3rd Parliament · 3rd Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [2.31]. - In accordance with standing order 322, I beg to move -
That the resolution of the Senate adopted on the 16th October instant, namely, “ That the Senate at its rising adjourn until Wednesday, 28th October,” be communicated by message to the House of Representatives.
I submit the motion at this time in accordance with the practice established at our last sitting. The standing order under which Imove is in the same terms as standing order 61, under which the Vice-Presi dent of the Executive Council moved on that occasion.
– I would point out. to the honorable senatorthathis position is different from that of a Minister.
– I should like to be heard, sir . ifyou intend to give a ruling.
– I am prepared to hear anything which the honorable senator may wish to say.
– Standing order 61 provides that a Minister may do something at any time. At out last sitting a motion was moved by the Vice-President of the Executive Council which suspended private business, the giving of notices of motion, and everything else. I therefore assume that great importance is to be at- . tached to the freedom which that standing order gives to a Minister I claim an equal freedom understanding order 322, which reads -
It shall be in order at any time to move, with out notice, that any resolution of the Senate be” communicated by message to the Houseof Representatives
Without notice I am moving that the Senate’s resolution of the16th instant be communicated to the other House, because I think it is desirable that private senators should have the same rights under standing order322 as are secured to Ministers under standing order 61.
SenatorMillen. - Is the object of the motion simply to vindicate the right of a senator to do something?
– To vindicate the rights of private senators.
– No one has assailed them.
– Yes, they were assailed by the action of the Minister at the last sitting of the Senate.
– It is not now a question as to whether the rights of any honorable senator were assailedor not at our last sitting. If the honorable senator desires to discuss his right to submit the motion, I am willing to heat him.
– Ihave done, sir.
. I hope that no time is going to be wasted over this matter. In moving the adjournment of the Senate as I did on the 16th instant, I acted in accordance with standing order 61.
– I am moving under a standing order which is as explicit as that one.
– Has the motion been seconded, sir?
– It is only a, question now as to whether it should be sub; mitted or not. If the Minister desires to speak to that question, I shall be happy to hear him.
– I do not desire to waste any time over this.
– In regard to the conduct of business, the position of a Minister is entirely distinct from that of a private senator. The rule under which the Minister has the right to submit a motion for adjournment is one which for very obvious reasons obtains in all Parliaments. At the same time I recognise that another standing order provides thatit is in order at any time for an honorable senator to move, without notice, that any resolution of the Senate be communicated by message to the House of Representatives. Although there is no doubt that it was not intended to be used in this particular way, still in view of its clear words, I am not prepared to rule that Senator Neild is out of order. If he desires to proceed with the motion I shall not prevent him from doing so.
– I have achieved the object which I had in view in attempting to vindicate the rights of private senators, and, in the circumstances, I do not propose to proceed with the motion.
Senator MACFARLANE presented a petition from the Timbery Range Progress Association of Monaro in the State of New South Wales, praying the Senate not to repeal the Act that made Dalgety the capi- tal of the Commonwealth.
Senator WALKER presented a petition from the Dalgety Progress Committee praying the Senate not to agree to the elimination of Dalgety as the Federal Capital from the Seat of Government Act.
Petitions received and read.
Government to support the choice of another place in regard to the Federal Capital site?
– Surely the honorable senator cannot askme a question of that kind? At all events, I do not intend to answer it at this stage.
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral whether he is aware that on a recent trip of the mail steamer Bingera from Gladstone to Brisbane there were in the steerage eight lunatics, seven convicts, two Chinese, two aborigines, and two other coloured men in addition to about twenty white passengers ; and whether, with a view to providing suitable accommodation for travellers along the Queensland coast, he does not think it necessary that a Commonwealth-owned steamer should be substituted for the present unsatisfactory service ?
– I was absolutely unaware of the factsmentioned in the honorable senator’s question. I doubt very much if the Postmaster-General himself is aware that such a condition of things obtains. Under ordinary circumstances the arrangement made between the Postmaster-General’s Department and contractors relates almost exclusively to the carriage of mails. Only in very exceptional circumstances are other provisions inserted in those contracts. If the honorable senator thinks that the Post and Telegraph Department can obviate the recurrence of such an unfortunate condition of things as is disclosed in his question, I shall be very happy to bring his representations before my honorable colleague.
-I wish to ask the Minister of Home Affairs whether his attention has been called to the following paragraph which appearedin the Argus of Monday last -
The Commonwealth trawler Endeavour is now nearing completion, and in order that no time shall be lost in getting the vessel to seawhen she is ready the Minister for Home Affairs (Senator Keating)is already taking steps to secure efficient officers and crew. Applications are invited by the Public Service Commissioner for the positions of master, first mate, second mate; first, second, and junior engineers; and three fishermen. All certificates of competency must be recognised by the Board of
Trade, and boating experience is considered highly desirable in applicants, who should address their applications to the Secretary, Commonwealth Public Service Commissioner, Melbourne, before 21st November. The annual salaries! offered are ^252 to the master, £180 to the first, and ^’144 to the second mate, ^24° to the first, ^192 to the second, and ^120 to the junior engineer, and ^84 each to the three fishermen.
If the Minister has seen the paragraph in question, does he not consider that the three fishermen who are expected to be expert in boating and to be skilled in fishing are entitled to at least the same remuneration as it is proposed to give the junior engineer, namely, ^120?
– I would point out to the honorable senator that his question relates purely to a matter of opinion regarding the rate of remuneration which should be paid to the fishermen. It is not, therefore, a question which the Minister is obliged to answer.
– I did not notice the particular paragraph to which the honorable senator has directed my attention.
– It is a Gazette notice.
– I did, however, read a paragraph in one of the newspapers, which was incorrect, to the extent that it declared that I was already taking action to man and officer the trawler. As a matter of fact, immediately the vessel has been completed she will be handed over to the Department which will operate her. namely, the Department of Trade and Customs. The manning and officering of the trawler will rest entirely with that Department. I cannot say with exactitude what steps are being taken by the Department in this connexion, but if Senator Findley will give notice of his question I shall be pleased to obtain the information.
– Arising out of the Minister’s reply to my question, I should like to know why it is that applications have not been invited for the positions of firemen, greasers, and seamen?
– As I have already pointed out, the matters to which the honorable senator has referred, do not come within the sphere of the Department of Home Affairs. That Department is responsible only for the construction of the trawler. Immediately the vessel has been completed she will be handed over to the Department of Trade and Customs, upon which will devolve the duty of manning and officering her. I shall be pleased to obtain a reply to any question which the honorable senator may desire to ask in reference to the manning of the trawler.
– I again ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether the Government have yet received the despatch from the Board of Trade in reference to the Navigation Bill which, some five weeks ago, he informed the Senate was on its way from England, and, if so, whether it will be laid upon the table to-day?
– The Government have received the communication in question, and it will probably be laid upon the table of the Senate to-morrow.
– I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, whether the Government has yet received a definite reply in regard to the sites for the Commonwealth offices in London, now under offer, or whether negotiations have teen completed?
– Does my honorable friend refer to any particular site?
– I see from the newspapers that two sites are under consideration. I was under the impression that the Government were negotiating for a Trafalgar Square site, but now I see that a Strand site is under consideration.
– Nothing has yet been settled with regard to either site. Anything that is done will”, of course, be subject to confirmation by Parliament.
– I understand that the Vice-President of the Executive Council now has an answer to the questions which I put some time ago, relating to the importation of adulterated brandy known as “ Palestine “ brandy to Western Australia.
– Yes. The answers are as follow: -
Section 9 (b). No attempt was made either by the importer or the shippers, to describe the -spirit as “ brandy.” The age certificate, stating that the liquor had been matured in wood for two years, described it as spirits of wine, and it was bonded as spirits. It was charged duty as spirits (not brandy), and paid 14s. per proof gallon after having been re-gauged and re-tested on 17th August, 1908.
Section11. A certificate, satisfactory to the Collector, was produced stating that the spirit had been matured by storage in wood for two years.
Section 13. The Analyst, after examination of the samples, stated that in his opinion they were spirits distilled from grape.
The spirit when cleared from bond was of a strength of 28.7 over proof, and was contained in an octave, but the spirit seized was found to be only 22.7 under proof and was in bottles. It is evident from the Analyst’s evidence in the police court that, after leaving the Customs’ control, the spirit had been doctored and prepared to simulate brandy.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Home Affairs, without notice, a question relating to an advertisement which has been put up at the Kalgoorlie Post Office. It is dated 18th September, 1908, and it reads as follows: -
Offers will be received at the office of the Deputy Postmaster-General, Perth, until Noon 311 Tuesday, the 6th October, 1908, from persons willing to undertake the management of the Semi-official Post and Telephone Office at Bulong, for a period of one, two, or three years, at the option of the Postmaster-General, for payment at the rate of£125 per annum, less , £15 per annum deducted as rent for the quarters.
The successful applicant will be required to perform all duties connected with the Post and Telephone Office, Money Order, and Savings Bank, and to effect the delivery of telegrams.
The business must be conducted in the present premises, and the person appointed must devote the whole of his or her time and attention to the work of the office, and shall not be connected with the trade of the town or locality.
A fidelity bond of £400 will be required but the Department will arrange this bond, and the premium payable in respect thereof, viz.: - 2s. 6d. per centum per annum will be deducted from the allowance.
Is the Minister aware that the sum offered is considerably lower than that paid by any firm of employers for adult labour in any part of the gold-fields? Will he suggest to the PostmasterGeneral the desirableness of withdrawing the notice, seeing that it is likely to bring the Commonwealth into contempt by offering such ridiculous wages?
– Personally, I do not know the circumstances to which the honorable senator has referred, but if he will give notice of the question, I shall he very pleased to obtain information from my colleague.
MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers -
New Protection. - Memorandum relating to proposed amendment of the Constitution.
Inter-State Conference, held at Melbourne, April-May, 1908. - Report of Resolutions, Proceedings, and Debates.
Public Service Act. -
Repeal of Regulations 96, 100, 103, 104. 172, and 182, and substitution of new Regulations in lieu of Regulations 104, 172, and 182. - Statutory Rules1908, No. 108.
Documents in connexion with the promotion of Mr. P. T: Rutt to the position of postmaster, Launceston, Tasmania.
Position of Deputy Postmaster-General of Victoria - Reasons for non-approval by Governor-General of Public Service Commissioner’s recommendation of Mr. J. A. Springhall, and for requiring a further recommendation.
Defence Acts 1903-4. -
Financial and Allowance Regulations for the Military Forces of the Commonwealth - Amendment of Regulation 90. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 109.
Financial and Allowance Regulations for the Military Forces of the Commonwealth - New Regulation87A. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 110.
The Clerk laid upon the table the following paper -
Return to the order of the Senate, dated 1st October, showing the amount spent by Great Britain during 1907 upon Naval Forces.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
– Arising out of the Minister’s answer, I desire to know whether the advertisement appears daily or weekly?
– I understood the Vice-President of the Executive Council to say that the Government does not pay at per inch for the insertion of the advertisement in The Standard of Empire, but pays ^32 per insertion?
– For half a page.
– For what period have the Government closed with this newspaper for the insertion of the advertisement now appearing? As far as I know, it does not cover half a page.
– At the present moment, I am not aware of the period contracted for, but I shall be very glad to ascertain for my honorable friend.
What is the number of statutory rules or regulations relating to finance issued under the Defence Acts during the two years ending 30th June, I008
– The answer to my honorable friend’s question is : For the Military Forces, 34; for the Naval Forces, 7.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
Senator BEST. The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Has the present Government expressed a strong interest in the development of the cadet movement ?
If so, is it a fact, as stated in the daily press, that instructions have been given suspending the holding of the customary annual training encampment for cadet officers and noncommissioned officers, in New South Wales?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
– Before formally proceeding with my motion I am going to ask the leave of the Senate to make a slight amendment. Honorable senators will see that the motion proposes -
That an open exhaustive ballot be taken on Thursday, 29th October, without debate.
Honorable senators will be aware that it was mv intention to move the motion on Wednesday last. However, we saw fit to adjourn until to-day. Assuming that the motion would have been moved on Wednesday last, I contemplated a discussion occupying Wednesday and Thursday, and perhaps Friday, and intended that tomorrow, the 29th October, should be fixed as the day on which this exhaustive ballot should be taken. Honorable senators will be aware that the scheme proposed is that we should agree, by passing the motion I intend to submit, to proceed to the selection of a site. Assuming that the motion is carried by to-night, to-morrow night, or Friday afternoon, after a general discussion has taken place, it is contemplated that we should then fix a day for the exhaustive ballot, and that on that day it should be taken without debate. In the altered circumstances, I desire to amend the motion by fixing Thursday, 5th November, as the date for the taking of the exhaustive ballot. I think that will probably meet the convenience of honorable senators. I ask leave to so amend the motion.
Motion, by leave, amended accordingly.
– I move -
That the selection be made from sites nominated, without debate, by honorable senators, provided that no nomination shall be received unless it is supported by at least two senators, in addition to the senator nominating, rising in their places.
That the Senate do forthwith proceed to the nomination of sites, and that the President do declare the time for nominations to be closed as soon as sufficient opportunity has, in his opinion, been given to receive nominations.
That an open exhaustive ballot be taken on Thursday, 5th November, without debate, in the following manner : -
Ballot-papers shall be distributed to honorable senators containing the names of the sites nominated.
Senators shall place a cross opposite the name of the site for which they desire to vote, and shall sign the paper.
The ballot-papers shall then be examined by the Clerk.
The total number of votes given for each site shall be reported to the Senate after each ballot.
If, on the first examination, any site proves to have received an absolute majority of votes, the President shall report the name of such site to the Senate, and such site shall be deemed to be the one preferred by honorable senators.
If no site receives an absolute majority of votes, then the name of the site receiving the smallest number of votes shall be reported’ to the Senate, and shall be struck out.
If any two or more of the sites shall receive an equal number of votes, such number of votes being the smallest, then the Senate shall ascertain in the customary manner which of such sites should, in the opinion of honorable senators, be further balloted for, and the name of the other, or others, shall be struck out.
Further ballots shall then be taken on the names of the remaining sites, and the name of the site receiving the smallest number of votes in each successive ballot shall be reported to the Senate and struck out in the manner aforesaid, until one of the sites receives an absolute majority of votes.
When one of the sites has received an absolute majority of votes, the name of such site shall be reported to the Senate by the President, and such site shall be deemed to be the site preferred by honorable senators.
– I wish, Mr. President, to ask your ruling as to whether it is not a fact that on the 15th August, 1904, an Act was passed by this Parliament in which it was determined that the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth should be within 17 miles of Dalgety, in the State of New South Wales, and whether, if that be so, it is competent for the Senate now to take a vote on the question of the site to be selected for the FederalCapital until the Act to which I refer has been either amended or repealed?
– On the point of order, I submit that the motion proposed by the Vice-President of the Executive Council is simply one to obtain the opinion of honorable senators. It makes no reference to the measure mentioned by Senator Stewart.
– We have already expressed our opinion.
– It merely seeks to arrive at the opinion of honorable senators now forming the Senate. It has no reference whatever to anything that has passed.
– I have only one word to say, and that is that the Senate has complete control over its own affairs, and if it chooses to pass any resolution in connexion with any matter with a view to giving an expression of opinion in regard to it, it is competent for it to do so. ‘
– It does not appear to me that the Vice-President of the Executive Council is out of order in submitting his motion. It is merely intended to seek the opinion of honorable senators as to the site to be selected for the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth.
– The site has already been chosen.
– Honorable senators will be at liberty, should they see fit, to express an opinion on this matter, even though it should be contrary to the provisions of an Act of this Parliament now on the statute-book. The motion, if carried, can have no effect until it is embodied in an Act of Parliament. I think that the Vice-President of the Executive Council has proposed a ‘very convenient way for obtaining the opinion of honorable senators as to whether some site other than Dalgety should be selected. I should like further to point out that the course now proposed has been followed in another place, for the express purpose of permitting honorable members to express an opinion at the present time as to a suitable site, in view of all the circumstances that have arisen.
– I rise to a point of order. I wish to ask whether it is in consonance with the dignity of the Senate that honorable senators should be treated like a lot of children, and asked whether they have changed their minds on a matter, on which they have already expressed a very decided fmd emphatic opinion?
– The question is not one affecting the dignity of the Senate. The question to be considered at the moment is whether it is desirable to proceed with the debate on the motion submitted bv the Vice-President of the Executive Council. If, in the opinion of honorable senators, it is desirable to do so, that course may be followed without detriment to the dignity or position of the Senate.
– Honorable senators are aware that under the terms of the Constitution, to which I shall have occasion to refer more fully later, it is within the power of the Federal Parliament, consisting as it does of both Chambers, together with His Excellency the Governor-General, to determine the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth. It is within the knowledge-01 honorable senators that a Bill was passed dealing with this subject. Honorable members in another place have taken an opportunity to reconsider their determination in regard to this matter. A particular process was resorted to, in order to secure a true expression of the opinion of the other branch of the Legislature. It is now thought desirable that, as this all-important matter has been reconsidered elsewhere, the Senate should be given an equal opportunity to reconsider its decision as to the selection of the Capital site. I think that we are all agreed that, recognising that New South Wales is entitled to have the Capital within her borders, we are loyally bound within a reasonable time to select a site, and thus redeem our pledge to the mother State.
– We did that years ago.
– And to carry out the bargain which has been entered into in the terms of the Constitution.
– Does the honorable senator mean to say that we have not already redeemed our pledge?
– Mv Honorable friend will see exactly what my own views are on this matter a little later on. I would ask’ honorable senators, in dealing1 with the matter, to bear in mind a few of the more important historical features connected with it. In t899, the New South Wales Government appointed Mr. Oliver a Commissioner to inquire into the merits of the various sites which had been advocated, and that gentleman recommended, first of all, Southern Monaro, within which are Bombala and Dalgety, and then Yass and Orange.
– Orange first.
– I do not care whether it was put first or last. In April. 1901, the matter was considered by the Federal Cabinet, and it was decided to ask the Government of New: South Wales whether it was prepared to offer any sites, and to see that Crown lands within suggested areas were reserved from alienation. In the same month, the New South Wales Government replied forwarding a copy of Mr. Oliver’s report, offering the Federal Government a choice of the three sites mentioned bv him, and intimating that if any other site were considered more suitable it would endeavour, as far as possible, to meet their views. The reply also intimated that steps were being taken to prevent the alienation of Crown land within any of the three areas recommended by the Commissioner. It will be remembered by honorable senators that, in pursuance of the suggestion, the New South Wales Government reserved Crown lands in connexion with Southern Monaro, Yass, and Orange. Skipping various events which took place, in 1902 a resolution was passed by this Parliament that a Committee of experts ‘be appointed to examine and report on sites in the following localities : - Albury, Armidale, Bombala, Lake George, Orange (including Bathurst and Lyndhurst), and Tumut. Accordingly, a Royal Commission, consisting of Mr. Kirkpatrick. Mr. Howitt, Mr. H. C. Stanley, andMr. Graham Stewart, was appointed, and, in July, 1903, their report was presented. It did not recommend any site, but simply dealt with the relative merits of the sites as regards water supply. Early in October, 1903, the House of Representatives determined that Tumut should be the Seat of Government ; but, on the 15th, the Senate substituted Bombala for Tumut. In 1903, the services of Mr. Scrivener and Mr. Chesterman were obtained from the New South Wales Government to survey country around’ the Bombala and Tumut sites respectively. In May and June, 1904, reports were received from those surveyors and presented to Parliament. In September, 1904, it passed the Seat of Government Bill, fixing Dalgety as the site, and defining the area of the Federal territory. In December, 1904, the Premier of New South Wales forwarded copies of resolutions, passed by both Houses of its Legislature, to the following effect -
Since that time, there has been a voluminous correspondence on the subject, to which I do not deem it necessary to refer at this stage. There were Conferences held between the Attorneys-General in order to arrive, if possible, at some agreement as to the true construction of section 125 of the Constitution. We are now proceeding within the terms of that section, which reads as follows -
The Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be determined by the Parliament, and shall be within territory which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth, and shall be vested in and belong to the Commonwealth, and shall be in the State of New South Wales, and be distant not less than one hundred miles from Sydney.
Such territory shall contain an area of not less than one hundred square miles, and such portion thereof as shall consist of Crown lands shall be granted to the Commonwealth without any payment therefor.
The Parliament shall sit at Melbourne until it meet at the Seat of Government
Colloquially, I think that that section might be put in this way-
The Seat of Government of the Commonwealth -
shall be determined by the Parliament, and
The Parliament has unlimited discretion as to the fixing of the Seat of Government.
shall be within territory which -
It has been suggested - and it is a suggestion with which I cannot agree - that what is meant is that the first process should be a grant of some territory to the Commonwealth by the State of New South Wales. After giving the matter fuller consideration than previously I had an opportunity of doing, I think that it simply means that the first thing which this Parliament should do is to determine where the Seat of Government shall be, and that ultimately it shall be within territorywhich we have secured either by grant or by acquisition.
– What does the Minister mean by “acquired”?
– Under section 125 of the Constitution we have the right to acquire by grant, or, if necessary, to purchase, Federal territory for the purposes of the Seat of Government.
– It is not proposed to define “acquired” then?
– That is not a feature which I desire to discuss at this stage.
– Is it proposed to acquire the territory by purchase or by force of arms ?
– It is laid down in the Constitution that this Parliament has the power to acquire the territory, and, what is more, that any Crown lands therein must be granted to the Commonwealth without any payment. To resume my analysis of section 125 - (b)shall be vested in and belong to the Commonwealth, and
Wales, and be distant not less than 100 miles from Sydney.
The first procedure is to determine the Seat of Government - which we have already done - and next we are enjoined to secure by grant or acquisition territory within which the Seat of Government shall be. Practically the Seat of Government is the territory and vice versa. Finally comes the establishment of the Seat of Government in the territory which has been so acquired. The Seat of Government Act, 1904, provides that the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be within 17 miles of Dalgety in the State of New South Wales; that the Federal Territory shall contain an area of not less than 900 square miles and shall have access to the sea, that is, to Twofold Bay. It also provides for the valuation of lands within the Federal Territory and the payment of compensation. It practically directs that the value of the land shall be its value as at and on the 1st January, 1904.Various legal questions have been raised and discussed, and ultimately some conferences have taken place between theFederal Attorney-General and the Attorney-General of New South Wales. The latter submitted to his Premier a version of what took place, and it was laid before the State Parliament on the 18th October, 1905. I may mention in passing that the advisability of submitting to the High Court certain legal questions as to the true interpretation of section 125 was discussed, but it was ultimately agreed that such a course was impracticable, as there were no means of submitting abstract questions of law for its decision. Amongst other things in his minute, Mr. Wade said -
As a result of the discussion, with the Federal Attorney-General, two points became clear : First, that it would be useless for this State to enter upon an action for trespass or to challenge the right of the Commonwealth to drive in a survey peg if that step were to be first sanctioned by Act of Parliament ; and secondly, that the Commonwealth had no authority to drive in a survey peg or exercise any act of ownership by virtue of the Seat of Government Act. In other words, confirmation was given to the repeated contention of this State that the Seat of Government Act was not a determination of the Seat of Government within the meaning of the Constitution.
The contention was that the Seat of Government Act was a mere expression of opinion on our part, and that it did not authorize the Commonwealth to take any steps in the way of driving pegs into territory. But New South Wales subsequently conceded that if the Federal Parliament did determine that a survey should be made, that would be a proper authorization. But what I specially desire to emphasize in regard to this memorandum is that after discussing the differences of opinion in regard to the legal aspects of the question, Mr. Wade went on to say -
Whichever view is correct is really immaterial at the present time, because both Governments seem now to agree that the next step is to define some area by metes and bounds, next to open negotiations for the grant, or acquisition of that territory, and, finally, when such territory becomes the property of the Commonwealth in terms of the Constitution, it will be necessary for Parliament by formal Act to determine the Seat of Government within that area. Under the circumstances, I pointed out to Mr. Isaacs that this State had no concern or interest in the proposed Survey Bill. We could neither dissent nor consent to the proposed Bill; that inasmuch as the discussion had shown that the Seat of Government Act was not a determination by the Federal Parliament, they should take further steps as they thought fit, whilst this State would endeavour to conserve its rights under the Constitution.
The fact that I wish to emphasize is that an agreement was practically arrived at that after the Act determining the Seat of Government had been passed in August, 1904, a Bill should be introduced delimiting the territory, and defining it by metes and bounds. Accordingly a Bill was prepared and submitted to the other Chamber which contained provisions regarding the requisite territory for the Seat of Government. That territory was described in the schedule to the measure, which schedule was prepared by two officers of the New South Wales Government. The territory within which the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth should be established was thereby determined. The measure also provided that private owners of land within that territory should hold their land from the Commonwealth, and not from New South Wales. It further proposed that until they had been superseded by Commonwealth laws the State laws should continue to operate in the territory, and that the land valuation provided for should be the valuation made as from 1st January, 1904. It also affirmed that access to the sea should be gained by the grant of a strip of territory within fifteen miles of the route described in schedule B. When that Bill was submitted to the other Chamber, it was decided that the question of the site of the future Seat of Government of the Commonwealth should be reconsidered, and as the result of an exhaustive ballot, with a view to obtaining a true expression of opinion in that connexion, the site known as Yass-Canberra was selected. So far as my honorable colleague and myself are concerned, I wish honorable senators distinctly to understand that whilst upon this question we are prepared to assist in obtaining a true expression of the opinion of honorable senators at every stage and upon every occasion, we intend to support the selection of Dalgety. I do not desire my own position to be misunderstood in any way.
– I thought that the Government were “ mixed “ upon this question.
– As a matter of fact, it is not, and never .has been, a Government question. To the best of my recollection
Every Ministry that has held office has been divided upon it. One of my colleagues,, very strongly supports the view that a particular site is the best available, whilst others just as strenuously maintain that it is not. Consequently the question is not a Government one in any way. Upon every occasion that I can assist in the selection of Dalgety as the permanent Seat of Government it is my intention to do so.
– Does not the Vice-President of the Executive Council see that by his action he will be engineering a dispute between the two Chambers?
– If I can engineer the settlement of that dispute by the selection of Dalgety I shall certainly do so.
– In other words, so long as the Vice-President of the Executive Council has his own way, he does not care.
– Every honorable senator is entitled to his own opinion upon this question. I hope that we shall endeavour to look at it from a national, and not from a State, stand-point. I am not going to reproach my honorable friend because he happens to think that one particular site is better than all others. But in common with Mr. Reid and Mr. Dugald Thomson I was under the impression that Dalgety had been finally chosen as the permanent Seat of Government. In the words of Mr. Reid, I thought that the decision which we arrived at in that connexion was “ final and mandatory, and binding on the Commonwealth and the State of New South Wales.”
– Under the circumstances, why did not the Government proceed to do something?
– The Commonwealth cannot be charged either directly or indirectly, with any delay that has taken place in the settlement of this question.
– Go on.
– I shall not attempt to fix upon anybody the blame of delay in this matter, but I say, without fear of contradiction, that the responsibility in this connexion does not rest with the Commonwealth.
– Then it must rest with the Reid Government.
– In justice to that Government, I must say that if its Ministers had had their way Dalgety would have been irrevocably fixed as the Seat of Government.
– To do the present Government justice, where are they ?
– At all times there has been an effort upon our part to give effect to the wish of this Parliament.
– Did the Government ever drive a peg in the territory selected by Parliament, to show that they claimed it ?
– If my honorable friend had followed my remarks more closely, he would know that that matter had been the subject of amicable negotiation between the Commonwealth and the State AttorneyGenerals.
– Will the Treasurer expedite the choice of Dalgety?
– I say frankly that he will not. At the same time, it would be unjust to affirm that the present Government have not taken every reasonable step to secure an early settlement of this important question.
– Is the proposed ballot intended to be final?
– The proposed ballot will be worthless until its result has been embodied in an Act of Parliament. It isfor honorable senators, and for the members of another place, to determine what shall be the ultimate form of that Act.
– Does not that show that before doing anything else, we ought to repeal the Seat of Government Act?
– If the Senate affirms that the site of the Federal Capital shall be altered - in other words, if both Houses- select some place other than Dalgety - the repeal of the Seat of Government Act must inevitably follow. But it would be idle to repeal its provisions until the views of both Chambers have been completely ascertained. I think that the most extraordinary and unfair contention has recently been set up in this connexion, namely, that the selection of Dalgety amounts to a breach of the constitutional compact between the Commonwealth and New South Wales. In other words, it has been urged that if that compact is to be honorably observed, the Seat of Government must be adjacent to the one hundred miles limit. Such a contention is absolutely unwarranted. It appears to have been founded upon some report of the Premiers’ Conference of 1899, which has been unearthed.
– It is on record, I think, in the official report of the proceedings of that Conference.
– It is not contained in any official document whatever.
– It has only recently been unearthed.
– It is embodied in Quick and Garran’s Annotated Constitution of the Commonwealth. The Government may recently have unearthed it.
– And New South Wales only recently unearthed it. The clause of the Constitution Bill relating to this question which was agreed to by the Federal Convention, reads as follows -
The Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be determined by the Parliament, and shall be within territory* vested in the Commonwealth. Until such determination, the Parliament shall be summoned to meet at such place within the Commonwealth as a majority of the Governors of the States or, in the event of an equal division of opinion among the Governors of the States, as the Governor-General shall direct.
In connexion with that Bill a referendum was taken in New South Wales at which the 80,000 affirmative votes required to carrythat measure were not secured. One branch of the New South Wales Legislature had previously urged that Sydney should be the Federal Capital. But ultimately a Conference of Premiers was convened in 1899, at which the clause that I have already quoted was amended to read -
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 tlie Commonwealth and shall be vested in and belong to the Commonwealth, and, if New. South Wales shall be an original State, shall be in that State, and be distant not less than 100 miles from Sydney.
Such territory shall contain an area of not less than 100 square miles, and such portion thereof as shall consist of Crown lands, shall be granted to the Commonwealth without any payment therefor.
Accompanying this decision was a report which contained the following -
It is considered that the fixing of the site of the Capital is a question which might well be left to the Parliament to decide; but in view of the strong expression of opinion in relation to this matter in New South Wales, the Premiers have modified the clause so that while the Capital cannot be fixed at Sydney or in ils neighbourhood, provision is made in the Constitution for its establishment in New South Wales at a reasonable distance from that city. Accordingly, the request of New South Wales that the Capital should be in that colony was granted, but with two conditions which Victoria insisted upon, t. That it should not be within 100 miles of Sydney, a. That the Parliament should sit in Melbourne until it met at the Seat of Government.
I have already pointed out that the Premiers themselves amended the clause to read - “ That the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be determined1 by the Parliament, and shall be within territory,” &c. It was slightly altered afterwards, when the Bill went before the Imperial Parliament, by the elimination of certain words. But this report is now quoted as a reason why the Seat of Government should be adjacent to the 100-mile limit, and it is suggested that there was a compact. To my mind, the report, read in conjunction with the clause as settled by the Premiers, could not fairly bear that construction. It means what it says, that Parliament should have uncontrolled and unlimited discretion and power to fix the .Seat of Government where it liked. That power was unqualified. It was “ left within the power of Parliament, if Parliament in its discretion thought proper, to fix a site adjacent to the 100-mile limit. That, to my mind, is the meaning of the report. But, in addition to that, I point out that we have hardly any right at all to refer to preliminary negotiations or debates. The question is, what is the meaning of the section as settled by the Premiers, and as submitted to and approved by the people? It is not competent for Parliament to read into that section something that does not appear in it.
– Is it not for Parliament to interpret the section?
– But not to read fresh matter into it. The section cannot bear the interpretation that we are limited in fixing the Capital to some place adjacent to the100-mile limit.
– What is the meaning of the word “reasonable?”
SenatorTrenwith. - That word is not in the Constitution.
– Parliament has an unfettered discretion; and I submit that it would be a breach of faith to the people to evade the section as I have read it, and to attempt to read into it something that is not there. I also point out that the idea that the Seat of Government must be adjacent to the100-mile limit was never urged by New SouthWales itself until after the Dalgety site was fixed. That is an ominous circumstance. If, as suggested, there was an understanding that the site should be adjacent to the100-mile limit, then, certainly, the Government and Parliament of New South Wales would have been acquainted with that circumstance. But never was it suggested or urged by them until after this Parliament had fixed upon Dalgety as the Seat of Government inthe year 1904.
– Does the honorable senator contend that we have power to fix the Federal Capital anywhere in the territory of New South Wales outside the 100-mile limit?
– We have the right to fix the Seat of Government anywhere in the territory of New South ‘Wales outside the 100-mile limit.
– No onedisputes that.
– Of course that cannot be disputed. Further, the idea that it could be disputed was never within the mind of the Government of New South Wales, or of the Parliament of that State, until after the action of this Parliament in 1904. The New South Wales Government reserved all Crown lands in the Southern Monaro district, as well as in other districts. I do hope that in regard to this really great national question we shall, as far as possible, eliminate State considerations. Under other circumstances there would have been competition between the States themselves to secure the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth within their territory. In that case the Commonwealth might readily have secured very generous treatment from the State in whose territory the Capital was located. Except for this provision in the Constitution we might have been iii the same position in regard to the selection of a site for the Capital aswere the United States and Canada. But in this instance we are confined to the selection of a territory in New South Wales. Consequently we must loyally, within the terms of the Constitution, select a site for the Seat of Government with fair and reasonable expedition. In so doing, however, we must exercise an untrammelled discretion and do what is best in the interest, not of New South Wales, whose reasonable claimshave a right to consideration, and will not be overlooked by the Senate, but of the Commonwealth. I hardly think that it isnecessary to explain further the motion that I have submitted. Theidea is to obtain a true expression of opinion on the part of the Senate. I understand that the President proposes to permit a general discussion of the meritsof the various sites if honorable senators think that desirable. If the motion be adopted it will be competent for any honorable senator, supported by two others, to rise in his place and nominate any site. Those nominations having been made, we shall on the date fixed proceed, without any debate, to take the exhaustiveballot.
– In the consideration of this important matter it has always appeared to me that there is one controlling: factor which we should do well to remember; and that is the factor of population, the flesh and blood ofthe community. This is a democratic country. We are supposed to be governed by what is best for the people. It is worth while, therefore, to consider the situation of the population of Australia. Some time ago I took the census returns for 1861, and found that in that year the latitude of the centre of population of Australia was in the neighbourhood of Albury. On the same basis I find from the census of 1901 that the latitude of the population of Australia is now a few miles south of Lyndhurst. This fact shows that the population centre of Australia has been marching northward at the rate of something likethree miles per year ; and I have no doubt that in the course of another quarter of a century the latitude of the centre of population of Australia will be nearer to theNew England district. On that basis I always advocated the Lyndhurst site. I thought that we could not get higher up - that Parliament was not prepared to select Armidale. In fact I think that the Armidale district is shut out by the 100-mile limit.
– Oh, no.
– The meaning at the back of the 100-mile limit is that the. Seat of Government shall be in a certain neighborhood, and therefore I was prepared to accept Lyndhurst as a reasonable selection. But I cannot understand for a moment how, if honorable senators are prepared to settle this question in a reasonable way, with justice to the requirements of the population, they ,can go down to the remote corner of New South Wales represented by Dalgety. If honorable senators look at the map they will see that even part Of Victoria is north of the latitude of Dalgety, and of course the whole of the rest of Australia, barring the State of Tasmania, lies to the north.
– What of South Australia ?
– The whole of South Australia lies to the north of the latitude of Dalgety. I think that the question is simplified by the consideration of this fact. It is very easy for thirty-six gentlemen to have thirty-six views as to the site. We might spend an eternity in arguing the merits of various sites, and in canvassing what can be said in regard to water supply, accessibility, and various other considerations. But I agree with Senator Best in his concluding words, that we have to decide for the Commonwealth. I contend that New South Wales, in the position that she has taken up, has been fighting rather the battle of the Commonwealth than her own battle. Senator Best has referred to a bargain having been made. I have always said that there was no bargain, but certain words were put into the Constitution which were a recognition of the fact that, on the basis of population, the Capi-tal of the Commonwealth must be in New South Wales. It is a curious thing that, such being the case, an arrangement should have been made by which the Capital is brought down to a place which is really nearer the centre of Victoria than the centre of New South Wales. I find that south of the thirty-third parallel of latitude, the latitude in which Newcastle and Lyndhurstlie, 20 per cent, of the area of the Commonwealth is situated, and north of it no less than 80 per cent, of its area. Thus there is four times the area of land north of the latitude in which Newcastle lies as compared with the area south of it. It is clear from that where the greater growth of population must be in the future. Considering where the centre of population is to day it is quite evident that it must -move further north, and ultimately will be well up in the New England district. If New South Wales representatives were prepared to come as far south as Lyndhurst some time ago, and are now prepared to make a still greater concession by coming down to Yass-Canberra, it must be admitted that they are willing to give up a very great deal. Representatives of New South Wales, in agreeing to accept Yass-Canberra as a Capi- tal site, are, perhaps, open to blame at the hands of their friends from Queensland. I feel quite certain that Queenslanders have not yet recognised their interest in the selection of the Federal Capital site. Queensland is going to be a great, and populous State, and it is right that the people of that State should have fairly reasonable access to the Federal Capital.
– They will want access by water.
– Queenslanders would have had reasonable access to the Capital if Lyndhurst had been selected. Owing to the fact that a vote has been taken elsewhere in favour of YassCanberra, I am somewhat reluctantly willing to vote for that site, but in doing so I make what I regard as a big concession. If there had been a majority in favour of one of the western sites, such as Lyndhurst, Canobolas, or Bathurst, I should have preferred to vote for it, just as under existing circumstances I am prepared to vote for a site to be selected in the YassCanberra district.
– The honorable senator is most generous.
– I have no doubt at all that I am. The Conference of Premiers, held in 1899, passed a resolution in which they decided that the Capital must be at some reasonable distance from Sydney. Senator Best was quite right when he said that the use of the words “ reasonable distance” had been overlooked. It is singular that they should have been overlooked for so long, but it is; nevertheless, true that when the agreement was made the terms appeared in full in the newspapers throughout Australia, and were published in the Melbourne Agc and Argus. If honorable senators will turn up the files, as I did some time ago, they will find the agreement in those newspapers, and both recognise that at the Premier’s Conference it was agreed that the Federal Capital was to be selected somewhere near Sydney, but not within 100 miles of that city.
– Not at all ; the resolution does not say so; I read the terms of it.
– That was the construction put upon the resolution by speaker after speaker. Sir Edmund Barton, now Mr. Justice Barton, in an address delivered in Sydney, said that Sydneywould be the Capital of the Commonwealth.
– That Sydney would be?
– That is to say, that Sydney would be the business centre. Mr. Reid, in speaking at Goulburn, in June, 1899 -
– Why go so far back?
– I am going back t.i the time when the agreement was made embodying the words “ reasonable distance.” I wish honorable senators to recognise what was intended by the use of those words. Mr. Reid, speaking at Goulburn, said - *
I am not saying this to-night to please you ; I said it in Albury last night. Coming through Albury, they asked me if the Federal Capital would be there, and I said that, in my opinion, it would be on the southern line a little below Goulburn.
Other public men dealt with the matter in a. similar way, and, on another occasion, Mr. Reid made the statement that for_all time, by the arrangement come to, the Capital would be located in the centre and heart of New South Wales. That undoubtedly was the understanding arrived at by the Premiers’ Conference.
– If it had been, it would be in the Constitution.
– If honorable senators could show that the Premiers’ agreement proposed an inequitable arrangement, under which New South Wales would obtain some advantage to which she would not otherwise have been entitled, I should be prepared to ignore the whole thing, and assist them in having the matter submitted to the people, ro that section 125 of the Constitution might be altered in such a way that the Capital might be selected in anyother State if that was thought desirable. But honorable senators are aware that it would be nonsense to suggest anything of the kind. They are well acquainted with the fact that the centre of population, and every important factor which should govern the settlement of this State question, witness to the fairness of the arrangement. It is based upon reason and truth, and it is on that we rest, rather than on the terms of section 125.
– It is probable that, but for the inclusion of that section in the Constitution, the Capital would be in Sydney itself.
– Possibly, if that section were not included in the Constitution, it might ultimately have been arranged that Sydney should be the Capital.
– Only temporarily.
– I should not have voted for Sydney.
– Or for any other State capital.
– I do not know that I should have voted for Sydney. I say only that it is possible that the contention of New South Wales representatives might have been urged with even greater force than they had been if section 125 had not been included in the Constitution.
– It was impossible that Sydney should be selected, because the capital must be in Federal territory, and we could not make Sydney Federal territory.
– It has been said that it is not fair to propose the YassCanberra district, because it really embraces several sites. But I direct attention to the fact that what is known as the Tumut site is really a district in which there are four sites that have been reported upon, namely, Batlow, Gadara, Wyangle, and Toomorrn ma. We have, therefore, a precedent for the selection of a district like YassCanberra, and there would really be no difficulty in finally deciding what’ part of the Yass-Canberra district should be selected for the Capital city. If honorable senators cannot suggest any better means for the selection. I might suggest that it should be left to the Governor-General of Australia, the Governor of New South Wales, and the Prime Minister to select the exact site in the YassCanberra district. I may say, with regard to the necessity for access to a port, it has always seemed to be one, if not the, principal recommendation of the Dalgety site, and perhaps the only claim which has upheld it, that, if it were selected, there would be a possibility of access to the port of Twofold Bay. But that port cannot be compared with Jervis Bay.
– Will honorable senators opposite guarantee that the Commonwealth will be given access to Jervis Bay ?
– I can guarantee that the Commonwealth would be given what was desired at Jervis Bay quite as confidently as I could guarantee that it would be given what it desires at Twofold Bay. I think there can be no doubt at all that what would be required would be readily granted.
– That might be another “honorable understanding”; but we are not taking any more of them.
Senior PULSFORD.- I should like to direct the attention of honorable members to the position in the matter of railway communication. I have before me a map, showing the proposed Federal sites, with existing railways and probable new railways. Every one knows that a number of new railway lines will be constructed within a certain number of years. It might well be that our friends from South Australia will in time be able to go from their State to the YassCanberra district almost in a direct line from Morgan, via Wentworth, Hay, and Junee. I have no doubt also that arrangements might be made by which Queenslanders would be able to reach the centre of New South Wales without passing through Sydney ; whilst our friends from the far West would be able to come right through via Port Augusta. Everything seems to point to the extreme folly of honorable senators thinking for a moment that Dalgety would be a suitable site for the Federal Capital. I do not think it would suit any one. Another very important point is that in selecting the Capital site we should have due regard for the military position, and the readiness with which troops or ammunition might be sent from the Capital to the various States. Certainly Dalgety is not conveniently situated in this respect. Lyndhurst or Canobolas would be much more convenient, but, as I have said, I am prepared to make a still further concession, and come down as far south as Yass-Canberra, in order that this matter may be definitely settled. From a military point of view, Yass-Canberra is certainly more suitable than Dalgety would be. I have no intention to labour the matter, but it all rests upon the; question of popu-1 lation - the population of to-day, and the probable population of coming years. We want to make some reasonable arrangement that will suit existing and coming wants. And when we do this, we shall find that we are in full agreement with the wishes of New South Wales, and the requirements of the Constitution.
– I had hoped in 1904, when the Senate, after a long discussion, deliberately chose a site, that we had reached finality on this question.
– Did the honorable senator really think so?
– I did, and I voted then to reach finality.
– When the Senate registered its first decision on a railway survey to Western Australia, did the honorable senator think that finality had been reached ?
– No. Because on that occasion it came to a negative decision, whereas, on the other occasion, it came to an affirmative decision.
– We affirmed then that it was not desirable to survey a route for a railway.
– At great cost, members of this Parliament had travelled over large areas of New South Wales ; at great cost plans, maps, and reports had been supplied to us, and, of course, Crown lands had been reserved temporarily by the Government of New South Wales. Dalgety was selected without any bias by men representing various parts of the Commonwealth. It was a choice which, I contend, came within the terms of the Constitution, and which should have been observed, not only by the Parliament of the Commonwealth, but also by the State Parliament.
– The honorable senator knows that, on the part of many persons, it was a choice to keep the Parliament in Melbourne.
– That is, I think, a very unfair inference. No member of the Senate, not even a representative of New South Wales, is more anxious to see the Parliament removed from Melbourne than I am. I should be( equally anxious were we sitting in Sydney, because, I recognise that so long as this Parliament sits in a State capital, it will be subject to a State atmosphere, and will not do that justice to the- respective States which it would do if sitting in a Federal Capital.
– Honorable senators will be sorry when they find themselves in the bush.
– That is a personal argument with which I have no sympathy.
– In any case, it applies to the selection of any site.
– I admit that if we should be so fortunate as to be members of the Federal Parliament when the Capital is built, we will not be so comfortable as we are here,. Any one who is acquainted’ with country life in Australia, and the slow growth of cities, must concede that point. We are not here to settle this question from the stand-point of our personal comfort, and I do not believe there is a single senator who looks at the question from that stand-point. I consider that the Parliament of 1904 was as well capable of coming to a choice) in this matter as is this- Parliament. The former was certainly better informed than is the latter.
– New senators will resent that.
– I did not mean any offence to new senators. It is simply through misfortune that they have not been able to visit all the sites. In 1904 there was a public discussion on the subject, and we came to a choice after having made a personal inspection of the sites, and been taken over them by men who understood the various peculiarities required in a capital city. At that time we were armed with full information, but during the intervening four years it has been gradually slipping from our recollections, and has only been re-read intermittently. In 1904 we were called upon to deal with a live subject. Equipped with complete information, we were shown over the sites in a most thorough manner, returned to Melbourne, and came to a decision - certainly quite free from conscious bias on my part. Dalgety may not be the most suitable site from the New South Wales standpoint, and it may be the most suitable site from the Victorian stand-point. But I conscientiously believed that I was casting a vote for the most suitable site from the Australian stand-point. Even in the light of additional information, and of opposing sites which have been brought forward since that occasion. I still think that we acted with sound judgment in selecting Dalgety. The movement which has led to the reopening of this question here is not an Australian movement. It had its foundation in parochialism, and its mainspring is in Sydney. Obviously, the desire is to so place the Federal Capital that the traffic in goods and passengers shall filter through Sydney. The prime movers recognise that whilst they cannot hope to have the Federal Parliament in Sydney, the nearer they can bring it to that city the more they will bring it within its environment and atmosphere, and derive the advantages which Melbourne has derived from the location of the Parliament here. One has only to deal with one Tariff to appreciate the immense advantage which it was to Melbourne to have its details settled here.
– The Tariff was settled for all Australia ; not for Melbourne only.
– Exactly ; but by virtue of the Tariff having been settled here, Victoria, particularly Melbourne, has derived an advantage over every other State in Australia.
– Other States have derived just the same advantage. Sydney will get more advantage from the Tariff than will Melbourne.
– Had this Parliament been sitting in Sydney when the Tariff was being considered, Sydnev manufacturers would have derived a like advantage. I believe that this agitation to upset the choice of Dalgety by this Parliament is largely due to the belief on the part of certain persons that the nearer it is to Sydney the more it will be brought under its influence and within its atmosphere. It should be removed as far as possible from State influences.
– What is wrong with the Northern Territory?
– It is of no use to discuss anything which is outside the bond.
– Why not? Can we not alter the Constitution?
– Yes ; but we must not alter the Act selecting Dalgety as the site.
– I would not suggest an alteration of the Constitution, because a bond has been entered into with the people of New South Wales that the Federal Capital shall be in that State. I am prepared to observe not only the letter, but the spirit of that bond.
– No ; to observe the letter and to break the spirit.
– If we adhere to our choice of 1904, we shall keep the Federal Parliament from the influence of Sydney, and not bring it under the influence of any other capital. I do not desire to discuss the details of the various sites, but I want to remind honorable senators of a few of the facts which were brought under our notice in 1904. Undoubtedly, one of the chief advantages of the Dalgety site is its water supply.
– That is its only advantage.
– No. On page 4 of his report, Mr. Scrivener says -
Apart from the Snowy River, the Dalgety site has no advantage over others ; it is because it possesses a water supply of unsurpassed purity, and sources of power equal to any demands that may be made upon them, that this site occupies a position so prominent, hence the necessity for so designing the Federal territory that in the future these advantages may not be lost.
– What is the land round Dalgety like?
– lt is very good land.
– I am glad that Senator W. Russell has asked that question, because it affords me an opportunity to quote the opinion of the late Mr. Alexander Oliver, who had an intimate acquaintance with the Dalgety district, and who was commissioned by the New South Wales Government to report on various sites.
No analysis of the soil of this site appears to have been made, but a large proportion of the site is of granite, with some basaltic and slate formation. It is stated to be very fertile and of considerable depth, and to be capable of growing excellent crops of all cereals and most English fruits; 20 bushels of wheat to the acre, and sometimes much more had been obtained, also excellent crops of oats and potatoes. No exception can be taken in the matter of foundations for heavy buildings.
– He was writing of Bombala.
– He was writing of Bombala, which is on the confines of Dalgety.
– It is sixty miles from Dalgety.
– With an enormous range of mountains lying between the two places.
– When Mr. Oliver made that statement he was writing of the Monaro district, which includes Bombala and Dalgety.
– The honorable senator is not quite correct there. From the geological formation of the soil there, it is obvious that Mr. Oliver could not have been writing of Dalgety when he referred to basaltic land.
– Mr. Oliver stated specially that it is composed of granite and basaltic formation, and if the honorable senator had been to Dalgety as I have been-
– I have been there more frequently than the honorable senator has been.
– If the honorable senator has been to Dalgety, he should bc aware that within ten miles of it one finds both granite and basaltic formation. I am not sure that Senator W. Russell was conducted as I was beyond Dalgety to the basaltic formation, but at any rate it is there, and very rich land it is indeed. In my opinion it is capable of supporting an immense population. I’ was reared in a country district, and know what good soil is. Recently, I returned from a visit to some of the choice portions of South Australia, but the valley of basaltic formation within ten miles of Dalgety contains land equal to anything which South Australia possesses - not a small patch, but an immense valley, extending for miles.
– I saw dead sheep there in August.
– If the honorable senator had had the good fortune to visit New South Wales in 1902, he would have seen the skeletons of not only sheep, but almost every animal in every part of New South Wales but Dalgety.
– Yes, and quite recently when I saw magnificent fat stock taken off other parts of New South Wales I saw skeletons hardly able to crawl coming off Monaro.
– They may have had a bad- season at Dalgety, but at the end of that great drought in 1902 Dalgety was the one corner in New South Wales where we saw green’ grass and flowing rivers. The Murrumbidgee was really a series of stinking water-holes just connected with a trickle of water here and there. The only other spot in New South Wales where we saw green grass and water was Armidale, in New England - a site that is not even suggested in the Sydney press. At that time, Lake; George, which is a portion of the Yass-Canberra site, was simply a morass. In the deepest portion of that lake there were a few inches of filthy yellow mud. That was the state of the country when we visited it in 1902.
It was exactly similar country to Northern Victoria, which was also suffering from a disastrous drought. But when we reached Dalgety we found the Snowy River flowing full, clear, and powerful, providing a beautiful supply of fresh water. We discovered that, bad as the rest of New South Wales was at that time, better feed could be obtained in the neighbourhood of Dalgety than in any other portion of the State, with the exception of Armidale.
– That condition of affairs obtains only once in 100 years.
– I hope that we are going to establish the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth for more than 100 years. It is better that the Federal Capital should be located at Dalgety, where there; is an assured supply of water, than that it should be established at YassCanberra, where the supply may fail even once in 100 years.
– Does the honorable senator suggest that the Cotter “River has failed?
– I know that the Cotter, and other rivers, are tributaries of the Murrumbidgee.
– The Cotter River has never been known to be dry.
– The parent river, which is fed by dozens of these small streams, was, in the year of which I speak, simply a series of stinking waterholes. Under such circumstances, what could have been the state of the tributaries themselves? It is exceedingly unfortunate that, in this discussion, we are obliged to pit one site against half-a-dozen sites, which are spread oyer a very considerable area. When we admit that at ‘Canberra a comparatively cheap water supply may be obtained, but say that the selection of that site would necessitate the building of the Capital upon what was once a swamp-
– But according to the honorable senator there is no water at Canberra.
– When I point out that, although a cheap supply of water may be obtained at Canberra, the selection of that site would necessitate the erection of the Federal Capital upon what was once a swamp, I am immediately told that a better site is- available some seven or eight miles distant. But when I come to discuss the merits of that site, I find that I shall have to revise all my ideas in reference to water supply. I think it is generally admitted that the site at Canberra, in the centre of which stands a church, is altogether unsuitable for the erection of heavy buildings. Everybody acquainted with the first principles of building knows that a good foundation is a most important thing. Now, at Canberra there is quite 20 feet of alluvial soil. It is composed of waterworn pebbles-
– It must be a very rich soil.
– We require a rich soil when we desire to make a garden. At present, however, we are debating a proposal relating to the establishment of a city.
– Is not gravel a good foundation ?
– Yes; but at Canberra there is quite 20 feet of alluvial soil, and everybody knows that there is only one worse foundation than that, namely, clay.
– We should only require a few yards of concrete.
– I recently visited a town in South Australia at which a very similar condition obtains. Houses erected upon the hills stand well enough, but those erected in the valley require to be bolted together with iron rods.
– To what township is the honorable senator referring?
– To Maitland. At one- time I lived in a cottage which has had to be bolted together with iron rods, simply because it had been erected upon an alluvial foundation. I leave honorable senators to imagine what would happen if we erected a heavy building like that in which we are now assembled upon such a foundation?
– It would sink out of sight.
– Senator Walker spoke of the church which has been erected in the centre of the Canberra site. As a matter of fact, that very structure is referred to in Mr. Oliver’s report as demonstrating that the soil does not provide a suitable foundation.
– That is to say, the honorable senator has determined in his own mind where we should build at Canberra, and is, therefore, able to say, “ That particular foundation is not a suitable one.”
– That is my difficulty.
– The honorable senator does not find it difficult to put up bogies und knock them down.
– We have been told that if we select Canberra we can secure a sufficient water supply by means of gravitation from the Cotter River for the requirements of a population of 50,000. I know that whether this is so or not is all a matter of levels. It depends entirely upon the level in the centre of the valley and the level of the Cotter River. If the site be shifted from the valley to the hill, we at once destroy the basis of the water supply.
– We have immediately to substitute a pumping for a gravitation scheme.
– Exactly. Senator Millen has therefore to make his choice. We must either erect heavy buildings in the valley and provide a water supply by means of gravitation, or erect our buildings on the hills, and be content to accept a pumping scheme.
– Is not a great part of the Cotter River considerably above the level of the hills?
– No. The most optimistic estimate yet submitted shows that there is a fall of quite 400 feet. According to Mr. de Burgh’s report, there is a fall of only 176 feet to the valley, in which the church has been erected.
– Should we not have to accept a pumping scheme if we select Dalgety, or can an adequate water supply be assured by means of gravitation?
– We may have either a gravitation or a pumping scheme.
– If the Seat of Government be established at Dalgety, we shall have to accept a pumping scheme.
– No. Mr. Vernon, in his report upon the supply of building material at Canberra, dated 30th September, 1907, says -
The church in the centre of the Canberra site, erected partly in 1848 and partly in 1886, is from a quarry of this stone on the side of Black Mountain, and within three miles of the site. The condition of this building is not altogether satisfactory-
– It has stood a good while.
– The honorable senator knows that we can float a building if we like, but it is a very expensive process. This particular church is bolted together with iron rivets. Mr. Vernon adds -
The condition of this building is not altogether satisfactory, and shows evidence that the stone was taken originally from the surface only, and handled also somewhat carelessly.
– Then, it is the stone which is defective, and not the foundation ?
– Mr. Vernon criticises the quality of the stone; but he also says that the condition of the church is not satisfactory. He continues -
It, however, is a true freestone of fine grain, and capable of working into very delicate detail.
– He says nothing about the faulty foundation?
– Because he is not dealing with that aspect of this matter, but with the quality of the stone for building purposes which is procurable in the vicinity. Upon this question, I speak from personal knowledge. When I visited Canberra, and saw the creek, the thought at once flashed across my mind as a builder that it would be impossible to obtain a decent foundation there.
– Can the honorable senator point to any expert who has noticed the same defect?
– No; for the simple reason that no expert has been called upon to report upon that particular aspect of the matter. No officer has been requested to report upon the suitability or otherwise of the Canberra site from a building standpoint.
– That is a small matter now-a-days, even if the honorable senator’s statement be true.
– It would mean a very considerable addition to the cost of every public and private building erected there.
– But surely we can select a decent site for building purposes within an area of 900 square miles?
– Of course we can; but we shall then have to abandon the idea of obtaining an adequate water supply bv means of gravitation. We cannot obtain the two things at Canberra, whereas we can get them at Dalgety. We have a splendid building site, a gravitation water supply, and plenty of building stone. I come now to deal with the point which Senator W. Russell has raised. It will be said, “ Oh, yes, but this is the Yass- Canberra territory, and if Canberra is not suitable we will go to Yass.” Let us see what Mr. Oliver had to say about Yass.
On page 18 of his report, paragraph 74, he said -
AH other south-western sites having been rejected, Goulburn and Yass alone remain for consideration and’ comparison. In regard to water resources, if Goulburn had to be supplied by gravitation its position is rather low on the comparative list prepared by Mr. Blomfield, having been placed by him between Queanbeyan and Cootamundra. On the other hand, Yass, if supplied by a pumping scheme from the Mumimbidgee, has been assigned a somewhat similar position between Wagga Wagga and Junee; but, subsequently to Mr. Blomfield’s inspection, it had been claimed in favour of Yass, that thu Micalong catchment can provide that site with an effective gravitation scheme ; but that scheme is, in consequence of length of pipe line and other circumstances, an expensive one - £270.000 for piping alone. The Upper Woolondilly has not been, it must be admitted, thoroughly ‘ examined for a gravitation supply for Goulburn ; but even if the water resources of Goulburn were equal or nearly equal to those of Yass - and neither are particularly promising - yet there are good reasons why the Yass site possesses more advantages than that of Goulburn, namely (1) Although Yass does not possess the altitude above sea level of Goulburn, the Yass climate is, on the whole, better than the Goulburn climate.
Mr. Oliver alluded to three annexures to his report. I refer honorable senators to annexure Yass 1, which consists of a. report on water supply by Mr. Charles E. Blomfield. He says -
The Yass proposal is easily described, as it is to be pumped from the Murrumbidgee. There is no doubt about the quantity of the supply, as from my personal knowledge of the Murrumbidgee lower down, I am sure that it will be a long time before the maximum daily consumption of the Federal city exceeded the minimum daily flow of the Murrumbidgee; but the lift is large.
– This is the river which the honorable senator says runs into a chain of stinking water-.holes !
– Mr. B lomfiel d is speaking of a normal year. I do not dispute that from the Murrumbidgee it is possible to collect water enough for a large population, but consider what would have to be done with it when collected. Mr. Blomfield’s report proceeds-
At Good Hope, a point of the river about I0 miles away from Yass, it (the river) is about 540 feet below Yass, and about S70 feet below the trigonometrical station out on the plain near Yass.
The point referred to is the proposed site of the Federal Capital at Yass. We visited it, and it was pointed out to us as the most suitable site. So that to supply Yass from the Murrumbidgee, water has to be raised 870 feet.
– And the water from the Murrumbidgee is tainted by settlement.
– Yes, of course iti is. Mr. Blomfield goes on to say -
If might be possible to obtain a water supply from the Murrumbidgee with a lift of 600 feet by not fixing the site of the city too high.
Keep low ! They evidently do not intend to allow the Federal Capital to go too high. We must keep low, and be very humble. There is another report from Mr. Blomfield dated 7th May, 1900, in which he says -
There are two possible sources of supply for the proposed Federal city site at Yass, namely, the Yass River and the Murrumbidgee River. In the Yass River the fall is so small that a gravitation scheme is out of the question, as, going high enough up to get the necessary head, so limits the catchment area that there would not be sufficient water for a large population. A supply could be obtained by storage and’ pumping; but, as storage would be unnecessary in the Murrumbidgee, and the supply would be purer, it would be best to obtain the supply from the latter river. At Good Hope, a point of the Murrumbidgee River, about roi miles away from Yass, the river is about 540 feet below Yass, and at the Dog Trap Ford, about 22^ miles from Yass, the river is 310 feet below Yass.
The Public Works Department was then asked to inspect the country, and see if it was possible to get a gravitation scheme in the district to supply Yass. On the 14th July, 1900, Mr. Seaver, Assistant Engineer of the Department of Public Works, EngineerinChief’s Office, Sydney, sent in a minute, in which he said -
As instructed, I visited Yass for the purpose of seeing if a supply of water sufficient for a city of 40,000 inhabitants could be brought to it from the Goodradigbee River.
Not only are we to keep low, but we are also to be exceedingly conservative in our estimate of the future growth of the Federal Capital. We are not supposed to reach more than 40,000 inhabitants -
From my previous knowledge of the district I did not think this could be done, and upon going over level books, &c, wilh Mr. Oxley, of the Roads Branch, I satisfied myself that such a scheme was out of the question. I then inspected the Micalong River, which enters the Goodradigbee River about five miles above Weejasper, and found a suitable supply. This river rises in precipitous granite country subject to heavy falls of snow during many months of the year; and what is known as the Micalong Swamp at its upper end seems to act as a reservoir, keeping up the flow for a long time after rainfalls. From statements made to me by Messrs. Jones and McBean, station holders, Messrs. Martin, Vaughan, Marzol, and others, small landowners, and Taylor, a working miner, as well as from discharges taken by myself, I consider that the least flow of this river during the driest years does not fall below 12 cubic feet per second, and at the time of my visit, after rain, the discharge was 2,000 cubic feet per second. The best off-take for a gravitation scheme would be on portion 20, parish of ‘Weejasper, at an elevation of 500 feet above Yass township.
When it is remembered that the Federal Capital site is another 300 feet above Yass township, it will be seen that this gravitation scheme has only a fall of 200 feet from the proposed reservoir to the actual Capital site; because the site suggested was not the Yass township. Mr. Seaver says that the best off-take would be at an elevation of 500 feet above Yass township, “ and at a distance by road of 35 miles.” He goes on -
The pipe-line would follow the Micalong River, cross the Goodradigbee, then go by the main across the Taemas Bridge to a storage reservoir, say, 100 feet above the proposed site, the available head being thus 400 feet. From Yass to Weejasper, a distance of thirty miles, the pipes would be laid along or close to a good road, and for the last five miles up and round sleep mountain sidings, to which the cost of carriage from Yass is 30s. per ton.
A further report was submitted by Mr. Seaver on the 12th October. He said -
Since my previous report on the above subject I have again examined the Micalong River, which, on my previous visit, was in high flood, and the surrounding country difficult of access. The Federal city site, which was before fixed on the south side of Yass, has now been transferred to the plains along the railway line under Bowning Hill. From the point of view of water supply this is a belter position, as, being lower than the other, a better head is available which will equal about 690 feet ; or, allowing 100 feet for the distributing reservoir, equals 590 feet available head. I have made further inquiries as to the flow in the Micalong Creek, and all the replies I received showed that it was permanent during the driest summer. In case, however, it is found necessary to store water at the head of the pipeline a good reservoir could be constructed. . . . A dam could be built in the narrow gorge which, with a height of sixty feet, would store about 500,000,000 gallons of water, equal to 403 days’ supply for 40,000 people.
I now come to the question of cost, and turn to the report of Mr. C. W. Darley, of the Public Works Department of New South Wales. He wrote -
When the rough estimate sent to you on 12th July was prepared we had very limited information available. Subsequent investigation shows that the length of pipe-line would be about38½ miles, or3½ miles longer than first anticipated.
– What scheme is the honorable senator dealing with?
– The Micalong scheme.
– Has the honorable senator any reference to the Cotter scheme, which is the best in the district?
– That is exclusively for Canberra. I have pointed out that the Cotter River would furnish Canberra, with a water supply for 50,000 people, providing the Capital was kept on the plain.
– If that is the best evidence the honorable senator can get. he has overlooked some very important facts.
– I have pointed out that the Cotter River supply is only available if the Capital is where marked, on the plain, with the church in the centre. The honorable senator is trying to draw me off my line of argument. He is anxious to divert me from these quotations about Yass, but I intend to get them in -
This, with the greater length, brings the cost of pipes up to£270,000; to this must be added, say,£33,000 for head works, weir for storage reservoir, service reservoir and reticulation; making the total cost, say, , £303,000. Of course,’ this is a very rough estimate, as it is impossible to say at this stage what extent of reticulation would be required. Approximately, this may be put down at £1,000 per mile. I have included 20 miles or , £20,000 for this service. . . . The total cost for the smaller pipes, with head works, reservoirs, and reticulation, &c, as before, would be £233,000.
– What would be the cost of pipes at Dalgety for a 35-mile gravitation scheme?
– I suppose it would be something like the same amount. The honorable senator desired to know where I got my figures from. I got them from the report on the water supply by Mr. de Burgh, dated September,1907. He writes -
In a paper, “ Proposed Federal Capital Sites : Information respecting Water Supply Schemes,” by Mr. Pridham, assistant engineer of this Department, laid before the New South Wales Parliament in November, 1904, and, I understand, extensively referred to since, certain data are assumed in dealing with the water supply to the Federal Capital, namely : -
Supply, 100 gallons per head, or 5.000,000 gallons per day.
Service reservoir at site of Capital to contain 5,000,000 gallons, or one day’s supply.
In making this investigation I have adhered to these figures for purposes of comparison, but it may be pointed out that 50,000 is a large population to allow for the Federal Capital in the immediate future, and in considering an estimate for the cost of the water supply to such a population it should be borne in mind that the expenditure immediately necessary on the establishment of the Capital will be very much less, probably only a fraction of the total.
It has just occurred to me that, whereas the Cotter supply is estimated on a basis of 5,000,000 gallons per day, the Yass supply from Micalong Creek is estimated on a basis of 2,500,000 gallons per day. At page 64 of Mr. Oliver’s report, I find the following in a report by Mr. C. W. Darley, on the Yass water, supply -
The iS-inch pipe estimated for, would carry 2jr million gallons per day. A 14-inch pipe would carry nearly r£ .million gallons per day, and effect a saving on first cost of £70,000.
That supply is only half the extent of that estimated for Canberra. If a supply of 5,000,000 gallons per day is estimated to be sufficient for a population of 50,000 at Canberra, it is obvious that a “supply of 2,500,000 gallons would be sufficient for a population! of only 25,000 people, and we should have; to limit the population of our Federal Capital to that number if Yass were selected.
– The trouble is that we do not know what site will be selected, as the whole country side has been suggested.
– I am dealing with each site in the Yass-Canberra district. Now I come to the question of the Cotter River supply, and here is a reference to the first and only gravitation scheme for Canberra -
This includes the construction of a dam to impound 653,000,000 gallons at a point n miles (air line) approximate above the junction of the Cotter and the Murrumbidgee. Thus fixing the level of the service reservoir at Canberra, at 2,050 or 173 feet above the level of the centre of the proposed city, the dam on the Cotter would be at level 2,267 an& the T.W.L. at 2,337. “ T.W.L.” means top water level.
I ask honorable senators to take particular notice of the statement that the level of the service reservoir would be 173 feet above the level of the centre of the proposed city. The report continues -
The catchment above this dam site is no square miles, and the average daily flow of the river amounts to 59,000,000 gallons, or twelve times the 5,000,000 gallons required for the city supply. Taking the period of twelve years for 1895 to 1906, the only occasion on which the daily flow of the river failed to supply 5,000,000 gallons was for the months of February, April, and May- in I002, when a shortage of 4,000,000 gallons occurred. To compensate for such possible shortage, I have introduced a storage of 653,000,000 gallons. From this storage reservoir it is proposed to convey the water by a steel main 27 inches in diameter, and approximately 45 miles in length to the service reservoir at Canberra city. This main is the weak point in the scheme. Its length and the difficult nature of the country traversed making it a heavy charge against capital, while on account of the nature of the material its renewal in a comparatively short period, say, twenty -fi ve years, must be allowed for.
I invite the attention of Senator Russell to the fact that this is the only gravitation scheme proposed for Canberra, and the cost of this scheme is shown under table A to be( .£853,020.
– Has the honorable senator read the report which was received to-day?
– I have, and it is merely a piece of special pleading by some one who has not signed his name to it. The annual charge for interest at 3J per cent, on this gravitation scheme is es”timated at £50,141.
– Why does “the honorable senator say that the report, to which Senator Walker has , referred’, is not signed? Let him look at page 3 of the report.
– I see there a signature to the “conclusions.” When I am dealing with Yass, honorable senators opposite are anxious that I should deal with Canberra, and’ when I refer to Canberra, they are anxious that J should consider the report submitted to-day.
– What did the honorable senator say would be the annual charge for maintenance?
– I did not refer to the charge for maintenance, but to the interest charge at 3”r per cent, on the gravitation scheme, which is given at £50,141. Assuming that the Federal Capital has a total population of 50,000, that would mean a levy of £1 per annum for every resident - man, woman, and child - to meet the interest on the capital involved in the gravitation scheme. It would be the costliest water scheme in the world. I venture to say it would be more costly than the Kalgoorlie water scheme. I have referred to the estimates of cost apart from maintenance, the amount involved in interest on capital and redemption of the necessary loan. I quote’ further from the report -
And in the case of the pipe-line in twenty-five years together with maintenance. This is equivalent to 6jd. per 1,000 gallons supplied, exclusive of cost of reticulation.
We know that in connexion with any scheme of this kind, the cost of reticulation is a very important factor, and we cannot wonder that Mr. de Burgh should say -
On consideration, I have rejected this scheme in favour of the following.
He then goes on to refer to the second pumping scheme to supply 5,000,000 gallons daily. It is clear that if we decide to select Canberra, we must make up our minds to a pumping scheme, and not -a gravitation scheme. That is the decision of the engineer himself. Speaking of the second pumping scheme he deals with, Mr. de Burgh says -
In this scheme the supply is taken from the Cotter at a point close to its junction with the Murrumbidgee. . . . It is proposed to erect at the dam pumps capable of lifting 5,830,670 gallons per day, six days a week, through a main 27 inches in diameter, and 3^ miles in length, to an auxiliary service reservoir situated at level 2,100, whence the water will gravitate to the surface reservoir adjacent to the Capital at level 2,050 through a main 27 inches diameter and 7^ miles in length. Each of the service reservoirs will have a capacity of 5,000,000 gallons. . . . The cost of this scheme is shown in table B to be ,£3391900, and the annual charge, £22,600.
I point out that this again assumes that we shall select the very lowest spot for the Capital. Every foot higher we went would mean an increased charge for pumping, as it would involve more costly machinery, and an increased annual charge for upkeep. I ask honorable senators to bear in mind that these estimates are only of value on the assumption that we select the swamp for the site of the Capital city. If we went out of the swamp and decided to build on Mount Ainslie, we might throw all these estimates into the waste-paper basket.
– Why not speak of it as a “ bog “ ? Why stop at “ swamp “ ?
– If it were not for the fact that the water finds an outlet by Molonglo Creek, the site proposed would be a bog. The Canberra site would be very similar to the swamp at Lake George if it were not for the fact that the water has cut its way through Molonglo Creek, and has so drained what would otherwise be a swamp. The alluvial deposit from the hills is there still, as any one can see on looking at photographs of the place. Speaking of the third pumping scheme, Mr. de Burgh says -
The cost of this scheme is shown in table C to be £185,234, and the annual charge on same basis as schemes 1 and 2 to be £9,683 - equal to 6.37 pence per 1,000 gallons supplied, exclusive of cost of reticulation.
This is only for a population of 10,000 people, sufficient for the purposes of the
Capital in its early stages of development. I remind honorable senators again that Mr. de Burgh’s statements with respect of water supply-apply to a particular spot, and cannot be quoted as applying to the Yass-Canberra district. They apply to the spot of which the church to be seen in the photograph in the Library is the centre. I have here the report of Mr. Stephen Weedon, an inspecting engineer of the Public Works Department of New South Wales. It is dated September, 1906, and he writes -
I have the honour to furnish particulars of schemes from which a water supply can be obtained for the proposed Federal Capital Site at Canberra.
He goes on to describe the Cotter River scheme, and he says -
During the limited time that I had for my investigation, I saw only one spot where the Colter River opened out, giving an opportunity to making a fairly capacious storage reservoir. This site fortunately is at a sufficient elevation, and has been selected for the storage reservoir. At the lower end of this valley, known locally as the “top flats,” a hard granite bar has withstood the erosion of the water hence the flats. A concrete dam could be erected at a reasonable outlay on this impermeable formation to retain sufficient water to guarantee the required supply for the proposed city. . . The supply would be by gravitation, and the head obtained at the storage reservoir is sufficient to fill a service reservoir located at a suitable elevation above the city. Length of pipe main will be about 24 miles.
The general height of the proposed city site, as a result of aneroid readings, is taken at 1,906 feet above sea level. The service reservoir at 2,130 feet, and the storage reservoir site at 2,370 feet, giving a total fall of 464 feet for gravitation purposes.
Mr. Weedon gives no estimate of the cost of construction, but has practically dealt with the same spot as that with which Mr. de Burgh has dealt much more elaborately. Mr. de Burgh’s report shows that the supply which Mr. Weedon speaks of from that particular spot would cost the Commonwealth £853,920, and £50,141 a year in interest. I propose to deal now with the document to which Senator Walker invited my attention.
– The honorable senator will notice that it is signed.
– Yes, I find that it is signed by Mr. de Burgh. It is open to criticism in almost every lline. We are supposed to be practical men. Of what use would it be for me to say to an honorable senator, “ I have a property to sell. You know the benefits of irrigation. On that property you might store millions of gallons of water.” The very first question I should be asked would be, “ Shall I be able to distribute it over the land by gravitation,” and if I were to answer that the water could only be stored on the lowest corner of the property, I should be told, “ It would be of no value to me, as I should have to pump it before I could irrigate the land.”
– That is the position at Dalgety.
– That is the position in the whole of the Yass-Canberra district. Mr. de Burgh, in his latest report, refers to the discharge of the Murrumbidgee River, the quantity of water that might be stored in the Barren Jack Dam, and the discharge of the Cotter River, and in saying that -
It is evident then that along the immediate western boundary of the Yass-Canberra area -we have an enormous discharge of water beyond all possible requirements which could ever arise in connexion with a city, he is guilty of a bit of special pleading.
– Let the honorable senator be fair, and read the next paragraph of the report.
– I intend to deal with the report in my own way, referring to one paragraph at a time. I say that on the evidence of the report by Mr. de Burgh himself, from which I have already quoted, almost the whole of the water to which he refers in this latest report is absolutely beyond the reach of the Federal Capital sites we are being asked to consider. It. could only be brought to those sites by means of very costly gravitation schemes, as in the case of Yass and Canberra, or by costly pumping schemes, which in the case of Yass would require to raise the water 600 feet, and a considerable height in the case of Canberra. To speak of the Murrumbidgee as being available, is simply to say something that is not a fact. It is, of course, available, but at a price which would be entirely prohibitive, and which would put it beyond all practical consideration. In the next paragraph, to which Senator Millen has directed my attention-
– And which qualifies the whole thing.
– He makes this statement -
Seeing that there is no necessity to utilize these great volumes of water, we turn our attention to the mountain tributaries of the Murrumbidgee in the immediate vicinity of the area, with a view to obtaining a catchment compact in itself, capable of absolute protection from pollution, and sufficient for the supply of the Capital, and it is these considerations which have led to the selection in connexion with the
Canberra site of the Cotter catchment of 170 square miles, which is indicated in yellow upon the heliograph. With regard to this supply, I reported as follows : -
– Read the next paragraph, please.
– - He proceeds to quote the paragraph which I have already quoted.
– But the honorable senator did not read that paragraph.
– It reads as follows -
There are few cities in the world where such a magnificent supply of pure water is available. From an absolutely uninhabited catchment, I have pointed out that on an average 85,000,000 gallons of water per day, or seventeen times the requirement for 50,000 persons runs down the Cotter River.
That is simply a repetition of what I pointed out. But when it is remembered that in order to make the water available it will be necessary to spend millions, and that the same gentleman has rejected the proposal as being out of the question, and preferred two pumping schemes-
– He did nothing of the kind.
– I have quoted from his report.
– The honorable senator has been tearing out parts and making affirmations where the writer was simply stating cases.
– I have quoted from his report of the 21st November, which has been laid upon the table of the Senate. Alluding to the first gravitation scheme, he said, “On consideration, I .have rejected this scheme in favour of the following,”’ and he proceeded to refer to a second pumping scheme. Those are not words which I have put into his mouth, but they are in print. Senator Millen shakes his head, but if he will refer to the report, he will find that, after stating that it would cost £873.000, the writer says : “ On consideration I have rejected this scheme in favour of the following.” He proceeds to refer to a pumping scheme, which is estimated to cost £339>°°°, but, evidently thinking that it would be too costly, he assumed that the Commonwealth would need to supply only 10,000 persons. He goes on to deal with a third pumping scheme for a population of that number, which is to cost £185,000. He has endeavoured to throw dust in our eyes. He says, “ This magnificent supply of pure water, which so few cities in the world have available, is too costly, and I propose pumping schemes.” One of them is co supply - how many persons? - 10,000 persons. Further on he says -
When, however, we come to consider the sites in the vicinity of the town of Yass, which are marked Nos. 1, 2, and H, it might be advisable to consider the construction of works upon the Goodradigbee River or the Micalong Creek, for comparison with the supply from the Cotter. As I have already pointed out, the discharge of the Goodradigbee exceeds that of the Cotter, and its catchment area above the Micalong Creek amounts to 317 square miles. The water is of magnificent quality, similar to the Cotter. The information at our disposal at present is not sufficient to enable me to submit any comparative estimates, and, indeed, with regard to the whole of these sites, such estimates can only be prepared when the exact location of the city is indicated ; but, speaking generally, having regard to the compact water-shed of the Cotter., and its eminent suitability as a water supply for a city, it would appear that, viewed from the stand-point of water supply alone, the nearer the site of the city fs to the junction of the Cotter River and the Mumimbidgee the more convenient will be its situation with regard to water supply, and the lower will be the cost of such supply.
Therefore, on the authority of this gentleman, the farther we go from Canberra in the direction of Yass, the more unsuitable is the water supply. If my criticism against Canberra is sound, the other sites can be left out of consideration, because, on the statement of this gentleman, who evidently was trying to make out the best case he could for Canberra, the farther we go away from it, the more shall we decrease the water supply. He says -
Taking the three general positions - the vicinity of Canberra, the vicinity of Yass, and the vicinity of Lake George - the water supply to the former will be the cheapest, that to the latter the most expensive, and that to the vicinity of Yass possibly a mean between the other two.
I have not disputed a single figure which he has given. When he says that there are few cities in the world where such a magnificent supply of water is available, it would lead any one to believe that bv means of a practical and cheap scheme we could bring a magnificent supply to the Federal city, whereas in his technical report he proves that it is so costly as to be impracticable -
With regard to the latter site, it is, of course, possible to deliver any quantity of excellent water from the Barren Jack Storage Reservoir.
Does Senator Walker propose to ask the residents of the Federal Capital to drink the water from Barren Jack Reservoir?
– I do not think that any one who is acquainted with this watershed would make that proposal, unless he wanted to see the population of the Federal city decimated by disease. The catchment area is settled country, and when theGovernment of the State undertook to construct the reservoir it was contemplated that the water would be used, not for drinking purposes, but for irrigation. The report continues -
The surface area of the lake formed by theconstruction of the Barren Jack Dam will be 12,700 acres, when the water is at its highest level. The direct distance from the Canberra, site to the nearest point on the lake will be twenty-seven miles, and from Yass eight miles, and the reservoir will form a magnificent sheet of water, surrounded by mountains.
– Does the honorable senator notice what he says with regard to electric power?
– He says-
The quality of the water taken from the greatreservoir, while, no doubt, excellent, will hardly be comparable in point of purity to a supply tobe solely delivered from such a catchment asthat of the Colter.
Every one knows that the water supply from Barren Jack Reservoir is not suitable for that purpose. Dealing with the various sites, he says in conclusion -
On the whole, that at the Canberra s”-te will probably be found more economical, but I would like to make it quite clear that in either case the supply of water available is absolutely unlimited, having regard to the purposes forwhich it can be required, even if the Federal Capital were to have a population of 2,000,000- people.
In view of what he said in his technical report, what do honorable senators think of that statement?
– Could not a population of 2,000,000 pay for a gravitation scheme? It would be cheap enough for that number.
– We know that it will be some time before the Federal Capital contains so large a population. I regard Yass and Lake George as being quite out of the question. I hold that nothing can be brought forward to show that the conditions of Canberra are equal to those at Dalgety. I admit that if we comparethe soil of the little flat at Canberra with the generality of the soil at Dalgety townsite the former is superior; but, as I said before, we want to build a city, and not to make a garden. We do not “want a good’ soil for a city.
– We want somefarms.
– There is plenty of room for farms. Any one who has been* to Canberra knows that whilst there is a supply of good soil at Canberra itself the outside country is rugged and mountainous. If the honorable senator will glance at the map he will see that the site will comprise all the good land of the locality, because it is surrounded by low hills in the immediate vicinity, and bv mountains in the distance. But when we take out the site at Dalgety Ave have not touched the good land. We have only taken good building land, and there we can get a perfect water supply at a cheap price and capable of yielding a magnificent supply of electric power. In the basaltic country at the back of Dalgety there is some of the best land to be found in New South Wales, and it is favoured with a certain rainfall and enjoys good seasons. Honorable senators may inquire why more farming has not been carried on in the Monaro district.
– Owing to land monopoly.
– It is owing partly to land monopoly, but chiefly to the influence of Sydney, whose people were determined not to open up Twofold Bay by means of a railway, and thus give the people of the Monaro district an opportunity to use their natural outlet. On the contrary, they preferred to run a railway parallel with the coast for a distance of 200 miles to Cooma, in order to compel the farmers to send their produce not to the nearest port, whence it could be shipped to other countries,, but by the railway to Sydney. Any one who has been through the district knows that even if the best land were made available for farming it would not pay a man to send his produce by railway to Sydney.
– On inquiry I ascertained that the freight from Queanbeyan is 4~rd. per bushel.
– That is, I venture to say, a very serious matter, considering that wheat is often worth only 2s. 6d. per bushel. It represents 20 per cent, on the value. I do not believe that the bulk of the farmers in South Australia have to pay at that rate for the carriage of their wheat. The honorable senator has lived in a northern district of that State, and he knows that if the farmers had been compelled to send their wheat to Adelaide more sheep would have been grown and less wheat. It was because the Government ran railways to the nearest port that wheat-growing has been developed to such a large extent. I guarantee that my honorable friend never sent his wheat to Adelaide. I will guarantee that he sent his wheat to Port Pirie, the nearest point. What would he have thought of the South Australian Government if he had been compelled, by reason of their railway policy, to send his wheat from near Port Augusta to Adelaide, notwithstanding that there are ports within a few miles of his farm which the Government refused to open up?
– New South Wales cannot build all her railways at once.
– But she could have constructed a railway from the Monaro district to Twofold Bay more cheaply than she could have built a line from that district to Sydney. The Government of that State embraced the dearest proposition in order that they might still further concentrate trade in Sydney. Personally, I hold that we have already determined the site of the permanent Seat of Government, apart altogether from parochial considerations. We selected what we deemed to be the best site in the interests of Australia, and I appeal to the Senate to recognise that, in securing a settlement of this Question, we must not bow to any “State. We have the interests of the Commonwealth to consider. I desire the speedy settlement of the question in order that we may be removed from undue parochial and State influences. Looking at it from that stand-point, I hold that Dalgety possesses immense advantages as against Canberra, whilst Canberra possesses no advantages whatever as against Dalgety. I hope that the Senate will be true to its former decision, and that it will back up the Government in insisting upon its choice being respected.
– How man,- new members are there in this Parliament?
– I admit that there are some new members who have not had an opportunity of voting upon the question. But at the time the Seat of Government Bill was under consideration every honorable member was fully armed. Nobody voted in ignorance or from parochial bias. Having arrived at its choice I maintain that the Australian Parliament should insist upon its choice being respected.
– I was one of those who supported the selection of Tumut, and if that site had any chance of being chosen, as the future Seat of Government by this Parliament, I should still advocate its claims. But in view of what has taken place elsewhere I cannot fail to recognise that by so doing I should simply be throwing away my vote. To me it is quite apparent that the choice of this Parliament lies between Dalgety and Yass-Canberra.
– The orders to choose Yass-Canberra were issued from Sydney.
– Be that as it may,, and I do not admit it, I have always understood that the strong point urged in favour of the selection of Dalgety is that the port of Twofold Bayis situated within a reasonable distance from it. If that be a reasonwhy Dalgety should be chosen as the permanent Seat of Government I desire to say that Canberra possesses a very much better port - a port boasting a greater depth of water, and one which will afford more protection to shipping. I hold inmy hand a plan, which can be laid on the table of the Senate, and which shows the relative sizes of Twofold Bay and Jervis Bay. It is drawn to scale-
– Who drew it?
– It has been drawn to scale from the latest Admiralty chart.
– By whom?
– I suppose that the honorable senator does not doubt the accuracy of the Admiralty chart?
– Who is the author of it?
– It is merely an enlargement of the Admiralty chart.
– Who enlarged it?
– I believe that it was enlarged by Mr. Johnson, a member of the other House.
– But anything which comes from New South Wales is regarded as tainted.
– In showing the depth of water at Twofold Bay, the author of that plan at first used the word “ feet “ instead of “ fathoms.” That showed bias, anyhow.
– The Australian Auxiliary Squadron always proceeds to Jervis Bay when it desires to engage in gunnery practice. If we are to have a Capital with a port, by all means let us have a good port. We know that the New South Wales Government are willing to give us an approach to Jervis Bay, and thus to make the Federal authorities independent of that State so far as access to the Federal Territory is concerned.
– What guarantee have we of that?
– The Commonwealth Government can obtain such a guarantee from New South Wales. I have taken the trouble to consult the Premier of that State upon this question, and in a report dated11th September last, I find that Mr. Gerald Halligan, a hydrographic surveyor, says -
Jervis Bay is 80 nautical miles south of Sydney, in latitude 35.05 minutes south. The width of the entrance is1¾ miles between Bumbora Rock on the north, and Bowen Island on the south, with a depth of from 15 to 20 fathoms. The area of the Bay carrying a greater depth than four fathoms is about 38 square miles.
Surely that is large enough to suit the demands of most of us. He continues -
About 15 square miles at the southern end, in the vicinity of the “ Hole in the Wall,” is safe for small vessels in all weathers, and at this place, wharfs could be used at all times of the year. This area might be increased by constructing a breakwater from Bowen Island. The nature of the bottom is favorable for safe anchorage at almost any part of the Bay.
Twofold Bay is 207 nautical miles south of Sydney in latitude 31.04 minutes south. The width of the entrance is about1¾. miles between Look-out Point on the north and Jew’s Head on the south, with a depth of from 10 to 12 fathoms.
– The Admiralty authorities say that TwofoldBay is 3 miles wide.
– So much the worse for the honorable senator, because if it be 3 miles wide, it will be more exposed to the weather. The report continues -
The area of Bay carrying a greater depth than 4 fathoms is32/3 square miles, but on account of the great width of entrance and the small area of the bay, no part of it is at present safe for low-power vessels to lie at anchor in all weathers. . . . It is shown in Mr. Oliver’s report that by constructing a breakwater 2,640 feet long on the south side, a safe area of . 08 of a square mile, with a depth of over 4 fathoms, would be ensured, and the cost would be £150,000. As the trade of the port increased it might be necessary to construct a breakwater on the north side. This would be 4,860 feet long, and would cost £450,000.
Thatis the port which some honorable senators compare with Jervis Bay. There can be no doubt as to which of the two is the better harbor.
– What about East Boyd Bay, in Twofold Bay?
-I have given the honorable senator all the information on that point that is in my possession.
– What Twofold Bay is like is best evidenced by the fact that for years there was an agitation in favour of constructing a breakwater there.
– The respective shapes of Twofold Bay and Jervis Bay can be seen at a glance by reference to this plan. The former is comparatively open, whilst the latter is almost land-locked.
– Under what circumstances would a breakwater be required at Jervis Bay?
– Under no circumstances.
– Can Jervis Bay be utilized as a port without the construction of a breakwater? Is there a sufficient area available to accommodate a reasonable amount of shipping without constructing a breakwater ?
– I cannot say. But T do know that the New South Wales Government are prepared to grant us an approach to Jervis Bay, as well as an area sufficient to meet all reasonable requirements in the matter of shipping.
– What guarantee have we of that?
– We have as much guarantee in the one case as we have in the other. I may perhaps be permitted to tell the Senate the history of the provision in the Constitution relating to the establishment of the Seat of Government in New South Wales. At the Adelaide Convention, I was the first to suggest that the Federal Capital should be located in Federal territory. The leader of the Convention, Mr., now Sir Edmund, Barton, opposed that suggestion, with the result that it was not pressed at that gathering. But when the Convention met at Melbourne, I took advantage of the opportunity to confer privately with Sir George Turner upon this matter. I said to him, “T recognise that you are an honest federationist, and I can assure you that unless the Constitution Bill stipulates that the Federal Capital shall be established in Federal territory there is very little chance of it being acceptable to the people of New South Wales. You have such influence with the Convention that I feel sure that if you will submit a proposal of that character it will be carried, and I believe that the Constitution will then be accepted by the people of New South Wales.” Accordingly Sir
George Turner submitted a proposition to that effect, and it was carried. It is only just to him to say that he recognised that the Federal Capital should be located in Federal territory. When the Premiers of the States subsequently met in Conference they decided that the Seat of Government should be located in New South Wales, and upon the strength of that provision the Constitution was accepted by the electors of that State, as well as by the other States. I say emphatically that if we establish the Federal Capital in the extreme south-east of New South Wales, whilst we may be honouring the letter of the compact, we shall certainly not be observing its spirit. Let us act honorably in this matter. New South Wales is generous. She is prepared to give to the Commonwealth a larger area than it was at first ^thought that we were entitled to have. She is the most populous State and also the mother State. She has therefore a right to be considered. The climate of Dalgety has been alluded to. In winter time it is a very trying climate indeed. Personally. I come from a cold country, and I dare say that I could stand it. But is it reasonable to expect men who come from North Queensland and other hot parts of Australia to live in such a trying climate as that of Dalgety in the winter time? I do not think that there has been any jealousy on the part of New South Wales with regard to the Monaro district. It is not true that attempts have been made to prevent that locality from going ahead. But it has to be remembered that the size of the population did not justify the State in going to -the expense of constructing a railway, which would necessarily be a very heavy work. The newspapers have been referring to this subject during the last week or two, and we are now called upon as a Senate to take a national view of it. A site has been chosen by another place. If we agree to accept that selection, the question will probably be settled. If, however, we disagree, it will be hung up for a long time. I propose now to read a leading article from a Victorian newspaper called Advance Australia. I understand that it is the organ of the Australian Natives’ Association. I was very pleased when I read it, to think that there is in Victoria a newspaper which has the courage to write as this journal has done, especially when we remember that the Prime Minister is one of the most prominent members of the Association. The article says -
The selection by the House of Representatives of the district in New. South Wales known as Yass-Canberra as the most appropriate place for the national capital must appeal to all who recognise the important bearing which water conservation and irrigation have in Australia’s destiny. Australia’s root problem is water, population, population, water. Where there is water in Australia, settlement follows.
– Did Senator Walker send copies of that journal to every member of the Senate?
– No, I received my copy by post. I understand that other senators have also had copies.
– That is about the largest circulation the paper has had.
– It is the organ of the Australian Natives’ Association, which I always understood was an important body.
– But that journal does not circulate largely.
– The article goes on -
Within, and adjoining the chosen district, is one of the largest and most potential catchment areas in the world. It embraces 5,000 square miles.
– That shows how much the writer of the article knows about the subject?
– I understand that now-a-days all wisdom is centred in Victorian newspapers, particularly the Age, which, however, is a narrow-minded malevolent journal, always doing its best to keep up bad feeling between New South Wales and Victoria. I am speaking the absolute truth in saying that.
– The Age is right on this occasion.
– The article proceeds -
Atthe presenttime there is being constructed at Barren Jack a weir which, when completed, will impound the waters of the Murrumbidgee and form a storage reservoir with a surface area greater than Port Jackson. There are sites within the chosen district which can be commanded by this useful and majestic work - a truly national work. The Barren Jack reservoir will not only provide for all the manifold requirements of a great city in watersupply and in its sewerage systems, but in its own might be the source for the generation of power for electric energy, traction and light. It has been estimated that enough water will be stored (here which, scientifically distributed, would convert the outlying environs of the nationalcity into prolific irrigated lands.
There are some who have hunted in the snowcapped highlands and braved the hailstorm and breeze for a site for the Federal capital. Others have penetrated the dense fastnesses of the bush for a picturesque retreat. Others have gone forth to explore the most inaccessible of places in quest of a situation for “ the mirror of the nation’s taste.”
It should never be forgotten that Australia is the most arid country on earth, and that twothirds of its great area- and the continent is two-thirds the size of Europe and larger than the United States of America - is arid. No question transcends in importance the reclamation of Australia’s arid lands. It is not a mere provincial question, but from first to last it is national.
Australia is a land of plenty and of drought, and the sooner that truism is reflected in the “mirror of the nation’s taste” the better it will be for Australia’s happy progress and prosperity.
True beauty and ornaments spring from utility. The conservation and distribution of water means life to Australia, and the possibilities of the Barren Jack reservoir in promoting life and example induces the belief that none of the sites submitted can approach that selected from the point of view of utility, although some, like Tumut, are within irrigable lands; indeed, Tumut might reasonably be included in the district chosen.
The national metropolis, situated so as to be commanded by the potentialities of the greatest artificial lake in the world, could soon become “the mirror of the nation’s taste,” and a majestic monumental expression of honest, sound, realized wealth secured from the riches of irrigated land. A city so circumstanced, within a semi-arid belt, would become self-supporting, and, above and beyond that, possess the qualities of the exemplar - that, whilst the provincial centres would remain the hives of manufacturing activity, and theentrepot of commerce, the home of centralized legislative authority, and of the broader patriotism, might with all appropriateness be dedicated to those primary industries which, in both ancient and modern times, have been the backbone of the nations.
A city not merely the home of Parliament, but of the agricultural student and the hydraulic engineer, it might be the centre of agricultural light and learning, dispelling the prejudices towards and popularizing the most necessary of all professions, thestudy and practice of agriculture. With one thousand square miles of Federal territory, the environs of the national city might be convertedby the skill of the irrigator into far-reaching object-lessons of aridity conquered and profitably utilized. Such a picture would certainly reflect the nation’s utility and practical business taste.
I trust that our friends from Queensland will support the Yass-Canberra site, as it is nearer to their own State than any other site that has a chance of selection.
– Would not an area of 1,000 miles embrace both Yass and Tumut ?
– Possibly it might. It all depends upon the shape of the territory. Personally, I should be very glad if Tumut was included. I have here some photographs which honorable senators may like to see. It is true that at times Lake George is dry, but there is no reason, in these days of engineering skill, why it should not always present the appearance that it has in this picture.
– We had one picture of Lake George, representing a full-rigged ship sailing on the water.
– And there was another picture showing people bicycling over the bed of the lake !
– I have here a picture of Jervis Bay, which honorable senators may like to see, as well as a picture showing Dalgety in the winter time. I trust that those who have not yet made up their minds will vote from a strictly national point of view. Undoubtedly, the most acceptable site in Australia with any likelihood of being chosen is Yass-Canberra. I hope that it will be agreed to by a substantial majority.
– I do not know that it is necessary to say much, because the whole matter was considered in 1904, when we had an opportunity of hearing all the arguments that could be brought forward. I see no reason why the decision then arrived at should be altered. The action that has been taken, with a view of altering it, has strengthened me in my determination to stand out. If it was necessary to ask Parliament to change its mind, I cannot, for the life of me, understand the procedure adopted. There is an Act of Parliament upon the statute- book, and I should have thought that the proper procedure would be to repeal that Act before proceeding; to choose another site.
– The honorable senator’s party is proposing to alter the Constitution in one respect.
– The Constitution itself provides the means for its own alteration : but there is nothing in the 1904 Act relating to the Federal Capital to provide that in 1908 the subject should be reviewed.
– Why should not Parliament do as it chooses ?
– It can do so; but there is a regular method of procedure. The proper method is to repeal an Act in which Parliament does not believe, and to substitute another Act in its place. Why has not that procedure been adopted on the present occasion? A question has been raised as to the suitability of the port at Dalgety as compared with that available in connexion with the Yass-Canberra site. It is, at all events, admitted that Dalgety is closer to the sea than is any site that could be obtained in the Yass-Canberra neighbourhood. As far as relates to the capabilities of the two ports, I may quote from the sailing directions compiled by Captain Charles Yuel, R.N., for the Admiralty. Writing in relation to Jervis Bay, he says -
Outside Jervis Bay, and along the coast to the northward as far as Beecroft Head, a heavy confused sea will be experienced during even moderately bad weather and perhaps along the shores of the whole province there is no place where greater care is required in managing smalt vessels in bad weather than in the vicinity of this steep peninsula, in consequence of the agitated state of the sea, which may be attributed to the current out of Shoalhaven Bight meeting at Beecroft Head, another branch of the stream in a disturbed state from interruption whilst crossing Young Banks, and the currents being so much stronger near projecting headlands than elsewhere.
– What is the date of the volume?
– The copy from which I am quoting is an old one ; but still, it is official.
– Is there not a more recent edition ?
– There is no difference.
Vessels bound into or passing Jervis Bay ought carefully to avoid being drawn into Wreck Bay to the southward, the land being very deceptive. When bound into Darling Road steer for the north point of Bowen Isle, and round it not nearer than two cables, keepingPerpendicular point well open westward of the low north-west Point of Bowen Isle, bearing N.E. threequarter E. until Governor Head bears E. by S. which clears the sandspit, when stand in short for the anchorage, although the Isle may be closely approached a vessel in light winds should keep without the influence of the swell.
Those are the sailing directions outside. Then I find the following -
Within its entrance Jervis Bay extends 7 miles north and south and nearly 3 to5½ miles east and west with regular soundings gradually decreasing inwards from 18 and 17 fathoms in the entrance to 9 and 6 fathoms within half a mile of the greater portion of the shores of the bay ; there is an anchorage either in Darling Road to the westward of Bowen Isle or in Montague Road to the northward of Dart Point. But experience has shown that Darling Road is the preferable of the two. … A sandspit with two fathoms water on it projects half a mile north-westward from the eastern part of the bay. . . . The whole of the west side of the bay is exposed to the heavy swell thrown in by south-east gales, and is, consequently, unsafe for an anchorage; the sea breaking on it may be heard at a considerable distance.
– Will the honorable senator tell us now about Twofold Bay?
– Honorable senators opposite have had enough of Jervis Bay.
– Referring to the anchorage, I find the following statement -
The anchorage in Montague Road is in S to 7 fathoms stiff ground . . . although ships of burthen may here lie landlocked, they are still exposed to a heavy fetch of the sea from the southward, but to which indeed every other part of the bay is subjected ; it is, therefore, indispensable that’ the ground tackle be good.
That is from the Admiralty directions.
– Will the honorable senator give us the date?
– These directions are dated 1876. Senator Gray represents New South Wales, and he should be able to say whether the sea has been kept out of Jervis Bay in the meantime, or whether there has been any considerable expenditure in the improvement of the harbor.
– Why not quote from the latest edition of sailing directions? It can be had in the Library.
– Unfortunately it cannot ; and I have had to use what I was able to get. I am prepared to admit that Jervis Bay, as compared with Twofold’ Bay, encloses a bigger area of water. I can say that, after battling outside in bad weather in a leaky ship, I was glad to run into Twofold Bay for shelter, and got shelter there from one of the strongest gales I ever experienced on the Australian coast. The sailing directions from which I have already quoted contain the following with respect to Twofold Bay -
Twofold Bay is three miles wide between Red and Worang Points, bearing N. by W. threequarters W. from each other ; and from a depth of20 fathoms midway between the points the bay extends four miles to the westward to the head of Nullica Bay. The entrance is free from dangers, with the exception of a rock with 5 fathoms water on which the sea breaks only in bad weather from the eastward.
The only obstacle at the entrance of the Bay is this rock, in 5 fathoms, or 30 feet, of water.
– What is the depth of water in Nullica Bay - 3 or 4 fathoms ?
– I find, from this work that -
Nullica Bay, which forms the western bight of Twofold Bay, is1¼ miles wide between Torarago and Oman Point, with 4 to 5 fathoms of water between them - thebay shaols gradually for a mile to the westward to 12 feet1½ cables from the beach.
With respect to the anchorage in Twofold Bay, I find the following -
Small vessels may anchor in East Boyd Bay from3½ to 2½ fathoms, sandy bottom, by bringing Worang Point and Munganoo Point in line about N. by E. ; further out in 5 or 6 fathoms large vessels will find shelter from south and south-east winds and smoother water with easterly winds than on the opposite shore in Snug Cove.
There is very good anchorage in Snug Cove, and in other places in the Bay. I have read enough to show that there is just as good, if not better, harbor to be found at Twofold Bay as at Jervis Bay. I think that every honorable senator has made up his mind on this question. We had a very full discussion of it before. I regard it from a national stand-point. Honorable senators are aware of the jealousy and rivalry that exist between Victoria and New South Wales. I have no doubt that in the near future we shall have to launch forth upon a ship-building policy, and unless we can establish a ship-building yard in a Commonwealth port, I have no doubt that we will be called upon to establish duplicate yards in Melbourne and in Sydney. We shall require not only to duplicate the whole plant and machinery necessary, but the management also. Even the building in New South Wales of our only ship, the trawler, has excited this State jealousy, which is likely to lead to a good deal of unnecessary expenditure in the future. If we could establish shipbuilding yards in our own territory, we should be at the expense of only one establishment.
– Where would we get our labour ?
– If Senator Gray wished to build a ship to-morrow, I could secure the necessary labour for him. I feel sure that if honorable senators adhere to their previous selection of Dalgety, the country will say that the Senate has saved Australia from making a mistake, and this Chamber will stand higher in the estimation of the people of the Commonwealth than it has ever stood in the past.
– As the national House of this Parliament.
– I believe we shall assume the place of the national House of this Parliament. So far as my own State is concerned, I know that this question was discussed on the hustings, and the people were satisfied to return myself and others who believed that the best site for the
Federal Capital was Dalgety. I am sure that the people of South Australia would be better satisfied with Dalgety than with any other site in New South Wales. I hope that honorable senators will stick to their guns, and if they do, I have no doubt that the House of Representatives will give way to us on this occasion, as they did on the last occasion on which we dealt with this matter. It is not wise for Parliament to pass a measure and then, without fault having been found with its previous decision, to seek to reverse it. After the recent decision arrived at in another place, one of the leading newspapers of New South Wales stated that if Canberra or some inland site were selected, its occupation would only be temporary.
– Does the honorable senator refer to the Bulletin?
– The Bulletin has been very far-sighted in many things. It has said that the Canberra site can only be adopted as a temporary expedient, and that if it is selected it will be necessary to remove the Capital in the near future. I ask honorable senators not to make a selection of a site which will involve the trouble of shifting the Federal Capital again. If we select Dalgety, I think we can be assured that the Federal Capital will remain there for all lime.
– There has been a great deal of talk about the determination of this question from a national point of view, and I think it necessary to submit one aspect of the question whichpossibly has not previouslybeen considered by the Senate I think’ that Senator Pulsford was on strong ground when he said that in determining the site from a national point of view we are bound to anticipate and forecast the requirements of the future. The honorable senator pointed out that the centre of population of the Commonwealth is gradually moving northward.
– Will the honorable senator vote for Armidale?
– I shall vote for what I believe to be the best asI suppose the honorable senator will do. I find that when I trench upon matters the honorable senator does not like, his interruptions become very frequent. This question should be settled from a democratic and population point of view, and since it was previously discussed politics in New South Wales and Queensland have developed in a remarkable way.
Population is drifting in that direction. If there is one thing which a man can confidently predict more than another in regard to Queensland, it is that its populationwill also spread south and west and north. The great railway policy of that State will be to connect four trunk lines, and, happily for ourselves, our population is spreading in those directions. Apart from party politics, it is quite clear that the guiding principle for the development of Queensland will be the linking up of those four great lines. The development of the Northern Territory will depend upon the carrying out of that policy. The provision of that railway communication will be the means of opening up some of the richest districts in Australia-, and a reasonable inference is that its population will increase mainly in the direction which Senator Pulsford has pointed out. A. glimpse at the development of New SouthWales and Queensland shows that that is where the density of population will he in half a century. To settle the question of the Capital site in relation to the development of the population of Australia, that factor must be considered. Suppose that Australia progresses in the future at anything like the rate at which it has progressed in the past, especially in those districts, it will be seen at once that a railway line is bound to pass through the continent, in the first instance, as I have indicated. Therefore, if the location of the Capital site has to be considered from the point of view of population, and from the national point of view, that factorhas to be taken into consideration. Now, can it be said that Dalgety would be either central or convenient for the rest of Australia, especially in the near future? In comparison with a site fixed in relation to the circumstances I have pointed out. I have good ground for saying that if it were not for the fact that the Federation is supposed, by a large number of persons, to consist mainly of Victoria, Dalgety could not be considered from the national point of view, or the other point of view I have mentioned. It is situatedat the extreme south-east corner of Australia. From a harbor stand-point, it may possess very great attractions indeed. I do not desire to enter into that question, but if the fixing of the Capital site is to be considered in relation to centrality and the development of population, then, from the national point of view, Dalgety is completely out of the running.
– Would the honorable senator sacrifice suitability for centrality?
– I hope that the honorable senator will be able to point out why, in the vast area 1 have suggested, we cannot select a site which, from every point of view, may not be as suitable for the requirements of the Commonwealth as is Dalgety, in the south-east corner. The claims of Dalgety are, I believe, based largely on the fact that it is accessible from a port, which is one of the essential requirements of a Federal Capital.
– That is only one of them. The Snowy River is its biggest claim.
– Well, one of the claims, and a fairly strong claim, of Dalgety is that the Federal Territory could have a very convenient and suitable port at Twofold Bay. I hold the opinion that a port is not necessary for a Federal territory ; in fact, it may be a disadvantage from many stand-points. Let me cite a historical incident in support of my view. When, in, I think, 1812, America was disputing the supremacy of Great Britain on the sea, the latter quickly put an end to the contest by getting into Washington and burning the Capital. So while a portfor a Federal territory has some advantages from a political point of view, and very many drawbacks in the event of war, I regard it as being rather an impediment to the development of its government. I dismiss entirely from my mind the weight which some honorable senators attach to that point. For the purpose of safety, integrity, and carrying on the operationsof the Federal Government in emergencies, especially in times of war, I think it will be an advantage in many respects that the Federal Territory should be removed as far as possible from the danger of attack by an enemy. I think that it is regretted by Americans that a Federal territory so close to the seaas Columbia was selected for the United States. When; during the presidency of Mr. Cleveland, relations were strained with regard to some arrangements in Venezuela, people were talking in the United States and Great Britain about the possibility of war between those two great Empires. When the question of war arose, and some very smart passages had been exchanged between the nations, it was a significant factor, in deciding that the quarrel should be settled amicably, that the United States could not, for twentyfour hours, stop the British from getting into Washington or New York. When that was pointed out to people in the United States, and what I might call the yellow journalistic politicians, a demand was quickly made that the question in dispute should be referred to arbitration. In all these matters we have to anticipate the future.
– It is not proposed to build the Capital at Twofold Bay.
– I quite understand that. It may be said that the difficulties of transit are such as would make it very difficult for an enemy to reach the Federal Capital from Twofold Bay.
– What about the forts? There is a range of mountains between the two points.
– Exactly, and may I remind the honorable senator that there was a range of mountains protecting Washington and Richmond, but that, nevertheless, the northerners were not long in getting into the latter place. If Twofold Bay were captured by a battleship or stray cruisers, the Commonwealth Government, located at Dalgety, would be in a very perilous position. I feel quite certain that all these points have not been carefully considered by those who have strongly recommended that site.
– That argument will apply equally against Canberra.
– I do not think that it will apply to anything like the same extent.
– It is easier for a fleet to get into Jervis Bay than into any port on the eastern coast.
– If that is the case, it is an objection, from the point of view I have mentioned. I shall give my vote, with some regret, in favour of the Yass-Canberra site, because it is impossible for us at this stage to get a site at a point which, if my views are correct, would be the best in the interests of Australia. I believe that if one single choice had to be made, some, if not all, of the representatives of Queensland would favour a site close to Armidale. If a proposition to that effect is submitted, I shall have no hesitation in voting for it. Possibly I may be influenced by the provincial point of view, but if I am taunted with being provincial my retort will be that every member of
Parliament is necessarily more or less influenced or biased in that way. In view of the considerations I have suggested, and the potentialities of the future, I regard Armidale as an ideal site for a Federal Capital. But if I cannot get a site near that city, I shall be justified in voting for a site which will bring the Federal Capital as near as possible to that very rich and suitable district. Within 150 or 200 miles of Armidale we have on the north the finest and largest territory in the Commonwealth - the Darling Downs of Queensland - and immediately to the south we, have a very rich agricultural district. So that on the eastern side of Australia, and in those districts which, in point of population and wealth, are increasing more rapidly than are any portions of Victoria, South Australia, or Western Australia, we have several central towns, and every indication that the great backbone of the stability of the Commonwealth is going to be centred close up to the New England district. Comparatively speaking, if I may be permitted to use the metaphor, Armidale is within a stone’s throw of our Darling Downs.
– It is nothing but stones between the two places.
– If the honorable senator has made that statement after travelling through the country, I can say with the prophet that he “ hath eyes and seeth not, and he hath ears and heareth not.” That is the richest district in the two great States of Australia Within the past ten years, the population of the Darling Downs has been increased by 100,000 of the sturdiest settlers to be found in Australia. No other district which I have visited in Queensland, New South Wales, or Victoria, has made; such material and rapid progress. Every honorable senator, I think, will admit that from an agricultural stand-point it is destined to become the garden and granary of Australia. These facts constitute a powerful reason why we should establish the Federal Capital’ there, or thereabouts. To my mind, the battle of the sites is one which is more or less a discredit to the Commonwealth. Rightly or wrongly, I interpret section 125 of the Constitution to mean that, owing to the jealousy which existed between Victoria and New South Wales, it was impossible to make either Melbourne or Sydney the permanent Seat of Government.
– Victoria is not jealous of New South Wales.
– Whenever I hear an honorable senator claiming great virtue, I at once doubt his bona -fides.
– We have nothing to be jealous about.
– Evidently the cap fits.
– I have frequently observed that when I get upon “ warm “ ground, some honorable senators have a wonderful faculty for interrupting me with irrelevant interjections.
– Surely the honorable senator does not regard this question as a party one?
– Certainly not. If I did, I should have something to say to those representatives of New South Wales who support the selection of YassCanberra as against the ideal site of Armidale.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.
– Honorable senators will pardon me for emphasizing the important part, from a national standpoint, which the development’ of Queensland and New South Wales ought to play in our selection of a Federal Capital. As evidencing the progress which has been made in the district to which I have referred, I intend to quote) some figures, for which I am indebted to Senator Pulsford. They bear out my contention to the very letter, and, as a representative of Queensland, I make no apology for dwelling upon their importance. Senator Pulsford has already pointed out that ever since i860 the population of the district in question has steadily increased. From the Budget, I gather that between 1900 and 1908 there was a proportionate decrease in the population of Victoria of 2. 11 per cent. That is to say that whilst on the 30th June, 1900, 31.85 per cent, of the population of Australia was settled in Victoria, on 31st December, ‘ 1907, that proportion- had declined to 29.74 per cent., a decrease of 2. 11 per cent, during the brief space of seven and a half years, whilst it is estimated that by the 31st December, 1908, the proportion will have further declined to 26.69 Per cent., a decrease of 2.16 per cent. On the other hand, whilst on the 30th June, 1900, 49.23 per cent, of the population of Australia was settled in New South Wales and Queensland, the estimate for the 3) st December, 1908, is 50.42 per cent., an increase of 1.19 per cent. These figures confirm all that I have contended in respect of the tendency of population to centralize itself in one of the richest districts in Australia. Whilst the estimated increase in the population of Victoria for the same period is only 76,933, that of Queensland and New South Wales is 512,635, or, approximately, fourfold. If there is anything more than cant and hypocrisy implied in the word “national,” these facts should claim the earnest attention of honorable senators.
– Does the honorable senator wish the Seat of Government to be established at Armidale?
– Will the honorable senator submit a proposal to that effect?
– Yes. I claim that Armidale is the proper, as well as the ideal, site for the permanent Seat of Government.
– If we went there we should be petrified in the winter.
– Then what will happen to us at Dalgety ? I haVe visited Armidale and the adjacent towns, and I know that during the winter they enjoy one of the most bracing climates to be found in Australia, and possibly on God’s earth. I am aware that the reasons which I have advanced against the selection of Dalgety apply with almost equal force to the choice of Yass-Canberra. But there is a very strong reason why I differentiate between the two places. If I have read the history of this pitiable fight aright, the Government of New South Wales, and the people of that State, will resist the selection of Dalgety by this Parliament by every constitutional means in their power.
– That is the pitiable part of it.
– I do not think so. Each Government that has been in power in New South Wales has held the same view. The. present Government is inclined to assist us if we select Yass’Canberra, but is almost irreconcilably opposed to the selection of Dalgety.
– Was not the’ See Government in favour of the Capital being established in southern Monaro?
– I am not sufficiently familiar with the facts to say. I am merely pointing out one reason why I differentiate between Yass-Canberra’ and Dalgety.
– The New South Wales Parliament has refused to grant the Crown lands at Dalgety.
– I was not aware that it had gone so far as that. Then it will certainly resist our choice of* Dalgety to the utmost.
– Is not Senator Neild the father of the Dalgety site?
– Since when?
– There is no doubt that, under the Constitution, the people of New South Wales are the donors of the Federal Territory. In using the word “ acquired,” in the way that he did, for the purpose of influencing us in our selection of the permanent Seat of Government, the Vice-President of the Executive Council was merely pursuing a willo’thewisp. We cannot acquire that territory without the consent of New South Wales. We must remember that that State has to be the donor.
– There is no compensation for Crown lands.
– It is merely a matter of transfer from the Crown to the Crown.
– The section distinctly says that there shall be no compensation for Crown lands.
– That remark emphasizes my point, that New South Wales will be the donor of the territory, and so much as is Crown land will be a free gift to the Commonwealth. New South Wales will also facilitate the acquisition by the Commonwealth of such areas of freehold and leasehold land as are not now held by the Crown. Remembering that fact it is our duty to listen respectfully to what the Mother State has to say. That is the reason which influences rae. notwithstanding that, in some respects, there may not be much difference between the two possible sites. I have long held the opinion that the sooner the Federal Government gets into its own territory the sooner we shall realize what I may call the true Federal spirit. Cant about the matter as we may, or disguise the fact as much as we like. Parliament is very much under the whip of the press. It is certainly strongly influenced by newspaper criticism. It would be mere cant to profess that our judgment is not often affected by the writing of the press upon public affairs. If we were meeting in Sydney there is not the slightest doubt that the same remark would apply.
The State press is naturally strongly biased by State considerations, which it is ‘the duty of the newspapers of a State to conserve, and it is almost impossible for members of the Federal Parliament, sitting for the time being in any one State, to be uninfluenced by purely local considerations. When we consider the great Federal questions awaiting solution, it will be recognised that it will be of immense advantage to us to have a territory of our own, however small and humble the beginnings of the Capital may be, in which we may develop a truly national Australian spirit. The discussion of this question has always involved points relating to the interpretation of the section under which the selection of the Capital site must be determined. During the speech of the Vice-President of the Executive Council I asked him whether he interpreted the words as to the 100 miles limit, as meaning that the Federal Government was free to select any portion of New South Wales outside the prescribed area. He answered Yes.” The honorable senator holds that the Federal Government is free to select an area in any part of New South Wales. My answer is that if that had been the intention of the Constitution it was remarkably easy for those who drafted it to find a few simple English words in which to express the meaning that the Federal Government might select an area anywhere in New South Wales outside the 100 miles limit. It is a matter of history that, in 1899, when the Premiers met to settle the final draft of the Constitution it was understood that the 100 miles limit was fixed as a guide. It was also understood amongst the Premiers and by the people of New South Wales that what was meant was that the Capital area should be within a reasonable distance of Sydney outside the limit mentioned. I do not think that there is any honorable senator who will say that the words “ reasonable distance “ in connexion with the 100 miles provision means “ anywhere “ in New South Wales.
– It would be just as reasonable to say that the section means a place 300 miles from Sydney, as that it means a place merely 100 miles away.
– The honorable senator is welcome to his own interpretation of the words “reasonable distance,” but T am entitled to ask the Senate to attach some validity to the agreement arrived at by the responsible Premiers when drafting the Constitution.
– They were not responsible to any one, and they did not draft the Constitution.
– That may be a technical or a legal answer to my objection.
– Further, what .the Premiers put in the Constitution was not what the honorable senator says.
– I admit that: but I think that the Premiers intended that the spirit of the Constitution should be observed. It was well known that New South Wales would stand outside the Federation unless there was a clear understanding as to the location of the Federal Capital. In my opinion, it is not logical to contend that the words “ reasonable distance” must not be read in conjunction with the words as to the 100-miles limit, in interpreting the spirit of the Constitution. The Premiers themselves understood it to mean that in choosing the site, we were to go as nearly as the Constitution would permit to the prescribed distance from Sydney. With all respect to the Vice-President of the Executive Council, I say that it smacks somewhat of unwarrantable audacity to put any other meaning upon the section, if we are to attach any significance to the agreement arrived at by the Premiers. The intention is further evidenced by the fact that Mr. Reid went to New South Wales after the Constitution was drafted, and incurred some amount of odium, because it was held that he had left the Capital site question too open. At the first referendum, New South Wales did not decide to enter the Federation.
– The majority of the New South Wales people voted in favour of the Constitution.
– But still, they decided to stand outside the Federation. Mr. Reid was at that time thoroughly and sincerely desirous that Federation should be established.
– He stumped the country against it.
– When he saw the possibility of the realization of Federation, whatever may have been his doubts previously, he recognised the strong feeling of the people in his own State and in other parts of the Commonwealth. Thereupon, 1 believe he changed his opinion, although he had some difficulty in carrying New South Wales with him. lt was not until he could say to the people of that State, “ I have a distinct and honorable understanding with regard to the settlement of the Capital within a certain distance from Sydney,” that he could bring the people of New South Wales to accept the Constitution.
– He never put before them anything about “ a reasonable distance.”
– I shall jio*. again go over the argument as to the meaning of the loo-miles provision. I will leave the matter frankly to those who are opposed to the construction that I put upon the words. But I believe that unless Mr. Reid had been able to go to the New South Wales people with an assurance from the Premiers, they would have refused to enter the Federation.
– The New South Wales people never did refuse.
– The honorable senator may quibble about words as much as he likes; but the fact remains that the New South Wales people did not desire to enter the Federation.
– That was the time when Mr. Reid earned for himself the epithet “Yes-no.”
– I do not believe in using such expressions about public men. I believe in giving every man credit for good faith and sincerity concerning what he says either inside or outside Parliament. Considering the question from an historical point of view, I say that New South Wales would never have entered the Federation except for the understanding that the Capital would be in that State. Without New South Wales, Federation would have been synonymous with a farce. I believe that if the people of Victoria had had the question put to them, removed from party or political passion and prejudice, that there was an understanding that the Capital should be fixed somewhere as nearly as possible to the 1:00-miles limit, they would have acquiesced. If we eliminate party prejudice, I do not believe that the people in the two great centres of population in the Commonwealth care very much how far from, or how near, the Federal Capital site may be to either. I believe that the people of Victoria, if the question were put to them as a mere abstract question, would say that we should observe the intention of the understanding arrived at between the Premiers, and on the strength of which Mr. Reid brought New South Wales into the Federation.
– Then the honorable senator knows more about Victoria than do Victorians.
– If I am wrong I must bow to the superior knowledge and judgment of Senator E. J. Russell. He ought, and possibly does, know Victorians better than I do, and if he expresses the opinion that I have paid them an undeserved compliment, I must leave him to explain his position to his constituents. I thought I was complimenting the people of Victoria in what I said.
– They can exist without compliments.
– I quite understand that.
– On the question of taking any part of the State, I should say that it is subject to a bona fide exercise of the right, and not an exercise of it for any captious purpose.
– With that qualification, there is not much difference of opinion between the honorable senator and myself, but I think that a bond fide interpretation of that section of the Constitution lies in the direction I have indicated rather than in that indicated by the honorable senator. There is an opinion entertained by many of the people, and by some of the leading politicians in Australia, that it would be better, for some time to come, to defer the selection of the Capital site. lt is suggested that the Seat of Government should be permitted to remain in Melbourne for ten years, and should afterwards be removed for ten years to Sydney ; that by that time many doubtful factors will have been determined, and, in the light of the experience gained, we shall be better able to select a site for the Federal Capital. * The answer to that suggestion is that, under the Constitution, even though a referendum were arranged for its amendment, there is no possible chance of ever having the Federal Capital established either in Sydney or in Melbourne. The reason, of course, is that the territory must belong to the Commonwealth. The site of the Capital and the territory surrounding it must be absolutely our own property. We must be established there as masters, without the slightest possibility of interference by the authorities of any State. Again, it is not imaginable that any State would be prepared to give its capital as part of the Federal territory. It is not thinkable that Victoria would hand over to the Commonwealth 100 square miles, of which Melbourne would form a part. The people would not entertain such a proposition, nor would such a proposition in respect of Sydney be entertained by the people of New South Wales. Again, where should we find the money which would be necessary to pay for the- private properties held in a great city like Sydney or Melbourne ?
– Order ! I point out to the honorable senator that the question before the Senate has reference to selection, under the Constitution, of a site for the Federal Capital, and not to the suitability of either Sydney or Melbourne.
– By that excursion I intended to show that the establishment of the Federal Capital in Sydney or Melbourne is unthinkable, and certainly unarguable. We must select some site where we can secure territory at a reasonable figure. Of course, we hope to get a portion of the territory from New South Wales as a free gift. In the circumstances, an inland Capital, or, if honorable members please, a bush Capital, with all its real or imaginary inconveniences is, to my mind, an inevitable corollary of the Constitution. I regard the centralization of , our great public Departments, our great High Court, and the possession of some territory absolutely our own, as essential factors in the development of a Federal spirit, and I feel that I must, therefore, vote for an inland site” as against a port site, or a site close to either of the State capitals. Honorable senators who desire the immediate establishment of the Federal Capital will give due weight to the arguments I have submitted. It appears that Armidale is not acceptable to either House of this Parliament, and that the only two sites that are” possible are Dalgety and Yass-Canberra. Honorable senators should remember that if we select Yass-Canberra we shall be welcomed by the Mother State, the doner of the Federal territory, and the Government of that State will facilitate our early establishment there. We should not disregard the expressed intention of the Government of New South Wales to assist in the establishment of the Federal Capital at Yass-Canberra. Unless there is to be another instance of what, with all respect to previous Governments, I must describe as intrigue, and at times open and palpable engineering, extending even into the ranks of the Cabinet itself, the Senate will follow the example of the House of Representatives on this occasion. I take the vote given in the House of Representatives to mean that honorable members in another place desire to put an end to all this intriguing and engineering.
– It means nothing more than a narrowing of the dispute to the question of our acceptance of a smaller territory than was battled over a few yearsago.
– That ma,y beso, and I have admitted more than once that honorable senators are at liberty to put whatever construction they like on my observations on this question. Certain considerations have weighed with me, and if I am to do my duty to my State, I feel bound to give effect to those considerations. I believe myself to be right, and Senator Henderson must permit me that luxury. If we are honestly and genuinely sincere in the expression of the desire to establish the Federal Capital on the lines set out in the Constitution, as interpreted by the history of; this great question at the time, we mustconsider the fact that the House of Representatives has willingly and openly changed1 its opinion, and, by a fairly strong majority, has said that Yass-Canberra is the proper site to select. I have no doubt that the fact that the New South Wales Government are prepared to assist in the earlyestablishment of the Capital if YassCanberra be selected was a powerful argument in determining its selection by the House of” Representatives. If there be any importance in the immediate selection of a Federal Capital - a. home of our own, fromwhich we might speak from, a national and federal point of view - and if the Senate cannot see its way to accept Armidale,, which would be my choice, we shall be acting fairly by New South Wales and by theConstitution if we select Yass-Canberra, which, if I may use the term, has been sogenerously put forward by the Mother State.
Senator GIVENS (Queensland) [8.21j.. - We are engaged in an extraordinary proceeding at the present time, which, I think,, is unprecedented in the history of any Parliament, and which certainly has no precedent in any Parliament in Australia.
– I did not think the honorable senator believed in following precedent.
– I do not wish to be found by precedents, but that is no reason why we should take the action now proposed. I am pointing’ out that honorable members opposite, who are usually so hidebound as to be unable ever to get away from precedents, are here being asked to depart from a precedent. This Parliament, after long, careful, and anxious consideration, four years ago, arrived at a definite decision with regard to the Federal Capital site. Several Commissions were sent out to report on the subject, and, after the matter was fully and anxiously debated, both Houses of this Parliament arrived at a conclusion, which was embodied in an Act, that the neighbourhood of Dalgety should be fixed as the site for the Commonwealth Seat of Government. That Act remains the law of the land to this day. In the circumstances, it seems to me extraordinary that the Government should now ask for an expression of opinion as to whether that Act should be repealed, when they have not the courage to propose its repeal themselves. The Government are seeking instruction from the Senate, as they sought instruction from honorable members in another place, as to whether the Act fixing Dalgety as the Seat of Government should or should not be repealed. Why has this question been re-opened? Has the Parliament, as a whole, expressed :any desire that it should be re-opened? Parliament never expressed any opinion on the matter, good, bad, or indifferent, until it was invited to do so by the Government.
– I am delighted that the Government has given Parliament an opportunity to express an opinion.
– Why was this action taken? It was taken in response to the pettifogging outcry of the anti-Federal crowd in the various States, and the parochial cry of the people of Sydney. I am satisfied that the people of New South Wales, as ai whole, would have accepted the selection of Dalgety loyally as the deliberate selection of the Federal Parliament, and as giving full justice to their State, and honorably carrying out the provisions of the Constitution. But a miserable parochial crowd in Sydney desire that the Federal Capital shall, for all time, be -a mere appendage and suburb of that city.
– How about the Treasurer?
– I am not here to defend the Treasurer, who, like a great many other members of Parliament, wants the Capital to be located in his electorate.
– Is he a miserable pettifogger ?
– The feeling which has been displayed bv a certain section of members of Parliament over this matter has been decidedly pettifogging. Both Houses of this Parliament chose Dalgety, and in so doing carried out the provision in the Constitution. But who chose Canberra?
– Mr. Watson.
– No. It was the Government of New South Wales which put Canberra before the Parliament.
– Is Mr, Watson one of the pettifoggers?
– I suppose that since he has represented a Sydney constituency, he has been infected with the Sydney microbe, and finds it incumbent upon. him to barrack for the Sydney feeling. What does the Constitution provide ? It says -
The Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be determined by the Parliament.
That is by the Commonwealth Parliament. Only one condition is attached and that is that the Seat of Government shall be in New South Wales, and distant not less than 100 miles from Sydney.
– The honorable senator forgets that it is to be in Federal territory.
– It is to be in territory granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth. If New South Wales refuses to grant the land, I take it that under the power conferred upon the Parliament of Australia by the people it will have the right to obtain full satisfaction in the matter.
– If New South Wales will not grant the land, we can acquire it.
– Yes. It can be acquired under the provisions of the Lands Acquisition Act. Acting upon the authority of section 125 of the Constitution, this Parliament determined that Dalgety should be the site for the Seat of Government.
– Not Dalgety, but any place within a radius of 17 miles.
– Well, in the neighbourhood of Dalgety, if that phrase suits th<; honorable senator better. No one but this Parliament had any right to reopen the question after that decision was arrived at. But, in order to try to tie its hands, the Sydney crowd put every possible difficulty in its way. They created imaginary difficulties. They refused to be loyal to the spirit and letter of the Constitution, and to give us the area which we had selected. They did not rest until they had practically dictated to this Parliament a different site. In other words, they took the power of deciding what should be the site of the Capital, from this Parliament, which was made the custodian of that authority by the people of Australia.
– Is the honorable senator serious?
– Undoubtedly I am, and the honorable senator knows that every word I say is true.
– Will the honorable senator kindly explain whom he means when he refers to “ the Sydney crowd “ ?
– I mean the Government of New South Wales, the people and press of Sydney, and nearly every representative of that State who looks upon that city as the stronghold of his constituency, especially those senators who are always truckling to the Sydney vote.
– The honorable senator is unkind to Mr. Watson now.
– And he is not in order in speaking disrespectfully of members of Parliament.
– It appears that the truth is so unpalatable to honorable gentlemen opposite that it makes them squirm very considerably.
– It was only, a spirit of fairness to Mr. Watson which made me protest against the honorable senator denouncing him when he is not here -to defend himself.
– Mr. Watson is quite capable of defending himself, and I do not think he would be obliged to the honorable senator for taking up arms in his defence, especially when he was not attacked.
– But all New South Wales ought not to be spoken of as a “crowd.”
– I gave full credit to New South Wales for being ready to abide !:!) the decision of this Parliament and the e.r.ms of the Constitution. I believed that it was certain to agree to everything which we in reason asked. It was not the people >?£ the State, but the people of the metropolitan area who created all the difficulty.
– In fact, the honorable senator puts his word against Sydney or New South Wales.
– We never hear a word of dissatisfaction from other centres in New South Wales.
– Is the Bulletin an organ of the Sydney crowd? It speaks on the side of the honorable senator.
– It claims to be an Australian newspaper, and on this question it is not animated bv parochial feeling. At one time New South Wales offered to the Commonwealth the southern Monaro district as one of the sites suitable for -the FederalCapital. It appointed Mr. Alexander Oliver as a Commissioner to examine and report on the sites, and he reported that the. southern Monaro district was the best site of the lot. He was not acting under the authority of this Parliament. He was only responsible to the Government and Parliament of New South Wales, and, therefore, his view must be regarded by the people of that State as absolutely impartial. On page 25 of his report, “ on Sites for the Seat of Government for the Commonwealth “ - not a Commonwealth, but a State publication - ha says -
If the Federal territory is, within reasonable limits, to be selected independently of cost and of present accessibility, southern Monaro combines more distinctively appropriative features than Canobolas or Yass. On their own. merits, apart from the considerations indicated above, and having regard to the future rather than the initial requirements of the Commonwealth, southern Monaro is entitled to the first place, and Canobolas and Yass may be bracketed as about equally suitable.
– Surely the honorable senator does not take any notice of the opinion of one of the narrow-minded Sydney crowd?
– I am pointing out that until this microbe of parochialism got hold of trie Sydney people, the Government of New South Wales, and its officers, did not see through narrow spectacles at all. At that time they were broad-minded enough t’“i recognise that one portion of the State which was reported on by their Commissioner as being the! most suitable site should be offered to the Commonwealth. With regard to the 100 miles limit we had a rigmarole from Senator St. Ledger as to what it meant. He pointed out that, in his opinion, it meant a reasonable distance from Sydney, and, in support of his view, he mentioned that at a meeting of Premiers it was agreed that the- limit should be interpreted as meaning that the site should be within a reasonable distance of Sydney.
– Within a reasonable distance of the 100 miles limit.
– I think I am stating the case fairly when I say that the Premiers arrived at the conclusion that the limit should be interpreted as meaning within a reasonable distance of Sydney. Now what is a reasonable distance ? The fact that the Convention, while conceding that the Federal Capital ought to be in New South Wales, insisted that it should not be within 100 miles of Sydney is a clear indication that its members considered that it would be an evil to have the Capital identified with any State capital, and also that it would be an evil to have the Capital too close to any of the State capitals, or the commercial influences of the States. Therefore, they said, “ You can put the Capital where you like in New South Wales, but it must not be within 100 miles of Sydney.” I interpret the term “ reasonable distance “ to mean just so far away from the State capitals as to be entirely outside their influence. Evidently that is what the members of the Convention had in their minds, otherwise they would not have used the phrase “ a distance of at least 100 miles.” They said that it must be a reasonable distance away, so that it would not be dominated by the influence of the State capital or by its commercial or political spirit, and from that stand-point a reasonable distance must mean such a distance from the State capital as will secure the Federal Capital from that domination. I have not the slightest doubt that if the Federal Capital had been conceded to Victoria, it would have been provided that the Seat of Government should not be within 100 miles of Melbourne. I interpret the term reasonable distance” to mean that the Federal Capital shall be sufficiently far away to insure tha Parliament and Government of the Commonwealth against undue domination by the State capital.
– In the Constitution there is nothing about a “ reasonable distance.”
– No; but there is a plain and definite statement that the Federal Capital shall not be within 100 miles of Sydney, although it must be in New South Wales. That is the agreement which the people of Australia ratified, and any subsequent agreement or interpretation . arrived at by the State Premiers had no binding effect upon them or the Commonwealth Parliament.
– An agreement was not arrived at subsequently.
– No matter when it was arrived at, if it was not put before the people it has no binding effect upon them.
– But it was put before the people.
– It was only after the lapse of years that this so-called honorable understanding with regard to a reasonable distance was resurrected from its peaceful tomb in order to do good service for the parochial crew who represent Sydney.
– It was published at the time.
– Yes, and it was absolutely forgotten by Mr. Reid himself, until he was reminded of it by a member of Parliament. Even Sir John Forrest has publicly said that he did not remember anything about it.
– He signed the document.
– Like Mr. Reid, he forgot all about it, and it was only after the lapse of years that it was resurrected in order to aid the parochial crew who represent Sydney.
– That is rather rough upon some of us. The honorable senator might try to take a broad view sometimes.
– Senator Walker talks about taking al broad view. He is incapable of taking a broad view of anything which does not embrace Sydney. This Parliament, I submit, has already selected the permanent Seat of Government, and every honorable senator who votes to undo that selection will be actuated by a desire to belittle the Commonwealth, and to glorify a little pettifogging crew in Sydney.
– Is the use of the term “ pettifogging crew “ permissible?
– The honorable senator is not out of order.
-Iamawarethat from a Sydney point of view Dalgety is too far away. It is not a joint in the tail of Sydney, and therefore it is regarded as objectionable. But from a national standpoint, what objection can be urged to its selection ?
– The land there is of poor quality.
-Doesthehonorable senator require the Commonwealth to obtain the best land procurable for the purpose of erecting buildings upon it? The honorable senator was never at Dalgety, and therefore does not know anything about the country.
– I have been there.
– Then I apologize to the honorable senator. I was labouring under a misapprehension.
– The honorable senator should be more careful in his statements.
– I am satisfied that if Senator Russell had travelled through the Monaro district he would know that as good land is to be found there as is to be found in any other part of New South Wales.
– I did not see it.
– Then the honorable senator did not travel very far through the Southern Monaro district. I venture to say that between Dalgety and the Victorian border there is as good land from an agricultural stand-point as is to be found in New South Wales. I shall presently read what some independent authorities say upon that aspect of the question.
– The honorable snator will quote from reports which have been made to order.
– I shall quote from reports compiled by officers of the New South Wales Government - the Government which are now attempting to discredit Dalgety.
– What did Senator Pearce say to-night?
– I heard what he said, and I agree with his arguments. “ What,” I ask, “ is wrong with the selection of Dalgety from a national point of view?” It is a fine, rich district, it is located in one of the healthiest portions of Australia, and, without doubt, possesses the most permanent river to be found in New South Wales. The only reason which can be urged against the Federal Capital being established there is that it is too far removed from Sydney. To my mind, however, it is an almost ideal site for the permanent Seat of Government. It is not located so far inland that access to it can be gained only through a particular State. As a matter of fact, the Commonwealth would be able to form a little independent territory there - a territory that would be bounded on one side by Victoria, upon another by New South Wales, and upon a third by the sea. If we possessed such a self-contained territory with our own port, it would be tantamount to adding a new province to New South Wales. To-day, notwithstanding that Southern Monaro is a large and fertile district possessed of a bracing climate, it is practically empty.
– We should be frozen there.
– The honorable senator came from the Highlands of Scotland, and yet he professes to fear a littlecold.
– As a Highlander I dispute that statement. Senator W. Russell came from the Lowlands.
– At any rate, he ismerely repeating a parrot cry-
– Hear, hear.
– The honorable senator says “ Hear, hear.” I recollect that in the first speech which he delivered in this chamber, he declared that one-half of Australia was too hot for white men to live in. Apparently he now wishes to argue that the other half is too cold. Are we a tropical race? Are we not accustomed to frost and cold ? Are not the residents of Dalgety fine, sturdy, specimens of our race? If Senator Gray will refer to the vital statistics of New South Wales he will find that Southern Monaro is just as healthy a district as is any in that State.
– I prefer to take theopinions of the persons who reside there.
– When I visited Dalgety I did not hear anybody crying stinking fish.
– Was it a beautiful summer day when the honorable senator visited it?
– No, I was there in May.
– That is the most beautiful period of the year.
– Yet it is the very beginning of winter. Dalgety, I repeat, would possess a port of its own, and in that respect its selection would make the Federation entirely independent of Sydney. It is exceedingly desirable that the Commonwealth should have a port of its own. By-and-by we shall probably possess coastal defence vessels, torpedo boats, and submarines, and it will then be necessary for us tohave a port in which they can be provided with shelter and in which docks can be established for the building and repairof such vessels. We ought to be independent of any State in that respect?
– Is the United States independent in that respect of thethe States which compose it?
– Of course it is. Senator Pulsford’s idea is that the Seat of
Government should be dependent upon Sydney for everything. He cannot see a yard beyond Sydney. It is true that that city possesses one of the most beautiful harbors in the world, but there is no reason why the people of - New South Wales should be denied a second harbor. Some honorable senators, however, would deny them that harbor. No objection can be urged against Dalgety save that it cannot be made an appanage of Sydney and that its selection may call into being a rival port.
– The honorable senator is entirely wrong.
– I am entirely right. Who fathered the agitation for the reversal of the decision of this Parliament upon the Capital Site question? Who objected to granting us the requisite Federal territory ? The Sydney people, and the Sydney people only.
– The politics of New South Wales centre in Sydney.
– And politicians of that State are dominated by Sydney interests. If the honorable senator had his way he would make the members of this Parliament submit to similar domination. In selecting Dalgety as the site of the Federal Capital we have fulfilled every obligation imposed upon us by the Constitution both in the letter and the spirit. That being the case, the Government have merely to put into operation the law which this Parliament has enacted. I intend to loyally adhere to the decision at which we have already arrived; I decline to be carried away by any parochial cry or to be influenced by any attempt to make the permanent Seat of Government a mere appanage of Sydney, and to subject this Parliament to the dominating influences - commercial and otherwise - of that city. When we compare Dalgety with the site that has been selected by the other Chamber, what do we find? That in no respect is the Yass-Canberra site the equal of Dalgety, except from the stand-point that it is closer to Sydney. That is its only recommendation. This afternoon some honorable senators “mouthed” in this chamber about an exhibition of “national spirit.” Yet outside I heard them say that they must support the New South Wales Government. Consequently I submit that their “ mouthings “ here were so much -flam.
– Does the honorable ^senator remember the other name for Dalgety? It was called Buckley’s Crossing or Buckley’s Chance, I think.
– I am aware that Buckley’s Crossing was the name which stuck to it for a long time. But it has been known as Dalgety for a considerable period, and I hope that when this Parliament makes its home there, it will find a more suitable name for it.
– What about its accessibility ?
– I have already pointed out that it is more accessible than is any other site. It can be approached either by way of the sea from Twofold Bay, to which it is very adjacent, or through Victoria, or through New South Wales. But if we select a site.in the heart of New South Wales there will be nothing “to prevent the Government of that State telling us that they will not permit us to enter the Federal Territory except over th* roads which they may choose to mark out for us.
– That is an insult to New South Wales.
– New South Wales is quite capable of such conduct judged by the narrow, miserable spirit that she has already exhibited. I do not blame the New South Wales people for it. The mouthpieces of the State are dominated by Sydney influences, and New South Wales as a whole is really innocent. But her good name is dragged in the mire by people who do things of which not 1 per cent, of the people ‘ of the State outside of Sydney would approve.
– Why do they return us to this Parliament?
– Because they are fooled bv the Sydney press. Mr. Oliver, the special Commissioner appointed by the New South Wales Government, recommended Dalgety as the best site for the Capital. One of his principal reasons was the magnificent water supply. and the splendid river flowing in the vicinity. Of course, he did not mention Dalgety specifically, but he mentioned Southern Monaro as decidedly the best district for the purpose. It was offered to us by the New South Wales Government”. Honorable senators opposite have sheltered themselves behind the quibble that the people of New South Wales did not offer the site, because it was not offered by the New South Wales Parliament. But if they did not speak, their Government did, and we had no means of knowing what the mind of New South Wales was except through the Government of the State. The very fact that the site was recommended by the special Commissioner appointed by the New South Wales Government, and offered by the Government of the State, is an evidence that this -Parliament acted in good faith in choosing the site as the most suitable one. Compare the new site with Dalgety, and what do we find ? There is no specific area laid down at all. Yass-Canberra is about 60 or 70 miles across.
– The distance of the Canberra site from the original Yass site is less than the area referred to in the Act nominating Dalgety, which was 34 miles, as against 32 in this instance.
– Let honorable senators look at the map which has been placed before them for their information. I find that, from the tail-end of the proposed water supply area to Yass, there is a distance of considerably more than 30 or 40 miles. It is more than 60 miles.
– If the honorable senator applies the same conditions with regard to the Dalgety water supply area, he will find that the distance there is just as great.
– The area is not defined. Yass-Canberra may mean 500 or 50,000 square miles. It goes by Lake George, includes the old Yass site, and the new Canberra site. In fact, we have been told that there are several better sites in the area than either Yass or Canberra. What are the facts in regard to these sites ? There is only one that is of any real importance. Dalgety does not possess the advantage of Being nearer to Sydney than YassCanberra, and that, in the minds of some honorable senators, outweighs everything that may be placed in the balance in its favour. If the Capital were placed at Dalgety, it would be independent of Sydney. If, however, it were placed at YassCanberra, it would be an appanage of Sydney, and consequently under the domination of the commercial and political interests of that city.
– -If the honorable senator were dogged by the Sydney press, as the New South Wales senators are, he would know what that means.
– Thank goodness I am free from that kind of domination ; and I want to keep the Federal Parliament free from it for all time. For that reason alone I am a supporter of Dalgety. I believe that
Melbourne interests, while the Federal Parliament has been sitting here, have had air * undue influence upon the course of administration and legislation. The same would’ be absolutely true of Sydnev if we sat within reach of the influence of the press of that city. If Ave want to be free from both of those influences, we should select a site about equi-distant, as would be the case with Dalgety, where we should also have an independent access to our Capital and a seaport of our own. It is admitted by every one that in respect of water supply Dalgety stands pre-eminent. How does the new proposed site compare with it? At Yass-Canberra either we shall have to get a sufficient water supply of our own, or be dependent upon the State of New South Wales. The reports go to show that the water supply area which is mentioned as to be set apart for the users of the Federal Capital, would not be sufficient, and in that event we should have to go cap in hand to> the New South Wales Government and say to them, “ Please let us have a drink of water from the Barren Jack Reservoir.”
– That has never been, said as to the water supply for the city.
– It is pointed out in the report that was furnished to honorablesenators to-day.
– As to power, but not as to water supply for consumption purposes.
– We have frequently, been told that in the event of the Cotter Creek becoming dry, we could fall back, upon the Barren Jack Reservoir.
– The Cotter never does., become dry.
– Wherever the Capital is, it should be absolutely independent of Sydney, and have a water supply of itsown. I do not think that any one can haveany doubt as to the sort. of treatment we should receive if we were dependent upon the New South Wales Government. Knowing what has been the attitude of that Government towards the Commonwealth in the past, we can realize how we should fare if we had to go cap iri hand to them and’ ask them for a drink of water. What is. the position as to the water supply in the newly-discovered sites? Unless we put the Capital in a hole, we shall have to undertake extensive and expensive pumping schemes to get water into it.
– There would have to be a pumping scheme at Dalgety.
– That is not at all certain. Not only could we get .sufficient water by gravitation for domestic purposes at Dalgety, but we could get sufficient to give us unlimited electric power for doing everything that might be required. We should have the whole of the upper waters of the Snowy River, which are fed by the everlasting snows of Mount Kosciusko. We shall want a great deal of power in the Federal Capital. We shall require electric trams, electric light, and electric services of various kinds. We shall require power for machinery for factories. At Dalgety we can obtain the cheapest and most economical electric power possible.
– From what source should we get our wood and coal?
– We can land them in Twofold Bay, and bring them up to the city over the Commonwealth railway.
– The honorable senator seems to think that the Federal Parliament is going to live on water !
– I do not think anything of the sort. But I know that water is a primary requisite for the maintenance of good health and the comfort of the people.
– We are a water-drinking lot.
– As a matter of fact, the members of the Federal Parliament and its officers are the most water-drinking people who can be found anywhere in Australia. But what is the position as to water supply in Yass-Canberra? As I have said, unless we are to build the Capital in a hole, we cannot get a drop of water into it except by means of an expensive pumping scheme. There is a scheme by which water can be obtained from the Cotter Creek, but it would be necessary to build a very high dam for the supply of water to Canberra. Assuming that we could get sufficient, we should require also a big dam lower down, in conjunction with an expensive pumping scheme.
– Does the honorable senator call the Cotter a creek?
– I never hear it called a river, I wish to point out, further, that when we are told that we can get water from the Murrumbidgee by pumping, that that is a long river, which flows through settled districts. Any one who “knows anything of such matters must be aware that a river flowing through settled country cannot supply anything but tainted water. If it were used for domestic purposes, it would be likely to cause epidemics that would decimate the population in a very short time. We cannot have a water supply of that kind for the Capital of the Commonwealth. That we should be forced to depend upon a tainted source like the Murrumbidgee seems to be out of reason altogether. Beyond that, there seem to be only two available creeks, the Cotter and the Micalong. From this point of view, therefore, we cannot accept Yass-Canberra, or any site in that district, as being a sufficient compensation for the loss of such a magnificent site as Dalgety. I should like, for the information of honorable senators and the public, to read a portion of Mr. Oliver’s report dealing with the Southern Monaro district. Honorable senators from New South Wales have been continually belittling that portion of their own State by. saying that the climate is so bad that it would kill off every member of the Federal Parliament within a couple of years.
– It would take more than a couple of years to kill off the honorable senator.
– I hope so. Indeed, I believe I should enjoy better health there than I do in Melbourne. Let me point out what Mr. Oliver had to say on page 21 of. his report -
Three inspections of the Southern Monaro Federal territory and Capital sites made for the purposes of the Commission, confirmed strongly the favorable opinion I have always entertained of this tract of country, just as similar inspections of the Orange and Yass sites strengthened my original inclinations in their favour; and when it was decided to reduce the eligible sites to three, the right of Southern Monaro to a place could not be questioned; foi not only does it possess all the features o suitability claimed for Orange and Yass, except accessibility by rail, but it has some special features of its own which must attract the serious attention of the determining authorities.
In the first Dl;iCe, the inclusion in the Federal territory of Southern Monaro of a harbor like Twofold Bay, with- at least from five to six square miles of safe anchorage for the largest ocean-going steamers, secured by a north and south breakwater of no extraordinary dimensions or . cost, and of a railway connexion wilh that harbor, both railway and harbor, and a sufficient area of adjacent country to be Commonwealth property, distinguish this site from all others.
Here I should like to point out that honorable senators representing New South Wales, not content with belittling and decrying the Monaro district in this Parliament, u-i order to damn t i ie chance of Dalgety being selected, ?.:e also continually belittling and decryi.ni> Twofold Bay as a harbor. Let us hear what Mr. Oliver had to say of Twofold Bay as a harbor -
The Engineer-in-Chief for Harbors and Rivers estimates the cost of the breakwaters - the noi them 4,700 feet, the southern 4,850 feet in length, affording a width entrance of 1,800 feet - at £1,028,000, a sum which might be considerably reduced if suitable stone could be obtained in the neighbourhood.
Hut as against this large sum it is only fair to set the fact that this harbor, being Crow:i land, would cost the Commonwealth nothing for resumption.
If the Seat of Government were to be located on the Monaro tableland, and connected by rail with a harbor such as Twofold Bay, the Commonwealth would acquire an invaluable naval base situated nearly half way between the two capitals that offer the greatest temptations to a.-i enemy - Sydney and Melbourne,
Mr. Oliver says that Twofold Bay would be invaluable as a naval base, and that is just what Sydney representatives do not desire. They wish that the Commonwealth should be absolutely bound to Sydney for all time.
– The Commonwealth need npt be so bound if Jervis Bay is selected.
Seantor GIVENS. - The Sydney representatives look upon Jervis Bay as only an appanage of Sydney. They want to make the Federal Capital a joint in the tail of that city.
– Shortly, the honorable senator is against anything that. will suit Sydney.
– I am not; but I think it would be an advantage to Australia to have, in addition to Sydney and its harbor, another good port, and another good district opened up.
– It would be an advantage to Sydney also.
– That is so; but in their blind selfishness, the people of Sydney are unable to see that at the present time. My business here is not to consider the interests of Melbourne or Sydney, or even of any town in my own State. I am sent here .to do what I believe to be best for the people of the Commonwealth as a whole, and, especially in this matter of the Capital site, I contend that State or party feeling should not be permitted to enter. It is a matter of Commonwealth concern.^ Let me remind honorable senators that we are selecting the Federal Capital, not for a day or a week, but for 3.11 time. Honorable senators should approach the settlement of the question with 3. sense of that responsibility upon them.
We require to make a selection of a site which will be not merely an appanage of any other city, but which will be capable of development in a great national way, and be the means of opening up a large and important district for close and profitable settlement. Mr. Oliver goes on to say -
The eastern States of Australia would acquire a harbor of refuge or for refitting ships in distress or for coaling. If the Commonwealth i : to have a navy of its own, or even a training ; ship, Twofold Bay would be a convenient Nation, particularly for gunnery practice, and suggests itself as the convenient head-quarters of the Naval Commandant. As the breakwater would be fortified, the port of Eden could be made practically impregnable. In such a harbor the Commonwealth would have two roads for reaching the various State capitals - one by sea, the other by land - and of facilitating t-n.’ collection, mobilisation, and dispatch of troops, munitions, and equipments.
– The honorable senator will notice that in order to make Twofold Bay of any use breakwaters must be erected at a cost of about ,£1,000,000.
– They are not absolutely necessary. I have shown from Mr. Oliver’s report that at present there exists there a safe anchorage ‘for ocean-going vessels. To make it an absolutely safe harbor, no doubt it would be necessary to erect breakwaters. When more than £1,000,000 has been spent on the harbor at a little place like Townsville, in North Queensland, is it to be supposed that the Commonwealth will be unable to spend £1,000,000 to make a safe harbor at Twofold Bay?
– When we can get a harbor which does not require the expenditure of £1,000,000 why should we not take it?
– Of course, we might have Sydney Harbor, and we might have our whole Navy floating on its bosom, and every penny spent on the Navy would then be spent in Sydney. When it comes to a question of spending money outside Sydney the patriotism of Sydney representatives vanishes into thin air. Mr. Oliver’s report continues -
The lumber cargoes from the other side of the Pacific could be discharged direct on the Eden wharf, and the same facilities that exist for cargoes of coal, stone, ‘iron roofing, slates, tiles, cement, and all other kinds of building material ; and thus every State of the Federation would have a common commercial heritage in a harbor second only to Port Jackson.
That is the trouble. If Dalgety and Twofold Bay were selected, every State would then have a heritage in the Commonwealth port. Every State would be a shareholder in a magnificent harbor. We should not all be compelled to go to one harbor in New South Wales, to have all our business filtered through that State, and to be at the beck and call of the pettifogging Sydney Government -
The resident inhabitants and visitors to the Federal Capital on the uplands of Monaro would have within three hours’ journey by rail a seaside climate admirably suited for batho” and seaside recreation, and as winter quarters for those who might require an occasional change, from a bracing to a milder climate. And two such climates as those of Eden and Monaro would be of reciprocal benefit.
What these and other advantages might mean in the course of a generation or two it is impossible to predict, and perhaps difficult to exaggerate.
Whether the advantages to be derived from the association of such a harbor with the Federal territory would compensate for the cost of securing them, it is for others to determine, but even in its present slate, the port of Eden, except during violent south-east gales, which arp infrequent, is one of the best on the coast of New South Wales. The in-curved northern headland, forming a very snug, though rather small, harbor, which has an excellent jetty, where vessels of 2,000 tons can discharge, while a fe thousand pounds spent in enlargement of t It jetty and in putting down mooring and riding buoys would very greatly improve the shipping facilities of the port, pending the construction of the breakwaters.
– I have seen a 2,000- ton vessel on her bottom at the Eden wharf, and she had to wait for the tide to rise before she could be floated off.
– The Orient steamer Austral sank in Sydney Harbor, but am I to condemn Sydney Harbor for that?
– The Austral did not sink for want of water.
– Mr. Oliver further says -
I have given special attention to the harbor advantages associated with this site, because they are in one respect its chief distinguishing feature, but there is another aspect in which thi’ site is distinguished from all others. If the Federal Capital is established in Southern Monaro it is considered certain that Victoria wi’l extend her Gippsland line, now terminating at Bairnsdale, through Orbost, and contouring the coast, up to the Victorian border near Delegate, or Timbillillica, and so complete a coastal circuit of railway communication which would be of great strategical value, and would al.-o be a relief to the Main Trunk Line, and possibly an effective substitute for a duplication of the roadway of that line, the ordinary traffic on which must, with intercolonial free trade, become more and more congested. The cost of such an extension, which it is presumed would h-. borne by Victoria, is estimated by Mr. Rennick, the Victorian Engineer-in-Chief for Construction, at £665,493 15s., or £4,500 per mile for 147 miles 71 chains. The cost of extension m Delegate River or Bendock would be much higher, viz., £1,351,212 10s.’, and £1,442,237 10.
In regard to water supply, whatever rank is to be assigned to the site which possesses the most abundant as well as the cheapest, by gravitation, from a neverfailing source, with 280 feet of head, Southern Monaro has hardly a rival, even under the conditions of the original proposal ; but, with the Snowy River thrown in, as it win be by the enlargement of the site as suggested, Southern Monaro stands absolutely first in the important matter of Water Resources; and the same site gives better promise than any other of affording water power for hydraulic lift.! and the development of electrical energy. Th; character of the water supply is treated at length in the report on this site at page 31). It may, however, be mentioned here that most of the catchment areas of the Delegate, anr) Little Plains Rivers, are in New South Wak. and within the proposed Federal territory, as enlarged, although the sources of both are in swamps and springs on the other side of th : Victorian border.
In regard to Accessibility, although the distance from Sydney to Melbourne, vid Goulburn and Cooma railway, as extended to the Victorian border, and thence vid Orbost and Bairnsdale to Melbourne, would be approximately 676 miles or 100 miles more than the distance between the same two points by the Main Southwestern Trunk Line vid Albury ; yet the Southern Monaro site would be very nearly equi-distant as between Sydney and Melbourne by rail, and by water the difference would not be very much in favour of Sydney. The disadvantage of ICC miles more railway road between the two cap’tals would, however, be more than counterbalanced by the advantages of the alternative sea route, and the connexion of our Southern Railway System with the Victorian-Gippsland-System.
I do not propose to read any more on that particular subject. The quotations I have made will be found on pages 21 and 22 of the report, and I propose now to quote from page 25. Mr. Oliver’s summary of conclusions. He says -
Summing up the conclusions reached on the foregoing review of the various sites proposed, your Commissioner considers that when any one of the three sites (1) Orange, (or Canoblas), (2^ Yass, (3I Bombala-Eden, (Southern Monaro), will be suitable for the establishment therein of the seat of Government of the Commonwealth; and whether for the area as originally proposed, or enlarged as suggested, or as may be subsequently determined.
If the final selection is to be governed, namely by considerations of co«t of acquisition and present accessibility, as between New South Wales and Victoria, Yass would be entitled to first place ; but the resources of that site for an effective water supply for a large population are not as satisfactory as could be desired
If the quality of the soil and the charadeof the climate are accepted as the controlling factors, Orange (or Canoblas) would be entitled to first place; but the cost of resuming land within this area will be very heavy, and the water supply from the Canoblas catchment is not very promising for a large population. This site has the additional drawback of not being in respect of Accessibility a fair compromise as between Sydney and Melbourne.
If the Federal territory is, within reasonable limits, to be selected independently of cost and of present accessibility, Southern Monaro combines more distinctly appropriate features than either Canoblas or Yass.
On their own merits, apart from the considerations indicated above, and having regard to the future, rather than the initial requirements of the Commonwealth, Southern Monaro is entitled to first place, and Canoblas and Yass may be bracketed as about equally suitable.
I have quoted sufficient to show that a New South Wales Commissioner, at the invitation of the Government of that State, reporting on sites offered by the State, came to the conclusion that the site already selected by this Parliament is the most suitable site in New South Wales for the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth.
– Because there is cheap land and poor land at the Southern Monaro site.
– Mr. Oliver says nothing whatever about the land at the Southern Monaro site being poor land, and if Senator W. Russell requires that salve for his conscience he will certainly not find it in Mr. Oliver’s report. He stated that, having regard to all the circumstances - accessibility, when railways are built, a port, a water supply, and almost every other essential feature - Dalgety or the Southern Monaro district is the most suitable site in New South Wales for the Federal Capital.
– There is no possible connexion between Dalgety and Southern Monaro, because of the mountainous ranges which separate them.
– Dalgety is an integral portion of the Southern Monaro district, because one can ride from the Victorian border to Dalgety via Delegate and Bombala, without crossing any hill worth talking about.
– The honorable senator does not know what he is talking about.
– I am quite certain, because I drove over the country, and did not meet a. hill worth considering. The honorable senator in his desire to bolster up the miserable claim which he puts forward for Sydney. is willing to belittle and decry every other portion of his State.
– The fact is that the honorable senator does not know what he is talking about.
– The honorable senator never does. I have not asked him to accept my word, but the report of a Commissioner appointed by the Government of New South Wales. I ask him to say why they offered that particular site to the Commonwealth if they did not think that it would be a suitable one?
– When “did they offer it?
– -Shortly after the Commonwealth was established it was offered by the See Government. Why did they send Mr. Oliver to examine and report upon it?
– In other matters the honorable senator declines to accept the Government of New South Wales.
– I am putting them in the witness-box to disprove their own case. When one can prove out of a man’s mouth that he has been wrong, it is reasonable to ask others to believe that he is wrong in another matter. The Commonwealth Parliament accepted the view of Commissioner Oliver, that the Southern Monaro district was the most suitable site for the Federal Capital. They adopted Dalgety, and why is the question re-opened now?
– The Government of New South Wales reserved all the Crown land in that district from alienation, in case it might be wanted for the Federal Capital.
– Of course they did. and immediately we chose Dalgety they said, “ That will not do. That is not adhering to the principle or the letter of the Constitution. You are not putting the Federal Capital at or near 100 miles from Sydnev. You are not going to make it a joint in the caudal appendix of this State.” That is the position which they took up. Is the Commonwealth Parliament to give up its right to settle this question in an independent manner, and to be dominated bv the miserable parochial feeling displayed bv a section of the people in Sydney ? T never hear a word of dissatisfaction coming from any portion of New South Wales except Sydney. The cry is. “ Oh, Dalgety is too near Melbourne. The Capital will be only too mile* nearer to Sydney than to Melbourne.” What has that to do with the question? Is it for the people of Sydney after having got their full terms in the bond, to dictate to us? When the first referendum was taken, the people of New South Wales did not really reject the Constitution Bill, because after agreeing to a minimum affirmative vote of 50,000, the Government meanly and basely went behind their backs and raised it.
– No, it was doneby a private member of Parliament. I did it.
– I am glad that the honorable senator has got in his little egotism, and I hope that it will do much credit to him. By whomsoever it was done, it was a mean, paltry, and contemptible thing to try to muzzle the people. A verdict in favour of Federation was given, but because the affirmative vote did not reach the artificial minimum fixed by interested persons, acting for Sydney then, as they are now doing, as against the interests of the people of New South Wales, they threw the Constitution Bill aside. Then they got their price, and it is embodied in the Constitution that the Federal Capital must be in New South Wales, but not within 100 miles of Sydney.
– That was not the only alteration for which’ New South Wales was fighting.
– They were fighting about the so-called Braddon “blot,” which they have since fallen upon their knees to worship and bless.
– They were also fight- fortheabolition of the two-thirds majority at a joint sitting of the two Houses ; and on that point the Labour Party were fighting shoulder to shoulder with our party.
– As soon as the pro- visionrelatingtotheFederalCapital agreed to, Mr. Reid admitted that all difficulty about the acceptance of the Constitution Bill was removed. Whatever else they might have been talking about, that was the main difficulty, and as soon as it was settled, he turned round, and advocated with all his might that the Constitution Bill should be adopted. TheSydney people got their price, and it is embodied in the Constitution. I am perfectly satisfied that the majority of the members of this Parliament have been not only willing but anxious to fulfil the obligation as soon as possible, but the people of Sydney and the representatives of its interests in this Parliament and elsewhere have stood in the way.
– Does not the honorable senator think that it would be a good thing to bar New South Wales from any representation in Federal affairs?
– New South Wales is entitled to her full representation, and we are. always glad to see her representatives here, but when they want to arrogate to themselves the right to settle this question, and when it has been mentioned more than once in the Parliament of New South Wales that it is a question for that Parliament, and not for this Parliament to settle-
– That is what the first Federal Government said.
– When we are trying to settle the question in an honorable way. and in accordance with the strict letter of the law, we should be absolutely free from the domination of Sydney oranybody else, and shouldpay no heed to their representations. What claim has New South Wales to a greater voice in this matter than any other State? She has just the same voice as any other State, and no more. She got her price when the Bill was adopted.
– We are willing to fulfil our obligation, but New South Wales wants a great deal more than her price.
– She wants a great deal more than she will get.
– Exactly, so far as I am concerned. I, as well as others, have been told by those who are interested in bringing about the proposed alteration that the proper way to settle this matter is to fall in with the ideas of New South Wales, and that then she will treat the Commonwealth generously. Perhaps she will. We are told that if we adhere to Dalgety we shall not get a Federal port at Twofold Bay, because New South Wales will always stand as a lion in our path. I am quite satisfied that if the time ever comes when the State adopts that attitude, and it is necessary for the Commonwealth to have a port, the people will insist upon our having the port, no matter what Sydney people may say. I feel quite certain thatwhen the people of the Commonwealth have made up their minds to do a certain thing they will allow no small section of the people to stand in the way of its accomplishment.
– The honorable senator is becoming an absolute swashbuckler.
– Order !
– When I rise to the dignity of carrying a pocket mirror and curling my resplendent moustache in my few lucid moments, I may talk about being a swash-buckler, but I have not yet risen to that dignity.
– No, nor has anybody else.
– When New South Wales says to us, “ If you will accept this other site we will give you all that was desired at Dalgety - the full area which you may think is necessary, access to a port, and the control of a sufficient portion of that port for Federal purposes” - I say that she is making a reasonable offer, and if I were perfectly sure that she was acting in good faith it might have considerable influence upon my vote.
– Does the honorable senator doubt it?
– I should be worse than foolish - I should be idiotic - if, knowing’ how New South Wales has acted all along in this matter, I did not doubt her. When I recollect that she offered the Dalgety site to us some years ago, and absolutely refuses it to us now, how can I place any reliance upon her offer to give us sufficient territory elsewhere?
– The honorable senator can get over that difficulty by making his acceptance of the Yass-Canberra site conditional upon the Commonwealth getting Jervis Bay and access thereto.
– Why should I alter my vote in favour of Dalgety, when I do not think that we should be any better off in respect of those matters? Certainly we should be getting a poorer site. What reliance can be placed upon the offer of the State Government to do this thing for the Commonwealth, seeing that formerly the State offered Dalgety to us, and as soon as it was selected refused to give it to us? Is it not possible that the State might refuse to make the other concessions? If she wants us to treat her generously, and consider her wishes in .the most favorable way, she has her remedy. If she is sincere, let her embody in an Act of Parliament an offer of the territory, with that access to and control of a port which is essential for our purposes.
– Would the honorable senator regard that as a proper and definite offer?
– I should.
– Then she has never offered Dalgety.
– According to the honorable senator, she has never offered us Dalgety because she has repudiated her offer. I desire to put it out of her power to repudiate before I am prepared to consider any offer seriously. Until such timeas her Government approach us in that manner I shall pay no heed to them. Sofar as I know, this Parliament has alwaysbeen inclined to do full justice to New South Wales in this matter.
– The honorable senatordoes not mean that, though.
– That may not be interpreted as doing full justice to Sydney, but this Parliament is not concerned about Sydney, or any other city in the Commonwealth. It is only concerned aboutsettling this question in a way which will be most conducive to the interest, not of one town or section of the people of a particular State, but of the peopleof the Commonwealth as a whole. I claim that the selection of Dalgety -would be one of the best things which could happen toNew South Wales. It would practically add a new province, because I am satisfied, from personal knowledge, that if the Federal Capital were established in the vicinity of Dalgety, the Eden-Monaro district, fromCooma to the Victorian border, would, in-, the course of twenty-five years, carry ai population of a quarter of a million at the least, whereas now it carries only a few hundred persons. That could not beotherwise than advantageous to New South Wales. But, apparently, that State is going to wrap itself up in its own selfishness, and deny to this Parliament the right which has been conceded to it by the people of the Commonwealth, including those of New South Wales. We are here to give effect to the wishes of the people of Australia - not those of a miserable little coterie inSydney - and so long as we recognise our duty in that connexion we cannot do otherwise than adhere to our selection of Dalgety as the site of the permanent Seat of” Government.
Debate (on motion by Senator McGregor) adjourned.
Senate adjourned at 9.42 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 28 October 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1908/19081028_senate_3_48_c3/>.