3rd Parliament · 3rd Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to ask the Vice-President of ‘the Executive Council, without notice, whether he has seen the report of the Wheat Commission of South Australia, wherein it is stated that an honorable understanding exists between the buyers of wheat, the effect of which is detrimental to the growers of the article, and to the profit of those who trade in it ; and, if so, whether he will see that the report is brought under the notice of the Attorney-General, with the view of ascertaining if the practice shown to exist is in conflict with our anti-trust legislation?
– I shall be very pleased to endeavour to get a copy of the report, and ask the attention of my honorable colleague to it.
– When the Minister is taking that step, will he draw the attention of his colleague to the fact that the Wheat Commission recommends, as a cure for the evil referred to in its report, that the State should undertake the export of wheat for the farmers?
– I have no doubt that the report will speak for itself.
– I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, whether he has yet been able to obtain from Queensland some copies of the report of the Royal Commission on Pearl Shelling, to which I referred in a question a short time ago?
– In reply to our application, we received a number of copies of the report, and a copy is now available for any honorable senator.
– I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, whether he is prepared to lay upon the table of the Senate to-day the further correspondence relating to the Navigation Bill ?
– No. I have tabled the main despatches, but, as I mentioned on Friday, there is another despatch - a very short one - the reply to which is hardly ready. I desire to lay both the despatch and. the reply on the table at’ the same time, and will endeavour to do so tomorrow.
– I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, whether his attention has been called to theoperations of the Meat Ring in Perth, arid, if so, whether he is aware that such operations have been applied to one of the meat vendors in such a way that the Court has awarded to him damages against the combine?
– What my honorable friend has mentioned is a subject of common knowledge. I apprehend that what he desires is that I should refer the matter to the Attorney-General for his consideration?
– Hear, hear.
– I shall be very glad to do so.
– May I ask the Vice-Presidentof the Executive Council, without notice, if he will stir up the defence authorities to supply the return asked for some time ago regarding the number of inefficient soldiers, and the causes of their inefficiency ?
– I shall be very happy to send a reminder to the Defence Department.
– I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Executive; Council, without notice, if it is true that the Government have settled the action against the late contractors for the mail service to Europe by accepting £17,500 instead of £25,000, the amount of the bond?
– My honorable friend has stated exactly what has taken place.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
In view of the fact that the Customs Department delivers sugar and other dutiable commodities free of duty to the tobacco industry on the ground that the manufactured product afterwards pays Excise duty, will the Government instruct the Department to also deliver free of duty sugar and other dutiable commodities to such other industries, which, like the tobacco industry, pay Excise duties on their product?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows : - ‘
Any application of the character mentioned, if submitted for consideration, will be dealt with on its merits.
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
SenatorColonel NEILD asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– Since my honorable friend asked this question previously, the Postmaster-General at my request has gone into the different matters referred to in it, and now furnishes me with the following replies : -
asked the VicePresidentof the Executive Council, upon notice -
With reference to the Government Gazette notice hereunder -
Department of External Affairs,
Melbourne, 16th October, 1908.
His Excellency the Governor-General in Council has been pleased to approve, in accordance with Treasury Regulation No. 61, of the expenditure of the sum of£317 13s.10d., without calling for tenders, in the purchase of 4.000 copies of the Annual Review of the Daily Shipping Index of Australasia”)
Minister of State for External Affairs.
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Britain products thatare or can be produced in Australia, and the export of which would be advantageous to our farmers and graziers.
– With reference to the motion standing in the name of Senator Neild, for a return with reference to vessels trading to and from Australia which have been disabled by accidents to propellers, may I be permitted to state that the information which my honorable friend desires to obtain is already being gathered at the instance of an honorable member elsewhere. If my honorable friend will be good enough to withdraw his motion for the time being, I will furnish him with the information, which is being obtained from the States; and any further information that he desires we will endeavour to obtain for him.
– Do I understand that the Minister objects to the motion standing in my name?
– We are getting the information from the States.
– Not the same information as I am asking for.
– I am informed that it is practically the same.
– Then there can be no objection to Senator Neild’s motion.
– If the motion is objected to it cannot be taken as formal.
Debate resumed from 30th October (vide page 1776) on motion by “Senator Stewart -
That the ruling of the President, to the following effect, viz. : - “ That Senator Stewart was not in order in attempting to debate the opinions of any party on the question of land speculation in connexionwith the present motion (Seat of Government, Ballot Procedure) “ be disagreed with on the grounds that such ruling prevents any reference to the question of land nationalization in the Federal Territory.
– When this question was last before the Senate and the debate was interrupted, I was addressing myself to it. I desire now to offer a few more remarks as to why . I consider that Senator Stewart should not be restrained from referring to the question of land nationalization and its bearing upon the very important subject of the selection of the Capital site. Senator Stewart in the course of his remarks referred incidentally 4o the opinions of some honorable senators, who favour some other site than Dalgety because, as he alleged, those other sites do not offer such facilities for carrying out a policy of land nationalization. I respectfully submit that Senator Stewart’s argument was a very proper one. I believe that there is a consensus of opinion in the Commonwealth Parliament that in any territory owned by the Commonwealth, such as the Capital site, the land should belong to the Commonwealth, and that the fee-simple of any portion of it should not be parted with. I am justified in putting that forward as the opinion of the Commonwealth Parliament, seeing that it has already affirmed the same principle in relation to Papua.
– Order ! The question is whether the ruling given by me is correct’. Senator Givens, if I understood him, was pointing out that a certain policy was part of the policy of the Commonwealth. Such an argument cannot, _ in my opinion, be pertinent to the question now before the Senate. The standing order dealing with matters of this kind is phrased in general terms, and it indicates that a senator cannot address the Senate upon the subject-matter of any question under discussion so as to anticipate debate upon any question which appears upon the notice-paper. The question now is simply one of agreement or disagreement with my ruling as to the applicability of certain remarks made by Senator Stewart, and I ask honorable senators to address themselves as closely as they can to it.
– I was pointing out respectfully that Senator Stewart was addressing a certain argument to the Senate which, in mv opinion, was pertinent to the question under discussion. He was justified in assuming that as Parliament had already affirmed a certain principle the same principle should be applied to the Federal Capital. The question arises whether Senator Stewart had a right to refer to facilities for carrying out such & policy in connexion with any of the various Capital sites that may be submitted when the ballot that is contemplated under the principal motion is taken. I contend that he was entitled to do so, and- if that were not to be allowed, a very important phase of the question might escape discussion. Senator Stewart, in my opinion, ought to have the right to canvass the advantages and disadvantages of every site under consideration. I hope that the Senate will uphold that right, and will not .take any action that would unduly restrict debate upon the question. Our desire is to arrive at a decision that will be beneficial to the Commonwealth ; and, from that point of >view, argument from all sides ought to be brought to bear upon it.
– I regret very much that Senator Stewart has seen fit to take exception to the ruling of the President in this matter. The terms of our standing order are very clear and distinct.
No senator shall digress from the subjectmatter of any question under discussion, nor anticipate the discussion of any question which appears on the notice-paper.
Strictly speaking, the subject-matter of the motion appearing on the notice-paper is the procedure to be adopted by the Senate in order to obtain a true expression of opinion in regard to the Capital site.
– There is more than that in it.
– The motion reads -
That the Senate do forthwith proceed to determine the opinion of senators as to the site for the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth.
Then it goes on to prescribe the method of selection. While I admit that it is most desirable that the freest discussion should take place, Senator Stewart must see that, strictly speaking, the remarks he was making, and to which exception was ‘ taken, were hardly relevant to the motion before the Senate at the time.
– Hear, hear.
– I would also say that the presiding officer must be permitted a fair and reasonable discretion in regulating debate.
– What about the rights of honorable senators?
– In the present case we are dealing with what was merely an expression of opinion on the part of the President, that he did not consider certain remarks relevant to the subject-matter of the motion.
– No, the President ruled Senator Stewart out of order.
– If any great principle were involved, it would be fair and reasonable for honorable senators to appeal against a decision with which they did not agree. But in the present case what is to be gained by such an appeal ? The President and the Chairman of Committees should have our complete confidence, and I am sure that we all recognise that they endeavour, as far as possible, impartially to permit all honorable senators the fullest freedom of speech on any question which is before the Chair. In this case, the President arrived at an opinion - and it is a mere expression of his own view - that the debate should be kept within narrower limits than were at the time being observed by Senator Stewart.
– But was not that expression of opinion intended to restrict honorable senators generally ?
– I submit that to appeal against the decision of the President is a course which should be resorted to very seldom. He holds a great office, and must be supported in it by honorable senators generally, unless he goes beyond all reasonable bounds. But surely, in the mere exercise of his discretion, and in the expression of an opinion-
– It was a ruling.
– We can hardly call it a ruling in the ordinary sense.
– Then what are we asked to dissent from?
– Technically, no doubt it is a ruling. But, after all, is it not a mere expression of opinion on the part of the President. Surely the presiding officer must be given some discrimination in a matter of this kind? Senator Stewart will acknowledge that he was given great latitude in the discussion of the question. The President has been anxious to extend to every honorable senator his right to the fullest and freest expression of his views on the question of the Capital site. I strongly urge upon Senator Stewart that this is hardly a case in which the ruling of the President should be dissented from. Having regard to the great office held by the President, and to the fact that no fundamental principle is involved in this matter, I urge the honorable senator to withdraw his motion. I am quite sure that if he does so he can rely upon it that the President will exercisea generous discretion in controlling the debate. I hope that the honorable senator will not disregard the observations I have made, and that if he can see his way to do so he will withdraw his motion. By doing so the honorable senator will do justice to the Senate and to the
President. I have not had an opportunity, nor did 1 deem it my duty, to consult the President on this matter. But our anxiety should be to support the President in every reasonable way, and. I do not think that Senator Stewart will suffer if he can see his way to withdraw his motion.
– Mr. President-
– Am I to understand that the honorable senator desires to withdraw his motion?
– At present I desire to speak to it.
– The honorable senator is deemed to have spoken to the motion in moving it.
– But I did not speak to it.
– Having moved the motion, and the motion having been seconded, Senator Stewart is held to have spoken to the motion, and has now only the right to reply to the debate upon it.
– I moved the motion without speaking to it.
– I shall point out to the honorable senator what has been the practice hitherto observed. I can refer him to two previous occasions of the kind.
– The honorable senator can reply to the debate.
– That is so.
– That is not sufficient.
– A ruling was given on the 25th October, 1905, by the President, in regard to the relevance of an amendment to the subject-matter of the Electoral Bill. A motion was submitted -
That the ruling of the President, given on the 25th October, 1905, in reference to the Electoral Bill, be dissented from on the ground” that such a practice as is therein laid down would unduly restrict the powers of the Senate in Committee.
asked leave to amend’ his motion of dissent so as to make it read as follows : -
That the ruling of the President, given on the 25th October, 1905, in reference to the Electoral Bill, be dissented from on the ground’ that such ruling would unduly restrict the powers of the Senate in Committee.
I quote what followed from the report of the proceedings -
– The question is that the honorable senator have leave to amend his motion.
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear.
Motion amended accordingly.
– Does any honorable member wish to speak?
– Have I not the right, Sir, to state my reasons for dissenting from your ruling ?
– According to the Standing Order 393 an honorable senator who moves a motion cannot speak again except in reply. An honorable senator who seconds the motion without speaking has the right to speak to the question. But the standing order does not provide that the mover of a motion shall have the right to speak three times. Senator O’Keefe is taken to have spoken already. Of course, he has the right of reply, but he has no right to speak now.
That occurred on the 26th October, 1905. Then on December, 1905, there was a question of the ruling of a President in connexion with the Trade Marks Bill, and I quote the following from the report of the proceedings -
– Before I commence the discussion on this matter I should like to submit what I take to be a proper inquiry to the President as to our standing order. If I am wrong, I hope that he will correct me. I be lieve that Senator Pulsford gave notice of his intention to dispute your ruling, but that, having resumed his seat, he is not now permitted under our Standing Orders to debate this question any further.
– He has the right to reply.
– I think it is as well that the point should be cleared up. It is as well that every honorable senator should remember the position, so that if such circumstances happen again we may all be aware that if an honorable senator disputes your ruling and resumes his seat he will not be allowed, when the question of the disputed ruling comes up for consideration by the Senate, to debate the matter, except by way of reply or by permission of the Senate.
– This practice has been adhered to on all occasions.
– I do not dispute that it is in accordance with a proper interpretation of the standing order.
On that occasion the honorable senator who moved the motion of dissent was not permitted to speak to it, but it was left open to him to reply to the debate if he thought fit to do so.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [3.0]. - I confess that I occupy a position of some perplexity. The remarks of the Vice-President of the Executive Council have troubled me very greatly. I had not the advantage of being present when this question arose on Friday last; but seeing that the Vice-President of the Executive Council has asked Senator Stewart to withdraw his motion upon the ground that the ruling of the President was a mere expression of opinion-
– Of course, technically, it was a ruling.
– If it was a mere expression of opinion, it seems to me that we are now engaged in beating the air, and that we are also under a misapprehension as to the attitude which was taken up by Senator Stewart in regard to it. I must confess that I do not like the way in which the Vice-President of the ExecutiveCouncil has asked the Senate to deal with this motion. He appealed to Senator Stewart to withdraw it upon the ground that you, sir, hold a very high and distinguished office - a fact which we all recognise. Apparently he desires it to be inferred that no honorable senator - no matter how courteously he may act - ought to persist in disagreeing with any ruling which you may give. That, I venture to say, is quite a wrong attitude to take up. Upon more than one occasion I have disagreed with your rulings, but I am perfectly sure that no honorable senator ever takes that course of action without considerable hesitation, and that whenever he does take it, he exhibits the greatest courtesy and deference to the Chair. I am quite sure that these feelings animate Senator Stewart, and consequently, I think that we ought to approach this matter from the simple point of view of whether your ruling would unduly restrict debate and prevent that honorable senator from dealing with matters which he might deem to be pertinent to the question under consideration. My perplexity arises from the fact that the VicePresident of the Executive Council has declared that the motion to which Senator Stewart was addressing himself when his remarks were ruled out of order is in form simply one for determining the method to be adopted in arriving at the opinion of the Senate upon the Federal Capital site question. But, in discussing that motion, we are, so far as I can gather, dealing with the merits of the eligible Capital sites. I understand that the proposal is that when the debate upon that motion has concluded, we shall proceed to select by ballot, and without debate, a site for the permanent Seat of Government. When, therefore, are we to be at liberty to discuss the question of which is the most suitable site if not now? When I heard the Vice-President of the Executive Council quote the terms of his motion as an answer to Senator Stewart’s contention, I felt perplexed, because the limitation of the discussion to those terms would preclude any honorable senator from debating the merits of the respective sites, the area of the territory to be acquired, and the desirableness of preventing the sale of land within that area. Upon the last-named matter, my views are entirely in accord with those expressed by the Labour Party. But, from the Hansard report of the debate, I am a little doubtful of the position which was being taken up by Senator Stewart when the President interposed. It seems to me that my honorable friend was led away by an interjection, and that he became a little heated, because he referred to the “ preconceived notions of our friends of the Anti-Sosh Party.”
– Does the honorable senator recognise them ?
– Not by that description. His remarks are certainly not applicable to those who advocate the particular site which I favour. Senator Stewart continued -
They live by that sort of thing. They exploit the country by that sort of thing. Communitycreated increment is what they gorge and fatten upon.
I think that those remarks were very unkind, and - if I may express my personal opinion - very irrelevant.
– And, consequently, out of order.
– But they were not the remarks for which Senator Stewart was called to order.
- Senator Stewart dropped that aspect of the question-
– Oh, no.
– Yes. That is where my difficulty arises. Senator Stewart, in a moment of heat, of which he is very seldom guilty, having “ disgorged “ himself by these expressions of opinion, said -
It is in this way they have obstructed the progress of Australia. They know, ‘ as well as I do, that if an object-lesson in the nationalization of the land -
At this point he was called to order. Of course, I do not know what he was going to say. But if he intended to say that if an object-lesson were desired in the nationalization of land, it could be gained in. the Federal Territory, I must confess that I do not know why hie should not be permitted to say it. I know of nobody who would be more sorry than the President to restrict in any way whatever the fair and relevant debate of any question in this Chamber.
Looking at the Hansard report, it appears to me that there was some misapprehension as to the position which arose. If the ruling of the President is to prevent reference to that aspect of the Capital site question which was largely debated when the question was previously under consideration
– Upon that occasion it was not brought forward upon a separate set of resolutions, but by means of a Bill.
– If we cannot debate these questions now we ought to know it. If we are at liberty to debate the relative merits or demerits of the different sites, from every point of view, including that of the nationalization of the lands contained within the’ Federal Territory, it seems to me that Senator Stewart, after his first little explosion about the anti-Socialist Party, was fairly right.
– Speaking, subject to correction, I think that the President stated that his ruling did not relate to Senator Stewart’s references to land nationalization.
– If Senator Sir Josiah Symon will read the remarks which I made immediately after Senator Stewart had made the observations which he has just quoted, he will find that my ruling was that - the honorable senator is not in order in attempting to debate the opinions of any party upon land speculation in connexion with the present question.
– The President expressly said -
If he desires to point out that one site is better than another for the purpose of enabling an experiment in land nationalization to be undertaken he will be at liberty to do so, though not at great length.
– I was looking at this passage -
Senator Stewart would be perfectly in order in discussing any particular site, and in referring to its advantages or disadvantages, and to its relative merits as compared with any other site, in order to induce honorable senators to make what, in his opinion, would be the most suitable choice.
That omits the reference to that particular aspect in connexion with the site known for shortness as the element of the nationalization of the territory. The President continued -
But surely the honorable senator must realize that the desire of any party to boom lands for the purpose of making money cannot have any relation to the question now before the Senate.
That refers to the other part, with which I think we all agree. At any rate, those are the difficulties in which I am placed, and . I should like them to be cleared up.
– . [ listened with a very uncomfortable feeling to the remarks of Senator Best, and I suspect, sir, that you did not feel too comfortable in listening to them. I do not want to use too strong adjectives, but it seems to me that it was a very poor compliment to yourself for him to practically direct attention to your office and ignore any reference to the merits of the disputed ruling. He made an appeal to the Senate - one which did credit to his good heart - to be sparing in any criticism in regard to your ruling, because of your office. But I do not think that that is the proper way in which to approach the subject, nor doI think that the Minister was very welladvised when he afterwards made an appeal to Senator Stewart to do justice, first to the President, and then to the Senate, by withdrawing his motion - the implication being, of course, that if he went on with the motion, conscientiously believing that he was right, he would be doing something like an act of injustice to the President and the Senate. I consider that such remarks were very ill-advised, and certainly they were not relevant to the point under discussion. May I point out, sir, that, although your ruling dealt with the question of the opinions of any party on land speculation, yet, in one statement, according to the printed report, you said -
At present we are not concerned with the area to be acquired for the Federal Territory, or the policy to be followed in its administration.
That would imply that any debate on land nationalization, or any other land policy, would, in your opinion, be out of order on the motion. As slightly confirming that view, I call attention to your subsequent remark, in which, alluding to Senator Stewart, you said -
If he desires to point out that one site is better than another for the purpose of enabling an experiment in land nationalization to be undertaken he will be at liberty to do so, though not at great length.
I confess that I am utterly unable to ascertain how an honorable senator could be perfectly in order in debating a question so long as he kept within some undefined limits.
– If he spoke for five minutes, he would be in order, but if he spoke for ten minutes, he would be out of order.
– The President admitted that he would have been in order in that case.
– But how much in order would Senator Stewart have been ? A statement of that kind seems to throw considerable doubt on what the ruling would have been if it had turned simply on the question of land nationalization, and that question had been introduced without any of the prefatory remarks which Senator Stewart made, and to which Senator Symon has alluded. I must therefore assume that what the Senate is called upon to decide - and I do not agree with Senator Best that this ought to be brushed aside as a matter of no importance -is whether any reference to the policy of land nationalization is relevant to the motion, and of course at what length it is relevant. A comparison is not necessarily satisfactory in order to arrive at such a conclusion. But let me point out that during the debate the most extreme latitude has been allowed to honorable senators in discussing all sorts of questions which, in a certain sense are, to my mind, on the same footing as land nationalization. Let me take for instance, the question of water. In speaking of the matter of the site, various honorable senators have dealt with the use of water for irrigation and electric power purposes, and human consumption.
– As to the relative value of the water supply in each case.
– Precisely, but in doing so, surely it would have been in order for an honorable senator, who held strong views, to have diverted his remarks to the importance of irrigation, and if he had liked, to the great value of water for motive power. The question of the soil of the various sites has been debated at very great length. I think that an honorable senator could have pointed out very properly the great advantages from a scientific point of view - and he might have given the Senate the benefit of his scientific knowledge - of various soils, not only for building, but also for cultivation.
– That was done by Senator Pearce.
– It was done, of course.
– Senator McColl went into the question of different soils.
– But I dealt with the subject only relatively.
– The honorable senator might have gone further. He might have given some valuable information on soils as a factor in enabling the Senate to determine upon a site. He surely could have done that without merely limiting himself to the institution of a comparison of different soils, and if he had I venture to say that he would have been quite in order. Whatever my views on the subject of land nationalization may be, I confess that there seems to be scarcely a more pertinent subject to deal with in debating which is the proper site to select. I cannot help thinking, therefore, that Senator Stewart would have been perfectly in order in not merely comparing the value of one site with the value of another for the purpose of land nationalization, but also in pointing out what in his opinion the merits of that policy were. If he was prevented from pointing out any merits in land nationalization, why institute a comparison? If the thing is no good, or even if the honorable senator is prevented from pointing out its merits, a mere comparison would have been an idle waste of time. I mean to imply that, granted that he was in order, it surely ought to follow that a discussion on the thing compared must necessarily be in order. Under the circumstances, sir, I. feel inclined - and I ha>ve quite as much respect for your ruling as Senator Best wishes to show - to express by my vote the opinion that on this motion a debate on land nationalization is in order, and certainly it ought to be in order if we can use a comparison, seeing the latitude which has been allowed to every honorable senator to bring in other matters, which in my opinion are in no way more relevant to the question of the site than is the subject of land nationalization.
– At all times I have been prepared to pay every respect to the rulings of the President and the Chairman of Committees, but I cannot see that on this occa-sion I should be showing any disrespect to your position in differing from your ruling. I was not here when this difficulty arose, and probably I may not lae able to speak with the same authority, or even with the same knowledge, as those who were. But after having had passages read to me from the report of the proceedings, I came to the conclusion that Senator Stewart was absolutely in order in discussing the question of land nationalization, or anything else with respect to land, in relation to the eligibility of any site which was under consideration. I consider that the possibilities in land taxation or land nationalization have just as much to do with the proposal of the Government as has the supply of water, or of building material, or climate, or anything else:
– Even land jobbing.
– I do not propose to talk in that irrelevant manner. Perhaps in the heat of the moment Senator Stewart may have been led to make some uncomplimentary references to our antisocialistic friends. But, so far as 1 can understand the position, he was dealing with the relative values of the different sites in respect of land nationalization, or something of that kind. I consider that he had a perfect right to do so. I do not think that he occupied an undue length of time, seeing how much time was occupied in debating the point of order. Apparently, Senator Stewart commenced by referring to land nationalization in respect of the Capital site. Then an interjection was made, and he went slightly off the track to describe the attitude of what he considered to be the opponents of land nationalization in any circumstances.
– He was rightly called to order.
– He was called to order, but he had returned to the track before that was done.
– If Senator Stewart had been called to order while he was speaking disrespectfully of the antisocialistic section, there might have been something in the contention. Even if he was led off the track there was a certain amount of justification for the divergence. If a speaker is talking about land nationalization in any circumstances, and an adverse interjection is made, I think that he is quite within his right in referring to the attitude of those who may have been continually opposed to. that policy. I do not think that it was any disrespect to you, sir, which” led Senator Stewart to make that reference ; and seeing that he quickly got back into the right track, I think that it would have been a wise thing if you had withdrawn your ruling and allowed him to proceed. I hope that the motion will not be pressed to a division. I should prefer you, sir, to withdraw your ruling, and to allow the debate on the question of the Capital site to be continued.
– - I feel the greatest difficulty in discussing this matter, for the .reason that I think that honorable senators generally have become somewhat mixed. The ruling as it was given did not appear to me to refer to the question of land nationalization at all.
– What did it refer to?
– The President said -
I point out to the honorable senator that the question before the Senate has reference to the selection of the Federal Capital site, and not the policy of the so-called Anti-Socialist 1’arty.
That was the ruling which was given, but the motion implies that the ruling curtailed discussion on the question of land nationalization. If the ruling did so curtail discussion, I think it was erroneous. I consider that a ruling that would curtail discussion on the suitability of Dalgety or any other site for the adoption of an experiment in land nationalization would not be a proper one.
– If the ruling had been expressed in such terms, the honorable senator would be quite right; but a little later, as Senator Clemons showed, the matter was stated differently.
– It would be better if we could get back to where we were before the ruling was given.
– I think there has been a misunderstanding.
– I think so, too.
– We shall get back to where we were by dissenting from the ruling.
– If this motion goes .to a division, I shall have to vote for it.
– The President can withdraw his ruling.
– Before we vote, we should find out exactly what the position is. I am clear that the President ruled that the discussion of the objects and intentions of a certain party was out of order.
– That was only a side issue.
– It was the ruling. I will read again what happened. Senator Stewart said -
Senator W. Russell should know, without telling, that such an expression of opinion bumps up against all the preconceived notions of our friends of the Anti-Sosh Party. They live by that sort of thing. They exploit the country by that sort of thing. Communitycreated increment is what they gorge and fatten upon. It is in this way they have obstructed the progress of Australia. They know as well as I do that if an object-lesson in the nationalization of land-
– Order. I point out lo the honorable senator that the question before the Senate has reference to the selection of the Federal Capital site and not the policy of the so-called Anti-Socialistic Party. This is not a proper occasion on which to allude to that matter, except incidentally.
That appears to be the point on which the President ruled, and, therefore, I think that the motion before us does not properly express the question at issue at the time the ruling was dissented from. However, we have to deal with the motion as it stands, and if there is to be a division, I shall have to vote for it; because, if the President did rule that a reference to land nationalization was cut of order, I think that on that point he was incorrect.
– May I direct attention to the matter that is really before the Senate. I remind the Senate that when Senator Stewart gave notice of a morion of objection to my ruling, I asked him to state in what terms he took exception to it. He thereupon handed in the following objection -
I move that the ruling of the President be disagreed with on the ground that it unnecessarily limits the discussion on the question before the Senate.
I then pointed out that the ruling to which Senator Stewart took exception was not stated in his motion. I said -
I think the honorable senator should point out what ruling it is that he takes exception to, so that we may know exactly where we are-
Senator Stewart then said
The grounds on which I object to the ruling will be stated when I speak to the question.
– The President requires to know what ruling it is the honorable senator objects to.
I then said -
The honorable senator has handed in the following - “ I move that the President’s ruling be dissented from on the ground that it prevents any reference to the question of land nationalization in the Federal Territory.”
Later the honorable senator handed in the motion that is now before the Senate, taking exception to my ruling : “ That it is not in order for an honorable senator to debate the opinions of any party on the question of land speculation in connexion with the present motion ‘ ‘ ; and he moved that that ruling- be disagreed with on the ground that it prevents any reference being made to the question of land nationalization in the Federal Territory.
I have not attempted to interfere with the debate so far, although it appears to me that honorable senators are permitting other issues to be brought in which are not properly before the Senate. If I am asked to consider the advantage of withdrawing the ruling which I gave on Friday, I must reply that I cannot do so. I refer to the ruling that appears upon the notice-paper, namely, that it was not in order to debate the opinions of any party on the question of land speculation. Of course, if honorable senators choose to say that that was a wrong ruling, I shall accept their decision. I was not anxious to say anything more with regard to the matter, but I really wish honorable senators to remember that when the President is listening to a debate, it is not his desire to pull up an honorable senator, especially when the matter under consideration is one as to which there may be a very wide range of opinion. It will also be observed that it is hardly” possible for the President to stop an honorable senator at the exact point at which the words considered to be out of order were uttered. The President has to consider in what direction the remarks to which he thinks exception might be made are tending. Honorable senators who turn to the report will see that Senator Stewart was dealing with the opinions of a particular party. He said that a certain opinion - bumps up against all the preconceived notions of our friends the Anti-Sosh Party. They live by that sort of thing. They exploit the country by that sort of thing. Community-created increment is what they gorge and fatten upon. It is in this way they have obstructed the progress of Australia.
Then he went on to say -
They know as well as I do that if an object-lesson in the nationalization of the land -
Thereupon, following upon the line of argument that had been pursued by Senator Stewart with reference to what he called “the Anti-Sosh Party,” I asked him to desist, and pointed out that the question before the Senate had reference to the selection of a Federal Capital site, “ and. not to the policy of the so-called AntiSocialist Party.’’’ I added: “This is not a proper occasion on which to allude to that matter, except incidentally.” A point of order was taken as against my ruling, and later I pointed out -
My ruling was that the honorable senator is not in order in attempting to debate the opinions. of any party upon land speculation in connexion with the present question. At the time I interrupted him he was debating the opinions of the Anti-Socialist Party, and he had declared that that party were in favour of securing an opportunity to make money by means of land speculation. That was the substance of his remarks in that connexion. If he desires to point out that one site is better than another for the purpose of enabling an experiment in land nationalization to be undertaken he willbe at liberty to do so, though not at great length.
If honorable senators treat this matter - as. I am sure they desire to do - fairly, they will see that I distinctly and definitely ruled in the terms embodied in the motion now before the Senate. Senator Stewart accepted that as a statement of what I ruled. It is hardly in order, therefore to discuss side issues as to land nationalization, the value of water supply, and other features of proposed Federal Capital sites. It is quite sufficient, if honorable senators will permit me to say so, to take exception to the ruling that was definitely given. I do not think it is fair for honorable senators to attempt to introduce side issues, and to give a vote upon what was really not the substance of my ruling. Assuming that a motion, such as is now before the Senate, is carried, the President is instructed that during the present debate - because the motion can onlyapply to this debate; it is not a matter of principle, but only of the application of the standing order dealing with irrelevance in debate - it will be in order to debate the opinions of any party In connexion with land speculation. Where such a decision is to lead to I do not know. Of course, if the motion is passed, it will be the Senate’s determination, and, as I have always recognised, the Senate has itself the ultimate decision in matters of this character.
– The President has directed our attention to a point, which I must acknowledge I had overlooked. I thought the motion declared that a debate onland nationalization would be out of order. It now appears that it says no such thing.
– It does. Read the motion on the business-paper.
– The President’s statement entirely alters my view. The motion, as I understand it, is to the effect that we dissent from the President’s ruling that Senator Stewart was not in order in attempting to debate the opinion of any party on the question of land speculation.
– Will the honorable senator read the motion to the end?
– I intend to do so. The motion, if we adopt it, expresses dissent from the ruling on the ground that such ruling “ prevents any reference to the question of land nationalization in the Federal Territory.” Now, I say that the ruling does no such thing. It merely prevents a continuance of the discussion as to what is or is not the opinion of the Anti.Sosh Party. That is all that the ruling does. I have no hesitation in saying that I had not carefully observed the form in which the ruling was presented. I am now perfectly clear that if we carry Senator Stewart’s motion, we shall say in effect that to prevent an honorable senator discussing the opinion of any party, is subversive of liberty in relation to the discussion of land nationalization.
– Does the honorable senator include in the ruling the comment of the President when he said to Senator Stewart -
If he desires to point out that one site is better than another for the purpose of enabling an experiment in land nationalization to be undertaken he will be at liberty to do so, though not at great length.
– If that was the ruling of the President, I should say it was incorrect. But it is not the ruling we are dealing with. I am perfectly clear now that that ruling does not limit the freedom of honorable senators to discuss at any length they please the question of land nationalization in its bearing upon the respective Capital sites.
– Was not Senator Stewart prevented from doing so?
– Undoubtedly he was.
– I am pointing out that he was not, and the motion of dis sent does not show that he was.
– Then why cannot the honorable senator go’ on with his speech now ?
– Because the honorable senator dissented from the President’s ruling. Senator McGregor found it necessary to say something on the motion of dissent. I find it necessary to do the same, and certainly that is one reason why Senator Stewart cannot resume his speech at the moment. I am confident that the proper course for honorable senators to follow is to vote against the motion of dissent, because it mis-states the case.
– lt is contradictory in itself, the honorable senator contends ?
– Undoubtedly it is. If we carry it, we shall declare that the President’s ruling limits the liberty of honorable senators to deal with the question of land nationalization in its bearing upon the respective Capital sites which have been suggested.
– Should we not be at liberty to discuss land speculation as well as land nationalization?
– An honorable senator should not be at liberty to insult other members of the Senate. ‘ That is the difficulty.
– I listened to Senator McGregor while he put his case as well as he could. I shall be better able to state my case, if the honorable senator will give me the same liberty that I gave him.
– I wish the honorable senator to explain the matter to me. I may be influenced by his explanation.
– The motion of dissent sets out something that is not correct, and if we carry it, we shall indorse the declaration that the President’s ruling limits the liberty of honorable senators to discuss the question of land nationalization in its bearing upon the Capital sites, and that is a declaration which I cannot indorse.
– I rise to speak to the motion because I was present when the ruling was given from, which Senator Stewart has dissented. I intend to uphold the ruling, though perhaps for a reason other than those which have been stated by other honorable senators. If a ruling by the President intended to prevent an honorable senator from insulting other honorable senators is not upheld, this Chamber will become a bear garden. T was sitting behind Senator Stewart on Friday last while he was speaking, and his remarks induced honorable senators on this side to call out in protest. I say that if honorable senators on this side abused honorable senators opposite in the same way, though no member of the Senate called attention to the fact, it would be the duty of the President to prevent the continuance of remarks that were known to be objectionable. It may be that the Presi dent was not strictly correct in his ruling, so far as it dealt with the discussion of the question of land nationalization, but his interference was justified, because if he had permitted Senator Stewart to continue in the strain he had adopted, it would very likely have led to disorder.
– No. I had left that part of my speech when called to order.
– I admit that the honorable senator got away from that part of his speech after he was first called to order. I say that it is the duty of the President to see that no honorable senator is permitted to make a bear garden of this Chamber. We know that the remarks to which I have referred are only so much tall talk. The intention is to get certain statements into Hansard, and there is nothing serious in them so far as honorable senators are concerned, because they afterwards meet each other in quite a friendly way. But the use of such remarks leads at the moment to disorder, and the President was quite right in interfering to prevent anything of that description. If we now decide that any senator is at liberty to continue to use such objectionable remarks, we shall have plenty of this tall talk on both sides, and we shall all regret it.
– There appears to be some misunderstanding as to what really was the President’s ruling in this case. I have read the Hansard report of the proceedings, which has been distributed to honorable senators, in order to discover what is really the point under discussion. It is quite true that Senator Stewart had been referring to the Anti-Sosh Party. He connected his references to that party with their supposed views on land nationalization, and it was after he referred to the question of land nationalization that he was called to order.
– The President expresslysaid that he did not wish to restrict the discussion on land nationalization.
– The difficulty is that more than one view was expressed by the President, and before giving a vote in this matter, we should thoroughly understand what it was that the President objected to. When Senator Stewart was called to order, there can be no doubt whatever that he was referring to the question of land nationalization. Later, I find that the President also questioned the right of the honorable senator in a way which would restrict the debate! verymuch more than has been suggested this afternoon. If this was not part and parcel of the President’s ruling, it is at least an indication as to how he would’ rule in certain circumstances. The President said -
At present we are not concerned with the area to be acquired for the Federal Territory, or the policy to be followed in its administration,, but only with the situation of the Federal Capital site.
I hold that if further discussion is to beconfined simply and solely to the situation of the site, we shall be driven within very narrow limits, even though the point isconceded that we have the right to discussthe nationalization of the land in theFederal Territory. Senator Stewart first of all moved -
That the President’s ruling be dissented fromupon the ground that it prevents any reference to the question of land nationalization in the: Federal Territory.
At the request of the President, the motion was amended, and is now in the form> in which it appears on the business-paper -
That the ruling of the President to the following effect, namely - That Senator Stewart was not in order in attempting to debate the opinions of any party on the question of landspeculation in connexion with the present motion* (Seat of Government, Ballot Procedure), be disagreed with on the grounds that such rulingprevents any reference to the question of land’ nationalization in the Federal Territory.
– Which it does not.
– In my opinion,, it does. If we are not to be permitted torefer to the opinions of parties on the question of land nationalization, we shall beconfined within very narrow limits.
– The honorable senator will see that the President expressly said’ that we are at liberty to refer to land nationalization.
– -Yes, but only to a certain extent, and we ought toknow to what extent. ‘According to the ruling of the President, we must confine - ourselves to a discussion only of the situation of the Capital site, and must not debate the administration of the Federal’
Territory. If we are not permitted to debate the administration of the Federal Territory, how can we discuss the question of land nationalization within that territory? I suggest, as a means of overcoming the doubt in honorable senators’ minds as to the President’s ruling, that it be withdrawn, and there will then be no obstacle to the discussion of that aspect of the question.
– But, in view of the explanation that has been given, would it not be fair for Senator Stewart to withdraw his motion ?
– That must rest with Senator Stewart himself. I have pointed out that the ruling of the President circumscribes the discussion very much, and if it is insisted upon, it is possible that honorable senators will be forced to dissent from it. I refer to the ruling that we have no right to discuss anything but the situation of the Federal Capital site.
– I would urge Senator Stewart to withdraw his motion of dissent. If the honorable senator reads the report of what occurred as I have done, he will see that he is by no means prevented by the ruling of the President from discussing the question of land nationalization so far as it may be affected by the choice of different Capital sites. The motion submitted by the Vice-President of the Executive Council reads -
That the Senate do forthwith proceed to determine the opinion of senators as to the site for the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth.
On that the President has ruled that we cannot discuss the views of parties upon a certain question. Let me put this to Senator Stewart. I hold very strong views, for instance, on the subject of the tobacco monopoly. I might put it to the Senate that I hoped to see the tobacco industry nationalized at one of these particular sites. In that connexion, I should be at perfect liberty to point out that Dalgety was a superior site to Canberra, and the President would not rule me out of order for so doing. But, if I proceeded to dwell upon the opinion’s entertained by honorable senators opposite upon the question of the nationalization of the tobacco industry, clearly I should be out of order. That is the position which the President has taken up. ‘He has said that, whilst he will allow Senator Stewart to debate the question of land nationalization as it affects the relative merits of the different sites, he will not allow him to discuss party opinions upon it. That, I think, is a reasonable ruling. An atifiiii.; has been made to make capital out of the remark of the President that he would not allow honorable senators to discuss the question of land nationalization at great length. That, however, was a mere slip of the tongue. I am sure the President would not desire to maintain that position. His ruling practically means that honorable senators are at liberty to discuss the question of land nationalization so far as they may make their remarks in that connexion relevant to the main motion. I think that Senator Stewart disagreed with the ruling of the President upon a misunderstanding, because he believed that that ruling would prevent him from dealing with the question of land nationalization) altogether. However, it has been made clear that that is not intended. I hope that he will not press his motion to a division. If he does so, I cannot see that we have any alternative but to uphold the ruling of the President. Under the circumstances, I ask him to withdraw the motion.
– I have no desire to vote against the ruling of the President. 1 have never yet adopted that course, and! for that reason, I join with others in asking Senator Stewart to withdraw his motion. But, until the President made his. explanation this afternoon, I felt very earnest in my intention to vote against his ruling. In view of his explanation, however, it is reasonable to assume that we are quite at liberty to discuss the position which was likely to be opened up by Senator Stewart, when he was interrupted on Friday last - a position which many honorable senators desire to bring under the notice of this Chamber. Seeing that the President is prepared to permit us to discuss that position at very limited length - such length to be left entirely to his judgment - we may safely allow his ruling to stand, with the full assurance that we shall not be unduly restricted in debate.
– When honorable senators opposite refer to the policy of the Labour Party, will they be ruled out of order ?
– If they are, they will be forever out of order.I hope that Senator Stewart will withdraw his motion.
– I have listened with very great attention to the remarks made by those honorable senators who have addressed themselves to this motion. I can assure them that I have never taken any action in this Senate with less pleasure than I experienced when I submitted this motion. I recognise frankly that, unless order is maintained, and honorable senators are kept strictly to the question at issue, our debates may roam over a very wide area. But I also recognise that there is something which is probably of even greater importance than the keeping of honorable senators strictly to the point at issue. We must always recollect that we are not a mere village debating society, whose deliberations result in nothing. We are an assembly charged with the duty of transacting the business of the country in an intelligent fashion, and with a full sense of the responsibility which attaches to out position. That being so, when a matter of public importance is brought before the Senate, I think that every honorable senator should be permitted, within reasonable limits, to discuss any question which may, even remotely, affect it. It was in the interests of breadth of discussion that I disagreed with your ruling, sir. The debate which has ensued, and the explanation which you have made, have confirmed me in the impression that I was right in so acting. There is one sentence in your last deliverance upon the subject, which was quoted by Senator de Largie,’ and to which sufficient attention has not been paid. You said -
At present we are not concerned with the area to be acquired for the Federal Territory or the policy to be followed in its administration.
T ask, the attention of honorable senators to those words. When you, sir, gave utterance to them, you were clearly of opinion that tiny reference to the question of land nationalization within the Federal Territory would be out of order, and that was the impression which was conveyed to my mind when you called me to order after I had referred to that question. There is another aspect of this matter to which I sea reel v think sufficient attention has been directed. Under the proposals of the Vice-President of the Executive Council, we are asked to do something very unusual. His motion reads -
That the selection be made from sites nominated, without debate, &c.
Here is a most extraordinary position, as every honorable senator will, I am sure, admit. There is already upon the statutebook an Act fixing the Federal Capital site, and also the area of the Federal Territory. Under these circumstances, and as one who is opposed to this motion, I submit that, in the interest of good government, I am entitled, on the floor of this chamber, to examine the motives of those who are attempting to induce Parliament to reconsider its decision in regard to the permanent Seat of Government. I respectfully submit that, in the interests of good government, I am entitled to ask the Senate what are the reasons why that deliberate decision of this Parliament in 1904 is sought to be interfered with.
– But the honorable senator is not entitled to impute motives.
– I have not imputed motives. Only a minute ago the honorable senator said that I was turning the Senate into a bear garden. Now, I am sure that if any person were to enter this chamber whilst the honorable senator was speaking, and also whilst I was speaking, he would be forced to conclude that the one was a lion, whereas the other was a lamb. The honorable senator roars like the bulls of Bashan. I whisper my little thoughts like zephyrs. The whole situation seems to me to be a peculiar one, and one which demands that a great deal of latitude shall be extended to honorable senators. Under the terms of the motion submitted by the Vice-President of the Executive Council, we are asked to vote upon certain sites after they have been nominated, without debate. That being so, I think that, before we reach that stage, the lines upon which the discussion should proceed ought to be definitely laid down. On Friday last, I was attempting to deal with what I conceived to be one of the reasons why the deliberate decision of this Parliament was sought to be put into the melting pot. We have already agreed upon the Federal Capital, and have fixed the area of the Federal Territory at not less than 900 square miles. We have also provided for access to the sea, and, if my memory serves me accurately, there was some talk about making an experiment in land nationalization within the Federal Territory.
– A resolution was passed to that effect.
-I have tried to find it, but, unfortunately, have not been able to do so. But I know that such a resolution was adopted by Parliament. When I spoke upon Friday last, I believed - and I still believe - that one of the reasons why this Parliament is being asked toreconsider its decision in respect of the Federal Capital is because of the large area provided for in the Seat of Government Act, and because of our expressed determination that no land within the Federal Territory shall be alienated. Of course, my assumption may be wrong, but surely I was not wrong in referring to a certain party, which, I hope, is not ashamed of its name and of its principles, which is very strongly represented in this Chamber, and which does believe in land alienation. As a matter of fact, the foundation plank of its platform is land alienation, whereas the foundation plank of the platform of the Socialist Party is that the land shall belong to the people. I do not think that there is anything wrong in making a statement of that kind, either about one party or the other, because each believes in the policy which it professes. Each believes that its way of managing the affairs of the country is the better. Consequently, with all due deference to you, sir, I think that my remarks were strictly in order. Probably I painted the picture in rather loud colours. Had I used milder terms, probably you would not have been inducedto call me to order. I do not wish to drag out the debate. I suppose that honorable senators have made up their minds as to how they intend to vote.
– Withdraw the motion.
-I have been asked to withdraw the motion, and really I am sitting on a fence. I do not know which side to drop upon. But seeing that you, sir, have explained your ruling to me, and that reference can be made to land nationalization, I think that probably without any loss of dignity, I can afford to yield to the appeal. I must say that it is rather against my inclination to do so, because when I go into a fight I like to see it out to the end. Hut, in deference to a generally expressed wish from both sides of the Chamber, I ask leave to withdraw the motion.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Debate resumed from 30th October (vide page 1776), on motion by Senator Best -
That the selection be made from sites nominated, without debate, by honorable senators, provided that no nomination shall be received unless it is supported by at least two senators, in addition to the senator nominating, rising in their places.
That the Senate do forthwith proceed to the nomination of sites, and that the President do declare the time for nominations to be closed as soon as sufficient opportunity has, in his opinion, been given to receive nominations.
That an open exhaustive ballot be taken on Thursday, 5th November, withoutdebate, in the following manner : -
Ballot-papers shall be distributed to honorable senators containing: the names of the sites nominated.
Senators shall place a cross opposite the name of the site for which they desire to vote, and’ shall sign the paper.
The ballot-papers shall then beexamined by the Clerk.
The total number of votes given for each site shall be reported’ to the Senate after each ballot.
If, on the first examination, any site proves to have received an absolute majority of votes, the President shall report the name of such site to the Senate, and such site shall be deemed to be the one preferred by honorable senators. (/) If no site receives an absolute majority of votes, then the name of the site receiving the smallest number of votes shall be reported to the Senate, and shall be struck out.
If any two or more of the sites shall receive an equal number of votes, such number of votes being the smallest, then the Senate shall ascertain in the customary manner which of such sites should, in the opinion of honorable senators, be further balloted for, and the name of the other, or others, shall be struck out.
Further ballots shall then be taken on the names of the re. maining sites, and the name of the site receiving the smallest number of votes in each successive ballot shall be reported to the Senate and struck out in the manner aforesaid, until one of the sites receives an absolute majority of votes.
When one of the sites has received an absolute majority of votes, the name of such site shall be reported to the Senate by the President, and such site shall be deemed to be the site preferred by honorable senators.
Upon which Senator McGregor had moved, by way of amendment -
That after the first sub-paragraph of paragraph 2, the following words be inserted : - “ That each site must be nominated separately, and no two or more sites may be bracketed in one nomination.”
– When I was interrupted in my remarks on this motion a few days ago I was attempting to adduce reasons why honorable senators who believe in a certain system of government ought to adhere to the choice of a Capital site made by the Parliament in 1904. I expressed the opinion that a certain influence was brought to bear in opposition to the Dalgety site, because of its large area, and because of a resolution of this Parliament that there should be no land alienation within that area. What I intended to convey by that reference was that when we have something in hand it iswell to be a little conservative if we are satisfied with it, and keep it rather than give it away with the risk that we may possibly have to substitute something very much worse for it. I was endeavouring to point out, more especially to Senator W. Russell, that if the Seat of Government Act - which gives us an area of 900 square miles, with access to the sea, and provides for a Federal port, and complete Federal Territory, and regarding which there is a resolution on the records of the Parliament that there shall be no land alienation - if that Act and that resolution are rescinded, as they must be if this motion is carried, the whole thing will be exposed to the dangers of reconsideration. I do not intend to say anything about the advantages or disadvantages of land nationalization. On that point we are split into two well-defined camps here. There is one party which frankly believes that the private owner ought, and indeed is entitled, to secure all the communitycreated increment, and another party which holds that the land should be the property of the people, that it ought not to be alienated, and that the community-created value should pass, not into the pockets of private individuals, but into the public Treasury. If the Federation has a territory of 900 square miles it would have an opportunity to make an experiment - a small one, I admit, because a territory 30 miles by 30 miles cannot be said to be very large. It is not nearly of such an area as manyof the sheep stations in Australia, but small as it is, it would be possible to show such an example of the benefitsof land nationalization that the people of Australia might be persuaded to adopt that principle, or on the other hand, it might show the evils of land nationalization, and in that event then the Socialist Party, of which I am a member, would be compelled by the force of facts to abandon a policy which had proved itself unsuccessful. As I have said, some small experiment in that direction could be made on an area of 30 miles by 30 miles. But if the Federation is limited to an area of from 100 to 200 square miles, of. what value could any experiment possibly be? The Premier of New South Wales, Mr. Wade, has stated distinctly that that State is not inclined to give a larger area than that which I have named namely, from 100 to 200 square miles. The Sydney Morning Herald, in an article which was published last week, and which I ask Senator W. Russell to read, stated distinctly that in the area proposed to be given by the New South Wales Government, there would be no opportunity for mad socialistic experiments. I think that that ought to be sufficient for any honorable gentleman who believes, as I am sure Senator W. Russell does believe, in Socialism.
– I do not like anything mad.
– I do not believe in anything mad, either. But, as the honorable gentleman knows, the Sydney Morning Herald thinks that every proposal made by the Socialists, more especially if it is intended to benefit the working section of the community, is mad. I do not think so, nor does the honorable senator. I am merely giving him the sense of the words used by that newspaper, which undoubtedly represents a very large body of public opinion in New South Wales.
– I hardly ever see that newspaper.
– I advise the honorable senator to look U,’p the article, and if he does he will find that I have given him the sense of it. Therefore, apparently, one of the reasons why certain persons in New South Wales desire the question of the Federal Territory to be again considered is that they are dissatisfied with the lines already laid down by this Parliament. I do not wish to pursue that matter. But again I would urge that while profitable experiments might be marie in a territory such as is fixed by the Seat of Government Act 1904, if the area is less, any experiment in ‘that direction would be practically useless, and the whole thing would be a burlesque. I ask Senator W. Russell and those who think with him to stick to Dalgety - to keep what they have obtained. T would also point out that the Federal Capital is a place where in the future we hope to have established an ammunition factory, a small-arms factory, in fact a regular arsenal, and probably factories in which a great number of articles used ‘by the Commonwealth Government can be made. For that purpose there must be power of some kind or other available, and all the authorities agree that water power is the cheapest that can be obtained. The development of electricity by water gives power at a lower rate than any other method that can be devised. We all know the extent of the water power at Dalgety.
– And we all know that it is available a long distance away.
– We also know that at one time the honorable senator was one of the strongest advocates of the BombalaDalgetyMonaro site we had in the Chamber.
– In any case, 1 think it is undisputed that in the Southern Monaro site there are facilities for developing water power unequalled in any possible Capital site. I again ask Senator W. Russell to give his attention to that point. It is also probable that in time the Federal Government will establish factories in which the uniforms and the boots of its vast armies of workmen will be manufactured. I know thai all this is very unpleasing to certain honorable senators. I will not name the party to which they belong; but we all know what party it is. They want the Federal Territory to be so “ cribb’d, cabin’d and confin’d “ that the Parliament will not be able to do a single thing within its jurisdiction except to hold its sessions.
– And to borrow money.
– And* to borrow money, and to spend it in increasing the values of surrounding lands. Everybody inside and outside of Parliament who takes any interest in the matter is very well acquainted with that.
– Surely the .honorable senator knows that that statement is at least inaccurate.
– I do not know anything of the kind. My honorable friend is one of the strongest advocates of private enterprise we have in the Commonwealth, and I am sure that no one would object more strongly than he would to the establishment of, for instance, a Federalclothing factory.
– If it was not for private enterprise we should not hear the honorable senator’s oratory.
– Certainly that is quite right, and I wish honorable senators to understand that I have nothing whatever to say against private enterprise except that when the people see their way to substitute public enterprise for private enterprise, they Have the right to do so. I believe that Senator Dobson has typewriting machines in his office. I suppose that thirty or forty years ago, when he commenced the practice of his profession, all his writing had to be done with the quill. Then came the steel pen. Now there is the typewriter. The honorable senator is sufficiently advanced in regard to his own business to adopt labour-saving devices. The community is entitled to do exactly the same. If the community finds that it can profitably dispense with the private capitalist, and substitute the public capitalist for him, surely no wrong is done.
– The use of the typewriter has given a great amount of employment. Thousands of girls are working such machines.
– Of course; I have no objection to that.
– The honorable senator’s objection is that girls would not s,o to Yass-Canberra.
– I am sure that they would go to Dalgety, where they would be able to enjoy the most magnificent scenery in Australia, to feast their eyes on the Snowy, and to take exercise on Kosciusko. Possibly on some occasions the Government might provide them with a trip to the top of the mountain and supply them with snow shoes.
– And with sealskin jackets, too, I suppose?
– If the Government employed them they might be able to buysealskin jackets, but they would not if they were dependent on private enterprise.
– I have attempted to give what I believe to be the strongest reasons why any one who believes in the extension of the principle of collectivism should vote for Dalgety rather than for any other site that has been mentioned. The water power available there is, I confess, to my mind, the greatest of the attractions. I can foresee that fifty or a hundred, years from now, the Federal Government will be employing a huge army’ of officials, and probably will be manufacturing a large number of articles for their consumption. Probably it will own the railways in various portions of Australia. It ‘ is extremely desirable that engine shops and other workshops should be established at the Seat of Government. There is ample water power in the Snowy to run all the machinery that would be required within the next hundred years for the development of the country. For that one reason alone, if there were no other, I should ask honorable senators who believe as I do in collectivism, to vote for Dalgety, rather than for any other site that has been discussed.
– I do not propose to enter into the merits of either of the sites which have been prominently brought forward. It appears to me that the Senate has become, to some extent, tied to two sites in favour of which two contending parties are struggling. We have one party in favour of Dalgety, and another in favour of YassCanberra. But I do not know why those are the only two sites that should be considered. It appears to me that if I desire to propose a third site, I ought to be able to do so without requiring two other honorable senators to support my nomination. I am aware that under the motion as submitted I am at liberty to nominate another site if two honorable senators will support me, but in my view that is distinctly wrong. Therefore, I propose to submit an amendment, and I will ask Senator McGregor to be good enough to with draw his amendment temporarily to enable mine to be put. I shall ask the Senate to strike out of paragraph 2 of the motion all the words after the word “senators.” The effect of that will be to enable any honorable senator to propose any site. We have gone back upon an Act of Parliament passed after due deliberation with as little unconcern as the average boy has in going back upon the unwritten rules relating to kicking a tin-can along the street.
– Acts of Parliament are frequently repealed.
– They are repealed in accordance with a regular method. But we are not asked to repeal an Act.
– That is practically what we are doing.
– Then let us do it in a practical way. I trust that the Senate will give me the right to nominate any site I choose. I do not see why I should have to canvas amongst honorable senators for support to a nomination: I am satisfied that there has been too much canvassing in regard to Dalgety and Yass-Canberra.
– The honorable senator will not have any difficulty in submitting a site.
– I am faced with difficulty when I am required to solicit two honorable senators to support a nomination. I should be allowed to stand upon my rights, and submit to the ballot anr site of which I approve.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Senator Croft) proposed -
That the first sub-paragraph of paragraph 2 be amended by leaving out the words “ provided that no nomination shall be received unless it is supported by at least two senators, in addition to the senator nominating, rising in their places.”
– But for the fact that we are about to take what I think is, in the opinion of all the members of the Senate, a very important step, and are asked to reverse a decision which Parliament arrived at some time ago, I should not have risen at this advanced stage of the debate. I do not desire to give a silent vote. If I were to do so, I should not be doing my duty, having regard to the deliberate way in which Parliament set its approval upon a site in Southern Monaro. I must confess that very little that is new has been added to the discussion of the subject during the present debate.
– Except about Jervis Bay.
– Jervis Bay has been dragged in, but I have some doubts as to whether the offer made in respect to it is genuine or not. Should this turn out to be another repudiation by the Sydney influence that has been at work ever since we met here some seven or eight years ago, I can promise Senator Walker and the Sydney influence that, if I have the honour of a place in this Chamber, the question will be re-opened again and again, until a satisfactory settlement is arrived at. I believe that I know what is the opinion of Australia on this question. We know, at all events, the opinion of Parliament. Parliament deliberately made a choice, and put that choice in an Act. Parliament stated definitely that the site of the Federal Capital should be in Southern Monaro. No good reason has been given why that decision should be altered. But we learn that Sydney is not satisfied. Sydney has not been satisfied from the beginning. Sydney did not know its own mind in the matter. I recollect, Mr. President, that you, Senator Walker, and other representatives of New South Wales, when Dalgety was first referred to in this Chamber, pointed out the unfairness of its not being included amongst the sites of Southern Monaro with its magnificent river, which is unequalled in Australia. The Snowy offers us the only river in Australia that is snow fed.
– Does the honorable senator say that the Murrumbidgee does not receive snow waters?
– If it does, the waters are contaminated before they reach any place that has been mentioned as a site for the Capital city. The opinion of the experts was that Monaro has advantages in respect to water supply unequalled in Australia.
– Tumut was put first in regard to water supply.
– I cannot think so. I do not see how the River Tumut can be mentioned in comparison with the Snowy River, and certainly the Gilmore Creek, which is the source of supply for Gadara and Batlow, cannot be mentioned in the same breath with the Snowy. I am afraid that Senator Dobson and some others have forgotten what they saw of the magnificent Snowy River when they visited
Southern Monaro. I believe that if a referendum of the people of Australia were taken on this question, Dalgety would bechosen. Does any one mean to say that the people would vote for State reasonson a matter of this kind? I am sure that they would not. I can understand thefeeling in the northern State in favour of Armidale, an excellent site, that has not received the amount of approval that it deserved. But I am quite sure, from “the way in which public opinion has been expressed on this question, that a referendum, would disclosethe fact that the people of Australia by a very great majority would vote in favour of Dalgety.
– No. In favour of Canberra by a large majority.
– Canberra is unknown to them.
– Does the honorablesenator believe that Dalgety is known to thepeople at large?
– It is widely known by the approval given to it by public men. It is known also by the references which have been made to it in newspapers that may be considered patriotic indealing with the question. We know that although the Bulletin is a Sydney newspaper it has been patriotic in the attitudeit has taken up in dealing with the question of the Federal Capital. Its references toDalgety have made that a popular site, even with people who have never seen it.
– They have neverseen it or felt the cold there.
– I am very sorry that Dalgety should have met with so littleapproval from Senator W. Russell. I am satisfied that if the honorable senator had’ inspected the other sites that have been suggested, as other members of the Senate have done, he would have discovered moremerits in Dalgety than in any of them.
– We saw many things during our inspections of the sites.
– We saw muchthat we had a right to see. We saw many sites that were quite unfit for the establishment of a great city. Something may be urged against Southern Monaro on thescore that its climate is somewhat harsh in winter, but really Senator W. Russell knows no more of the climate of SouthernMonaro than I do. We should both require to reside there very much longer than we have done to be able to give a valuable opinion on the subject. No one, however, can deny that the soil is very fair, that there is excellent building material in the immediate neighbourhood, and that the water supply cannot be equalled in any part of New South Wales. There is also a very good port, within easy distance of the site. I have nothing to say against Jervis Bay. I believe that it is even a better port than Twofold Bay ; but that is not the point. Jervis Bay is within the prohibited area, but if that difficulty could be overcome, and we were assured that Jervis Bay would be given to the Commonwealth, there might be some reason to consider the claims of Canberra. I have already said, however, that should any attempt be again made by the exercise of Sydney influence to trip up this Parliament by an offer of Jervis Bay with an intention to humbug it in the matter of the area to be granted for the Federal Territory or the means of access to Canberra, I can promise those who might attempt to make use of the Federal Parliament in that way that the question will be far from being settled by the result of the ballot now proposed.
– The present is rather a trying time for me. Honorable senators on one side say, “ Russell, see whom you are going to vote with.” It does not frighten me to see even the high priests of conservatism prepared to vote on the same side as myself on this question. I have made up my mind as to the course which I intend to pursue. I have inspected certain proposed sites, and if I should, on this occasion, vote against those with whom I am in the habit of voting, I shall do so as the result of conscientious convictions. I have to follow the remarks, amongst others, of two of my colleagues from South Australia, Senators Guthrie and McGregor who seem to think that this matter of the Federal Capital was a burning question at the last election. I was scarcely asked a question on the subject at any meeting I addressed.
– Because it was settled.
– If it was settled, what are we doing to-day ? In common with others, I had read of the various picnics by Federal members in the inspection of sites ; but I said that, so far as I was concerned, I should commit myself to no site. I said that if the opportunity offered, I should go and see for myself and judge accordingly. I gave a pledge to my constituents to that effect; but I pledged myself to no site whatever. I believe that New South Wales is entitled to be considered in this matter, and that the question is one which should be settled as soon as possible. I believe that there is, and always has been, an honorable understanding in the matter, just as there was an honorable understanding with Western Australia in regard to a certain measure. I supported compliance with the honorable understanding in the one case, and I intend to support it in the other. I do not propose to take any party view of this question. My object is to have the question settled; because I believe that New South Wales has a right to be considered, and an end should be put to all the bickering and jealousy of which we have heard so much. I was really sorry to hear Senator Givens’ references to the people of New South Wales, to the Premier of that State, and to the “ crowd “ he charged with using political influence. No man in New South Wales has ever approached me to ask me how I should vote on this question. If other honorable senators can say the same, why raise this bogy of New South Wales influence? There is nothing in it. Some honorable senators, who differ from me, have attributed to others certain reasons for their advocacy of Yass-Canberra. I shall give a few reasons why I think some honorable senators support the selection of Dalgety. In my opinion, one reason is that they are content to remain where they are. That is their policy in the matter.
– The honorable senator ought to tell us who those honorable senators are.
– I believe Senator McGregor is one.
– That is an absolute misrepresentation.
– Then some take this stand : You must know, sir, that our dignity is at stake in this matter.
– It is offensive to me to say that I am one of those who wish that the Federal Parliament should remain in Melbourne. That would be a violation of the agreement. Any honorable senator who makes such a statement concerning me, says what is absolutely untrue.
-Order ! The honorable senator is not in order in saying that the statement is absolutely untrue. He might say that Senator W. Russell, in making the statement, spoke under a misapprehension. I have no doubt Senator W. Russell will accept the honorable senator’s assurance to that effect.
– Well, I cannot alter my opinion.
– I point out to the honorable senator that the parliamentary rule is that when an honorable senator gives his assurance upon any matter, it is accepted.
– Just so. I. accept it; but you know, sir. If Senator McGregor is not guilty. I am inclined to think that Senator Pearce may be. I shall not dwell upon that. I have expressed my opinion, and I continue to hold it, that that is how some honorable senators are inclined to view this question. Of course, Senator McGregor is an honorable exception. On this question I do not care whether my colleagues sit on this side or on the other. I can decide it for myself. If I wished to consult a lawyer amongst my colleagues from South Australia, and if my purse permitted me to do so, I should go to Senator Symon. If I wished advice on any matter connected with printing, I should go to Senator Vardon.If I desired an opinion upon any question of navigation, I should go to Senator Guthrie.
– The honorable senator does not always support Senator Guthrie.
– I confess that the honorable senator is sometimes a bit extreme. On any question of industrial legislation, I should consult my leader, Senator McGregor, but when it comes to a question of land, let me say that I was sixty-six years of age on the 20th of last month, and I have been on the land for fifty-three years. I visited these particular parts of New South Wales withmy eyes open, and I judged for myself. In the circumstances, I ask my colleagues from South Australia to consider that my opinion on such a matter is equal to, if not better than, theirs. If Senator Findley had been present, I should have been inclined to include him in my list of experts, and to say that if I wished for advice on the question of corsets, I should naturally consult him. I have no wish to kill time, or to quote what has been quoted before. But I must let honorable senators know that I visited Canberra and Dalgety. I formed a certain impression of Dalgety from what I had heard from Senators McGregor and
Guthrie. Even Senator Symon was an advocate of Dalgety at one time.
– Before he had seen it.
– Just so.
– I quite agree with the honorable senator now.
– I had read the parliamentary debates on the question, and was, to some extent, in favour of the selection of Dalgety. But, oh me, the day I saw it it was something awful.
– Macbeth and his witches must have been there !
– The honorable senator is very touchy in assuming that in anything I say I am casting suspicion upon him. I ask him to treat me in this matter as I am prepared to treat him. I am not going to put myself up as a farming expert. I have only had fifty-five years’ experience in that connexion. During nearly the whole of that time I have worked upon farms in South Australia and Scotland, and nobody will, I think, dispute for a moment that I mean what I say. At Canberra I saw that the soil was of good quality even on the face of the hill. I do not know the name of that hill, but pro- bably Senator Walker may be able to supply it.
– It was Mount Ainslie.
– With my namesake, Senator E. J. Russell, I went to the top of that hill for the purpose of ascertaining what the remainder of the site was like. On the way up I frequently remarked to my companion what grand soil it was.
– Did the honorable senator convert him ?
– He can speak for himself. He is old enough. I say with all sincerity that the land at Canberra is suitable for agriculture.
– It is proposed to erect the Parliament House upon the hill to which the honorable senator has alluded.
– We do not need goo square miles to enable us to erect a Parliament House. I recognise that the land at Canberra is particularly rich - so rich that in some parts it may be difficult to obtain a good foundation. Near the church which Senator Pearce alleges has had to be bolted together - the report says that that is not so - the soil is almost good enough to grow lucerne.
– It is an easy place to dig a grave.
– And it may be necessary to dig one at some time or other. When I visited Canberra I inquired how the land was held, and who held it, and, if I have not been misinformed, one or two individuals each hold more than 40,000 acres. It would be far better for the Commonwealth to pay the increased price that would be demanded for soil of such superior quality than to purchase inferior land. If we select Canberra, the land which is not required for building purposes can be readily cut up into ordinary-sized farms. By that means it could be made to carry a large population. But when I reached Cooma on my way to Dalgety, what a terrible scene presented itself ! There was practically nothing to be seen upon which sheep or anything else could live. I could see at a glance that the land there was quite unsuitable for the purposes of a Federal Capital. Then what a time we had in keeping our hats upon our heads in driving to Dalgety, some 30 or 40 miles away !
– The honorable senator lost his head.
– No. I neither lost my hat nor my head. But we were informed that only a week before a mail coach and its driver had been upset by the terrible blizzards which blow in that locality. On the way from Cooma to Dalgety even the rabbits find it difficult to maintain themselves.
– A good job, too.
– If the honorable senator possessed a flock of a thousand sheep he would not want to see them die, even if a large number of rabbits perished with them. It is true that at Dalgety there is a magnificent stream of water. But what is beyond it? On the hills the outcrops of rock and stone are so numerous that Senator Fraser would find it difficult to get through them. Some persons saythat the land is suitable for a Federal Capital site, but I venture to affirm that a lot of clearing would be necessary before any steps could be taken in that direction. I do not say that the site is not a suitable one for building purposes. It might pay to clear the rocks, but certainly they would not be fit for building purposes. My own opinion is that the land in the vicinity of Dalgety is of very poor quality indeed. If honorable senators cannot take the view which I do - I know that at heart they are the farmers’ friends - they might remember” that we require land for blockers as well as for farmers, and that the land at Dalgety is unsuitable for this purpose.
– It would be morecorrect to say that the honorable senator did not see the suitable land, whilst othersdid.
– When the honorable senator himself was speaking of the reports of experts he forcibly recalled a statement which I have often heard used in Scotland, namely, “ If you believe as I believe you are orthodox; but if you differ from me you are heterodox.” That is the position which he took up. The ideas of the authorities who agreed with him were quoted as grand, but the opinions of others who disagreed with him were alleged to be “ got up “ for the occasion.
– I absolutely deny that.
– I sat directly behind the honorable senator, and endeavoured to help him along as much as I could. I distinctly remember him approving of the reports of certain experts who agreed with him and disapproving of the reports of others which he alleged were “ got up.”
– I showed where one man had contradicted himself.
– I have no desire to misrepresent the honorable senator, but that is how I understood his remarks: I am now going to quote from an expert - from the report of Mr. W. S. Campbell.
– In what year was that report written?
– I had intended to keep that up my sleeve, because I thought it possible that Senator Pearce would say, “ Oh, Mr. Wade, or some other member of the Sydney crowd, has got up that report.” But as Senator Millen has called attention to it, I may as well say that it was written in 1888, before Federation was talked about.
– How did the honorable senator get possession of it?
– That is a matter for myself. If the honorable senator will come to my rescue by supplying me with information which is applicable to the position I shall be very glad.
– The honorable senator stated that nobody had approached him.
– I repeat that no person from New South Wales, member of Parliament or otherwise, has ever approached me on the question of the Federal Capital site. Surely honorable senators are in honour bound to accept my statement. Now, I invite the attention of Senators Givens and Guthrie to the following passage in Mr. Campbell’s report -
My report on the Monaro district, published in 1888, stated that a very large proportion of the country is quite unsuited for cultivation, but it is good for grazing sheep.
Here and there are patches amongst the bare, treeless, and bleak plains, in sheltered situations, of rich land, capable of producing large crops in favorable seasons.
The climate is said to be very healthy, but in winter the cold is very severe; frosts occur at most unexpected times, and frequently cause great loss to the settlers. English fruits are said to grow to great perfection, but, owing to the frosts sometimes occurring when the trees are in bloom, the crops are very uncertain. Very large yields of potatoes are sometimes obtained, but these also, owing to frosts, are uncertain.
– That could be written about any part of Australia.
– Any honorable senator who has travelled north of Adelaide for a couple of hundred miles knows that some of that land is about the best to be found in South Australia, but rain seldom falls. I lived there, and know all about the matter. Now and then good crops are obtained, but that may occur only once in ten seasons. Referring to the disastrous effect which frosts have on a crop, I may mention that I saw a wheat field looking as if it would yield at least twelve bushels per acre. But a frost came along when the plant was at a certain stage, and the crop was practically gone.
– I saw that on Yorke’s Peninsula, and the honorable senator would not say that it is bad country there.
– So far as drought is concerned, I am surethat the country I have just referred to fully justifies my statement. Again, it is stated in this report that the good land is only to be found in patches in the gullies, and that generally the land is treeless and exposed, being practically too cold for white men.
– There would be a great rise in the price of furs if we went there.
– In Scotland a man must make provision for his stock. He must put his cattle and horses in buildings, and sometimes, perhaps, for months, he has to hand-feed his sheep. But we are living in Australia, and naturally we want to select some of the best country which can be obtained. We desire to get away from frost or anything which would prove disastrous.
– Why does not the honorable senator advocate that the population of Victoria, because they experience frost sometimes, should goto the hottest parts of Australia ?
– Because I am not quite mad. Mr. Thomas Brown has sent to me, from another place, with his compliments, a letter to Sir William Lyne from Mr. David Reid, who resides near Newcastle, in New South Wales. It was not my business to inquire how it came into the possession of Mr. Brown, but it reads as follows : -
My father, Dr. Reid, was the first man who occupied a station on the Monaro Plains. That was in 1828, and the middle of the run was where the town of Cooma now stands. He occupied stations comprising the larger portion of Lower Monaro until the year 1840. That particular part was then considered the very best portion of Monaro Plains. The distance from the boundary of our country to Bombala was 40 miles. It is fearfully cold country in winter, but where we were was much better country than Bombala country. Bombala is subject to exceedingly cold piercing winds. From my own knowledge I say no person in his senses would choose such a place as that for the Federal Capital. My experience was that the stock suffered more from disease, especially catarrh, there than anywhere else. I know neighbours of ours (Macfarlane Brothers) lost 10,000 sheep in a fortnight.
-Colonel Cameron. - Where was that?
– On land near Dalgety, which my honorable friends behind me wish the Senate to accept as a site for the Federal Capital.
– Last year sheep were lost at Bacchus Marsh from the very same cause.
– The honorable senator had the same yarn from the squatters at Pinnaroo.
– I wish that my honorable friends would have the courtesy to listen to this very important letter. It continues -
Many others suffered the same way. It is a very cold climate for cattle. They are seldom what could be called really fat ; nothing more than good moderate store cattle. I have had experience of putting in a crop of wheat and having it blown away by the heavy winds, which was all the easier from the sandy nature of the loam. It is not good country for agriculture. Spots here and there are good, but as a whole it is unsuitable, and would not support a large population. On the eastern side from the top of the mountain to the sea you get fair timber, but on the main portion the timber is useless except for fuel. The soil generally is shallow and very stony except in spots. It has never to my knowledge brought forward any produce of consequence. Through the dryness of the country and its being unsuitable for agriculture and bad for stock I found, after my father died, I could do no good ; so left there in 1840, the property having been in our possession for twelve years. I went to the north-west of Victoria, and have been there and on the Murray ever since.
It has been stated that at times, during the last few months, the temperature at Dalgety or Cooma has been as low as 15 degrees. It has been truly observed by Sir William Lyne and others that if we old chaps were to go there, we would soon cross some other stream than the Snowy River. I have expressed my opinion in reference to the country, and quoted those of others. I propose now to quote a statement which was made during last session by a member of a Royal Commission! who happens to be a member df the other House. The gentleman I refer to is Representative J. C. Watson.
– Who is he?
– He is a gentleman of some standing in the Commonwealth. No man in Federal politics is respected more highly than is Chris. Watson.
– The name sounds familiar.
– The reason why I propose to quote the statement is because the name of Mr. Watson has been frequently waltzed into this debate. T intend to quote Mr. Watson, not as a member of this Parliament, but as a member of a Royal Commission who had special means of obtaining accurate knowledge. It is often stated - and I dare say that there is something in the statement - that every gentleman who represents New South Wales in another place would like to have a Capital site in his district. That statement has been made in reference, to Mr. Watson. But I would point out to honorable senators that he has no axe to grind, since he has intimated that upon the expiry of this Parliament he does not intend to offer his services to the electors. Whatever mav apply to other members of this Parliament, either here or elsewhere, it does not apply to Mr. Watson. My object in making the quotation is not to kill time, but to express as shortly as possible, what I really mean. It has often been urged that the Commonwealth requires a port for the
Federal Capital, and the sincerity of New South Wales in regard to surrendering a port at Jervis Bay has been questioned. I feel perfectly satisfied that its Parliament is prepared to grant Jervis Bay as an entrance to the Federal Territory if the Yass-Canberra site is accepted. I am pleased to be in the company of Mr. Watson on this question. Some honorable senators seemed to suggest that I was breaking away from the Labour Party. I do not think that that accusation can be sustained as long as I am in the company of Chris. Watson.
– There is no such suggestion.
– I thought there was. With reference to Jervis Bay, Mr. Watson said -
The warships manoeuvre there and practice firing, notwithstanding that some of them draw thirty feet.
That is a good depth. Sir John Forrest then interjected, “ It is a rival of Sydney harbor.” My honorable friends who support Dalgety are following Sir John Forrest, who is an anti-Socialist.
– Sir John Forrest is following us.
– No fear I Sir John Forrest has visited these sites,, and so have I. He is an expert. I may not be one. But I have ideas of my own, and if my honorable friends charge me with voting with anti-Socialists I make the very same charge against them when they vote with Sir John Forrest. Mr. Watson went on -
As a harbor it is as good though it is not so pretty. Longman’s Gazetteer, a world-wide publication says that it is “ One of the most safe, commodious, and accessible harbors in the world.”
– What does Longman’s Gazetteer know about Australia?
– Representative Watson knows something about Australia, and is responsible for his own utterances. He tells us that ships drawing 30 feet of water can enter Jervis Bay, and that it is twice as large as Sydney harbor. What then is the objection to it? The next point from Mr. Watson’s speech which I wish to quote has reference to water, and how it can be obtained’. He said on the 8th April of this year -
The probabilities are against that theory, because in Sydney coal is very cheap, and Canberra is a long way off - some 240 miles.
Mr. Johnson. In any case, the Barren Jack scheme is merely put forward as a supplementary scheme.
Mr. WATSON. There are not likely to be any manufacturing interests in the close vicinity of Barren Jack to absorb the power which will be running to waste. This immense body of water will be passing down to the Lower Murrumbidgee, and will remain unutilized unless the Commonwealth Government comes along with some proposal for its absorption. But, as the honorable member for Lang reminds me, this scheme is merely a supplementary one. The engineers state that sufficient power for all purposes can be generated within the area which will be Federal territory.
Mr. Chanter. Within 100 square miles?
Mr. WATSON. No, we shall require a larger area than that. From the stand-point of a domestic water supply there is sufficient available in the near vicinity of Canberra to provide by means of gravitation for a population of many times larger than that which will need to be provided for According to my estimate, within 30 miles of Canberra a sufficient supply is available to meet the requirements of nearly 2,000,000 people.
Mr. Atkinson. To supply a city containing 2,000,000 inhabitants?
Mr. WATSON. Yes, and to supply that number by means of gravitation and not by pumping. These facts dispose of the suggestion that a domestic supply cannot be obtained.
Sir John Forrest. Do the engineers say that?
Mr. WATSON. The supply mentioned in their estimate is sufficient for approximately 2,000,000 persons. If during the first twenty years of its existence we have a population of 50,000 at the Federal Capital, I think it will be going ahead just as rapidly as most of us anticipate. When we realize that the Cotter River catchment is sufficient to provide for 250,000 inhabitants we can cast aside all the other schemes except on the’ ground of expense. I merely wish to show the ample supply of water that is available if we choose to tap all these various sources. Another feature which has been alluded to as of all importance in connexion with this question is that of climate. I do not contend that the climate of Dalgety is likely to be an unhealthy one. Probably it might have a bad effect upon delicate persons, but upon persons of ordinarily robust constitutions I do not think that it would be objectionable, except from the stand-point of comfort. My opinion is that a city at the elevation of Dalgety site, having regard to its exposed position, is bound to suffer severely from bitter winds in the winter.
Mr. Johnson. From blizzards.
Another point of which I wish to remind honorable senators is dealt with by Mr. Watson, as follows -
The Age this morning remarks that Canberra and Dalgety are about equal from the standpoint of soil and climate. I maintain that, from the point of view of climate, Canberra possesses a decided advantage, whilst in the matter of soil, no comparison can be instituted. Within 15 miles of Dalgety the land is no better than second class pastoral land.
Mr. Austin Chapman. Would not the respective values of the land at Canberra and Dalgety provide a fair test?
Mr. WATSON. Other things being equal.
Mr. Austin Chapman. If land within 10 miles of Dalgety will realize more thanland 10 miles from Canberra, surely that is a fair indication of the relative values?
Mr. WATSON. I am always on the alert when the Minister of Trade and Customs makes a statement, because it is safe to assume that he has something concealed. Within 5 miles of Canberra, on the Queanbeyan side, there is exceedingly poor land. I am not to be “ got at “ by a suggestion of that sort. I am speaking of the quality of the land within the respective sites themselves and within a reasonable distance of them. The good land upon the Canberra site commences about 5 miles out of Queanbeyan, and continues for 40 miles to Yass. The site itself is upon good soil - in fact, I think that some of it is too good to build upon.
I have not travelled between Canberra and Yass, but I have considered the statements of others whom I have consulted, and who tell me that the country about Yass is pretty good. We have also Mr. Watson’s statement that, beginning 5 miles from Canberra, and extending for about 30 or 40 miles, the country is really good. It is not so at Dalgety, and that fact alone is sufficient to make new members of the Senate, who are not committed to what has been done in the past, doubtful as to whether a sound decision was arrived at. On this occasion I have to fight with ray colleagues. I regret having to do so. They have been fighting me hard, and have received assistance from Senator Stewart. They endeavoured to convert me. If they had succeeded, would they not have laughed! But I remind my honorable friends that the last senators returned to the Senate from South Australia were Senators Symon, Vardon,and myself. All of us approve of the Yass-Canberra site.
– Was that question before the electors?
– I had a free hand with reference to the matter. I would not pledge myself to any particular site.
– I thought the honorable senator said earlier in his speech that the question was not mentioned?
– It was mentioned by me. I dwelt upon the subject, and told my supporters that I would use my own judgment. They sent me here to do so. Is my judgment, then, to be guided entirely by the views of those with whom I usually vote? I am sorry to differ from them. I am aware that some people in South Australia who have read the speeches of my colleagues have rather taken me to task on account of my attitude. They consider that I am on the wrong track. But I have said to them, “Dome the honour of reading my speech in my own defence, and my advocacy of the site which I shall support.” Is not that a fair attitude? I have had fiftyfive years’ experience on the land. Still, I do not claim to be an expert. Other members of the Senate may know more about land than I do. But my experience must have taught me something, and it has satisfied me from observation that the land at ‘Canberra is far superior and more suitable in every respect than that at Dalgety. While there I imagined myself in the position of the holder of a block of land in the locality, if it were possible to get it from the land monopolists. I made inquiry of the local miller as to the cost per bushel of sending a truck load of wheat from Queanbeyan to Sydney. The miller was, of course, an advocate of the Canberra site. He referred me to the railway stationmaster. He gave me two samples of wheat grown there, which I have still in my possession, but which I need not produce, because no one will deny that wheat can be grown in the district. The railway is only some eight miles from the proposed site at Canberra, and I knew from the Railway Guide how far it was from Sydnev. The stationmaster told me that it would cost only 4d. per bushel to send a truckload of wheat from Queanbeyan to Sydney.
– That is is. 6d. per bag?
– Yes. In my experience of farming in South Australia I know that for some years I used to cart wheat from Caltowie to Port Pirie.
– How long ago was that?
– It was a good while ago, and before the railway was built through that district.
– The honorable senator got 6s. per bushel for his wheat then ?
– No, I did not. But it cost lod. per bushel to cart it to Port Pirie. It occurred to me that if Canberra were selected as the site of the
Federal Capital, and the land became the property of the Commonwealth, it would be suitable for cultivation. I shall not refer to the single tax or any question of that kind which is not connected with this matter.
– Will the honorable senator tell the Senate what the miller said was the average yield of wheat per acre in the district?
– I think that he said it was 20 bushels per acre. But I may be wrong. I remind honorable senators that in such a matter a miller might have an axe to grind, and so might exaggerate the yield. The fact that a great deal of the land had been under cultivation at one time and had ceased to be cultivated did not support his statement. However, I know that the land is suitable for wheat, and if it became the property of the Commonwealth, settlers with their families from many parts of the Commonwealth could be accommodated with land there. I apologize to honorable senators for taking up so much of their time. I have no axe to grind. South Australia has given me a free hand in this matter. I have heard many electors of South Australia say, “ VVhy not leave the Federal Parliament in Melbourne?” But my reply has been, “ We have an honorable understanding, and as an honorable man, and your representative, I intend to do all T possibly can to see that that understanding is honorably and fairly carried out.” I cannot overlook the fact that it is not nice for me to have to vote against my colleagues in the Labour Party.
– The honorable senator has done so before ; he need not apologize.
– I am not apologizing. It is not pleasant for me to have to vote against my colleagues, especially after they have devoted so much attention to me in this debate.
– I am one of the honorable senator’s colleagues.
– But Senator Vardon does not belong to the Labour Party and generally votes on the other side. Some of my intimate friends have said, “ By voting as you propose to do you will be voting with the Anti- Socialist Party.” As a member of the Senate I protest against the introduction of party politics into the consideration of any question of this kind.
– The honorable senator’s colleagues of the Labour Party have never attempted to introduce party politics in the settlement of this question.
– They have said, “ Honorable senators on the other side are solid in making this a party question, and you will be the only member of the Labour Party who is going to vote with them.” What does that mean?
– It means that the honorable senator is the only one who has been misled.
– That may be Senator Story’s opinion. Even though it be true that the Anti-Socialist or Conservative Party is treating this question as one of party politics, I, for one, intend to rise above such considerations, and to see justice done. At the same time I am proud to be able to say that, having seen a lot of the country, I am fully convinced that it is the right and proper thing for me to vote for the selection of Yass-Canberra in the interests of the present and future generations of the Commonwealth.
– I think it would be just as well to correct some of the closing remarks of the last speaker, who seems to be under the impression that this question is to be decided from a party point of view. Personally, I hope to view the matter entirely apart from the party with whom I am associated. In discussing the subject, I am at a serious disadvantage in not having visited the proposed Capital sites, and in having to rely, in a great measure, upon the opinions expressed by honorable senators who have visited them, and by experts who have dealt with the question. In view of the very emphatic, and it would seem very satisfactory, way in which it was settled some four years ago, I regret that the matter is now to be reopened. We know that influence is often brought to bear to reopen a question which has been settled in 5, certain way, and it would seem that like other questions, that of the selection of the Capital site is to be resurrected, with a view to its settlement in a different way. I am supporting the selection of Dalgety, and I hope that site will be adopted by the Senate. I trust it will not be assumed that I have any desire to run counter to the interests of the State in which the Federal
Capital must be located. It would seem to be the opinion, held in certain quarters, that a member of. this Parliament who shows any disinclination to favour YassCanberra, is necessarily opposed to the opinions and wishes of the people of New South Wales, as expressed through their public men. I do not wish to be included in the list of those ‘who are suffering from that misrepresentation at the present time. I wish to see the question settled, and settled quickly. When I had an opportunity to refer to the matter before those who sent me to this Parliament, I expressed the view that the best thing that could happen would be the settlement of this question without any unnecessary delay, and that to continue to have the Seat of Government in this over-grown city of Melbourne, or to transfer it to Sydney, would be the most foolish course which Parliament could follow. The opinion is frequently expressed that so long as the Seat of Government is in Melbourne, our legislation is affected by Victorian State influence. I do not say that the opinion is well founded, but if the Federal Parliament were to meet in any of the other State capitals, the opinion would still obtain that Federal legislation was, to some extent, affected by State influence. That should be accepted as a substantial reason for taking action as soon as possible to remove the Federal Parliament ‘from the influence of either Melbourne or Sydney, to our own Federal Territory. The first difficulty with which we are met in discussing the question is, that we have the wishes of New South Wales to consider. New South Wales has expressed so many wishes on this question, or rather, has expressed its wish so differently at different times, that it is difficult to know what it is. We had, for instance, one expression of opinion in the earlier years of Federation, through the then Premier of New South Wales, that the Federal Parliament was free to accept one of three sites. That is on record, and in order that it may not be lost sight of, I propose to quote what was the feeling in New South Wales in 1901, when the question of the Federal Capital was first mentioned. The first movement towards a settlement was made by Sir Edmund, now Mr. Justice, Barton, who, as Prime Minister, referred the question to the Government of New South Wales, through the Premier of that State, Mr. See. On the 17th April, 1901, the Premier of
New South Wales addressed the following letter to the Commonwealth Government -
In acknowledging the receipt of your letter of the 13th instant with regard to the site for the Federal Capital of the Commonwealth, I have the honour to submit to your Government the choice of the three sites mentioned in the report of the Royal Commission which was appointed to collect evidence with reference to the suitability of the sites for the purpose.
A copy of that report is now forwarded herewith, and from the appendices attached thereto all particulars as to area, position, water supply, ite, can be obtained.
I desire also to state that if any other site in New South Wales be considered by your Government to be more suitable for the purpose of the Federal Capital than those recommended in the report, I shall be glad to receive any further representations from you, and will endeavour, as far as possible, to meet your views.
The point to which I wish to direct attention is the feeling which existed in New South Wales at the time these three sites were offered to the Commonwealth Government. Surely, if we are going to be influenced by the feeling which is exhibited there to-day, we should also pay heed to that which prevailed there seven years ago. >I,f honorable senators have any curiosity upon the subject, may I call their attention to the fact that seven years ago the leading public men of New South Wales regarded clause 87 of the Constitution, which was then known as the “ Braddon blot,” as its most serious blemish.
– The honorable senator is wrong. I warmly supported that provision.
– At the time of which I speak the feeling of New South Wales undoubtedly was that that clause was n. blot upon the measure.
– Many persons thought so, but I did not.
– The honorable senator recognises that when the Constitution was first submitted to the electors of New South Wales the Braddon clause was recognised as a “ blot ‘ ‘ upon the measure.
– It was so regarded by a large number of persons, but not by myself and many others.
– But to-day we find that that very clause is actually regarded as the financial salvation of the States. That fact demonstrates that the opinions of the people of New South Wales are of a whimsical character.
– For some reason or other the opinion which was held in New South Wales seven or eight years ago upon the question of the Federal Capital is not held to-day. Similarly, the opinion which was entertained by that State of the Braddon blot nine years ago is not now entertained. On the contrary, that provision is regarded as the financial salvation of the small States, and as providing their only safeguard against encroachments on the part of the Federal Treasurer. In view of the change of feeling which has taken place in New South Wales upon the Federal Capital question, what warrant have we for believing that it will not again swing round to the view which was held in 1901 ? To-day, the public men of that State who profess to voice the feeling of the electors declare that the opinion which was held seven years ago was the wrong one. In view of the whimsical character of the opinion of New South Wales-
– Not “whimsical.”
– The opinion of the people there in regard to the “ Braddon blot “ has undergone a complete change.
– They have been guided by practical experience.
– I ask the honorable senator not to argue the question of the *’ Braddon blot.”
– I have no intention of doing so. The feeling of the people of New South Wales is being put forward as the main reason why this Parliament should revoke its former decision upon the Capital site question. Why? In order that we may comply with the wishes, not of the entire people of New South Wales, but of a mere section which is located in Sydney. I hold that we are not entitled to undo the work of the past in view of the very variable feeling upon this question which has obtained in New South Wales. Seven years ago, the Premier of that State gave this Parliament the choice of three sites, including that of Southern Monaro. He also went further, and invited this Parliament - if it were not satisfied with any of those sites - to nominate another site, promising that if it did so, his Government would consider its choice. So that seven years ago the Government of New South Wales were much more accommodating than are the present Government of that Stale. In dealing with this question, we have been asked to rely upon the opinions of experts. Now, when experts are called upon to give us the best advice at their command, it is only right that they should put that advice in a form which is not open to challenge. In Parliamentary Paper, No. 9, Mr. Wade, the Engineer of Water Supply in New South Wales, shows that at Canberra there is a water supply capable of meeting the requirements of 250,000 inhabitants. He says -
Taking the catchment area with character of the catchment, I am satisfied that the Cotter River will supply all requirements of the Federal Capital city up to a quarter of a million inhabitants.
But in another report which is contained in Parliamentary Paper, No. 137, Mr. de Burgh, who is apparently a lieutenant of Mr. Wade’s - at the time of which I speak he was acting engineer of rivers and drainage - commits himself to an entirely different opinion regarding the capacity of the Cotter River. Upon page 2 of that report, he says -
The catchment above this dam site is no square miles, and the average daily flow of the river amounts to 59,000,000 gallons, or twelve times the 5,000,000 required for the city supply.
In his calculation, he allows 100 gallons per unit of the population per diem, so that for a city of 50,000 inhabitants, he would require a supply of 5,000,000 gallons daily. These figures indicate that the catchment area of no square miles would supply sufficient water to meet the requirements of 600,000 inhabitants. There is thus a serious discrepancy between the recorded opinions of two experts.
– The honorable senator will acknowledge that that supply is sufficient for the Federal Capital?
– I will not acknowledge that a water supply equal to the requirements of 250,000 persons is adequate to meet the needs of the Federal Capital. Both the officers whom I have quoted refer to the Cotter River as one of the possible sources of supply at Canberra. Mr. Wade declares that the capacity of that river is sufficient to meet the needs of 250,000 inhabitants, whilst Mr. de Burgh reports that the particular area known as the “ gravitation area,” which embraces no square miles-
– The honorable senator’s trouble appears to be that one surveyor says that there is enough water available at Canberra, whilst the other declares that there is more than enough. He is not satisfied with either.
– I do not admit that a water supply sufficient to meet the requirements of 250,000 persons is adequate to cope with the needs of the Federal Capital. Mr. Wade affirms that the supply at Canberra is ample to meet the requirements of 250,000 inhabitants, whilst Mr. de Burgh says that the gravitation area to which I have already referred, is adequate to cope with the needs of 600,000 persons. He discloses a discrepancy sufficient to supply 350,000 persons with water.
– Do not take any notice of experts?
– I presume that the honorable senator will be guided by these experts in arriving at a conclusion. In the same paper Mr. de Burgh states that the total catchment area of the Cotter River to its junction with the Murrumbidgee is 160 square miles, and yet on the next page he asserts that the catchment area above the dam is no square miles, and that the average daily flow of the river amounts to 59,000,000 gallons. Those two measurements give a total catchment area of 270 square miles, but in the first part of his report he says that the total catchment area of the Cotter River to its junction with the Murrumbidgee River is only 165 square miles. In the same document we find a discrepancy of 105 square miles in regard to the catchment area alone. Honorable senators may think that it is a small matter, but I submit that when an expert officer of high standing in the Public Works Department of New South Wales is asked to make a report for our guidance we are entitled to expect that he will be correct, that his deduction will be sound, and, above all, that his figures will be beyond challenge. But here, in regard to the catchment area alone, a difference of 105 square miles is disclosed. That is a very serious error in a report which was compiled for our guidance. I have already shown that as regards the capacity of the Cotter River, Mr. Wade and Mr. de Burgh differ to the extent of a supply equal to the requirements of 350,000 persons. Honorable senators will be quite justified, I submit, in refusing to allow their reports to influence their decision on this question. Next we have the opinion of Sir John Forrest. I am not suggesting that I respect his opinion so far as hydraulic engineering is concerned. He visited the Canberra site, and embodied certain particulars in a report. He represented that the maximum supply of the Cotter River is 5,000,000 gallons per day. We shall be quite safe if we allow a large discount from even his calculations. There is a marvellous difference between a daily supply of 5,000,000 gallons, which would serve only 50,000 persons, and . Mr. de Burgh’s calculation, that the Cotter River would supply a population of 600,000 persons.
– But Sir John Forrest has never been to the place.
– He visited Canberra, and embodied his views in a State paper. It sets forth that he took notice of the flow of the Cotter River, and came to the conclusion that it was about 5,000^00 gallons per day.” It might, or it might not, increase in a wet season, but he also stated that that quantity could not be depended upon.
– Mr.- de Burgh says that the daily flow is 33,000,000 gallons.
- Mr. de Burgh states that it is equivalent to the requirements of 600,000 persons.’
– And the Cotter River is only one of the sources of water supply there.
– There are four others.
– I should like to find out where they are. The Cotter River has been put forward here as the main source of water supply for the Canberra site.
– The only supply which is fit for drinking purposes.
– No one has said so except Senator Story, and he does not know anything about the matter.
– There is the Micalong Creek, which possibly could be converted into a usable supply, but the Cotter River seems to be the only source of supply.
– The honorable senator has just mentioned another source.
– I mentioned the Micalong Creek. I have been favoured by the Bulletin Newspaper Company with a pictorial souvenir showing the junction of the Cotter Creek, as it is called, with the Murrumbidgee River. I ask every honorable senator to seriously ponder over thepicture and ask himself how, by any stretch of the imagination, a small wet place of that kind could supply the requirements of the Capital of the Commonwealth. Apparently the alleged river is about 8 feet wide, and very ordinary stones are to be seen sticking through its bed. The Murrumbidgee River is shown immediately to the left. I feel certain that if any honorable senator will carefully study thisphotograph, which conveys very vividly the position of the Cotter River where it junctions with the Murrumbidgee River, he will ponder deeply before he votes for a site with that kind of water supply.
– That picturecomes from a tainted source.
– Does not Senator Lynch know that it is a faked photograph ?
– The photograph was taken on the spot, and is, I believe, a true representation of the locality where the Cotter Creek junctions with the MumimbidgeeRiver. The cost of getting a water supplyto the Federal Capital is a most importantpoint. Of course, we have to rely uponthe advice of men who up to the present time have not made any actual test of the capacity of the Cotter River. Its flow has never been measured, and consequently the engineers in the Public Works Department of New South Wales had to resort toguesswork.
– Does the honorable senator ,say that the flow of the Cotter River has never been’ measured ?
– It has not.
– There has been tabled1 here a paper which gives the gaugings for some months past.
– Only during the last few months.
– Since the Canberrasite has been brought under review.
– It is very plainly shown in this report that up to the time it was furnished the Cotter River had not been gauged. Mr. de Burgh says -
As no gaugings of the flow of the Cotter River have been recorded, we look elsewhere for data as to the water which can be supplied fromthe catchment area, and, fortunately, we havegood data to guide us.
– Since then the flow has been measured, and it has been proved* that it is larger than Mr. de Burgh then thought it was.
– We have not had the advantage of an exhaustive report upon the capacity of the Cotter River. So far as gauging is concerned, the report of Mr. de Burgh is quite valueless, because it was based upon data which evidently was derived from the flow of the Murray River on the other side of the range. I consider that honorable senators are not entitled to take into serious consideration a report which is shown to be full of inaccuracies in regard to the matter of water supply. On the question of cost we have to rely upon Mr. de Burgh. He shows that a gravitation scheme for the Federal Capital would cost about £853,000.
– How much would a gravitation scheme for Dalgety - not a pumping scheme - cost?
– About £328,000.
– It would cost a great deal more than that sum, which is the estimate for a pumping scheme.
– The gravitation scheme which is proposed by Mr. de Burgh - upon whom, unfortunately, we have to rely - would cost about £853,000, and the report of the Royal Commission over which Mr. Kirkpatrick presided shows that a water supply for the Bombala or Southern Monaro site would cost £328,000.
– That is for a pumping supply only. The honorable senator is comparing a gravitation scheme in one case with a pumping scheme in the other.
– The honorable senator must know that if a pumping scheme would cost £328,000, a gravitation scheme would cost very much less.
– Much more.
– Do honorable senators propound the extraordinary doctrine that a gravitation scheme would cost more than a pumping scheme? Is this the kind of reasoning that is brought to bear on the selection of a Capital site?
– The honorable sena tor should take my advice, and not display his ignorance.
– I am quoting the reports.
– The honorable senator is twisting them. Let him compare the pumping scheme in both cases, and the gravitation scheme in both cases.
– I am making the deduction that a gravitation scheme must cost less than a pumping scheme.
– Annually ; but not in the initial cost.
– We have also, as evidence, this’ dotted map of several sites scattered over an area of 50 miles by about 35 ; and if the suggested supply from the Cotter is extended further afield, it will mean an additional cost for water supply above the £833,000 mentioned. Supposing that it is extended so far as to be brought down to Yass itself, a distance ofabout 45 miles, the cost of additional piping, according to Mr. de Burgh, would amount to £706,000. So that if the town of Yass is to be supplied from the Cotter, it will mean nothing less than an expenditure of £1,659,000. Of course, I recognise that another scheme has been put forward. We have the scheme of Mr. Seaver, who reported to Mr. Oliver. He, however, plainly acknowledges that if the town of Yass be selected as the Capital site, there will be no earthly hope of getting a supply from the Goodradigbee Creek. The only supply which, in his opinion, is worthy of consideration is that from the Micalong Creek ; and that source, according to his authority, is only sufficient to supply 50,000 persons.
– With the permission of the Senate, I should like, before the sitting is suspended, to ask the Minister a question. It is understood that a number of honorable senators wish to speak. It does not seem to be possible that we can close the debate to-night. That being so, would the Minister agree to the suggestion that the debate be closed tomorrow, and that the ballot take place on Friday morning instead of to-morrow? If the Minister could see his way to assent to that proposal, every honorable senator would know that he had to be present on Friday.
– I have to recognise the fact that about half-a-dozen other honorable senators desire to speak, and that there is no possible chance of closing the debate to-night. But I will ask honorable senators to co-operate with me in coming to a determination on the motion to-morrow, so that the exhaustive ballot may be taken on Friday.
– Will it be the first business on Friday?
– Yes; assuming that we come to a division on the motion tomorrow.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7-4-5 P-m-
– Before the suspension of the sitting, I was engaged in considering the possibility of obtaining a suitable water supply for Yass in case that site should be . chosen , for the Federal Capital.
– The territory is designated Yass-Canberra.
– That site is mentioned as the possible rival to Dalgety, and is the only site, it would seem, that pleases the people of Sydney, who take it upon themselves to speak for New South Wales. The only means we have of arriving, at a conclusion as to whether or not a suitable water supply can be obtained for Yass, is by reference to Mr. Oliver’s report. On page 63 of that document, we find that Mr. Seaver, an officer of the New South Wales Public Works Department, when sent on a. mission to discover a suitable water supply for Yass, found that there were only two places at which a supply could be obtained, one of which he discarded instantly, on account of its insufficiency. The creek upon which he depended is named the Micalong. Mr. Sea,er discarded the Goodradigbee Creek, because he thought it was inadequate for the requirements of a capital city. He said, “ I satisfied myself that such a scheme was out of the question.” He was driven back upon the possibility of finding a suitable supply from the Micalong, and that, as the plan shows, is the only possible source from which Yass could be supplied. The summing up of this officer is not very favorable to the Micalong Creek. He found that the watershed of the creek has an area of 44 square miles, on which are a few settlers, but no agricultural land. There are a few miners washing gold. To judge of the amount of water likely to be furnished from a watershed of 44 square miles, we can compare the statement of Mr. Wade, the Engineer for Water Supply, New South Wales, that a catchment of no’ square miles would supply enough water for 250,000 people. Upon that basis, we can calculate that the Micalong Creek could supply 100,000. Consequently, we are faced with the position that the only possible supply for the site of Yass, apart from Canberra, is from the Micalong Creek, with a watershed of 44 square miles, capable of supplying 100,000 people. That, I say, is hopelessly inadequate. Of course, it would take some time for the Capital to attain to such a population. That will be in the “ sweet, by-and-by.” But we are laying the foundations of a city that we hope is to endure for all time, and we ought to make better provision than for a population of 100,000.
– 100,000 ?
– Certainly. If the honorable senator thinks that we are never to have .in the Federal city a larger population than 100,000, what becomes of the anxiety that he sometimes displays on behalf of an immigration policy? If he thinks that the Federal Capital will never have a larger population than that, his expectations are very limited.
– He hopes that the people will all live in Sydney.
– Has the honorable senator overlooked the paragraph stating that the available water supply is unlimited, even if the Federal Capital were to have a population of 2,000,000? That is the statement of Mr. de Burgh, a gentleman from whom Senator Lynch quoted when it suited himself.
– What kind of water? Vitiated.
– Like the honorable senator’s arguments.
– The honorable senator quotes zn expert whom I do not regard as accurate. There are at least three inaccuracies in his report. But he is quite a good enough authority to quote in favour of a losing cause. The other alternative in regard to Yass is the supply from the Cotter River, but to bring water from the Cotter, as shown on the plan, means taking it an extra distance of 45 miles, and, calculating on the basis of a 27-in. pipe, as shown by that more or less unreliable authority, Mr. de Burgh, the cost would be about ,£400,000. These facts should encourage us to dismiss from our minds, once and for all, the possibility of Yass and its neighbourhood becoming the site of the Federal Capital. These matters have been thrashed out before, and the arguments are almost threadbare. But it would seem that something still has to be said in the hope of assuring those who have not had an opportunity of visiting the several sites that there are special featuresmarking out Dalgety as the superior one.
– What are they?
– Mr. Oliver’s report shows that the motive power to be obtained from the water supply at Dalgety, gives it advantages which no other piece of country in the Commonwealth can equal. From the report it is clear that there is there a great volume of water-power flowing to the sea unused. Referring to a report on the subject by Mr. Pridham, he says -
It will be seen from Mr. Pridham’s report that the Snowy River, at a distance of about 15 miles from the proposed city site at Lord’s Hill, affords a supply obtainable by pumping, equal to the requirements of a population of 500,000. But that is not all, for the same river at a point near the junction of the McLaughlan, gives a fall of no less than 200 feet in 3¼ miles, thus affording sufficient water power, according to Mr. Pridham, not only for pumping all the water required and for electric lighting and tram traction, but also for operating the proposed railways from Cooma to Delegate and from Bombala to Eden by electricity, the transmission lines for the current being very much shorter than many now in use in the United States. The power thus obtainable from the Snowy River he estimates at 20,000 horse-power, and this Mr. Pridham distributes as follows : -
For electric lighting - 600 horse-power.
For pumping water-supply from Delegate River - 700 horse-power.
For electric trams - 2,700 horse-power.
For operating trains four each way on two lines, equal to sixteen trains per day, at, say, 1,000 horse-power each - 16,000 horse-power.
Total, say - 20,000 horse-power.
In addition to this, 20,000 horse-power, at a fall of 300 feet lower down the same river, at about 30 miles from the city site, 68,000 additional horse-power could, if required, be obtained, and the same economical power could be used for the Gippsland railway extension, from Orbost to the border, for the Snowy River is described by those who know the country it passes through as being almost one prolonged series of rapids withina few miles of Orbost. At the time of my inquiry this most munificent natural gift of power was never brought under my notice. 1 have been asked what are the special qualifications of Dalgety. That is certainly one which honorable senators should not ignore in selecting the site of the Federal Capital. The possession of a stream affording 68,000 horse power is a qualification which is not held by any other portion of the Commonwealth. If the Capital site were located in the Yass-Canberra district, it would be impossible to obtain by gravitation even one donkey power. Senator W. Russell has declared himself on this question, but, I am inclined to think, only in a tentative way. He may have had some exceptional experience on his visit to
Dalgety. Any person may derive an unfavorable opinion of a place by visiting it at the wrong time. I venture to say that if the honorable senator had visited some of the most fertile plains of Victoria during the time they were stricken by the drought, he would have left them with a very bad impression.
– The honorable senator would have had a bad impression of Bacchus Marsh if he had seen the district at the beginning of this year.
– Yes, the honorable senator would probably have come to the conclusion that even Bacchus. Marsh was a good place to get away from.
– Surely Senator W. Russell would know good land when he saw it ?
– I believe that if the honorable senator visited even the Darling Downs during one of the droughts that scourge that part of the Commonwealth, he would leave that fine district with a bad impression of it, just as he left Dalgety.
– Certainly not, if he knew anything about land.
– I have said that I am compelled to rely upon the opinion of others who have visited the Capital sites and reported upon them. If it is objected that the land surrounding the Dalgety site is not good land, I am forced again to fall back on Mr. Oliver’s report, which, by the way, has been quoted by honorable senators on both sides, who have expressed their intention to vote against Dalgety. In my opinion the quality of the land is not an important consideration in the selection of a Capital site.
– Then why do honorable senators desire a Federal Territory of 900 square miles ?
– To preserve communitycreated land values for the benefit of the people and not for the benefit of a few speculators.
– But surely the honorable senator would prefer 900 square miles of good country to the same area of bad country ?
– On the question of the quality of the soil in the Southern Monaro district, I refer honorable senators to page 24 of Mr. Oliver’s report in which he says -
Of the 80,000 acres of the site proposed as
Federal Territory, about 5,000 acres are Crown lands. The improved value of the area within the municipal boundaries of the town of Bombala is given at £72,665; for the residue, about 74,000 acres, a fair average would be from £3 to £4 per acre.
– What is the value of the municipal land at Dalgety ?
– What is the value of the municipal land at Canberra?
– I have given honorable senators Mr. Oliver’s opinion of the value of land in the Southern Monaro district. Let me now turn to his opinion on the value of land in the Yass-Canberra district, the parched and drought-stricken district which has only a “ wet place “ in a creek for a water supply. Mr. Oliver says, at page 18 -
The area within the municipal boundary of Yass is valued at£213,000, while the estimated value of the land outside the municipal boundary of Goulburn is about£3 7s. 6d. per acre on an average, and of the same class of land at Yass, is £3 per acre. According to these figures the cost of the Yass territory would be less than a third of the cost of the Goulburn territory.
So we see that this despised, blizzardblown place in the Southern Monaro district
– The honorable senator has not quoted Mr. Oliver on Dalgety yet. He has only referred to Bombala.
– I do not wish honorable senators to believe that I am trying to force Dalgety down their throats in quoting references to Bombala. I am dealing with the Southern Monaro district which is stigmatized as a district visited by blizzards, where the land is not fertile, a deserted district, incapable of carrying a population. I have shown that, notwithstanding these allegations, Mr. Oliver has said that the land surrounding Bombala is worth 10s. per acre more than that at Yass.
– And Yass has the advantage of a railway, whilst Bombala has not.
– I come next to the strong objection to Dalgety, that the climate there is cold. This discovery has apparently just been made. It was not known eighteen months ago, and only became known when Premier Wade, of New South Wales, told certain people to make the discovery. Although the Commonwealth lies largely within tropical and sub-tropical latitudes, I challenge honorable senators to deny that the evidence of all history goes to show that the hardiest of the white races are those who come from the colder climates.
– Every one knows that..
– If Senator Gray; makes that admission, let me ask him why] he objects to the selection of a site for the Federal Capital on which we might expect to raise a hardy race?
– Honorable senators wilt not go to Dalgety as babies, if it is chosen as the Federal Capital.
– Senator Pulsford has urged an objection, based upon what he thinks will be the centre of population in the Commonwealth. According to the honorable senator’s strange theory, it would seem that London ought to be shifted, because as the capital of England, it is situated far too much to the south. In the same way, Washington is situated too much to the east, and Paris too much to the north, if there is anything in Senator Pulsford’s theory. However, I do not think that the honorable senator advanced his real reason for objecting to Dalgety. I think that he had other substantial reasons which he did not disclose to the Senate.
– On Senator Pulsford’s theory Sydney ought to be moved from its present situation.
– Yes, the situation of Sydney is out of joint also.
– It is one thing to remove an established capital, and another to establish a new capital.
– Senator Lynch does not wish to see that.
– I have mentioned one or two countries, the capitals of which ought to be removed from their present situation, if there is anything in the honorable senator’s theory. Touching the frigidity of Dalgety, which has so recently caused some politicians to shiver. I find that the lowest temperature recorded for Dalgety is 11 degrees above freezing point, whilst the winter temperature of Ottawa is 4 degrees below freezing point. I am now dealing with one of the stock objections urged against Dalgety, namely, its low temperature. The lowest temperatures ever recorded in the various capitals of the world are as follow : - Ottawa, 31 degrees below zero; London, 4 degrees below zero; Berlin, 9 degrees below zero; Madrid, 10 degrees above zero; Paris,10 degrees below zero ; St. Petersburg, 10 decrees below zero; and Washington, 15 degrees below zero. It is apparent, therefore, that the temperature of Dalgety, which has been declared’ to resemble that of an iceberg, is not so low as that of any of these cities.
– Has the honorable senator got the figures relating to Hobart?
– Yes, the lowest temperature ever recorded at Hobart was 27 degrees, as against 11 degrees recorded at Dalgety. The latter place is much warmer than are the capitals of the most important countries in the world, and is, therefore, not entitled to receive scant consideration at the hands of honorable senators upon the ground of its coldness. I am not so much astonished at this sudden discovery of the frigidity of the lower Monaro strip of country as I am at the inexplicable change of attitude on the part of certain honorable senators. When this question was under consideration four years ago, some honorable senators opposite were loud in their praises of Dalgety. They declared that no other site in New South Wales possessed the same merits. But for some -unknown reason they are now opposing the selection of that site.
– The reason is not unknown.
– Upon page i486 of Hansard, of 1904, Senator Symon is reported to have said -
I do not now speak finally, because I desire to listen to what honorable senators have to say. Many of them have made an inspection of several of the sites, and they are more familiar with the practical aspect of the question than I am. I shall be largely guided by them, but my choice will, I think, be between the two sites, Dalgety and Bombala.
Upon that occasion Senator Millen was very cautious - as he usually is - and from the printed record of his speech it is very difficult to gather upon which side of the fence he stood. But upon the motion for the second reading of the Seat of Government Bill he spoke at some length, and all that he had to urge by way of its amendment was that the proposed area of the Federal Territory should be reduced. He concluded his address in the following words : -
That is one amendment which I shall seek to have made in the Bill. The other is on a smaller point, and simply relates to putting in better language the provision in regard to the -area which it is proposed to acquire.
He did not utter a single word in condemnation of Dalgety. He merely moved that the proposed area of the Federal Territory should be reduced. The people of Australia are entitled to know why he has changed his opinion upon an important public question without adequate reason.
– The honorable senator has no right to charge Senator Millen with having changed his opinion.
– I am reminded by Senator Dobson’s interjection that he, too, has changed his views upon this question. Upon page 151 2 of the same volume of Hansard, he is thus reported -
I was in favour of a Southern Monaro site, but if it is to be a question between Dalgety and Bombala, I am not competent to settle it. I recollect that when I visited Dalgety I thought the scenery was magnificent, and I preferred it to the scenery of the Bombala site. The Snowy River runs right through the township, and to have that river running through the Federal Capital would be a very great advantage indeed. I was exceedingly pleased, also, with the Bombala site, with the rivers there, and the undulating, well-grassed country. With respect to all these matters, I think I shall have done my duty if I indicate by my voice the locality in which I think the Federal Capital site should be situated, and it should be left for surveyors, engineers, and other experts to decide as between Dalgety and Bombala, the precise site for the capital. I am, therefore, in favour of the suggestion made by Senator Pearce that it would be better to include in the Bill a refer.ence to Southern Monaro, which will include both Bombala and Dalgety, as they are practically in the same locality. That the question is not now ripe for settlement is shown by the arguments we have heard from Senators Symon, Pearce, and other honorable senators. … I say that the question is not ripe for settlement, and, therefore, we ought not to pass this Bill in the form in which it is before us. I am satisfied that the Southern Monaro site is a suitable one in which to locate the Federal Capital.
In the light of that declaration, I look with interest to the attitude which the honorable senator will take up, in asking this Chamber to turn its back upon its previous decision - a decision of which he fully approved. From his interjections during this debate, I gather that Senator Macfarlane is very pronounced in his opposition to Dalgety. But what did he say upon this question four years ago? According to Hansard, page 1865, he said -
Lieut.-Colonel Owen says that the Dalgety site is the best, and that the water supply has 100,000 horse-power available for electricity.
A little later Senator Millen interjected -
Is that all that Lieut.-Colonel Owen has said about the climate ?
Senator Macfarlane replied
No; he has said that he was not long enough there to be able to speak definitely with respect to the climate. Last season we had before us a report from Mr. Maiden, the Curator of the Botanical Gardens at Sydney, and that gentleman is of opinion that all plants, shrubs, and flowers, usually grown in temperate climates, can be grown easily and profitably at Bombala or Dalgety.
I contend that it would not be wise for this Parliament to locate the permanent Seat of Government of the Commonwealth in a place where it will ultimately become a mere suburb of the city of Sydney. It would be a bad thing for the national Legislature to lend itself to an act which would conduce to the expansion of our existing cities. According to Mr. Coghlan Sydney possessed in 1871 only 27 per cent, of the population of New South Wales, whereas in 1903 it possessed 35 per cent, of that population. In other words, during eight years, it had attracted within its boundaries an increase of 8 per cent, of the total population of New South Wales. Similarly in 1871 Melbourne possessed 28 per cent, of the population of Victoria, but in 1903 it possessed 41 per cent, of that population. Nearly half the population of Victoria is thus centred in this city. Brisbane in j 87 1 contained 12 per cent, of the population of Queensland, as against 23 per cent, of that population in 1903. Adelaide in 1871 contained 23 per cent, of the population of South Australia, but in 1903 it possessed 4,5 per cent, of that population. The only city in Australia the population of which has declined is that of Perth. In Western Australia the population is more evenly distributed over the whole State than is that in the other States of the Commonwealth. In 187 1 Perth contained 20.6 of the population of the young and thriving State of Western Australia, while in 1903 it had 20.4. In 187 1 Wellington contained 3 per cent, of the population of New Zealand, and 6 per cent, in 1903. I believe that one of the contributing causes of the steady prosperity of the Dominion has been the even distribution of its population throughout the country districts and the cities.
– Is not that absolutely due to its geographical position and to the fact that it is only 200 miles wide?
– I hope that I have shown the processes which have been at work, and to which honorable senators cannot afford to shut their eyes. No matter what method is advocated, we should always give our steady support to a movement which would insure a more even distribution of the people in this island continent, especially in the rural districts. If we choose the Canberra site it will simply promote the commercial aggrandizement of Sydney. It will increase still further the value of land in the State, and make the Federal Capital not what it ought to be,, and what was intended by the framers of the Constitution - a model city to stand out for all time - but simply a country suburb of Sydney, and that I strongly object to. If New South Wales is wise in its generation, and will only, adopt the opinion which was expressed by] Premier See in 1901, and to which no objection was taken - that Dalgety was a suitable site - I venture to say that it will not only help Sydney, but also assist the State very materially. lt will create in the Southern Monaro district, which up to the present time has Been neglected, a new province.
– In a federated country is it an awful crime to help Sydney?
– I do not say that it will help Sydney. The honorable senator must recognise that if there had not been a fundamental objection to the choice of Sydney as the Federal Capital no prohibition would have been inserted in the Constitution.
– That was inserted owing to State jealousy.
– No, I venture to think that the underlying motive of the framers of the Constitution was to fix the Federal Capital in a locality where it would not be the means of leading further to the inflation, or, as I have said, the commercial aggrandizement of Sydney. Their object was to place the Federal Capital in a rural situation, where it would not be subject to the whims and, perhaps, to the dictation of a State Government, where a model city could adopt its own methods of administration, and set an example to older nations.
– Let the honorable senator bear in- mind that what he has proved by all these figures is that we ought to have no other big cities.
– I am not attempting to prove quite that.
– But the honorable senator has done so.
– I recognise that we cannot get along without clusters of population, or cities. The records show, that one of the agencies in Great Britain which are reducing the stamina of the British race more than anything else is the overgrown and bloated city of London. Here we are striving to create, on a smaller scale, a country suburb of Sydney, which I do not think that the people of Australia contemplate with approval.
– And the honorable senator has been arguing that in the Federal Capital we should provide for a population of 250,000 persons.
– He does not know the meaning of the word “ suburb.”
– I am sufficiently aware of the meaning of that word not to hazard the experiment of placing the Federal Capital where it would be a mere appendage of Sydney. Whilst I am anxious to see this vexed question settled as soon as possible, at the same time I cannot consent to vote for a site which I believe would not be in the best interests of the future requirements of the Commonwealth and the millions of persons who have yet to come. I do not desire to see the Federal Capital erected in a place which would not do credit to our country and would hamper the administration of Federal affairs.
– Does the honorable senator know that Newcastle is only half as far from Sydney as is the Yass-Canberra site, and it certainly is not a suburb of that city ?
– Quite so. I am pleased to recognise that Newcastle is an independent place, and I hope that it will continue to progress. I desire to carry out to the very letter, and as soon as possible, the bargain which was made with New South Wales. But if we are to be guided by precedent, Sydney was hardly entitled to the stipulation which was made in her favour so readily by the representatives of other States. The United States had a “ ma,” or parent State, but it made no such stipulation as did New South Wales when the Federal Constitution was being framed. There were several contending States, and not’ only did they not offer any obstacles to the selection of a site for the Federal Capital, but they went out of their way on several occasions, and by different means, to offer every advantage for the purpose of selecting the best site, and, if need be, for financing the erection of the capital. The trend of feeling in the United States at the time is brought out in Studies in Historical and Political Science, by John Addison Porter in a paper on “ The City of Washington.” At page 6 he says -
The list of a score or more places which were “ named for the honour “ (some of them in the merely complimentary sense in which “ favorite sons “ of States are nowadays named for the Presidency) is chiefly remarkable for the number of insignificant names which it contains. New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore were indeed there. But there were others then unknown to fame, and which it is now not easy to find upon the map.
Apparently some insignificant places such as Yass and Canberra were proposed for selection as a site, which, after all, did not find favour with Congress.
Whatever errors Congress committed, the patriotic reader may be profoundly thankful for some things which they did not do in the location of a capital.
During the seven years when the subject was under serious discussion, i.e., between 1783 and 1790, the States of New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia. Maryland, and New Jersey were actively represented in the competition. Memorials were received from the Legislatures of New Jersey and Pennsylvania favoring some position on the banks of the Delaware. Afterwards the Susquehanna was hotly urged in place of the Potomac, named at an early date by the Virginians. Trenton and Annapolis, which had been tried and liked by the Continental Congress, were formally offered, and as quickly refused. Maryland in 1778, and Virginia in 1779, generously agreed, through their representatives in Congress, to cede any district 10 square miles within their borders which Congress might desire to occupy as the permanent seat of Government. Virginia asked the co-operation of Maryland in inducing Congress to accept the grant, and pledged herself to furnish a sum not to exceed $120,000 for the public buildings, provided Maryland would raise at least two-fifths of the total amount. Through the early debates of Congress on this subject there was an evident concurrence that the state or city which received the capital should do something to promote its prosperity.
I want honorable senators to note the feeling which distinguished the States which comprised the young Republic in this matter of selecting a site for its Capital.
– I intend to propose an amendment in the Bill to the effect that New South Wales shall build a railway to our Federal Capital.
– I. am glad to hear that statement, and will be pleased to assist the honorable senator. The quotation continues -
Thus Monroe moved that Maryland and Virginia should pay for the first Government buildings if Georgetown was chosen; Pennsylvania and Maryland were to guarantee the clear navigation of the Susquehanna in case the latter region should be preferred ; Delaware and Maryland were likewise to open a water communication between the Chesapeake and the Delaware. New York and Philadelphia offered their public buildings for the accommodation of the Government, and Baltimore started a subscription for new ones, payable if the Government came there.
It can be seen clearly that the universal desire of the young States was to facilitate by substantial sums of money and concessions of territory the selection of a Capital site by Congress. For ten years the Federal Government has been carried on at Philadelphia, just as in our case the Federal Government has been carried on at Melbourne. The quotation continues -
The attractive country near Philadelphia seemed to fulfil these requirements. On the 27th September, 1789, a motion to place the Capital in a district 10 miles square, at Germantown, Pennsylvania, passed both Houses of Congress, and was finally lost only because the S enate adjourned before having time to consider a slight amendment which the Representatives had offered to the original Bill. At the busy session in the spring of the following year, at New- York, the complexion and temper of both Houses were considerably altered, and the choice, which the Pennsylvanians had reason to expect, was lost to them for ever.
That should be a warning to the Mother State to take what has been offered to her, and not lose the chance as Pennsylvania did. I find that there was a” stinking fish “ party in the United States at that time, that was always ready to cry down the merits of the place selected for the Capital of the Republic.
– What does the honorable senator mean by a “ stinking fish “ party ?
– My definition of a “ stinking fish “ party is that it consists of men who are ever ready to find fault with the country in which they live for their own particular party purposes.
– Where does the honorable senator find such a party ?
– I will ask the honorable senator not to carry on such an examination.
– I do not believe that the honorable senator who asked the question belongs to such a discredited school as the “ stinking fish “ school.
– I ask Senator Lynch not to allow himself to be drawn away from the subject.
-Colonel Cameron. - We may suffer from ptomaine poisoning, if he does !
– At any rate, there was in the United States a party resembling a party which we find not only outside, but inside this Parliament, and which has been decrying Southem-Monaro in reference to its eligibility as a site for the Federal Capital. We have heard the site denounced as a blizzard-swept plain, and an uninhabitable barren region. There was the exact counterpart of such a party in the United States 100 years ago. The work from which I have quoted says -
The decision of Congress, while unpopular for a while, was soon regarded with indifference. The disappointed members loudly declared that they would rather not attend the sessions than go so far -
Just as Sir William Lyne, the Federal Treasurer, has been foolish enough to do in regard to Monaro.
Lampooners described the spot on the Potomac as a howling malarious wilderness. But as it was yet a paper city, the feelings of the inhabitants were not hurt. Meanwhile the gay and populous city of Philadelphia was temporary capital of the United States.
That is sufficient to show that there were difficulties attending the selection of the Capital in America, although there was not there any particular Mother State which considered that it had claims to have the Capital situated within its borders. What do we find on the site of that “ howling malarious wilderness ‘ ‘ to-day ? In the early part of 1800 - only 108 years ago - there were only a few Dutch settlers to be found there. To-day there is a population of 278,000 people. When the Washington site was agreed upon, there were fewer than 5,000,000 people in the United States. In the meantime, the population has increased to 80,000,000. Is that not a reasonable ground for asking honorable senators to listen to my humble appeal when I point out to them that the utmost water supply that can be obtained for a Capital city at Yass-Canberra would only be sufficient, according to one authority, for 100,000 people, and according to another for 158,000. I have noticed that the water supply possibilities of Yass-Canberra have grown almost like Jack’s beanstalk. We now have it stated that there is a water supply sufficient for 250,000 people, or even for 850,000. I, however, am not prepared to support a proposal that means planting the Federal Capital at a place which, according to the best evidence, has not water supply possibilities which would enable the city to grow. I appeal to honorable senators to recollect that there is an
Act of Parliament on the statute-book already declaring Dalgety as the selected site. If this question is again reopened, it may lead to an indefinite postponement of a. settlement. I ask honorable senators to remember that if Yass-Canberra is selected there may be no appeal from that decision, unless perhaps with the utmost difficulty and by mere chance. The whole question may be determined by the present decision. This is no mere experiment. We can afford to experiment in regard to other legislation. But we are now laying the foundations of a Capital city for this young nation. It becomes us to be circumspect, and not to allow a Legislature which represents 4,000,000 people to bow to the dictation of one element in one State, which has been the means of reversing a decision universally favoured by the rest of Australia. We are asked to reverse this decision in favour of a place that has all the disqualifications and drawbacks that a site for a Capital city could possibly possess, as far as I can judge. We are building for all time. We are building, not in the interests of a particular locality, or for a particular State, but for a continent. I particularly appeal to the New South Wales senators, and ask them to remember that if the Capital is situated at Dalgety, it will be in a cool region, where we can rear the best type of manhood, and where at the same time we shall be the means of opening up a new province for the State. I feel confident that the selection of Dalgety would conduce to a much greater advance for New South Wales than would the selection of a site in what I must regard as a mere suburb of Sydney. I ask those honorable senators who have not so far addressed themselves to this question, and especially those who in the past looked with a friendly eye on Dalgety, to remember their former attitude, and once more to cast a vote in favour of the most suitable site.
– I have listened to the speech of Senator Lynch with a great deal of interest. He has made a very strong appeal in favour of Dalgety, a site which he admits he has never seen. I do not know how he could work up so much enthusiasm for a place of which he has no knowledge. Now, I visited Dalgety, and I must acknowledge that I went there with the intention of finding evidence in its favour. From what I had read in the various newspapers, and especially in the Bulletin, I was prepared to vote for it. When I left Melbourne, I thought that I should see a place that would be something beyond the common. To my great surprise I found that it was indeed a place beyond the common, although I cannot use that term in a favorable sense. Various other honorable senators and members of the other Chamber were members of the party of which I formed one, and some of them made in my hearing remarks which will cause me to watch with a great deal of interest how they vote. I shall not mention any names, but I may say, though acknowledging that every honorable senator has a perfect right to vote as he thinks fit, that every man who was there and who expressed an opinion, was against Dalgety, and acknowledged that it was an impossible place for the Capital. I came to the conclusion that we could hardly select a more unfitting site. I have also visited Canberra and Tooma. Of the three places that I have seen, Canberra in my opinion is the best. If I had my way, however, I should try to place the Capital further north. I should like to see it at Armidale or Glen Innes, or on the tableland country. Tumut is also a suitable place, I believe, though I have not seen it, and cannot therefore speak in its praise. I do not intend to follow Senator Lynch’s example and praise a place unless I have seen it. Much has been said with regard to climate. Well, I visited Dalgety in the month of August last year, and I must say that the climate is one which I do not wish to have ‘experience of again. I believe that every person who was there was only ibo glad to get away. We were told when we complained of the wind, “Oh, you should have been here last week; the coach was blown over then “ !
– They were taking a rise out of the honorable senator.
– I was talking to people who had experienced what they described. As to the soil of Dalgety, we were shown the proposed site of the Capital, and saw there a mass of granite rock with 6 or 8 inches of soil on the top of it in parts. There was not a blade of grass to be seen upon it. There is a forest some distance away, but there is not a tree with a straight limb in it. Further west they have planted some trees of the pine species to guard the town from the blizzards, and these trees all stand at an angle of 45 degrees. At an hotel where we stayed there is a little bit of garden upon which an attempt was made to grow a few shrubs ; but the wind had blown them out by the roots, and had also blown away the little bit of soil, leaving the granite bare. ,If ever the soil around Dalgety is broken, by putting a plough into it, I am satisfied that the 6 or 8 inches of soil ‘on the top will all be blown away. In one part of the country we found that a new rabbit-proof fence had been put up. It was . perfectly new when we first saw it. But when we came back, a wind storm had shifted the leaves and sand until they were actually level with the top of the fence, and the tracks of the rabbits were to be seen on the top. This is the place that we are told is a splendid site for the Federal Capital ! We are assured by gentlemen who have never seen it that it is the best place in Australia ! Senator Lynch quotes Sir John Forrest and other authorities when it suits his purpose; but I am sure that if it did not suit his purpose he would not accept what they have said. A place with a climate like that of Dalgety is certainly not suitable, and we should not go there if we want to rear a hardy race of people. If honorable senators would like to see a piece of country where a hardy race could be- brought up I refer them to the tableland in Central Queensland. Young men from that part of the Commonwealth go to Great Britain to play football, and Rugby football at that. Eventually I believe the bulk of the population of Australia will be settled in the country between Central Queensland and tire northern half of New South Wales. At present more than half of the population of Australia is to be found in the two States named. If we select Dalgety for the Seat of Government . we shall find that within twenty-five years the people will say, “ We do not desire the . Seat of Government to remain in such a place. We do not wish to have to send our middle-aged people to die there. We ought to select a place, which has not such extremes of heat and cold.” I have some figures dealing with the two sites which I might quote. For instance, I find that the mean annual rainfall for twelve years of Dalgety is 19 inches, and of Yass-Canberra >8 inches. Honorable senators will notice the great difference.
– Is the latter figure correct ?
– It is here in print. We should select a place with a good rainfall and a mild climate. I admit that in winter the temperature of Yass-Canberra is not more than four or five degrees higher than that of Dalgety, but from a health point of view that is an important difference. A very great deal has been said about the Snowy River, and I do not hesitate to admit that it is a splendid river. We have been told to-night that rocks can be seen in the Cotter River, but rocks can also be seen in the Snowy River, and perhaps in every river iti Australia, with the exception of the inland streams that run over sandy beds. Let me quote something concerning the water supply of the YassCanberra district from a parliamentary paper dealing with that subject -
There are few cities in the world where such a magnificent supply of pure water is available. From an absolutely uninhabited catchment I have pointed out that on an average 85,000,000 gallons of water per day, or seventeen times the requirement of 50,000 people, runs down the Cotter River.
I take that from a report issued by Mr. de Burgh, and dated 9th October, 1908. I have other reports here by Sir John Forrest and others, but that from which I have quoted is the latest, and, in view of the position which he holds, we may accept the opinion of the writer with confidence. I have visited the Canberra site. It has been suggested by some honorable senators that it is a suburb of Sydney. It is 204 miles from Sydney, and honorable senators might just as well say that Manchester is a suburb of London. I have no wish that the Federal Parliament should meet in Sydney any more than in Melbourne. I believe Canberra to be an ideal site. There is a small plain there of good land, suitable for gardens, a lagoon which might be enlarged to any extent, low ridges all round for building sites, and the place is within S miles of the Murrumbidgee River. Honorable senators will not say that there is not in that river water enough to supply the requirements of a_ large population. In the town in North Queensland from which I come we have a” river which at certain seasons of the’ year is nothing but a sand bed, but the Water Board of the town, by the expenditure of £10,000 in the construction of a weir were able to conserve sufficient water to supply a population of 25,000 people for five years. The water is used for crushing mills, and all other city purposes, and by the Railway Department.
– The honorable senator refers to the Burdekin River.
– Yes. What is there to prevent the erection of dams at two or three places on the Cotter River or the construction of a weir on that river? We are told that the water-shed of that river covers a large area of something like 170 square miles, and’ that its head waters come from hills and mountains that are covered with snow for the greater part of the year. If we could secure that area, and I understand that the Government of New South Wales have promised to give it, it would be possible with a comparatively small expenditure to provide a neverending supply of pure; water, much of which could be conveyed to Canberra by gravitation. I visited the district in the month of August, and though the grass did not look too green, I-saw sheep there in fair condition, whilst at Dalgety I saw neither feed nor sheep. I should really like to know why some honorable senators are so strongly in favour of the selection of Dalgety. I certainly cannot be charged with suffering from the Sydney microbe. If the agreement made had been that the Capital should be located in Victoria, and not in New South Wales, I should have been just as ready to see that not merely its letter, but also its spirit, were observed. I was an elector of Queensland when the Constitution Bill was submitted to a referendum in that State, and I can inform honorable senators that it was Northern Queensland that carried Federation in that State.. Without any question of exact legal phraseology, it was thoroughly understood in Northern Queensland that the Federal Capital was to be established as nearly as possible within 100 miles of ‘Sydney. It was also understood that’ the people of New South Wales accepted that condition for the sake of peace, and in order to bring about Federation. We were outside the zone of feeling in the matter. <*ind could view it impartially. I visited Dalgety, intending, if possible, to vote for the selection of that site, but having seen the place, I am unable to do so, in the interests of my own State. Queensland will later on send to the Federal
Parliament a great many more members than she now sends, and in my opinion it would be inhuman to ask men born and reared in Queensland to attend Parliament in a place like Dalgety. Honorable senators frequently complain very bitterly of the cold in Melbourne in winter. They suffer from influenza and colds here, but in the matter of climate Melbourne is heaven compared with Dalgety. We have been told what took place, in connexion with the selection of the Capital of the United States, and something of the temperature of the capitals of various countries. It is true that the climate of London may be colder than the climate of Dalgety, but honorable senators should not forget that London is one of the warmest places in the United Kingdom. People going from the north of Scotland, or from the west coast of Ireland to London, enjoy a very much milder climate than that in which they have been accustomed to live. As I have already said, it is on. record that the mean annual rainfall at Dalgety for twelve years is 19 inches, and of YassCanberra 38 inches. Canberra is 1,500 feet above the sea level, with a milder climate than that of Dalgety. Whilst the whole of the Yass-Canberra district is suitable for farming, most of the settlers in the Southern Monaro district are sheepfarmers on comparatively large areas of country. The land in that district is poor, and fit only for sheep farming. Senator Stewart has made reference to the importance of giving effect to a policy of land nationalization in the Federal Territory, but if the honorable) senator and those with whom he is associated wish to make that policy a success they should select good land for the Federal Territory. We know that it is possible that if poor land such as that in the Southern Monaro district is selected, and the policy of land nationalization does not turn out as successful as some honorable senators hope, the answer will be, “ Yes, but see the kind of country in which the attempt to carry it out was made.” If honorable senators desired to discredit that policy they might best do so by selecting such a district as Southern Monaro in which to put it into practice. I am not opposed to Senator Stewart’s suggestion that an experiment should be made in land nationalization. But I say that that experiment should be made upon the best country that we can secure - not upon the most barren. In the vicinity of Buckley’s Crossing, at Dalgety, one cannot see anything but granite boulders, and for 30 miles distant .even pine trees will nor grow, except at an angle of 45 degrees. To the representatives of Queensland, Canberra would be much more accessible than Dalgety.
– Armidale would be still more accessible.
– I quite agree with the honorable senator. But we know that there is not the remotest chance of Armidale being selected. Further, Canberra can be linked up at a very small expenditure with a main line of railway. But if Dalgety be selected, a railway will have to be constructed which will cost an immense sum because of the very rough country which it will traverse. Outside of Cooma, the country is very sparsely populated, and there is practically no sign of cultivation. I am given to understand that if the Seat of Government be established at Dalgety, the railway from Goulburn to Cooma will practically have to be rebuilt. Although it is true that the lowest temperature ever recorded at Dalgety was 11 degrees as against 16 degrees at Canberra, it is a fact that low temperatures are more continuously maintained at the former place than at . the latter. We have been asked to heal the differences which exist between New South Wales and Victoria by approaching the consideration of this question in a Federal spirit. But have we approached it in that spirit? I say, unhesitatingly, that we have not. Accusations have been levelled against^ the people of Sydney which are altogether without warrant. Instead of endeavouring to settle this question, some honorable senators evidently desire to defer its determination as long as possible. If we decided upon the Seat of Government to-morrow, fully ten years would elapse before this Parliament could meet there. Plans would have to be prepared, surveys made, and all sorts of negotiations entered into. If for no other reason than that it is desirable to put an end to the ill feeling which existsbetween the two largest States of the Commonwealth, I maintain that we should endeavour to meet the people of New South Wales in a perfectly reasonable spirit. I have been assured by Mr. Watson that the Government of New South Wales are prepared - if this Parliament should select the Yass-Canberra site - to meet it in a most generous manner in regard to the area of the Federal Territory, and also to grant it access to the sea.
– That statement evidences Mr. Watson’s trusting nature.
– Having at one time been a member of the New South WalesParliament, I take it that Mr. Watson has a much better knowledge of the feeling of that State upon this question than I have. He did not attempt to mislead me in any way, because, before he made the statement to which I have referred, he wasaware that I intended to vote for the YassCanberra site. I appeal to honorable senators to rise to the occasion, and to sweepaway all provincial feeling by deciding upon a site which will be acceptable to thepeople of New South Wales. I am thoroughly satisfied that so long as we refuse to finally determine this question, the jealousies between New South Wales and Victoria will continue. It is quite true that Dalgety possesses a noble river; but that is all which can be urged in its favour. There are only two ways in which this question can be settled - an honorable and* an honest way, and a dishonorable anddishonest way.
– Which way does the honorable senator wish to settle it ?
– In an honorable, arid not a dishonorable way.
– Honorable to whom ?
– To the people of the Commonwealth and New South Wales.
– To the people of New South Wales principally.
– I care- no more for New South Wales than I do for any other State. But I say that if two honest men. had drawn up the agreement which was arrived at by the Conference of Premiers in respect to the Federal Capital, the whole thing would have been settled in an hour. I have heard a member of the other House declare that although the Constitution stipulates that the Seat of Government shall be in New South Wales, it does. not say when it shall be established there. I do not regard that as an honorable way of dealing with this question. Of course, we all know that the Melbourne newspapershave been shrieking over this matter. Whenthe vote upon it was taken in another place, what did we see? The representatives of
Victoria who dared to vote for YassCanberra were branded by one of the leading newspapers here as unpatriotic. I do not believe for a moment that those gentlemen will suffer for their action ; but they would certainly do so if the particular journal in question had its way. I have been informed that it is a common thing for the representatives of Victoria, on retiring each night, to pray that the Age next day will not say anything against them. When they awake each morning, I am assured that they thank God if that journal has not said anything against them. If these statements be true, the Victorian representatives must experience a very uneasy time.
– It depends upon how far distant are the elections.
– I do not vouch for the accuracy of these rumours. Before we are called upon to ballot for the site which we favour, I assume that a number of sites will be nominated. But in the end, our choice will probably lie between Canberra and Dalgety. Now, if a proper ballot is not to be taken upon this question, I would rather that we had no ballot at all. I certainly do not consider that we are called upon to ballot for the site of our choice if every honorable senator is to be obliged to sign his ballot paper, so that everybody else may know exactly how he voted. I am speaking in the interests of those honorable senators who fear the Age. But, unfortunately a ballot is proposed. Why should we not go to a division, and do without a ballot? I should prefer to vote openly, but in the interests of those who are afraid of the “thunderer,” I am willing to allow the matter to be decided by ballot. My only reason for agreeing to that course being taken is that the names of honorable senators will not be known.
– The names will be published.
– We are all elected by ballot, and no man is supposed to know how an elector votes.
– We are called upon to vote on this question, and the electors have a right to know how we voted.
– Exactly ; but we are not subject to the same pressure as are other honorable senators. We are not afraid to vote openly or by ballot for a site.
– I am not, I am sure.
– I do not accuse the honorable senator of being afraid, but I know that some honorable senators are.
– Who are they ?
– I must ask the honorable senator not to mention any names.
– I shall give the names to the honorable senator outside the chamber.
– I ask the honorable senator not to name any honorable senators.
– Then why does he make the accusation?
– If the honorable senator will follow me when I leave the chamber I will bring him face to face with those to whom I refer.
– The honorable senator has made a statement, and why should he not give the names now ?
– Because I have been directed by the President not to do so. I am obeying the Chair, but the honorable senator will not obey anybody.
– Order. The honorable senator must not make that remark.
– I withdraw it, sir. I propose to read a letter which I received yesterday, and which I have shown to representatives of Queensland. They know the writer, and one of them received a letter to the same effect. It comes from a gentleman who is opposed to me politically. He has fought very hard against me at every election, and in the interests of the Labour Party. But on the 31st October he addressed this letter to me from Nowra -
Dear Mr. Sayers,
Re’ the Federal Capital Site. - I know Jervis Bay well; it is a splendid place for a port; everything that could be required, and no vested interest.
Climate; perfect anchorage; fresh-water lagoon almost fathomless; and sandstone in abundance.
If this is to be a Federal port none better exists in Australia.
With fair concession Yass-Canberra is better than Dalgety. The latter place is almost unbearable in the winter.
That opinion of the place comes from a native of New South Wales, from whom I have had no previous communication.
– What qualifies him to speak as an authority?
– He is a bushman who has travelled all’ over Australia. He has been in Western Australia, and in nearly all the other States, and as he is about forty years of age, I think that he is able to give an accurate estimate.
– What about the Tumut site, concerning which the honorable senator has received some letters?
– I have seen Canberra, but not Tumut. I should like to see Tumut before I was called upon to vote, but, judging from what I have heard, I am prepared to vote for Tumut if it is to be the selected site. I have quoted this letter for what it is worth. The Sydney Daily Telegraph of 28th September gives in cubic feet the volume of water discharged per second in the Cotter River, namely, in February, 34; in March, 24 ; in April, 55 ; in May, 68 ; in June, no; in July, 228; in August, 356; and in September, 645, up to the 16th. If any man tells me that a river which discharges a volume like that for eight months of the year cannot supply more than 50,000 persons, his statement is absurd on its very face. It will provide a supply sufficient for more than 500,000 persons. These figures bear out my statement that the daily flow of the river is 85,000,000 gallons.
– Is that the average flow for the year?
– I do not say that it is. If two men are sent into the bush with a certain instruction, they are sure to disagree, and it is the same with experts when they are called upon to supply any reports. I take all these reports with a grain of salt. I do not think that there is any comparison between Canberra and Dalgety. I visited the latter site with a fairly large party, but I did not hear one of them advocate it as a site. On the contrary, I heard a number of them say that it was impossible as a site. They are entitled to change their minds if they have received further information since then. I have heard honorable senators on this side told that they have no right to vote for Canberra because four years ago they voted for Dalgety. I believe that the former site was not heard of then. When another site is proposed, and it is urged that it will be a more suitable one in the interests of the Commonwealth, those honorable senators are entitled to reconsider the matter. How do they compare with those who made a visit only last August, and expressed themselves as being opposed to Dalgety on the ground that it was too inhospitable, and quite impossible as a site, but who now declare that they intend to vote for Dalgety as against Canberra? I do not blame any honorable senator for changing his mind if he sees fit, but I do not think that he should cast stones at other honorable senators because they have changed their minds after the lapse of four years. In one case the senators had seen both Dalgety and Canberra, but in the other case the senators had not seen Canberra, as it had not been mentioned when the claims of Dalgety were urged four years ago. I went to Canberra with the intention of supporting Dalgety from what I had read, but when I saw Canberra, I altered my mind. I suppose that if I had not seen Canberra, I might be induced now to vote for the selection of Dalgety, but having seen it, I cannot do so. I hope that we shall select a site which will prove tobe the best for the whole of the Commonwealth.
– That is Dalgety.
– I believe that YassCanberra will be chosen, and that by that means the difficulties existing between the two large States will be settled. I consider that in making the selection we shall be discharging a Federal duty. Senator Needham has often asked us to approach this question in a Federal spirit, but he is approachingit in an un-Federal spirit. He knows that by voting for Dalgety he will hang up the matter for years to come.
– The honorable senator knows that that will be the case, and a great many honorable senators are voting, not because they have anything against Yass-Canberra, but to insure delay
– Is the honorable senator in order, sir, in saying that in giving my vote, I am actuated by a desire to hang up this question?
– If the honorable senator did make such a charge against: Senator Needham, he was not in order, because it is not permissible to impute to honorable senators motives which do not” actuate them.
– He singled me out.
– With all due respect to you, sir, I did not mention the name of Senator Needham.
– The honorable senator looked at him.
– Perhaps I looked in his direction, but I was speaking of honorable senators generally, not individually..
A short time ago, sir, he asked me to name certain honorable senators, and you ruled that I could not, but now he turns round and states that I named him. 1 would not think for a moment of disobeying the Chair in that way, and I am surprised at the honorable senator suggesting that I would. I may have looked in that direction, but if I did it was at Senator Stewart that I looked. In my opinion those who vote for Dalgety will be doing wrong from the point of view of the interests of the Commonwealth. Furthermore, a decision in that direction would mean hanging up the settlement of the Capital site question for years and keeping open the present sore between the two States which are principally interested.
– They are not principally interested.
– I say that they are. New South Wales senators have been villified for the action that they have taken. We have heard a great deal about the promotion of the Federal spirit. Let us observe the Federal spirit by settling this question definitely. We know very well that for many years it has been a bone of contention between two States.
– That is not so.
– The leading newspaper in this State has said with regard to those Victorian members who voted against Dalgety, that they were unpatriotic Victorians. I want to know whether that is not an evidence of soreness between two States. Surely Senator Trenwith does not put himself up above the Age newspaper as an interpreter of the public opinion of this State. I hope that he will read and ponder the leading articles of that journal. The ill-feeling to which I have referred is extending. If we can settle the Capital site question, I believe that the breach will be healed. The Yass-Canberra site would be acceptable to the people of New South Wales. I have an assurance that if the choice of the House of Representatives is indorsed by the Senate the New South Wales Government will deal with us in an open and liberal manner in reference to the area to be granted to us. If we do not like the site after we have chosen it, we can change the selection.
– Shift it again ?
– Certainly. How many times was a change made in Canada before the Ottawa site was finally selected ?
There is nothing to say that we should not make a change if we find a better site than Yass-Canberra.
– We might ultimately get up to Charters Towers.
– That would be a very good place to go to. The climate is unequalled in Australia, and we breed the best men in the Commonwealth there. If a vote of mine could conduce to the selection of Charters Towers, there is no doubt as to what my decision would be. I can only again appeal to honorable senators to take this opportunity of settling the question once and for all.
Debate (on motion by Senator Gray) adjourned.
Labour Difficulties at Broken Hill - Action of New South Wales Government.
Motion (by Senator Keating) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
.- A matter has come to my knowledge which is, I think, of great importance from the point of view of the Federal Government and Parliament, as well as to the people of Australia as a whole. It has been recognised that there is a probability of unsettled industrial conditions in a portion of New South Wales. I refer to Broken Hill. I believe that the difficulty has been aggravated to some extent by the action of the New South Wales Government in sending detachments of police to that city. But there is something worse than that, although the information does not appear to have been obtained by the press. I am informed that the New South Wales Government have sent a quantity of arms and ammunition through Victoria and South Australia to Broken Hill, to be used by somebody.
– What to do?
– I do not know. Arms and ammunition are generally used to shoot with. There are no sparrows round about Broken Hill, so that they cannot be wanted to shoot those birds.
– Is the honorable senator’s information official ?
– If the honorable senator desires to see the “ peace, order, and good government “ of the Commonwealth of Australia maintained, he ought seriously to consider a question of this description. I have risen for the purpose of asking the Government whether they have any knowledge of the facts that I have stated. Ialso desire to inquire whether the Government have any opinion as to whether it is not a violation of the Constitution for any State to keep armed forces for intimidation or for any other purpose. I wish to know whether the Government will make inquiries as to the purposes for which these arms and ammunition are to be used. Are they to be used to intimidate the mine-owners of Broken Hill?
– That is probably the object !
– Are they to be used to induce the mine-owners to comply with the reasonable demands of the miners in that city ?
– Whatever they may be?
– Yes, whatever they may be ; or are they to be used for the purpose of coercing the miners to comply with the reasonable or unreasonable demands of the mine-owners? Personally, I do not believe that- the mine-owners or mine managers at Broken Hill, and the members of the A.M. A., are not capable of adjusting their differences amicably. Unless some substantial reason can be given, or some person or persons can furnish a satisfactory explanation, as to why arms and ammunition, which ought to be under the control of the Commonwealth, have been despatched from New South Wales through two other States of the Commonwealth to Broken Hill, I wish to know why the Commonwealth should not take action in the matter. I believe that what has been done will tend to create greater friction in Broken Hill than could have happened if the people were allowed to settle their own differences. I desire the Minister of Home Affairs to lay the position before the Government, whichI trust will see that inquiries are made with the object of finding out on what authority the New South Wales Government have done anything of the kind. I have no desire to belabour this question or to create a scene here.
– The honorable senator is trying his best to do it.
– Order !
– Is that a fairthing to say ?
– As soon as the interjection was uttered I called the honorable senator who made it to order, and I hope that Senator McGregor will regard the incident as closed.
– I did not hear what Senator Pulsford said at the time, and am sorry that he should impute such a motive to me. I want to see everything done in Australia peacefully, and tending to results agreeable to every section of the community. But I do not want intimidation of any description to be exercised. It is for that reason that I have brought the matter under the notice of the Government. I consider that it is their duty to inquire into the facts that I have stated.
– While indorsing the views expressed by the leader of the Labour Party opposite, and hoping that everything that is possible will be done in the interests of the “ peace, order, and good government “ of the Commonwealth of Australia, which should be the first consideration not only of the State Government, but of the Federal Government, I desire to ask whether the Minister, at the same time, will make inquiries as to the utterances of a person named Mr. Mann, who, at Broken Hill, has given expression to the most revolutionary sentiments tending to riotous behaviour, and to incite the people of Broken Hill to pilfer the bakers’ shops and to violate the law in almost every detail connected with the workers there.
– That statement is not correct.
– Order !
– If there is an outbreak at Broken Hill the blame will rest with those who have atrociously and out-spokenly advised the men there to violate the law of Australia. Whilst the Government are inquiring into the details, as very properly suggested- by Senator McGregor, I hope they will at the same time make the fullest inquiry into the matter to which I have referred.
– I think the Senate has reason to be grateful to Senator McGregor for bringing this important matter to our notice at this juncture. It has been stated in the press, and I believe the statement is true, that a force of fifty armed police has been sent from New South Wales, through Victoria and South Australia, to Broken Hill. As Senator McGregor has very properly pointed out, the movement of armed forces through the States is a matter of Commonwealth, rather than of State concern. Whilst the States Governments are charged with the management of their own local police forces, and the regulation of their movements within each State for State purposes, the movement of a large body of fifty armed police through two or more Stares of the Commonwealth becomes a matter of Federal concern, and one of which the Commonwealth Government should take cognisance.
– The New South Wales Government sent arms and ammunition to Broken Hill ahead of the police force.
– I am not aware of all the details. I am aware only that it is a matter of current news that police, arms, and ammunition have been sent to Broken Hill in the way I have described. Let me point out further that the beginning, or what might be the beginning, of an industrial dispute whose ramifications, to use Senator Gray’s word, might extend throughout the Commonwealth, is also a matter of Commonwealth concern. Another statement has appeared in the press, which I think will bear out the view I intend to put before the Senate. We are told that the chairman of directors of one of the Broken Hill mining companies has made the significant statement that he did not think it would pay the mine-owners at the present time to force on a struggle. I need not elaborate that statement.
– To reduce wages.
– Just so; to take any action which would be likely to force on a struggle. It is clear that the chairman of directors referred to knew at the time he made the statement that it was contemplated by other mine-owners at Broken Hill to take some such action. The action of the New South Wales Government is also a clear indication of the fact that the mine-owners of Broken Hill had applied to the State Government to send along a police force, in anticipation of the struggle which they intended to force on. That is a plain reading of the facts, so far as we have any knowledge of them. The Commonwealth is charged with the duty of dealing with industrial disputes that spread from one State to another; but it is also charged with the duty of preventing such disputes. That is distinctly provided for in our Constitution. I say that at the very beginning of such an industrial trouble, which might spread throughout the Commonwealth, it is the bounden duty of the Commonwealth Government to take .cognisance of what is going on, and to strive, by every means in their power, to prevent any action likely to precipitate a disastrous struggle of that kind.
– This dispute 13 bound to extend to Port Pirie in South Australia.
– Such a struggle would be a calamity at this juncture. “ It is a specific duty cast upon the Commonwealth Government for the preservation of peace, order and good government, to prevent, by every means in their power, any action which would precipitate such a disaster. I maintain,, with Senator McGregor, that the movement of such a large armed force - evidently at the instigation of the mine-owners who desire to provoke such a struggle, and before any such struggle has been contemplated by the men, who have so far peacefully arranged their troubles with the mineowners - is an action calculated to precipitate disaster and calamity upon the Commonwealth, and the Federal Government is in duty bound to take cognisance pf it, and to endeavour to prevent it. What are the Commonwealth Government going to do? If - they permit the New South Wales Government to move fifty armed’ police through Victoria and South Australia to Broken Hill, they might just as. well permit that Government to call up a. volunteer force, of 5,000. men, aim therewith rifles and bayonets, and send them along in the same way. I say that the- Commonwealth Government will betray their trust and be false to their duty to the Commonwealth if they fail to take such action as will prevent anything of the kind being- done.
Senator KEATING (Tasmania- Minister of Home Affairs [10.2]. - With regard to the remarks made by Senator McGregor on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate, I may say that personally, I know very little of the circumstances to which the honorable senator referred. When he first addressed himself to the motion, I was almost at a loss toimagine to what particular circumstances he was referring; but as he developed his remarks, I noticed that they had reference torecent occurrences at Broken Hill, in New South Wales, and to some action taken by the Government of that State in order to- preserve peace and good order within the State. 1 am not in a position to say what actually has been done of the character referred to by Senator McGregor, or to speak as to the constitutionality of the action which he asks the Government to look into. Speaking offhand, I can only say that there is a provision in the Constitution which makes it impossible for any State to raise a naval or military force. This prohibition goes no further than that, and there is no inhibition upon any State maintaining any organization for the preservation of peace and order within its boundaries, consistent with its obligations under the Constitution.
– But it must keep the force within its own borders.
– Whether anything further has been done, I am not in a position to say. Senator Gray, dealing with the remarks of Senator McGregor has urged upon the Government the desirableness of including in any inquiry into the constitutionality of the State Government’s action, an investigation of remarks said to have been made by a certain private individual at Broken Hill. I point out to the honorable senator that that must necessarily be a matter confined to the State. As a matter of fact, we are bound, under the Constitution, to preserve any State from invasion, and we are also bound to aid any State, upon the application of the Executive Government of that State, in the maintenance of peace and order within its borders. That clearly goes to show that so far as the State is concerned, its responsibility in that regard in not entirely surrendered to the Commonwealth, because the application must come directly from the State to the Commonwealth before the Commonwealth can. intervene within the borders of the State for the maintenance of peace and good order. I can only say, in reply to the remarks made by honorable senators who have addressed themselves to the motion, that I shall see that my honorable colleagues have the representations made put fully before them. I can also assure honorable senators generally, whatever views they may hold, that “the Government, while fully recognising, and respecting, the obligations and responsibilities of the States Governments in regard to the maintenance of good order within their own territories, will not be unmindful of its own duty with regard to the maintenance of peace and good order within the constitutional limits of the Commonwealth.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.5 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 4 November 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1908/19081104_senate_3_48/>.