4th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator FINDLEY laid upon the table the following papers : -
Statistical Returns showing as regards each State the voting within each subdivision in relation to the Senate Election,1910,and the General Election for the House of Representatives,1910.
Federal Capital -
Record of discharges at the official weir on the Cotter River, from the 20th May (date of establishment of gauge) to the 7th September, 1910.
Memorandum (dated 13th September) by the Commonwealth Meteorologist on the average rainfall in the Federal Capital Territory.
Public Service Act 1902 -
Documents in connexion with the following promotions in the Postmaster-General’s Department : -
Mr. Victor Edward Butler, to the position of Assistant Manager, Third Class, Electrical Engineer’s Branch (Telephones), New South Wales.
Mr. Michael John Clavin, to the position of Inspector, Third Class, Southern District, Queensland.
Sixth Report on the Commonwealth Public Service, by the Public Service Commissioner.
Debate resumed from 9th September (vide page 2905), on motion by Senator McGregor -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [3.3].- One or two matters were referred to early in. this debate which might well engage our consideration. Senator Millen expressed the view that it would be well if the various sums, once they were -voted, were made available, even after the close of the financial year, for carrying out public works approved of by the Parliament. A good many years ago this principle was adopted elsewhere. It involved a great many difficulties in connexion with keeping the accounts, and at the same time it gave rise to much dissatisfaction. After an experience of some years it was determined to adopt the cash system, which meant that any sums which were not expended in the current year lapsed at its end, and required to be revoted in the ensuing year. A financial system of that character was attended with a great deal of advantage, but it also had a great many disadvantages. For instance, towards the end of a current year, it is of no use to put important public works in hand for the simple reason that the votes will lapse at the end of the )’ear. I do not know whether the Commonwealth Government have yet adopted the principle or not, but I think that a better plan would be to keep the votes alive while the public works were being carried out. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that towards the end of the financial year a contract were let for the carrying out of a public work which would probably occupy a year or two. The money voted for that purpose should be passed to a trust account, in order that the Government might be able to keep their engagements without further reference to the Parliament. Such a system would, I think, be found to answer all their requirements.
Senator Lt. -Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD. - I can understand honorable senators interjecting in this way, particularly if they entertain strong leanings in favour of one project as against the other. But we have to deal with these questions fairly, honestly, and without prejudice.
Federal Parliament was very anxious to have a port. Accordingly, .a port was granted at Jervis Bay, together with the right to construct a railway down to that point. Let me say here that I should have preferred the land at Jervis Bay to be granted under different conditions, so as to give to the Commonwealth complete territorial rights over the whole area, and also the right to the land acquired right into the water, instead of only to high water mark.
The measured average flow of the Cotter River from the 6th February to the 16th September, 1908, is stated, by Mr. E. M. de Burgh, Vo have been 33,000,000 gallons daily, or about 5,280,000 cubic feet, equal to a discharge of 61.12 cubic feet per second. The gauge is, however, fixed near the confluence of the Cotter with VUe Murrumbidgee, and the record is for the wetter months of the year.
Later he says -
As a source of water supply, the Cotter River is equal to all demands that may be made upon it, even by a population of 200,000 with a per capita consumption of not less than 100 gallons per diem.
Concerning an alleged waterless place, that is surely a very fair report. In the early stages df this movement, Mr. Scrivener made some reports - upon which honorable senators have laid stress - which were derogatory to the site. Possibly he was imbued with the desirability of choosing another site.
The Cotter River affords an excellent supply of pure water, rarely discoloured, this being due to the fact that the catchment area is very lightly stocked at any time, and little or no ring-barking has been done.
Here we find another statement as to the position in regard to the water supply. On the 1 6th June, 1909, an Advisory Board, consisting of Colonel Miller, Colonel Owen, Colonel Vernon, and Mr. Scrivener furnished the Minister with a report, in which they said -
There is a supply of perennially clear and pure water in the Cotter River. The catchment area of this river, above the point at which the gauge readings for 190S were taken, embraces an area of about r70 square miles. According to the 19,08 records, the supply at the point of gauging is sufficient for the domestic and civic requirements of a population of 250,000 ; the total volume from the catchment area of 170 square miles would be available, however, only by pumping.
During the month (August) the flow of the river amounted to 8,228 million gallons, or an average of 265,140,000 gallons per day. The average consumption of 620,000 inhabitants of Sydney last year was 24,600,000 gallons per day, so that sufficient water flowed down the Cotter last month to supply Sydney and suburbsfor 333 days.
In other words, the supply of water which flowed down the Cotter River in one month was equal to the supply of 620,000 persons for eleven months. In these documents there are numerous references to the question of water supply, but I have only picked out two or three of them, and I have done that to justify the contention that the Cotter can afford an ample supply of water to the Federal Capital for centuries.
Senate in adhering to its last decision. The next question with which Senator Stewart dealt was : Can we get a railway down to the coast? A special examination of the country has been made, and the surveyor in charge of the work has not only reported as to the practicability of getting a railway to the coast, but has laid out the proposed route, with an alternative route.
The route proposed by Mr. Scrivener has been examined in detail, and I find that generally the best route has been selected by him for a railway line to connect the Federal Capital with Jervis Bay.
He points out where he would start the railway from, and continues -
I would recommend the adoption of a ruling grade of 1 in 50, with curves on 12 chains radius as a minimum. The earthworks will be moderately easy. The only bridges of any size are across the Shoalhaven and Mongarlow Rivers. Smaller bridges will be required crossing Reedy Creek, Durran Durra Creek, and the Coorang River. The descent towards Jervis Bay is gradual, the highest point being at the departure from the Goulburn-Cooma railway -at 2,550 feet above sea level. On the whole of the eastern slopes of the coast line of the State no easier tract of country can be found over which a railway could be constructed from the coast to the tableland.
So that this gentleman who was deputed to make a special inquiry, reports that there is no easier tract to be found on which a railway could be constructed from the coast to the tableland.
With respect to the proposed port for the Capital, we are of opinion that Jervis Bay meets the requirements of the Commonwealth, and that the area of land proposed by Mr. Scrivener in his report, and situate at the southern extremity of the bay, is the most suitable. This part of the bay is protected from winds between the north-east and south, and, in a measure, from the west, but is exposed to those from the north and the north-west; which may involve the construction of protecting works. The anchorage is good, and the threefathom and five-fathom lines lie close in shore. The entrance to the port is good in all weather.
In the course of the discussion a question arose in regard to the relative merits of Twofold Bay and Jervis Bay as ports. Those who know the ports pretty well are in a position to say that, as a port, Jervis Bay is much safer, and is protected to a greater extent than is Twofold Bay. As regards certain winds both ports are unprotected ; but Jervis Bay has proved itself to be a very useful anchorage. It is also frequented by the men-of-war on the station for gun-firing practice.
A city could be located at Canberra that would be visible on approach for many miles ; streets with easy gradients would be readily designed, while prominent hills of moderate altitude present suitable sites for the principal public buildings.
The Capital would probably He in an amphitheatre of hills, with an outlook towards the north and north-east, well-sheltered from both southerly and westerly winds, and in the immediate vicinity of the Capital there are large areas of gently undulating country that would be suitable for the evolutions of large bodies of troops.
Could honorable senators ask in a few lines a more satisfactory picture of a suitable site for the Federal Capital ? it would appear from this description to be almost an ideal place for the purpose. I do not wish to make comparisons to the detriment of other places, as I might readily do. Parliament has gone so far as to obtain a grant of the whole of the land required at this site, and with the exception of the issue of one proclamation, has practically completed the whole transaction, involving a contract between two parties. It is necessary that some money should be voted to carry out works in connexion with the Capital site. The sum proposed in this Bill is very moderate, and I have no’ doubt a very much larger sum might be expended with advantage on the site in the immediate future. There must be a beginning, and in another place the Minister of Home Affairs explained the purposes for which the vote of ^50,000 is asked. The matter has now been before the public for nearly ten years, and while no time was fixed for the establishment of the Federal Capital, the assumption was that it would be established within a reasonable time. Parliament cannot now honestly or justly go back on what has been done. Successive Governments have recognised the decision of Parliament in the matter, and the present Government are only carrying on the work commenced by their predecessors in accordance with the decision of Parliament, and a desire to bring the matter to finality.
I entirely concur. The only question is whether we are at present sufficiently provided with the class of guns we ought to have. These gun mountings are for 6-inch guns, which some time ago were recommended as a very suitable weapon to place upon our coast for defence purposes. 1 hold in my hand a report of the Committee on Imperial Defence upon a general scheme of defence for Australia. It was presented to this Parliament in August… 1906. I quote the following -
Experience has shown that there is no finality* in the matter of war material, and that on an> average little more than a decade elapses between successive rearmaments whether of infantry, field artillery, or coast defence.
A little later the statement is made that -
The mere size of the guns is no adequate criterion of efficiency in the defence of a port.
Paragraph 9 of the report states -
In order to arrive at just conclusions in regard to the standards of defence to be adopted at Australian defended ports, it is necessary to form as clear an idea as possible of the character of the vessels which may reasonably be expected to engage in raiding attacks in Australian waters, and of the strength of the landing parties which might be disembarked. . . . If raiding attacks on Australian ports are attempted, the classes of vessels employed, will, therefore, in all probability, be those which are of small value for the major operations of naval warfare, such as unarmoured cruisers or armed merchant auxiliaries.
Paragraph 10 says -
The chief defects of the armaments of Australian ports in the past have been want of homogeneity, and deficiencies in the accessories on which the value of modern guns is mainly dependent. By restricting the guns in future to a single and moderate calibre, and ensuring the completeness of their equipment, the Commonwealth Government will secure economy, efficiency, and simplicity, both in armaments and in arrangements for ammunition supply. For the armaments of those of the Imperial defended ports, abroad as well as at home, where the attack to be provided against is of the same nature as that to which the ports of Australia are liable - that is to say, light unarmoured vessels - the 6-inch gun of the latest pattern is accepted, with the approval of the Committee of Imperial Defence, as the weapon which best fulfils requirements.
The Committee then point out the range of these guns and their power, an.d allude to the power and value of the 7.5-inch gun. They say -
It has not been considered that the increase of range and armour penetration compensates for the great loss of rapidity, and this calibre has not been introduced into the Imperial land service, in which there is now no gun intermediate between the 9.2 inch, which is mounted where the power to attack armour is considered essential, and the 6 inch, which is used where the most likely enemy will be unarmoured vessels.
When this report was written and submitted for the information of the Defence Department, in 1906, it was contemplated that any raiding attack which might be made upon Australia would be made by small, unarmoured, or, at any rate, lightly armoured, vessels. I understand that it is the intention of the Government to continue arming our ports with these 6-inc:i guns ; although, at Sydney Heads, one 9.2-inch gun has been placed in position, but it is, I believe, the only weapon of that calibre which has been mounted upon the £oast of Australia. If, under existing circumstances, it should become necessary to select the place which requires the heaviest armament to protect itself against attack by raiding cruisers, I assume that the place selected will be Sydney, which happens to to be the head-quarters of the Australian Squadron. I gather from Lord Kitchener’s report, that that, distinguished officer has submitted a confidential memorandum to the Government on this question of the arming of our ports. With the contents of that official memorandum I am, of course, unacquainted. But I would remind the Senate that we are now living in 1910, and that four years have elapsed since the report of the Committee of Imperial Defence upon a general scheme of defence for Australia was submitted to the Defence Department. Many things have happened in the interval. Four years ago there were not in existence the heavily armoured ships which are afloat to-day. We did not then realize that, at an early date, a 1.6-inch gun would be constructed - a weapon with an enormous range and power. At that time the 9.2-inch gun was regarded as quite large enough for the protection of Home ports, which were liable to attack from armoured vessels. But today, the armour of vessels is much heavier than it was then, and the guns mounted upon them are much more powerful. Further, many more of these heavily armoured ships are afloat than there vere afloat four years ago. So far as one can judge, the tendency is that the weight and power of these guns will continue to increase, rather than decrease. The armour of ships will probably be even heavier than it is now, and vessels will be better built to withstand any projectiles which may be hurled against them. That being so, would it not be well for the Government to consider whether our 6-inch guns are adequate for our coast defences? The Minister of Defence is reported by one of the Sydney newspapers to have stated that these guns may be regarded as of a secondary character.
British Fleet in the waters of the Pacific one of the most powerful battleship cruisers. We are, therefore, taking an effective part in assisting to maintain the prestige and the flag of the Empire in these waters. I realize that the question of defence is most vital, and I might say much more upon it; but I shall not do so at the present juncture, as I shall be afforded another opportunity of dealing with it.
Senator O’KEEFE (Tasmania) [4.23J. - There are three matters upon which I desire to offer a few observations. In respect of one of these matters, no provision has been made in this Bill, although it ought to have been made. The other two subjects are dealt with in this measure. The item around which most controversy will tend reads : “ Federal Capital at Canberra - Towards cost of establishment, £50,000.” It seems to me that the Government entertain the view that, as a previous Parliament has selected YassCanberra as the site for the permanent Seat of Government, it is their duty to put before this Parliament a well-defined policy in reference to it, and to place upon these Estimates a certain sum to be expended in preliminary work there. But in so acting, it appears to me that they have been in too much of a hurry. I know that our friends from New South Wales will probably urge that ten years have elapsed since the establishment of the Commonwealth, and yet nothing has been done in the way of making a start to erect the Federal Capital. But, after all, ten years is a very short period in the life of a nation. While I freely admit that the people of Australia entered into a bond with New South Wales that the Seat of Government should be established within the borders of that State, I submit that there is no urgency in this matter.
– That is the tendency of the honorable member’s argument.
– I refuse to be drawn off the track by that kind of interjection. I decline to admit that I have any such view in my mind. But we are face to face with a most peculiar and anomalous position. The facts are that a previous Parliament, the members of which had inspected all the eligible sites suggested ‘by the officials of New South Wales, selected Dalgety. There was a very fair majority in both branches of the Legislature in favour of that site.
– lt was a compromise site, after all.
-It was nothing of the kind, lt was a site which was deliberately chosen by a majority of members of both Houses of the Commonwealth Parliament - a majority who had themselves inspected the various eligible sites. They deliberately chose Dalgety as the site. I know that Senator Gould will retort that the original idea was to choose Bombala. But both Bombala and Dalgety are part of the Eden-Monaro tableland.
– They are a considerable distance apart-
– They are both in the same tract of country. When the final choice was made in the Senate, there was a very fair majority in favour of Dalgety. The New South Wales Parliament refused to grant that territory to the Commonwealth. Inasmuch as the last Parliament changed its opinion in rejecting Dalgety, and choosing Yass-Canberra, I submit that this Parliament has also the right to reverse the choice. After this Parliament has had an opportunity of making a comparison between the two sites, and fortifying itself with the data that can be supplied, I, for one, am quite willing that a final choice shall be made in the next session. At present, I am unable to make a choice which I think would be fair to Australia as a whole. When I was previously a member of the Senate, I came to the conclusion, after an examination of the evidence, that Dalgety would be a verv fair site for the Federal territory. While acknowledging that it had disadvantages, I came to the conclusion that they were outweighed by the advantages. But I have not had an opportunity of seeing YassCanberra. There is no urgency in the matter. We are not choosing a Federal territory for next year, or even for the next century, but for all time. New South Wales will not lose any money, and the New South Wales people will not spend sleepless nights if the choice is not finally made this session.. I do not belong to the brigade which would delay the settlement for all time. I regard this as a matter of national concern, and fully recognise the bond entered into by the State with New South Wales.
– The Age has told’ the honorable senator what he ought to do.
– Senator Sayers may belong to that class of politicians ‘ who have the influence of certain newspapers constantly before them, but he cannot point to any newspaper that has ever made me afraid.
– The Age has.
– The opinion of the Age is nothing to me. It does not influence Tasmanian electors. Of course, the honorable senator cannot restrain his youthful impetuosity, and has to say these funny things. The people of Australia have not been calling out for the construction of the Federal Capital to be commenced at once.
– What about the Constitution ?
– It is admitted that the Constitution lays it down that the Federal Capital must be in New South Wales. But it need not be located there within the life of this Parliament. I am of opinion that it would be in the interests of Australia as a whole if the item to which I am now referring were not included in these Estimates. If we pass the item, the decision will be irrevocable. We shall not be able to go back.
– Parliament can go back from anything.
– I hope that the members of this Commonwealth Parliament will have more backbone than members of other Parliaments have had, and that if a choice be made this session, we shall not go back upon it. I am sorry that some of my honorable friends who voted for Dalgety last session are now in the position of having to vote for Yass-Canberra. I am satisfied that were it not for the principle of Ministerial solidarity they would vote for Dalgety again.
– Not one of them voted for Dalgety in the last Parliament.
– The honorable senator knows perfectly well that their vote was given because they approved of the selection of Dalgety. But, by some means or other, Dalgety was rejected, and Yass-Canberra put in its place. If there was a reason for that, there is just as much reason why we should now throw out YassCanberra, and reinstate Dalgety, or, at any rate, why we should give the new members of this Parliament an opportunity of seeing the two sites. Once, however, we sanction this vote of ,£45,000, work will be commenced, and from that time the expenditure will go on. If the item were struck out and the decision of the question were deferred, an opportunity would be afforded to the members of this Parliament to visit both Yass-Canberra and Dalgety. In the next session, they would be able to give a vote based upon information, instead of voting in the dark, as they are now asked to do. I must beg leave to differ from the members of the Government in their action in making this a Ministerial question. It would have been far better to leave it open, so that every member of the Ministry could have voted according to his inclination. But, apparently, the majority of the Cabinet thought that it ought to be made a Ministerial question; and I shall not say nasty things about some Ministers because, though in their capacity as private members of Parliament, they voted for one site, they now have to vote for another. Such a situation results from our system of party government. There are two alternatives which we might consider. One is that we might take a referendum of the people of Australia in order that they might make a choice between the two sites. Obviously, it would not be practicable to give the people the choice from amongst a number of sites, because, in that case, there might not be a majority in favour of any particular site. But we might very well enable them to make a choice as between Dalgety and Yass-Canberra. I admit at once that a large number of .people would know nothing about the merits of either site; but the people of at least the two largest States would be able to acquire information to enable them to come to- a conclusion. It is a remarkable fact that the Yass-Canberra site, to which we are now asked to commit ourselves, was deliberately rejected by Mr. Scrivener, in the early years of the Federal Parliament. Canberra was also rejected by Parliament. It was a new idea to couple Yass to Canberra, and submit the two to Parliament, as one site. Mr. Scrivener, to whose report most of us attach considerable weight, apparently knew of no site in the vicinity of Canberra that was suitable. We are, therefore, forced to the conclusion that we are asked to commit ourselves to a site that is generally admitted to be -hot the best available, and which, even now, a large number of people do not regard as suitable. The alternative to the referendum idea is for the Government to delay the settlement of this question until the next session of Parliament, and, in the meantime, to appoint a Board to inquire into the relative merits of the two sites in question.
– Why only two?
– It will be remembered that while Mr. Mahon was Minister of Home Affairs, he appointed a Board, consisting of, I believe, Mr. Scrivener, two other experts from New South Wales, and Colonel Miller, of the Department of Home Affairs, not to come to a decision as to whether Yass-Canberra had a rival, whether Dalgety was a good site, or whether any other site had a chance against YassCanberra, but to bring in a report as to the suitability of Yass-Canberra from the stand-point of water supply and railway construction. It was appointed only to inquire into the merits of YassCanberra. Why should not a similar Board be appointed to go into the relative merits of Yass-Canberra and Dalgety? During the recess, there would be ample time for a Board to conduct an inquiry of that kind. During the summer, they could take further observations regarding the much disputed water supply of Yass-Canberra, and collect information which would’ ‘enable both Houses of the Parliament next session to come to a final decision as between the two sites. A good deal has been said regarding the want of an adequate water supply at Yass-Canberra, and also the impossibility of getting easy railway connexion with a port. We all admit that a very necessary feature of a Federal Territory is complete and free access to the coast, and a Federal port. I hope that not another pound will be spent on the Federal Territory until it is placed beyond the region of doubt that it will embrace a port over which the Commonwealth will have complete control for all time. Each honorable senator has received a Hansard reprint of some remarks made by Sir Joseph Carruthers to the effect that no cheap means of access can be obtained from YassCanberra to Jervis Bay, that it is almost impossible to build a railway between the two points. It must be borne in mind that the reprint was sent to each of us by a very strong advocate of another site, and that therefore his statements must be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. I refute his remarks regarding the impossibility of constructing a railway to Jervis Bay, with the reports of the Government surveyors who went over the land to gather definite information. If honor able senators would read the documents at their disposal, they would find that it is placed absolutely beyond doubt that it is possible to take a railway from YassCanberra to Jervis Bay at no very great cost, certainly at no unusual cost. ‘ I do not suppose, after all, that a railway between those points would cost much more than would a railway from Dalgety to Twofold Bay. Regarding the question of water supply, we know that there is at least one newspaper in Australia which is always asserting that at Yass-Canberra there is no adequate supply for anything like a large city. I have not been to the place, but if we turn to a report made by Mr. E. M. De Burgh, we find this statement on the subject -
I have the honour to report that the measurements of the flow of the Cotter River, from 1st January to 7th instant, are now available.
During that time 9,919,000,000, or an average of 52,753,400 gallons of water per day, flowed down the river.
During the same period 2,240,000,000 gallons flowed off the Sydney catchment into Cataract and Prospect, so that more than four times as much water flowed down the Cotter as flowed into the Sydney storages.
In the same period 650,000 people were supplied in the city of Sydney and suburbs with a total quantity of 4,972,474,416 gallons, or an average of 26,449,322 gallons per day. So the unstored flow of the Cotter was twice as much as the consumption of 650,000 people for all needs.
That report deals with a period from the 1st January to the 7th July. Senator Gould was asked by Senator Givens to give the flow in the Cotter River in 1902, which was the last of the disastrous dry years, but I do not think that any satisfactory answer is forthcoming.
– Does the honorable senator know what the flow was?
– The honorable senator is not aware either that the Cotter is snow-fed?
– From reading the mass of reports to hand, I know that Mr. Wade, Premier of New South Wales, said that it was not fair to take the water supply of the Yass-Canberra territory during 1902, and that we should take the average water supply. That is, I think, rather an absurd argument, because if a drought were to come only once in twenty years, a good average rainfall would not be of any use to the people in the Federal Capital.
– I suppose the honorable senator knows that the average rainfall of the district is 24.5 inches?
– The point I wish to make is that Mr. Wade seriously objected to Mr. Scrivener quoting a bad rainfall, or water supply, because 1902 was a drought year. If we want to provide an adequate supply for all time, surely we must base our estimate on the water supply in the worst possible year?
– As against that, engineers say that they can store enough water to supply 200,000 persons without a drop falling for two years.
– The statement has been made. Regarding the question of water supply, I want to be fair. I am quite willing to admit that, to. judge from all the information we can gain, there is a fair water supply in most years, and possibly in a drought year. I anticipate that, for the next fifty years, the persons in the Federal Territory would not require more water than its present resources could furnish.
– That is beside the question, though.
– Still, it does not do away with the fact that a number of persons who have not seen the place, think that Dalgety is a better site than YassCanberra, and that a number of members of this Parliament who have seen both sites also hold that opinion.
– The honorable senator knows that in Yass-Canberra there is no fresh water river equal to the Snowy River, which would run past the Federal Capital if established there.
– The water supply for Dalgety was not to come from the Snowy River, but from small streams.
– As regards power purposes, the Snowy River would supply what no stream in Yass-Canberra could supply. I think it is generally admitted that Dalgety, if selected, would have a better water supply than would YassCanberra.
-It may be a better supply for power purposes, but not for domestic consumption.
– I think that the majority of the advocates of YassCanberra would admit my contention.
– During his speech the honorable senator contended that there is absolutely no comparison between YassCanberra and Dalgety. Of course, he is quite entitled to think that Yass-Canberra is better than Dalgety, but my opinion is .that Dalgety is sufficiently good. Many honorable senators who have seen both places say that Dalgety is the better. How can we decide which opinion is correct, unless the members of both Houses are afforded an opportunity of examining both sites, or the people of Australia are afforded an opportunity, armed with whatever information they could get, and which, I admit, would be very imperfect, of stating which, in their opinion, is the better site. I doubt very much whether, in even New South Wales, there is a large majority of the electors in favour of Yass-Canberra. I believe that if a popular vote were taken as between Yass-Canberra and Dalgety, the latter would be preferred” I know that a large majority would be cast in Sydney in favour of Yass-Canberra. Senator Gould must admit that it has been the Sydney press, backed up by commercial influence, which has so strenuously supported the choice of Yass-Canberra, the reason being that that seems to be the only possible site close to the 100-miles limit.
– They want to get the Parliament as far from Victoria as they can.
– Neither the big journals of Sydney, nor its influential commercial men, want Dalgety, because it is too far removed from Sydney, and because all the benefits of the trade which would accrue from the establishment of the Federal Capital, and the accompanying settlement of a large number of persons round about it, will fall to Sydney if YassCanberra is chosen. I believe that Senator Gould is aware that it was mainly the commercial influence of Sydney which induced the Government and Parliament of New South Wales to refuse to grant Dalgety to the Commonwealth.
– That is not so.
– It is undoubtedly so.
– The Melbourne newspapers have got the honorable senator bv the wool.
– To any fairminded senator an observation of that kind must fall flat, because the honorable senator knows quite well that it does not matter to me personally, or to the State I represent, whether the Federal Capital is established at Dalgety or at Yass-Canberra.
– The honorable senator wants to keep in Melbourne as long as he can.
– I do not. I assure my honorable friend that if the determination of this question is postponed until next session, I shall vote for either Yass-Canberra or Dalgety. I do not belong to the delay brigade. We shall make a great mistake if we proceed with any work at Yass-Canberra, when possibly, within twelve months, a number of the new members of this Parliament, who have not seen either Yass-Canberra or Dalgety, may discover that they erred in approving of the former. Some honorable senators may be asked, “ Why did you not look at YassCanberra before you voted?” And they might reply, “ What chance had we to make an examination?” We have been in session for only a few weeks, but I think we have accomplished more important work than any previous Parliament has done in the same period.
– An opportunity was given to honorable senators to go to Yass-Canberra.
– Some honorable senators were able to grasp that opportunity, but a number could not. The honorable senator must be aware that it is not at every week-end that it is possible for honorable senators to make a visit of that kind. Such an opportunity was not given to new members of another place, and I remind Senator Gould that, although honorable senators were given an opportunity to inspect the Yass-Canberra site, they were refused an opportunity to visit Dalgety.
– That is the fault of the Government.
– That is why I say I am sorry this is a Government proposal. lc is impossible for any advocate of YassCanberra to contend that the urgency of the matter is so great that we should now be called upon to vote £45,000 for expenditure on the Federal Capital as a commencement of the much larger expenditure which must necessarily follow. I have suggested, as one alternative, that a referendum of the people should be taken on the question. I am not much in love with that proposal, because I think that only the residents of New South Wales and Victoria would bother to consult the information available to discover which is the better site. But I seriously suggest that the settlement of the question might be delayed until next session, when we should be in a better position to give an intelligent vote on what is, after all, an exceedingly important matter. In making that proposal, I do not think I am doing the slightest injustice to New South Wales. The settlement of the question has already been delayed for ten years, and I suggest a further delay only until next session, when every member of this Parliament should be prepared to give an intelligent vote to decide which is the better site of the two.
– Would not that argument hold good for the next Parliament?
– The honorable senator misunderstands me. I am speaking of next session. If the settlement of the question is delayed until next session, the new members of this Parliament will have had an opportunity to inspect the sites ; and, if the Government are then in the same mind, and submit a similar vote, hon.orable senators will have no excuse for refusing to deal with it. I say frankly that next session I should be prepared to give a definite vote as between Dalgety and YassCanberra ; and, if the majority is found to be in favour of Yass-Canberra, I shall also be prepared to agree to a vote for the expenditure incidental to the establishment of the Capital there. I am not sure that, after all, there is an overwhelming majority of the electors of New South Wales animated by a burning desire to see Yass-Canberra become the Capital of the Commonwealth.
– Even people living on the site are not anxious that Yass-Canberra should be the site.
– That is so.
– Where is the proof of that? The honorable senator has not been there.
– A friend of mine is in business in one of the largest towns in the proposed Federal territory, and he is of opinion that Yass-Canberra is the worst site in New South Wales territory that could be chosen for the Federal Capital.
– Did he say why?
– Because the country surrounding it is poor country, and the general conditions are not suitable.
– I was asked for proof, and I have given the opinion of a man whose personal interest would be served if Yass-Canberra were definitely chosen.
– We could not find that man when we were up there.
– I can give the honorable senator this gentleman’s name privately. I have said that he is in business in one of the largest towns in the district.
– Did he leave Tasmania to go there?
– No; he left Sydney to go there.
– The opinion of one man should not condemn the site.
– I did not say that it should. I suggest to the Government, though, I am afraid they will not accept the suggestion, that a Board of Advice might be appointed to gather still more information regarding, not a number of sites,, but the respective merits of Yass-Canberra and Dalgety.
– Why limit their investigations to two sites?
– Because Dalgety was chosen by one Parliament after the members of that Parliament had availed themselves of opportunities to inspect a number of sites.
– It was chosen as a compromise.
– It is all very well for Senator Gould to say that; but a majority of honorable senators and of members of another place voted to put the name of Dalgety in the Bill then before Parliament, after several years had been spent in the collection of information, and after most of the members of the Parliament had made journeys of inspection to various sites then proposed. Dalgety was deliberately chosen by one Parliament, and Yass-Canberra was substituted for it by another Parliament. I think, in the circumstances, I am justified in saying that we have narrowed down the choice to these two sites.
– I do not know why such staunch advocates of YassCanberra object to the appointment of a Board of Advice to report upon the two sites between this and next session. If they submitted their report, and the question were decided early next session, the Government could bring forward a vote for preliminary expenditure, and Australia would be committed definitely to the establishment of the Federal Capital at a particular, place. I admit that the Government are placed in an awkward position. On coming into power, they found that YassCanberra stood as the second choice of the Federal Parliament, and they honestly tied to give effect to that decision. I am sure that they have been actuated by the most honorable motives in refusing to do anything to alter the decision arrived at.
– They recognise that the Territory has been granted by New South Wales.
– And, further, that a previous Government had already committed the Commonwealth to certain expenditure on the Yass-Canberra site.
– I thank the honorable senator for that reminder. lt is true that a previous Government committed the Parliament to some slight ex’penditure on the Yass-Canberra site. 1 admit the honesty of the intention of the Government in the matter, but I still think it is a pity this proposal has been made. There is another item in the schedule which has not been properly stated. I think that Senator Gould was quite right in objecting to the proposed vote of £5,000 “ towards cost of construction “ of a railway from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta. In my opinion, it will be necessary for the Senate to amend the form of that item. As it stands, we are being asked to vote £5,000 towards the cost of a railway, the construction of which has not yet been sanctioned by this Parliament.
– The proposed vote, as well as the ,£20,000 expended on the survey, will be ultimately included in the cost of construction.
– Not necessarily. Money is often spent on the survey of railways which are not subsequently constructed. My point is that there has been no sanction given by this Parliament for the construction of a line from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta.
– And the line will not be built until an Act has been passed authorizing its construction.
– Then, why are honorable senators to vote £5,000 “ towards cost of construction” of the proposed railway? It must be borne in mind that, if we pass this vote of £5,000, we shall not be .passing money for the construction ot the railway, because that work has not yet been sanctioned. I do not wish to be misunderstood in this matter ; and I may say that I am prepared to give my vote for the construction of the line.
– Then, why is the honorable senator worrying?
– Because the proposed vote of £5,000 is not stated in a proper way. I remind the Minister that when a measure is introduced in another place for the construction of the line, it is quite conceivable that it may be rejected. These are the only two items of the schedule to which I have any strong objection. I object, however, to the omission of one item. I refer now to a comparatively small matter, affecting one State more than the others, but, indirectly, affecting a large number of people who go down to the sea in ships, and travel round the coast of Tasmania. A little time ago, a deputation waited upon the Postmaster-General, asking him to make provision on the Estimates for the current financial year, for the establishment of telephone communication between some centre in Tasmania and a place called Port Davey, on the rough, wild, and rugged west coast of that State. I may inform honorable senators that, during the last ten or twenty years, more wrecks have occurred on that coast than in any other part of the Commonwealth.
– There is nobody living there.
– That is no reason for refusing to expend a few thousand pounds in the way suggested. When we waited on the Postmaster-General, we were certainly given to understand that a small sum would be placed on the Estimates this year for the construction of a telephone line from the nearest available centre of population to Port Davey. The construction and maintenance would, of course, be carried out by the Post and Telegraph Department; but it was explained that the Tasmanian Government proposed to establish an official at Port Davey to attend to the telephone and supervise certain stores kept there. In the last few years, a number of lives have been lost, as the result of wrecks on that coast. Some survivors of wrecked vessels, who managed to reach the shore, were subsequently starved to death while travelling up and down that inhospitable and uninhabited coast in search of relief.
– No one . lives at Port Davey.
– It was because nobody lives at Port Davey that so many persons who had survived the perils of shipwreck perished from starvation.
– The VicePresident of the Executive Council has interjected that nobody lives at Port Davey. As Senator Long has pointed out, that is the very reason why a number of valuable lives have been sacrificed. Had any person resided there, he would have been placed in charge of a depot of supplies for shipwrecked people. But of the five or six persons who escaped shipwreck a short time ago, only one managed to reach civilization to tell of the fate of his comrades. They had survived the perils of the ocean, only to suffer starvation.
– Cannot the Government place some stores at Port Davey?
– The Tasmanian Government recognise their duty to establish a depot of supplies there. They are prepared to do that, and to pay a man to look after it. But, as the post and telegraphs belong to the Commonwealth, they naturally say that it is the duty of the latter to establish communication between Port Davey and some centre of civilization. As a matter of fact, it was arranged that such communication should be established. But I find that no provision for the work has been made upon these Estimates. I therefore make this charge deliberately - and I hope that the Minister representing the Postmaster-General in this Chamber will repeat my statement to his colleague - that the Postmaster-General has broken his implied promise to the representatives of Tasmania who waited upon him as a deputation-
– What was his promise?
– As far as words can have any meaning, his promise was that this work would be undertaken. I understand that he now says that he intends to make personal inquiry into the matter. When? When he visits Tasmania on a summer holiday. That was. not the impression which he left upon the minds of the representatives of Tasmania when they waited upon him as a deputation.
– It is strange that the Tasmanian Government should have permitted such a shocking state of things to continue.
– The VicePresident of the Executive Council is a pastmaster in the art of sarcasm. I quite enjoy his powers in that direction when they are not directed against myself. But I would remind him that it is because of the great loss of life which has occurred there during recent years that the establishment of telephonic communication between Port Davey and some centre of civilization is so manifestly urgent. I hope that, even at this late hour, the omission will be rectified. In conclusion, I would again appeal to honorable senators to consider the two alternatives that have been put before them in regard to the proposed expenditure on the Federal Capital site. Those alternatives are the appointment of a Board to investigate the relative merits of the two sites, with a view to submitting a report to Parliament next session, or the taking of a referendum upon the subject, so that the people may be afforded an opportunity of saying which, in their opinion, is the better site, Yass-Canberra or Dalgety. In suggesting the adoption of one of these two courses I do not think that I am asking too much, because this is one of the most important questions which has yet been submitted to the Commonwealth Parliament.
Senator McCOLL (Victoria) [5.17J. - Before entering upon a discussion of this Bill, I wish to express my sympathy with Senator 0’ Keefe in his desire to obtain telephonic communication between Port Davey and some centre of population. I might also suggest to the Government that another place which urgently requires similar communication with a centre of civilization is Cape Everard. Shipwrecks have occurred there, and bodies have been found, the condition of which indicated that (Joe unfortunate persons had actually landed, but had subsequently -been done to death by wild dogs. I think that honorable senators will give the Government -every credit for having submitted these Estimates at such an early period of the session. My chief fear was that an attempt would be made to force them through the Senate without reasonable discussion.
It is unfortunate that the importance of the items contained in these Estimates is com-pletely overshadowed by the importance which is attached to the proposed expenditure upon the Federal Capital site. There are quite a number of matters which require very serious consideration,, but which on that account will scarcely receive it.
– Does not the honorable senator think that the proposed expenditure on the Federal Capital site is a matter of very great importance? .
– I do, and for that reason I should have liked to see it separated from these Estimates. The Bill seeks, not only to appropriate money, but practically to dictate a policy. As has already been pointed out by Senator 0’ Keefe, the Government have placed upon these Estimates a certain sum for the carrying out of works which have not been sanctioned by Parliament. The .£5,000 which we are asked to vote towards the construction of the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway is a case in point. Parliament has never authorized the construction of that line. Thus an attempt is being made to foist upon this Parliament a policy which it has not fairly considered. If honorable senators vote for some of these items without protest they will probably be twitted in the future with having already committed themselves to various undertakings. We have’ a right to know where these Estimates, “if agreed to, will land us. In this connexion I trust the fullest information will be forthcoming from Ministers. Of course, the Government occupy an extremely fortunate position. They assumed office at a particularly opportune time. The Braddon section of our Constitution has been superseded, and they have, therefore, at their command ,£3,000,000 annually which has previously been returned to the States. They have enjoyed the benefit of a good season, and intend to float a forced loan by means of the Australian Notes Act. Thus they will have plenty of money at their disposal, but that circumstance should make “us particularly careful that that money is expended to the best advantage. The proposals contained in this Bill will, if adopted, commit us to a very large expenditure. For example, the adoption of penny postage will cost ,£60.0,000 annually; the construction of the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway, to which we shall be committed if we pass the item relating to it without protest, will involve an outlay °f £>Z> 900,000. Old-age and invalid pensions will absorb more than £2,000,000 annually. We are also asked to vote £5,000 in connexion with the acquisition of a site for Commonwealth offices in London. If that item be agreed to without protest, we shall subsequently be told that we have ratified the proposal of the Government in that regard. Indeed, the Ministry will be almost justified in proceeding with these undertakings if the items relating to them which appear upon the Estimates be agreed to without qualification. The construction of a transcontinental railway through the Northern Territory will cost the Commonwealth £4,500,000.
– There is no item in these Estimates in regard to the construction of that line.
– I am speaking of the commitments to which we shall be liable if these Estimates are accepted without an understanding on these points. Then there is a public debt on the Northern Territory of £2,500,000.
– The honorable senator is getting away from the subjectmatter of this Bill. It occurs to me that he is now dealing with a question which appears upon the notice-paper in connexion with a motion by the Vice-President of the Executive Council that a certain paper shall be printed.
– I am merely endeavouring to show that we cannot deal with these Estimates by themselves, and irrespective of the large expenditures to which they relate. However, I shall not discuss the Northern Territory further than to say that if its transfer to the Commonwealth be effected, it will mean an expenditure of £8,000,000 or £10,000,000. If the items in this Bill be agreed to without alteration or protest, we shall probably have committed ourselves to an expenditure of £14,000,000 or £15,000,000. The proposed expenditure upon the Federal Capital site is the question around which most debate will revolve.
– That debate has been largely brought about by the shuffling of the honorable senator.
– I thank the honorable senator for his compliment.
– I think that Senator Henderson should withdraw that expression.
– I withdraw it.
– Upon these Estimates there is an item which contemplates the expenditure of £50,000 upon preliminary works at the Federal Capital. I confess that that item came rather as a surprise to me, because the Government had already authorized one trip by members of this Parliament in order that the latter might inspect that site. Under these circumstances, I certainly imagined that an opportunity would be afforded the new members of both branches of the Legislature of inspecting other sites. I would further point out that no indication is given as to how the money which we are asked to vote will be expended. No plans or designs have been submitted in regard to that expenditure. We are merely asked to allow the Minister of Home Affairs to spend the money as he may think fit.
– We must provide money before designs can be obtained.
– The honorable senator’s statement is in keeping with his votes.
– I do not wish to retaliate in an unpleasant manner, but I could if I chose show how the honorable senator has turned on his tracks in regard to this question. If he continues to interrupt me I shall retaliate in a manner that he will not like. There is upon these Estimates no indication as to how the money is to be spent. Parliament should b,e consulted before any is expended. Before anything definite can be done the Government will have to secure- the private land within the territory, and we are informed that the purchasing of the private land will cost £1,250,000. How is that to be provided ? Is the Commonwealth Government to be allowed to go upon private land for works and buildings purposes before purchasing it? In order that we may know exactly how we stand in the matter, more information should be furnished. To some extent an explanation was made in another place, but none has been made here. Honorable members elsewhere were told that a nursery was to be established. We can easily understand that the mind of a newly-married Minister may run in the direction of nurseries, but we do not know what kind of a nursery this is to be. Perhaps the Minister of Defence will explain on behalf of his colleague. Events in regard to the Federal Capital have, as we know, been somewhat peculiar. In the first instance Dalgety was selected, but afterwards another place changed its opinion, and by a fairly large majority chose Yass-Canberra. Yass-Canberra was brought into the field owing to the influence of the ex-Leader of the Labour party, Mr. J. C. Watson. A number of facts were brought forward in its favour. As I took no part in the trips organized by the Government, I visited Yass-Canberra and Dalgety at my own expense, and I must say that I have not changed my opinion as to the comparative merits of the two sites. The site pointed out to me as the one selected at Dalgety, appeared to me to be entirely unsuitable. In voting against it I am aware that I voted against the wishes of many of my own constituents. But I could not conscientiously give a vote in favour of a site that I believed to be unsuitable. Of the two sites - Dalgety and Yass-Canberra - I had to take that which I considered to be the better, and I gave a vote in that direction in the last Parliament. The vote of £45,000 is, of course, only the beginning of an enormous expenditure to which the Commonwealth will afterwards stand committed. I really think that we ought to pause before we incur this outlay at the present time. It is surely unnecessary that this matter should be rushed. We have been ten years in determining upon a site; and it will be a great pity if the great question involved in the fixing of the Federal Capital for all time, should be decided by the votes of one or two members in either House of the Parliament. I agree with Senator 0’ Keefe that the matter might well be left over for a little while in order that we may if necessary take a referendum of the people. Of course, to do so might appear to many persons in New South Wales to be a breach of faith ; but surely as we have had a great influx of new members to this Parliament, they ought to have an opportunity to place themselves in a position to justify to their constituents the votes which they give, and they can only be so placed by making themselves acquainted with the sites under consideration. I understand that a party of fourteen have visited the Yass-Canberra site this year. One of them wrote a very interesting and intelligent account of the journey in a Tasmanian newspaper. I allude to Senator Ready, whose article I read with very much pleasure. Surely the new members of this Parliament ought to have an effective voice in the selection of the site, inasmuch as they have to take the responsibility of choosing it, and will have to justify to their con- stituents their voting of the money. I was much impressed by a remark made by Senator 0’ Keefe, who said that those who visited Yass-Canberra were absolutely refused to be allowed to look at the Dalgety site.
– What I meant was that facilities were afforded for visiting Yass-Canberra, but that those who wished to visit Dalgety had to make their own arrangements.
– I think it would have been a fair thing to give equal facilities for visiting both sites. I do not expect that those senators who visited YassCanberra a few weeks ago expected that this vote would come before them within so short a time, or I am sure that they would have insisted upon visiting Dalgety also.
– How long was the honorable senator at Yass-Canberra?
– I was about three days at the two sites.
– Yass and Canberra are so far apart that we might as well talk about a Melbourne-Albury site. The conjunction of names indicates nothing.
– My own opinion is that the matter should Be held over. We ought not to deal with it finally without further consideration ; and, in view of the large commitments into which we are to be led by other proposals of the Government, the enormous expenditure that will be involved upon the Federal Capital might well be deferred. We are not justified in laying upon the shoulders of the people a burden greater than they should now be called upon to bear. With regard to the military expenditure I have not much to say. The Minister of Defence has been extremely fortunate in being able to follow out the policy laid down by a previous Minister.
– I allude to the policy laid down by the honorable senator’s predecessor.
– The proposal to establish a clothing factory, for instance?
– The Minister of Defence is doing very well.
– I am not alluding particularly to the proposed clothing factory, but I consider that the Minister has been extremely wise in following out the policy of the previous Government with some additions of his own. I desire to give him full credit for the manner in which he is proceeding, and for his evident sincerity and earnestness. He has taken Lord Kitchener’s advice on some matters, and has acted wisely in so doing. He has also acted wisely in ratifying the proposal of the previous Minister to appoint MajorGeneral Kirkpatrick to advise him in military affairs. In regard to naval matters, I should like to know whether it is intended that the recommendations of Admiral Henderson in regard to the establishment of a naval base shall be adopted, or whether they will first be submitted to Parliament for approval?
– There is no money on these Estimates for that purpose.
– I trust that the matters to which I allude will ultimately be decided by Parliament, when it has had the advantage of Admiral Henderson’s criticism and experience.
– Before we spend any money in that direction, we must obtain the authority of Parliament.
– I think that the Minister will be wise to push on with naval defence. The navy is our first line of defence, and, in the event of emergencies, is most likely to be first needed. Of course, while the British Navy is on top, we are perfectly safe. But if any disaster should happen to it, we cannot tell what would occur within a few weeks’ time. Whether the British Navy happens to be in the China Seas, in the Indian Ocean, or in the North Sea, its predominance on the water makes Australia absolutely secure, but, nevertheless, it will be prudent on our part to proceed with naval defence as rapidly as possible. I trust that the amount set down on these Estimates for the purpose of Commonwealth offices in London will not commit the Government to any large expenditure. I do not know why £5,000 should be applied to the purpose. So large a sum cannot be needed for the making of inquiries. I hope that the Government will give us full details, and let us know what the money really is for’. I also take exception to the item of £5,000 for the construction of the transcontinental railway. I trust that the wording of the item will be altered so as to indicate that the money is for the purpose of obtaining information. I express no opinion for or against the railway at present. We have spent nearly £20,000 upon the survey, but have not yet received the report of the engineers. We do not know what the result of their investigations is, and therefore we are not in a position to come to a decision.
– A precis of the report has been furnished to Parliament. The complete report would fill a portmanteau.
– I trust, at any rate, that the wording of the item will be so altered that it will be clear that the money is to be spent only in acquiring additional information. Turning to the Postmaster-General’s Department, I wish to draw attention to the manner in which country post-offices are being gradually squeezed down. We hear a great deal about sweating in city offices, but there is much unjustifiable sweating in connexion with many of the small upcountry post-offices. There are offices which handle about 1,300 or 1,400 letters a month, and those who attend to them receive something like 9d. or 10d a day for their work. I am aware that their remuneration is according to a fixed scale, but the scale is, in my opinion, altogether inadequate.
– No question of salaries is involved in these Estimates, which relate purely to Works and Buildings.
– There seems to me to be a great deal of haziness about the idea of purchasing horses for defence purposes. I do not quite understand what is proposed. We are told that the Department requires 1,445 horses. It owns no, and will have to buy 1,335- The cost is estimated to be £30 per horse, and the total expenditure will be about £40,000. The upkeep is estimated at is. per day per horse, amounting per annum to about £26,000. The present annual cost is £37,518. But we have no estimate as to how that cost is made up, nor do we know how many men are employed in connexion with the horses, nor how they are paid. The calculations themselves seem to be inaccurate. We are told that in future the Department will require 140 horses per annum. It will take ten years to exhaust our present stock of horses. We know that horses will not last so long at that kind of work as in others.
– What does the honorable senator mean?
– We are told that we have 110 horses, and will have to buy 1,335 m order to get the number required for the various services. We are also informed that the upkeep of each horse will be is. a day, and that purchases will be made at the rate of 140 per annum.
– To replace the horses which have become too old.
– That is right. The Department must require a great many more than 140 horses per annum to replace the- horses which are falling out, because a horse will not be suitable for this kind of work for longer than nine years. I doubt very much whether the figures are correct.
– Surely a nineyearold horse is not useless.
– It may be. The Minister must recollect that the horses are not yearlings when they are obtained.
– We get them at two years old.
– At is. each per day the annual upkeep of the horses is estimated at £26,000. It seems to me that the estimate is far too low. How would it be possible to keep the number of horses required for that sum?
– The honorable senator must remember that the horses will not be kept in stables.
– The bare food would cost more than is. per day. The Department must pay for the attendance, the medicine, the stabling requisites, the harness, and the shoeing. It seems to be an utterly ridiculous estimate. I believe that it will be very largely exceeded when the scheme is brought into operation. I ask the Minister to give the matter verygrave consideration, because none of us want to find later that the cost was very much under-estimated, as I am afraid may be the case. As a member of the Victorian Government, I have had some experience of military men. I do not wish to say anything against them, but we generally found them to be fairly extravagant. The Minister of Defence will have .to keep a very tight hand on the reins, otherwise his Estimates will be very largely exceeded. With regard to the breeding of horses, while it seems an attractive scheme at first blush, I very much doubt whether it will realize the Minister’s anticipation. I have spoken to military men and others who have been accustomed to the breeding of horses, and the general opinion is that the Department, seeing that they only require 140 horses a year, would do very much better to leave the supply to private competition. The consensus of opinion seems to be that from private breeders the Department would get a better class of horse, and as cheaply as they would do if they established a breeding station. Remount depots, of course, are required. By that means the Department can obtain a grip over the country, and secure the horses where they are available. If remount depots are established plenty of good horses will be offered at as cheap a rate as they could be bred by the Department. The proposal to establish a woollen cloth factory appears to be a promising one at ,the start, but I do not know why we should not distribute the work amongst private employers. Why should we take away this work from the factories, almost all of which have had a .hard struggle to establish themselves? There is not, I suppose, a woollen factory in Australia, which has made its way to success without suffering enormous losses and writing-off an immense amount of capital. I think that we should study the interests of these factories, and not rush too hastily into such a business. It is a comparatively- small quantity of cloth which the Department will require, namely, 200,000 yards, at an estimated annual cost of £50,000 or £60,000. A great many persons will not be required to manufacture that quantity.
– It is estimated that there will be a thousand employes in the three factories.
– The Ballarat woollen factory, which turns out 900,000 yards of cloth per year, employs 400 hands. The Commonwealth will not need to employ a fourth of that number in its woollen cloth factory.
– I think that I gave the number in the cloth factory at 50 or 60.
– I think it was more than that number. Whilst 1 should not like to oppose the item - it may be a. good thing - at the same time I think that we might pause and consider whether we ought not to give this work to private employers. The Minister has complained that it has been difficult for the Defence Department to make satisfactory arrangements with the present factories. It seems to me that that has been owing to want of business capacity. The honorable senator said that pressure has been brought to bear to prevent contracts from being carried out, but that was the fault of the Department in not seeing that the specifications were complied with. I have no more to say at this stage, except to express the hope that, on individual items, the Minister will furnish us with the fullest information. In the past we have been committed to very large expenditures, practically covering questions of policy, without proper information. We should not have been asked to sanction such items without the fullest information being afforded.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee :
Clause 1 (Short title).
– I think that at this time, sir, we might have a quorum. [Quorum formed.]
Clause c greed to.
Clause 2 postponed.
Clause 3 agreed to.
Divisions 1 to 5 (Department of Home Affairs), £469,541.
. -In subdivision 3, on page 3 of the Bill, which contains some very important items, we are asked to vote £68,000. . In the first place we are asked to appropriate £10,000 towards the cost of establishing a Military College for Australia. I do not suppose that there is a single honorable senator who is not in thorough accord with that proposal, but there is the very important question of where it is to be established. I believe it is generally acknowledged that the Military College must be established on Federal territory in connexion with the Capital. I believe that every member of the Committee will agree that that is its proper place. To that extent I have no objection to offer to the item, but then the important question arises of where the Capital is to be established. I do not want to introduce any heat or irritation into the discussion, because this is a very important national question, which ought to be discussed calmly. From my point of view it is extremely important that Australia should pause, and consider well before a site for the Capital is finally chosen, because such a decision cannot be reversed at the sweet will of this or any future Parliament. We are definitely fixing upon a site for all time, and therefore it should only be done after the fullest consideration, and in the fairest and clearest possible way. Some persons have an idea that the Capital Site is already fixed at Yass-Canberra. Had the Parliament so decided in the ordinary way, perhaps there would not be very much to cavil at in that statement, but this question has a history, and a brief review of it will give new members in this Parliament an idea of what has taken place. Everybody knows that the first site, freely selected by members of both Houses, was on the Monaro tableland, not necessarily Dalgety itself, but somewhere in its vicinity. That was definitely set forth in an Act of Parliament, and everybody thought that the matter was finally settled. But all at once difficulties were put in the way through her Government by New South Wales, who expressed herself as being dissatisfied with that site. I do not believe that she was dissatisfied at all. I believe that certain interests in Sydney were dissatisfied, and that, having the ear of the Government, they had difficulties put in the way of the Commonwealth Parliament giving full expression to its Act fixing the site of the Capital on the Monaro tableland, in the vicinity of Dalgety. And because of these difficulties, the then Government, in a most weak-kneed fashion, I may say, allowed the matter to hang up, and would take no definite action to put the Capital where the Parliament thought it should be in giving effect to the terms of the Constitution. From first to last Parliament has paid the fullest possible respect _ to those terms, which, I may mention, were put in the Constitution at the express dictation of New South Wales. That was the position until another measure was brought down to more definitely fix the site in the vicinity of Dalgety. The site was then changed by a vote of both Houses of this Parliament from Dalgety to Yass-Canberra, and the least said about the way in which the change was made the better. Now we are told by the people who intrigued to upset the first decision, and secured the change from Dalgety to their own pet place, Yass-Canberra, that the matter is now finally settled. It is not any more definitely and finally settled now than it was before. Parliament has just as good a right now to reconsider this question and change its opinion as it had on the former occasion, especially in view of the way in which the change was brought about. The only two objections which it appears to me Sydney had to the selection of the Monaro tableland were that the site of the Federal Capital would be too distant from Sydney and too close to” Victoria.
– The honorable senator never heard that objection urged in this Chamber.
– The national view never had any weight with the people of Sydney at all. They did not want the best place for Australia, but the best place for Sydney.
– What, the honorable senator means by the national view is the Bulletin’s view.
– I take cognizance only of my own view in this matter. I wish to state my view without irritating any one, and without saying anything which might give rise to undue heat. I think I have given a fair review of the circumstances up to the present time. I have visited Canberra, and while I should like to be able to take the view of it which other people have taken, I must honestly say that 1 cannot regard Canberra as the best site for the Federal Capital. I am prepared to give that site every credit due to it. As a mere building site, I admit that Canberra is a very good site for a city. It would be possible to build a very picturesque city there. I go further, and say that, after examining the source of the water supply, I believe that an ample supply for domestic and civic purposes is obtainable there; but only by means of a very expensive pumping scheme, for it would be necessary to raise the water to a height of 850 feet to render it available to supply the city. Having said this, I think I have said all that can be said in favour of the selection of YassCanberra as the site for the Federal Capital. The most that can be said with respect to the fertility of the district is that the best of the land around Canberra is fair sheep country, the rest being of very little use at all. Not only is this true of the proposed Federal territory, but of a great deal of the land outside of it. While the establishment of the Capital there might be very agreeable to Sydney, since it would be not a national city, but a glorified suburb of Sydney, from a national point of view, I can find no advantage in the proposal. The advantage of establishing the Federal Capital on die Monaro tableland would be that it would be to practically add a new province to Australia. It would open up the south-eastern corner of New South Wales and the north-eastern corner of Victoria.
– The honorable senator is not speaking of Dalgety now.
– No, I am not particularly wedded to Dalgety as the site of the Federal Capital. I am speaking of the Monaro tableland, which has the magnificent Snowy River flowing through it, and is the best-watered district in Australia. I remind honorable senators that this Parliament did not fix upon Dalgety as the site of the Federal Capital ; it provided for a site in the vicinity of that place. There is an immense area1 of good land in the Monaro tableland which is empty, and practically a wilderness, at the present time. If we established the Federal Capital there, the effect would be, as I have said, to add a new province to Australia. We should have in that territory a population of 300,000 or 400,000 where there is now a population of not more than 2,000 or .3,000, and that would be of immense advantage to Australia. In my opinion, the proposed Federal area has been altogether too much restricted. I think that the Federal territory should consist of 7,000 or 8,000 square miles, and the district which most commends itself to me for the purpose would be the south-eastern corner of New South Wales below the 36th parallel of latitude, and extending down to the Victorian border.
– That is under the present conditions of the Constitution.
– Yes. I think we should follow the 36th parallel of latitude from the ocean until it crosses the Murray River, and should include all the country from that parallel down to the Victorian border. That would take off the southeastern corner of New South Wales, make a little straighter the southern border of that State, and give us a magnificent, splendidlywatered, fertile, and self-contained territory in which to establish the Federal Capital.
– That would be a new State. Let us apply that all round, and take new States from some of the other States as well as from New South Wales.
– If Senator Millen could show from a national point of view that that would be a good thing to do, I should be quite agreeable to do it. I say that New South Wales would never miss the area to which I have referred, whilst it would form a splendid Federal territory. It is a well-watered district, and neither New South Wales nor Victoria is doing much with that country now. We have heard a great deal about the suitability of Yass-Canberra for a Capital site, and what a splendid place it is, but apparently the only advantages which can be claimed for it by the Sydney people, who are its most earnest advocates, are that it is almost incapable of development, and is pretty close to Sydney. I do not wish honorable senators to take my word for this. I propose to quote what has been said about it by Sir Joseph Carruthers, who was at one time Premier of the State, and some other leading politicians and citizens of New South Wales. 1 have here the New South Wales Hansard for 1909, volume XXXIV. In the report of the proceedings of the Legislative Council of New South Wales on 2nd September, 1909, I find that the Honorable J. Hughes, Vice-President of the Executive Council, representative of the Government in the Legislative Council, and the gentleman intrusted with the introduction of resolutions dealing with the Federal Capital site in that Chamber, is reported on page 2175 *0 have said -
At any rate, if we are going to give them a Capital site we do not want to leave them without water ; and the catchment area we propose is the granite hills through which the Cotter runs. Some honorable members have visited the area, and no doubt they went through more physical exertion, if they went over that part of the area, than I would care to face from what I have been told of the country. The Cotter catchment area would hardly feed a goat, so far as the value of the land is concerned.
The Hon. H. C. Dangar. - It is good enough to feed them !
The Hon. J. HUGHES. - But it is very valuable as a water supply. That accounts for a further 200 square miles, which, with the area already dealt with, makes up the 435 square miles referred to in paragraph a of the first resolution. Then, to put the question of a water supply beyond all reasonable doubt, another area, immediately adjoining the Cotter, and containing 36.” square miles, equally as invaluable as the Cotter’ for any other purpose except water supply, and which carries a population of about fifty people, if as many, is what we propose to offer.
There is an area of 200 square miles, which, according to this gentleman, is incapable of feeding a goat, and a further area of 365 square miles described as just as bad as the Cotter catchment area, or a total of 565 square miles, which this gentleman told the Legislative Council of New South Wales would not feed a goat.
– That is something like the statement of Sir Joseph Carruthers, which upon professional examination has been proved to be absolutely incorrect.
– I have said that Mr. Hughes was the representative of the Government who offered this site to the Com monwealth, who have barracked for it, and tried to force it upon us. On page 2177 I find that he is reported to have said -
As far as I know the whole of the area of the land proposed to be given up is at the present moment assessed, for unimproved valuation purposes, at about £1 73,000 - that is, the land in private hands. The value of the land itself may be a great deal more, considering the quantity of Crown lands there, but the whole of the land available to us at the present time for taxation purposes on an unimproved land value basis is not more than ^173,000. Therefore, we are not depriving ourselves of a too valuable block of land in so dealing with the Commonwealth.
There is a plain statement that it is only because the area is of very little use that it has been, so to speak, chucked at us. On page 2180 I find that the same speaker said -
I do not see why the Federal Parliament should not have communication wilh the iea if they ask for it. This is simply an area of two square miles in a very large area. We are practically doing no more than giving them wharfage.
The Hon. C. Kethel. - No water rights?
The Hon. J. HUGHES- We are not giving them water rights.
The Hon. Dr. Cullen. - We are not giving them jurisdiction over the water, but only a bit of land !
The Hon. J. HUGHES- That is all. And, if I may be allowed to say so, I think the Federal authorities will not be in a hurry to construct a railway to Jervis Bay, or to worry about the piece of land, nor need we.
That shows how little they thought of the concession they were offering, restricted and hampered as it is by the conditions imposed. They knew that it would be useless to the Commonwealth. I regret to say that a Government which was practically the same as the present Federal Government were willing to accept this concession, and resisted amendments proposed in this Chamber requiring that the area to be given at Jervis Bay should be enlarged, and that the Commonwealth should have territorial rights over that area, and over the land to be given for the construction of the railway from Yass-Canberra to Jervis Bay. As a consequence, we are to get something which will be of practically no value to us, and over which we shall have no proper control. If honorable senators will turn to page 2183 of this volume, they will find that the Hon. J. Gormly, another member of the Legislative Council, spoke as follows -
At the present time the population in the vicinity of Jervis Bay is extremely limited. If, when it is Federal property, it should become a place of some importance, it will never become a rival to the port of Sydney, as might have been the case if the former proposal had been accepted, under which a port would have been established at Twofold Bay.
– Nonsense. Jervis Bay might become a very important rival of Sydney. It is the second best harbor in New South Wales.
– Then my honorable friend differs very much from the Hon. J. Gormly upon this question. The reasons advanced by the latter are those which have invariably animated Sydney. The people of that city have been actuated by a miserable parochial feeling. The only question which they have have asked themselves is “Where do we come in? What will Sydney get out of this?” Later on, the Hon. J. Gormly said -
We must remember that the territory we are asked to surrender has not been of any great importance from a revenue stand-point. When we are told that it only contains Soo people, that, in itself, is evidence that this is not one of the most progressive districts in the State.
– The honorable senator is speaking now of a member of the Legislative Council of New South Wales, of which he thinks so highly.
– I am pointing out what the people who forced the YassCanberra. site upon the Commonwealth Parliament themselves think of it. I come now to Sir Joseph Carruthers. I need scarcely remind honorable senators that in combating the Monaro site, he was one of the lions in the path. I propose, therefore, to read a few extracts from a speech which he delivered in the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, and which is reported in the same volume of Hansard, on page 2185. He said -
I have nothing to say against Dalgety as a district with a good climate. The climate of Dalgety and the climate of Canberra are absolutely the same; both places are on the same tableland - one at the southern end and the other at the northern end of it.
How does that square with the contention of those who aver that Dalgety is a blizzardswept region, in which all the Federal legislators who went there would perish from cold? According to Sir Joseph Carruthers, if Dalgety be a blizzard-swept region, Yass-Canberra is equally blizzardswept. That gentleman continues -
As far as their proximity to the mountains is concerned, they are both at the foot of the mountains. As far as their proximity to our great streams which take their source in the mountains is concerned, they have large frontages to those great streams. . . . The land which is required for the Federal Capital is really land required for city purposes, not land required in connexion with the development of the territory ; and the Federal Government, without the machinery to carry on the work which the State does, will find a large amount of work put on its shoulders which will embarrass it, and tend to prevent it from doing well and effectively the larger work which has been remitted to it. And I still live in hopes that, as the result of time and experience, the Federal Government will reduce the area and bring it within reasonable bounds.
He says that, as time goes on, he hopes the Commonwealth Government will reduce the area, because the opportunities for its development are so poor, and because nothing can be done with it.
– No; but because he thinks it is the function of the Commonwealth to do what he suggests.
– He says that the Commonwealth Government will find work put upon its shoulders which will embarrass it. He continues -
As regards access to the sea, I look upon a railway to Jervis Bay as a mere visionary idea. But, still, if the Federal Government, like a child, wants a toy in its early days to play with, let it have it. I know the country between Canberra and Jervis Bay, and I say there is not the remotest chance of a railway going to Jervis Bay from Canberra as long as the port of Sydney exists, and as long as there is a railway from Queanbeyan to Sydney. The mountain country between Sydney and Katoomba is mere child’s play compared with the country lying between Canberra and Jervis Bay. The ravines that would have to be crossed have many a lime prevented the embarkation of capital in private enterprises in that part of the State. There are large coal-fields there, and a wealth of mineral deposit, which has never been exploited or opened up because the cost of the engineering works, and the construction even of tramways, would .be prohibitive. The settlers in that district when they want to lake their wool to a port, never go to Jervis Bay. Their port is Bateman’s Bay, and that is the natural outlet of the Federal Territory. That is proved by the fact that even now the teams carry the wool from parts of Queanbeyan and Bungendore to Bateman’s Bay for shipment into the Illawarra steamers. If the Federal Government wanted a Federal port, and had a practical knowledge of the country, it would have selected what is probably the most beautiful bay in New South Wales, that is Bateman’s Bay, with the Clyde River, a splendid navigable stream, running into it. A railway to Jervis Bay would be just as practicable as the opening up of communication with the people of Mars.
– I am quoting the opinions of a gentleman who at one time occupied the position of Premier of New South Wales.
– It is only fair that the honorable senator should mention the date upon which that speech was delivered.
– It was the 22nd September, 1909.
– Mr. Wade has a policy now.
– I am pointing out the reasons which actuated those persons who deliberately forced this objectionable site upon the Commonwealth. They hold that it is incapable of development, incapable of opening up a new seaport, incapable of becoming a serious rival to Sydney, and capable only of becoming a glorified suburb of it. The Hon. W. Robson, on page 2187 of the New South Wales Hansard, is thus reported -
We are asked to adopt resolutions which fix the area at, approximately, 800 square miles. I think the Government, seeing that it has gone so far, might have gone a little further, and made the area 900 square miles, and so cut the ground from under the feet of those who are against having the Capital in this State at all, and who will use every possible handle to delay the settlement of this question. The Government might have done that without any disadvantage to New South Wales. Those who know the territory, and especially the territory between Canberra, on the immediate tableland, and Jervis Bay, as I do, must know very well that that territory could be yielded up in very large areas, without any loss to New South Wales. I am sorry this was not done.
In the face of all these opinions, how can honorable senators come to any conclusion other than that Yass-Canberra is not a suitable site for the Federal Capital ? It has been forced upon the Commonwealth chiefly because it is unsuitable - because the Commonwealth will always be hampered by the poor prospect of its development. With all these considerations before us, it is only reasonable that we should pause to consider whether the decision which we are now asked to register, and which will bind the Commonwealth for all time, would not be a huge mistake, and one which we can avoid. It can very easily be avoided, and that without unduly hanging up or delaying the settlement of this question. There must be hundreds of places in New South Wales which are suitable for a Federal Capital site.
– - Name three?
– Why should we choose the worst site of all, and the driest in the whole of Australia?
– We have only the east coast of New South Wales from which to select. I say without hesitation that anybody who will take the trouble to look up the Statistical Register of New South Wales must come to the conclusion that in one dry year experienced there, when water was most valuable, Canberra had the lowest rainfall of any place available to us as a- Federal Capital site. Its rainfall was. only 11 inches, and I contend that the rainfall of any place must be judged by the fall recorded in the driest year. In other words, we must form our judgment upon its minimum’ rainfall. It is useless to accept as a standard the large rainfall of a wet season. Upon the basis of a rainfall of 11 inches, at Yass-Canberra, it would be necessary to construct an immense storage reservoir, and which would make the cost of a water scheme there prohibitive. We all know that stored water is not nearly so pure as is running water. During a dry year the rainfall registered at Canberra was only 11 inches, and that is the rainfall of which we should take cognisance. There is another matter connected with this question of water supply to which I desire to direct attention. Although the Cotter River will furnish a supply sufficient for domestic and civic purposes, that supply can be obtained only at very great cost. Further, it is impossible to secure a supply from it by means of gravitation. We can obtain an adequate supply for all purposes only by resort to a pumping scheme. To procure such a supply the water will have to be pumped a distance of 10 miles, and raised to a height of 850 feet. Now, we all know what a costly scheme that would be. In pumping water a distance of ie miles, very great force would be required to overcome the friction which would be encountered. But in addition to the friction, when water has to be raised 850 feet, the cost must be almost prohibitive. That is one of the principal facts influencing me to say that this matter ought to receive further consideration at our hands. I regret very much that it should be brought before us in this casual way. It would have been very much better had the Government introduced a Bill to deal with the subject, accompanied by plans and explanations of the scheme they propose for the development of the Territory. This Parliament is entitled to be taken into the confidence of the Government as to how they intend to spend the money, and what their plans for the laying out of the Capital city are. I desire to afford honorable senators a method of conveying a plain- indication that they do not desire to vote money for the purpose in view. I have no wish, however, to strike out the entire sum, because that would involve giving an affront to the Government. I shall adopt the usual parliamentary procedure by moving -
That the item, “ Federal Capital at Canberra - towards cost of establishment, .£50,000,” be reduced by £1.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.4.5 p.m.
– I have been rather surprised within the last few days, in reading the public press, and hearing hints, insinuations, innuendoes, and even emphatic statements, with respect to the action of the Government on the Capital site question. It has been stated that the supporter* of the Government have been dragooned in certain directions. Is there any honor; able senator belonging to the Labour party who can state that any attempt has been made to dragoon him?
– The honorable senator ought to be used to statements of that kind. Why notice them?
– I should not notice them if they had merely appeared in the press. But they have also been made about Parliament House, and even in the Senate Chamber itself. I am, therefore, bound to take some notice of them. I emphatically deny that, either in the Senate or in another place, any supporter has, by any member of the Government or by anybody else, been dragooned to vote in any direction. The question is absolutely an open one with the members of the Labour party. Consequently, all this talk about dragooning is simple nonsense. Much has also been said about the position of the Vice-President of the Executive Council. It has been said that, as the representative of the Government in the Senate, he is following a different course of action from that which he pursued in the earlier stages of the Federal Capital question. Am I the only individual in the world who has ever, as the result of fuller evidence or altered circumstances, changed his mind, or is there any reason why, having changed my mind, I should not occupy the position that I now hold ? When the Federal Capital question was ‘ first brought before this Parliament, I, from the evidence of my own senses, selected a particular locality, and I stuck to that ‘ choice as long as there was a possibility of securing a majority in Parliament in favour of it. That locality was, in the first instance, selected. But afterwards it was changed by the will of Parliament. There was a majority for the change both in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. At that time, there was a Government in power which, in my view, failed in its duty. Had the case been otherwise my wishes might have been given effect to. Negotiations were afterwards entered into with the Government of New South Wales, and an agreement was made with regard to a certain course of action. That step was taken with the sanction of both Houses of the Federal Parliament. The Government to which I refer was afterwards defeated by the electors of Australia. The present Government took office. They had before them the will of Parliament as expressed by a Federal Act. Certain work had been done. That work was being continued. I maintain that it was the duty of the Government to give effect to the expressed will of Parliament. No other course of action was open to them. When the subject was before another place, last week, the vote which is now the subject of Senator Givens’ amendment, was agreed to by a majority of eighteen. If every member of the Government had voted on the other side, the result would have been the same. Consequently, it was not the votes of the members of the Government which secured the result. The matter now comes before the Senate. I venture to say that any Government that had put its hand to the plough, with respect to this or any other question, whether it were a party or a nonparty question, and that did not go straight ahead with the work, would not be worthy of the position it occupied. We are now considering an appropriation for carrying out certain works. I may explain that the reason for the difference between the £45,000 and the £50,000, to which attention has been called, is this : Out of the £546,145 to be spent by the Department of Home Affairs, it is probable that £76,604 will not be spent before 30th June next. Of that sum, £5,000 pertains to the £50,000 on account of the Federal Capital, thus reducing the amount to £45,000. Senator Findley, who represents the Minister of Home Affairs in the Senate, will explain every item so as to enlighten honorable senators as to the directions in which the money is to be spent. What were we to do in this matter? Operations in the area selected were proceeding with the sanction of Parliament.
Had the Government not placed a sum of money on the Estimates to carry on the work, every soul engaged upon it would have been discharged, and that would have been an indication to the Government of New South Wales that the agreement entered into with them some time ago was to be cast to the four winds of heaven. The Government regarded it as their duty to carry out the direction of Parliament, and they would not have been worthy members of any Government if they had not done so. We know what happened when Dalgety was originally chosen by Parliament. It was because the members of the Government then in office were divided in opinion that they had not the courage to come to a unanimous determination. We blamed them for occupying that position. We told them that they were not worthy of being members of a Government in the Commonwealth of Australia, if they had not the courage to carry out the will of Parliament. We, as members of the present Government, are not going to be placed in a similar position. We are determined to carry out the express wish of Parliament, and in so doing we consider that we are discharging out duty.
– I am somewhat astonished at the trend of this debate. Personally, I have held but one view in respect to the choice of the Capital site. It may be within the recollection of honorable senators that, from the commencement, I have never deviated from my position. Believing that I had a knowledge of what was required by the Australian people, and having also a knowledge of a considerable portion of New South Wales, it was not difficult for me to arrive at a conclusion. I shall support the amendment of Senator Givens to reduce the item, because that is the only means by which I can re-assert the attitude that I have hitherto assumed. At the same time I wish to assure the Vice-President of the Executive Council that I fully recognise the strength of the position that the Government occupy in presenting the item to the Senate. Had the Government assumed any other attitude I should have regarded them with some amount of suspicion. It is quite true, as Senator Gould said this afternoon, that the last Federal Parliament expressed a definite opinion as to what was the most suitable site. I have doubts as to the methods by which the majority for that site was secured. Nevertheless, I have to recognise the fact that the choice of Yass-Canberra was definitely placed on record in the statute-book of Australia. It is true that an election has intervened, but, notwithstanding that fact, seeing that the Capital site question was so vigorously placed before the people-
– The question was never mentioned in Queensland.
– I mentioned it in Western Australia. I never hesitated to express my strong opinion of the position assumed by the late Government, and of the engineering efforts by which the choice of a particular site was secured. Since the election I have had the opportunity and the pleasure of visiting the YassCanberra site. I have also had many opportunities of visiting the site which I formerly advocated, and to which I am as strongly attached as ever I was. We have not to consider the placation of Mr. Wade or of any party or individual in New South Wales, but this question: How are we to serve best the interests of the Commonwealth in establishing a Federal territory in a part of that State? If I am called upon to answer that question, I shall unhesitatingly revert to my first love. Although it was not a lengthy visit which I was recently privileged to pay to YassCanberra, Ithink it was sufficiently long to satisfy me that the attitude I first assumed in the Senate was the correct one, and that, taking into consideration all the facilities which are required for a Capital, there is no comparison between YassCanberra and my first love. However, that is not the issue now. The question is whether we as a Parliament should ratify the site that we adopted here under circumstances which no man can deny were of a most suspicious character indeed. Did we make a selection which is justifiable from the sanitary point of view ? If we disregarded the essential element of sanitation, then we undoubtedly failed to perform our duty. To me, sanitation is the first consideration in the selection of a site. From my observations I came to the conclusion layman as I am - that at Yass-Canberra it is impossible to guarantee a sanitary system which would serve a city of any dimensions. I admit that for the sanitation of a small village or a bit of a rural settlement the facilities are as good as would be required. I also recognise that if we pass this item and continue our operations, we shall have only a little rural township plus a Parliament House. There is no other hope or prospect, no possibility of development beyond that point. At the very outset every prospect convinced me that this was the line of reasoning to which a good many of those who advocated this particular site clung. They looked at it - of course, some of them will object to this statement - from a purely Sydney point of view. They recognised that if they could fix the Capital site within the four corners of the territory which has been marked out in Yass-Canberra, it would be practically a residential adjunct of Sydney. If this item be adopted by the Senate, in my opinion we shall bid goodbye to any prospect of getting a city such as should be the ambition of the Australian people. If, on. the other hand, it is intended to placate some influence or individual, Yass-Canberra is one of the best sites which could be used for that purpose. That it would be insanitary I think no man will deny. A water supply is essential to the sanitation of a city. Whatever else you may have, with an inefficient water supply you will not have a satisfactory system of sanitation. What do we find at Yass-Canberra? There is a river known as the Cotter. I saw it, and so did Senator McDougall. We had the privilege of looking at a small weir which has been erected on the river. I am not going to say that I could jump over the river there, but I have seen the day when I could have done so. I put my hand into the water, and flowing over the weir there was a sheet of water from 10 to11. inches deep,- and from 8 to 10 feet wide. Senator Millen has stated that the river never runs dry. Well if it is a river it would not run dry at any time.
– I believe that there have been 5 feet of water running over the weir since then.
– I am speaking of the time when I saw the weir.
– There was a drought when we were there.
– Yes ; we paid our visit at a season of the year when the river would be seen at its worst.
– It is a creek.
– Yes, that is really the proper term to use. It is what is called in the Old Country a beck. In the condition I have described, the river would be absolutely useless for the sanitation of the Capital.
– It was seen in September, was it not?
– It does not matter what the month was.
– It makes a lot of difference.
– At that point the water would ‘be absolutely useless to serve a capital. According to the explanations we have heard, it would be necessary to raise the water to an altitude of 800 or 850 feet, in order to have a serviceable supply for the s’anitary and domestic purposes of the city. I admit that in the bed of the river there appeared to be reasonable foundations on which to construct a weir which would conserve a supply of water sufficient for almost the whole of the people in Australia for probably two or three years, if no rain fell, provided that there was a sufficient period for catching the water before the necessity arose. But there still remains the . fact that the water would have to be lifted, and that the supply in the river is too limited to keep the conserved water in a state fit for human consumption.
– The honorable senator will quote his authority for that statement, of course?
– My authority is myself. I have read the reports, and I know that it would be necessary to lift the water. Undoubtedly there is water in the Cotter, but to conserve it in sufficient quantity to supply a city of any dimensions is to run a very serious risk, because the fresh supply would always be insufficient to keep the water as pure as it ought to be for domestic purposes.
– Will the honorable senator quote his authority?
-I have done so. Does the honorable senator think that 1 am a blind man? I can see him, and I have seen the Yass-Canberra site. The engineers have stated that the water would have to be lifted, but that to-day there are such fine modern appliances for the lifting of water that the cost of that operation has been reduced to a minimum. But, whilst I am prepared to admit all that, I also say that where nature has provided a better supply, and has said, in effect, “ Here, take the supply which I offer, and use it by means of gravitation “ -
– Where does nature say that?
– At Dalgety.
– Then why did the honorable senator vote for Tumut?
– To prevent the honorable senator from cajoling other honorable senators into voting for other sites.
– Order ! These conversations must cease.
– I voted for Tumut only when that site was being used as a handle-
– By whom?
– By honorable senators opposite. Nature has emphatically declared that the Yass-Canberra site, upon which it is proposed to expend £50,000, is altogether unsuitable for a Federal Capital. Whilst the land there is not the worst that one can come across, it is far from being the best, as is evidenced by the absence of population upon its surface.
– What about the country which the proposed desert railway will traverse ?
– I am not speaking of the country which will be traversed by the so-called desert railway, but of that which surrounds the Federal Capital site at Yass-Canberra. The fact that it is not the best land availableis. attested by the circumstance that there is scarcely another area of equal dimensions in the whole of New South Wales which is so sparsely populated.
– There were people there before the honorable senator was born.
– Probably there were people there before Senator Chataway was born. That fact does not affect my argument. At . Yass-Canberra one has to travel miles and miles before he. can see a human being. One has only to ascend the hill at the back of the flat country to be able to count, on the fingers of his hands, almost the whole of the habitations within the 900 square miles of territory. No stronger testimony is needed of the inutility of the land within that area. I admit that there are a few sheep running there-
– There are none at Dalgety.
– Probably the honorable senator was not there long enough to see them.
– I was there as long as the honorable senator remained at YassCanbena.
– I do not know whether that is so. The limitations of the water supply available at YassCanberra are such as to convince me that it would be absolutely dangerous to attempt to found the Federal Capital there.
– What is the rainfall?
– The rainfall there varies just as do the political views of the honorable senator.
– The rainfall at Yass-Canberra is the same as that recorded at Melbourne.
– There is no comparison between the rainfall at Melbourne and that at Yass-Canberra.
– The average is the same at both places.
– Probably it is an average for a period of twenty- five minutes. Having had an opportunity of studying the contour of the country-
– From the top of the hill.
– And from the bottom of the hill. When I visited Yass-Canberra I did so with a view to seeing something. I saw as much as I could of that site, and 1 then decided that I had inspected infinitely better sites in New South Wales.
– That was before the honorable senator visited Dalgety.
– The ‘honorable senator is talking without book. I was in Dalgety many years before he saw it, and many years before a Federal Capital site was thought of. My knowledge of that place is infinitely greater than is the honorable senator’s knowledge either of Dalgety or of Yass-Canberra.
Several senators interjecting,
– Order ! I ask honorable senators to kindly discontinue this bombardment of the honorable senator bv making three or four interjections simultaneously.
– Under no circumstances can I support an item of expenditure which would be altogether inimical to the best interests of Australia. When I vote for aFederal Capital site I shall do what I have always endeavoured to do, namely, vote for that site which is most likely to confer the greatest good on the greatest number.
– My honorable friend, Senator St. Ledger, greets me with the exclamation “ Hurrah !” But he need not experience the slightest alarm. We are asked to vote the sum of , £50,000 towards the cost of establishing the Federal Capital at Yass-Canberra.
– Do not forget that there is an item of £5,000 in these Estimates towards the cost of constructing a railway from South Australia to Western Australia.
– I want to tell my honorable friend, who is so obtuse that he cannot detect reason in anything, that [ intend to approach this question from a national, and not from a parochial, standpoint. If I may judge by the chorus of discord which emanates from honorable senators opposite, they are not quite sure of their position. This Committee should pause before assenting to the proposal to expend £50,000 at Yass-Canberra as the site for the Federal Capital. I am just as anxious as is any honorable senator to reach finality upon this question. I think thai finality should be reached at the earliest possible moment. But the method proposed by the Government is not that by which finality should be reached. The opinion is abroad - indeed, it has been expressed in this Chamber - that the whip has been cracked over the heads of Government supporters, and that, because I am a member of the Australian Labour party, and a supporter of the Government, I must necessarily vote for this- particular item. I desire to disabuse the minds of those honorable senators and of electors who may entertain that opinion. So far as I am personally concerned, no attempt has been made to crack the whip over my head, and to compel me to vote for a proposal of which I do not approve. Upon this question I am just as free as are honorable senators opposite. The party of which I am a member has never attempted to bind me upon any question which is outside the platform that has been placed before the people of Australia.
– We have heard honorable senators belonging to the same party declare that they have been bound.
– I am speaking for myself, not for others. I intend to approach this question as a member of the Labour party in the National Parliament. I have alreadysaid that the method proposed by the Government is not that by which finality should be reached. We all know that during the last Parliament members of the other branch of the Legislature were very- much divided in their opinions on the question of the Federal Capital site. When the Seat of Government Acceptance Bill reached this Chamber, there was not a majority in favour of Yass-Canberra. I recollect that when the Senate was called upon to exercise its legitimate function two ballots were taken in which an equal number of votes was recorded in favour of Tumut and Yass-Canberra, and in the third ballot Yass-Canberra triumphed by the transposition of one vote from Tumut.
– How many votes did Dalgety secure on that occasion?
– None. To-night I am not discussing the merits or demerits of Dalgety, Yass-Canberra, or Tooma. But even if Yass-Canberra were a modern Garden of Eden I would not vote for the proposed expenditure of £50,000 upon it. Why,? For two reasons. In the first place I recognise that if we. agree to this item the site of the Federal Capital will be absolutely fixed. Secondly, even if Yass-Canberra were a Garden of Eden I say that it did not secure the verdict of this Parliament in a way-
– Of which the honorable senator approves.
– The honorable senator is like a woman, in that he sometimes jumps to conclusions. He is a very fine old woman. The verdict of this Parliament was not secured in a manner which was representative of the thought of the people. The supporters of Canberra, thinking that they were likely to be defeated in another Chamber, tacked on “ Yass “ to that site-
– Not this time.
– I am speaking of facts which are upon record, as the honorable senator will learn if he chooses to turn up Hansard. I repeat that the vote of this Parliament in favour of YassCanberra was not representative of the national thought, and if we agree to the item which is now under consideration we may say farewell to the selection of any other site. In speaking upon the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply I gave utterance to similar sentiments to those which I am now expressing.
– The honorable senator made the same speech.
– I did not. I am not like my honorable friend, who is a fine specimen of a parrot, in that he imitates everybody, but has nothing original to say. Upon that occasion, recognising that a representative vote had not been cast in the other branch of the Legislature - that Dalgety had been favoured by one Parliament and rejected by another - I thought that the very best way to settle the matter would be to leave the whole thing to the people. It is quite evident that the legislators cannot come to a definite conclusion. I have alreadysaid that Dalgety was originally accepted by the National Parliament. But the question was re-opened, and Yass-Canberra was carried by a narrower majority than had chosen Dalgety in the first instance. Now we have another opportunity of expressing our opinion. The result of agreeing to the item under consideration will be practically to seal the selection. I have no personal interest in the location of the site. The State which I represent’ has no direct interest in the question. I would refuse to be bound by the interests of any State in such a matter. I simply wish to see the best site chosen in the interest of all Australia. With reference to the position of the Government, I recognise their genuineness and their sincerity. I have no desire to impute improper motives or to cast reflections upon them. There is such a thing as Cabinet responsibility. We know what that means. If a number of men meet together to act as a Government in any country, finality of decision must be reached in some way or other ; and those men are in honour bound to abide by the determination of the majority. I have not the slightest intention or wish to harass or embarrass any member of the Ministry, of which I am a supporter. But I should not be true to the position which I have taken up concerning this question, nor should I be true to Australia, were I not to cast a vote against the item, the result of passing which would, in my opinion, settle the matter in a direction opposed to the interests of the Australian people. I should prefer to give the electors a chance of expressing their view upon the matter, as it is evident that their legislators have failed in their attempt to give effect to it.
Senator READY (Tasmania) [8.41’J. - As a representative of the State of Tasmania, I may say at the outset that I intend to support the amendment proposed by Senator Givens. I think it will be made clear to the Senate before the present session closes, that the Tasmanian representatives generally have manifested a national spirit towards all national questions. For instance, in regard to the acquisition of the Northern Territory, I am sure that the Tasmanians will be foundgiving reasonable support to a great national work. But I say unhesitatingly that this Federal Capital project is neither a great nor a national work at the present juncture, and that, considering the financial position of the Commonwealth, and the great works now calling for attention, if we were to vote a sum of money to be expended on a bush capital, the people of Australia who sent us here would not be satisfied with what we had done.
– lt is not proposed to establish a bush capital.
– The term is a misnomer, I adroit, because bush will not’ grow at Yass-Canberra. The very gum trees will not grow to a height of more than 1 5 feet. The soil is so inadequate that bush cannot get a hold. I observe that the Minister of Home Affairs is contemplating a scheme of afforestation for Yass-Canberra, but I venture to say that the Minister will have to provide special trains to take soil to the locality before he can induce the trees to grow there. I maintain that it is utterly wrong and unfair for a Parliament representing a 3’oung country like Australia, with only four and a half millions of people, to take up at its present stage a question like this, in regard to which there is certainly no hurry whatever. There is need for proceeding with other great national works, upon which we ought to spend all the money we can spare. Naturally there is a desire on the part of the New South Wales representatives to get this question settled at once. For that reason this money has been placed on the Estimates. But once that money is voted the Federal Capital question will be settled for all time. I am quite convinced that if a vote of the people of Australia were taken to-morrow, the majority would be four or five to one against spending any money in this direction at present. The people would say, “ Why not take the Federal Capital to Sydney for a while?” Why should we spend millions of money in the most arid and barren portion of New South Wales? The smallest sum that would be necessary to resume the land in private hands in the area would be £1,250,000.
– Senator Givens to-day used the argument that the money value of the land in private hands was not more than £175,000.
– The value of the land in private hands, according to Mr. Scrivener’s report, and according to the valuations of the shire councils, is £1,250,000. I understand also from Mr. Scrivener’s report that the value of the land on an average is from £4 10s. to £5 an acre. In the main it is grazing land, but, owing to the very good seasons which we have had lately, it was bringing the amount of money that I have mentioned.
– There is some land in the territory which is worth only 2s. 6d. an acre.
– But I am speaking of the land generally. I went with a party of other honorable senators to inspect the Yass-Canberra site. I am fully convinced, from what I saw of it, that it is unsuitable. It is undoubtedly very barren and arid. It is utterly unfit for agriculture. When I heard some honorable senators, a little while ago, stating that the Territory is fit for agricultural purposes, I turned to Mr. Scrivener’s report for the second time. In that document, he says that Yass-Canberra as a whole is not an agricultural district; and I do not think that its supporters who understand agriculture can, in their wildest dreams, imagine that it is fit for such purposes.
– After viewing both Yass-Canberra and Dalgety, how does the honorable senator think that the one compares with the other?
– I consider that the two sites are very poor indeed ; but the better one, in my humble opinion, is undoubtedly Dalgety. The reasons which 1 shall give for my view are brief; but they are borne out by better authorities than I can ever hope to be. Dalgety possesses a good water supply, and, moreover, it has some rich agricultural land lying behind the area suggested for the Federal city ; and that is more than can be said for the Yass-Canberra district.
– The honorable senator did not see any of the agricultural land at Dalgety.
– I did. We took a 99-mile ride in a motor car, and had a fair opportunity of judging, because we had one of the oldest residents with us, who knew every bit of the ground. I say, unhesitatingly, that of the two sites, Dalgety is, in my opinion, the better.
– We had to pay pretty stiffly for the trip, did we not?
– We did. In fact, we had a rather unfortunate experience. The owner of the motor car decided that he must charge us rather more than we had bargained for, because, I suppose, we were members of Parliament.
– Evidently, he was not a supporter of Dalgety.
– He was not. The altitude of the two places is very much alike. Both sites are 2,000 feet above sealevel. Both are intensely cold in winter, and intensely hot in summer. From the climatic stand-point, there is little to choose between them. But, in regard to Canberra, there is an element which should make every member of the Senate consider seriously before he records a vote for the item under consideration. I allude to water supply.
– The climate is as cold as that of Hobart.
– Hobart has the best climate in the Commonwealth. Many mainlanders are glad to go over there, when they want a change, for the good of their health. Hobart, in my humble opinion, would be a far better site for a capital than either Dalgety or Yass-Canberra ; but. of course, that place is not in the reckoning. A good deal has been said about the water supply. I inspected the Cotter ; and must candidly admit that I found it to be a far better stream than I was led to believe. It is only a creek, of course; but it has a fair volume of water. Certainly, there is nothing to justify the view represented in a cartoon which I saw, of a tramp running away with the whole water supply of the Cotter in his billycan, and the -population of Yass-Canberra chasing him. I questioned Mr. Scrivener very closely on this point, seeking knowledge as to how a water supply could be furnished to the Federal Capital. I asked him particularly what scheme would be the cheapest. According to Mr. de Burgh, the cost of a gravitation scheme would be about £850,000. Mr. Scrivener told me that the scheme that he would recommend would be to have . a. power-house at the Capital ; power would be generated by steam; the power would be conveyed by electricity to a reservoir at the head of the Cotter River, and then, also by means of electricity, the water would be pumped back to a reservoir on top of a large hill, from which position the Capital would be reticulated. Surely that would be a complicated process, and one that would cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to accomplish. It seems to me that, if New South Wales has not a better site than Yass-Canberra to offer- to the Federal Government, it is not the State that it has been represented to be. I intend, as an Australian, to vote against this appropriation of money. We are not dealing with a party question. We have heard a great deal about the members of the Labour party being caucus-bound. I am glad to be able to say that every individual in the Labour party is privileged to vote entirely as he likes on this question. I am not opposing the vote in any captious spirit; but because I thoroughly believe that if this money is voted, it will be a bad thing for the Commonwealth of Australia. It will be a bad day for the people, and it will be a bad day for many members of this Parliament, who will surely find a day of reckoning when next they go before their constituents. As a Tasmanian, and as an Australian, I shall vote against the item, knowing that I have the people of my State behind me. I desire to afford an opportunity to re-open the question before Parliament is irrevocably committed to the selection of Yass-Canberra.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) £8.58]. - I do not propose, at this stage, to enter into any lengthy consideration of the merits or demerits of the various sites ; and I hope that I shall be understood as speaking with the conviction that no amount of argument that can be brought forward at this stage is likely to affect a single vote, at any rate, with regard to those honorable senators who were privileged to consider this question on a previous occasion. But I am glad to be able to take advantage of this opportunity to enter my emphatic protest against statements which have been made outside the House, and which are, to my regret, being made here also, as to the previous decision having been arrived at as the result of some discreditable intrigue. I should regard it as a serious reflection upon my sixteen or seventeen years of parliamentary experience, if an intrigue of that character and magnitude had been carried on without my having had at least some knowledge of it. But statements of this kind, while they may serve a purpose on the platform, ought to receive the condemnation of every member of this Parliament who was present when the matter was last under consideration. It is undoubtedly the case that a strenuous - effort was made by both sides to secure victory. But the statement that anything took place except what is well within the limits of fair parliamentary tactics, is altogether unwarranted. I. repudiate such innuendoes for myself and for Parliament as a whole. State ments have been made that would lead people to assume that conduct dangerously near to parliamentary corruption was practised. There is absolutely no justification for such assertions. That tactics were ‘ pursued, is obvious ; but there is nothing discreditable in that. It is a gross misrepresentation of Parliament to give it forth to the world that - no matter whether the selection was right or wrong, wise or foolish - anything was done that was discreditable to those who took part in it, or to Parliament as a whole. I ask honorable senators, in considering this matter, to remember that the credit “of Parliament is, to some extent, involved; and that such statements should not be allowed to go unchallenged. I confidently ask those who differ with me on this point whether they can put their hands on a single action which was in any way discreditable to those concerned? Senator Givens has stated to-night that some powers outside of this Parliament have forced Yass-Canberra upon the Commonwealth. Surely so logical a senator as he is did not mean that. There is no outside power which can force anything upon this Parliament against its will.
– Then how did they prevent us from having Dalgety with our will?
– They did not. Had this Parliament adhered to its choice of Dalgety, it had all the powers conferred on it by the Constitution. I venture to say there is no power on earth which can prevent this Parliament from having its way within the four corners of the Constitution, when it has clearly expressed its will, and stands to it. Therefore, it is a caricature of the position to talk of an outside power forcing anything upon this Parliament.
– Does the honorable senator mean to say that the State Parliament could not refuse its assent to a Federal decision ?
– What I mean is that if this Parliament indicated that its decision was irrevocable, it could be carried right through.
– Whether the State Parliament agreed with it or not?
– Yes. Therefore, to my mind, it was altogether idle for Senator Givens to talk as he did. The difference between the position which we occupy today and that which was occupied when the decision of another Parliament was under review is that to-day we stand in the position of dealing with the matter, after having entered into an arrangement with New South Wales. I do not say that that leaves the decision irrevocable, but it does alter the position. There is a difference between the position with which we are confronted now, when we have entered into an arrangement which has been ratified by this Parliament, as well as by the State Parliament, and that which presented itself when we had only a Bill - indeed, only a declaration - in favour of Dalgety.
– Does the honorable senator say that our decision is irrevocable now ?
– Of course, I am not saying that it is irrevocable, but there is a difference in the position. You cannot make our decision irrevocable, because, as a matter of fact, the second proclamation has not been issued. I want to impress upon honorable senators who are using as an argument why we can review the last decision the fact that an earlier decision was revoked and altered, that the difference in the position is that at that time we had the decision of this Parliament only, for the State Parliament had never been consulted, and, therefore, had never assented to our choice. On the present occasion, however, as the result of a decision of this Parliament, negotiations were opened with the State, and a final agreement arrived at, which was embodied in an Act of the Federal Parliament and of the State Parliament. I refer to that fact, not to show that the choice of site is irrevocable, but to ask honorable senators to say at what point they consider that finality should be reached. I admit’ at once the power of this Parliament to tear up the agreement if it likes ; but I ask honorable senators can the Parliament, in reason, expect to go on arriving at a decision, and, after a certain arrangement has been made and ratified, turn round a few months afterwards and say, “ We do not want the agreement.”
– That is what the honorable senator wanted in the case of Dalgety.
– There never was an agreement entered into between the Commonwealth and the State in regard to Dalgety.
– The honorable senator wants to placate Sydney.
– For ten minutes I have been trying to make it abundantly clear that there are no influences outside this Parliament which can, or ought to, determine this question, when the honorable senator thrusts in Sydney, and endeavours to make out that the sole object which those who support Yass-Canberra have in view is to further the interests of that city. In my opinion, one-half of the opposition to Yass-Canberra is due to Sydneyphobia, and a belief that its selection would in some way or other advantage Sydney. Rather than see Sydney get any advantage, they would tie up the matter for an indefinite period. That is the position Senator Givens occupies.
– The honorable senator knows very well that it is nothing of the sort.
– On more than one occasion to-night the honorable senator has taunted me with the statement that it is simply a desire to advantage Sydney which induces me to support Yass-Canberra. But he leaves himself open to the charge that what is animating him is a desire, not to select the best site, but to select a site which would be the least advantageous to Sydney.
– Would it not be fairer to say “ to the Sydney daily press?”
– I doubt very much whether it would make twopence worth of difference to Sydney or its newspapers. I do not believe that the mere presence of this Parliament at a certain distance from Sydney would in any way affect the future of that city. I should have a very poor belief in its future if 1 thought that it was to depend entirely upon the measure of support it was to obtain from the presence of this Parliament in the State.
– It does not depend upon that at all, but the honorable senator wants to make the Capital an appendage of Sydney.
– I gave my vote utterly regardless of the interests of Sydney. When I gave my first vote I believed - and to-day I still believe - that the best site of all would be on the New England tableland. I do not think more than six or eight votes were cast for that place. Was I to go on butting my head against a stone wall and proclaim that the New England site was the only site worthy of selection, when I could see that it had no chance of being selected ?
– The honorable senator favoured Dalgety though.
– Never, and no one knows that better than does the honorable senator.
– The honorable senator did not vote against it.
– What does the honorable senator mean by that remark? I know too much about Dalgety to be ever guilty of the folly of giving a vote for it. It is a place where butter factories have to be shut in the winter because it is not possible to milk a cow for more than four months. That is certainly not a place where I should like to see the Federal Capital established. It might suit those who, like my honorable friend, have recently come from a colder country. But I have been too long in the interior to welcome any prospect of being frozen in Southern Monaro. When I was drawn off the track I was dealing with the question of what is to constitute finality. Originally, Senator Givens regarded the mere choice of the Federal Parliament as finality, and he resented an attempt to disturb it. If there was any justification for resenting such disturbance, how much greater cause for resentment ought there to be when you seek to disturb, not merely the choice of this Parliament, but an agreement which has been approved of by this Parliament, and assented to by the State Parliament?
– We are only going back to the original position. We are only repudiating repudiation.
– The honorable senator will have finality only when he gets the choice of the site which he favours.
– Is it vitally important that we should have finality at this juncture ?
– The honorable senator now raises another point.
– It is one which weighs with me most.
– I can understand that point, but will the honorable senator allow me first to deal with the question of when finality is to be reached?
– According to the honorable senator it will be when Sydney is satisfied.
– There again is my honorable friend with his Sydneyphobia. AVith him nationalism is always Sydneyphobia. Is every new Parliament not only to claim the right to review, but to actually review the decision of the previous one on this question? If so, there can be no finality.
– If the course is proper a new Parliament has that right.
– lt is one thing to have the legal right, but it is another thing to exercise it. I do not believe that, with the exception of the honorable senator, there is a single senator who would say that outside the legal use of the word a fresh Parliament would be right in reviewing the selection of the Capital site irrespective of what had been done.
– The honorable senator did that in the case of Dalgety- We are only following his good example.
– There is a very big difference between the position when Dalgety was rejected and the position now that Yass-Canberra is under review.
– With this difference, that New South Wales would not give us at Dalgety the area which she was prepared to give at Yass-Canberra.
– That has nothing to do with the question. The fact remains that we have an agreement approved by two Parliaments. That marked a stage never previously reached in the negotiations. It differentiates the present position from any previous one. Suppose that this item is carried, and the money is spent. If the arguments which prevail here to-day are of any force, then the next Parliament will say, “ Although certain things were done, we, as a new Parliament, claim to exercise the right to review that decision,” and every subsequent Parliament could do the same thing.
– I suppose the American Congress has the right to shift from Washington if it likes.
– Probably it has. I am merely contending that there must be a stage when finality must be reached, and asking honorable senators to indicate that stage. To my mind a reasonable finality was reached .when the two Parliaments were brought into line and an agreement was approved by them.
– According to the honorable senator this Parliament has no right to reach finality. It should be assisted by the State Parliament before it could do so ; it should be at the beck and call of the State Parliament.
– There is my honorable friend’s Sydneyphobia again. I think that scientists should endeavour to find something with which to inoculate him. The statement that we have merely to take what Sydney likes is ridiculous. This Parliament approved of a certain site and sent that intimation to the State Government, which through the State Parliament, took steps to meet our wishes in accordance with the terms of the Constitution. What Senator Givens suggests is that we should ignore the Constitution, and say, “ We intend to take a certain area,” and then to march into the State and forcibly take possession of that area. The Constitution does not provide for anything of that kind. There was a proper way to proceed, and the Commonwealth so proceeded ; the State assented, and having reached that point finality was attained. If, however, this Parliament upsets that decision, it would be competent for the next Parliament, even though the Commonwealth had started to put in the foundations for the public buildings, to say, “ We claim the right to review this matter because the last Parliament did so.” There ought, to be a point at which finality is reached, and to my mind that point is now. May I say a few words regarding the tenacity with which honorable senators seem to hug to themselves errors and delusions. We have heard again statements which we used to hear so often a little while ago as to the insufficiency of the water supply at YassCanberra. We have had Senator Henderson graphically describing a small stream over which he could at one time have leaped, and stating that on thrusting his hand into it he found it was 10 inches deep. Against that statement we have the figures, not of State officials now, but of Commonwealth officials, which show that we have available at Yass-Canberra a water supply which is 50 per cent, more than the water supply requisite for Melbourne or Sydney to-day.
– In a year of excellent rainfall.
– No. Because it is only within the last few months that we had the Sydney Bulletin, which is responsible for the attitude which my honorable friend has taken up on this question-
– Let the honorable senator point out where I was in error.
– We have the statements of gentlemen who, whilst members of the Senate, are not professional men, that there is really an insufficient water supply. But no unbiased man can peruse the information placed at our disposal by officers, both State and Federal, without saying that Yass-Canberra is one of the best watered places in New South Wales.
– Mr. Scrivener said that it could not be regarded as satisfactory from the stand-point of water supply.
– What does Mr. Scrivener call satisfactory? Is a supply which is 50 per cent, more than is requisite for Melbourne not satisfactory?
– Was that measurement taken on a rainy day ?
– I know that my honorable friend would if he could dispose of this or any other question as a joke2 but I do not regard it in that light. We have there the statements made as the result of actual gauging by professional men of standing, and with some reputation to conserve.
– In years of good rainfall.
– There is no year of good rainfall in question. It is only quite recently that the’ Sydney Bulletin gloated over the fact that the last year’s rainfall for Yass-Canberra showed it to be one of the driest districts of New South Wales.
– So it always is.
– Yet side by side with that allegation is the official report of competent engineers that the water supply of Yass-Canberra is 50 per cent, more than is required for Sydney or Melbourne.
– What would the rainfall be in a dry year?
– It is equal to the rainfall of London or Melbourne.
– It is not anything of the kind.
– According to the official information placed on the table it is.
– In 1907 the rainfall was 14 inches 65 points, the same as the rainfall for Bourke.
– The honorable senator takes the rainfall for one year.
– The Capital would be there every year.
-Of course it would. Does my honorable friend meanto say that he is resting his contentionon the figures for one year?
– Oh, no.
– Does my honorablefriend know that in Sydney itself - and’ none will question the adequacy of its water supply - we have been warned” quite recently not to use water too freely in our bathrooms, because of a possiblewater famine? Owing to our climaticconditions any large city in Australia is- liable to have periods of comparative shortage. A man who takes the rainfall in Australia - in fact, anywhere in the world - for a single year, and bases his argument upon that, has indeed a doubtful case. If that were so, let me take the reverse. Suppose that I ask my honorable friend to take the figures for a single year at Bourke, where the rainfall has gone up to2 6 inches, and say, “ There is a magnificent district for you ; you can grow anything you like there with 26 inches of rainfall.” What would he say to me? He would say, “My good fellow, it is no good taking the rainfall for one year. What is the average?” When I would point to that as 15 inches, he would reply, “ Your use of the figures for one year was absolutely unjustified and misleading.” Senator Stewart takes the figures for one year.
– The average for ten years is under 20 inches.
– That is perfectly true, but what has been our experience for the last ten years in New South Wales? That period contains, so far as the Canberra district is concerned, the four driest years which have been experienced there. We all know that if four bad years are experienced in a decade, it does not require very much to reduce the average rainfall. Further, ample evidence is available that the rainfall over the catchment area is very much greater than that registered at. the recording stations within the area set apart for the city itself.
– It is a mighty dry country, anyhow. I am afraid that we shall require to have plenty of beer there.
– I do not know that that will be of any use, either to the honorable senator or myself. The statements which have been made about the water supply available at Yass-Canberra have been answered in this Chamber time and again. Yet, upon every occasion that the Federal Capital site question is brought forward, we are solemnly assured that that supply is altogether insufficient.
– Can the honorable senator point to any big city in the world which has adopted a pumping scheme ?
– Yes. Sydney has a pumping scheme; although my honorable friends do not appear to be aware of it. The city of Chicago, too, is dependent upon a similar source of supply. Further, the difference between a pumping scheme and a gravitation scheme is merely one of their relative cost.
– Does the Leader of the Opposition realize that other cities have grown up first, and have had to look for their water supplies afterwards?
– I do. But there is no need for the Commonwealth to look for a water supply at Yass-Canberra. It is already there.
– We shall have to spend nearly £1,000,000 to get it.
– Honorable senators talk of a gravitation scheme as if it were some blessed magician’s wand that would accomplish exactly what they desire. Need I remind them that gravitation schemes, as well as pumping schemes, cost money ? Our engineers have to determine, not which scheme can be carried out for nothing, but which can be carried” out for the least expenditure. If we should happen to establish the Seat of Government at Dalgety, which Heaven forbid, we shall have to adopt a gravitation scheme which will cost a very large sum indeed. It is true that it may cost less than we should have to expend upon a pumping scheme at YassCanberra ; but there are other factors to be considered. The only reason why my honorable friends have seized upon the alleged inadequate water supply at Yass-Canberra is that, in the days when the Federal Capital question was first raised, the Bulletin created that bogy. But when they come to examine the matter for themselves, they must confirm my statement that YassCanberra is one of the best watered places in New South Wales.
– Oh !
-I would like the honorable senator to indicate one which is better watered.
– My honorable friend indicates Dalgety. Does man live by water alone? Further, Dalgety, as a district, is not better watered than is YassCanberra. I admit that there may be a big volume of water in the Snowy River ; but, considered as a district, there is no better spot in New South Wales than YassCanberra, and no place which can provide a bigger supply of water which can be impounded and harnessed for use of man.
– Every one of the rivers at Yass-Canberra goes dry in times of drought.
– Sometimes I wish that my honorable friend would go dry.
He has again given utterance to the statement that the rivers in the Yass-Canberra district become dry, notwithstanding the testimony of practical men to the contrary. I prefer to pin my faith to the statements of professional men who have taken observations, and measured the flow there. T come now to the quality of the land surrounding the selected Federal Capital site. Allowing for the strong bias which he entertains against Sydney and YassCanberra, Senator Givens, perhaps, did not unfairly describe the position when he said that it was second, third, fourth, or fifth rate pastoral land. That being so, I ask him what he regards as a fair value for fair sheep land?
– That depends upon the locality.
– If the land surrounding Yass-Canberra be only fair sheep land, the value which has been placed upon it by one of the officials who has been, quoted by Senator Ready, namely, £5 per acre, is utterly ridiculous. Thus the statements of my honorable friends answer one another. To set down the value of pastoral land in the vicinity of Yass-Canberra at £5 per acre is ridiculous. If it be worth that sum, obviously, it must possess an agricultural value. If it does not possess any such value, it cannot be worth £5 per acre.
– Does not the honorable senator think that the officials obtained their figures from those who are the best judges of the value of that land ?
– I do not know that the seller of land is the most competent person to value it. I do not always accept the view of the vendor as being an accurate one. If my honorable friend were offering me something, I might take a different attitude. But the individual who desires to sell something, does not usually put the lowest price upon it. Senator Ready has declared that the resumption of the land around YassCanberra will cost £1,250,000.
– According to Mr. Scrivener’s estimate.
– Yet, according to the statement of Senator Givens, the land will not carry a goat. “Now, is it land which is so absolutely poor that no decent, self-respecting goat will consent to live upon it, or is it worth £1,250,000?
– Can the honorable senator purchase good agricultural land in Victoria for £5 an acre?
– I should say not; but I cannot find any sane man in Nev.’ South Wales who will give £5 an acre for land which is accurately ‘described as being only fair sheep land.
– But the New South Wales Government valued the whole are.”* at only’ £173,000.
– Senator Ready has said that it is worth £1,250,000.
– That is an ap proximate estimate.
– To what does it approximate? To rubbish. To say that land which will not carry a goat is worth £1,250,000-
– What does th: honorable senator say approximates to rubbish ?
– I cannot repeat it.
– The honorable senator’s statement may be funny, but it is not clever.
– I can assure Senator E. J. Russell that it was not intended to be either. I know perfectly well the frame of mind in which he approaches thi* question.
– What have I said?
– So much that nobody will bother to remember it. Senator Long, I frankly admit, has raised a question which is entitled to an answer. He has asked whether any time limit has be2n imposed upon the Federation in respect of the fulfilment of the compact for the establishment of the Federal Capital in New South Wales. If he refers to the letter of the law, I say “ Certainly not.” But when that compact was entered into th’f intention was that effect should be given to it within a reasonable period. Whether Senator Long considers that ten years is a reasonable period I do not know. For my own part, I say that we have dealt with this question sufficiently long to enable us to arrive at a decision upon it, and to carry out the intention of the Constitution. Some honorable senators have asked, “ Why spend this money ?” Do they suppose that it will all represent a loss? Does it ever occur to them that w« are paying an enormous sum for rented premises in Melbourne?
– According to a return prepared some time ago the amount expended in that direction is £15,000 a year.
– We get the parliamentary buildings which we now occupy for nothing.
– Honorable senators appear to think that in establishing the Federal Capital we shall be doing bad financial business. I venture to say that the Federal city can be made to pay for itself. It is only fair to suppose that we shall save, in Commonwealth rents alone - including interest upon the cost of the parliamentary buildings which we now occupy, and which we cannot continue to occupy indefinitely for nothing - an amount which will represent interest on at least £r, 000, 000. If we can effect a saving of £30,000 a year-
– How can we save that amount ?
– As Senator Keating has already pointed out, the annual cost of occupying these parliamentary buildings - assuming that we paid interest upon their outlay - would represent interest on £750,000. We cannot, occupy these buildings for ever for nothing, and we have no wish to do that. Surely upon other buildings we shall be able to save £7,000 or £8,000, thus effecting in all a saving which is equivalent to the interest payable on £1,000,000? Further, the Commonwealth will be taking over land, not at £5 per acre, but upon its actual value. It will acquire it upon a pastoral value, and after having designed and laid out the Capital city will either sell or lease it upon the basis of town values. The difference between the two values will cover all the expenditure that will be requisite in connexion with the establishment of the Federal Capital in its early days.
– It should be a paying transaction.
– Without having had too much familiarity with the flotation of companies I venture to say that if the Government offered to a syndicate or company the right to take over the establishment of the Federal Capital on the undertaking that it would receive the interest on the enhanced land values that resulted, such a syndicate or company would be formed within forty-eight hours.
– Even if the project cost £3,000,000 or £4,000,000.
– I do not think it will cost anything like that in the early days of its history. To my mind our main object should be to provide the Commonwealth with a home of its own. I go further and say that if Parliament is not prepared to approve of the proposed vote, the earliest possible steps ought to be taken to reach finality upon this question. To delay its settlement year after year, and to give the new members of each successive Parliament the right which they claim to inspect the various eligible sites and to decide upon them, is to violate the compact which was entered into with New South Wales, and to do something which is not creditable to the Commonwealth. Senator Givens has said that we ought lo use the Federal Capital as an excuse for the creation of a new State. If the Commonwealth is charged with the mission of carving out of a State inadequately developed areas for the purpose of developing them, let it apply the policy all round. Let it enter into negotiations with the Queensland Government, and let it say to that Government, “ You have an enormous area here which is not developed. We will create a new province, which we will develop for you.”
– Queensland has a fine stretch of territory in which the Federal Capital might be established.
– I know all that Queensland will give us, judging by the. attitude of Senator Givens. If we desire to obtain a fresh stretch of territory in which to carry on experiments, do not let us make the Federal Capital an excuse for our action.
– Does the honorable senator think that 7,000 or 8,000 square miles of territory is an excessive area for the Commonwealth to require?
– The proof that it is excessive is to be found in the fact that nobody pretends that it is necessary for the purposes of a Federal Capital. Do not let us wrest from New South Wales an area which is not necessary for the purposes of the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth.
– And which is of n* use to her.
– She is the best judge of that. We have no right to ask for a single acre of land which is not essential for the purposes of the Federal Capital, but which we may desire to secure merely for the purpose of enabling us to embark upon some experiment.
– According to the honorable senator’s argument 10 square miles would be ample.
– No. I regard as essential the complete control by the Commonwealth of the water .supply area. Ten square miles - believing, as we do, in fresh air - would be altogether too limited an area to permit us to have parks and open spaces. “I must apologize to the Committee for having spoken at undue length upon this question; but, to my mind, it is a critical one, in that if we decide to reverse the decision “ at which we have already arrived, we shall practically lay down the doctrine that it is open to any future Parliament to review the determination of this question - in other words, it must never be regarded as settled, unless Senator Givens be satisfied. That is the position. If the question be open to revision now, it must be equally subject to revision by any succeeding Parliament.
– In the course of his remarks, the Leader of the Opposition has laid down some very peculiar doctrines. In the first place, he- said that outside the Commonwealth Parliament, no authority has power to decide the question of the Federal Capital site. I am just beginning to wonder when the Commonwealth Parliament is going to be afforded an opportunity to determine it. Let me take honorable senators back to the early stages of its history. The majority of the people of Australia voted for Federation at the polls at a time when there was no stipulation in regard to the allocation of the Federal Capital. Who was the first to display, not so much Sydneyphobia, but Aus.traliaphobia ? Was it the people of Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, or South Australia? Not at all. It was merely one individual who happened to be dominant at that time in New South Wales. The Federal Parliament, in the early stages, when, perhaps, Australian patriotic feeling was at its highest, and when the representatives ot Australia, irrespective of States, were actuated by a true Australian spirit, went forth to inspect sites for a Federal Capital. Its members were furnished with the best of guides. They came back to this Parliament, and declared themselves in favour of a site on the Eden-Monaro tableland. Dalgety was selected.
– By whom?
– By the Commonwealth Parliament, following the recommendation of the New South Wales
Commissioner, Mr. Oliver. But the New South Wales Parliament refused to ratify the choice. Who were the people who refused to accede to the aspirations of the Australian people, as expressed through their representatives ? They were the New South Wales politicians. Who was their leader? He was Sir Joseph Carruthers, who, in advocating the handing over of Yass-Canberra to the Federal Parliament, said, boastingly, that the Commonwealth would never be able to build a railway through the territory to the port at Jervis Bay. We are told that there is plenty of water within the proposed Federal area. But can any one point to any report which has a scientific basis, leading us to assume that the water supply will be sufficient for the requirements of a Federal city? Allowing that the best conditions prevail in the very best of seasons, there must be seven dry months in the 3’ear; and there must be an immense amount of evaporation from such a body of water as would be required to carry us over that period.
– Where does the honorable senator get his seven months’ period from?
– It is quite common in that part of New South Wales for the dry weather to last seven months.
– Where is the honorable senator’s official information?
– I need not go to any other than the honorable senator himself, for he has spoken of the last ten years.
– What is the authority for the honorable senator’s statement regarding seven months?
– We must be dependent upon the rainfall for five months for our supply.
– Where is the honorable senator’s authority for that statement?
– The same consideration practically applies to every part of Australia. We get the better part of our rainfall during five months of the year.
– Name an authority.
– Well, in the absence of any more definite authority - not having an opportunity at the moment to look one up - I will quote myself as an authority. That ought to satisfy the honorable senator.
– It does entirely - Senator E. J. Russell as an authority on rainfall.
– I know just a; much about Australia as Senator Millen does.
– If there is a 25- inch rainfall, what does it matter whether the rain falls during five months or during ten?
– It makes all the difference whether the water supply for a city is frequently replenished by rainfall or has to be drawn from a stagnant pool behind a stone wall.
– That is the case everywhere.
– We shall have an extreme case of the kind in YassCanberra, whereas, as we are undertaking this work in the twentieth century, we should do it in accordance with up-to-date ideas of health and sanitation. There are people in Australia - indeed, there are members of this Parliament - who have not only seen rivers like the Cotter dry, but have seen the Murrumbidgee when it was merely a ditch. Yet there are halfadozen Cotters running into the Murrumbidgee. I cannot say that I have seen the Murrumbidgee in that condition myself, but there are others who have observed it. If that be true, it cannot be denied that there will be times when the Cotter will be dry. I have some ideals in respect of the future of an Australian city. I want it to be a beautiful city; but if tourists come from other parts of the world, what shall we be able to show them at a city located at YassCanberra ? Can any one stand in the middle of the Yass-Canberra site, and point to any place in the neighbourhood which it would give a tourist any pleasure to inspect? On the one side you find a hill, on which there are a million boulders. Tn the middle of the site, where it is proposed to locate the city, there is an alluvial flat, formed of soil washed down from the hills ; with the result that those hills today are totally bare of all soil. No vegetation will grow there, and the wayfarer has to jump from stone to stone. Are those great bald hills to remain for ever, or is it proposed to cart soil up to them in order to make gardens upon them? If the soil were carted to the hills, it would even then be necessary to cart water to make anything grow, for it would be impossible to pump the water up. Yet these are to be the beauty resorts of the Federal Capita] city. It may be said that it would be possible to utilize water power. But we can hardly imagine electric trams or railways being run to these hills. To my mind, the present establishment of an Australian Capital city offers no attractions except from one stand-point. I do not want to build a city for nothing; but I do want to have a city where, by means of our present political power, we can made experiments of world-wide interest in regard to the occupation and use of land, and in regard also to industrial and social conditions. Senator Millen has said that a syndicate would be willing to take up the city site as a speculation. But we must remember that the public money which will be spent at the Federal city will create an enormous unearned increment, the effects of which will be spread over a radius of many miles. As regards agricultural purposes, Yass-Canberra has been described as consisting of second and third class land. I desire to say that I have inspected it for myself, and that onethird of it is practically as bald as an onion. Nobody will ever live there except politicians and those public servants who have to be there to attend to their duties. If, however, there were a good agricultural district in the locality, the Federal city would become a central market for an area of forty or fifty miles, and the benefit of the unearned increment created would, as it should, be returned to the Commonwealth. I should be just as ready to see the increased value go to the State of New South Wales, but my complaint is that, owing to the nature of the soil, there will be no agricultural area. It is impossible even to dream of cultivating the white clay flats in this area. Although it must be admitted that wonderful things can be done by means of manures and water, in the agricultural sense, yet nothing can be hoped for at Yass-Canberra, even in that direction, because there will not be sufficient water for agricultural purposes. Senator Gould said that it would be an outrage for any one to contemplate an alteration of what the last Parliament decided. But if there is any outrage in the matter at all, it consists in the position in which we stand to-night, knowing that a majority of this Chamber has expressed a view against YassCanberra, and that, nevertheless, it is doubtful whether expression will be given to that view. Responsible government is certainly on its trial when we find a question affecting the future of Australia determined in such a manner as is now proposed. It may seem peculiar that I should say that, hut it is too late to hide the fact, which is plain for all the world to see. Surely the fixing of the Capital for Australia ought to be regarded as a serious question. I know that it will be said that I take this view because I am a “Victorian, and that, therefore, I must, of necessity, vote for Dalgety. Bub, as a matter of fact, I have never said that Dalgety was my first choice. I have, whenever I had the opportunity, supported Tooma, believing it to be the best site available. But, if the alter, native be Yass-Canberra or Dalgety, I certainly stand out against Yass-Canberra every time, because of its inferior qualifications. In regard to the water supply, Senator Millen has made some observations about the pumping scheme that is in employment for the service of Sydney. But I would remind the honorable senator that Sydney was not located where it is because of the water supply. Sydney grew up in its present situation, and has had to make the best of bad conditions. I venture to say, however, that if New South Wales State politicians were free to choose, they would never dream of selecting a site involving a pumping scheme for water supply, if a gravitation scheme were available. It is, indeed, a misfortune for Sydney to have to pump its water. It is said that even gravitation costs money. That is quite true. But it does not cost one-half as much as a pumping scheme does. In my view, YassCanberra is absolutely disqualified on this ground. A gravitation scheme is quite out of the question there, and, no matter what the cost may be, there would be no alternative but to pump a supply of water for the city. I wish to make it clear that I do not quarrel with the domestic water supply of Yass-Canberra. I honestly believe that there is a sufficient supply for domestic purposes for a very large city. But, within 70 or 80 miles, we have a limitless supply of water. And let honorable senators remember the number of great things that are possible where the water supply is unlimited. Modern science enables vast electric works to be conducted by means of water power. Admitting that the land in both Dalgety and Yass-Canberra is not of first-rate quality, it nevertheless has to be recollected that the land round about Dalgety can be improved by irrigation, whereas the same cannot be said for YassCanberra.
– Could not the Murrumbidgee water be used?
Senator E. J. RUSSELL.That water is reserved for the Barren Jack, scheme. The honorable sena’tor must also recollect that, if the Cotter supply were deficient, the probabilities are that the Mumimbidgee would also be deficient; and, moreover, there would be a nice storm if we attempted to take water from the farmers who require the Murrumbidgee for irrigation purposes.
– The Barren Jack scheme will add to the water supply, and not take from it.
– That is the usual purpose of most conservation works.
– When the Cotter fell below its capacity to supply the Federal city the Murrumbidgee would be in a similar position, and the farmer whose crop depended upon an adequate supply of water would not be willing to permit the Commonwealth to touch that water. What an awful thing it would be if a city established in the twentieth century, in order to enable its people to have a drink, or to wash, had to ruin thousands of acres under crop, and the Commonwealth had to compensate the farmers ! My honorable friend may smile, but that does not affect me. He was most eloquent when he was silent on the beauties of the Murrumbidgee, and suggested that it would be better than the Molonglo. When one drives through that river, he drives through a dirty stream about equal to the Merri Creek, which is notorious for its insanitary state. There are certain principles which ought to guide us in the selection of a site. There can be no question that our first requirement is the very best land we can get in that part of New South Wales, accompanied by the best possible conditions in regard to water supply. If the land at Dalgety is not superior to the land at Yass-Canberra, no
Cine has attempted to prove its inferiority.
– It is too abundantly evident.
– That shows that the honorable senator is easily satisfied. No honorable senator has said that it would be possible to irrigate to any extent the district around Yass-Canberra which would be used for closer settlement, because they knew the opposite. No one has challenged Dalgety from that standpoint, because it was known that it would have been useless and foolish to do so.
– Does the honorable senator really expect to see an irrigation scheme at Dalgety at any time?
– I do not think it will be wanted. If, however, irrigation were desirable, the water is available; but that is not the case at YassCanberra. These are the essential qualifications. We also require some scenery, and I dp not think that we could possibly have finer beauty spots than those which the State Government - who ought to know New South Wales territory best - have recommended to the tourists of the world, namely, the country which immediately surrounds Dalgety, and from which that place would, to a very large extent, get its water supply.
– That is quite true. The honorable senator now wants to get New South Wales’ tourist spots. .
– No; but I want to secure for the Commonwealth that fine tract of country which is recommended to tourists by the State Government because ot the beauty of its scenery, the exceptional opportunities which it offers for enjoyment, and last, but not least, the mildness of its climate. Honorable senators know that there is practically little or no difference between Yass-Canberra. and Dalgety as re,gards climatic conditions. . I want now to refer to the question of a port for the Capital. I believe that a port is essential, particularly when we recall the rivalry which has been exhibited during the last few years by various ports which have clamoured for the establishment of a Commonwealth dockyard, and the expenditure of public money generally. I want to see a self-contained Federal Capital, with a good area of at least fair agricultural land, and a good port, where we could have ship-building yards, and carry on every industry which was requisite for the successful administration of the Government without being subjected to continual nagging as to whether we shall expend sixpence more in one State than another. As regards the territory at Jervis Bay, the strip of land between low water mark and high water mark will not belong to the Commonwealth, which is another illustration of the fact that, for some reason or other, we are from time to rime subjected almost to humiliation by the State Government. On reviewing the situation one must be particularly strick with the fact that two men have played an inglorious anti-Australian part in helping to retard the establishment of the Federal Capital and the evolution of the Commonwealth. To the misfortune of New South Wales those two men have been Sir Joseph Carruthers and its present Premier, Mr. C. G. Wade.
– Sir Joseph Carruthers is the very man whom the . honorable senator’s friends have been quoting against Yass-Canberra.
– He did not make that speech because he was anxious to hand over to the Commonwealth a beautiful territory, but because he did not wish the Commonwealth to develop a place which might be a rival to Sydney either in trade or in commerce. It has been one of the misfortunes of the Commonwealth that these two men have been in power, because I do not think that any action by either of them would lead one to believe that either of them has one sentiment sufficiently broad to be called an Australian thought. With them all things have been subordinated to the interests of New South Wales, particularly of Sydney. They even wanted to starve our Customs Department, until serious steps had to be taken against them. Yet to-day these men have dominated politicians on both sides of the Senate in regard to this question. Had it not been for them stirring up Inter-State jealousy, this question would have been settled long ago, and probably we should have been sitting to-night in the Australian Capital.
– And the honorable senator would not have been happy then.
– I resent the honorable senator judging, me by his own narrow parochial view on this question.
– Oh ! The honorable senator is a broad-minded citizen.
– I do not claim to be any more broad-minded than the average Australian ; but the honorable senator is least of all able to cast the first stone in that connexion. I hope that honorable senators will agree to no compromise, but will give such a knock-out blow to Yass-Canberra that it will ‘ never be resuscitated. I hope that, as the result of our vote, the whole question will be reopened, and that a fuller and freer opportunity will be given to the people to determine it, and that we shall have a Capital in a part of Australia the selection of which will be a credit not only to our politicians, but to the people.
– On the banks of the y”arra ?
– No; but if the honorable senator had a sniff or two of the Yarra it might do him good.
Senate adjourned at 10.13 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 13 September 1910, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1910/19100913_SENATE_4_57/>.