3rd Parliament · 3rd Session
The President took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– Some time ago I called the attention of the Minister of Home Affairs to the fact that certain tradesmen and other persons at Petersburg had applied for telephonic convenience, and paid their money, and that the work had not been completed, and he assured me that it would be done as early as possible. As the busy season is approaching I desire to know whether the work has been done or is likely to be done quickly ?
– I am not acquainted with the progress of the work ; but if my honorable friend will ask the question later in the day, I may have the desired information. Otherwise, I hope to have it on the next day of sitting.
Motion (by Senator Henderson) agreed to-
That the report from the Printing Committee presented to the Senate on 5th November, 1908, be adopted.
The Clerk laid upon the table
Return to order of the Senate of 8th October, 1908-
Customs Department : Officials employed and salaries paid.
Debate resumed from 5th November (vide page 2019), on motion by Senator Best -
That the Senate do forthwith proceed to determine the opinion of senators as to the site for the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth.
That the following be the method of selectionof the site, and that so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Senate from adopting such method : -
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, without debate, 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 (be paper.
The ballot-papers shall then be examined 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 anabsolute 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 remaining 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 Croft had moved, by way of amendment-
That the first sub-paragraph of paragraph 2 be amended by leaving out the following 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.”
.- When we adjourned for dinner last evening 1 was referring to the attitude taken up by Senator W. Russell, and the speech which he delivered a day or two ago on the question of the Capital site. He said that at the last Federal elections in South Australia little or no mention was made of that subject, and that, therefore, he came to the conclusion that he was given a free hand in regard to any sites which might be suggested.
– That is a misrepresentation, because I said nothing of the kind.
– The reason, I think, why questions were not submitted to the honorable senator and other candidates was because the people of every State in the Union, with the exception, perhaps, of a. small minority in New South Wales, were strongly of the opinion that the question had been settled, and settled definitely for all time.
– Very few knew anything about that.
– It was settled by an Act of Parliament.
– Exactly. Senator W. Russell took the first opportunity at his disposal of visiting not all the sites, but some of them. The probability is that the first site he journeyed to see was Dalgety.
– At the first chance I got.
– Prior to making that journey the honorable senator had had many talks with his fellow-senators belonging to the Labour Party of South Australia, and they pointed out to him in graphic language the magnificence of the Dalgety site, the never-failing Snowy River, the advantages to be derived from an inexhaustible water supply, and the suitability of that spot from all aspects for the purpose for which it was sec apart two or three years ago. The honorable senator said that when he undertook the journey he was moved by no other motive or consideration than to give a conscientious vote in favour of what in his judgment, was the most suitable site not for NewSouth Wales, but for the whole of Australia.
– I am like that yet.
– But when the honorable senator arrived within forty or fifty miles of Dalgety he experienced a high wind, and, because a little effort was necessary to keep his hat on, he at once became prejudiced against that site. He said, “Ah, me, what a dreadful day!”
– Would the honorable senator’s get blown off?
– As the honorable senator journeyed onwards I expect that he was making complaints to the driver of the waggonette in which he was riding that it was unlike the days he experienced in the State which he represents. We know the tall tarradiddles which drivers relate to new chums. Recognising at a glance that the honorable senator was a new chum to Dalgety, the driver at once told him a tarradiddle. “ True,” he said, “ it is windy, but a few days ago it blew so hard that it knocked over a coach and its driver.” But he did not mention whether they were destroyed or blown into the Snowy River.
– Or the nearest “pub.”
– Or into the nearest “ pub.”
– Surely I am not worth so much attention.
– I am going: to deal with the honorable senator before I finish.
– I think that this is in very bad form.
– I shall have a few words to say in respect of the honorable senator which perhaps may be considered in good form.
– All right, I understand that the honorable senatoris now “ stone-walling.”
– The honorable senator should not understand anything of the kind.
– Order. I ask the honorable senator not to interject.
– Being blinded and prejudiced because of the peculiar weather on that particular day, Senator W. Russell only saw Dalgety through certain spectacles. He was not able to see a sheep, and all the rabbits were invisible.
– A live sheep, I said.
– Probably the rabbits and the sheep which were at one time in existence were blown into the Snowy River, on the day when, according to the driver, a terrible blizzard overtook a coach and its driver at Dalgety. Then the honorable senator saw the Snowy River. He was struck with the magnificence of that stream, but in a hurry-scurry manner he looked hither and thither and could not see any land suitable, in his opinion, for closer settlement, . or for village blockers. He said, “As a farmer, I speak to the members of the Senate, because I know that they are all friends of the farmer.” Are we to understand that the population of the Federal Territory is to be composed wholly of farmers or village settlers and blockers? That the honorable senator is not a judge of land is evidenced by the fact that his opinion is in total contradistinction to the opinions of experts in regard to the land, its possibility and its producing power. He had no opportunities of closely examining the land which is suggested for the site. He talked of the farmer. He said, “ I have had fifty-five years’ experience of farming, but I do not pose as an expert.”
SenatorW. Russell. - Fifty-three years’ experience.
– Well, if the honorable senator has had fifty-three years’ experience, and does not pose as an expert, he ought to know something about farming and soil.
– The honorable senator does not give me credit for it.
– I do not give the honorable senator credit for it, because his statements to the Senate go to prove that he knows little or nothing about the possibilities of the Dalgety site in regard to land cultivation. Let us consider those possibilities as they are outlined in a supplement to the report of the Royal Commission on the sites for the Seat of Government. I hope that the honorable senator will remain whilst I make a few remarks in that regard. The report says -
The following table, compiled from information supplied by the Government Statistician and the Director of Agriculture, shows the acreage under crop and the average yield per acre of crops grown in the Dalgety district, comprising the counties of Wellesley, Auckland, and Wallace.
The acreage under wheat was 1,763 acres, and under hay, 588 acres. The average yield per acre was 12.3 bushels.
– That is better than South Australia.
– I shall give the yields in South Australia and some of the other States. Let it be remembered that I am referring to the wheat yield in a district which Senator W. Russell tells us will not fatten a sheep. I shall show, later, that some portions of the district carry two and three sheep to the acre.
– On natural grasses?
– On natural grasses and by other means. So far, we have only begun land cultivation. I expect that, in the future Federal Territory, we shall adopt scientific and up-to-date methods, and shall demonstrate the fact that what are regarded as poor soils can be made to produce very much better crops than are expected from them to-day. To continue, let me say that the yield of oats is given at 18 bushels to the acre, and of potatoes at 3.1tons per acre.
– For how many acres ?
– The average quoted is for 554 acres; but no one can doubt that potatoes will grow well in many parts of the district. I have said that the average yield of wheat per acre at Dalgety, in 1902-3, was 12.3 bushels. Let us now see what was the average yield in Victoria. Quoting from Coghlan, I find that the average yield in this State, for 1901-2, was 6.91 bushels; for 1902-3, 1.29 bushels.
– That was an abnormal year.
– That is so; the very low yield was no doubt largely due to the drought. In 1903-4, with an exceptional season, and one of the best we have ever experienced in this State, the average yield of wheat per acre was 14.49 bushels. In 1904-5, the average yield was 9.26 bushels; in 1905-6, 11.31 bushels; and in 1906-7, 11.13 bushels. So that, with only one exception, the average yield of wheat per acre during the years referred to was lower in “Victoria than at Dalgety, the district which Senator W. Russell invites us to believe is unsuitable for wheat cultivation, for closer settlement, and, in fact, for any purpose, and particularly for a Capital site.
– The honorable senator has said that it is not fit to live in.
– Yes. Now let us take the wheat yields for New South Wales as a whole. In 1901-2, the average yield of wheat per acre was 10.64 bushels; in 1902-3, when there was a very severe drought, it was 1.24 bushels; in 1903-4, the yield was 17.51 bushels; in 1904-5, 9.27 bushels; in 1905-6, 10.69 bushels; and in 1906-7, 11.69 bushels. So that, during the years mentioned, the average yield for the State of New South Wales was less than the yield at Dalgety, with the exception of that for 1903-4, when there was an exceptional season and a magnificent harvest. In Queensland, during the same years, . with the exception of 1901-2-
– Order! I can understand the honorable senator comparing the yields for the whole of New South Wales with those of Dalgety, Canberra, or any other proposed site, but I should like to know how he proposes to connect his references to the wheat production of Queensland with the question now before the Senate?
– Shall I not be in order, sir, in replying to statements intended to show that Dalgety is an altogether unsuitable site on the ground that the soil is non-productive?
– If that be the honorable senator’s object, I shall not interfere with him. I understand that it is his purpose to show that the Dalgety district is more productive than some other portions of the Commonwealth.
– That is my object. I am showing that the average yield of wheat at Dalgety was greater than the average for most of the States during a series of years.
– How many years does the average quoted for Dalgety cover?
– One year, 1902-3. That was a bad year, in all the States, and the average yield was exceptionally low. The seasons were so bad during that year that honorable senators will remember that many persons interested in agriculture and commerce were driven to the Insolvency Court, and yet in that year Dalgety had an average yield of wheat per acre of 12.3 bushels, as against an average yield of less than 2 bushels to the acre in most of the States. The average quoted for Dalgety is higher than that of Queensland, except in two years during the period I have referred to. I take now the wheat yield of South Australia. In 190 1-2 the average yield per acre in that State from .which Senator W. Russell comes was 4.60 bushels; in 1902-3, 3.64 bushels; in 1903-4, 7.72 bushels; in 1904-5, 6.53 bushels; in 1905-6, 11.43 bushels; and in 1906-7, 10.19 bushels. So that, according to Coghlan, in no year during the period quoted was the average wheat yield of South Australia, which is supposed to be the harvest State of the Commonwealth, anything like that I have quoted for Dalgety in the worst year of the period. In the worst year the average yield of wheat was higher at Dalgety than the average yield in the best year in South Australia.
– That may have been the best year at Dalgety. We should know whether it was or not before we can estimate the value of the honorable senator’s statistics.
– If there be anything in that suggestion, it is an unanswerable argument in favour of the contention that Dalgety is favoured with good . seasons. When nearly every other part of Australia was stricken with drought, Dalgety had a better harvest than that experienced in most other parts of the Commonwealth, even in good seasons. In Western Australia the average yield of wheat per acre, in 1901-2, was 10.10 bushels; in 1902-3, 10.67 bushels; in 1903-4, 13.6 bushels; in 1904-5, 11. 6 bushels; in 1905-6, 11.83 bushels; and in 1906-7, 11.02 bushels. During the last few years there have been good yields in Western Australia, but in only one year ‘ during the period quoted was the average higher than that of Dalgety. In Tasmania the average yield for any year of the period quoted was higher than that quoted for Dalgety. I propose now to deal with the average yield per acre of oats. I have stated that at Dalgety in the year mentioned it was 1 8 bushels to the acre - j 902-3.
– That was the year of the worst drought Australia ever saw.
– That is so, and I am endeavouring to point out to Senator Fraser and others interested in YassCanberra that, although that was the year in which we experienced one of the worst droughts known in the history of Australia, there was an exceptional harvest at Dalgety.
– There was a spot or two in Victoria, of which the same might be said.
– In 1902-3 the average yield of oats per acre in New South Wales was 8.18 bushels. In 1903-4, 24.26 bushels; in 1904-5, 16.13 bushels, in 1905-6, 22.91 bushels; in 1906-7, 24.89 bushels. Comparing the yield at Dalgety with the yield in the State as a whole, it will be admitted that it was a very high one. These figures prove that unless Senator W. Russell was blinded by prejudice, or had no opportunity to make a minute examination of the country, he did not thoroughly understand the question he was discussing when he condemned the Dalgety site as unsuitable on the ground of unproductiveness.
– There might be a few places where good yields were obtained. But Senator W. Russell was speaking of the general character of the country.
– I shall deal with the general character of the country. I ask honorable senators to remember that I am not going into the realms of theory in regard to the possibilities of the land at Dalgety for production. I am giving statistical information, which cannot be contradicted by the warmest supporters of YassCanberra.
– Senator Fraser will contradict the honorable senator presently.
– There is sufficient ground, but I do not think any one will trouble to contradict the honorable senator.
– I do not suppose that any facts or figures I quote or any arguments I use on this question will influence any honorable senator opposite. The Cotter Creekers have the numbers. They have been creaking and croaking round this building during the past four or five years.
– Oh, indeed. I am frightened.
– Evidently two or three honorable senators have been influenced, and, in a measure, hypnotized upon this matter. One or two Victorian representatives are in that position. As a Victorian, if we are to have a fight in respect of the Federal Capital, I intend to do all that I can to secure the best site in the interests of Australia.
– The honorable senator is very patriotic.
– At any rate, I believe in standing by the principles which I advocate. Seeing that Parliament has approved of the site for the permanent Seat of Government, I hold that a small section of Victorian representatives should not be permitted to undo its choice.
– This is not the first time in history that a Parliament has repealed its own legislation.
– I am aware that if Acts of Parliament were never repealed there would be no necessity for parliamentary institutions. The present, however, is the first occasion in the history of the Commonwealth upon which an effort has been made by one or two newspapers, and certain interested persons in New South Wales, to set aside the deliberate choice of this Parliament.
– Poor man.
– I think that the boot is upon the other foot. When I was interrupted by an honorable senator opposite, I was dealing with the average yield of oats per acre at Dalgety.
– We are not going to build a Federal Capital for the purpose of growing oats.
– That is perfectly true. Yet that was the only argument used in favour of Canberra by Senator W. Russell. He declared that because the land around Dalgety would not grow oats and wheat, and because rabbits were invisible there, the site was altogether an impossible one. I am endeavouring to show that it will grow oats and wheat.
– When rabbits are visible they can be destroyed, but when they are invisible it is impossible to destroy them.
– Probably on the occasion of Senator W. Russell’s visit to Dalgety, the rabbits were over at the SnowyRiver partaking of liquid refreshments.
I have already pointed that the average yield of oats per acre at Dalgety compares very favorably with the average for the whole of New South Wales. As a matter of fact, the yield per acre in Victoria during two or three years was lower than that at Dalgety. In Queensland during 1902-3, the yield of oats per acre was 6.67 bushels, and in 1905-6, it was 10.99 bushels. In this connexion it is interesting to note the average yield of South Australia, and this fact, I think, should have some weight with Senator W. Russell.
– He was afraid of being converted, and has, therefore, left the chamber.
– I regret his sudden exit. Evidently he cannot stand criticism. Why he should be so supersensitive upon this matter is to me inexplicable. According to Coghlan, the average yield of oats in South Australia is not anything like the average obtained at Dalgety. During 1901-2 the average yield per acre in South Australia was 13.54 bushels, in 1902-3 it was 12.34 bushels, in 1903-4 15.69 bushels, in 1904-5 10.98 bushels, in 1905-6 15.26 bushels, and in 1906-7 15.72 bushels. So that the average yield in that State does not approach the average yield at Dalgety. With the exception of the year 1905-6, when the average was 18.07 bushels per acre - almost the same as that at Dalgety - the same remark is applicable to Western Australia. If my remarks are unpalatable to the advocates of Yass-Canberra., I have a certain amount of sympathy for them. I am not making this speech with the idea of converting any of those who have already made up their minds upon this question, but with a view to placing before the Senate certain facts regarding the quality of the land in the vicinity of Dalgety. I am told that in this Chamber there are nineteen Cotter Creekers who are absolutely immovable.
– Except by a flood.
– If they are relying upon a flood at Cotter Creek, I am afraid they will be disappointed. They will have to wait until the crack of doom, because a flood has never yet occurred there. For many months of the year that miserable trickle, in some parts, is so polluted that its water is undrinkable. At any rate, those who partake of it run very great risks. In New South Wales the average yield of potatoes for 1901-2 was 1.50 tons per acre, in 1902-3 it was 1.58 tons, in 1903-4 2.72 tons, in 1904-5 2.04 tons, in 1905-6 1.89 tons, and in 1906-7 3.12 tons. So that in only one year was the average return in New South Wales greater than the average at Dalgety, which was 3.1 tons per acre. In Victoria in 1901-2 it was 3.13; 1902-3, 3.40; in 1903-4, 3.43; 1904-5, 1.98; 1905-6, 2.58; 1906-7, 3.01. Even in Victoria, which is considered by some people in New South Wales to be a cabbage garden, better adapted than most States for the growing of potatoes, the average yield is only a little higher than the average per acre at Dalgety.
– What kind of patriots do they grow there?
– Those who live in and around Dalgety are intensely enthusiastic about its beauty, the quality of its soil, and its possibilities. Those who have lived there for a considerable period look the very picture of health. They are magnificent specimens of Australian manhood.
– An old fellow of 103 years of age had to chop wood to let off some of his superfluous energy.
– If an old man was seen chopping wood and doing it vigorously, it was a splendid advertisement for Dalgety. The prices paid for land in the different States vary widely. But I do not suppose that in any State higher prices have been paid than in some portion of the Western District of Victoria. Land has been sold there at as much as£130 per acre. Land adjacent to Lancefield and in some portions of the Western District is largely utilized for potato growing. When we remember that some of the best land in this State is used for that purpose, and that, nevertheless, the average yield is only a little higher than the average at Dalgety, that in itself is a strong reason for regretting that when Senator W. Russell visited the place he should so quickly have arrived at the conclusion that he did as to its unsuitability in respect of cultivation. It seems remarkable that he, above all others - and I understand that it is his vote that is going to settle this question - should have come to a wrong conclusion, drawn from a hasty visit to Dalgety. I have now dealt with wheat, oats, and potatoes. The supplement to the report of the Royal Commission shows that one of the witnesses stated that twenty or twenty -five years ago he used to grow a great deal of wheat, obtaining an average of about 12 bushels to the acre. He stated that the yield of oats was from 25 to 30 bushels to the acre. Barley was grown in small patches up to and above 40 bushels, and potatoes to the extent of 3 to 4 tons per acre. The report goes on to say that vegetables grow well, and fruits of various kinds, particularly apples, pears, cherries, apricots and peaches, though late frosts sometimes do considerable damage to the fruit crops. It is not unusual for late frosts to damage the fruit in other parts of Australia.
– The same occurs at Ballarat.
– We have late frosts which damage the fruit in many parts of Victoria. The report also states that the temperature at night is frequently as low as 26 to 30 degrees, but the sunny days which follow frosty nights in winter are warm and pleasant. I think that I have amply demonstrated that the reasons which actuate Senator W. Russell in condemning this site are inconclusive. But we ought not to be seriously concerned about its suitability from a farming aspect. We ought to take a comprehensive view and vision of the future Federal city, which ought to embrace something beyond village settlements and homestead blocks. Dalgety affords better opportunities for demonstrating the possibilities of what a great city can be than does any other site that has been considered. We shall have to erect buildings, and they should not be jerry- built. They should be buildings like the Capital itself, capable of enduring for many years. Facilities for the erection of such buildings are in abundance at Dalgety. The reports show that there is an abundance of clay suitable for making bricks, and that hand-made bricks of an excellent quality have been produced. There is plenty of good sand and other material for making concrete. All the facilities for building are within measurable distance, and easy of access. They can be obtained at a very small cost. It has been said that Dalgety is a bleak, barren place, and destitute of timber. All sorts of misrepresentations have been made on that subject with a view of producing a false impression in the mind of the people in regard to the timber potentialities of the country. In regard to Yass- Canberra, speaking of timber, the report of Mr. de Burgh, dated September, 1907, says -
I understand that in the ranges from which the Murrumbidgee and the Cotter flow, there have been found considerable quantities of good class ash timber, but not of other varieties of hardwood, and practically the facilities of this site for the obtaining of local timber are no better and no worse than those of the other sites under consideration.
He also says that the timber requirements of the city must therefore be supplied from other parts of the Commonwealth, in regard to hardwood, &c., whilst softwoods must be imported. Compare that statement with that contained in the report relating to Dalgety. As to timber, it is stated that -
Extensive supplies of messmate, box, and mountain ash are to be obtained at distances of 15 to20 miles from the site, and some of these timbers, especially grey and yellow box, are plentiful nearer at hand in the ranges forming the western watershed of Matong Creek. The box timbers are chiefly cut for fencing purposes, for which the silver gum, which grows in the Dalgety district, is also used.
The report goes on -
There is no tallow wood or beech ; but “on the Nimitybelle hills, there is blackwood and blackbutt, very hard, and handsomely grained,” which has been used for turning purposes.
Those timbers can be utilized for building purposes, and for the manufacture of furniture.
– There is not a building timber amongst them.
– Is not hardwood a building timber?
– Not that hardwood.
– What is it, then?
-Fencing timber, that is all.
– Are blackwood and blackbutt, with a handsome grain, fencing timbers? Senator Millen interjected quietly just now that no timber named in this report is suitable for building purposes ; that it was timber which can be and probably is used in certain parts for fencing purposes.
– I did not say so. I said that the timbers enumerated in the first list are fencing timbers, and that the timbers mentioned in the other lists are used for furniture. In the whole lot which the honorable senator quoted there is not a stick fit for building purposes, and the report says so.
– Opinions differ, and I am inclined to think that this timber is suitable not only for fencing but also for building.
– There is no building timber growing round Melbourne ; it has to be brought here.
– I know that some persons think that the different parts of Australia produce no timbers which are suitable for the erection of certain buildings. There are some persons who say that they would not touch Australian timbers with a forty-feet pole. Yet we have had evidence from men who have been engaged in the timber industry for a considerable period, and therefore are highly qualified to express an opinion, that some of the best timbers in the wide world are grown in different parts of Australia, particularly in Queensland.
– And where there is stone and material for brickmaking houses will be built of those materials.
– If persons desire to erect wooden buildings at the Federal Capital, Dalgety has an almost unlimited supply of timber for the purpose. But if, on the other hand, those who migrate to the Federal Capital are disposed to erect a more palatial kind of edifice, there is an abundance of granite and stone. With regard to fuel this report says -
Of timber suitable for firewood there is a large supply within easy distance of the site.
Even if it is a cold place there is an abundance of wood which could be obtained at a nominal cost. If fires had to be run all the year, if fires had to be provided in the legislative chambers, the cost of them would be infinitesimal.
– We could get electric radiators.
– In regard to the two sites - Dalgety and Yass-Canberra - the water supply is an all-important consideration. There can be no two opinions in regard to the cost of the one scheme as compared with the cost of the other scheme. The probable cost of a gravitation scheme at Yass-Canberra and a water scheme at Dalgety has been mentioned. Referring to tho storage of water at Dalgety this report says -
A dam, 60 feet high, constructed across the river at the point previously mentioned, where there is a very suitable place for a storage reservoir, would impound sufficient water for a year’s consumption,
So that at Dalgety there could be obtained enough water for twelve months by simply constructing a dam 60 feet high across the river. If that suggestion or proposal were not entertained we should have to adopt, if we adhered to that site, one or other of the schemes submitted in this report, which shows that -
The estimated cost of the complete scheme, exclusive of reticulation, to supply a population of 50,000 persons, is as follows : - Cost of works, ^278,000; cost of resumption of alienated portion of catchment area, ^40,000 ; total, ^318,000.
A water scheme to supply a population of 50,000 persons at Dalgety is estimated to cost ,£318,000. But according to the estimate submitted in respect to Yass-Canberra a gravitation scheme, estimated to supply 5,000,000 gallons per day, as at Dalgety, will cost £853,922. Is no weight to be attached to the disparity between those estimates ? Surely honorable senators can have no consideration for the interest of the taxpayers, if they ask the Senate to seriously entertain a proposal, even from a business aspect, which will penalize the people of the whole of the Commonwealth to the extent of nearly half-a-million. Although they could get a natural water supply for £300,000 odd, they propose to go in for an expensive gravitation scheme, as they must if they adopt the Yass-Canberra site, which is to cost nearly £1,000,000, and there is no guarantee that it will be a satisfactory one. This aspect of the Capital site question is important not only to those who favour Dalgety as against Yass-Canberra, but to the citizens of Australia generally. Why should they be saddled with an unnecessary extravagance? I know that whilst this gravitation scheme will, if adopted, cost considerably more than the scheme suggested for Dalgety, there is an answer given. “ Compare the gravitation scheme with the suggested pumping scheme.” And then they say that the pumping scheme at YassCanberra, which is an alternative one, will not cost any more than the scheme at Dalgety. It is perfectly true that a pumping scheme for Yass-Canberra, estimated to supply 5,000,000 gallons per day, will cost £339,000, as against ,£318,000 for a gravitation scheme at Dalgety. But there is an alternative scheme in respect of Dalgety. When honorable senators urged that Yass-‘Canberra should be adopted, because, amongst other reasons, a water scheme will be no more costly there than at Dalgety, they forgot - whether intentionally or unintentionally, I do not know - to tell the Senate that there is also an alternative scheme for Dalgety. A pumping scheme for Dalgety is estimated to cost ^167,000, as against £339,000 f°r a- pumping scheme at YassCanberra, providing the same quantity of water for the same population. So far as the cost is concerned, there is a considerable difference in favour of Dalgety. I am as anxious as, perhaps more anxious than, some honorable senators that the decision shall be im favour of a site which will meat with the approbation of not the people of one State only, but the people of all the States in the Union. If this question is settled to-day, the decision will probably be binding upon the people of Australia for all time. No time or attention devoted to it will be given in vain. Why should Victorians above all yield to the clamour of NewSouth Wales in order that the Federal city may be situated contiguous to Sydney ? I say we shall never have a true national spirit, or a Federal sentiment, in Australia if Yass-Canberra is selected as the site for the Federal Capital. In all seriousness, I repeat that that site is altogether too adjacent to Sydney. Should the Federal Capital be established there, a New South Wales atmosphere will surround it for all time. We know that distance is every day being annihilated. Locomotives travel to-day at greater speed than they did a few years ago. On some of the railways of the world they travel at the rate of 100 miles an hour. The mono-rail has passed out of the realms of theory. It is in actual use in some countries, and it is claimed for it that trains can be run on it at the rate of t20 miles an hour. Then the experiments made in connexion with flying machines have shown that they can travel at from 50 to 60 miles an hour, and with favorable currents may reach’ a speed of 100 miles an hour. With the use of flying machines, Sydney members of the Federal Parliament would be able to take a flying visit to YassCanberra, up in the clouds, “up in the sky, ever so high,” and ever so far removed from “beastly Melbourne.” Then the commercial world of Sydney and the two great thunderers, the Sydney Daily Telegraph and the Sydney Morning Herald would, no doubt, be satisfied. These newspapers have whipped’ some honorable senators into submission. I know of no instance in political history in which the whip has been used so effectively by newspaperdom to influence votes as it has been in connexion with this question of the Federal Capital site. When the Labour Party is charged with being a ‘ ‘ machine ‘ r party, let me ask honorable senators tocompare the attitude of the Sydneyites. Members of the Labour Party on this question, as well as on every other outside theplatform they were pledged to support when before the electors, have an absolutely free hand. But we know that thereare some honorable senators on the other side who, when this matter was under discussion on a former occasion, were not perhaps enthusiastic about the potentialities of thf beautiful country in the Snowy Riverdistrict ; but by their votes and speechesshowed plainly that they favoured the Dalgety site above all others suggested. Whohas been blazing the track, and pioneering the bush? Who are these intrepid explorers who have suddenly discovered a site that was unknown three or four years ago? It was on the map. Was it so small as tobe invisible, or to be treated with such disrespect that no friend could be found to speak in its behalf? Honorable senators indiscussing the question now ask: “ Will it satisfy New South Wales? What does New South Wales think of this site? “ Some disposition has been exhibited toplacate these people in New South Wales. I am not going to placate them. If theattitude assumed by New South Wales is to be that we are not to select a siteuntil it is approved by the New South Wales Parliament, then Melbourne is good enough for me, and I believe for a majority of the members of both Houses of thisParliament. I speak as a Victorian representative, but I am not unmindful of the interests of Australia. I view the questionfrom an Australian stand-point, as well as through Victorian spectacles. The selection of the Dalgety site would be of immense advantage to Victoria. It would open up a new province in Victoria, and’ would make the Seat of Government easierof access, not only to representatives fromVictoria, but from South Australia, Western Australia, and Queensland. I believethat if a referendum were taken tomorrow, in New South Wales, as to whether Dalgety or Yass-Canberra should be selected, and the newspapers were kept, T shall not say altogether silent, but prevented from exercising undue influence, the people of that State would be found’ to be in favour of the site originally chosen. I have a mass of literature on the subject before me, and would require the day to present it properly to the Senate, butI am not going to do so. An understanding was arrived at, not by the whole Senate, but by the leaders of the Senate, that no obstacle would be placed in the way of having a vote taken on a certain day. Owing to unforeseen circumstances, that arrangement could not be carried out. There has been a sort of understanding that the vote should be taken at some time during to day. I have no desire to block that vote.I do not wish the false impression to be created that, beca use I have talked here for an hour or so this morning, and engaged the time of the Senate last evening, I have not done so with any desire to prevent the taking of a ballot to see which site honorable senators favour. But I must again say that I feel very keenly the possibility that the original choice of a site may be departed from. It is because I am satisfied that that site is the best that I have occupied the time of the Senate this morning to a large extent in replying to statements made by Senator W. Russell ; answering, as far as I was able, the reasons which induced him to come to the conclusion that Yass-Canberra is a more suitable site than is Dalgety. In the circumstances, I feel that I shall not be justified in occupying the time of the Senate any longer. I have had my say. I have endeavoured to prove that from every aspect Dalgety would be a more suitable site than Yass-Canberra, and that it possesses all the advantages required. I am satisfied that the votes of honorable senators will be recorded only for YassCanberra and Dalgety. It may be that the numbers are up in favour of YassCanberra; I greatly regret it, and I feel that the people of Australia, should we proceed withthe erection at that site of the buildings necessary for the Federal Capital, will deplore for all time the action of the Yass-Canberrites in rejecting the site originally agreed upon.
– I have no desire to delay the Senate arriving at a decision upon this motion, and therefore I do not propose to press the amendment of which I have given notice.
Amendment (by Senator Keating) agreed to-
That the words “ Thursday, 5th,” in subparagraph 3 of paragraph 2, be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ Friday, 6th.”
– I take it that the understanding is that nominations will be received immediately the motion has been carried, and that at a quarter past 2 o’clock this afternoon the open exhaustive ballot will be taken.
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear.
Question, as amended, resolved in the affirmative.
– I now invite honorable senators to submit their nominations. I would point out that the motion provides 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.
It will therefore be necessary for at least two honorable senators, in addition to the honorable senator nominating any particular site, to rise in their places.
The following nominations were then received and announced by the President-
Armidale (Senator Sayers).
Dalgety (Senator Needham).
Dalgety-Tooma (Senator McGregor).
Lyndhurst (Senator Chataway).
Tumut (Senator McColl).
Yass-Canberra (Senator Pulsford).
– I have to announce that the ballot will take place at quarter past 2 o’clock this afternoon ; and I draw the attention of honorable senators to the fact that the method of voting, as provided for in the resolution, is that each senator shall place a cross opposite the name of the site for which he desires to vote, and shall sign the paper. Those essentials will have to be observed to prevent papers being treated as informal.
– I beg to move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill was received from the House of Representatives yesterday. It makes provision for the appropriation for works and buildings of the sum of £720,541 for the current year 1908-9. It is a measure such as is always passed as early as possible in the financial year in order to enable works to be carried out in connexion with the different Departments. The longer the passing of such a Bill is deferred, the greater is the difficulty of spending the money authorized by Parliament during the year in which it is appropriated. It is unnecessary for me to remind the Senate that after this Bill is passed every item in it becomes a matter in respect of which expenditure may be incurred up to the amount indicated, but only during the period between1st July last and 30th June next. If, therefore, there is any undue delay in the passage of the Bill by Parliament, and the Executive be not authorized until late in the year to expend the money, it is quite possible in respect of many items that time will not be afforded to complete the works, and that Parliament will again have to be asked to re-authorize the expenditure. That is the case in this instance, because although Parliament is asked to authorize the expenditure during 1908-9 of £720,541, much of that was authorized last year. For various reasons it was found impossible to expend the money in accordance with the authorization. One reason was that the Supplementary Estimates for Works and Buildings were passed when practically eleven months of the financial year had gone by. It was impossible to act upon the authorizations except within the remaining weeks of that year. Another difficulty that presents itself is that after parliamentary approval has been obtained for new works, efforts have to be exerted to obtain suitable sites, and it is often very difficult to obtain a suitable site for our purposes. After sites have been obtained perhaps a very small portion of the amount authorized may be expended during the financial year. Another difficulty is that, except in Victoria, and to a limited extent in New South Wales, the Commonwealth Public Works branch of the Home Affairs Department does not carry out its own works directly. It utilizes the Public Works Departments of the States. But those Departments are already concerned with a great deal of State work, and their having to take on Commonwealth work as well as their own, leads to the result that it is not always possible to obtain for our work that expedition that is desirable. In order to achieve such expedition we might have to adopt the very costly procedure of establishing a Public Works Department of our own. Honorable senators will appreciate the fact that when the States Public Works Departments have not only their own works to attend to, but also, superadded, the works for the Commonwealth, it must often happen that our works are not proceeded with as expeditiously as we should like, and as those interested in particular districts would certainly desire. That fact also has to be taken into consideration as explaining why in a measure of this kind Parliament is asked to re-vote sums that it had previously voted. It will, therefore, be understood that, though this Bill asks Parliament to authorize the expenditure of £720,000, a few hundred thousand pounds of that sum was authorized to be expended last session. I may mention, as illustrating the difficulties sometimes met with in expending money during the authorized period, that provision was made for the construction of a metropolitan rifle range at Enoggera, near Brisbane. It was estimated that the cost would come to something like £12,000 or , £13,000. Authorization was given under the Appropriation (Works and Buildings) Act last year. But although a start was made immediately, not a single claim has yet been settled, and not all have been received. I may mention another work of an analogous character in the vicinity of Melbourne, namely, the construction of a cordite factory at Maribyrnong. Parliament authorized the expenditure, but we have not yet received a singleclaim in respect of the work. Consequently it was impossible to spend the money last year, and it is necessary for the amount to reappear in the form of a re-vote. These re- votes must appear in similar measures so long as the present financial system obtains. I commend to honorable senators the desirableness of passing the Bill with as little delay as possible, in order that it may become law and the works be proceeded with.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and, the Standing Orders having been suspended, passed through its remaining stages without amendment.
Sitting suspended from 12.36 to 2.15 p.m.
– It will be quite sufficient if honorable senators will indicate their preference by using apencil. They should mark their preferences with a cross, and must sign the ballot-paper.
– Must the voter’s signature appear?
– Yes. Unless these directions are observed the ballotpapers will be considered informal. I am sure that honorable senators realize the necessity of being careful in the marking of their ballot-papers.
– There is another matter about which I should like to be assured. I suppose it is to be clearly understood that each senator can vote for only one site at a time.
– That is so. If two crosses are marked on a paper that will render it informal.
– That was not done in another place.
– The VicePresident of the Executive Council reminds me that in another place it was determined that, in the event of an honorable member, through inadvertence, placing a mark against two sites on the same paper, he should be called to the table and permitted to indicate to which of the two sites he gave preference. I shall be prepared to follow that course, if it should become necessary, though I do not anticipate that it will.
The Senate thenproceeded to the first ballot.
– The Clerk has examined the ballot-papers, and I have to report that the result of the voting is as follows -
I have to consider, now, what shall be the order of our procedure. Paragraph g of the motion which has been carried reads -
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.
As two sites have been voted for, the smallest number of votes has been recorded for each. Referring tothe proceedings which took place in the House of Representatives, I notice that when, after a ballot, it was found that two sites had no votes recorded for them at all. Mr. Speaker said -
As there are two names lowest on the list, I shall put them to the House in alphabetical order.
Question- That Albury be further balloted for - resolved in the negative.
Question- That Orange be further balloted for - resolved in the negative.
So that it will be necessary for me to put the name of the site first in alphabetical order so that honorable senators may say whether or not it shall be further balloted for. The question is -
That Tumut be further balloted for.
– With very great respect, sir, I think you are labouring under a misapprehension with regard to the procedure which should be adopted. With your concurrence I wish to submit my view to the Senate.
– Does the honorable senator wish to raise a point of order?
– I would point out to the honorable senator that, strictly speaking, it is too late for him to raise a point of order, because the question has already been put to the Senate. But I have no desire to restrict honorable senators in attempting to arrive at a proper solution of the difficulty in which we find ourselves.
– The motion submitted by the Government, and which we have already affirmed, declares that if two or more sites receive an equal number of votes - such number of votes being the smallest - the President shall ascertain which of those sites is to be left out so as to allow the other site to be further balloted for. But at present there are only two sites in the. running, so that if we leave one of them out there can be no further ballot. Therefore, I submit that your ruling as to course of procedure which should be adopted is not applicable to the present circumstances. The procedure which has been universally followed in this Senate, and which is in accordance with our Standing Orders-
– The Clerk has just directed my attention to sub-paragraph h of the motion, which reads -
Further ballots shall then be taken on the names of the remaining 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 Totes.
Sub-paragraph i then declares -
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.
Under these circumstances it may be advisable that a further ballot should be taken upon the two remaining sites. That is the only way that I can see out of the difficulty which has been created. I recognise that in view of the peculiar position in which the Senate finds itself owing to an equality of votes being cast for two sites, it would be very much fairer to afford honorable senators an opportunity of proceeding to a further ballot.
– With all clue deference to you, sir, I submit that the motion contains no provision for meeting the position which has just arisen, and that, therefore, no further ballot can be taken. Seeing that there is no such provision, I contend that the Standing Orders of the Senate must apply. Those Standing Orders provide that in the case of an equal number of votes being recorded upon any question, that question is resolved in the negative. Sub-paragraph g of the motion regulating our procedure in this matter reads -
If any two or more of the sites shall receive an equal number of votes, such number of votes being the smallest -
That does not apply to the present position at all- 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.
As I have already remarked, that paragraph is not applicable ‘ to the present situation. Let us see how the following sub-paragraph applies. It reads -
Further ballots shall then be taken on the names of the remaining sites, and the name of the site receiving the smallest number of votes in each successive ballot shall he reported to the Senate and struck out in the manner aforesaid, until one of the sites receives an absolute majority of votes.
The wording of that sub-paragraph conclusively proves that no provision whatever Was been made for the position which has arisen. Neither sub-paragraphs g nor h are applicable to it, and therefore further balloting cannot take place.
– The result which has been arrived at is final.
– So far as our present proceedings are concerned, the ballot which has been taken is final.
– It appears to me that the Senate has no power to proceed further in this matter. Of course, we can obtain further powers, but under existing conditions we cannot overcome the difficulty which has arisen, and, in accordance with the Standing Orders of the Senate, a negative result has been arrived at. In other words, no site has been selected.
– What is the honorable senator’s objection to a further ballot?
– I am addressing myself to the difficulty which has arisen, and which we could not foresee.
– Why, it has been carefully provided for.
Senator Trenwith. - I call attention to the action of Senator Neild, who is interjecting in a most perplexing manner.
– I must ask the honorable senator not to interject.
– It appears to me that a difficulty has been created which cannot be overcome by means of the existing machinery at our command, and that we have no option “but to allow this matter to rest where it is. An equal’ number of votes has been cast for two sites, and the motion governing our procedure does not provide for any way out of the difficulty.
– I am amazed at the position which has been taken up by Senator Trenwith, and I am particularly astonished that he should suggest that this is ai case in which - owing to an equal number of votes having been cast for two sites - the question should, in accordance with our Standing Orders, be resolved in the negative. I am thinking of the dignity of the Senate and of out adherence to the rules governing our procedure on this occasion, for which the Ministry are responsible. I was sorry to hear the Vice-President of the Executive Council cheer when it was suggested that the motion contained no provision for overcoming the present difficulty. To my mind, there is no escape from the ruling which you, sir, have given, and I desire to point out that the object of the motion submitted by the Vice-President of the Executive Council in respect of the nomination of sites, is that some site shall be chosen by an- absolute majority. That is its whole purpose. Of course, we may be able to pick out isolated paragraphs from that motion, subject them to a technical criticism - just as Senator Trenwith did - and say that they do not apply. But I submit that we have to pay some regard to the very object for which the motion was framed. That object clearly was to insure a continuance of balloting until one site had secured an absolute majority of votes. Sub-paragraph e reads -
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.
That position has not yet arisen, because there are still two sites upon the list. Sub- paragraphf reads -
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.
Neither has the situation arisen which is contemplated by that provision. Clearly the object of the motion is that we shall continue to ballot until one site has received an absolute majority of votes. Subparagraph g is applicable only if three sites still remain upon the list, one possessing a majority over the other two, and the other two having an equal number of supporters. In that case sub-paragraph g provides that one of those sites shall be again balloted for. But sub-paragraph h makes it clear that if any sites have obtained a small number of votes, and we have eliminated one of them, and if there are sites still remaining upon the list -
Further ballots shall then be taken on the names of the remaining sites -
The remaining sites still upon the list are Yass-Canberra and Tumut. It is not necessary, therefore, to apply the provisions of sub-paragraph g, because there are no two sites with the smallest number of votes. But there are still two sites upon the ballot-paper, and we have to dispose of them.
– Two sites, namely, Yass and Canberra, secured only eighteen votes between them.
– YassCanberra has secured eighteen votes and Tumut eighteen votes. We have eliminated the sites for which the smallest number of votes were recorded, and sub-paragraph h provides that -
Further ballots shall then be taken on the names of the remaining 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.
Taking the first words, we find that they read -
Further ballots shall then be taken on the names on the remaining sites -
We have struck out all but two - until one of the sites receives an absolute majority of votes.
If the two provisions are read together, the position is quite clear.
– I quite agree with the last speaker, that the rules under which we are acting are couched in plain English. It is perfectly plain, on the true grammatical construction of the words, that paragraphh is and must be dependent upon paragraph g. Let us read them -
If any two or more of the sites shall receive an equal number of votes, such number of votes being the smallest,-
The contemplation of that clearly is that there are a number of sites already on the paper receiving a larger number of votes, and there are two of those sites receiving a smaller but equal number of votes 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.
That contingency has not arisen in this case.
That is to say, after the names of the two receiving the smaller number of votes have been struck out. In this case there are no remaining sites.
– The honorable senator is not doing justice to himself.
– I am doing justice to the rules under which we are working. I will read the words again -
Further ballots shall then be taken on the names of the remaining sites
There are no remaining 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.
I have read the wording of the two paragraphs under which we are working; and it appears to me that no provision has been made to meet such a contingency as has arisen. The vote of the Senate has been -Yass-Canberra eighteen votes, Tumut eighteen votes. There is no getting away from that position. I admit that the present contingency was mentioned to me as possible by Senator Clemons some little time ago. I said then, as he is aware, that it was a contingency that might occur. It was not provided for.
– And the Minister took no steps to provide for it. *
– I took no steps, for this obvious reason-
– Because the Minister was tricking the Senate.
– I ask honorable senators not to interject. This is purely a matter of order, and whether the Government have acted rightly or wrongly is beside the question. I have the responsibility of deciding, and honorable senators should allow argument to be addressed” to the Chair.
– I regret my interjection.
– Is the Minister in order in telling us what steps he took, when the question is purely one of procedure?
– Some honorable senators opposite harT better go to Dalgety to cool themselves.
– My answer to the remark that has been made is that a site being provided for by Statute, there has been no definite expression of opinion for an alteration in favour of any other site.
– Therefore the old site stands.
– It certainly does stand. It is clear, under these circumstances, that the Senate does not desire to select any other site. Consequently, it is not competent at this juncture to alter the vote that has already been given.
– I do not propose to hear any further argument at’ the present stage. I think it very desirable that a decision should be arrived at as early as possible. I therefore propose to take upon myself the responsibility of giving a ruling which, of course, will stand, unless the Senate sees fit to dissent from it. In the first place, I point out that it is perfectly true, as indicated by the Vice-President of the Executive Council, that, in the case of an equality of votes upon any ordinary matter, the question, under the procedure of the Senate, passes in the negative. That is perfectly true as applicable to any motion upon which the Senate has to say “yea” or “nay.” But I wish to direct attention to a determination of the Standing Orders Committee, which was reported to and adopted by the Senate -
That in any case which shall arise which has not been provided for by the rules or in which the rules appear insufficient or manifestly inconvenient, the President shall state to the Senate, after mature consideration, if possible, what, in his opinion, is the best procedure to adopt; in the event of no objection being taken by the Senate this shall be the procedure until altered by the Senate.
The position, therefore, is that, in case of a difficulty, the President’ has cast upon him the responsibility of giving a ruling, which has to be accepted, unless the majority of the Senate see fit to dissent. We have one or two standing orders bearing upon the election of the President of the Senate, which contemplate the possibility of a difficulty arising in consequence of an equality of votes. Standing order 20 provides that -
When two senators have been so proposed and seconded as President, each senator shall deliver to the Clerk a ballot-paper in writing containing the name of the candidate for whom he votes; and the candidate who has the greater number of votes shall be the President, and be conducted to the chair.
Next, standing order 21 provides that -
When more than two senators have been so proposed and seconded, the vote shall be taken in like manner, and the senator who has the greatest number of votes shall be the President, provided he has also a majority of the votes of the senators present; but if no candidate has such majority, the name of the candidate having the smallest number of votes shall be withdrawn, and a fresh ballot shall take place ; and this shall be done as often as necessary, until one candidate is declared to be elected as President by such majority, when such senator shall be conducted to the chair.
Standing order 22 provides -
In the event of there being an equality of votes, the Clerk shall declare such to be the case, and the votes shall be again taken, when, if again there shall be an equality of votes, the Clerk shall determine, by lot, which of the candidates having the same number of votes, shall be withdrawn, as if he had obtained the lesser number of votes.
Those standing orders lay down the procedure to be adopted in case of an equality of votes in connexion with the election of a President. Now, the Senate has been engaged for something like a week upon the consideration of the question of the selection of a site for the Federal Capital. I consider that it is the duty of the President, as far as he “can, to see that the time that has been given to the question is not wasted. It is always desirable when any question is submitted to the Senate, to obtain a decision if that be possible. So far as concerns an ordinary motion for the second reading of a Bill, or affirming any particular proposition, it is laid down by Statute what rule we shall follow. But that rule does not apply to a case like the present. In these circumstances, we should rather be guided by our own Standing Orders, which, in the case of an equality of votes for an election to the position of President, contemplate certain procedure. Proceeding a step further, I point out the procedure that was adopted in the other Chamber. Possibly I am open to blame for not having adopted that procedure here in the first instance. But to have done so would have occupied a good deal of time that might otherwise have been saved. I find that when the first ballot was taken in another place, one site, Lake George, received no votes whatever. Mr. Speaker said -
As a vote has not been recorded for the Lake George site, that name will not appear on the next series of voting papers.
Dr. Carty Salmon then observed
I would point out that if the name of the Lake George site alone disappears from the next series of voting papers the second ballot will give the same result as that just taken.
– I am afraid that that may be so; but the House, having resolved that the name of only the lowest site shall be struck out after each ballot, I have no option but to direct a second ballot, in which all the sites but Lake George will be voted on.
That was done, and Mr. Speaker mentioned that -
In the 1903 ballot two of the sites failed to obtain a vote on the first selection, and the House then proceeded to a second ballot, although, as now, it might have been supposed that the voting on the remaining sites would be the same.
A second ballot having to be taken, Mr. Speaker pointed out that no votes were given for Albury and Orange, and he observed -
As there are two names lowest on the list, I shall put them to the House in alphabetical order.
It will be seen that Mr. Speaker did not determine to eliminate the two names, but put it to the House as to whether either of them should be voted on again. The question that Albury be further balloted for, was resolvedin the negative. The question that Orange be further balloted for, was also resolved in the negative. So that it was ‘determined that neither of those places should be put to the House again. It was considered necessary that their names should be removed from the ballot-paper before the next ballot was taken. When I refer to the paper handed to me by the Clerk, I find that the decision of honorable senators was as follows - Armidale, no votes ; Dalgety, none; Dalgety-Tooma, none; Lyndhurst, none; and then come the names of Tumut and Yass-Canberra with eighteen votes each. I shall now submit the name of Armidale, and take the sense of the Senate as to whether it is to be included in the next ballot. Then I shall take the sense of the Senate as to whether Dalgety, Dalgety-Tooma and Lyndhurst are to Be submitted to the Senate. Of course, whatever sites the Senate may determine shall be left on the paper for further ballot, will be left; and then it will be perfectly competent Tor honorable senators who have already voted for Tumut or Yass-Canberra to cast their votes for any other place that may be left on the ballot paper.
– That would be an injustice.
– I have pointed out the reasons that actuate me in arriving at this determination. The Minister will realize that it is very desirable that, if possible, a vote shall be taken on the question that will be an indication of the determination of the Senate in present circumstances. Unless exception is taken I shall proceed in the manner I have indicated.
After a pause,
– I shall now take the sense of the Senate as to whether Armidale shall be further balloted for.
– I beg, sir, to move that your ruling be disagreed with.
– It is too late.
– This is the first opportunity I have had to dissent from the ruling.
– I point out to the honorable senator that I stated what I intended to do. I paused in order to allow honorable senators an opportunity of moving a dissent, if they saw fit, from the ruling I had given. I then proceeded to the next matter and asked honorable senators to signify their opinion as to whether Armidale should be further balloted for.I propose to proceed at once with that business .
– With all due deference to you, sir, I beg to say that sufficient time was not given to any honorable senator to move a motion of dissent.
– It does not suit honorable senators on your right, sir, for any one to dissent from the ruling.
– Order ! I ask the honorable senator to state his point of order, and not allude to honorable senators.
– Why are they roaring at me?
– I cannot help that.
– Nor can I. I submit to you, sir, that I got up to disagree with your ruling as soon after it was given as it was possible for me to do.
– I beg to move, sir, that your ruling be disagreed with, because it is contrary to the spirit of the Standing Orders which are quite clear and distinct with regard to the matter under discussion. Shall I have to give the notice of dissent in writing?
– Mr. President, I understood you to say that the time for lodging an objection to your ruling had passed, and that you had proceeded to ascertain the wish of the Senate regarding the names of places to be struck off the list, I ask whether it, in view of that decision, is now competent for Senator Stewart to suspend the business on which you were engaged by lodging a notice of objection?
– I am waiting until Senator Stewart hands in his notice of dissent. It may be that he intends to object to the question as to whether Armidale shall be further balloted for being put, but my previous ruling is not now a question for consideration by the Senate.
– I think, sir, that this farce has proceeded far enough. I believe that honorable senators would be prepared to take a ballot on the two sites - Tumut and Yass-Canberra. If any honorable senators desire to reverse their votes well and good.
– Why should that be done ?
– Order !
– I am only expressing my opinion on the point of order. Whether it is the proper way to proceed or not, the taking of a ballot on these sites is the easiest way out of this difficulty. According to your own statement, sir, the drawing of lots would be the best way and most in accord with the procedure laid down by the Standing Orders which you have quoted. But I think that if honorable senators would only look at the ques tion reasonably, they would recognise that it would be better to take a ballot on Tumut and Yass-Canberra.
- Senator Stewart has handed to me the following motion of dissent -
I beg to move that the President’s ruling be disagreed with on the ground that it is contrary to section 23 of the Constitution.
I must decline to accept any motion of dissent unless it specifies the ruling which is objected to. That is necessary. But if he desires to dissent from my ruling with regard to the way in which the ballot shall be taken he is too late now to submit a motion.
– Oh, no.
– The decision I have given is that it is too late now for the honorable senator to take exception to the ruling.
– I took it immediately after the decision was given.
– I decline to accept the motion of dissent in its present form.
– Do you, sir, rule that Senator Stewart is out of order in submitting a motion for , disagreement with your ruling now ?
– I have already pointed out that the proper time to take exception to my ruling was immediately after it was given.
– I did so.
– Do you, sir, give a ruling now ?
– I gave a ruling in connexion with the matter. I then proceeded to other business, and that is the only matter which is before the Senate. If any honorable senator wants to raise a point of order regarding that business well and good.
– I desire to ask a question, sir.
- Senator Givens is in possession of the Chair.
– What about me? I have a motion to submit.
– Order ! Senator Stewart resumed his seat after having handed in his motion of dissent from my ruling.
– But I am entitled to speak.
– I stated that his motion was not in order, and as I resumed my seat Senator Givens rose, no doubt with the intention of raising some point which he thought was material, and, therefore, he is entitled to speak at the present time.
– What about me?
– The honorable senator will be called immediately afterwards.
– I understand now, sir, that you have ruled that Senator Stewart’s challenge of your ruling is out of order, because too great a period had elapsed from the time it was given until he lodged his objection. I object to that decision, on the ground that it entirely restricts the rights and privileges of honorable senators, and I propose to put that objection in writing.
– I point out to the honorable senator that the time for taking that point of order has passed. The question before the Senate is whether Armidale shall be further balloted for, and that question I propose to put.
– I insist, sir, that you have given a ruling. You have prevented Senator Stewart from taking a certain course of action by insisting that he was out of order.
– Order ! I gave a ruling previously, and have stated what the position of affairs at the present time is.
– You have given another ruling.
– I shall not allow the matter to be debated further on the present occasion. Of course, there will be an opportunity afforded to the honorable senator, if he sees fit, to put on the noticepaper a motion dealing with the question which has arisen.
– I desire to take the course set out by the Standing Orders.
– Order ! I direct the honorable senator to discontinue his speech.
– May I ask a question, sir?
– Can I dispute your ruling, sir?
– Ihave ordered the honorable senator to discontinue his speech.
– I desire to ask a question, sir. I understand from your ruling that you are going to put to the Senate first, the question whether Armidale shall be further balloted for, and next, the question whether Dalgety shall be further balloted for. I desire to ask whether you propose to put to a vote, not to a ballot, thequestion whether Tumut shall be further balloted for, or whether you intend when those sites are reached to submit both Tumut and Yass-Canberra to a ballot. I believe that if that point were cleared up it would allay a good deal of the present irritation.
– That is so.
– Some honorable senators who wish to support Tumut feel that otherwise they would be placed in an unfair position.
– I quite realize the difficulty which has been raised by the honorable senator. Assuming that it is decided that Armidale, Dalgety, Dalgety-Tooma, and Lyndhurst, be not again submitted to a ballot, I propose to put to a ballot the two remaining sites, Tumut and YassCanberra.
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear.
– The question now is-
That Armidale be not further balloted for.
– Mr. President-
– There can be no debate.
– I rise to a point of order.
– There can be no point of order raised now. Will the honorable senator please resume his seat?
– The Standing Orders are suspended in respect of this matter.
– There is no order of any kind.
Question - That Armidale be not further balloted for - resolved in the affirmative.
– Mr. President-
– Will the honorable senator resume his seat? I remind him that it has been determined by the Senate that there shall be no debate.
– I wish to lodge a protest.
– The honorable senator can do that later.
– Mr. President-
– Order. The honorable senator will resume his seat, please.
– Mr. President-
– Will the honorable senator resume his seat?
– I have already pointed out to the honorable senator that it is not in order now to raise a debate on the question.
– It will be too late afterwards, sir, because the thing will have been done.
– I cannot help that.
– The man will have been hanged - he will be dead !
– Order !
Question - That Dalgety be not further balloted for - resolved in the affirmative.
Question - That Dalgety-Tooma be not further balloted for - resolved in the affirmative.
Question - That Lyndhurst be not further balloted for - resolved in the affirmative.
– I shall now cause ballot-papers for the two remaining sites to be distributed.
– May I suggest, sir, that the bells should be rung before the ballot is taken?
– The bells are being rung.
The second ballot having been taken -
– The Clerk has examined the ballot-papers, and I have to report that the votes were cast as follows -
I have now to declare that Yass-Canberra is the site that has been preferred by honorable senators.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 30th October, vide page 1789):
Clause 18 (as amended) -
If at any time the holder of any certificate appears to be unfit to perform the duties required of him, the Minister may require him to submit himself for medical examination, and if it then appears that the unfitness exists and is likely to be permanent may require the delivery of the certificate to him.
The holder shall thereupon, on demand by the Minister, deliver up his certificate.
Penalty : Twenty-five pounds.
The Minister shall thereupon cause an inquiry to be held by a Court of Marine Inquiry into a charge of incompetency against the person named in the certificate, and the result of the inquiry shall be indorsed upon the certificate by the Clerk ofthe Court, and the certificateshall be returned to the person named therein..
On which Senator de Largie had moved by. way of amendment -
That the words “ indorsed upon the certificate,” line 15, be left out.
– When dealing with this clause this day week we were discussing the form in which a certificate should be returned’ to an officer after it had been retained as the result of an inquiry into a charge made against him. We decided that the word’ “ physically “ as it appeared before the word “ unfit “ in the clause shouldbe left out, so that if for any reason it were held that an officer was unfit the Minister might have the power to retain his certificate. In dealing with a later portion of the clause, I moved that the words indorsed upon the certificate “ be left out with theobject of providing that the certificate should not bear on its face for all time the record of any offence of which the officer had been found guilty. I agreed that there should be some record kept in the Marine Court, but I felt that it should not be indorsed on the certificate. That, I think, is an eminently reasonable proposition. I do not think that any member of the Committee desires to permanently brand an officer with the record of any charge which he might have been called upon_to answer in the Marine Court. His certificate might have been retained because he suffered from some physical defect from which he afterwards recovered. In such circumstances, honorable senators would not desire that he should be compelled to seek employment with a certificate branded with a record of the fact that he had suffered from that defect. I am sure that I can appeal to honorable senators’ sense of fair-play to support the amendment I have moved.
– I am sorry that there were so few members present in the Chamber when this matter was last dealt with, because I believe there is a misunderstanding as to the intention of the clause. I pointed out that the omission of the word “ physically “ completely alters its effect and renders it quite unnecessary. The object originally was to provide for unfitness and mainly for cases of colour-blindness. In Victoria the practice was to make an indorsement on a certificate if a man suffered from colourblindness or any similar physical defect. An appeal was made to the Court, and it was discovered that the Marine Board had no power to enforce such a practice, and, consequently, it was mulcted in damages. After that case had been decided, the Board of Trade altered its practice, and adopted that of calling upon an officer, under such circumstances, to deliver up his certificate. If he refused to do so, he was then charged before the Board. In this Bill we have attempted to adopt what was formerly the practice of the Board of Trade, and the practice which had obtained in at least one of the States. But I would point out that having eliminated the word “ physically,” the clause has become entirely unnecessary, because everything else is provided for in clauses 357 and 3°5-
– But the omission of the word “physically” still leaves the question of physical fitness to be inquired into.
– But that is already provided for in clause 357, which reads - -
– Apparently, a charge has to be made under that clause. But under clause 18 a competent authority might inquire into some matter of which he had heard, but which is not the subject of a charge.
– The clause under consideration states that if a man. is suffering from physical incompetency, the Minister may have him medically examined. After that a charge may be laid against him.
– But if we strike out this clause, and any person approaches the Board with a specified charge, it will still have the power to inquire into the matter.
– It is competent either for the Minister or anybody else, to make a charge.
– Then why do we require this clause?
– I have already shown why it is required. Suppose that it came to the knowledge of the Minister that an officer was suffering from colour-blindness? The Minister could require that man to undergo a medical examination, and after that examination, a charge might be laid against him. After an inquiry has taken place, an indorsement might be made upon his certificate that he was suffering from colour-blindness.
– But an inquiry into the question of his incompetency might be instituted under clause 357.
– Yes. But the object of this clause is to provide for the indorsement, upon a man’s certificate, of any disqualification from which he may be suffering. Its aim is quite different from that of clause 357. Having left out the word “ physically,” the provision is not properly, applicable. Take the case of a dipsomaniac
– Let us stick to the position of a man who is afflicted with colour-blindness. As the clause now stands, such a man would be unfit, and could be dealt with under this clause.
– But the clause comprehends much more than colour-blindness. If he suffered from colour-blindness, he might still be charged under clause 357.
– The omission of the word “ physically “ does not alter the position.
– He is still unfit.
– I am aware of that. The clause was merely designed to meet the cases to which I have already alluded.
– A man might be sober when before the owners of his vessel, but secretly drunk on board.
– The clause reads -
What would the examination disclose? A man would not be admitted to a medical examination in order to ascertain whether he is a dipsomaniac. The clause is designed for an entirely different purpose. What we sought to do was to perpetuate the practice of the Board of Trade, and the practice which obtained in Victoria prior to the case to which I have already referred. Having struck out the word “ physically,” I ask the Committee to omit the entire clause. By enlarging it in the way that is suggested, we shall alter its whole purpose. For instance, a dipsomaniac might recover in a week or two. A week’s sobriety might thoroughly restore him. The Committee will be well advised if it agrees to strike out the clause in its entirety.
– Two questions are involved in this clause. The first is whether in addition to the tribunal provided for under clause 357, there should be some authority to inquire into cases of physical unfitness. The second is as to whether it is desirable in the public interest that an indorsement of any disqualification should be placed upon a man’s certificate. I recognise that there is some force in the argument of the VicePresident of the Executive Council, and I suggest that instead of abandoning the whole clause, it would be better for him to agree to its recommittal.
– I propose to do that.
– If the Minister will give an undertaking to recommit the clause, in order that we may consider it practically de novo, I think that we might allow it to pass in its present form.
– I trust that the clause, with the amendment which has been made in it, will be allowed to stand, and that when it is recommitted, we shall be afforded an opportunity to inquire into the whole of the questions which are involved in it. It seems to me that its scope is by no means limited to persons who may be afflicted with colourblindness. It may include a hundred and one other disqualifications. My own experience is that more danger is to be apprehended by the crew and passengers from the master of a vessel, who is mentally affected, than is to be feared from a master who is suffering from physical infirmity. I would suggest that the Vice-President of the Executive Council should report progress, with a view to allow the matter to be threshed out at a later stage.
Interjections in the Senate.
Motion (by Senator Best) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– Iputa question to the Minister of Home Affairs this morning, and understand that he is now prepared to give me an answer.
– The question which the honorable senator put to me had reference to delay in installing a telephone system, at Petersburg, South Australia. I asked him to put it again, either next week or later in the day. I have since been informed by my colleague, the Postmaster-General, that -
The Deputy Postmaster-General, Adelaide, was recently asked for a report as to whether - pending the receipt of the switchboard which is’ expected in December, and in order that delay might be avoided, it was possible to provide for this Exchange by fitting a temporary board ; and the following is a copy of the reply received : - “ We have no temporary switchboards available ; all that could possibly be used are already in use.”
Following upon that reply, the PostmasterGeneral states -
In the circumstances nothing can be done to- . wards installing the telephone exchange in question until the switchboard arrives next month.
– I am n fairly regular attendant at the sittings of the Senate, and it is not my habit to keep on interjecting when honorable senators are speaking. But this morning I made a small interjection, and you, sir, called me to. order. Standing order 408 lays it down that -
No senator shall interrupt another senator whilst speaking unless -
To request that his wordsbe taken down.
To call attention to a point of order or privilege suddenly arising; or
To. call attention to the want of a quorum.
This morning, while the motion with reference to the Capital site ballot was under consideration, I sat in my place throughout the discussion. I had not opened my mouth until I made the small interjection to which I have referred. Senator Findley was speaking.He quoted . some figures. He had not requested that no senator should interject. In fact, he made the statement that he did not mind interjections, as he would be able to answer them. While he was quoting figures - I think one set amounted to 850,000 and another to 300,000 - I made the simple remark “ Half-a-million.” I said only those three words. But I was suddenly called to order. I suppose that under the Standing Orders it was quite proper to call me to order. Iquite understand that, as a general rule, interjections are disorderly. ‘ But I frequently hear interjections flung around, and honorable senators are not called to order for making them. I do not wish to cast any reflection upon the Chair, but there is an old saying, which is much used in country districts, that one person may steal a horse with impunity, whilst another gets three months for looking over the fence. I do not think that you have any intention to deal unfairly with honorable senators, but, at the same time, we should feel quite sure as to what our privileges are in “reference to interjections. As I have said, I seldom interject. The words that I have quoted were all that I uttered to-day. But I heard others interject frequently, and no notice was taken from the Chair. I feel that if one honorable senator can interject, and no notice is taken of him, while another is instantly pulled up when he says three words, there is not an equality of treatment. If one interjects others should be able to do the same, or there will arise a feeling that those who are pulled up constantly are not getting what may be termed “ a fair deal.”
– I quite recognise that Senator Turley does not frequently Interject. I also recognise that his inter-‘ jection this morning was a very small one. But he will bear in mind that, during the course of Senator Findley’s speech, I had called several honorable senators to order before his interjection. I assure the honorable senator that, while in the chair, I have no favorites. I desire to act justly to all. If at any time it is considered that an honorable senator is not treated quite fairly, he may be quite certain that I have acted unwittingly, because I realize that all honorable senators have the same rights, and that it is the duty of the Chair to extend equal justice and consideration to all. A sena>ror would not be worthy to occupy the position that I hold if he did not act in that spirit. I also wish to assure Senator Turley that I had no desire to cast any reflection upon him. But he will remember that honorable’ senators were very anxious to bring the debate to a close. It had been very protracted, and, as we all know, interjections tend to prolong debate. I am quite sure that the honorable senator will realize that I bad no feeling in calling him to order, any more than I had in calling honorable senators on either side of the Chamber to order.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 3.53 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 6 November 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1908/19081106_senate_3_48/>.