1st Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
SenatorKEATING. - I desire to ask the Vice- President of the Executive Council, without notice, if it is true, as stated in to-day’s Argus, that the Minister for Defence has arranged to provide, at the expense of the Commonwealth, railway passes for riflemen officially attending the competition at Sydney, and if so, will a similar arrangement be made in connexion with steamer passes for riflemen from the States of Tasmania and Western Australia.
– So far as regards the riflemen from South Australia, the statement is true, and I have not the slightest doubt that a similar concession will be given to the riflemen of the other States.
– Will the honorable gentleman make a promise?
– I have not. seen my colleagues, but I think I can safely say that it will be done ; because in common fairness it should be done.
– I desire to ask the Attorney-General, without notice, whether the regulations under the Electoral Act will be laid before the Senate by to-morrow?
– I think that I shall be able to lay the regulations on the table to-morrow ; but in any case, I shall fulfil my promise to lay them on the table before the session terminates.
Senator MACKELLAR made and sub scribed the oa th of allegiance.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the AttorneyGeneral,upon notice -
In reference to the notice issued by the Railway Department of Victoria to their employes to refrain from taking any part in parliamentary elections, as shown in Senator McGregor’s question appearing in the Journals of the Senate, 19th August, 1903-
– This matter has been inadvertently overlooked, but inquiry has now been instituted, and the result will be communicated to the honorable senator as soon as possible.
– Will it take three months more?
Bill read a third time.
SUPPLEMENTARY APPROPRIATION BILL (1901-2 and 1902-3).
Bill read a third time.
SUPPLEMENTARY APPROPRIATION (WORKS AND BUILDINGS) BILL (1901-2 and 1902-3).
Bill read a third time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This is a Bill for the purpose of expressing the determination of Parliament with regard to the site of the future seat of government. I know that there is very great diversity of opinion as to where the site shall be, but I hope, I may say I believe, that there is a distinct majority in Parliament in favour of coming to some decision on the question without any unnecessary delay. I do not shut my eyes to the fact - it would be useless to do so - that there are some who do not desire that the question shall be settled.
– Senator Dobson?
– I do not mention any names or indicate any persons but we know that there are some persons who would be pleased if in consequence of any difference of opinion which might arise and become emphasized, the determination of thequestion should stand over indefinitely. But I think there is a majority who will agree with me that it is desirable that the question should be settled as soon as possible. The Constitution lays down with clearness and definiteness the limits within which the capital site must be fixed, that is to say, within the territory of New South Wales, and at least 100 miles distant from Sydney. For years I have held the opinion that it is a most undesirable thing that the capital of a Federation should be coincident with the capital of any one of the component States. I think it should be recognised as one of the essentials of a Federation, that its capital should be in some neutral territory. That is recognised, I take it, by the provision in the Constitution. We may admit that the provision contains a compromise, but still it is a perfectly clear adoption of that principle. That being so, and it having been laid down in the Constitution that we shall determine upon the capital and commence to administer the government from the site chosen, it seems to me to be perfectly clear that there should be no unnecessary delay ; because if the Constitution declares, as it does in its very terms, that it is desirable that the selection of a site should take place, then any delay in bringing about that result is in effect depriving the people of the Commonwealth of those advantages. There is another reason that appeals very strongly to me as to why we should settle this matter ; and that is that any delay that can be avoided is distinctly unfair to New South Wales. The Government of New South Wales are. I understand, at the present time entirely friendly, and inclined to give all the help they possibly can towards effecting a settlement. At the request of the Commonwealth Government, they are reserving from sale :>r occupation lands around a number of the suggested sites. But we can hardly expect that the New South Wales Government will continue such an arrangement indefinitely. If they are reserving lands around the suggested sites for the capital, in order to diminish the expenses which will have to be incurred, it is right that at the earliest possible time we should be in a position to tell them which site we have decided upon, so that we may get the advantage which arises from the lands having been reserved around the site chosen. The Government of New South Wales will then be free to sell or dispose of the lands in the neighbourhood of the other sites in any way they think fit. Another reason occurs to me, and it is this : We have already seen that there has been a good deal of competition on behalf of the people who are interested - not improperly interested - in various ways in the particular districts that have been named as probable locations for the capital city. It is very undesirable that anything in the way of speculation in lands should be encouraged. The longer the settlement is delayed the more probable it is that conflicting interests will spring up, which will make a settlement of the question more and more difficult, and perhaps may result, as has been the case in other countries, in bargainings which will be very much to be deplored. On a recent occasion when I was speaking upon this subject, I referred to what had taken place in the United States of America in reference to the difficulty that attended the choosing of the capital there, and I alluded to the fact that ultimately the decision was the result of a bargain to obtain political influence for the purpose of carrying a measure of a totally different character. It is very undesirable that there should be anything of that kind in connexion with our experience in this matter ; and that is a very good reason why we should avoid any further delay. It is said sometimes that we should go very slowly in connexion with this subject, in order to make perfectly sure that when we select the site it shall be the very best possible site obtainable. We roust all agree that it is very desirable that sufficient time should be taken to insure that a wise decision will be come to. But I claim that ample opportunities have been given for that. The territory of New South Wales is not an unknown land. I suppose that in connexion with the pastoral and agricultural occupation of that State every square mile has been surveyed, and is pretty well known. We have had this question before us ever since the Federal Parliament commenced early in 1901. In fact, before that time Mr. Alexander Oliver had made his report, and it was presented to the New South Wales Parliament some time in the year 1900. As soon as this Parliament commenced to sit, the members of it were supplied with copies of Mr. Oliver’s report ; and we may reasonably assume that from that time they have been interesting themselves in the subject. In January, 1902, an invitation was issued to the whole of the members of the Senate to go and inspect some fourteen of the sites which had been .considered by Mr. Oliver, and which might be said to be in the running for the Federal Capital. A number of senators went - I think twenty-seven altogether.
– No, fifteen was the maximum.
– I believe there were twenty-seven altogether who took part in the trip, though all of them did not visit all of the sites. Some visited some sites, and others visited others. The members of the House of Representatives have had a similar opportunity. Since then we have had another report by Mr. Oliver ; and the Commonwealth Government also appointed a Commission of experts, who made an exhaustive examination of some of the suggested sites.
– It is almost inconceivable that, after all these pains having been taken to acquaint ourselves with this subject, there can be any locality having merits entirely superior to those which have been inspected which have been overlooked. We have no right to assume that any site particularly suited to become the Federal Capital has not been examined some time during the last three years with a view to ascertaining what were its merits. That being so, I can hardly see what good can result from any longer delaying the settlement of the question. Of course, if honorable senators are going to devote themselves to balancing advantages and disadvantages, they can go on endlessly. We know very well that we shall. never find any site any- where which will combine all the advantages that are sought and none of the disadvantages. Such a thing is physically impossible. Some people tell us that they want a site on the top of a mountain, and they also want it to be provided with plenty of running water. “We are not likely to find any extensive rivers on the tops of mountains. If they want a district which is extremely fertile, with an extraordinary depth of soil, they will probably find that wherever those conditions exist the sun is extremely hot in the summer time. It is not likely that a climate will be found anywhere which is warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
– Except the garden of Eden
– I do not think that those conditions would be found to exist even in the garden of Eden. It being assumed that it is impossible to find any site which will have all the advantages and no disadvantages, as business men what we have to do is to try to decide upon that site which presents upon the whole the greatest number of advantages and the fewest disadvantages. The question of accessibility is continually coming up. We can see perfectly clearly that in the matter of accessibility every circumstance that is an advantage to the capital of one State must be a disadvantage to another. If we put out of consideration all of the capitals of the States except Sydney and Melbourne, is it not perfectly clear that if we are going to choose any site anywhere, the nearer it is to Sydney the further it must be away from Melbourne % We cannot find any site that stands on the top line with regard to accessibility with respect to every one of the capitals. There must be a certain amount of compromise - of give and take - in this matter.
– Cannot we get a site exactly half way 1
– We might; but the honorable senator will see that there will be disadvantages, even with regard to such a site. My proposition is simply this - that the nearer we get to one capital city the further away we get from another. That is absolutely undeniable. We have also to bear in mind that individual senators are looking at this question from two points of view. An honorable senator may look at it from the point of view of the interests of his own particular State, or he may look at it from the point of view of the interests of the whole Commonwealth; if he looks at it from the point of view of his own State he may prefer one site, whereas if he looks at it from the point of view of the whole Commonwealth, he may prefer another.
-Col. Neild. - He would prefer Lyndhurst from the Commonwealth point of view.
– I do not know why the honorable senator should “ barrack “ against the Bill. It is very bad taste on his part at all events. If we are going toenter upon this question with the desire to come to some arrangement, I think that each one of us should have regard in the first place to the opinions of those persons who are particularly qualified to judge. We have the reports of the commission of experts and of Mr. Oliver - of course, we cannot leave him out. ‘ We have also the opinions of our fellow senators who have perhaps made a closer inspection of these localities than others of us have been able to make. We are also bound to give due weight to the views of those who have a right to decide this matter - that is to say, the members of Parliament generally. I regret that the proposition that was made by the Government in the first instance - that the Senate should meet the other House in Conference before any name was put into the Bill was not acceded to. I think it was the right way to come to an agreement upon the subject ; because we should have been more likely to agree upon a site before we entered into any discussion upon the measure than can be the case afterwards. If that had been done we should probably have had to consider a Bill having in it a name which would have been the choice of the whole of the members of this Parliament sitting together. However, the Senate did not agree to that proposition, although there were a large number of senators in favour of it, and it was only lost by a small majority. That opportunity has gone, and it is now a matter of history that a blank in the. Bill introduced by the Government has been filled as the result of a vote that was taken in another place. Consequently, we now have one name in the Bill. There are other provisions in the measure, to which I have no doubt that the Senate will give due and proper attention when we come to discuss its provisions in Committee. If we are going to carry out the intention of the Constitution and select any site, an agreement must be come to. But to arrive at an agreement we have to get the two Houses into accord : and each House is constituted of a number of persons holding different opinions, looking at thequestion from different points of view - some from the point of view of Commonwealth interests, and, perhaps, some from the point of view of State interests, lt is extremely difficult to arrive at an agreement under these circumstances. I think, however, that the difficulty is not insuperable. If we approach the question in the true spirit of compromise, and with an honest desire to settle the matter, we ought to be able to come to a conclusion during this session. If we can do so, it will be very satisfactory, as we shall thus leave the hands of Parliament free next session for the very important business which must then be discussed.
– Lord Eldon said, “Having doubted what my judgment should be for twenty years, I see no reason for further suspending my decision.” The Government, having doubted what they should do for three years, apparently see no reason for further suspending their decision. Just before the present Parliament expires they bring down one of the most important matters which we could by any possibility be called upon to determine, and the settlement of the question is to be hurried through to gratify some Ministerial pledges, in which there can be no real and true integrity, otherwise they would have been redeemed long before the present time.
– This is a wild shriek of liberty.
– It is true.
– I do not propose to ally myself in the slightest degree with Victorian representatives in connexion with this matter. I am expressing my own opinion. So far as this Bill itself is concerned, if it is carried by the Senate it will be absolutely valueless, and the work will have to be done by the next Parliament, and not by us at all. I propose shortly to consider how I have arrived at that conclusion. The Federal Capital site is to be on property that shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth. It is inevitable, therefore, that we cannot do what is here proposed until we have secured the Federal territory. I do not see why, on the face of it, we may not express an opinion, though it may be an abstract opinion, in order to lead to inquiries to find out what is the best we could do. If this had been an abstract motion instead of a Bill there might have been more to be said in favour of it. But we are not in a position to pass a Bill fixing the Federal Capital site on land that has been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth. The words of the Constitution are : “ shall have been granted to or acquired by.”
– Surely the territory will not be granted until we select the locality ?
– I have said that if this were an abstract proposition intending to lead to some inquiry, I should not have been against it. But when we have to deal with a Bill which says that the Federal Capital shall be established in a certain place, I say that the Bill is absolutely useless, and should not be passed at the present time. The words of the Constitution, as I have said, are “ shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth.” Now, the word “grant” refers to what comes from the Crown. It refers to what New South Wales has to give, because the condition of the Constitution is that the New South Wales Government shall grant to the Commonwealth, without remuneration, the Crown lands which the Commonwealth may require. If Crown lands only had to be taken for the purpose, there would not be very much difficulty in connexion with the subject ; but directly we get beyond the words “granted to,” and come to the words “ acquired by,” we must discover how we are going to acquire land. There is no provision in the Constitution for acquiring. The Constitution is absolutely silent on the subject. It leaves it by implication for us to pass legislation by which we carr acquire land, and I do not say that the implication is not sufficient^ strong to warrant us in passing such legislation.
– Does the honorable and learned senator think that we can acquire territory by our own legislation in the same way that we could acquire a piece of land for a post-office 1
– No ; T think that the words “acquired by “ in this section of the Constitution imply the authority to acquire ; but legislation is . required to give them effect. We must have an Act of Parliament authorizing us to acquire, and defining the method of acquiring.
– .Does this not imply also a cession from New South Wales 1
– I do not think so. The view which occurs to me is that when the section says “ shall have been acquired “ it implies the power to acquire, but it has to be exercised legislatively. The question we have now to consider is whether we have assumed that power legislatively, and if we have, what is the effect of our legislation I That we have passed no Act specially to deal with this matter is beyond question. We have never attended to it ; as a matter of fact we have never thought of it. We have passed an Act called the Property for Public Purposes Acquisition Act to enable us to acquire land for post-offices and property of that description ; but we never dreamt of extending that legislation to the acquisition of Federal territory. That Act is intended for the purpose of the special acquisitions required by the Commonwealth for special purposes. We never thought when passing the Bill that it would be extended to such a purpose as this.
-Col. Neild. - The question was raised when the Property for Public Purposes Acquisition Bill was before the Senate, and it was discussed then.
– I do not think so.
– It was said at the time that the Act could not be extended to the acquisition of Federal territory.
– Exactly. I always understood that it was distinctly denied that the operation of that Act was to be extended to cover the acquisition of 100 square miles, 1,000 square miles, or the whole, of New South Wales, whatever it might be. It was intended for small acquisitions for Commonwealth purposes. It was repudiated generally in the Senate that it could have any such extension as is now suggested. But, assuming, for the sake of argument, that it does apply, what is the position? Away goes this Bill, and any possible effect it might have; because, although there is a power under the Property for Public Purposes Acquisition Act for the Governor-General in Council to declare in the Gazette that he takes certain land for public purposes, and it is also provided that the mere fact of that notification is an acquisition of the land ; there is also a provision under which the matter has to come before Parliament, and the proposal must lay upon the table of Parliament, if in session, for thirty days, and if not in session, then for thirty days in the next session of Parliament. If, during those thirty days, Parliament disagrees with the proposition, the title reverts to the persons who owned the land before, and the notification becomes void. Can we have any words which could more completely make a dead letter of this measure than the words of the only Act, if it applies at all, under which property can be acquired by the Commonwealth 1 Assuming that this Bill is carried, the Government would not dare to incur any considerable expense under it, because the proposal made must be laid upon the table for thirty days after the meeting of the next Parliament. And if the next Parliament decides that the property is not to be acquired, away goes the whole thing. No Government would dare in these circumstances, knowing the feelings and sentiments prevailing in regard to the Federal Capital, to risk their position by incurring any considerable expense.
– On the same principle the next Parliament could repeal any Act we passed.
– Repealing is different to repudiation.
– I quite agree with Senator McGregor. I am only dealing with the possibility of carrying this proposal out. At the fag end of this Parliament, we have thrust upon us the decision of one of the most important questions which we could be asked to consider, and we are asked to hurry it through, and if we do, we can effect nothing. We shall, however, enable Sir William Lyne to go to his constituents and say that he has redeemed his pledges.
– That is not a fair statement to make.
– I object to these references to fair statements. I mean to say that I never make any statements which are not fair. I attack no man.
– This would come to something if the next Parliament agreed to the acquisition of the land.
– Exactly. And it would come to something if the next Parliament had the opportunity of initiating the business ; but it would then come to something in a proper and legitimate way, and not by our saddling the next Parliament at the dead end of the last session of this Parliament with the performance of a function which we cannot perform, and which they will have to perform for themselves. So much for what I may call the constitutional position. Senator McGregor always admires me as a constitutional lawyer ; while disagreeing with me, the honorable senator always applauds. Coming to another point of view, this Bill, as it comes before us, is a Bill not to take 100 square miles, but to take 1,000 square miles. It is founded on the Constitution, which says, that the area shall not be less than 100 square miles. We should have settled the Federal Capital site some time ago, if the Kilkenny cats in the shape of the New South Wales people, had not been quarrelling amongst themselves all the time, and had been able to agree to anything.
Honorable Senators. - No.
– We should have settled this matter long ago, and the Government might have been clear of all the trouble if representatives from New South Wales could have arrived at any agreement amongst themselves.
– The honorable senator knows that that is not so.
– They have not arrived at any agreement amongst themselves now.
– They are pretty unanimous to-day.
Senator Sir JOHN DOWNER. - There is not a single man of them who, when he speaks, will not speak against his own conscience. Senator Neild, in interjecting just now, did so against his own conscience.
– I do not think the honorable and learned senator should say that.
– I withdraw that, and I humbly apologize to Senator Neild.
– The honorable and learned senator had better withdraw himself.
– Let us consider how much they are agreed amongst themselves at the present time. The House of Representatives sends us a Bill which offers to all Australia some means of getting to the Federal Capital quite apart from the wish or pleasure of the Government of New South Wales. What is the position of the Government of New South Wales? They desire that the Federal Capital shall be a comfortable little cul-de-sac in the centre of New South Wales - a capital the means of access to and exit from which shall depend on the legislation of the State Government.
– If we choose Tumut?
– Yes. That is the cul-de-sac of which I am speaking. But if Tumut be chosen, and the Federal area extended to the boundary, so that all Australia may be able to get in and out, New South Wales will decline to have anything to do with it.
– Sir John See says that we shall not get the area extended to the boundary.
– And Sir John See speaks the truth.
- Sir John See does speak the truth.
– Does not Sir John See always speak the truth?
– “ Sufficient for the day- . “ I do not say that Sir John See does not always speak the truth ; but I am perfectly satisfied that the great opposition to Bombala in favour of Tumut is because the latter is a close borough in the middle of New South Wales, while the former extends to the boundary and leaves all Australia means of access and exit. I am strengthened in that opinion when I see the determined action of the Government of New South Wales. Both Sir John See and the leader of the Opposition, Mr. Carruthers, take the same view, namely, that the Bill before us is wrong and unconstitutional ; and I agree with them in that opinion. When the provision was inserted in the Constitution that the Federal area should not be less than 100 square miles, the meaningwas that it should be about 100 miles, though not less. Let me bring the argument in favour of the extended area to a reductio ad absurdum. If the Constitution means that the area may be any size we choose, the Bill before us could authorize the acquisition of the whole of New South Wales.
– Except within the 100 miles radius of Sydney.
– That is so. If the words of the Constitution mean that the area may be as much larger than 100 miles as we choose, subject to the distance limit from Sydney, it means, as I say, that we could acquire the whole of the New South Wales territory.
– We cannot acquire the area without agreement with the Government of New South Wales.
– Certainly we can ; the Government of New South Wales have nothing to do with the matter. I do not agree with the view that there must be an agreement with the Government of New South Wales ; on the contrary, I am firmly of opinion that we have power to take the territory.
– The Bill before us only expresses a desire for an area of 1,000 square miles.
– The present Bill is merely the basis of negotiation.
– I am talking about the law as set forth in the Constitution. I suppose nobody will contend that the meaning of the words in the Constitution is that we have the power to acquire the whole of New South Wales, except that part within the 100 miles radius of Sydney. Therefore the only meaning the words “ not less than 100 square miles “ can have is that the area must be about 100 miles, but not less. The meaning is that the area may be 110 miles, 120 miles, or 140 miles, but certainly not 200 miles, because the last would be doubling the main proposition. I, therefore, agree entirely with Sir John See and Mr. Carruthers, that we have no power to take the extended area proposed ; and for that reason I am entirely opposed to the Tumut site.
– And to any other site.
– That is rather begging the question, is it not ? The honorable senator says that I am entirely opposed to Tumut or any other site-
– And entirely in favour of delay.
– Will the honorable senator follow me for a moment? I am opposed to Tumut or any other site which will have the effect of creating an inner circle in New South Wales to which the rest of Australia can be admitted only as the legislation of New South Wales chooses to direct. Whatever place is chosen must extend to the boundary, so that everybody may have free access, not by means of the legislation of the Government of New South
Wales, but by means of the legislation of all Australia. A comfortable snug little settlement, in regard to which the legislation of New South Wales can operate as the State Government pleases, would be opposed to the intention of the Constitution and repugnant to the feelings of the people of the whole of Australia. For the reasons I have stated, I am entirely opposed to the Bill and I shall support any amendment which will have the effect of shelving the question. I shall support the Bombala site.
– Simply for the reason that the choice of that site would mean the shelving of the question.
– No ; I prefer Bombala, because the area extends to the boundary.
– If the area does not extend to the boundary of Victoria, I should make it so extend. But I shall not agree to any territory in New South Wales which leaves the State Government free and unfettered control over the means of access and exit.
– Which leaves the State Government free to lock the gates of the Federal territory.
– I understand and sympathize with the view taken by the New South Wales Government. I admire people who are able to carry out a policy of profound and utter selfishness ; but, personally, I am humbly trying to prevent the present efforts in that direction being successful. Any legislation we pass now can only be an expression of opinion, and, in any case, it is brought before us too late, when we have had no proper opportunity of considering the question. Whatever legislation we pass now will have to be ratified by the next Parliament before it can have any effect.
– Will the honorable and learned senator give an illustration of any law which could be passed by the Parliament of New South Wales, and which would have the effect of “ locking the gates of the Federal territory ”?
– The New South Wales Government could rip up the railway lines, and we could not prevent them.
– Senator Higgs asks me whether I know anything in the history of New South Wales to induce rae to suppose that if we give the Government of that State a power to which they have no right, they will abuse it in the future. The people of New South Wales are my best friends, and I have no reason to complain of them in any shape or form.
– You are showing a beautiful feeling of friendship now.
– The President every day before the commencement of business reads a prayer which contains the words “ lead tis not into temptation.” Elevated as my opinion is of those gentlemen on the benches opposite, I feel that I am a sort of guardian of their consciences, and I shall be no party to any attempt to unduly strain the Constitution so as to tempt them to depart from the high line of rectitude which I have always observed on their part in the past. This is not a question of sentiment, but a question of hard business ; and, to me, it appears to be ridiculous to pass the Bill at the present time.
- Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - I am very sorry that Senator Downer should have to admit having been led into temptation. I have a strong personal regard for Senator Downer, judging him by his public statements reported in the press, and I regret that probably the last speech which he may deliver hero as a senator should be such as to leave a blemish on his reputation.
– It is the best speech Senator Downer ever made.
– Yes, from the stand-point-
– Of Australia.
.- When the dog show has done howling, I shall refer to a leading article from the columns of a newspaper which rules the political destinies of certain gentlemen who sit in this Chamber. Against the opinions expressed by that newspaper those honorable senators dare not deliver a speech or cast a vote.
– Is that the Sydney Daily Telegraph %
– I am referring to a newspaper which adopts the phraseology of the dog show, and in its leading columns declares that the representatives of the. greatest, oldest, and most important State in the Commonwealth are “ not to be trusted with the trial of a dog.”
– The Age must have thought that it was on its trial.
.- Very likely.
– The language of the honorable senator is not in order.
– I should give a dog a fairer chance by having it tried in New South Wales instead of in Victoria. Passing from that, however, I turn again to Senator Downer, who professed to be delivering a judicial speech, though he had his tongue in his cheek.
– Order !
– I express precisely the same idea in language to which, I think, Mr. President, you will take no exception, when I say that Senator Downer spoke very seriously with a broad smile on his face.
– I meant what I said.
– Surely Senator Neild does not expect Senator Downer to speak with his tongue hanging out.
– As Senator Higgs is not addressing the Chamber, I expect him to keep his tongue within his mouth.
– I must ask honorable senators not to interrupt so much.
– I am not at all in a hurry. This matter has been before Parliament for three years, and it will not matter much if I occupy three or four hours this afternoon. But I am not going to be howled down by any political dingo that ever lived.
– Such expressions are not creditable. Every sentence is improper.
– It is Paddington twaddle.
– I really must ask the honorable senator who is speaking not to indulge in such strong language. I must also ask other honorable senators not to interrupt and endeavour to lead the senator who is speaking off the track.
– I seconded the motion for the second reading of the Bill. I am in favour of its second reading from the same point of view as that taken by the Government during the past two sessions, when they pressed the the second reading of measures, leaving the Committee to do what they liked with them afterwards.
– The Government have never done that.
– But in supporting the second reading I am certainly not prepared to support all that is contained in the Bill ; and if amendments are notmade in Committee I shall not be found voting against the third reading. To begin with, I find that the Bill contains a provision - inserted, judging by the public press, at the instance of a Minister of the Crown - which nullifies the whole report on which it is supposed to be based. We find that at the instance of the Minister for Home Affairs, in whose Department this matter properly lies, although the Bill has been fathered by another Minister, this amendment was inserted in clause 2 -
Provided that the site shall bewithin a distance of twenty-five miles from Tumut, and at an altitude of not less than 1,500 feet above the sea!
One of the most important features in a site to be selected for the capital is the question of water supply. And to those who have seen the Commonwealth from end to end, in almost every one of its sections and in almost everyone of its acres, afflicted with the scourge of drought until quite recently, the question of water supply should be a paramount consideration. The Bill which we are asked to pass by Ministers who for three years have neglected their duty in this matter, contains, at the instance of a Minister, a provision which nullifies every proposition contained in the report of the Royal Commission in regard to water supply. The report suggests a water supply for a city at an altitude of 1,050 feet; and the Ministry deliberately inserted in the Bill the provision to which I refer. If it was not done deliberately, it was done scandalously, because no Ministry has the right to throw off their airy nothings, whatever licence may be allowed to private members. To throw in an increased altitude of 450 feet, and thereby nullify every hope of a gravitation water supply to the site is a proposition which cannot for one moment be deemed creditable to the Minister whoproposed the amendment, or the Ministry who accepter] it. If the Minister for Home Affairs moved the amendment, without knowing that it would destroy the water supply for the capital site, or without caring whether it would, his action was not creditable to him personally, nor was it creditable to the Ministry that they accepted the Bill in such a form. But if it was done designedly, and that is the only other proposition–
– He climbed up and christened the hill on which the reservoir is to be placed.
– If the Minister for Home Affairs is going to discharge the functions of Moses to the Federal Capital, and supply it with water, that is another matter ; but I do not think that that is included in the Bill. Such an amendment must involve one of three things - recklessness, ignorance, or design. Which was it? All three are equally against the possibility of supplying the capital site with water.
– It shows that there is no proper time to consider this important question.
– Exactly ; but the honorable and learned senator should remember that if there is one member of this Parliament who is responsible for endeavouring, in season and out of season, particularly the latter, to delay the selection of the capital site, it is himself. And if he has any respect for the high traditions that are supposed to give a halo to the subject of Australian Federation, he would do his reputation the highest honour by playing a different part from that which he seeks to play.
– That shuts him up.
– I am going to speak in a few minutes.
.- If the honorable and learned senator moves certain remarkable propositions as an amendment, my mouth will not be shut under the new Standing Orders. He will perhaps bear that fact in mind and moderate the transports in which he sometimes indulges. With reference to the remarkable, and, I think, deplorable, deliverance of Senator Downer - he wanted to catch his train, and we must make allowance for his action - he laid down two propositions, one of which I submit was a scandal on every State in the Commonwealth. He said that he would not vote for any area that materially exceeded the 100 square miles provided by the Constitution, and from the legal stand-point he argued that the phrase, “ not less than 100 square miles,” means 100 square miles or thereabouts ; no doubt he was correct in that contention. Do we not know that every grant or transfer says that the land comprises such and such an area, “more or less.” When the phrase “ more or less “ is used, is it ever intended that it shall mean ten times as much as the area stated ? That is an argument which is used by some of those who are clamouring, not for a site for a Federal Capital, but for a Utopia in which they can practise Bellamyism. The proposition to claim ten times the area which is named or referred to in the Constitution is not one which reflects credit on any one who professes to be loyal to the Constitution. But whilst Senator Downer maintained that attitude - which, from the legal stand-point, I suppose no one will attempt to controvert - he laid down another proposition which was a scandal on the whole of the Commonwealth. He said he would give no vote for any site for a Federal Capital that was not equally accessible from every State in the Commonwealth. He knows perfectly well, if he knows anything, and I suppose a gentleman of his experience must know, that such a site is absolutely unobtainable in Australia.
– He did not say “ every State.”
– He meant, I suppose, a seaport.
– Senator Downer said “ every State,” and Hansard will bear me out.
– A seaport is accessible from every State.
D- If my honorable and learned friend will only cease from such unwise interruptions he will know that there is no capital site marked on the map or referred to in the report of the Commissioners that is within sufficient nearness to the coast of Australia as to permit of an access to the sea without the size being immensely extended beyond the area of 100 square miles. “What did we hear a little time ago ? Only last year we heard a clamour for a capital site extending from Mount Kosciusko to the sea. “What does that mean ? That is a claim for 3,000 square miles. The claim that is set out in this Bill is moderation itself compared with the claim of the enthusiastic picnickers. But if I am told that this is not claimed, I reply that the word “should,” in clause 2 - a weak attempt to disguise with a thin coating the cloven foot - means a great deal more than some people would have attached to it. Leaving out the unimportant words which are not required to show what the intention is, I shall read the clause as it stands as applying to this proposed grant -
It is hereby determined - “Who can possibly say that the word “ determined “ means merely an intimation of a desire or longing, as some would have us read it? -
It is hereby determined that the seat of government of the Commonwealth shall be at or near Tumut and the territory granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth …. should contain an area of not less than 1,000 square miles.
– It does not say that it shall contain.
And shall extend to the River Murray and the River Murrumbidgee.
– No, “should extend.”
– I like to meet with an intelligent interruption, but I do not know that I luxuriate in interruptions that represent an absence of acquaintance with the subject under discussion. It is hereby determined that there is to be not a piece of land for a Federal Capital ; not a piece of land for a Federal territory, but 1,000 square miles for a Bellamy Utopia ; and if that cannot be obtained every BellamyUtopian will join with advocates of the Victorian dog and poultry show caucus and vote against the Bill. Senator Downer was pleased to say that all the difficulties connected with this matter were due to the representatives of New South Wales, and yet in the next breath - for the first time almost since he has occupied a seat here - he turned on his ministerial joss and publicly flogged it ; he attacked the Ministry of which he has been so faithful and useful a” follower. But I have the report of a speech which he made here so far back as June, 1901, on my motion in favour of the appointment of a joint committee of the two Houses to winnow out the number of proposed sites, then totalling fifteen. He opposed the motion, and when an amendment was moved he opposed the amendment. He would not have anything done which would in the smallest degree conflict with the personal and political convenience of the Administration to which he gave such undeviating support. The honorable and learned senator is reported as saying “ I stand by the Constitution” - just as if the Constitution wanted to be propped up by him ! Just as though it were not big enough to stand “on its own “ ! We all know the services which Senator Downer gave to the building up of the Federation. I should be the last living person in the Commonwealth to depreciate or derogate in the slightest degree from the great services which he rendered to the cause as a member of the Federal Convention and of the drafting Committee. But when I make that small and respectful tribute to Senator Downer’s services, I regret very deeply that his speech to-day - which may be one of his last, if not his last, as a member of the Senate - was one in which he indicated that this subject had been neglected for three years. Senator Downer has for three years followed a Government that has, on his own showing, neglected this subject, and I challenge him to turn up the pages of Hansard and to show that in his place in the Senate he has ever uttered one word to indicate a wish that it should be -dealt with. He has been here, if not as a chock on the wheel, at least as a cumberer of the ground, and now he stands up in his place to deprecate the fulfilment of the contract which he himself, as a member of the Convention, is under an obligation to see fulfilled.
– The Convention did not insert that phrase in the Constitution.
– But the people of Australia accepted the Constitution as it now stands.
.- The Constitution arrogates to this Chamber a title that was borne by the most dignified and the most resplendent assemblies whose doings and records adorn the pages of the history of the civilized world ; and I hope that, apart from a little badinage, the members of this Senate will not only bear that title with dignity, but emulate the wisdom and the justice and the high public spirit that have adorned the Senates of the older nations. I am not in the least degree put out by unruly interruptions ; they merely compel me to speak a little longer.
– I will ask honorable senators not to interrupt. It does not do any good.
.- It does not do any good in the direction of brevity.
– It conduces to levity.
– T make great allowances for Senator Stewart, because this may be his last appearance in the Senate - from a different cause than applies in the case of Senator Downer.
– That is the reason why we are making such allowances for the honorable senator.
.- The honorable senator who challenges me with that remark has been wandering through the length and breadth of Victoria on his own behalf for weeks, with the hope that he may be again returned to the Senate ; whilst I have not considered it to be even necessary to indicate to the tens of thousands of electors who sent me here whether I am prepared to serve them again or not. It shows very ill manners on the honorable senator’s part - when he is struggling in the throes of a distressing contest with a distressing outlook - to make such a remark.
– The honorable senator must not divert from the question before the Chair ; though I do not blame him, as he has been met by so many interjections. These interjections only lead to delay ; they draw an honorable senator off the track, and they lead to remarks that would be better unsaid.
– Having indicated my support of the second reading of this Bill with certain exceptions, I now desire to state that when we come to the word “ Tumut,” which I suppose some honorable senator intends to propose to excise, it is my intention to vote for its retention ; but when we come to the provision with regard to the 1,000 square miles area, I shall adduce several reasons for voting against it.
– Then the honorable senator agrees with me as to that.
– If Senator Downer had been present he would have heard that I entirely agreed with the legal proposition which he laid down in reference to that point, whilst I entirely disagreed with the illegal proposition which helaid down with reference to placing the site and the seat of government in an impossible position. Is there a justification for such a slur on the mother State, as Senator Downer unquestionably cast upon New South Wales, when he contended that though in the interests of the Commonwealth it was necessary to establish the Federal Capital within the bounds of New South Wales, where the honorable senator knows the Constitution provides that it is to be, there is nothing in the Constitution to provide that it shall be in an area that is bounded by a second State. What has New South Wales done that it should be said that she is not to be trusted with a right of access to the Federal Territory ? Neither in this Chamber, nor in the other House, nor in any place in the Commonwealth, has such a scandalous charge been made against New South Wales as Senator Downer has made against the mother State. A charge of that kind is little short of a charge of public infamy against the whole community. To say that a State of the Commonwealth is not to be trusted, is to defame that State. Has any member of the New South Wales delegation alleged or indicated that any one of the other States was not to be trusted 1
– Yes ; time after time it has been said that Victoria is not to be trusted.
– Why did the New South Wales people want the capital in that State? Why did they insist on that?
.- If Senator Downer, at this late hour, is going to challenge the Constitution, of which he was one of the framers, I must ask him to answer his own conundrums. I opposed the Convention Bill, and I am not ashamed to say that I opposed it. 1 have heard enough this afternoon in this Senate to convince me, if ever I wanted convincing, that it was a deplorable thing for New South Wales that she ever consented to place her destinies in the hands of some of those who are now endeavouring to wring her political neck.
– We are dealing with the capital site.
.- And the honorable senator wants a capital site that shall be nothing more nor less than a wedge of Victorian territory driven into the neigh bouring State of New South Wales. The whole trend of population iu Australia is eastward and northward, with the exception of those people who go to the far off golden shore of the Wild West ; but we are not discussing a Wild W est show this afternoon, though there have been times during the course of my remarks that made me somewhat doubtful, whether some of those interrupting me would not be more happily placed attending some amusement of the kind. I say again that the trend of population in Australia is eastward and northward.
– The drought has driven them back.
.- I thought the honorable senator was deprecating any one interfering with me, but the moment I enunciate a proposition, he starts to “yap.” The trend of population to which I have alluded is shown by the fact that the most southerly State on the mainland - Victoria - has for years past been depleted of the cream of her manhood who have gone some to the far West, but the greater number to people the great States of New South Wales and Queensland.
– She is sending her pioneers everywhere.
– Yes, because they cannot make a living at home.
– She owns half New South Wales.
.- I am thankful that New South Wales does not own the honorable senator, because he would be no credit to her.
– I am also thankful, because I should be in bad company.
.- The honorable senator has tried half the States to get a living, and now let him stop where he is and hold his peace.
– The honorable senator will take his seat. I ask honorable senators to keep order, or I shall be compelled to take stringent steps to preserve order. The interruptions which have taken place this afternoon have far exceeded any which have hitherto taken place since the Senate came into existence. They have been largely of a personal character, they lead to retorts, and they do not tend to keep up the dignity of debate which has hitherto characterized the Senate.
Senator McGregor. - The speaker is intemperate, and we cannot help interjecting.
– Honorable senators interrupt and the speaker retorts.
.- I wish to be temperate. If honorable senators will pay themselves, if not the Chair, the compliment of proper conduct, I shall not be led into making retorts upon observations which lead to a waste of time, and break the concinnity of argument. For the fourth, fifth, or seventh time I repeat .that the trend of population is eastward and northward. The object I have in submitting that proposition is to follow it up by the argument that to squeeze the Federal Capital tothe furthest point to the south and the furthest point to the east to which it is possible to squeeze it, would mean the selection of a locality which, in the near future, and certainly in the far future, would be as much out of place as the capital of the Commonwealth as is the city of Brisbane out of place as the capital of Queensland. It is known to every one who has the faintest idea of Australian geography that Brisbane is in the far south-east corner of Queensland. It is within fifty miles of the border of New South Wales, and is almost on the sea coast. The only reason why it was placed inland at all was that when it was established as a convict settlement it was desired to have two tribes of cannibal blacks between the convict settlement and the sea in order to prevent the successful escape of convicts. The bones of those who did escape might be found picked clean, but that is all that could be found. The capital in Queensland is located, as I say, in the far south-east corner of the State, and no representative of Queensland will urge that it is in a position convenient to the great population of that vast and rapidly developing State. In like manner, to select a spot in the extreme south-east corner of New South Wales as the capital of the Commonwealth, is to select a spot that will fulfil for the Commonwealth exactly the conditions which are unhappily fulfilled by Brisbane as the capital of Queensland.
– There is no comparison.
.- Senator Playford objects to what I have said.
– If we fix the Federal Capital at Bombala, on the borders of Victoria, it would not follow that that would be an unsuitable spot so far as the Commonwealth is concerned.
– The honorable senator could not have followed what I said. I say that to fix the Federal Capital as far south and east as is possible, is to fix it as regards the Commonwealth in the same way as Brisbane is placed in regard to the State of Queensland. We should have to go somewhere about the Gippsland Lakes to find an exact geographical counterpart, but I am considering the legal possibilities under the Constitution. The Constitution declares that the capital shall be in New South Wales, and I say that if we locate it at the southeasterly limit we shall get as far from the main body of the people of the Commonwealth, and fromwhat in future will be the centre of the Commonwealth, as the law will permit us to go.
– It is no injury to the Commonwealth to do that.
– I hold that it is.
– About half-way between Melbourne and Sydney would be a convenient position.
– Perhaps my honorable friend believes that I am arguing against Tumut. I am not doing so. I propose to vote for Tumut, and I hope that Senator Playford and I will be found sitting on the same side in the division. I was referring more particularly to the clamour of those who desire to get as far to the south and east from Tumut as possible. I do not look upon Tumut as an ideal site. I do not think that it is the best site, and if Tumut is omitted from the Bill, I shall be prepared to vote for another site. I have no hesitation in saying that as the Commonwealth stands to-day, for centrality and for accessibility, Lyndhurst holds the first place, and I may add that unquestionably also in the matter of climate Lyndhurst holds first place.
– No, no.
– Senator Macfarlane has not seen half the sites, and is not in a position to make a comparison. I have seen them all. I have seen them as a member of the perambulating senators’ party, and I have also seen them at my own expense, visiting them one after the other, and spending a good deal of time in studying their characteristics. I have heard - and I have reason for saying what I am going to say now - that it is assumed that members of the Senate who have paid individual visits to the sites have been provided for at the public expense. I have been told that the Minister in whose hands this matter rests is supposed to have provided for my expenses in the visits I have paid to the different sites. I have not had the smallest communication with the Minister, nor have I done otherwise than visit the sites at my own expense of time, money, and trouble. I have done so not merely because I am a representative of New South Wales. I do not know that I have shown myself to be prejudiced in favour of New South Wales as against any of the other States in connexion with any matter of fair agreement. If I am taking the part of New South Wales to-day I am doing so, not only as a representative of the State, but as a representative of Australia, seeking to maintain a bargain not entered into by my consent or by my vote, but with the consent and by the votes of a majority of the people of Australia. I am not standing here, to use the eloquent phrase of the honorable and learned Attorney-General, “ To barrack for New South Wales.” If I am barracking at all it is for the fulfilment of an obligation under the Constitution.
– I thought the honorable senator was barracking against New South Wales.
.- The honorable and learned senator must have seen how unjust his suspicions were when I respectfully and humbly offered my services in seconding the motion for the second reading of this Bill. I say that I do not regard Tumut as an ideal site, and if so why do I under the circumstances express my intention to vote for it 1 There are six honorable senators in this Chamber who have more right to go into details of personal opinion than other members of the Senate. It must be recognised that representatives of New South Wales in the Senate are called upon to-day to give votes practically against eight sites within their own electorate, and .against the aspirations and wishes of the people residing in the localities of eight sites within their own electorate. All New South Wales is our electorate, and in giving a vote for one site I suppose we shall be alienating the good will of thousands of people connected with the other eight sites. We have to face what some persons might regard as a difficulty. I regard it only as, to a certain extent, a misfortune that one should be placed in the position of having to give a decision and a vote against the wishes and desires of so many who are looking to us hopefully. It is impossible for us to vote for each site. If I elect to give a vote for Tumut it is not, as I say, because I consider Tumut an ideal site either as regards climate, centrallity, or the future devolpment of Australia, but because the other Chamber by an overwhelming majority has decided in favour of Tumut, and I must, therefore, be prepared to make some sacrifice of my own opinion, and at the same time of the wishes of some thousands of my own constituents in order to do what ? Not to do anything for myself as a politician, not to achieve anything in particular for New South Wales, but in order to achieve so far as I can the fulfilment of one of the obligations of the Constitution, one of the obligations which the people of Australia took upon themselves when they voted for a Constitution which provided for the carrying into effect of such a proposal as that submitted by the AttorneyGeneral this afternoon. If I thought that the votes to be recorded in favour of other sites were sufficiently evenly balanced to afford a likelihood of some other conclusion being arrived at in the selection of a site which would be more central and more advantageous in various ways, I should willingly give a vote to bring about such a result. But having regard to the fact that the matter has been decided elsewhere to an extent that appears to me to represent finality, I have to choose between giving a vote for the sites submitted in the Bill and giving a vote that means what so many honorable senators hope for, namely, the absence of finality, the establishment of a beautiful uncertainty, a splendid unlikelihood of the adjustment of this matter, and the leaving of it over, as Senator Dobson has publicly advised on more occasions than one, for the next ten years. I quite understand that when an honorable and learned senator comes forward definitely and says - “ I do not care what is in the Constitution, or what may be the spirit of the Constitution, I desire only in accordance with my belief as to what is advisable, and not what is right, that this mattershould be relegated to the distant future.” I recognise at least that such an honorable senator is honest, however mistaken. However much one may deplore the honorable senator’s view, that the provisions of theConstitution may be set aside for years in order to provide for some ill-advised expediency, he must be prepared to honour the honorable senator for being sufficiently honest to give the true reason for his opposition to this measure. But I have a very different kind of feeling in regard to those who will manufacture any excuse under heaven, or devise any subtlety that an enfeebled intellect or diseased mind can suggest, in order to provide themselves with a reason for doing surreptitiously that which they have not the courage to do openly. If I admire anything, it is patient, cheerful, unflinchingwillingness to execute what is in a man’s mind ; but I never can have any regard for subtle minds which seek for excuses to avoid an honest deed or an honest conclusion. In the newspapers, and in the utterances of public men - whether the latter be poultry farmers, dog-breeders, or shire councillors, with which Victoria has been overrun for the last twelve months-
– Leave Victoria alone ; we are dealing with a Bill to fix the Federal Capital.
.- It may perhaps suit Senator Fraser better if I do not go into details which are unpleasant to him, as the truth is always unpleasant to certain minds.
– The honorable senator is indulging in nothing but personal abuse.
.- I am referring to the fact that in Victoria at the time of the Cattle Show there was a great gathering of delegates, representing shire councillors, dog-shows, and poultry shows. The name and condition of each delegate were given in the Melbourne Aye, a newspaper which has much influence, though I do not know whether Senator Zeal is interested in it. However, I shall simply quote the Prayer Book and say that there were gathered together “all sorts and conditions of men,” bound together to oppose the establishment of a Federal Capital.
– We regard the abuse of the honorable senator as a compliment. For the last half-hour we have had nothing but the outpourings of a sewer.
– Idid not catch the observation of the honorable senator. In the matter of selecting a capital site, whether by means of this Bill or by any other process, I may quote the words of the AttorneyGeneral the other day, when he said that every one who was in favour of delay would vote against the motion he then submitted. Every one who favours delay will to-day vote against the Bill before us. There are those who, for any reason they can invent or conceive, will vote against the Bill in the interests of those who oppose the fulfilment of the compact, and in the interests of leaving unsettled the place at which the Commonwealth is to have its home - in the interests of those who think it is better for a newly-married couple to live under the wing of the mother-in-law than to have a home of their own. I suppose I am addressing those who are or have been married ; and I always understood it was desirable that when young people, or, for that matter, old people, got married, they should have a home of their own. But the desire on the part of a large number of people seems to be that the Commonwealth shall be homeless.
– We are taking lodgings, as is the fashion.
– And some honorable gentlemen who take lodgings in Victoria do not, according to the newspaper accounts, always get the best of the bargain. It is deplorable that when the people of Australia set to work to build up a great nation, as it is called, we should be content, even after three years of married life, to still live with mother-in-law Victoria. That State plays the part of mother-in-law ; and at the present moment, we are in this very handsome chamber on sufferance ; we are here with all the pleasure of being invited guests dunned for the income-tax.
– The honorable senator has not paid his income-tax, any way.
.- No; I got a letter the other day withdrawing the claim against me. We have had plenty of evidence, even this afternoon, that it would be better for the’ Federal Parliament to meet on common ground, and not on uncommon ground.
– It must be clear that there is a greater feeling of independence and mutuality if representatives meet on absolutely equal terms, and not some as proprietors and some as lodgers. The position would have been identically the same if the Constitution had fixed the meetings of Parliament in Sydney. In that case the New South Wales representatives would have been the proprietors, and the visiting members the lodgers, the latter without the rights and privileges of proprietors as against intruders. I think we have abundant reason for supposing that some of us are even regarded as interlopers in Victoria.
– The meeting of Parliament in Victoria is in accordance with the Constitution.
.- The Constitution has so pleasant a flavour to some honorable gentlemen, especially to Senator Styles, that they apparently desire to see the fulfilment of its obligations and covenants indefinitely postponed. What their reasons may be I do not pretend to say, and I leave it to Senator Styles and his conscience - if he is still burdened with so inconvenient a quality - to answer. I shall vote for the second reading of the Bill, and if Tumut is retained I shall certainly seek to alter the absurd provision that the capital city must be at an elevation of 1,500 feet. Otherwise, the scheme provided for in the report of the Royal Commission must go by the board, and the capital left on a hill - top without any water supply. I shall certainly vote against the proposal to acquire a strip of land of a size and shape that New South Wales will never grant, and which, except at gigantic expense, the Commonwealth will never be able to acquire; because, if necessity requires it, such land would all be made private property, and could only be obtained by purchase from individuals. It is most deplorable that, at this stage of the last session, Parliament should find itself in violent antagonism to the Legislature of one of the States, and that the Legislature of the chief State. That is a most unhappy termination to the career of the first Parliament of the Commonwealth. I quite agree with Senator “Downer’s complaint about the delay there has been in the consideration of this question. I wish the honorable and learned senator had, during his three years as a senator, tried, as some of us have tried, to prevent this question being relegated to the last hours of the Parliament. The discussion of this all-important subject should not be a sort of dying speeeh and confession of the first Parliament, but should rather represent matured judgment and careful consideration, which we cannot possibly apply under the circumstances. We are settling this question not for this present session or for the present Parliament, but for all time, and I trust in the interests of the great Commonwealth which we seek to serve.
– We are engaged on what is, I think, the most important matter that will ever receive the attention of this Chamber. We ought, therefore, to discuss it earnestly, and give each other credit for sincerity and honesty of purpose. I deplore that we should have had so much personal abuse. I represent a State to whom the financial aspect of every question is one of the very greatest importance. I shall be a traitor to the electors who sent me here, and who have put confidence in me,, unless I fearlessly, and as forcibly as I can, represent my views, and I believe their views, with regard to the question of a Federal Capital. This, like every other question, is one of finance in the last resort, and a very large question it is. I move -
That the word “now “ be left out with a view to the words “ this day six months “ being inserted.
I understand that if I moved the amendment which appeared in the Argus this morning the question might be raised whether it was strictly relevant ; and therefore I content myself with the proposal I have just submitted.
– Then the honorable senator does not intend to proceed with his other amendment.
– No; but I lay it ‘ before honorable senators as containing my reasons for moving the amendment which I have just now submitted. The first reason is -
It is contrary to parliamentary practice to ask a moribund Parliament to settle such an important question as fixing the permanent seat of government for all time to come, and that it is only right and just to give the electors at the forthcoming elections an opportunity of expressing their opinion as to the desirability or otherwise of incurring the enormous cost of establishing a permanent capital in the immediate future, and under present financial conditions.
Nobody will deny that this Parliament is dying ; it will be dead within a few days, almost hours. This is not the time to introduce an important question like that now before us. The electors are about to consider whom they should send to represent them in the new Parliament, and in all probability the members of both Houses will go before the electors within the next two or three weeks. Is it not a terrible mistake, when the Parliament might take the electors into its confidence and get some direction as to how the public regard this question, to proceed with the selection of the Federal Capital site at the present juncture? Is it not a blunder, and contrary to political practice, to rush this matter through in a dying session, imagining that we are doing the public business in a statesmanlike manner 1 In regard to the constitutional obligations to which Senator Neild has alluded, I believe every one is willing to carry them out. But we are also desirous that there should be discussion about some of them, and notably about the obligation in regard to the Federal Capital, because the section of the Constitution which deals with it was admittedly a compromise. Honorable senators have been reminded already that this provision was no work of the Federal Convention, but was a compromise entered into by half-a-dozen gentlemen who had no mandate to speak for the electors of Australia. It is true that the electors afterwards confirmed every line of the Constitution, but there is no evidence that the section with which we are now dealing has the assent of the majority of the people.
– The honorable and learned senator will admit that the acceptance of the Constitution as it was, involved the arrangement ?
– I do. I admit that there is a constitutional obligation which I am willing to carry out.
– When ?
– I have always been willing that this obligation should be carried out.
– When 1
– All I ask is that there should be discussion as to whether this compromise, which was the work of six men and not the deliberate work of the Convention, cannot be bettered and improved in the interests of the whole of the Commonwealth, and of the State of New South Wales itself. There has been no time given to any of us to discuss such a question. Therefore I was determined when it did come before the Senate, no matter how short the time might be, to move an amendment with the view of forcing a discussion. In view of the financial position of all the States, it will be a very great mistake to spend £2,000,000 or £3,000,000 in building a Federal Capital. I should certainly like to see the 100-mile limit struck out of the section, and then those of us who are in favour of not talking but practising economy would be able to vote that the capital should be in some part of Sydney, if we saw fit.
– Would that not be more expensive?
– I do not think it would, and if I did I should not make the suggestion.
– Should we not have to build a Parliament House ?
– Let me ask honorable senators what is the reason for having the Federal Capital in the back blocks? I am bound to admit that it is a kind of axiom that a Federal territory ought to be removed from the large cities. The only object, so far as I can make out, in having a national territory at Tumut or Bombala, is that it will produce national ideas. That was the view of the late Prime Minister; but it has not my sympathy. This is not a question of locality but of men. We might find statesmanlike ideas prevalent in the centre of Sydney, and very provincial ideas in a national territory at Bombala. It will depend upon the electors whether we shall get men with national ideas and sound legislation. I do not think it is worth while to spend millions in building a capital in the country, simply under the delusion - as I think - that because we have a territory of our own, whether it is one square mile or 1,000 square miles, we must get national ideas. It is said that we ought to have a territory of our own, because, in the big cities, the man in the street and the local newspapers may exercise an undue influence. It is also said that a mob of Conservatives, or a mob of workers, may come to the parliamentary buildings and try to intimidate the Legislature.
– Like they did in Montreal and Quebec, in Canada.
– That argument justifies every word that Senator Downer has said, and shows most conclusively that the Federal city must have a port of its own. I desire to point out to Senator Neild that, if we go to Bombala, the port at Twofold Bay will be accessible from all the States.
– How could we have Twofold Bay as a port if we did not take 1,000 square miles?
– That is a question which we are coming to. I am only saying that those men who argue that the capital must be not in Sydney, but 200 or 300 miles away in the bush, must go on, if they wish to be logical, and insist that a port is absolutely -essential. I want these questions discussed. Will any honorable senator tell me that I have had them discussed ? Will any honorable senator tell me that when we took eleven months to consider the Tariff, when we took ten days to settle the duty on starch, a fortnight to discuss the duty on sugar, and a wee”k to discuss the duty on tobacco, that I am to make up my mind about this most important question of a capital which is to serve us for all time, after hearing a twenty-four hours’ discussion in another place, and a discussion occupying two evenings in the Senate ? We are asked to do our business in a most unstatesmanlike manner. I shall enlarge upon the several parts of my original amendment as I proceed, and I shall divide the Senate on the amendment I have moved ; but, if I am beaten, I shall do what I can to secure the selection of the best site. I hope to prove before I sit down that there are powerful reasons for not coming to a decision this session. We have not been provided with the necessary information. We have not had an exhaustive discussion on the subject. We do not possess the requisite knowledge, and the very documents which are submitted from the New South Wales Commissioner and the Commonwealth Commissioners are absolutely contradictory in terms, and contain such statements, that every one of the Commissioners ought to be brought to the bar, and made to answer for what he has written.
– The honorable and learned senator said, in the early part of the session, that he was in favour of - Bombala.
– What has that to <lo with the question I am discussing now ? 1 said months ago that if I were forced to vote I should vote for Bombala. But I ask whether the state of our finances does not call for prudent action ? What took place in this Chamber yesterday ? For a considerable time -we were discussing the fact that £4,000 of the Tasmanian revenue is required co pay the militiamen the same wages as the militiamen in other States. But, because the financial position of the island State is not too good, because we are straining every nerve to adjust our finances, we are keeping back from our militia £4,000. Should I not be a traitor to my constituents if I did not point out that we are not justified - and there are States in no better position than ours - in launching into this enormous expenditure, when a delay of a few years would be only reasonable ? That is only what took place in the case of other Federations. I do not think that this undue haste was ever contemplated by the electors when they said “ Yes” to the referendum. There has not been, for a generation or two, a worse time at which to launch into this expenditure than the present. We know perfectly well that the financial position has never been so bad. I do not mean to say that we are justified in taking a too pessimistic view, or that there are not centuries of progress and prosperity before Australia. But I submit that at this moment it would be positive madness to talk about a conversion scheme. It would be an egregious mistake, I think, for the Commonwealth to go to the London market for a loan for the purpose of building a capital in the bush. We know that a sum of £5,000,000 has to be found by Victoria during the course of a few weeks. But instead of the State getting the money at par, for 3 per cent, as in 1897, it will have to pay 3J per cent.
– It has never been got at par.
– It has been got within 20s. of par. Victoria is called upon to pay 3£ per cent, and to give £108 for every £100 debenture, thereby adding £400,000 to the amount of the loan. Do my honorable friends look forward with any confidence or pleasure to a Bill being introduced here for a loan of £500,000 for the construction of a capital ? Let us see what is thought of this proposal in the old country?
– We are not governed by the London Times, but by Australian opinion.
– In a matter of credit we are governed by public opinion in England. I wonder that my honorable friend, considering that I am discussing a question of credit, does not see that if the people at home think we are proceeding in a wrong direction - that we are guilty of extravagance, of passing socialistic and unsound legislation - it is bound to affect our credit and the success of every loan we try to float on the London market. Therefore I submit that the opinion of gentlemen in England must weigh with us. At all events I intend to read an extract from the letter of the London correspondent of the Argus -
Most English people, and particularly those who have some knowledge of the mam’ practical uses that the Commonwealth has for its loans and modest revenue, are unable to understand why the Australians - if they are as “shrewd” a people as they are reputed here to be - should be willing to give any serious attention at present to the bush capital project. The business aspect of the matter is being abandoned as an insoluble puzzle, and the English public are now getting more interested in the whimsical possibilities of the new enterprise. A writer in the Daily Chronicle has been especially tickled by Mr. Reid’s electioneerin proposal that the capital should be designed upon lines of Spartan simplicity, and offers him the following humorous suggestion : - “ By way of setting a thorough example in this way it might be well for the versatile Opposition leader to recommend a primitive form altogether for the new scheme. Let the Federal Parliament meet openly on the lank of the Tumut, with the members seated on logs in the aboriginal fashion, and the Speaker poised on an ironbark stump, with a serviceable waddy to hand in lieu of the mace. The whips might be armed with stock-whips for ‘ rounding up’ for divisions, and the whole system might be very cheaply worked. “ Other newspapers have been making fun of Tumut as being too quaintly modest a title to be in keeping with the ambitions of the Commonwealth Government. “Do let us have another Royal Commission on the name ! “ the Pall Mall Gazette urged the other day.
So that there are three newspapers in England’ ridiculing the idea of our launching at this early stage of our history into this unnecessary expenditure. May I ask honorable senators what they hope to gain by the creation of this new capital 1 What is Sydney suffering - if it is suffering - by the seat of government not being there? And is Melbourne gaining any such great advantage to justify all this heat and indignation ? So far as I can make out, the people of New South Wales are under the impression that the people of Victoria will deprive them of their constitutional rights if they can. I believe that that idea is absolutely without foundation, but I recognise that a large number of persons in New South Wales sincerely hold that belief. But because they think that a certain State is going to play the part of traitor to the Constitution, because they are so unreasonable and unpatriotic as to doubt the honour and integrity of their fellow citizens, am 1 to be driven into doing something in which I do not believe - am I to try to do a wrong in order to quiet in the mother State a feeling which has no foundation, and which is simply created by agitation ?
– The cause of the trouble is that the honorable and learned senator and others are speaking differently from what they did prior to the acceptance of the Constitution.
– I defy the honorable senator to show that I am speaking in any different way. I have said over and over again that I want delay, because we cannot afford to build the capital now. I want delay in order to have time to discuss this very important question.
– The honorable and learned senator did not say that before the Constitution was accepted.
– If I can show to the people of New South Wales that we could have the capital in Sydney, and give certain compensating advantages to Victoria, and both those States agreed to the proposal, surely that is business.
– The other States do not count, I suppose.
– Have not the smaller States any say in the matter ?
– My honorable friend should recollect that the Constitution cannot be altered except by the verdict of a majority of the people voting in a majority of the States. We know that the 100- mile limit was a compromise between Melbourne and Sydney.
– And the object of this delay is to jockey New South Wales out of its bargain.
– Why does my honorable friend talk about delay jockeying any body or any thing 1 That is not the way to do our business, to act like senators. Senator Downer said that for three years this matter had been neglected, and Senator Neild, with that sharpness and acuteness which distinguishes him, has alluded to that statement. In my humble judgment, Senator Downer hardly knew what he was talking about. How can any honorable senator say that the matter has been neglected for three years t We have not had one clear week for its discussion. Because the charge that there has been delay has been reiterated, because the Ministers have been so barracked into making promise after promise, for that reason, and that reason alone, the question has been brought forward at a time when we are all eager to get away, when the Parliament is practically dead, when the electors are anxious to hear our views, and say what they think about this vexed capital question. No honorable senator has the right to say that the matter has been neglected for three days, let alone three years. The documents on the table prove the correctness of my statements. There are certain charges in regard to the report of the Commonwealth Commissioners which ought to be cleared up. It is charged that they started with a brief, and that their report was prejudiced. Then we had placed in our hands a review of their report, which we have scarcely had time to study, and which suggests that either the Commonwealth’ Commissioners were densely ignorant of their business or that the New South 1 Wales Commissioner did not understnad his business. In point of fact the Commonwealth’ Commissioners put Bombala last and Mr. Oliver put it first. The second reason whichI give, is -
That any determination of Parliament as to a site arrived at by a less majority than tlie number of members who were absent in the House of Representatives when the determination Was made is unsatisfactory and unfair to the electors, and that a call of the Senate should be made before the selection of a site is proceeded with.
Tumut was selected by a majority of eleven votes ; but thirteen members of the House of Representatives were absent. Was not that an unsatisfactory determination ? Was it fair to the electors ? They sent us here knowing that Parliament had to choose the capital site ; but in the one House of the Parliament thirteen members were absent when the site was chosen. The majority with which Tumut won was only eleven. Let me refer honorable senators to the results of the fifth ballot. The voting was : Lyndhurst, 24 ; Tumut, 21, and Bombala, 16. If the thirteen absent members had been pre- sent, and if six had voted for Tumut, and the other six for Bombala, Lyndhurst would have been struck out and Bombala would have been left. There is nothing to show anyone that the eleven members who constituted the majority for Tumut the other day might not have voted for Bombala, and then that site would have been at the top of the list. I have not had much experience during my political career with regard to calls of Houses of Legislature, but I should have thought that if ever there was a time when every senator and every member of the. House of Representatives might be expected to be present, it was when a choice of a Federal Capital was being made. I think it was the duty of the Government to do all they could to see that there was a full attendance. There ought to have been a call of the House. Why did not the Government arrange for that? Simply because they had not the time - because the matter was being rushed on in an improper and unreasonable manner.
– The honorable and learned senator said just now that the Government had made the most exhaustive inquiries.
– If the honorable senator wishes to answer me let him waituntil I sit down. That would be far moresatisfactory. I say again that the selection cannot be satisfactory, because there were sufficient members absent to put Bombala at the top of the list and Tumut lower down.
– I suppose the honorable and learned senator knows how the absent members would have voted ?
– No; I simply judge from the facts before me. I think we. ought to have a call of the Senate. I put it to the Attorney-General that if several honorable senators are absent when theSenate is ready to vote for this Bill there ought to be a call. Honorable senators have no right to absent themselves on an occasion of this kind. The electors haveevery right to suppose that every senator, unless prevented by absolute illness or urgent business, will be present. There is a. way of making honorable senators attend. Any senator who is absent after a call is handed over to the custody of the Usher unless he can give a good reason for his absence ; and, of course, a good reason would always be accepted.
– It would take six months to find some honorable senators.
– Let a call of the Senate be made early next session, and then fix a day for the discussion of the question; when honorable senators can be present. The third reason which I give is -
That the Bill was introduced too late in the session to permit of sufficient discussion being given to tlie important questions of (a) ought the- 100-mile limit be struck out of the Constitution ; and if not (6) is it not essential that the proposed Federal territory should comprise a seaport or be bounded by a navigable river ; and (c) enlarging the area of the proposed site beyond 100 square miles ?
I desire to express the opinion that in that third reason which I have read, and in the I subdivisions a, b, and c, there is sufficient to require discussion for three weeks in each House of the Parliament. The whole gist 1 of the matter is - must we have the capital 100 miles from Sydney, or should we alter the Constitution ? If we are to be slaves to I the Constitution let us know it ; but let us discuss the matter first. Then if we deter- 1 mine to have tlie capital more than 100 miles from Sydney, is it not essential that I it should have a port? Again, is it essential that we should have a larger area than is specified in the Constitution ? That is a question which has already been discussed in the House of Representatives, and a precious mess has been made of it. Most of the criticisms of Senator Neild on this point are justified. I have a doubt as to whether there is any warrant for saying that the Commonwealth may take 1,000 square miles. I do not think that the Judges of the High Court will hold that we have power to do any such thing. I feel convinced that they will say that as the Constitution provides that we shall have at least 100 square miles, although we may perhaps take 200, we are doing something utterly unreasonable in demanding J, 000. All that, however, will have to be a matter of negotiation and of arrangement. But I again insist that we have not had sufficient time to consider the matter fully. I was rather amused that some honorable senators should have objected to Tumut on the ground that it is in the middle of New South Wales territory, and it will have New South Wales territory all round it. Therefore, we shall be carried to our capital on New South Wales railways, over which we shall have no control. New South Wales will be able to make any charge she likes against vh, and the trains will have to be run at such hours as the New South Wales Government thinks fit. If the Commonwealth Parliament does something of which the mother State does not approve, the Government might rip up the rails, and we should not be able to travel in the ordinary way. That is not an argument which I desire to use ; but if we are going to be logical and to justify the choice of such a place, it is an argument which is bound to be met. If we object to having a capital in the midst of a large centre of population, and with the territory of another State surrounding us, what is the use of selecting a piece of territory out of which we shall be unable to find a way of < our own? When a lawyer conveys a farm for a client, does he not see that his client has a rightofway to and from that property 1 In the same way, when we select a capital, should we not have a port or some other water-way of our own? Bombala will give us a port, if we take steps to acquire it. I do not know whether an area of 1,000 square miles at Bombala would include the port of Eden. Bombala is sixty miles from that port. But if we selected a site, and showed that we were prepared implicitly to carry out the letter and spirit of the Constitution it would be freely and readily given.
– One thousand square miles would noi include both Bombala and Twofold Bay.
– We might take 100 square miles at Bombala, and then take in a narrow strip running down to the port.
– A sort of stock route.
– Of course, all these matters require discussion, and honorable senators expect to have them decided right off.
– - The honorable senator has come to his decision ; he said at the beginning of the session that he was in favour of Bombala.
– So I am, if I cannot get something vhich I consider to be better.
– If the honorable and learned senator has found time to decide the matter, why should not other honorable senators have found time ? And, if so, why should they not decide ?
– I wonder at the Attorney-General using such an argument. The members of another place had so little time to deal with the matter that they have made many blunders. They have inserted a provision for taking 1,000 square miles, which we have good reason for believing to be illegal. ‘ They have also declared that the site is to be 1,500’ feet above sea-level, without considering where the water supply is to come from. That is a specimen of the hasty legislation which I am being railed at and cavilled with for objecting to. My fourth reason is as follows : -
That the cost of constructing the capital should be paid out of revenue, and that a large number of the electors in most of the States are not prepared to surrender such revenue, and view with alarm the rapid rate at which the expenses of Federation are increasing.
The reason why I think the cost should be paid out of revenue is this : I believe that every State has been more or less extravagant in constructing public works, which do not pay, out of loan moneys. It must be evident to every member of the Senate that, to some extent - I cannot say to what extent - our credit in London has been diminished by that fact. It is also a fact that only in one or two of the States have sinking funds been provided ; and no preparations have been made to pay off the debentures as they become due. Compare our position with that of- Canada. A loan became due last month, and Canada paid down £1,500,000 in sovereigns out of her revenue. Honorable senators pass over these thing* lightly. They say - “Let us choose a capital and ignore all these factors.” The States have acted so extravagantly in the past that we are bound to set them a good example and reverse their policy. I firmly believe that no wiser or better decision has been arrived at by this Parliament than that which was greatly due to the Labour members in another place, in rejecting the proposal to borrow half-a-million of money, and in insisting that our post-offices and other public buildings should be paid for out of revenue. J desire to see the Federal Parliament keep to that resolution as long as we reasonably can ; and I shall insist, as far as I can, that if the capital is selected, wherever it may be, the necessary works shall be paid for out of revenue. But I believe that a large majority of the electors are not prepared to surrender any large amount of revenue for the next three or four years. They are not prepared to be told that they have to put their hands in their pockets because there is an anxiety to begin to construct the Federal Capital. I believe the answer of nine out of ten of the electors to such a statement would be - “ There is no immediate necessity to construct the capital,; no one can show that its construction would advance the prosperity of Australia, or advance our legislation, or do any good, even if it is admitted that we shall, in order to carry out the Constitution, in the near future, have to make a beginning with it.” The electors will not consent to any large expenditure while they are unable to balance the States ledgers and to pay the soldiers who defend our shores.
– The honorable and learned senator should have thought of that before he advised the people to accept the Constitution.
– I did think of it then, and I am going to continue to express these views unless I am shown by honest argument that I am wrong.
– Does the honorable and learned senator allude to the Tasmanian forces when he says that we cannot afford to pay our soldiers ?
– Yes; I allude to that for the purpose of showing that it is our duty to conserve every pound we can.
– The soldiers of Tasmania are going to be paid as much as they have been paid hitherto.
– That is to say, something like £600 or £1,1)00 is to be spent instead of £4,000, which would be spent if the Tasmanian soldiers were paid similarly with the other soldiers of Australia. The electors view with alarm the rate at which Federal expenditure is increasing. The Vice-President of the Executive Council., last week, made out the purely Federal expenditure to be about £270,000. I hold in my hand a copy of the Adelaide estimate of £300,000, which I see includes £54,175 forcontingencies and £52,540 for interests We have incurred an expenditure of £40,000, payable to the members of the Public Service, under the minimum wage provision ; so that already we have got considerably beyond the £300,000 estimate,, and have not provided a shilling for the capital. Therefore, I think that tlie electors of every State have a right to urge that the Federal Parliament in its first period hasdeparted from the Adelaide estimate. The people have a right to say - “ You have increased the expenditure more than we were led to believe would be the case when we voted for Federation. When the advocates of the Commonwealth Bill stumped our territory in its favour, they told us that £300,000 would cover all the expenditure.” Here we are now in the second session of Parliament without any money whatever, and we are being asked to consent to the establishment of the Federal Capital without an hour’s delay. These people say, “ We want a little delay.” Is that unreasonable ?
– The honorable and learned senator wants twenty years delay.
– The fifth reason I give is -
That the evidence upon which the Senate is asked to select a site is insufficient and contradictory, and that the Constitution does not authorize Parliament to acquire from New South. Wales a territory comprising the enormous area, of 1,000 square miles.
I have already alluded to the fact that the two reports of the experts who have acted as Commissioners are absolutely contradictory, and the contradictions should be cleared up. It is not necessary that I should labour that reason.
– Will the honorable and learned senator give us a guarantee that his mind will be made up in twenty years 1
– I cannot answer the irrelevant interjections of my honorable friend. This subject has been alluded to before, and it is perfectly clear that we have no warrant for the acquisition from New South Wales of a territory of 1,000 square miles. It can only be secured as the result of an agreement arrived at after negotiations, and by payment. New South Wales may, and I think probably will, require to have some voice as to what we are going to do with the territory.We may be inclined to enact land laws which might prove very unsatisfactory to that State. The whole matter is one for bargaining, which will take weeks of time and much consideration. The next reason I give is -
That it is the wish of a majority of the electors to postpone the establishment of a permanent capital for a few years ; justice can be done to Sydney by the Parliament meeting there alternately, with Melbourne, or as may be arranged.
Honorable senators may recollect that two years ago it was suggested in one of the morning journals published in Victoria that, as we were not in a financial position which would justify us in thinking about establishing a big capital, an arrangement might be made until we could overcome our financial troubles, by which Parliament might meet for a few years in Melbourne and for a few years in Sydney. I have heard that suggestion discussed by scores of people. It appears to me to be a reasonable proposal, and it would do ample justice to New South Wales.
– Why not meet in Tasmania ?
– May I ask the honorable and learned senator whether there are only two States in the union or six?
– My honorable friend might as well ask me if two and two make four.
-Why confine the meeting of Parliament to Sydney and Melbourne? Why should not the Parliament meet in all the other capitals ?
– I shall deal with that question in a minute or two. What I desire to point out is that that suggestion, which was made a long time ago, might have induced some of the people of New South Wales to reflect that there must be very few, if any, people in Victoria who desire to deprive the mother State of her rights. The Constitution could be amended in such a way as to have the temporary capital in Sydney’; and then, if after a few years it were considered advisable, it would be fixed permanently there ; and if it were considered that it ought to be moved from Sydney, it could be moved to some other place. I come now to a practical suggestion, which supports me rather in arguing that we may very fairly discuss whether the Constitution should not be amended. I hold in my hand the New South Wales Mansard for the session of 1896. I find that on the 11th November, 1896, Mr. Young, who was at the time Secretary for Public Works in New South Wales, moved -
That it be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Public Works to consider and report on the expediency of erecting new Houses of Parliament for the colony.
At that time I believe the majority of the people contended that the Federal Capital ought to be in Sydney. I know that many members of the Federal Convention so contended ; and I find from this copy of New South Wales Hansard that Sir William Lyne and Mr. Reid believed at that time that the Federal Capital should be in Sydney, or at all events argued in that way. I shall read a few extracts only to show how necessary it is that the matter should be discussed. In discussing Mr. Young’s motion, Sir William Lyne, who was then Mr. Lyne, said -
I think the Committee should report in favour of the designs for a building which will be sufficiently commodious to be used as the Parliament House of the Commonwealth of Australia.
The design is such that the Houses, if required, can be used for a Federal Parliament, so that there can be no objection on that score. Especially in the present uncertain state of things we should not commit ourselves to a building which might in the end be unsuitable for a Federal Parliament. The Committee will find, I think, when we investigate the design, that there is no force in that objection, because the place is there to be used for a Federal Parliament, if necessary, by a very simple contrivance.
So that in those days, and even much earlier, Sydney was the “ tip” for the Federal Capital.
– It would have been the Federal Capital if they had not insisted upon the 100-mile limit.
– We did not insist upon that.
– If the claims of New South Wales had not been pressed too frequently, and may I say too aggressively upon the Federal Convention, I believe that Sydney would have been placed in the Commonwealth Bill as the Federal Capital. I desire to get back to that state of affairs. Three or four years having gone by, we are in a better position to discuss the matter, and I am prepared to vote that Sydney should be the Federal Capital. If Sydney is not to be the Federal Capital I am prepared to vote for Bombala.
– If the honorable and learned senator cannot, get Sydney he will get as far from that city as he can.
– The honorable and learned senator has altered his mind.
– I have not altered my mind since I saw Bombala and Tumut.
– The honorable and learned senator came back here and said he would vote for Bombala.
– There is some very useful information given in this copy of the New South Wales Hansard. I find it stated that the foundation stone of new House of Parliament was laid in Sydney on the 30th of January, 1888, and the sum of £100,000 was voted for the erection of the building. The amount expended on repairs and additions to the existing buildings since 1885 amounted to over £100,000. The estimated cost of the new building, was £476,200. There is the foundation stone for the new Parliament House laid in the Domain at Sydney, and an arrangement could be made for the construction of that building which might be occupied by the Federal Parliament, who could pay the.interest upon the cost of construction as rent. If hereafter it were decided to fix the Capital in Sydney, we should have our Parliament House constructed. If it were decided that the Capital should not be in Sydney, but should be at Bombala, an arrangement could be made by which the New South Wales people could take over their Parliament House which would have been constructed in the Domain, and close to the present State Parliament House.
– Where is the money to come from for building the new Parliament House ?
– My honorable friend is going to vote for the establishment of a
Federal Capital, and he asks me where the money is to come from for building a Parliament House. I have no doubt it could easily be found.
– The honorable and learned senator objects to the Federal Government incurring the expense of building a Parliament House, and I, as a representative of New South Wales, may reasonably object to that State being called upon to undertake expenditure for that purpose.
– The money could be got out of revenue under certain arrangements. I find that it was estimated that the building which it was proposed to erect in Sydney would take five years to construct. If £100,000 a year were spent outof revenue,, it would not be a very large amount.
– Let the Commonwealth) spend it.
– The Commonwealth might spend it, under an arrangement that if the Federal Capital was to be at Sydney the building, with a few acres of land,, should belong to the Commonwealth ; and if not, the New South Wales Government, should take it over at cost price, less something for wear and tear. These things have not been discussed, or have been so little discussed, that I am placed at an absolute disadvantage. Honorable senators come here with their minds made up that a, capital site must be selected. Selected, I suppose it is going to be, but I contend that almost every question I have submitted to the Senate this afternoon is well worthy of hours of discussion, and far more worthy than many of the subjects which we have discussed here for days.
– Does the honorable and learned senator object to our being able to make up our minds ?
– No ; but I say that honorable senators are making up their minds upon insufficient information, and because they think that the people of themother State have some grievance. I contend that they have no grievance. I contend that Victoria made a considerablesacrifice in consenting to the 100 miles limit.
– Victoria consented ! Victoria forced that condition.
– Victoria has given the Federal Parliament the use of this magnificent building absolutely without rent, though she has been obliged to spend from £50,000 to £70,000- and I have heard both figures quoted - in providing another House for the accommodation of the State Parliament. I think that under the Constitution,Victoria has a right to have the temporary seat of government in Melbourne for some reasonable time. I cannot say for how long, but I certainly think that it was not in accordance with the spirit of the bond to which so much reference has been made that before we had sat here for one month, representatives of NewSouth Wales should have been barracking the Ministry to select a site for the new capital of the Commonwealth. As Victoria gave in, and stipulated only for the 100 miles limit fromSydney, we are under a certain obligation to that State. What it reallyis I am not in a position to say. We have never discussed it. We are not acquainted with each other’s views on this point. W e are asked to discuss nothing, but simply to vote blindly. All along I have objected to that course, and I therefore submit my amendment, that the Bill be read this day six months. If that amendment is not carried, I shall do my best to assist in selecting a site, and the site forwhichI shallvote will be Bombala. It will be very much against my wish, because I believe that Bombala will prove to be avery expensivesite.First of all, a railwaywill be required to connect with Bombala. That isanother consideration. I do not think that the time is ripe forus at the present moment to votefor Bombala, although I’ propose to do so.We Should have someknowledge as to who is going to construct the ralilway. After we have selected Bombala, and have spent some thousands of ‘pounds’in^surveying a city, and preparing for an -adequate water supply, some-difficulty may i arise . as to who shall construct the’ rail ways necessaryto connect with Bombala. ‘InNew SouthWales, electors in the district have been advocating that a railway ‘from.Coomato Bombala would pay, but they might change their minds. There havebeen otherpeople in Victoria who have said that’ railway f rom Bairnsdale to theNew South Wales border would pay, butthey might change their minds. Peoplein both States might say thatthe Federal’ Government should build’bhese’irailways for themselves. Then, if we adopt ‘Bombala as’bhe Federal Capital site, we must construct a railway to.’Our port. (That will involve sixty miles of a very expensive line. I There- wilbbe . no eridtof tunnelling’ to be” done, and of construction through very rough country for a part of - the way. I contend that before we put Bombala into an Act of the Federal Parliament, and make our choice irrevocable, ‘ there are a number of most complicated questions to be considered - questions which really require years of thought, discussion, inquiry, and negotiation before we can say that, as statesmen, we have selected a site with due regard to the interests of the people of the Commonwealth.
Senator -Lt.-Col. GOULD (New South Wales). - Senator Dobsonmay very well be termed the apostle of delay. Ever since this question has been raiseI, the honorable and learned senator has been consistent in this one respect, that he has thrown every possible obstacle in the way of a settlement of the matter under the terms of the Constitution.
SenatorDobson. - Does the honorable and learned senator call the expression of one’s opinions “ obstacles ? “ I have placed no obstacles in the way.
– The honorable and learned senator has suggested an amendment of the Constitution so as to secure that the Federal Capital shall be in some other place than that provided for in the Constitution.
– Yes; in Sydney. ,
.- I therefore say that the honorable and learned senator hasi been the. apostle of delay, in season and out of. season, with regard to the settlement of this matter.
-I : deny. it.
– The honorable and learned senator, in his last, re marks, told, us that if . he could not postpone the settlement of the matter; he would vote for the selection of Bombala, and at the same, time he gave most excellent reasons why Bombala should, not . be selected. He has pointed, out the disadvantages of Bombala, and. they are. disadvantages which do not exist in. respect, of any of the other sites which have been brought under the notice ofithe Commissioners or of . members of ‘the Federal Parliament . Yet the .. honorable and learned senator is prepared to vote for Bombala. The. honorable senator has submitted a large number of reasons as embodied in. ‘the amendment he originally. intended to submit for ‘the considerationofthe Senate. I ask! honorable . senators whether in the whole ofi the arguments, adduced there, is sufficient? to justify . them in,. accepting his conclusions, and, on that ground, postponing the selection of the Federal Capital site for some time longer. In the first place, Senator Dobson alludes to this as a moribund Parliament, which ought not to fix the capital site for all time to come. The honorable and learned senator urges that the forthcoming elections afford an opportunity to the electors to express an opinion as to whether we should incur the enormous cost of establishing a permanent capital in the immediate future, and under present financial conditions. The reply is that under the provisions of the Constitution a duty is cast on the Commonwealth Parliament, at some time or other at any rate, to determine where the capital shall be within the borders of New South Wales. It is absurd to talk about asking the electors’ to say whether, in their opinion, the matter should be settled now, or deferred for some indefinite period. Senator Dobson urges that in the Constitution, as framed by the Convention, there was no provision with regard to the selection of a Federal Capital site, and that it was not until some time afterwards, at a Conference of Premiers, that the present conditions were laid down. I would remind the honorable and learned senator that until a provision as to the capital site was inserted the people of New South Wales declined to accept the Constitution ; and it was in order to induce the people of New South Wales to join in Federation that the changes were made in the Constitution at the Premiers’ Conference. I took an active part in connexion with the consideration of the first and second Constitution Bills submitted to the people of New South Wales, and I say unhesitatingly that one of the strong contentions against the passing of the first Bill was the absence of any provision as to the locality of the Federal Capital site. It is perfectly true that the New South Wales people regarded as a sine qua non a provision that the Federal Capital should be within that State ; and if they had had their will I have no doubt they would have determined on Sydney. That idea was given up, however, and it was agreed that the capital should be in New South Wales, though not within 100 miles of Sydney. The new condition was placed before the people of New South Wales as a reason for reversing their previous decision to reject the Constitution. I admit there were two or three other matters under consideration, but the capital site formed one of the principal points at that particular juncture. While the people of New South Wales were very severe in their remarks on the action of the then Premier in assenting to the exclusion of Sydney from the possibility of being tlie capital, the Constitution was accepted by all the States, with the provision as to the Federal Capital as one of the conditions of Federation. It is utterly idle for honorable senators to argue as a reason for indefinitely postponing this question, that neither the people nor the Convention gave their consent to that condition. It did not matter what the Convention thought. The opinions of the Convention were embodied in the original Bill, which was submitted to the people, and accepted by South Australia, Victoria, and Tasmania, but rejected by New South Wales. I do not think that the people of Western Australia were asked to vote at that particular stage. The Constitution, as drafted by the Convention, was rejected by the statutory majority in New South Wales, and it was not until the present condition as to the Federal Capital was inserted, that that State consented to become a party to Federation. I contend that the agreement then entered into forms as sacred and as integral a portion of the Constitution as does any other section, and it is idle to argue in any other direction. Honorable senators may say - “ We do not argue that way ; we are quite willing to fulfil the provisions of the Constitution, but we are notprepared to do so now, and we are going to postpone it for an indefinite period.” It is most unfair, most unjust, and most dishonest to put such an interpretation on the powers and rights of this Parliament under the Constitution. The Customs question, we know, was regarded as of such primary importance that a limit was fixed to the time within which it had to be dealt with. I believe that if there had been no limit we should have found advocates for delay for another year or two, and there never would have been a settlement of the Tariff. Although no special time was mentioned in regard to the selection of a Federal Capital,, it was clearly understood that the provision was not there for show purposes - that it had not been inserted to cajole and deceive the voters of New South Wales into accepting Federation under false pretences. It was urged on every platform in.
New South “Wales that it was un-Federal, unjust, and ungenerous to doubt the honesty of the intentions of the people of the other States ; and no voice was raised against this particular provision. Did Senator Dobson, in Tasmania, or Senator Downer in South Australia, or any other honorable senator ever raise any question on this score 1 There are honorable senators I know who are apostles of delay, and are prepared to vote in any direction which by any possibility may postpone the settlement of this question not for a limited but for an indefinite period. The people of New South Wales agreed that in the beginning the Federal Parliament should sit in Melbourne. Has there ever been a word of protest raised in New South Wales against that arrangement ? The New South Wales representatives sit in Melbourne willingly, and are prepared to sit here until the site of the capital is selected, be that time long or short. But while we are prepared to abide by the provisions of the Constitution, it is only honest and just to give a fair, liberal, and just interpretation to the particular provision under discussion. Do not let it be possible for opponents of Federation to say - “ Well, we said what would happen, and now we find our words coming true.” There were many who prognosticated all sorts of evil effects to New South Wales from Federation, and we do not want those people to have an opportunity of saying that they were perfectly right in their forecast. It was said that New South Wales, by joining Federation, was giving over her rights, powers, and destinies to a number of States in Australia ; and, unless the terms of the Constitution be observed, it will be said that New South Wales is being “ sold “ by States who are doing as they choose because they have the power. I dare say honorable senators will contend that that is not a true picture ; but I am anxious that people should not have an opportunity of saying that it represents the fact. Depend upon it, if there be friction and feeling becomes strong, the difficulties of the Commonwealth will be greater than they are at present. A little while ago we heard wild talk about what would be done with regard to the Constitution if action were taken in a particular direction. That feeling, however, gradually subsided, and my desire is that it should not again arise. Honorable senators ought to remember that New South Wales is one of the great States of the Commonwealth, and ought to be treated with, at any rate, common fairness and common justice. If we do not make an honest attempt to settle this question, we shall inflict a gross injustice on New South Wales. and, in a smaller degree, on the other States who accepted the Constitution containing the condition as to the Federal Capital. I make bold to say that, had not New South Wales joined the Federation Queensland would not have joined ; indeed, I go further and say that if New South Wales had not joined there would have been no Federation. Under the original Constitution Bill an opportunity was afforded for the Federation of three States ; but the idea was not accepted. It was desired to have New South Wales, which is the most populous, the oldest, and the wealthiest State, a member of the Union ; and, had I been a “Victorian or a South Australian, I should have taken exactly the same view. I should have regarded it as a farce to attempt to form a Commonwealth unless all the great States were brought together. If there had been a Commonwealth formed of Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania, another Commonwealth would have been formed between New South Wales and Queensland ; and then all the hopes of having one people, without the possibility of future quarrels or disturbances, would have vanished. We as a Parliament ought to show that we are doing all we can to play a fair game ; and neither by intention nor by accident should we do anything which might be regarded as unjust. In a matter of this kind, the voice of New South Wales should have very great effect. The people of New South Wales joined the Federation under the condition that the Federal territory should be within that State ; and their views, opinions, and wishes ought to carry a good deal of weight, not only as to settling the question at the present time, but also in regard to the determination of the site. It would be a mistake for Parliament to deal with the question in such a way as to cause friction, trouble, or annoyance between any of the States. I hope that an honest attempt will be made to come to a conclusion during the present Parliament. It is said that this Parliament is moribund ; but we must remember that we were elected to deal with this question. It is high time, although these may be the last few weeks of our existence, that this matter should be settled if possible. An honorable senator has suggested that it would have been as well if the Government had regarded this matter as of as much importance as the Customs legislation, and had attempted to deal with it instead of introducing measures which they were compelled to drop. There was notably the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill; and however earnest men may have been in the belief and desire that such a measure should be taken up by the Government, there were other matters of primary importance which should have received consideration. All the matters referred to specifically in the Constitution, such as that of the selection of the Federal territory, ought to have been amongst the first measures taken in hand by the Government.
– The Government insisted on proceeding with their High Court legislation.
– That was quite right, because the High Court forms a portion of the foundation of the Constitution.
– For the same reason the Government should have proceeded with the selection of the Federal Capital.
.- For that same reason the question of the capital should have been dealt with at the earliest possible moment.
– The Government did deal with the matter of the Federal Capital, but they could not deal with it exactly at the same time as they dealt with the High Court.
.- I know that could not be done ; and I am one who has not girded at the Government in its early stages in regard to this question. I recognise that the Customs legislation was allimportant ; but it is a matter of grievous complaint that there was such delay in the appointment of the Commission which was ultimately asked to report on the suggested capital sites. We determined last session that the Commission should be appointed, and we were promised that the report would be presented before the end of April following.
– It is twelve months since the Commission was appointed.
.- If the Government, instead of backing and filling for four months, had appointed the Royal
Commission forth with, we should have had a report long ago, and the Government would have been able to take up this matter at the beginning of the session. Had that course been taken I should have been prepared to stand by them, and to have said that I believed they bad used as much expedition as they could, in view of all the trouble and business which was heaped upon them in the earlier stages of their term of office; but that is no reason why further delay should take place. The Government came down the other day with a proposition, by which they thought this matter might be settled. It occurred to my mind, although it had my support as a means of securing an early settlement, that it would have been better if they had proceeded by Bill. Whether the capital site should have been selected as it was in the other House, or whether the Federal territory should have been named in the Bill by the Government, is a matter which might very well be debated. I am not going to quarrel with the Government over the i course which they adopted ; but it is a great pity that we are driven, at so late a period in the session, into dealing with a question of this character. We are not brought face to face with the simple question whether Tumut and no other place shall be taken. It is well known that a number of honorable senators hold the view that the Bombala site is more suitable ; but that is a matter which can very well be discussed and determined by our votes. The Bill raises the question as to whether the area shall be 1,000 square miles or only 100 square miles, and whether the altitude of the capital site shall be 1,500 feet above the sea, or left to be determined according to circumstances. It also raises the question whether the territory, instead of being within New South Wales, shall be on the borders of New South Wales and another State, whether it shall extend to a port or a river. When honorable senators suggested that the Government of New South Wales might adopt means which would prevent members of Parliament from getting access to the seat of government, they talked the wildest nonsense. I wonder that it should occur to sensible men to suggest such a thing as a possibility. What are we doing now ? We are conducting our business in a building which has been placed at our disposal by the generosity of the Government of Victoria, and we have to travel over the Victorian railways before we can discharge our parlia- mentary duties. Did anyone, in the wildest : efforts of his imagination, ever think that the Government of Victoria would throw any obstacles in the way of our carrying on ; the business of the Commonwealth here ? It is absolutely absurd to suggest that any body of people would attempt to do such a monstrous thing ; but I object to the Federal Parliament staying longer than is absolutely necessary in territory ‘ over which it has no control. Let ; honorable senators realize this fact : < that not one public servant beyond those who work in the precincts of this building owes the slightest allegiance to a member of this Parliament. We have no voice in the appointment of a constable or the humblest official in this State. The reason which was always advanced in favour of having a Federal territory was that the Federal Parliament should have its own home in which it could reign supreme and do what it saw fit. In the United States, for instance, Washington is situated in a territory which is separate from the other States. Originally it comprised 100 square miles, but it was found unnecessary to have so large an area, and, therefore, 30 square miles were returned to the State of Virginia. So that a Federal territory of 70 square miles is regarded as being quite sufficient for a Federation that embraces a population which numbers from 70,000,000 to 80,000,000, and which is increasing by many millions year by year. Is a word ever spoken there in favour of obtaining more Federal territory ? The only object of section 125 is to place the ‘Parliament in its own home in a territory in which it can transact its business apart from the influences which are necessarily brought to bear upon its members if it is located in a large city and centre of population. It is well known that when we were dealing with the Tariff last session, great pressure was brought to bear by means of local influence. What was the meaning of the little trips which honorable senators were invited to take day after day to this factory or the other factory ? Was it not all done with the view of impressing upon them the advisability of doing something which would keep those factories in full employment ? I have no doubt that that influence had an important effect on the moulding of the Tariff, nor have I any doubt that if the Parliament had been sitting in Sydney, influence in the other direction would have been exercised and the Tariff would have been very different from what it is. The final form of the Tariff was due to the influence which was brought to bear by great centres of population on th° Parliament.
– Did not the free-traders use their influence here?
-Col.GOULD.- Thefree-traders used their best efforts to get the duties reduced, but they were placed at a disadvantage in a protectionist State, just as the protectionists would have been placed at a disadvantage if tlie Parliament had been sitting in a free-trade city.
– Would it have altered one vote?
.- I have no doubt that the representatives of New South Wales would have voted more free-trade than they did, just as our protectionist friends would have voted more protection, if it could have been obtained. I am not arguing whether .the Tariff is a wise or an unwise one, but only seeking to show how improper influences may be exercised when the Parliament is legislating for all Australia, that, therefore, it should be established in its own home, and that the sooner it is established in its own home the better will it be for the good government of the Commonwealth.
– A very poor argument.
– It may be a very poor argument, but it is one which appeals to me, and is one which I think has appealed to much greater minds than my honorable friend’s and mine, if we are to judge by historical reading. I come now to the question of what the area of the Federal territory should be. Ought it to comprise an area of 1,000 square miles ? I know there are many honorable senators who think that it should be sufficiently large to enable them to experiment with land nationalization or other fads.
– All great movements are called fads.
.- Very likely, but there is no instance in which it has been done in the case of Federation. Take the small territory in which Washington is situated. Has any attempt ever been made to enlarge the area, of that territory for the purpose of making an experiment with land nationalization, or carrying out any socialistic scheme which might have occurred to the minds of different people during late years ?
– And the city is over ears in debt as a consequence. All the money has gone to private land-holders.
– All I can say is that if my honorable friends are going to experiment with their socialistic principles m an area of 1,000 square miles, the Government will be found to be over ears in debt very soon so far as the Federal territory is concerned.
– I would willingly give them an area of 1,000 square miles if they would only go there and.take their fads with them.
.- Yes ; but they insist upon our going with them. My contention is that we have no right to attempt to create another State in which to experiment with fads. When the Federation movement was started it was intended to unite the States, and not to create a rival State in which the Federal Capital would be situated. It is made perfectly clear in the Constitution that the territory of a State cannot be dealt with without its consent. If honorable senators will take the trouble to go through the arguments which were adduced with regard to the capital site, they will not find one instance in which it was suggested that it would afford an opportunity to deal with some new socialistic problem, however dear it might be to members of Parliament.
– They objected to the different land systems.
– We can have a land system irrespective of the size of territory.
– The Constitution Act has carefully prevented the Commonwealth from dealing with the land system of any State, but of course in the case of the Federal territory we can do what we like. My argument is “that the design of section 125 is that the Commonwealth shall have in New South Wales not a State but a territory, which shall be not less than 100 square miles ; and we are not entitled I submit, without the consent of New South Wales, to take a larger area.
– Is that the honorable and learned senator’s legal opinion 1
– My interpretation of the Constitution is that, without the consent of New South Wales, we have no power to take one inch of its territory for the capital site.
– The thirty-nine articles give us the power.
.- The thirtynine articles give the Commonwealth no power of the kind.
– There are two sides to the bargain.
– Yes ; and, of course, if New South Wales declines to give the prescribed area of 100 square miles or thereabouts, it will have no right to complain ; we cannot fulfil our part of the bargain.
– The honorable and learned senator does not contend that New South Wales can refuse to give 100 square miles of Crown land 1
.- I contend that as a matter of legal interpretation the Commonwealth cannot say to New South Wales, “ We shall take 100 square miles here or there,” and that New South Wales and the Commonwealth will have to agree on the area to be taken.
– But they gave their consent to that provision when the Commonwealth Bill was accepted.
.- Yes; they gave their consent to a grant of 100 square miles of Crown land, but I submit that the Commonwealth Parliament cannot say to New South Wales, “We shall take 100 square miles of your territory in Tumut, Lyndhurst, Armidale, or elsewhere, “ if it objects to that site being taken 1 1 admit that if New South Wales were to put up its back in that way it would only have itself to thank if the Federal Capital were never established within its territory.
– I cannot see how she could put up her back legally.
.- New South Wales has never attempted to do anything of the kind. On the contrary from the very first New South Wales has said to the Commonwealth, “ Make your selection, and we shall give you an area of 100 square miles.” I have no doubt that if when the late Prime Minister had asked Sir John See what he suggested in regard to the territory, the latter had said, “ Let us go into conference and see if we cannot fix on a site,” a great many of our difficulties would have been overcome. But instead of taking that course Sir John See said, “ We do not wish to fix upon a site ; take any site you like. Tell us where you wish Crown lands to be reserved, and they will be reserved until you are able to make up your mind.” His conduct was prompted by a desire to meet the Federation in every possible way. Let us look at the wording of section 125 of the Constitution, and see how far we have the right to determine any extra area -
The seat of government of the Commonwealth shall be determined by the Parliament, and shall be within territory which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth, and shall be vested in and belong to the Commonwealth, and shall be in the State of New South Wales, and be distant not less than 100 miles from Sydney.
Such territory shall contain an area of not less than 100 square miles, and such portion thereof as shall consist of Crown lands shall be granted to the Commonwealth without any payment therefor.
The Parliament shall sit at Melbourne until it meets at the seat of government.
New South Wales is a party to that section. It is clear that we should continue to sit in Melbourne if New South Wales would not give us the territory. But the section only gives us power to determine where the seat of government for the Commonwealth shall be. It declares that it shall be within territory which shall be “granted to or acquired by “ the Commonwealth Parliament, and that the Crown lands within the area shall be given free by New South Wales. We will assume, for the sake of argument, that the words, “ not less than 100 square miles,” will permit us to take 1,000 square miles. It is immaterial what the area is, if it is admitted that we can take more than 100 square, miles. If we can take 1,000 square miles, we can take the whole State of New South Wales, except the part within 100 miles of Sydney.
– Would the best lawyers in Australia have put in the words “ not less than “ if we could not take more than 100 square miles 1
.- Does not the honorable member see that, quite apart from the legal interpretation of the section, we could not go beyond the 100-mile limit without the authority of the Parliament of New South Wales 1 New South Wales has to give away her territory, and if the section enabled us to take 1,000 square miles, it would mean that the Commonwealth had the right to take all the Crown land within 1,000 square miles. If we can do that we can take the whole of Riverina, and can require New South Wales to give to the Commonwealth the whole of the Crown land within that territory, thus reducing the taxable area and the population of NewSouth Wales to an enormous extent.
– That would be in the interests of Australia.
.- The in- terests of Australia will never be built up j by the destruction of the interests of any one State. The greatness of Australia will for all time be dependent upon the greatness of the States. The Federal territory will be a mere bagatelle, as is the case in the United States, in comparison with the greatness of the whole Union. Each State works out its own destiny upon its “ own lines, but all the States conduce to the greater destiny of the Commonwealth.
– If New South Wales will not give us what we want, we will go elsewhere for it.
– New South Wales is prepared to act fairly and squarely by the. Commonwealth. She will give the whole of the 100 square miles which the Constitution requires her to give. If the Commonwealth requires another 100 square miles for a catchment area, New South Wales will grant it without the slightest hesitation. I should be ashamed of my State if she did not. I am not now talking of what is laid down in the Constitution, but of what may be done by the consent of the people of New South Wales. When it was learned by the Parliament of that State that the Commonwealth Parliament contemplated taking 1,000 square miles, there was great excitement. Some very unwise things were said, showing the feeling that prevailed. But, when that excitement passed away, a strong feeling still remained. For instance, in the course of the discussion last night, Mr. Crick said -
It was useless discussing the legal aspects of the question. That could only be settled in the High Court.
It is a good thing that we have a High Court to settle it.
If the Federal Parliament had asked 100 square miles the Government would have granted it, and sought parliamentary sanction afterwards. The Government would not allow them to touch either the waters of the Murray or the Mumimbidgee. If it came to a fight they would find ample resources in the Land laws and make things very difficult for them.
I do not sympathize with expressions of that latter kind, because we have a High
Court to determine such questions. But Sir John See, at the opening ceremony of the railway to Tumut, is reported to have said -
As to the territorial area he would be prepared to accept the provisions of the Constitution, but he would refuse to give the Federal Government one inch more land than it was entitled to. He said this with deliberation, and he had confidence in the High Court, if that body was called upon for a decision.
Honorable senators cannot object to the means that Sir John See proposes to adopt to protect the interests of New South Wales.
– We are quite prepared to submit our case to the High Court.
– I have no doubt of that, but we do not want to run before the High Court needlessly. Let honorable senators turn to section 125 of the Constitution. We find there nothing about the creation of a new State. If it is contemplated to form a new State, we have to act under quite a different section of the Constitution -
A new State may be formed by separation of territory from a State ; but only with the consent of the Parliament thereof.
Then again -
The Parliament of the Commonwealth may, with the consent of the Parliament of a State and the approval of the majority of the electors of the State voting upon the question, increase, diminish, or otherwise alter the limits of the State upon such terms and conditions as may be agreed on.
It was of course right and proper that the rights of States should be protected to the fullest extent. What would Senator Barrett say if New South Wales came to the Commonwealth Parliament and said, “ We want to take the whole of Gippsland from Victoria “t
– What is meant by a State in the section just quoted 1
.- It does not mean a “ territory.” We are not to take over such an area as would constitute a State, which should have its own representation. The 125th section and the previous sections, by which it is to be interpreted, do not contemplate that. It is assumed by some honorable senators that we have power under what are known as the thirty-nine articles of section 51 to acquire a territory of this description. Under sub-section 31 of that section Parliament has power to make laws for-
The acquisition of property on just terms from any State or person for any purpose in respect of which the Parliament has power to make laws.
This provision undoubtedly gives the Commonwealth authority to acquire land from any State that may be required in connexion with customs, defence, quarantine, and other kindred subjects which are intrusted to the management and control of the Commonwealth Parliament. But that is not a power that will give the Commonwealth a right to take the land of a State for the purpose of forming a Commonwealth territory. That power is dealt with separately by another section of the Constitution. If it were otherwise the Commonwealth Parliament could mop up the whole of the d ifferent States one after another. It might commence with the State of Victoria and resume the whole city of Melbourne, taking possession of it in order to put up certain buildings for public purposes. What would Victoria say to that 1 The Commonwealth Parliament might subsequently take over all Victoria, for the purpose of carrying on some socialistic’ scheme of legislation for the protection of the poor people residing within the boundaries of the great cities. I contend that no such power is given to us under section 125. Senator Downer alluded to the word “acquire.” It seems to be assumed that there is power on the part of the Commonwealth to “acquire” land against the will of a State. But Senator Downer admitted that there was nothing within the four corners of the Constitution’ to show how this power could be exercised.
– The word “ acquire “ was inserted to enable the Commonwealth to buy freehold land within the capital area.
-That was what I was about to point out. The word was put in to enable the Commonwealth to acquire land within the 100 square miles limit. Some honorable senators contend that it is necessary to have a seaport for the Federal area. I hold that it would be a distinct disadvantage to the Commonwealth to have a port as part of the Federal territory. If we have a port it will be necessary to make it available for shipping, and to defend it. If trouble came to the Commonwealth in the shape of war, the seat of government would be looked upon as a vulnerable point of attack.
– There would not be so much loot obtainable at the Federal
I Capital as there would be at Melbourne or Sydney.
.- But look at the prestige that would accrue to the enemy from the capture of the Federal city. Of course we might do as President Kruger did during the Boer war - have the capital located in a railway train and shift it about from time to time. But it would be a most unfortunate position for Australia if her capital were situated too near the seaboard in time of war. We are much better off without a port. If we were to take Bombala as the capital and have Eden as the port, what should we have to do? We should have to construct means of access from the capita] to the port. Railways would have to be built to begin with. The States might be unwilling to build them. According to the report of Mr. Darley, which was sent to Mr. Oliver at his request, if we had a port for Bombala it would be necessary to spend a million of money upon the harbor.
– I think the report says that the amounts we should have to spend would be £152,000 and £130,000.
-Col. GOULD.- I believe the amount quoted are £1,000,000 and a further sum of £200,000 for wharfage accommodation, and £500,000 to construct a railway from Eden to Bombala. Senator Dobson is very anxious that we” shall not spend a large amount of money upon the Federal Capital. Yet he desires that we shall select a site involving an expenditure of nearly two millions sterling. We have had a statement from the Government that it should not cost more than £500,000 to resume land and erect sufficient buildings to commence with. I see no reason why that estimate should be exceeded. Of course, I admit at once that if we are to have a Parliament House such as that in which we are now sitting, and which cost £600,000, we should run into extravagance.
– Mr. Oliver estimates the cost of the Parliament House at £750,000.
.- We shall not want a building of that character for centuries to come.
– The estimate is already before us.
.- The honorable senator will not swallow every estimate put before him. Let me point out again, with regard to the question of expense, of which so much is made, that we are atpresent sitting in a building which cost £600,000. What right have we to expect that the one
State of Victoria shall pay interest on £600,000 in order to house the Federal Parliament ?
– I do not think
I she will.
.- What right 1 have we to expect Victoria to do it? This i State has treated the Commonwealth Parlia-1 ment with great generosity in placing this i building at our disposal, and incurring at 1 the same time the expense of erecting premises for the accommodation of the State Parliament. But we are placed in the position of being under an obligation to the State of Victoria. What would be our position if tlie Victorian Government turned round to-morrow and said - “ We have decided to terminate our agreement with you for the occupation of Parliament House. You must seek accommodation elsewhere.”
– Victoria would not do that.
– Victoria would have the right to do that, and what would our position be then ?
– It would be fair for Victoria to ask us to pay interest upon the cost of construction of this building.
– We can consider that when the necessity arises ; it has not arisen yet.
– I am pointing out the position in which we are. If we were told that we must seek accommodation elsewhere, as the seat of government must for a time be in Melbourne, we should have to purchase land, and erect a building, and, so far as I can judge, the cost of the land and the building would probably amount to more than it would cost to establish the Federal Parliament in our own territory. That must be done sooner or , later, and the sooner we do it, the better in the interests of the people of the Commonwealth. As I have said, there are some honorable senators who are in favour of the selection of Bombala as against Tumut. We know what the voting in another place was for Lyndhurst. We know that the strength of the New South Wales vote went in favour of that site, and, failing to carry it, it was transferred to Tumut. I say that the opinions of New South Wales representatives in this matter should receive due consideration and weight. There are other good sites ; but it may be said that there are only the three sites of Lyndhurst, Tumut, and Bombala that are really in the running at the present. If honorable senators will carefully consider the report of the Commissioners, they will find that the balance of advantage between the three places is with Lyndhurst. Tumut is next, and Bombala third, and a considerable way behind the other places. With regard to present accessibility, there can be no doubt that Bombala is the most inaccessible of all the sites. The largest amount of expenditure on the part of the States of Victoria and New South Wales would be required to connect Bombala with the railway systems of Australia.
– That expenditure would be borne by New South Wales and Victoria.
.- Very true; but the expenditure of a great deal of money is involved, though there can be no doubt’ that the selection of Bombala as the site of the Federal Capital would make the connecting railways pay much better than they would otherwise be likely to pay. There is still a big expense involved, and we cannot compel the States of Victoria and New South Wales to undertake that expense. They will incur the expense only if it suits their purpose to do so.
– Is not New South Wales going to build a railway from Cooma 1
.- I do not know. I know that the construction of the railway has been advocated over and over again, but it has not so far been built. So much for the question of present accessibility. On the ground of distance from Melbourne and Sydney, it is probable that Tumut has an advantage as against Bombala, whilst Lyndhurst, so far as Sydney is concerned, has the advantage.
– It is on the western line - the direct route to Fremantle.
.- As the honorable senator says, the transcontinental railway might go that way. It might be taken from Perth to Adelaide, thence to Broken Hill, and round by Cobar.
– The Inter-State railway.
– Senator Styles has suggested a very good line. Putting that question on one side, from considerations of climate, elevation, and picturesqueness, Lyndhurst is the most suitable site. I know that just at present the vote is not likely to be between Lyndhurst and Bombala, but between Bombala and Tumut. It may be between Lyndhurst and Bombala later on, and I will refer honorable senators to a few extracts from the report of the Commissioners, giving a comparison of the sites. The elevation of the Lyndhurst site is about 2,280 feet, and the elevation of the Bombala site is very similar. In regard to general suitability, the Commissioners say of Lyndhurst -
The slopes in the lower part of the site fall with easy grades towards Mandurama and Grabben - bong Creek, rising again towards the Mandurama township. The higher part of the site is a. pleasantly undulating plateau, which for picturesqueness will compare with any site visited. The country is well adapted for the laying out of a. fine city, which would occupy an imposing and conspicuous position. Beautiful parklike undulations rise frequently into elevations, offering great advantages for the display of fine buildings. There is ample and suitable space for the extension of the city, and for the creation of pleasant suburbs. From all portions of the site, charming and interesting views reach the eye. In the distance, and in some cases forming the horizon, are mountains, such as the chain of the Canobolas, the Weddin mountains, the Nangar Cliff, and the distant mountains at Sunny Corner. To the south-east, distant ranges, such as the Bungor Mountain, limit the panoramic view of the tableland. The streets could be laid out in north-east and south-west directions, and the beauty of the cit3’ could be greatly enhanced by forming an artificial lake on Grubbenbong Creek, and thus ornamenting a public park.
It is clear, from that description, that at Lyndhurst we might have an imposing and picturesque city. Honorable senators may say that we should not consider this matter from the .-esthetic point of view, but I say that, whatever site we select, it will be our duty to make a beautiful city, if we possibly can. The surroundings of the site at Lyndhurst would greatly help us to do that. Then, as to the rainfall, I find it stated that -
The mean annual rainfall for twenty-four years, ending with the year 1.892, was 29”54 inches, distributed over eighty-seven mean annual rainy days.
– How did it fare during the late drought ?
.- I am not aware. Speaking of the climate, the Commissioners say -
In summer the heat is of a dry character, and even after hot days the nights’ are usually cool. Fogs or mists are very rare at that site ; they are chiefly confined to the valleys and creek ; and do not last longer than a few hours.
From the point of view of health, fogs and mists must be considered, as we should, if possible, avoid a foggy or misty climate. I think lean show that this is a difficulty which would have to be faced at Bombala. With regard to water storage, the Commissioners say-
A dam 70 feet high, constructed across the Coombing Rivulet, at the point previously mentioned, where the elevation is 2,824 feet above sea-level, and where there is a very suitable storage reservoir, would impound 2,200,000,000 gallons of water.
It is pointed out that the catchment area would supply with water a city containing a population of 1,000,000. I need not enter into greater details in referring to the Lyndhurst site at present, though it may be necessary that I should do so later on. When we compare Bombala with Tumut, if we rely upon the report of the Commissioners, it must be admitted that Tumut is unquestionably the better site for the present, and for all time to come.
– The honorable and learned senator is not referring to Mr. Oliver’s report. Mr. Oliver tells a different tale.
– I am reading from the report of the Commissioners appointed by the Federal Government. Speaking of the Tumut site, the Commissioners say -
The centre of this site (which may be called the Lacmalac site) is about five miles easterly from the town of Tumut, in the valley of the Goobarragandra, the river of that name flowing through it. Along the banks of this river alluvial lands extend on both sides, with an average width of a little over three-quarters of a mile. From the edges of these lands the ground rises gently into low ridges which extend northerly and southerly to the boundaries of the suggested city site. On these ridges a large city could be built with ample room for expansion in almost every direction. The country through which the site is approached and its immediate surroundings are highly attractive, while the distant hills as seen from the valleys form pictures of great natural beauty.
They speak also of the river effects which might be secured, and they say -
Both the climate and soil seem for arborial and horticultural purposes to be perfect. This is most emphatically attested by the present conditions of the elms, willows, poplars, and other English trees, which flourish here in great luxuriance without cultivation.
They state further that -
The medical evidence shows that the climate is conducive to longevity, and has a beneficial effect on persons suffering from pulmonary disease.
On the subject of a water supply, a large number of places are mentioned from which an adequate supply could be obtained, and the Commissioners say -
All these streams at the points named from, which it is proposed to take the supply .ire at a sufficient elevation to supply water by gravitation ; they have mountainous catchment areas, and contain more or less flowing water throughout the year.
That, of course, was written in view of the site having an elevation of 1,050 feet. Ithas since been proposed as a condition that the site should not be less than 1,500 feet above the sea level. A site has since been discovered, at which an elevation of over 2,000 feet could be secured, at Batlow which is no great distance away. But it must nob be forgotten that that might affect a gravitation scheme of water supply. Personally, I should prefer to have an elevation of 2,000 feet for the site with a pumping scheme, than an elevation of 1,000 feet with a gravitation scheme. The water supply is, of course, most important, but I do not think that the consideration of the extra expenditure required for a -pumping: scheme should have weight when we might select a site with a better elevation.
– A pumping scheme would be very expensive.
– The Commissioners point out that -
The average elevation of the proposed city site is 1,050 feet above sea level, and the elevation of the Goobarragandra River below the junction of Emu Creek, the point from which it is proposed to take the primary supply,is 1,790 feet above the sea level, or 790 feet above the city site, which will allow a gravitation scheme giving a good pressure.
If the elevation of the site selected were 1,500 feet, the water supply could still be secured by gravitation from a site nearly 300 feet above that level. When we turn to Bombala we find the site described by the Commissioners in this way -
The formation of the site is almost wholly basaltic resting on granite, and resembles the open rolling downs country of which so much of Monaro consists. Standing high as compared with much of the surrounding country, which is very similar in character, the views from the site are extensive, but there are no striking features’ in the landscape to arrest the attention or attractthe eye. The site is treeless and somewhat unsheltered.
When this is compared with the description of the Tumut site it will be admitted that Tumut must be placed in the first position. The report goes on to say -
The few trees which are occasionally met with growing upon the tops of the higher points of land havea stunted appearance. Therecan be no doubt the exposed position has much to do with retarding their growth, otherwise, the soil and climate do not appear to he unfavorable.
– TheCommission spent half an hour there, I believe.
– I do notknow how long the Commission were at Bombala ; but honorable members will see that there can be noquestion as to the superiority of Tumut from the picturesque point of view. The report contains a table giving particulars as to the prevalence of fogs, snow and frost at Bombala. In 1899, between January and July, there were 17 days of fog; in 1900, from March to December, 23 days of fog; in 1901, from April to August, 14 days of fog ; and last year, from April to September, 24 days of fog.
– They have as many foggy days in London in a month.
– There are more foggy days than that where I live on Mount Lofty.
.- As to the productiveness of the soil at Bombala, the Commissioners say -
The soil in the Bombala district is of several kinds. Where there is basalt it is excellent, and itis good in the area of granitic rocks ; but there are tracts of poor soil in the areas of Devonian sandstone between Bombala and Bondi. Disregarding these poorer areas, the country round Bombala is excellent as a pastoral district, and is held, with few exceptions, in large estates. According to the stockreturns, it is capable of carrying about a sheep to two acres all the year round. Very little agriculture is carried on, and the crops grown are only for home use.
With regard to accessibility, the Commissioners point out that, taking a direct line, Tumut is 197 miles from Sydney and 251 from Melbourne, whereas by train the distance from Sydney is 318, and from Melbourne 389 miles. Bombala in a direct line is 240 miles from Sydney, and precisely the same distance from Melbourne, whereas by train the distance from Sydney is 324 miles, and from Melbourne 633 miles. The time occupied in the journey by train is 16 hours from Sydney and 25 hours from Melbourne, as against 11 and 12 hours respectively from Sydney and Melbourne to Tumut. No doubt more direct railway communication between Melbourne and Sydney and Bombala might be provided ; but unless it could be shown that the lines would pay, theRailway Commissioners could hardly be ex pected to undertake the work. If honorable senators will take the trouble bo consult the report, ‘they will see that, except in regard to elevation,the advantages are in favour of Tumut. Even if the advantages as between Tumut and Bombala were equal, it would be reasonable to select the site which the people of New South Wales seem to desire.
– That would be Lyndhurst.
– I am speaking of the two sites of Tumut and Bombala. If Senator Zeal considers that Lyndhurst is as good and as convenient a site as Bombala or Tumut, I urge him to vote for Lyndhurst. I recognise, however, that the choice lies between Tumut and Bombala, and the representatives of New South Wales have expressed themselves willing, as a matter of compromise, to accept the former.
– Isthe honorable and learned senator willing ‘that the Federal territory should extend to the Murray ?
– I am willing that the area should be that mentioned in the Constitution, namely 100 square miles.
– But1,000 square miles is the area provided in the Bill.
.- I certainly do not think the ‘Commonwealth is entitled to take 3,000 square miles, but I am perfectly willing that another 100 squaremiles should be added to the area mentioned in the Constitution, in order to provide fob a catchment area for the water supply. It was never intended by the Constitution that the Federal territory was to be a kind of buffer State, but that the area should be as close to the 100-mile limit from Sydney as could reasonably be obtained, otherwise there was no sense in fixing a limit. It would no doubt have been much better if there had been no limit, because I believe a much better sitecould have beenfound nearer to Sydney, though not in Sydney itself.
– Why not take Albury over as a going concern?
– Does Senator Best propose that the town of Albury should be acquired for a capital city?
– No, but an area within a few miles of Albury.
.- Then how could the site taken over there be described as a “ going concern? ”
– It would be within a very few miles of Albury.
– There would be no ‘’ going concern “ if the site were on Table Top, or at the spot which was first inspected. The strong objection against Albury is climatic, and there would be still less elevation from a picturesque point of view than could be obtained at Tumut. I have no doubt that Senator Best would prefer to have the capital city as near to Victoria as possible, because then it would be -most convenient for representatives who reside in that State.
– That, of course, is an insuperable objection from the New South “Wales point of view.
.- Honorable members will recognise that it would not be fair to drag New South Wales representatives a long distance to the capital, in view of the compact arrived at under the Constitution.
– I was not aware that the Constitution excluded Albury.
– I do not say that the Constitution excludes Bombala or Albury, but it is only reasonable that the capital should be fixed as near to the limit of 100 miles as possible. If we were to determine the question, having in view only the present means of access, and the particular position of the residences of parliamentary representatives, it would no doubt be more convenient to have the capital close to Melbourne. It must be borne in mind, however, that the southern portion of Australia will not itf future carry the great bulk of the population. The centre of Australia, from a population point of view, is moving north of Sydney to the territories on the northern rivers and tablelands ; and as years roll on, there the bulk of the people will be settled. If the question of the capital site were postponed for another fifty years, I have no doubt that Armidale would be regarded as the beau ideal place. That site has a very poor chance of being selected at the present, but the situation would be an excellent one if we could get Parliament to realize the trend of population. We are prepared, at any rate, to accept a position which is rea<-0! ably near to both Melbourne and Sydney, and there will be no difficulty if honorable members select Tumut. I urge honorable senators to give their best consideration to the matter, and to settle it in such a way as to preserve pleasant relationships amongst the States. Attacks are frequently made by one State on another ; but I have guarded myself against using one ungenerous word. Every senator has the right to his opinion, and to consider the position of his own State and the people he represents. I hope we shall select a site which will be regarded as a fair compromise, and which will fairly meet the reasonable dej sires of the representatives of all the States. Before concluding my remarks, I desire to say a few more words in regard to the question of the Federal Capital site. I find that in Canada it has not been considered necessary even to have the capital fixed in Federal territory. Ottawa is situated in one of the great provinces, and there has not been yet any* attempt, although there has been a desire on the part of some members of the Canadian Parliament, to have a Federal territory set apart in order that Ottawa may be separated from a province. So that not only in the United States has it not been considered necessary to have an extensive Federal territory, but in Canada it has been considered that under existing circumstances the capital may remain in one of the provinces. Of course, the provisions of the Canadian Constitution are different from those of our Constitution. In Canada the Dominion Parliament is invested with all powers except those which are granted to the provincial Parliaments, and provincial legislation is subject to the veto of the Governor-General ; but it has not been considered necessary that any great territory should be granted to the Dominion Government in which special legislation might be tested. That should be an additional reason why the limited area which is prescribed in section 125 of our Constitution should not be exceeded, except for very special circumstances. Whatever we may do at the present time, it should always be remembered that there are some precedents which have been set us in America. I would urge upon honorable senators to abandon the idea of. having a large area set apart in order to afford an opportunity to try different forms of State socialism which have been suggested from time to time. I hope they will realize that a large are.* of federal territory is not required. All we want is a territory in which we shall remain supreme, and be under no obligation to a State Government for the housing of our Parliament or the protection of our interests or the exercise of our legislative powers. It has been suggested that in a large city there is always a possibility of an attempt being made by the populace to overawe Parliament. I hope that such an event will never occur in the Commonwealth ; but, at any rate, if we had a Federal territory we should be absolutely protected from any attempt of that character, and a limited area would preclude the Commonwealth from attempting to experiment with any fads or fancies. If they are to be carried out it is far better that it should be done in one or other of the States where the majority of the voters desire such a course of action to be adopted. We shall have sufficient work to occupy our attention in looking after the material and more general interests of Australia without experimenting with any fads. All the States have to work out their salvation as well as they possibly can, and their interests, if they are properly conserved by themselves, are identical with those of the Commonwealth. We shall have quite enough to do to deal with those matters which have been reserved to ns in the Constitution, together with such matters as the States may hereafter refer to us. It is our duty to attend to those larger and more important movements’ which have a bearing on the interests of the Commonwealth as a whole, and not to experiment with fads or ideas which may occur to persons who sit in the Federal Parliament, and who have the opportunity of making such experiments through the agency of the State Parliament.
– I think I am as anxious as any one that the capital site shall be selected at the earliest possible moment. I have always held that view, and I hope that it will be possible, even at this late stage of the session, to select a site. The delay which has occurred over this matter is certainly not the fault of members of Parliament. If the fault lies with any one, it lies with the Ministry. The report of Mr. Oliver on the capital sites was made before the Parliament met, and it was only a few months ago that the Commonwealth Government appointed a Royal Commission to report on the subject.
– It was in January pf this year.
– We only received the report of the Royal Commission in July, and we have had no opportunity of considering the site until the present time. Our friends from New South Wales must admit that the fault does not rest with members of Parliament, but with the Ministry. A great deal has been said on the subject of what portion of New South Wales the site should be selected in, and whether we are deviating from the spirit of the Constitution in asserting the right to select a site in any portion of its territory outside the 100 mile radius of Sydney. Within that ring fence we can select a site where we please, subject, of course, to ratification by the Parliament of New South Wales. I do not admit that its representatives have any greater authority with regard to the location of the site than the representatives of the other States. ‘Our rights are clearly laid down in the Constitution and it is quite within our power, without violating even its spirit, to say in what part of New South Wales the site shall be fixed. When the senators from New South Wales say that we are guilty of an antiFederal spirit in proposing the Albury or Bombala site because it happens to be near the border of Victoria they take up a position which is absolutely untenable. It is also said by the representatives of New South Wales that that State would never have entered the Federation if it had been suspected that a larger area than 100 square miles would be asked for. It is distinctly laid down in the Constitution that the area of the Federal territory shall be not less than 100 square miles. The area of the Federal territory is clearly a question which has to be decided in the best interests of Australia by this Parliament, subject of course to the consent of New South Wales. It will be a matter of arrangement between the Commonwealth and New South Wales as to how far the minimum of 100 square miles shall be exceeded. It is absolutely illogical for honorable senators to say that we have no right to ask for an area of 1,000 square miles. If the Bill is passed, it will be for the Government of New South Wales to say whether it will approve of that area being granted, and, if not, to arrange with the Commonwealth Government what area can be granted. It is amusing to see what the acceptance of the Bill will lead us to. Mr. Oliver, the New South Wales Commissioner, selected, so far as Tumut is concerned, a site called Gadara, which we went specially to inspect. The Commonwealth Commissioners selected another site called Lacmalac, which we went specially to inspect. These sites are beautiful little valleys, surrounded by hills - one might almost say a crevice in the rocks, a pocket. The Lacmalac site, including some hills which we climbed in order to view the surrounding country, contains an area of seven square miles, while the Gadara site comprises about the same area or possibly a little more. I said to the people of Tumut, “Will you kindly show me on the map where the absolute minimum of 100 square miles is to come from 1 “ They said, “Take in the Lacmalac site, take in the Tumut site, buy the town - at a cost of possibly £250,000 - buy the Gadara site, run down to near Adelong and take in those valleys, and that will supply you with 100 square miles.” If we did we should have a territory resembling an octopus in shape.
– Or the picture of a gerrymander.
– Yes. The members of the other House recognised the absolute impossibility of having the Federal Capital established in a little valley, and in order to get out of a difficulty with which they were confronted they selected a somewhat vague area fifteen or twenty miles south of Tumut in a neighbourhood called Batlow. No expert who has been appointed to report upon this subject has approved of the Batlow site. The New South Wales Commissioner spent a week or ten days at Tumut, and inspected that site; and said that he preferred the Lacmalac site. On the other side of the hill is the region of the Gadara site. The Batlow site has never been suggested by either of the Commissions, and it has never been inspected by a member of either House of this Parliament, except during the last visit, when it was seen by two members. Is it not an extraordinary thing to ask the Senate to select for all time a Federal Capital site, which its members have never seen, and which no Royal Commission, State or Commonwealth, has recommended as suitable.
– The Senate is not asked to do that. There is a sufficient latitude allowed.
– It is said that the site must not be more than fifteen miles from Tumut.
– No ; twenty-five miles.
– If the report of the discussion in another place is followed it will be seen that it was not intended for a moment to select either of the sites suggested by Mr. Oliver, or the site suggested by the Commonwealth Commission ; and therefore, in their opinion, the Batlow site is as good as either of those sites. We are practically asked to buy a pig in a poke, to select a site which no member of the Senate has seen, and which no expert has recommended.
– Senator Dawson has seen it.
– I know that the Minister for Trade and Customs took some members up there the other day, as a sort of final polishing off, to bring them in favour of Tumut. They went up there, and I believe they went round with umbrellas up and beads of perspiration dropping from their faces. Those members who were taken up there to bless came back to curse. I know of members who went up with an open mind, and who came back staunchly opposed to the selection of Tumut. Of this site we know nothing, except that the country there is practically the Switzerland of Australia. It is a mountainous country, and the climate is, I believe, as rigorous as or more rigorous, than that of any part of the table-land of Bombala, of which we have heard so much.
– That statement is utterly opposed to the official records.
– We have no official records concerning Batlow.
– That has not been, definitely decided upon.
– But the sites of Lacmalac and Gadara were repudiated as being unfit for capital sites. Then we go a little further, and consider what the other clauses of the Bill propose. They propose that the site shall be not less than twenty-five miles from Tumut, and that it shall run from the Murrumbidgee to the Murray River. I have carefully plotted upon the plan which I will lay upon, the table, the exact position of the site. . It is within twenty-five miles of Tumut, and running from the Murrumbidgee to the Murray River ; and I never saw a more extraordinarily shaped piece of Land upon which to erect a Federal Capital. It is sixty-three miles long, and sixteen miles wide. We know absolutely nothing about the character of the country. It may have a backbone of mountain ranges running down the centre of it. We know nothing of the topography or of the water supply. Even my honorable and learned friend, Senator Gould, said that he did not know whether it would require a pumping scheme or gravitation scheme. Yet we are supposed to decide definitely that this site shall be the future capital of Australia. We are told also, that by selecting this site, we can have ready access to Victoria. The inference is that we should build a railway from Tumut across the Murray River. I was told by an engineer that the cost of such a railway would probably be £15,000 or £20,000 a mile. Surely that is something well worth considering. As I have said, the proposed territoryis sixteen miles wide. Imagine a Federal city, like Washington or Ottawa, situated like that. Of course I am now speaking of the prospects a considerable time ahead. How could we possibly squeeze a city into a Federal territory like that ? What would be the effect ? There would be a city in the very centre of the territory, and if the city were only a mile in width, it would be, either way, only about seven and a half miles from the boundary. We should have all the land-grabbers and speculators tearing up there as hard as they could go, and the whole country around would be marked out in eligible sites for suburbs, with the result that the Federal Capital would be in Federal territory, whereas the suburbs would be in New South Wales.
– How could that be, if the territory were sixteen miles wide?
– There are suburbs of Melbourne which are more than six miles away from the centre of the city.
– The honorable senator surely does not suppose that the capital city will be a city of the size of Melbourne ?
– Not in our time, but we must assume that some time or other there will be a considerable city there. What will be the effect when we wished to lay out a fair sized city? The New South Wales people would have entire jurisdiction over the suburbs, and practically the city would be under divided authority. There would be no end of trouble.
– That is what they want.
– I will not say that, but I point out the absolute absurdity that would arise. We should be making a mistake with regard to a most momentous and important subject if we accepted the Bill which the Government ask us to accept. I am not going to dwell upon the merits of Bombala. I am going to vote for that site, but all honorable senators have received reports concerning it, and I believe they have read them. “ Good wine needs no bush” ; and it is not necessary for me to quote from the reports which have been supplied. But if we accept Bombala, the House of Representatives will have an opportunity of agreeing or of disagreeing with us. The probable result will be. that if they refuse to agree with the Senate, it will be impossible this session to select a site for the Federal Capital. If that should happen, we can appoint a Commissioner or Commissioners - an independent body - to go to the two areas, Tumut and Bombala, and mark out whatever area we decide to ask the New South Wales Government for ; and to give us information with regard to the topography, the accessibility, the water supply - whether it would have to be a gravitation or a pumping scheme - the fertility of the soil, and its suitability for building purposes. But until we have that information I contend that we have no right to select a capital site such as is proposed, twenty miles from Tumut, upon land of which we know nothing.
– But the honorable senator is prepared to vote for Bombala on the information which he has.
– We have seen the site at Bombala, but we have not seen the site at Tumut. We have seen the magnificent water supply of the Snowy River.
– Let the honorable senator speak for himself.
– I think that my honorable friend knows New South Wales as well as any of us. He has been to Bombala. The Commission which we appointed would be able to give us the information we require, and we should not have to act upon information concerning some vague area such as the Monaro tableland, or a site within twentyfive miles of Tumut. We should have a definite area recommended to us. The Commission would give us exact information as to the cost of a water supply. It is impossible to give that information with accuracy unless the Commissioners know, first of all, where the site is to be. I admit that Tumut has a magnificent water supply. There is none better in New South Wales. We are told that if we accept that site we can have a magnificent gravitation scheme at a certain cost. Yet Senator Gould points out that if we take the site at Batlow he does not know whether a pumping scheme or a gravitation scheme will be required. What has been done is to take the most favorable place along the Tumut River. But that is not sufficient. We also desire information concerning the climate. That is a very important point. The climate of Tumut is warm. It is a climate where tobacco and maize can be grown. That fact is quite sufficient for those honorable senators who know the kind of climate in which those products can be grown. It is well-known that Tumut is a very warm place in the summer-time ; but Batlow is away up in the mountains - a place where snow lies upon the ground for a week or a fortnight in the winter, and where they have sleety drizzling rain. I am told that the climate is more rigorous than upon any portion of the Monaro tableland. Of course I may have been misinformed; but if we had a report concerning an area of 1,000 square miles - or 100 square miles, or whatever piece of territory we chose to take - we should know definitely, and should be in the position to make a final definite choice. In conclusion, I wish to say that if we select Tumut, we have a definite statement from the Premier of New South Wales that he will absolutely refuse to grant to us the territory which we require. If we carry this Bill, we shall be no further forward.
– We can cutout the 1,000 miles provision.
– We do not propose to cut it out.
– We shall not be able to get 1,000 square miles at Bombala.
– But if we select Tumut we shall be in this position : that New South Wales can dictate her own terms to the Commonwealth. We shall have selected Tumut. The Constitution says that New South Wales must give to us the Crown land within an area of 100 square miles. New South Wales will say - “ We will give you that area and.no more:” and we shall not be in a position to make New South Wales give us more. But if we take two sites we shall be in a position to bargain. We shall not have definitely committed ourselves, and shall be able to make some arrangement with the New South Wales Government as to the area we shall take. Senator Dobson has said that if we select Tumut we shall be absolutely at the mercy of New South Wales, and that they could cut off access by rail to the Federal territory. I do not believe that the people of New South Wales would do anything like that. We can banish that thought from our minds once and for all.
– Allow a little for that honorable and learned senator’s sense of humour.
– Whether the remark was made humorously or not, I can. point to an extraordinary analogy in the case of Western Australia. We are asking a State lying between Victoria and Western. Australia to allow a railway to go through her territory in order to give us direct communication. But South Australia has absolutely refused to sanction a railway running through that State. Arguing by parity of reasoning, that statementmade by an honorable senator, although probably made humorously, would absolutely represent no worse case than if New South Wales refused communication with the capital city. The analogy would be exact. I do not believe that the people of New South Wales will do that, but it is an extraordinary coincidence that we are suffering at the present time from the action of a neighbouring State to the very same effect. Although they know that we are not asking them to build the railway, they refused to give their consent to enable us to secure direct communication from one State to another. There have been accusations made that we are adopting an unfederal attitude. I can say on behalf of myself, and I believe for every representative of Western Australia, that we are all mostdesirous that the Federal site should be selected at the earliest possible moment. When the time comes for a definite decision, honorable senators will find that representatives of Western Australia will not be proposing amendments with the object of delaying the settlement of the question. But the people of New South Wales must meet the Federal Parliament in a fair spirit. To say that the maximum area granted shall be 100 square miles, and that we shall not; be given a Federal territory if the area is to be more, is to adopt an unfederal attitude. If the area were to be 1,000 square miles in country such as that at Batlow or Bombala, the New South Wales Government would not lose in revenue more than from £500 to £1,000 a year, because the land is at present only leased to pastoralists. If we take an area of 1,000 square miles, that will be only thirty-three miles each way, and I believe that Melbourne is’ about twenty miles each way.
– An area of 1,000 square miles would be only l-360th part of the total area of New South Wales.
– It would not be a very large area if we desire that the Federal Capital and its suburbs shall be, for all time, in Federal territory. The actual monetary loss to New South Wales, by surrendering such an area, would be exceedingly small. If we are to be told that we must be limited to an area of -100 square miles, I shall not vote for any Federal Capital to be located in a territory of that area, because from that very centre it would be only five miles to the border of the Federal territory. It would be inevitable that the suburbs of the Federal Capital should in such a case be outside the Federal territory, and none of us can desire that the Federal Capital should be under the -divided authority of the Commonwealth and State. If I could be assured that a sufficient area would be secured so that the Commonwealth Capital and its suburbs might for all time be within Federal territory, I should be satisfied.
– What about Washington ? Is not that all in Federal territory, and yet the area is only seventy square miles 1
– -I am not sure that the capital is all in Federal territory, though I am aware that the area is only seventy square miles.
– The United States Federal authorities gave up thirty- i two square miles of the original territory ‘ granted.
– It is just as well that we should profit by their mistake. It is a mistake for our ‘ New South Wales friends to impugn our motives if we express the opinion that the Federal Capital site should be near the border of New South Wales. Under the
Constitution we can select a site anywhere in New South Wales outside of the 100-mile limit of Sydney. If within that condition we believe that the most suitable site is one near the borders of New South Wales, we shall not be doing our duty if we do not select that site. I hope the Senate will select Bombala. If honorable members in another place will agree to that selection well and good, Bombala will be selected, but if they do not I think it will be impossible to select a site this session. Even if that should be the case there will be some advantage in the delay involved, as we shall be able to secure proper reports of the exact area to be marked out at Tumut and Bombala.
– Lyndhurst may be the site selected.
– Possibly ; but I think that the only two sites which are really in the running are Bombala and Tumut. In any case, we should have narrowed down the sites to two, and we can get Commissioners to mark out the exact area we require at each site. We can have more exact reports with regard to the locality when the Commissioners are better informed as to where we desire the site to be selected.
– What about the alienation of land in the meantime 1 Suppose the New South Wales Government refuse to reserve land any longer ?
– They have held their hand for the last three years.
– New South Wales has in this matter treated us with great generosity. As soon as we indicated our desire to inspect certain sites, with a view to the selection of one for the Federal Capital, they reserved Crown lands surrounding those sites, and the New South Wales Government has suffered pecuniary loss in that way for the benefit of the Commonwealth, because the greater the area of Crown lands contained in the site acquired the less the expense to the people of the Commonwealth.
– We cannot expect them to continue that reservation.
– We cannot expect them to continue it always, but we shall lessen the sacrifice they are called upon to make to a certain extent if we narrow the sites down to two. I am hoping that we shall be able to select a site this session, but if we are not able to do so, when we meet again in six or twelve months we shall be in a better position to select one site or the other, if we now narrow the selection to two sites.
– I very much regret that this question should have been brought forward at the end of the session. “We have now had two long sessions extending over two years and a half, during which we might have considered this matter; and it is very much to be deprecated that the consideration of such an important question should have been delayed until now.
– We have been very busy all the time with other legislation.
– I deprecate the question being brought forward now, because the information before us is not reliable, and is disputed. Though I should like to see the settlement of the question postponed in justice to New South Wales, I feel that we cannot expect that State to continue to reserve Crown lands awaiting our decision. For that reason I cannot join with Senator Dobson in voting that the Bill be read a second time this day six months. It seems to me that it would be neither just nor fair to carry such an amendment. In my opinion the two considerations of most importance are those of climate and a plentiful fresh water supply. In the matter of climate, opinions differ as to the suitability of Tumut and Bombala. I speak on the subject from my own experience. When I went to Tumut I saw the balance of 450 tons of matured tobacco being taken from the neighbourhood of the Tumut site for transport to the Melbourne market. This convinced me, far more satisfactorily than any statistics could have done, that the climate of Tumut is subtropical during a great portion of the year.
– The tobacco was surely never grown at the elevation of the proposed capital site..
– It is grown on the river flats.
– That might be above the water supply. I consider that the question has not been carefully submitted to honorable senators, because with Bombala another site should have been taken into consideration, and that is Dalgety. The Government kept back, or, at all events, did not supply us with a report upon Dalgety until the very last moment.
Last session I joined with those who expressed the hope that the Government would see that we were supplied a report upon the Snowy River district. I believe that that district has not had justice done to it. With regard to the climate of Bombala, I form an estimate of it, also, from my own experience. I judge of it in this way : For years Tasmania used to get her supplies of fat cattle in the winter months of July, August, and September from the Southern Monaro district. Every one knows what the winter is, even in the highlands of Northern Monaro and the New England district, and it is clear that the grass must be very good, and the climate mild, when cattle remain fat in the Southern Monaro district during the winter. That is, to my mind, a powerful argument in support of the contention that the climate of Bombala is healthy and mild. The Federal Government’s own Commissioners state that the climate of Bombala is a good one for consumptives.
– So is that of Tumut.
– There are too many east winds in summer at Tumut.
– I find that Mr. J. H. Maiden, curator of the Botanical Gardens at Sydney, and a high authority upon botanical matters, writes in a report that he considers the climate of Bombala a good climate for all temperate grown plants. He says -
I append a list of plants I found flourishing on or about the Bombala site : the list speaks for itself to those who know how to interpret soil and climate by means of vegetation. On the tops of the hills it is undoubtedly bleak ; but the site, as a rule, contains such excellent soil, and water is so readily available, that I believe I could grow any temperate plants upon it and grow them well. An old landscape gardener would experience no difficulty in raising shelter belts of trees. I must say that I was much impressed by the Bombala site, and believe it could be turned into a garden city.
There we have the evidence of one of the best experts in the Commonwealth. I do not think much can be made of the argument that the Bombala site is inaccessible. I have no doubt that in a very few years that disadvantage might be easily overcome. We have before us the possibilities of electric power by means of which people may travel at the rate of 100 miles an hour or even more on mono-rail. They are doing it in Germany now. We have in the Snowy River a water-power equivalent to from 50 horse-power to 1,000 horsepower. That is running to waste now, and it might be utilized and made a valuable adjunct in developing the wealth of the Federal community. It might be used to provide the electric power required in the Federal city, and much of the power required to give railway access to it. For the reasons I have given I am not prepared to support Senator Dobson in the amendment he has moved for the postponement of the settlement of the question. I shall be glad to assist in making some amendments in the Bill, and I shall vote for Bombala as the site of the Federal Capital.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia). - I regret that at so late a stage we are asked to deal with this very important question. The Government are deserving of all the blame which has been heaped upon them. There has been ample time, if the Government were in earnest, for us to have had a report from the Board of Experts had that board been appointed immediately after the visit of the parliamentary representatives to the proposed sites. At any rate, the Government ha ving now done their part, no matter how slowly, there should be no excuse for our falling into the same error of delay. Senator Dobson has waved his tattered banner of delay, in which are written the words - “ Delay, Detract, Destroy “
– The honorable senator ought to answer my arguments.
– Senator Dobson practically proposes that we shall delay the settlement of the question, and in the meantime detract from the idea of having a Capital, with the view of ultimately destroying all hope of acquiring Federal territory.
– Delay is first cousin to repudiation.
– That is so. Senator Dobson is cheered on in his campaign of destruction by Senator Fraser.
– I have not spoken yet.
– But the honorable senator’s interjections form a speech in themselves. The alternative proposed is that Melbourne or Sydney shall be the capital. Senator Dobson supports Melbourne, while Senator Fraser says he is prepared to sacrifice himself to the extent of accepting Sydney.
– I said so in the Convention.
– I am rather inclined, to think that it is the democratic nature of the Federal Parliament which impels the honorable senator to get rid. of us as soon as possible.
– I should like to get rid of some, but not of the honorable senator.
– Senators Fraser and Dobson appear to hold a brief for the landowners of Melbourne and Sydney ; they certainly do not hold a brief for the taxpayers of the Commonwealth. It would be immensely more expensive to remain in Melbourne than to found what has been called a “ bush capital.” The Victorian Government have treated us very generously in allowing us the use of this magnificent building free of rent; but are we for ever to live on the generosity of the Victorian Government? Is it reasonable to expect that the Victorian Government will allow us to remain in the occupation of this building free of rent? The capital cost of this Parliament House was £600,000, and if the time should come when we are asked to pay rent, we shall have to provide a pretty large sum.
– The Victorian Government will never ask us to pay rent.
– Whether or not, in the spirit of generosity, the Victorian Government allow us to occupy these buildings for ever free of rent, I am satisfied that the other States of the Commonwealth will not be content to act the part of the poor relation.
– The honorable senator is raising some nice bogies.
– What I am stating is not a bogy, but an actual fact. Are we not every month occupying fresh buildings for which we are paying rent to the private landlords of Victoria ? Is it not a fact that our rent bill in Victoria is about £13,000
I per annum ?
– What about the transcontinental railway ?
– I have no doubt the honorable senator will support the construction of a transcontinental railway when the proposal is made. The truest j economy is to get away from the State capital as quickly as possible. Sena. ! tor Dobson has posed here as ihe j high prophet of .Kyabram - as the one I senator who speaks true economy. The honorable senator ought to show that it would be true economy to remain in
Melbourne or to remove the capital to Sydney. In the latter city we should not have the advantage of a Parliament House, because the building there is unfit even for a State Parliament. We should have to purchase a large area of land at inflated values, and erect new parliamentary buildings, which would cost almost as much as is required to resume either Tumut or Bombala, taking the area at 1,000 square miles. I was somewhat surprised to hear the arguments advanced by Senator Gould. The representatives of New South Wales are falling somewhat into the error of regarding this as merely a New South Wales question. I protest against that view. This is an Australian question, and the only additional interest which New South Wales has in it is due to the fact that the territory must be chosen within that State. Senator Gould joins issue with those honorable senators who hold that the area of the Federal territory should be not less than 1,000 square miles, and he attempts to show that such a proposal is contrary to the Constitution. The honorable and learned senator holds that because the Constitution says that the area shall not be less than 1 00 square miles, the inference is that it shall not be more than 100 square miles.
– That is a new interpretation.
– It certainly is a new interpretation.
SenatorFraser. - The Constitution does not authorize a larger area.
– I do not say that we cannot have a larger area, but merely that 100 square miles is the area substantially contemplated by the Constitution.
– Section 125 says -
Such territory shall contain an area of not less than 100 square miles…..
That is the minimum ; but there is another portion of the section to which I specially direct the attention of Senator Gould. The section provides that the seat of government shall be “distant not less than 100 miles from Sydney.” Does Senator Gould contend that the seat of government should not be more than 100 miles from Sydney?
– I have not so contended, but I say the spirit of the Constitution is that the seat of government shall be placed as near the 100-mile radius as possible.
– Exactly the same words are used in each case, and’ yet Senator Gould says they bear two different meanings.
– The same words are not used.
– The one provision is that the territory shall contain an area of “ not less than 100 square miles,” and the other that the seat of government shall be “distant not less than 100 miles from Sydney.”
– Such words always mean that there may be more.
– Senator Gould had not the audacity to tell us that we ought not to select Tumut or Bombala, because those sites are 300 miles or over from Sydney. The meaning of the section is logically plain ; and if we cannot acquire an area of 200 square miles, neither can we fix the capital site 200 miles from Sydney.
– Is New South Wales expected to give more than 100 square miles without any payment ?
– If the Constitution says we may take more than 100 square miles, my contention is that the language which governs the one matter governs the other.
– If the honorable senator’s argument be good, we may take the whole of New South Wales, except the areas within the radius of 100 miles.
– I do not think that is so. Supposing that within the site chosen the watershed area extends over 150 square miles?
– New South Wales would give us that area.
– But, according to the contention of the honorable and learned senator, that would be exceeding the bounds of the Constitution.
– New South Wales is not bound to give that area, but may give as much as the State likes.
– Then, it is not a question of the Constitution, but a question of the generosity of New South Wales.
– There may be a legal right to take a certain area, and then we must trust to the good sense of the State to allow any additional area.
– The section was placed in the Constitution with the object of insuring that the site resumed should be sufficient for a city of generous proportions.
Surely the power to resume contemplates, as one of the first essentials, a good water supply. That means an uncontaminated watershed area ; and if that area’ be the property of the State, the health of the Federal city will be absolutely at the mercy of the State. I quite agree with what Senator Macfarlane said about the climate of Tumut. Honorable senators have to consider the figures on this head in the light of their knowledge of Australian conditions in regard to vegetable growth. When we are told that in Tumut .there can be produced 40 bushels of maize to the acre, and that tobacco is grown, any Australian, with knowledge of agriculture, knows at once that such products are possible only in a humid atmosphere.
– In a deadly climate.
– In a deadly climate where the thermometer may register only 100 degrees, but where humanity suffers greater discomfort than would be experienced at Kalgoorlie with the thermometer at 120.
– Tobacco is grown in Ireland.
– Grapes are grown in England but in hothouses, and I dare say tobacco is grown under similar conditions in Ireland.
– The tobocco is grown in the valleys at Tumut, and the Federal city will be on the hills.
– Is what I have described a fit summer climate for a big city 1 A humid atmosphere is the best propagator of epidemics.
– The city is not going to be in the valley.
– When honorable senators visited the site they were taken, like a certain divine being, to the top of the mountain, and shown the tremendous valley at their feet, and were told, “ All that shall be yours if you will only make Tumut the Federal Capital.” Senator Gould says that the Federal Capital will not be in a valley ; but either the honorable and learned senator is wrong, or the residents and guides were out of their reckoning. Every site that was shown to us round about Tumut was in a valley. We have Tumut, with its humid summer and mild winter climate on the flats-; but as Senator Smith has pointed out, the tablelands have a rigid winter climate, in which snow storms are frequent. What is the worst that can be said about the Bombala climate? There is no objection to the summer climate of Bombala; but it is said of the winter climate that it is subject to bleak cold winds, with occasional falls of snow. This Senate is largely, or at any rate to some extent, composed of men, or the sons of men, who came from the United Kingdom.- To which site is there the greater objection % To a site with a bleak winter, or a site with a humid summer % Is it not a fact that the white race reaches’ its greatest perfection in cold and bleak countries rather than in countries with humid atmospheres. *
– Queenslanders will not agree with the honorable senator about the virtues of a bleak atmosphere.
– Senator Gould ought to agree with me, judging by his speeches on the kanaka question.
– I could understand the honorable senator wanting a humid climate when he would put white men into a stokehole in the Red Sea.
– That is a dry heat. It should be remembered that, if anything is done which will have the effect of delaying the settlement of this question, certain contingencies may arise, and it may become the sport of political warfare. It should be settled when no party question is involved. It has been said that it was a very great advantage to have the question of federating the States settled without the pressure of the danger of war. Senator Dobson says - “ Let us leave this question to chance - let us leave the ball lying about until the political team gets into the field - and when it becomes the sport of circumstance, it can be settled.”
– I never said any such, thing. That is very unfair criticism.
– That is practically what the honorable and learned senator meant. Is it not a fact that much of theopposition to the selection of the capital site, arid of the opposition to the provision for a Federal territory of 1,000 squaremiles arises from the fear that we are going to have a splendid object lesson in land! nationalization at the Federal Capital. .
– Honorable senators; too thinly disguise that what they fear isnot a Federal territory of 1,000 square miles, but the fact that in each House off this Parliament a majority is pledged to land nationalization in the Federal Capital.
– In New South Wales it has been tried for fifty years, and it is a ghastly failure.
– The honorable senator is off the track this time.
– When the prophet of economy stands on the floor of the Chamber and asks for delay, he knows very well that during all this delay the land values of Melbourne are gradually creeping up, as the result of the expenditure of public money, and that, if we were to move the seat of government to Sydney, the same result would accrue. On the other hand, he knows that if we had land nationalization in the Federal territory, and the Federal Capital became a commercial city, the people would realize what the adoption of that principle or its concomitant in the States would mean. Let us just glance at the land values of Melbourne. The land comprising the city of Melbourne was sold in 1837 for £2,479, and in 1889 it was valued at £15,287,000. All these lands belong to private owners, who collect immense ground rentals. Senator Smith could tell the story of a little block in the main street of Kalgoorlie which was given to the municipality by the State of Western Australia, and which to-day is bringing in a magnificent revenue, because it has been kept for the people. He could also tell us that the magnificent buildings which are to be seen in its main street, have been erected on leased land, and that the ground rentals are going into the pockets of private landlords. That disposes of the argument which, no doubt, will be brought forward that people will not erect good buildings on leased land. I would ask Senator Dobson, and others who have quoted Washington to us, to remember that in that case the land was bought from private owners, but, through a mistake, it was resold. There is a debt of £4,000,000 on the city of Washington. Why 1 Simply because the values which have been created by the people of the United States, have gone into the pockets of private landlords. And, instead of the city using the rentals from the values for making and beautifying its roads, it has to raise money by taxation for that purpose, and its little population of 200,000 persons is loaded with a debt of £4,000,000. By adopting the principle of land nationalization we can not only improve and beautify the Australian Capital, but insure that the big rentals shall go into the pockets of the people, and that no debts shall be created. 12 b
It does seem to me that behind this advocacy of delay, and this denunciation of an area of 1,000 square miles, lies the fear of land nationalization - the fear that the private landlord will not reap the benefit which ! he has reaped in the case of Melbourne and j Sydney. I have carefully thought over this matter since the first report of Mr. Oliver was distributed. I have visited all the ! sites, occupied my time in forming the best impressions that I could, and gone through the voluminous reports by the Commission of Experts, and I believe that in voting for Bombala I shall vote for a site which will be worthy of the future Australian Capital.
– It is my intention to vote for the second reading of- the Bill, which, with other speakers, I shall endeavour to amend, as regards the area of 1000 square miles and the height of the capital site. I have ascertained to-day that that part of the Lacmalac site, on which the public buildings would probably be erected, is about 1,300 feet above the sea, and that if we were to go to Batlow we could get an elevation of 2,200 feet, and an area nine miles square if required, with fine volcanic soil.
– Where is the water to come from 1
– There is a magnificent supply of water to be had. I exceedingly regret that the Government’s proposal for a joint sitting of the Houses was not agreed to. I think that a great mistake was made when it was rejected. I recognise that the’ Government have afforded us every reasonable opportunity to visit the sites..Whether the visits were made late or not,, at all events Ministers honestly endeavoured to afford every member of the Parliament an opportunity to see the sites. We are under a debt of gratitude not only to the Government, but also to public bodies and private hosts, who were so kind to us on the occasion of our visits that I feel rather sorry that we cannot support more than one site. I take this opportunity of informing honorable senators that they have largely to thank Sir George Turner that the provision for a Federal territory was inserted in the Constitution Act. It may perhaps be remembered that at the Adelaide Convention I proposed that the capital should be in Federal territory, and that my proposal was opposed by its leader.
I knew well enough that the feeling in New South Wales, particularly in Sydney, was that if there were no provision for a Federal territory, the Federal Capital would probably be elsewhere than in that State. I waited upon Sir George Turner, before the Convention met in Melbourne, and he gave me a very kind reception. He said - “ Are you satisfied that unless a Federal territory is provided for, New South Wales will not accept the Constitution 1” I said - “ I am as satisfied as that two and two make four that unless it is understood that the capital is to be within Federal territory you need not expect New South Wales to accept the Constitution. If you will submit the proposal I have no doubt that it will be accepted in the Melbourne session of the Convention.” He did submit the proposal, and I take every opportunity of giving him credit for the national spirit which he displayed. I find that the District of Columbia comprises an area of sixty-nine and a quarter square miles, and that Washington contains a population of 290,000. The public debt is approximately £3,000,000, and the assessed value of all taxable property in Washington is £44,000,000, which is really three-fifths of the actual value. I mention these facts because I am with Senator Pearce in wishing the Federal territory to belong to the Commonwealth, and the land only to be leased. I am not with the honorable senator, however, in his desire to secure a large area, because my impression is that if the area were very large, the unearned increment would be proportionately much less than if it were comparatively confined. I think it is due to myself to explain that at one time I was a great believer in Bombala, which I admire very much. I, as one who has come from a cold country, can easily stand its climate ; but I have lived a good deal in the hot parts of Australia, and I know that it would nearly kill Senator Dawson to go there in the winter months. After reading the report of the four experts, I do not feel ashamed to say that I bow to their superior knowledge, besides which I have since made a second visit to Tumut. It seems to me that those of us who support the experts have something in. our favour, whilst those who oppose the experts have a greater responsibility to bear than we have.
– What about the opinion of the New South Wales Commissioner, Mr. Oliver ?
– I take a Federal view on the question of where the capital site should be. Tumut is practically in point of time half-way between Melbourne and Sydney. The great bulk of the people of Australia - whether we like to acknowledge the fact or not - are located between Ballarat and Newcastle, and it will be found that Tumut is practically half-way between those two places. With regard to the climate, I have a little evidence on which I can rely. Mr. Morisset, who has been the manager of the Bank of New South Wales in Bombala for ten years, was for some years with me in Toowoomba, which I maintain has the finest climate that any one could desire. He has lived in various parts of Queensland and New South Wales ; he has lived in the Hunter Valley, and he says : -
I have been all over Queensland, from the Gulf down to the South, and onwards, but this climate excels them all.
He has lived in Tumut for eleven years, and I am quite satisfied that if he finds it a good climate, I should also find it an excellent one.
– There are some thundering big mortgages up there.
– The honorable senator seems to know a very great deal more about them than I do. If honorable senators did not care for the evidence of Mr. Morisset, they may perhaps accept the opinion of a well-known Australian author - Rolf Boldrewood - who was for many years Police Magistrate at Albury, and had to go once a month to Tumut. With your permission, sir, I shall read what he says about the climate of Tumut : -
I do not propose to enter upon the debatable question of the necessity for building a Federal Capital ; but, given the “felt want” on the part of the Commonwealth, I hold the choice of the Representatives to be a wise one. I am intimate^’ acquainted with Tumut and with Albury, having been resident in Albury for ten years - from 1885 to 1S95 - and from making monthly official visits on Land Board cases to Tumut I should be in a position to speak with authority on the suitability of either town. Tumut - the j proper pronunciation of which, vide early explorers, is Too-mâi - is perhaps the prettiest inland town in Australia.
– I rise to a point of order. Can I demand that if the honorable senator is quoting from a novel, it shall be laid upon the table of the Senate?
– Is Senator Walker quoting from a novel ?
– No, sir ; it is not a novel. It is a letter by Rolf Boldrewood. He goes on -
Not unlike one in Wales, with a merry little mountainfed river dashing through the fertile valley, on either side of which the town is built. The snow line of the Alpine range which overhangs it is within sight. There are caves within a day’s drive, only inferior to those of Jenolan. Another mountain stream joins the Tumut on Shelley’s Flat, a few miles to the eastward. The Tumut River, thus reinforced, pursues its course to the Murrumbidgee. The water supply is pure and inexhaustible. Fruits of all kinds grow and ripen profusely within and around the town. Strawberries by the acre were to be seen on my last visit. The climate is as near perfection as possible ; never too cold in winter, or, save for an occasional day, too hot in summer. Twelve hours only from the direct railway line between Sydney and Melbourne, causing an inconsiderable loss of time compared to the manifest advantages of the situation.
The writer also says a good word about Albury.
– Can the honorable senator say whether Mr. Browne is in favour of the selection of a capital site at all 1
– I will read what he says about Bombala -
Bombala, also known to me, is as much too cold as other suggested sites are too hot. The enormous cost of the proposed alternative railway alone condemns it. I repeat my conviction that the choice of Tumut is the best possible under the circumstances, and if not retained as the name of our Federal Capital, why not that of “Wentworth “ ? If only to contravene the absurd insulting reference by Dr. Rentoul to the earliest, the greatest, the most brilliant of native-born Australian patriots when the question of a name was first mooted.
Honorable senators should be glad to have the thoughts of a man like Rolf Boldrewood. There is a catchment area behind Tumut of 103 square miles. It will be noticed that in the report of the experts, the cost of that catchment area is put down as only £180. That rather staggered me. But I happened to see one of the Commissioners to-day and I asked him how he made out that sum. He said, “For a good reason - there are only 120 acres of that land alienated, and all the rest would be given by New South Wales for nothing.” In travelling from Sydney to Melbourne the timetable is an important matter. To travel from Tumut to Sydney only takes ten hours. To travel from Melbourne to Tumut takes only twelve hours. But to go from Bombala to Sydney takes sixteen hours, and from Melbourne to Bombala twenty-five hours. Two reports have been furnished with regard to the sites. 12 b2
I propose to give a short combined statement of those reports, and to show the relative position in which the Commissioners place Tumut. In order to arrive at an average, I add together the position on the list in which the Commissioners and Mr. Oliver place the various sites, and divide by two. The Federal Commissioners place Tumut first, and Mr. Oliver puts it in the third place. Therefore the average is two. That places Tumut first. On the same method of calculation Orange stands fifth in the Commissioner’s report and second in Mr. Oliver’s report. Consequently on an average Orange occupies the second place. The position of Lyndhurst is third in the Commissioner’s report and fifth in Mr. Oliver’s report. Averaging the two reports, Lyndhurst comes third. The position at Bathurst is fourth in the Commissioner’s report, and sixth in Mr. Oliver’s report, whilst Bombala stands ninth in the Commissioner’s report and first in Mr. Oliver’s report. Consequently, Bathurst1 and Bombala are bracketed together for fourth place, averaging the two reports. Albury stands second in the Commissioner’s report, and ninth in Mr. Oliver’s report, whilst Dalgety stands seventh in the Commissioner’s report, and fourth in Mr. Oliver’s. Lake George is fifth in- the Commissioner’s report, and seventh in Mr. Oliver’s. Armidale is seventh in the Commissioner’s report, and eighth in Mr. Oliver’s. Taking the two reports together, and giving credit for both being by reliable men, it is seen that Tumut easily comes first, Orange second, and Lyndhurst third, whilst Bombala is bracketed with Bathurst for fourth place. With respect to the House of Representatives, I may say that it afforded me great pleasure to notice that the members voted on Federal principles. I think I can give a proof of that. I know that we are accused of being very local and provincial. Some people are always saying that the New South Wales members do not act on Federal principles. Weil, if we do not, I desire to give ‘’’‘°dit to others who do. I find that the following gentlemen actually voted for Tumut in all the ballots in the House of Representatives : - First comes Sir George Turner, the man who knows more about the finances of the Commonwealth than any one else. He had no hesitation in putting Tumut first. I claim him as a Tumutite. Then there are the names of Mr. Batchelor, Mr. Winter Cooke,
Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Mahon, Mr Manifold, Mr. Mauger, Sir John Quick, Mr. Skene, and Mr. Tudor. All these gentlemen are not New South Wales representatives, but they voted for Tumut on its merits. After the first ballot, Sir William Lyne and Mr. Knox voted for Tumut right through, and on the fifth ballot, although Tumut and Bombala were both in the running, the Federal Prime Minister, Mr. Alfred Deakin, voted for Tumut. In the Senate I hope to see’ the representatives of the Government voting for Tumut.
– No fear !
– I shall continue to indulge the hope at any rate. We have heard a great deal to-night about the desirability of having a Federal Capital that shall be convenient to the States. The only site that borders upon two States is Albury. Why do not some of those senators who do not favour Tumut vote for Albury ?
– It is rather too hot a shop !
– Last Saturday a party of honorable senators were taken to the proposed site near Albury - at Table. Top. I should like to take the opportunity of thanking Sir William Lyne for giving us that opportunity, and the Albury people for their kindness. Table Top is a beautiful site. The Constitution makes provision for four necessary Federal institutions to be established. These are the Legislature, the Executive, the Judicature, and the Capital. The Constitution is not completed until we have our own capital. I am aware that some of our friends, particularly in what is known as the Labour Corner, are in favour of land nationalization. Some of them are admirers of that excellent man, Mr. Bellamy. I make them this suggestion : Why not call the Federal Territory “Bellamy,” and the capita” city “ Utopia 1”
– I was very loth to address the Senate, because three or four New South Wales senators have already spoken, and I should have preferred that senators from other States should express their views before I rose. I am sorry to take part, in the debate at all, because I have felt all along that it would have been wiser if the Federal Parliament and Government had sent a request to the King of England that His Majesty would appoint a Commission to select a Federal Capital for us. I do not like taking part in legislation where my own views, however honestly expressed and carefully thought out, may in some quarters be regarded with suspicion, and may be considered by some as emanating from localism, or from a provincial standpoint, rather than from the point of view of Australia at large. The question is something like this : How should .we act if as private individuals we were asked by half-a-dozen men to arbitrate for them ? If a party of men were going into business, and were establishing a manufactory - say a sugar factory or a creamery - and they were taking up land and purchasing material, and desired to have some central suitable site for their works, and we were asked to arbitrate for them, what should we do ? We should do our best to decide as to a suitable place. We should consider not only the present state of affairs, but the probable position in the future. That is what we ought to do in this matter. We ought to consider what is at the present time the fair and natural centre of Australian settlement. Then, also, we ought to consider what is the tendency of settlement. In the course of twenty or thirty years what is likely to be the position of Australia in regard to population? These are points which we might fairly consider, and which, indeed, we ought to consider if we desire to settle the question on honest lines, and not on considerations of liking for one locality rather than another. Honorable senators will know that a very great change has taken place in the rank of States of the United States in the matter of population. I think it would be useful for me to give the Senate a few facts I have gathered in regard to this, which show how one State rises in importance and another falls, and which may lead us to reflect upon the changes which may take place in Australia in this respect in the future. I have taken some figures from the United States Statistical Abstract of 1900, page 11, showing the rank in population of the various States. The figures are given for 110 years from 1790 to 1900. In the year 1790, Virginia stood as State No. 1 on the basis of population. It now stands as No. 17. Pennsylvania, which stood as No. 2 in 1790, has during the whole of the intervening period grown as America has grown ; and in 1900 still remained No. 2, though during one or two periods it fell to No. 3. North Carolina, which was No. 3 in 1790, now ranks as No. 15. Massachusetts was No. i in 1790 and is now No. 7. The State of New York, which in 1790 was No. 5, is now No. 1. Maryland, which was No. 6 in 1790, is now No. 26. Kentucky, which was No. 14, is now No. 12. Delaware, which was No. 16, is now No. 46. Vermont, which was No. 12, is now No. 40. Then there were two States which came into existence in 1810, Illinois and Missouri, and in 1810 Illinois was State No. 24 and is now No. 3, whilst Missouri, which was State No. 23, is now State No. 25. The advance of the State of Illinois has been due, of course, to the rapid growth of population in the city of Chicago and the surrounding districts. Texas, which first appeared as a State in 1850, was then No. 25, and is now No. 6, owing to the advance in population. In Australia considerable changes have already taken place. The first complete census of the various States was taken, I think, in 1861, and the position of the States then, as compared with their present position, is as follows : - Victoria, which in 1861 was No. 1, is now No. 2 ; New South Wales, which was No. 2, is now No. 1 ; South Australia, which was No. 3, is now No. 4 ; Tasmania, which was then No. 4, is now No. 6 ; Queensland, which was then No. 5, is now No. 3. That is very important as showing the trend of population in Australia. Western Australia, which in 1861 was No. 6, is now No. 5. Another matter for our consideration is, of course, the location of population in the States on the eastern seaboard. At the first census of 1861 Victoria had 47 per cent. of the whole population of Australia. In 1871 it had dropped to 44 per cent. ; in 1881 to 38 per cent. ; in 1891 to . 36 per cent. ; in 1901 to 32 per cent. ; and on the basis of the returns upon which we have settled the arrangements for the coming general election it is shown that the percentage of population in Victoria has again dropped, to 31 per cent. However much Victoria may sustain her population and ordinary increase, it is quite certain that relatively to the whole population of Australia the percentage of the population resident in Victoria must decrease. That is one of the absolute certainties of the future. In the case of the State of New South Wales, in 1861 the percentage of the total population resident in that State was 30 per cent., and that percentage has gradually grown until it is now 36 per cent. In Queensland the proportion of the total population in 1861 was only 3 per cent., and it is now 13 per cent. Taking into consideration these three States, honorable senators will see that whilst in 1861 there was 47 per cent. of the total population in Victoria, as against 33 per cent. in New South Wales and Queensland, there is now only 31 per cent. in Victoria, as against 49 per cent. in the combined States of New South Wales and Queensland.
– These movements of population are but reasons for waiting awhile.
– I draw the attention of Senator Styles to the fact that the longer we wait the further the centre of population is moved from Victoria. I have here a statement which I think supplies useful information. I have gone back to the census of the year 1861, and I have taken out the figures of population for that year for the four States of Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland, and taking the electoral centre of Tasmania at the basis or zero for calculation, and the number of miles from there to the latitudes of the electoral districts in Victoria, then in New South Wales, and then in Queensland, and I find the following results : - That the centre of population of the four eastern States in 1861 was 362 miles north of the Tasmanian centre ; 362 miles north of the Tasmanian centre would land us just at the latitude of Albury. If in 1861 the Federal Capital had to be fixed on the fair ground of the location of . the population then existing, Albury should have been the place selected. I have taken out the same figures for the year 1902, in accordance with the arrangements for the general election, and I find that the centre of population has now come to be 487 miles north of the Tasmanian electoral centre. That is to say, that since 1861 it has extended 125 miles north of the centre of that State. If, therefore, we desire to decide this question with a proper regard for the location of the existing population in the four eastern States, we must place the capital 125 miles north of Albury, and that would land us within a few miles south of the latitude of Lyndhurst.
– Supposing it landed us in a desert ?
– That is the position. At the present moment, a fair settlement of this question on the basis of the existing population in the four eastern
States would be a locality within a few miles south of Lyndhurst.
– If we go on for another forty years the centre will be at Armidale.
– If the centre of population has crept slowly northwards at the rate of three miles a year during the past forty years, what may we expect will happen during the next thirty or forty years t Most assuredly the centre of population is going still further north. It is now in the latitude of Lyndhurst, and decidedly in the course of a few years it will get up to the neighbourhood of Armidale. I claim that this is a very important factor for our consideration. We have no business to decide this question merely upon the ground of the distance between Melbourne and Sydney. Those cities might have been considered when they practically constituted Australia, but Melbourne and Sydney are to-day only parts of Australia. There are huge populations outside of those cities, and a fair and honest way in which to deal with this matter is to deal with it on the basis of the location of the existing population, with a fair allowance ‘ for the trend of population, which is undoubtedly going northwards, always, of course, with a tendency due to the development of the eastern States to draw it a little towards the east. With regard to the eastern States, two or three things require to be looked into. In the first place, it is a very singular fact that in all of the States of the Commonwealth the State capital is in the south of the State, or in the southern portion of it. This is especially so in the case of “Victoria. It is because the city of Melbourne, which is the capital of Victoria, is in the very south of the State that Melbourne has been able to make, as she has done. such a vigorous fight in the settlement of the Federal Capital. If Melbourne had been in the north instead of the south of Victoria, the position would have been different. The fact that Melbourne is in the very south of Victoria, and that Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, is much nearer to the southern than to the northern border of that State, has given Victoria a very extraordinary pull. To consider this merely as a question between these two States and their two capitals, is really not businesslike, and is unfair to other States concerned. I should like honorable senators to notice the position of the western States with regard to the centre of population. In relation to Adelaide the latitude of Bombala, is 120 miles to the south, Albury 60 miles to the south, Tumut about 20 miles to the south, and Lyndhurst about SO miles to the north. Perth - which is much further north than Sydney - is 300 miles north of Bombala, 240 miles north of Albury, 200 miles north of Tumut, and 100 miles north of Lyndhurst. If we desire to be fair to the populations of the various States, these factsmust be borne in mind. The means of communication are being changed at the present time, and will be more changed in the future. With a short railway connexion between Werris Creek and Wellington the people of Queensland will be able to reach the centre of New South Wales much more easily than at present, without the necessity of passing through Sydney; and other railways will undoubtedly be built before long, which will enable people from South Australia to journey to Queensland without passing through Melbourne. These are some of the certainties of the future which must be considered. When New South Wales wasplaced in the Constitution as the State in which the Federal Capital site must be, that was only a recognition of the natural conditions. For many years to come, at any rate, the centre of population in Australia, will be in New South Wales. and it is only fair that the Federal Capital should be within the borders of that State. I ask honorable senators to cast out of theirminds any idea of preference for a special locality, and to decide on the site which is fair as between State and State, and which will do equal justice to the population north, south, east, and west. Many honorable senators honestly believe that Bombala, is a desirable site, because it is possible to have a port ; but in my “ opinion those honorable senators are very much mistaken in their ideas. Some years ago there was a proposal made in New South Wales to create an important port near the extreme north of the State, and I opposed the idea very strongly on the ground that a successful port could not there be established.
– The honorable senator considered the interests of Sydney.
– The honorable senator has dug a pit, and has fallen into it*
Tlie northern port of. New South Wales is Newcastle, so that in opposing the proposal 1 have mentioned, I was not speaking on behalf of Sydney. It is impossible to establish a port by a mere wish - there must be some trade to keep the port going. To move shipping from port to port means enormous expense, and it cannot be done even in England. The trade between Australia and England always tends to -centre in certain ports, and has done so for years, with very little change. A new port cannot be given a successful -career without immense expenditure ; and it would be impossible to open a new port midway between Melbourne and Sydney. The oversea shipping companies are anxious to diminish rather than to increase the number of ports of call, which add to the length and the cost of a voyage. It requires some very marked natural advantages to induce people to send goods to a new point of shipment, and the supply of cargo -at Eden would not justify the creation of a port at that point.
– Tasmania keeps the port of Eden going now.
– I am afraid that some of the Tasmanian representatives may get rapped over the knuckles in connexion with their advocacy of the port of Eden. Tasmania is a great health resort, much frequented by tourists; and if Senator Clemons, by his vote, succeeds in establishing another health resort on the southern coast of New South Wales, he may have to answer for, perhaps unintentionally, dealing Tasmania rather a hard blow.
– I am acting in a Federal spirit.
– The .honorable and learned senator is acting in a spirit of ignorance. The traffic between Tasmania and the port of Eden is infinitesimal, and I am sure that very few honorable senators would wish to travel by that route.
– There is a regular trade now.
– A man who buys -a penny newspaper every week at a certain -shop gives the shop a regular trade.
– There is a magnificient 3,000-ton steamer which runs from Tasmania to Eden every week.
– “ Magnificent “ humbug !
– I am afraid the honorable senator is out” of order.
– Is it in order to retail “ magnificent “ humbug 1 As to an extension of the Federal area, the proposal to take a huge slice of 1000 square miles is truly ridiculous. Whatever area we may acquire ought to bo in a more or less compact form. I am entirely with those honorable senators who are of opinion that any increase of value attaching to the Federal area should belong to the Commonwealth. I have all along been an opponent of the system of Henry George, whose followers wish to apply their principles to the increment of the past. The increment of the past is never in first hands, but is distributed amongst all holders of wealth, and forms the basis of the funds of such institutions as insurance societies. That increment cannot be reached, and if an attempt be made to reach it, great injustice is inflicted. The increment of tlie future is another matter; and I hope and expect that in the case of Federal territory, it will remain with the people as a whole. But in order to attain that object there is no need to ask New South Wales to give up possession of an immense area. The Commonwealth is not formed to assist in the government of New South Wales, and the people of that State would decline to allow the Commonwealth to assist in the management of their country. Whatever amount of land it is reasonable and proper to acquire, will, I am sure, be granted by New South Wales. As a representative of New South Wales I have previously in this Senate, expressed the opinion that that State does not desire the Commonwealth to undertake any great or early expenditure. What is asked, is that the question of the Federal Capital site shall be settled now, the expenditure being a matter to be gradually undertaken. If I have the honour of being returned again to this Senate, I shall remember, and shall expect all other honorable senators to remember, the general financial position of Australia,’ and do nothing which is not fair to all the States. I -have shown, I think conclusively, that the natural site for a Federal Capital is in the neighbourhood of Lyndhurst ; and if I am prepared to sacrifice the future in view of existing conditions, 1 regard that as a compromise.
Debate (on motion by Senator Millen) adjourned.
Royal Assent reported.
Bill returned from the House of Representatives with amendments.
Senator PLAYFORD laid upon the table the following paper : -
Regulations under the Excise Act and Sugar Bounty Act.
Motion (by Senator Playford) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I desire to ask my honorable friend a question in regard to the order of business to-morrow.I notice that he moved just now that the consideration of the other House’s amendments in the Patents Bill should bo taken to-morrow, butI presume that the Seat of Government Bill will be the first order of the day.
– No ; I propose to take the amendments in the. Patents Bill to-morrow, and any other message which may come up from the other House. It should not take very long to deal with the amendments in the Patents Bill, and it is a great deal better to dispose of the business as it comes up from the other House.
– Seeing that we have sat so late to-night.
– It is not my fault that the debate on the Seat of Government Bill was adjourned. The voices were given against me, and I am sorry now that I did not call for a division.
– I wish to point out to my honorable friend before he finally decides on the order of business for to-morrow, that in all probability the consideration of the amendments in the Patents Bill may take a great deal longer than he anticipates. A clause which was struck out in the Senate has been reinserted, and I think that it will involve very con siderable debate. I would suggest to my honorable friend that it would tend to the better despatch of business to proceed’ with the Seat of Government Bill.
– I shall ask the Senate to proceed with the Seatof Government Bill, if it will convenience honorable senators. I was hoping that we might be able to dispose of the Bills as they came up from the other House. I always like to get rid of the different measures as quickly as I can. However, the first order of the day to-morrow will be the debate on the second reading of the Seat of Government Bill, which will be proceeded with until it is finished.
Question resolved in the affimative.
Senate adjourned at 9.50 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 14 October 1903, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1903/19031014_senate_1_17/>.