4th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers. caseoflieutenant mcfarlane.
Senator NEEDHAM asked the Minister of Defence -
Has Lieutenant McFarlane, who was appointed to the Administrative and Instructional Staff, on probation, yet undergone the necessary examination ?
If so, with what results?
Senator PEARCE. - The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are -
Yes. Examination was carried out at Brisbane from the 5th to the 10th instant.
The papers with a number of others from all States have to be marked by the several officers who conductedthe examination. The results will probably be known in about a fortnight.
Senator NEEDHAM. - Arising out of the answer to that question, might i ask the Minister of Defence if the fortnight within which a reply is to be received will be within the period of six months’ probation for which Lieutenant McF arlane was appointed ?
Senator PEARCE. - The resultsare not affected by the period of probation. That period is the time within which the candidate must go up for examination.
– i have a motion on the paper for a return showing the amounts due by way of mortgage on real property and stock in each of the States, and giving the totals of mortgages over and above the sum of £5,000. As i have been informed that there would be some difficulty in supplying the return, and I have been promised by the VicePresident of the Executive Council all information that can be obtained on the subject, I ask leavenow to withdraw my motion.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 13th September, vide page 2982) : Schedule.
Divisions 1 to 5(Department of Home
Amendment (by Senator Givens) again proposed -
That the item, “ Federal Capital at Canberra - towards cost of establishment,£50,000,” be reduced by £1.
– This is an old question in the Federal Parliament, and it would appear from the action of the opponents of this vote in another place, as well as in the Senate, that their desire is again to win, tie, or wrangle. In speaking on the second reading of the Bill yesterday you, Mr. Chairman, said that you did not belong to the delay brigade; hut since I have been a member of the Senate some excuse has been put forward on every occasion when the matter has come up for discussion to delay the settlement of this question.
– Did not the honorable senator wish for delay when he thought Dalgety should bc chosen?
– I shall tell the honable senator all about it before I sit down. I left Melbourne to visit the proposed sites with the preconceived idea that Dalgety would get my vote. I should have voted for that site ifI had remained in Melbourne. I have no personal feeling in the matter, because it is immaterial to the State from which I come where the Federal Capital is established. Queensland is unlikely to receive any benefit, direct or indirect, from it, I believe in fair play, and that ‘the question should not be approached from any personal or State point of view. Honorable senators and honorable members in another place in dealing with this question speak as if only representatives of New South Wales and Victoria should have any voice in the settlement of the matter. If the Federal Capital is successfully established, let me say that it will cost the people of the Commonwealth very little indeed. I have seen the land at Canberra, and while I do not say that there is no better land in Australia, I do say that it is very fair land indeed.
– No worse.
– I could show the honorable senator worse land in every one of the States. In my boyhood days, in New South Wales, a good many years ago now, I was at a place near the Weddin Mountain. I may say that I was on Lambing Flat and on the Lachlan, too. A gold rush broke out at the Weddin, and those who went to the place believed that the land was of no use whatever. It was covered with a light quandong scrub, and a man could not keep a horse on 1,000 acres of it. There was no water at the place, and water had to be carried from Wood’s Dam, eight miles away. I remember that we had to pay 6d. a bucket for it. But to-day, at the same place, honorable senators would find some of the finest wheat fields in Australia. A very flourishing township was established there after the diggings closed. In the same way we find honorable senators, who slept a few days in the YassCanberra district, saying that the land there is worthless. It is the old Conservative cry of the squatters of Western Queensland and the Darling Downs. They used to say that the Darling Downs was fit for nothing but the. grazing of sheep. They said that the land there was of no use for agriculture. I heard that kind of talk in Queensland for over twenty years. But no one who visits the Darling Downs now will say that the land there is not amongst the best in Australia’ for agricultural purposes. Honorable senators with little or no experience of the country and no farming experience, tell us that the land at Yass-Canberra is of no use. I do not profess to be a practical farmer,but I have visited the Yass-CanbeTra site. I did not find any one there opposed to its selection for the Federal Capital, but the party of which I was a member were pestered by people who were anxious to know whether we would support that site. The answer I gave at a meeting in the township was that I would not pledge myself to vote for any site, but at the time, with the knowledge I had, I thought I should vote for Dalgety. We have heard some glowing accounts of the Dalgety country. I visited that site after inspecting the site at Yass-Canberra, and I honestly state that I do not think anything could be grown at the Dalgety site. I believe that if a plough were run over ten acres of land at that site there would be nothing there in twelve months’ time but the bare rock. The soil is only 9 inches or 10 inches in depth. I went down the river for 2 or 3 miles, and wherever -the soil had been disturbed it had been swept away by the wind, and there was nothing but the bare rock to be seen. Ten or twelve miles from the site we found that a rabbit-proof fence had been put up; the wire was quite new, and the fence had only just been erected. Two days later on our return we found the leaves and sand hanked up against the fence, and could trace the tracks of rabbits over the top of it. This is in the territory of which we have heard so much as suitable for the establishment of the Federal Capital. Something has been said about the difficulty of providing sanitation at YassCanberra. I have spoken on the subject to engineers who have visited the site with an eye to business, and they have told me that there are no engineering difficulties in the way of establishing the Federal Capital there. They have told me that the little plain at the foot of the hills would make a splendid park, streets could be run through it, and the buildings could be erected on the rising ground all around it. I went .to the top of the rise where Senator Henderson told us he had been, but I have to admit that I was unable from there to overlook the 900 square miles of the proposed Federal territory. We had to take something on trust, and we were told that the Mumimbidgee was within 8 miles of the spot. I can inform honorable senators that at Charters Towers we established a water supply for a population of 20,000 people by building a weir in the Burdekin River.
– The honorable senator forgets that the Cotter is not a magnificent stream like the Burdekin.
– I can tell honorable senators what the Burdekin is like. When I was chairman of the Waterworks Board at Charters Towers we found that we were unable to supply the town with water by pumping in the Burdekin for four hours twice a week. The river was dry for miles. We had some portable engines, and wherever there was a water-hole we kept the town going by pumping water from it.
By an expenditure of ^10,000 we subsequently provided Charters Towers with one of the finest water supplies to be found in Australia for any town of its size. We supplied not only the wants of the Railway Department, but all the mines, and some of them use many millions of gallons of water every year. That is what we have been able to do with a river that is very often merely a sand bed. The VicePresident of the Executive Council will bear me out, because when he was at Charters Towers we took him to see the weir with which we have “been able to’ supply the town with water. The weir backs up the water for five miles, and there is 16 feet of water at the weir itself. Even with two or three dry seasons there is now an ample supply of water assured to Charters Towers.
– Is not the weir fifteen miles from Charters Towers?
– No, only about nine miles from the town. That is what we were able to do at Charters Towers, and it therefore surprises me to hear so many difficulties suggested in the way of finding a water supply for Canberra. From what I saw on my visit, I should say that there would be no difficulty in providing a water supply from the Cotter River. When we made our visit of inspection the season was pretty dry, as could be seen from the state of the grass. But we found the conditions at Dalgety, a week later, very much worse. We saw no stock there at all, and the sheep had to be driven off the country. I think we should now decide this question once and for all. I have heard honorable senators say that members of the last Parliament who voted for Yass-Canberra were defeated at the recent election, but, so far as I know, the Federal Capital question was not made a test question at the elections in any State but Victoria. In this State we find the influence of the octopus press of Melbourne so great that honorable senators - at least, so we are informed - on both sides intend to alter their previous decision. The sooner we get away, from the influence of this powerful press organ that frightens honorable senators the better. No notice whatever is taken of the Melbourne newspapers in the State from which I come. In fact they are very seldom seen there, and do not influence anybody. A certain journal may be a great power in this State, but it does not influence those who come from other States. If I were not anxious for the establishment of the Federal Capital for any other reason, I should he for the reason that a kind of terror is exercised over those who represent the State of Victoria in the Federal Parliament.
– That is not correct.
– I believe that public opinion in this State is in conformity with my view. I have spoken on th? subject to a number of people in Melbourne and suburbs. On Monday last “J was at a place where persons were talking of this aspect of the question, and they agreed that the Victorian representatives were frightened by the Age.
– That is not correct.
– They were entitled to their opinion.
– Of course they were.
– But the opinion of a few is not public opinion.
– Last night the honorable senator who now occupies the chair stated that he met a business man from YassCanberra who did not believe that that was the proper site to choose. I think that I could find thousands in Victoria who would back up the opinion that I am now expressing. I am not saying this in regard to any particular senator, because I know that it applies to some who sit on my own side of the Chamber. Reference has been made to difficulties in regard to carrying out a sanitation scheme at Yass-Canberra. But the difficulties at Dalgety would be much greater. Probably honorable senators know that the formation at Dalgety consists of hard granite, with very little soil. I should like to have an estimate prepared of the cost of draining a city situated in such country. The rock would have to be drilled and blown out by explosives practically from the surface. The cost of draining would almost be as great as the cost of building the city. On this subject I can appeal to those who have been miners. They know that when a long tunnel has to be prepared in a similar formation for the purpose of sewerage, the work must necessarily be very expensive, though there may be a splendid foundation for buildings. The rock itself at Dalgety is short-grained, and there are great boulders to be encountered. Before I conclude I should like to make a few remarks about the history of this matter. Last night I made an interjection as to the way in which the voting in favour of the respective sites was conducted when this subject was before the Senate in 1908. I turn to vol. xlviii. of the Parliamentary Debates for 6th November of that year. I wish to let the country know how a vote is sometimes secured in this Parliament. On the occasion referred to, various sites were to be balloted for, Dalgety and Yass-Canberra being those principally favoured. Lyndhurst, Armidale, Tumut, and one or two other places were also in question. Before we met, “ a little bird “ whispered to me that those who were opposed to Yass-Canberra had combined to “vote for some other place than Dalgety. It was known that Senator McColl intended to vote for Tumut. I informed the honorable senator who is now leader of the Opposition that there was a “ little game on,” and that opponents of the site which we favoured intended to endeavour to secure an absolute majority for a place called Tumut that was really not in dispute at all. There was to be a “win, tie, or wrangle,” with the object of securing delay. Senator Millen did not believe me when I gave him this information.
– The honorable senator had a better knowledge of political’ human nature than I had.
– At all events, when the ballot was taken, to the surprise of Senator Millen things worked out as I said’ they would. In the first ballot the supporters of Yass-Canberra were SenatorsCameron, Chataway, Clemons, Dobson, Fraser, Gould, Gray, Macfarlane,’ Millen,. Mulcahy, Neild, Pulsford, W. Russell, Sayers, St. Ledger, Sir Josiah Symon, Vardon, and Walker. Nobody voted for Dalgety, but those who voted in favour of Tumut were Senators Best, Croft, de Largie, Findley, Givens, Guthrie, Henderson, Keating, Lynch, McColl, McGregor, Needham, Pearce, E. J. Russell, Stewart, Story, Trenwith, and Turley. There were eighteen senators on each side. So that what the “little bird” told me was correct - that the supporters of Dalgety intended to vote, not for that site, but for Tumut, because Senator McColl had intimated that he was going to vote for that site. Where was Dalgety then?
– It would be’ interesting to know the name of “ the little bird.”
– I am not going to give that information.
– Was it a “ lyre bird “ ?
– No. it was a “ true bird “ in this case. A second ballot was taken, and again the supporters of Dalgety voted for Tumut.
– Where was Senator McColl on that occasion ?
– In the second ballot Senator McColl voted for Yass-Canberra. Consequently there were nineteen votes in favour of Yass-Canberra, and seventeen in favour of Tumut. Now the supporters of Dalgety say that they were misled. Who misled them? Did they not mislead themselves ? They tried to spring a little mine on the Senate, in the hope of postponing the selection of the Federal Capital site indefinitely ; and that was done with the connivance of the Government of the day, with ex- Senator Best as Vice-President of the Executive Council, supported by honorable senators who now sit behind the Government. What sort of tactics were those ? We all know the reason why the supporters of Dalgety voted for Tumut. They wanted to prevent any place being selected. They really voted for delay, and not with the object of settling the question. If any one who ultimately voted for Yass-Canberra had given a first vote for Tumut, the supporters of Dalgety would have secured an absolute majority, and the supporters of Yass-Canberra would have been fooled.
– Does the honorable senator say that a suitable site has now been selected ?
– After visiting both Dalgety and Yass-Canberra, I have to admit that better places than either might be found in New South Wales. But, if I have to choose between these two, give me YassCanberra. I do not object to the supporters of Dalgety doing their best to secure its selection, if they honestly believe it to be the best place. I always believe in a member of Parliament loyally and truthfully endeavouring to carry out what he believes in. But I am satisfied that YassCanberra is the better site of the two. I am not a farmer, and do not profess to be able to give an opinion from a farmer’s point of view, but I was at Dalgety in the company of Senator W. Russell, who has been farming pretty well all his life. I base my opinion of the qualities of the soil very largly upon his. If the question had been one of mining, I should not have asked the honorable senator’s opinion, but I did ask him what he thought of the land from a farming aspect. He said that it was of no use whatever, and in so doing confirmed my own opinion. Honorable senators talk about establishing the Seat of Government in a lovely spot, to which visitors from all parts of Australia will be attracted - a place of which the Commonwealth may justly be proud. But at Cooma, which is comparatively a short distance away, what do we find? There an attempt has been made to ornament the streets by planting fir trees, which are about the hardiest trees of which I have any knowledge. But today, owing to the soil having been blown away from the base of those trees, we find them leaning at an angle of 45 degrees, and supported by props in all directions. In such circumstances, how can it be argued that this locality is not windswept? How can parks be established under such conditions ? I am surprised that some honorable senators have had the temerity to make the statements which have been made in this Chamber. When the Seat of Government Acceptance Bill was previously before the Senate, we were told that there is better land 40 or 50 miles from Dalgety than is to be found in the immediate vicinity of that town. But I would point out that, at the Federal Capital, we want to be in a position to grow shrubs and trees, in order that we may lay out parks and pleasure resorts. That cannot be done at Dalgety, because, during the winter, blizzards are constantly raging. Only two or three days before the parliamentary party, of which I was a member, reached that place, a coach containing passengers was accidentally blown over by the wind.
– Shocking !
– No man knows better than does Senator Stewart, if he spoke his mind upon this subject, that Dalgety is utterly impossible as a Federal Capital site. I ask him to recollect that he will not always represent the State of Queensland in this Chamber, nor, for that matter, will I. We shall have to give place to members of a younger generation. Do the people of Victoria desire to kill the representatives of other States, who have been born and reared in the tropics, by compelling them to live in a climate like that of Dalgety? Do they wish to undermine their health ? To my mind, the chief object of the people of this State is to keep the question of the Federal Capital site suspended in the air, like Mahomet’s coffin, as long a? possible. They realize that a certain amount of money is being expended in Melbourne, as the result of this city being the temporary Seat of Government. Consequently they are averse to any change. And the press of this city is so powerful that it can compel honorable senators to stand up and repudiate even their own opinions. In such circumstances, it is high time that the Commonwealth had a home and a territory of its own. Parliament ought not to continue sitting in Melbourne as a beggar upon the bounty of the Victorian Government. We practically occupy these parliamentary buildings upon sufferance.
– The honorable senator is on solid ground now.
– I am usually on solid ground, because I -have a good foot.
– I call it a yard.
– If the honorable senator chooses to make impertinent interjections, I will give him as much as he wants. Of course, his interjection is a silly one, and probably I am foolish to notice it, seeing that I could not expect anything else to come from the quarter from which it emanated. But I wish now to deal with another item which appears upon these Estimates, and with which only one honorable senator has dealt previously. I refer to the item “ Transcontinental Railway from Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, to Port Augusta, South Australia - towards cost of construction .£5,000.” It is true that the amount itself is small, but if we agree to it without protest, we shall be committed to an expenditure of £4,000,000. So far no Bill has been presented to the Senate authorizing the Government to proceed with the construction of that railway. Indeed, I do not yet know what route has been accepted. A portion of the line will run through South Australian territory, and a portion of it will traverse Western Australian territory. Now, a glance at the map which is hanging in the Chamber will show that Queensland has constructed railways into the interior of that State for 600 or 700 miles, without coming to the Commonwealth for assistance.
– The honorable senator wishes the Commonwealth to grant assistance to Queensland now?
– No. That State does not come cap in hand to the Commonwealth. It has built a railway to the border at Wallangarra, and another’ from Rockhampton to the Tweed Heads on the coast. Yet the people of that State have not approached the Commonwealth with a request for financial help. They are quite capable of undertaking these works for themselves, and they naturally object to the Commonwealth opening up the territories of other States at their expense. I desire to know if I shall be in order in moving that the item to which I am now directing attention be reduced by £ji ?
– The honorable senator will not be in order in doing that until the prior amendment has been disposed of.
– Shall I be in order in submitting my proposal after that amendment has been dealt with?
– I have not the slightest objection to South Australia and Western Australia undertaking the construction of the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway at their own expense, but I do object to that line being built at the expense of the Commonwealth. Leaving out of consideration the probable expenditure upon the Federal Capital site, I estimate that the’ schemes which have already been brought forward by the Government wilt involve the Commonwealth in an expenditure of more than ,£20,000,000. Assuming that they can obtain the money at 3 per cent. - and without calculating interest upon the outlay whilst the works are in progress - that will mean an expenditure of 5s. per capita. Tasmania’s contribution to the interest upon that outlay will approximate ,£30,000 annually, whilst that of Queensland will be £90,000. I object to the expenditure of this money to bolster up any particular State. If South Australia and Western Australia are not -financially strong enough to undertake the construction of the proposed transcontinental railway, I do not object to the Commonwealth granting them temporary assistance. But I cannot subscribe to the doctrine that it is the duty of the Commonwealth to expend money for the express purpose of developing their territories at the expense of the other States. I notice from the map, to which I have already referred, that one suggested route of the proposed line, in the vicinity of Tarcoola, is very dry. There is an occasional spring here and there, such as is to be found in the sandhills of the Northern Territory.
– Also in the Arabian Nights.
– My statement is based upon the authority of a man who has traversed that country. ‘The Vice-President of the Executive Council has never been over it, and, therefore, is not in a position to speak with equal authority. I wish also to point out that the original estimate of the cost of the proposed line - an estimate which was framed by. the engineers-in-chief of all the States with the exception of Tasmania - was ^4,559,000. That estimate was made in 1903.
– We may reasonably expect that the actual cost of the construction of the line will exceed that estimate by 000,000.
– Exactly. Rut in 1909 what happened? The Deakin Government, which was then in office, and which was supported by the Labour party, entered into an arrangement, under which the Government engineers of Western Australia and of South Australia, together with Mr. Deane, were appointed to make a revised estimate. Sir John Forrest, who is an ardent advocate of the proposed line, was a member of the Ministry at the time. When the revised estimate was submitted we found that the original estimate had been reduced by ^600,000, notwithstanding that whereas the original estimate contemplated the running of seven trains weekly, the revised estimate increased the service to eighteen trains weekly. There is a great flaw in all estimates which are laid before the Parliament. We have before us whatever estimates the Government of the day choose to submit. The officers can get every possible information, but very often, I am sorry to say, information is brought down here to suit the Government of the day.
– Could we have more reliable authorities than those whom the honorable senator has quoted?
– Decidedly ; the five engineers- in-chief .
– Are they not reliable authorities ?
– The engineers who were appointed afterwards, when it was expected that the scheme was likely to pass, reduced their estimate by ^600,000.
– Possibly they had the advantage of later information.
– That is a very nice statement for the honorable senator to make. It appears to me that the estimate was cooked for the purpose of trying to induce the Senate to approve of the railway. I have no hesitation in saying that no estimate is brought down here which is not in exactly the same position.
– That is a libel on those gentlemen.
– That is all right ; if it suited the honorable senator to do so he would libel them, but it does not. Let me give a concrete example, and I think that the senators from Tasmania have a very vivid recollection of the case. The cost of a sewerage scheme for Hobart was estimated at ^80,000. I believe that some persons opposed the proposal because, in their opinion, that sum was not sufficient. Immediately a man opened his mouth inside or outside the Parliament, he was asked, “What do you know about the matter? Here is an estimate given by the engineers. Here is the expert evidence which the Government have obtained. They know what they are doing, and everything about the proposal.” But what did time tell? I believe that up to the present time the work has cost nearly ^180,000, and it is not nearly finished.
– The original estimate was ^60,000.
– I understood that the cost of the scheme was not to exceed £80,000; but the Government had to come down to Parliament again and again for the authority to borrow further sums. That ought to’ satisfy honorable senators that if a Government wants to get a Bill put through, an engineer’s estimate is submitted for a certain purpose, and the people and their representatives are thereby deluded. I undertake to say that if the people of Hobart had known how much they would have been called upon to pay the sewerage scheme would not have been begun. Exactly the same thing applies to ‘ the proposed railway. If the cost were only known even those who intend to vote for the proposals would stand aghast. When :the> truth leaks out, they will have to answer to the people for having voted without proper information. The people will rise up as one man and ask, “ Why did you sanction this expenditure? We were told that the project would cost only so much.” When the estimated cost has been doubled, and the people find that they are doubly taxed, there will be a reaction. I anticipate that the item for the transcontinental railway will be carried, but it will not be done with my vote. I shall have a little more to say on this subject byandby, after the amendment of Senator Givens has been disposed of. I shall move that the item be reduced by £1
.- On this question of great national importance I cannot give a silent vote. I intend to support the amendment as a protest against the establishment of a Capital, which, in my opinion, would be a disgrace to Australia.
– Has the honorable senator been to Yass-Canberra?
– I have been to Yass-Canberra and Dalgety. I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to each place, and highly appreciated the beautiful things that we saw at Yass-Canberra. Regarding it only as a place I would wish to dwell in, I would unhesitatingly vote for Yass-Canberra. But I am actuated, not by personal inclinations, but by political and national aspirations. In view of the facilities which other sites in New South Wales offer to us, we shall not do our duty to the people of Australia if we vote to establish at Yass-Canberra a city which we hope to be one of the best cities in the Southern Hemisphere.
– And in the world.
– Yes, one of the cities which were pictured by Edward Bellamy in his book Looking Backward. I hope that we do not intend to look backward, but to go forward, and to prevent the establishment of the Capital at a place to which the bulk of the members of this Parliament, and, in my opinion, the people of Australia are absolutely opposed. I can do nothing else but take the opinions of unbiased professional men who have reported to this Parliament from time to time. I hold in my hand a report by a gentleman for whom, from my slight personal knowledge of him, I have the greatest respect. I refer to Mr. Scrivener, who is now in charge of the territory. In a report dated the 26th May, 1909, he deals with five or six of the most vital points connected with this vexed question. In my opinion, the five vital points are: First, water; second, railway facilities ; third, harbor accommodation ; fourth, sewerage; and fifth, cost. In the report of an unbiased and clever professional officer, we read -
The Cotter River cannot be regarded as a satisfactory source from which to obtain a water supply.
That is emphatic and decisive. Mr. Scrivener proceeds to give his reasons for making that statement.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - In the same report, the honorable senator will find the quotations I made last night as to the value of the Cotter.
– I shall deal with that later. After giving what I regard as powerful and cogent- reasons for stating that the Cotter River cannot be regarded as a satisfactory source of water supply, Mr. Scrivener goes on to say -
To deliver water to such an elevation from the Cotter River by gravitation, the weir on that river would need to be at a level of 2,400 feet, allowing 150 feet fall in pipe line from the weir to the surface reservoir. … If an aqueduct is used between the weir site and the junction of the Cotter and the Mumimbidgee Rivers, that channel will be more than twenty miles long, and will pass over rough country, where, for at least half the distance the constructional cost will be heavy.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. -From what distance does the water supply of Melbourne, or of Sydney, come?
– I am dealing with this question on its merits, and it does not matter to me whether the water supply of Melbourne or Sydney comes from a distance of 20 or 200 miles. The inference which I draw from Mr. Scrivener’s report is that the cost of obtaining a water supply would be heavy, and that the supply itself would be unsatisfactory -
The supply, judging from the gauge readingsextending over a year, is ample to meet probable future requirements, but these readings were taken just above the junction with Paddy’s River, and not far (about one mile) from the junction, of the Cotter and Murrumbidgee. The average daily flow at that point is about thirty-eight million gallons; it has already been pointed out in my earlier report that this quantity is not available either for power or for a gravitationscheme of water supply.
That proves conclusively, at any rate tomy mind, that Yass-Canberra sadly lacksone of the first essentials, and that is an efficient water supply. Let us now consider the facilities which are necessary for carrying passengers, produce, and goodsfrom the proposed Capital to Jervis Bay-. In the same report, Mr. Scrivener pointsout that the grade has a very rapid fall-, and as it necessarily follows, as a corollary, that there will be a very steep ascent, the cost of haulage would be unduly great. He says -
Speaking generally, the country between the Shoalhaven River and Jervis Bay is of the poorest possible description, only relieved by a few basaltic outcrops met with ; it is costly to clear, and when cleared, of little value, hence it is unlikely in the near future to carry any considerable population.
I had fondly hoped that the proposed railway to the coast would open up a more fertile portion of the State. Mr. Scrivener says that it would not give access to any large amount of useful timber. In various portions of his report he makes statements which lead me to think that it would be a wilful waste of public money to build a railway through the country which he has portrayed. Let us now take the next vital point in connexion with the Federal Capital, and that is the provision of a harbor. Regarding Jervis Bay, Mr. Scrivener says -
Though Jervis Bay has a fine entrance, open in all weather,the shore line is too regular to provide shelter within the bay itself, and on account of its large area, rough water will be experienced with all winds to the west of north, or even due north, hence works must be undertaken to provide shelter from these winds. The most sheltered part of the bay is at the northeast, but here the water is shoal, and there are mud flats along the margin, so that this cannot seriously be considered.
What a beautiful harbor that would make for the Capital of Australia - a harbor with mud flats along the margin. Mr. Scrivener tells us that this portion of the bay caninot seriously beconsidered.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - That is not the part which we are taking for our port.
– According to Mr. Scrivener’s report, it includes the whole of Jervis Bay.
– That is not so; thirtyfive years ago I was on a large steamer which sought refuge there from a storm.
– I have every respect for the opinion of the honorable senator, but I cannot pit his experience against that of Mr. Scrivener, who knows what he is writing about.
– Mr. Scrivener does not refer to the whole harbor.
– Mr. Scrivener speaks of the harbor in the main, and states deliberately that, in his opinion, it would not be a fair and proper outlet for the Federal Capital.
– Where will the honorable senator get a better one?
– I should be sorry for the resources of New South Wales if it were not possible to secure a better site in that State for the Federal Capital than Yass-Canberra, or even Dalgety.
– I refer to the harbor at Jervis Bay.
– Not having seen Twofold Bay, I wish to say that I think there was a great deal of truth in the extracts which Senator Givens made from the New South Wales Hansard to show that it is the opinion of Sydney which influences certain honorable senators. The people of Sydney are afraid that the great natural facilities of the harbor of Twofold Bay may lead to Eden becoming a rival of Sydney.
– The honorable senator is under a mistake.
– I can scarcely bow to the statement of Senator Walker. I am not under a mistake, but the honorable senator is under the coercion of Sydney influence.
– Such a fear is entirely groundless, if it exists.
– I believe that it does exist. Senator Henderson yesterday pointed out how important was the question of the sewerage of the Federal Capital. An effective sewerage system is of the greatest importance to every large city. If our large cities had not been provided with proper sewerage systems, they would not occupy the positions they do to-day. On this point, Mr. Scrivener, in the same report, says -
In connexion wilh the establishment of a Federal Capital, it will also be necessary to institute a sewerage system of some kind for Queanbeyan, and this, on account of its position with respect to the Queanbeyan River, will be a costly matter.
No matter what site is chosen for the Federal Capital, I admit that its establishment must be a costly matter, but I believe it will be admitted that the cost of sewerage, railway communication, the building of a harbor, and the construction of the city buildings would be greater if Yass-Canberra were chosen as the Capital site than if a site were chosen in some other part of New South Wales. I have accepted Mr. Scrivener as an unbiased adviser, and in the. face of his reports, I cannot honestly vote for the proposed expenditure of£50,000 as a preliminary vote for the establishment of the Federal Capital. Honorable senators must remember that by voting for this item, they will be committing themselves to the establishment of the Federal Capital for all time at a site which is not approved .by the people of Australia. I hope that honorable senators will reject Yass-Canberra as a site unworthy of the ideal Capital which we think should be established. For the reasons I have given, and irrespective of what the result may be, I intend, as I promised on the hustings, to vote against the expenditure ‘.of a single shilling at Yass-Canberra.
– As Senator Blakey has rightly stated, this question is altogether too important to justify any honorable senator in giving a silent vote upon it. I hold opinions on the question differing, perhaps, from those held by a majority of the members of the Committee. The views I hold are my own, and the members of the Government have not attempted to coerce my judgment or restrict my attitude in the matter in any shape or form. The vote is proposed by the Government in a perfectly regular way. They accept responsibility for it as honorable senators will accept responsibility for the vote they will cast in the matter. The references made by Senator Sayers to the influence said to be exercised by the press upon honorable senators on this side are absolutely without foundation. Whatever influence the newspapers of Australia may exercise over honorable senators opposite, they do not control in any way the votes, the actions, or policy of honorable senators on this side. I have said that the views I hold on this question may be singular ; but I am not concerned about that. I do not intend to enter into any controversy as to the respective merits of Dalgety and Canberra. The view I put before the Committee is that the establishment of the Federal Capital should be delayed for a few more years. Senator Needham said, when addressing himself to the question, that he would not vote for Canberra if it were a Garden of Eden, and I also say that, at this juncture, I shall not vote for the expenditure of money at any site, even if it were a veritable Garden of Eden. I take the view that the Government are to-day confronted with questions of far greater importance than the one now under review. I recognise that By voting for this item, we shall be irrevocably committing the Commonwealth to Canberra as the Capital site. I have said that I do not propose to deal with the respective merits of Dalgety and Canberra. If we had reached a stage at which that would be advisable, I should be prepared to give reasons for voting for what- 1 believe to be the best site. The question with me does not resolve itself into a question of Dalgety versus Canberra, or of Victoria versus New South Wales. My vote will be governed entirely by purely national and Australian considerations.
– Is it fair to the rest of Australia that we should be meeting here by the grace, and at the mercy, of Victoria?
– I do not know that we are meeting here by the grace, and at the mercy, of Victoria. I do not think that that is a fair way to put it. Melbourne is a central and convenient place for the meeting of the Federal Parliament, and I am sure honorable senators are very comfortable here.
– And we pay nothing for it.
– I do not lose sight of our constitutional obligation to New South Wales. I am aware that the Capital must be established in some part of that State. When the proper time comes, and I believe it is not now, I shall be prepared to assist the Government of the day to take all necessary steps for the establishment of the Capital. Senator Millen said yesterday that a reasonable time had elapsed, and we ought now to do the fair thing by New South Wales by selecting a site and commencing immediately the establishment of the Federal City.
– Does the honorable senator realize how much it costs Victoria to house the Federal Parliament?
– I know that it must cost the Government of Victoria a considerable sum; but Senator Keating should not forget that Victoria gets a quid po quo.
– We do not wish to live on the charity of Victoria.
– We are not living on the charity of Victoria. The Federal Parliament was invited by the Victorian Government to locate itself here. We are here by the courteous invitation of the Government of Victoria, and we cannot, therefore, be said to be living on the charity of that State.
– We are only tenants at will.
– I quite realize that. Senator Millen, stated that a reasonable time having elapsed, we should now, in justice to New South Wales, give attention to this matter. I hold the opinion that a reasonable time will not have been exceeded if the selection of the Federal Capital site is deferred for at least ten years longer. We are faced with important proposals involving the expenditure of huge sums of money. If the present Government can discharge their obligations in connexion with those undertakings, they will do very well indeed, and will justify themselves as members of a Labour Government. In the near future the Northern Territory is to be taken over by the Commonwealth. I trust that when it is taken over it will not remain merely a name on the map of Australia; but that the Government will apply themselves determinedly to the task of its development. We have also to consider the construction of the Western Australian transcontinental railway. I do not think there is any division of opinion in the Senate as to the advisability of giving that important project attention within the near future. The improvement and expansion of our postal, telegraphic, and telephonic systems will require the expenditure of a very large amount of money. We shall lose a revenue of£600,000 when we establish penny postage. We have to make provision for better payments to thousands of sweated public servants in the employment of the Post and Telegraph Department. We have to meet a huge expenditure in connexion with defence; and that expenditure will continue to grow if we are to maintain an efficient defence system for Australia. Taking a broad view of these questions, I maintain that we are not justified in playing with the Capital site question, when we have so many other national questions pressing for immediate settlement. I do not know what the fate of Senator Givens’ amendment will be, but I sincerely hope, in the interests of the taxpayers of Australia, that the result will be to delay the matter for a further period. I trust that I have made it perfectly clear that 1 am prepared at any moment, consistent with economy, to do the fair thing by New South Wales. If, for example, Senator Walker chooses to propose that the Seat of Government be transferred to Sydney, I shall support him. If the New South Wales representatives wish the Seat of Government to be established in the backyard of Sydney, I am agreeable. But I will not support any proposal at the present time which has for its object the imposition of huge burdens upon the taxpayers for the creation of a Capital city. I have left out of consideration altogether the merits of the respective sites. I do not want any site to be immediately chosen. I have had an opportunity of inspecting both Dalgety and Yass-Canberra. Of the other sites that have been mentioned, I know nothing from personal inspection, though I have read Mr. Scrivener’s report, and also the report of the Advisory Board, relating to them. But I am not prepared to give any serious consideration whatever to the establishment of a Capital site at Dalgety. Yass-Canberra is not an ideal site, but it certainly offers advantages over Dalgety. Neither site, in my opinion, presents the features which are necessary for a Capital city for Australia. I intendto support Senator Givens’ amendment with the view of having this matter postponed to a period when, perhaps, we shall be able to secure a nearer approach to unanimity of opinion amongst the representatives of the people in both Houses of the Legislature. After all, the creation of a Capital city is a national, and not a State, question. I trust that it will be viewed from that stand-point. I do not care twopence for the Victorian or the New South Wales opinion. I, as one of the representatives of the people of Australia, want to be satisfied in my own mind that the site, when it is chosen, is the best from the point of view of all the States. For the reasons that I have given, I sincerely hope that Senator Givens’ amendment will be carried, and that the subject will be relegated for consideration, say, in ten years’ time.
– I suppose that there is no honorable senator who has taken a deeper interest in this question than I have done. In the Federal Convention of 1897, I proposed that the Federal Capital should be within Federal territory. At that time, Mr. - now Sir Edmund - Barton, the Leader of the Convention, thought it undesirable to follow the course which I recommended. Therefore, I did not press my proposition. But when the Adelaide session was over, and I returned to Sydney, I found that there was considerable feeling there that the city should be in Federal territory. The next meeting of the Convention was held at Sydney, and the third session took place in Melbourne. By that time, considerable excitement had been aroused in New South Wales with respect to the Federal Capital. I came down to Melbourne three or four days before the.
Convention met, and interviewed Sir George Turner. I said to him that I was sure that he was a genuine Federalist, who wished to see the Union accomplished. I explained to him the state of feeling in New South Wales, and he thoroughly understood that unless that State came into the Union there would be no Federation. I said, “ The feeling is so strong in New South Wales that unless the Capital is located within Federal territory the people of that State will not accept the Constitution; consequently I wish you, Sir George, -to submit a motion in the Conven. tion. because your recommendation would carry much more influence than would mine.” Sir George Turner was at that time Premier of the State of Victoria, whereas I was a private citizen. He said, “Are you satisfied that what you say is really the case, and that New South Wales will not come in unless the Capital is definitely determined to be within Federal territory ? “ I said that I was as satisfied on the point as that two and two make four. Accordingly, when the Convention met, Sir George Turner proposed that the Federal Capital should be within Federal territory, and his proposition was carried. At the first referendum in New South Wales, the Commonwealth Constitution Bill did not receive the necessary majority. Subsequently, there was a meeting of Premiers of the various States, and by way of compromise it was arranged that the Federal Capital should be in New South Wales. That is how it comes about that we have section 125 of the Constitution. I wish to read that section as part of the history of this matter.
– No one opposes the establishment of the Capital in New South Wales.
– But there has been delay in carrying out what was undertaken, and much dissatisfaction has been caused on account of that delay. Section 125 reads -
The Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be determined by the Parliament, and shall be within territory which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth, and shall be vested in and belong to the Commonwealth, and shall be in the State of New South Wales, and be distant not less than one hundred miles from Sydney. Such territory shall contain an area of not less than one hundred square miles, and such portion thereof as shall consist of Crown lands shall be granted to the Commonwealth without any payment therefor. The Parliament shall sit at Melbourne until it meet at the Seat of Government.
It will be remembered that when the question was first brought forward in the Federal Parliament, there were special expeditions to various sites in New South Wales. Personally, I preferred Tumut to any other site that was suggested. But Parliament passed a resolution to the effect that the Capital must be situated at least 1,500 feet above sea level. Tumut does not happen to be in so elevated a situation, and was consequently debarred.
– Why did not the honorable senator vote for Tumut when he had the opportunity?
– It was useless to do so, because, as I have said, Parliament had determined that the site must be not less than 1,500 feet above sea level. Furthermore, it was determined that the Federal Territory must possess a seaport. Tumut has not that qualification. At that time Bombala was favoured by one House of the Federal Parliament, and Tumut by the other. But in 1904 Dalgety was selected, and the second section of the Seat of Government Act passed in that year reads as follows : -
It is hereby determined that the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be within seventeen miles of Dalgety in the State of New South Wales.
The third section reads -
The territory to be granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth, within which the Seat of Government shall be, should contain an area not less than nine hundred square miles, and have access to the sea.
It is quite true, as Senator Givens has remarked, that the New South Wales Government showed no disposition to meet the Federal Parliament with regard to Dalgety. Senator Symon, whom we all recognise as an excellent lawyer, assured me that the Commonwealth Parliament had not power to take a single yard of ground from New South Wales without paying for it. Consequently, even though both Houses were to choose Dalgety, we could not without the consent of the State establish the Capital there unless we paid for the whole of the land.
– There was no need for that assurance.
– But some persons seem to imagine that Parliament has merely to wish for a certain thing when that thing will be done- In 1908 Parliament passed another Act repealing the Act pf 1904, and determining, in sections 3 and 4, as follows : -
It is hereby determined that the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be in the district of Yass-Canberra, in the State of New South Wales.
The territory to be granted to 01 acquired by the Commonwealth for the Seat of Government shall contain an area not less than nine hundred square miles, and have access to the sea.
Negotiations were commenced between the Federal Government and the New South Wales Government, but a considerable time elapsed before definite arrangements were made. But in 1909 the Seat of Government Acceptance Act was passed. Section 2 of that Act provided -
This Act shall commence on a day to be fixed by Proclamation after the Parliament of the State has passed an Act ratifying and confirming the said agreement and surrendering the territory to the Commonwealth.
The various things which that section requires have been done. Consequently, whether Senator Givens’ amendment be passed or not, we cannot repeal the Act of 1909 unless Parliament passes another Act repealing it. The carrying of an amendment upon the Bill before us will merely result in postponing further action. I admit that we are all, more or less, subject to the influence of environment. I do not complain of other honorable senators for the attitude that they take up, because I recognise that we who come from New South Wales are just as much influenced by our environment as they are by theirs. Personally, I have endeavoured to take a broad view of this question. But I believe that it is our duty to carry out the provisions of the Constitution. I come now to the merits of the respective sites. Let us distinctly understand that, the Act haying specified that the territory should be not less than 900 square miles, New South Wales has granted an area of something like 1,400 or 1,500 square miles, including the area over which we have water rights. The water rights conceded to the Commonwealth will give it control of the Territory in which the Cotter River is located. Whatever the result of the division upon Senator Givens’ amendment may be, it is only within the power of this Parliament to choose either Dalgety or Yass-Canberra, because there is no other eligible portion of New South Wales which possesses a port which is nearly as central as are the ports of those two sites.
– We may take a referendum upon the subject, and decide to establish the .Seat of Government in Sydney.
– That can only be effected by an amendment of die Constitu tion. Personally, i have always opposed the idea of locating the Federal Capital either in Sydney or Melbourne. As the result of experience we now recognise that there are disadvantages associated with the establishment of the Federal Capital in a large city. It is desirable that a new city should be founded, so that population may he spread over a wider area. The statement which has been made that the people of Sydney tear that the establishment of the Federal Capital at Yass-Canberra would cause Jervis Bay to become a serious rival to that city, and that consequently they are jealous of it, is utterly without foundation. The people of Sydney are, if anything, Free Traders, and. they like to see all places go ahead.
– They will never gc ahead under a Free Trade policy.
– Within the past few days a report has been received from Mr. Hunt, the Commonwealth Meteorologist, in regard to the rainfall at YassCanberra. We all know that the Cotter River practically takes its rise in a mountain which is more than 6,000 feet high, and that it is within a few miles of the mountain upon which Kiandra is situated, but higher. The average rainfall, in the catchment area around Kiandra, is 64 inches, annually. Mr. Hunt therefore concludes: that the average rainfall at the summit of the Cotter ranges is from 40 to 60 inches annually. This accounts to some extent for the great volume of water which comes down that stream, irrespective of that which is produced as the result of the snow melting.
– At certain seasons, of the year one cannot wash a pocket handkerchief in the Cotter River.
– That stream has during the past seventy years never been known to be dry. Upon the question of whether it is possible to obtain a>. water supply at Yass-Canberra by meansof gravitation I bow to the superior knowledge of Senator Fraser and others. Bui it seems to me that it is quite possible to obtain a supply by that means, if we chooseto go sufficiently high up the Cotter to get it. Mr. Dibbs, the general manager of” the Commercial Bank, Sydney, who is .1- native of New South Wales, in speaking to me upon this question a couple of years ago, said, “I am surprised that, up to tho present time, the Commonwealth Parliament has not looked for a site in the Canberra district. In my opinion, it is om- of the best watered tracts in this State.” One of the reasons why I previously favoured the selection of Tumut was that it is about equi-distant between Melbourne and Sydney, and I had no wish to see one city obtain an advantage oyer the other. But I desire this question to be settled from a constitutional point of view. New South Wales possesses certain rights, and we think that the time has arrived when effect should be given to those rights. I understand that upon this occasion one or two honorable senators on this side will vote in opposition to me; but I shall not regard their action as indicating that they have changed their opinions upon the relative merits of Dalgety and Yass-Canberra. It has been alleged that it is impossible to construct a railway to Jervis Bay from the latter site. But although in places the gradient on the line to Queanbeyan is one in forty, he New South Wales authorities are hopeful that they will he able to secure a route along which the highest gradient will not exceed one in seventy-five.
– They have not found it yet.
– They have made ;i detour for the purpose, and allege that there are no great engineering difficulties to be encountered. Those who urge that these difficulties are insurmountable are, I think, labouring under a delusion. One newspaper recently stated that the New South Wales Government had granted to the Commonwealth only two acres, instead of two square miles, as a harbor reserve at Jervis Bay. Obviously that is a mistake. The New South Wales Parliament, I am satisfied, is prepared to grant the Commonwealth a greater area if it is required. It is anxious to secure the settlement of this question upon fair lines. In the past I have consistently done my best to dissipate the jealous feeling which, unfortunately, exists between Melbourne and Sydney. Both are great cities, and, in my opinion, can well afford to see each other prosper. I regret to notice that an influential newspaper of ‘ Melbourne evidences a disposition to engender unkindly feelings between the residents of the two capitals. Coming to the agricultural and closer settlement capabilities of Yass-Canberra, I wish to say that I visited that place in company with Senator W. Russell and other honorable senators. During the course of our inspection of the site Senator W. Russell made it a practice to enlarge upon its agricultural possibilities. He used to remark, “ I can see lots of good land there. We shall be able to grow things there.” When we reached Queanbeyan the only miller in that place met us, and said, “ I feel rather annoyed. I am the only miller in this place, and, naturally, thought that I would have been invited to accompany the parliamentary party in order to enlarge, if required, upon the agricultural capabilities of the district.” He had brought with him several samples of fruit and other products. I said to him, “ I am not a practical agriculturist; allow me to introduce you to Senator W. Russell.” That senator took him in hand and threshed out certain questions with him. The miller to whom I am referring said that the average wheat yield for the district was from 19 to 20 bushels per acre.
– In the neighbourhood of Queanbeyan and Canberra.
– I have been all round that district for a distance of 20 miles, and I have never seen a crop of any sort.
– I am merely telling the Senate what the miller told me.
– The honorable senator ought to get the statement of another miller, because his friend is altogether wrong. I saw only two fruit trees in the district, with 50 yards of wire netting around them.
– It is not often that I praise a Labour Government, but I do admire the honesty of Ministers in adhering to the agreement into which we have entered with the New South Wales Government. It is not necessary to charge them with having changed their personal opinions-
– Is not the position somewhat similar to that which arose in connexion with the Naval Loan Act which has been repealed?
– Nobody is accusing the Government of dishonesty.
– But I am praising them for their honesty. Whenever they do what I conceive to be politically right I shall certainly be found voting for them.
– - This is a matter of unquestionable importance to the State which I represent. If I had to vote either for Yass-Canberra or Dalgety, I do not know that I would not support Dalgety. If I had to choose between Yass-Canberra and Tumut, I have no doubt that I would support the claims of the latter. Further, if I were at liberty to vote for a site in the vicinity of Tabletop or Albury, I should most certainly do so, because I am fully convinced that a better site for the Federal Capital can be obtained there. At the same time, I agree with the Leader of the Opposition that the plains of New England afford a better site for the Seat of Government than does any other part of New South Wales. But whilst I am indifferent as to where the Federal Capital is established, I am concerned with the question of whether this item is to be carried. We have been told that we ought to approach its consideration from a national stand-point. But when a nation’s credit has been pledged it is, I hold, the duty of this Parliament to give effect to that pledge. To me that is a matter of national importance. Under the Constitution not only must the Federal Capital be established within New South Wales territory, but it must not be established within a specified distance of Sydney. It is all very well for honorable senators to go into the beautiful wide streets of Melbourne, and imagine that this city is Australia. But I say that the credit of the people of the Commonwealth is pledged to the settlement of the Federal Capital question.
– Is it pledged to the selection of Yass-Canberra?
– It was pledged when the Federal Convention which was elected by the Australian people settled certain conditions in respect of the establishment of the permanent Seat of Government.
– That Convention did not settle the question at all. It was settled by the Premiers’ Conference subsequently.
– The Federal Convention pledged the credit of the people of the Commonwealth to a settlement of this matter.
– It did not pledge the credit of the people of the Commonwealth to the choice of Yass-Canberra.
– The pledge which was given by the Federal Convention was ratified by the people of the Commonwealth when they accepted our Commonwealth Constitution. If there was ever a time when the bargain which had been entered into should have been fought, it was when the Commonwealth Constitution Bill was submitted for their approval. They accepted that measure, and we have now waited for more than ten years for the fulfilment of the pledge which was then given.
– Whose fault is that?
– I am not concerned with the question of whose fault it is. Ten years have elapsed, and if the item immediately under consideration be not carried, we shall now be no nearer finality than we were originally.
– All through the action of New South Wales.
– I recognise that New South Wales has been giving all the time.
– Very generous.
– Yes ; a while ago I had a little experience of working amongst a coloured race. I tried humane and Christian methods of dealing with the men; but the boss said, “ If you give way to them, they will treat you as a coward “ ; and so they did. I prefer to be treated as a coward rather than as a brute. I find that New South Wales has been continually giving way; but, instead of the other States recognising the generosity of thatrich State, they ask for more concessions.
– What has she given away?
– The only cry which senators can raise here in an endeavor to turn the vote against this item is that the interests of New South Wales are concerned. When has that State ever raised a cry against the other States?
– When not?
– New South Wales has asked that a pledge which was made more then ten years ago should be fulfilled. If honorable senators want to put up an open and honest fight, let them act in a fair and above-board manner. If an honorable senator thinks that there is a preferable site to be chosen, there are parliamentary methods for giving effect to that opinion ; but to adopt the underground method of striking off the Estimates an item which has been passed by the other House is, in my opinion, only in keeping with the manner in which this question has been dealt with from the beginning.
– Oh, we ought to be shot !
– No; the honorable senator is entitled to his opinions; and I am trying to give expression to the indignation of the people whom I represent, at the treatment which they have received.
– Is the honorable senator in order, sir, in stating that we are attempting, in an underground manner, to strike this item off the Estimates?
– If the honorable senator objects to the use of that term, I have no doubt that Senator Gardiner will withdraw it.
– I withdraw the term, sir. What I meant to convey was that honorable senators are attempting, in an underground manner, to delay the settlement of this question.
– I again protest, sir, against the use of the term “ underground manner.”
– I withdraw the term. I do not suggest that honorable senators are attempting, in an underground manner, to get the item struck off the Estimates, because they are acting in a most above-board way. What I am objecting to is that, in an underground engineering fashion, they are preventing the settlement of this question.
– Again, sir, I protest against the honorable senator using an offensive term.
– I ask Senator Gardiner not to insist upon using the term.
– I object, sir, to the honorable senator using the term, because we are acting in an open, not in an underground, manner.
– I have no desire to be offensive to any honorable senator. If there is a difference of opinion regarding two sites, a straightforward method to adopt would be to submit those sites to the Senate, and to take a vote thereon.
– The Government would not give us an opportunity to do that; and that is what we are complaining of.
– The businesspaper has been at the service of honorable senators for two months ; but no one has thought that this question was of sufficient importance to submit a straight-out proposal. The forms of the Senate have been at the disposal of honorable senators ; but no one has come forward in a straightforward way with a proposal to deal with this question. From the national view-point, I feel strongly on this question. Honorable senators ought to sustain their reputation for keeping promises. There is no question that a promise was made to New South Wales. At first, I thought that there might be something in the claim that its representatives had unduly delayed the settlement of this question ; but I find that that was not a fair statement of the position. With Senators E. J. Russell and Blakey, I went to see Yass-Canberra, and was agreeably surprised to see a fine water supply. A little incident occurred during that trip which I propose to relate. We went up the Cotter River to the site of the weir. Some of us kept a little distance from the river in order to avoid the brush and undergrowth, and, standing within 20 yards of the weir, and coo-eeing as loudly as we could, we could not make our voices heard owingto the roar of the water. Another party came along, and, although we could see them, yet, on account of the roar of the water, we could not make them hear us.
– Yes; but shallow streams make the most noise.
– Let me now quote from the records the quantity of water which passed over the weir during two or three months. I shall not weary honorable senators by reading all the figures. On 1st July 27,548,000 gallons passed over the weir, and on 2nd July 22,715,000 gallons; the mean daily average for the month being 27,000,000 gallons.
– Does the honorable senator know how much water a day is required to supply a city with 200,000 inhabitants ?
– Yes ; quite well.
– How many gallons?
– About 20,000,000.
– Will Senator Gardiner please quote the records for February, or December, or January?
– I should willingly do so if I had the figures in my possession.
– Will the honorable senator guarantee that the quantity he has stated is the mean average daily flow?
– I guarantee that for the period which is mentioned in this document. I give the fair average for two or three months, and my opinion is that the records for the next three months will show a greater flow.
– For the next six months ?
– I believe that the records for the next six months will show, if not a greater, an equal flow. On the dav on which certain honorable senators visitedthe site 25,000,000 gallons passed over the weir, but Senator Henderson could find only 8 or 10 inches of water, whilst Senator E. J. Russell could find no water supply at all. I have quoted these facts because, after what I had read in the Bulletin and other newspapers, I was absolutely surprised at the enormous water supply. July commenced with a flow of 27,540,000 gallons, and ended with a flow of 23,386,000 gallons, the mean average daily flow being 27,000,000 gallons. August commenced with a flow of 21,721,000 gallons, and finished with a flow of 24,749,000 gallons. On two consecutive days there was a flow of as much as 41,000,000 gallons, and on one day 35,000,000 gallons, with an average flow of 29,769,000 gallons for the month. I asked the surveyor if other weirs could not be constructed across the valley of the Cotter, and he said, “ Unquestionably, five or six weirs could be constructed along the valley, and the river takes its rise in the snow-clad mountains.” In my opinion, spring and summer will give a larger daily flow than the months I have referred to.
– It is not a snow-fed river.
– U nquestionabl y it is. It takes its rise in one of the snowclad mountains pointed out to us by the surveyor, who has been quoted so often in opposition to the site.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - The elevation is 6,300 feet.
– I am making no mistake on that point. Honorable senators will not improve their fight for any other site by misrepresenting the facts regarding the Cotter. Unquestionably, it would provide an ample supply of water for the Federal Capital for the next fifty years. Where the Cotter joins the Murrumbidgee, a supply of water could be obtained for power purposes, for beautifying the city, and for doing other things. Last night we heard the remarkable statement that the immense dam which New South Wales is erecting across the Murrumbidgee will lessen our supply of water from that source. For the purpose of providing power, making lakes, and beautifying the city there will be an unlimited supply of water.
– How will it be possible to get a supply of water for power purposes when it cannot be gravitated for domestic purposes?
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - The rivers within the territory will fill the lake and keep it full.
– I am simply combating the arguments of those who are blind to the suitability of this site for the Federal Capital. By constructing a weir 40 feet high this valley,with a mountain rising on each side almost like the walls of an immense building, we shall secure not only an adequate supply for the Capital, but with ease a supply quite equal to that obtainable from a gravitation scheme, and the difference between a pumping scheme and the other is not so very great. I am surprised at honorable senators being so blinded by local prejudice and Victorian influence as to make statements which are altogether opposed to the facts. There are many other points from which this question could be viewed. So far as fertility of soil is concerned, no doubt in New South Wales there are many places which would offer greater advantages. Regarding a port at Jervis Bay, I propose to quote a report by two or three men whose opinions should be worth having. Senator Blakey said that Jervis Bay was not fit for a port. But let me quote the opinion of Mr. J. Brache, C.E., who is a Victorian expert. I presume that the opinions of Victorians will be received with marked attention by the people of Victoria! It is a report on the coal seams found in the vicinity of Jervis Bay. After describing the magnificent coal deposits, he says -
As our observations have extended over a much larger breadth of country than those made by Messrs. Cruttwell and Mackenzie, we found that the line of dip given by them on the whole corresponds very nearly with our data. Allowing for all possible contingencies, and consequent deductions, I may fairly estimate 110,000 tons per acre. So great, indeed, are the massive proportions of the upper coal measures on the property examined by me that one cannot but feel amazed at the first sight of them, especially when the favorable natural facilities for their development are taken into consideration. I have no doubt, on further exploration, superior limestone will be met with, as it is always an inseparable adjunct of the upper coal measures. Ironstone of various qualities exists in large beds, ranging from 40 to 50 per cent., which can be worked and reduced to great advantage on the spot. Timber of very good quality, suitable for all purposes, abounds. The vallevs at the foot of the coal-bearing escarpments afford every facility for the construction of a railway with easy curvature and gradients.
Jervis Bay. - This great lonely sheet of water cannot be viewed by the visitor, investigating its merits, without feeling amazement that such natural advantages should have been lying dormant so many years. The Admiralty records place Jervis Bay amongst the safest harbors on the east coast, accessible in all weathers. The Nautical Almanac describes it as follows : - “ It is superior to Port Jackson, inasmuch as a fleet of the largest ironclads might enter in any condition of weather, and choose anchorage in from five to six fathoms, close in shore.”
I put that statement side by side with that quoted by Senator Blakey. Numbers of people who will read the report of these debates, may be led to believe that Jervis Bay would not be a suitable port for the Commonwealth. Senators Rae, McDougall, and I, before we were senators, but knowing that we should be here, took occasion to visit Jervis Bay and make a thorough inspection of it. I do not know how Senators Rae and McDougall intend to vote on this occasion ; but I am sure they will agree with me as to the suitability of Jervis Bay for a Commonwealth port.
– Did the honorable senator predict the site of the Federal Capital, when at Jervis Bay?
– We naturally felt, as the people of New South Wales generally feel, that the time had come for the Commonwealth to keep faith with that State.
– Three former representatives of New South Wales, who supported the Yass-Canberra site, are not members of the Senate now.
– They would now be members of the Senate if the people of that State had not more faith in a Labour Government than they had in the previous Government of the Commonwealth.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - New South Wales returned three representatives who are supporters of the same site.
– Three representatives of Tasmania, who supported Yass-Canberra in the last Parliament, are not here to-day.
– Another gentleman, whose opinion may have some weight, has made a reference to Jervis Bay as a good port. He was not reporting upon the suitability of Yass-Canberra as a site for the Federal Capital, or upon Jervis Bay as a Federal port. I refer to Professor David, who, in a report upon the splendid coal and iron deposits in the vicinity of Jervis Bay, said -
The principal tract in the Southern coal-fields in which the Clyde coal measures may be expected to be met with, lies between the Clyde
River, Ulladulla, and Wollongong, the fine harbor of Jervis Bay lying within this area.
I venture to say that Twofold Bay would make an excellent harbor for a Capital established at Dalgety ; but we should remember that in the future the Commonwealth will be engaged in ship-building; and, in view of the enormous richness and extent of the coal and iron deposits in the neighbourhood of Jervis Bay, it must be admitted that it offers superior facilities for the establishment of a Federal port, at which we might, later on, expect to have; a large population.
– Is the honorable senator aware that, under the agreement, the Federal port only extends to high-water mark, and will he say what depth of land there is beyond that point ?
– I believeI express correctly the sentiments of the people of New South Wales when I say that, if it be shown, that it is not at present proposed to. grant sufficient land at Jervis Bay for Federal purposes, a proposal to extend the area would be favorably considered if a definite arrangement were made for the establishment of the Federal Capital. Personally, I think that a line might be drawn through the centre of Jervis Bay, and that the southern shores might be handed over to the Commonwealth, whilst the northern shores could remain in the possession of New South Wales. I am sure that the people of that State have no desire to be guilty of cheese-paring in their dealings with the Commonwealth in this matter. The actual area to be granted at Jervis Bay for Commonwealth purposes might well be a matter for future arrangement. Personally, I should not hesitate to support a proposal to add to the proposed vote a condition that, until the New South Wales Government conceded ample land and water frontage to the Commonwealth at Jervis Bay, no further steps should be taken to establish the Federal Capital. These are matters which may be settled between the State and Commonwealth Governments. It is unfortunate that they have not so far been settled, but that is no reason why honorable senators should go back upon the Government for doing the only thing they could do, namely, carry out the work they found to their hand, and which had been commenced by previous Governments. One honorable senator has said that we did not object to the repeal of the Naval Loan Act, but I remind the Committee that that Act dealt with a question upon which the Labour Party had announced a definite policy. We appealed to the electors as opposed to a borrowing policy, and were returned to repeal the Naval Loan Act.
– We were not returned to establish the Capital at YassCanberra, nor were the Government returned to establish it there.
– Even the strongest opponent of Yass-Canberra will admit that, at the last elections, no seat depended upon the way in which the candidates proposed to deal with the Capital site question.
– The honorable senator should quote analogous cases.
– I am trying to do so. The repeal of the Naval Loan Act was a question upon which there was a definite difference of opinion between the two political parties. The Fusion party whom we fought favoured the borrowing of money for defence purposes, whilst we favoured spot cash. Our side won, and we immediately gave effect to our policy. I must say that our opponents did not take much exception to our action, because they knew that the matter had been fought out before the electors. But. why should honorable senators decide not to keep_ faith with a large section of the population of the Commonwealth in this matter?
– Were we pledged to establish the Capital at Yass-Canberra?
– I believe we were pledged, as any Parliament returned by the people is pledged, to keep our word. Every member of this Parliament is pledged to keep his word and the promise of Parliament to any section of the people. Before the States federated, a promise was made that certain concessions should be granted to New South Wales in this direction. As a New South Welshman, I opposed the Commonwealth Bill even when that promise was included in it, but I believe that Federation would have been brought about whether that promise had been contained in the Bill or not. I believe that it had not the weight of a feather in deciding the vote of the people of New South Wales upon the Commonwealth Bill. That, however, does not alter the fact that a provision was included in the Bill, and subsequently enacted in the Constitution, setting out that promise. And I say that, if we are men of our word, we shall live up to it. The question has now been under discussion for ten years, and the people of New South Wales have for a considerable time been led to believe that the selection of the Capital site was finally settled. If now, upon a side issue, and by amending a vote in the schedule to this Bill, honorable senators prevent the fulfilment of the promise made to New South Wales, this Parliament will be lowered in the eyes of the people of that State. I entered this Parliament pledged to no particular site, and if a definite motion were submitted for the selection of a Capital site, I should be prepared, on that motion, to vote for any place that I thought better than YassCanberra.
– We have not had the opportunity to decide the question on a definite motion.
– The opportunity has been open to honorable senators for months to propose such a motion. I think that a grand city like Melbourne is well able to get along without being at the same time the Federal Capital. No one who has watched the progress of Victoria, and especially of this great city of Melbourne, will say that it will be injured if it is not spoon-Ted with a few pounds of Commonwealth expenditure.
– I do not think that the people of Melbourne desire that it should be the Federal Capital.
– I point out that, on a vote such as this, the few people who do believe that Melbourne wishes to continue to be the Seat of Government, the supporters of Dalgety, and of Tumut, may act together, and may possibly be able to prevent the expenditure of money at YassCanberra. But if they do so, will this Parliament be carrying out the promise made to the people of New South Wales? In that event, we shall have done what our bitterest opponents would wish us to do. The representatives of Victoria will have shown themselves to be merely Victorians, and the representatives of New South Wales merely New South Welshmen. As the last word I shall say on the subject, I shall utter an Australian national sentiment. It will always be my pride to believe that I shall be adding to the stability of this Parliament if I support a Government that is willing to keep a promise made by Parliament. That, I think, is the best national work I can perform.
– I feel impelled to address the Committee again on this question, because of the remarkable position taken up by Senator Gardiner. The honorable senator has practically *said that the party and theGovernment should respect their pledges.
They are respecting their pledges. We announced to the electors that we were against borrowing for defence purposes in times of peace, and in repealing a Naval Loan Act the Government and the party supporting them have carried out their pledges, and, as Senator Barker reminds me, have been true to their principles. But will Senator Gardiner tell me that the Australian Labour Government or Labour party in contesting the electorates during the last campaign-
– We did not contest the electorates as a Government.
– That is SO; but will Senator Pearce tell me that the Australian Labour party pledged itself to establish the Federal Capital at Canberra?
– Some did, and seme did not.
– I have asked Senator Gardiner to say whether we pledged ourselves to establish the Federal Capital at Canberra. If we had been afforded an opportunity to give a straight-out vote on the question, Senator Gardiner says that he would have voted for another site if he thought it better than Yass-Canberra. But we are in this difficulty, because senators have not been afforded an opportunity to give a straight-out vote on this matter. _ I do not propose now to discuss the merits or demerits of any particular site. I say that the Senate is placed in a humiliating position in being asked to agree to a Bill received from another branch of the Legislature, and on which it is impossible for us to carry a straight-out amendment. On a money Bill, such as that which we are now discussing, we must humbly request another place to make an amendment.
– No, the honorable senator is wrong again.
– This is not a Bill to provide for the ordinary annual services of Government.
– Even if I am -wrong on that point, I say it would have been better if the Government had afforded honorable senators an opportunity to give a straight-out vote on the question by submitting a Bill dealing specifically with the Federal Capital site. Apart altogether from whether I am right or wrong as to our opportunities, and as to the method of procedure, I say that the people of Australia ought to have a chance of determining the situation of the Federal Capital.
– The honorable senator wants the Government which he supports to bring down a Bill to repeal the existing Act ?
– My contention is that the Government ought not to have put upon these Works and Buildings Estimates a vote of .£50,000, the result of agreeing to which would be to seal the selection of Yass-Canberra, without giving the people of Australia an opportunity of expressing their views upon the subject. I think that it might be wise on the part of the Government, even at the eleventh hour, to reconsider the position and acknowledge that they have made a mistake. They might even now withdraw the item. The Legislature have made several attempts to determine upon a site and have failed. Why not now ascertain the sentiment of Australia by means of a referendum? Why not let the people determine whether Dalgety or Yass-Canberra is the best possible site for Australia?
– The matter under consideration is not vital to the interests of Queensland, nor does it affect any State, with the exception of New South Wales and Victoria. I may, therefore, be credited with a desire to approach it from a disinterested point of view. I wish to draw attention to the position in which this Parliament stands. It is urged by the advocates of Dalgety that, inasmuch as that site was chosen by a previous Parliament, and the decision was afterwards reversed in favour of YassCanberra, we are now at liberty to reconsider the choice of Yass-Canberra’, and, if we think proper, once more to select Dalgety. That argument is remarkably plausible; but it has one radical defect. The position now is entirely different from that which existed when Dalgety was chosen. The difference lies in this : Immediately after the passage of an Act of the last Parliament fixing the site at Yass-Canberra, negotiations were opened with the New South Wales Government, and the Parliament of that State was invited to exercise its constitutional rights and powers with respect to the fixing of the Federal territory. The New South Wales Parliament, in full reliance upon the Constitution itself, and upon what had been done by the Commonwealth Parliament, proceeded to exercise its powers under the Federal Constitution, as well as its local powers under the State Constitution. Accordingly, the State
Parliament passed an Act conferring sovereign rights upon the Commonwealth with respect to an area in New South Wales. Further than that, to meet the declared wish of the Federal Parliament, New South Wales granted proprietary rights over a certain catchment area, and similar rights over an area between the Federal territory and Jervis Bay for the purposes of a railway. So that the position with regard to YassCanberra is entirely different from the position which formerly existed with regard to Dalgety. This Parliament has exercised its powers under the Constitution] the New South Wales Parliament has exercised its powers. Both bodies having co-ordinate jurisdiction have combined, in order to determine a matter which had to be settled between them.
– Does the honorable senator say that the two Parliaments had co-ordinate powers with regard to the Federal Capital ?
-“ Co-ordinate powers “ is a legal term, and the sense in which I use it will be well understood without my dwelling upon the legal significance of it.
– It is. an absolute misuse of terms.
– In my opinion, for what it may be worth, the New South Wales Parliament has co-ordinate powers. Many eminent constitutional lawyers have even argued that, in the settlement of this question, that Parliament may even have superior powers. But, leaving out the legal point of view, we are face to face with” an absolute fact. Let us consider the alternative. Are we to declare that the agreement made with the New South Wales Government is so much waste paper? If we put ourselves in that position, the question will naturally arise in the minds of the public: “ What faith can be placed in an Act passed by the Commonwealth Parliament, if that body is prepared to re-open fi transaction which that Act professed to conclude?” What faith can hereafter be placed in a Parliament which, without the very gravest reasons, would break a most solemn compact entered into with the Parliament of a State? If we do this, it will be open to any State, or any individual affected by any legislation we pass hereafter, to say : ‘ ‘ We cannot place any dependence upon any determination which the Commonwealth Parliament ratifies, because, as they previously wiped out of existence an agreement entered into with the
State of New South Wales, so they may wipe out of existence this new compact.” Would that be a dignified position for us to occupy ? Would it be a safe position for us to assume in exercising our powers under the Constitution? It would amount to saying practically that a solemn compact entered into by the Federal Parliament with a State can, through the caprice of parties, or for any other reason, afterwards be thrown into the waste-paper basket. It is well known that there are members of the present Government who are not personally favorable to Yass-Canberra. But I agree with Senator Gardiner that there are obligations which are higher than the individual views of members of a Government. It is not a light matter for any Parliament to go back upon a solemn agreement made with the people of a State. It is owing to that consideration that the members of the present Government, though many of them, as individuals, are not in favour of YassCanberra, and though some of them formerly strongly resisted the choice of that site, have resolved to uphold an agreement which ought to be binding upon, and respected by, this Parliament.
– Why was not the Act fixing Dalgety binding upon this Parliament?
-Colonel Sir ALBERT Gould. - Because no agreement was made under that Act.
– I have already pointed out that there is a difference between the fixing of the site at YassCanberra and the former choice of Dalgety. The difference is that the New South Wales Parliament, relying upon the Act of the Commonwealth Parliament choosing YassCanberra, have passed an Act conveying the territory to the Commonwealth.
– Why was not such an Act passed with regard to Dalgety?
– I do not know. We are aware that the honorable senator was born with the hall-mark of infallibility upon him. That being so, he may be able to supply an answer to his own> question.
– The reason why thechoice of Dalgety was not ratified was that it did not suit Sydney.
– The honorablesenator possesses that most dangerous kind of intelligence that never makes a mistakeand never acknowledges an error. I say again that it is because the New South-
Wales Parliament passed an Act exercising its. powers under the Constitution and transferring the selected area to the Commonwealth, that we ought to abide by that choice. If an agreement made under a Federal Act is to be repudiated and thrown into the waste-paper basket, what security can be attached to any Act which we may pass in the future? Let us also consider another point of view. Suppose that we select another Capital site. What position should we be in with regard to the New South Wales Parliament? They might say, “ Oh, but you fixed upon a site once before. In good faith, and relying upon the validity of an Act passed by you, we assigned to you a certain territory. We gave you sovereign rights over it. We also conferred upon you proprietary rights over a watershed area, and similar rights over a piece of land communicating with Jervis Bay. Nevertheless, you afterwards threw your own Act into the waste-paper basket. What guarantee have we now that, if we enter into a new arrangement with you, you will observe the bond ? How do we know that you will not break faith again? We shall have nothing further to do with you.” Thus we lay ourselves open t.-.: humiliation from the New South Wales Parliament, and the whole people of Australia will be presented with a spectacle of the Commonwealth Parliament solemnly ratifying an agreement, and then throwing it aside. Surely we shall be an object of reproach to all the States of Australia. I shall now refer briefly to a few of the objections which have been made to the choice of Yass-Canberra. I admit at once that it would be fairly easy to find within New South Wales a better site. But the opponents of Yass-Canberra are committing the mistake of always proving too much against it Let us take the rainfall argument. Mr. Knibbs’ statistics supply us with the rainfall of the respective capitals for a period of ten years. The figures for 1908 are: Perth, ‘34 inches; Adelaide, 21.15; Brisbane, 36; Sydney, 43; Melbourne, 25; Hobart, 23. The rainfall, averaged for a period of ten years, in the capitals was: Perth, 33. inches; Adelaide, 21; Brisbane, 47 ; Sydney, 48 ; Melbourne, 26; Hobart, 23. If, on the ground of scarcity of rainfall, we were to reject YassCanberra, we should declare nineteentwentieths of Australia to be equally unsuitable. According to Knibbs, the rainfall last year at three of the sites suggested, namely, Canberra. Bombala, and Dal- gety, was as follows : - Canberra, 23 inches;. Bombala, 22.9 inches; and Dalgety, 17 inches.
– Let the honorable senator quote the average rainfall over a period of ten years. It does not suit him to do that.
– I have quoted my authority for the statements which I have made.
– The honorable senator has merely quoted the rainfall for one year.
– Let him turn up the New South Wales Statistical Register if he wishes to ascertain the rainfall at Canberra.
– I did not specially select these figures for any purpose of my own. I turned up Knibbs, and accepted the figures which he gives.
– Be fair, and quote the average rainfall.
– Knibbs does not give the average.
– Why pick out the choicest plum?
– I have given the average rainfall in respect of the State capitals for a period of ten years. As a matter of fact, whether as the result of accident or of design,, those capitals are situated within the most favoured areas of Australia from the stand-point of rainfall. Last year Canberra had a rainfall only 2 points less than the average rainfall of one of those capitals.
– There is no rain gauge at Yass-Canberra.
– What are the opponents of that site proclaiming to the world? We know that an annual rainfall of from 23 to 25 inches is a very favorable one, because it has proved sufficient to support the large populations which are to be found in our large cities.
– The rainfall of England averages only 24 inches.
– But the distribution of the rainfall is much more important than is the amount of that rainfall.
– Ten miles from Adelaide the rainfall is double that which the honorable senator has quoted.
– That may be so. The opponents of Yass-Canberra have argued that the rainfall at that site is a question which must be taken into our serious consideration. If any weight is to be attached to that argument, and if YassCanberra is to be discarded because it possesses an insufficient rainfall, obviously nineteen-twentieths of Australia is equally unfitted by nature for the establishment of a Federal Capital within it. I hold in my hand a copy of a report by Mr. Hunt, the Commonwealth Meteorologist, which was laid upon the table of the Senate yesterday.
– What does the honorable senator expect to draw from that report ?
– I intend to quote from it. The honorable senator apparently scents danger, and wishes to alarm me. I repeat that if the rainfall at YassCanberra is deficient, the rainfall of nineteen-twentieths of Australia is deficient, and is equally unfit to support a large population.
– Mr. Hunt’s report does not say that.
– It is useless to argue with the honorable senator. Mr. Hunt says -
The average rainfall for the proposed Federal territory is 25.5 inches, or about that of Melbourne or London.
Do we require a better rainfall than that which obtains at the selected site of the Federal Capital? The consideration of this question brings to my mind certain reflections in which I have frequently indulged. There is a certain newspaper published in Sydney - I forget its name, but it is the Bullyrag, or has some such title - which has repeatedly attacked YassCanberra by representing it as a waterless region which is incapable of supporting a large population. With this object in view, it has exhausted the dictionary of abuse.
– It also calls the honorable senator “Sledger.”
– The honorable senator is like Noah Claypole. He thinks that to be beastly personal is to be exceedingly witty. When I visited YassCanberra, I had in my mind the description of the place which had appeared in the newspaper in question, and I confess that I was absolutely astounded at the difference between the unmistakable evidence which was before .me and the awful abuse in which that journal had indulged.
– The honorable senator does not believe that a Chinaman could carry away the water supply in a kerosene tin?
– I do not. The conclusion at which I then arrived may best be illustrated by a little anecdote about a certain newspaper. Th’e staff of this journal was being re-organized. Certain men were being dismissed, and others taken on in their place. The pressmen of the city in which it was published were discussing the changes which were being made when one remarked, ‘’ I say ; they have engaged Pontius Pilate, formerly of the staff of such-and-such a newspaper.” Another pressman replied, “I do not think that. I know that they have engaged so-and-so, but why do they call him Pontius Pilate?” Thereupon the first speaker remarked, “ The reason is obvious. It is because that man does not know what truth is, and even if Christ were to come on earth again He could not make it known to him. ‘ ‘ The unreasoning and stupid abuse to which the Yass-Canberra site has been subjected by the Sydney journal to which I have already referred irresistibly recalls to my mind the story of the newspaper which had engaged Pontius Pilate as a member of its staff. It is admitted that with the aid of machinery and other .appliances the population of a fairly large city might be adequately supplied with water from the Cotter and Murrumbidgee rivers.
– It is not long since an immigrant was drowned in the Murrumbidgee.
– It is not very long since an honorable senator opposite was almost drowned in that stream. It has been urged by the opponents of YassCanberra that a pumping scheme would have to be adopted in order to adequately supply a large population there. But I would ask, “ How many cities in Australia are bound by their physical conditions to depend for their water supply upon pumping schemes, and not upon gravitation schemes?” If ever the population of this continent increases largely, cities must be established on its plains which will have to obtain their water supplies by pumping. If any weight is to be attached to the objections which have been advanced against the adoption of a pumping scheme at YassCanberra, fully nineteen-twentieths of Australia may be regarded as unsuitable for the establishment of the Federal Capital within its borders. How many places have better possibilities of a water supply than has Yass-Canberra? The number is extremely limited. To secure a larger rainfall we must go further north - to the tropical portions of Queensland and Western Australia.
– Why does the honorable senator talk such arrant nonsense about the rainfall?
– The honorable senator says that I am talking arrant nonsense when I am merely quoting official statistics. It seems to me that it is irredeemable arrogance for him to suggest that Mr. Hunt’s report is arrant nonsense. Cannot my honorable friend see that for the mere sake of making a little personal quip he is in reality attacking that official ? If he will challenge the inferences which I draw from Mr. Hunt’s figures the field is open to him. But those figures are indisputable if official records may be relied upon.
– I cannot see that Jupiter Pluvius especially favours Yass.Canberra. Neither can the honorable senator, nor the Government officials.
– The Commonwealth officials would be unworthy of their positions and of the trust reposed in them if they were influenced by any consideration other than a desire to state the truth. Will my honorable friend dispute the accuracy of the last portion of Mr. Hunt’s report which I quoted? When he says that the average rainfall for the territory is 25.5 inches,, or about that of Melbourne or London, is that arrant nonsense?
– For how many years does he say the average is?
– He does not say.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - I have the average for twenty-four years
– When my honorable friend has filled up that little rift in the lute, will Senator Givens say that what I state is arrant nonsense? He dare not. If honorable senators are going to assign the rainfall and the water supply in YassCanberra as a difficulty, they will rule out a great deal of Australia. I recognise that, if you were to search until you found a site which would recommend itself unquestionably to every member of this Parliament, the search would go on for ever. There is only one place which would satisfy us all, and that place is not on earth. That, however, is no reason why we should not make the best of the conditions which are available to us. Whilst I should favour a site further north in New South Wales - that is, nearer to Queensland - still I recognise that there are constitutional considerations why finality should soon be reached in this matter. Just as I recognise that one of the grave social dangers of Australia at present is the immense preponderance of population in a few cities, so I recognise that the pressure of press, commercial, and other opinion in a large city is not in itself conducive to that freedom, clearness, and fearlessness which ought to characterize our deliberations.
– Is the honorable senator alluding to the Sydney Morning Herald?
– I am not alluding to any particular journal. I should be unfit to discuss this great question and the issues directly or indirectly involved therein if I proceeded to select a newspaper as the object of comment on that point. * I apply the remark generally to every newspaper. Newspapers are probably as unconscious of their political bias on certain matters as many honorable senators are probably unconscious of the weight of the pressure of newspaper and public opinion. In the hope of getting free to some extent from these conscious or unconscious influences, I think that the sooner a move is made towards a Capital the better. For various purposes, many of them political, and many social, there is no place in the Commonwealth which I should more like to see as the Seat of Government than Melbourne. It is a remarkably attractive and inspiring city in many ways ; and it will be long before we shall see its like again if once we leave it. I am afraid that, unconsciously, the attractions of this great city are weighing upon us. Whilst I am reflecting, to some extent, on the public and press opinion of Victoria, I acknowledge the generosity, the hospitality, and the frank recognition of our position as Commonwealth representatives all the time that we have been in Melbourne. On the whole the press, while keeping their eyes, as they are bound to do. on the interests of Victoria., have frequently given us valuable guidance and inspiration while we have been deliberating upon the problems of the Commonwealth. I hope that this item will be allowed to pass. I congratulate the members of the Government upon having sunk their individual opinions, and upon giving to Parliament an opportunity to fortify itself in the eyes of the State Parliaments. For this Parliament to throw a solemn Act into the waste-paper basket would be to establish a precedent which would be more or less dangerous to us; and which would expose us to the taunt that no faith could ever be placed in our legislation. If the States were once given a justification for stating that they could not regard an Act of this Parliament as final, it would strike a blow at the security and stability of the legislation which every State and every citizen has a right to expect from us.
– - Before the curtain is rung down on this proposed act of national folly, I wish to explain two reasons why I cannot give a silent vote. In the first place, I desire to satisfy the mind of Senator Gould as to the value of the land in the neighbourhood of the Yass-Canberra site. While he was addressing the Chamber, I interjected to the effect that it was worth only 2s. 6d. an acre, and he challenged me to produce evidence of the fact. From a record of the New South Wales Lands Department, over the hand of Mr. J. H. Sheaffe, district surveyor, I find that, out of the 129,000 .acres in the Cotter catchment alone, no less than 108,000 acres are worth from 5s. to 2s. 6d. per acre. That represents about 89 per cent, of the Cotter catchment. There are 37,000 acres of what is called vacant land, worth 2s. 6d. per acre, and 61,000 acres - which are held under annual, occupation, improvement and scrub leases - worth from 4s. to 5s. per acre. I wish to assure honorable senators that, in giving a vote on this amendment, I am not the victim of that violent process, which has been described in the press, and elsewhere, as “ bludgeoning. ‘ ‘ No attempt has been made to extract from me a vote for Yass-Canberra. I have been subjected to no form of compulsion. I have not been approached by any person to vote either for or against Yass-Canberra ; so that honorable senators may have an easy mind on that score. As regards the main issue, I think it is rather confused in its present form. According to honorable senators on both sides, especially those who favour the item, the proposal has three classes of opponents. One class comprises what are called the Sydneyphobites; the second class consists of those who are so wedded to Victorian and Melbourne interests as to be blind to a true conception, of their duty in the selection of a Capital j whilst the third class consists of those who, according to one honorable senator on this side, want merely to bring about delay. I am an unfortunate pariah. I cannot be included in any one of the .three groups. I do not dislike Sydney, nor am I fond of Melbourne, and certainly I am not in favour of any form of delay in the establishment of the Capital. In taking a stand against this item, I am influenced solely by two reasons. In the first place, I resent, with as much strenuousness as I can command, the interference of any external agency with the work of this Parliament. I believe that, in accordance with section r25 of the Constitution, it should be the sole selector of the site foi the Federal Capital, without being subjected to any outside influence on the part of either a press or a State Government. In the second place I think that a wrong site has been selected. I admit that, looking at the immediate necessities of the case, even to the extent of the next hundred years, possibly Yass-Canberra is a very fair and passable site. But we, the supreme governing body on this continent, must have heed, not to the needs of this generation, or of this century, but to the needs of the people centuries ahead. Bearing that conception of our duty well in mind, I think that the proposed site is far from fit for the future needs of the population of this country. I am sure that the position I take up in resenting the interference of the State Parliament will be supported by the Committee. I have only to call to mind a recent effort made to invade the powers of this Parliament, and the opinion of that effort which the electors have placed on record. On a recent occasion, when the representatives of the whole six State Governments and Parliaments assembled in consultation with the Government of the Commonwealth, and sought to force a course of action on the Federal Parliament which would clearly have usurped its powers, we know the action that was taken by the electors to defeat that course. They decided that the power vested in the Federal Parliament should not be encroached upon by any State Parliament or Government. The electors, in that instance, showed a determination to jealously safeguard the powers of the Federal Parliament. One reason I have for opposing the proposed vote is that I am here to resent the action of the New South Wales Parliament and Government in connexion with a matter which has been specially reserved to the Federal Parliament. Section 125 of the Constitution clearly provides that the selection of the Federal Capital site shall be made by the Federal Parliament.
The refusal of the State Parliament of New South Wales to grant the required area in the Dalgety district amounted to a very direct form of dictation to this Parliament. I am here to resent that dictation. We should brook no interference in such a matter by any outside authority. We should insist upon being the sole arbiters in this matter, as the electors decided we should be in dealing with the financial relations between the Commonwealth and the States. It is necessary only to give a bare recital of the events which have led up to the unfortunate position in which we find ourselves at present. In the first instance, this Parliament, in the most spontaneous way, decided that Dalgety should be the site of the Federal Capital. So far as I know, no pressure of any kind was brought to bear to induce the Parliament to make that selection. But when the will of Parliament in the matter was made known the then Government of New South Wales refused to give the area required for the Federal territory in that particular district. That refusal took place in face of the fact that a previous Government of the State not only offered that particular site to the Commonwealth, but actually reserved a large area of land in the district in order to facilitate the transfer of the territory to the Commonwealth. There have been two opinions held by Governments of New South Wales on this question.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - One expressed the will of the State Parliament and the other did not.
- Sir John See’s Government offered the Dalgety site to the Commonwealth, and reserved an area of land there to make it easy for us to acquire a site to which a subsequent Government of New South Wales objected.
– The honorable senator contends that one Parliament cannot bind another ?
– I contend that every Parliament is a law unto itself.
– That admits the right of the New South Wales Parliament to act as it has done.
– Different Governments of New South Wales have held different opinions on the question, and we are, therefore, not warranted in assuming that the opinion held by the present Government is the correct one.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - The Parliament of New South Wales did not express an opinion in favour of Dalgety.
– It offered the Dalgety site, and reserved land for the purpose of its transfer.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - No. The Parliament of New South Wales did not do that.
– The honorable senator is quite correct ; it was the Government of the day that offered the Dalgety site, and reserved the land in that district. Seeing that New South Wales has successfully attempted to force the hand of this Parliament, honorable senators will not be worthy members of it if they tolerate such outside interference. I have quoted an instance in which the electors upheld members of this Parliament in resenting a proposed interference, not by one State Parliament, but by the six Parliaments of the different States. Senator Gardiner was emphatic in declaring that it is necessary that Parliament should keep its word. I agree with the honorable senator, but, unfortunately, in this matter this Parliament, as well as the New South Wales authorities, has given two words. One opinion recorded by this Parliament was expressed by free agents. There was a spontaneous decision in favour of Dalgety.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. -Only as a compromise between the two Houses.
– We know how Dalgety was subsequently turned down and another site declared to be superior. But how was this second expression of opinion given? We know that it was recorded under the pressure of certain influence. 1 shall not say that it was brought about exactly in that way, but there is good ground for the statement we have heard here before, that the change of opinion in this Parliament was due to underground engfneering by representatives of New South Wales, the Sydney press, and the New South Wales Parliament. There was a distinct intention to influence members of this Parliament in a certain direction. Which of these decisions of the Federal Parliament should be respected? If absolution is to be given in any case for the breaking of a man’s word, it should be extended to a man who breaks his word under a form of compulsion. To agree to the proposed vote would be to condone the interference of an outside authority, and to yield to pressure which the electors have said we ought not to yield to. I said that I have a second reason for opposing the vote, and it is that Yass-Canberra is not the best site that could be selected. .1 recognise that the water supply which can be obtained from the Cotter River is a fairly good supply. According to the report of the Board of Advice appointed by the Federal Government, it would be equal to the requirements, for domestic and civic purposes, and for power, of a population of 50,000.
– Where is the statement made that the supply would be sufficient for power?
– There is some reference to the matter in the report of the Board of Advice, which was constituted of Messrs. Owen, Miller, Vernon, and Scrivener. They are, I believe, all New South Wales men, who were formerly in the service of the Government of that State, and can be regarded as being entirely unbiased in dealing with this matter. They report that -
To meet the combined demands the full development of the Cotter would (so far as available data indicates during years of low rainfall, such as 1908) provide for a population of 50,000 a sufficient water supply for domestic and civic purposes - for electric transmission of energy for lighting, and for city power and street tramways; but from the information available it cannot be determined whether or not a scheme combining a gravitation water supply and a power installation could be laid down at a cost that would be economical.
That, I think, should be sufficient for our purpose, but we have to look to probable developments in the future, and we shall not act wisely if we establish the Federal Capital in a locality with a water supply limited to the needs of 50,000 people. There were only 5,000,000 people in the United States when Washington was selected as the Federal Capital. That country has now a population of nearly 100,000,000, whilst the population of Washington has reached nearly 300,000. There is no reason why we should not progress as rapidly as the United States has done, but even if we do not we shall certainly have a population of far more than 50,000 at the Federal Capital in the same time. If we progress at the same rate, we shall have a population of nearly 300,000, as Washington has to-day. We are being asked now to select a site at which there will be a population within the next fifty years of far more than 50,000.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - Subsequent reports have been furnished showing that a water supply is available at
Canberra for the domestic purposes of a population of nearly 500,000. One report mentions 250,000.
– I am aware that many grandiloquent statements have been published. I think we may accept the report of the Board of Advice. There is no doubt that, in fifty years’ time, we shall hare a population at the Federal Capital far in excess of 50,000, and the Federal Parliament will then be called upon to find for that population water and economical power. The water required will not be available in the Cotter River, and resort must, in that event, be had to the Queanbeyan and the Molonglo Rivers. They are nothing but a succession of putrid water-holes. The other sources of supply are very limited, and we should be dependent upon what can be scratched up from a few small streams. I consider that we shall be committing a most unpardonable national blunder if we vote for the item under discussion, and thus take steps to fix the Federal Capital irrevocably at Yass-Canberra. I find that New South Wales public men have at various times expressed strong approval of Dalgety. Sir Joseph Carruthers has approved of it, and Mr. Dugald Thomson, who was Minister of Home Affairs, in the Reid Government, did the same. It is well to place on record what he had to say on this much underestimated and derided Capital site. As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald of 14th April, 1905, Mr. Dugald Thomson said -
Though personally I favour Lyndhurst rather than Dalgety, I can not see that any harm can come to New South Wales by the selection of the latter site.
That is a sentence that I should like the New South Wales senators to ponder over. They must recognise that Mr. Dugald Thomson was loyal to the interests of New South Wales, and that, moreover, he represented a city electorate. He further said -
Certainly, no such harm as attaches to indefinite delay. It has some strong recommendation. I notice that Sir Joseph Carruthers the other day spoke of the district as a sanatorium.
After all it would not be a bad idea to fix the Federal Capital at a place declared by Sir Joseph Carruthers to be a sanatorium to which invalids might well resort. Mr. Dugald Thomson also reported Sir Joseph Carruthers as having said that “ the place was one that ought to be better known and more visited by the people of New South Wales.” As reported in the Sydney
Daily Telegraph of the same date, Mr. Dugald Thomson said -
Though the site was offered by the Government of New South Wales, and the offer was implemented by a Gazette notice withdrawing the neighbouring lands from alienation, with the object of making the acquisition more easy, if that site were selected for the Capital, though after years of inspecting, reporting, and discussing, both Houses have, with much difficulty, reached a common decision, the Federal Parliament is to be told, not merely that New South Wales desires reconsideration of other sites with Dalgety, but that the Federal selection made by a Parliament in which the Constitution has vested the right to choose, must be abandoned.
There is justification for asserting that this Parliament was dictated to most successfully. On the general question, I urge that there are many reasons why the Federal Parliament should get out of Melbourne as soon as possible. In Australia we have presented the spectacle of our great cities growing quite out of proportion to the growth of population in the country districts. There is an unfortunate tendency for people to flock into the cities. I find from the published statistics that, whereas a few years ago something like 27 per cent. of the total population of New South Wales resided in Sydney, to-day 37 per cent. of the people live there. In 1870, 25 per cent. of the people of Victoria resided in Melbourne. Now the proportion is 40 per cent. In the early seventies the proportion of the population of South Australia residing in Adelaide was very small, but today no less than 45 per cent. of the population of the State is located there. That is a state of affairs which we should do our best to discourage. An opportunity for so doing is now presented to us. Joseph Jefferson said that cities were the festering sores of civilization, and. that remark is as true to-day as it was when originally uttered. The spreading of great cities has a baneful effect upon the country at large.
– Where there is a large import and export trade and a large manufacturing trade, there must be large cities.
– But the proportion of persons residing in our cities is growing inordinately.
– I do not think that the growth is inordinate.
– I recognise that it is difficult to restrain the natural inclinations of the people in this respect, but it certainly is the duty of public men to utilize favourable opportunities for turning the minds of the people in other directions. If we select Dalgety we shall be creating a city which will become a centre, independent of the other cities of Australia, and the effect will be to very largely distribute the population. I should like to say a word upon the relative qualifications of the two sites in question. Water supply has been mentioned. We have it upon authority that the maximum supply of the Canberra area is not equal to the needs of a larger population than 50,000.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - No ; we have not that statement as to the maximum supply.
– Let us turn our attention to the reports that have been presented to us upon the subject. In the rer port furnished by Mr. Oliver, he quotes some remarks by an expert, Mr. Pridham, on this subject. That gentleman wrote -
It will be seen from Mr. Pridham’s report that the Snowy River, at a distance of about 15 miles from the proposed city site at Lord’s Hill, affords a supply obtainable by pumping, equal to the requirements of a population of 500,000. But that is not all, for the same river at a point near the junction of the McLaughlan, gives a fall of no less than 200 feet in 3½ miles, thus affording sufficient water power, according to Mr. Pridham, not only for pumping all the water required and for electric lighting and tram traction, but also for operating the proposed railways from Cooma to Delegate and from Bombala to Eden by electricity, the transmission lines for the current being very much shorter than many now in use in the United States. The power thus obtainable from the Snowy River he estimates at 20,000 horse-power, and this Mr. Pridham distributes as follows : -
For electric lighting - 600 horse-power.
For pumping water supply from Delegate River - 700 horse-power.
For electric trams - 2,700 horse-power.
For operating trains four each way on two lines, equal to sixteen trains per day, at, say, 1,000 horse-power each - 16,000 horse-power.
Total, say - 20,000 horse-power.
In addition to this 20,000 horse-power, at a fall of 300 feet lower down the same river, at about 30 miles from the city site, 68,000 additional horse-power could, if required, be obtained, and the same economical power could be used for the Gippsland railway extension, from Orbost to the border.
So that according to Mr. Pridham we have running to waste at Dalgety water-power to the enormous magnitude of 88,000 horsepower per day. How does that record compare with Yass-Canberra? The utmost than can be secured there in the matter of water-power is sufficient for the requirements of a population of 50,000people.
– The honorable senator is making as much of the water supply as if that were the beginning and end of the whole Capital site question.
– Inasmuch as we have under consideration two sites equally suitable in regard to climate and physical features, and inasmuch as the one site possesses an enormous water-power whilst the other is deficient in that respect, surely we ought to declare for the site which has the balance of advantages in its favour. How much water-power could we expect to obtain at Yass-Canberra? Could we hope for one volt in excess of a supply sufficient for 50,000 people? In a further report Mr. Pridham states that no doubt the minimum flow of the Snowy River would suffice, with proper storage, to supply a population of 3,500,000. That fits in withmy idea of what an adequate water supplyshould be. Yet it is proposed to turn down the Dalgety site at the behest of a section of New South Wales politicians, aided and abetted by a section of the press of that State. Seeing that under the Constitution this Parliament alone is empowered to select the Federal Capital site - and that, as a matter of fact, it did select Dalgety - I say that by retaining the Yass-Canberra site we should be brooking an interference by an outside agency which we ought not to tolerate. From the stand-point of its water supply, that site is not comparable to Dalgety. As custodians of the public purse, it will be an act bordering upon national folly for us to turn our backs upon the site which we originally selected, and adherence to which will relieve the taxpayers of a vast expenditure by enabling us to utilize the waste waters of the Snowy River, which now find their way into the sea. Sir George Reid himself has pointed out that the establishment of the Seat of Government at Dalgety will be in the interests of New South Wales. Mr. Thomson’s opinion is also upon record, and can be perused in the papers to which I have already referred. The Senate have now the only opportunity which will be presented to it, of taking a wise and sane course which will reflect credit upon its better judgment. Of course, every Act that we pass may be repealed. Even the Constitution itself may be altered. The ships of war which we have ordered, and the construction of which is now in progress, may be remodelled. Within a fewy ears it is certain that they will be cast upon the scrap heap. But now that we are about to take the one serious step towards the creation of the Federal Capital, it behoves us to act cautiously and in obedience to our inmost convictions. Owing to a curious combination of circumstances, the fate of the item which is immediately under consideration is trembling in the balance. If we retain Yass-Canberra as the site for the permanent Seat of Government, we shall be taking a retrograde step. We shall be demonstrating to the world that this Parliament was prepared to submit to dictation at the hands of the New South Wales Parliament - a course of action which ought not to be tolerated. We shall be choosing a site which is not the best available, and the selection of which will impose an additional burden on the taxpayers of the Commonwealth. I intend to support the amendment of Senator Givens, in the hope that we shall act wisely, sanely, and patriotically.
. -I confess that I occupy rather a difficult position. As a supporter of the Government, I have hitherto been able to give a silent vote upon many measures which they have brought before this Chamber. But on the present occasion, when I feel compelled to vote against them, it is necessary that I should assign one or two reasons for my action. I do not. propose to discuss the rainfall at Yass-Canberra, or to institute any comparisons between that site and Dalgety. I have inspected both sites upon three occasions, and I know as much about them as does any honorable senator who has not actually resided there. I have no hesitation in saying that, in my opinion, Dalgety is much the better site. It is extremely unfortunate that we have to discuss this proposal in connexion with these Estimates. In embodying in the Bill an item for the expenditure of£50,000 upon the Federal Capital, I think that the Government made a mistake, and I would urge them, even at this late hour, to withdraw it, so that the question of where the permanent Seat of Government shall be located may be decided upon its merits. It is a well-known fact that a majority of honorable senators do not believe that YassCanberra is the best site available, or, indeed, that it is a suitable place. Yet some of them intend to vote for the item under consideration, merely because they are members of the Government. If nothing that I can say can convince them of their error, they ought to be satisfied by the very warmth of the support which they are receiving at the hands of the Opposition, that they are doing wrong. The fact that they can carry this item only with the assistance of my honorable friends opposite should be a sufficient proof that they are acting unwisely. In all friendliness, therefore, I ask them whether it is not possible, even now, to withdraw the item from the Bill. What harm can result from delaying the determination of this question for six months? They will at least have the satisfaction of knowing that” they afforded the Commonwealth Parliament an opportunity to decide this all-important question upon its merits.
– Why withdraw it in order to do that?
– Because, if we carry the item, we shall practically affirm that the Federal Capital site question has been finally determined.
– And if we do not agree to it, what then?
– In that case, we shall be afforded another opportunity of debating the question, and of determining it upon its merits. This is a very muchmore important matter -than is the continuance of friendly relations between the Commonwealth Government and the Government of New South Wales. Senator St. Ledger has urged that a solemn compact has been entered into with the people of New South Wales, and that that compact ought to be respected. But, I would ask him, as a member of the legal profession, whether a Court of law would hold that a contract, the signing of which had been secured either by force or fraud, was valid? I say that, if force was not employed, something between force and fraud was used during the last Parliament to induce it to ratify the agreement which had been tentatively entered into between the Commonwealth and the Government of New South Wales. That agreement was carried, despite the fact that a majority of the members of the Commonwealth Parliament did not regard YassCanberra as the best site available. Certain members supported its selection because it was proposed by the Government of which they were followers. But certain supporters of the present Government take a higher view of their duty than that. They recognise that they are members of the National Parliament, and that they have been elected to enact laws for the well-being of the whole of Australia. It has been shown that Yass-Canberra is an unsuitable site for the permanent Seat of Government, from the stand-point of its water supply. To my mind, a supply may be obtained there which will be sufficient for the requirements of 50,000 people. Indeed, an adequate supply may be secured for a city of 100,000 or 150,000 inhabitants. But does anybody imagine that the population of the Capital of the Commonwealth will stop at even 1,500,000? Is it not probable that it will equal the population of Berlin, and even of London? Australia is a very much larger country than is Great Britain ; and, therefore, it is only fair to assume that, at some time, the population of its Capital will exceed that even of London.
– When it does, the population will reach from Yass-Canberra to Dalgety.
– I am satisfied that Dalgety is a more suitable site for the Federal Capital than is Yass-Canberra, and possibly a still better site may be found. But I object to the terms of the agreement which was entered into with the Government of New South Wales. That agreement was forced through the Senate, simply because a majority of honorable senators were not prepared to listen to any arguments against its adoption. It was pointed out at the time that the strip of land which the New South Wales Government offered to the Commonwealth at Jervis Bay extends only to high-water mark, and that, consequently, it was useless. But the suggestion that that area should be extended to low-water mark was ignored. The agreement was forced through this Chamber by sheer weight of numbers, and it was forced through in spite of the opposition of some members of the Labour party who are trying to force the passage of this item, which, if carried, would, to a considerable extent, commit this Parliament to Canberra. I have refrained from quoting any statistics or figures, because that could serve no good purpose. Figures, it is said, can be made to prove anything. If an honorable senator quotes the best authorities, he does not make the slightest impression upon on honorable senator on the other side who has decided to vote in a certain way. Honorable senators opposite have made up their minds to vote either for or against the item ; and, that being so, the sooner we get to a vote and decide this question, the better it will be for all concerned. I should have been satisfied, I repeat, to give a silent vote if I had been supporting the Government. I am very sorry that I am unable to support them on this item. Had I not felt sure that they had gone wrong, I should have been found supporting them as usual. But I hope that, even now, it is not too late for them to withdraw the item from the Estimates and give this Parliament another opportunity to deal with the question. The second Parliament fixed upon Dalgety as the site for the Capital ; but that decision was reversed by the third Parliament, which selected YassCanberra. There was a New South Wales element in the Government when that alteration was made, and it recognised that it was necessary to carry the matter considerably further than the previous Deakin Government had done in connexion with the Dalgety site.
– It was carried in the way in which the Financial Agreement was carried.
– The Financial Agreement was carried by almost the same methods as the Capital agreement with New South Wales was carried here last year. I derived much pleasure from denouncing the methods by which the Fusion arrived at the former agreement. What will be the position if the Government insist upon this item being carried with the assistance of the Opposition, and against their own supporters? The taunt will be hurled at the Government that they could only carry the item with the assistance of the Opposition, and, therefore, in the opinion of most Labour supporters, the Government must be in the wrong. But it is not too late even now for them to admit that they have made a mistake, and allow the question to be decided on its merits, quite apart from any Estimates. I propose to vote for the amendment, although I recognise that if it is carried, as I hope it will be, it will embarrass the Government. The embarrassment of the Government is a mere trifle compared with placing the Capital of the Commonwealth in an unsuitable position ; and, after spending hundreds of thousands of pounds, anc! finding that the site is unsuitable, selecting a more desirable site in some other part of the continent. There is no occasion for hurry.
– A period of ten years has passed.
– Is that the fault of this Parliament?
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. -Yes.
– In 1904 this Parliament selected a site which had been suggested by an officer of the New South Wales Government, but they refused to indorse its selection.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - Bombala, which is one of the most unsuitable sites in Australia.
– New South Wales refused to surrender the site on the Monaro tableland, which was selected by this Parliament. If any one is responsible for the delay which has occurred, it is not this Parliament, but the politicians of New South Wales who, being under some Sydney influence, refused to ratify our selection, because the site was, we were told, too far removed from Sydney. No other reason has been urged why Dalgety was not approved by the State Government.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - One trifling objection was that it would have cost £2,000,000 to provide railway communication.
– It would not have cost the State that sum.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - Yes, it would, unless the Commonwealth proposed to build railways in the State.
– Had the Dalgety site been accepted, a considerable amount of time would have been saved to honorable senators who come from Victoria and Tasmania.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - Then the Commonwealth would have had to build a railway through Gippsland, which would have cost some millions.
– Undoubtedly, a railway would have had to be constructed. The Dalgety site could have been brought within nine hours of Melbourne by railway. At present, it takes eighteen hours to get by railway from Melbourne to YassCanberra. Tt is really the fault of New South Wales that a site for the Federal Capital was not fixed five years ago.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - In an unsuitable place.
– Surely the best judges as to the suitability of a site are the members of this Parliament, and not the politicians of New South Wales ! What right had the politicians, or the Government, of that State, to interfere with the choice of this Parliament? iF rom my point of view, Dalgety is the most suitable site which I have seen in New South Wales. I could find a more suitable site outside that State, and I am not sure that, even now, it would not be desirable, in the interests of Australia, to amend the Constitution, and allow the Parliament to select a site in any part of the continent.
– We might have the Capital in the MacDonnell Ranges then.
– From a climatic point of view, that is one of the best sites which could be chosen.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - And from a water supply point of view, too i
– Yes ; the MacDonnell Ranges, in the centre of Australia, have a very much better water supply than has Yass-Canberra, and have also a very much more agreeable climate ; indeed, everything there is more desirable, from the Australian stand-point. If a site close to a large city is chosen, the progress of the Capital must be retarded for many years.
– That is a pretty tall story.
– There are other suitable sites to the northward. Some honorable senators object. to Dalgety because its climate is too cold. In the northern portion of the Northern Territory, there are some magnificent well-watered sites, where the Commonwealth would be put to no expense in purchasing land.
– And no danger of a population going to use the water?
– I am not prepared to go so far as to say that. The climate of the Northern Territory is so agreeable - it is never very hot or very cold - that I am inclined to think that if the Federal Capital could be established there, it would contain, in the very near future, a very large population.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - What part of the Northern Territory would the honorable senator suggest as a suitable site for the Capital?
– I would suggest a site on the Katherine River, which is very much finer than even the Snowy River, near Kosciusko. But, limited as we are by the Constitution, I feel that Dalgety is the best place which I have yet been able to inspect.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - Has the honorable senator seen YassCanberra ?
– Three times I have seen both Yass-Canberra and Dalgety; and I have no hesitation in saying that the land a little way out from Dalgety is very much superior to the land round Canberra. Any unbiased person who has an idea of the value of land for agricultural purposes, must admit that the land surrounding Dalgety is very much superior to the stony, barren, bleak, frost-bitten country round
Canberra. On our recent visit, although the climate was bracing, and the sun was shining brightly, yet grass 3 inches high had been browned by the frost.
– Eaten off by sheep.
– It will be remembered by the members of the visiting party, that the honorable senator, being an ardent advocate of Canberra, with the assistance of one or two New South Wales friends, went to the trouble of rounding up the sheep into one flock, in order that a photograph might be taken.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.
– In conclusion, I simply desire to point out that this is not a purely New South Wales question. It is a matter which affects the interests of the whole of Australia. We are determining upon a site which will be the capital of the Continent in years far beyond the lifetime of those now living. Therefore, New South Wales senators ought not to feel absolutely compelled to vote for ‘a particular proposal because it affects part of their own State. Many of us look forward to the time when the boundaries at present existing between New South Wales and Victoria and other States will be wiped away altogether, and there will be one undivided Australia. It is from that point of view that I should like to have the question determined.
– I wish to say a word or two upon this matter, from what seems to me to be a different point of view from any that have so far been urged. I admit that very good arguments have been adduced on both sides. There has likewise been a considerable amount of irrelevant matter introduced into the debate. The statements that have been made as to the influence of the Melbourne newspapers being exerted on the one hand, and as to Sydney influences being exercised on the other, are perhaps true, but those influences are very much overrated in both cases. No doubt there are persons who, through prejudice, or from a desire to exploit the prejudices of others, have endeavoured to fan the flame of the little Inter- State jealousy which still exists between New South Wales and. Victoria. I recollect that when one phase of this matter was being discussed some years ago in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, and when Dalgety was mentioned amongst the sites that were to be placed at the disposal of the Commonwealth Government, I was sitting in the reporters’ gallery ; and I must say that I was heartily ashamed, as a citizen of New South Wales, at the rancour that was displayed by some of the members, and even by some members of the then Government, who took part in the debate. Something has been said about Sir Joseph Carruthers having offered Dalgety to the Federal Government, and about the Legislative Assembly having refused to agree to that proposal. The fact was that Sir Joseph Carruthers made a very violent attack upon Dalgety. He said that his Government would include it in the list of places offered to the Federal Government, but he used all his influence and exerted all his persuasive powers and his eloquence, to show that the choice ot that site would be very unjustifiable. He denounced it in most unmeasured terms, and lashed himself into a very fury about the matter. Yet, he included Dalgety in the list of places, whilst by his words and actions he asked the Legislative Assembly, of which he was leader, to withdraw it, which they promptly did. That is what occurred in my own presence. I was a looker-on, and saw all the game. There was no serious intention to offer Dalgety, although it was nominally offerred, and I have received a sheaf of telegrams, some of them asking me to support Yass-Canberra, and some of them the opposite. .As a New South Wales senator, I occupy a somewhat different position from others. It is useless to disguise the fact that the Federal Capita] question will be brought up at the forthcoming State election in New South Wales, and the action of any member of the Labour party from that State who chooses to vote against the views of the present State Government, will be quoted as against the State Labour party. But I look upon this matter as one that is infinitely more important than even- the triumph of -my own party at the State elections. I consider that this is one of those acts which are irrevocable. The question could not from its very nature be brought forward many times. Of course, theoretically, some future Parliament might, even if the Capital were chosen, and the choice ratified now, desert it and choose another. Theoretically or technically, there is nothing to prevent any future Parliament from doing anything of that kind. There are historical instances where great kingdoms, and even empires, have changed their seat of government from one city to another; and cities have even been created for the purpose of their being the centre of government. But, for all practical purposes, and as far as relates to our own time - and no one can look much further ahead - whatever is now decided means permanency. I am one of those who frankly admit that there has been extreme advocacy and extreme denunciation in connexion with most of the sites the merits of which have been canvassed. One of the things that I most regret is that there is such a lack of the. judicial faculty in most men that they cannot judge a question on its merits. Very few can free themselves from prejudice in approaching a question which affects many interests. Some sixteen years ago I went across country in the vicinity of Canberra, but that was before Federation, and when the country was not looked at in the same way as one would regard it now. I was also in the Dalgety district at about the same time, and have been there since. But, then, I had no idea of either of those places being suggested for the purposes of a Federal Capital. I never thought of contemplating them from that point of view. Therefore, I took occasion to go with the small party organized to visit Yass-Canberra recently ; and afterwards, in company with Senator Ready and a few others, at our own expense, went on to Dalgety to renew my acquaintance with that locality. I say frankly that those newspapers and politicians who have expanded themselves in unstinted praise of Dalgety, or in equallyunstinted denunciation of Yass-Canberra, have overstepped the mark in both instances. Yass-Canberra is not nearly so bad as some have tried to make out and neither, in my opinion, is Dalgety nearly so good as others would persuade people to believe. In fact, the dearth of really first class sites for the purposes of a Federal Capital in New South Wales is remarkable. I admit that I have not seen all the sites that have been recommended. I am not acquainted, for instance, with the New England site ; but one can easily conceive that there may be better sites than some of those which, in the whirligig of politics, have for some years been under consideration
– The New England site is a very fine one, but has its disadvantages.
– I suppose it must be admitted that there is no such thing as an ideal site anywhere. We must get as nearly to a perfect site as we possibly can. We have to consider the whole matter in the light of facts. It is a wild exaggeration to say that the land at Yass-Canberra would not feed a goat. I saw there a number of sheep in most excellent condition. I also saw sheep of another kind in the Dalgety district. I admit that I did not see so many at Dalgety; but that is a mere detail, which proves nothing. The sheep in the Yass-Canberra district were crossbreds and longwools, with a few merinos ; whilst those at Dalgety were merinos exclusively. Those sheep are wilder by nature, and one cannot get near them, except by accident. The sheep that I saw at the Canberra site were in really fat condition. No one would wish to see better sheep. No one who wishes to speak the truth about this matter can deny those facts. I also inspected the Cotter Creek. I cannot call it the Cotter River, because it is not a river. It is a creek, having a flow of very excellent water, which an old resident assured us is a permanent supply. I drank some of it - which is an error that I do not often commit - and found it very excellent water, as water goes. Of course, the last purpose for which most people use water is for drinking. I have to differ from my esteemed friend and colleague, Senator Gardiner, in regard to some of the points that have been raised in the course of the debate. He has stated that the honour of this Parliament is at stake. Now, I think I have just as keen a sense of honour as the average man. I do not pretend to be a “topnotcher” ; but my honour is not affected in the slightest degree by voting against this item in the Estimates. Nor do I think that the Government are in any way to blame for’ what they have done. We know that the Labour Government which was in office in j908 also took occasion to confirm the choice of Yass-Canberra; and they are now acting consistently with what they previously did. I also am acting consistently with what I have always said and done in this connexion. Senator Gardiner, who sits behind me. whispers that I am acting consistently in opposing all Governments. My honorable friend, like myself, has not had much experience in supporting Governments. Our experience has been such that it is difficult for us to take up any other role than that of opponent. Indeed. I feel rather strange in supporting any Government consistently. But, in a matter of this kind, which is not included in the Labour party’s platform, I think that every one should vote as he thinks fit; and, if there is any risk to be taken, one should be prepared to take it. I admit that in my case the risk is nearly six years distant; but, as the question at stake affects the State whose interests I have at heart, clearly, as a New South Wales senator, I am taking greater risks than are the representatives of the other States, who are all, more or less, clear of the environment which influences those who come from the neighbourhood of Sydney. When a Victorian senator indignantly states that the Age has no influence upon him, he, in turn, should be the last to represent that the New South Wales senators are necessarily influenced by the Sydney newspapers, or by Sydney politicians. The Sydney Daily Telegraph, only a few weeks ago, published a letter of mine, in which I pointed out that, in my opinion, neither Canberra nor any of the other sites that have been favoured was suitable for the purposes of a Federal Capital. I said that I believed that Tooma, or some place in the vicinity of Tumut, would be preferable, as far as climate, soil, and other requirements are concerned, to either Yass-Canberra or Dalgety. But I wish to say something on the question of whether the honour of this Parliament is pledged to uphold what was done by a previous Parliament. If an agreement had been made between the Commonwealth and some foreign Power, in which there was either money or territory at stake, undoubtedly we should have in honour to carry out that agreement or pay compensation if we desired to depart from it. But we are not dealing with a matter in which something in the nature of an agreement has been entered into with a State, in return for some benefit conferred on it by the Commonwealth. I submit that this Parliament has the sovereign right to choose any site in New South Wales which is not less than 100 miles from Sydney. It is the sole prerogative of this Parliament, and not of the New South Wales Parliament, to determine where the home of the Commonwealth Government and Parliament shall be. Therefore, if, before the Capital is actually constructed, and before the Federal Parliament has located the Federal City, it sees fit to reverse what has been done by a previous Parliament, there is no breach of honour in so doing, any more than there would be in repealing any other Statute. The point is simply this : If we were to try to take a piece of territory outside of New
South Wales - of course, to do so would be unconstitutional j but if the attempt were to be made - that would be a breach of faith and of honour. I consider that the attitude taken up by some of the Tasmanian representatives amounts to a breach of faith, because they desire to delay the settlement altogether. But it is not a breach of faith or dishonorable to say to the New South Wales Government, “ While it is true that one Parliament decided that Yass-Canberra was the best site, and whilst, in accordance with that determination, certain steps were taken to induce you to cede that territory and to give us sovereign rights over it, we now see fit, before we definitely commit ourselves to the construction of the Capital, to change our minds.”
– Another step was taken. The territory was formally ceded.
– But for reasons which some may understand - I have a glimmering idea of the meaning of them - the final step has not yet been taken; because we find the State Premier, Mr. Wade, asking the Federal Government to issue a second proclamation. The fact that that has not been done, shows that - whatever the reason may be - the final step has not yet been taken towards the acquisition of the territory. I presume that that is a necessary step to take.
– There is a strong legal reason why the proclamation has not been issued.
– I know that.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - The proclamation could not be issued until the territory had been ceded. It has now been ceded.
– But, still, the issue of. the proclamation is a necessary step towards finally concluding the bargain.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - Oh, yes.
– If that be admitted, the whole case of those who allege that there will be a breach of the agreement if Senator Givens’ amendment be carried, goes by the board. The technicalities have not yet been fulfilled, and, therefore, there can be no breach of agreement. Moreover, as a matter of good faith and moral right, I contend that no such question can be raised if this Parliament, in its wisdom, thinks fit to reverse the action of a previous Parliament; because the cession of the territory on the part of New South Wales, and the acceptance of it by the Federal Government during the regime of the last
Parliament, were merely the formal completion of an act performed by the last Parliament in the exercise of the sovereign right to make a choice. If the Federal Parliament now thinks fit to choose some other portion of the State of New South Wales, instead of that portion where YassCanberra is situated, the effect will be merely to change the location of the Federal Capital, and an occasion will be formed for entering into a similar agreement in respect of the territory to that which we are now asked to complete. The act of cession and the act of acceptance by the Federal Government are parts of a series of formal steps which are necessary to conclude the act of choice exercised by this Parliament.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - They are much more than formal steps.
– I consider them to be no more than formal, and, from my point of view, the Act under which they were taken has no more value than any other Statute or resolution passed by the Federal Parliament.
– The series of steps is incomplete.
– Yes; and if one step be necessary to complete the series, I contend that the Federal Parliament has the right to withdraw from the course upon which it has already entered. If New South Wales stood to gain anything in a pecuniary or territorial sense by our action, we should be morally bound to compensate her. But we are doing something, not in the interests of New South Wales, but of the whole Australian people. We are supposed to be studying the interests of Australia as a whole. If this Parliament now considers that those interests would be more fully met by doing something which is different from what the last Parliament thought it well to do, I contend that we have not only the technical right, but- the moral right, to take that action, and to ask the State Parliament for its concurrence in completing the new bargain. For these reasons, the arguments that have been advanced on the grounds of honour and breach of faith do not touch me. We have at present a mere formal arrangement under which certain acts have to be performed, and if we decline to perform them, but perform another set of acts, we shall be doing no injury to New South Wales. I strenuously object to the attitude . which has been assumed upon this question by some Tasmanian senators. My honorable friend, Senator
Ready, for instance, has made a claim which I have heard him make upon previous occasions, viz., that the Tasmanian representatives in this Chamber are Nationalists, and that they view everything from a purely national stand-point. When, therefore, he objects to the proposed expenditure upon the Federal Capital site, on the ground that the money is required for more important Australian matters, I ask why his strong national feelings did not permit him to regard the request which he and his colleagues made for a special grant by the Commonwealth to assist the finances of his State from a similar point of view?
– He made no such request. He merely asked that restitution should be made.
– I asked for the return to Tasmania of what legallybelongs to her.
– The honorable senator is begging the question, because, so far,he has not made out a case which has met’ with the approval of the Senate. Instead of asking for a monetary grant to Tasmania, and objecting to the proposed expenditure upon the Yass-Canberra site upon national grounds, he would have done well to omit all reference to nationalism. I contend that, until the FederalCapital has been irrevocably chosen, the honour of this Parliament, and of every succeeding Parliament, is at stake. I quite concur in the view that finality should be reached in this matter as soon as possible. When honorable senators affirm that ten, fifteen, or twenty- five years are a mere nothing in the lifetime of a nation I quite agree with them. But the representatives of New South Wales have a right to complain if no steps are taken towards reaching finality. If, in the nature df things, we find it impossible to get the necessary buildings erected, and Parliament installed in its new home within a reasonable time, I hold that, so long as we are doing all that we can to expedite the work, no charge can be laid against us. But if we simply play battledore and shuttlecock with this question, we shall be very blameable. 1 strenuously oppose the idea of delaying a settlement of it, either for the sake of retaining the Seat of Government in Melbourne, or because of any fear of expense whichmay be incurred by planting the Federal Capital in the bush. I hold that, so far as any permanent charge on the revenue of Australia is concerned, that charge is likely to grow and become much- more serious if the Commonwealth Parliament remains in Melbourne than it is if we build the Federal Capital in the bush. During the course of his remarks, Senator Walker claimed that, in the Federal Convention which met in 1897, he raised the question of the desirableness of having the Seat of Government outside of either Sydney or Melbourne. While he may be a day or two older than I am, I happened to forestall him in that matter. In 1890, when Sir Henry Parkes was President of the first Federal Convention, which drew up a draft Commonwealth Constitution, Albury put forward great claims to be regarded as the future Federal Capital. The town of Wagga, of which I was then a resident, and which is situated about 78 miles from Albury on the Sydney side, thereupon put forward counter claims, and a public meeting was held there to urge them. That was before the Labour party was in existence. In April, 1891, at a public meeting which was held in the town hall at Wagga, I submitted an amendment deprecating the idea of establishing the Federal Capital in any town or city. I moved -
That, in the opinion of this meeting, neither this nor any existing town or city in Australia, is suitable for the purposes of the Federal Capital ; but an uninhabited site should be chosen, the land to be the property of the Australian people for all time, and a city erected thereon, worthy of the Australian nation, preserving to the people the community-created values which will arise.
I am proud to say that, despite all the weight and influence of the leading residents of that town, I succeeded in carrying my amendment, and, ever since, I have been a strong advocate of what the newspapers are prone to denounce as “ a bush capital.” I believe that we should do all that we can - as Senator Walker has suggested - to insure a better distribution of our population. We should not confine our towns and cities to a few large coastal centres, but should endeavour to build up cities in other parts of the country. There is one point upon which many honorable senators appear to have adopted an entirely wrong attitude. They have pointed out the great distances over which water has to be conveyed to supply cities such as Sydney and Melbourne. But I would remind them that the fundamental difference between the position of those cities, and that which will be occupied by the Federal Capital, lies in the fact that the former - probably because they possessed a natural harbor, or some other advantage, which insured their growth - attained to dimensions which nobody could forecast. In other words, the cities grew up first and had to find their water supplies afterwards. They had to obtain adequate water supplies, even if they were compelled to go 500 miles for them. But we are deliberately choosing a site for a city which must inevitably grow to a considerable size. The founders of this prospective city are, therefore, in a position to look for its water supply first. It appears to me that that fact entirely disposes of the attempted analogy between the water supply of Sydney or Melbourne - or, indeed, of any other existing city - and that of the Federal Capital. In discussing the rainfall, too, some honorable senators seemed to lose sight of one very important consideration, namely, that whilst the rainfall within the city area and the surrounding country may be insufficient, that within the catchment area may be very much greater. But is not the distribution of the rainfall a very important factor, not merely in agriculture, but in all that pertains to the comfort of city life? If a place possesses a rainfall of 30 inches, and that rainfall is precipitated within three or four months annually, thus leaving it drought-stricken for six or seven months, unless an ample supply be available for irrigation purposes, vegetation will wither and the city will become a scene of desolation for months during the year. Unfortunately, these are the conditions which prevail over the greater part of Australia. In the coastal area, where I live, the rainfall ranges from 34 to 45 inches annually, and yet it frequently happens that, during six months of the year, the fall is entirely inadequate; and, consequently, we have to submit to dust-storms and other inflictions. Not only do ordinary grass and fodder wither, but the very trees become stunted. For good growth in forests, a regular supply of moisture is essential. If a country be flooded at one period of the year, and be afterwards dry for months, the timber in it is almost invariably crooked, stunted, and miserable in quality.
– It frequently dies.
– Only those trees with the strongest vitality, and of the least attractiveness, survive. In the far western district of New South Wales - out beyond Bourke - we find myall and mulga under water for weeks at a stretch, whilst at another period of the year they may be without water for months. Only vegetation of the strongest vitality can endure such conditions. When I visited the YassCanberra site, I noticed that the timber there was crooked, stunted, and poor in quality. Even on Duntroon station, which has been inhabited for two or three generations, and around which there are some shelter clumps, the timber within the space of sixty years has only attained a size which, in more favoured localities, would easily be attained within fifteen or twenty years We all know that, by the applicationof water and manure to the soil, we can make almost any part of Australia, with its ample sunshine, blossom like the rose. But, unless we have both at the Federal Capital site, we shall have a very incomplete city. Consequently, the question which I have to consider is not whether a sufficient supply of water is available for domestic purposesat Yass-Canberra, but whether a sufficient supply is also available for irrigation. I do not think that the strongest advocates of that site have shown that an adequate supply is obtainable for both purposes. If it be necessary for us to pump water for domestic purposes for the small population which will be located at the Seat of Government in the early clays of its establishment, we shall be able to pump sufficient for irrigation purposes also only by incurring an enormous expenditure.
– The biggest irrigation schemes in Australia at the present time are pumping schemes - those at Mildura and Renmark, for example.
– That may be so; but the Vice-President of the Executive Council knows perfectly well that those schemes are not very large from the stand-point of their area. At Mildura and Renmark, enormous crops are grown on small areas by means of intense culture.
– Successful cultivation cannot be carried on by any other method. We cannot grow wheat by irrigation.
– We can; but I admit that it would not pay. I would remind the Vice-President of the Executive Council that the large irrigation scheme which is in course of construction, and the head-works of which are not far from Canberra, is not a pumping scheme. lt is a gravitation scheme.
– It is not yet in existence.
– That does not affect my argument. Its head-works are a couple of hundred miles - if we follow the whirlings of the river - above the proposed irrigation channels. It is idle to say that, because some places are irrigated by pumping schemes, that that is the best way to irrigate. Nobody will dispute my contention that irrigation, by means of gravitation, is much cheaper than is irrigation by pumping.
– It all depends upon circumstances.
– And the biggest circumstance is that we should have a river upon which to draw. Notwithstanding what has been said by Senator Sayers in reference to the cost of constructing sewerage channels through granite rock, there is no doubt that the whole of the area in the vicinity of Dalgety could be irrigated, if the adoption of that course were deemed advisable. Every person who posseses a quarter of an acre block could have his little plot irrigated without in any way tapping the supply for domestic purposes. Notwithstanding the enormous amounts which have been expended in Sydney in conveying various streams into reservoirs, the residents of that city and of its suburbs are warned every summer that upon no account must they use water for their little flower gardens.
– Except by means of sprinklers. .
– Sometimes they are asked to discontinue even the use of sprinklers. As a matter of fact people have been hauled up and fined for watering their choicest flowers during the summer. This sort of thing occurs despite all the engineering talent which from time to time has been brought to bear upon the construction of works for the purpose of guaranteeing to the people of that city that they will have an ample supply for all purposes for fifteen or twenty years ahead. If that be the case there, with the Nepean and other streams to draw upon, it occurs to me that those persons who think that the Cotter will provide an ample supply for the purposes of a large city must be very prejudiced in their views. Before concluding my remarks t wish to refer to one or two Other points. Our ideal in this matter should be to lay the foundations of the finest city that the world has ever seen. I believe that there’ is no other continent which is peopled by one race, speaking one language, and animated by the same faith, ideals, and aspirations. There was never a people so homogeneous by nature as are the people of Australia, and so fitted for a unified form of Government. I believe, therefore, that our whole efforts should be concentrated to establish as the Capital of the Commonwealth, a city which every Australian will feel is his or her own, and of which we may justly feel proud. I think that the Federal Capital and the Federal territory should be made, as far as our enlightenment can lead us, a model city and a model territory - a territory within which we may try those Socialistic experiments which have been so loudly denounced by the Sydney press and ‘other journals. I consider that we should have a sufficiently large area to enable us to try upon an adequate scale very many experiments which would be impossible in a territory similar to that which satisfies the American nation at Washington. Had we acted wisely we should have insisted upon being granted by New South Wales, not an area of 900 square miles, but an area of nothing less than 5, 000. square miles. ..We have been told by the Sydney press time and again that the Commonwealth is- attempting to grab a large extent of New South Wales territory. One would imagine from the attitude of these newspapers, that the country ceded to the Commonwealth by New South Wales was to be taken away and dumped into the Pacific Ocean, leaving a huge hole where it used to be. New South Wales will not lose an inch of territory, and it will still be open for any of its residents to visit the place, and make use of it. Consequently, all this talk about that State surrendering something in the sense of finally parting, with it is pure humbug. It will gain inestimable benefits from a more enlightened and progressive Government having the command of that area, and setting an example to others. It hasan area of 310,000 square miles as against 87,000 square miles in Victoria. If it had given the Commonwealth the odd 10,000- square miles, it would not have missed theland. In Queensland, there are cattle runs nearly as large as the area which I think ought to have been given to the Commonwealth. To make a song about the matter shows the miserable, mean, grudging, petty-minded spirit of the crowd whofor years have been running the Government of New South Wales. They are a class of persons who, by reason of their attitude towards the Commonwealth, deserve the contumely of every member of this
Parliament. Everything has been done with a grudging spirit, and if the Commonwealth Government and Parliament had been an arbitrary foreign power trying to raise tribute, they could not have been treated worse than they have been treated by Wade and his satellites. As regards climate, there is not very much to choose between Dalgety and Canberra. Admittedly, there may be a little more wind in one place than in the other. The timber in each place is stunted. Like all elevated places which do not have a regular rainfall, the cold in the winter and the heat in the summer have the effect of stunting the timber, and the only remedy for that is ample irrigation. We require timber in parks, and in the form of breakwinds, in fact, everything which will help to make our capital the most beautiful, as well as the most useful city in- existence. The first requisite is an ample supply of water. If my vote can do anything to secure a reconsideration of this question - that is all I ask for - it will go for the amendment, and against this item. It may be that this will not be the final act. If the money is ultimately voted, then so far from opposing a further vote, once we are irrevocably committed to the site, I shall be found willing at any time to back up the Government if it finds it necessary to spend even ^100,000 or ^£500,000, provided we are told what is to be done with it. Therefore, Senator Gardiner’s statement that this amendment is quibbling with the Government over a paltry vote is beside the mark. It is not a sum of money, but a principle, which is involved. How could we possibly have raised this issue in any other way ? My honorable friend, who dislikes anything which savours of subterfuge,, says that it could have been done by a direct motion. Well, that course was also open to the Government. Suppose they had submitted to this House a motion to the effect that the construction of the Capital at YassCanberra should be proceeded with.
– They did that eighteen months ago.
– I was not here then.
– There was no need to do that, because there is an Act empowering them to proceed.
– If that is so, this is the only opportunity of raising the issue, which is open to those who differ from the Go vernment as to the advisability of adhering to the site.
– Any honorable senator could have given notice of a motion.
– Perhaps that might have been done, but the Government came down very suddenly with these Estimates, and took away the right of a private senator to move anything.
– No; we purposely left all the business on the notice-paper until it was disposed of.
– I admit that the Government did, but the only private business on the notice-paper was Senator Walker’s Banking Bill.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - There was ample time afforded to an honorable senator to put a motion on the notice-paper.
– The Government came down upon us before we had time to organize.
– That is very weak.
– It is a fact. I am sure that the honorable senator will not attempt to make out that a private senator has much hope of carrying a motion against the Government. I intend to register my opinion that Canberra is not the most suitable site, believing that if the people of Australia were -afforded an opportunity of giving a vote on the question it would not be chosen.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - The question is whether any place would be chosen.
– Yes, it would. I suggest to honorable senators opposite that the real cause of this constant agitation is that no proposal has ever been carried by a substantial majority.
– Will the honorable senator say What other place has a port which will be available to the Commonwealth ?
– I do not know. I do not consider that a port is essential.
– It has always been thought so.
– I consider that for climatic and many other reasons, Tumut and Tooma are better than the two sites which have been suggested.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - There is no possibility of getting a port in connexion with either of them.
– I do not care very much about that, because the Murray River with its tributaries can be brought under the control of the Commonwealth.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - It could not be made navigable for ships of any size.
– I do not consider that so essential as the choice of the best site from the point of view of water, scenery, and quality of soil. I believe that Canberra was chosen in deference more / or less to the overwhelming Sydney influence which was brought to bear. Some of my honorable friends have said that Sydney stands to gain, but I do not think that it stands to gain anything worth consideration by having the Federal Capital near it, nor do I think that Melbourne -will gain anything by retaining the Seat of Government. A place like Sydney, which nature has marked out to be the biggest city in the Commonwealth, does not want any adventitious or fictitious aid. It will be a big city without the. aid of the Federal Capital. I do not think that the presence of the Capital in New South Wales will do Sydney any good ; but I do believe that its nearness to Sydney will do the Capital infinite harm. The two positions are not the same. On the one hand all that Sydney can gain in a pecuniary sense is a mere nothing compared with its great resources. On the other hand, the choice of Dalgety will create a city sufficiently far from Sydney and Melbourne to be entirely independent of the influence, trade, and communication of either. It would have a much greater opportunity of growing up to be a large centre with an individuality of its own. For these and other reasons with which I shall not weary the Committee, I intend to vote for the amendment; but at all times I shall be found fighting strenuously against any delay once a decision has been arrived at.
. - Before recording my vote for the amendment, I wish to disclaim any responsibility for delaying the progress of the settlement of the Capital site question. I have voted consistently for one locality in Australia as the most suitable site for the establishment of the National Capital, and that is Dalgety. I do not wish any action that I may “take on this occasion to be misconstrued into an attempt to block the settlement of this long-deferred question. It has been said by one colleague from Tasmania - and possibly by another colleague also - that he desires that there should be some delay, not only so far as the location of the site is concerned, but also so far as any active procedure on the part of the Government to establish a site and erect a Capital is concerned. I utterly repudiate any such intention. Unfortunately, there was a provision inserted in the Constitution which necessitated the location of the Capital within a particular State. lt must be remembered that the Constitution Bill with that alteration by the Premiers’ Conference was adopted by several of the States, including Tasmania. I am perfectly confident that it is quite ready at all times to adhere to the obligations which it entered into when it accepted the altered Constitution at the second referendum. It is for that reason that I wish to publicly protest that I have not the slightest desire to defer or delay the settlement of this question. I have voted for Dalgety, and I shall do so again whenever an opportunity offers. -
– Has the honorable senator voted for Bombala?
– I thought so.
– My honorable friend has spoken of Bombala.
– A decent place, too.
– Will Senator Rae or Senator Walker tell me what is the difference between Dalgety-Bombala and Yass-Canberra? Why not talk of Melbourne Albury or of Sydney- Albury ? Honorable senators know as well as possible that Yass was knocked out of the running as a Capital site. But why is it associated with another place called Canberra? We are bound to abide loyally by the provision of the Constitution.
– This is the test of loyalty.
– My honorable friend was not here, I think, when I said that on all occasions I have voted for Dalgety. I intend to adhere loyally to what I have done; and I nave not the slightest doubt that my constituents will adhere loyally to the obligations which they contracted when they accepted the Constitution at the second referendum.
-Does the honorable senator mean that they accepted it meaning that a Capital should be erected a century or two hence?
– No. I am not taking up, I repeat, any attitude which is calculated to delay the settlement of this question. I have always agreed that it should be settled as early as possible, and that we should realize that there is a necessity for a Capital.
– According to the honorable senator it cannot be settled unless it is settled in one way.
– That is a very unjust interjection.
– I do not wish to draw my honorable friend into the discussion, nor did I wish to draw in any of his colleagues. I do not want to reflect upon any honorable senator who has voted in any other way previously.
– So far as we are concerned, the honorable senator is quite free to make the fullest references.
– I have no desire to do so.
– The honorable senator is under no obligation to be silent.
– In justifying my vote for the amendment, I do not wish to enter into a discussion of the comparative merits of Yass-Canberra and Dalgety, or any other site which I or any other honorable senator may have previously supported. If it were necessary for me to point out the desirableness of establishing the Seat of Government outside of an existing centre of population, I have only to take the remarks which have been made by previous speakers. Is -there any reason why the Government of Australia should be carried out from any particular centre in which provincial influences are practically paramount? There is no reason whatever. It leads to nothing but discontent. It leads persons in other States to think that everything is conducted from a particular State. It breeds discontent amongst the people, because they have no alternative but to imagine that everything is dominated by the influences which operate in a particular centre in a certain State; and so it is absolutely necessary that the Commonwealth administration should proceed from what may be called a neutral ground so far as any one State is concerned. The Commonwealth did not spring from one particular centre. lt is not Victorian, nor Tasmanian, nor South Australian, nor Western Australian, but Australian. We all want to see the Capital established, and the sooner we get it the better for every State, and the better for every individual who has business to do with the Australian Government. I therefore think it is desirable that we should select some place which will be as accessible as possible to all the States. I do not think that YassCanberra is accessible. In the first place, per sons coming from Western Australia or from the southern State which” I represent, to Yass-Canberra, would have to proceed through Victoria, and then through part of New South Wales. We should have to depend upon one or two States for our means of access. Why should that be so? Why should we not choose a place which will be readily accessible to all Australia, without having to depend either on the grace or the favour of any State? If we pass this vote now, and commit ourselves to the expenditure of ^40,000 or ^50,000 towards the cost of the establishment of the Federal Capital, we bind,, not only this Parliament, but future Parliaments, and we commit the people of Australia to an expenditure the limits of which we cannot see or forecast. For that reason, I think it is desirable that we should hold our hand, and ask the Government not to commit us in this way to the choice of Yass-Canberra. After all, what is YassCanberra? Can the Government tell us the distance between Yass and Canberra? Why not speak about. Melbourne-Seymour? The bracketing ‘ of these two places . was merely a device to surmount the difficultly which confronted those who were endeavouring to defeat the choice of this Parliament - Dalgety. Dalgety had been placed upon the statute-book as the- selected -site. Yass had been defeated. But, to beat Dalgety, Yass and Canberra were coupled together. What does this mean? What are we committing ourselves to?
– To the territory between the two places mentioned.
– But the territory between the two places is so extensive.
– Thirty miles.
– When we commit ourselves to Yass-Canberra, we commit ourselves to almost anything. We do not know where the matter will end. We do not know where the Federal Capital city will be. We do not know what the cost will be. We are simply throwing money, not into the water, but into the dust. I have been at Yass several times,’ “and can assure honorable senators that there is plenty of dust there. I do earnestly urge that it is not desirable for this Parliament to commit itself to the expenditure of anything whatever on Yass-Canberra. I therefore hope that Senator Givens’ amendment will be carried, even without a division.
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wale’s) [8.51].- It would really appear, from the speech just delivered, that the Government were suddenly attempting to foist some particular site on this Parliament by extraordinary means, and that honorable senators had not had an opportunity of exercising their judgment as to where the site should be. But, if honorable senators will take the trouble to carry their thoughts back, and trace out what has been done, they will realize that the Government is not suddenly bringing forward a matter of such importance on its own initiative. The Federal Parliament has had for many years constantly under its consideration the question of a Capital site. All the places that could be thought of have been reported upon. I have before me the Journals of the Senate for 1901-2, which record the manner in which the subject was first brought before this Parliament. I read that the following motion was submitted -
That, with a view to obtain necessary information that will enable the Parliament of the Commonwealth to select a site for the Seat of Government, a committee of experts should be appointed to examine and report upon sites in the following localities : - Albury, Armidale, Bombala, Lake George, Orange, which in consequence of their proximity to Orange includes Bathurst and Lyndhurst; Tumut - in relation to accessibility, building materials, climate, drainage, physical conditions and soil, water supply with rainfall, general suitability, and. such other salient matters as may be approved by the Minister of Home Affairs.
Prior to that, the State of New South Wales had caused an inspection to be made of a number of sites, and had furnished to the Federal Government a report by Mr. Oliver, in which he recommended Bombala as being particularly suitable. A little later, a Bill was introduced, and the original choice of the Senate was Bombala. But the other House did not concur in that choice, and chose Dalgety. Although the two sites are in the Eden-Monaro district, they are 40 miles apart. One member of Parliament proposed that the Federal Government should take the corner of New South Wales adjoining Victoria for the Federal territory. But Parliament did not approve of that suggestion. When the matter was further debated, it was urged that attached to the Federal territory there ought to be a port, and it was thought that Twofold Bay would “fill the bill.” Dalgety and Yass-Canberra are the only two sites so situated as to render possible railway communication with a port. The subject was, however, also considered by the New South Wales Parliament, which was not prepared to grant the site that this Parliament desired to take. The New South Wales Parliament refused, not because the country was valuable, but because they honestly believed the site selected to be unsuitable for the purposes of a Federal Capital. Senator Stewart may laugh at that remark.
– It is very funny.
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD. - I daresay it is, and so is the honorable senator occasionally. Whatever may have been the opinion of this Parliament in regard to Dalgety, the New South Wales Parliament declined to concur in the choice. Eventually this Parliament accepted the view that Dalgety was not an acceptable site.
– Because the New South Wales Government would not surrender it.
.- And the New South Wales Parliament would not surrender Dalgety because the people of that State believed it to be an undesirable site, and for no other reason.
– Did not Sir Joseph Carruthers call Dalgety a sanatorium?
– Mount Kosciusko has also been called a sanatorium. Both Houses of the Federal Parliament, realizing that there was no chance of securing Dalgety, determined upon another site. A number of places were taken into consideration, and as the result of an exhaustive ballot, YassCanberra was chosen. When the matter came before the Senate it was fully debated. Undoubtedly a large number of honorable senators desired to have Dalgety selected. When, however, the ballot was taken there were eighteen votes for Yass-Canberra and eighteen for Tumut, the supporters of Dalgety having suddenly changed their attitude.
– For the express purpose of saving Dalgety, as the honorable senator knows.
– It was known that one honorable senator had expressed his intention of voting for Tumut, whilst another had expressed a strong opinion in favour of that site. Accordingly, the supporters of Dalgety, knowing that they could not carry the site which they favoured, suddenly turned round, and voted for a site which they had no intention of selecting. If Tumut had been chosen by the Senate on the second ballot, the whole question would have been delayed, and there would have been no finality. But the Senate, by a majority of two, approved of Yass-Canberra. An Act was passed in due course, and negotiations were entered into with the Government of New South Wales. Not a word of protest against those negotiations was made by the supporters of Dalgety. There was jio haggling on the part of the New South Wales Government with regard to the area to be ceded. The Constitution makes provision that the Federal area shall be “not less than” 100 square miles, and many people construed that to mean that the area must be 100 square miles or thereabouts. When the Convention inserted the provision they had in view the fact that the area of Washington, the Capital of the United States, is only 70 square miles. One hundred square miles was given to the United States Government in the first instance, but 30 square miles of that area were given back to. the State affected. It was, therefore, considered that 100 square miles would be ample for the purposes of the Capital of Australia. The New South Wales Government, however, when this Parliament asked for 900 square miles, raised no objection, nor did they object to affording facilities for railway communication with a port at Jervis Bay.
– They did not give us a port at Jervis Bay. They merely gave us access as far as high-water mark.
– But the honorable senator knows that the Federal Government has a right to resume land for public purposes in any State, and, therefore, it could resume land at Jervis Bay.
– But the land so resumed would be under the control of New South Wales, not under Federal control.
– Land resumed at Jervis Bay would become our own territory, if we had territorial rights on the foreshore. New South Wales has conceded everything that the Commonwealth asked for in connexion with Yass-Canberra. Senator Givens and other honorable senators have instanced speeches’ made in the New South Wales Legislative Council as a reason why we should abandon the site already accepted. But there is no justification for refusing to complete our bargain because of speeches made elsewhere. The matter has reached the stage that only the second proclamation needs to be issued, by means of which the whole territory will become absolutely vested within the Commonwealth. But, if that proclamation were issued at once, the territory would immediately become vested in the Commonwealth, and no person living within it would have a right to vote, nor would any inhabitant be subject to the State law. It is desirable to pass laws affecting the Federal territory before the proclamation is issued. The Federal Government must be in a position to provide for the administration of ordinary law, and for the making of municipal regulations. That will have to be provided for by Act of Parliament. The probability is that the wisest course was adopted in withholding this proclamation pending required action. It certainly would never do to have the territory belonging to the Commonwealth existing without a provision of this character.
– It would be rather an interesting experiment, would it not?
– It would, indeed. Senator Rae has urged that the bargain is not completed until the second proclamation is issued. But let me remind the honorable senator that if he enters into an agreement with another man to buy a piece of land, although he may not have got his conveyance, his agreement binds him, and can be enforced in a Court of law.
– That is not a fair analogy.
.- It is. The Commonwealth said that it required a certain area to be granted to it as Federal territory. New South Wales replied, ‘ ‘ Very well, here is the territory.” It has ceded that territory to the Commonwealth, so that it is now entirely under our control. The Commonwealth Government merely requires to issue a proclamation, when the transaction will be complete.
– Until the proclamation is issued, what has been defined as Federal territory will remain under the control of New South Wales.
– Exactly. But New South Wales has surrendered that territory to the Commonwealth, and the Commonwealth Government have merely to issue a proclamation to take the matter out of the category of an incomplete transaction. Apart from that, we have done everything that is necessary. In these circumstances, is it fair or honest to turn round and repudiate our action, simply because, by taking advantage of a little technicality, we imagine we are at liberty to sneak out of an honorable engagement ? Such a course of conduct as between private individuals would be regarded in a light in which I am sure no honorable senator would like his actions to be viewed. If we go back upon our position, it may well be said that the word of the Commonwealth Parliament is not worth a snap of the fingers. What we want to do is to realize that, when we pass an Act, and induce another legislative body to pass a certain statute, it is our duty to abide by what we have done, and not under cover of a trifling technicality seek to sneak out of our engagement. I do not wish a charge of that sort to lie at the door of the Commonwealth Parliament.
– Neither do the Government.
– No. Although I am opposed to the policy of the Government, I say that they have acted honestly in this matter. During the course of his remarks, Senator Rae reminded us that he was not a member of any previous Commonwealth Parliament. Had he been, I believe that he would have adopted a similar attitude to that which I am now adopting.
– I followed up the debates upon this question. I can read a little.
– But the honorable senator had to shoulder no responsibility in connexion with it. An attempt has been made to show that the New South Wales Parliament granted the territory at YassCanberra to the Commonwealth because itis a worthless territory. I have read the debate which took place in the New South Wales Legislative Council; and I say that that charge is utterly without foundation. If honorable senators will peruse the report of that discussion, they will find that it was entirely in sympathy with the Commonwealth, and that it was conducted in a way which showed that the New South Wales Parliament desired the Commonwealth to be satisfied with the territory for which it had asked, and that it is a territory which is well worth having. The Honorable John Hughes, whose utterances were partially quoted by Senator Givens, made several remarks which demonstrate conclusively that he approached the consideration of this question in a very friendly spirit. In speaking of the water supply, he said -
Nearly all these rivers flow through a granite formation. The reason of the water being so’ pure is the source of the supply and the nature of the country through which these rivers flow.
That is a reply to the statements of Senator Lynch in regard to the character of the land in the neighbourhood of YassCanberra. The Honorable John Hughes further stated -
If honorable members have followed the correspondence set out in the documents before the House, it will be clear to them that the whole of the catchment areas - the Cotter, the Gudgenby, the Naas, and Paddy’s Rivers, will ensure a very good supply for the Capital site. Honorable members know that this will not be a commercial city in the sense that Sydney is, and it will not be covered - I hope the Federal Parliament will look out for that - by terraces. It will have to be, as far as it can be, a city beautiful, and there will have to be reasonable areas around the various buildings.
He also remarked -
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….. We have to provide for a great city in the future, not for to-day only, and we must do everything we can to encourage the Commonwealth to develop that city as soon as possible, and to make the Capital worthy of the Australian Commonwealth.
Are these the utterances of a man who is adverse to the Commonwealth ? Are they not those of an individual who is entirely in sympathy with our desires and aspirations? I say that, for an honorable senator to quote a few of this gentleman’s remarks, torn from their context, is calculated to mislead honorable senators. I come now to the speech which was delivered by the Honorable J. Gormly, who was quoted as being antagonistic to the Commonwealth. What did he say? He said -
We must remember that it is a matter of very great importance to us in what part of New South Wales the Commonwealth Capital is situated. From the very first 1 was of opinion that it would be very difficult to find a more suitable site than that in close proximity to the one now proposed to be adopted. In determining the site of the Federal Capital, there are one or two factors which should be considered. First of all, we must see that the site is accessible; secondly, that it has a fairly good water supply ; and, thirdly, that it has a fairly good climate. In my opinion, the site now proposed possesses all those qualifications.
– Mr. Gormly may be a very good Legislative Councillor, but I prefer to accept the statement of an hydraulic engineer.
– Mr. Gormly went on to say -
Then, in regard to the water supply, from my knowledge of the Cotter River, which is one of the best tributaries of the Murrumbidgee, it will afford a permanent and pure supply. I have known the river for over sixty years, and during that time it has never ceased to run, and the water is, as I say, of very good quality. Then, with regard to the climate,’ the climate of the Canberra neighbourhood is most suitable.
– How much water will flow down the Cotter during a dry period?
– Sufficient to supply a city with 600.000 inhabitants.
– Sufficient to supply a population of only 50.000, according to the Board of Experts.
– We have also heard a good deal about the attitude which was taken up by Sir Joseph Carruthers. But in the debate upon this question, which took place in the New South Wales Legislative Council, he said -
I think the site that has been selected - Canberra, one of the sites offered by this Parliament; we offered three, Lyndhurst, Tumut, and Yass-Canberra - is not only a good site as far as the State of New South Wales is concerned, but is calculated to be an excellent site for a Federal city for Australia….. If there had been no opposition to the selection of Dalgety, if, notwithstanding that one laid himself open to unfair criticism and to the use of epithets which were undeserved, I had not taken the action I did to object to this selection, we would have had Dalgety forced upon us; and let it be understood that Dalgety would have been forced upon us, not merely as a site in an unsuitable position, but as a site which our Railways Commissioners pointed out would cost nearly£3,000,000 to connect it with an uptodate railway system.
I think that a quotation was also made the other day from the speech which was delivered during the course of the same debate by Mr. Robson. His speech, however, was a very brief one, and I do not propose to quote from it. What I wish to impress upon the Committee is that Senator Givens - who is never tired of crying out about the lack of sympathy exhibited by Legislative Councils with democratic ideals - quoted the utterances of these gentlemen with approval, because he thought that by so doing the Yass-Canberra site would stand condemned.
– I quoted their utterances with a view to showing the reasons which animated the New South Wales authorities in offering that site to the Commonwealth.
– The honorable senator quoted only portions of their speeches.
– The honorable senator is at liberty to quote the whole of them.
– I hold that, when an honorable senator quotes the utterance of any individual, if there be anything in that utterance which tells against his contention, he should at leastadmit it, even if he does not quote it; because, after all, we merely desire to get at the truth.
– The honorable senator desires to make the Federal Capital a suburb of Sydney.
– Rubbish ! I entertain my own opinion as to the reasons underlying the opposition which has been manifested to this proposal. Why did not the honorable senator quote from the reports of the debate which took place in the New South’ Wales Legislative Assembly, where the Opposition supported the proposal of the Government, with the exception of an amendment which was not carried; and the proposal was eventually agreed to on the voices ?
– What was the alternative site suggested?
– It was one in the same neighbourhood; but the locality was slightly different. The New South Wales Parliament have conceded to us the territory for which we asked, and reports have been obtained as to the water- supply available in that territory. This afternoon an honorable senator quoted just so much of one of these reports as would lead us to believe that its author had condemned the Yass-Canberra site. Senator Blakey quoted the following statement by Mr. Scrivener -
The Cotter River cannot be regarded as a satisfactory source from which to obtain a water supply.
– Does not Mr. Scrivener say that absolutely?
– Yes. He made that statement because he thought that considerable difficulty would be experienced in conveying the water to the Federal Capital.
– That is merely an amplification of his statement.
– I have nothing whatever to conceal. Honorable senators are at liberty to quote from the reports on the subject which are available; but if they do not choose to quote the portions of those leports which tell against themselves, I shall quote them. Mr. de Burgh speaks of the necessity for adopting a scheme which will cost £853,000, and declares that a supply capable of reaching a higher level would involve an increased cost.
– An outlay of £853,000, as against a cost of £300,000 for a gravitation scheme at Dalgety.
– Mr. de Burgh, who occupies the position of Chief Engineer in the New South Wales Department of Public Works, in speaking of the flow of the Cotter River, says -
During the month (August, 1909), the flow of the river amounted to 8,228,000,000 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 suburbs for 333 days.
A further report, covering a period of eleven months, shows that a large volume of water passed down that stream during the period mentioned. But, in addition to the Cotter River, the Commonwealth has been granted rights over the Gudgenby and other rivers within the territory, and, according to the official records, the flow down the Gudgenby is capable of supplying a population of 407,105 persons with 100 gallons per head per day ; down the Naas River, the estimated flow over a period of seven years was 5,986,000,000 gallons per annum, or sufficient to supply 164,000 persons with 100 gallons per day Then it is estimated that Paddy’s River would supply 181,000 persons with 100 gallons per head per day, and that estimate is based upon the figures for a period of seven years. Even if the Cotter were insufficient we should have three other rivers under out control. It must be remembered that we should also have water rights in respect of the Molonglo and the Queanbeyan. It is proposed that the waters from those rivers should be utilized in keeping the contemplated lake at the Federal Capital at the one level, so that it would always be a thing of beauty. If, however, honorable senators are not satisfied with that position, let me take them a step further. I hold in my hand a map which shows the rainfall and temperature statistics for the proposed site, and the surrounding districts, compiled at the Bureau of Meteorology, under the direction of Mr. H. A. Hunt. This shows that the average rainfall on the proposed site for a period of twenty-four years has been 25 inches, and that the rainfall had varied from 11.64 inches in the driest year to 41.98 inches in the wettest year. At a point not far up the Cotter River the rainfall is shown at 30 inches ; at a point higher up, 35 inches, whilst at a point still higher up it is shown at 40 inches. Atthe top of the range the rainfall is marked on the map as being from 50 to 60 inches annually. For the past thirtyfive years Kiandra, which, comparatively speaking, is only a few miles from the source of the Cotter River, has had an average rainfall of 64 inches, the heaviest being 90 inches, and the lightest 42 inches. The peaks which feed the Cotter River are from 500 to 1,500 feet higher than Kiandra. It is all very well for amateur engineers to talk on the subject; it is all very well for honorable senators to form ideas from rumours and reports ; but here is an authoritative rainfall map which was specially prepared to enlighten the Parliament as to the rainfall. According to this map, which I assume can be taken as correct, there need not be any fear with regard to the water supply for Yass-Canberra.
– For what population?
– We have already had gaugings which show the quantity of water coming down the Cotter. In the early stages of this movement, we had. gaugings which showed that the supply was ample, not only to meet the requirements of 50,000 persons, but to provide motive power. A later report showed that it would be sufficient during a particular period to meet the requirements of a city of 250,000 persons. I admit at once that the much larger quantity required for motive power has not been considered. Honorable senators have to bear in mind the nature of the Cotter’s watershed and how it is supplied. At Kiandra it is nearly always raining, and probably that is the case at the head of the catchment of the Cotter River. Of course, as the river comes down the rainfall becomes less.
– As the rainfall becomes less, the river becomes lower?
– It is being constantly fed from the top. I have quoted the statement of an honorable gentleman who has lived in the district for sixty years, that the river has never been known to be dry. One honorable senator has talked of a small trickle which he saw in the river bed. He said that he put in his hand and felt the bottom of the river. Of course, we do not know where he did that, but how can we compare his experience with that of Government officials who were sent there purposely to take the gaugings and supply information which would obviate the possibility of this Parliament accepting a site where the people would suffer from want of water?
– They took the gaugings for a limited period in which there was a good rainfall.
– Apart from that, this rainfall map shows that for a period of twentyfour years there was an average rainfall of 25 inches.
– What was the rainfall in 1902? Only 11 inches!
– This meteorological map shows what the rainfall has been on the catchment area, not north, -south, east, or west of it, but on it. As you get higher up the valley, so the rainfall becomes heavier, and when you get to an altitude of 6,000 feet you get into a region of perpetual snow. It is very reasonable to estimate that there is a rainfall of from 40 to 50, or, possibly, 60 inches at the head of the Cotter catchment area.
– Is the honorable sena tor satisfied with the provision made for a Federal port?
– I am satisfied in this way : that the Commonwealth have the power in their own hands to obtain whatever further area may be necessary for securing a suitable Federal port at Jervis Bay. I have already expressed the hope that the Commonwealth will get absolute rights, not only over the land for defence purposes and the strip to the water’s edge, but also over a large area of the port.
– Why did not the State give us the whole of the port?
– That was not asked for. I believe that we can get the largest portion of the port if we see fit to make a request, and that will provide an anchorage more than sufficient to accommodate all the navies in the world. We were told in a report which was quoted here to-day that Jervis Bay is a very much larger sheet of water than is Sydney Harbor.
– It is as big as Port Phillip, but that is a disadvantage, rather than otherwise, because a heavy sea can get up there.
– Not if the proper localities in the bay are taken by the Commonwealth.
– Mr. Scrivener says that, on account of its large area, rough water will be experienced in all parts of the bay.
– So it can in Sydney Harbor at times. There is hardly a port in any portion of the world which does not require walls and breakwaters to be built in order to meet the requirements of the city.
– According to the reports the honorable senator will hardly find one which is as bad as Jervis Bay.
.- With the exception of Port Jackson, it is the best port on the coast of New South Wales, and I make that statement with the knowledge that a little north of Newcastle we have another excellent port known as Port Stephens. Of course, if a suitable port for a large capital were required, Jervis Bay would probably have to be dredged and training walls erected. There are very few ports in the world which are so favorably situated as is Sydney. Even in Sydney Harbor certain work is required, though in a less degree than in Jervis Bay.
– Would it not be a fair thing, for the Commonwealth to have a , larger area?
– I have already said that I am . entirely with the honorable senator on that point.
– Why did not the honorable senator vote for a- larger area when he had the chance ?
– I never had the chance.
– When the last Bill was before the Senate the honorable senator voted against a proposal with that object.
– If the honorable senator says so, so let it be ; I have not looked up Hansard. At any rate, I am acquainting the Committee with my views on the question. I can tell the honorable senator in reply to his interjection that if I have not spoken on it before I used whatever influence I had with a view to getting a larger area for the Commonwealth ; because one of the things which struck me when. I saw what territory was to be ceded was that the Commonwealth was not getting a sufficiently large area for a port. We got all that we possibly could, however, at that juncture. I believe that, having regard to the present inclination pf the State Government to open up as many ports as possible, the Commonwealth would not experience much trouble in obtaining from New South Wales that control over Jervis Bay which I think it ought to have. Whatever the Government may see fit to do in that regard, my influence will always be used in support of what I think is a right and proper thing. We have abundant evidence to justify us in putting an end to the discussion on the Capital site. Every conceivable site which honorable senators could think of during the last ten years has been examined and reported on, and Yass-Canberra is the only site upon which this Parliament and the State Parliament seem to have been in agreement. It is high time that the question was finally settled. Honorable senators have talked about the great expense of bringing the water supply for a long distance. But let me quote some figures relating to Sydney and Melbourne. Sydney has to bring its water for a distance of nearly 62 miles. From the catchment area to the Prospect Reservoir the distance is 45J miles, and thence to Sydney the distance is i6£ miles. Up to the date of the last available report Sydney had expended £3,278,000 on its water supply.
– Does not the honorable senator think that we ought to avoid that large expenditure in regard to the Federal Capital if we can ?
– Honorable senators have been talking to-night of a supply of 100 gallons per head per day. In 1908 the water supply of Melbourne was a little over 59 gallons per head per day, whilst in Sydney it was between 40 and 50 gallons per head per day. For the Federal Capital it is proposed to provide a supply of 100 gallons per head per day - that is double what is required for Sydney and nearly double what is required for Melbourne. It will be seen that a fair allowance of water has been made. Melbourne has spent a larger sum on its water supply scheme than has Sydney, the figures being £”3,700,000 and £3,278,000 respectively.
– The honorable senator has not replied to my question. Is it not possible to avoid all this expenditure in regard to the Federal Capital, and ought we not to do it if we can ?
– I am afraid that we cannot avoid it all. Melbourne manages to get along with a water supply of less than 60 gallons per head per day, and Sydney with a supply of less than 50 gallons per head per day. As it is proposed to provide double that quantity of water for Canberra, we need never fear a water famine such as that which the honorable senator said sometimes exists in Sydney. If Sydney and Melbourne find that it pays to spend between ,£3,000,000 and £4,000,000 each in order to bring a supply of water to its citizens, the people in the Federal Capital might very well regard an expenditure of £1,000,000 as being very moderate indeed.
– Is that a sound reason why we should do likewise?
– Not if we can get a suitable site for a city and spend less money on a water supply.
– A sanatorium.
– Either place is a sanatorium.I would remind the honorable senator that if he cares to go on top of Mount Kosciusko, another sanatorium, he would be snowed in for, perhaps, three months at a time. That was an experience which one of our meteorologists had.
– But it is not proposed to put the Federal Capital on top of Mount Kosciusko.
– I hope not, for the sake of the honorable senator and myself. At an elevation of 2,000 feet we can get everything that we need, and surely we ought to be perfectly satisfied to accept the position. It is really too bad for some honorable senators to say that they are not yet satisfied j and for another to say, “ We want a means of getting to the Capital without going into any State ; we want it to be open to all the States.” Where does he desire to go? Does he want a site on the sea coast? If he prefers Jervis Bay let him have it if the Parliament is willing, and there will then be an opportunity for him to reach the Capital direct by water. Even if Dalgety had been adopted it would have been necessary to construct a railway for a distance of 60 or 70 miles to Twofold Bay, and to spend an enormous sum to put that bay in as good a position as Jervis Bay is in to-day.
– Where is the honorable senator’s authority for that statement?
– In the reports which have been presented to the Senate from time to time.
– The statement is altogether incorrect.
– I have no doubt that the honorable senator knows a great deal more than does any engineerwhoever reported on any matter if it affected the Yarra.
– I challenged the accuracy of the honorable senator’s statement. The mere fact that a statement is made by him is not evidence that it is authoritative.
– The statement I made I believe to be true.
– The honorable senator cast a personal reflection upon me, and I will not take that from him.
– The honorable senator will not take anything other than he has received. Nearly every site in New South Wales that was considered suitable has been weighed in the balance and found wanting with the exception of YassCanberra.
– “ Wade and found wanting” is good.
– I shall have to apologize for making an unconscious pun.
– The honorable senator will find in October that his statement will be applicable to an important event in New South Wales.
– I am under the impression that in October there will be a case of “ Wade in the balance and found sufficient.” I would remind honorable senators opposite that Mr. McGowen, the Leader of the Labour party in New South Wales is also in favour of Yass-Canberra, so that whether Mr. Wade or Mr. McGowen be returned to power at the State elections, the attitude of the New South Wales Government will be the same. Dalgety has not been acceptable to the New South Wales Parliament in the past, and is not likely to be accepted in the future. This Parliament deliberately, and with its eyes open, accepted Yass-Canberra.
– The honorable senator knows better than that. He knows that the engineering practices resorted to were disreputable.
– I know that everything done to secure a majority in favour of YassCanberra was fair and honest.After the selection was made, the supporters of Dalgety allowed the negotiations to go forward. But what has happened since? Not only have strong viewsbeen expressed by members of Parliament, but opinions have been enunciated by the press in this city that have not given a fair representation of the subject. Reports have been published that have misled the people with regard to the inquiries that have been made by responsible officers at the request of Ministers. If the proposal of the Government is defeated, well and good. It is admitted that Parliament can do as it likes. It is omnipotent within certain lines.
– If the New South Wales Parliament had not attempted to dominate this Parliament, there would have been no trouble.
– The New South Wales Parliament is not in a position to dominate this Parliament, nor has it attempted to do so. It has been said that the land at YassCanberra would not feed a . goat. Are honorable senators who make that statement aware that there are 164,000 sheep in the area?
– That is news indeed.
– I hold in my hand a document furnished by the Department of Home Affairs, which shows the number of stations and number of stock on each station within the Federal Capital territory. I have before me another document giving the area of each station. The figures W 111 be interesting to honorable senators. They are ;is follows -
– At what date did these stations carry that number of stock?
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD. - I saw these papers for the first time yesterday. They are dated September 14, 1910.
– I was camped at Yass-Canberra for a week, and did not see a thousand sheep.
– At any rate, these figures show that the goat of which we have heard so much must be a very greedy animal, or else a fairy goat.
– It was Mr. Hughes in the Legislative Council of New South Wales who said that the country would not feed a goat.
– I am not responsible for what Mr. Hughes says.
– I did not say that some of the country would not carry a goat, but I simply quoted Mr. Hughes, who ‘said that of the 900 square miles, 565 would not feed a goat.
– The figures which I have quoted are authoritative, and cannot be denied.
– I have .no hesitation in challenging them.
– I dare say that the honorable senator will also challenge the figures in regard to the rainfall, as he would challenge anything else that told ‘ against his own side. Is there any reason why we should depart from the bargain which has been entered into? Surely New South Wales is entitled to have this matter settled? Ten years is ample time for its determination. I am’ quite satisfied that this Parliament in fixing upon Yass-Canberra chose the best site available, and I am prepared to abide by that choice.:
Senate adjourned at 10.1 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 14 September 1910, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1910/19100914_senate_4_57/>.