3rd Parliament · 3rd Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
SUPPLY BILL (No. 2).
Is it a fact that a large number of M.L.E. rifles were, upon the issue of the new short rifle, returned to the Ordnance Department several months since?
Is it a fact that numerous applications have been made on behalf of rifle clubs to purchase such M.L.E. rifles or obtain same on l oan?
Is it not a fact that the formation of new rifle clubs and recruiting for existing clubs has been stopped owing to the impossibility of obtaining rifles?
When will the condition of affairs indicated by the foregoing questions be terminated and the sale or loan of rifles to rifle clubs be resumed ?
– I ask the honorable senator to be kind enough to give notice of the’ questions.
Senator BEST laid upon the table the following papers : -
Navigation Bill -
Copy of Despatch from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, No. 326, dated the 18th September, 1908.
Copy of cablegram in reply thereto.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
That this Conference is of opinion that the Federal Government should co-operate with the States in promoting and otherwise assisting immigration to Australia by generally advertising the advantages which Australia offers; but that all matters relating to the selection of individual immigrants be left in the hands of the several States. “ That this Conference is of opinion that, as soon as practicable, the Premiers should discuss this question with the Federal Government with a view to common action.”
The discussion referred to in paragraph 2 is still proceeding. 3, 4, and 5. When the site has been acquired the States will be offered an opportunity of housing their Agents-General and staffs in the Australian offices.
– May I ask my honorable friend if I am not right in assuming that the question of the Federal Government advertising schemes of immigration is the only thing in which cooperation is sought?
– I do not understand that to be so, but I shall be very glad to make further inquiry.
– I understand that the States desire to manage and control their own systems.
– I think that the resolution of the Conference speaks for itself.
– I think that it does, too.
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
With reference to statement by Mr. Burns in the House of Commons to the effect that since 1906 some 6,000 reservists have gone to the colonies from Britain, is the Department of Defence aware how many, if any, came to Australia, and where these men are to be found ?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows : -
The information is not at present available in the Defence Department, but steps are being taken to obtain the same.
Debate resumed from 28th October (vide page 1602) on motion by Senator Best -
That the Senate do forthwith proceed to determine the opinion of senators as to the site for the seat of Government of the Commonwealth.
That the following be the method of selection of the site, and that so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Senate from adopting such method : -
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.
– It has already been stated that in 1904 this Parliament fixed as the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth some place within 17 miles of Dalgety. From that date to the present time nothing substantial has been done to give effect to that Act of Parliament, which was seriously passed. It is not necessary for me to discuss the reason for the delay. I do not intend to attribute any motives to Sydney or to any other place in the Commonwealth, but it is evident that the influence of Sydney was sufficiently strong to prevent the Commonwealth Government from carrying out an Act solemnly passed by this Parliament. However, the question was brought on for consideration again, and certain negotiations - I was going to say under-ground engineering, but I do not suppose that would be fair, because I have no doubt that the gentlemen concerned in the negotiations or transactions to which I refer were as sincere in their intentions as those who oppose them - took place. But no one can deny that there was a. good deal of manoeuvring indulged in. I say that confidently, because an altogether new site has been selected by another branch of this Legislature, as the result of a combination or “ honorable understanding,” if I may use a term familiar in the State from which I come. Can any member of the Commonwealth Parliament point on any map of Australia or of New South Wales to any place called “ YassCanberra.” I have never previously heard of such a place. I went to school when I was young, and since I arrived in Australia, I have heard of Yass, of Canberra, of Lake George, of Tumut, but in no school book, and on no map of New South Wales or Australia, is there such a name as “ YassCanberra “ to be found.
– There are none so blind as those who will not see.
– Probably I can see as far through a political manoeuvre as any honorable senator opposite ; but I cannot see double. I am not sufficiently intoxicated by party bias or parochial prejudice to see double. When we are being asked to calmly consider a matter which must affect Australia, not for to-day or to-morrow, but for thousands of years to come, I desire that honorable senators shall approach it impartially.
– In a party light. Senator MCGREGOR.- The honorable senator need not talk about party in connexion with this question. If it is being made a party question, it is by honorable senators opposite.
– The honorable senator is trying to make it a party question now.
– The only party in the Senate that has not made this a party question is the Labour Party.
– What about the Government ?
– I am not considering the Government in the matter. 1 desire that in the settlement of this question no complications shall be permitted which would interfere with the clear and calm consideration of the matter by each individual senator. I do not desire that the advocates of a particular site should bc confronted by any complications. It is for that reason that, before continuing the discussion on the motion, I move -
That after the first sub-paragraph of paragraph 2 the following words be inserted : - “That each site must be nominated separately, and no two or more sites maybe bracketed in one nomination.”
My object in moving this amendment is in order that no combination shall be permitted to defeat any individual site which may be preferred by a majority of the Senate. Why do I move this amendment? It is because I can clearly recollect what transpired in 1904, when this question was under consideration previously. Honorable senators opposite are thoroughly familiar with what transpired on that occasion, and I think that some explanation should be forthcoming as to why they have changed their attitude in respect of the decision which was then arrived at. I ask them to refer either to Hansard or to the Journals of the Senate for the purpose of ascertaining the exact position which was created upon that occasion.
– Take the Seat ot
Government Act as it stands.
– I prefer to deal –with the position which arose at the time, and in this connexion I desire to ask Senator Millen why he has changed his attitude ?
– I have not changed. I thought that I was helping the honorable senator.
– The honorable senator did help me in 1904, and I wish to know why he does not intend to adhere to the position which he then took up?
– I do intend to adhere to it.
– Does Senator Millen know the name of the site mentioned in the Seat of Government Bil’l when it was transmitted to this Chamber from another place, in 1904?
– Tumut was the name of the site which had been inserted in that measure, and, although Senator Millen is prepared to accept that site today, he was not willing to accept it then.
– Nor am I now.
– Have not some honorable members 011 the other side of the Senate naively remarked that even Tumut might be included in the district of Yass-Canberra ? The ridiculousness of the position is so apparent that the simplest child in the Commonwealth can see through it. In 1904 Senator Millen assisted me to have Tumut eliminated from the Seat of Government Bill.
– And I would do the same thing to-day.
– Senators Walker, Macfarlane, and Dobson adopted a similar attitude. Why have they changed their views? Have they been converted’ from their original convictions, or is their altered attitude the result of party influence which has been exercised?
– Drop that.
– I ask that question in all seriousness. Do Senators Dobson, Macfarlane, Walker, and Millen affirm that in 1904 their perception was blinded by some influence which does not affect them now?
– I was opposed to the selection of Tumut then, as I am opposed to it to-day.
– In 1904 the name of Tumut was eliminated from the Seat of Government Bill, and that of Bombala inserted.
– BombaH was’ not inserted with the aid of my vote’.
– I may tell the leader of the Opposition that Senators Macfarlane, Dobson, and Walker all ultimately assented to the selection of Dalgety.
– Is the honorable senator sure of that?
– No division was taken upon the proposal, which was also silently assented to by Senator Millen.
– I do not remember voting upon it.
– The honorable senator is too easily influenced by every wind that blows.
– Only by Conservative winds.
– I will not say that, because I do not believe that Senator Walker is a Conservative at heart. He is simply too good natured to refuse to accede to a request preferred by a political leader. That is what is the matter with him. But I do know what is the matter with Senator Dobson. I believe that he is an individualist of the first water, and consequently more pressure must have been brought to bear upon him to induce him to change his view of the Monaro district than could have been exercised by any political leader.
– Why does not the honorable senator confine his remarks to the eligible sites?
– I merely want the honorable senator to adhere to his original idea upon this question. I believe that in his heart he still acknowledges that from the stand-point of its suitability for the establishment of the permanent Seat of Government there is no place in Australia which can come within miles of the Monaro district. As far as Senator Macfarlane is concerned it is very difficult to understand his attitude. I am very much surprised that Senator Guthrie did not convert him when he so graphically pictured the difficulties which have to be encountered in approaching Jervis Bay in almost any weather. I do not propose to discuss the merits of either Dalgety, Canberra, Yass, Lake George, Tumut, or any other site. That task has been well performed by honorable senators who have preceded me. We have only to recollect the able deliverance of Sen a tor Pearce regarding the reports presented upon the various sites by officers of the New South Wales Government to enable us to arrive at, a sound conclusion upon this question. But I wish to put the position from an Australian point of view.
– Hear, hear.
– I am very glad to hear Senator W. Russell say “Hear, hear.” I know that he desires to get at the truth, and I hope that he will recognise it when it is clearly presented to him. I know that he is ready at all times to receive impressions which appeal to him as being both intelligent and honest. Consequently, I intend to appeal to him, not on behalf of South Australia, Victoria, or New South. Wales, but of Australia. What should we chiefly desire in connexion with the establishment of the Federal Capital ? Undoubtedly, our first object should be to promote the best interests of the Commonwealth, and our second to foster the development of Australia. These are the only two phases of the question with which I shall deal. I do not propose to argue the question of whether the Seat of Government should be located at Bombala, at Delegate, or Dalgety. I shall limit my remarks to the district of Southern Monaro, and will contrast the Dalgety site with the site which has been selected by another place. What will happen if the Seat of Government be established in any portion of the country lying between Yass and Canberra? Senator Pearce and others have given us a very clear indication of the possibilities of that locality, not merely from the point of view of providing an adequate water supply, but from many other stand-points. In considering the establishment of a city in any locality, we have to remember the geographical features of the country. I wonder whether honorable senators opposite know anything about the geographical features of the country between Melbourne and Sydney. Have they ever studied it ? Some honorable senators . have not only frequently travelled between those two great cities, but have incidentally visited Queanbeyan and Canberra. In travelling from Melbourne to Sydney, and thence to the Monaro district, one traverses the very worst country possible from the point of view of creating an impression favorable to Dalgety. From Cooma to Dalgety everything appears inhospitable. But any one who has travelled from Dalgety to Bombala or right on to Twofold Bay knows that a different impression is created. Let me for a moment take honorable senators over the existing railway route between Melbourne and Sydney. After leaving;
Melbourne you cross the Dividing Range; and you cross it again before reaching Sydney: Melbourne is on the eastern side of the Dividing Range. The railway crosses it towards the west, and then crosses back to reach Sydney. But a railway starting from Melbourne, going through East Gippsland, and right, up to Bombala, Delegate, or Dalgety, would remain on the eastern side of the Dividing Range and could go on to Sydney without crossing the range twice as is the case at present. Now, what would the construction of a railway in the direction I have indicated mean in respect to the development of Australia? If the Federal Capital is established in the Monaro district the Victorian people will be bound in the very near future to construct a line from Bairnsdale to the borders of New South Wales. A railway will also have to be constructed from Cooma to the Federal Capital, and from the Capital to Eden. What would that mean? It would mean the development of an immense area of country. Of course, Victoria would construct a line in her own territory, New South Wales would do the same in hers, and the Commonwealth within its borders. The distance from Bairnsdale to the border of New South Wales is something like 168 miles. Senator Trenwith, as an old member of the Victorian Railways Standing Committee, knows what the effect of railway construction is. It means that the country for twenty miles on each side of the line is bound to be developed. The construction of 160 miles of railway, therefore, means the development of 6,400 square miles of country. The very same thing would take place in regard to the construction of a line from Cooma to Eden, a distance of nearly 100 miles. About 4,000 square miles of country would be developed in that direction. That is to say, over 10,000 square miles would be developed as a result of the construction of these lines. This is a question that affects, not Victoria alone, not New South Wales, but the settlement of population in Australia generally. There is another consideration affecting the establishment of the Capital in the Monaro district. We should have a neutral port belonging to the Commonwealth at Twofold Bay, where the trade and commerce of every State would be connected with the heart of the Commonwealth. Vessels would come direct from Launceston, from Hobart, from Adelaide, from Perth, from Brisbane, and from other parts of the Commonwealth to the Commonwealth port at Eden.
– That is what the Sydney people do not want.
– Vessels would come in just the same way to Jervis Bay.
– Both of those interjections are pertinent. The one fits into the other. Senator Stewart is quite right. The Sydney people do not want the port of Twofold Bay to be developed. I should like Senator Walker to consider for a few minutes the geographical character of the country between either Yass or Canberra and Jervis Bay. Has he ever been over it? Has he ever thought about it? Has he ever seen it? Has he ever imagined what it is like? Has he ever talked with any one who has travelled over it?
– Yes, I have.
– At last !
– lt must have been in his dreams then, because I am positive that the honorable senator has never travelled over the country himself.’ One who has travelled there has only to reflect to recognise that the country is cut by. the very backbone of the Dividing Range. There are not only stupendous mountains to be crossed, but also deep ravines and river beds to be bridged, and a much longer distance to be traversed than from either Bombala or Dalgety. Every one who has travelled the country knows that while on the tableland railway construction would be fairly cheap with an easy descent from Cathcart to Twofold Bay, the country, between Canberra or any portion of that district and Jervis Bay is of a very different character. I am sure that in his conscience Senator Walker must recognise that it would cost nearly ten times as much to provide railway communication in that direction.
– If the Government of New South Wales are willing to do it, why object?
– They have never said that they would do it. The most that has been said by the Government or representatives of New South Wales, or the Sydney newspapers, has been that, under certain circumstances, the State would afford facilities to the Commonwealth to carry out the work.
– That is more than they have said in regard to Twofold Bay.
– But they will say it.
– We are concerned in what they may say in the near future in regard to Twofold Bay. The trade of not only the Federal Territory, but also Victoria and New South Wales would be done through that port. The farmers and producers in the Monaro district, north-eastern Gippsland district, and the south-eastern portion of New South Wales would not send their produce by railway to Sydney or Melbourne if they had a port within a distance of 100 miles ; that port would develop the country for more than 100 miles south, north, and west. But that is what Sydney does not want. Honorable senators on the other side, who adhere to the Sydney idea, know very well the history of Twofold Bay. Senator Walker, for instance, knows that Benjamin Boyd arrived there many years ago, established a whaling station, and took up over 20,000 acres of land.
– He established a socalled bank called the Royal Bank.
– Yes. The honorable senator knows the character of the buildings which were erected at Twofold Bay. He is aware that on the southern head of the entrance a lighthouse was built by Mr. Boyd. Will he tell us why it has never yet been lighted?
– For a very good reason.
– Because the Sydney influence has been too strong.
– No permission can be given for putting private lights on the coast of a civilized country.
– The Sydney people would not put a light at Twofold Bay in those days, nor would they allow any one else to do so. Why ? Because it would have interfered with the trade of Sydney.
– -The running of steamers between Launceston and Sydney was blocked, because they could not get a light put there.
– That is a truly Federal sentiment.
– It did block them.
– This is from a gentleman who pretends not to impute motives.
– They blocked the steamers for that purpose.
- Senator Guthrie, in reply to Senator Walker yesterday, put the merits of the two ports very clearly. I do not deny that the volume from which he quoted is ancient; but it is not half as ancient as many of the authorities which our friends on the other side often quote. It is not half as old as the Book of Genesis, or Shakspeare, Milton, or Burns. I ask honorable senators to tell me! why an alteration has not been made in the sailing directions if they were to the detriment of Jervis Bay ? Why did not the Government of NewSouth Wales see that they were corrected? They never made any attempt of that kind because they knew well that the directions were absolutely right. If any reliance is to be placed upon the sailing directions, and a distressed vessel is trying to escape from a storm, Twofold Bay is ten times safer than Jervis Bay.
– Why did not Senator Guthrie get the latest edition of the book?
– Because it is not here.
– It is in this building.
– We could not find a copy of the latest edition.
– I got one in the . building.
– Only this morning I was conversing with a gentleman who has had considerable nautical experience, and whose name I am prepared to disclose privately to any honorable senator. He said that on the coast of Australia there is no harbor which is easier for a ship to enter than is Twofold Bay.
– Except Jervis Bay.
– No; because tides, currents, and rough weather are met with outside Jervis Bay almost continuously.
– Sydney Harbor is an easy place to enter in rough weather.
– It is not so easy for a ship to enter Sydney Harbor in rough weather as the honorable senator may imagine. I have every reason to believe that, in rough weather, it is easier for a ship to get into Twofold Bay than to get into Sydney Harbor.
– Yes, because the entrance is so huge.
– If it is a convenient place to enter it will also be a convenient place to get out of. I want honorable senators to seriously consider the position which has been created elsewhere by the action of some honorable members representing districts in New South Wales, particularly in Sydney. If we sacrifice the best interests of every State to the interests of New South Wales, we shall not be doing our duty to our constituents. There are many other aspects of the question which I should like to discuss; but as I am obliged to leave this evening, and have promised to give another representative of South Australia an opportunity of putting his views fairly before the Senate, I nave no desire to occupy much time. If honorable senators will look st the question from the stand-point of eligibility and possible developments in the Commonwealth, they cannot help but prefer Dalgety to any other place. So far as water supply and production of electric power are concerned, no other site in New South Wales is comparable with Dalgety. In his investigations of Dalgety, Senator W. Russell was surprised to see so many rocks lying about.
– I was disappointed very much.
– Has the honorable senator any idea of the character of those rocks? Does he know of what they are composed, or whether there is any utility in connexion with them? I am certain that he knows nothing about them. If he goes to the United States, he will find that the same class of rock has been utilized (o a most considerable extent. There is no place in Australia where they could be better utilized than the neighbourhood of the Snowy River.
– They are only fit for road metal.
– The honorable senator does not know what they are fit for. He does not know whether they are granite, basalt, or what they are. I can tell him that they are decomposing granite. I took particular notice of the effect of the rocks upon the adjacent soil, and every observer at that time could not help but notice that in close proximity to the rocks grass and everything else grew luxuriantly.
– Not enough to feed a rabbit.
– The honorable senator does not know very much.
– Where there is granite, there is always fair soil, and plenty of water.
– Yes. Men like Senator W. Russell decried certain country in the United States, owing to the presence of the same class of rocks, but they were followed by intelligent persons who utilized the water power which was furnished by the mountain ranges for pulverizing the rocks and fertilizing the adjacent soil. They created fertile districts where previously only rocks were to be seen. The very same thing could be accomplished in the Dalgety district. The same power might be availed of, and there is there the same class of rock - decomposing granite - that contains phosphoric acid and other elements of that description necessary for vegetable life.
– How does the honorable senator know that?
– I should not say it if I did not know it. If the honorable senator can contradict me with authority he is welcome to do so. I make the statement from knowledge I have received and possess.
– The honorable senator will give no one else credit for knowledge.
– I am prepared to give Senator Russell credit for a very great deal. I believe that he intends to take a certain course in this matter, believing it to be in the best interests of the whole of the people that he should do so. But he proposes to take that course because he visited Dalgety by the worst route that could have been chosen, and at the worst time at which he could have gone there. The honorable senator knows nothing of the country which lies to the east of Dalgety, between that place and the Monaro plains. I am aware also that he knows very little of the chemical component parts of the rocks of which he speaks, and that when he visited Dalgety, it was not possible for him to judge of the effect upon the soil of the decomposition of those rocks. The honorable senator saw the place under most unfavorable conditions, and my only regret is that apparently he is now prepared to shut his eyes and arrive at a conclusion on the subject without sufficient knowledge. Certainly that is what the honorable senator’s own statement would lead one to believe. If he were to judge Melbourne bv the dust to be seen here at certain times he would never desire to visit this city at all. Some honorable senators are aware that when the first Federal party set out to visit possible sites they struck
Albury on a day the like of which might not occur again in twenty years, and the conditions prevailing at the time of their visit were such as might prejudice any one against that locality. But any honorable senator wishing to deal with this important question on its merits would not be unduly influenced by such an occurrence. I hope that Senator Russell will give the matter further consideration, and will not jump to a hasty conclusion. Let me add that the present time, when there is not an overwhelming majority in favour of any one site is not the time for a final settlement of this difficult question. When members of the Federal Parliament are prepared almost unanimously to select a particular site the time will have arrived for the settlement of the question.
– When the millennium is reached.
- Senator Gray must be aware that the difficulties which we are now experiencing in the selection of a site for the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth arose in the United States and in Canada, when the people of those countries were called upon to select sites for the Federal Capitals. He must know that those Federations had been established for a very much longer time than ours before the sites were decided upon. The honorable senator should know also that if a longer time had been given for consideration it is probable that the Capital of the United States would not have been fixed at Washington, or the Capital of the Dominion of Canada at Ottawa. It is not because I desire we should remain in Melbourne, or that we should go to Sydney, that I counsel honorable senators to be full v armed with information before they give a decisive vote. They should know all “that they can possibly learn about this question before they come to a conclusion. Then I have not the least doubt that there would be a great deal more unanimity on the question than there is at the present time. I am aware that the vote is not to be taken until next week but I hope that honorable senators will seriously consider the position in which we are, and, rather than make a mistake in so important a matter, postpone the decision until we are fully informed, especially as to the character of at least the two sites which have been most prominently mentioned, and the possibilities of the future development of the country surrounding those sites. I hope that when we do come to a conclusion it will be one which will be in the best interests of the people of Australia.
– I confess that when I entered the Senate I did not expect to be called upon to cast a Vote for a site for the Federal Capital. The whole of these proceedings seem to me to be most extraordinary. I know that in 1904 an Act was passed in which it was decided that Dalgety should be the site of the future Capital of the Commonwealth. Whether the Government approved of the provisions of that Act I do not know ; but if they are not satisfied with them it does seem to me that instead of introducing such proceedings as have taken place elsewhere, and which they now propose should take place here, their proper course would have been to introduce a measure to amend or repeal the Act to which I have referred.
– The Act fixed the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth within 17 miles of Dalgety, and a Bill was introduced by the Government to define the exact metes and bounds.
– I am free to admit that the question is an exceedingly important one. It is not in any way a partyquestion. It affects the future welfare of the whole Commonwealth, and should be viewed from the broadest aspect possible. I have not had an opportunity of inspecting the various sites which have been nominated for selection. If I had known that Senator McColl proposed last week to visit some of the sites, I should have made an effort to accompany him with a view, at all events, to the inspection of the two sites immediately under consideration at the present time. I have been obliged to depend altogether upon second-hand information. I have read a large number of conflicting documents and have listened to many conflicting speeches on the subject. I read an address delivered last session in another place by Mr. Watson on the. qualifications of Canberra as a site for the Federal Capital. It seemed to me to be an informative and able speech. I listened carefully yesterday to the speech delivered by Senator Pearce, in which he strongly advocated the claims of Dalgety as the best possible site. I cannot escape the feeling that there was a little special pleading in both the addresses to which I have referred. In my opinion it is a very great pity that this
Parliament should have been in any way shackled in its decision upon so important a question. I know that the existing position is due to the necessity of offering a sop to New South Wales to induce that State to join the Federation. Section 125 of the Constitution provides that -
The Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be determined by the Parliament, and shall be within territory which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth, 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 100 miles from Sydney.
I know something of the history of that section. I am aware that when the first referendum on the Commonwealth Bill was seen to be abortive in New South Wales because the minimum number of votes - 80,000 - in favour of it was not reached, a Conference of the Premiers of the different States was held with a view to arriving at something like a compromise which would induce New South Wales to enter the Federation. Section 125 of the Constitution was the outcome of that Conference. It was there decided that the Constitution should provide for the fixing of the Seat of Government in New South Wales at a distance of not less than 100 miles from Sydney. I am aware also that whilst it could not be embodied in an Act of Parliament there was an understanding that it should be within a reasonable distance of Sydney.
– Who was aware of that understanding?
– Every one who took an intelligent interest in public affairs.
– Does it matter?
– It does not seem to matter who was or who was not aware of it. The fact, remains that there was such an understanding.
– Between six men.
– Between six men who had met to fix up the matter with, a view to inducing New South Wales to enter the Federation. It was in connexion with this business that Mr. Reid was said to have taken up a “ yes-no “ position. I am inclined to think that his position would have been more properly described as a “ no-yes “ position. There was first of all a failure to secure a sufficient number of votes in favour of the Commonwealth Bill at the first referendum in New South Wales, and then, after the arrangement to which I have referred was come to at the
Premiers’ Conference, the number of votes required were recorded in favour of the Bill, and the answer to the question whether New South Wales should enter the Federation was “ Yes.” I cannot but feel that in dealing with this question we must have regard to the condition that the distance from Sydney of the site selected should not be less than 100 miles, and also to the condition that the site selected should be within a reasonable distance of that city. I believe that the intention was that the site selected should be as near to 100 miles from Sydney as a suitable territory could be got. I believe that if the proposal had been that the site should be not less than from 100 to 200 miles distant from Sydney, New South Wales would have had no complaint on the ground that the site selected was not within a reasonable distance of that city. I wish to be fair in respect to the understanding arrived at. I have no personal interest in the selection of a particular site. If Dalgety were selected it is probable that a railway would be built to that site via Bairnsdale, and in that case South Australian representatives would be able to reach the Capital more readily than they could if any of the other sites named had been chosen.’ I think that certain conditions should be taken into consideration in the settlement of so important a question. The climate of the locality selected should be satisfactory. It should have a sufficient elevation to insure a temperate climate. I think, too, that the existence of facilities for providing an adequate water supply is a matter of the utmost importance. I imagine that the Seat of Government will be a residential city. It is not likely to be a large industrial centre.
– Why should it not become an industrial centre?
– If we are going to establish a city for the Commonwealth we do not want it to be in close proximity to any industrial centre.
– It will be the capital of Australia.
– Washington is the capital of the United States, but it is not an industrial centre. It is purely a residential city, as it should be. I admit at once that if we re-affirm our choice of Dalgety the Snowy River will insure an abundant supply of pure fresh water for domestic use, for generating electric power, and for all other purposes. I do not think that a better water supply can be found in the Commonwealth. Dalgety also possesses an advantage over other sites in that it is on the boundary of two States. In my opinion, the Federal Territory should not be entirely enclosed by the lands of any one State. But if 1 have read the description of Dalgety aright, it is very much exposed to weather influences. It is a wind-swept tableland, where, at certain periods of the year, the climate is bound to be very severe. I am told, too, that in its immediate vicinity the quality of the soil is poor. It seems to me that when we are establishing a Federal Capital we ought to locate it in a place where we can have wide streets and open spaces, and where’ the streets can be lined with trees so as to provide requisite shade. The soil, too, should be of a quality which will admit of gardens being laid out, and of a beautiful city being erected. I know that a great deal is claimed for Dalgety by reason of the fact that it is accessible from Twofold Bay, and that its selection would provide the Federation with a port of its own. But I am not quite satisfied that it is necessary that we should have a port of our own. At any rate, I do not attach so much importance to that matter as do some honorable senators. At the present time, it seems to me that our choice has practically been narrowed down to two sites - Dalgety and Canberra. Whilst I do not like the idea of bracketing Yass and Canberra-
– In the Seat of Government Act we have located the Federal Capital within a radius of 17 miles of Dalgety.
– I am not so much concerned with what has been done. The view I take is that as we are reopening the question we ought to define, as nearly as practicable, the locality in which the Seat of Government shall be established. Canberra, I gather, has an altitude of 1,800 feet and possesses a fairly good climate. It is not too hot in the summer, and - whilst the temperature is bracing - it is not too cold in winter. If the reports of experts can be accepted, we need entertain no apprehension concerning our ability to secure an adequate water supply there. I imagine that the Engineer of Rivers and Water Supply in New South Wales has a reputation to maintain, and that he would not put words in his report which he cannot substantiate. He says -
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 a very strong statement in regard to the water supply available.
– That supply is available for Melbourne, or, indeed, any other city in Australia. I mean that an engineer can do anything.
– Senator Trenwith means, I suppose, that water from the Cotter River could be brought to Melbourne.
– At any rate, there is as much authority behind the engineer’s statement as there is behind Senator Trenwith’s interjection.
– But the Engineer of Rivers and Water Supply in New South Wales has discarded that scheme.
– The report from which I have quoted is dated 9th October, 1908, and in it that officer says - “ I have reported a.s follows,” and then he proceeds to use the words which I have already cited.
– But in a previous report he said that he discarded the scheme mentioned by the honorable senator, in favour of a pumping scheme which he then proceeded to outline.
– I have quoted from his latest report, which is a fair thing to do.
– But he docs not say what the cost of providing that water supply would be.
– I know that a water supply for any city cannot be provided without a large expenditure. If the Engineer for Rivers and Water Supply in New South Wales had stated that the supply in question could be obtained only from the Barren Jack reservoir, I should at once have condemned the scheme upon the ground that it would provide an unreliable supply for the Capital city. So far as facilities for drainage are concerned, I understand that at Canberra adequate provision can be made in that connexion. The soil in the vicinity is reported to begood. I cannot speak with certainty of the foundation which it would provide–
– Mr. Vernon says that it is all right.
– He has not said anything of the sort, and the honorable senator cannot point to an official report in proof of his statement.
– I can, and will, do so.
– If there were any prospect of a site other than Dalgety or Canberra being selected, I certainly should prefer Lyndhurst. But, in view of what has occurred elsewhere, it seems hopeless to endeavour to secure the selection of that site. Our choice, as I have already said, lies between Dalgety and some site in the Canberra district. I admit that, in looking at this matter, I was at first very much impressed with the claims of Dalgety, but now I am rather inclined to accept Canberra as being a better site, and one the choice of which is more likely to secure a permanent settlement of this question.
– The honorable senator has been “ bluffed “ into taking up that attitude bv the Government of New South Wales.
– I do not wish to put the position in that way. But it seems to me that it is time we arrived at a final decision in regard to this matter.
– And we arrived at a decision long ago.
– I candidly confess that I am rather astonished that these proceedings have been initiated. But now that they have been initiated, I have no desire to stand in the way of a fresh vote being taken. I have not visited any of the sites, but, after weighing the evidence that is available, I am rather disposed to support the selection of Canberra, because it is more likely to speedily result in a permanent settlement of this question. If we do not agree with the decision of the other Chamber upon the present occasion, its settlement will be retarded for years. The Capital site question is a bone of contention, which ought to be got out of the way once and for all.
– Is that a reason why we should ally ourselves to the “ win, tie, or wrangle “ party?
– It is a reason why every honorable senator should cast his vote in accordance with his conscience, and do his utmost to bring about a satisfactory settlement of this difficulty. I understand that the New South Wales Government are not prepared to concede to the Commonwealth territory in the neighbourhood of Dalgety, and if the Federal Government had felt that this Parliament was acting within its rights, why did not they arrange for the driving of a peg within the selected area ?
– A Bill was introduced into the other House for that very purpose.
– Then why was it not proceeded with? Is this to be a game of battledore and shuttlecock for the purpose of wasting time?
– As the question Is one of great importance, and one which I desire to see settled, I do not lay such great stress upon the necessity of the Commonwealth possessing a port of its own, as do some honorable senators. But, if that consideration is to be an element in our choice, it appears to me that the claims of Twofold Bay and Jervis Bay are about equal. I do not see very much difference between the two, notwithstanding the extracts read by Senator Guthrie yesterday. Even Mr. Oliver’s report as read by Senator Givens, shows that at Twofold Bay we should have to spend something like ;£i ,000,000 before we obtained a good port.
– No; before we could have a naval base.
– Mr.- Oliver said that vessels of 2,000 tons berth at Twofold Bay now.
– I have no wish to discredit Twofold Bay, but I see very little difference between the qualities of the two ports. I have considered this matter independently, and obtained information from wherever I could. I have also listened to the speeches that have been delivered ; and, as far as my present intention goes, I am more inclined to support Canberra than Dalgety. At any rate, I hope that we shall shortly have the matter permanently settled.
– It is somewhat unfortunate, in view of the speech of the Vice-President of the Executive Council yesterday, that he is not now in the Chamber. One would have liked to call his attention to certain of his remarks, and as he will have to reply to criticisms when the debate closes, it is regrettable that he cannot be in his place more continuously than he is.
– That is unfair ; the Minister has only been out of the Chamber about ten minutes.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council informed us that it was his intention to engineer Dalgety through by every means that he could use. If one of the means by which that site is to be engineered through is by his remaining away and not listening to statements from the other side, I do not think that he is adopting a wise course.
– He said nothing about “ engineering “ the site through.
– I do not think that the honorable senator is fair to my colleague. There are men who have said that they intended to vote and to engineer against the establishment of the Capital anywhere.
– What may be said by a private member of Parliament, and what may be said by a Minister in charge of a proposition, are two entirely different things. Although I have been for so many years in this Parliament, I have not hitherto made any statement about any particular Capital site. I have not in the past voted for Dalgety, or Southern Monaro. Therefore, I cannot be charged with going back on any vote previously given. Like Senator Walker, I have heretofore voted for Tumut and Tooma. I quite recognise the importance of the question. It is a large national question, and we ought to discuss matters in connexion with it in a manner becoming the dignity of the Senate. It is most unfortunate that incriminations and insinuations should have been hurled at those who intend to vote against Dalgety. I am reminded of the words of Bracken, “ O God, that men would see a little clearer or think more kindly if they cannot see.” If honorable senators would exercise that spirit, we should be far more likely to come to a reasonable determination. I have no feeling in regard to this matter. My simple desire is to do what is best for the Commonwealth. I have endeavoured to look at the whole question in a common-sense light, and with a view to the solution of it. I do not propose to touch upon its legal or constitutional aspects. I believe that they have been dwelt upon far too much and too long. It appears to me that section 125 is drafted in language so plain that he who runs may read. It says first of all that we are to obtain the territory before we can fix the site. That was recognised in the Act by which Dalgety was chosen. A radius of 34 miles was specified. If we are going to be pinned down to any particular site, as Senator McGregor desires, we shall be flying in the face of the section of the Constitution which says that we must acquire the territory before we fix the exact site. I do not intend to deal with the question of whether we are bound to put the Capital somewhere near the 100-miles limit. I consider that the section permits us to put the Capital anywhere in New South Wales outside the specified area. Whether there was in the mind of certain persons an idea that we should be morally bound to vote for the Capital being close to the limit is for those persons themselves to say. Considering the question from a strictly legal aspect, it seems to me that the Constitution permits us to have the Capital where we choose outside the 100-miles area. There is nothing in the section which says anything to the contrary. Its language is mandatory. “ Shall “ occurs seven times in the section. There is no “ may “ in it at all. Therefore, I think that our duty is extremely plain. We have had the advantage - and that advantage of course has increased as time has gone by ; and therefore the delay that has occurred has not been regrettable - of having several reports from experienced men to aid us in coming to a determination. A number of trips have been made by members of this Parliament in order that they might make themselves personally acquainted with the various sites, and obtain a correct idea of their qualifications. These visits have cost a good deal of money. I suppose that if we do not settle the question there will still be more trips and more expense in connexion with them. While I do not admit that we ought to settle the matter in a hurry, and* am prepared to agree that if it were hung-, up a little longer no great harm would bedone, still, we must recognise that we havescarcely a free hand. We are morally bound to try to arrive at a settlement within a reasonable time from the inception of Federation. We have now been playing with the question for eight years, and the request on the part of New South Wales that we should make an honest attempt to settle it now is, I think, fair and reasonable. The bargain made with that State meant that the question should be settled within ‘a reasonable time, and we must recognise that the longer it remains unsettled the keener will become the irritationfelt by the people of that State. That irritation is keeping alive an unFederal spirit and preventing members of Parliament and the people of the States from working together for the good of the-
Commonwealth, as I ‘believe they would be prepared to do if this cause of trouble were removed. In my opinion we should endeavour to put on one side all those causes of irritation that give rise to differences between the States, and come to a decision which will remove conflict of feeling and jealousy. With regard to the Capital site itself, I have no doubt that every honorable senator has his own ideas as to the kind of place that we should choose. A personal inspection of the sites is really needed before one can make up his mind fully. We are now reduced to three sites out of the large number that have been mentioned and inspected, numbering twenty-seven in all. The three are Tumut, Dalgety, and Canberra. I have named Tumut because it was voted upon and placed third in another place, and I think that it will receive some amount of support in the Senate. I did not go on any of the trips to which I have referred, but I considered that before a vote was taken it would be well for me to make a personal inspection of the territories proposed to be acquired in order to enable me to come to a just conclusion. I therefore took a trip last week, and had an opportunity of seeing the Dalgety and Canberra sites. I saw them under very fair conditions, and made many inquiries from men who have lived in the districts and know the circumstances and the conditions affecting both sites. With regard to the Dalgety site, I observe that the honorable senators who have been supporting it have been referring throughout to only one report, namely, that of Mr. Oliver.
– And also that of Mr.’ Scrivener.
– The report referred to mostly was that of Mr Oliver. That gentleman, who, I believe, was a lawyer, was appointed by the New South Wales Government to make a certain anticipatory examination of the various sites for the information of that Government. But the Commonwealth Government and Parliament were not satisfied. They took Mr. Oliver’s report, but they also appointed four Commissioners, representing New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and South Australia. The four were experts, and they examined and reported upon seven or eight sites. Their report, however, so far as the present discussion is concerned, has been almost entirely ignored. One reference was made to it by the Vice-President of the Executive
Council, who said that it was a report on water supply. Otherwise it was passed over. But if this Senate is to be guided, by reports furnished to it, surely it ought, to pay some attention to the report of a body of able and experienced men, absolutely impartial, -representing four States, and having special knowledge of the business for which they were appointed. As. has been said, Mr. Oliver was not appointed to report on Dalgety. As a matter of fact he never did report on Dalgety. He reported on the Monaro plains generally, and more especially on Bombala, which is some 60 miles away from Dalgety.. But I notice that in the discussions on Dalgety, and in the arguments which have been used in favour of that site, the actual site of Dalgety is ignored, and illustrations and references are brought in from. 50 or 60 miles away to bolster up the claims of this particular site. Dalgety, as honorable senators know, is situated 2,650 above sea-level. It possesses twofactors in its favour, the merits of which are almost unchallengeable. One is itswater supply. No one will deny that in that respect it fills the bill entirely. It possesses a fine supply, ample in quantity and convenient. Dalgety is also picturesque in situation. Every one must admit that. There is no denying it. But those are only two factors, and there are a large number of others which have to be weighed. We have to consider topography and general suitability, productiveness of the soil, building material and its cost, climate, and accessibility. Inall respects except water supply and picturesqueness Dalgety and- Bombala areplaced by practical men last on the list.
– Water is the only thing that counts.
– Picturesquenessand water, the honorable senator thinks?
– I wonder whether the honorable senator could thrive on water and picturesqueness.
– What does it matter about accessibility? In 100 years people will be flying to the Capital from all portions of Australia.
– The Commissionerswhom I have mentioned did not recommend any particular site, but, nevertheless they set down pointsagainst all the various sites which they examined. Tho* points run from one to seven. With regard to topography and general suitability, Dalgety or Bombala are seventh, on the list. With regard to climate, Bombala has seven points and Dalgety six and a-half. As to soil productiveness, Bombala was fifth and Dalgety was put higher than that, although no particular number was mentioned. In respect of building material and cost, Dalgety was put seventh, and as to water supply, Dalgety was put next to Bombala. Then with regard to accessibility, Dalgety was put sixth and Bombala seventh. So that all those essentials must be taken into consideration, and when that is done it will be’ found that, instead of being high on the list as regards merit, the site about which we have heard so much is very low. Honorable senators cannot get away from these facts, which have been brought out, not by gentlemen who were not competent to report, but by four experienced men, who may be regarded as experts, namely, Mr. John Kirkpatrick, Mr. Graham Stewart, Mr. C. Stanley, and Mr. A. W. Howitt. I do not know three of the gentlemen, but I knew Mr. Howitt very well, because, when I had the, honour of being Minister of Mines in Victoria, I had the great satisfaction of having him as my secretary for two years. I know that in Australia at that time there was no man with a sounder judgment, and a better knowledge of country, than he possessed. He had an absolutely impartial mind. With regard to the topography of Dalgety, and its general suitability, I found that it was broad, and open, and exposed to all the winds of heaven - a bleak, bare place. Senator Stewart has told us that ali we have to consider are water and picturesqueness. I think that there is something more to be considered. We cannot select a Capital site simply on those considerations. In the discussion on these sites, one point has been missed entirely, and that is the comfort of the persons who will have to reside at the Capital. We cannot ignore that feature. We, or our successors, will be all right, because the Commonwealth will see that we are well housed and provided with every possible comfort. But it must be remembered that thousands of persons will not be in that happy position. We must have some regard to the public servants, and the large number of other persons who will be required to carry out their duties at the Capital. Therefore, I submit that the element of personal comfort should not be left out of consider- ation. I have made inquiries from persons who know the whole of the district well. The late member for Moira, Mr. Kennedy, who spent some years in the district in connexion with stock, told me that it was a district in which he would not dream of living. I made similar inquiries from persons who were connected with the district, and from others who knew it thoroughly, and I found that they did not favour it as a site for the Federal Capital. During my visit I learned that the winter lasts more than six months. It starts in April, and does not end until October.
– Last night I was told that May is the most delightful period of the year there.
– I am only stating the information which I gathered on the spot. At any rate, the records will speak for themselves. In winter the place is cold, bleak, and comfortless, and even out of winter the climate is extremely changeable. The quality of the soil is one of the most important factors to be considered, because, as Senator Vardon has said, we must look for production in the vicinity. I do not think that I ever saw poorer soil than on that site.
– There is poorer soil within 10 miles of Melbourne.
– Yes. But it is not proposed to put the Capital there. In the fifties, the surroundings of Melbourne were lovely. At Dalgety, however, the soil is scant and scarce ; and’ the grass is thin and poor. The soil is almost like the sugar called brewers’ crystals. We could not have’ soil there, because we could not get the humus or the manures necessary. Even if we had soil fit to grow ordinary products it would bel blown away. It would be of no use to attempt to provide gardens, shade trees, and other such things, because we could not get anything to thrive. Even on the banks of the Snowy River, which I followed up for some distance, I saw no soil. Instead of being fringed with trees and verdure, as is generally the case, its banks are almost bare. I saw no soil, but merely sand. I should think that very little cultivation could be done there. With regard to the cost of building, Dalgety is placed last by the Commission. It was also placed last in regard to accessibility. In his report, Mr. Oliver says that’ apart from the cost of building and accessibility, Bombala is one of the best of the sites.
That statement cannot be accepted as a recommendation. Before we could make a start at Dalgety, it would be necessary to incur a very large expenditure. . The cost of the water supply is estimated at £340,720, the railway to connect the site with the railway system at £1,466,000, and the resumption of land at £50,000. Before any work could be done on the site at all we would have to expend £1,856,720. The Royal Commission of four experts was appointed three or four years later than Mr- Oliver was, and, therefore, they had the benefit of his investigations and report. I consider that their report is much more valuable than his could possibly be. Then in his report Mr. Scrivener summed up the position in this way -
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 future these advantages may not be lost.
That is the only recommendation of the site which Mr. Scrivener made. Colonel Owen, now Inspector-General of Public Works to the Commonwealth, reported in these terms -
None of the Monaro sites are surrounded by fine scenery. There are picturesque spots, but no really impressive scenery. The view from Dalgety, looking west up the Snowy River Valley,’ with a glimpse of the Snowy Mountains, is fine, but it cannot be counted as a special factor towards the selection of a site. The immediate surroundings of Dalgety are dreary in the extreme (excepting the river scenery) owing to the absence of trees and abundance of granite boulders. The former effect might, however, be overcome by judicious tree planting (given a copious water supply) and the granite would disappear in pace with the construction of the city.
Not one of the experts, from whose reports I have quoted, seemed to regard Dalgety as an ideal place. In his report, Mr. Oliver, though he recommended Southern Monaro, did not give it anything like an overwhelming preference, because he placed Yass and Canobolas only a very little distance behind. I think that Yass itself is not a suitable site. I was surprised when I saw that Mr. Oliver had placed Yass only a point or two behind Bombala, although’ the places were so absolutely diverse in all their main characteristics. He did not report on Dalgety, but on Bombala, and he only favoured Bombala, he said, if the cost of buildings and accessibility were to be disregarded asfactors. I prefer to take the recommendation of the Royal Commission of four experts to Mr. Oliver’s. We are told that if Dalgety is selected Twofold Bay may offer an advantage. Front various points of view a port may be desirable, but it is not necessary, I think. In the first place, Twofold Bay is not the best port in New South Wales. There is a better port if it can be made available. Twofold Bay is 125 miles from Dalgety, and a very expensive railway would be required to cover that long distance. Estimating the cost per mile at £7,000, which is the lowest estimate for railway construction there, the line would cost £875,000. But the cost has been estimated by some engineers in the service of the State at £1,300,000, and we know that estimates are nearly always exceeded. Then in order to make Twofold Bay a suitable port it would be necessary to construct twobreakwaters of great length, and their costis estimated by the New South Wales EngineerinChief for Harbors and Rivers at £1,028,000. Mr. Oliver says -
Twofold Bay is capable of being made an invaluable naval base to the Federation, as well as a first-class harbor, by means of protecting, breakwaters from the two headlands of Look-out Point, and Jew’s Head; the enclosed water varying from r2 to 3^ fathoms, and giving anchorage room for nearly 6 square miles. The cost of these breakwaters is estimated, by the EngineerinChief for Harbors and Rivers, at ;£i ,028,000.
We all know that no estimates are more delusive than are estimates for breakwaters. It is possible to get a fair idea of the probable cost of a railway line or other works on land, but in the case of a breakwater we do not know how much money we are likely to put into the sea. The Warrnambool breakwater was estimated by Sir John Coode to cost £.140,000, but the actual cost was £192,572. I believe that on the northerncoast there are breakwaters whose cost enormously exceeded the estimates. I know that on the Tyne, in England, where I come from, the cost of breakwaters far exceeded the estimates. This estimate of £1,028,000 for two breakwaters at Twofold Bay may be looked upon merely as the minimum cost, and yet it is very high. We are told that higher up the coast we can get a better and safer harbor, where no breakwaters will be needed. It is this harbor, Jervis Bay, where the warships do their ball practice and deploy, and where, as I know from a friend, H.M.S. Powerful can go within fifty yards of the shore. In the plan of Twofold Bay, which Mr. Oliver submitted with his report, he gave the depth of the water near the shore at i, 3^, 2 fathoms, and so on. It would be necessary, therefore, to run wharfs right round the water frontage, which would be a very costly thing indeed, besides constructing two “breakwaters, which must be built in order to make the harbor safe. The inclusion in the Federal Territory of Twofold Bay is, therefore, not indispensable, seeing that if it is necessary that we should have a port at all, we might secure a better port than Twofold Bay, where breakwaters would not require to be constructed. Summing up the expense involved in the selection of Dalgety, we should require to spend on the water supply scheme £340,720, on the main line of railway £1,466,000, on land resumption £50,000, on the branch line to Eden, at the lowest estimated cost of ,£7,000 per mile, £875,000, and on breakwaters in Twofold Bay, £1,028,000. A total expenditure, exclusive of buildings and improvements, amounting to £3>759>72°- That is an enormous amount to have to spend, especially when it is remembered that we should afterwards have to build the Federal city.
– Does the honorable senator’s estimate include the rebuilding of the line from Cooma, because that line will have to be re-built?
– The cost of that work is not included in my estimate. Looking at the matter fairly and impartially, Dalgety is almost the worst of the sites that have been reported upon. I can come to no other conclusion. I believe that those who would be so unfortunate as to have to live in Dalgety, if it were selected, would have to engage in a perpetual struggle against the natural conditions of the place. If we can select a site where the natural conditions are favorable, surely it would be wise for us to do so. It must not be forgotten that these . natural conditions are unchangeable. We could not, by the erection of buildings, or in any other way, do more than palliate the severity of those conditions. We could not change the climate, the winds, or the other natural drawbacks of Dalgety. If we selected such a place for the Seat of Government of thi Commonwealth, we should have to regret our choice if only in the interests of all the officials and others who would be obliged to go there to live. We must consider the interests of the people who will have to live at Dalgety if that place is selected as the Seat of Government. We have connected with the central offices of the public Departments some 313 officers. There axe fifty-nine officers of Parlia’ment, and adding senators and representatives there would be 483 people to be considered. I admit that honorable senators and members of the House of Representatives need visit Dalgety only during the sessions, and they could leave on the Thursday or Friday for their homes. But there would be many persons who would be obliged to live there with their families, and could not run away from the place as we should be able to do. I assume that the various officials would each be accompanied by say, four people, members of their families, or domestics. This would mean an addition of 1,932 to the number I have estimated who would be obliged to live at the Seat of Government, and we might allow another 200 for business people supplying the needs of the place. So that we should have over 2,500 people settled in Dalgety when we became established there.
– Has the honorable senator included the employes of the Government Printing Office?
– I did not think of them. They would have to be added to my estimate. The climate of Australia on the whole is warm. We have five States, in which the climatic conditions are absolutely dissimilar to those of Southern Monaro. Are we to compel people who have been accustomed to warmer places to live in such a place as Dalgety under climatic conditions to which they have not been accustomed?
– If they can stand the Melbourne climate, they can stand anything.
– I am sorry that the honorable senator should hold that opinion. I know that yesterday he asked why we should trouble about a little harshness of climate. If he could experience a six months’ winter in Dalgety, and suffer the blizzards which visit the place, I know that he would wish to be back in his little front room in Melbourne again.
– The climate of Dalgety is not as ‘severe as that of London.
– That is no reason why we should select a place with a climate like that of London, when we might select a place with better climatic conditions.
– Is personal comfort the only matter to be considered ?
– It is not the only matter; but it should receive some consideration at our hands for the sake of those who will have to live at the Seat of Government. I think Senator Needham would be one of the -very last who would- be prepared to make a martyr of himself for the benefit of Australia, especially when it would ‘be quite unnecessary that he should do so.
– I am not suggesting martyrdom, but common sense.
– I think that in asking people to live, throughout the year, at a place like Dalgety, the honorable senator is suggesting martyrdom. The Australian Capital should be characteristic of Australia in its climate, attractions, and productions. We should try to select a site in typical country, and not bring people to a place on the edge of Australia, ‘that is not at all typical. We want an Australian, not a Siberian Capital. Dalgety would not even be a Siberian Capital, because in Siberia there is good land, and at Dalgety there is little good land.
– That is nonsense.
– I do not think it is. In my opinion Dalgety does not fill the bill. Not only would it be an uncomfortable and costly site, but it must be remembered that food products could not be raised in tlie district. Everything would have to be imported from a great distance, and the cost of living would therefore be high.
– What cannot be raised in the district?
– Very few of the products of a warm climate can be raised there. Neither wheat, oats, nor barley can be raised- at Dalgety. There is not sufficient soil there.
– They would be blown out by the roots.
– Such cereals as I have mentioned might be raised 200 miles away from Dalgety, but they could not be raised in the immediate neighbourhood. The disqualifications of Dalgety might te summed up as follows : First of all, there is the long winter, and the cost attendant upon it. Then there are the continuous high winds, with the inconvenience of the dust and discomfort they cause in a dry season. When I visited the place, the complaints made to me about the dust were heartrending. Then there is the miserable quality of the soil, its poverty and paucity. It would be impossible to have gardens around the city to beautify it. It would be impossible to make soil there, because there areno facilities for the purpose, and if it was made, it would not stop on the surface. Food would have to be brought from a distance, as it could not be raised in the neighbourhood. I believe that tlie selection of Dalgety for the Federal Capital of Australia would be a blunder that would be worse than a crime. For a crime it is possible to make reparation, but for such a blunder as that we could make no reparation. I say this with regret, because, as a Victorian, I should like to vote for Dalgety. It would be to my political interest to do so, because some people feel that its selection would be advantageous to Victoria. Most of the arguments submitted by the leader of the Labour Party to-day were directed, not to the qualifications required in the Capital site, but to the interests of Victoria. I went to Dalgety, not as a member of a Federal party, but on my own, with the special object of trying to find reasons which would justify me in giving a vote for the selection of that site. I can only regret that I was unable to find any. If I honestly believed that I should be doing right in voting for Dalgety, I should gladly do so. But I cannot conscientiously do so and consider myself an honest man. For the reasons I have given, I feel myself compelled, however reluctantly, to turn Dalgety down. The site I voted for in the past was Tumut. I think I once voted for Tooma, but that is practically the same site. The Tumut site has very much to recommend it. It was placed first of all the sites by the Royal Commission appointed by this Parliament. Its elevation is about 925 feet, and the elevation of the site itself is 1,300 feet above sea level.
– Does the honorable senator mean to say that Tumut was placed first as an all-round suitable site?
– Yes. The Royal Commission appointed by this Parliament considered seven qualifications, to which they allotted points in the order of importance from 1 to 7, and on that basis they placed Tumut first, with 17 points; Albury next, with 21 ; then Lyndhurst, with 27; Bathurst, 29; Lake George, 34 ; Armidale, 36 ; ‘and the two last on the list were Dalgety, with 40 points; and Bombala, with 44 points. Taking all their qualifications into account, the Commission placed Tumut at the head of the list. That is an answer to Senator Lynch’s question. Tumut has an abundant rainfall of 33 inches; the water supply is ample, and is placed above that of Dalgety. The soil is fertile. We are told that the rivers are extremely lovely, and the landscapes unrivalled. Whilst the site specially selected is somewhat circumscribed, I believe it is big enough for all practical purposes. A sufficient water supply could be provided for by gravitation. Tumut is placed above all the other sites in the matter of timbers which could be used. These include iron-bark, pine, box, mountain ash, and messmate. The necessary railway’ communication could be provided for at a small cost of about ,£50,000 to connect the site to existing lines. The climate, soil production, and water supply are good, and, generally, I think that Tumut would be an ideal site. . I trust I shall have an opportunity of voting for” Tumut. If so, I shall be prepared to give it my first vote, and to stand bv that site as I have done in the past. There is good country all round the site, and whilst there are several sites in the district which would be suitable, the one to be decided upon could be settled later on. I now come to deal with the site which is so much canvassed at the present time - the Yass-Canberra site. Senator McGregor has to-day announced his intention to confine the vote in each case to a particular site. I am afraid that that will prove awkward for the honorable senator himself, and those who will vote with him. Under his amendment the vote for Dalgety must be confined to Dalgety, and I remind honorable senators that nearly all the arguments submitted in favour of the Dalgety site are based upon the attractions and qualifications of other places 50 and 60 miles away from Dalgety. When we have objected to Dalgety, we have been told bv its advocates that they are discussing the Southern Monaro site. Under Senator McGregor’s amendment, advocates of the Southern Monaro district will be pinned down to the worst part of the district in which they wish the Federal Capital to be placed. The Yass-Canberra site seems to have been somewhat overlooked until lately. I do not know that any one should be blamed for having it considered now. Having selected Dalgety, and having in the meantime discovered its imperfections, I do not see why we should be bound to a decision arrived at some time ago on imperfect knowledge. I think that we have a right to consider any new site which may be sug- gested before the question ia finally settled. Strange to say, the first man who pointed out the advantages possessed by this particular site was Mr. Oliver himself. In reporting upon the claims of Yass, he said -
For these reasons I had thought that the Yass site should be preferred to the Goulburn site, even as originally proposed, which, in the case of Goulburn, embraces 100 square miles, and of Yass, 144 square miles; but my grounds for advising the offer of Yass as the most eligible among south-western sites for the establishment of the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth rests, in a very considerable degree, upon the inclusion of an enlarged area, the increase being as much as 950 square miles, and embracing the entire bed of Lake George (probably not less than 60 square miles), which, of course, is Crown land, and would cost the Commonwealth nothing. Roughly, the suggested extension of the Yass site would begin at the junction of the Yass River with the Mumimbidgee, and, thence eastward, follow that course of the Mumimbidgee to a point near to Queanbeyan ; thence northly to Bungenbore, and the eastern side of Lake George to its northern end ; and thence by a line connecting that point with the head of the Yass River, and so by the Yass River to the point of commencement. This enlargement would practically federalize most of the triangular track of country of which the apex is Goulburn, the base the Murrumbidgee River, and the two sides, portions of the main south-western trunk line of the Goulburn to Cooma line.
So that, as long ago as 1899, Mr. Oliver himself, called attention to the merits of the Yass-Canberra site, and placed Yass only one point behind the district of Southern Monaro. Does not that fact evidence that, apart from the recommendations of the Royal Commission, Mr. Oliver ‘ would have justified the action which is now being taken?
– Mr. Oliver merely suggested that Yass was the most eligible of the south-western sites.
– In his report on Queanbeyan he stated -
The first-named of these sites, embracing as it does a long frontage to the Mumimbidgee and the beautiful and fertile Limestone Plains (on the Duntroon estate), with an altitude of between i,goo and 2,200 feet, promising water resources and a much commended climate, when placed in competition with its neighbouring rival on the west, Yass, was clearly at a great disadvantage in regard to accessibility.
The difference as to accessibility is the 35 miles over which it would be necessary to construct a line to connect with the main railway at Yass. In Mr. Oliver’s statement of the case for Queanbeyan, which may be read as Yass-Canberra, he says -
The proposed territory of Queanbeyan (shown on plan marked L in appendix) excludes that township, and extends from its western ‘and southern population boundaries in a generally south-western direction to the Murrumbidgee River, to which it has a frontage of about 15 miles, whilst its northernmost portion is intersected by the Molonglo River, and its eastern area by the Jerrabombera Creek, a tributary of the Molonglo. The site is traversed by the Goulburn and Cooma railway, between the 197th and 206H1 mile posts, and comprises an area of 64,000 acres, embracing the parishes of Narrabundah and Tuggeranong, and parts of the parishes of Canberra, Yarralumla, Gingerline, Queanbeyan, and Googong, in the county of Murray. The proposed Capital site, on Canberra plain, comprises an area of about 1,600 acres, situated on the Molonglo River, at its junction with Jerrabombera Creek about six miles north-west of the township of Queanbeyan, and about two miles south of Mount Ainslie. The site selected is one of the most picturesque in a district abounding in fine landscapes, and from it some magnificent views are obtainable.
That is Mr. Oliver’s report upon the Canberra site itself. Then Mr. Bloomfield, in speaking of the water supply available, said -
There are three possible sources of supply for proposed Federal site at Queanbeyan - the Cotter River, Murrumbidgee and the Queanbeyan River. The Cotter has only one possible objection that can be urged against it - that is, expense. The point on the river from which the water would have to be brought for a gravitation supply is only about 16 miles in a straight line from the Federal city site ; but the country is very rough, and an expensive syphon would have to be made across the Murrumbidgee Valley. Everything else is very favorable, the catchment is good and very effective, the stream is said to be permanent, and it has the appearance of being so. On 13th April, 1900, there was more than enough passing down to supply both Sydney and Melbourne.
That is an important statement, in view of the fact that 1900 was one of the years in which a disastrous drought occurred.
The water was very clear, while the waters of the Murrumbidgee were very turbid. The Murrumbidgee could also be utilized for supplying the Queanbeyan site, by gravitation, as the river, at Michelago is about 150 feet above the proposed site, the distance being about 33 miles. As it would be necessary to go further up to get a greater fall, a full investigation might prove the Cotter scheme to be not much more expensive, and in other points it is easily the best. With supplies like the Cotter and Murrumbidgee, I did not think it worth while investigating an intermittent river like the Queanbeyan. lt is clear, therefore, that an ample supply of water is available at Yass-Canberra. The Royal Commission also reported upon the Lake George site, but I do not propose to traverse the evidence tendered in that connexion, seeing that that site is also included in the Yass-Canberra area. I have no desire to weary honorable senators, but I should like to refer them to a description of this particular locality which appears upon pages 39 to 45 of Mr. Oliver’s report. The question of water supply for Lake George, which means a water supply for the Yass-Canberra site, is also fully dealt with upon pages 53 and 54 of the same document. Only last week I visited the Canberra site. I went out 10 or 12 miles from Queanbeyan, and was able to see the country for 6 or 7 miles ahead. It is of a rolling character, and there is nothing in the nature of swampy land, aswas stated by Senator Pearce yesterday. The hills between the rolling country are not rough and rugged, as are those in the vicinity of Dalgety - they are, to a certain extent, grassed. I am satisfied that this country could be cut up with remarkable advantage for farms. If we have any idea of making the Seat of Government selfsupporting it seems to me that we cannot select a finer site than that of Canberra. The great bulk of that country would be readily taken up for farming purposes, and at current prices this would return to the Commonwealth 5 per cent, or 6 per cent, upon its outlay. I have been representing agriculturists in Parliament for the past twenty-three years, so that I have a fair knowledge of what is good land. I have no hesitation in saying that some of the land at Canberra is worth £7 or £8 per acre. Other portions of it would probably realize only £2 10s. per acre, but upon the whole it is of very fair quality. Further, the views which can be obtained there, though not of such a striking character as those which can be had at Dalgety - being softer in tone - are very fine. The proposed site is distant only 12 miles from the Murrumbidgee and 30 miles from Barren Jack reservoir, whilst the main line of railway would be accessible at a distance of 35 miles. The line from Yass to Canberra would have a grade of about 1 in 100, thusevidencing that it could be cheaply constructed. Very great emphasis has been laid by different speakers upon the power that could be obtained at Dalgety by utilizing the waters of the Snowy River. But I wish to point out that that power is equally available from the Snowy River at Canberra. Indeed, at Canberra, water for the purpose can be obtained from the Murrumbidgee, from Barren Jack, or from the Snowy. In Oakland and Berkeley, in California, railways and trams are being run, and cities are being lighted, by electricity, which is generated 208 miles away. In another part of America electric power is being conveyed a distance of 260 miles, and the loss of energy sustained in transit is only 15 per cent. The cost of the pipe line, in the latter case, was £200 per mile. In Australia, of course, it would be greater - probably over £300 a mile. I repeat that the water supply for generating power at Dalgety is equally available at Canberra. The photographic views of the latter place have scarcely done it justice. It is not so easy to obtain a. striking photograph of it owing to the fact that it lacks mountains and trees, but the views which are reproduced in the booklet that has been circulated do it a positive injustice. In passing, I may mention that the photographic views of the Snowy River, which were being exhibited in the lobbies of the other House, were not obtained in the immediate vicinity of Dalgety, though they may have been secured some distance up the river. Certainly, I saw nothing like them near Dalgety. If when it is urged that it is essential that the Commonwealth should possess a port of its own, I say that if we select Yass-Canberra we shall have the port of Jervis Bay to fall back upon. Twofold Bay is an open roadstead.
– Upon half-a-dozen occasions I have taken refuge there in the Lady Loch.
– We all know that His Majesty’s ships of war will not enter Twofold Bay. They carry out their gunnery practice in Jervis Bay, which has a land-locked harbor with an entrance very similar to that of Port Jackson. With such a port within a distance of 90 or 100 miles of Yass-Canberra, are we going to incur an expenditure of £1,200,000 in building breakwaters and the further expense of connecting Dalgety with Twofold Bay by rail, in addition to all the other outlay that would be necessary to make it a reasonable port for shipping ? I say that we are not. I have been assured, by a friend, that at Jervis Bay he has seen the Powerful lying within 50yards of the shore. Much has been said about the attitude of the New South Wales Parliament towards the Commonwealth upon the question of the Federal Capital site. We want a fair area for water supply and catchment purposes under our own control. We should have no other authority coming in and interfering with our water supply catchment. Therefore, wherever our ter ritory may be, we should insist on getting that, whether it involves an area of 900 square miles or more. As far as Mr. Wade, the Premier of New South Wales, could go, he has promised to give fair consideration to whatever request the Commonwealth may make in respect to the territory. Mr. Wade, in a public utterance made in his capacity as Premier, binds himself and his Government, while, of course, he could not bind his Parliament. He said -
I am now in a position to make a statement on behalf of the Government as to its views upon this question. I may say I have been asked more than once during the last few weeks to declare how far the State would go with regard to the subjects of access to the sea and the extent of the Federal territory, but, although the Cabinet had formed its opinions on these matters, I thought it undesirable to give expression to them at this stage, or at all, before some expression of opinion had been recorded on the part of the Federal Parliament. My desire was to avoid saying or doing anything which might be construed into an attempt to influence votes or force the views of this State on the representatives in the Federal Parliament. However, a representative and exhaustive ballot has now been taken, with the result that the YassCanberra site was chosen by a substantial majority in the House of Representatives.
– That was ignoring the Senate.
– We need not bother about that. Mr. Wade also said -
That decision has been arrived at on the merits of the case, and it is satisfactory to this State also, inasmuch as the division is substantially in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution Act, and recognises the agreement made by the various State Premiers just before the inauguration of the Commonwealth. Moreover, the general locality agreed upon represents more generally the common wish of the States than any site previously selected by either House of the Commonwealth Parliament. As I said last week, the House of Representatives has dealt with the proposal in a liberal manner, and it behoves this State, so far as is necessary to bring about a settlement, to recognise appreciably that attitude, and to deal with any requests that may be made to us with equal liberality. I may even go so far as to say that for the purpose of securing finality this State would be justified in making what may be regarded as concessions.
At no time in the history of the Commonwealth has a site been agreed upon by either House which is more acceptable to this State, and it would be very bad policy on her part to insist on our rights rigidly, when a little give and take might bring about a final settlement.
– What rights has he?
– He has the right as Premier of the State to speak on behalf of his Government.
– That is all; he has no more rights than that.
– I am just quoting his views in that respect, and no more.
– Mr. Wade is only a private individual, as far as we are concerned.
– The King of England is only a private individual in the honorable senator’s view. Mr. Wade went on -
According to Mr. Reid’s statement, there seems to be some anxiety in each House of the Federal Parliament to know how far we shall be willing to provide for access to the Federal Capital from the sea. This request is to my mind largely sentimental, for I can scarcely conceive of the relations of the two Governments being such that the State would ever attempt to prevent access to or egress from the Seat of Government. If it will make the position clearer I have no hesitation in stating that the Government is not only willing, but is prepared to recommend to the State Parliament that access should be granted from the Seat of Government in the Yass-Canberra area, wherever it may be, to Jervis Bay, and I have no doubt Parliament would readily indorse such an undertaking.
– Is Jervis Bay outside the 100-miles limit?
– That has nothing to do with the question. The Commonwealth can secure property wherever it likes. It has acquired and possesses property in Sydney to-day. In regard to the area, Mr. Wade said -
With regard to the extent of the territory, we are not likely to insist on the bare terms of the Constitution being strictly interpreted, whereby the Seat of Government will be limited to 100 square miles. Already, in the year 1905, this Parliament made an offer of an area of between 100 square miles and 200 square miles at or near the four sites then specified. That offer still holds good with regard to the YassCanberra territory, and if it became necessary to consider the advisability of even further increasing the area we would approach the proposal in a reasonable and sympathetic spirit. To what extent we would go, it is, of course, impossible to say at the present moment. No area has so far been specified by the Commonwealth Parliament, but I am sure it will reciprocate the attitude of reasonableness on our part by not making unreasonable demands.
Again, with regard to the water supply, the Commonwealth can be assured this will be dealt with upon its merits and not in a niggardly spirit.
I consider that the Premier of New South Wales has gone a long way in expressing his good intentions and desires towards meeting this Parliament. As far as I can see, the cost of constructing a railway from Canberra to Jervis Bay would be nothing like as great as the cost of one from Dalgety to Twofold Bay. The distance is a matter of 90 miles, and the ruling grade is 1 in 50 ; whilst on the route from Dalgety to Eden the grade is something like 1 in 30 or 40. I wish now to deal with some of the statements made yesterday by Senator Pearce. In his impassioned speech he seemed to fear that Dalgety was going to be defeated. Certainly the arguments that he brought forward to support the site he favours were not fair and reasonable, noi were his statements correct. He showed that he was biased in his views, or else that he was not fully informed. He told us, first of all, that the site at Canberra was in a swamp. Having visited the site a few days ago, I knew that that was not correct. He also said that the church was cracking and had to be held together by iron rods. I inspected the church, and was interested in it for various reasons when I visited the site. I found it to be a very large church. It is capable of holding from 400 to 500 people. I made inquiries as to when it was built, and found that it was erected about sixty years ago. I could not then ascertain the year, but have since learnt that it was 1846. I do not know where the building stone came from, but in the year 1846, it would hardly have been practicable to bring stone from a great distance. I found that the sandstone, of which the tower is composed, is as clean and sharp in the edge as are the corners in this chamber; showing that it has worn well, and is a thoroughly sound and solid stone. I communicated to-day with the mayor of Queanbeyan, and asked him whether Senator Pearce’s statements were correct, namely, that the foundations of the church were rotten, and that the walls were held together with iron rods. The mayor replied as follows -
Senator Pearce’s statement re Canberra foundation ratten and church held together by rods absolutely incorrect. Building never sunk or given away in any form.
Another great point which Senator Pearce made, was that the site fixed for the Federal Capital could only have the advantage of a gravitation scheme If the buildings were erected on an insecure foundationthat we could not have a good foundation if the buildings were put on the suggested site, whilst if the site were removed, and put higher up, there would be no possible chance to have anything better than a gravitation scheme. I say that that statement was absolutely incorrect. What are the facts? There are four or five suggested sources of water supply for the YassCanberra site. There is one on the Molonglo River. This is a scheme which was first formulated by Captain Gipps, whose name, probably, the New South Wales senators will know. Its object was, in the first place, to flood Lake George with water. Any one who will look at the map will see that whatever water would flow into Lake George could also be used for the purposes of the Federal city. With regard to this particular site, I find that the catchment area is 2,393 feet above sea level j and that it will fill the lake at 2,223 feet. From the catchment to the lake there is a fall of 170 feet. The catchment is only 11 miles distant, and 13 miles from the site. Lake George has an elevation of 2,223 feet, but the site as shown on this plan has an elevation of 1,877 feet. So that we have there a fall of 400 feet or 500 feet from this catchment to the Federal site. There is another source of water supply on the Queanbeyan River, which was reported on by the Royal Commission. Honorable senators will find particulars of it on page 43 of the Commission’s report. This site is 2,700 feet above sea level. Therefore, it gives to Lake George a fall of 577 feet, and it gives to the actual site of the Federal Capital a fall of 823 feet. So that we can have water from that site, from a source over 800 feet above where it is proposed that the Capital shall be.
– Is there not a mountain range between the two places?
– No. At any rate, if there is a range - and it is not shown on the plan - it could be tunnelled. I did not see the plan until last night. I have since made a study of it, but this is the only source of information that I have. With regard to the Queanbeyan source, the Commissioners say that, allowing for tha run off - that is about 8 per cent, of the precipitation - there would be a supply of 4,524,000,000 gallons a year, allowing for evaporation, and that that would be sufficient for 112,000 people. Independently of these sources of supply, there is the Shoalhaven River source. That, however, could only be utilized by pumping, and I am not, therefore, taking it into consideration. Then there is the Gudgenby source. It appears that the storage reservoir, 2,130 feet above sea level, would be 420 feet above the site, and, if placed a little higher than where marked on the plan, the fall from the service reservoir would be 224 feet to the city. These facts show that we could get a very satisfactory water supply. Then there is the Cotter source, ‘ which is supposed to be the best of ihe lot in some respects. It has a catchment area of 110 square miles, and its storage reservoir has an elevation of 2,370 feet. It has a fall of 240 feet from the storage to the service reservoir, and a fall of 224 feet from the service reservoir to the city site, so that it has a fall of 464 feet from the storage reservoir to the city. There was circulated yesterday a report, in which Mr. de Burgh said that the Cotter River can supply 85,000,000 gallons of water per day - the highest supply per head of population to any Australian city is 64 gallons per day to Adelaide. It means that, allowing for that quantity per head’ from the Cotter alone we can get a supply sufficient for a population of 1,328,125 persons. At the present time the daily supply per head to Perth is 40 gallons, to Adelaide 64 gallons, and to other cities between 40 and 60 gallons. It will be noticed from the plan that the Cotter is rock-bound. It runs through high ranges, which carry no settlement, and the water is kept perfectly pure. There is still another river - the Goodradigbee River - which can be connected with, the Cotter country, and an absolutely full supply of water can be provided. * There is a catchment area of 317 square miles, the water is equal to that of the Cotter, and the daily supply is estimated at 100,000,000 gallons. That will afford a supply for 1,530,000 persons, allowing 64 gallons per head per day, as in Adelaide. Above and beyond all the sites which I have mentioned, with their enormous supplies of water and great facilities for storage and providing electrical power, we have the great Mumimbidgee River, which runs through virgincountry, and is absolutely untouched. How can any one say that that site, if selected,, would ever suffer from a deficiency of water supply ? In his report, Mr. Weedon makes this reference to the construction of a damin the Murrumbidgee River below the junction of the Molonglo River -
By the erection of a dam at this point, a large body of water could be conserved -in the tworivers, and by means of low weirs in the Molonglo River, boating could be made possiblethroughout the entire proposed Federal Capital territory at Canberra and up the Murrumbidgee River, giving a waterway pf from 40 to 50- miles on the combined rivers for boating, fishing, and water carriage generally.
As one who has had a great deal to do with water questions during a parliamentary career of twenty years, I do not think that in Australia there is any district which has a finer water supply than has Canberra. It contains so many different sources of supply that water is of excellent quality, and the quantity is so great that it could be used for ordinary and power purposes without any fear of impurity or deficiency. If we are to have a Federal Capital, let us have one which we can be proud of, and which persons from other countries will appreciate. Let us have a Capital which our own people will be glad to go to and settle in, with territory in which agricultural industries, as well as others, can be carried on. Let us have a Capital where people will care to live, and delight in bringing up their children. If we choose Dalgety, we shall send people to a place which they will not like from the very first. I wish that the Government Mould appoint a Commission of public servants to examine the three sites which are talked of to-day, and report their opinion to Parliament. I know the opinion of public officers who have been to Dalgety in connexion with trips, and in other ways; they are shivering in fear that they may be sent there. Let us have a Capital which will be typical of Australia, and not of Siberia, and which we shall be proud to show to visitors. In selecting either Tumut or Yass-Canberra we shall have a site which, having regard to its situation, views, and water supply, can be made one of the finest places in the world.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [5.15]. - I do not propose to speak at any length with reference to the different sites, but I cannot begin my remarks without complimenting Senator McColl upon delivering the most complete and masterly address which, to my mind, has yet been made on the subject during the present debate. He has shown an amount of industry in his research, and a most intelligent apprehension of the public features of the case, which certainly have raised him very much higher in my estimation - not that I thought little of him - than previously. I consider that he has taken up a very high position amongst us. It was a most admirable address and without any tinge of the accusations of partisanship which have been levelled against this side of the Chamber. Indeed, those accusations have been mostly displayed in a strong manner by their authors. I regret that Senator Givens is not here, but, if he has a friend present, perhaps he will ask him to return to the Chamber.
– I shall see to that.
– I propose to particularly answer, I cannot help saying, the scandalous accusations which Senator Givens yesterday directed against a late Premier of New South Wales, the Right Honorable G. H. Reid, against the Parliament of New South Wales, and against what he has been pleased to call, with what I suppose, as it is merely a quotation, I shall not be out of order in describing as “ damnable reiteration “ about the “ Sydney clique,” the “ Sydney coterie,” the Sydney everything which was objectionable, or intolerant, and everything which, in his view, was what it ought not to have been. The first point I intend to deal with in his address is the charge he made that, after the Constitution Bill had been completed by the Convention, Mr. Reid brought a Bill into the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales to alter the affirmative minimum, and that it was through Mr. Reid’s very improper action that a change was made. The Federation Enabling Act was passed in New South Wales in 1895, and the Federal Convention was elected in April, 1897. The second reading of the Federation Enabling Act Amendment Bill was moved in October, 1897, but it was introduced before the Convention met in Sydney, and most positively the second reading of it was carried long before the Convention had done its work. Instead of finding in the New South Wales Hansard that the second reading was moved by the Right Honorable G. H. Reid, there is this entry on page 3767 -
Australian Federation Enabling Act Amendment Bill.
Mr. Neild (Paddington) rose to move -
That this Bill be now read the second time.
Mr. Reid had no more to do with the introduction of that Bill than had the man in the moon. I do not propose to do more than make a few quotations from the speeches of one or two members, who took part in the debate on that occasion. The first is a brief passage from my speech, and it is being quoted merely to show the position of the public business with reference to Federation at the time. At page 3768 of Hansard I am reported to have said -
I admit it may be said, “ Let us wait and see what the final state of the Bill is.”
But I do not think it would be a convenient - I do not think it would be a decent thing, to propose an amendment of the Enabling Act after the Convention had done its work. If there is to be an amendment of the Act it should be made before the Convention has finished its labours.
That makes very clear - notwithstanding the tirade we had last night - the fact that the Convention Bill had not been prepared at that time. When the Federation Enabling Act was passed in New South Wales in 1895 there were 240,000 electors on the rolls. But two years later, when I moved the second reading of ray Bill, the number of electors had risen to 300,000, owing to greater facilities for enrolment and voting, as the consequence of Government legislation. There was an increase of 60,000 voters on the rolls. Suppose that the consummation of Federation had been delayed by disagreements in the Convention, or otherwise, and the popular vote had not been taken for ten years. Is any one prepared to say that after the lapse of such a long time, it would have been a breach of faith to raise the affirmative voting quota merely because it had once been fixed, and that, therefore, there was never to be any alteration ? Is Senator Givens going to vote against an amendment of the Constitution to provide for new protection, or anything else? If his argument has any validity, it means that that which has once been determined, is never to be altered. There being this very large increase in the number of electors in New South Wales, it was right and proper that the minimum affirmative vote of 50,000 should be raised, in order that the verdict might be a valid one. It is continually thrown at members of Parliament that they are elected on minority votes. Surely, if it is desirable that a member of Parliament should be elected by a majority vote, it is only reasonable that a matter involving the future of the country should not be determined by an infinitesimal number of the electors ?
– Would it not have been fair to require a minimum number to vote against the Bill?
– We are not discussing what might have happened. I am answering the honorable gentleman’s assertions that things were done which were a breach of honour, and a breach of right.
– It was a case of “Heads, I win, and tails, you lose.”
– With reference to the statement of Senator Givens that Mr. Reid was concerned in this matter, let me read a, quotation from page 3775 of the New South Wales Hansard -
The Honorable G. H. REID- I should like to make my position clear. I entirely agree with the honorable gentleman that this is varying a compact upon which we have invited the other Colonies to act. Under the circumstances I intend to vote against the second reading of the Bill; but if the Bill is carried by a majority I shall take that as a clear indication by the House that they take a different view from myself, and that they wish to alter these numbers. If the alteration of numbers is such that I consider it within the limits of reason I will not look upon that as a serious infraction of the position of the Government in connexion with this matter.
– The honorable senator is making a mistake. I never charged Mr. Reid with doing anything of the kind. I said that New South Wales did it.
– The honorable senator certainly did make that charge last night. If he did not mean to do so that is a different thing; but he certainly did so in my hearing.
– I did not do anything of the kind, and the unrevised Hansard proof will show that the honorable senator is entirely wrong. I never mentioned Mr. Reid’s name in connexion with it.
– What non- sense.
-The honorable senator must accept Senator Givens’ assurance that he did not mention the name.
– On the other hand, I think that Senator Givens should be bound to accept my assurance that I heard him do so.
- Senator Givens should best know what he said himself.
– And I can produce in corroboration of my statement the unrevised Hansard proofs.
– I ask the honorable senator not to further interject in connexion with this matter. I also ask Senator Neild to accept the statement made by Senator Givens that he did not mention Mr. Reid’s name, or that, if the name was mentioned, it was not in the connexion suggested by Senator Neild.
– Very well, I shall be quite in order in making a quotation fromMr. Reid’s speech.
– But not in excusing it on the ground of what I said last night.
– Order ! I have pointed out that Senator Neild must accept the . disclaimer of Senator Givens that he never made the statement ; but Senator Neild is in order in reading from the debate to which he has referred in order to show that New South Wales was not guilty of a breach of faith, as suggested last night.
– Mr. Reid concluded his statement on the occasion to which I refer in the following words -
But if a number is fixed which I consider is altogether unreasonable I admit I must take the matter into very serious consideration, in view of the obligations which I think I am under to the other Colonies.
Having shown what Mr. Reid’s attitude was at the time, I think it would be well for me to show what was the attitude of another gentleman, whose views will no doubt be of interest to many honorable senators. The speech made by this gentleman was somewhat lengthy, and I shall make but a very brief extract from it. He said -
T agree with the Premier that to set down an impracticable number would be a breach of faith with the other Colonies; but to provide that the minimum shall be the majority ordinarily voting at a general election could not be regarded as a breach of faith, because it is no departure from one of the essentials of the compact, which is - as it has been phrased by a leader of the Federal movement - that Federation shall be “ broad based upon the people’s will.” Surely no one would say that it was broad based on the people’s will, if only 50,000 voted for the Bill?
That is a quotation from a speech by the honoured ex-leader of the Labour Party in the Federal Parliament, Mr. J. C. Watson. I might quote from speeches made by two other very prominent members of the same party, Mr. Dacey and Mr. Hugh Macdonald, the latter of whom has since, unhappily, joined the great majority. But the debate was a short one, and not many members took part in it. Now I come to something very much more interesting than the speeches, and that is the voting, and we shall see whether the voting on this Bill was influenced by “ a miserable Sydney clique,” or was the result of any hole and corner plot on the part of any section of the community. The second reading of the measure was carried by forty-six votes to twenty-seven. .
– Put me out of my misery and tell me at once how I voted.
– The honorable senator voted with the noes on that occasion. I was the only member of the present New South Wales delegation in the Senate who voted with the ayes. I wish to draw attention to the fact that in the division on the second reading . fourteen members of the State Labour Party took part, and every one of them voted for my Bill. Amongst the number were Mr. Watson, Mr. Thomas Brown, and Mr. McGowen, the present leader of the Labour Party in New South Wales. Mr. Reid voted against the second reading.
– And the honorable senator was leading them?
– No, they followed me.
– No wonder they went astray.
– Then there was a vote on the question that the word “eighty” should stand part of the question, and in that division the votes were fifty ayes and ten noes, and of the majority, thirteen members of the Labour Party - the whole of the members of that party present in the chamber - voted for the Bill, including again Messrs. Watson, Brown, and McGowen. Mr. Reid voted in that division against me. On the motion for the insertion of the word, the voting was fifty to ten, and again every labour member present, and there were thirteen of them, including- Messrs. Watson, Brown, and McGowen, voted for the Bill. On that occasion Mr. Reid voted with the majority. On the question that the clause as amended stand part of the Bill, the division on which took place at twenty minutes past 11 p.m., the numbers were reduced, and the voting was forty-three ayes to six noes. Again every member of the Labour Party present, and there were twelve of them, including the gentlemen I have already mentioned, voted for the Bill.
– -They were all “ antiBillites.”
– Yes, of course they were. On the third reading of the Bill, the division on which took place a fortnight later, after plenty of time had been afforded to discover whether there was any breach of faith, or anything discreditable, the voting was fifty-three to twentyeight, and every labour member present in the chamber voted with the majority. There were seventeen present, and amongst the number were Messrs. Watson, Hughes, Thomas, and Thomas Brown, all members of the present Federal Parliament. Sir William Lyne voted in every division for the Bill, and on the third reading Mr. Reid voted against it. Now, I ask whether a charge of impropriety or dishonorable conduct comes well from Senator Givens when every one of his labour colleagues in the New South Wales Parliament at the time voted in the direction that he has Deen so strenuously ‘condemning? The honorable senator may be the only pure merino in the flock, the only white-headed boy in the Labour Party, but at least it comes with an ill grace from him to attack his colleagues in the violent manner he did last night.
– The honorable senator is now very sorry for having done so.
– I expect that he is.
– They deserved some reprimand for having associated themselves with the. honorable senator in any matter.
– Is there any record of the voting on the Bill when the reference to the 100 miles-limit to Sydney was included in it?
– I have not looked that up. That is an entirely different proposition. That question was not raised last night. The matters with which I am dealing occurred long before the 100 miles-job had been perpetrated.
– The people of New South Wales accepted the Bill without any provision as to where the Capital should be.
– The honorable senator does nol know what he is talking about. I propose now to deal with another phase of his speech. I refer to his accusation regarding an alleged clique or coterie in Sydney against Dalgety. On the 13th December, 1904, the then Premier of New South Wales, Mr. Carruthers, submitted to both Houses of the State Parliament a proposal to approve of four sites, of which Dalgety was one. Let us see whether the voting on that occasion disclosed anything like the alleged Sydney clique. In the Legislative Assembly the voting was twenty-one for Dalgety, and forty against it.
– Because the advocates of every other site combined against it.
– In this case two members of the Labour Party voted for Dalgety, and fourteen against that site. This was not quite four years ago. I cannot say at the moment what constituencies were represented by all the members who voted against Dalgety, but I am able to say that some at least of the labour members’ who voted against that site could have no possible connexion with a Sydney clique. The list included Mr. Charlton, a labour member for one of the Newcastle seats; Mr. Estell, also for Newcastle; Mr. Holman, for Cootamundra; Mr. A. J. Kelly, for Wyalong, in the west; Mr. Hugh Macdonald, for Coonamble; Mr. McGarry, for the Murrumbidgee ; Mr. McNeill, for Burrowa; Mr. J. C. Meehan, for Bourke; Mr. Scobie, for Wentworth ; and Mr. Thrower, for Dubbo.
– That only proves that those members favoured other sites.
– If I were to occupy time in going through the whole of the list of the fort v who voted against Dalgety in the New South Wales Parliament, I should be able to show that by far the greater number were country and not city members.
– But they were influenced.
– Senator Stewart does not do justice to his reputation for common sense.
– How many voted for Yass-Canberra?
– The place had not been invented then. I will not weary the Senate by analyzing the vote which was cast by the Legislative Council of New South Wales upon that occasion. Suffice it to say that five votes were recorded for ‘ Dalgety and twenty against it. In the two branches of the New South Wales Parliament the majority opposed to Dalgety numbered thirty-nine.
– Were any Labour members included in that majority?
– Yes. As a matter of fact, in the Legislative Council two labour members voted for Dalgety and three against it.
– Then honours were easy.
– Quite so. From page 2499 of the New South Wales Hansard I learn that Mr. H. Stuart, a Labour member, was one of the five who voted for Dalgety, whilst Messrs. Flowers, Helper, and Buzacott, also three labour representatives, voted against it.
– Because they were in favour of the selection of other sites.
– If my honorable friend will look up the matter he will see that there was no competition between sites. The result which I have quoted was obtained upon a straight-out vote. No exhaustive ballot was taken. Leaving this aspect of the question, which I have made abundantly clear to everybody who has listened to me, to the utter confusion of Senator Givens. I told him that I would make it lively for him, and I now offer him my sympathy upon the pitiable position in which he has been placed-
– When did the honorable senator tell me that he would “ make it lively “ for me?
– I did not tell him directly, because he was not present, but I requested another honorable senator to ask him to return to the chamber, and if that did not mean that I intended to make it lively for him, I do not know what it meant.
– The honorable senator is confusing himself.
– I know that the feelings of Senator Givens are ruffled.
– I know nothing of the kind.
– Will the honorable senator be quiet?
– I must ask Senator Givens not to interrupt.
– Then the honorable senator has no right to allude to me.
– If the honorable senator wishes to raise a point of order he is at perfect liberty to do so, but he has no right to make interjections across the chamber, particularly when the Chair requests him not to do so.
– Like Senator Pulsford, if there were the remotest chance of Armidale being selected as the Federal Capital site, I should advocate its claims, not only because it is the most central site, but because it promises to become much more central in the near future. Year after year I have on many occasions pointed out that the whole trend of settlement in Australia is eastward and northward. The lower portion of Queensland, and the upper portion of New South Wales are beginning to carry a heavy population, and that population will increase year by year in a startling manner. No site has been proposed which promises to become so central within a few years, as does Armidale. Some honorable senators have urged, as an objection to its selection, that consequent upon its elevation the climate is cold. But I may inform them that the climate of Armidale is very much warmer in winter than is that of Southern Monaro, because, in the Monaro district the westerly winds blow off the snow, whilst at Armidale they blow off the warm interior of Australia. Consequently the climate of New England is very much more temperate than may be supposed by those who are not familiar with it. In speaking of the possibilities of development in eastern Australia, Senator St. Ledger omitted to mention some of the very finest districts in the Commonwealth. For instance, he entirely overlooked Inverell. Now, if there be an inland garden in any part of Australia, surely it is Inverell. That place possesses a rich soil - magnificent country - stretching away to Moree. The honorable senator also quite overlooked Glen Innes, which is a splendid farming district, and one which is growing in a manner that is quite surprising to those who have known it, as I have done, for more than thirty years. In that township I have seen, from the window of my very humble hotel at 8 o’clock in the morning, the native companions performing their strange quadrilles in the street. To-day Glen Innes is a busy hive of human industry. Where the platypus was once to be seen in every water-hole, and ducks in every creek, there is now to be seen waving fields of grain and numerous other signs of human industry. This remark is applicable to the country extending south to Tamworth and to the upper reaches of the Hunter, as well as to the magnificent Don Dorrigo country, which stretches away to Coffs Harbor and the sea, and also generally to the northern rivers of New South Wales.
– What about that scrub country ?
– The Great Scrub country is the finest in the world. If soil of the same quality were obtainable in some other parts of Australia it would be sold by the stores at so much per pound, and people would be glad to buy it. I repeat that Armidale is bound to become the centre of the population of Australia. This is apparent to everybody who is familiar with the country I have named and the country extending over the Queensland border into the Darling Downs and on to Roma. That country is capable of carrying an enormous population. All that is required is water conservation. For these reasons, and because of its accessibility on the main line between the capitals of Australia, I regard Armidale as the ideal site for the Seat of Government. But inasmuch as it has not the remotest chance of being selected, I do not intend to waste time by proposing to include it in the list of eligible sites. Next to Armidale, Lyndhurst undoubtedly occupies the finest position amongst those sites. If we are going to construct a line of railway from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie it will unquestionably be linked up with New South Wales either by way of Hay or of Wilcannia. There will then be almost a straight run from Perth to Lyndhurst. The last mentioned site is situated due north of Melbourne - in fact, it is nearer to Melbourne than is Yass. At any rate, the distance - greater or less - cannot be material. By linking up the New South Wales railways with the main northern line in South Australia we should gain easy and speedy access to Lyndhurst from Adelaide, and instead of travellers being compelled to make the half-circle which they now make by way of Melbourne, they would be required to traverse a much shorter distance.
– The honorable senator is pre-supposing an expenditure of any sum between £10,000,000 and £20,000,000.
– I am, because I recognise that, in the future, Australia will spend £10,000,000 or £20,000,000 upon railway development. It is a lamentable fact that, though the Commonwealth has been in existence for eight years, it has never yet undertaken a national work. When I am speaking of the Federal Capital site I am not speaking of a site which may suit the requirements ot persons who are now alive, but of one which will be suitable to the needs of future generations - not to the little Pedlington Australians of to-day. Unfortunately it is a fact which cannot be denied that the desire exhibited to locate the Seat of Government in the extreme south-eastern portion of Australia, springs from a determination to be parochial instead of national. How can a site be a national one if it be situated in an extreme corner of a State? Every one who knows anything about Queensland is aware that that State has suffered a great disability owing to its capital having been established in its extreme south-eastern corner. To locate the permanent Seat of Government of the Commonwealth at Dalgety would be merely to repeat the blunder which was committed in Queensland. Whilst I recognise that Lyndhurst offers us a suitable site, I also realize the futility of proposing that it should be selected. I voted for Lyndhurst often enough, but I do not propose to do so on the present occasion. I must therefore take the next available site. The site that appears to me to be the most suitable which there is a hope of getting - the most central of the remaining sites - is the one that, strangely enough, lies behind the motion of the Minister, and which he has announced his intention, from his place in the Senate, of slaughtering, if he can pos.sibly compass its destruction. The honorable senator has brought in the swaddlingclothes of legislation, and proposes to strangle the infant which the clothes were designed to fit. I am astonished that any gentleman should occupy a position of such positive parliamentary duplicity.
– I did not use the phrase in any sense as affecting my honorable friend personally either as a Minister or as a man. But I do not know what other term to apply to his conduct. I am sure that there is no ruling of any President or Speaker that would permit an appropriate appellation to be applied to such conduct, because I doubt whether such a thing has ever happened in any Legislature in the world. The honorable senator came here with half a page of a motion to accomplish that which he has announced his intention of endeavouring to prevent by every means in his power.
– By all the engineering possible.
– If the Minister used the word “engineering” I did not catch it. But I have no doubt that he used it. At any rate, we have seen an evidence of engineering this afternoon, in the carefully designed little freak of Senator McGregor. There, if you like, Mr. President, is a little bit of engineering to set this Senate and another place by the ears. The whole object of my honorable friend Senator McGregor in appearing in this matter is to induce the Senate to contradict and defy another place. I dp not know how it comes about that an honorable senator can be a parliamentary Jekyll and Hyde of this kind, in Cabinet and in Parliament. The motion is brought forward by the Government. It has been drawn up by them. These precious proposals were prepared by the honorable senator’s colleague the Attorney-General, who moved them in another place. The Minister brought them before the Senate, but he has actually said that he will cut the throat of the life that lies behind the motion.
– That is a very free translation of what I said.
– It may be a free translation, but it is nothing like so great a liberty as the honorable senator is taking with his own reputation, and with the dignity of this branch of the Legislature. Senator McColl has given so admirable an account of the relative merits of the two sites that are in competition, thai I shall not waste the time of the Senate by referring to the matter any further. If Senator McColl has not convinced honorable senators, I should not hope to succeed in doing so.
– Does the honorable senator think that Senator McColl convinced himself?
– Yes, and he would have convinced Senator Pearce that he was utterly and wildly wrong in the statements that he made here yesterday, if my honorable friend from Western Australia had been in the chamber to hear the positive refutation and utter destruction of his arguments.
– He wisely went out.
– I was here most of the time.
– Senator Pearce said that he saw the iron rods in the church.
– I am sure that Senator “Pearce is not one who runs away from little arguments of this kind. He had no reason for being absent on account of Senator McColl ‘s manner, because there was no lack of courtesy and politeness in the refutation. Had Senator Pearce heard it, I feel sure that he would not only have admitted that Senator McColl was right, but would vote for theYassCanberra site. I must have a word upon the present manipulation of the question at issue. If the amendment be carried, what will be the position of the Senate in relation to the other House? The proceedings yesterday and to-day have abundantly shown that the Government are positively indifferent, if not inimical, to the settlement of the question ; and they prove how completely needless it was for the Senate to adjourn in consequence of a motion moved in another place. We might have gone on dealing with the Federal Capi tal question whether the Government liked to lead or not. God knows they are not leading very much now, and they have not led in this matter in anything more than the most nominal way. They have not led in spirit. They have introduced this piece of machinery, and their big brother, Senator McGregor, has stepped in to move an amendment, designed to strangle the very life out of the proposal submitted. Because if the amendment be carried, it will be of no use to go on with the matter at all. We cannot in this chamber start on an entirely different voting career to that followed in another place with any hope of arriving at any sort of finality.
– That is why the amendment is moved.
– Precisely ; and that is why it is supported by the section who are opposed to removing the Seat of Government from Melbourne. That is the whole game. They say, “ We have the Seat of Government here, and we are going to keep it here.” I can quite understand certain honorable senators feeling themselves under the whip of the press. The press rounds them up every morning like bullocks for their yokes and bows to be put on.
– I wish the honorable senator would ask Ministers how they are going to vote regarding the amendment?
– Senator Best has been free and open in his declaration-. He has thrown this machinery proposal before the chamber in the manner of one throwing a child to the wolves. My honorable friend has undertaken either too much ar too little. He would have stood much’ higher in the estimation of the Senate as a Minister, and much higher as a budding statesman, had he taken up a consistent attitude instead of playing the dual role of proposing a motion and announcing his intention of so voting as to strangle the project which he is supposed to promote. ‘ I shall not take up much more time. I recognise the uselessness of the debate upon this subject. Yesterday I had not intended to speak. But I was roused to speak by one or two speeches that have been made, and which have challenged honorable senators on this side of the chamber with many acts that would be discreditable if the allegations were true, and with many efforts that would be dishonorable if the statements were well founded. I do not know whether I should be out of order in saying that no accusation against this side of die chamber has the smallest basis in fact, or the smallest merit in truth. I am not influenced by any newspaper. I have never been so influenced. I do not believe that any of my colleagues from New South Wales are so influenced in voting on a subject of this kind. If New South Wales senators are, as has been alleged, influenced by newspaper paragraphs or articles published in Sydney, what about those on this side who probably do not see a Sydney newspaper once a week? Are they influenced by the Sydney press? Was Senator St. Ledger influenced by a Sydney newspaper in his speech last night? Was Senator McColl influenced by a Sydney newspaper in his speech today? I will not further allude to the matter. It is needless to do so, because the accusation bears upon its face the brand of inaccuracy. I do not want you, sir. to tell me that I have used a term that is not parliamentary, and, therefore, I will not use any stronger word than “ inaccuracy ; ‘ ‘ but there is a short word in the English language that does not commence with-“ w “-
– The honorable senator is indirectly transgressing the very rule that he has pointed out.
– I was afraid that I was getting on the border-line of impropriety. I have no wish to do that. I have used the mildest word that occurs to me as stigmatizing the truth, or otherwise, of the accusations that have been made about this side of the Chamber being actuated by parochial desires, and being under the influence of Sydney cliques. I have shown from the divisions in the New South Wales Parliament that I have cited, that this is in no shape or. way a Sydney matter. It is a New South Wales matter. So far as the other States of Australia are concerned, there are senators from every one of the States in the Commonwealth who will vote in the hope that the question will be permanently settled. They recognise that so long as it remains unsettled, it unhinges the progress of the Commonwealth and prevents the possibility of the growth of a national spirit which we all hope to see spring up later on.
– Who is to blame for the question not being settled?
– I am afraid that my honorable friend must take a share - and a very large share - of the blame.
– Oh, no.
– I have not attempted to apportion the blame. I have not said that the Federal Parliament is to blame. I have not blamed the Federal Government. I have not said that the New South Wales Government or Parliament isto blame. I have steered clear of such< accusations. But I have said, and I repeat it, that there are those who are toblame by persistently, by their action,, blocking a settlement. I blame the VicePresident of the Executive Council. ‘ He must take to himself a portion of the blame for keeping open that grievance, the non-closing of which is a detriment to thepeople of Australia, in preventing the growth of goodwill between the greatestState and the remainder. I use the tern* “greatest State” because New SouthWales is especially concerned in this question, being the only State that has a contract with the Commonwealth, and which,, therefore, has, if I may use such a phrase,, a personal interest in the settlement of the question - personal, in the sense that the: Capital must be within its borders. New South Wales contains one-third of the. population of Australia, so that it is onethird of the Commonwealth so far as the people are concerned. It is on account of those people and that State that I have ventured to address the Chamber.
Senator STEWART (Queensland) [6.10j. - The last speaker, while denying in very strong language, that he blamed any one in particular for delaying the settlement of this very important question, did so by innuendo. I desire to prove bv a narration? of plain facts, which are well within the knowledge of every one, that if blame liesanywhere it lies with the State of New South Wales, or with the Government of that State - I do not know which, and donot care which. But there it is. Asevery one here knows, and every one in the Commonwealth is well aware, four yearsago the people of Australia, through their Parliament, chose a Federal Capital site.. The Government of New South Wales refused to give the territory. The consequence is that no steps have been takentowards the erection of the buildings on theCapital site, and therefore we are no_ further ahead than we were four years ago.. Who is to blame? Is it the Federation which has chosen the site, or the Government of New South Wales which has refused to comply with the desire of theFederal Parliament? I have no particularanimosity against that State, and, speaking it -us an Australian, I submit that from the very inception of Federation it has shown a most grasping, sordid, selfish spirit.
– Cannot the honorable senator find a few more adjectives of that type ?
– My honorable friends do not like my statement, because “the.v know that it is true.
– No one likes to *l),j told of his faults, but I hope that my honorable friends will excuse me when I put before them in plain language exactly the kind of people they represent. New South Wales was not satisfied with going into the Federation on the same terms as the other States. It said. “ Unless you give us the Capital city within our territory, we shall not join the Federation.” That was the price which the people or Government of New South Wales exacted from Australia before they would enter the “Union. Chaffering of that fashion - huckstering, for that is what it means - displayed a sordid, mean, avaricious, contemptible spirit that was not at all in harmony with the idea which ought to prevail in the minds of people who wish to create a nation.
– But they claim “that that was a broad, national spirit.
– It was very parochial and contemptible. But, not content with that, they pursued the same spirit after Federation. The people of Australia, in a generous fashion, said, “ If you must have the Capital within New South Wales, if you are not content that it shall be where the people of Australia desire, Ave shall let you have it.”
– Nearly one-half of the people of New South Wales did not want the Capital, for they voted against the Bill.
– I am not concerned .is to how less than half the people of New South Wales voted, but with the result of the vote. Not content with bargaining before Federation, New South Wales commenced after Federation to attempt to impose its will upon the people of the Commonwealth. Four years ago, the people of the Commonwealth, through their Parliament, complied with the express provision in the Constitution. They chose si Capital site in New South Wales, and more than 100 miles from Sydney, and a copy of the Act of Parliament was transmitted to the Government of New South
Wales. If that Government had been honest, and desirous of fulfilling the bargain into which it had entered on joining the Federation, it would at once have handed over the territory, and given the Commonwealth every facility for establishing the Capital city. But did it do that? No. It threw every obstruction in the way. It practically said to the people of Australia, “ You shall not choose where the Capital city shall be - that is our privilege.” By what right does New South Wales arrogate to itself that position? What right has that State, more than other portions of Australia, to say where the Federal Territory and Capital city shall be? None that I can see. The very attempt to impose its will upon the people of the Commonwealth shows an exceedingly un-Federal spirit, and one which augurs badly for the future of the Capital and the Federal Territory. If such things can be done in the green tree, what will be done in the dry? This afternoon Senator McColl read a statement emanating from Mr. Wade, and assuring the Parliament of the Commonwealth that if it will only establish the Federal Capital where he desi res it to be. New South Wales will act in a most tender fashion. What guarantee have we of good terms from a State which has proved itself to be dishonest, to use a very mild term, ever since Federation?
– Is the honorable senator in order, sir, in applying to the whole of New South Wales a term which he would not be allowed to apply to its representatives in the Senate?
– I do not know that I can prevent Senator Stewart from pursuing the subject as he is doing. It is purely a matter of taste, and, so far as I understand him, he is not alluding to the position of members of Parliament.
– With all due deference to you, sir, I do not think that it is a matter of taste. It is a matter of bare, hard, uncontradictable fact.
-! point out to the honorable senator that that question is not open to debate, and ask him to proceed with. his speech. I do not object to him holding a different opinion on that point from the Chair.
– The various States entered into a bargain.
– And the honorable senator talks about honesty, when he is trying to repudiate it !
– That is the most audacious statement I have ever heard in the chamber. The honorable senator actually charges us with trying to repudiate the agreement into which we entered, when he knows quite well that four years ago we performed our part of it, and from that clay until now the Government of New South Wales, with honorable senators on my right hand aiding and abetting them, have moved heaven and earth to prevent the will of the Commonwealth from being carried out. Who has been guilty of repudiation? New South Wales, of course. We have chosen a site for the Capital, and are ready to proceed with the erection of the necessary buildings, but New South Wales says, “ We shall not permit you to build there. We shall not give you the area or the site. We shall give you nothing. We are anxious to choose for the people of Australia where their Capital city shall be.” That is a most audacious and selfish proposal - one which no selfrespecting man from any other State should listen to or consider for a single moment. I ask those who come from other States whether they are prepared to allow the Federation to be flouted in that fashion. The very honour of the Federation demands that such an impudent attempt to impose the will of one State upon the Commonwealth should be resisted to the very utmost. If the Senate allows New South Wales to walk over it in that fashion, it will deserve the contempt of every honest man in Australia. I do not intend to enter into any discussion as to the relative merits or demerits of the various sites. I have settled in my mind where I wish the Capital city to be. I intend to stick to Dalgety, because 1 believe that it is the best possible site for very many reasons, which I should give if time permitted, and it were likely to be of any value in influencing the votes of honorable senators.
– The honorable senator likes to be contrary.
– I knowthat my honorable friend’s principal objection to Dalgety is that it is not an agricultural district.That is a very natural objection, coming from a man who has spent the major portion of his life in farming pursuits. But 1 submit to him that it is not at all necessary that the Federal Territory should be an agricultural area.
– Surely some agricultural land will be required.
– Yes; and I believe that there is a very considerable area of good agricultural land in the Monaro site.
– I did not see it.
– Let me point out to my honorable friend the two things which I think ought to influence the members of the Senate more than any other. First of all, there is the general situation. Every one will admit that the Monaro site, from a scenic point of view, is one of the very finest that could be selected in the whole of Australia. There is there, in a tropical or sub-tropical country, a temperate climate.
– It is about as temperate as the honorable senator’s language.
– I have been exceedingly temperate. If I had told the whole truth about honorable senators from New South Wales, and about their State, I should have exhausted the English language, so far as words which convey vituperation go. I have restrained myself. I was referring to the situation of the proposed Capital site at Dalgety. I think that that district, whether the Capital is situated there or not, will be one of the great show districts of Australia in the future. Every one here looks forward to the day, though none of us will see that day, when Australia will be populated, not by 4,000,000, but by 40,000,000 of people, and when even the interior of the continent, which is now considered to be an uninhabitable desert, will be occupied by a teeming population. It is only natural to suppose that people who have been bred and born in a tropical climate, and have experienced only tropical conditions, will be desirous of personally experiencing what it is like to live in a temperate climate. I repeat that this Monaro district, with Kosciusko in full view, and with easy access to the sea at Eden, will be the great tourist resort of the future. If that is likely to be the case, apart altogether from its selection as a Federal Capital site, is that not an excellent reason for choosing that site? If we did make a choice of that site, there would be the added attraction of the Federal Parliament. People from every part of Australia visiting the place could listen to the words of wisdom that fell from their chosen representatives. I ask leave to continue my speech at another sitting.
Leave granted ; debate adjourned.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.
That in order that the Parliament may he able to effectively protect the people from the depredations of Trusts, Combines, and Monopolies, it is essential that power should be conferred on the Parliament so that it may, where it thinks necessary and desirable, own and control such monopolies in the interests of the people.
The Senate therefore affirms the desirability of so amending the Constitution as to confer the necessary power, where it is not already given, and calls upon the Government to introduce the necessary legislation during the next session.
I am moved to submit this motion by certain considerations that seem to me important. The first is a proposition with which, I think, we can all agree, that it is necessary that some control should be exercised over trusts and combines. We all recognise that they exist, and are growing in number and in power. The second’ proposition is one on which there will probably be a difference of opinion. It is, that it is inadvisable, in the interests of the public, that these combines should be broken up or destroyed, that they represent a valuable economic movement, and to break them up or destroy them would be to put back the clock of time, and compel society to again traverse the same old road. A third consideration is that there are certain combines or monopolies which, if State control be conceded, could be better controlled by the Federal than by any State authority. This Parliament, wisely or unwisely, as honorable senators view the question, has passed certain anti-trust legislation. In discussing that legislation, a number of honorable senators, including myself, expressed a certain amount of scepticism as to its effectiveness, and expressed an opinion that it is undesirable to break up trusts and combines. It was pointed out that the legislation proposed did not aim at breaking them up, but at preventing them from doing injury to Australian industries. A record of that legislation and its results has been put before honorable senators in a parliamentary paper presented by command on the 23rd September. I find in that paper a statement showing the action taken in connexion with the anti-trust legislation of the Commonwealth. I learn that inquiries have been made into the operations of sixteen alleged combines for breaches of the Australian In dustries Preservation Act. Against two of them, the Coal and Shipping Combine and the Confectionery Combine, legal proceedings are under consideration. Against tour of them, pending a decision of the Court on points likely to be settled in another case, the Crown Law officers advise that no action should be taken. As regards the remainder, with the exception of the Jam Combine, the statement is made that, after full inquiry, the Crown Law officers are of opinion that the evidence obtained does not disclose any contravention of the Act. This applies to the following trusts : - Combination of Victorian millers selling flour and bran for export, or Inter-State transfer at prices less than are charged for those commodities when intended for consumption in Victoria; Colonial Oil Company (allowance of rebate) ; Tobacco Combine ; Photographic Combine; B.S.A. Company, England (cycle parts) ; Vacuum Oil Company Proprietary Limited (agreement with employes) ; Truck Combine (New South Wales) ; United Shoe Machinery Company Limited ; Proprietary Articles Trade Association (infants’ foods); “Five Lines” Shipping Combine (re butter freights). No one looking through this list, whatever his opinions on the subject might be, would deny that these combinations constitute monopolies, or practical monopolies. It might be said that their action is not detrimental to the public, but that rings and combines exist in these cases, and are growing, few would be bold enough to deny. In the United States practically the same procedure has been adopted as that which we have followed.’” They have attempted, by legislation, to restrict these combines wherever they have reached the monopolistic stage, or have attempted to exercise their monopolies to the detriment of the public. A notable case of the failure of this class of legislation, and, perhaps, the most notable case of the kind, is that of the Standard Oil Company. I suppose there is no commercial trust in the world that has been more universally reprobated. It has been subjected to a number of prosecutions. Some time ago Judge Landes recorded against the Standard Oil Company the largest fine that, I suppose, was ever recorded against any trust or individual in the world.
– Has not that finding been successfully appealed against?
– I was going on to say that the fine recorded was never collected. An appeal was made to the Supreme Court of the United States, and that Court referred the case back to the judge of the lower Court, with an intimation that the fine could not be inflicted in the way proposed, and an instruction that the case should be reheard. The latest American files seem to indicate that that is the last that will be heard of the case. No steps have so far been taken for a rehearing. The United States AttorneyGeneral, Mr. Jerome Buonaparte, has recognised that the finding of the Supreme Court of the United States will probably render a rehearing of the case almost impossible. He was going into the matter, with a view to a rehearing, but he was not very hopeful. The operations of the trust still continue, and it exercises its powers to the detriment of its rivals. Another important feature of the history of American trusts has, doubtless, come under the notice of honorable members within the last week or two. I refer to the part which they are playing in politics in the United States. It will have been noted that these trusts have been actively engaged in using a portion of their profits in what one might almost be forgiven for saying was the corruption of American politics. They have communicated with both the great political parties in the United States, with the object of making them friendly to the trusts. Large sums of money have been provided to supplement party funds. One would hardly accuse a trust of the possession of a political conscience, and it is a reasonable assumption that this money was provided for a particular purpose” We have these trusts in Australia. They are growing more powerful every year, and are widening the circle of their influence. So far the record of the results of our anti-trust legislation show that the Federal Government has to meet the same failures as have been met with in the United States.
– The amending Act has not yet had an opportunity to become effective.
– I do not think that it gives the Government any greater powers than are given under the American law.
– It is a big advance on the principal Act.
– That is so; but the Minister, in submitting the amending measure, pointed out that it was largely based on the American law.
– The same fiscal policybrings about similar results wherever it isin force.
– Let me remind Senator Gray that the operations of thesetrusts are not confined to protectionist countries. There are trusts in free-trade Great Britain. The Tobacco Trust, in which thehonorable senator and I have taken a particular interest, has extended itself from protectionist America to form a combination, with a British trust. It exerts almost as much power in free-trade England as it does in protectionist America.
– But it originally sprang from a protective policy.
– If I chose, I could cite instances of trusts having originated in Great Britain in industries which are not protected. But I now wish to give a few details of what these trusts are doing. Take the case of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, which is a complete monopoly. Certainly, it is bolstered up by a heavy protective tariff - a tariff of which it takes full advantage. The following statement in reference to the introduction into Queensland plantations of new machinery for the cutting of cane is extracted from, the Age of 24th September last -
The one overshadowing influence which is the nightmare of growers is the Colonial Sugar Co., a trust whose ramifications and influence control the whole of the sugar interests from production to distribution throughout the Commonwealth and New Zealand.
During the recent visit of the Minister of” Customs to North Queensland the treatment growers now receive and their fears for the future was brought under his notice.
It was pointed out that the company fixed the price of cane as well as that for raw sugarstaken from the Central Mills for refining purposes. Both these are arbitrary.
Then the company fixes the price of refined sugars throughout Australasia. Every merchant has to accept the company’s rates and pay the company’s prices. He must sell only at prices, approved by the company to distributors, and they again, on their part, must sell under like conditions to the retailer, and the price to the public is thus in the hands and under the sole control of this large monopoly. . . . The cane-grower has suffered, and is suffering, from the practices of the company, and the huge profits it has distributed amongst its shareholders unanswerably point to two facts. First, the grower has been underpaid for his produce ; and, second, the public has been mulct in excessive prices for manufactured sugar. … It is quite possible that any improved methods of cane harvestry tending to reduce the cost of production instead of benefiting the grower,, will be grabbed by the monopolist company and utilized to swell its profits.
That is one of the basic objections to a private monopoly. It is able to grab all the benefits which accrue from a decrease in the cost of production.
– Is there not a recent Court decision bearing upon the right of a vendor to determine the price at which an article shall be sold - a decision which was given within the past week?
SenatorPEARCE. - Probably the honorable senator is referring to the gramaphone case. In that case, the Court upheld the right of the gramaphone company to fix the price at which the distributor should sell its goods.
-I think so. The man who was struck off the list by the defendant company was the plaintiff in the action.
– There were two points raised, and the plaintiff succeeded on one count, but lost on the other.
– The count upon which the defendant company was successful had reference to its right to strike a man off its list because he was selling at a “cut” price. As evidencing how the Colonial Sugar Refining Company exerts its power, I desire to quote the following from the commercial column of the West Australian of 29th September of the current year -
The Colonial Sugar Refining Company have recently advanced their prices10s. per ton upon sugar.
I have taken the trouble to inquire whether there was any justification for that increase. With that end in View, I have looked up The Times, of 19th August, 1908, and from it I find that on that date beet-sugar sold at an average of 10s. per cwt., and foreign crystallised sugar at11s.10d. per cwt. Now on 29th August of the same year, the Colonial Sugar Refining Company were selling brewers’ crystals in Australia at £23 10s. per ton, manufacturing sugar at £22 15s. per ton, and yellow sugar at £20 5s. per ton. It will thus be seen that not only had the company raised the price By the amount which the Tariff enabled’ them to raise it, namely, £6 per ton, but that they had increased it by nearly double that amount.
– For the same class of sugar - cane sugar?
– How were they able to hold the market?
– They took full advantage of the Tariff, and of all incidental charges, to enable them to increase the cost of the article.
– Does not the honorable senator think that the operations of the Sugar Trust extend beyond the boundaries of Australia?
– They extend to New Zealand.
– But is there not an understanding between the sugar-growers of Europe and those of Australia?
– Very probably. We know that there is such an understanding in reference to tobacco. Of course, it may be argued that this increase in the price of sugar was justified, because the value of that article had been exhibiting an upward tendency. In order to ascertain whether that was a fact, I took the trouble to peruse the International Sugar Journal for September of the present year. That publication gives the prices of sugar in the world’s market from 1892 to 1907. From it I find that in 1892 the price was 19s. per cwt. That was the year in which the Cartell system was in full operation, and the bounty system still in force. In 1900 - just about the period when the latter system was denounced - the price of sugar was 12s. 6d. per cwt., and in 1903 it had fallen to 9s. 6d. per cwt. But in 1905, which was a year of great scarcity, it had advanced to 16s. per cwt. Since then, there has been a gradual fall, until the last price quoted was 10s. 6d. per cwt., or £1010s. per ton. I shall not deal further with the sugar monopoly, because the representatives of Queensland will, doubtless, have something to say upon the matter. But I would point out that sugar is one of our staple articles. Australia is a great fruitgrowing country, and, in order to utilize that fruit, we have to convert it into jam. Yet here is one of the principal ingredients of jam in the hands of a complete monopoly. In order to preserve a White Australia, we have given the sugar-growers the benefit of a high duty, with the result that the Colonial Sugar Refining Company to-day has full command of the local market. We are thus jeopardizing our jam industry in the markets of the world-
– Our jam manufacturers get the benefit of a drawback upon the imported sugar which they use.
– But so far as the home trade is concerned they get no drawback. They have to compete with imported jams and preserved fruits. Those imported jams and preserved fruits are largely composed of sugar which is sold abroad for one-third less than it can be purchased here. Everybody is aware that the home market is the most profitable. No manufacturer wishes to develop an export trade if he can obtain a sufficient home trade. It is a fact that American and English jams still come into severe competition with Australian jams. As I have dealt so exhaustively with the Tobacco Trust upon previous occasions, I wish only to remind honorable senators that it is a world-wide trust. Reference to page 212 of the report of the proceedings of the Tobacco Commission will disclose the fact that Mr. H. R. Dixon, ona of the directors of the American Tobacco Company of Australia Limited, which manufactures the cigarettes for the Tobacco Trust in Australia, admitted that there are 200,000 shares in that company, of which more than onehalf are held by the American Tobacco Company of the United. States, which is the British -American Tobacco Company. The Tobacco Trust is, therefore, a world-wide trust, which deals not only with our locally-manufactured tobaccos, but also with a large quantity of imported tobaccos. As that organization develops, it will continue to exploit both the consumer and the grower.
– What proportion of the tobacco locally consumed is supplied by the trust?
– The honorable senator will find the estimates given in the evidence tendered to the Tobacco Commission. In plug tobaccos, the majority report of that body sets down the total of the business done bv this trust at from 75 per cent, to 99 per cent., and it estimates the proportion of the trade controlled by the trust in the matter of cigars at from 45 per cent, to 50 per cent., and in the matter of cigarettes, at about 75 per cent. The British-American Trust is also a large supplier of imported tobaccos. Having demonstrated that this trust is a branch of the American trust, I wish to point out the steps which the United States Government have been compelled to take, with a view to controlling its operations. From the journal Tobacco, of nth July, 1907, which is published in New York, I extract the following -
Tobacco Trust securities seem bound to takeanother big tumble in Wall-street in the immediate future. Government prosecution of the Tobacco Trust was begun in earnest this week, when a Bill in equity was filed by the Government (Wednesday), in the United States Circuit Court for the Southern District of New York, against the Tobacco Trust, charging that it is a monopoly in restraint of trade in violation of the Sherman law.
That this action will be taken causes no surprise, for it has been known for some time that the Tobacco Trust was booked for early prosecution, but the nature of the prayers to the Court in this case will mark a startling departure in anti-trust prosecution, more radical than anything yet undertaken by the Roosevelt administration, and which promises to produce far more satisfactory results than anything that has been attempted in that line in the past.
The new method of procedure now adopted by President Roosevelt and the officers of the Department of Justice aims at nothing less than the placing of every monopolistic or law-breaking’ trust in the hands of a receiver, who, as the agent of the Federal Court, shall carry on thebusiness of the corporation. This proceeding, which is the latest of the Roosevelt policies relating to the control of corporations, is to havea trying out in the prosecution of the TobaccoTrust, and if the movement succeeds other capitalistic combinations which mav be similarly violating the laws may expect similar treatment.
– Has anything been heard’ of that prosecution ? The honorable senator’s quotation is twelve months old.
– I have looked for later information, but have not been able, to learn what has happened in regard tothe case. But one has only to read thehistory of trust prosecutions, especially indie case of the Standard Oil Company, to know that the proceedings have extended, over years. Therefore it is not singular that we have not heard anything more about the case up to the present. But I havequoted from a trade journal which is likely to be well informed, and which states that the prosecution is to take the form of requesting the Supreme Court to appoint areceiver whilst the case is being heard - a most drastic action, and one far in excessof anything contemplated under our AntiTrust law. I come now to the Trust, which, federally speaking, is perhaps of more importance than any other - becausewhilst there are those who oppose the nationalization of supplies, such as tobaccoor sugar, there are many who might even be called conservatives who admit that anything in the. nature of a conservation of a transport service is better in the hands of the people. The Shipping Trust in Aus- tralia is so well known to honorable senators that I do not need to go into details to any great extent. To give instance of how this trust can hamper industry, and how it can injure producers, I shall quote a case which came under my notice in Western Australia during the last recess. I quote from the Western Australian of 7th August, 1908, in the case of W. J. McLeod, of Roeburn, a miner in the north-west. In giving evidence as to the causes of his failure, he said: -
The real reason for their failure, however, was the fact that their ore was kept lying on the Cossack wharf for three months awaiting shipment.
On 10th August they -had 300 tons there, and, as he had said, this remained on the wharf for three months.
In the meantime the price of copper fell from £112 to ^’56, and witness and his partners lost fully £3,000 by the delay in the shipment of the ore to the market.
The cause of the delay was that the shipping companies suddenly gave them notice that they could not carry any of their ore on account of the wool coming down.
He had, however, strong reasons to suppose that there were other influences at work, as the Whim Creek ore was carried by the boats.
– The honorable senator will admit that that instance is hardly conclusive. There may have been a contract with the shipping company in the one case.
– I do not say that the case is conclusive, but any one who knows the north-west coast of Western Australia and the amount of trade done by those boats can readily believe that the shipping companies could, if they wished to do so, have carried this man’s ore.
– In this particular instance the evidence does not seem to me to be conclusive.
– That is the trouble with these trusts. You can never get conclusive evidence because you can never get into the mind of the trust.
– Does the honorable senator want to convict them without evidence?
– I say that such a state of things as that would not be possible if we had a State-owned line of steamers.
– The reason given by this man was that the companies were carrying the ore of other mines.
– The company said to this miner that they could not carry his ore because the wool was coming down. But during that same time they carried the ore of a company in the north-west. I may tell honorable senators-r-and Western Australian senators will appreciate the political’ significance of what I am saying - that the Whim Creek Copper Mine is in the hands of influential people, who do not mind pulling political strings at the right moment. Just prior to the recent State elections in Western Australia, the Whim Creek Copper Mine, although a payable proposition, threw its miners out of work until the election was over. Many miners had to leave the district. But the mine resumed workshortly afterwards. That would seem to indicate that the Whim Creek Copper Mine was closed for political reasons.
– Had the price of metals fallen in the meantime?
– Copper fell at the time the man whose evidence I have quoted went insolvent, but it has not risen since the Western Australian elections.
– May not the Whim Creek Company have closed the mine on account of the fall in the price of copper?
– It may have done, but it is a coincidence that the closing of the mine happened at the time of the State elections, and that work has since been resumed. At any rate, we have sufficient knowledge of what is taking place on the north-west coast to convince the Western Australian senators that the trade is absolutely in the hands of the Shipping Combine of Australia, and that they have ar. agreement in regard to wool by which they bring it down to a certain port for a. certain price, whereas if a person wants to send wool down to Fremantle, where it might go into the hands of other shipping companies to be taken to England, the freight is raised to double the amount, for the name distance, as the freight on wool if it is taken north and put on steamers to go to Singapore. The reason for that is that the Singapore line of steamers is worked in conjunction with the Australian Steamship Trust.
– The freight from a northern port to Fremantle is equal to the freight from that port to London.
– The Singapore line of boats is apparently working with the Shipping Trust of Australia to compel wool to go to the northern ports, where it has to be transferred to be taken to England via Singapore.
– Would the explanation of the lower freight for taking the wool north instead of south be that there is more freight offering one way than the other ?
– I do not think so. The Singapore steamers do not go further north than Broome. The freight from Derby and Wyndham, coming south to Broome, is lower than the freight from the same port southwards. The object is to compel wool to go round by Singapore to England.
– Can the honorable senator quote the different rates of freight?
– I cannot quote them from memory, although I have the figures in my possession. This matter has been the subject of a deputation to the State Government, and to the postal authorities in Western Australia. The postal authorities in a recent contract tried to meet the situation by stipulating certain rates of freight, but they have not succeeded in dealing with the evil, which still obtains. Another trust which operates in Western Australia through the Shipping Trust is the Meat Trust, which is at present the subject of investigation by a Royal Commission. The Meat Trust has gone to the length of closing up shops and refusing to supply meat to customers who were prepared to pay actual cash, but who were doing a cutting trade. In the Age of yesterday the following telegram appears from Western Australia : -
A BLACK-LISTED BUTCHER.
The meat conspiracy case, in which Chas. Buckland, the butcher who was” black-listed,” sought damages from, and an injunction against, eight members of the Retail Butchers’. Association for conspiring to prevent him from obtaining his meat supplies, was concluded to-day, before Justice Rooth and a special jury. The judge summed up favorably towards plaintiff, and put five questions to the jury, who unanimously replied that defendants had intentionally done something calculated to injure the plaintiff’s business ; that it had been injured without good cause or excuse, and that they acted in combination and conspired to induce a certain firm to refuse supplies to plaintiff. Damages amounting to £200, with costs, were awarded, and an injunction granted. A stay of a fortnight was allowed.
It is interesting to note that the Western Australian Meat Trust could not live a Hay if it were not for an agreement that they evidently have with the Shipping Trust of Australia. That such an agreement exists is proved by the evidence given by small pastoralists both in the police court prosecution that led up to this Supreme Court conviction, and also before the Royal Commission. These witnesses have testified that they have gone to the steamship companies to get space to bring their cattle down from the north-west, which, as honorable senators know, is our sole source of supply for cattle, except from the eastern States. But they have been told that the whole of the space was already chartered by Messrs. Connor, Doherty, and Durack, and by Forrest, Emmanuel and Company, which are the principal firms in Western Australia. When small pastoralists have gone to them, the first question has been, “At what price are you going to sell on the Perth market?” And unless the pastoralist will place himself in the hands of the Meat Combine, and allow them to sell his cattle, no space is allotted to him, and he cannot get his cattle down to market. It has to be remembered that the Pastoralists’ Association, which leases the great bulk of the land in the north-west of Western Australia, is also the chief butchering firm in and round Perth and the coastal districts. By various means it also controls the butchers’ shops. There is a Retail Butchers’ Association, and there are relations between that Association and the Shipping Trust. So it can be seen that the Shipping Trust is exercising a powerful influence upon the food supplies of the people of Western Australia. In the case of South Australia, honorable senators will remember that recently the State entered into a fresh number of coal contracts. What did we see then? The coal to be supplied to the Government has been put up in price 4s. per ton. A Newcastle member of another place informed me that that is about the figure, and that as a consequence of that increased price all that has gone to the coal miner has been 4d. per ton. The balance has gone to either the steamship companies or the coal companies. We know that there is an arrangement between the coal vend and the steam-ship companies, and I venture to say that the Shipping Trust has derived a great benefit. At any rate, there has been a large increase in the price. There is a prosecution pending against a steam-ship company, and we have yet to learn the result of it. But I venture to think that we shall never check these trusts by means of such legislation. Do we want to check them?
Would it be to the advantage of Australia that the six steam-ship companies should be broken up, and should commence a cut-throat competition with each other? I think that it would not be in the best interests of Australia. I believe that the combination, by reason of its very existence, has conferred certain benefits upon Australia. From the industrial stand-point it is far better, as I am sure Senator Guthrie will affirm, for seamen to deal with one trust than with six shipping companies.
– That is to say, the small man must go out?
– Yes. The honorable senator will not blame me, I hope, for that fact. It is the inevitable result of an economic movement which is going on the world over. No political party can be held responsible, for instance, for a small steam-ship company being crushed out. I venture to predict that if the Shipping Trust were broken up to-morrow, the steamship companies would travel the same road again. In the first place, there would be a period of cut-throat competition in which the companies would be partly ruined, would attempt to grind down the wages of the men, and would not give the same effective service. The consumer would derive a certain amount of benefit from the competition - although I have seen instances where, as the result of excessive competition, he has not benefited in the long run.
– How is the honorable senator blowing - hot or cold?
– I am endeavouring to supply the honorable senator with some texts from which he can speak. My contention is that a monopoly is not in itself bad. and that in certain cases it may be of great benefit. It may be the means of cheapening the cost of production, securing better management, and obtaining a better service. The only danger of a monopoly is when it is in the hands of a few individuals, as it would give them the power to exploit the great bulk of the people. Take the State railways of Australia. That is a beneficent monopoly. It is operated in the interests of producers as well as consumers. It gives theproducers and the consumers a far better service than any competitive system ever did or can give. Assuming like conditions, I contend that the State railways of Australia give a better service than do similar railways under private control in any part of the world.
– It is the same with the telegraph and telephone services of Australia.
– We have only to look at the results of our telegraph and telephone services to appreciate what a beneficent monopoly is. Honorable senators have seen the circular which has been issued by the Post and Telegraph Department. When contrasted with the results of the private enterprise services of America, the State services of Australia come out far and away on top.
– Australia is losing hundreds of thousands of pounds by its services.
– No. In our case every pound which is on the wrong side of the ledger means a pound in the pockets of the people, whereas in the other case it means a pound in the pockets of the Telegraph Trust and a pound out of the people’s pockets. It is said that State control does not give satisfactory results. I ask Senator Gray, who judges everything by the amount of profit which is made, to give his attention to the results of the operations of the State railways of Australia. For the years 1901 to 1907, after paying working expenses, they contributed 4.35 per cent. towards the capital expenditure. After paying interest and capital and working expenses in 1906-7 a net profit of £992,947 was made, representing . 72 per cent. on the capital.
– They charge more than private railways do.
– I invite the honorable senator, or any one else, to lump together the American railways or the British railways and see whether, even from the low standard of profit-making, they can show such a record.
– The British railways can.
– Some of them can, but not all.
– I ask honorable senators not to converse so loudly as they are doing.
– It should be remembered that in England the railways run through great towns which are situated at short distances from each other, and in which the cost of operation is reduced to a minimum. The railways operate huge quantities of merchandise, and an immense passenger traffic, which, as every one knows, are the most favorable conditions for earning a profit. But in Australia the
State railways run through sparsely populated districts for vast distances and under conditions which cause the working cost to rise to a maximum. When we recollect how the State railways are aiding in the development of Australia, we get a signal object lesson of the value of a monopoly when it is in the hands of the people, as compared with a monopoly in the hands of private enterprise.
– Is the honorable senator able to give us any comparative figures ?
– Not to-night, because it would extend my remarks too much. If honorable senators will compare railways running through sparsely populated districts, under like conditions, they will find in every instance that freights and fares are higher in America than in Australia.
– I should like to have the authority for that statement?
– The tramways of Melbourne and Sydney furnish an illustration of a private enterprise monopoly and a State monopoly.
– The answer is that the fares are not so cheap as those of the private tramway company in Brisbane.
– I have the figures for 1907 -
Honorable senators are aware that the fares on the State tramways in Sydney are infinitely cheaper than those on the privatelyowned tramways in Melbourne. In Sydney, for instance, the cheapest fare is 1d., whereas the cheapest fare on any line in Melbourne is1½d. In Sydney a passenger pays 2d. for a ride for which he would have to pay 3d. in Melbourne.
– Is the honorable senator aware that after the lapse of a few years the Melbourne tramways will become the property of the corporations, and that, therefore, the company are concerned in getting principal and interest?
– In 1916, on payment of compensation.
– I ask honorable senators to allow the speaker to proceed.
– In 1907 the tramways carried 144,038,105 passengers in Sydney, as against 59,069,280 in Melbourne. The mileage run was 15,638,887 in Sydney, as against 9,536,397 in Melbourne. The average charge per passenger carried was1d. in Sydney, as against 2¼d. in Melbourne.
– Does the honorable member know the reason of that?
– Because a . higher fare is charged in Melbourne.
– The honorable senator knows that the reason of that is that at the expiration of a few years the Melbourne trams will revert to the corporations, and that the Tramway Company have to make the best use of existing conditions.
– I am not attempting to prove that the Melbourne Tramway Company are not making the best use of existing conditions. On the contrary, I am attempting to prove that they are doing so, and making a good profit-
– Order! I ask honorable senators to cease their constant conversations across the chamber. I do not object to honorable senators interjecting and asking pertinent questions, but I object to conversations being carried on across the chamber.
– In Sydney the tramway workers have a better deal, for they work shorter hours and receive higher wages, while the community enjoys cheaper fares. At the same time, the working expenses and interest are earned, a certain amount of profit passes to the State Treasury, and no one is injured.
– Can the honorable senator give a comparison as regards wages and conditions of employment?
– Not at present; but it is a well-known fact that wages are higher and hours shorter on the Sydney tramways than on the Melbourne system.
– Order ! Do honorable senators intend to obey the ruling of the Chair or not? It is quite useless for the Chair to attempt to keep order if they will not do so.
– Whilst there is no monopoly in finance it is interesting to know that South Australia has a State Bank, and that the effect of its establishment has been, not only to give the people money at a cheaper rate of interest, but by reason of its competition to reduce the rate of interest charged by private banks and money-lenders.
– Is the honorable senator speaking of the Agricultural Bank in South Australia?
– No; of the State Bank which advances money, not only on agricultural land, but also on city land. It has lent, on country freehold lands, £661,047; on country leasehold lands, £11 1,558; on rural industries,£1,750;to municipal corporations and district councils, £12,920; on city, town, and township lands,£445,988. I often hear my honorable friends, especially those who represent Tasmania, impressing upon the Senate the enormous importance of fostering our export departments, and helping our producers to put their produce on the markets of the old world at the lowest possible cost. What has been the result of private enterprise, especially where it has become a monopoly? We know that until the States took an active interest in this matter the producer did not get a fair price for his produce, and that the consumer was charged a higher price than should have been charged. South Australia has established a State Export Department. From a bulletin issued last month by the Department of Intelligence I take the following account of its operations -
If desired by producers, the Department will undertake the whole of the business of shipping and selling produce on their behalf. All that is necessary for the producer to do is to properly pack his produce and forward it on to the Government Freezing Works, Port Adelaide, together with an intimation to the office as to his wishes. The Department will then engage freight, freeze if necessary, ship, insure, and sell the produce in London.
The Government have a special Commercial Agent in London to attend to the sale of produce on behalf of shippers, and he takes delivery on arrival of the boats, and places to the best advantage in the English or Continental markets. When a sale is effected the account sales are made out in London and forwarded to Adelaide, when account sales and cheque for the net proceeds are immediately forwarded to the producer.
The Department makes advances on produce entrusted to it for sale at the discretion of the honorable the Commissioner of Crown Lands. In the majority of cases this advance is 75 per cent. of the estimated value of the produce.
I venture to assert that no private enterprise, even when it did become a monopoly, ever treated the consumer so generously as that Has any private enterprise, after it has become a monopoly, ever treated the producer so generously ?
– Yes, and more generously.
– Let me give Senator Gray an instance which came under my own notice. I can refer him to the case of a producer in South Australia who, by the way, was a strong political opponent of this form of Socialism, and who told me his experience of a private enterprise monopoly. He said that when he sold his iambs to a private firm, the name of which he mentioned, he got the marker price for them. But that the company, after slaughtering the lambs kept the wool, hides, and all other offal, and he did not get a penny for them. To-day, he says that he not only gets a higher price for his lambs from the State Export Department than he got from the private firm, but he also gets the full price for the offal. In the circumstances, I do not see how Senator Gray can say that under any private enterprise the producer is more generously treated than by the State Export Department of South Australia.
– I could give an instance of a working man’s co-operative association that sent produce from Australia to England, and secured an advance of 80 per cent. upon the price offered by the State.
– That is an instance only of another form of Socialismvoluntary co-operation.
– Some private firms have done even better.
– To show that the operation of the Export Department of South Australia is no hole-and-corner business, I am in a position to say that the Department is doing very good work. In 1907-8 the Department shipped 208,370 carcasses of lambs, valued at . £99,347 10s . 55,618 gallons of wine valued at £5,56116s., 1,374,016 pounds of butter valued at £6,870 16s., and 150,778 cases of apples, valued at £74,256. There has been a still later development in South Australia. The farmers in that State found that the produce merchants in Adelaide had an “honorable understanding.” The telephone wires were ‘worked, and whenever they went to sell cream to the butter factories, which are controlled by the produce merchants, a certain price was. fixed. There was no competition. The soul of trade was dead. There was a practical monopoly. The Government saw that the farmers were not getting a fair deal, and they stepped into the breach and started a State butter factory. Fancy a State making butter! Yet in South Australia a State butter factory has been in operation fornearly two years. Last year the factory took from the farmers nearly 1,000.000 lbs. weight of cream. There was manufactured in the factory about 500,000 lbs. of butter,’ and the farmers received for their cream an average price equivalent to 11½d. per lb. of butter, the highest price ever received in the history of South Australia. Furthermore, at the end of the year, after giving the farmers that high price, the factory had a sum of ,£800 in hand. Of that amount .£300 was set aside for depreciation of plant, and the balance of .£500 was distributed as a bonus to those who had contributed cream to the factory ; and this bonus represented in some cases as much as £12 for an individual contributor. I may be told that I am proving that there is no necessity to alter the Federal Constitution because I am showing that the States can do all this. The reason why I wish to see an alteration of the Constitution is that there, are gigantic monopolies in Australia with which the States could never deal. These are the shipping monopoly, the sugar monopoly, and the tobacco monopoly. In undertaking either of these industries, a State could not hope to be successful, because its operations would be limited.
– Or any other industry, according to the honorable senator’s argument.
– That may be all that I have been able to convey to Senator St. Ledger’s intelligence, but I am not responsible for that. I am doing my best. The bogy of Socialism may be trotted out as a reason for voting against my motion : but I point out that the States have been doing these things in connexion with lines of industry where it has been found they can act with advantage to the people, and have the power to act. Why deny to the Commonwealth the power to do the same as the States are doing in connexion with lines of industry which might be operated with equal benefit to the public by the Commonwealth authority ; but in connexion with which the States authorities cannot act?
– The objection might be that that might make Socialism more useful still.
– As I have pointed out, we could not have a successful State ownership of the shipping industry by any single State, because its operations would be limited to trade within the State. To secure the full benefit of State ownership in such an industry, it must be of a Federal character. Honorable Senators may oppose the motion, but I venture to suggest that the obligation is laid upon those who will oppose it, to show that we could not expect to derive from a Federal Stateowned transport service on the sea, the benefits which it is admitted are derived from a State-owned transport service on land. It is because I believe that we could secure those benefits for the people, that I am anxious we should have the power to undertake the work.
– ls not the obligation upon the honorable senator to show that Commonwealth ownership would result in those benefits?
– I have been endeavouring all the evening to do so. I may have failed, but like the American pianist’^ I am doing my best, and if I have failed, it is not my fault. I shall not detain the Senate longer, except to say that I hope that as a result of the discussion of the motion,, it will be carried, and will be followed bv such an amendment of the Constitution aswill enable the Commonwealth to do exactly what the States are doing inmother sphere, and no more. We canon])’ take such action as I have indicated, if the people of Australia are willing that we should do so. No democrat should quarrel with that. If honorable senators opposite are Democrats, they will not be afraid to place in the hands of the people they represent, the power to do what they will with these monopolies.
– Has the honorablesenator come across any instance in which a State, having gone into an industry, has permitted it to revert to private enterprise ?
– The only instance of the kind of which I have read, occurred in Portugal. In that case, the State,, having taken up the tobacco monopoly, did not give it back entirely to private enterprise; because at the present time the manufacture of tobacco in Portugal is farmed out to a private company. The State still retains control, and can take up the operation of the monopoly again upon giving a certain notice. That case has occurred, not under a democratic form of government, but rather, under an autocratic form of government, and the people were not consulted in the matter.
– Has any case of the kind occurred in Australia?
– I have never heard of any Australian State that has taken a Step in advance in the direction of State ownership of monopolies, that has ever afterwards stepped backwards. On the contrary, although we know that railways, telephones, post-office and telegraph services are in many other civilized countries in the hands of private persons, even honorable senators opposite are satisfied that here they should be in the hands of the whole of the people, and be collectively owned. On these matters they are all Socialists. I desire by my motion to make a further step in this direction possible, and to give the people of the Commonwealth the right in this matter to continue to govern themselves.
Debate (on motion by Senator Best), adjourned.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [8.50]. - The motion I propose to bring before the Senate need occupy but a very brief time. I hope it will be regarded as worthy of the support of honorable senators in order to remove what I think will be plainly seen to be an injustice. I move -
That this Senate disapproves of Statutory Rule 88a, under the Public Service Act, penalizing temporary employes, for or consequent upon their attendance at camps or courses of military or naval training.
I shall have no trouble in making the matter plain if honorable senators will give me their attention. Statutory rule 88 runs as follows -
Leave of Absence for Naval and Military Purposes
Subject to Departmental convenience, the Chief Officer may grant to officers who are members of the Defence Force leave of absence on full pay for the purpose of attending camps and courses of naval or military instruction. Leave of absence granted in pursuance of this regulation shall not be deducted from the officers’ annual or accumulated leave.
Then Regulation 88a, to which I ask honorable senators to take exception, is as follows -
Temporary employes shall be treated in the same manner as permanent officers as regards public holidays, but leave of absence granted on other occasions shall be without pay.
So, in a country that claims that its whole military defence should be in the hands of the citizens, we have this anomalous position : That if a man has a permanent billet, with an annual salary attached, he can attend a course of naval or military instruction to fit him for the defence of Australia, and can draw his full pay all the time. But if he is an unfortunate who has not a permanent billet, and who is in receipt of only from 7s. to 10s. per day, which I think is the highest pay given to temporary employes, apparently because he is a poor man, who has only a temporary job, if he goes to do identically the same duty that the permanent employe” discharges, his few shillings a day are docked. I cannot conceive that a temporary employe would necessarily make a worse soldier than a man who has “ a good steady job.” If this military or naval service is to be in the interests of the whole community, I cannot see why the man who is in receipt of poor pay and has an unsteady job should be penalized as against the man in a permanent position with a higher salary. I point out that the sum involved to the taxpayer of the Commonwealth is so small that I suppose it really would affect the pocket of no one; but it might be a very serious thing for the man dependent for the support of his family on a daily wage of from 7 s. to 1 os. to find that if he goes to camp for nine days of training he must lose his pay for nine days. Three guineas is too much to take out of the Docket of a man who is in receipt of only 7s. per day. It is more than he can afford to lose, and more than the State should ask him to lose. In the same manner^ the temporary employe”, who is receiving 10s. per day, will be called upon to sacrifice £4 10s. simply because he has to enter camp for the purpose of fitting himself for the defence of his country. I do not think it is intended that the temporary hands in our Public Service shall be treated in this manner, and as the total sum involved cannot be a large one, I hope that the Minister will agree to reconsider the matter. I do not submit this motion in accordance with the provisions in the Public Service Act, which requires a motion of dissent from any regulation which may be framed to be submitted within thirty days of the laying of that regulation upon the table of the Senate. I merely ask honorable senators to express an opinion, which will convey to the Minister their wish that existing Statutory Rule 88a is not fair to the temporary employes of the Commonwealth. I appeal to their common sense and good feeling in this connexion, and I hope that the Minister will give us an assurance of a character friendly to the motion. I cannot ask him to definitely inform the Chamber that the regulation will be altered. But I shall be quite willing to withdraw the motion if he will give me a sympathetic assurance that the injustice to which I have referred will receive fair consideration.
– I was very pleased indeed to hear Senator (.Neild, in the concluding words of his address, appeal to the common sense and good feeling of honorable senators in asking them to commit themselves to an expression of opinion upon the matter of principle involved in this rather important question. It is only a few weeks ago - I think it was when the first Supply Bill for the current year was before the Senate - that my honorable friend referred to what he described as the “ wrongful inaction “ of the Government, in not enabling members of the Public Service to attend military and naval camps without forfeiting pay ‘or the leave to which they were entitled. By way of interjection, I then drew his attention to the fact that a regulation had been passed which enabled permanent officers of the service to attend camps of instruction, both naval and military, without being compelled to forfeit either their pay or their leave. The honorable senator was good enough at the time to accept my assurance, and since then he has satisfied himself that such a regulation came into force, not recently, but before the Easter encampment of last year.
– I beg the Minister’s pardon, but this statutory rule is dated 5th July of last year.
– I am speaking of the particular regulation which enables permanent officers of the Public Service to attend camps of instruction without sacrificing either their pay or their leave. That regulation was brought into force about April, 1907. Senator Neild thinks that the exemption which was then extended to permanent officers of the Public Service should also be extended to temporary employe’s. The particular regulation which he now impeaches has Been in operation since July, 1904. If he will turn to Statutory Rule 54 of that year, he will see that that is so. That being the case, the honorable senator is not now taking the ordinary course of questioning the legitimacy of tint rule. He is asking the Senate to express its opinion upon the general question of the desirableness of exempting both permanent and temporary employes of the Commonwealth service. I am not able to say the exact number of temporary employes engaged in the Public Service at the present time. As honorable senators are aware, it varies according to the locality, the .Department, and the work which may be in hand at any particular time. Whilst votes upon the Estimates are awaiting the authorization of Parliament, it often happens that works are “hung up,” and after those votes have been authorized great efforts have to be made to expend the money within the particular year for which it has been voted. This frequently necessitates the employment of temporary hands in various Departments. Just as the employment of these hands varies according to the season of the year and according to the character of the work in hand, so the actual duration of their employment varies from say, three days to six months. If we take a temporary employe into the Commonwealth service for three days or six days, are we to declare that if his period of service be interrupted, and if he should be required to enter a military camp of instruction for seven or eight days he shall be permitted on the termination of his military training to complete the period of service for which he was originally engaged ? The whole system governing temporary employment is prescribed by law. Until that law has. been altered, I do not think that the Public Service Commissioner would be warranted in adopting any principle other than that which has been hitherto observed. Nor do I think that Sis Excellency the Governor in Council would be justified in adopting the principle to which Senator Neild wishes to commit the Senate. Of course, it is needless to say that the whole scheme underlying our Public Service Act is a permanent staff of employes. Temporary ‘ hands are intended to be taken on only in cases of urgency, and when the circumstances admit of temporary employment hems afforded. They cannot therefore stand in exactly the same position as officers who are permanently attached to the Commonwealth service, who enter that service under specified conditions, who lay themselves out to continue in it during the whole of their lives, and who promise to devote their entire energies to perfecting themselves in the discharge of the duties which may be assigned to them from time to time.
– The temporary employes would do that, if they had the chance.
– Of course they would.
– The Departments always appear to contain an immense army of temporary employes.
– Exactly. But the object of the Public Service Act is to make the number of those employes as small as possible. Whenever it can be shown that a large number of temporary hands is being constantly engaged by a Department, the Minister controlling that Department says to the Chief Officer, “ You should immediately complain that you have a number of permanent vacancies to which permanent hands must be appointed, and let the matter be determined.” Section 40 of the Public Service Act reads -
– That provision is not being observed in the Sydney General Post Office.
– That is another matter, with which I shall be quite prepared to deal when the honorable senator sets forth the grounds of his charge. Section 72 of the Public Service Act prescribes the holidays to which both permanent and temporary employes of the Commonwealth shall be entitled. It reads -
First day of January.
Christmas Day and the following days.
Good Friday and the following Saturday and Monday.
The Anniversary of the birthdayof the Sovereign, and any day proclaimed by the Governor-General or required by any Act to be observed in lieu of any of the said days.
Temporary employes are taken on only in cases of emergency, when in the opinion of the Minister the prompt despatch of public business necessitates their employment, and when the Public. Service Commissioner cannot provide the requisite assistance from amongst the permanent officers of the service. They are engaged for a limited period. They cannot be employed in any year for more than six months in the absence of a certificate from the Public Service Commissioner, who may extend their period of service for a further threes months. As I have aleady said, the duration of their employment may vary from three or six days to nine months.
– I have known it to extend to three years.
– I do not know of any such cases.
– I can tell the Minister of them.
– They will be remarkably exceptional cases. But because there are exceptional cases in the Commonwealth, are we going to lay down a hard and fast principle in respect, not only of the men who may be employed temporarily for three years, but in respect of those who may be employed for only three days ?
– Is a temporary hand paid for holidays, just as is the permanent officer ?
– Yes. Very often the services of a hand are requisitioned, say, for twenty-one days. He may be a temporary messenger, or clerk, or draughtsman, and it may happen that the particular work upon which he is engaged is not completed for another fortnight. In such a case the ordinary procedure of extending his term of service for fourteen days has to be followed. If a holiday occurs during that period, he receives his remuneration for that holiday, just as he would do if he were permanently employed. My honorable friend is usually fair, and possessed of common-sense and good feeling, and I feel sure that on reconsidering the position he will realize the disparity between the circumstances of temporary employes in different localities, and will realize that a greater amount of hardship would be worked, both in respect of permanent and temporary employes, if his proposition were agreed to than if the regulations were to stand as they have done for the past few years.
– The honorable senator has not addressed himself to the aspect of the question which I think I made plain, namely, that it is a question of discharging a public duty of another character.
– That is a matter which relates to the general subject of defence camps and military training, and, my honorable friend will recognise, is affected by a measure which I am sure he hopes to have an opportunity of dealing with at an early date.
Debate (on motion by Senator de Lar- gie) adjourned.
– I move -
Chataway, Dobson, Findley, Givens, Colonel Neild, Vardon, and the mover.
I submit this motion for the consideration of the Senate because I am desirous of securing finality on a question which has come before this Chamber on several occasions - namely, as to how our Commonwealth printing work has been conducted, and whether or not we are obtaining value for the money spent in that direction. There is also the question of whether the employes in that branch of the service are being fairly treated. A perusal of Hansard will show that invariablyeach session, either on the consideration of the Estimates or on various Supply Bills, honorable senators have addressed themselves to this matter. During the early portion of last session I had the honour to submit a motion. I was desirous that the men employed on the linotype machines should be classified on the Public Service list. I was not successful. I recognised that another question was dovetailed with that which I submitted, namely, the whole matter of Commonwealth printing. I thought that on another occasion there might be an opportunity of entering into the whole question in a broader manner. After I had submitted my motion the VicePresident of the Executive Council replied. In his opening remarks he said that I had taken action on information supplied to me. I admitted that information had been supplied as to the conditions obtaining in the Government Printing Office, in which
Commonwealth machines are working, and where the men who do our printing are employed. The tenor of my honorable friend’s remarks was simply a categorical denial of assertions made by me. He admitted that his statements in the Senate were made on information supplied to him. Consequently he was in the same position as I was. Information had been supplied to me from one source and to him from another. I contended that men had been drawn from the four corners of the Commonwealth in response to advertisements placed in the daily newspapers offering them constant employment. My honorable friend admitted that the terms of the advertisement was a matter of importance. I afterwards proved by reading the advertisement and a letter from the then Government Printer, that offers of constant employment were made. Senator Best afterwards said that a large number of men had been employed, but that out of the original body of men employed on linotype machines only four remained. This very statement supported the position that I took up, that no security of employment was offered to the men. When they saw a chance of obtaining better conditions, shorter hours, and higher wages, they left our service. My honorable friend went on to say that all the men who had attained a certain standard had been continuously employed. I venture to say that that is not the case. Men who left of their own accord had maintained the standard of efficiency laid down in the original advertisement, namely, 7,000 ens per hour. The real reason for their leaving was that the compact made with them had not been kept. If my motion is agreed to, I feel sure that cvi - dence will be given which will effectively substantiate the statement I am making. I stated last session that the linotype machines at present in the possession of the Commonwealth Government cost £30,000. Senator Best, in his reply, placed too literal an interpretation on my assertion. He said that the linotype machines cost only £14, 106. But a close perusal of my remarks will show that I meant that all the material owned by the Commonwealth and used for printing purposes had cost the amount I mentioned. That was what I intended to convey. I find from the return presented to the Senate on my motion a few weeksago that the linotype machines, monotype machines, accessories, &c., cost £16,6380s. 1 id. But the total cost of the linotype and monotype machines, the type used in connexion with them, .the material and appliances connected with them, and the paper and materials in stock, together with the cost of paper-ruling machines, was really ,£41,488 7s. 10d. The next question dealt with was that of overtime. Here, again, I hold that the employes are not being treated fairly. They work abnormal hours. Their hours at present are, I believe, from 5.30 in the evening until about 3.30 in the morning. In the event of being called upon to work longer hours they are compelled to cut out the extra time at the end of the week. Their full week, I believe, is forty-four or forty-five hours. But when an employe” works overtime, I care not whether for the Federal Government or for a private individual, he works the extra hours, not for his own convenience, but for the benefit of his employer. When he does so he ought to receive a remuneration commensurate with the extra strain placed upon him. That remuneration is not given by compelling him to cut out the time at the end of the week. That is one of the matters which I should like the Select Committee to inquire into. My honorable friend, Senator Best, also stated that my statement that similar employes in private offices were receiving a higher rate of wage and working shorter hours than obtained in the Government Printing Office related to piecework. Senator Findley then interjected, “Stab wage.” I believe that a “stab” wage is a weekly wage for a certain amount of work done. Senator Best replied, “ That may be so ; I can only give the information supplied to me.” Consequently, Senator Best was supplying the Senate with information furnished to him from a certain source, and was not’ sure of the position he was taking up. As to continuity of employment, 1 contended that work could be provided for these men all the year round. According to the Hansard report, Senator Best said that that was the crux of the whole question. He contended that during the recess the men could not be employed continuously on Commonwealth work. At that juncture Senator Findley said, “ They can be constantly engaged if the office is worked on a proper basis.” There is the crux of the whole question which I desire to have investigated. I contend that the office is not being worked on a proper basis. If Senator
Best holds that it is, and that everything ii satisfactory, let him support my motionfor the appointment of a Select Committee. He need not be afraid of the light of day. Work has been given to. private firms which could have been better executed in theCommonwealth branch of the printing office. For instance, the first edition of the Commonwealth Year-Book was printed and bound by a private firm. I understand that tenders were called for the production of that work; but I see no reason why we ought not to be able to compile, print, and bind, such an important work. If the Commonwealth branch of the Printing Office is not able to undertake that task, it should be improved. But I believe thateven with our present equipment and staff, we are in a better position to print that work than is any private firm in Australia. The work of the Patent Office is a* long way iri arrears. The services of ever employe in the Printing Office would berequired for the next two or three recesses to bring that work up to date. I desireto refer to the system of computation. There are two or three clerks who computethe amount of work performed by each; operator on the linotype machines. 1 consider that the best man to undertake thatwork is the man who is in immediate supervision of the operators, and not clerks inan office. If time permitted, I could cite a few cases where errors in computing have occurred, and have been admitted upon their being pointed out. I do not desireto delay honorable senators too long with details. I am simply dealing with leading: subjects which point to the necessity for appointing a Select Committee to make asearching inquiry. The Commonwealth is in the eighth year of its existence. Day by day our printing is increasing, and themoment has arrived when it is necessary to provide a printing office of our own. Onthe last occasion when this question was introduced here, Senator Best suggested” that it was not necessary to-take that step until we removed to our own capital. There are many offices owned and controlled Dy the Commonwealth which will have to beremoved to that place by-and-by. I see noreason why, when we are shifting our be* longings, we should not also remove a printing office, with all its effects. Thenext matter I desire to call attention to isthe pernicious system of confidential reports. It obtains not only in the Commonwealth branch of the Printing Office, but- also, I believe, in every branch of the-
Public Service of the Commonwealth and the State. When I work for an employer, I want to be told on the spot whether I am giving satisfaction or not. I object to private reports being called for.
– Order ! I should like to know how the honorable senator pro- poses to connect the question he is now debating with his motion. The question of confidential reports is not pertinent to the matters which the honorable senator desires to have investigated by a Select Committee.
– I have no desire, sir, to transgress your ruling; but I would point out that I made reference to confidential reports under the last words of my motion - “ the conditions prevailing generally in respect to such printing.” I submit that the making of confidential reports to the head of the Printing Office is one of the pernicious conditions obtaining there.
– Those words must be read in conjunction with the preceding words. I do not see how, on this motion, the honorable senator can discuss the confidential reports to which he takes exception, as it is very specific inits terms.
– Perhaps, sir, I may have gone beyond the terms of the motion.
– I have no wish to hinder the honorable senator ; but I really think that he is going beyond the terms of the motion.
– What I desired to point out, sir, was that the issue of confidential reports was one of the matters into which 1 think the Select Committee should inquire.
– It appears to me that the only questions to be inquired into will be those enumerated in the motion.
-I appeal to Senator Best to reconsider the attitude which he took up on a former occasion.If he is assured, by his responsible officers, that so far as Commonwealth printing is concerned, everything is all right, he need not fear an inquiry.
– There is no responsible officer in that Department.
– The Minister gave to the Senatean assurance - which was based on information supplied to him -that the condition of things in the Printing Office was all right. If such is the case, he need not fear a most searching inquiry into all the conditions obtaining. I have endeavoured to state, as briefly and concisely as possible, the reason why a Select Committee should be appointed, and I trust that the motion will meet with the approval of honorable senators.
Motion (by Senator Findley) proposed -
That the debate be now adjourned.
– I object to an adjournment of the debate. Let us take a vote on the motion to-night.
– Order! Under standing order 460, there can be no debate, and honorable senators will simply have to vote.
Motion agreed to ; debate adjourned.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [9.36]. - As I find, from the course of business that there is no possible chance of getting any useful debate on my motion relative to the affairs of the Post and Telegraph Department, and as its continuance on the notice-paper prevents the discussion of matters in connexion with Supply Bills, and so on, I think that I shall be best serving the interests of the public by asking for the. discharge of it.
– Does the honorable senator move that the notice of motion be discharged?
– No, sir. In view of the Minister’s attitude, I do not proceed with it.
Senate adjourned at 9.39 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 29 October 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1908/19081029_senate_3_48/>.