3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator CHATAWAY.- On the 18th July, I asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, a question in connexion with the telephone service, and in reply I was told that inquiries would be made and a reply given as soon as the necessary particulars had been obtained. I desire to. ask the honorable senator, without notice, whether he has yet received a reply.
Senator KEATING. - I have not yet received a reply’ giving the result of the inquiries, but I shall again remind the Post and Telegraph Department of the matter, and endeavour to expedite the supply of the information.
BOY LABOUR : POSTAL DEPARTMENT.
Senator FINDLEY. - I desire to ask the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, without notice, whether his attention has been called to the following paragraph in the Age of the 3rd August -
Boy Labour in the Post Office.
Much indignation is aroused at the growing: tendency of the Postal Department to employ boy labour in the local Post Office; out of9 employed there are 6 boys. Some of them have only Deen a few days or weeks in the service, and they are called upon to do such responsiblework as sorting mails and delivering letters.. The time of 2 adult employes is mostly taken up with counter and telegraphic work, whilst the Postmaster himself has to attend to the subtreasury and land office in addition to hisother duties .
If so, will inquiries be made and information supplied to the Senate as to its correctness or otherwise?
Senator KEATING. - I saw the paragraph quoted, or one similar to it. I understand that it has been brought under the notice of the Postmaster-General, and that inquiries are being made. I shall be very pleased to furnish the result of them to thehonorable senator.
Senator STEWART asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
Is it the case that a number of lads under 21 years of age are employed as temporary letter-carriers in Queensland ?
If so, what are the salaries paid to lads- acting in that capacity ?
Does the Postmaster-General consider that responsible work such as letter-carrying can beefficiently performed by inexperienced lads?
Senator KEATING.- The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
The Deputy Postmaster-General, Brisbane, has reported as follows in regard to questions- 1 and 2, namely : -
In the whole of Queensland there are but nine persons under21 years of age employed as temporary letter carriers.
They are paid at the rale of 5s. 6d. per diem in accordance with a ruling of the Public Service Commissioner, but they are also paid for holidays on which they do not work, and are given days in lieu of those holidays on which they are employed. Seven of the nine are reported to be excellent officers in every respect, two only being not quite up to the mark, but thePostmaster reports he is quite unable to get any better. Two of the seven referred to are retired telegraph messengers who would be an acquisition to the permanent staff, but unfortunately vacancies had not occurred when they reached the age of 18 years.
No, and that work is not intrusted to such lads where it is possible to avoid it. If, however, men only were employed as letter carriers, one of .the principal avenues of promotion would be closed to messengers who must retire at the age of 18 if not promoted.
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the Minister of External Affairs, without notice, the following questions -
– I ask my honorable friend to give notice of the questions.
– I desire to ask the Minister whether, in answering the questions of Senator Croft on Friday, he will inform the Senate if the gentleman in question is solely engaged on that work, or gets the 25s. for an occasional interruption in the pursuit of his usual avocation ?
– It is a pretty soft snap, I should say.
– I should think that the 25s. is very easily earned.
– I desire to ask the Minister whether he will inform the Senate on Friday when he is answering the questions of Senator Croft, what the -capabilities of the gentleman as a linguist are?
– I shall be very happy ito reply to my honorable friends who are thirsting for information on the subject, when r am dealing with the questions.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Keating), read a first time.
In Committee . (Consideration resumed from 2nd August, vide page 1377) :
Clause 2 -
The Minister may cause a survey to be mads of a route for a railway to connect Kalgoorlie, in the State of Western Australia, with Port Augusta, in the State of South Australia.
.- Instead of moving the first of the two amendments of which I have given notice, I have decided, under an arrangement with Senator Givens, to move the amendment which he proposed last year. I therefore move -
That the following words be inserted at the beginning of the clause - “ Upon the formal consent of the South Australian Parliament to the survey being received.”
I have always laid great stress on the fact’ that the Bill violates the Constitution, inasmuch as the Government have not produced an Act of the South Australian Parliament consenting to the survey. Like Senator Givens, I have moved this amendment in the forefront of the Bill, to remind honorable senators of their constitutional duty, and if it is passed the condition of the Constitution will have been carried out. I cannot understand how any man of common-sense can argue that, constitutionally, the Bill can be proceeded with, unless the consent of South Australia is before the Senate. It is made absolutely plain in paragraph xxxiv. of section 51 of the Constitution that railway construction and extension in a State can only be proceeded with with its consent. The one way in which my honorable friends opposite can wriggle out of the Constitution is by contending that the survey is not a condition precedent to the construction of the railway. Did they ever know the cost of the survey of a railway to be separated from the cost of its construction ?
– This is all irrelevant. It is impugning the decision of the President.
– I am carrying out the decision of the President. He declined to stop the Senate from discussing the Bill, and now I propose to bring the Bill into conformity with the Constitution. It is all very fine for my honorable friend to’ try to bluff me, but no one knows better than he does that the Premier of Western’ Australia, Sir John Forrest, and every one connected with this project, have admitted that the consent of the States concerned is essential before the Commonwealth can proceed legally with the survey. The whole of the correspondence shows that. When the Premier of Western Australia failed to get the Government of South Australia to carry out the terms of Mr., now Sir, Frederick Holder’s undertaking, he fell back upon the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, Mr. Deakin, who followed exactly in the footsteps of the Premier of Western Australia, by not only asking, but pointing out to the Premier of South Australia that the consent of that State was necessary in order to enable the Federal Parliament to proceed with the measure. Those words of Mr. Deakin have never been explained away, and the soundness of his view cannot be gainsaid. But, in order to push the Bill through at any cost, some of my honorable friends opposite are trying to brush the condition precedent on one side, and to persuade the Senate that, legally, the Bill can be proceeded with. Since I took my point of order, Senator Symon has told the Senate that, in his opinion, no surveyor could put his foot in South Australia to carry out the survey without its consent thereto. Certainly, no surveyor could put a foot upon any land owned by a private individual. If he were to do so, the landowner could say - “ Pack up your traps and get off my property.’.’ We shall be placing the Federal Government in a ridiculous position if we allow this Bill to go through in its present form. None of us wants to do that. We do not want to have it said that we do our business in a slip-shod fashion, and that we are either ignoring the Constitution or driving a coach and four through it. I, therefore, with all confidence submit my amendment. I hope it will be carried, because it will have the effect of putting Parliament in a proper position, will save the Commonwealth from being humiliated, and will prevent the public from saying that we are not capable of making laws in a constitutional manner.
– This is an amendment which I think I cannot receive, for the reason that, in my opinion, it is not relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill in accordance with standingorder 194; and also for the reason that, on the 13th of September, 1906,an amendment of an exactly similar character was moved by Senator Givens, and ruled out of order by the Chairman of Committees. On an objection being taken to that ruling, the
President of the Senate upheld it. In view of those circumstances, I must rule that this amendment is not in order.
– Was not a similar amendment carried last year?
– No, the amendment wasruled out of order by the Chairman, and, as I have said, the President upheld his ruling.
– But was not a similar amendment introduced in the Bill with the consent of the Government?
– No, it was ruled out of order. If the honorable senator will turn to the Journals of the Senate for 1906, page 127, he will find a record of what took place.
– Is the new clause of which I have given! notice out of order ?
– That is not now before us.
– I think that the amendment ruled out of order last year was of a different character.
– If my ruling is disputed, there is a proper course to be taken.
– I was merely asking, for information, whether the amendment moved last year and ruled out of order did not relate to the construction of the line, not to the survey?
– The amendment ruled out of order on 13th September last year was to insert the following words -
Upon the State of South Australia giving the necessary permission authorizing the construction of a railway through that State.
– That is the difference.
– I acknowledge at once that I have made a mistake. The Acting Clerk read the Journal, and I took it that the same form had been followed on the present occasion. Of course there is the. alteration pointed out by the honorable senator ; and that being so, I at once acknowledge my mistake, and withdraw the ruling which I have given.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [3.20].- I think the Committee will agree with me in thanking you for the readiness with which you have reconsidered the point upon the facts being made apparent. The reason why I took the liberty of asking for information was that I had in my mind the impression that the amendment moved and ruled out of order last year related to the construction of the line, not to the survey. It seems to me that the amendment now being moved by Senator Dobson merely embodies a condition precedent to the survey being made by the Com.monmonwealth. Whether we agree with the amendment or not it seems to me to be a perfectly proper condition, or at least a condition’ that may very fairly be made. My recollection is that last year an amendment of this character was discussed ; and I have a distinct recollection - I hope I am not mistaken - of having generally favoured it, and of its having been assented to by he then Minister of Defence. Senator Playford. My impression is that it was introduced in the Bill.
– It was carried.
– When I heard my honorable friend, Senator Dobson, read his amendment, the circumstances came back to my mind. I recollect very well that an amendment dealing with construction was declared to be irrelevant ; but there was a subsequent amendment upon which there was considerable debate. I urged the Government to accept it on the ground that, whether the amendment was made or not, the South Australian Parliament should, in my opinion, give its formal consent to the survey.
– Is the honorable senator sure that the Executive has not power to give -the consent of the State ?
– My honorable friend was good enough to put that point to me the other day. ‘ I am of the opinion - of course all our opinions are fallible - that the Executive cannot give the consent of the State. There is, I dare say, in Victoria, as there is in South Australia, a sort of Railways Clauses Act, which enables the Executive to make surveys in respect/of railways to be authorized by the Parliament of a State. But there is no law, so far as I know, which enables an Executive in one country, without the consent of its Parliament, to authorize the survey of a railway proposed to be constructed under the authority of another Parliament at some future time. The view which I took last” year was the same as that which I take now. Whether we provide for it in the Bill or not, there must be an authority from the Legislature of South Australia to enable this survey to. take place. It is proper for. us- I think it is courteous of us - dealing as we are with the Legislature of South Australia, to say, not in an abrupt manner, that we will make this survey, but that we will make it on the authority of the Legislature of South Australia being given. That is not only a proper thing to do in itself, but it is a necessary thing for an obvious reason. We know perfectly well that, as the Bill itself says, the question involved is largely one of route. The South Australian authorities will have something to say about the termini. The terminus on the other side is for the Western Australian authorities to deal with, but the startingpoint on the. South Australian side is for the South Australian authorities.’
– That is fixed in the Governor-General’s message.
– But the exact starting-point is another matter. I recollect that early last year, in .the course of the debate on this very point, the exPresident of the Senate, Sir Richard Baker, pointed out that a survey from Port Augusta to Phillips’ Pond had already been made. It may be that the South Australian Legislature wall say that that piece of survey is to be taken as part of the route of the line. Is the South Australian Parliament to have nothing to say on the. question of route? Senator Playford told us in 1905 that there are two possible routes. This survey or examination is not to.be confined to one route. It may extend to different parts of the country. In South Australia, whatever may be said about the railway itself, there is a feeling that, as we have a tract of mineral country which we believe to be gold-producing, called Tarcoola, it is desirable that, whatever survey is made, the line should run some hundreds of miles towards that district before it turns westward. On the other hand, I know that the opinion of. many of those interested in Western Australia is that the route of the railway should run south and practically skirt the coast of the Great Australian Bight, and so reach its destination in Western Australia. But I do not hesitate for a moment to predict that this question will be considered in the South Australian Parliament ; and whatever willingness there may be to allow the survey to take place that Parliament will claim, as it has a right to do, to have a voice in determining where the survey is to be made and where the survey party is to go. “Unless we have something definite in that respect we do not know what the survey is to be.
Nobody can tell. As I said the other day, the whole matter relating to the railway is “ in the clouds.”
– The surveyors will have to find the best route between two terminal points.
– How are they to ascertain what the limits are to be? Between Port Augusta and Kalgoorlie there is a distance of 1,100 miles. The surveyors will want to know what are to be their limits north and south. We might have survey parties acting as exploring expeditions, but that is not what is contemplated. We, as a Federal Parliament, have no right to enter upon a detailed exploratory examination of Australia. That does not come within any part of our powers under the Constitution. The view which was taken by this Senate last year, and which, so far as .1 have heard it, is the one embodied in this amendment, which was moved last session I believe by Senator Givens, recognises, as we are bound to do as a matter of courtesy, if nothing else, the’ position that South Australia is entitled to take up. In any case, it seems to me to be a condition which must be fulfilled. This is, therefore, not an amendment which interposes barriers or anything of that sort. It is merely an assent to a position that seems to be perfectly natural and right, and one that, so far as I can see, must take place. It may be a mere matter of form, and I have no doubt whatever that the South Australian Parliament will meet the request in a gracious and fair spirit. It is not merely that they are entitled to be consulted, but I venture to think, with all deference, that it is the course that must be taken in order that effect may be given to what we are prepared to do under this Bill. I shall therefore support the amendment.
– I hope the Committee will not accept the amendment. The Bill is intended to authorize the expenditure of ,£20,000 for the purpose of a survey. It does not purport to give any authority for going on to the ground and making the survey. That, practically, has already been provided for by consultation with the Executive Government of South Australia. Let us examine what the survey will actually consist of. It will be a survey through land which is either owned by the Government or alienated from the Crown. It is not pretended that, so far as concerns that portion of the country which is alienated from the Crown, the Executive have the power toauthorize the surveyors of the Commonwealth to enter upon that land for the purpose of making the survey. Consequently,, the responsibility will be cast upon the Commonwealth surveyors of making whatever arrangements they can with the private owners of the properties through which it is intended to carry the survey. I da, not say that the Commonwealth surveyorswill have the actual right to go through, those private properties, but, having regard to the fact that this will be abeneficial railway to South Australia, aswell as to Western Australia, we think it will be an extraordinary state of affairs if the private owners, through whose land therailway is likely to pass, object to it. I ask” my honorable friends opposite to deal withthe matter from that practical stand-point. It is not contemplated that there will be any difficulty whatever so far as the private owners are concerned. The other feature is that this survey may also gothrough Government property. So far as it does, the consent of the Executive has been obtained. That is all that is necessary for the purpose.
– I beg my honorable friend’s pardon. That consent has only been obtained conditionally.
– I am going to read it,, and, therefore, my honorable friend need not be at all apprehensive. I want to put these two points to honorable senators from the real practical stand-point - first of all, the unlikelihood of private individuals objecting to the survey through their properties, and, secondly, the fact that we have actually obtained the consent of the Executive, so far as it is necessary to go through Government property.
– The honorable senator’s argument admits that the Government have no right to do it in any case.
– Of course, we have no legal right to do it. I have not suggested that we have. The honorable senator will know that in the several States, as Senator Symon mentioned, there are Railway Acts in operation, which enable surveyors at their pleasure1 to go through private properties, no matter what individual interests are concerned, for the construction of railways within the particular State in which the law operates, with the authority” of the local Parliament. I have not contended that we have the right to trespass against the wish of private owners or if they attempt to resist us. But we are so absolutely certain that there will be no difficulty in that direction-
– The Government cannot be certain. The unexpected often happens.
– We propose to take the risk, and when the difficulty actually arises it will be time enough for us to apply to the local Parliament for their sanction.
– Are we going to beg for their sanction?
– The local Parliament? “Undoubtedly. That is the very object. of the amendment. The terms of the consent of the Executive of South Australia are as follow -
We have no objection to survey Western Australian railway, tut desire to be consulted as to route; it must be understood that this in no way binds us to ultimate approval of policy.
Of course the survey will be made by experts whose duty it will be to secure the most practicable route, having regard to the physical conditions, and .the suitability of the country for railway construction. There are two routes which have’ at all times stood out prominently, and no doubt a thorough examination of them will take place. In dealing with this matter on the second reading, I pointed out that Mr. Kernot, the EngineerinChief for “Victoria, who had been con.sulted on the subject, and who was one of the experts that reported to the Government of the day in 1903, said -
There are two routes through South Australia to be examined - one from Port Augusta vid. Tarcoola, passing some forty miles north of Eucla, and thence to Kalgoorlie; the other from Port Augusta through the Gawler Ranges vid Fowlers Bay, and the head of the Great Australian Bight, passing about ten miles north of Eucla to Kalgoorlie. Both routes would practically traverse the same route through Western Australia. The Tarcoola route would probably cost About half a million sterling more than the more southern route.
My honorable friends will, therefore, see that the surveyors will start out with a definite object in their minds as to the particular country that is to be surveyed.
– The main object will be to spend the .£20,000.
– They will survey both routes, and then from the information obtained they will assist us to determine whether the railway should be constructed or not.
– Does the honorable senator think that ,£20,000 will be sufficient to survey the two routes?
– The engineers, who know much more about the matter than my honorable friend or myself, advise that that amount will be sufficient, and it is really on their authority that we are asking the consent of Parliament to the Bill. At the present juncture it is not necessary to ask the South Australian Parliament for their consent. If at any time it does become necessary to do so I have no doubt that their consent will be readily conceded. Every courtesy has been extended to South Australia. The consent of the Executive of that State has been obtained, and I am sure that honorable senators may safely rely, having regard to all the circumstances, on my assurance that there is no chance of any practical difficulty arising when the survey is being actually carried out. There is-, therefore, nothing to be gained by the insertion of a stipulation which has already been discussed several times, and the request for which has been met to all in tents and purposes by the consent to which I have referred.
– What is the date of that authority?
– The date of the telegram is 1st August, 1905. In a letter from the Premier of South Australia the 1 st March was mentioned as the date of the telegram, but it was subsequently pointed out that that was a mistake. This is the letter which was dated 6th June, . 1906 -
In reply to your letter of the 7th May respecting the proposed railway from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie, I have the honor to refer you to my telegram of ist March last -
That should be the ist August - and to say that this Government have no objection to the survey i<s therein notified, but cannot undertake to consider a Bill for submission to Parliament in the absence of information as to the route and terminal points of the railway.
That is signed by Mr. Price, the Premier of South Australia.
– It was a conditional consent.
– It is a distinct consent to a survey, which is all we are dealing with.
– What is the survey Mr. Price refers to as “ therein notified “ ?
– I am not withholding a single word. The survey “ therein notified” is the one mentioned in the telegram which I have already read. The letter brings South Australia’s consent up to the 6th June, 1906. All that we are concerned about at present is the consent to the survey. The Executive have given an unqualified consent in the terms of the Constitution Act. If the construction of the railway is to be entered upon, as the result of the survey, at any future time, undoubtedly the full and unqualified consent of the South Australian Parliament will have to be obtained to it in the terms of the Constitution Act. I again urge that there can be no practical difficulty in carrying out this survey without the formal consent of the South Australian Parliament.
– Iam going to take a different route to that followed by Senator Symon, because, with the Vice-President of the Executive Council, I can see no possible necessity for an amendment of this description. The only idea it can embody is that of delaying the whole business as long as possible. In the correspondence read by Senator Best, it is conclusively shown that we have the consent of the South Australian Government so far as the survey is concerned. We have had a great deal of babble from honorable senators who are so bitter on this question that one would think their very seats in the Senate depended on it. We are asked whether it is not natural that there should be some conditions even in connexion with the survey, but the conditions referred to apply not to the survey, but to the ultimate construction of the line. What is the first thing to be done ? It is to pass a Bill authorizing the expenditure of£20,000 on the survey. Of what use would it be to ask the South Australian Government or the Western Australian Government for their consent to do something when they could not tell whether the Federal Parliament would do it or not. We first authorize the expenditure of £20,000 on the survey. That survey is as much for the purpose of giving information to the Federal Government, and the Governments of South Australia and Western Australia, so far as the ultimate route to be selected is concerned, as for anything else. The knowledge gained by it will probably be the factor which will influence South Australia, Western Australia, and the Commonwealth, in the unanimous adoption of any route which may ultimately be selected for the line. I wish to point out to Senator Symon, and other learned senators, that so far as the Constitution is concerned, it does not imply or fix any condition with respect to a railway survey. I invite honorable senators to read paragraphs xxxiii and xxxiv. of section 51 of the Constitution.
– We have read them.
– Then I invite honorable senators to read them again until they have fully seized their meaning. They will see that the reference is only to the acquisition or construction of railways.
– I said nothing about the Constitution.
– I am giving the honorable and learned senator a little hint so that when he speaks again he will not make any error on the subject of surveys and construction. We are doing this business in a constitutionally correct manner. We are first deciding what the Commonwealth Parliament is prepared to do, and even if we had not the consent of the Executive of South Australia, we should be doing the right tiling. When it is remembered that we have that consent, it is only the more clear that we are on the right track. The next thing to do is to carry out the survey, and the information gained from it will bring the Commonwealth and the States concerned into harmony with each other. I feel a little keenly on this matter, because when some one mentioned £20,000 in connexion with the correspondence with Mr. Price, an honorable senator interjected “£20,000 is his price.”
– That was intended only as a pun.
– It does not matter. These are very awkward puns. The newspapers are very ready to take up jibes of the kind, and in doing so might attribute something to a gentleman whose character is such that there is not a single member of the Committee, who, if he knew him, would even make a pun of that description on his name. This pun came from an honorable senator whose poetry - which it resembles - would be better hid under a bushel, as it would sell for nothing inSydney the other day. I hope the amendment will be withdrawn, because, so far as the Bill is concerned, it is neither necessary nor ornamental.
– If the amendment is adopted, and becomes part of the Bill, may I ask who will then be responsible for any delay in the carrying out of the survey ?
– The people who impose the condition.
– The South Australian Parliament might be dissolved within a fortnight.
– We are invited by honorable senators representing South Australia to believe that the people of that State desire that the survey shall be proceeded with. If that be so, how can it be considered unreasonable to ask that the South Australian Parliament shall give its formal consent ? Such consent is neces- sary. The leader of the Senate has admitted that we have no right to enter upon private property in South Australia in carrying out the survey. He has assumed that the owners of private property would offer no opposition ; but they might do so.
– There is very little private property on the route.
– There is some.
– We have no right to “enter upon Government property either.
– That might be doubtful, seeing that the South Australian Executive are offering no opposition.
– They ought to be consulted.
– I emphasize the point that if the condition provided for by the amendment is adopted, no one will be to blame for any subsequent delay in carrying out the survey but the people and Parliament of South Australia.
– The honorable senator does not care who is to blame, so long as there is delay.
– Senator Best has quoted certain consent given at certain dates, but if the correspondence to which he has referred had really been accepted as giving consent, why did the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, in answering at a subsequent date, the 30th August, last year, a letter from Mr. Price, the Premier of South Australia, in connexion with the Northern Territory, write these words -
It would be a further condition that South Australia should create 110 difficulty with respect to the survey of Ihe Western Australian line.
In view of chat statement, what right has Senator Best to tell us that the consent of
South Australia has been fixed up, and the matter is cut and dried ?
– There is proof positive of it.
– There is not. The dates of the correspondence read by Senator Best are prior to the date of the letter I have quoted, and if the consent of South Australia to the survey had already been given, why should the Prime Minister have used the words I have quoted ?
– - We have been taunted by Senator McGregor that some honorable senators are opposing the Bill in such a way that one would think the existence of their seats depended upon their opposition to it. If that is a reflection upon the Tasmanian and Queensland senators, I beg to resent it. So far as the expenditure of the money proposed is concerned, Queensland is in a sufficiently strong financial position not to care two straws about it, but there is a very big principle involved in the question. If the Vice-President of the Executive Council will permit me to say so, I am astonished that there should- be any objection to an amendment providing an important safeguard in connexion with the expenditure of the money of the taxpayers, not of South Australia and Western Australia, but of the Commonwealth. It is the intention of the Constitution that safeguards should be provided when we vote a penny of the money of the taxpayers of Australia. The opposition to what appears to me to be a most reasonable proviso is so strong that, as inferences are in the air, I may be justified in saying that ‘there is something which not even the Federal Parliament can discover lying behind this proposal. When we are asking the taxpayers of Australia to spend £20,000 we are bound to take every safeguard to see that the money is not wasted. After listening to the arguments advanced in support of the measure, I gave my reasons, on the second reading of the Bill, for the opinion that, for all practical purposes, we might as well take this £20,000 and throw it into the Yarra.
– That is the honorable senator’s opinion.
– I give it only as my opinion, and for neither more nor less than that. I cannot understand the opposition to the proposed safeguard. In the letters and telegrams read by the VicePresident of the Executive Council, we have not a single assurance, worth the paper on which it is written, that when our surveyors enter the territory of South Australia they will not be absolutely under the control of either the Parliament or the Executive of that State as to where they shall go and how they shall make the survey. As things stand now, we have no guarantee that when they enter the territory of South Australia the Executive or Parliament of that State may not say to our surveyors, “ Where are you going? Why are you looking for a railway route there?”
– The honorable senator is very pessimistic.
– I may be; but in spending £20,000, as’ in spending 20,000 pennies, it should be remembered that we are the custodians of the purse of the people of Australia, and have a right to take the ordinary precautions which any business man would take in spending money. It has not been shown that if, without the proposed safeguard, our surveyors entered the territory of South Australia, the South Australian Parliament would not insist that the survey should be made where they wish it to be made, and not where we wish it to be made. I ask the question. Who is to run this survey ? Is it the Commonwealth or South Australia ? For whose benefit is it to be run ? Is it for the benefit of the Commonwealth, of Western Australia, or exclusively for the benefit of South Australia? If we are going to spend ,£20,000 in this way. .we have a right to insist upon safeguards in connexion with the expenditure. It is not an unreasonable request that is being made. It is not that any representative of Tasmania or Queensland is afraid of his seat, but we take the broad ground that we have a right to adopt reasonable safeguards before sending our surveyors into the territory of South Australia. We should know when they go on their quest for a route that the South Australian Parliament or the South Australian Executive cannot put their hands upon them, but must allow them absolute freedom to so where they like in South Australian territory to find, for the benefit of South Australia, Western Australia, and the Commonwealth as a whole, the best direction in which to take the proposed railway. T again ask the question : “ Who is going to’ run this survey, South Australia or the Commonwealth?”
– No one has bee.n contending that there is anything in the Constitution which gives us power to deal with these matters without the consent of the States concerned. Senator McGregor has said that there is nothing about surveys in the Constitution, but they are involved in the construction of a railway. There is nothing in the Constitution about sleepers or dog-spikes, but they are required in the construction of a railway. We cannot construct a railway without taking the necessary preliminary steps.
– They do not carry out a survey with dog-spikes.
– But they carry out a survey before they make, a railway. A survey is absolutely necessary, and it is part of the construction of a railway just as much as are the rails or sleepers or dogspikes. Senator Trenwith says, “ Surveys are not mentioned in the Constitution, consequently there is no reason to ask for the consent of South Australia.”
– Surveys are as often denials of construction as they are parts of construction.
– At the same time the cost of the survey is always reckoned in the cost of the construction of a railway. Senator McGregor also asks, “Why should we invite Western Australia and South Australia to give its consent to something which may not be done?” Western Australia has asked South Australia to carry out a promise which was made by an irresponsible individual, and also to pass through its Parliament a Bill similar to the measure which has been passed through the Parliament of Western Australia, and which empowered the Commonwealth to survey a route where it liked, and to construct a railway on- practically what gauge it liked. South Australia, however, has not given its consent to anything, not even to the very survey which we are asked to sanction. According to the correspondence which has been read by the Vice-President of the Executive Council, South Australia has said. “We agree to the survey provided that we are consulted regarding the route.” In other words they say, “ Provided that we have the selection of the route we shall give our consent.”
– They do not say so.
– Practically those are the words used.
– No, the exact wordsare - 1 his Government have no objection to the survey as therein notified.
That refers to the telegram - but cannot undertake to consider a Bill for submission to Parliament in the absence of information as to the route and terminal points of the railway.
– It does not say anything about surveying two or. three routes ?
– That is not all that Mr. Price said, and Senator Best ought to know it.
– That is all that is in that letter.
– The Commonwealth Government with the consent of the Executive of South Australia, will have the right to send surveyors to that State, but the latter body can say to the surveyors, “You can start at Port Augusta and survey a route thence to the border, via Tarcoola, but we shall not allow you to survey a route in any other direction.” What will be the position then?. Accord-‘ ing to the information which has been supplied, there is great difference of opinion regarding the cost of running a railway by the two routes which have been suggested. It is 65 miles shorter to the border via the Gawler Ranges than it is via Tarcoola. The South Australian Government does not favour that route at all. It was suggested to the engineers from the various States that there was a route via the Gawler Ranges, but they immediately dropped it. They said, “ We understand chat the opinion in South Australia is so strongly in favour of the route via Tarcoola that it will be of no use to consider the route via the Gawler Ranges, although it is sixty-five miles shorter than the other, and there would be the possibility of saving a few hundred thousand pounds if it were adopted.” That is a point which the Committee should consider. It should ask South Australia to give its legislative sanction to the survey of a route in whichever way the Commonwealth thinks will be best in its interests, and not in the interests of the State. Let honorable senators consider the contemptible position in which the Federal authorities will be placed if the South Australian Executive or Parliament decline to allow the survey to be made except by a particular route. The State will be perfectly justified, too, in taking up that position. Senator Symon has said, “ Here is a route which runs through a part of South Australia which we believe is auriferous, and which is the best part to open up so far as its interests, are concerned.” But we have the opinion of the engineers who have been over a portion of the route that it would be a most expensive one to adopt, and we have the opinion expressed by Senator Playford- last year that the South Australian people would not agree to any route other than that via Tarcoola. It is only reasonable to suppose that the Parliament of South Australia will see, so far as it possibly can, that the money is spent in surveying a route in the direction in which it will be of most benefit to the State. The South Australian Government do not want the route which runs along the coast-line, because it would practically be of no use to the State.
– According to the honorable senator’s argument they want to make it quite certain that the Tarcoola route shall be surveyed.
– That is what they want to make certain of.
– I read that to the Committee, and that is exactly what is contemplated by the Bill.
– They want to make it absolutely necessary for that route, and no other, to be surveyed.
– They do not give their consent to the survey of any route which we. may choose to adopt. South Australia intends to make use of this Bill to get a survey made through the country which contains mineral, and in which a railway, if constructed, will be of great benefit to the State. But it has not consented, by wire or otherwise, to Commonwealth surveyors surveying a route where they like in the State. If the South Australian people are honest in this respect, they will do the same as Western Australia has done. Perhaps they cannot be expected to give their permission for the construction of the line, but they should certainly empower the Commonwealth Government to survey any route it likes in the interests of Australia as a whole. There is no State with waste lands which would not be prepared to give the Commonwealth a free hand to survey a railway in its territory, and to do a considerable amount of work if it was going to be in the interests of that State.
– The honorable senator is arguing that the South Australian Government will insist upon having only one route surveyed.
– According to the consent which has been given in the telegram, the South Australian Government must be consulted as to the route which is to be surveyed. Before the Federal Government spends this vote of£20,000 they should obtain the legislative sanction of South Australia to survey the route which they think will be the best in the interests of the Federation.
– It has been contended by the VicePresident of the Executive Council on behalf of the Government, and also by Senator McGregor and others, who are in favour of the Bill being passed as it is, that we desire the unconditional consent of South Australia to the proposed survey. I shall prove from the correspondence that not only have we no such thing, but that the Government themselves have acknowledged that they have no such thing. Senator Best has kindly placed the correspondence at my disposal. On the 1st August, 1905, the Premier of South Australia sent this telegram to the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth -
We have no objection to survey Western Australian railway but desire to be consulted as to route ;
There is no punctuation in the sentence until after the word “ route,” where there is a semi-colon. If continues - it must be understood that this in no way binds us to ultimate approval of policy.
That telegram was subsequently confirmed by a letter.
– Hear, hear, and iri which further words were used.
– Those are the terms, because in a subsequent letter the Government of South Australia said they had no objection to the survey in “accordance with the terms contained in their letter.
– It goes on to say that the Government has no objection to the survey as “therein notified” - the reference being to the telegram - but cannot undertake to consider a Bill, &c.
– What the South Australian Government say is, “ We have no objection to a survey of the Western Australian railway, but desire to be consulted as to the route.” Even the Prime Minister does not “consider the telegram I have quoted an unconditional consent to the survey, because on the 1st August he sent the following telegram to Mr. Price at Adelaide : -
Much gratified your telegram to-day approving survey Western Australian railway subject to conditions named.
The Prime Minister acknowledges that there were conditions named in the telegram, and yet the Vice-President of the Executive Council wanted to make the Committee believe that the consent was unconditional.
– The condition was that it did not commit them to the construction of the railway.
-It imposed a further condition.
– A desire to be consulted as to the route is not a condition.
– The South Australian Government desire to be consulted, and that will leave them free to refuse to authorize any survey which is not in accordance with their wish. I have always been in favour of the Commonwealth Parliament exercising to the full extent its legislative powers under the Constitution.
– Only sometimes.
– The honorable senator cannot point to a single instance when I have not supported the idea of the Commonwealth utilizing’ to the full every power committed to it under the Constitution. I shall always take up that attitude, because in so doing, we are merely assuming the trust reposed in us by the people of Australiawhen they adopted the Constitution. But just as I am in favour of our taking every power which we possess, I am also in favour of our not overstepping any of our powers. Our action in matters of this kindislimited by the Constitution. My objectionto the Survey Bill would be removed if the terms of the Constitution were complied with. If this amendment is passed, the South Australian Parliament can give its consent without any delay. That Parliament is sitting at the present time.
– It may be dissolved in a week.
– Oh, we may all be in heaven to-morrow ! The world may come tp an end. The seven-tailed comet of which we read may come along, and wipe us out of existence. Even if the present South Australian Parliament were dissolved, it would not be very long before another Parliament was in full bloom; and if
South Australia is as much in favour of this proposal as we are led to believe, there need be no delay in the Parliament of the State passing a Bill.
– What does’ the honorable senator want them to pass?
– I want them to give authority for the Commonwealth to undertake this survey as required by Senator Dobson ‘s amendment. I shall vote for the amendment, because it will throw no difficulties in the way of the Bill becoming operative. What we desire can be accomplished in a fortnight after the Bill becomes law. I fail to see why there should be such strong objection to the amendment, which merely seeks to carry out in a formal way the intentions of the Constitution.
– - The reception given to Senator Dobson’s amendment is, in my opinion, not only unjustified, but unjustifiable. To begin with, you, Mr. Chairman, endeavoured to rule it out of order under a misapprehension, I admit, as to the words employed j but it is a strange thing that the last time this Bill was before the Senate a similar amendment was moved by Senator Givens, and with the exception of the order in which, the words occur, his amendment was precisely the same as that which we are now discussing. He proposed -
That the following words be inserted at the beginning of the clause : - “ Upon the formal consent of the South Australian Parliament to the survey being received.”
It may be information to the VicePresident of the Executive Council that that amendment was agreed to. It was put in the Bill. No harm was seen in it by any Western Australian senator, and it -was carried without a division. No one can deny that such an amendment could not injure the Bill when it becomes law. It could not destroy it. No one, I think, will venture to deny that it is a proper course -for us to adopt. If we were not divided so strongly with regard to this measure, I feel satisfied that we should say that before the Commonwealth Parliament authorized the making of a survey of this description it should make sure that the Government had power to carry out the work. In fact, if this were an ordinary Bill, we should be unanimous that the amendment ought to be inserted. But it is not an ordinary Bill. It is a Bill with regard to which we find senators from South Australia and Western Austra lia banding together to get it passed, although they are mutually antagonistic as to what will happen under it. It has been pointed out that the State of Western Australia has shown the most ample bona fides in offering every inducement to the Federal Parliament to pass this Bill. But, on the other hand, it must be obvious to the Western Australian senators themselves that the people of South Australia are holding back. Indeed, they are more than holding back. They are, I venture to say, refusing their assent in order that they may make a profitable bargain. I do not wish to speak unkindly about any- senators from South Australia, or about the State itself, but if the Bill were passed as it now stands, and the survey were commenced, it is quite possible for South Australia to arrange matters so that- the whole of the money shall be spent within her territory. I am sure that any senator from Western Australia will recognise, if he looks calmly at the facts, that by far the larger amount of the £20,000 which we are going to provide for the purpose of the survey, could easily be expended long before the survey party reached the borders of Western Australia. I do not point this out for the purpose of injuring the Bill, any more than I believe that the amendment is intended to effect its defeat.
– There is not the slightest desire on the part of the honorable senator to do that !
– Senator de Largie has heard me say that a similar amendment was proposed when the Bill was last before us, and that not a single objection was taken by any Western Australian senator. The record of that fact is contained in Hansard.
– Did any Western Australian senator support the amendment?
– It was carried without a division. They supported it in so much! that not one of them called for a division ; and surely there were at least two or three of them in the chamber when the amendment was put. So that, so far as we can judge from the pages of Hansard, every senator from Western Australia was in favour of it. I can see no reason why they should not be. I can see good reasons why they should. I can quite understand South Australia wanting this Bill to be carried, but I cannot understand the members of this Senate wanting it to be passed in such a form whether they come from South Australia, Victoria, or any other
State; and I certainly cannot understand why a single Western Australian senator should not insist upon the amendment being made, because I say, without the slightest fear of contradiction, that without such an amendment there will be a strong probability - even a certainty - that in the expenditure of the£20,000 an undue proportion may be spent in South Australia. Western Australia may rightlyexpect to have a fair proportion of the money spent in her State. But that object is not likely to be secured if the Bill is left as it is.
– We are satisfied of the reasonable attitude of the South Australian Parliament.
– I think that even Senator Lynch would be more satisfied if the South Australian Parliament spoke its mind on the subject as the Western Australian Parliament has done. And why should it not?
– Because it is keeping something up its’ sleeve.
– It surprises me that the Western Australian Government do not compel the South Australian Government to come out into the open as they themselves have done. I am an opponent of this Bill, but if it is to be passed, I should like to see it put in such a form that a fair proportion of the money will be spent in each of the two States concerned. But it is as clear as can be that all South Australia wants is to get some benefit out of this expenditure ; and how Western Australian senators can allow themselves to be fooled as they are being I cannot understand.
– The honorable senator is becoming wonderfully solicitous for us.
– Not at all.
– Why should he show his impotence?
– Why Senator Needham should show his impudence is much more to the point. If we carry the Bill in its present form the result will be that the South Australian Parliament may, and very likely will, give its consent to the survey being carried out within certain limits, and in certain directions only. When what South Australia requires has been secured, when her ends have been served, what is there to show that she will consent to the railway being constructed? I am not going to assume that South Australia will not agree to the survey, but what I do say is that there is no justifica tion for assuming that the South Australian Parliament will do anything when we know that at the present time they will do nothing. Their desire is simply to have the £20,000 spent in their State. That is the beginning and the end of it. They simply want that expenditure to takeplace.
– Where did the honorable senator get that information from ?
– Any one can read it for himself. It does not take a man even of Senator O’Loghlin’s intelligence to understand that. The attitude of the South. Australians in the Senate is significant. It is public property that more than onesenator from South Australia, who on thisoccasion has voted for the Bill, is absolutely opposed to the construction of the railway.. I will say this for the senators from Western Australia, that what they want is not the survey, but the railway ; but I also say that what South Australia wants is the survey and not the railway. Let me ask Senator de Largie, who has been in this Parliameht from the commencement, whether he does not know that there aresenators from South Australia who will not vote for the construction of the railway. The honorable senator knows it as well as I do. He knows it as well as he knowsthe fact that there i’s not a single senator from Western Australia who has not absolutely determined to vote for the railwav,. no matter what the result of the survey is. That is the sort of combination we have to face - a combination anxious to spend £20,000 of the public money. I hope the amendment will be carried. It will not defeat the Bill, and in that regard it is of no particular value to me. The only value I recognise in it is that it will carry out the intention of this Parliament, in that it will secure that the Parliament can do what it proposes to do.
– I do not see very much harm in the amendment. The only objection I have to it is that it is altogether superfluous. We have just had speeches from two honorable senators, who both support the amendment, one on the ground that possibly South Australia would insist on only one route being surveyed, and the other making the suggestion that South Australia would want the whole . £20,000 spent in her territory,and that Western Australia would not get any of it. Any reasonable practical man reading the tele- gram from Mr. Price, and understanding what it refers to, would arrive at the conclusion that South Australia gives her consent to the survey unconditionally, but reserves the right to have a say in the selection of the route when the construction is proposed.
– No. It was not an unconditional consent.
– If honorable senators were not looking for some imaginary obstacles to put in the way of the passage of this measure they would not see anything more in the telegram _ than what I have stated. Is it reasonable to suppose that South Australia would object to as many surveys being made by the Commonwealth Government in her territory as ever they like to make? Would it not be to the advantage of South Australia that half - a-dozen different routes should be surveyed ? Would it not give her a good idea of the country she possesses at no expense to herself? The amendment is not necessary.
– Why did the honorable senator let it go in without protest last year?
– Because its opponents knew that it was no use protesting.
– Because there was a majority in favour of the amendment, and if it had not been accepted the whole Bill would have been laid aside. We are in a different’ position to-day. As Senator McGregor pointed out, all that is asked is that this Parliament should agree to ‘a survey being made. That having been done, is there any likelihood at all. that the slightest opposition will be offered by South Australia to the southern survey, or the Tarcoola survey, or any other survey in her territory ? I do not see that the amendment will do any harm to the Bill, except that it will overload it, and is, I believe, only proposed, not from any real fear of serious results, but with the idea of delaying the passage of the Bill.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [4.35]. - I was profoundly surprised at the attitude of the Vice-President of the Executive Council when he put forward the proposition that, having voted this money and proceeded to carry out the proposed survey, the- Federal Parliament, if the South Australian Parliament took any adverse action, should approach. the South Australian Parliament - to do what? I shall put the answer in my own words - ito humbly beseech the South Australian
Parliament to graciously permit the Federal Parliament to survey a line of railway within their borders. I absolutely and positively refuse to be a party to making
– That is very pretty language.
– Almost as nice as “ nocent waterspouts.”
– The honorable senator may indulge in as much insolence as he likes out of doors, but in this Chamber I would beg him to remember that insolence is no part of parliamentary procedure. Let him hold his tongue. It appears that a part of the policy of the supporters of this railway scheme is to be as insolent and impudent as possible to those who are honestly opposing a “job.” I call it a “ job.”
– The honorable senator is not in order in referring to any proposal before the Committee as a “job.” I ask him to withdraw the word.
– I will withdraw it at your request. I- did not use the term as applying to any honorable senator, and although I have, in obedience to your wish, withdrawn it, I doubt whether, in the circumstances, as my remarks had most absolutely no reference to any honorable senator, I was out of order. I certainly will never be a party to a proposal that the Commonwealth Parliament should go cap in hand to a State Parliament and humbly ask to be permitted to spend Commonwealth money for the benefit of a State.
– That is the position we are in.
– That is the position which the Vice-President of the Executive Council asks us to occupy, and I decline to occupy it.
– That is practically the meaning of the amendment.
– The honorable senator had better read the leading article in the Age of Monday last, and nor come here with a proposition of that kind.
– That is very clever. I am surprised at the honorable senator.
– When we are out of Committee, perhaps the honorable senator will find I am more clever. I cannot deal with the matter while we are in Committee. When we are out of it I can. If the honorable senator is indifferent about honour, I am not indifferent to the honour of this Chamber.
– Will the honorable senator discuss the question before the Chair?
– The whole business reminds me of an incident that occurred a few years ago. It has been described by a well-known Australian writer, Mr. George Rankine. In a scat-‘ tered township a great struggle took place as to whereabouts a lock-up should be erected. An officer of the Works Department was at last sent to the town to interview the leading authorities. He asked the chairman of the Progress Committee, “ Where, in your opinion, should this lock-up be erected?” The answer was, “ It don’t matter tuppence where you put it so long as you spend the money in the town.” That is the position to-day. It does not matter twopence where you make the survey so long as you spend the money in South Australia.
– That is rather rough on the honorable senator’s colleagues from New South Wales.
– People only interrupt for two reasons - pleasantly, because they are pleased, and, irascibly, because they are “ roughed up “ the wrong way. I recommend honorable senators who do not like the tenor of my remarks to show a little wise reticence. They should remember that, as we are in Committee, it is quite possible for an honorable senator to speak more than once. If he is not satisfied with one oration he can indulge in two. I shall certainly support the amendment. No one can accuse me of offering this Bill any factious opposition. I understand there are a majority of honorable senators in favour of the Bill. I am not in favour of it, but I recognise chat the majority have the right to rule. Rule by majority is the genius of our system of government, and I quite recognise that, rightly or wrongly, properly or improperly, this Bill is going to be carried in some shape or form. It is my duty, as one of the custodians of the public funds, to safeguard the expenditure as far as I can, and to see that the money is spent in an honorable and legitimate manner. Senator Turley pointed out this afternoon that the whole scheme of South Australia is to have this money expended in an exploration of some mineral lands.
– One route.
– Mineral lands on one route. That is the object.
It is no function of the Commonwealth to spend money in South Australia for any such purpose.
– Because Senator Turley said so does not make it so.
– Senator Turley did not say so, so much as he proved it by quotations. We are told that the present Premier of South Australia, Mr. Price-, has made a promise. But recently we found a South Australian Premier repudiating the promise of his predecessor. I do not know Mr. Price, nor do I know who will be Premier of South Australia in a few months’ time.
– Tom Price, for many years to come.
– That may be, but if the honorable senator ever “ flutters “ half-a-crown on a race, I am sure he tries to get a’ little nearer to a certainty than that. If one South Australian Premier could repudiate the action of his predecessor, the successor of the present Premier can repudiate the hedged-round, involved, and carefully phrased authority to spend the money, but nothing more, given by that gentleman. We know perfectly well that if this exploration party starts in South Australia, a large sum of money will be required to provide an outfit. Several thousand pounds will be spent to the advantage of a few persons in Adelaide, and after that - the deluge.
– The honorable senator could not expect them to go to Sydney for their outfit.
– When the honorable senator makes an observation of that kind he simply belittles that which with him passes for intellect.
– I am very much surprised at the opposition to the amendment. We are naturally supposed to take all reasonable precautions when we are about to spend any of our own money, and there is not a man in this Chamber who would consider, if he was spending his own money in this project, that he had taken all reasonable precautions. Not one penny of the money of any honorable senator would be spent on the information we have received from the Vice-President of the Executive Council.
– The honorable senator does not know the plungers we have here.
– I know them, and I know that when they get the “ beans “ they can stick to them. But when they are spending other people’s money they can be very generous indeed. Senator McGregor said that the South Australian Parliament might be dissolved in a fortnight, while Senator de Largie gave us his assurance that the present Premier of that State will continue in office for many years. I do not know which of them to believe. According to Senator McGregor the amendment, if carried, might be injurious to the interests of those who desire the survey to be made, but, according to Senator de Largie, it cannot possibly be so. I think the amendment should be agreed to. One honorable senator said that it can do no harm, and I say that it may do a very great deal of good. If the people of South Australia desire to .act honestly and fairly in the matter, the amendment will not prevent them, but if they do not we shall not require to spend the money. When I expressed a doubt that £20,000 would be sufficient to carry out the survey, the Vice-President of the Executive Council said something about experts. I know a little about going over country, and £20,000 would be a mere flea-bite in comparison with the expenditure required to carry out a survey and exploration- over a route 1,100 miles in length. In this case, the proposal is to survey two routes. I do not suppose that Senator Best knows very much about the difficulties to be overcome, but I have been over thousands of miles cf country in Australia, and have had experience of the cost of surveys. It is usual before money is voted for a railway survey to have a rough sketch prepared, showing the starting and finishing points of the route, and the nature of the country which must be passed through. In this case, we have nothing to guide us. If we vote this money, as proposed in the Bill, we shall not know which route is to be selected for the survey, and the South Australian Government may refuse to let our surveyors survey the route desired by the Commonwealth. Before introducing this measure, the Government should at least have been able to assure honorable senators that they had the consent of South Australia to the survey of some route. At present, we are being asked to vote money with our hands tied, and when it is voted the South Australian authorities may say. “You can survey that route, or none at all.” Using ordinary common-sense, it is not difficult to read between the lines, and I am satisfied that the South Australian Government will not allow the Commonwealth Government to survey any route except that which they approve. Dealing again with the amount proposed to be voted, I wonder if the Vice-President of the Executive Council knows the time it would take to survey two routes, each 1,100 miles long? I suppose that the honorable senator has some idea of the cost of the outfit of a survey party?
– There would be but one route for the Western Australian section of the line, and that would reduce the distance referred to by the honorable senator by some 475 miles.
– We are told that a certain amount of exploration will be necessary, and I cannot possibly see how the survey could be carried out for £20,000 unless those who are so strongly advocating the Bill intend to employ Chinese or other coloured labourers to drag the chains and carry out the work on a very cheap scale indeed. We do not desire anything of that kind. If Senator Best said he had- fifty experts behind him, I think it would not be difficult for me to prove that, to say nothing of exploration, no railway survey of the same length has ever been carried out in Australia for twice the money we are asked to vote in this Bill. The information at present before us is to the effect that the country through which the survey must be made is practically waterless. It is about the most difficult country that could be found in Australia for such a purpose.
– What has this to do with the amendment?
– When I am out of order I shall be quite willing to have the Chairman tell me so, but I do not wish to be called to order by Senator Trenwith. I am trying to show that £20,000 would not be sufficient for the work proposed. I am supporting the amendment in order that before we agree to spend any money we may have the consent of South Australia to the survey of a particular route. I have not the slightest objection to Senator Trenwith sitting on the Treasury bench as if he were a member of the Government, but I distinctly object to his calling me to order.
– The honorable senator will please discuss the amendment.
– I shall do so, but I hope that when an honorable senator interjects, and calls me to order, you, sir, will call him to order, and keep him in his proper place.
– All interjections are disorderly.
– We are asked to pass this Bill without amendment. The second reading has been carried. Senator Dobson has now moved what I consider to ;be a proper amendment to safeguard the expenditure of the taxpayers’ money. He desires that the consent of South Australia shall be had to the survey of a route. Why is chat objected to ? One honorable senator said that he could find no fault with the amendment, but that it was superfluous. I hold that we should adopt every safeguard when we are spending the people’s money. Possibly, honorable senators representing other States do not regard the matter in the same light, but the course proposed by the Government in this instance might be regarded as a precedent. The snowball grows as it rolls, and once this kind of thing is started we do not “know where it will end. We can exercise some common-sense, arid we know that Western Australia and South Australia would not ask for this Bill, and the Government would not introduce it, unless it was intended eventually to ask the people of Australia to construct a railway from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta. Instead of doing anything to prevent the survey being made, the effect of the -amendment should be to push the matter on a little faster. I hope it will be carried.
.- No substantial reason has been urged why the amendment should not be carried. Those who have spoken in opposition to it say that if carried it will cause delay. If, “by delay, friction and expense are saved to the Commonwealth, it will be to the advantage of Australia, and to those who are supporting the Bill. It has been said that Mr. Price, the present Premier of South Australia, will be favorably disposed to the survey being made through South Australian territory. If we have implicit faith in the Premier of South Australia, and I have, there will be no risk in agreeing to the amendment. It should rather further the cause which the supporters of the Bill, and I am one of them, have at heart. We know that Governments come and go. Personally, I hope that the present Premier -of South Australia will re main long in office, but during recent years there have been many changes of Government in that State, and the views held to-day by Mr. Price may not be held by his successor. On a former occasion ex-Senator Playford, as leader of the Government in the Senate, agreed to an amendment similar in character to that now before the Committee. Although there has been a change in the leadership of the Government in the Senate, we know that one of the honorable senators now representing the Government in this Chamber was a member of the Government when ex-Senator Playford agreed to the amendment to which I have referred. I do not think that the amendment would in any way endanger the Bill. On the other hand, it would give the people of the Commonwealth an assurance that not one penny would be expended on this important survey until it was made evident that the work would be carried out in a business-like way. I do not think that it is business-like to authorize the expenditure of this money without a full assurance from the parties most interested, the Governments and people of South Australia and Western Australia, that they will consent to the survey being made in any direction which the Commonwealth deems best. I take the same view as Senator Symon. Honorable senators of every section of the Committee regard the honorable and learned senator as a ,hig,h constitutional authority, and he has told us that not one peg can be put down in any part of South Australia, and not one day’s work performed by those intrusted with the survey, if the Government of South Australia are unfavorable to it.
– That is admitted by everybody ; but the South Australian Government. is in favour of the survey.
– We are told that the present Government of South Australia is in favour of the survey being made in any part of that State, but if that be so, what valid objection can be raised to the amendment ? I am whole-heartedly in favour of the survey, because I consider the matter of national importance, but I desire that it should be proceeded with in a thoroughly business-like way, and I think we should see that the interests of the taxpayers of the Commonwealth are properly safeguarded, as they .will be if the amendment is carried.
. Senator Findley has asked what objection there can be to the course proposed in the amendment. The objection is that it means delay.
– And is unnecessary.
– What is proposed will have to be done, whether the amendment is carried or not.
– With all deference, I venture to say that Senator Symon is wrong, I feel confident that the Railway Act of South Australia provides that the Executive of that State can authorize a survey.
– Has the honorable senator read the Act?
– I confess that I have not.
– Then why should the honorable senator describe its contents ?
– I said that with all deference I thought the honorable senator was wrong. I have seen the South Australian Railway Act, but I have not recently read it. My impression is-
– That it ought to be as the honorable senator says.
– That it is as I say.
– If the honorable senator will send for the Act he will find that he is mistaken.
– If Senator Symon will assure me that he has seen the Act recently and read it with a view to this question-
– I have done so, and I found that it is restricted to railways to be authorized by the South Australian Parliament.
– This railway, if ever built, must be authorized by the South Australian Parliament.
– This railway, if built by the Commonwealth, must be authorized by consent of the States concerned.
– That is not the authority which is meant.
– Surely consent is the authority.
– That is not my view of the Act, though I may be quite wrong.
– I think that the South Australian Government can authorize this survey, because it is a survey for a railway, the construction of which they must ultimately authorize. I feel sure that that is the law in Victoria, and. from what Senator Symon has said by way of interjection, I am confident that it is so in South Australia, also.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South. Australia) [5.1]. - I rise to put one or two things right. Senator McGregor did not. quite do me justice when he criticised me for supporting an amendment on the ground that consent to a survey was required by the Constitution. I have nodoubt that it was entirely owing to the obscurity of my language that he got that notion into his head, because I never said anything of the kind. A consent to the survey, unless it is, as Senator Dobson said, part of the railway construction - which I do not admit it to be in any sense - means a constitutional consent. But I put it on the plain, simple ground of the practical necessity of the situation, from the pointof view that Senator Findley has alluded to - of what South Australia can do, and is entitled to do. That brings me to the view that Senator Trenwith has put. Of course, it is much easier for a man to construe an Act of Parliament which hehas not read than to construe one which he has read. My honorable friend has put, with great lucidity, his view of an Act of Parliament which he very candidly confessed he had not read. I happen to have looked at the Act, because of his interjection the other day, and it is restricted exactly as I said. In my opinion, it does not authorize the Executive to sanction a survey of this kind. Nobody can deny that this is a very unusual thing. To begin with, it is very unusual to authorize a survey until a railway is authorized.
– Surely not !
– The country may be examined, but there can be no question as to what kind of a survey this is to be. Whether the amendment is inserted or not, South Australia must give its consent, and that will cause the delay, which is the only argument offered against the proposal. Last year, I expressed the same view, and Senator Trenwith then, with very great power, answered the suggestion that the amendment was unnecessary. I said I thought that, whether the amendment was inserted or not, the Parliament of South Australia would be in that position, and that, from that point of view, it was unnecessary to put it in. My honorable friend said -
Suppose we admit that it is unnecessary. If it will give satisfaction to honorable senators it can do no harm.
That, I suppose, is his attitude to-day.
– Was there not a special reason for the amendment being assented to before?
– Absolutely none that I know of.
– I am given to understand that there was.
– No; and the position has altered somewhat since then. I said that if Senator Playford insisted upon dividing the Committee and declined to take the amendment - which he did accept - I would not vote against the Government. It is only fair to the Premier of South Australia that I should say that nobody who knows Mr. Price would think of casting upon him any imputation such as Senator McGregor sought to draw from a certain interjection; I did not take it in that way at all, and I feel quite sure that it was not so meant. Since then we have had much discussion in South Australia, and Mr. Price has done good work in respect of this very railway question. Although I do not agree with the stipulations that were put into the agreement relating to the Northern Territory, still that agreement is the result of effort on his part. I wish to tell honorable senators what was in his mind, as he said himself, with regard to the priority of the two railways, and also as to the routes which are involved. When at a meeting my honorable friend, Mr. Price, was asked whether there was any certainty that the Northern Territory railway would be constructed before the line to Western Australia, he said -
The understanding was that if the Commonwealth built the Northern Territory line South Australia would not oppose the Western Australian line. He had insisted that he would not ask the Parliament of South Australia to support the latter unless the line to the Territory was made.
That statement was made after the Bill was last before the Senate, and, having regard to the changes which have taken place since the correspondence was exchanged, it is not fair for us not to recognise as a matter of courtesy even, that the South Australian Parliament must be asked whether or not it will consent to the survey in form, and what the route shall be. What I want to point out is that Mr. Price has given a great deal ofthought to this matter, and that if, as Senator Trenwith said last year, the amendment is unnecessary, the Parliament of South Australia would still have to give its consent to the survey whether this proviso were inserted or not. If it is unnecessary, then, as my honorable friend said, it can do no harm, and it is a courteous thing to recognise the position of South Australia, particularly in view of the changes which have taken place since last year. If my view be correct what possible delay can there be? If the amendment is inserted there will be no more delay than there would be if it was left out. It is a recognition of the right of the Parliament of the State to pass what it thinks right, and to say in what direction the survey shall proceed.
– I am very loath to take any step which would delay the passage of the Bill ; but when I see my honorable friends struggling in deep water I think it is only right that I should come to their rescue. 1 was decidedly opposed to the amendment when it was moved last year. I told you, sir, that, in my opinion, a great blunder had been made by the Government in accepting a proposal that came from those who were deadly opposed to the Bill. My forecast was realized. We were assured by its supporters that if the amendment was accepted the stone-walling tactics that had been adopted would cease. But what was the result? We all know how the Bill was defeated. A blunder would be committed to-day if the Government were to accept the amendment. For that reason I was verv sorry to hear that Senator Findley intends to vote in that direction, because he will only assist those who are determined to defeat the Bill by any means they can employ.
– I am not assisting them, but doing what I consider is right.
– This is a regular “ win, tie or wrangle “ amendment. It is put forward with only one object. I cannot understand why any senator from South Australia should have any doubt as to its Government being in accord with this Survey Bill.
– No, we do not say that.
– Notwithstanding the fact that the six senators for the State have voted solidly for the Bill, there seems to be a doubt as to whether its consent should be given or not. I cannot understand Senator Symon’s attitude, or why he has changed his views since the Bill was last before the Senate.
– I have not.
– On that occasion the honorable senator said very distinctly that there was no necessity for the amendment.
– I said so to-day. I said that whether we inserted the amendment or not, the Parliament of South Australia would have to give legislative authority for the survey.
– I do not think there is any necessity for the State to give other consent than that which the Commonwealth has received. Take the country which the railway will traverse in South Australia. For ninety-nine out of every one hundred miles, the land belongs to the Crown. The Commonwealth has received the consent of the Premier of South Australia, and also the consent of Western Australia, and in mv opinion there is very little need for any further consent to be given. It is on record that last year Sena-‘ tor Symon declared that the amendment was quite unnecessary.
– I took exactly the same view then as I do now. I read the passage, and Senator Trenwith said that the amendment could do no harm.
– In order that it may go on record again, I shall quote the passage from page 4538 of Hansard, volume 34 -
Senator Givens seeks to move an amendment with regard to the consent of that State. I am not sure that it would do any harm to the Bill if it were made, because I believe that the Parliament of South Australia would immediately pass an Act giving the consent of the State to the survey. On the other hand, I am inclined to the view which Senator Playford has also taken. Believing, as I do, that the Bill will not involve the expenditure of a single shilling until a step of that kind is taken by South Australia, I think it is unnecessary to put in the amendment.
– Let the honorable senator read on.
– Then Senator Trenwith interjected -
Suppose we admit that it is necessary. If it will give satisfaction to honorable senators it can do no harm.
Senator Trenwith, no doubt, saw the harm afterwards, and I can see it now. I am not going to be led into a trap on this occasion. I do not intend to act the part of the fly in the fable of the “Spider and the Fly.” I do not mean to be fooled a second time. There has been a good deal of talk as to what authority should direct the survey. I contend that it is for the Federal Government to direct the surveyors as to the route they shall take. Neither the Western Australian Government nor the South Australian Government has any right to do so.
– What the honorable senator is saying is a strong argument why the Bill should not be further supported.
– Certainly not. The Bill says plainly that it is for the purposes of a survey for a railway between Kalgoorlie and Port Augusta. Between those points it is the duty of those who have the survey in hand, and of the Federal Government which engages them, to direct the work.
– Does the honorable senator say that South Australia is to have no voice as to the route?
– South Australia should have no voice in directing the surveyors as to the route. In practically unknown country such as that about to be surveyed, it is necessary to give carte blanche to the surveyors, saying to them, “ There’ are two terminal points, and you are to survey the country between them.”
– Could not the South Australian Government say that they would not consent to a survey except vid Tarcoola?
– No doubt the South Australian Government could say so.
– And could they not stop the survey if what they wanted were not done?
– I do not think they could. In unknown country no person except the surveyors in charge of the work would be able to form an opinion as to the route.
– I should like to hear the views of the Government on the point.
– That is a common-sense attitude. There may be half-a-dozen routes. I quite admit that a broad definition might be given as to the route to be taken between the two points, but it is not for persons sitting in Adelaide or Perth to direct the surveyors. It would tic the height of presumption for politicians to attempt to direct them. It must be left very much to the surveyors to find out the best route between the two points mentioned.
– But the surveyors cannot go anywhere they like without direction.
– They can go anywhere they like between the two points. That is the common-sense attitude.
– If that is commonsense, it is extraordinary common-sense.
– I am not aware whether honorable senators know anything about new country, but I do not see how in the’ name of common-sense it would be possible to instruct surveyors in any other manner. Here we have uninhabited country about which we know nothing, and how could we lay down Hard and fast lines as to the route to be surveyed? It is perfectly ridiculous to think of issuing such instructions.
– Would it not be possible to instruct the surveyors to survey a line up to Tarcoola and then west- ward ?
– Yes ; and it would be possible to instruct them to surrey the Gawler Ranges. The surrounding country would, I suppose, be examined with a view to find out the best route to he recommended.
– To do that would cost £100,000.
– I see no necessity for the amendment. It merely means delaying a Bill that has already been too long delayed. I shall not allow myself to he led into a trap -on this occasion, knowing, as I do, what resulted from a similar move last year.
.- My honorable friend, Senator De Largie, does not approve of my amendment, but every single argument that he has used goes to prove that it is essential to the Bill. He has pointed out that South Australia and Western Australia will have nothing to do with directing the surveyors, and ought to have no voice concerning the route of the proposed railway. But he must have forgotten the Constitution. He ought to know perfectly well that embodied in it is the requirement that the State concerned shall give its consent before a railway is constructed within its territory. For my honorable friend to say that the surveyors are not to be directed, seems to me to ignore the constitutional requirement. He has talked about being led into a trap by my amendment. Does he not recognise that the amendment is strictly in accordance with the Constitution, that it is in accordance with the consent that the Prime Minister asked South Australia to give, that it is in accordance with the way in which we ought to do cur business, and that it proposes to do what is nothing short of an act of justice,, fairness, and courtesy to South Australia? I cannot understand my honorable friend arguing that South Australia and Western Australia will have no right to give the surveyors directions. Who is to direct them? Is the Executive of the Commonwealth to direct them where to go when we have not even got the consent of South Australia? Senator de Largie has argued that South Australia will have no right to interfere to the extent of requiring that the route shall be via Tarcoola. But South Australia has plainly told us that she reserves to herself a free hand in that respect. That is what I have been protesting against all along. My honorable friend, the Vice-President of the Executive Council, has. endeavoured to cloak over the difficulty by telling us that the Government has received Executive authority from South Australia, in face of the fact that, over and over again in the correspondence, South Australia lays it down as a condition that her Government shall be consulted as to the route, and that the gauge must be 3 ft. 6 in. In other words, the Executive authority of South Australia tells us in the most absolutely unconditional manner possible, “ We must be consulted, and shall insist upon what we desire being done.” Say that the Bill is passed without my amendment. What is going to Le done ? Suppose that the Government of South Australia directs the surveyors to go via Tarcoola, and that the Western Australian authorities object tothat course. What will the Federal Government do then? Will they go on in the teeth of Western Australia? But a far more pertinent question is this : Suppose the Federal Government directs the surveyors not to go via Tarcoola, but by the Gawler Ranges, and that the South Australian Government says that, after consideration, it will not consent to the route via the Gawler Ranges. What will be the position of the Federal Government then? We shall come to an impasse, just as we have done in regard to the High Court and the income tax. We got into that muddle simply because we did hot legislate in a business-like way. Senator Best commenced his speech in reply to my argument by saying, “ I admit that we have no right to go on private land in Souih Australia, but that State will greatly benefit from the railway, and will not refuse her consent. We have no right to trespass, but we will take the risk, and if we get into ‘any difficulty, we shall have to apply to the local authority.” My honorable friend admitted that there might be a difficulty.
– I said that it was highly improbable.
– My honorable friend used the word “ trespass “ ; and he knows perfectly well that the surveyors may be treated as trespassers. In that case, the Government will apply to the local authority. My amendment simply says, ‘ Apply to the local authority at once, and do not spend any portion of the £20,000 until the consent of South Australia has been obtained.” Then we cannot be treated as trespassers.
– We claim that we have all the consent that is necessary.
– My honorable friend falls back upon the Executive minute, in which a conditional consent is given. If we pass this Bill without the safeguard required by the Constitution, we shall be doing our business in a very improper manner, and laying ourselves open to the humiliation of being criticised in every part of the Commonwealth, by every man who can talk, and every newspaper man who can write.
– It has been contended by such an eminent authority as Senator Symon that Senator Dobson’s amendment is unnecessary. Of course, Senator Symon has changed his mind since he expressed that opinion; but what his reason for the change is, I know not. My summary of the position is this : If we insert the amendment - which, by the way, has been proposed by a senator who is violently opposed to theBill - it will have the effect of saying that, although South Australia has already given her consent, we are not quite sure that the Government of that State had made up its mind when the consent was given. The telegram from the Premier of South Australia is quite clear to me. If the argument that South Australia is unwilling to give her consent is correct, would not thatState have said plainly and frankly, “ We will not agree to the survey of this line unless it is within a point fifty miles from Eucla,” or made some condition of that sort? It is as plain as language can make it that South Australia “ has no objection to the survey of the Western Australian railway, but desires to be consulted as to route.” Does Senator Dobson imagine that any gang of surveyors can divine at the outset the ultimate route that they will recommend to Parliament? No party of surveyors yet sent out in this continent has been able to do so.
– The honorable senator is begging the point.
– I am doing nothing of the sort. My point is that the surveyors when making the trial survey - as, of course, will be the case in this instance - will have to traverse the country in many directions extending north and south, in this case from 50 to 100 miles. If they are faithful servants of their employers, it will be their duty to pick out the line of country which will lend itself more easily than any other route to the economical construction of the railway. Even admitting the argument of Senator Dobson and Senator Givens thatSouth Australia lays down an express condition to her consent, will those honorable senators deny that the surveyors at the outset of their task will not know what route will suit even the State of South Australia?
– That is not the point..
– It is right on’ the point. In order to meet the desires of South Australia, a survey must first of all be made to obtain the necessary information, and then South Australia will be in a position,after reading the reports, to choose the particular route that she is prepared to approve of. Language cannot convey the desires of South Australia more plainly than does this telegram. When an endeavour is made by Senator Dobson, who has fought this Bill bravely, to insert an amendment in order to perfect it, I am inclined to think that there is something more behind his attitude than a frank desire to improve the Bill. When Senator Clemons says, “ I would do anything to oppose the Bill,” then it seems to me that the object of the amendment only typifies that attitude.
– I view with considerable surprise the attitude of honorable senators who oppose the amendment. They do not seem to have grasped the position in which they seek to put the Commonwealth. Let us look at it as business men intrusted with the management of the affairs of a great continent. We are asked by Western Australia and South Australia to make a survev for a railway through their territory. Western Australia has unreservedly given her consent, both to the survey and to the subsequent construction of the railway. South Australia takes up quite a different position. Mr. Price’s qualified consent has been quoted. He says -
We have no objection to survey Western Australian railway, but desire to be consulted as to route.
In the first place, that is not a formal consent even to the making of a survey. A telegram from a State Premier is not authoritative. Premiers came and go, and sometimes do not carry out their promises. An amendment similar to the one before us was carried in this Chamber last year. The South Australian Government knew perfectly well that the Senate wanted, as a preliminary to the passing of the Bill, the consent of the South Australian Parliament.
– The Senate never passed it.
– The amendment was accepted, but the Bill failed to pass. In any case the South Australian Government could easily have gathered the mind of the Senate from the- debate, and if it had been at all inclined to give that consent it would have had an Act of Parliament passed during the interval.
– They do not pass speculative measures.
– They are too wise; but honorable senators from that State think it is good enough to ask the Federal Parliament to pass a purely speculative measure.
– The South Australian Government have never asked the Senate to doso.
– But they want the Bill. The honorable senator put the objection to the Bill in a nutshell when he spoke of speculative measures. Why should we pass them? The interests placed in our charge are very much greater and more important than those which the South Australian Parliament have to conserve. We have to look after the interests of the entire Commonwealth, and we ought never to consent to a purely speculative measure such as this is. Mr. Price’s qualified consent is that his Government has no objection to the survey, but must be consulted as to the route. That means that the survey must go, not where the Commonwealth wants it, but where the South Australian Government want it. Are the people of South Australia or the people of the Commonwealth going to pay for the survey ? If the former, they are entitled to say where the survey shall begin, where it shall go, and where it shall end.
– Then the honorable senator, to be consistent, must vote against the amendment.
– If the people of the Commonwealth have to pay for the survey, this Parliament ought to have supreme control. But will it? I am astonished at Senator de Largie, who does not seem to understand the position at all. I will quote the view taken of the position by Senator Symon, who is admittedly a fairly high legal authority, on a former occasion. He said -
My view of the Bill is that it will not enable a single step to be taken towards carrying out the survey by the Commonwealth without the enactment of a law by the Parliament of South Australia, not merely giving its consent, but prescribing the method that the surveyors must pursue, and, if that became necessary, providing for compensation to be given to the owners or occupiers of land through which the survey must be made.
What we are asked to do is to vote £20,000, not knowing how or where it is to be spent, and with no control whatever over its expenditure. That is a most peculiar position for members of the Senate and for members of the Government, because the Government are no less guilty in this connexion than those honorable senators who are trying to place the Senate in this humiliating position. It is most humiliating that senators can actually be found to vote for the expenditure of , £20,000 without retaining in the hands of the Commonwealth the power to say how, when, and where it shall be spent. A number of honorable senators are so anxious for the survey that they are prepared to take it at any cost. Neither the honour of the Senate not the welfare of the Commonwealth has any weight with them. All they want is the survey, and they will not be happy until they get it. The second reading of the Bill has been passed, the principle has been affirmed, and this is a detail. I say that I have now no objection to the survey, provided the control of it is placed in the hands of the
Federal Parliament. Owing to the want of arrangement between South Australia and the Commonwealth, the whole control will be in the hands of South Australia. If this Bill passes without amendment, when the Commonwealth authorities send their surveyors to South Australia, they will have to proceed with the survey in whatever direction the South Australian authorities wish it to go.
– Unless the South Australian authorities -permit them to go where the Commonwealth Government desires them to go, they will not continue their work.
- Senator Trenwith throws another flood of light on the question. He says that we can refuse to go on with the work.
– And the Act would be a dead-letter.
– Then, of course, the Act would become a dead-letter. Why should we not provide against any possible contingency of that kind? ‘
– We know how much the honorable senator desires to provide against the Bill becoming a dead-letter.
– I wish to provide against the Commonwealth being placed in a position of that kind. What would the people of Australia say if such a “thing happened? If the Commonwealth Government sent surveyors to South Australia, and the Government of the State refused to allow them to go to work except where they wished, and the Commonwealth .Government then withdrew their men, would there not be a howl of derision throughout Australia ? People would say, “ Look at this Government of ours. What a business-like Government it is to be sure. ‘ It is doing something which no private individual who knew anything of business would dream of doing. It is actually proposing to make a survey in South Australia before receiving the consent of the South Australian authorities to continue the work.” Do not honorable senators see the ridiculous position into which they are trying to drive the Commonwealth, and all because of their anxiety to secure this survey? I have another objection to the whole thing. I say that from another point of view it is a purely speculative undertaking which ought not to be entertained for a moment by the Senate. Mr. Price in one of his communications says -
It must be understood that this in no way binds us to ultimate approval of policy.
That is to say, that unless everything is as South Australia, desires with respect to gauge and route, she will refuse her consent to the building of the line. No one can deny that that is clearly the position. It must be evident to honorable senators that we are proposing to place ourselves, bound hand and foot, at the disposal of South Australia. We are proposing to spend £20,000 on a survey without knowing whether we shall be allowed to build the railway afterwards. Is not that a purely speculative undertaking? We should not only have the consent of South Australia to the building of the railway before we spend a single farthing on the survey, but we should have the consent of that State to our building the line where we like, and when we like, and as a preliminary, we should have its consent to the making of the survey. If we have not that assurance, we expose ourselves to the charge of conducting our business in a most careless and unstatesmanlike fashion.
– We should expose ourselves to being humiliated by South Australia.
– I agree with Senator Givens. If it is decided to build the railway, and the Commonwealth has to pay the piper, we, and not South Australia, should be in a position to call the tune. I ask honorable senators to reconsider their position before finally pressing the Commonwealth into a corner on a question such as this is. I am aware that a number of honorable senators are exceedingly anxious that the Bill should be passed, and for that reason are inclined to take anything that comes their way, but we ought to be governed 5y principles of prudence in embarking upon a huge undertaking such as this. There is another complication which has arisen since last year, and which apparently has vanished from the minds of honorable senators. Senator Symon quoted from a recent statement by Mr. Price, the Premier of South Australia, to the effect that if the Commonwealth builds the Northern Territory railway from Oodnadatta to Pine Creek, South Australia will offer no objection to the building of the Western Australian railway. But if the Commonwealth does not build the first-mentioned line, what will happen?
– And on their terms?
– Yes ; they are to be complete masters of the situation. Yet they have the assurance to come here and talk about the Federal spirit. Where is the Federal spirit in the attitude of a State . whose representatives say, “ You pay the money, and we name our terms. Heads, we win; tails, you lose.” Why, South Australia is playing with loaded dice all the time, and the Commonwealth stands aside like a veritable simpleton. Senator de Largie said that Western Australia was not going to be the fly any more, but it appears to me that the Commonwealth is the fly in this instance, and that South Australia is the spider. A ludicrous aspect of the question is this’: that when the survey has been made, according to the wish and orders, I suppose, of South Australia, and everything has been placed in train for the building of the railway, South Australia may not, after all, consent to its construction. It is absolutely certain that she will not, unless the conditions she imposes are complied with. Is not the whole thing ridiculous? I would ask the Committee to seriously consider the position in which they will place the Commonwealth by rejecting this very reasonable amendment. The Constitution provides that railway construction shall not be carried on in any State by the Federal authorities without the consent of the State concerned. I am aware that the point has been raised that a railway survey is not railway construction, but we know that no railway can be built without a survey. A survey is necessary, and the object of this survey is the building of a railway. So that when we vote for the survey, -we are really committing ourselves to a very large expenditure to follow. That should impress honorable senators more fully with the necessity of taking every step with as great caution and circumspection as possible. I again ask honorable senators to seriously consider the position before they vote against an amendment of this kind. Let us have the consent of South Australia, not only to the survey, but also to the building of the railway afterwards if the reports are found favorable. That appears to me to be the only fair footing upon which this matter can be placed.
– The case for those in favour of the amendment has been put so strongly that it is now necessary that two things should be done. We must ask the representative of the Government in the Senate if he is going to stand in a position which, from the financial point of view, and the point of view of railway construction by the Commonwealth, is abso lutely untenable. Certain expressions havebeen used in the press, and in another place, and it is only consideration for thedignity ‘of the Senate which prevents those expressions from being heard here as towhat is the nature of this business. I do not intend to transgress the good order that characterizes the Senate by using, those expressions. But I say that in connexion with this proposal for the expenditure of ,£20,000 we should havean absolute guarantee before we spend” one penny of the money, that our surveyors shall be in a position to give usan absolutely unbiased report as to [he best route for the proposed line through the territory of South Australia, and that that State shall stand in the same position withregard to the survey as Western Australia. I, therefore, ask the Government, on behalf of those who are seeking to protect the taxpayers of the Commonwealth, whether they intend to persevere in their obstinate attitude. When we were taunted1 with seeking political capital in our own States by our resistance to the Bill, and it . was suggested that it wasdue to our desire to secure our seats, I said1 that, financially, Queensland, so far as it is a mere matter of pounds,’ shillings, and? pence, and so far as the contribution fromthat State would go towards the carrying, out of a useful work for the Commonwealth, did not care two straws, but wouldbe prepared to do her duty. But we say that, in doing her duty in the matter, Queensland, and every other State, should’ be safeguarded by a proviso which would? be insisted upon by a business man in the simplest business transaction. When that, is refused, we have reluctantly, on behalf” of the taxpayers of Queensland, to consider what may be behind the expressionspassed upon this Bill in the press and inanother place, and may ask, “ Where doesthe job lie?” Is the Government so absolutely dependent upon its supporters that it will not give us an opportunity to see that justice is done to the taxpayers? Is it because South Australia wishes to be ina position to play the game of the thimbleand the pea with this ,£20,000 ; or what isthe position? Honorable senators whoare opposed to the Bill have resisted’ it . to the utmost of their power.. The general principle of the Bill is safe. But when we find that Western Australiahas declared its position, and stated that the surveyors of the Commonwealth are absolutely free to enter its territory and? to do the best they can, and that South Australia is stoutly resisting the provision of this safeguard, and is backed^ up by the Commonwealth Government, what term ought to be applied to such conduct on the part of South Australia and the Commonwealth Government? There is no expression too harsh to be used, and I shall not be deterred from stating my opinion here. I do not care whether it is suggested that I am interested or disinterested with regard to the tenure of my seat. I demand from the Government a statement as to whether they intend to stand by the clause or object to the amendment. I ask Ministers, if they can, to point to an instance where the expenditure of a penny of public money has been sanctioned so recklessly as we are asked to assent to this proposition to spend £20,000. From the despatches and telegrams which have been read time and again, the Government should know that, as a matter of law, our surveyors maybe turned off every foot of privately-owned soil in South Australia, and that, so far as Executive authority is. concerned for entering the territory, they may be turned off at any time. It has been urged that in this Bill we are not sailing, strictly in the teeth of the Constitution, and .1 concede that point. We may not be sailing right In the teeth of the Constitution, but there is no doubt that we are sailing as close to the wind as it is possible to do. It is argued that this is a Bill for the survey of a route, and not for the construction of a railway. The answer to that plea is that the construction of a railway has never been undertaken without a preliminary survey.
– The Constitution does not provide for a survey, so that the Commonwealth Government cannot even survey a route without consent.
– Exactly, and that proves that the officers of the Commonwealth will be absolutely at the mercy of the South Australian Government and of any private land-owner whose property is affected by the survey. I ask the VicePresident of the Executive Council whether he, as a lawyer, would allow a client to spend £20,000 on such guarantees as are contained in the letters and telegrams from the Government of South Australia? With all respect to that Government - and I admire their astuteness - they have worded their telegrams and despatches in such a way that the State is committed to nothing.
– Does the honorable senator doubt their- bona fides?
– It is not a question of whether I doubt their bona fides, but of whether the onus of proof of bona fides does not rest with them. Why do not the Government insist that, before a penny of that sum is voted, they shall be furnished by South Australia with the same kind of safeguard as has been furnished by Western Australia ? It may be all very well for Senator Best to say, “ We can rely upon the honour of the State Parliament.” But he, as a lawyer, as well as a private individual, knows that in business transactions no man will undertake to spend such a sum on the mere guarantee of the personal or public honour of an individual. As we are the donors of the money for the survey, we have a right to ask from one of the donees that we shall be absolutely protected in the matter of its expenditure. The money ought not to be granted, nor should the survey be initiated, until the Commonwealth has absolute power from South Australia to send surveyors where it likes in its territory. Why do’ not the Government of South Australia instruct their representatives here to say that the servants of the Commonwealth shall be at liberty to go where they like and do what they like, within the limits of their power, in order to determine the question of route, as well as the prospects of the railway, if one can be made through their territory? In this amendment, are we not merely asking for a proper safeguard? Can we justify ourselves before the taxpayers, if we throw down ,£20,000 for South Australia to do with as it likes? If it wishes the money to be spent in the best interests of, not only itself, but also the Commonwealth, why does it, through its representatives, resist the insertion of the amendment ?
– Because, as Senator Symon has said, the amendment is not necessary.
– Senator Symon has ‘intimated his intention to vote for the amendment.
– My honorable friend was present when Senator de Largie quoted what Senator Symon said last year.
– That only bears out the remark I made in my speech on the second reading. I refused to read the history of this proposal in order that I might get the benefit of -first impressions on a big question in its relation to the States and the Commonwealth. During the discussion I have wondered whether . South Australia was playing Brother Fox or Brother Rabbit with the Commonwealth. Now that the senators from Western Australia, after playing the role of the importunate widow, have got their position acknowledged, it is only right that they, as part custodians of the public purse, should decline to remain any longer the tool of South Australia, or the tool of a- weak Government. I speak strongly, because I am inclined to indorse every expression that has been used in the press, in another place, and elsewhere with regard to the vote for . the , survey. Is it the price of political power? If it is, it shows that the Government is remarkably cheap. It is only a grant of £20,000.
– I would remind the honorable senator that the question before the Committee now is, not the amount of the’ grant, but the survey of a route, and the consent of South Australia thereto.
– The survey of a route is part of the construction of a railway, and we ought to withhold the grant until we know the wishes of South Australia. Suppose that our surveyors were to depart from either of the two routes which have been suggested ; that they found that by striking considerably north of Adelaide they would ‘get into better country, or even, possibly, worse country. As the Bill stands now, there is nothing to prevent the South Australian Government from sending after our surveyors, and telling them to stand off the ground or to get. out of the territory. Of course, it may be urged that such a contingency is not likely to arise, but in reply to that objection I would remind my honorable friends of the powerful French proverb, that “it is the unexpected which always happens.” It is our duty to make legislative provision for this survey on business lines. And when we find a businesslike amendment resisted by the Government and one of the parties interested in the survey, who can be blamed for using the proper adjectives and substantives? So far, I have heard no answer to the contention that we ought to safeguard in a reasonable way the expenditure of this sum of £20,000. The only answer which the Vice-President of the Executive Council has attempted to make has been, “South Australia will come in all right; we will trust to the honour of her Government and people.” We have got something non-committal in the telegrams, and if it suits the South Australian Government they can play as they like with this £20,000. I can quite understand why they should take up that position. One of the cards in their hand has been shown. One of the incidents of the game is, What will be the future of the railway to the Northern Territory? South Australia has a very large interest in that question, which is absolutely antagonistic to its interest in the line to Western Australia. That, very probably, is the reason why it wishes to have a free hand, and to be able to turn round and say to the Commonwealth, “ Practically we have got you in the bag for the survey. Now come with us, and let us do what we like with the £20,000.” I am inclined to indorse the opinion that what is proposed is a job. Otherwise why this obstinate resistance to one of the most reasonable demands that could be made - that a guarantee should be given that the £20,000 will be spent in the best interests of the States concerned ? At every turn, however, we are met by dodging and twisting. When we analyze the attitude of South Australia, we see what the game is. It is as plain to me as the light in front of us that South Australia is pursuing an astute policy. Senator Symon has told us frankly that his State will not allow the survey to be made unless her wishes regarding the route are acceded to. But the other senators from- that State seem to have entered into a conspiracy of silence. It is argued that because the other Chamber has not thought it advisable to insert in the Bill such a reservation as Senator Dobson propos.es, we ought not to do so. But the answer is that we in the Senate occupy a position equal to* that of the House of Representatives as guardians of the public purse, in addition to which we are in a special sensecritics of expenditure from the point of view of seeing that State interests are safeguarded. Can the Government point to any grant of money that has ever been made by this Parliament without such a reasonable safeguard as we are now asking to be inserted in the Bill ? No doubt the representatives of the Government are anxiousthat the Senate shall adopt the same attitude as was adopted by the House of Representatives, but to do so would be- to ignore the distinction between that House and the Senate. We are the guardians of the rights of the States, and as the whole of the States will contribute this money, we are entitled to see that the interests of the taxpayers are safeguarded. We are told that we ought to have confidence in South Australia. But do not honorable senators who use that argument see the inevitable tu quoque? If South Australia believes that it is wise to enter upon the proposed survey, why do not her representatives consent to the proposed safeguard being put in the Bill ? All that we ask is that when we vote the money our surveyors shall have absolute freedom to go and see whatever country they like within certain limits. But instead of that guarantee being given, we are asked to adopt the nursery adage, “ Shut your eyes and open your mouth’,- and see what God will send you.”
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 -p.m.
– Since the question of this railway was first mooted, I have honestly given it every consideration, and have endeavoured to see whether I could not reconcile it with fair play and justice to give it my vote. But I must confess that the more I have looked into the question, and the longer these debates have gone on, the less I have felt impelled to. do so. We find, to-night, a reasonable and purely business proposition submitted by Sena- tor Dobson, that we should obtain the necessary consent from South Australia, so strongly opposed by the supporters of the Bill and by the Government, that their action adds still more to the suspicions I entertain. I do not think the best friend of the Government will say that they shine in questions calling for business ability. Wherever they have touched any purely business matter, they have made a dreadful mess of things. An instance is the recently cancelled European mail contract. We know what a mess has been made of that. The £25,000 deposit which the Government were supposed to have securely in their possession, or under an ample and complete guarantee, is now not available
– What has that to do with the survey of the line?
– I am using it by way of illustration.
– Then the honorable senator is badly off for illustrations.
– I am not accountable for my poverty of intellect. I do not profess to compare with the honorable senator in that regard, and so I ask him to be merciful. Captain Collins is now knocking at the door of the mail syndicate in London, asking that the deposit shall be paid. In this Bill, which is purely a business proposition, we find the same want of business ability on the part of the Government. We are asked to spend money in territory that we have no right to enter, but have merely a conditional permission, which is over two years old, and which is coupled with other conditions as to route that render it practically nugatory. It is time that we let South Australia know exactly where we are and what we mean about this business. We do not believe, as the Government appear to do, in taking things for granted. Some day, this Government will be termed the “ takeitforgranted Government.” If things do not turn out as they expect, the country will have to pay the piper. The attitude of the South Australian Government right through, I must say, without desiring to be unkind or unfriendly, has been very equivocal. They want to have the whiphand over us, both in this matter and in the Northern Territory proposal. ‘ The insertion of the condition in the Northern Territory agreement regarding their consent to the survey of this railway was a very improper proceeding, which, although inspired by the Federal Government, should not have been consented to by them, even if it had been inspired by South Australia.
– Did South Australia inspire it?
– I said South Australia did not, but I added that it should not have been put in even if it had been inspired by South Australia,. I am surprised at the objections to this fair, honest, and straight amendment. Surely the VicePresident of the Executive Council forgets the experiences we had in the Victorian Parliament regarding railways, how loosely things were done, and. how disastrously they turned out. He ought to have remembered sufficient about those times to have seen the necessity of making hard-and-fast provisions in any Bill, such as the one now before us. ‘ Senator de Largie said that the opponents of this measure are acting on the “ win, tie, or wrangle “ principle. It seems to be the supporters of the Bill who are doing that, because they are determined, business or no business, fair or unfair, to gain their end by carrying the Bill through. This is the very first time the Commonwealth has made any attempt to deal withrailway matters. I fear that the public of Australia will not have a very high opinion of the Commonwealth Government or Parliament, if this proposition is allowed to go through without conditions such as Senator Dobson proposes being coupled with it . We cannot blame the Western Australian senators. They are fresh from an election, and pledged up to the hilt to this railway. They are, therefore, perfectly justified in pushing it for all it is worth, but the representatives of South Australia ought to have taken a more , candid attitude, and supported those who desire that State to make a fair business arrangement, giving its proper legislative consent to the survey. If we pass the Bill without this condition, we : shali write ourselves down as absolutely unfit to do business, and hold ourselves up to the people of the Commonwealth as childish simpletons.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [7.52]. - Whilst of course agreeing with a good deal of what Senator McColl has said, I do not think that the attitude of South Australia on this matter can correctly he described as equivocal or wanting in candour. The passageI read - I am sure Senator McColl did not hear it - from Mr. Price’s speech a little while ago, showed the resolute determination of the present Government of South Australia - and I declare it also to be the resolute determination of the people of that State - not to permit this railway fro be constructed until what they conceive to be the far more important line’ connecting the south of Australia with the north at Port Darwin, whatever the route may be, is made. They have never censed to make that abundantly clear, and, therefore. I am sure Senator McColl will feel that they are not at all open to the accusation of want of candour. At the same time they have said, as we have all said, and as I certainly have said as the ground upon which I take the position I do, that information may be obtained about this Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta route, and that if it is possible on proper terms to have that information, we in South Australia will gladly have it. If there is to be an exploration of some 500 or 600 miles of our territory, even by a flying survey, T should say that, solong as the South Australian authorities -the people of South Australia and their Parliament - arepermittedto have that control to which they are entitled over the direction it shall take, they will not be indisposed to afford whatever facilities are necessary. This amendment is not a condition of the construction of the railway -that is not in question at all - nor is it acondition of the passing of this Bill. Some honorablesenators seem to run away with the idea that the amendment in some way orotherwill interfere with the passage of the Bill itself. It will do nothing of the kind. The amendment, as I understand it - and in that respect I agree with Senator McColl - is merely designed to reserve to the South Australian Parliament that control which I believe they and their Executive Government desire over the direction which this particular route for a suggested and future railway, if it ever comes to that, shall take. That is all. It is a condition that before the making of the survey is undertaken the South Australian Parliament shall have its say. I venture to declare that that is perfectly fair and reasonable.
– The honorable senator knows the condition of affairs parliamentary in South Australia.
– I do, and I have no fear, because of that to which the honorable senator alludes, that there will not be many opportunities of dealingwith this matter in the immediate future. Even if there were no such opportunity, that is no reason why we who come from South Australia should withhold from the Parliament, which represents us as citizens of that State, the control over this matter which they expect to have, and which they ought to have.
– We give them the control without these words.
– That may or may not be. The words can do no harm, and the strongest reason I have heard for inserting them is what was said by Senator de Largie this afternoon. If his view is correct, the moment we pass this measure the Commonwealth authorities, without saying to South Australia “With your leave or by your leave,” may go upon this exploring or surveying mission.
– The honorable senator does not agree with that?
– It has exercised my mind a good deal. When I hear an honorable senator who has given so much attention to the subject as Senator de
Largie solemnly say that by passing this Bill we authorize the Commonwealth Government practically to ignore the South Australian Parliament, and do whatever they please in the direction of selecting the route, it gives me a little pause.
– The honorable sena.tor knows very well that they will have to send the army with them to do it.
- Senator Guthrie’s view is more nearly my own than that to which I have been referring, but if that be true it is the strongest reason why the present Government should do as ex-Senator Playford representing the same Government did last year - accept the amendment. As Senator Trenwith said then - of course, I do not suggest for a moment that he should not take a different view now, for I am not one of those who cast stones of that character - if it gives an assurance to the minds of those who think it will be useful, why should it not be inserted ? It can do no harm. I take a more emphatic view myself - that the Parliament of South Australia must give its consent before the survey can proceed, and that we in this Senate ought to extend to them courtesy and fairness by recognising their right, and inserting a recognition of that right in this Bill, by these few words. I again ask the leader of the Government in this Chamber whether he will not accept the amendment, at least as a token to the South Australian Parliament pf his desire to recognise their right to have a word in the selection of the direction - to put it as vaguely as that - that the route shall take, and as a guarantee that half-a-dozen routes, which there is no probability whatever of their accepting, shall not be surveyed.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales.) [7.59]. - I have occupied very little time in the discussion of this measure, and. have shown, I hope, sufficient liberality in the fact that I did not vote even against the second reading. If. therefore, I utter a few words now, in addition to the very few I used this afternoon, I hope that no honorable senator will suppose that I am attempting to interfere with the decision- of the majority of this Chamber. That decision has been given on the second reading in a manner that clearly indicates the will of the majority. We bow to the will of the majority; but Parliament is expressly designed to enable us to express the views we hold, and in accordance with our system of reporting to make records of our opinions. I ask honorable senators from Western Australia; to vote for the amendment, in order that South Australia may to some extent be placed on an equality with their own State. Western Australia has acted with complete confidence in the Commonwealth by passing an Act which conveys every authority- that either Chamber of the Federal Parliament regards as needful. Why should the other State occupy a position of so much superiority. Western Australia has confided im* the Commonwealth, and that is exactly what South Australia declines to do. She declines to deal with the Commonwealth in the same straightforward manner that Western Australia has done. Western Aus, tralia has. given most emphatic evidence of good faith, but South Australia sits tight,, and does not treat either the Commonwealth or Western. Australia fairly. I am not paying a compliment to Western Australia in any captious spirit, but because I recognise the straightforward position which that State has assumed. Why should not SouthAustralia occupy an equally straightforward position? I ask Western Australian senators to- support the amendment in the interests of a square deal. I am at a loss to understand how when there are three parties to a bargain two can act fairly and the third be permitted to occupy a neutral position, which enables him subsequently to take up any attitude which he is pleased’ to assume. With respect to the validity of the declaration of the South Australian! Premier-, we have heard so many contra:dictory statements this . afternoon, that being ignorant of the details of South Australian politics, I am at a loss to know what amount of reliance is to be placed, upon that declaration. We have been told by Senator de Largie that the Price Government is in the saddle practically for all time, but I understood Senator “Guthrie,, who probably knows as much of South Australian politics as does any other member of the Committee, to indicate a possible contretemps in the near future. I understood the honorable senator to suggest the possibility of a. shuffling of the political’ cards in South Australia.
– No; what is in the near future for South Australia is a double dissolution.
– After a double dissolution it is a case of ‘ 1 the devil take the hindmost,” and we cannot tell-, what will follow. I know that South Aus;tralia was celebrated, not so very long ago as a State that changed its Ministry every thirty-six hours, or thereabouts. There was some improvement upon that later, and Ministries were known to hold office for nearly the whole of twelve days at a time. There has recently been so much stability exhibited by the Price Cabinet, that in the ordinary course of political events, one would be justified in expecting a cataclysm. When a political party has had a long run it not infrequently happens that there are a number of short canters to follow. I am quite sure that Senator McGregor is unable to guarantee the permanency of South Australian politics. But if the Premier of South Australia means what he says, I cannot see why he should have any objection to make good, in the form required by the amendment, the bargain between the three parties to this business. People discussing matters of business and settling terms, agree verbally, and it frequently and naturally happens that one will say, “ Now that we have agreed to these terms, let us put them in writing.” I cannot conceive any honorable person, having come to a verbal understanding with a man, displaying any objection to putting it in writing.
– Is not a man’s word as good as his bond?
– It might be if we could guarantee his longevity. A man’s spoken word might be as good as his written word, but whilst one is on record, the other is wafted away, and no one knows what may become of it. The utterer may pass away physically let alone politically, and if an honorable man has come to a verbal understanding with his fellows, why should he not be honorable enough to make it a matter of record ?
– It is on record, and has been read half-a-dozen times.
– I imagine that Senator O’Loghlin has lived long enough in the world to know that people and things change. Good God.! have we not had changes enough in the Senate over this Bill? Are we to believe that this is the only Bill in connexion with which merely verbal stability is necessary, when we know that it has dragged more reputations in the political slough than any other Bill introduced into the Federal Parliament since its establishment?
– Order !
– I desire to speak to the amendment, but I have been unintentionally drawn off the track a little by interjections, which I like to answer.
It will be admitted that, in the view of the people of his State, Senator Symon effectively represents South Australia in the Senate, and this afternoon the honorable senator, if he has not said so in so many words, has indicated in the strongest manner that the objection of South Australia to the amendment i’s that there is another railway at the back of that with which we are dealing. Souch Australia will not make a bargain, and will not deal straightforwardly in this matter, because there is another railway behind this one, and that is the line on which a train runs once a fortnight somewhere into the wild interior of the State, and is almost exclusively used in conveying unfortunate fettlers who have gone mad in the wilds to the lunatic asylums in Adelaide. That line must be taken over by the Commonwealth before South Australia agrees. to the line referred to in this Bill. That is a fact of which we have evidence in documents which are before the Senate. What has become of all the moral obligations of which we heard when the Bill was first introduced? They have all disappeared, and we are now confronted with the spectre of this line to Oodnadatta, which must be taken over before we get the consent of South Australia to the line now under consideration.
– Who said that?
– I presume that Senator Russell, who comes from South Australia, has read the agreement encered into between the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth and the Premier of his State, in which the construction of this “desert railway,” as the Age calls it, and as I may refer to it for brevity, this Western Australian transcontinental railway line, is bound up with the taking over of the once-a-fortnight line into the central wilds and its extension to Pine Creek, in connexion with the transfer of the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth.
– No one has opposed it more than has Senator Symon, and yet that honorable senator agreed to vote for it.
– Two gentlemen who lived a long time ago had a discussion at one time upon Federation or the transcontinental railway. One knocked the other on the head with a club, and when the survivor was asked what had become of his brother, his reply was, “Am I my brother’s keeper”? I am not Senator Symon ‘s keeper. I do not think that he requires a keeper, but I do not profess to understand the consonance between his speech and his vote. If I understood the mysteries of South Australian politics, perhaps I could give an explanation; but I own that I do not understand them. I take up the one simple attitude. I wish to see this, transaction put on a business basis. South Australia has tried to put it on a business basis, in making it part of a bargain which includes the transfer of . the Territory, the buffaloes, the Pine Creek railway, the thousand miles of line which have yet to be built, and the 1,400 miles of railway up to Oodnadatta, where the settlers go luny in the solitude.
– Will the honorable senator discuss the question of the survey ?
– These are all woven into one bargain, and I cannot very well separate the survey. South Australia makes a bargain about the Pine Creek railway, the alligators, and the Northern Territory, and puts that into writing. Why will it not also put the other bargain’ into writing? Why cannot it be honorable and straightforward, and say what it means? Senator de Largie knows that he represents a State which has acted in a most bond fide manner towards the Commonwealth. It has passed an Act in which it has agreed to the survey of a route, and the construction of the railway. That is a handsome, honorable way of doing a piece of business. Why cannot South Australia take up a similar attitude? Why cannot Senators McGregor and W. Russell take up the same position on behalf of their State as the State represented by Senators de Largie and Needham has taken up? Having made an appeal to the’ honorable senators for Western Australia to see that South Australia gives as fair a deal as their State has done, I do not know that I have much more to say. I recognise that sooner or later this line will have to be built, but there is one other point which I think that I am justified in mentioning. ‘ If there is not an understanding with South Australia as to where the survey, is to be conducted, does any one in his senses suppose that £20,000 will defray the cost? It will take £3,000 or £4,000 for the outfit. Camels will have to be purchased, and arrangements will have to be made for water supply through 1, roo miles of waterless country. How is water to be obtained? Only by boring, I conclude, and then condensing the water.
– It is not 1,100 miles of waterless country.
– I shall call it 1,050 miles if it will make the honorable senator more peaceful in his corner.
– And then the honorable senator will be a long way off the mark.
– As it seems that there are no two supporters of the Bill agreed on any point, I am not going to worry myself to accept as accurate the contradictions which greet me, especially as I think that some of the contradictors really know nothing about the matter. They have not given any indication that they do, and their one anxiety is to. spend the money. If we are starting a series of public works in the Commonwealth - and this is the first public work of any magnitude which has been proposed - it will sooner or later lead up to borrowings, and it is desirable that our financial reputation should be respected in the money markets of the world. It will not be respected there if we enter into matters of public finance light-heartedly, and without any of the safeguards which should concern a business transaction. We are here as public trustees of so many millions a year, and I venture to say that there is no honorable senator, with a sense of the responsibility which attaches to a private or professional trustee, who would dare to handle the money of a private trust as some honorable senators are desirous of handling this sum of £20,000. The Vice-President of the Executive Council, in his professional career, knows perfectly well that he dare not advise, and never has advised, a client to deal with trust funds as we are asked to deal with this money. There is not a lawyer, here or elsewhere, who dare to tell rae that what I assert is the reverse of fact. I ask honorable senators, before it is too late, to vote for the amendment as a safeguard, and not as a delay. I do not regard it as a delay. If I thought that it was proposed merely for the purpose of delay I would not support it, but I believe that it is an honorable, straightforward protection for the people of the Commonwealth. I ask that the votes of honorable senators shall be given in support of a most proper proposal.
Question - That the words proposed to be inserted (Senator Dobson’s amendment) be inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 1
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (SouthAustralia) [8.29]. - I desire to draw the attention of the Minister to the words of the clause, and to ask him whether he does not think that there ought to be a definition or limitation of the survey? He will see that if it is left as it is the question will arise of who is to determine the kind of survey to be made. In my speech on the second reading, I referred to the differences of opinion as to the character of the survey. It will be recollected by my honorable friend that I also referred to what was said by Senator Playford when he spoke on the second reading of the Bill in 1905, and again when he moved the second reading of the Bill in 1906. I refer to these passages in order that my honorable friend may appreciate the point. Senator Playford said, in 1905, as reported in Hansard, page 1097 -
In this report the Engineers said, in the first place, that the cost of the line would be a little over £5,000,000. In a subsequent report, they reduced that estimate and gave their reason for doing so….. In their first report they say …” The estimate may appear large, but, as already pointed out, many of the data are uncertain - no survey has been made, the waterways have not been fixed, and the cost of water supply is indeterminate. They also say that a closer examination and partial survey will probably show that the line can be constructed for a lesser sum than that mentioned.” Honorable senators willnotice the term “partial survey.” An honorable senator just now made a great point of the fact that this survey could not be made for £20,000. No doubt he is quite correct, if a survey were intended upon which the line could afterwards be built - a survey which meant taking out quantities, calculating depths of cuttings, with particulars of fillings, and everything in relation to the engineering problems. There is no doubt that a survey of that kind could not be made for £20,000, but a partial survey will be quite sufficient for the immediate purpose.
That was the kind of survey that he gave his assurance was then in contemplation.
So that the contention that this sum would not be sufficient for the purpose was put forward) under the mistaken impression that the survey was to be absolutely detailed. It is to be nothing of the kind. The intention is to obtain a more reliable estimate of the cost of the line than we have at present.
– I am not answerable for that. People often express random sentiments which I am not called upon to father.
Once more he referred to the point,on page 1099 -
These two routes will have to be examined very carefully.
– Two routes?
– Yes ; there may be an intermediate route, but I do not think there is.
– Then this is to be a survey of two or three routes?
– No ; it is to be an examination of the country, to decide upon the best route to adopt.
– Will the £20,000 cover the survey of the two routes?
– It will be sufficient for the inquiries which it is necessary to make.
Again, at the close of his speech, in introducing the Bill last year - page 2474 - Senator Playford said -
It must be admitted that sooner or later it will have to be constructed, and, that being so, why should we not set to work as early as possible to secure the data necessary to place us in a position to say what the cost of its construction will be ? That is all that honorable senators are asked by this Bill to do.
And on page 2475 he said -
South Australia will demand a 3 ft. 6 in., gauge. She could not afford any other. I observe that the Parliament of Western Australia has expressed a willingness to alter the gauge of the existing line from Kalgoorlie to Perth to the 4 ft. 8½ in. gauge; but I say that they will only be throwing their money away if they do that.
At the end of his speech he said -
I do ask the Senate on the present occasion to agree to the expenditure of the moderate sum proposed for such a survey as will enable pToper plans and estimates to be supplied on which a reliable estimate of the cost of the line can be made when any proposal is submitted for its construction.
I wish to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether he does not think there ought to be some definition of or limitation on what this survey is to be? This is a very serious matter. I take it that the survey is to be merely an exploratory examination. That examination is not to be for the purpose of securing anything in the nature of a detailed estimate, or what is sometimes called a working survey.
– The honorable senator wishes it to be a flying survey?
– I think that what is contemplated was correctly described by Senator’ Playford in the two speeches from which I have quoted. But unless we have some limitation or definition embodied in the Bill, who is to know the kind of survey that is to take place? Is the Commonwealth to prescribe the nature of the survey, or is the South Australian Government to do so, or is there to be a bargain between the two States concerned and the Commonwealth? How is it to be arrived at? Who is to decide the nature of the particulars that are to be obtained ?
– The money available will decide that.
– But there is Parliament to come to again when the money is exhausted.
– We are not going to spend any more.
– We have no assurance of that. If the surveyors were in the middle of their work - if they got within 500 miles from the end of the route, and’ it was found that the£20,000 was exhausted - it would be folly for Parliament not to find the money to go on with it. It would be ridiculous to refuse to finish. Therefore, it is only prudent and proper that we should have some idea of what the survey is really to be. There is apparently a difference of opinion. Do the people of Western Australia expect a permanent survey? Is that what we are authorizing by this Bill? I do not wish to move an amendment if that can be avoided, but does not my honorable friend think that he ought to introduce words that will define the kind of survey that we are authorizing or its limits?If we spend £20,000, and the work is not finished, it would be futile to refuse to go on.
– Did not the VicePresident of the Executive Council say that no pegs would be driven in?
– That has been said. I am not an expert as to what this work would cost, but I should say that it is not contemplated, with this sum of money, to drive in pegs. I hope my honorable friend will see that he ought to take the responsibility of introducing some definition or limitation that will give effect to the view which the Government, as represented by ex-Senator Playford, and I am sure by my honorable friend himself, take, as to the nature of the survey. Perhaps my honorable friend can suggest a definition which would answer the purpose. Does he think that the term “ flying survey “ would express what ex-Senator Playford indicated?
– My honorable friend and other honorable senators are, of course, entitled to know what is in the mind of the Government. But to encumber the Bill with any restriction or limitation would be a mistake on our part. As to the character of the survey, I admit that the Committee is entitled to full information. The Government obtained skilled advice as to what kind of survey could be secured for £20,000. It was by this means that they were enabled to arrive at the amount; and
I think that I am in a position to give in detail exactly the class of survey that we contemplate -
The survey would be a sufficient one to ascertain the cost of construction, the cost of water supply by conservation, the prospects of water being obtained by boring, the character of the land on each side of the route, and its suitability for agricultural and pastoral purposes, and there would be a geological survey to ascertain the mineral resources of the country.
– Is the honorable senator quoting from a document?
– I am quoting from information supplied to me, and which I gave in my speech in moving the second reading of the Bill -
There are two routes through South Australia to be examined - one from Port Augusta vid Tarcoola, passing some forty miles north of Eucla, and thence to Kalgoorlie ; the other from Port Augusta through the Gawler Ranges vid Fowlers Bay, and the head of the Great Australian Bight, passing about -ten miles north of Eucla to Kalgoorlie. Both routes would practically traverse the same route through Western Australia. The Tarcoola route would probably cost about half a million sterling more than the more southern route.
Thus, the actual marking out of the route for the railway would not be included in the £20,000, but the information obtained from the survey would be sufficient to enable us to decide as to whether the work should be undertaken. I think it is only fair and reasonable that the Senate should have a distinct idea of what is in the mind of the Government as to the character of the survey to be undertaken j and this was arrived at, as I have said, after consultation with skilled officers. As regards the construction, I am, sure that my honorable friend must be aware that the actual legislative consent of South Australia would have to be obtained j and in any circumstances, whether we give exact expression to the intention, or leave the Bill in its original shape, the survey would, undoubtedly, be proceeded with in consultation with South Australia. Our anxiety, of course, would be to extend every courtesy to that State, and to avoid any possibility of friction. We want the best information that can be obtained in connexion with the territory between the two terminal points, and that is sought by the. authorization of the expenditure of this money. Whether South Australia insists that the Tarcoola route should be surveyed or not, it is going to be surveyed. But I doubt whether it would be wise in a measure of this kind to insert such an indefinite term .as “ flying survey,” or to encumber the measure with any limitations, because I think they would be not only limitations on the Commonwealth itself, but likewise on South Australia. It is better to leave the Bill in broad terms. The Government, of course, will be responsible for the carrying out of the survey. When the Committee has the assurance that I have already given as to the character of the survey, it will, T hope, be recognised that it would be inadvisable to encumber the measure further. The language of the Bill is exactly the same as it has been on every other occasion so far as this matter is concerned, and it has been passed bv the other place and by the Senate. I am sure, therefore, that we are not acting with any degree of haste.
– I agree with the Vice-President of the Executive Council about the language of the Bill, but this is the first time the Minister in charge of it has given a clear indication of the kind of survey intended. I am glad the honorable senator’s remarks will appear in print, and be on record, and that the Government openly declare their intention of spending the sum of £20,000 - which the Bill says must not be exceeded - in the various directions he has indicated. It is obvious to those who know anything about this country and about prospecting, that £20,000 will be utterly and hopelessly inadequate for one of the particular purposes which the honorable senator mentioned - that of geological prospecting. I can quite conceive that it would be wise and justifiable for either Western Australia or South Australia to expend £50,000 tomorrow in prospecting the very. ground that this railway will travel over. It would be well worth it.
– The probability is that both States will send a geologist with the survey party.
– That may be, but if money is to be expended in what is practically a prospecting vote in any State, it surely ought not to be done by the Commonwealth. It is the work of the States themselves.
– I am given to understand, although I do not know it of my own knowledge, that Western Australia is going to send an exploring party.
– How are we to reconcile that “statement with the honorable senator’s speech? If the honorable senator had said that the Commonwealth, which is solely concerned in the construction of the railway, with nothing to make directly out of any mines that it may open “up, and which, at any rate, is not justified in trying to find mines, was going to spend £20,000 purely on a railway survey, and to invite the States at the same time to join in the survey, and endeavour to find valuable mineral deposits, I could have understood it. But if any part of the £20,000 which the Bill says is not to be exceeded - and we hope the Government will keep to that - is to be diverted for a geological survey, one of two things will happen - either the geological survey will be a perfect farce, or the money will not go round. I have no desire to alter the clause now, so far as it goes, although I dare say some amendment might be made in it, but seeing that the Vice-President of the Executive Council has given us five headings for this expenditure, will he agree to the same amendment as was agreed to when the Bill was previously discussed - an amendment which I propose to submit on clause 3 ? It is really part and parcel of this particular question -
Provided that no additional cost beyond the #aid ,£20,000 shall be incurred without the Authority of a special Act.
– The Bill says “ shall not exceed £20,000.”
– I ask the honorable senator not to discuss the question of the cost.
– I will discuss it, with your permission, because it is relevant to the point before us. I will say nothing more about this clause if Senator Best says he will accept that amendment, which comes better in clause 3.
– I do not think it is necessary, -because the language is very specific and clear.
– It touches the question we are now discussing of how the £20,000 for the survey is to be expended. I do not believe that amount will be anything like enough. But what are we going to commit ourselves to? Are we going .to adhere to the Bill as printed, and make it perfectly certain that we will noc allow a further expenditure without having the opportunity of considering it? The VicePresident of the Executive Council knows that there are two ways of getting a further expenditure sanctioned - one an improper way.
– I ask the honorable senator not to discuss the amount of the proposed expenditure. Clause 2 is now under discussion.
– I submit with respect that what I am now discussing is very relevant to the clause. It is obviously involved, because the Vice-President of the Executive Council has now told us, for the first time, what the money is to be spent on.
– Not for the first time.
– It is the first time I have heard it. Surely I am perfectly in order in following out the argument, since the honorable senator has mentioned it.
– The honorable senator is perfectly in order in discussing the kind of survey, but not the amount.
– If you rule me out of order, I shall have to accept your ruling or proceed to test it in the proper way. I shall, however, go on with my argument until you do rule me out of order.
– I rule that it is out of order for the honorable senator to discuss the amount.
– My opposition to this clause can end now if the VicePresident of the Executive Council, after telling us what the survey is to be, will assure me that no further money will be spent on it without Parliament being asked to ratify it by a special Bill, and not by way of appropriation.
– I must adhere to the Bill, which is perfectly clear, to my mind.
– It is perfectly clear also to mine, but the honorable senator must recognise my object. As the Bill stands, the word “ survey “ is open, wide, and vague, and, if it is left in that way, will the Vice-President of the Executive Council give us the complete assurance that we want that no more than £20,000 will be spent? Will he accept the amendment previously adopted?
– The Bill is all right.
– It is better now than it was, but it can still be improved. If that is the honorable senator’s attitude, I will reserve my right to seek to improve it in this or any other direction.
.- The information given to the Senate for the first time in such detail by the VicePresident of the Executive Council requires a great deal of consideration. It appears to me that the title of the Bill is absolutely wrong, and will have to be altered, as well as the whole scope of the Bill. Ever since we have been opposing the project - and that is a long time now - we have simply been asking for a fair, honest, and business-like way of doing things, but we have not been able to get it. We are getting it now by degrees. We have before us nothing but a Bill to authorize a survey to cost not more than £20,000. But the Vice-President of the Executive Council has just made a statement that five different and distinct objects are to be carried out. for the money.
– I made the statement when I introduced the Bill.
– First of all, there is to be a survey which is- the rummiest kind of survey I ever heard of. It is not to be even a flying survey, nor are pegs tobe put in. Second, in order to oblige South Australia, and absolutely to violate the Bill, the Tarcoola route, and the other one, are both to be surveyed. The third object is to make it an exploration company for land purposes. The fourth is the making of a geological survey. On that I quite agree with Senator Clemons, that it will be like pitching a bucket of water into the sea, and imagining that you are raising its level. The money will be of no use. The fifth object is an exhaustive exploration for water. Unless the Vice-President of the Executive Council gives us a more satisfactory statement as to how the ratepayers’ money is to be applied, I shall take the point later on of whether the Bill authorizes the expenditure of money on those objects. It ought to be called a Bill to authorize a flying incomplete survey, and to explore the country for a route, and for minerals and water. It is not a fair or honorable way of doing business.
– Does the honorable senator want to increase the amount?
– The amount will have to be increased to carry out the objects the honorable senator has detailed. One of my honorable friends behind me, who voted for the Bill, will, I hope, endeavour to get an amendment introduced that if more money be required it must be found by the two. States benefited. That is making a botch of the matter, but it is much better that we should spend only £20,000- in this illegal and . unbusinesslike way than ,£40,000.
– I ask the honorable senator to discuss the character of the surrev.
– I shall take steps to ascertain whether the Bill is in order unless the Vice-President of the Executive Council will consent to alter the title in exact accordance with the statement which he made to the Committee five minutes ago. We require some further indication from him to let the public know that there is to be an exploration in other States for a route and for minerals and water. Let them know that that is to be done, and do not put it under the name of “ survey.” It is another example of the insincerity which has characterized this proposal ever since it first came before- us.
.- Will the Vice:President of the Executive Council tell us whether he really believes that this amount of money will cover the cost of the survey that is now promised? The Senate has passed the Bill up to this stage, and now we are told that we are to get a survey which will include the ascertaining of the cost of construction, the cost qf water supply by conservation, the prospects of water being obtained by boring, an examination of the character of the land on each side of the route, and its suitability for agricultural and pastoral purposes, and the making of a geologicalsurvey in order to ascertain the mineral resources of the country. We cannot get more than one or two of those items for the money. I think the Senate is entitled to get a thorough survey. The Minister asks, ‘ Are you prepared to spend moremoney?” I say, “Yes, I am; I would rather spend double or three times the money to get a thorough survey’ than spend £20,000 and have the work badly done, without getting the information we need as to whether the railway shall be constructed or not.” If we pass the Bill as it stands, simply providing for a survey, it may mean, anything or nothing, and the Governmentcan come to us with any information they choose to give us, whether it is worth the money they have spent or not, saying, “ You simply asked for a survey, and that is all we can do for the money.” That is not what Parliament wants. It wants the country to be thoroughly explored and prospected, and if the results are such as to show that the country is worth the railway, let us have the railway.. But let us have 3 fair and straightforward Statement of what the country is like. I do not see why what the Committee requires should not be placed in the Bill’, in the words which the Vice-President of the ‘Executive Council read out a little while ago.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [8.59]. - I do not intend to move any amendment. I think, what the VicePresident of the Executive Council has said would be covered by the expression “flying survey,” which is perhaps indefinite, although it is known in en,gineering. Mr. Kernot’s report did not’ exist last year, and certainly it did not exist when I introduced the Bill. We had nothing definite then, and . we never reached the stage of discussing the details in Committee. I find that Mr. Kernot’s report is not merely given in the speech of the Vice-President of the Executive Council in the Senate, but was also quoted in another place.
– We think that £20,000 is all the money we shall, require for that character of survey. That is the advice we have received.
– As Senator Clemons said, this is a question of expense. If what Senator McColl suggests is carried out, we shall have a full and complete survey, on which the Government can immediately prepare estimates and drawings, and all that sort of thing. I think my expression was the better one, although, perhaps, it could not very well be put into an Act of Parliament. This is really a kind of exploratory examination. The geological survey is another matter, and is intended to ascertain the mineral resources of the country. I see that it would be difficult to introduce an amendment, and I yield to what Senator Best has said on the point. Perhaps the only remedy would be, as Senator McColl has suggested, to include the passages which my honorable friend has read in the form of a schedule to the Bill. Whether that is feasible or not I do not know.
.- I should like the Vice-President of the Executive Council to give the Committee a little more information as to the nature of the exploring party which the Western Australian Government propose to send with the survey party. If the exploring party is properly equipped it is possible that it may do some of the work, and the case which the Vice-President of the Executive Council made out may not be quite so bad as it otherwise appears. If the exploring party is to do some of the work, let us know it. If it is not to assist in the work I shall, after having heard the Vice-President of the Executive Council on the subject, endeavour to enlarge the scope of the Bill by the insertion of some words in accordance with what the honorable senator has said are to be the lines on which it is proposed that the £20,000 shall be spent.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [9.3]. - I feel some diffidence in voting for the clause. Its object is to obtain information, and yet amongst the latest papers laid before the Senate is a report from a Conference of Engineers-in,Chief of the different States, who were so thoroughly seized of all the facts connected with the proposed railway’ that they were able to say to a single £1 the cost of covering sandhills along the route with soil to prevent the sand, not the soil, from “blowing over the railway line and burying it. If any honorable senator will look at the report to which I refer, he will see that these presumably authoritative writers put down a sum of £70,000 for the purpose. How they proposed to keep £70,000 worth of dry soil on the ‘top of a few million pounds worth of dry sandhills they have not explained. That should be explained, because there is no known grass, and no known shrub that will grow in a couple of inches of soil covering a few score feet of sand. When the Engineers-in-Chief know so much about this line that they can say exactly how much will be required to cover sandhills on the route with soil, the cost of necessary culverts, and of everything from A to Z connected with the line, why should we pass a Bill to authorize the expenditure of £20,000 to obtain information which is already in their possession? I do not know where they got their information, but the Commonwealth or the Western Australian Government has paid for the publication of their report, which gives everything in detail. It cannot be assumed that £20,000 will be sufficient to cover the cost of the proposed survey. It would take a fourth of that sum to purchase camels and outfit for the survey. Any one who has any knowledge of Australian exploration must know that £5,000 would not go far in the purchase of camels, live-stock, and outfit for a survey party. We are not, therefore, voting £20,000 for the proposed survey. No doubt a portion of the money would be spent on the survey, but the rest would be required to cover the necessary outlay in preparing a party for the work. This expenditure is to be incurred, although the Engineers-in-Chief know all about the route of the proposed line. I do not understand the absolute mystery surrounding this business. As I have already said, Western Australia has acted handsomely and straightforwardly towards the Commonwealth, but South Australia couples her consent with a multitude of conditions that involve everything in Australia from. Spencers Gulf to the Gulf of Carpentaria.
– Perhaps the honorable senator will permit me to direct his attention to the fact that the Engineers-in-Chief reported -
We are strongly of opinion that .a further and closer examination and partial survey will show that the line can be constructed for less.
The reference there is to their estimate of the cost of the construction of the line, and they advise the further survey.
– Then they are in this awkward position, that they presume to be able to tell to .£t what everything connected with the line will cost, and they add that their opinion is not worth twopence, and that a further survey is required.
– They say that on further information it would probably be shownthat the line would cost less than their estimate.
– In the course of twenty-five years of public life, I have had a good deal to do with public works, as a member of the New South Wales Public Works Commitee, and as Chairman of Commitees dealing with railways and railway Bills, and carrying out works in the State that sends me here. I am satisfied that £20,000 would not be sufficient-
– I direct the honorable senator’s attention to die fact that the amount of the vote should be discussed on the next clause. The clause before the Committee deals only with the nature of the survey.
– Then on this clause I shall not say any more about the cost. I think I shall be in order, however, in saying a word or two about the gauge of the proposed railway. It is notorious that 85. per cent, .of the railways of the world are built on a gauge of 4 ft. 8^ in. That that happens to be the gauge adopted in New South Wales does not affect my mind in the slightest degree. I take it that if the railway magnates, engineers, and traffic managers of the world _have found a gauge of 4 ft. 8^ in. the most useful of railway gauges, it is surpassing strange that we should be asked to agree to a line which South Australia demands shall be built on a gauge of 3 ft. 6 in. I travelled many years ago on the 3 ft. 6 in. lines in Queensland, and more recently on the 3 ft. 6 in. lines of South Australia and Western Australia, and the one thing abundantly conveyed to my mind was that whilst a 3 ft. 6 in. railway line is an enormous improvement on the ol’d coaching days, of which I knew something-
– I must direct the honorable senator’s attention to the fact that the clause before the Committee Eas nothing to do with the” construction, or with the gauge of a railway. It deals merely with the question of the survey. The honorable senator will not be in order in discussing the merits of different gauges. I ask him to confine himself to the question of the nature of the survey.
– Perhaps, sir, with the greatest respect, you will allow me to put this simple proposition before you : The gauge of a line is certainly a condition precedent to all railway surveys. There might possibly be geographical conditions in which a survey for a narrow gauge line could be carried out at a reasonable cost, whereas, if a gauge 14J inches wider were required, large additional expense might be involved.
– The clause makes no mention of any gauge, and the honorable senator will not be . in order in discussing the merits of different gauges. To do so would be to open up an interminable debate.
– I should not have adopted that line of argument if I had not understood that a similar argument had already been addressed to the Committee If I understand your. ruling, I am debarred from proceeding further, because the gauge is, to my mind, of so much .importance that if I ami not at liberty to discuss it, I shall not attempt to discuss the question at all.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 3 -
The cost of the survey authorized by this Act shall not exceed Twenty thousand pounds, and shall be charged on and paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, which is hereby appropriated accordingly.
.. - I move -
That the following words be added : - “ Provided that no additional cost beyond the said! Twenty thousand pounds shall be incurred without the authority of a special Act of Parliament.”
– Suppose more money is spent?
– My amendment is intended to prevent that.
– :Is it possible to prevent anything in connexion with the proposed line?
– With great respect to Senator Neild, I point out that if the clause were allowed to go as it stands, and the £20,000 were spent, expenditure in excess of that amount might be incurred, and we might be asked in an AppropriationBill to ratify the excess expenditure after the money had gone.
– I agree withthat statement.
– The object of theamendment is “to prevent that sort of thinghappening. I believe it would prevent expenditure in- excess of the ,£20,000 without the authority of a special Act. I feel sure that the Committee desire to prevent that, and that Senator Best will agree to the amendment. I direct the honorable senator’s attention to what ex-Senator Playford said when a similar amendment was proposed and he had charge of the Bill. Dealing with that amendment, and referring to a possible expenditure over and above the amount authorized by the Bill, he said -
I believe that it would be wrong for a Government to place an item on the Estimates for that purpose. Believing that if in ordinary circumstances the vote of £20,000 were found not to be sufficient the Government would ask Parliamentto vote additional money in a special Act, I have not the slightest objection to the amendment.
Ex-Senator Playford accepted the amendment which was moved. That honorable gentleman had plenty of parliamentary experience, and agreed that it would not be a proper thing for any Government to exceed the specified amount and then ask for a ratification of excess expenditure in an ordinary Appropriation Bill. I hope that Senator Best will see his way to accept my amendment. I have no wish to put the honorable senator in a dilemma, but if he is not prepared to accept the amendment, it may be said that it is because the Government wish to spend more than £20,000, and will hereafter ask Parliament to ratify their action in an Appropriation Bill. If the vote of , £20,000 is spent, I do not say for a moment that necessarily I shall be found opposing a further expenditure. I frankly admit that from my point of view it might be desirable, after exhausting that vote, to spend more money. But whether I should think so or not, I hold that Parliament should have the opportunity, of saying whether it approves of further expenditure, and should not be forced to sanction any expenditure which may be covered by an Appropriation Bill. That is the whole meaning of the amendment.
– I do not share the apprehensions of my honorable friend. I do not think that there is any other constitutional way of dealing with the matter than by a special Act of Parliament, or the inclusion of the vote before it is spent in the Appropriation Bill. The terms of the Constitution on this point are very clear -
No money shall be drawn from the Treasury of the Commonwealth except under appropriation made by law.
With that imperative provision in the Constitution, no Ministry would dare to spend extra money without a special appropriation by Parliament. Under those circumstances, the amendment would be mere surplusage.
– No. Surely there is an enormous difference between passing a particular item among one hundred items in an Appropriation Bill, and having our attention drawn to an item in a special Bill !
– I think not. I admit that if it were possible for the Government to spend extra money without the authority of Parliament, and to get the expenditure sanctioned afterwards, that would be another thing. But from the very beginning, and pursuant to the terms of the provision in the Constitution, Parliament has adopted a totally different way of dealing with finance. Hence I submit that if Parliament, in its discretion, chose to authorize extra expenditure in the Appropriation Bill, it would be at liberty to do so.
– Does the Minister really say that we have never been asked to appropriate money which has been spent before our sanction has been sought ?
– Speaking generally, no. I should say that no expenditure, except under a recognised head of the Appropriation Act, which permitted it, has taken place.
– But the honorable senator knows that when the Appropriation Bill has been before us criticisms have often been met with the remark “ It will be of no use to deal with the item now, because the money has been spent.”
– That was by reason of a general item which covered the particular expenditure. But where an Act of Parliament distinctly says that -
The cost of the survey authorized by this Act shall not exceed £20,000, and shall be charged on and paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, which is hereby appropriated accordingly, there is only appropriated out of the revenue £20,000 and there is absolutely no authority for exceeding that sum.
– What harm can the amendment do?
– It is unnecessary, because the terms of the Constitution cannot be departed from.
– They do not touch the amendment.
– The express provision dn the Bill that no expenditure exceeding £20,000 shall be incurred will preclude any Treasurer from spending more money. If I saw any real value in the amendment, if I thought that we would be in any way further safeguarded by a provision of the kind, it might be considered, and, possibly, favorably considered. A special Bill, or a special item in the Appropriation Bill, are the only two means by which Parliament can authorize the expenditure of extra money, and it will be open to Parliament to say in which of those ways it will consent to further expenditure.
– I trust that the Government will see their way to accept the amendment. I do not anticipate so much difficulty in regard to the sufficiency of the vote as some honorable senators seem to do. I presume that the Government will call for tenders for the work to be done.
– How can they call for tenders?
– The Government could, on a specification of the work, call for tenders.
– They could not do it.
– If the Government found that the lowest tender exceeded £20,000 they could communicate with the Governments of South Australia and Western Australia, who, I believe, would find the shortage. I do not see why the Government should not call for tenders on a specification. I do not believe that the work ought to be done, except by contract, because otherwise we shall have no guarantee that the expense will not considerably exceed £20,000.
– The Government could not lav down conditions.
– There ought to be no difficulty in calling for tenders. The Government could get persons who were competent to draw up a specification and let a contract. My own impression is that a number of persons would be glad to have the honour of making the survey.
– But who would judge whether the work had been done or not.
– That would be a matter of detail.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [9.22]. - Either the Vice-President of the Executive Council must be exceedingly forgetful, or in his recent remarks he has been playing a little game known as “ bluff.” What it is I do not pretend to know. If I said that it was a game of “ bluff “ he has been playing, that might be considered discourteous, and I do not wish to be discourteous. I can only suppose that he is singularly forgetful of the fact that the Treasurer has a little sum approximating to £250,000 a year, out of which he can pay odds and ends, including shortages in votes.
– He could not pay anything in connexion with the survey, because the terms of the Act would preclude him from doing so.
– A Ministry with a majority at their back are not very careful about Acts of Parliament; when they want to carry a thing through they do it, and I have never known a case in which this Parliament has not “ footed the bill.” If Senator Best has so strict a confidence in the limitations as he professes to have, surely there is no earthly reason why he should not vote for the amendment. If he means what he says, let him vote for the amendment ; otherwise, let him vote the other way. But how Senator Walker can propose that tenders should be called for the survey I cannot conceive.
– Tenders are called for the construction of railways.
– We do not know what the gauge or the grade of the proposed line is to be. We do not know, and South Australia will not tell us, what is to be the route. How could the Government possibly call for tenders when they would not know those three initial essentials? I am sure that the Chairman will not lule me out of order if on this amendment I discuss the gauge and the grade, because those questions are allimportant. In the old days in New South Wales, the instructions given to railway surveyors were to get the shortest line with a grade of not more than 1 in 40. But we found in practice that it was a ruinous grade, and we have been spending millions in cutting out those high grades and coming down, as far as it is possible, to a grade of 1 in 100. It must necessarily appeal to everv honorable senator that the difference between those two grades is all-important. The grade must be laid down if the Government are to call for tenders or to give instructions to engineers. Exactly in the same way, the Government must determine the gauge. Supposing that the railway ran amongst mountains of rocks. There are plenty of places where it is possible to seek a narrow gauge for the sum of £20,000. But it would not be possible to put a decent modern gauge in the same places without, perhaps, blasting away millions of tons of rock or shifting thousands of tons of sand.
– How would it do to adopt the mono-rail?
– I should not like to see my honorable friend put to any risk with one of the new-fangled arrangements, but the interruption, though I know it is only intended in a jocular spirit, opens up alarge question, because it is possible that in the course of a few months’ time, before the camels have been purchased, and the water bores sunk, to enable the expedition to get along, we may find that . themono-rail has achieved a degree of success which would warrant its consideration. If that be so, of courseI can understand that the work could be carried out at much less expense. But if Senator McGregor insists on an 8-feet gauge, what is the work going to cost? The difference between South Australia’s gauge of 3 ft. 6 in. and my honorable friend’s gauge of 8 feet, or, assuming that he is jocular, 6 feet, would be so great that this Government could not call for tenders or fix the amount which the job was going to cost. Will any one tell me that an ordinary road, say 30 feet wide, can be constructed for the same price as an ordinary road 20 feet wide ? The’ width and the grade of a road are of paramount importance. If Senator Walker had given the matter a little more thought, I do not think that he would have advocated the calling for tenders, because until the route and the gauge are. settled - and the grade is of even more consequerae than the gauge, though they are both of paramount importance - no action in that direction could be taken. Anybody who has had to do with railway construction must know that. When I became a colonist there was not a mile of railway in all Australia, and now there are 15,000 miles’. I have seen all those railways come into existence.If the Government are prepared to vote against the amendment, then they will give us the best guarantee that they do not know what the limitation is, and that they place no limitation on the expenditure of which they are going to be guilty. On the other hand, if Senator Best speaks as their mouth-piece, and he means what he says - that not a single pound can be spent in excess of the £20,000 - then he, as a politician and. a lawver, ought to vote for the amendment.
– I hope that the Vice-President of the Executive Council will accept the amendment. I take it that there are two intimations distinctly to be conveyed by the acceptance of the amendment, and I think that both ought to be clearly understood by honorable senators, the two States concerned, and the recipients of the £20,000. One distinct intimation to those States; will be that that sum is not to be exceeded If the amount were foundto be insufficient for the purpose intended, and the Governments concerned were not satisfied, one-of two-courses wouldbe open to them. They could, together or separately, supplement it out of their own Treasuries to enable the survey to be completed ; or, if they did not choose to take that course, they would know that the extra amount required to complete the survey would have to be obtained in precisely the same manner as was the original £20,000. The amendment would therefore serve as a distinct intimation to the Governments, of Western Australia and South Australia as to the attitude of this Parliament. It would havee a good effect, not only uponthe South Australian Parliament but upon the Federal Parliament itself, in making known our position. It is no abrogation from the good faith of the Commonwealth towards the States that they should be made to understand distinctly that if the amount now voted is not sufficient, any supplementary sum that is required willi have to be obtained in the same manner as was the original sum.
-32]. - My honorable friend, Senator Best, has laid his views before the Committee, but he has not intimated what course he proposes to take. I appeal to him to do what the Government did last year, and accept the amendment. I do not know that in the abstract there is. much to be taken exception to in the view that he. has expressed, but, looking the course pursued by the Government last year, I put it to him that there is no reason to depart from it. on this occasion ; and therefore he would be wise to do as his predecessor did. The point in question is a very simple one. I am not sore that my honorable friend, Senator Walker, is not right in saying that there mightbe a possibility of the work being undertaken by tender. I can see no insuperable objection to that. A set of conditions might be elaborated which would enable that to be done. ‘ At any rate, the idea ought not to be snuffed out immediately. The real point is, that if some such amendment is not made in the Bill, an extra amount for completing the survey might be set down on the Estimates. The amendment will be an indication that Parliament expects any extra amount to be provided for by special Act. That is all that it does; and surely from the point of view of the status of the Senate, it is a desirable thing that we should assert our control over expenditure. We very seldom have an opportunity of doing so. It has frequentlyoccurred that the Seriate has been a little lax in keeping its hand uponexpenditure. That remark applies both as to methods and amounts. I think that we expect this particular kind of expenditure to be provided for by special Act. I venture to suggest to my honorable friend that the view which ex-Senator Playford put last year is the right one. He said that without a special provision in the Bill extra expenditure might be provided for on the Estimates, and in a matter of this kind it should be provided for by special Act. My honorable friend might very well follow the precedent set last year, and accept the amendment.
– It seems to me that the question is quite clear and distinct. The Bill provides that the expenditure shall not exceed £20,000. If it is necessary to duplicate provisions with regard to expenditure, why should we not also duplicate other provisions in the Bill? For instance, the Bill provides that the survey shall be made between Port Augusta and Kalgoorlie. Why not provide that the survey shall not be made to Port Darwin or Esperance? The one provision would be as sensible as the other. The VicePresident of the Executive Council should give us an assurance that if it is considered necessary to make a survey to Port Darwin or Esperance a special Bill will be brought before us. Then we have no assurance that if the £20,000 is expended, the amount will be taken from the Consolidated Revenue, as stated in the Bill. This should be duplicated also or the money mightbe taken from some sort of sinking fund, or a fund for disabled dogs ! The provision of the Bill with regard to the terminal points is just as distinct as the provision with regard to expenditure, and it is not necessary to duplicate the one more than the other. I therefore think that the clause ought to be passed as it stands.
– I do not intend to vote for the amendment, because, although it has been supported by some high constitutional authorities, I am fairly puzzled by their inability to understand plain English. The language of this clause is as plain as it can be made, and surely ought to satisfy any person, no matter how captious he is inclined to be. Let us consider theposition. The survey is to be made between Port Augusta and Kalgoorlie. The survey parties will work from both ends. Presumably, they will start from Port Augusta and work half way, using Port Augusta as a base. Then, commencing at the other end, they will work from Kalgoorlie. Now, suppose that the survey party found that the £20,000 was exhausted before the work was completed. The officer in charge of the surveying operations would communicate with his chief. If Parliament were not sitting, it would, under this amendment, be incumbent upon the Government to call Parliament together for the purpose of voting the money necessary to complete the survey. Surely this is going too far. It is manifesting a faithlessness of which we ought not to be guilty in the face of the plain English of this clause. Then, again, what is to happen if ‘less than £20,000 is spent? Have honorable senators who support this amendment no solicitude in regard to the unexpended balance? What are they going to do with it ? I must admit that the Bill as it stands is, as far as I am concerned, in the early carrying out of the work, worthless. Through the remarkable action of some honorable senators - I will not say through their underground engineering - the survey work has been indefinitely postponed. Certainly it has been postponed for three or four years, largely through the action of the false friends of the measure.
– Why is it delayed ?
– We know that the South Australian Parliament will not be able to deal with the matter within eighteen months at least.
– Why not?
– The honorable senator knows the unsettled condition of politics in that State just now.
– Why cannot the South Australian Parliament pass an Act next week?
– Can the honorable senator assure us that they will do so?
– I can assure the honorable senator of nothing. But why should they not? They are in session.
– I believe we are justified in assuming that the South Australian Parliament will not be able to deal with the matter until next year, even if they deal with it then. When a new Parliament is called together, we know perfectly well that there are many matters of local concern with which they will have to deal. But I am concerned about a possible unexpended balance ; and, in order to reward those honorable senators who have brought about the delay for their ingenuity, I shall suggest a purpose for that balance. I suggest that the following proviso be inserted -
Provided also that if there is an unexpended balance it be devoted to the striking of medals as a reward for the remarkable ingenuity displayed in the destruction of this measure.
Question - That the words proposed to be inserted (Senator Clemons’ amendment) be so inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Majority. … … 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause agreed to.
.- I move -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “Nothing in this Act contained shall betaken as an admission by the Parliament of the Commonwealth that an obligation to construct or approve of the construction of the railway referred to rests upon Parliament or the Commonwealth.”
The Vice-President of the Executive Council may ask what is the use of putting in that clause, and hold that to vote for the Bill does not commit anybody to vote for the construction of the railway. Unfortunately one or two honorable senators are rather shaky on the matter. I have read to the Senate on two occasions what Sir John Forrest said-
– That is not in the Bill.
- Sir John Forrest distinctly said he did not take the usual view, but regarded any Member of Parliament who voted for the survey as being afterwards bound to vote for the railway. The honorable senator knows the great influence Sir John Forrest has had in pushing this Bill through. We cannot afford to give away any points to our astute opponents, one or two or whom have already expressed the opinion that, if an honorable senator votes for the survey, he ought to be prepared to vote for the railway, and therefore it is just as well to embody in the Bill a statement that we have all a free hand in the matter. We have had the greatest trouble in getting the safeguard inserted that the consent of South Australia shall be given before the survey is undertaken, and now I think we ought to have this further protection. Every one of us admits that this survey is required to show the character of the land that the railway will traverse, and to enable us to form a correct idea of what the construction of the railway will cost. When the survey has been made, do not let us have this Bill thrown in our faces, and be told, “You voted for the survey, and the result is fairly good. You are not going to throw away the £20,000, and so you ought to vote for the railway.” The Bill ought to contain this clause, which I submit to the Committee with confidence.
– Before a discussion arises on this clause, I wish to point out that I consider myself bound by the ruling of the former President, which was confirmed by the Senate, that anything relating to the construction of the railway is irrelevant to the subject-matter of the Bill. I must, therefore, rule, on my reading of that decision, that the new clause is out of order.
– With all respect, I differ from your ruling, and will hand in my objection in writing.
In the Senate:
The Chairman of Committees. - In Committee on the Bill “ for an Act to authorize the survey of the route of a railway to connect Kalgoorlie, in the State of Western Australia, with Port Augusta, in the State of South Australia,” Senator Dobson moved a new clause, as follows : -
Nothing in this Act contained shall be taken as an admission by the Parliament of the Commonwealth that an obligation to construct or approve of the construction of the railway referred to rests upon Parliament or the Commonwealth.
I ruled under standing order 194,. which provides -
Any amendment may be made to any part of the Bill, providing the same be relevant, to the subject-matter of the Bill, and be otherwise in conformity with the Rules and Orders of the Senate, that the proposed new clause was not in order. I took this action in view of the ruling of the Chairman of Committees of the Senate on 12th September, 1906, on a similar Bill, as reported on page 126 of the Journals of the Senate. The amendment then before the Chair was to insert at the beginning of the clause the following word’s -
Upon the State of South Australia giving the necessary permission authorizing the construction of a railway through that State.
That amendment was ruled out of order by the Chairman, on the ground that it was not relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill, which, as read a second time, was confined to the making of a survey, and had no reference to railway construction. Senator Givens, having objected in writing to that decision, the Chairman left the Chair,, and the President upheld the Chairman’s ruling. Senator Dobson has now dissented from my ruling in the following terms -
I differ from the Chairman’s ruling because the amendment does not come within the scope of the President’s ruling, which the Chairman thinks binds him.
– The amendment which I placed before the Committee earlier in the evening did not contain the word ‘’ construction,” but dealt only with the survey. I- worded it purposely in that way, and the Chairman herd’ that it was in order. He holds now that the new clause I have just submitted refers to the construction of the railway. I do not admit that it does,, within the scope of the ruling which your predecessor gave on a former amendment. It is well known that many honorable senators dealt with the question of whether those who vote for the survey will be compelled, or should consider themselves morally bound, to vote for the construction of the railway. While the great majority of us have said that we are in no way so bound, two or three honorable senators have taken the opposite view.. I have quoted the words of Sir John Forrest to show that he considered that any one who was prepared to vote the cost of the survey, should be prepared to justify that vote: by voting for the construction of the railway. I thought it wise, as there has been so much confusion and misunderstanding about this measure, that we should! have embodied, in the Bill a clause to the effect that in voting for this measure we do not admit that there is, any duty cast upon the Commonwealth to regard the construction of the railway as a Commonwealth obligation. I think that such a provision is most necessary. If it were not inserted, honorable senators who desire the construction of the railway would be able to say, “ We voted £20,000 of the taxpayers’ money for a survey, the report of the surveyors is favorable, and every one who voted for the survey is now bound to vote for the construction of the line.” The matter is,, therefore, one of very considerable importance, because, if your rulingshuts out my amendment, I say with all respect, that it appears to me you will run the risk of prejudicing the consideration of the very question I wish, by my amendment, to have set at rest.
– In connexion with the point of order, paragraphs xxxiii. and xxxiv., of section 51, of the Constitution, ought to be considered. Paragraph xxxiii. provides for -
The acquisition with the consent of Hie State of any railways of the State on terms arranged between the Commonwealth and the State.
I submit on the point “of order that by the amendment we are merely proposing to insert in the Bill an indication of a negative position in our relation to the States of South Australia and Western Australia. From the negative point of view the paragraph J have quoted has anindirect bearing. We desire practically to say, so far as- the terms are concerned, that one of them is that the passage of this Bill dealing merely with the survey of the line, is not to be construed as an assent on- our part to its construction. If that view issound, the matter certainly relates to paragraph, xxxiii. of section: 51. But paragraph xxxiv. of that section’, is the most, important one. It deals with -
Railway construction- an<T extension in any State with- the consent’ of that State.
I submit, with all respect, that this has nothing to do with the consent of a State at all, and that the object of the amendment is merely to guard and define the privileges of the Federal Parliament. It would have no other effect whatever. Surely when the Senate or the House of Repre- sentatives are dealing with money grants they have a right to determine all or any of the limitations they choose to impose in connexion with those grants? When we are voting money for a specific purpose, and wish that purpose to be strictly defined and limited, we are acting precisely in accord with our privileges as custodians and guardians of the money of the taxpayers. I might raise another point. If the Constitution or your ruling will permit us to submit the proposed amendment, I think we are morally bound to insert such a provision. In the course of a speech I marie, I took the view that, having assented to the survey, if the report of the surveyors were favorable, we should be bound to assist both States in the construction of the line. That is so especially from the point of view of, the other parties to the bargain. If the survey should result in a report favorable to the States concerned, the Commonwealth, or both, what answer would we have for the States when they said, “You voted money for the survey. You began the work, and the surveyors have presented a report favorable to the construction of the line “ ? On this point, those of us who oppose the Bill on principle, and probably also on the score of the utter futility of the survey, are in an absolutely sound position, but those who, even on this side, have voted for the survey, and in doing so have said that they are in no way bound to vote for the construction of the line, would be safeguarded by the adoption of the proposed amendment.
– How much the honorable senator is concerned about those who know what they are doing.
– If I am addressing a Solon, my remarks are unnecessary. I was under the impression that I was addressing persons with about the same limits of intelligence and powers of construction as I have myself. If the other members of the Senate are Solons, and I speak as an ordinary mortal, roy observations are out of place.
– The honorable senator need not take any notice of interjections.
– The object of the amendment is to strictly define the attitude of the Senate, and I submit that it is quite within the scope of our powers, and does not in any sense violate the Constitution.
– As I am not a lawyer, I feel that I am placed in rather an awkward position, but I. consider the observations which were made by Senator Dobson an insult to the intelligence of the
– Order! The honorable senator is not in order in alluding to any remarks made by another honorable senator as an insult to the intelligence of the Senate. He should withdraw the statement.
– I withdraw it.
– I direct the attention of the honorable senator to the fact that his remarks should be confined to the point of order.
– I was speaking to the point of order. In referring to some honorable senators on this side who have spoken in favour of the Bill, Senator Dobson said that there was great’ danger that they would be compelled, conscientiously or otherwise, to vote for the construction of the line. Was Senator Dobson in order in quoting a speech made by Sir John Forrest during the present session?
– That question is not before me just now.
– I bring it before you, sir. I do not claim special knowledge of these matters, but I strongly object that honorable senators on this side should be told by a number of learned gentlemen opposite what our duty is. in the matter. On a point of order, I direct your attention to the fact that Senator Dobson quoted remarks made by Sir John Forrest in a speech delivered during the present session, and, I believe, that is against our Standing Orders.
– Those remarks were made three years ago.
– In speaking to the point of order, I should like to remind honorable senators, if they need to be reminded of the fact, that in Committee we were dealing with a Bill involving the expenditure of £20,000 for a survey, and not for the construction of any line of railway. I voted for the Bill, and in doing so, I said that I in no way bound or pledged myself to vote for the construction of the line, even though the surveyors’ reports should be favorable to the project. I desire to remind Senator
Dobson, who seems very much concerned about those who know what they are doing–
– I ask the honorable senator to confine his remarks to the point of order, and not to discuss the views of Senator Dobson.
– I hold that the proposed amendment has .no bearing upon the clause under discussion in the Committee. Let me say to Senator Dobson that as one who supported the Bill, I do not desire his protection in the matter.
– On the point of order raised as to whether the proposed amendment is in order, we need to examine the Bill itself to discover what its object is, in order to ascertain whether trie amendment is relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill, or is consistent with its text. To my mind, it is clearly and unmistakably the intention of the Bill to provide for the making of a survey. It can have no binding effect whatever upon the action of honorable senators, if a Bill should be submitted at a later date, providing for the construction of the railway. I do not think that Senator- Dobson’s apprehensions in that respect are very well founded. As to whether the amendment is in order or not, I am inclined to sustain the opinion expressed by the Chairman of Committees when the matter was before him, because the amendment does not appear to me to be relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill, or to be consistent with its text.
In Committee :
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with an amendment.
Senate adjourned at 10.15 P-m-
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 7 August 1907, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1907/19070807_senate_3_37/>.