– Who appointed the Star Chamber ?
– What is the object of the inquiry ? Not merely to see that justice is done to Major Carroll, but to show the public whether our military system of discipline will bear the light of day. The great objection which I have to the proceedings of our Select Committees is that they are not published until the Committees report to the Senate. We take a volume of evidence. That evidence is bound together, and covers very many pages. But nobody will then take the trouble to read it.
– In some cases it would be of no use to read it. These are merely personal matters.
– They are more than personal matters. It is a question of whether the Government of the Commonwealth is being carried on in a proper way, and whether our military methods are approved of by the public of the Commonwealth. What objection can honorable senators have to the presence of the press ?
– Suppose we allowed the presence of the press at a Committee concerned with the question of privilege?
– My own view is that if this were a question affecting the defence of the Commonwealth, when the publication of the proceedings of the Committee might endanger the Commonwealth, we should exclude the press. But every Select Committee which is engaged in inquiring into any case of public interest should be open to the press and to the fullest light of day.
– Unfortunately the press does not give the light of day very often.
– I know that the honorable, senator has had reason to complain of the press, but I thought that that quarrel had been patched up.
– Personally, it is of no consequence, but from the public point of view it is of great importance.
– My view is that there can . be ‘ no doubt as to the advisability of having the press present at our meetings.
– I beg to second the motion.
– The mover of the motion seems to me to have overlooked entirely the principal point to which he should have addressed himself. The arguments he has adduced might have been excellent for the repeal of the standing order. But his motion requires a suspension of that standing order, and he has given no argument to show why we should take a different course in this case than we took with regard to other Select Committees. It is easy to point out that there are reasons why the standing order should not be suspended. The present matter is largely personal. I regret very much” to have to make the statement which’ I am now making - that certain of the members of the Committee are, as is shown by their own arguments, avowed partisans.
– That is not a fair thing to say.
– Not after the speech” of Senator Higgs, who is to be the Chairman of the Committee? Is he not a partisan? Senator Higgs himself will be the last to dispute it. Coming back to my point, it appears to me that this inquiry will be largely coloured by personal feelings. Personal matters must arise. It is entirely desirable that in such a case the press should be excluded. The accurate report of what takes place will be brought before the Senate, together with the recommendations of the Committee, and it is not at all desirable that the press should be in a position to give from day to day misleading accounts of what takes place - misleading because they are curtailed. It is, further, undesirable that the press should give ex parte statements at particular times. It is desirable that, in the interests of persons affected by the inquiry, there should be no publicity until the whole of the evidence and the report of the Committee come before the Senate.
– And until the evidence has been digested bv the Committee.
– It will be a wrong thing to give the details of the evidence to ‘the public until the whole of it is available.
Senator DAWSON (Queensland- Minister of Defence). - I have no feeling with regard to ‘this motion one way .or the other. But my honorable friend, Senator Millen, seems to be in a somewhat vitriolic mood to-day. ‘ He appears to discover poison in every suggestion that is made from this side of the Chamber.
– Whenever the honorable senator (eaves the beaten track, J want to know why.
– The beaten track, from the honorable senator’s point of view, is the wallaby track, and I left that a long time ago. I quite admit that it is inadvisable for the press to be admitted to some of our Select Committees. That is the reason why we provide in the Standing Orders that the press shall not be permitted to attend a Select Committee unless with the express, consent of the Senate. If the surroundings of the case to be inquired into by any particular Select Committee are such that publicity should not be given to them, the press should not be admitted. In this instance my opinion is as follows : - The case of Major Carroll has received a great amount of publicity. I am not now speaking as a Minister ; I am speaking as a private senator. I wish that to be clearly understood. Seeing that we have agreed to appoint this Committee, and that there are two parties to the dispute, it would not, I think, prejudice either party if the press were admitted. If, however, honorable senators can show good and substantial reasons for excluding the press, I shall be glad to hear them.
– Surely they are obvious.
– The onus of proof is on the Minister.
– The standing order says that the press shall not be admitted, except with the consent of the Senate, and it is for . the Minister to show why the press should be admitted.
– It is not for me, but for the mover of the motion, to show why the press should be admitted. My view is, regarding the whole of the circumstances, that it would be as well for the press to be admitted. The representatives of the press would be subject to certain rules which would be laid down by the Committee themselves.
-Col. Gould. - This motion would give the press absolute power. ‘
– As an individual, I am in favour of suspending the Standing Orders.
– There is one point to which I would particularly draw attention in connexion with this demand for the admission of the press. I voted for the appointment of the Committee, and shall vote against this motion. It is quite clear that I am not in any way antagonistic to the inquiry. But let me’ point out that we have a standing order which protects witnesses in regard to anything they say. Is that standing order to be suspended also? If so, it might be an inducement to take from slanderous witnesses the protection which the present standing order gives to them, and I might be willing to vote for the motion. But not otherwise. A trial in the Law Courts goes on from day to day, and the falsehood of to-day may be corrected by. the truth of to-morrow. But a Select Committee may sit at wide intervals. Perhaps a week or more, may elapse between two -meetings. The most serious injustice may be done to one side or the other in consequence of the statements of witnesses being published, and the answers to their statements riot being forthcoming for a long time. Unfortunately, the Senate did not pass a Bill which I introduced last session for the purpose of having evidence given on oath. Consequently, the most ‘serious statements may be made by a malicious witness giving evidence under the protection of privilege ; and there is no chance of answering them the next day as is the case in the Law Courts. The person who is maligned may have to wait weeks, or even months.
– But remember that the pressmen would be under the control of the Committee.
– But if an individual pressman offends, another man may be sent to report the proceedings the next day.
– How are the reporters under the control of the Committee?
.–I do not see that they can be materially under the control of the Committee.
– It is proposed to give the press express power to report.
– Whether we give the permission or not. if they are once admitted within a mile of the place they will have a report.
– For the reasons I have given I again urge Senator Higgs to withdraw his motion. The publication of evidence at wide intervals can do no good. It may produce a vast amount of harm and great personal injury.
– I also hope that Senator Higgs will withdraw his motion. The President is the guardian of the rules of the Senate, and I have been pleased on previous occasions to note the way in which he has discouraged too great readiness to suspend the Standing Orders. Next to the President, I think, that the representatives of the Government in the Senate should most zealously guard against any unnecessary suspension of the Standing Orders.
– The honorable senator was the biggest sinner himself when he was a Minister.
– I was nothing of the kind. On the other hand, I may, perhaps, be considered too great a stickler for the observance of conservative rules which I think necessary for the proper conduct of the business of a Legislative Assembly. We have agreed to the appointment of the Select Committee in order to do justice to a man who, on the prima facie case submitted, appears to have suffered injustice. We have not heard the other side yet, and what we are ‘asked to do now is to depute our functions to the public, and invite them to express an opinion on a case half heard.
– The press will not be expected to comment on the evidence.
– It is proposed that we should make a special exception in this case, but once such a motion is carried on personal grounds, other people may from time to time claim the same right from the Senate, and ultimately all matters referred to . a Select Committee will be reported upon daily by the press. The proper procedure, it seems to me, is that the members of the Select Committee shall listen to the evidence submitted to them, carefully digest it, and then give us their report. The report will then be available to the press, as a complete report, and the public will be able, at the same time, to read the case for both sides. I was surprised to hear the references to “ Star Chamber “ by Senator Higgs. There is no “ Star Chamber “ or secrecy proposed, but only a temporary withholding of the evidence until the whole of the case is submitted. I have been surprised at the readiness of Ministers and members of their party to admit the press to the proceedings of Select Committees, when we know that no persons have taken greater exception to the press on the ground of bias.
– That was only to their comment.
– It is now proposed by these honorable senators to invite representatives of this biased press to attend the proceedings of Select Committees, and give biased reports. “ I shall oppose the motion if it is pressed.
– I was indifferent whether the press were admitted and allowed to give reports of the proceedings of this or any other Committee of the Senate ; but, in view of the statement made by Senator Millen that certain members of the Committee that we have appointed are biased, there is a very strong reason why, in this case, the press should be present, and the fullest publicit)1! should be given to the proceedings of the Committee.
– The honorable senator admits my reason.
– I admit everything that the honorable senator says ; but I do not think he was exactly fair. I am sure that he did not mean what was implied by his words, because, although he may think certain members of the Select Committee are biased, I feel sure he believes that they will do justice in the matter. I think that the reason he gave is a reason why the proceedings should be published, in order that the public may be made aware that the inquiry is conducted in an unbiased manner.
– What about the biased press? Senator McGREGOR. - In spite of the insinuations made by Senator Millen, I would ask Senator Higgs to withdraw the motion. I do not believe that it will do any good if carried. I have confidence that the members of the Select Committee appointed will do their best to elicit the truth, and we shall get a reasonable report from them when they have finished their work.
– I may add my request to that of the Vice-President of the Executive Council that Senator Higgs will withdraw his motion. I was one of those who supported the appointment of the Committee, because I thought that a just demand was being made upon the Senate. If we have Standing Orders we should abide by them, and they should not be suspended unless the circumstances are peculiar and exceptional. I am aware of no circumstances of a special character in connexion with this case which justifies the suspension of the Standing Orders in order to allow the press to be present at the proceedings of the Select Committee. The safe rule to follow is to adhere to the Standing Orders as much as we possibly can. I need not add to the arguments already adduced to show the undesirability of allowing reports of the proceedings of a Select Committee to be published from day to day. The representatives of the press would not necessarily report everything that was said ; but would perhaps prefer1 to report tit-bits of evidence that might be specially interesting.
– Under cross-headings.
.- It is possible also that the Senate might pass a motion permitting the press to be present at the proceedings of a Select Committee, which they would consider of so little importance as not to justify the expense of a report.
– The honorable senator has no faith in the press?
.- I have, and I have not.
– Honorable senators have only to look at the reports. of the proceedings of the Senate appearing in the press now.
– They have only to look at the reports of yesterday’s proceedings.
.- If the ordinary course is followed, the Senate will get the whole- of the evidence taken by the Select Committee, and the finding of the Committee at the same time. The public will then have an opportunity of knowing what was alleged on both sides, and of deciding how far the action of the Select Committee, and the subsequent action of the Senate when we are called upon to adopt the report of the Committee, may be correct.
– It is absolutely impossible for me to refuse to accede to the request. I therefore ask leave to withdraw the motion.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Senator McGREGOR laid upon the table ‘ the following paper : -
Paper relating to the proposed temporary appointment of Mr. g. Woodrow, postmaster at Bunbury, to the position of postmaster at Fremantle.
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.
– I should like to know in what way the Vice-President of the Executive Council proposes to deal with this clause. Honorable senators have different views as to the site which should be selected for the Federal Capital, and we do not desire to get into a difficulty, and be unable to decide on a particular site. If the honorable senator has no other plan to propose, I suggest to him that we should adopt the course which was followed by the House of Representatives in the last Parliament, by having sites submitted and an exhaustive ballot taken.
– The honorable senator evidently believes in the old precept, “ Divide and conquer.”
.- If there are half-a-dozen different sites proposed they can be ballotted for, the site receiving the fewest votes being thrown out, and the others submitted to the ballot again. That was the course adopted in the last Parliament to determine by a majority which site should be selected. Honorable senators would then have an opportunity of proposing any site which they preferred, and the public would know, as they have a right to know, how the votes of honorable senators had been cast.
– I shall have to take these motions in the ordinary way. There is a blank in the clause, and some honorable senator, will, no doubt, move that the blank be filled with certain words. On that amendment other amendments may be moved. I am under the impression that that was the method adopted when the question was last before us.
– Senator Millen and other honorable senators last night pointed out the difficulty that the Senate is in when dealing with a clause containing a blank. It may be remembered that when a similar Bill was last introduced in the Senate it contained the name of a certain site which had been agreed to in another place by a kind of exhaustive ballot. I made inquiries this morning as to the course pursued, and the President informed me, just as the Chairman of Committees has stated, that it is not in our power, under the Standing Orders, to adopt an exhaustive ballot. To adopt any method outside that contemplated by the Standing Orders would have necessitated notice of the intention to be given some time ago. That would have caused great delay, which, of course, is not desired, and I have every confidence that honorable senators will select some site by an absolute majority.-
– If they can.
– I do not see any necessity for any method other than that provided by the Standing Orders. At the proper time I have not the least doubt that some one will move the insertion of the name of a certain place, and that amendments will then be submitted. I took notice of what was said last night, and I referred the matter to the Prime Minister, the officers of the Senate, and to the President himself, and the position is as I have stated. I have no fear that any difficulty will arise.
– I ‘wish to point out that the amendment which I desire to submit will not in any way prejudice honorable senators who are in favour of Lyndhurst or Tumut; in fact, such honorable senators will be placed in a more favourable position. My desire is to insure that the site chosen shall be within the Southern Monaro district, so that, on my amendment, I shall have against me all those who are in favour of Lyndhurst and Tumut.
– But when we come to the other sites, we shall have all the supporters of Dalgety and Bombala against Tumut. Let us have a fair deal.
– I am given to understand that all those who favour the Monaro sites are in favour of my amendment, so that we should have a straight out vote as to whether Tumut or Lyndhurst on the one hand, or Southern Monaro on the other, shall provide the site. If separate votes are taken on each site in the Southern Monaro district, those in favour of the latter will be divided, and we shall not get a real expression of opinion from the Senate.
– But they will not be divided on an exhaustive ballot.
– Yes, or on any other kind of ballot. If we adopt Senator Gould’s suggestion, and take a vote on each site separately, there will always be a majority for Lyndhurst and Tumut, as compared with the votes for the Monaro sites. I take it that honorable senators only ‘ desire to ascertain the real opinion of the Senate, and not by any subterfuge, to get Lyndhurst or Tumut selected; and the adoption of my suggestion will, I say. combine the supporters of the two latter areas against the areas in Southern Monaro.
– That is not fair to us, because certain honorable senators will support Tumut, but will not support Lyndhurst.
– If my amendment were defeated it would be competent to move each site separately, but my amendment would get a proper expression of opinion as to the district in which the Federal territory should be.
– As the President- has pointed out, we cannot adopt any extraordinary method unless we over-ride our Standing Orders, which, in themselves, -provide means for their suspension. It seems to me that it would be wise to adopt some other plan than that of submitting a number of sites in rotation, because the latter would not enable us to arrive at the decision we desire. It would be wise, I think, to suspend our Standing Orders. leaving ourselves free to adopt any course we like. We want greater freedom than our Standing Orders provide. The method which we must adopt under the Standing Orders would land us in chaos, and would certainly not give us the clear mind of the Committee. First, we ought to have a discussion as untrammelled as possible, bearing in view the enormous area over which our minds must range. Having had that discussion on the sites, which, so to speak, are “ in the running,” there ought to be some means by which each senator can express his special preference ; and then, if need be, there can be a weeding out such as is afforded by an exhaustive ballot. I suggest that we go on with the discussion for some time, and then have the Standing Orders suspended for the purpose of filling up the blank.
Senator Lt.-Col. GOULD (New South Wales). - There is no doubt of the correctness of the opinion expressed by the Chairman, and, I understand, earlier by the President, as to the Standing Orders. But in another place honorable members were confronted with a similar difficulty, and, instead of dealing with the Bill in Committee, they suspended the Standing Orders, and allowed a ballot to be taken in regard to the various sites suggested as suitable. The sites were weeded out until the House arrived at a conclusion, and the name df. that site was inserted in the blank when the Bill went into Committee. I suggest that that is the better course to pursue. Senator Pearce suggests that he should be allowed to induce the Committee, if he can, to affirm that the Capital site shall be in Southern Monaro ; but which of the three sites would he select?
– That would be settled Subsequently.
– Are we to have a further ballot, or leave it to the- Government to treat for any site in that district ?
– The blank could be filled up after my amendment was carried.
.- Then I understand that after the Committee has affirmed the principle that the territory should be within Southern Monaro, the places elsewhere would be shut out.
– But it would then have been shown that there was a majority in. favour of Southern Monaro, or, of course, it might be in favour of Lyndhurst or Tumut.
– I do not see my way to fall in with that suggestion. It is better to take all the sites, and put one against the other.
– It cannot be shown that my suggestion is unfair.
– What about the five different sites around Tumut ?
– The radius around each proposed site might be made fifty miles.
– But that would leave to the Government the very discretion of -which the honorable and learned member has complained.
– A certain amount of discretion must be left to the Government. After all, surveys will have to be made in order to find out the most suitable spot in any limited area; and if we make the radius fifty miles, that will include every spot contemplated in Southern Monaro or elsewhere. Under such circumstances I should have no objection to an exhaustive ballot.
– But a radius of fifty miles from Bombala would not take in the watershed of Dalgety or Delegate.
– The Seat of Government -would Be within fifty miles. I take it that the distance between Dalgety and Delegate is only thirty or forty miles.
– But the Seat of Government is the whole of the territory.
– No/ the Seat of Government is to be within the territory. If the territory were 1,000 square miles, the Seat of Government might be thirty miles by thirty miles within that territory.
– We must know where the Houses of Parliament are to be placed.
– The Houses of Parliament will not be erected until the site has been selected.
– Until they are erected we shall have no Seat of Government.
.- We haw to fix on a site within the area for the Seat of Government, and the Houses of Parliament and Government offices will be erected there. I would, therefore, urge Senators McGregor and Pearce to assent to a proposition to take a radius of fifty miles from any one centre, and then suspend the Standing Orders in order to get an exhaustive ballot; and whatever place is adopted will be named in’ the Bill, and will, I presume, be passed by the Senate as an expression of opinion of the majority of honorable senators brought about in that particular way.
– In Committee we cannot suspend the’ Standing Orders.
– It would be necessary to go back into the Senate to do that.
– This is not a Bill for fixing the Federal territory, but for fixing the Seat of Government, and, according to the Constitution, the Seat of Government must be within an area granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth. I have always been much in favour of a greatly extended ar,ea; but the Bill provides for an area of 900 square miles, or probably as much more as may be decided on, or as we, after negotiation, can obtain from New South Wales. I do not think it would be within the scope of the Bill to decide on the territory, but it is within its scope to fix the place for the Seat of Government. I agree with Senator Gould, that if a radius of twenty-five miles from the locality does not answer, we have a right to increase the distance to thirty or forty or fifty miles. But I do not see how we as a Government can go for the selection of a territory in a Seat of Government Bill.
– But the territory must be obtained before the Seat of Government is fixed.
– We fix no boundaries at the present time. When we fix the Seat of Government, and say that we require an area of not less than 900 square miles, we shall have done all that we can do under this Bill. Of course, if we liked, we could increase the area to not less than 10,000 square miles, but if we did we should have to negotiate with New South Wales for the land.
– I thought the Minister said the other day that it could be taken.
– In the first, place we must negotiate and ascertain whether the people of New South Wales are agreeable. When they decline to accede to a request of that kind it will be time enough for us to take steps for compulsory acquisition. I think it will be better to proceed in Committee, and to let an honorable senator propose a site. I do not think that there will be any difficulty in getting an absolute majority in favour of a certain site.
– The motto of the Prime Minister, “ One step at a time,” is a very safe one. The Committee should not attempt to do too much bv this Bill. If there is a complicated question to be dealt with, and it is not known how the decision is likely to go. probably the use of the exhaustive ballot is the only way of getting a settlement. But if, as many of us believe, a majority of the Senate favour Southern Monaro, we need not waste time in taking an exhaustive ballot, because if Senator Pearce moves his amendment, it will be opposed by the supporters of every other site ; and, if in spite of that opposition his amendment is carried, it will go without saying that a majority of the Senate are in favour of Southern Monaro. I presume that we all wish to adopt such a procedure as will give every locality a fair chance of being considered. I hope that no honorable senator will try to separate the sites in Southern Monaro, just as I should not try to separate the five sites in Tumut. If the Seat of Government is to go to the Tumut district, let it be understood that it is to go to the best place in that district. If, on the other hand, Southern Monaro is preferred, let it be understood that the best site in that district is to be chosen. I am inclined to think that the proposal of Senator Pearce is better than the suggestion of Senator Gould.
– Is there a definition of Southern Monaro?
– There is a definition in Ay printed amendment.
– If the words “ Southern Monaro “ are inserted, and the Bill is passed, it ought to be the duty of the Government, I think, to employ the services of skilled engineers’ and inspectors to thoroughly survey the locality. I take it that that important commission, whose duty will be to recommend to the Parliament the exact locality, ought to consist of one engineer or surveyor from each State, if it is only to shut the mouth of that State and to let its citizens know that one of their officers, chosen by their own Government, had his say in recommending the exact locality which should be selected. It is necessary to proceed in this careful way because the negotiations with New South Wales for an area must be based on a proper survey. In the. preparation of a deed a plan is the most important part of the document. A proper plan, with a couple of lines, is of more use than a deed stretching from Melbourne to San Francisco, without a proper plan. I take it that the Senate ought to be asked to do nothing more than indicate the locality. I think that Senator McGregor now begins to see that much negotiation will have to take place between the Commonwealth and New South Wales as to the area of land which we can legally take, the area which we wish to take outside that legal area, and the terms, if any, on which they are prepared to give us that extra land.
– I always thought that.
– If we take one step at a time in this important matter we shall make no mistake, and finally, if we are to have a Capital - against which I still protest - we should make a choice to which the people of the Commonwealth cannot object.
– I understand that there are only two great districts from which a site can be selected. If that be so, surely the simpler plan would be to divide the forces for one site or the other.
– That is not so ; there are three districts, at least.
– Then it will be all the worse for the honorable senator who submits the first proposal. To my mind, the proposal of Senator Pearce is a fair one, because there are two other districts in competition with Southern Monaro. If there is a majority in favour of his proposal, and it is carried, the matter will be settled, so far as the Senate is concerned. It will then be for the Government, when the district is selected by the Parliament, to approach the Government of New South Wales, and to arrange the matter in a way which will be satisfactory to the Commonwealth. If there is a majority here in favour of one district, why delay the settlement of the matter? I have made up my mind as to what district I shall vote for, and therefore I am against resorting to an exhaustive ballot.
– I rise to order. I believe that our duty is first to select a territory, and afterwards to fix a Seat of Government. I draw your attention, sir, to section 125 of the Constitution, which says -
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 Commonweath.
I ask you, sir, whether we are not premature in going for & Seat of Government before we have decided on a F Federal territory ?
– I submit, sir, that, according to the Standing Orders, this objection ought to have been taken in the Senate.
– An objection of this kind should have been taken before the second reading of the Bill was passed, and not at this stage.
Senator MULCAHY (Tasmania)’. - The desire of Senator Pearce is that we shall select a site in Southern Monaro. I am quite in accord with him in his proposal to enlarge the area of selection. If his assumption that there is a majority in favour of Southern Monaro be correct, the joint efforts of those who favour the selection of other districts would not be sufficient to defeat his amendment. But if that proposal be defeated, we might exclude the Monaro site, while as a contingency many honorable senators would vote for the selection of that site in preference to one of the ‘ other two. This reminds- me of a three-cornered election, in which exactly the same result may happen.
I do not know whether I am in order in suggesting such a course, but it seems to me that some such practice as is generally followed when a President is elected, with a view of bringing about unanimity of opinion, might be adopted in this case. What we want is to select a site which will be supported by a majority of the Senate. Unfortunately, the machinery of the Standing Orders is not efficient for that purpose. Therefore, we should suspend the Standing Orders, and adopt some such method as the exhaustive ballot.
– I do not know whether Senator Pearce would have any objection to the adoption of the exhaustive ballot system, provided that the three principal areas are balloted for. By adopting the method suggested by. Senator Pearce it appears to me that a site which is npt favoured by the majority of the Senate may be chosen. Although there are more Senators in favour of Bombala than any other site, Bombala might be blocked out under this method. Suppose there were eight senators for Lyndhurst, eight for Tumut, and fifteen for Bombala. The two eights, by combining, might “knock out” Bombala on the first vote, and then the Bombala advocates would have to vote either for Tumut or Lyndhurst. That would not be satisfactory. I think that an open exhaustive ballot is the better course to adopt.
– In order to arrive at the real desire of the majority of the Committee I might receive an amendment in favour of a certain district. An honorable senator, who is not in favour of that district, might propose the substitution of another district. The Committee having decided on the district, I could then receive proposals regarding the particular part of the district to be selected.
- Senator Pearce proposes to indicate the area in which the Seat of Government should be located. If he proposes that the area be within certain boundaries, and that proposal is carried, some senator can move that the actual site shall be twenty-five or fifty miles from a particular place within the area chosen. We can also decide whether the area to be acquired or ceded to the Commonwealth should contain 900 miles or more. All that can be done by the machinery provided by the
Standing Orders. There is no necessity to adopt the exhaustive ballot.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia). - Senator Smith’s suggestion is practically what I propose in another form, except that my proposal carries out the idea more accurately. The words which I propose to insert in the Bill would remain there, and we could afterwards determine the exact site of the Capital. But if we use the word Bombala, no one will be able to say exactly what is meant. I move -
That after the word “within,” the following words be inserted : - “ the area bounded on the north by a line running parallel with, and twelve miles south of, the thirty-sixth parallel of south latitude.”
That would include the whole of the sites recommended in the Monaro district. It would also include the watershed of all the Monaro’ sites. The watershed area of the Dalgety site extends a great deal further than fifty miles from Bombala. It extends more than fifty miles from Delegate, because the Dalgety site is on the western side of Dalgety itself, and the watershed area runs right back to the ranges. My proposal would secure a true expression of the opinion of the Committee as to whether the site should be in the Monaro district or in one of the other districts. After we have taken, the vote on this proposal we can indicate in what portion of the district the Seat of Government shall ‘ be. But if we have an exhaustive ballot, and insert a word where the blank now stands in the ‘Bill, we shall have this peculiar result - that the Southern Monaro advocates will be divided by three, and the Lyndhurst and Tumut advocates will be divided by two. I do not wish the Monaro advocates to be divided by three, but I am quite willing to give the others a chance of multiplying themselves by two. Therefore, the Lyndhurst and Tumut advocates have nothing to complain of. We should define the district in which the site is to be located in geographical terms that will stand investigation. I find that in the opinion of some people the boundaries of the Southern Monaro district run right up towards Tumut. By inserting the delineation which I propose there will be an exact determination of the opinion of the Committee.
– Senator Pearce is a man of considerable shrewdness, but I still hope that progress will be reported, that the Standing Orders will be suspended, and that we shall have an exhaustive ballot. If we carry this amendment we shall practically be confined to three sites - Delegate, Dalgety, and Bombala. But what about Orange? Why should we not specify thethirtythird parallel? Personalty, I am an advocate of the Tumut site. I might votefor Dalgety as a second choice. We should have an exhaustive ballot, as they had ir> the House of Representatives last session. There is absolutely nothing unfair in adopting that course, as every honorable senator will have an opportunity of .voting for thesite which, in his opinion, is the best.
– They will have thesame opportunity by following the coursenow proposed.
– No; we shall havethree voting against two if we adopt thecourse now proposed, and which I hope weshall reject. I beg to move -
That the Committee report progress.
Senator Lt.-Col. GOULD (New South. Wales). - On so important an amendment we should be given some reasons by Senator Pearce for his preference for a site in the Monaro district, as against Tumut anc? Lyndhurst, for instance.
– Is not the honorable and learned senator tired of hearing them?
– Senator Pearce speaks of two or three different sites within the area which he defines. Senator Pearce. - I take it that each honorable senator has made up his mind as the result of his investigations.
.- Then the honorable, senator is not disposed to give honorable senators, who have not read the report, and who have not heard previous, debates on this subject, the advantage of knowing the reasons which induce him to prefer a site in the Monaro district.
– I propose to take up the honorable and learned senator’s challenge. I did not speak on the second reading of the Bill, because I expressed my opinion very fully last session, when the’ Senate selected the site in the Monaro district. This session, we have had three very valuable reports; sent in at the request of the Senate, and* they bear out my contention that the Monaro district is the best that could be chosen. Sir John Forrest is emphatic in the expression of his belief that Dalgety is the best site which he has seen. The right honorable; gentleman is a surveyor of very high stand- ing, and he is a very competent person to offer an opinion on such a subject.
– The honorable senator is no doubt aware that Sir John Forrest favoured Bombala before he inspected it.
– No doubt he did from a study of documents, and his inspection has borne out the opinion he first formed. The InspectorGeneral of Works, Lt.-Col. Owen, is also in favour of Dalgety, as is Mr. Scrivener, a surveyor of considerable eminence. I said last year, and now repeat, that one of the most essential features required is a good water supply, and to my mind the Snowy River affords the best water supply to be found in Australia.
– By pumping or by gravitation ?
– By gravitation from an affluent of the Snowy River. The Snowy River is on the Dalgety site itself.
– Are not pumping schemes suggested?
– No ; the water supply will be derived by gravitation for thirteen miles from the Mowamba River. I can refer honorable senators to what Sir John Forrest says -
Viewed from the standard of the factors set forth in paragraph 3, the Dalgety site, in my opinion, fulfils the qualifications to a larger and fuller extent than any other site in the Southern Monaro or Tumut districts. It surpasses all of them under the four headings (b, e, f and i), and under no factor is it inferior to any of the others. It has also by far the best water supply, and is the most picturesque of all the sites examined.
Lt.-Col. Owen says that the Dalgety site is the best, and that the water supply has 100,000 horse-power available for electricity. That is one of the most valuable assets the Commonwealth could have, and one which we should avail ourselves of as soon as possible. Mr. Scrivener says that the water supply of Dalgety is 8,000,000 gallons per day. It may be easily increased, and will be provided by gravitation through a thirteen-mile tube. If this method is not adopted, a small pumping scheme will be required, which he recommends, because the pumping can be done economically by electricity. As to the climate, Sir John Forrest reports that it is splendid. Mr. Scrivener says that the range of mountains to the north of the Snowy River affords protection from the westerlywinds, and for that reason he prefers the Dalgety site to the Bombala site. Lt.-Col. Owen reports that Dal gety is the best sheltered of all the sites he inspected in the Monaro district.
– Is that all that Lt.Col. Owen has said about the climate?
– No; he has said that he was not long enough there to be able to speak definitely with respect to the climate. Last season we had before us a report from Mr. Maiden, the Curator of the Botanical Gardens at Sydney, and that gentleman is of opinion that all plants, shrubs, and flowers usually grown in temperate climates can be grown easily and profitably at Bombala or Dalgety. One honorable senator has said that Dalgety is very bleak, but that can easily be remedied, as one of the surveyors points out, by planting trees, and increasing the forests which are very close to the site.
– Very close?
– Yes, within six miles. Facts are worth more than theory, and we have opinions offered by experts, which, I hope will receive the weight they deserve. At Dalgety there is the finest water supply to be had in Australia, and the climate for ten months in the year is as good as that to be found in any other part of Australia. If it is more severe during the other two months, I remind honorable senators that it may have the effect of shortening our sessions occasionally.
– Hear, hear; we shall be frozen out.
– At Dalgety we should have a delightful climate for ten months in the year, and, according to Sir John Forrest, a splendid climate all the year round. The thermometer does not descend very low at Dalgety, or as low in the Monaro district as at Lyndhurst.
– It descends to 16 deg. below zero at Lyndhurst.
-I have not said much on this subject. I desire to vote for Dalgety. I do not know whether my opinion is of any particular value, but I have so far made up my mind to that. I wish to have the question settled, and I understand that, if Senator Pearce carries his proposal, the blank created will afterwards be filled up by the name of one of the sites.
– I leave that to some one else.
– The honorable senator may do so; but I point out that when he has taken a division in favour of the Monaro district, which he defined, he assumes that honorable senators will then only vote for a site within that district. Suppose they decline to do that? Suppose that whatever the inconsistency may be, they persist in voting for their own favourite site, and submit the name of a site which is not favoured by the honorable senator.
– We have nothing to fear from that.
– I think that there may be something to fear, and that the honorable senator is assuming that the minority in the Senate will abide by the vote of the majority, which is expected to carry his amendment. There is nothing to prevent honorable senators endeavouring to fill up the blank created with the name of a site that is not in the Monaro district, however inconsistent such an amendment may be.
– Supposing there is a site. A favoured by a majority, and a minority favouring sites B and C. Having decided that the site chosen shall be within A, the honorable and learned senator suggests that an amendment may be moved to insert B or C. The Chairman could not put such an amendment.
– I doubt whether he would exercise his authority to prevent such an amendment being put, because it is not his duty to judge the consistency or inconsistency of an amendment with one which has already been carried.
– The danger the honorable and learned senator fears is imaginary.
– I do not think that Senator Pearce will be wise in persisting in the course he proposes against the wish of honorable senators who propose the method, which, . so far as I can see, is open to no objection. The exhaustive ballot was tried by the House of Representatives last session, and it seems to me to afford a means by which we may ascertain exactly which site is the choice of the Senate.
Senator TRENWITH (Victoria).- If the amendment, proposed by Senator Pearce, is carried, it will define the area in New South Wales within which the Seat of Government must be. That will be a positive decision of the Committee. Suppose Senator Pearce’s amendment be carried, and we proceed further, we shall have to decide, not whether the Federal Capital shall be in Tumut or Lyndhurst, but what shall be the particular spot within the geographical area already fixed ; and no combi nation could upset that arrangement without rescinding what we had previously done.
– What is the objection to the advocates of other sites having an opportunity to vote for those sites ?
– First of all, we have a blank sheet ; but there are in the minds of honorable senators three districts. The advocates of Tumut, for instance, have in their minds an area near Tumut, in which is Batlow - in many respect the most desirable place. What the advocates of the respective sites have in their minds are districts rather than any definite spots. We decide, in the first instance, that we are in favour of one of those districts, and, if we happen to decide on an area within a radius of twenty miles, say, of Tumut, that will be a clearly defined area. We then proceed to decide on some spot within that twenty miles radius ; and if some honorable senator captiously proposed Dalgety, the Chairman would at once point out that the latter was not within the area already decided upon.
– How would the Chairman know ?
– I cannot say, but I am sure the Chairman would know ; at any rate, there would be a clear geographical line fixed. An amendment on Senator Pearce’s amendment might, in reference to either or both of the other areas spoken of, be made just as definite geographically. I do not know the districts sufficiently to say how that should be done, , and it would take some time ; but, in my opinion, the danger feared by Senator Drake does not exist.
– Suppose the advocates of all the other sites vote successively against the sites in the Monaro district?
– To begin with, honorable senators could not, under the circumstances, vote for any other sites, although they could, of course, vote against the Monaro sites. If so, the advocates of the Monaro sites would ultimately be driven, in self-defence, to adopt some means of se- curing unanimity. That is supposing the worst happened; but I do not think that honorable senators are so captious as to adopt what I venture to say would be an unfair course.
– I hope not.
– We all desire to do our very best. This is a question so important that we all feel very strongly in regard to it. With some honorable members it is an intensely local question, and the great importance of the problem also gives rise to very strong feeling. I do not think, however, that honorable members would take any unfair means to prevent the majority from achieving their desire. The consensus of expert opinion seems to be in favour of the district named in Senator Pearce’s amendment.
– The Royal Commission gave Tumut first place.
– At all events, the evidence presented recently by experts is in favour of the district to which I refer. I am not an expert on the quality of land, water supply, railway matters, and so forth, but I have had six years’ training in this special department of inquiry as a member of the Railways Standing -Committee of Victoria, and, therefore, have obtained some smattering of knowledge. The conclusion I have arrived at is that Tumut, while presenting many advantages, particularly the advantage of picturesqueness, and, so far as I was able to observe, of a water supply sufficient for a very considerable population, has the very great disadvantage of having an enormous area of comparatively worthless land in its neighbourhood.
– What does the honorable senator mean bv “worthless” land?
– I saw no rabbits tin it. On a good deal of the land rabbits cannot live, although there are rabbits in the neighbourhood.
– The honorable senator was not there long enough to notice.
– There is a very nice valley all the way up, but it is extremely restricted. In some instances the worthless land runs right up to the river, and, in other instances, spreads out a mile or a mile and a half at the widest part. At Batlow, how.ever, there is some really magnificent land, so far as the quality of the soil is concerned, but it is of such a character as to be almost impossible to work.
– Why cannot the land be worked.?
– It is extremely broken, rugged country. I was very strongly prejudiced in favour of the Batlow district from a climatic point of view, the climate being much colder than in Victoria. I am very fond of a cold climate ; indeed, I cannot get cold enough in Victoria to suit me. But the only place at Batlow level enough for the Capital city is very restricted in area, and is so situated that one has to climb up to look out of it. Those who urge that a Tumut site should be adopted have overlooked a great many of the characteristics which are desirable in a Seat of Government for the Commonwealth. Amongst others is the fact that all the sites in the neighbourhood of Tumut are a considerable distance inland. Some persons say that there is not a great deal of importance to be attached to the question of a port. But the continuance of the present position of the Commonwealth Government would be quite intolerable. The Government of the Commonwealth, like the Parliament, is a tenant at will. That is a quite intolerable position. But it would be a little less intolerable if the Commonwealth Government were the possessor of an area liable to be cut off at the will of any State. For that reason, it seems to me, that in “a lesser degree, it would be highly objectionable for the Federal Territory to be absolutely within the area of a State. I do not wish it to be imagined that I feel that there is any danger of New South Wales being ungracious, or unfriendly, or unfair to the Commonwealth.
– Why fight a phantom, then?
– It is not at all a highly probable contingency that any State in which the Federal Territory might be located would unfairly or captiously endeavour to place the Commonwealth at a disadvantage, but still it is a possibility. There is an adage which tells us that “ Whatever can happen will happen sometimes.” Arid when we can avoid that possibility without taking on any other disadvantages as a consequence, I hold that, slight as the danger is, it is as well to avoid it.. But there is another reason why I think the Commonwealth, if it can, without taking on other disadvantages that would counterbalance it, should have a port. The commercial well-being of nations, it is general)’ admitted, depends largely on the means of ingress and egress, on possibilities of communication with the rest of the world, and an additional port is an additional facility for communication with the rest of the world. The world is generally complaining that the, tendency of civilization is undue an’ hurtful concentration. If the Commo, wealth were to open up another port, to some extent that would tend to counteract the baneful influence of centralization ; 3 s 2 it would be decentralization in a degree. But a very strong reason is that it is an advantage to the Commonwealth to have as many outlets and inlets as possible for commerce, and for the purpose of reasonable interchange with trie rest of the world. Now,’ Tumut, or the surrounding district, does not possess this qualification. I can readily understand that honorable senators may have a very strong feeling for Tumut. There is a great deal in the district to attract one. There is a great deal of practically worthless country. Along the Adelong Creek there is a very rich valley, but it is extremely restricted, and is not occupied. I think it is fair to say. that, whatever my qualifications to judge may be, it was only a flying visit that I made, and it may have some qualifications of which I am not aware, but if it has, it will be for its advocates to present them to the Committee. Leaving Tumut, I went with others to the Monaro district, where the circumstances are entirely different. In leaving Cooma to drive to Bombala, you go the whole way, not through a narrow or restricted area, but through an immensely expansive area, not of first-class land, but of fairly good land. In fact, during the whole journey of forty odd miles, so far as my memory serves me, you go through no land that is hot good, except for the fact that it is excessively stony.
– Not about Nimitybelle?
– So far as my memory serves’ me, there is no bad land, except from the point of view that it is very stony.
– I must agree to differ.
– It is impracticable from that point of view; but if the population were ever dense enough to justify the clearing of that extremely stoney country it would become very good secondclass land. It is only fair to mention that for agricultural purposes a very large part of that expansive area is impracticable. During the whole distance there is no absolutely worthless land such as I described in the neighbourhood of Tumut. The character of the country everywhere is comparatively Speaking gently undulating. There is none of that intensely precipitous country that any one who is acquainted with agriculture, knows is impracticable from an agricultural point of view, not because of the soil, but because of its contour. It is impossible to get ma chinery on to such land or to work it well. The whole of the area that I was able to observe in Monaro was gently undulating land. Of course there are considerable altitudes from the general level, but in very few instances indeed are they very precipitous. In most instances machinery could be got on to the land, and it could be worked for agricultural or horticultural purposes. That is not a characteristic of the country in the Batlow district. It is said that the Bombala country is extremely, and, in the view of some persons, unbearably cold in certain seasons of the year, but that does not seem to be borne out by the facts of the settlement. Many persons that one meets there are comparatively hale, well-looking old people, some of whom have been there for forty or fifty years.
– All the others are dead.
– That is not a fact. The truth is that there never have been many people there, for the reason that the land was taken up in enormous areas. It is a very long distance from Sydney, and until quite recently had no railway accommodation’. It was extremely alluring to tHe early squatter.
– There is not an estate in Southern Monaro that has not been made up by the aggregation of holdings which were originally selections.
– It was extremely alluring to the early squatter. The land, being reasonably good almost anywhere - not first-class, except in pockets or patches - and requiring no labour to bring it into a fit condition for agriculture, attracted, I should assume, a number of poor persons. I do not know that it did, and I only make the deduction from the circumstances as they appear to me. They took up the land, and were able to produce crops of excellent quality. But the Government had made no provision for them to get the crops to a market, and they found that it was impossible for them to produce in a way that would provide them with a living. The squatter, whom I am not complaining about at all - for I am not one of those who feel that he is necessarily the natural enemy of the country - found very large areas of cleared land contiguous to and interspersed by belts of timber for shelter, which may be described not as firstclass, but as very fair grazing country.. He had nothing to do but to take his stock there with a shepherd. The result is that there is a comparatively small number of people there, who have lived in the locality for a great number of years. They are thriving, and are occupying - without any blame to them - an enormous area of reasonably good country, which would keep tens of thousands of people. The establishment of the Seat of Government there would have a tendency to create, first of all for New South Wales, and in the end for the whole Commonwealth, another centre of civilization capable of providing employment, helpful and lucrative, for a very large number of Australians. The argument used by my honorable friend Senator Styles, that no person would go either to Bombala or elsewhere except from some other part of Australia, is one that only needs to be examined to be refuted. If anything happens anywhere to create a point of vantage for settlement, it will attract settlement either from far or near. If the establishment of the Capital : at Bombala attracts population from Melbourne or Sydney, the people of Melbourne and Sydney who go there will have been doing something previously ; and there are plenty of people all over the world who want to get into places that other people leave. So thatwe are bound to attract settlement in any case. But the point which I wish to consider now is not that merely abstract question. We have Jo decide not whether it is desirable to have a Seat of Government, but what is a desirable point at which to establish that Seat of Government. I speak with all- diffidence, because I recognise that there must be honorable senators who possess much higher qualifications than I have. But still, I am bound to speak as one of the trustees of the people to the extent of my knowledge and capacity. Of all the sites of which I have knowledge, it seems to. me that it is not possible to name one to compare with the Southern Monaro district. Much as can be said in favour of Tumut from a narrow and restricted point of view, that site is altogether out of it as compared with the Monaro district.
– Has the honorable senator visited Lyndhurst ?
– I regret to say that I have not, but I have made inquiries, and I understand that one of the great objections to Lyndhurst is that for all time the water supply must be provided by a pumping scheme. I think that is almost, it not quite, an insuperable difficulty. I see no objection to a tentative pumping scheme.
– It is given as a gravitation scheme in the report which I hold in my hand.
– My impression was that a pumping scheme is necessary ; but I admit that I do not know enough about it, and I can only speak as far as my qualifications go. From actual examination, I only know the Tumut area and the Monaro area ; and I have no hesitation in saying that the advantages in favour of Southern Monaro enormously outweigh the advantages, such as they are, of the Tumut area. I, therefore, feel constrained to vote for Senator Pearce’s amendment. I should like to say a word or two with reference to the argument that the Monaro neighbourhood is cold. I think that is rather an advantage than a disadvantage. But if it is a disadvantage, it must apply with nearly, if not quite, equal force to Batlow. The altitude is not very different, and the latitude is not widely different either ; nor is there much difference in the temperature. But one of the conditions that we require is a cold climate. I am now, of course, speaking merely of the requirements of the site for the purposes of the Federal Capital. The continent on which we live possesses generally an unpleasantly hot climate. I submit that what we require for the comfort of the Federal Parliament - which is a comparatively important consideration when we are dealing with a Seat of Government, where the Commonwealth legislation is to be made - is a place in which the members can do the work of legislation at the season of the year when it is less pleasant to remain at their homes. That season is the summer time. The rule in Australia is for the Parliaments to do their work in winter. The reason for that is obvious - because it is so unpleasant to legislate in the heat of an ordinary Australian summer. If we select a place where we can do the work of legislation at a time when it will be possible to do it without the discomforts that are necessarily endured in our respective State capitals, the fact that the climate is cold seems to me rather an argument in its favour than against its adoption.
– Is the honorable senator arguing that weshould sit in summer, and not in winter?
– We may occasionally have to sit in winter. We shall certainly require to have more work to do than we have had this session if we are to sit at any time.
– We are sitting in winter now.
– The reason is obvious. It is more pleasant to sit in winter than in summer.
– Not to me.
– I have had some experience of Parliament sitting in the heat of a Melbourne summer, and I can testify that it is far more pleasant to me, ar any rate, to sit in this building in winter. It is singular that we, the descendants of Britons, who came from a country where it is sometimes very cold in winter, and who are proud of the parent nation, should think that any great harm is likely to happen to the Commonwealth from the establishment of the Seat of Government in a cold climate -a climate which, after all, is not so cold as most parts of Great Britain, and which is certainly less unpleasantly cold than any part of Great Britain. The worst fault that can be found with the coldest part of Australia is that it has a keen, biting cold. Generally, when it is not actually raining, we have a clear Australian sky. I do not think, having regard to all these circumstances, that we need be very much afraid of taking a cold place. But if the Monaro district be cold, that is an objection which applies equally to either of the sites of which I know anything, and which are in the minds of honorable senators. Therefore, I say that we should select the Southern Monaro area. I think it would be wise to adopt Senator Pearce’s amendment, because while it mentions the area distinctly, it leaves it open to us to acquire, after we have obtained more perfect knowledge, the best site in that .area.
– That means further delay.
– Of course, that implies a little more delay. But, after all, in the life of a nation, a few months are comparatively unimportant. What I take it the honorable senator is anxious for - and what I think he has a right to be anxious for, as a representative of New South Wales - is that there shall be an evidence on the part of the Australian Parliament of a desire to select the Federal Capital. I think that is a reasonable anxiety. When the bona fides of this Parliament is established, and it is clear that there is no intention to delay the selection of a site unnecessarily, the question of a few weeks or months is altogether unimportant. But it is very gravely important that, having decided where, within a reasonable limit, the Seat of Government shall be, we shall select within that area absolutely the very best site possible on which to plant the Capital. Notwithstanding all the pains that we have taken to inquire into the sites, we are, I think - certainly I am, speaking for myself - quite insufficiently equipped to say clearly as an absolute last word which is the best of the sites available in Southern Monaro. At present I feel that Dalgety has many recommendations. First of all, it can be, and will be, if it is selected - when the energy and the taste and the wealth of Australia are expended upon it as far as may be justified - an extremely picturesque spot. While it is true that there are some conditions connected with it now that are not particularly picturesque, and while it is true that there is a good deal of treeless land and there are a great many unsightly granite boulders, it is also true that the conformation of the land is such as will lend itself to endless beautification by artificial means. First of all, the Snowy River runs along two sides of the projected site. With a very little weiring and planting, that suggests possibilities of beautification. In addition to that, while it is undoubtedly well sheltered from the western point, whence we are informed the cold winds come in that region, it has an outlook of at least twenty miles in another direction. And while that suggests naturally to the ordinary mind an absolute plain, such is not the fact. It is what persons who know anything of mountain country understand as a mountain table-top. But it is comparatively undulating - sometimes considerably undulating - so that if that site be selected the wealth and taste of Australia ought to be able to make the Capital city something like a delight to look upon, and one that could be seen by visitors approaching it from twenty miles off.
– The site at Tabletop, twelve miles from Albury, possesses that advantage still more decidedly.
– I do not say that that is an essential condition of a Capital site. It might be supposed that, as a Victorian, I should advocate Albury. But I hope that we consider ourselves as Australians in dealing with this question, and from that point of view I should say that Albury is one of the least desirable sites. However, as it is not in the running, it is hardly worth while to consider it. There is another aspect of this district which I have heard depreciated, and that is that over a large area it is treeless. It is con- tended that this is evidence of some natural characteristic that is antagonistic to its selection for the purpose which we have in view.
.- The honorable senator is speaking now of Bombala.
– I am speaking of the district of Monaro, because Bombala is. it seems to me, comparatively unimportant. I am considering an area very much more extensive than that of Bombala. It is true that about Bombala there is a considerable area which has always been treeless country, and there is also is a considerable area of timbered country. “It, therefore, seems to me that the absence of vegetation in certain places is not evidence that the district is too cold for vegetation, because a few miles, or a few chains, will make no appreciable difference in that respect. There must be some other reason for this characteristic which we do not understand, and which. I am not sure that it is important we should understand. We do know, however, that, on country which is naturally treeless, it is very easy to produce trees by planting. A number of evidences of this fact, which have a very pretty effect, have been supplied by the efforts of a few settlers who are in the district. If it is contended that there are no trees on this country. because it is too cold for trees to grow there, the argument is completely met by the fact that, if we go to Riverina, which is one of the most fertile parts of New South Wales, when they can get some rain, which they do not get sufficiently often, and if we go to Northern Victoria, to the Mallee country where, after rain, grass grows more rapidly, and, perhaps,is more nutritious than in any other part of Victoria, we shall find in the middle of dense mallee scrub that we may come unexpectedly on an open plain, though so far as one is able to judge, the circumstances are exactly the same as where the country is covered by dense scrub. Those who know anything of that country are aware that these open plains are just as productive for any purpose asthe timbered country can possibly become, however carefully cleared and cultivated.
SenatorFraser. - The timbered country always produces more grain when cultivated.
– The honorable senator’s experience and mine do not tally. My experience may not be as great as that of the honorable senator, but it is somewhat extensive as regards this northern country. I have had some years of experience that entailed the obligation of endeavouring to acquire some knowledge of the character of the country. As I have already told honorable senators, I was a member of a Committee formed by the State Parliament, whose duty it was to report on the possibilities of country. I do not know whether I ever acquired much knowledge on the subject, but at all events that was theduty to which I had to apply myself for some six years. Therefore, while I do not claim to be an authority, I think I may, without undue egotism, claim that my opinion, after observation, is as good as that of the average man. I was pointing out that the treeless condition of country is not necessarily evidence that the country is too cold to grow trees, and though it may have been considered so by some persons, the fact that trees planted on such country grow rapidly, luxuriantly, and healthily, is evidence that the difficulty can be easily overcome. While it may not necessarily be a disadvantage that that country is treeless, there are “reasons why it may be a very great advantage to have treeless country in conjunction with timbered country. Every one who knows anything of agriculture, and who has taken up virgin country, is aware that the first obstacle which settlers usually have to contend with is the giant natural vegetation. They sit down in the midst of the forest for some years without much room to move, whilst they are subduing the vegetation Nature has. put there, and if the country I am speaking of possesses nearly the same degree of excellence as timbered country does when cleared, the fact that it is already cleared must be considered a great advantage.
– Already cleared but for the stones.
– And they can never becleared.
- Senator Millen, if he has been in the district, must be aware that while there is in that district a very large area of stony land, there is also a considerable area of land entirely free from stones, and a considerable area of other land in which the granite has become so decomposed that its presence is rather an advantage than a disadvantage. It is well known that land which is largely formed of decomposed granite is extremely useful for agricultural purposes. The presence of granite! on the Dalgety site is, to my mind, an extremely strong argument, in addition to others, for selecting that part of the Monaro district. lt seems to me that ail the boulders to be seen on that site would be quickly absorbed, and more required, in order to provide the stone necessary for buildings, sewerage, and other purposes connected with the proposed Capital. I set out as I have said merely to discuss methods., but I have drifted into a speech hurriedly thought out while upon my feet, and I feel that I owe honorable senators some apology for having detained them so -long. I assure them I feel as keenly as any of them can the importance of this question. I do not think it is one which can be settled airily, or with a light heart. It is a question to which ‘we should give the most complete, careful, and matured consideration. On this account I am glad to note that the amendment, while it binds us to an area about which we can speak with a certain degree of positiveness, does not confine us absolutely to any particular spot. If it is found that the characteristics I have described exist in the Monaro district, and that they are desirable, if not essential, for the site of the Capital of the Commonwealth, then we have them in a broad area at our disposal, and we can afford to occupy a few weeks or months in deciding which is the exact spot on which we shall plant our Capital.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH (Western Australia). - I intimated this afternoon that I had an amendment to move in an’ earlier part of the clause under discussion, and I therefore ask Senator Pearce if he will temporarily withdraw his amendment to enable me to propose mine.
– Will the honorable senator be good enough to indicate what his amendment is.
– I propose to move that after the word “ shall “ the words, “ with the concurrence of the Government of New South Wales “ be inserted.
– The amendment which Senator Smith suggests is really unnecessary, and it would only obtrude something of a debatable character, which ought to be left out. We know very well that, so far as New South Wales is concerned, her people must have some say in this matter.
– The honorable senator will not find that in the Bill.
– According to the Constitution, the Seat of Government of the
Commonwealth is to be fixed by the Parliament of the Commonwealth.
– That the debate may be strictly in order it is necessary that Senator Pearce should first have the permission of the Committee to withdraw his amendment before that suggested by Senator Smith is considered.
– I ask permission to withdraw my amendment, in order that we may discuss that suggested by Senator Smith.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn. Senator STANIFORTH SMITH (Western Australia).- - -I move -
That after the word “shall,” line 2, the following words be inserted, “ with the concurrence of the Government of New South Wales.”
The question of the selection of the Federal Capital site, and the acquirement of an area greater than 100 square miles are- questions for mutual agreement between the State of New South Wales and the Commonwealth. If we are able to choose any area we please, as this Bill purports to do, the people of New South Wales can have no say in the matter. In such a case, as has already been pointed out, we might decide to take Broken Hill, Cobar, or Newcastle, if it is not within the 100 miles radius from Sydney, and say that it should be Federal territory, and New South Wales would have no constitutional right to protest.
– Senator McGregor has said that we can take all New South Wales outside the 100 miles radius from Sydney without consulting the people of that State.
– I believe the honorable senator has qualified that statement on reflection.
– Our saying something will not give us any power.
– That is the view I take. We have the’ right to take 100 square miles, because that is the minimum mentioned in the Constitution, but if it is contended that we have the right to take more than 100 square miles without the consent of the people of New South Wales, we should have the right to acquire the whole of that State outside of the 100 square miles radius from Sydney, and that would lead us to an absurdity. Under this Bill it would appear that we have the right to demand any site without consulting the people of New South Wales, and I am desirous of amending the clause in such a way as to recognise the true position, and the true powers vested in the Federal authority m the selection of the Capital site. If honorable senators will turn to section 125 of the Constitution they will find that it says- -
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.”
-“ Or acquired “ there means acquired from private individuals.
– No; it may refer to extra Crown lands.
– The expression in the section “’ snail have been granted to” means that the authorities of the State of New South Wales must do something anterior to our action in selecting a Capital site. That is, they have to give their consent. Senator Symon put the point very plainly in a speech which he delivered some time ago, and I have no doubt that the suggestion he then made would have been the correct one to adopt. The honorable and learned senator’s suggestion was that a resolution by both Federal Houses should be passed, to the effect that the Federal Government desired a certain site, and, if necessary, a certain area, and that the Government of New South Wales should then, by enactment, consent to the Commonwealth’ acquiring that site and area. Under such circumstances, a Bill like that now before us would have been right in every particular, simply enacting, as it would, that the land “be accepted.
– That would have thrown on the Government the onus, of selecting a site.
– No doubt that would have been the case. The course suggested was not taken, and last October I asked the then Government if they would come to an arrangement with New South Wales with regard to 1,000 square miles, in order to ascertain whether we had the right, under the Constitution, to obtain within that area all Crown land free, or whether we only had the right to acquire 100 square miles, and negotiate for a larger area. Unfortunately, my request was not granted. For three years we have been considering the question of the Capital site; and I think that the amendment I have moved would get over any difficulty, and place this Bill in a constitutional position. If our requests are reasonable in regard to site and area, I feel sure the New South Wales Government will meet us in a fair and generous spirit; but they will resent our holding a pistol to their heads, and, without consulting them, and in face of the fact that the Constitution does not invest us with the power, demanding a certain area.
– There is nothing said about a demand.
– The Bill simply says that the Seat of Government shall be so-and-so.
– The Bill says that the site shall be in a certain place.
– If that does not postulate that we have a right to demand a certain area, I do not know what the provisions of the Bill mean.
– The Government only ask the Senate to demand the right; there is no demand made to the New South Wales people.
– This Bill does not recognise that New South Wales has any right, whereas the Constitution does recognise that fact.
– If the Constitution does so, why should we trouble?
– If the Constitution recognises that right, and this Bill does not, what is the use of passing a Bill which is unconstitutional? We have under discussion three sites, and the New South Wales Government, who, I am sure, will meet us in a fair and generous spirit, have reserved in each site an area of 1,000 square miles. The Commissioner who was appointed at the expense of the New South Wales Government, recommended the site of Bombala, and, further, recommended that the area should be at least 1,000 square miles. We have no right to assume that New South Wales will take up an unfair or ungenerous attitude. I believe that nothing is more contrary to their intention; but should they do so, their action would probably be stimulated by a Bill such as this. If the New South Wales Government adopt an unreasonable attitude, and refuse to grant more than 100 square miles, then we have the strongest remedy in our power in that we say that we will not select a site which, in our opinion, is not the best in the interests of Australia - that we will wait until the New South Wales Ministry adopt a more reasonable and statesmanlike attitude, or a succeeding Ministry forms a true conception of the obligations of the situation. If we desire to pass this Bill in a constitutional form - if we do not desire to arrogate to ourselves powers which some of the highest legal authorities say we have not got - and if we do not desire to cause a conflict with New South Wales when we can adopt a procedure which will amicably settle this important question, surely it is reasonable for this Senate to adopt that procedure. We do not want to say, in the absence of any power on our part, “ Stand and deliver,” ‘but rather, “We desire a certain site or a certain area ; are you agreeable to grant that site or area?” If New South Wales adopts a spirit which is not consistent with the reasonable desires of the Commonwealth, and the reasonable intentions of the Constitution, it only means that we shall stay in Melbourne until the present, or some succeeding State Ministry realizes that our requests are made in the interests of Australia. I ask honorable senators to consider the advisability of recognising that New South Wales has some rights in regard to the selection of the Capital site, and the amendment would carry out the desire of, at any rate, most of us, namely, to speedily arrive at a definite decision. We shall be far more likely to induce a feeling of compliance on the part of the people of New South Wales, if we recognise what our relative positions are, and not ask that which the Constitution does not give us the right to demand.
– I have not the least doubt that Senator Smith is submitting this amendment for the purpose of facilitating the settlement of the question. I think he would be the last man in the world to give away the powers of the Commonwealth ; but, to my mind, this amendment is the first step in that direction. According to the Constitution, the selection of the Seat of Government is vested entirely in the Commonwealth Parliament.
– Not entirely ; there are two parties.
– The honorable senators youthful impetuosity always disturbs the harmony of a peaceful meeting like th:s. The Constitution provides that the Commonwealth Parliament is to fix the site subject to certain limitations, namely, that the site is to be in New South Wales, and not less than 100 miles from Sydney. These are the only limitations which are placed on the Commonwealth Parliament in regard to the selection of the Seat of Government.
– There is another limitation, namely, that the land has to be granted.
– I agree with Senator Smith that we should do all we possibly can to consult New South Wales; but I submit that it is sought to insert this amendment in the wrong place. Beyond what the Constitution provides, New South Wales has no right to be consulted as to the situation of the Federal Capital ; but when we proceed further with the measure, and seek to provide that New South Wales shall concede a certain area, will be the time, if Senator Smith desires, to submit an amendment of this kind. I hope that members of the Senate will not give away the ‘powers legitimately possessed by the Commonwealth, by inserting an amendment of this character in the place proposed by Senator Smith. The whole argument of tlie honorable senator is that New South Wales should have some say as to the area ; but he seeks to insert the amendment in a portion of the Bill which does not refer to area, but to the position in which the Federal Capital is to be. That is not contemplated in the Constitution ; and, although I am just as willing as Senator Smith thai this matter should be settled in a peaceful manner, and settled speedily, I hope honorable senators will not agree to the. amendment. I ask Senator Smith to withdraw his amendment, and I tell him that, although I could not support it, there would not be so much objection to his proposal if it were made on a subsequent clause.
Senator Lt.-Col. GOULD (New South Wales). - There seems to be an absolute misconception in the mind of Senator McGregor as to what the object of the Bill really is.
– The object of theBill is to fix the site.
.- That is so, but, strange ‘to say, as has been pointed out already this afternoon, the site has to bewithin territory which shall have been granted by, or acquired from, the State of New South Wales. When we come to consider the question of the site, the point will’ be in what particular part of the territory it shall be situated. It is necessary, in thefirst instance, to confer with New South Wales as to where the territory shall be located.
– Certainly not. Senator Lt.-Col. GOULD.- This Parliament has not the power to say to New South Wales “ We shall take territory in. this or that place, whether you like it or not.”
– Senator McGregor is arguing on the assumption that we have that right.
– New South Wales has already agreed to our having that right.
.– New South Wales has agreed to nothing, except so far as setting apart a number of sites, and asking us to consider which we think the most suitable. That in itself is not a surrender of the right o’f New ‘South Wales to grant the site when it has been selected.
– There is an assumption that New South Wales will grant the site. 0 Senator Lt.-Col. GOULD. - There is, of course, an implied promise, so that the selection has to be made with the concurrence of New South Wales.
– There is no need to specify that.
– There is no objection to “specifying it.
– Is the New South “Wales Parliament not waiting for this Parliament to come to a decision ?
.- The New South Wales Parliament is very anxious that the Commonwealth Parliament should decide the locality of the territory required ; and I have no doubt that there will be no difficulty in obtaining the grant, so long as everything is within reason. I do not see that the Commonwealth Parliament is giving up one jot or tittle of its rights by accepting an amendment such as that moved by Senator Smith. I should be just as adverse as any other honorable senator to the Commonwealth ‘ Parliament surrendering any rights to which it is entitled. It is not with the idea of putting this Commonwealth Parliament in an inferior position to that of New South Wales that I hope the amendment before us will “be carried. ‘Such an amendment shows that there are two rights to be recognised. In the first instance, the amendment will enable the Commonwealth Government to confer with the New South Wales Government as to what land -shall or shall not be granted.
– It should be called the Federal Territory Bill.
.- I have no doubt that it should, because, after all, the Seat of Governnent has to be within a territory which shall have been granted or acquired. In the first place, I quite agree with Senator Smith that it is entirely a question of mutual agreement between the Commonwealth and New South Wales as to where the territory should be, and it is only recognising in the Bill what must be recognised when we come to deal with or bargain with that State.
Senator DOBSON (Tasmania). - Senator Smith and other senators are now beginning to recognise the necessity that we shall have to undertake delicate negotiations with New South Wales. But I think that Senator Smith will see that the arguments of Senator McGregor are absolutely unanswerable on the point that his amendment, if it should be adopted at all, ought not to be inserted in this clause. The words which he read would govern the whole clause, and not merely the question of area ; and if thev are adopted we shall acknowledge that New South Wales is the authority that should determine the site, whereas the State has nothing to do with its determination. There ought to have been negotiations with the Government of New South Wales before this Bill was introduced. It really ought to be called a Bill to determine the territory within which the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be established, and I shall move that the title be amended accordingly. I shall strenuously resist any effort which may be made to compel the Senate to fix exactly the Seat of Government. If we by the Bill determine that the Federal territory shall be in the Tumut district, the Parliament will have taken the first, and: a very important step to carry out its duty. Negotiations can then take place between the Commonwealth and the Government of NewSouth Wales, andi the result of those negotiations can be made known to the Senate by Senator McGregor at the earliest possible moment. He may come down and say that the Government of New South Wales are willing to give the Commonwealth 500 or 900 square miles, or that they will not give the Commonwealth more than 150 square miles, and then we shall know where we are. I do not believe for a second that the Government of New South Wales, if they find that the Federal Parliament has determined on a particular territory, will make any unreasonable objection. But if we propose to take too large a territory, in order to go in for a system of land settlement and land nationalization, the Government of New South Wales will, of course, have something to say on that point, and desire to know exactly what land we wish to take, and they may not be willing to give us all that we wish, although they may be disposed to treat us generously and fairly. I think that the amendment of Senator Smith should be withdrawn, and the amendment of Senator Pearce, or a similar one, passed.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).It seems to me that, on the other side of the Senate, there is a misapprehension as to the object of Senator Smith in moving his amendment. It is possible that that misconception arises from the fact that, owing to the way in which the Bill has been introduced, it has not been possible, in the scope of an ordinary amendment, for that honorable senator to clearly indicate what he wants to do. As the amendment stands, it is abundantly clear, I think, that it is asking the concurrence of the Government of New South Wales in the selection of the site of the Capital city. At any rate, that is what its effect would be.
– That cannot be.
– I quite agree with the honorable and learned senator that it is of no use for the Federal Government to confer with the New South Wales Government as to what particular portion of the Federal territory we shall set the Capital city in. But it was assumed by the honorable and learned senator that the other alternative open to Senator Smith was to move the insertion of this amendment in the third clause. Now, that would be asking the concurrence of New South Wales only in the extended area. But he does not want to do anything of the kind.
– Ultimately New South Wales must have a say in this matter somehow or other.
– It is only a week since Senator McGregor said that we were under no obligation to confer with New South Wales on this matter. Senator Smith wants the concurrence of New South Wales in the location of the Federal territory. It is clear to me that he desires the Federal Government, instead of putting a peremptory demand before New South Wales for the concession by that State of a particular territory, to approach the State Government with a request, and to say “ The Federal Parliament desires, not demands, a particular territory for Federal purposes, and ultimately within that territory-
– This is not a matter of territory.
– No ; and that brings me to this point, that the position into which Senator Smith is forced is due to the ex tremely cumbersome way in which the Government have brought in this Bill. It is, as its title indicates, a Bill to ask us to fix the Seat of Government within a territory which we have yet to determine.
– Cannot we wait until later on?
– I am dealing with the Bill that the Government have introduced. A Bill to determine the Seat of Government, whether this Bill is passed or not, must come before the Senate after a Federal territory has been secured. At the present moment we are only concerned about the selection of a Federal territory, and unless we wish to affirm that we have a perfect right to take any section of New South Wales that we like for this purpose, and to say that she is not to be consulted at all ; unless we propose to take up the position which Senator McGregor takes up, there can be no harm in putting our wishes before New South Wales in the shape of a courteous intimation as to what we want, and a courteous request for its concurrence. I submit to honorable senators that, even where they may have the right to demand a certain thing, their request loses nothing in force by reason of its being put forward in a courteous manner.
– Will the honorable senator explain where the discourtesy will come in if the amendment is not inserted ?
– New South Wales has just as much right to say that this thing shall not be as this Parliament has to say that it shall be.
– Under section 125 of the Constitution, she cannot.
– I am dealing with the Federal territory, and not with the Seat of Government. I wish to draw that broad distinction, because, if the amendment of Senator Pearce is carried, the clause will apply as much to Federal territory as to the Seat of Government, and we shall be asking the Federal Government to say to the New South Wales Government - “ We shall have a certain area in your State.” If the word “ shall “ is used in this Bill, the New South WalesGovernment cannot be accused of discourtesy if because they have certain reasons for objecting to that area in that particular form, they use the words “ shall not.”
– Can the honorable . senator see anything in the clause about an area ?
– I am looking at the amendment which has been outlined by
Senator. Pearce, who, I believe, has the logic of numbers behind him on this occasion. There is absolutely no reason why we should not confine ourselves as much as possible to that form of language which is usually employed by one Government in communicating with another. The strength of a position is never weakened by putting forward a claim in civil and courteous language, and that is really all that Senator Smith seeks to obtain by his amendment.
– If Senator Smith is right in the construction which he puts on section 125 of the Constitution, and which he says has been placed on it by Senator Symon on a previous occasion, I would point out to him that in moving this amendment he has not given effect to that construction. He tells us that section 125 provides that -
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.
In commenting on these latter words, the honorable senator said -
So that you will see it is necessary that there shall be something anterior done on the part of New South Wales before we can proceed to the determination of the Seat of Government.
To provide in this Bill that what we are doing is being done “ with the concurrence of New South Wales “ is not fulfilling what he considers to be the necessary duty that is cast on’ that State by section 125, because it would not be anterior to, but would be concurrent with, the action of the Federal authorities. In my opinion, the words - which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth, qualify only the situation of the Federal Capital when it is in existence.
– And the territory is in existence.
– When the site is fixed, and the territory is in existence. At the present time, we are endeavouring by this Bill to do nothing more nor less than to determine where the Seat of Government shall be.
– Where the territory shall be !
– Where, the territory shall be, too -
It is hereby determined that the Seat of Government
– We have to determinethe Seat of Government after we determine the Federal territory, though.
– Not necessarily. Clause 2 of this Bill, in accordance with the empowering words of the Constitution, says -
It is hereby determined that the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be -
And the amendment of Senator Pearc-; seeks to introduce, at that point, these words - within an area bounded on the north by a line running parallel with and twelve miles south of, the thirty-sixth parallel of south latitude, &c.
If that is carried in clause 2 we shall not have determined that the whole of the territory south of that line shall be Federal territory. We are not determining that at all at this stage. We are determining in accordance with our constitutional powers that the Seat of Government shall be within a certain part of New South Wales. But we are not saying that that part shall all be Federal territory. We have not yet to determine upon the territory. We have to determine where the Seat of Government shall be. Having determined that it shall be within a certain portion of New South Wales, it then remains for us to secure the territory to which the Constitution entitles us - 100 square miles. We are enabled to get that by an Act of Parliament of our own, because our Constitution is the law of the land, and binding upon New South Wales as it ,is upon every other part of the Commonwealth. After we Have decided to adopt Senator Pearce’s amendment, and we subsequently determine upon a site in that area, and cut out 100 square miles, and say that we will have our territory and Capital there, New South Wales will not be in a position to say - ‘‘You shall not.” Because New South Wales is bound by the Constitution.
– There are sections of the Constitution which provide that we cannot take any territory without the consent of the State.
– If Senator Keating’s argument be sound, we can take the whole of New South- Wales outside the 100 miles limit.
– I believe that if we could show that such an area was necessary for the purposes of government, we could do it.
– At the present moment we are simply deciding in what part of New South Wales the Federal Capital shall be. We are perfectly competent to do that. We are not determining anything more. After we have done it there will be no necessity for further action on the part of the Commonwealth Government and Parliament.
– Why cannot the Commonwealth go to the maximum as well as to the minimum if the honorable and learned senators reasoning be correct? The maximum is all New South Wales outside the 100 miles limit.
– The section says-
Such territory shall contain an area of not less than 100 square, miles.
We are entitled to that area by the Constitution. I grant that anything over and above that area must be by arrangement with New South Wales.
– That is in respect to Crown lands only.
– Yes. Privatelyowned property must be the subject of negotiation between the Commonwealth Government and the proprietors. But so long as we confine ourselves to the 100 square miles, we are within our absolute rights. We need not say in this Bill “with the consent of New South Wales.” It is not necessary for us to put in an amendment of the character indicated by Senator Smith. As for the contention raised by Senator Millen, that clause 2 is tantamount to a peremptory demand, and that it would be better for us in this Bill to adopt the language which is usually used between two Governments which are negotiating, I say - “No; at this juncture it is not a matter of negotiation.” We are not engaged in correspondence, or passing resolutions. We are legislating in the Commonwealth Parliament ; we are exercising our undoubted and exclusive legislative power. In the exercise of legislative powers, it is not customary either to demand, or to beg, or to petition, or respectfully to request, or anything of that kind, but simply, plainly, and straightforwardly to determine. We are not placing a pistol at the head of New South Wales, as Senator Smith states. We are simply exercising the constitutional powers conferred upon us in the first line of section 125 by proceeding to ‘ determine where the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be.
– We have not acquired any territory within which it shall be.
– The words “ territory which shall have been granted to. or acquired by,” have no relation to the time when we shall proceed to determine where the Federal Capital shall be. They are not a time limitation of our powers as to the determination of the Seat of Government.
– I think they are.
– I submit, with all respect, that the words are not capable of that construction. The limitation placed upon us is that the Capital shall be in New South Wales. When the Capital is established, it must be within territory which shall have been “ granted to or acquired by “ the Commonwealth. That is where the force of those words comes in. They have an application to territory in esse, and not to the powers of this Parliament so far as concerns the time when it shall exercise the powers conferred on it by section 125, and proceed to the determination of the site.
Senator FRASER (Victoria).- I think that we are making a demand that is not in accordance with the Commonwealth Constitution. I cannot support the amendment in clause 2, but I will support it in clause 3. It is competent for us to exact from New South Wales only 100 square miles. We cannot get any more than that without the consent of New South Wales. If we ask for more territory than we are entitled to under the Constitution, we should approach New South Wales in a respectful and proper manner.
Senator TRENWITH (Victoria).- I think the Vice-President of the Executive Council is to be congratulated on the promptitude with which he objected to this amendment, which, it seems to me, clearly gives away the rights of the Commonwealth. We might be quite willing to do something that would placate or conciliate New South Wales. But we have duties devolving upon us. We have to preserve intact all the powers that have been conferred on us by the Constitution.
– This Senate has also to conserve the rights of the States.
– Decidedly. We have to exercise the greatest possible discrimination and care in connexion with any negotiation or legislation touching our relations with a separate State. Our relations with the whole of the States are very different from our relations with any one of the States. It is very difficult to give away any of the rights of the Commonwealth by any legislation affecting all the
States ; but it is very easy to give away the rights of the Commonwealth in legislating in regard to any one State. We are proposing to legislate under powers conferred on us by the Constitution. The Constitution says that the Seat of Government shall be determined by the Commonwealth Parliament. We are proceeding to determine the Seat of Government. The question whether we are doing that awkwardly or adroitly does not arise on this particular issue. The question is - “ Shall we take into partnership in these deliberations the Government of New South Wales?” If we agree to say that the power conferred upon us by the Constitution shall be exercised” jointly by us and the Government of New South Wales, we shall be acting unwisely. We shall be abrogating one of the powers conferred on the Federal Parliament, and entailing on the whole Commonwealth a disability that was never contemplated when the Constitution was framed. If we give up a right conferred by the Constitution in one direction,’ we establish a precedent for giving up rights in other directions. The question we have to consider is whether we have any right, under the Constitution, to allow the Government of any State to negotiate with us in respect to a Constitutional power? I think we have no right to take a State into partnership with us in this respect; and that if we did so we should be acting be- ‘ yond our powers. I earnestly hope that, at this juncture at any rate, Senator Smith will withdraw his amendment. It is questionable whether it may not come in at another stage. When we are talking of enlarging very considerably the area which all the States had in mind when the Constitution, was accepted, I think it is reasonable to contend that the people of New South Wales’, when they accepted the Constitution, had in mind the possibility of having to cede to the Commonwealth 100 square miles or thereabouts. When we come to consider whether we shall ask 900 square miles, 1,000 square miles, or 5,000 square miles, it is arguable that we should not seek to acquire so large an area without the consent of the Government of New South Wales; but it seems to me altogether unarguable, at this juncture, to say that any person has a right to be consulted, or that any person may properly be consulted but the Parliament of the Commonwealth.
Senator Lt.-Col. GOULD (New South Wales). - We must all agree with much the honorable senator has said, so far as the selection of the Seat of Government is concerned. Unquestionably, this Parliament alone can deal with that matter. The position I take up is that we are now being asked to pass a Bill to enable us to obtain territory within which the’ Seat of Government shall be located, and in obtaining that territory I contend that we have a right to confer with the Government of New South Wales, and that we cannot acquire it without the concurrence of the people of that S’tate, whether it be at Monaro. Tumut, or Lyndhurst.
– If we give thai up, why discuss the matter at all, until the people of New South Wales have decided what they will do.
– Simply because the people of New South Wales have said to the Federal Parliament - “ Tell us the place you want, and we shall see what we can do for you.”
– Surely those words, with the “ concurrence of New South Wales,” could be more properly introduced in the next clause.
.- That is only with respect to the area ; I am speaking with regard to the position of the territory. When we’ come to select the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth, we shall select it in territory which, according to the Constitution, “ shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth.” It is clear, therefore, .that it is necessary for us to acquire the territory before we can locate the Seat of Government.
– We are entitled, under the Constitution, to a certain area without the consent of New South Wales.
.- We are not entitled to say to the people of New South Wales - “We shall take a particular site, whether you like it or not,” but we may go to the New South Wales Government, and say-“ We consider this the most suitable site, and we ask your concurrence in taking it.” According to the Constitution, before we can select a Capital site, the territory within which it is to be located must have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth. To strengthen the argument, I refer honorable senators to sections 123 and 124. They will see clearly that we cannot diminish the area of a State without the consent of that State.
Senator -McGregor. - That is outside section 125.
– It is not in the same section; but in interpreting an Act of Parliament or a Constitution, we must harmonize the various sections pertaining to the same subject.
– Section 123 deals only with an alteration of a State, and section .124 with the formation of a new State. They do not apply to this case.
– The moment we take any territory away from a State we diminish its area, and alter its boundaries.
– But this is a matter provided for, apart from sections 123 and 124.
– It is provided by section 125, that certain territory “ shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth,” and if there is to be a grant to the Commonwealth of territory in New South Wales it must be made by the Government of New South Wales. What would happen if the Government of New J South Wales were to say, “ We shall not I grant you any territory ”? ‘ I
– They would break the compact.
– That would no doubt be a violation of the compact, and it is certain that the New South Wales Government would not take up so foolish a position. At the same time, if we desired to acquire a certain area from New South Wales, and the people of that State had a strong objection to our taking it, we should not be justified in enforcing our demand.
– New South Wales has offered the areas we are discussing. What is the use of wasting time ?
D- - I am arguing the position taken up by honorable senators opposite. If this Bill had been drawn differently, and had been a Bill to provide merely where the Federal territory should be, we should not have got into so many difficulties. We are proposing here to fix the Seat of Government in a territory we have not yet acquired. The Government are proposing that we should select the territory and the Seat of Government at the same time, when really the proper constitutional sequence is first to secure the territory, and then to fix the Seat of Government within it. It is, of course, competent for honorable senators to amend the Bill in such a way as to bring it into harmony with the Constitution, ‘ by making it a Bill by which the Federal territory shall be decided on, and not the Seat of Government, and the Seat of Government may be selected within the Federal territory later on. I say that we have no power to take territory from New South Wales without the concurrence of the people of that State. I am sure that it would not be withheld unreasonably, and that New South Wales would probably give away a good deal in order, to have this matter settled; but senators must see that if it is possible for us to take any area we please, outside the 100 miles radius from Sydney, New South Wales, instead of securing any advantage by the provision fixing the Seat of Government within her territory, has been placed at a great disadvantage.
Senator KEATING (Tasmania).- I remind Senator Gould that in section 125, to which reference has been ‘ made, provision has been made for this particular case. Sections 123 and 124, which he has referred to, are under Chapter V., dealing with “ New States,” and have a general application to the alteration of the boundaries of States, the division of States, or the throwing of two or more States into one. The selection of the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth is a different matter, and section 125 specially deals with it. I draw attention to the wording of the section -
The Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be determined by the Parliament, and shall be within territory. and so on.
– The honor- ! able and learned senator should read on. The section continues, “ which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth.”
– I have no objection to read on, and I am sure the honorable and learned senator will agree that I have read the section so often in this Committee, and so have others, that we should know what it contains. When honorable senators ask us to insert the words, “ with the concurrence of the Government of New South Wales,” I ask them what is the signification of the words in section 125, “shall be determined by’ the Parliament “ ?
– I admit at once that the Seat of Government is to be determined by this Parliament, but the territory within which it is located can be acquired only with the concurrence of New South Wales.
– We do not set out in this Bill to determine the territory. We proceed to determine the Seat of Government, and that is a power conferred solely on this Parliament by the Constitution.
– -But it is to be within territory which “ shall have been “ acquired.
– We are not by the Constitution limited to the time when we shall determine the Seat of Government. The sole power of determining the Seat of Government, not the territory, is given to this Parliament. We are now engaged, in accordance with the Constitutional power vested in this Parliament, in determining the Seat of Government, as this Bill provides.
-Col. Gould. - We must get the territory first.
– Does the honorable and learned senator say that he would build his house first, and afterwards decide where he would put a fence around it
– Certainly not. This is only one step.
– It is like a man trying to put a roof on his house before he has got the foundations in.
– The honorable and learned senator does not advert to the procedure necessary. It is suggested first of all that we must have territory granted to or acquired by us before we can proceed to determine the Seat of Government. How are we going to get’ that territory? Who is to have a voice in that ? This Parliament alone must determine the Seat of Government. If Ministers by purely Executive act were to bargain with the Government of New South Wales for a particular site, and were to say, “ We shall acquire that from. the Crown and the private landholders, and bring down a Bill to the Federal Parliament to determine the Capital site,” what would the criticism be ? Would it not be, “This Parliament is not determining the Seat of Government, but determining only that a certain area of land acquired by the Executive of the day, without the previous sanction, concurrence, or authorization of Parliament, is to be the territory within which the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth is to be located?” We should in such a case be deprived of the full constitutional powers conferred on us by section 125. What is here proposed is the first step necesary. This Parliament must be consulted on every ‘ step taken in this matter, because this Parliament alone is responsible for the selection of the Seat of Government. We are not proposing that a certain area of New South Wales, even 100 square miles, shall be Federal territory, but that a certain portion of New South Wales shall be the particular portion of that State to which this Parliament shall limit itself hereafter in determining the Seat of Government. When we have done that, it will be time enough for the Executive, by the authorisation of this Parliament, to come to terms with New South Wales, and narrow down the area until we secure the proper site. Then it will be for this Parliament to sanction the selection of the particular area required for the determination of the Seat of Government. If honorable senators will remember that this must be done entirely by Parliament, and that the first step must be taken by this Parliament, they will see that we are now taking the proper course in deciding what is the particular area of New South Wales to which we shall restrict ourselves hereafter, when we are more specifically and exactly determining where the Seat of Government shall be.
– It was stated by Senator Trenwith that it was desirable to conciliate or placate New South Wales. I desire to say that New South Wales does not require conciliating or placating.
– I said it had been urged that it was desirable. I did not urge it.
– Very well, the honorable senator was quoting someone else whom he did not name, and I -wish to say that New South Wales does not desire to be conciliated or placated, but to be treated, as I believe honorable senators are willing to treat her, as a sovereign State and a portion of the Commonwealth. I should like honorable senators to consider how important a matter this may be to New South Wales. Had the proposal made a few months ago by Senator McGregor, been agreed to, and made law, the result would have been that some tens of thousands of her population would have been taken from New South Wales. That would have reduced our right of representation in the other House. by one, if not two members. Even now a small area containing a considerable number of people, might, if selected, bring about the same, result; so that evidently this is a matter of great importance to New South Wales. Is it, therefore, unreasonable that there should, in accordance with this clause, be some arrangement made with” New South Wales for the acquirement of territory, which, after being acquired, will enable us to select therein the Seat of Government? That, I think, is a simple proposition to put before the Committee, and I do not very well see how honorable senators can refuse to recognise its reasonableness.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH (Western Australia). - The whole discussion has ranged round the interpretation of section 125 of the Constitution. The meaning of that section is, in my opinion, perfectly plain. It provides thai -
The Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be determined bv the Parliament, and shall be within territory which shall have been granted to, or acquired by, the Commonwealth.
I admit that the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth must be determined by this Parliament; but the meaning of the latter part of the section is, I contend, that the land referred to must be land which has previously been “ granted to, or acquired by,” the Commonwealth.
– - If the honorable senator looks at the bottom of the section he will’ see the words, “ such territory shall be granted “ free of charge. Those words imply something anterior, and a subsequent portion of the section implies something which has to be done.
– If there is any meaning in words, “ shall have been granted” means land that has already been granted.
– And “ shall be granted . . . without any payment therefor “ implies something that must be done.
– The section, in my opinion, clearly .means that we must first decide on the territory, and that subsequently this Parliament, and this Parliament alone, shall decide in what portion of that territory the Federal Capital shall be.
– Hear, hear ! Nobody disputes that.
– The meaning is that we should first of all select the Federal territory, and then decide where the Federal Capital shall be. and this latter decision is purely within the province of this Parliament. This Bill seems a clumsy and involved attempt to interpret the intention of section 125. It puts the “cart before the horse” by first selecting the site, instead of selecting the territory in which the site is to be. Clause 2 of the Bill fixes the location of the Capital site, and clause 3 fixes the area of the territory. Clause 2 makes it mandatory that we shall have at least 100 square miles. That area is not mentioned in the Bill, but is provided in the Constitution, and, therefore, we are selecting an area of at least 100 square miles.
– No ; it may not be one square mils.
– We cannot select a less area. The illustration of Broken Hill has been used before, but I should like to use it again.
– We are not discussing that point, but are discussing sites which have already been, set apart by the New South Wales Government.
– AVe have a right, according to Senator McGregor, to select any site in any part of New South Wales.
– Certainly. Senator STANIFORTH SMITH. - Suppose that we were to select the land on which the Broken Hill Proprietary have their mine, and around which we should have an area of ten miles square.
– With a population of 30,000 people.
– Is it likely that the Constitution intends the Commonwealth to have the right to take this huge anc! valuable mineral area?
– Some people have argued that it is a pity we have not the right to take Sydney.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.That is not the question at issue. Clause 3 does not give us the area, but simply provides that we shall have an area larger than the minimum provided in the Constitution.
– It is in clause 3 that the honorable senator should move his amendment.
– By clause 3 we are not determining the area itself, but the size of the area, and if that clause were taken out of the Bill-
– We should not want the concurrence of New South Wales.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.tThat is the honorable and learned senator’s opinion, but it is not mine. If we passed the Bill without clause 3, we should -have selected an area of at least 100 square miles, according to clause 2 ; and I say we have no right to do that without the consent of New South* Wales. We have to get the consent of New South Wales to our taking the territory, and then it will be for this Parliament, and this Parliament alone, to fix the Capital site within that territory.
– Have we not virtually got the consent of New South Wales to lake one of three or four selected areas ?
– We have no consent, written or verbal, from New South Wales to take any territory ; New South Wales is under no obligation to give us any area at all.
– The honorable senator is a nice Commonwealth representative !
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.Senator McGregor is a very nice Commonwealth misrepresentative, for he has drawn the most clumsy Bill, and his interpretation of it is worse than his draftsmanship. I hope that Senator Dobson ‘s proposal to pass a Bill determining the territory in which the Seat of Government shall be located will be carried out. I recognise, however, that honorable senators are against my proposal, and, with leave, I beg to withdraw it. ‘
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia). - I desire to re-submit the amendment, which I temporarily withdrew, to make way for Senator Smith, but I ask leave to move it now in the following form: -
That after the word “within” the following words be inserted : - “ the territory bounded on the north by a line running parallel with and twelve miles south of the thirty-sixth parallel of south latitude.”
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales). - Before we were drawn off the track by the amendment just withdrawn by Senator Smith, we listened to, what I venture to say, was a most interesting speech from Senator Trenwith. The honorable senator commenced by disclaiming any knowledge of, or qualifications for discussing, the subject of the quality of the land in the various sites. I think, however, that those who listened, must have very early come to the conclusion that it was diffident modesty which induced the honorable senator to put forward that disclaimer. Speaking with some knowledge of the matters to which the honorable senator referred, I venture to say that his comparison will strike those who know the two sites as being the most lucid and the fairest to which we have listened. There are, however, one or two points on which I differ from him. The honorable senator, in dealing with Tumut, referred to the large area of useless land in that district. If the honorable senator was speaking merely of agricultural land, I am prepared to agree with him.
– And of pastoral land, too.
– But the honorable senator will admit that the land he refers to as useless is just as good as the richest basaltic country for building purposes. We do not want high-class agricultural land on which to build houses. Some of the finest land for building purposes is rock, having a good foundation, such as would be passed over by the poorest agriculturist.
– But it must be fairly horizontal - not too perpendicular.
– Only .a small area is required for the buildings.
– That is so. Senator Trenwith, not experiencing that tempta-tion to levity which marks some honorable senators, at once recognises the force of my contention, and says that only a small area is required for the buildings. As to the good agricultural land, there is no necessity for, nor, indeed, any great advantage in, taking any extensive area of such land in the immediate vicinity of a city. What we want to know is’ that the city is in sufficiently close touch with the sources of supply ; not that the agricultural land is in the main street or immediate suburbs. So long as there is sufficient agricultural land within touch of the markets, all the requirements of a city are met ; and Tumut is so situated. North, south, east, and west of Tumut there are sources of supply more, than sufficient to meet, the requirements of any city likely to be placed there at any time, and under any conditions that we can foresee.
– That is, if the honorable senator is not considering a commercial city.
– I am not like some honorable senators, who rashly run into the realms of prophecy. I am merely judging the future of the Federal Capital city, from what has taken place in the United States. When I assume that the Federal Capital, as compared with other’ Australian cities, will not be a big one, I am only arguing from what has taken place in the great Republic of America. But even if it should not be as large as an city we have in Australia, I still say that it should be within sufficient and easy touch with good land, capable of supplying all its wants. Whether the area be one, ten, or twenty miles is practically [ immaterial. For all purposes, a city located in the Tumut district would be within easy reach of sources of supply sufficient for all requirements.
– It is good tobaccoproducing country, I believe.
– That, I imagine, is intended as a jibe. It seems a little unfair to the advocates of Tumut to urge that the district possesses tropical country because it is possible to grow tobacco, and maize there; and, on the other hand, according to Senator Trenwith, to say that if Monaro is cold, Tumut is just as cold.
– I was speaking of Batlow.
– I think we may go beyond one particular pinnacle, and view the district as a -whole. I desire to deal with the matter in the same fair spirit that was shown by Senator Trenwith. If we are to condemn Tumut because it is capable of growing tobacco and maize, which would seem to be an admission that the climate is unduly hot, we must be exonerated from the accusation that the district is as cold as Monaro.
– Maize-growing does not require extreme heat.
– The advocates of Monaro, in order, as I think, to depreciate the chances of Tumut, point to the fact that in some of the low valleys where the temperature may be high, they do grow these products. But I might as well turn round and refer to some evidence given recently before a Land Board in Monaro, when it was stated that three crops out of ten could be relied on by experienced farmers in the district. That was the sworn evidence of a Government surveyor, who, presumably, was unbiased. I do not venture for a moment to put forward a statement of that kind as fairly representative of the capability of Southern Monaro; but I contend that I would be just as much entitled to do that as are those honorable senators who would condemn Tumut because in certain lower areas it is possible to grow products which do require a considerable measure of heat.
– A better reason is that Tumut possesses such a climate that it can grow olives and pineapples in the same season of the year.
– In the matter of climate, we have in Tumut what Southern . Monaro can never pretend to have, and that is variety. If you like, you can get down to a temperature which is summer compared with that of Monaro, and at the same time ‘ you can get into a temperature which is mild enough for anybody. I quite appreciate the appeal to our race feeling made by Senator Trenwith, when he said that Britishers are not to be frightened by a little cold. I do not know that. I am more frightened than some people, but I admit that the prospect of spending a winter in Southern Monaro has no charm for me. It is a district in which it is impossible to carry on dairying in winter, and that is proved by the fact that at the present moment the butter factories are closed and their machinery is for sale.
– lt is a wonder that they can carry on in Denmark.
– It is not impossible to carry on dairying, but it is impossible to carry it on without hand-feeding with food which could be grown in the summer.
– I ought to say that it is impossible to carry on dairying there very profitably. I do not pretend for a moment to say that it cannot be done, with the experience of Denmark to guide us.
– All the dairying in the United Kingdom is carried on under similar conditions.
– I am merely giving what appears to me a very practical illustration of the climate which prevails there; Having regard to the conditions which prevail, dairying cannot be carried on in the ordinary way there, except for five or six months in the year. That evidences a climate more rigid than, I think, we should find comfortable, if, as I assume to be the case, the bulk of the Federal sessions will be held in the winter. Senator Trenwith has disputed that idea, and has urged reasons - very old ones, I may say - why Parliament ought, and will, sit in the summer. That notion was first started when the Constitution Bill was put before the people for their acceptance. It was just a little bit, of word-painting in which advocates of the Constitution indulged when they pointed out that naturally the Federal Parliament would sit in the summer, because the States Parliaments were in the habit of sitting in the winter, and many of them . supposed that they would be members of both Parliaments. They pointed out to the people that, as the Federal Parliament would sit in the summer only, it would not look for a warmclimate in which to sit. But what are the facts of the case? Owing to a provision in the Constitution itself we are more likely to sit in the winter than in the summer. It is provided in one section that senators shall be elected so as to date their term of office from the 1st January of the following year. Another provision - I am not quite certain whether it is in the Constitution or in the Electoral Act - requires Parliament to meet within a certain time after an election.
– It is in the Constitution, but it may be extended.
– The extension only makes it worse. We have started here what I think is an excellent principle - that of holding, so far as political circumstances will permit, the elections for the House of Representatives concurrently with the elections . for the Senate. And excluding the possibility of a double dissolution, it follows that the elections will, in the majority of cases, be held towards the end of the year, and as Parliament will have to meet within sixty days of that event, it means that we shall have to meet somewhere in-
– In summer.
– The honorable senator might have allowed me to finish the sentence. When did we meet this year? We met on the 2nd March this year, but how long is the session going to last ?
– Another three or four months.
– There was nothing to prevent Parliament from meeting on the 2nd January.
– I venture to say that nobody but a keen, strenuous politician like my honorable friend would be very anxious to meet on the 2nd January when he had not got the dust of the political turmoil off bis coat.
– I did not have any political turmoil.
– Others were* not so fortunate as the honorable senator. In New South Wales there were candidates who did not know on the 2nd January what votes they had received.
– How could the representatives of the distant States come here by that time?
– Just so. The Parliament met on the 2nd March this year, and I take it that it will be about that date when each new Parliament will meet. I do not know what the length of an ordinary session will be when the Parliament settles down steadily to work, but I do submit that the history of the States Parliaments shows a tendency to an ever-lengthening session. In New South Wales we have a tradition that the Parliament must sit in the winter ; but, speaking from a personal knowledge of ten years, I can say that the session is never closed until a week or two before Christmas, to enable the members to get to their homes. While I have heard honorable senators depict what a good time Ave shall have here when we fairly settle down to work - that short sessions will prevail - I venture to think that a Parliament which meets early in March will continue in session, at any rate, well into, the spring, through the most rigid portion of the winter. That being so, I see not only no attraction in the cold climate of Monaro but everything which is repellant to me.
– It need not meet in March, except in the first session after an election.
– Does not the honorable senator see that if we meet then, and continue in session for five or six months, honorable senators will not adjourn for a month ? We vote supply for twelve months, and what is there to bring us back for? Surely we do not want to live here always. The honorable senator may, but I do not, and I am sure that the country does not want us to do so. I admit that a great many of Senator Trenwith ‘s statements as to the agricultural possibilities of Monaro are perfectly correct, and would be excellent arguments if they were addressed to the Parliament of New South Wales, and in furtherance of a scheme of subdivision for the closer settlement of that district. I quite agree with him that there is an enormous area of country there which originally was held by selectors. The big estates in Monaro were never purchased from the Crown as the big estates iri Riverina were.
– Not all. %
– In Riverina, the es- tates were built up by auction, and purchasd direct from the Crown, whereas the estates in ‘Southern Monaro were generally put together by the aggregation by one individual of a number of selections previously obtained in small holdings from the Crown. But that district is admirably suited for small settlement under certain conditions, and in a certain form. I do not mean intense cultivation for growing crops, for I doubt very much whether that is the form in which Southern Monaro could be most profitably developed. But I’ think that it will have an ideal future when it shall have copied the lesson which New Zealand has taught us of growing a particular class of meat suitable for export. But these are not arguments which appeal to me in connexion with the Federal territory. I am not at all concerned with matters of that kind in discussing this question from the Federal stand-point. They seem to me to be altogether matters outside Federal jurisdiction and Federal functions. All I am looking for is an area which is reasonably sufficient for Federal purposes pure and simple. I cannot conceive that we, as Federal authorities, are at all concerned about the agricultural or pastoral development of a single acre of land.
– Why ?
– Because these were not functions that ‘were passed from the States to the Federation. These are purely State functions. If my honorable friend thinks that the Federation of the Commonwealth ought to have power to deal with them, that is another matter, but it would be necessary to amend the Constitution to do so. He might as well ask why should we not have consolidation of land in the various States - an idea which might come from a Victorian, seeing that they have parted to a great extent with their Crown lands. Of course, my first vote will be given to Lyndhurst. But there are three reasons why I shall give my vote to Tumut in preference to Monaro. The three reasons apply certainly to Tumut ; two of them to a greater extent to Lyndhurst, and the third to a slighter extent. In the first place, either of those sites is much more central, both as regards the existing, and the probable future, population of Australia, than Southern Monaro. Not only are they more central, but they have the advantage of immediate railway communication - an advantage which would mean the saving of some years in the erection of the Federal Capital, and the transference of the Federal Parliament to the Seat of Government. The third reason is the matter of climate, to which I have referred. Knowing something of Monaro, and a good deal of New South Wales, I can only say that Southern Monaro is about the las’t place outside the particularly warm regions of that State in which I ever hope to be located for any length oJ time.
Senator WALKER (New South Wales).’ - I move -
That the amendment be amended by the insertion, after the word “by,” line 3, of the words “ the thirty-fifth parallel of south latitude.”
That will place Tumut and Albury within the area which may be selected.
– We are not getting any nearer than we were last year.
– Yes, we are.
– That amendment will prevent us from making a choice.
– It will give a larger choice. It simply draws a line through Gundagai, and therefore places Tumut, Albury, and Wagga Wagga amongst the sites from which a choice mav be made.
– I rise to express my regret that byreason of the amendments, certain dividing lines are introduced, which interfere with the free choice of the Senate. I take it that we are in duty bound to accept the will of the majority, and I desire that the will of the majority may be attained in the most open manner possible. I should greatly prefer the exhaustive ballot plan. I do not like these proposals which seek to prohibit the selection of any site but one of a certain class. The amendments which have been moved, in the first place, limit the choice absolutely to the extreme south end of the State of New South Wales. Now, Senator Walker has moved an amendment which professedly means the inclusion of Tumut. I would suggest to my honorable friend that he might just as well have moved the insertion of Tumut right away as hit upon some parallel of latitude or longitude. I desire to give a vote on behalf of Lyndhurst. The only way in which I can do that is by voting against the amendments. That, however, will be an unsatisfactory- and unreal kind of vote.
– By any other plan other honorable senators will have to vote against. Lyndhurst.
– The honorable senator will consider Lyndhurst, and it is just as well to remember that possibility if the Committee desires to effect an agreement with the other House.
– Another place is going to support Tumut.
– My honorable friend has a permanency of affection that is truly admirable, almost pathetic. I do not wish to say anything against Tumut, but I wish to give a vote for one of the two sites which I believe must be ultimately left for final adjustment between the two Houses. From what I have gathered from the members of another place, . it seems to me that the two sites left in the running - which have really “a call,” to use a colloquialism - are Lyndhurst and Dalgety. Dalgety, in respect of water sup- ply,_ is immensely superior to any other site. Not only does it afford a supply for domestic purposes, but it is the only site that will give a good power for electrical purposes.
– Tumut will also.
– Will the honorable senator please give Tumut a rest? It is a nice happy locality, but it is hardly necessary to gild the lily and adorn the rose. I quite agree with what Senator Trenwith has said in praise of Dalgety. I do not know that I ever paid Senator Trenwith a public compliment before in my life, but I must say that I listened to his speech with very much more than interest. I spent something like a fortnight in inspecting the Dalgety and. Bombala district. I went to all sorts of places, up all sorts of hills, down into all sorts of gullies and crannies. There are very few visitors who can tell me more about the locality than I know. I do not know how long ‘ Senator Trenwith spent there, but he certainly has a fine grasp of the features connected with Dalgety ; and I pay him a well-deserved compliment of appreciation for the very excellent manner in which he described that locality. I am sorry that he has not been to Lyndhurst. I admit that Lyndhurst has not so good a water supply. But there is this great point. Lyndhurst gives an immediate railway connexion, while the Southern Monaro sites do not. The difficulties . of establishing railway connexion with the Monaro sites - particularly those which have been named - undoubtedly place a strong bar in the way of a man who seeks to see the Capital established within a reasonable time voting for them. Lyndhurst also possesses advantages of centrality which none of the Southern Monaro sites have. Not even Senator Walker’s pet Tumut can offer such advantages. Undoubtedly as Australia develops, with railways linking its territory on the north and on the west - some are already in process of construction - Lyndhurst will be by far the most central, of any of the sites that are worth v of consideration. That must be palpable to the mind of any honorable senator who takes the trouble to look at the map. Lyndhurst is due north of Melbourne. The line does not run away to the east, as is the case with the existing railway line connecting Sydney and Melbourne. There is at present a cross line to Lyndhurst, but it would become a main trunk line if the place were selected as the
Capital site. It is a good line. Trains travel over it with dreadful deliberation at present, because they are mixed trains. They carry pigs, sheep, butter, eggs, cattle, firewood, and goodness knows what else. Passengers have to endure a very slow journey. But the question of the character of the line was raised in New South Wales lately, and the Railway Commissioners communicated to the press the fact that the trains do not run so slowly on account of any defect in the construction or the permanent way, but simply because the traffic is con ducted on the mixed principle.
– The trains go slowly because of the fear of addling the eggs.
– My honorable friend may, in his electioneering career, have had a more intimate acquaintance with addled eggs than I have had. His interjection suggests that such is the case’.’ My first vote will be given for the site which T believe to be the most central site of all.
– The honorable senator forgets that when steamers travel twentyfive knots an hour, Twofold Bay will be very central.
– The interruption of the family solicitor reminds me of a little story that I once heard about an American steamer, that was built to draw so very little water that she made a great success in travelling over a field under a heavy dew ! I have yet to learn that even when we have steamers running twenty-five knots an hour they will be able to negotiate the fifty miles of wild ranges between the Tasman Sea and the Bombala’ Capital site. At any rate, I do not see how they are going to do it. Naturally, it is not a” pleasant thing for a representative to have to speak to the detriment of any portion of his electorate. Bombala is as much a portion of my electorate as is any. other part of New South Wales. But I must do my public duty, and it is my duty to point out these considerations.
– There is the question of population, though.
– In advocating either Lyndhurst or Dalgety, I am advocating two sites which, out of the whole list of proposed sites, have the smallest population.
– But, which pleases Sydney most?
.- I do not know, and have not inquired. Sydnev has not called and left its card and informed me. But this is what I want to get at : It is very frequently said in reference to the Capital site at Bombala, that the Snowy River is part and parcel of the scheme. Let me say at once that that idea is a piece of pure futility. There are no less than nine miles of wild mountainous country between the proposed site at Bombala and the Snowy River. It would not only be necessary to deal with those wild hills, but the hills themselves are 600 feet above the water level of the river. It is practically impossible by any machinery to connect the water of the Snowy River with Bombala.
– The water which we drink in Melbourne is obtainable under similar circumstances - from Healesville.
– The Dalgety water is on the spot all the time. 1 hope the amendments will be withdrawn, and that we may have a straight-out vote on known sites, and not on geographical parallels. I desire to say that my first vote will be given to Lyndhurst, on the score of its centrality for the whole of the Commonwealth. If that vote should fail, I shall give my second vote on behalf of Dalgety, because I recognise that there exists in that locality a superabundant water supply for every purpose, including the power required for electric lighting, to an unlimited extent, and for a great tramway system. I believe that there is something like 50,000 horse power running through a narrow gorge between granite cliffs. It is a marvellous sight to see the water running down between those narrow walls. Very little engineering skill would gather there a magnificent head of power which could not be found in any existing or projected town in any other part of the Commonwealth, except, possibly, at Launceston. The water power at Launceston, used for generating electricity, is a somewhat artificial supply, brought through a small tunnel, and the power secured is infinitesimal when compared with the magnificent power that year in and year out rushes in vast volumes through the narrow gap in the great’ granite walls I speak of. Those walls are only a few miles in a direct line above the site that would undoubtedly be occupied by the principal buildings and streets of the Federal Capital if it were established at Dalgety. I quite appreciate the view of those honorable senators who have spoken disparagingly of the portion of Dalgety in the vicinity of the few little buildings which constitute the town. It is certainly a barrenlooking spot, but something more is to be seen than what may be seen in the vicinity of the two hotels and the post-office at Dalgety. Hass the first rise to the west, and you come to beautiful undulating country, well sheltered by great hills, the tops of which form a fine tableland to the westward, and on the foothills there are sites for any number of suburban residences and suburbs in connexion with the Capital city.
– That country forms a part of the suggested site.
– I am speaking of the suggested site. As for Lyndhurst, the train to-day runs through the place where the streets of the Capital city would be. I take it it would be almost necessary to move the present railway line somewhat out of the way, because the splendid area it now traverses would be almost too valuable for the site of a railway line. Lyndhurst possesses in the proximity of the grand -old Mount Macquarie, 4,000 feet high, in the foreground, and the Canobolas hills at the back, very handsome surroundings for any city for any purpose. It certainly possesses a paramount advantage in these days of retrenchment and curtailment of expenditure in being connected with existing railway communication from Gladstone on the north, to Broken Hill and Adelaide on the south and west.
– I have no doubt that honorable senators have made up their minds as to which site they will favour. I have a strong disposition to pay great respect to the wishes of honorable senators representing New South Wales, but from all I can hear they are in a hopeless minority. The great majority of honorable senators appear to be in favour of an area such as that proposed by Senator Pearce, and, that being so, I am inclined to use mv own judgment and make a selection of a site that has a possibility of being associated with a seaport. The Dalgety district appears to possess a very great advantage in the matter of water power, and were the Capital established there, and manufacturing industries started, it would be of incalculable advantage to have cheap power, which is one of the great necessities of modern economical manufacture. We have a remarkable instance of the advantage of the possession of cheap power, of which we are all very proud, at Launceston, in the north of the State of Tasmania. Honorable senators are, no doubt, aware that the cataract of the South Esk, near the entrance to Launceston, has been har- nessed up, and provides 1,400 or 1,500 horse power, and the business has been found to be a very profitable and a very promising undertaking.
– Municipal Socialism.
– Yes, and a very good example of it. We may expect something of the kind to be adopted in the new Federal city, .which, I hope, will be an ideal one in every way. There would appear to be some doubt as to the nature of the climate of the Monaro district, seeing that the average altitude of the sites, according to the reports of the Commissioners, is 2,600 feet; but we cannot expect to have every ideal fulfilled by any particular site. We mustbalance the advantages of the various sites suggested, and select the best. There would appear to be no considerable existing town within the area, suggested by Senator Pearce, and if the land in the district be reasonably good, that should constitute another reason for establishing the Federal city there. It would not be wise to endeavour to establish the Federal city close to one already in existence, and with which it might in some way compete. If we establish a new city in that district, we shall develop a new producing area, and taking advantage of the water power which has been so highly spoken of, we shall be able to develop a good manufacturing centre.
Senator Lt.-Col. GOULD (New South Wales). - Senators Mulcahy and Trenwith have laid a great deal of stress on what they consider the advantage of obtaining a site which would include a port. I am afraid that honorable senators are building up an ideal Federal city which was never contemplated by the Constitution, and which cannot be secured. If either Dalgety, Bombala, or Delegate were selected as the site of the Capital, there would be fifty miles between them and the sea coast. Not only so, but we should have a very steep and rugged range of mountains to ascend to effect communication with a port. Honorable senators must see that if it is considered essential to have a port connected with the Federal Capital, we must acquire an area immensely greater than that contemplated in the Constitution. If we obtain a seaport it will involve enormous expenditure by the Commonwealth Government, not only in rendering it suitable for shipping purposes, but also in the erection of defence works.
– Would not that mean a saving to New South Wales ?
.- After all, the territory to be developed would be very limited in area compared with the territory of New South Wales; and in the circumstances would it not be better to allow New South Wales to develop the seaport herself. Honorable senators speak as though we were going to establish a new State, and to carry on all sorts of industries and enterprises within its boundaries. Again I remind them that the new State will have to be of a very limited area, and. there will be no opportunity to establish the great works which some honorable senators appear to contemplate. I fail to understand how honorable senators can reconcile these ideas with the jealousy which they entertain against allowing what is termed the unearned increment to extend to any land outside the boundaries of the Federal Territory. After all, where are the great centres of population in Australia going to be? Will they be in our Federal Capital, or in the great commercial centres already established on the coast of Australia? Is, it proposed that we ‘should take away the manufacturing industries from Melbourne and Sydney and establish them in our new territory ?’ Those industries already established in the large centres of population, where greater opportunities are afforded for carrying them on remuneratively. If we look to what has taken place in other parts of the world, we shall find that Washington is a city established for purposes of government, and not for carrying on commercial and mercantile industries. Washington has remained, as I believe our Federal Capital in Australia will remain, a city established for Federal purposes.
– We wish to improve upon Washington.
– If we can improve on Washington, by all means we should do so, but it must be remembered that Washington to-day is a city with a population of ‘only 300,000, in . a territory which has a population of 80,000.000. Let honorable senators compare that with our population, and then say how many centuries it will take us to attain to a similar position, especially with the ideas prevalent at the present time with regard to immigration, as evidenced by our legislation. The whole object of providing for a Federal Capital was fo establish a city where the Parliament might legislate in its own country, free and untrammelled from any obligation to the various States. It was never contemplated that we should establish a great commercial capital or seaport ; and I contend that we never can have a city which will override the greater cities already established throughout Australia. I admit that the more seaports we have the better it is for the whole of the Common wealth, but I do not think we shall do very much in that respect with the Federal Capital, seeing the limitations imposed by the Constitution. .Senator Trenwith contended that it was intolerable .that the Commonwealth Parliament should be a tenant at will at the present time, and the position would be intensified if the Federal city were established within an area likely to be cut off by the action of any one of the States. Is it conceivable that New South Wales, any more than any other State, would attempt to limit or prohibit communication between the Federal area and other States of the Commonwealth? But, supposing that the territory lay between the State of Victoria and the State of New South Wales, it would be possible, if the position were conceivable, for these two States to combine and do exactly what Senator Trenwith fears. The moment a State adopted such a course, it would be evident that it was in a position of rebellion - a position that” could not be maintained by any State. The Commonwealth would have the means of bringing a rebellious State to terms, and we may assume that a State, before taking up such a position, would adopt constitutional means to get away from the Federation. Any suggestions of this character should be banished at once as impossible, in view of the way in which people’s minds are constituted, and as they ever will be constitutes in every part of the world. I hope honorable senators will realize that Senator Neild and Senator Millen, in their strong advocacy of Lyndhurst, are supporting that site, because thev consider it the most sensible and best. Senator Mulcahy expressed the opinion that the people of New South Wales and their wishes should be considered to a very great extent ; and the divisions which have taken place on this question in times past, show clearly that public opinion, as evidenced by the representatives in both Houses, is strongly in favour of Lyndhurst, as being central, with easy communication, and fulfilling all the other requirements of a Federal Capital city. It may be true that Lyndhurst does not possess the same water supply facilities as do some of the other sites.
– Did the New South Wales representatives not vote for Tumut in the other House?
– The vote of the New South Wales representatives was strongly in favour of Lyndhurst.
– But Tumut was the place selected.
– I am speaking of the opinions and feelings of the people of New South Wales.
– Lyndhurst received the votes of nearly all the New South Wales representatives.
– When Lyndhurst was rejected in the House of Representatives, the New South Wales members then voted solidly for Tumut.
.- Lyndhurst was the first choice of the New South Wales representatives, and the same will be found to be the casts when this Bill reaches another place. According to the report of the last Royal Commission, there is at Lyndhurst a water supply sufficient, at moderate cost, to meet the requirements of a population of 50,000 people, while a supply for a population of 200,000 could, if necessary, be obtained, according to the scheme suggested by the Commission. In view of all the facts, we may take it that, at Lyndhurst, there is a water supply sufficient to meet the requirements of any Federal Capital we may contemplate for centuries to come.
Senator. PULSFORD (New South Wales). - Many reasons, fanciful and otherwise, have been advanced in order to persuade honorable senators to vote for the southern sites, but the greatest reason of al] in favour of Lyndhurst has been overlooked. In all countries of the world the capital city is, as a rule, made the centre of the military power. In the future, we cannot hope to be free from war troubles, and I ask the Minister of Defence to tell us whether it is not desirable that the place where we elect to have the main body of our troops should have easy access to any portion of the Continent. Southern Monaro is about the last place we should select as the centre of military power, while, on the other hand, Lyndhurst is admirably suited for this purpose, possessing, as it does,, already, means of transit which do not exist in the regions to which many honorable senators are directing their thoughts. Even if means of communication did exist in the Monaro sites, still the time of transit would be very much greater, and we know that during military troubles a few hours may be of great importance.
– lt is possible to get much more quickly to Western Australia from Bombala than from Lyndhurst.
– I ‘beg the honorable senator’s pardon ; Lyndhurst is much nearer, in a direct line, to the great centres of Western Australia than is Bombala.
– Then the honorable senator is in favour of a Transcontinental Railway ?
– I have always been in favour of as early a connexion as possible with Western Australia. It is clearly desirable, in the important military interests of the Commonwealth, that we should choose a site which is most likely to help us in the organization of our defences.
– If we build the Federal Capital on the lines indicated by Senator Gould, it will be more like a bush township or “ sleepy hollow “ in the backblocks than a modern city.
– More like a cemetery.
– It will certainly be more like a city of the. dead than of the living if there are to be no industrial and commercial classes, and the population has to be confined to ‘the officials of the Federal Parliament, and the unfortunate legislators who will be forced, to live there during the greater part of the year. If we are to have a city worthy of the name, commercial and industrial pursuits must be carried on. Senator Mulcahy has pointed out that if we’ a re fortunate enough to get the Dalgety site, there will be so much water-power that industrial pursuits must be created ; and this might have the effect of relieving the congested populations of Sydney and Melbourne. Such a result would be by no means to be deplored, because both cities are overgrown. Although such a move of population would be of advantage to the entire country, Senator Gould spoke of it as something that would be deplorable.
– No; I said there was no chance of its coming about.
– Dalgety presents much greater natural advantages for carrying on industrial pursuits than does Melbourne.
– Melbourne is on the sea coast.
– I hope that the Federal Capital will be different from either Ottawa or Washington, and will be ah industrial city both in population and in name. Unless some such result is contemplated we might as well have no Federal city at all.
Amendment of the amendment negatived.
Senator KEATING (Tasmania).- In my opinion ‘the wording of Senator Pearce’s amendment is inadequate, if it is his intention to have comprised in the area the whole of that triangular piece of land which is south of the imaginary line referred to. I do not suggest that he should name the coast and the border of Victoria as the other lines, but that in the place of the word “ territory “ he should insert the words “ the whole of that portion of New South Wales,” and so forth.
– I am prepared to accept that suggestion, and by leave I will amend my amendment. “ Amendment amended accordingly.
Question - That the words proposed to be inserted be so inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative. Amendment, as amended, agreed to.
Amendment (by Senator McGregor) proposed -
That the blank be filled by the insertion of the word “Dalgety.”
Senator DOBSON (Tasmania). - By carrying the amendment of Senator Pearce, we have done what, I understand, a majority of the Committee wished to do. We have indicated a territory from which the Seat of Government is to be chosen ; but inasmuch as we desire to take a much larger area than the Constitution seems to warrant, it becomes a question of negotiation with New South Wales for that larger area. Why does Senator McGregor wish to begin to pick out a spot from within this large territory, when a great many of us must admit that we are not competent to make a selection? I am not capable of giving a vote for either Dalgety or Bombala, because I do not possess the requisite knowledge. We have chosen the Southern Monaro district, which includes Dalgety, Bombala, and Delegate. Why cannot the Government begin to negotiate with the Government of New South Wales, and when they obtain the necessary information as to plans and terms, bring down another Bill? I object to being asked to fix a particular site.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn. Senator McGREGOR. - I move-
That the words “and within” be inserted after the word “latitude.”
Perhaps I may be permitted to say, in moving this amendment, that although we have designated an area within which the Seat of Government shall be, it is much too indefinite to warrant us in negotiating with New South Wales. Senator Dobson must recollect that according to the Bill we are going to ask for no less than 900 square miles within this area. The intention of the next clause is to carry out the purpose of the Bill. I wish to indicate that within twenty-five miles of Dalgety Ave propose to fix - as nearly as we can - the area about which we are to negotiate with New South Wales. When the Bill is passed in that form, the Government will have something definite to go by.
Seat- of Government shall be. But that does not mean that we are to ask New South Wales for all that area. The Bill asks for a much less area.
Amendment agreed to.’
Senator TRENWITH (Victoria). - I move -
That the words “ twenty-five “ be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ fifty.”
The Senate has decided, so far as it is concerned, that the Capital site shall be somewhere on the Monaro plain. But my own view - and it is largely shared by honorable senators, I think - is that we are not yet sufficiently informed to say exactly where the area shall be. There have been opinions expressed which are rather adequately included in the amendment I propose. If we are to move a distance from any point, and we fix Dalgety as the point, we must use the words “fifty miles” in order to include Bombala, if that should ultimately be found to be the best site; and it is forty-four miles, as nearly as may be, by the road we travelled. A mile or two here or there does not matter in a .case of this kind. But if we are to have a distance by measurement, 50 miles covers all that we can possibly require. It would be a mistake to select either Bombala, Delegate, or Dalgety at this stage. If we are to say 25 miles from Dalgety, we might as well say definitely that the site shall be at Dalgety. Are we prepared for that? Certainly, I am not. I ‘do not think that the paying of a flying visit to the district qualifies me to express an opinion definitely at this stage. If we decide the distance, we shall have gone far enough for the present. We shall have shown our bona fides to the New South Wales people, and next session will be quite early enough to settle definitely and irrevocably the exact spot.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).If Senator Trenwith’s suggestion is adopted what position shall we be in? It will mean that the whole of the Monaro Plains will be locked up. All the thriving settlements about Bega, which is held by hundreds of small dairy farmers, would be affected. The Bill provides that the value of any land taken over by the Commonwealth is to be” the value on the 30th January last year. The consequence would be that not a single acre south of the imaginary line mentioned in Senator Pearce’s amendment would be free. No one would buy property in the neighbourhood, seeing that he would not know what value the Commonwealth Government would fix upon it as from the 30th of January last year. Any one who deals in landed property must know that nobody would venture to buy an estate, knowing that a third party might come in and buy it from him at an unknown valuation.
Senator Trenwith. - Yes.
– On the other hand, I can see the point which he is driving at. But, if Senator Trenwith’s suggestion were carried out, Bega would be included in the area referred to. All the country twelve miles south of the 36th parallel would be included.
– The country around Lyndhurst and Tumut has been locked up for three years, and none of this trouble has arisen.
– But the honorable senator does not seem to recognise the difference in this case. Around Tumut and Lyndhurst there has not been so large an area affected as is now specified - an area eighty miles by sixty. ‘ If this proposal were carried out, the land-owners there would not only be unable to sell, but they would not be able to raise a single penny on their properties from any financial institution. We should simply say to them that for an indefinite period they would be liable to have their properties resumed at the estimated value, at a time long past. Would that be fair? To do so would be to cramp every man holding property or carrying on an industry in the district.
– We could carry out the honorable senator’s idea by curtailing the area.
– That is what I desire. The suggestion made by Senator Trenwith is to throw all limitations on one side, and select territory anywhere below the thirty-fifth parallel of latitude. What the honorable senator proposes would include Bega. Is that what is desired ?
– We had the whole of New South Wales -before, with the exception of the 100 miles radius from Sydney.
– Has any one in the Federal Parliament ever before suggested that; the Federal territory should be taken into a district like Bega?
– It does not matter.
– Has the honorable senator no sense of what is justice to New South Wales? I hope that by our legislation we shall place no additional handicap upon people who are suffering enough already from the legislation which has been passed by this Parliament. Bega is a district which the Commonwealth Parliament never had any idea of including within ‘the Federal territory, and why should honorable senators propose to include it now, even temporarily.
– Will the honorable senator allow me to explain. I wish to explain to Senators Pearce and Trenwith that Senator Millen has given one of the reasons why I suggested Dalgety in the first instance. If honorable senators will look at the map, and the area taken in by the limitation proposed by Senator Pearce, they will find that if they take Dalgety as the centre they may extend fifty miles eastwards without taking in Bega, and if they extend fifty miles westward they will take in country- that is almost uninhabited. - I should have no objection” to the proposal of Senator Trenwith to alter the words “twenty-five miles” to “ fifty miles,” if it is understood that Dalgety is to be considered the centre. But if Bombala were considered the centre, to extend the territory to a radius of fifty miles from that centre would be to do what Senator Millen has indicated, because it would impound an area that it is not contemplated by this Bill should be taken from or asked from New South Wales. If Dalgety were considered the centre, and the fifty miles radius were accepted, it would include Dalgety, Bombala, and Delegate.
– And Cooma.
-r Cooma would be just outside the area, or just on the border of it. Honorable senators will see that I am endeavouring as far as possible to be fair to .the people residing in the settled districts.
– I understood that it was the desire of the Committee to vote first on the question of districts, and then to take the sections of a district. ‘ We have now decided the district, and it appears to me that if honorable senators will accept Senator McGregor’s suggestion they can vote upon it, and any honorable senator who may object to Dalgety can move an amendment ; allowing the provision with respect to “ twenty-five miles “ to stand. In the meantime I must put Senator Trenwith’s amendment.
– I think the Vice-President of the Executive Council is under a misapprehension in thinking that we have not yet clone anything in connexion with this Bill. We have done something of very great importance, and I doubt whether it would be wise for us to do very much more. The fears expressed by Senator Millen seem to me to be without foundation. In the first place, we are not now making a law ; we are only expressing the wish of the Senate concerning a particular law which may be altered elsewhere. We are not doing anything final to-night.
– Is that the way in which the honorable senator proposes to pass Bills?
– Even if we took the original area provided for in the Bill, that is, within a radius of twenty-five miles from a given place, we should then take a circular piece of land fifty miles in diameter.
Senator- Millen.- - No.
– Then, what does the honorable senator fear ? It is suggested here that we should make a difference, which has been well described as like that between “ tweedle-dum and tweedledee.”
– It is the difference between honesty and downright robbery.
– The area defined by Senator Pearce’s amendment would include a territory extending eighty miles east and west and sixty miles north and south. It is now proposed that we shall take a central point within- that area, and from that include territory within a radius of fifty miles. That would give us a territory 100 miles in diameter. It would take us some distance into the ocean on one side, to the north it would take us beyond the parallel suggested, and somewhere down in Victoria to the south. Having affirmed the amendment proposed by Senator Pearce, we cannot now say that we will acquire territory within a fifty miles radius of a particular site, because that would take us out of the territory which has already been decided upon.
– Only at some points.
– Apart from that, it seems to me» desirable that, having fixed upon the territory, we should leave the selection of the site to be a matter for future negotiation between the Federal and New South Wales Governments. That, I think, would be in the interests of New South Wales.
– I feel that there is a great deal in what Senator Millen has said. We must get all the security, and as great a degree of definiteness, as we can, and at the same time we must avoid, so far as we can, even the suspicion of injury to the citizens of any part of the Commonwealth. If we can get what we require without the possibility of injury to anybody, it is just as well that we should have it. The Vice-president of the Executive Council has said that the amendment I first suggested, while it would give the protection which Senator Millen suggested to the people of Bega, would not give us sufficient for our purpose. I do not wish to go an inch further than is necessary to give us ultimately an untrammelled choice within the area upon which we have decided. With reference to the fear expressed by Senator Mulcahy that we may be undoing something which we have already done, I would point out that the limitation now proposed applies only within the original limit, and creates no complication. If those who know the district assure me that both Bombala and .Dalgety will come within a radius of forty-five miles, I see no objection to adopting that distance.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).For all practical purposes there is very -little difference between forty-five and fifty miles, because, at that distance, the edge of the tableland is reached, and you commence to descend the sides of the mountains towards the dairying district lying between them and the coast. I regard the suggestion of Senator. Trenwith as a very fair compromise between two opposite positions. ‘ But I appeal to honorable senators not to go further than the distance suggested by him. A distance of fifty miles secures to those who favour either Bombala, Dalgety, or Delegate, ample range within which to make their final selection.
– T, thought that when we carried the amendment of Senator Pearce, we decided, so far as we were willing to go at the present time, where the Seat of Government should be, leaving the actual position of the Federal Capital an open question. That being so, I cannot understand the reason for suggesting another limit now. I think it will be better to leave the question open. Neither can I understand this new-born enthusiasm for Dalgety. If honorable senators knew more about that site, they would not be in such a hurry to support it in place of Bombala, which had most support last Parliament. Personally, I think we had better adjourn, because we are not likely to arrive at a decision before the last trains leave the city. I ask the VicePresident of the Executive Council to report progress.
– -1 think that we have gone far enough, so far as this clause is con cerned, and that the amendment of Senator McGregor is unnecessary and inadvisable. Senator Millen has spoken about locking up the land, but I am unable to see that the land would be locked lip, or that a mortgagor or mortgagee interested in land within the area chosen would be in any way injured, since, if it is resumed by the Commonwealth, the full market price, plus 10 per cent., will be paid for it. I do not know what better security than that a mortgagee could have. But by adopting a radius of fifty miles, we shall lock up a larger area than that covered by the amendment of Senator Pearce. If by the amendment of Senator Trenwith we exclude Bega, we also include a large area to the west not previously included.
– There is nothing to the west.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.Then to the north we -get up near Lake George.
– But we cannot go north of the line fixed by Senator Pearce’s amendment.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.Senator Millen ‘s object is to exclude Twofold Bay as part of the Federal territory, and that is the real object of all who are supporting the proposal which he favours. In my opinion we have gone far enough at present by carrying the amendment of Senator Pearce. The next step is to get the concurrence of the other Chamber. If we propose this ring fence round Dalgety, excluding Twofold Bay as a Federal port, we are much more likely to have a disagreement with the- House of Representatives than if we leave the matter as it stands. We have sufficiently localized theFederal area, and we shall not make any advance by providing that the Federal Capital must be within a given distance of Dalgety.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).It is one of the easiest things to insinuate unfair motives, but I tell the Committee candidly that when I last spoke I had no thought of the effect of the proposal of Senator Trenwith in excluding Twofold Bay.
– I accept the honorable senator’s statement.
– The suggestion of Senator Smith, that we should lock up country which we do not want to secure country which we do want, is about oh a par with the wisdom of the Chinaman who burnt down his house to . roast his pig.
We are told that what is wanted is to secure the control of the country between here and Dalgety and Twofold Bay; and’ there is not intelligence enough’ on the part of those who desire that to draft an amendment which will carry out their wishes, without also locking up the other lands.
– It does include Twofold Bay, does it not? ‘
– Yes ; but the suggestion of the fifty-mile radius was not mine. Those who have brought the Committee into this position must take the responsibility for their own bungle. I am here to prevent injustice - though I- acknowledge the difficulty of the task - to the people with whose land we have no concern. It is the duty of those who want something tq tell the Committee what they want, and to provide an amendment accordingly. To attempt to take land which is not wanted, and in this way interfere with the daily occupations of people in order to secure Twofold Bay, appears ridiculous in the extreme. I suggest that, if necessary, we should report progress, with a view to the recommittal of the clause in order to further amend the amendment of Sena-‘ tor Pearce, which appears to stand, in the way. I cannot conceive that the Committee, if we regard the matter seriously, can pass the clause in its present condition. If it be desired to have Twofold Bay, the best and most business-like course is to take the action necessary to have the clause recommitted, in order, as I’ say, to amend Senator Pearce’s proposed amendment.
– Honorable senators will recollect that amongst senators a feeling was expressed that instead of sitting a day, or a day and a half each week, we should, finish with this Bill, and then adjourn for three weeks. That was an idea to which almost unanimous expression was given.
– When was that ?
– Last week. Honorable members expressed the desire to leave Melbourne to-morrow, and not return over next week.
– That is nonsense !
– I am quite prepared to come back next week, and, indeed, every week.
– So am I.
– If honorable senators think that the present’ discussion ought to extend over a week or a fortnight, thu arrangement about not sitting next week must be abandoned. I am quite prepared to report progress now, and come back tomorrow, and also next week; but I intend that we shall work reasonable hours until the measures which are before us have been dealt with. If, however, it is the desire of honorable senators that progress be reported, I move accordingly. Progress reported.
Senate adjourned at 11.40 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 2 June 1904, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1904/19040602_senate_2_19/>.