4th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator VARDON presented a petition from twelve taxpayers of South Australia, praying the Senate to reject the Land Tax Assessment Bill.
Senator VARDON presented a similar petition from nineteen taxpayers of South Australia.
– I beg to present a similar petition from thirty-eight taxpayers of South Australia.
– This has been well stage managed.
– I move -
That the petition be received.
– I rise to a point of order. I should like to ask your ruling, sir, as to whether this petition can be received. Is it in order for the Senate to receive petitions for or against a proposal which is not before it? I hold that before a petition upon any matter can be presented to the Senate the question with which it deals should at least be before Parliament.
– This question is before Parliament.
– As honorable senators are aware, no Bill dealing with a land tax has come before the Senate, nor has the Senate any cognisance of the existence of such a Bill. In the circumstances, I do not think we can receive petitions relating to such a measure.
– I should like to direct attention to the fact that last session in another place a petition was received dealing with the question of unification, which was not at the time dealt with in any proposal before the House.
– If Senator de Largie’s argument, that we can receive only petitions dealing with matters that are before the Senate, were correct, it would be an intimation to the country at large that people could not petition Parliament to pass certain legislation. Surely it must be within the competence of the electors to approach the Senate with a prayer for the introduction of legislation which had not up to the time of the presentation of the petition been proposed? If it is competent for a citizen to ask us to do something which we do not at present propose to do, it must be competent for him to ask us not to do something which in future we might be disposed to do. The right “to petition against legislation should be as full as the right to petition for it.
– I fail to see the logic of Senator Millen’s argument. It is only in accordance with common sense that people should have the right to petition the Senate to do something which otherwise we might be indisposed to consider. It is a wellknown axiom of logic that it is impossible to prove a negative, and Senator Millen suggests a case that is in no wise analogous when he contends that there is an equal right to petition the Senate in regard to a matter which, so far as we are aware, is not in evidence.
– I rise because I am sorry that there should be any tendency to restrict the rights of citizens of this country to petition Parliament. Unless there is some very strong reason given, or conclusive authority produced to the contrary, we should welcome any petition on any subject affecting the welfare of Australia or relating to proposed or contemplated legislation. It rests upon those who object to our receiving a petition to produce some conclusive authority in support of their contention. Our privileges are the privileges of the people who sent us here.
– Suppose the measure petitioned against is not passed in another place ; what is the value of the petition ?
– It places before the Senate the views of certain people upon a matter of public importance the subject of pending legislation. If that legislation be defeated elsewhere, we shall not be troubled with it. If we wait until the measure referred to is dealt with in another place it may not come before the Senate until the close of the session, and there might not be time for petitions for or against it in the interval between its presentment and passing in the Senate. Unless there is something in the petition under consideration which would justify the President in ruling it out of order, I can see no reason why it should not be received. The right to petition the Senate should be encouraged and upheld.
– I hope that a lengthy debate will not take place on a question of this kind. Two or three similar petitions were introduced on a previous occasion, but no similar objection was taken to them. We had an intimation that fifty more such petitions might be presented, and I may say that the Government would not object if 100 more were presented. I do not think we should waste the time of the country in further discussing the matter. Petitions ought to be privileged above everything else.
– It is the privilege of any individual or body of individuals in the community to petition Parliament to obtain redress of grievances, or to ask it not to do something that is contemplated. Though a petition may be presented only in the Senate, it must be remembered that the Senate is a part of the Parliament. I take it that so long as a petition complies with our Standing Orders, is respectfully worded, and concludes with the usual prayer, it is in order, and can be received.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Report (No. 3) presented by Senator Henderson, and read by the Acting Clerk.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– I have pleasure in laying upon the table of the Senate the information desired by the honorable senator, in the form of a return.
– I move-
That the return be printed.
– May I ask whether Senator Sayers is in order in moving that the return laid upon the table by the Minister be printed? The honorable senator simply asked a question.
– Honorable senators sometimes ask questions, the replies to which are too long to be read by Ministers. The usual cpurse under, those circumstances is for the Minister of whom the question is asked to lay the information upon the table of the Senate in the form of a return. It is then open to the honorable senator concerned to move that the return be printed.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Speech by Senator Clemons.
– I desire to in timate that I have received from Senator Long the following letter: -
Melbourne, 15th September,1910. To the Honorable the President,
I desire to give you notice that I will, on the Senate assembling for business this afternoon (Thursday), move the adjournment of the Senate to call attention to a matter of urgent public importance having reference to the following -
A serious reflection upon members of the Senate contained in a speech delivered by Senator Clemons, at Launceston, Tasmania, on the 12th instant.
Four honorable senators having risen in their places,
– I move -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until to-morrow morning at 10 o’clock.
I have taken this course in order to bring under the notice of the Senate a speech delivered by Senator Clemons in Launceston on Monday the 12th instant, and reported in the Examiner, a newspaper published in that city, on 13th September. The speech is headed -
Federal Land Tax. Address by Senator Clemons. A Monstrous Levy. Ruin and Injustice. Tasmanian Incidence. Startling Examples. Labour’s Log-rolling. How Things are Fixed.
I intimated to the honorable senator this morning, by letter and verbally, that I intended to take this course. He was then good enough to pooh-pooh the suggestion that any such interpretation could be placed upon his speech as I placed upon it.
– Is the honorable senator going to make use of a private conversation that I had with him?
– Will the honorable senator kindly allow me to proceed? ‘ He also stated to me that he did not think that the speech had special reference to Labour members, but that it also applied to members of Parliament who did not belong to the Labour party. Therefore the speech is to be regarded as a condemnation of members of Parliament generally.
– The honorable senator’s speech becomes a revelation of clubroom conversation.
– Certainly it is. It is a novel procedure for an honorable senator to make use of a private conversation, whether he reports it accurately or otherwise.
– Does the honorable senator say that I am not quoting him accurately ?
– Not for one moment ; but I am amazed that the honorable senator should report a private conversation, even though he does it with perfect accuracy.
– Let me now come to the paragraph to which I - and I feel sure others - must take strong exception. Dealing with the land tax, and giving his estimate of what it would probably realize, the honorable senator proceeded to ask what the Government were going to do with the money. He said -
Perhaps they will spend some of it on a trans-continental railway from Adelaide to ‘Western Australia, and some in acquiring the Northern Territory at South Australia’s price, and in building another transcontinental railway across one of the worst deserts in Australia. Both of these would be passed, and that by a system of bartering and traffic lower than was possible in the worst form of municipal government. Both had been fixed up by members of the Labour party, some of whom had agreed to vote for the one in consideration of receiving support for the other. That he knew from members of the Labour party who were disgusted at the business. Voices. - Name !
– Do you want me to get into a row with some members of the party who are above that sort of thing - who want to be honest? It would not be decent to do so.
A Voice. - Be a man !
– Why, that’s the small boy again - telling me to be a man ! (Loud laughter and uproar.)
Mr. Howroyd. ; I will write to Tasmanian members of the party and inquire about the matter.
– You can do it. Do you disbelieve me?
Mr. Howroyd. No, I won’t say that for a moment, but I think you should be prepared to prove your statement; otherwise, you should not have made it. I shall write to members of the party and ask about it.
– I hope you will, and I hope you will publish the answer. Further, let me say that, when I get to Melbourne, I shall ask two members of the Labour party for their permission to give you my authority for the statement. In any case, you can search the pages of Hansard and find it for yourselves. I should be amazed if you cannot discover it there.
That is the part of the report to which I take strong exception. I desire to add that, in discussing this matter with Senator Clemons this morning, I asked him whether the report in the Launceston Examiner was substantially accurate. He assured me that it was. Therefore I have no other course open to me than to bring the matter before the Senate. I contend that a very grave reflection indeed has been cast upon members of this Parliament. In this speech, the honorable senator implies that those great works - the transcontinental railway and the taking over of the Northern Territory - have no national significance whatever, but that decisions in regard to them have been arrived at in order that they might serve the political ends of Labour members. I, of course, do not object to criticism, however caustic or biting it may be, respecting myself, my party? or my politics ; but I do strongly object to an imputation of motives of such a character as I say is unquestionably contained in part of the speech which I have quoted, delivered by Senator Clemons at Launceston. If the honorable senator can point to members of the Labour party who have made statements to him such as he has represented, I think that, in justice to other members of the party, who would not tolerate that kind of conduct, this is the time when, and this is the place where, he ought to make their names known. In any case, t submit that, in all fairness, the honorable senator should either be called upon to prove the statements he has made - statements that have gone broadcast all over Australia - or else adopt the manly course of withdrawing them.
– We have not seen this melancholy thing in South Australia.
– South Australia is not all Australia.
– But the honorable senator said that the statements had been sent all over Australia, and Australia includes South Australia.
– This looks like a “ put-up job “ on the part of Senator Clemons to secure a notoriety to which he is not entitled !
– Honorable senators opposite may feel disposed to make a joke of this matter; but if honorable senators on this side of the Chamber attempted to impute such disreputable motives to them, no one would be stronger in condemnation than Senator Millen. I note that Senator Clemons was speaking in an atmosphere that was congenial to him.
– He was speaking under the auspices of the Liberal League.
– And in the presence of many a Labour man, I can assure the honorable senator. That, let me assure him, was congenial.
– I had that fact in mind when I referred to the congeniality of the occasion. I think that the bounds of reasonable criticism have been exceeded when a public man criticises other public men in such terms as Senator Clemons here applied to the members of the Labour party.
– It is similar to the criticism that has often been levelled at us from the other side.
– But I hold that we are entitled to some explanation. We are entitled to ask Senator Clemons to prove the statements which he made at Launceston, and which, I repeat, have gone all over Australia through the medium of the journal from which I have quoted. That journal, let me remind honorable senators, circulates all over Australia, although . it is published in a little place like Tasmania.
– The Examiner circulates all over Australia? I am glad to hear that it does.
– The Examiner - yes. I” do not desire to take up any more time, but I repeat that I have felt impelled by a sense of duty to bring this matter before the Senate. I feel that the reputation of the members of the party to which I belong is involved. I hope that Senator Clemons will see his way clear to do the fair thing, and either justify the statements which he made or withdraw them.
– I notice that while Senator Clemons was having his night out in Launceston
– Oh, do not put it in that way !
– He saw fit to include my humble self in a portion of his remarks. Unfortunately for him, he was in error in his allusion to me. He said that I was present and voted for a special grant being given to Western Australia, but that I was also present on a later occasion when he was endeavouring to secure an advantage for Tasmania, and voted against the proposal.
– The only question which is open to debate is that which forms the subject-matter of the motion which has been submitted ,by Senator Long. I listened carefully to the reading of the report contained in the Launceston Examiner, and I did not hear the name of Senator Lynch mentioned in that connexion.
-‘The statements made by Senator Clemons refer specifically to the Labour party, of which I happen to be a humble member. I think, therefore, it is only proper that I should be allowed to set myself right, and also to set Senator Clemons right.
– If by any chance I have done the honorable senator an injustice, I am only too glad to afford him an opportunity of remedying it.
– I can assure the honorable senator that I was not present when the proposal to make a special financial grant to Tasmania was pressed to a division in this Chamber. Had I been, I might have been found voting for it. I contend that Senator Long has ample justification for the action which he has takenthis afternoon. Those of us who have had experience of public life realize to the full that we are often subjected to undeserved criticism. But when a member, of this Senate steps forward and assists to fan the flame of eagerness on the part of the public to condemn public men, we cannot wonder that we are sometimes the victims of obloquy without reason. I am directly concerned in the charge which has beer* levelled against the Labour party by Senator Clemons, who has declared that themembers of that party have ‘ ‘ fixed things up.” As a representative of Western Australia, I wish to say that neither directly nor indirectly have I been approached upon the question of how I shall cast my vote upon the Northern Territory Acceptance Bill. The statement of Senator Clemons that the Labour party - and he appears to have focussed the whole of his condemnation upon that party - have “ fixed things up,” is far from the truth. For him to make such an allegation was a most despicable action, and one of which I scarcely dreamed he would be guilty. I give his assertion that a “swop” has been made, or that anything in the nature of log-rolling has taken place in connexion with the proposals to construct a transcontinental railway from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta, and another from Oodnadatta to Pine Creek, a flat denial. Nothing in the shape of an understanding or of “ fixing things up “ has ever been suggested, or even dreamed of, so far as my colleagues and the representatives of South Australia are concerned. I only hope that the effect of submitting this motion will be to so focuss attention upon the honorable member’s action, as to make other honorable senators pause before aspersing the character of their colleagues in this Chamber.
– The honorable senator need not take up the cudgels on their behalf.
– I would remind the Leader of the Opposition that the day may come when even the honour of his party, if there be any left, will be equally aspersed.
-Colonel Cameron. - I rise to a point of order. Is the honorable senator in order, whilst defending the honour of his own party, in threatening to asperse that of another party?
– I did not understand Senator Lynch to do anything of the sort. I understood him to say that the day may come when the honour of a certain political party in this Parliament may be equally aspersed.
-Colonel Cameron. - He said, “ If there be any left.”
– When I find the Leader of the Opposition eager to justify the aspersions which have been cast upon the members of the Labour party, I have a right to fling back in his teeth an unqualified and blunt denial.
– Why fling it back “in bis teeth? “ Why not do it softly?
– As Bacon remarked upon one occasion, “ It is impossible to think coolly on any issue upon which one feels warmly.” I feel that the representatives of Western Australia have been unwarrantably attacked by Senator Clemons, who has also gone out of his way to impugn the honour of the representatives of South Australia in this Chamber. As one who is accused of having “ fixed things up “ - of having descended to the level of a New York municipality - I say that the allegation is unworthy of him. His action is as despicable as it is discreditable, and he should certainly be called upon to apologize to the Senate.
– As a Tasmanian representative, I very much regret that one of my colleagues should have made the statements which have necessitated the action that has been taken by Senator Long. In bringing this matter forward, Senator Long has undoubtedly adopted the right course. We all recognise that, in party strife, our opponents frequently say hard things of us, and, perhaps, we say equally hard things of them. Nevertheless, there are limits to decent criticism, and the statements made by Senator Clemons at Launceston would, if allowed to pass unchallenged, undoubtedly be used to the injury of the party with which I am associated throughout the length and breadth of Tasmania. As a representative of that State, I would not be doing my duty if I did not second Senator Long’s efforts to have this matter threshed out in the Senate.
– If the report in the Examiner be correct, the honorable senator appears to be in pretty bad company.
– The construction which I place upon the report is that the Labour party have been guilty of discreditable tactics - in fact, of corruption - and I feel deeply grieved that such a charge should have been made by a gentleman hailing from the same State as I do. The members of the Labour party, whilst criticising proposals in which they do not Believe, have never attempted to go beyond certain bounds.
– Has the honorable senator forgotten what has taken place in this chamber during the last two or three days?
– I have not heard any remarks of a personal character, nor have I heard dishonorable motives imputed to any honorable senator. But the remarks to which Senator Long has taken objection, and which are alleged to have been uttered by Senator Clemons, are a reflection upon the whole of the members of this Chamber. I trust that Senator Clemons will see fit to withdraw them, in order that they may not be further used to the injury of the political party with which I am associated. Unless he can substantiate his accusations, I feel sure that he will retract them this afternoon.
– A moment ago I was waiting for Senator Clemons to reply to the observations of Senator Long. But I now realize that, if he had done so, he would have placed himself in a false position, inasmuch as he would be prevented from speaking again. To me, the statements published in the Launceston Examiner, although they undoubtedly reflect upon the Labour party, are a gross reflection upon the honour of this National Parliament. No matter how vigorous our opposition in this Chamber to each other may be, I did not think that any honorable senator would accuse the members of another political party of bartering their principles. Rather than be a party to any such system - although I wish to see the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway constructed - I would prefer the vote in that connexion which is embodied in the Works and Buildings Estimates to be rejected by this Parliament. T. have known Senator Clemons for the past three years, and I must say that the statements which are attributed to him in the newspaper which has been quoted, are not characteristic of him. I have attended quite ninety per cent, of the caucus meetings of the Labour party which have been held since the inception of this Parliament, and I defy Senator Clemons to point to one member of that party who has attempted to “ fix things up.” I would indignantly refuse to be a party to any system of barter in connexion with the proposed construction of the railway to which I have referred. Undoubtedly, I desire to see that line built, but I wish the proposal to be carried in an honorable way. I would scorn to do what Senator Clemons’ statements imply, namely, approach another honorable senator and say to him, “ You support the proposed vote of .£5,000 towards the construction of the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway, and, in return, I will support you upon another proposal.” I am a member of the Australian Labour party, I am also a member of the National Parliament, and I say that such an implication impugns the honour of this Parliament. That is a much more serious matter than the impugning of the honour of any political party. I trust that Senator Clemons will adopt the manly course of either apologizing for his action, or withdrawing his statements, or doing both.
– - I am sorry that the necessity for this motion has arisen, for more reasons than one. While Senator Clemons and myself have been politically opposed to each other for eight or nine years, we have always been upon the best possible terms personally. Of course, we do not yet know whether he is going to say that he was correctly reported. If he was correctly reported, I ask him to consider in his calmer moments whether the remarks are not capable of being very wrongly construed, or at least as placing a bad interpretation upon the actions of the Labour party. Had the remarks appeared in an editorial, or in the news columns of the Examiner, I should not have taken the slightest notice of them, because for the last eight or nine years it has been my lot to see in its columns statements just as bitter, which might suggest the idea of more dishonorable conduct on the part of candidates or public men to whom it was opposed. While in political campaigns in Tasmania Senator Clemons and I have been opposed to each other, I am sure that we have always acknowledged that each was actuated only by honorable political motives. If the report in the newspaper is correct, Senator Clemons will, I feel sure, see that there is grave reason for members of the Labour party to feel angry and hurt at such remarks by a political opponent. Surely it ought to be quite sufficient to leave the newspapers to make these insinuations against public men to whom they are opposed. What I mean is that it is not quite the fair thing that a member of one party which is seeking to get an advantage over another party at a public meeting, should cast aspersions upon its character. The honorable senator might reply that he was not casting aspersions, but I think that if he was correctly reported his speech must have conveyed the impression that the members of the Labour party - not the members of another party - are not averse to trafficking for votes. I ask the honorable senator if he does not now see that the report must leave the impression that the members of the Labour party are in the habit of trafficking for votes, and saying to each other, “ You roll my log, and I will roll yours ; you vote for this item, which would, perhaps, be beneficial to my State, and I shall vote for an item ‘that will be beneficial to yours.”
– I think that the honorable senator is bringing in the word “ habit.” Let him put what construction he likes upon my statement, but I do not think that even the words of the newspaper report would justify him in using that word.
– I was rather astonished when I read the report. I know that the honorable senator is a very keen fighter. I have always found him a fair straight-out fighter on the platform, but I think he must now admit that the idea which the reading of that report would convey to the minds of persons would be that the members of the Labour party are in the habit of trafficking in votes. Perhaps I have put the matter in a bald way, but, after all, that is the true meaning of the statement in the report. I do not remember the exact words of the report, but I feel certain that no member of the audience could have left his meeting without being under the impression that the members of the Labour party are in the habit of fixing up things.
– Utterly regardless of the interests of Australia as a whole. “
– Yes; I ask Senator Clemons whether that is not the impression which would be left in his mind from reading the report. I regretted very much to read the report of the speech, and I hope that the honorable senator’s explanation will leave a more pleasant taste in my mouth.
-Colonel CAMERON (Tasmania) [3.21]. - As most of the speakers have been Tasmanian senators, I hope that I shall be pardoned for saying a few words. I shall leave Senator Clemons ito deal with the merits of the question which has been brought before the Senate, as that is his business. This discussion has occupied a considerable time. I cannot help remarking that the words to which our attention has been directed were child’s play compared with what we have been accustomed to from a certain section. Three of my distinguished colleagues are new to this atmosphere, and I can quite understand their indignation at any one questioning a line of conduct which they disapprove of. I am very pleased to find that the Labour party now includes some members who are animated by fine and delicate feelings, and long may the party be governed by them. But I think that in the abstract it savours too much of Satan reproving sin for us to take any practical interest in such a trifling matter as that which has been brought before the. Senate by Senator Long.
– Before I come to the main part of this accusation, let me dispose of two preliminaries. I am not the arbiter of Senator Long or his methods, but I strongly disagree, and I hope that I shall always disagree, with such methods as he exhibited here this afternoon. He thought fit - this is a matter of taste - to refer here to a private conversation which I had with him this morning in the club room.
– In the presence of several honorable senators?
– That is not the point. I am not impugning the accuracy ot the statement which the honorable senator made here with regard to that conversation, but that does not touch the point. If he remains a member of the Senate for his full term, as I hope he will, I believe that he will then see as every one who has been here for any time recognises, the great impropriety of any honorable senator repeating in the Senate a conversation which he has had with another honorable senator in the club room or elsewhere.
– Did I misrepresent the honorable senator?
– So far as I have listened to the honorable senator’s remarks he did not misrepresent what I said, but that is not the point. If he had repeated a verbatim report of his conversation with me, and mine with him, from my point of view such a thing is utterly indefensible in the interests of all of us. Surely he can see that if that sort of thing is to be done, none of us can indulge in friendly talk with one another, absolutely opposed though we may be in politics.
– The honorable senator is only joking.
– It had a distinct connexion with this question, surely.
– I can assure the honorable senator that no senator who has been here for any time, will disagree with, what I have said.
– It has never been done before.
– No, and I hope that it will never be done again. I feel quite certain that ‘ Senator Long will very soon see the reasonableness of my statement. I do not wish to labour that point any more.
– Both Senator Clemons and Senator Long, in their calmer moments, will regret what they said.
– No, I do not regret anything that I said there. Surely the honorable senator ought to know that I am saying what is right and suitable. T cannot believe for a moment that he indorses that sort of conduct.
– The honorable senator will do me the justice of believing that if I had thought that he would have taken exception to me mentioning some things which he stated there, I should not have done so.
– It is not only I who take exception to them ; every honorable senator takes exception to that sort of thing. But I have finished with that. I was sorry and alarmed when Senator Lynch rose to say that his name had been mentioned in a newspaper paragraph by me, and inaccurately too. It seemed to me that he had a personal grievance against me for doing that. I assured him at once, by way of interjection, that if, by any chance, I had inaccurately quoted any vote of his in a division no one would be more sorry than I; first, that his feelings had been hurt, and, secondly, that I had been guilty of an inaccuracy. I am truly sorry now, because I have to inform him that he has made the mistake, and not I. The division on Senator Keating’s motion on the 25th August appears in Hansard, on page 2083, and Senator Lynch’s name is to be found there. This possibly explains the mistake.
– But I was not here.
– Will the honorable senator let me finish? His name appears as having paired. When I was quoting the names of those who voted in a division, no matter whether it was for or against the proposal, if I had deliberately omitted the name of one who had paired any honorable senator might accuse me of holding back information, or misrepresenting the position. So when I mentioned the division list on Senator Keating’s motion, I had to take account of pairs.
– Did any one have authority to pair him?
– Surely, if I want to be accurate in my statements, I must take notice of Hansard, and the pairs which appear therein.
– What I mean is that it is rather interesting to find that he paired.
– I am sorry to have to tell Senator Lynch that he was wrong in his statement, and that he is down as having paired and voted in the way I indicated.
– He said that if he had been here, possibly he would have voted the other way.
– That is no concern of mine. Of course, I believe that if he had known that his name appeared in Hansard he would not have said that I misrepresented him. I do not know whether he would have used the other adjectives, which seemed to imply a littlemore heat than was necessary. Let menow come to the main point. In the first, place, I think that I ought to offer to Senator Long both congratulations and sympathy . I offer him my congratulations in that,, being a new senator of a few months’ standing, he should have taken this task upon himself, and real sympathy, because, apparently, his fine feelings have been; seriously injured. He enters the Senate, and finds it possible that another honorable senator can make the statement that votesare sometimes given here, having regard,, not merely to their direct, but to their indirect, effect. That is what his accusation means.
– The language was stronger.
– I shall put it in the strongest possible form. I am sorry that Senator Long should have had some of his innocent bloom, so to speak, rubbed off him. I hope that so long as he continues a member of the Senate he will be able to preserve what remains of it. It is refreshing to note this innocent bloom, because, to my knowledge, the honorable senator has been for three or four years at least a member of another Parliament. What is it that I am accused of saying ? I do not deny the practical accuracy of the report which has been readI ventured to offer a prophesy that both these great schemes that we know to be ahead of us - the scheme for building the South Australian railway and the other scheme for building the Western Australian railway - will be accomplished in this session.
– I hope so.
– One of them, at any rate.
– Senator Rae is at liberty to hope as much as he likes, but I do not doubt that he agrees with me that both will shortly be accomplished facts. I went on to say that that would be becausearrangements had been, or would be, madeto secure amongst the Labour party sufficient support to guarantee the carrying of both schemes.
– That was a wrong, statement to make, and it was not true.
– I am not so surethat it was not true. I admit that I might have said the Government party instead of the Labour party, but .1 was not concerned to draw a distinction between the Government party and the Labour party “When I believed them to be identical.
– The honorable senator was wrong.
– I hope that honorable senators will not interject. They should remember that the speaker is limited to fifteen minutes on this motion.
– I thank you, sir, for reminding me of the fact. I suppose that, in making such a statement on a public platform, it was undesirable that I should be brutally plain and frank, or should have called a spade a spade. I should, perhaps, have said : “ Shocking as it may be to your feelings, incredible as it may seem to you, it is nevertheless a fact that even in the Labour party it is possible to find a man who, in his keen anxiety to bring about by legislation some scheme which he honestly and fervidly believes in, is prepared to give another vole on another matter in order that he may secure the object that he has in view.”
– On another matter in which he also believes.
– Why not? We are many of us weather-beaten politicians, and are we for ever to parade to the public a pretence that every time we give a vote in the Senate on any matter we do so having sole regard to one direct effect of that vote, and never give a vote in order that we may derive from it an indirect value?
– That is an admission.
– That is a low standard.
– I am as desirous of promoting the dignity and honour of the Senate as any member of it. I say deliberately that the maintenance of a continual pretence, which every honorable senator listening to me, and perhaps even the innocent and ‘ fresh Senator Long, knows is a pretence, will not add to the dignity or honour of the Senate. I stated plainly on a public platform what every member of the Senate knows.
– Let the honorable senator give us his proofs, and drop his heroics.
– The proof is to be found in Hansard, and it is also in the mind of every honorable senator who is listening to me, including Senator Long.
– It is not in my mind.
– Let any honorable senator who wishes to climb on to a lofty pedestal of absolute integrity stand there, and ask for admiration, if he pleases.
– I do not.
– If he does, he will occupy a very solitary position.
– I am as honest as is die honorable senator.
– I am not quarrelling with the honesty of Senator O’Keefe. If a member of the Senate wishes to exalt himself to such a position, I have no objection. Honorable senators are aware that there is a complete defence for the statement made. What was put to me at the meeting, and what I shrewdly suspect is put to me to-day, is that I should take advantage of a private conversation with a member of a party, to whom I am opposed, and publicly break a confidence. I wish to tell honorable senators that I am not built that way. If any member of the Senate chooses to talk to me confidentially and privately, he will not run the smallest risk of my disclosing his confidence.
– The honorable senator made use of the confidence.
– I made no use of it.
– Why make inferences on the platform?
- Senator Ready does not know how to make inferences. He does not know an inference when he sees it.
– I shall not go to the honorable senator to learn.
– No, nor is it likely the honorable senator will go to any one to learn. That is one of his great failings.
– Was it not as bad for the honorable senator to claim that he had such a conversation, as it would have been to repeat the conversation?
– I made my statement without the slightest qualification. Is it an offence to the members of the Labour party-
– The honorable senator might wait until I have finished. Is it an offence to the members of the Labour party that, by way of qualification of a certain statement, I should add, though I have but small acquaintance with the members of the party, that two of them object to certain tactics?
– Yes, because the honorable senator did not disclose the names of the two, and so left all under suspicion.
– If Senator Pearce, or any other member of the party, has such a clear conscience in the matter, I should not object to his mentioning another member of the party, and saying, “ We are the two.” But if I mentioned two members of the party, and said, “ Those are the two,” I might convey the inference that they were the only two, and that the other members of the party did not view, with the same disgust tactics which many of us practice, if honorable senators please, but which might, nevertheless, be objected to.
– I am in this position - that I invite the honorable senator to disclose the names.
– That is what we want.
– Then let me say without any hesitation that honorable senators will never get that from me, unless I have the permission of two members of the party to give their names.
Members of the Labour Party. -
You have my permission.
– Out with the names.
– I again ask honorable senators not to interject. Senator Clemons’ time has nearly expired.
– And his reputation as a fair man will expire with it.
– If my reputation as a fair man, or as any other kind of man, were in the hands of Senator Long, I should not give twopence for it.
– It would not be worth much.
– I am certain it would not, nor would the reputation of any other man but himself. I am not concerned about Senator Long’s estimate of my character, nor am I concerned about anything I have said. I say again, practically repeating what has been said by Senator Cameron, that this is a ridiculous storm in a tea-cup, and a mere parade of marvellous purity of political intention on the part of a party, which, as every member of it will admit, is capable, when it comes to a question of political fighting, of wielding any weapon of abuse that may be used against an opposing party.
– The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– I am sorry.
– I regret that Senator Clemons did not take advantage of the time at his disposal to withdraw his imputation against the Labour party, or apolo gize for his mistake. The honorable senator commenced with a lecture on good manners and good breeding. I understand that he has had an education that should have made a gentleman of him. But, after attending a great public meeting, at which he attacked this party, as it has always been attacked since it came into existence by the party to which Senator Clemons belongs, imputing to its members that they are induced by undue influence to act dishonestly in dealing with important matters, he quibbles and shuffles, and does not apologize, as a decent man would, or display the courage of a man in substantiating the charges he has made against the party. I have listened in silence to the honorable senator. If honorable senators a few miles from this Chamber are prepared to make assertions that are not warranted, and to put into the hands of the press and the public statements which would discredit their worst opponents, they not only belittle the party they attack, but they belittle the Parliament of which they are members. On the public platform, and in the heat of controversy, I may be as great an offender as any one else but if I am confronted with a fault, I am willing to admit it. The only position Senator Clemons can take up now is to present his proofs of the statements reported in the Tasmanian newspaper referred to, or have the courage to withdraw them and apologize. The honorable senator did not make his remarks apply to one or two members of the party, but to the whole party. He led the people who listened to him, and those who may read his utterances, to believe that corrupt influences are at work in this Parliament, and that our proceedings are something like proceedings which we are accustomed to believe sometimes take place in America, though it is possible we may have erroneous views of the way in which matters are conducted there. The honorable senator has had an opportunity, which an honest man would have availed himself of, either to make good his statement, or to withdraw and apologize for his imputation. Senator Clemons has admitted that such an imputation is undeserved by a large section of the party. His contention that the private statements of one or two justify him in casting an imputation upon the rest of the party has caused him to fall considerably in my estimation. I do not think that the honorable senator can realize the seriousness of the matter, but he certainly should either have justified what he said, or have been manly enough to withdraw his imputation. The whole course of the honorable senator’s remarks shows that he was joining his efforts to those of persons who have been howling” about the Labour party for so many years - the band who have been pursuing the Labour party with the turpitude and malignity of personal resentment. But what has been the result? The people have become tired of that sort of thing, and at the last election they determined to give the Labour party a show. Now we have the honorable senator imputing dishonesty, not only to the party as a whole, but to individual members of it. The honorable senator and his party are so anxious to make political capital that they fail to see that the reward of conduct of that kind will descend upon their ow-i heads, and that the only result of sulu tactics will be to make the Labour party still stronger. I conclude by expressing my disgust at the conduct of the honorable senator.
– I have nothing to say with regard to the general question, but the statement of Senator Clemons in regard to pairs calls for a word from me. I do not blame him, because what he quoted from Hansard was perfectly correct. But, unfortunately, the record in Hansard does not accord with the pair-book which i have before me. I will explain the position. Senator Lynch had a general pair with Senator Fraser during the time of the absence of those two honorable senators. That pair stood in relation to all Government business. There was no exception to it, except on occasions when Senator Fraser might be present, and might wish to vote on the Government side.
– I did vote on the honorable senator’s side on one occasion, I think.
– Quite so. In regard to the motion affecting a special payment to Tasmania, Senator Lynch and Senator Fraser are not mentioned in the pair-book as having been paired.
– Do their names appear in Hansard ?
– The two honorable senators are paired in the book in regard to the special payment to Western Australia, but not in regard to the special payment to Tasmania.
– Are they not paired as between two dates in regard to all Government business ?
– They were paired in regard to Government business during such times as they might be absent. But, I say again, the two honorable senators in question are not recorded in the pair-book as being paired in regard to the special payment to Tasmania. That was not Government business. It is quite easy to see how the mistake occurred. A slight error has been made, which might reasonably have been expected under the circumstances. I rose simply to point out that Senator Clemons was not quite correct in stating that Senator Lynch paired against the special payment to Tasmania.
– There are two questions involved in the matter that has been brought under the notice of the Senate by Senator Long. One is, of course, the specific language complained of as having been used by Senator Clemons in Tasmania, and the other is the general practice underlying it. For very many years I have noticed, with a considerable amount of regret, a growing tendency on the part of public men to shape their language on public occasions in a way that would have been regarded a few years ago as exceeding the reasonable limits of criticism. The result of that practice is making itself apparent even in the columns of our public journals. Nowadays, one rarely reads an article in the public press dealing with a political subject without finding the suggestion made in some form that Parliament is not quite what it ought to be, and that it is rather discreditable than otherwise to be a member of Parliament. That, I say, arises largely from the growing tendency on the part of members of Parliament themselves to give expression to statements and sentiments which are taken outside more seriously than they are regarded by members of Parliament themselves. Having said that much by way of preliminary, let me observe with regard to this specific matter that if seems to me that we have been treated to a tremendous amount of mock heroics. In the first place, Senator Long tells us that he has been impelled by a sense of public duty to take this action. He therefore asks us to assume that he has not been actuated by any personal intentions in regard to Senator Clemons; that he has brought this matter before the Senate solely with the view of vindicating the honour of Parliament. But, sir, if that be the case, why has the honorable senator been silent within the last two days ? Where was his sense of public duty and his regard for the honour of Parliament when statements were being made alleging discreditable tactics in regard to important matters of public policy? Though impelled by this sense of public duty the honorable senator has come here to-day and asked the Senate to vindicate its outraged honour, he has been content to be perfectly silent in the face of the attacks to which I have referred. Suddenly, however, he finds this strong sense of public duty impelling him to come forward as the champion of parliamentary honour.
– May I explain that the Launceston Examiner only came to hand yesterday, too late for me to bring it under the notice of the Senate?
– The statements to which I have referred have been made in the hearing of the honorable senator, and it . was not too late for him to direct attention to them at once.
– What statements ?
– I refer to the statements that in connexion with the Federal Capital site, intrigue, manoeuvring, and discreditable practices had been resorted to.
– Quite right.
– If honorable senators belonging to Senator Long’s party who are imbued with this sense of anxiety for the honour of Parliament can make statements such as Senator Henderson has just made, surely they should not be so sensitive about protecting the honour of Parliament in relation to public criticism outside?
– Is the honorable senator aware that I did take exception to a phrase that was used about underground engineering ?
– I am glad that the honorable senator makes that interjection, because he is now confirming what I am saying. I was not present when he objected to the words “ underground engineering “ being used, but his assurance gives support to my statement that accusations have been made in this Chamber about practices that would have been absolutely discreditable if they had occurred.
– Who made them?
– Who made the statement which Senator Needham asked should be withdrawn?
– The honorable senator said that such accusations were not objected to.
– Senator Needham has admitted that he called upon some honorable senator to withdraw a statement about underground engineering. That is one thing; and if Senator Long wishes to know who made other statements of the kind the files of the Melbourne Age are open to him.
– What have we to do with the Melbourne Age?
– The honorable senator should have to do with it, because of that fine sense of public duty which is impelling him to protect the honour of Parliament this afternoon. If the honour of Parliament is to be protected from an accusation made in a public speech by a member of this Senate, it ought equally to be protected from imputations contained in’ a public journal. The honorable senator is quite well aware that if a newspaper impugns the honour of Parliament it is quite competent for him to bring the matter forward in this Chamber as one of privilege.
– Why, then, did not the honorable senator do so?
– Because my opinion is that in these matters the honorable senator is far too sensitive. I am not questioning his right to bring the subject forward, but I do say that if it be true that he has been moved by a sense of public duty to bring under our notice the speech made by Senator Clemons, he might equally well have found an opportunity for the exercise of that sense of duty by bringing forward the more serious statements that have been published in the journal to which I have referred. I need hardly say that statements have been made here, which, whether true or not, did not redound to the credit of Parliament. Those statements have been made on both sides, and have passed without notice. If we wanted another instance of the tendency of honorable senators opposite to become extremely sensitive when they think the honour of their own party is attacked, and to feel that the honour of Parliament is involved in it, we could ask for no more striking instance than is contained in the affirmation of Senator Lynch to-day. He said, in reply to an interjection of mine, that the time might come when I should be keen to defend the honour of my party, that that party had no honour left.
– He meant that there would le no party left.
– That remark is quite characteristic of Senator Long.
– No; he undoubtedly meant that the party to which I belong had no honour left. In these matters, it is impossible for one party to set up standards of criticism for its opponents, if it is not prepared to adhere to those standards itself. I say,- moreover, that if there has been any party in this Parliament, or outside, which has indulged in painfully free language regarding its opponents, it has been the party the honour of which the honorable senator is now impelled by this exalted sense of public duty to protect.
– We have never said that Tammany Hall practices were resorted to by our opponents.
– I must ask honorable senators not to interject so freely. I have already pointed out that the time of honorable senators in addressing the Chamber upon this motion is limited to fifteen minutes. I would also remind Senator Long that he has the right to reply.
– Senator Needham interjects that the party to which I belong has never been accused by its opponents of Tammany Hall practices. I hope that it never will be. But the honorable senator has drawn attention to the fact that he asked for a withdrawal of language imputing underground engineering. Let me come to a case in point. Frequently within the last two days, it has been alleged that members of the Labour party have been exhorted to vote in a certain direction in regard to the Capital site question, with a view of assisting their own party in the forthcoming State elections in New South Wales.
– Has that statementbeen made in this Parliament?
– It has been, made in a public journal ; and if Senator Long were really impelled by a sense of public duty, why did he not take notice of that statement? In regard to the public question which I have mentioned, statements have freely been made which, if true, would be discreditable to the Senate. Indeed, they would be ten times more discreditable than the statement quoted by Senator Long.
– Made by whom?
– They ‘ have been made by the Melbourne Age.
– Not by members of this Parliament. There is the whole difference.
– It does not make any difference. Are we then to adopt the theory that the honour of Parliament may be assailed by the public press, and we will ignore the attacks, and that it is only when they come from a member of this Chamber that we will take any notice of them?
– The honorable senator must admit that the person making a charge has a great deal to do with the importance one attaches to it.
– If it were a mere matter of considering the honour of Parliament, these statements that have been made would have been rebuked. To my mind it is extremely suggestive, not to say suspicious, that the only occasion upon which honorable senators opposite feel sensitive about the honour of Parliament is when statements, which they consider reflect upon Parliament, emanate from political opponents. If Senator Long wishes to assume the role of champion of the honour of this Senate, let him pay due regard to the statements of his political friends.
– Why does not the honorable senator read those statements?
– Because I do not consider that the honour of Parliament is touched by statements made by a public journal.
– Then what is the honorable senator kicking up a row about?
– Simply because the honorable senator pretends to be moved by a sense of personal duty, when as a matter of fact he is actuated only by animus towards a political opponent.
– That is a strange statement to make.
– I offer proof of it when I show that more serious statements than those made by Senator Clemons have been made by public journals.
– Cannot the honorable senator distinguish between the criticism of a newspaper and deliberate misrepresentation by a member of the Senate?
– I can distinguish no difference between deliberate misrepresentation by a newspaper and deliberate misrepresentation by a member of this branch of the Legislature. If honorable senators are anxious to place some restraint upon themselves, and necessarily upon others, from the point of view of the language they employ, they will find me heartily in accord with them. But I decline to enter a political fight with the knowledge that my enemies are at liberty to use any missiles that they may choose, whilst I have my legs bound and my hands fettered. Let us set up a high standard for our individual conduct, and sooner or later that standard will find its reflex in the elevation of the tone of Parliament generally. .But for honorable senators to pass in silence - as we have been doing during the past few days - accusations by a public journal of an absolutely serious character, and then suddenly to fall upon some remarks innocent by comparison, merely because they emanate from a political opponent, is not the way to secure the support or approval of this Chamber.
– So far as heroics are concerned, it appears to me that more have come from Senator Millen than from all the other honorable senators who have spoken. He has availed himself of the opportunity of discussing this motion to himself make charges by means of innuendo.
– What charges have I made ?
– It is a method which the honorable senator frequently adopts. His statement that a public journal has made more serious reflections upon the honour of Parliament than has Senator Clemons, has no bearing whatever upon this question. May not such statements frequently be published in the Melbourne Age without our knowledge? For my own part I do not make it a practice to do more than skim over the newspapers which are published in this city. Life is too short to permit of it. Thus the Age newspaper may contain the vilest insinuations against the honour of the Labour party and I may be quite unaware of it. With regard to the statement which the Leader of the Opposition has by innuendo repeated, that votes in this Chamber have been “ fixed up “-
– I deny that I indorsed that statement.
– By innuendo the honorable senator seemed to indorse it.
– I say that I do not indorse it.
– I will certainly accept the honorable senator’s statement. I thought that he did indorse it, and I apologize for having placed a wrong construc tion upon his remarks. Whether things have been “ fixed up “ by members of the Labour party can be easily- ascertained by reference to Hansard, which will disclose the names of any members of this Parliament who reverse their former votes upon the measures which are now claiming our attention. Concerning the remarks that language of an objectionable character - language imputing motives to honorable senators or to political parties - is frequently used in this Chamber, I say that it is infinitely better that such language should be employed here than that it should be used at a public meeting and broadcasted by means of newspaper reports. The reason why that is so is- obvious. Any statement which may be made in the Senate can, if it be untrue, be at once contradicted and refuted. Any honorable senator can immediately call attention to it, and if the remark be unparliamentary, can secure its withdrawal. This is not the case when similar statements are made at public meetings. To my mind, Senator Clemons in his reply took up a wholly unwarrantable attitude. He did not dispute the accuracy of the report which appears in the Launceston Examiner, but he attempted to explain away his statements as statements of a trivia] character to which no importance should be attached.
– I did not quite do that. The honorable senator is nol such a tyro in politics as not to know that my remarks were accurate.
– I say that the honorable senator’s remarks, so far as my knowledge goes, are untrue. As he attempted to explain them, no special significance is to be attached to them. But if he places that construction upon them the whole weight of his speech at once falls to the ground. If he intended to show that the Labour party is unworthy the support of the electors it must be because that party was infinitely worse than was any other party. Consequently, it is his bounden duty to substantiate his charges.
– They are substantiated broadcast through Hansard, and the honorable senator knows it.
– If the report of the speech which the honorable senator delivered at Launceston, and to which exception has been taken, be substantially accurate, he affirmed that the Labour party is specially addicted to this iniquitous practice.
– Then the whole of his charges must fall to the ground. When an honorable senator makes a charge before a public audience he does so with a view to impressing them with its importance. Consequently, when Senator Clemons declared that the Labour party was deserving of condemnation because it indulged in a certain practice, he implied that it was more deserving of censure than was any other party. For him now to attempt to excuse his utterances on the plea that the practice to which he referred is a common one is to stultify himself. He cannot avoid being impaled upon the horns of a dilemma. Either he delivered an absolutely foolish speech by masking charges which were intended to show that Parliament as a whole is corrupt, or his explanation is not a correct and honest one. To attempt to cover up his allegations against the Labour party by talk of his high sense of propriety and honour- in connexion with private conversations is to attempt to make Senator Long appear a person who will betray private conversations.
– He has done so.
– My honour, at any rate, stands upon a higher plane than does that of Senator Clemons. Some of his mining transactions prove that.
– State that outside.
– State it outside, “ Yes,” and I will pull the honorable senator’s nose outside.
– I am not talking that rubbish.
– Whilst private conversations should not be repeated, I understood when Senator Long made the statement which he did that it lessened the malignity which is supposed to underlie the allegations made by Senator Clemons.
– I do not want to lessen it.
– I do not think that Senator Long can fairly be charged with any betrayal of confidence in the matter of repeating a private conversation. Senator Clemons has charged the Labour party especially with log-rolling in connexion with the two transcontinental railways. His statements were not made during the heat of an election campaign, but after the heat and friction engendered by such a campaign had passed. They were made in respect of proposals which are now before this Parliament. If Senator Clemons cannot see that there is a difference between the conditions under which his charges were made and those under which heated exchanges take place, it only evidences that his moral nature is not what it ought to be. The statement of the Leader of the Opposition that we are endeavouring to get on a pedestal is ridiculous. We merely wish to preserve the ideal that every man is honest in his statements.
– We must maintain that ideal ourselves.
– I admit that. But to suggest - as the honorable senator has done - that we ought to make a search of every public journal in order that any statements which it may make reflecting upon the honour of Parliament may be brought within our cognisance is a manifest absurdity. I regret that the bad position occupied by Senator Clemons did not enable even so clever an opponent as the Leader of the Opposition to make out a better case.
– The position assumed by honorable senators opposite reminds me very much of the player queen, in that they appear to protest too much. Their action also reminds me of a quotation relating to an individual who, whilst beholding the mote in his brother’s eye, had not sufficient discernment to pluck the beam from his own eye. That reference might be accompanied with a term which is somewhat harsh, but which would be perfectly just - a term, however, which I shall not use, because I have no desire to import unnecessary heat into this debate. But I would recommend honorable senators opposite who are raising a storm about the honour of Parliament having been assailed to re-read that Scriptural passage with a view to seeing how much of it applies to them. I congratulate them upon having raised this question. I believe that the time has come when some restraint will have to be’ placed upon expressions, personal and political, as to the conduct of individuals or parties, because I am of opinion that journals, as well as leading politicians, sometimes use these phrases with regard to ;their opponents and their parties for no other reason than to inflame the passions and the prejudices of people in order that thereby they may walk into and exercise power unworthily. It is my practice, as a rule, when debating here, to take the offensive without being personally offensive, and I wish to so act now. Let me ask every honorable senator on the other side, who is indulging in heroics, whether they be mock or sincere, to consider how, night after night, we on this side, have had to listen to ourselves being called the special representatives of capitalists, and boodleiers, and told that our object was to sustain the interests of the sweaters. These charges have been made against us on this side night after night, and quite recently, but notwithstanding the parties to which we belong, we are members of Parliament all the same. Such statements are infinitely more insulting to us as members of Parliament, and infinitely more degrading to the honour of Parliament, and our responsibilities to the people, than anything which Senator Clemons has said, or is reported to have said. Senator Millen has referred to the fact that Senator Long has displayed a certain sensitiveness to criticism, and pointed out that journals which have criticised our actions here have used much harsher terms. That is the actual position. Honorable senators opposite, who are now so jealous and sensitive as to the honour of Parliament and their own, are left open to this charge - that, because of their advantages or, if they like, their privileges, as members of the Senate, they can hit at the honour of any honorable senator on the other side who, they think may be at a disadvantage in dealing with the charge. They are afraid to take off the gloves at the proprietors of great newspapers. Why are the accusations of the press passed by without complaint from the other side?
– Because they are not big enough game.
– The answer is, that honorable senators opposite are not gameto tackle that big game. Some of us are as we have shown. I have some suspicion about the valour of a party which is particularly sensitive, when one honorable senator expresses rather strongly, and perhaps not wholly inaccurately, an opinion, and remains silent when its own honour is impugned. I think that my honorable friends on the other side have professed too much. I recommend to them the re-perusal of that passage which tells them about the mote in their neighbour’s eye, and the beam in their own.
– I do not wish to indulge in any mock heroics, because I plead guilty to being one of those who conduct a fight with the gloves off. I have made some fairly strong statements in my time, and I sup pose that I shall be called upon to do so again, but I have never had to apologize for them. I have heard no withdrawal of his remarks from Senator Clemons. I think that he stepped over the bounds of the newer morality which he has laid down, or, for the matter of that, of what has been the morality of all Parliaments. When he was asked to give the names of the individuals who had informed him he replied, “ Do you want me to get into a row with some members of the parry who are above that sort of thing, who want to be honest? It would not be decent of me to do so.” The “ some members “ are limited to two-
– I refer to a previous statement which the honorable senator made. If his standard of moralily means that decency calls upon a man to protect or not to name two individuals, and at the same time to cast an aspersion upon the honesty of every other member of a party, it meets with my disapproval. I can hardly conceive that that is really what he intended to convey. But since we have not had a withdrawal of the statement complained of, it is with sincere regret that I have to disapprove of the conduct of an honorable senator, whom I have always admired, although I have differe’l from him politically. I have always given him credit for being able to take a hard blow, and to strike hard and clean in return. He also stated at Launceston that certain things were fixed up in Parliament. I do not know of any one who has ever approached me and offered me anything in return by way of support for Victoria. I have repeatedly supported proposals made on behalf of Western Australia, I have also supported proposals made on behalf of other States, and last, but not least, I was among those who recently supported a proposal made on behalf of Tasmania without asking for anything in return, because I believed in the justice of its claims. If it be true that certain concessions were offered as reasons why I should vote for the acceptance of the Northern Territory, or the construction of the railway to Western Australia, I must ask Senator Clemons what he, or his colleagues, have offered to me that should induce me to vote for the concession which was, through a representative of Tasmania, rightly in my judgment, asked here the other night, I desire to say a few words in regard to, not the mock heroics, but the exhibition of fireworks which we have had from Senator Millen. He accomplished his object very successfully, and that was to draw a red herring across the track. He did not enter into an accusation against Senator Clemons or into his defence, but under cover of this motion, he did succeed in making one more speech on the Federal Capital issue. Not only that, but he alleged that certain accusations had been levelled against the honour of this Parliament by newspapers in Victoria. I hold no brief for the Melbourne Age. It devoted 11 inches to the reporting of my speeches prior to election, and for that space I am deeply indebted.
– I did not make an accusation against the Age at all.
– The honorable senator stated that certain accusations had been levelled against the honour of this Parliament.
– I did not accuse the newspapers of anything. My accusation was against Senator Long for not being as sensitive to attacks in that quarter as he is to attacks from another quarter.
– The honorable senator said that a Victorian newspaper had published certain statements reflecting upon the honour and honesty of this Parliament. It should not remain for Senator Long to take action. In the absence of a definite proposal by the Government, that duty should fall to the Leader of the Opposition.
– I am not such a fool as to take notice of a little statement of that kind.
– Whilst the newspaper article contained a number of statements which were mere journalism, at the same time, it contained a number of facts, which the honorable senator is not prepared to see brought to the light of day.
– Let the honorable senator name the facts which he says I hesitate to have brought to the light of day. That is a most contemptible accusation, which he is not prepared to substantiate.
– If any accusation has been made against the honour of Parliament, and the honorable senator is anxious to see its honour cleared, let him rise in his place and ask the co-operation of the Government to bring the newspaper proprietor to the bar of the Senate, as has been done in Victoria, .and he will find me willing to help him, if he has the proof in his possession, but do not let him indulge in these statements under the cover of a defence of another honorable senator who is specifically charged with impugning the honour of a party here. I regret that Senator Clemons has not another opportunity to speak on this motion. In my judgment, he has exceeded - whether in the heat of the moment or otherwise, I do not know - a fair and accurate statement of the proceedings in Parliament. I do not think that any concessions have ever been asked for or granted. I refuse to believe that there is any such thing as the corrupt practice which his speech seemed to suggest.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [4.28]. - I am one of those who think that we should hesitate about bringing before the Senate speeches delivered outside under the heat and excitement of oratory which affects men in such circumstances, because that is, in all circumstances, a most unsatisfactory method. What have we gained by this debate? Nothing. We have had a great deal of heat. I am not going to say that some of it may not have been justified.
– We will let the offender off with a caution this time.
– That remark really sums up the whole thing. It is really a frivolous waste of the country’s time. I hope that we may all remark upon the doings of Parliament as freely as possible, and I hope that the remarks which we make sometimes in unguarded language, sometimes in the stress of excitement, and sometimes moved by interjections at a great public meeting, will not be set down to any desire to underrate the power or the position of Parliament, or to reflect upon its honour. I think that we shall all agree as to the undesirability of a conversation in the club-room being used here. I feel quite certain that Senator Long did not offend in that respect, as we lawyers say, of malice aforethought; it was done from want of consideration probably. .But I would point out to him how unsafe it would be for us to hold conversations in the club-room on matters of public policy, or matters affecting any of us, if there was a danger that those conversations would be repeated here, either accurately or inaccurately.
– Does not the honorable senator think that that warning ought to apply to Senator Clemons for repeating a conversation to a public meeting?
-I shall deal with that later. A conversation, which is held in the course of giving notice to an honorable senator whose personal conduct is to be brought under review, should not be made use of in any circumstances on the floor of the chamber. It would lead to all kinds of recrimination to charges of misstatement on one side, and asseverations of accuracy on the other. We could not possibly settle the matter. In the heat of controversy it is difficult enough to observe canons of courtesy, fair play, and moderation of language, without having the statements of members on one side or the other made in confidence, as I regard all statements made in the club-room, published through Hansard or through the press. I am not making these remarks in any way as a reproach to Senator Long, because I think his action was inadvertent. The honorable senator probably did not think about it.
– I thought I made it clear why I referred to the private conversation.
– The honorable senator did not make it clear, but, whatever his reason was, he will admit that it is undesirable that such a thing should be done. We regard the club-room as specially safe and secret. It is surrounded by an atmosphere of freedom and confidence which ought never to be violated.
– Intercourse amongst honorable senators would be impossible unless that were understood.
– We should have to keep away. An honorable senator speaking in a corner of the clubroom does not whisper; he speaks in his ordinary tone of voice, and is not concerned because what he says may be heard by some one at the other end of the room, assuming that no one would be guilty of betraying his confidence to another.
– Confidences ought not to be disclosed on the platform either.
– I shall have a word to say upon that in a moment. I have not much to say on the main question. I do not offer myself as an advocate for Senator Clemons. The honorable senator is quite capable of defending himself if any accusation is made against him, and in a matter of this kind I always think it is best that others should not, so to speak, enter the ring with those who are primarily engaged in the contest. The discussion has convinced me that “ one man may steal a horse, but another may not look over the hedge.” Honorable senators will admit, that there is a great deal of force in the application of that saying. I am not concerned to defend Senator Clemons’ moral nature. An inquiry into the moral nature of any of us would be beyond the powers of the finest psychologist that ever existed. I shall not attempt anything of the sort. I come down to the plain prose facts upon which Senator Lynch dilated with even more vehemence than the proposer of the motion. Thehonorable senator used epithets that were very strong and very terrible, but quite unwarranted, it seems to me. I see nothing in the allegation reflecting upon the honour of Parliament.
– The honorable senator does not?
– Absolutely nothing. I admit that my honorable friends opposite, and perhaps some honorable senators on this side, whether supporting or opposing a Bill in which, with my State, I take a very deep interest, may feel a little sensitive about allegations made as to the basis of their action. We are dealing with an allegation that certain honorable senators on the other side- whether they are called Ministerialists or members of the Labour party does not matter - have bargained - if honorable senators please, because it is better to use a plain term than one which is susceptible of doubt - and intend to vote for the Bill because it contains two proposals, one towards which they are very friendly, and another towards which they are much less friendly and that they intend to support the proposal to which they are much less favorably disposed, in order to carry that in which they are deeply interested. Where is the harm in that?
– Senator Clemons said he was disgusted with such slimness.
– I did not say anything of the sort.
– The honorable senator is defending Senator Clemons with all the ingenuity of his profession.
– If the honorable senator reflects upon the honour of my profession in that way, I shall have to move that he be asked to apologize. The allegation is that there is, in this matter, a sort of give and take.
– Does the honorable senator justify that?
– Why should I not justify it?
– The honorable senator is setting up a new moral standard.
– I am not. I leave that, if my honorable friend will allow me, to him. The Ten Commandments and the principles to be deduced from them are enough for me. I have been in politics now for a good while, and I have never yet known any one to denounce what I call “ give and take “ in politics. I do not speak of the bartering of a man’s conscience, or the surrender of his judgment, against the interests of his country, but of agreeing to give up something that is of doubtful value in order to secure something of greater importance in which one is deeply interested.
– We do it almost every day.
– I am not saying that a man may barter his honour or his conscience, but we all know that politics are founded on compromise. And what is compromise but a surrender of what is considered non-essential in order to secure what is considered essential ?
– I never thought the honorable senator would appear as an apologist for “log-rolling.”
– I have no objection to call it “log-rolling.” If my honorable friend prefers a nasty term, I cannot help it. It is an idiosyncrasy of some of my honorable friends opposite that they like a nasty term. I do not.
– Has the honorable senator’s attention been called to these words in the report -
Both of these -will be passed, and that by a system of baiter and traffic lower than was possible in the worst form of municipal government.
– That is merely a figure of speech. On one hand, we are becoming terribly mealy-mouthed, and, on the other, we are becoming most awfully sensitive. I should have been turned to clay long ago if I had paid the slightest attention to things that have been said of me in the past. We have had, in the Senate, the charge of bargaining, huckstering, intriguing, and “log-rolling” in respect of this very Bill, in which reference is made to the two railways, without any protest.
– So long as the honorable senator gets his railway.
– I have felt hurt and depressed beyond measure at ihese charges, and shocked that Senator
Clemons should have given currency to them. My only complaint against the honorable senator is that he should have repeated statements that have already been made in the Senate. Let me inform honorable senators of what Senator Givens had to say on this question.
– Order ! I understand that the honorable senator is proposing to quote from Hansard of this session?
– On the subject under debate.
– It cannot be on the subject under debate at the present time.
– Yes, a charge against the Labour party of bargaining for their votes on the Northern Territory Acceptance Bill.
– I remind the honorable senator that the present debate has been raised in connexion with a statement made by Senator Clemons. It is based upon statements quoted from a newspaper. I do not see how the honorable senator can suggest that it refers in any way to statements appearing in Hansard.
– The reference is to action proposed to be taken in connexion with the Northern Territory Acceptance Bill, and the charge made is that the two railways referred to in the Bill are to be agreed to as the result of an arrangement between members of the ‘ Labour party, some of whom are going to vote for one because that involves receiving support for the other. Senator Clemons was asked for his authority for the statement he made. I do not know what it was, but I do know that that very accusation has been made in the Senate against members of the Labour party, and is embalmed in Hansard. I do not know whether Senator Clemons was aware of . the fact, but there is certainly in the Hansard report of the debate on the Bill referred to sufficient justification for the opinion he expressed. I quote the following from page 2137 of Hansard: -
– The honorable senator should not wait until an enemy is here.
– Will the honorable senator tell me that he has always been in favour of this Bill ? I venture to say that a largenumber of the Western Australian representatives were not in favour of it until the provision was inserted in relation to the railway for the benefit of Western Australia.
Is not that exactly what Senator demons said ?
– Let me read a word or two more. There was an interjection by Senator Pearce, who asked Senator Givens to mention names. Senator Givens then said -
I know what the opinions of some of them were before they supported the Bill.
Then there was -another interjection by Senator Pearce, and Senator Givens went on to say -
– I make, this statement, at any rate, that there are two honorable senators from Western Australia who expressed their intention of voting against the Northern Territory Acceptance Bill until the provision with regard to the Western Australian railway line was included in it.
Is not that what Senator Clemons said ?
– Surely not?
– It is the very essence of what I said:
- Senator Pearce asked that Senator Givens should mention the names, and the debate continued in this way -
– Name them.
– I will mention the names to the honorable senator privately if he likes.
– That statement is not true so far as I am concerned.
– It -is not true so far as concerns either of the honorable senators who interject. But I am not going to mention the names publicly. Indeed, I ask the honorable senators from Western Australia what the railway affecting their State has to do with this matter at all? What right has Parliament to coerce South Australia .against her will in this matter? It is a fact that there were certain South Australian senators who were not in favour of granting the concession to Western Australia, and had to be coerced into doing so?
– Order ! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– It is somewhat amusing to find that those who preach homilies to others are the least inclined to apply them to themselves. For instance, the honorable senator who has just sat down gave Senator Long some very good advice as to the honour that should be observed in relation to conversations in the club-room. I agree with every word that he said. But I was surprised that Senator Symon did not give the same advice to Senator Clemons; because that honorable senator, in the speech reported in the Launceston newspaper, stated that the information upon which he relied had been supplied to him in the course of conversation.
– Apparently Senator Clemons can steal a horse, but Senator Long must not look over the fence.
– In this case Senator Clemons stole the horse, but Senator Long has been gravely rebuked by Senator Symon for looking over the fence. Senator Symon left Senator Clemons entirely alone, although the Launceston speech informs us that he made his charges against members of the Labour party on- the strength of. admissions made to him by members of that party.
– No, that is not quite fair.
– I will read what the honorable senator did say.
– I said that my charge, if it can be so termed, could be supported by statements made by members of the party ; but I did not say that it was based entirely on those statements.
– The honorable senator said -
Further, let me say that when 1 get to Melbourne I shall ask two members of the Labour party for their permission to give you my authority for the statement. In any case, you can search the pages of Hansard and find it for yourselves. I should be amazed if you cannot discover it there.
At another part of the speech the honorable senator said, with regard to the acquisition of the Northern Territory and the building of the transcontinental railway, that -
Both of these would be passed, and that by a system of bartering and traffic lower than was possible in the worst form of municipal government. Both had been fixed up by members of the Labour party, some of whom had agreed to vote for the one in consideration of receiving support for the other. That he knew from members of the Labour party who were disgusted at the business.
Then a voice called out “ Name,” and Senator Clemons added -
Do you want mc to get into a row with some members of the party who are above that sort of thing - who want to be honest? It would not be decent to do so.
Later on, as I have quoted, the honorable senator said that he would ask two members of the party for their consent to supply; the information. I noticed a passing of copies of Hansard on the front Opposition bench. I do not know whether Senator Symon was purporting to give the information alluded to by Senator Clemons when he quoted from a speech made by Senator Givens. Senator Symon quoted Senator Givens as having made a statement somewhat similar to those alluded to by Senator Clemons.
– The terms “huckstering” and “bargaining” were used by Senator Givens.
– Is Senator Pearce implying that I induced Senator Symon to make that statement?
– There seems to be some connexion between the statement in Launceston and the action of Senator Symon in reading Senator Givens’ remarks.
– What I heard Senator Symon read would apply more to Senator Symon himself than to any other member of this Senate.
– Why did Senator Symon lecture Senator Long for making a statement which - mark you ! - he had to make in order to justify himself in consequence of an interjection by Senator Clemons ?
– Which interjection?
– At the opening of Senator Long’s speech Senator Clemons interjected, asking him what authority he had ; and he had, in reply, to make a statement concerning the conversation he had had with Senator Clemons in the club-room. Therefore, the statement of Senator Long was to a certain extent drawn from him by way of explanation. But Senator Clemons’ statement, made on the public platform at Launceston, had not even that excuse. When Senator Symon says that this Parliament was not reflected upon, I have only this to say - that, at any rate, the predominant party in this Parliament was reflected upon, and therefore the majority of the members of this Parliament were reflected upon. Senator Clemons used the words that the Labour party were guilty of huckstering and bartering, and of the practices of the worst municipal council, and I say that whoever alleges that that is not reflecting on the honour of Parliament must have a misguided opinion as to what the honour of Parliament is. I shall not pursue the subject further. I think that when Senator Clemons had his opportunity, instead of, as he undoubtedly did, evading the whole question, he should either have substantiated the charges that he made, or explained that he had been misreported, or have apologized for having made them. I do not think that he has done himself justice.
– Why not ask Senator Givens to apologize also?
– Because he is not now charged. The statement made by
Senator Clemons has, however, been brought before us. He did not repudiate the report or substantiate his charges or withdraw them and apologize.
– Nor has Senator Givens done so.
– Senator Givens is not the person charged.
– In reply, I desire at the outset to take this opportunity of assuring Senator Millen, who accused me of having shown some personal bias in this matter, that I was animated by no such feeling towards Senator Clemons. For many years past I have admired Senator Clemons as a man whom I thought to be a straight-goer and a fair fighter in politics. Having that opinion, of him I expected that to-day, when he was faced with the statement contained in the report of the journal that supports him in Tasmania, he would either have had the decency and courage to confirm the statements he made there, or to withdraw them. He has done neither. Instead, he took refuge behind the miserable pretext that I had violated the sacredness of a private conversation in the club-room.
– That had nothing to do with it.
– The honorable senator laboured one or two matters that were entirely outside the issue, and finally collapsed into his seat without offering any defence of the offence of which he is accused. The reference to the private conversation was drawn from me. I had to make it in justice to Senator Clemons.
– The honorable senator made the statement long before I interjected.
– I did nothing of the kind. I sought to get Senator Clemons by telephone this morning, and later by letter. He appeared in the club-room a few minutes ‘after I had despatched the letter. Thereupon I intimated to him verbally my intention of bringing the matter before the Senate this afternoon. Moreover, so as to be sure of my ground, I requested Senator Clemons to assure me that the report appearing in the Launceston Examiner was a substantially correct report of his speech. If Senator Clemons had assured me that it was not a correct report I. should have accepted his assurance without the slightest hesitation. I should have made a statement to the Senate, and should have contented myself with that. But when the honorable senator told me that the report was substantially correct I had no other course open to me than to make that point clear to the Senate when I introduced the question. He has endeavoured to beg the whole question by trying to level at me a charge of violating the sacredness of a private conversation in the club-room. I say that that conduct is unworthy of him. It was only to be expected that his brother-in-arms, Senator Symon, and his worthy leader, Senator Millen, should follow on the same lines in order to cover up the tracks of Senator Clemons.
– Whitewashing !
– That, perhaps, is the best term. Senator Millen wants to know why I did not introduce this question earlier than to-day.
– I did not raise a question about the date at which the honorable senator brought the matter forward.
– The honorable senator alleged that I should have brought the matter on earlier.
– No; I asked why the honorable senator waited until to-day to defend the honour of Parliament, seeing that it had been impugned during the last two days.
– All of us invariably listen with attention and respect to Senator Symon when he addresses the Senate; but I was aggrieved to hear him pursue the line that, he followed to-day in respect to this matter. He referred to the charge against Senator Clemons as being frivolous, absurd, and trivial. Sir, I have the utmost pity for an honorable senator who can take that view of such a question. Senator Millen took advantage of the motion submitted by me to make an attack upon a certain metropolitan journal.
– I made no attack upon it at all.
– Well, the honorable senator complained that the journal made several attacks upon Parliament.
– I did not complain at all. The so-called attacks - I did not call them attacks - were made on members of the Labour- party. I did not complain of that. My complaint was against Senator Long.
– The honorable senator did not make his complaint against me very clear, or else he was anxious to whitewash Senator Clemons, and, therefore, endeavoured to draw the attention of the
Senate away from the real question at issue. To a certain extent he succeeded in so doing. Now I have had a dozen letters from Tasmania calling attention to this matter. They came by the mail yesterday. Some of them asked me to interview members of the Senate belonging to my own party, in order that refutations might, if possible, be published in reply to the allegations of Senator Clemons. My correspondents desired replies to be made to the honorable senator’s attacks on men belonging to” my party whose standards of morality, both private and political, and whose notions of honour are quite as high as are his own. A great deal of time has been taken up in connexion with this matter. I do not wish to pursue it further. I think we are justified in demanding from Senator Clemons the names of the senators who he alleges gave him certain information. When, for a moment, he referred to that phase of the discussion, every honorable senator on the Ministerial side invited him to disclose the names. But he immediately turned off at a tangent and dealt with another question. Those are the kind of tactics that an individual of this character pursues when he is absolutely cornered ! We have the statement of Senator Clemons that the report published in the Launceston newspaper is correct, and I am not going to allow him to crawl out of this difficulty, as he has tried to do. I shall take means to compel him to disclose the names of the two senators who, he alleges, have given him certain information. The honorable senator is not going to get out of the difficulty so easily, although, no doubt, he may consider that he is in a measure justified in adhering to the view which he has placed before the country because it is popular with the party which he represents in this Parliament.
– My attitude with regard to a confidence of that sort ought to be popular with everybody.
– There were twentytwo senators present on this side of the House this afternoon, and they cordially invited the honorable senator - gave him full permission - to disclose the names.
– That is not correct.
– Surely the honorable senator knows that his statement is not correct.
– If I am in error, honorable senators will correct me. I claim that every honorable senator upon this side of the Chamber invited Senator Clemons to disclose the names of the. two Labour members in question.
– Let me suggest a way out of the difficulty. Let Senator Long bring a requisition to Senator Clemons to disclose their names signed by every member of the Labour party.
– Is the Leader of the Opposition still acting as the champion of Senator Clemons?
– The opportunity will be given.
– Measures will be taken to enable Senator Clemons to put himself right with the Tasmanian public. I regret that he has not seen fit to take what I think was the proper course in this connexion’. I have always regarded him as a fair and square fighter politically, and if I have to re-adjust my views, the fault is, not mine, but his. I ask leave to withdraw the motion.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn. .
– I desire to make a personal explanation. When I entered the Chamber this afternoon, Senator Symon was quoting a passage from a speech which is reported on page 2137 of Hansard of the present session. I do not know what he had said during my absence from the Chamber, and I do not propose to notice anything of which I have no personal knowledge. But the passage which he was quoting when I entered the Senate reads -
Is it a fact that there were certain South Australian senators who were not in favour of granting the concession to Western Australia, and had to be coerced into doing so? Will any honorable senator reply to that question ? Yet we rind that this spirit of huckstering and bargaining is pursued to such lengths that, in order to get support from all parties, entirely extraneous matter has been included in the Bill.
That quotation is extracted from a speech which I delivered on the Northern Territory Acceptance Bill, and I stand by every word of it.
– The “ honour of Parliament “ - “huckstering and bargaining.”
– I stand by every word of my statement, and I say that it was perfectly justified by the attitude of Senator Symon himself. It is well known that, were it not for an extraneous provision in the Bill, he would not be found voting for it.
– I would point out -that, in making a personal explanation, the honorable senator has a right to refer only to any statement which affects himself.
– Very well. My justification for the statement to which I have directed attention is the attitude of Senator Symon himself.
– By way of personal explanation, I wish to assure Senator Clemons that I very much regret having caused him temporary pain by claiming that I was not present, and did not vote, when the division was taken in this Chamber upon the proposal that the Commonwealth should make a special financial grant to Tasmania. The pair-book shows that I was not paired on that occasion, but the honorable senator is perfectly correct in quoting Hansard as showing that I had paired against the proposal in question. I am sorry that I should have caused him any temporary pain in that connexion. But, in regard to the remarks which I made, in reply to his accusation that the Labour party has been guilty of the worst form of bargaining in politics, I have no regrets. Indeed, if I had the chance of again referring to the matter, I would repeat them” with renewed emphasis.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 14th September, vide page 3072): Schedule.
Divisions 1 to 5 (Department of Home Aif airs), ,£469,541.
Amendment (by Senator Givens) again proposed -
That the item, “ Federal Capital at Canberra - towards cost of establishment, ^50,000,” be reduced by £1.
– Before the amendment is pressed to a division, I desire to make one or two observations upon the Federal Capital site question, as it is one of the questons upon which, during the recent election campaign, I refused to pledge myself. In reply, to inquiries which were put to me by electors, I said that from the information which was then in my possession, I believed that a mistake had been made in selecting Yass-Canberra as the site for the permanent Seat of Government, but that until I had been afforded an opportunity of personally inspecting the site, I would decline to pledge myself either for or against the re-opening of the question. Since then I have carefully studied the reports relating to the various sites which have been presented to this Parliament. I have listened attentively to the numerous speeches which have been delivered upon the question, and I have also visited YassCanberra. After weighing the whole of the evidence at my disposal, I am forced to conclude that that site is absolutely the best that has been submitted to this Parliament. The greatest objection which has been raised to it by the Givenites is that the water supply is inadequate. But the evidence which has been presented to the Senate during the course of this discussion proves conclusively that a supply can be obtained there which is ample for the requirements of the Federal Capital city for many years to come. The Cotter River, alone will assure a supply adequate for the requirements of 250,000 inhabitants. Outside the Cotter there are the Murrumbidgee and Molonglo rivers, the waters of which can be used for sanitary and for irrigation purposes.
– The supply available from the Cotter River alone is sufficient to meet the requirements of a population of 250,000, allowing that each individual consumes 100 gallons per day, whereas the residents of Sydney consume only 40 gallons per day.
– That circumstance has already been . emphasized, and there is no occasion for me to traverse old ground. As one who has been engaged in farming pursuits for the greater portion of my life, I say that the land over which I travelled during my inspection of the YassCanberra site was fair agricultural land. Senator Lynch has stated that the quality of the soil within the catchment area is of an inferior character, and that this is evidenced by the fact that it is valued at only 2s. 6d. per acre. But I would point out to him that it does not matter whether it be valued at 2s. 6d. or ;£io per acre,” because it can be used only as a catchment area. It is impossible to utilize it for reproductive purposes. I would also remind honorable senators that there are many matters which are absolutely dependent upon the settlement of this vexed question of the Federal Capital site. We have already agreed to an item providing for the establishment of a Military College in Australia. I would ask honorable senators where that college ought to be situated? I claim that it should be established at the Seat of Government, and if we’ delay the settlement of the Federal Capital’ site, it necessarily follows that we must delay the establishment of a Military College, and the training of our officers for the defence of Australia. Is it the intention of honorable senators that we should set up the Military College in Melbourne, where we shall have to pay twenty times as much per foot for land as we should be required to pay per acre for it at Y ass-Canberra ? The naval training school ought also to be established at the Federal Capital site.
– Are we to have our war-ships upon the Cotter River?
– That is a most impertinent interjection. I have already explained that a sufficient water supply is available at Yass-Canberra. Other honorable senators have quoted figures which fully bear out my statement. But, un, fortunately, they were not able to endow Senator Ready with the necessary intelligence to enable him to comprehend those figures. Many opponents of the YassCanberra site have made pitiful appeals to supporters of the Ministry to vote against the Government upon this question. I appeal to those members of the Ministerial party who are opposing the Government to support them on this occasion, because I maintain that no self-respecting Government can remain one hour in office if their financial proposals are defeated. Upon this particular proposal very much of the Government policy depends, and I hope that honorable senators will take that fact into consideration. I realize that we have now a Government in power whose members are prepared to give us that legislation for which I have been fighting for the past twenty years. Am I going to oppose them upon a small matter of this kind - because, after all, it is a small matter? What has been offered to us in lieu of YassCanberra ? Dalgety. In discussing Dalgety, in a report which was ordered to be printed on 6th July, 1904, Mr. Scrivener, whose reports have been quoted by the opponents of Yass-Canberra during the course of this debate, says -
At Dalgety the soil is less fertile than at any of the other sites, but on this account better foundations for large buildings over the whole area would be obtained.
In a capital site we require something more than a good foundation for our buildings. No more damning indictment has been made against Yass-Canberra than the one made against Dalgety by the surveyor whom honorable senators have been quoting throughout this debate. Referring to the land question, and the poorness of the soil at Yass-Canberra, is the position at
Dalgety any better? In a report on the whole of the proposed sites in the southern Monaro district, Mr. Scrivener says -
Southern Monaro is essentially a pastoral district; in earlier times wheat was grown for local use, but, with the advent of the roller mill and railway” communication, it was found to be more convenient to obtain flour direct from the Sydney market.
The land in Dalgety must be wonderfully fertile if it pays persons better to bring their produce from Sydney than to grow it.
– Dalgety was the honorable senator’s first love.
– No. I declared that I would not vote in favour of any site until I had had an opportunity of seeing the site selected by this Parliament. If I voted against the Government on this occasion, I should break the promise which I made on the hustings. Whilst I was advocating that a Bill should be passed for the payment of 25s. per capita per annum to the States for ten years, in preference to the insertion of the Financial Agreement in the Constitution, it was interjected, “ The next Parliament could repeal that Act.” I thereupon referred to the Sugar Bounty Act, and pointed out that, although it cost the Commonwealth an enormous sum every year, Parliament had never attempted to repeal it, nor did I think that any Parliament would attempt to repeal an Act passed by a previous Parliament, unless it had appealed to the electors for a mandate. On this question I, for one, have received no mandate from the people. Throughout Western Australia I did not 4ear a candidate declare that he was in favour of repealing the Act which was passed by the last Parliament. I do not think that we should be setting a good precedent if we repealed the Act, and, therefore, I intend to oppose the amendment. I hope that the Estimates, as they appear in the Bill, will be passed with as little delay as possible.
– With regard to the question of the Capital site, and the proposed appropriation of this sum of £50,000, I have a very distinct idea of what I want, and what I think would be the best thing to do. Speaking from memory, I believe that I moved, for the selection of Bombala, which was once the selected site. On the last occasion when this question was brought before the Senate, I said that I was. not competent to decide between the various localities. If I were asked to give my opinion as to their merits, I should say at once, “ You can have my opinion, but my valuation of it is twopence.” I do not believe that I am capable of deciding the question, and I am not going to vote on grounds of that sort. I also said then - I do not know whether it was on the floor of the Chamber or elsewhere - that I recognised in the Constitution an obligation to meet the proper demand of New South Wales. When it comes to the selection of a site outside the proscribed territory in New South Wales, as soon as I can ascertain what particular site a majority of its representatives in this Parliament want, I shall say to them at once, “ There is my vote.”
– Is that corruption ?
– I do not know whether it is corruption or not, but it is my practical way of attempting to get out of this difficulty. In my opinion, the people of New South Wales, through its representatives, deserve consideration at our hands, and they ought to know better than the rest of us which is the best site to choose. To-day I am asked to vote a sum of £50,000 to be expended on YassCanberra. But I want to see this Parliament meet in Sydney for the next ten years.
– It would be necessary to alter the Constitution.
– I admit that that difficulty is in the way. But I understand that the Ministry intend to ask for a referendum on various questions next year. It would be very easy to take a referendum as to giving this Parliament the right to use Sydney as a temporary Capital for the next ten year*.
– Does the honorable senator think that it would be advisable to submit many questions at one time. Might it not complicate the issue?
– No; but I think that that question could be referred to the people in this short sentence, ‘ ‘ Are you willing to so amend the Constitution as to allow Sydney to be the temporary Capital for the next ten years?”
– And then?
– I should say that, at the expiration of that term, we must decide upon some place in New South Wales.
– Adelaide, or some other place ?
– No ; because it is provided in the Constitution that New
South Wales shall have the Federal Capital within its territory.
– Was not that the reason why Melbourne was given the Federal Capital until then? Was not that a huckstering bargain?
– It may, or may not have been, but the honorable senator knows as well as I do that to-day we are not bound, and do not profess to be bound, by all of the opinions expressed by the framers of the Constitution.
– It was not the Convention which put that provision in the Constitution. It was suggested by the Conference of Premiers.
– That may make the case a little stronger, but it does not alter my argument. To-day, I am asked to vote for or against a proposal for the immediate expenditure of ,£50,000 on YassCanberra.
– The honorable senator does not overlook the avowed object ot the amendment. It is not to stop expenditure on the site, but to re-open the whole question of selecting the site.
– I have not heard that. Possibly that is the avowed object of many honorable senators who oppose the item, but that is not going to bind me. If any action I took to-day in conjunction with honorable senators were to re-open the question; if, for instance, we were asked to pass a motion selecting a Capital site, my vote would be placed at the disposalof a majority of the representatives of New South Wales in this Parliament. If they want Yass-Canberra, I shall vote for that site, but if to-day anything I might do should commit the Parliament to the immediate expenditure of .£50,000 on Yass-Canberra, there would be an end of the matter. I do not suppose that Parliament’ would vote this sum, and then change the site.
– Then how can the honorable senator get out of supporting the amendment ?
– I do not think this is the proper time to spend the money. In the tenth year of our parliamentary existence, I am strongly averse to spending all this money.
– Why not reduce the item to .£5,000?
– If we spend £5,000 now, we must continue the expenditure - practically spend the lot.
– Senator Vardon asked, “ Why not reduce the item to £5,000?”
– I do not suppose that there is any difference between reducing the item by £1 and reducing it to £5,000.
– Yes; the honorable senator is playing into the hands of those who want to achieve an object with which he does not agree. He agrees with the selection of Yass-Canberra?
– The honorable senator wants to re-open the question of site.
– That is the intention of the amendment.
– I want to postpone the expenditure of money on the site for ten years. I think it is ten years too soon in the history of our nation to indulge in any great expenditure for this purpose. After all, what is a period of twenty years in the history of Australia? I can understand members of the Ministry, their supporters, and representatives of New South Wales being impatient, but surely, looking at the matter in a larger way, surely twenty years is not a long time to wait before the Commonwealth decides to spend a large sum on the Capital site?
– A great number of new buildings are required at once. Are we to construct them in Melbourne or Canberra ?
– Is the honorable sen’ator suggesting a difficulty with regard to the site, and the necessity of building very soon.
– Where is the Commonwealth to erect these buildings? If the settlement of this question is delayed for ten years, the buildings, if erected here, will be of no use there, and the Commonwealth will have to erect some buildings at the Capital.
– I do not know that we could not get out of that difficulty. Is it insuperable? Is it a fact that we might not erect the buildings somewhere else? We have many military and naval buildings scattered about the various capials.
– It would be necessary for the Commonwealth to purchase land.
– I see what the honorable senator means. At the same time, I do not think it is an insuperable difficulty to the Parliament going to Sydney for ten years.
– There is no Parliament House in Sydney for us.
– No; but I feel satisfied that the people of Sydney would be willing to provide accommodation if we intimated our desire to go there.
– Just as Victoria did.
– Yes. In the early days, that question might have been asked in respect to Victoria, but here we are in this magnificent building. This is a practical question. I think that if we intimated that we were ready to go to Sydney for ten years, the necessary accommodation would be found.
– Has the honorable senator any hope that the Federal Parliament is going to Sydney ?
– I have great hopes.
– Does the honorable senator think that Victoria will agree to that?
– If to-day I were to vote for the expenditure of this £50,000 at Yass-Canberra, all hope of this Parliament meeting in Sydney for ten years would be gone. I honestly believe that a large majority of the electors would welcome such a proposal as that I have indicated. I cannot speak for the other States, but I venture to say that a majority of eight or ten to one of the people of Tasmania would support it. I cannot speak in the same way for the people of New South Wales, but I do not believe they would object to it.
– They would, because it would have the effect of destroying the constitutional provision with respect to the Federal Capital.
– How would it do that?
– Because at the end of the next ten years there would be an agitation to bring the Parliament back to Melbourne; or Adelaide might put in a claim.
– I do not propose in any way to alter the Constitution to interfere with the provision that the Capital shall be established in New South Wales. My plea is for economy.
– Would it cost more or less than £50,000 to remove the Parliament to Sydney?
– I do not know, but surely that is not the point !
– If it would cost more, where would be the economy?
– I wish to postpone for at least ten years, not merely the expenditure of this £50,000, but the very large additional expenditure which will be necessary to establish the Federal Capital, and which has been estimated at from £1,000,000 lo £2,000,000. Senator Rae will admit that by carrying the proposed vote of £50,000 we shall commit ourselves to the larger expenditure within the next two or three years of, it may be, £1,000,000 on the establishment of the Federal Capital at Yass-Canberra.
– We should have to spend £500,000 to build a new Parliament House in Sydney.
– I do not think that the Commonwealth would be called upon to do so. As a representative of Tasmania, and in view of the tremendous expenditure with which we are confronted, I have to ask myself whether we can afford to undertake this expense.
– The building of the Capital can be made to pay for itself.
– I do not believe that it can, though I admit that there is room for a difference of opinion on that point. What we have to consider is that this would involve an enormous expenditure of money added to all our other commitments, and I am afraid it would bring the Commonwealth into a very serious financial position. Honorable senators opposite are strongly opposed to public borrowing. Is that not so?
– No, not for reproductive works.
– I do not know how elastic the phrase “ reproductive works “ may be in the opinion of the honorable senator. Would he call the building of the Federal Capital a reproductive work ?
– I certainly should.
– I may be wrong, but I should not so regard it.
– What is the difference between paying £30,000 a year as rent for public buildings, and paying 3 per cent, on £1,000,000 borrowed to erect our own public buildings at the Federal Capital?
– The honorable senator asks whether if we borrowed £1,000,000 at 3 per cent., and constructed public offices at the Federal Capital with the money, we should be any worse off than we are to-day in paying £30,000 a year as rent for public offices.
– We should be better off, because we would be paying for our own buildings.
– -That may be so, but it brings me back -to the question I asked just now, Where is the £[1,000,000 to come from ? If we commit ourselves by this vote to the Capital site at YassCanberra, does it mean that we are to embark upon a borrowing policy? I know that the party in office at the present time have repeatedly asserted that- they will not borrow if they can possibly help it. If we do not borrow for the construction of the Federal Capital, how are we to finance the proposal ? I wish to put some check upon what I call extravagance on the part of the Commonwealth. I believe that we are spending too much now. We are committing ourselves, in a light-hearted sort of way, and without proper regard to the future, to all sorts of expenditure which will increase both as to the capital amount and as to the recurring charge upon the revenues of the Commonwealth. Let us consider the schemes that are ahead of us. There is the establishment of the Federal Capital, the purchase from South Australia of the Northern Territory-
– Not the purchase, the transfer of the control of the Territory.
– The taking over of the Territory by the Commonwealth with the obligation to construct a railway
– At some time or other. That should meet the honorable senator’s view of postponing expenditure.
– I suppose that it is not proposed that after purchasing the Northern Territory from South Australia we shall stop at that. If we buy it we must develop it. I suppose we shall not enter into the bargain for the sake of the bargain.
– Why not? We have selected a Capital site, and the- honorable senator proposes that we should stop at that.
– Does Senator Millen seriously propose that we should buy the Northern Territory from South Australia and do nothing further?
– No; but that is what the honorable senator proposes should be done in connexion with the Capital site.
– We have not yet bought the Northern Territory, and it is extremely likely that I shall vote againstthe proposal unless the agreement for its purchase is stated in what I believe to be a reasonable way. I confess that I am afraid of all this expenditure. We have the Capital site, the Northern Territory transcontinental railway scheme, and the Western Australian transcontinental, railway scheme. Where is our expenditure to end ? Is it not in conformity with the ordinary practice of business men that we should say that this is not the time to indulge in fresh expenditure on the Capital site? Is New South’ Wales being treated very badly because we say we cannot indulge in this expenditure to-day? I have always desired to act as a friend to New South Wales in this matter. Nothing will induce me to let my vote be used to set aside Yass-Canberra if New South Wales representatives desire that it should be retained as the Capital site. Perhaps I had better, explain at once that the vote I shall give on the amendment cannot be taken as an indication of what I shall do if a motion is submitted asking us to again select the Capital site. I intend to vote against the proposed vote of £50,000, but I do not intend that that should assist the defeat of Yass-Canberra.
– That is what it will do.
– I do not think it is fair that in dealing with this proposed expenditure I should be hampered by being told that. I cannot consent to this expenditure at this time. If I am told that if I refuse to support this vote I shall risk the substitution of some other place for YassCanberra as the site of the Federal Capital and the defeat of the desire of the majority of the people of New South Wales, I must say that I cannot regard that as a sufficient reason to deter me from practising economy in public expenditure in the interests of the Commonwealth and of Tasmania. I know distinctly what I want, and that is to postpone expenditure in connexion with the Federal Capital for ten years, and that the Parliament should meet in Sydney in the meantime. For these reasons I shall have to oppose the expenditure of the proposed vote.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [5.40]. - I agree with a great deal of what Senator Clemons has said, but I do not agree with his conclusion. We should certainly exercise caution in the expenditure of public money, and what the honorable senator has said has led me to believe that I should at the earliest moment make clear my view of what the amendment means. It proposes the reduction of the proposed vote of ,£50,000 by the sum of £1. That is a frivolous thing in itself, but it means more than meets the eye. It is a metaphorical amendment, and in order to ascertain its intention we must have some regard to what the mover of it has told us. If at the close of the speech which he has just made Senator Clemons had moved that the vote should be materially reduced and that only £5,000 or £10,000 should be voted for the purpose stated, I should have some hesitation in saying that I would not vote with him. I agree that in regard to expenditure on the Federal Capital, as well as other expenditure, we should go slowly. I think with Senator Givens that we should have some specific announcement from Ministers as to how the proposed vote is to be expended. If the amendment had been moved by Senator Clemons after the . speech we have just heard from him, it would have a very different significance. Senator Givens has not left us in any doubt as to what his amendment means. From the honorable senator’s point of view, instead of being worded as it is, his amendment might have been worded in this way : “ That the Senate is of opinion that the selection of YassCanberra as the site of the Federal Capital should be rescinded, and the Act dealing with the matter repealed, at the earliest possible moment.” Writ large, that is really what the amendment means.
– It does not commit me.
– I appeal to my honorable friend, after the exceedingly generous way in which he has spoken about New South Wales and the consideration which ought to be given to that State, to consider whether he is going to support an amendment which must necessarily be taken by the Government as a rescision of the selection which has been made. If by any means the question could be brought up for debate that it is premature to proceed with the construction of the Federal Capital, and that we ought to reduce the amount on the Estimates for that purpose, the issue would be a very different one, involving different considera tions. It may be that honorable senators who think that the Seat of Government should be transferred to Sydney would then have a clear field before them, and would not do any injustice to their clear conviction that Yass-Canberra, which has been selected, is the preferable site. Senator Givens, with the candour which usually inspires his speeches, has left his attitude beyond any doubt whatever. What he wishes to do is to destroy the selection of Yass-Canberra. No matter how we try to safeguard ourselves by our word, the consequence of it will be, if the amendment is agreed to, that Yass-Canberra will go. I cannot see any other alternative. Senator Givens has not said to the Government, “ I am moving this amendment so that you may consider whether you ought not to be content with a smaller sum at present.” He is proposing to defeat the Government policy by reversing the selection which this Parliament has made. He has left his meaning in no doubt.
– I do not usually leave my meaning in doubt.
– My honorable friend is. always straight and plain. His speeches, which are an illumination to this Chamber, are always perfectly clear. In his speech on the 13th September he said -
I believe it is generally acknowledged that the Military College must be established on Federal territory in connexion with the Capital.
That is a proposition with which, I believe, honorable senators unanimously agree. The policy of the Government is that a Military College is to be established. Where is it to be established? They say, “ At the Federal Capital.” “ At the Federal Capital,” Senator Givens also says. In fact, he says -
I believe that every member of the Committee will agree that that is its proper place.
But if we defeat the selection to-day, we, at least, indefinitely postpone the fixing of the Federal Capital, and, consequently, we defeat the proposal of the Government in regard to the Military College. That is unquestionable. My honorable friend does not deny that proposition. In fact, he says -
To that extent, I have no objection to offer to the item.
He has no objection to putting the Military College at the Federal Capital. But the question arises : Where is the Federal Capital to be established ? May I ask him where the Military College is to be established, and when we are to settle this question ? We have tried for ten long years. We have had picnics to various localities. We all applied our ‘prentice minds to the consideration of various sites. We estimated their rival attractiveness and suitability. Now the Military College is to be established at Yass-Canberra. We are to have a Federal Capital at which to build it. If we have no Capital, we shall have no College. That is what it comes to.
– That argument is very ingenious, but it is not correct.
– My honorable friend does not suppose that the Military College is going to be put up in the clouds, or that it will be located in an aeroplane. Where, then, is it to be? He went on -
I do not want to introduce any heat or irritation into the discussion, because this is a very important national question which ought to be discussed calmly.
We all agree to that -
From my point of view it is extremely important that Australia should pause and consider well before a site for the Capital is finally chosen.
When is it to be finally chosen? Is it to be hung up from year to year every time somebody can successfully - I do not say bargain or huckster, or anything like that, but every time any one can persuade some lukewarm members of Parliament - some Laodiceans - to vote for delay? My honorable friend went on -
Because such a decision cannot be reversed at the sweet will of this or any future Parliament.
But is not that what my honorable friend is trying to do? Is he not trying to reverse the choice, because he thinks there happens to be, I will not say a casual - because that would be against the honour of Parliament - but an accidental majority on his side -
We are definitely fixing upon a site for all time.
That is, if we agree to my honorable friend’s site. He wants us to agree to Dalgety.
– I said that I was not at all wedded to Dalgety.
– My honorable friend sings songs of joy over the superior attractiveness of Dalgety.
– The honorable senator has only casually glanced at my speech.
– I read every word of my honorable friend’s speeches. I take them to bed with me.
I study them most diligently. I have some of them . almost by heart -
Therefore it should only be done after the fullest consideration, and in the fairest and clearest possible way.
My honorable friend means to say that the choice was not” made in that way.
– The first selection was fair.
– But the second was not? Surely that is a reflection upon the honour of Parliament ! -
Some persons have an idea that the Capital site is already fixed at Yass-Canberra.
I have thought so ever since the Act was passed.
– But did the honorable senator say so when Dalgety was chosen ?
– Yes, I did. I suppose that my honorable friend refers to my having voted for Dalgety on the first occasion. I have heard an expression used about first love. It cannot be said that Dalgety was my first love, because it was one of those cases in which there was no love at all. ‘In affairs of love the bride is selected. But in this case the bride was chosen without the bridegroom having seen her. That may be a convenient practice in some countries, but it is not one which we usually pursue. I was beguiled into a choice when I voted for Dalgety on the first occasion. I formed my views on the opinions of other people. When the matter was reopened I made an expedition to Dalgety in order to see if I could justify my vote. I thought that was an honest thing to do. I inspected the site in company with a number of others. But I came to the conclusion that I could not face the people of my State or the people of Australia generally, and say that I was satisfied that I had voted for the right site for a Federal Capital. Canberra was not amongst the first group of sites, but it was in the second group. I made an arrangement to go and see it for myself in company with our friend, Mr. Staniforth Smith, who is now in Papua. We went apart from any parliamentary Committee, and were simply guided by a New South Wales surveyor. We got up very early in the morning, or rather in the middle of the night, and inspected the place carefully. I was satisfied that, amongst the sites that I had seen, Canberra was the proper one to choose. I have never since deviated from that view.
– That shows that the honorable senator had no qualms of conscience about departing from the Dalgety selection.
– I should have had qualms of conscience if I had adhered to the Dalgety selection.
– So should I if I adhered to Yass-Canberra.
– There must be finality at some time. Any one might say that he preferred some other site to Yass-Canberra, but we cannot continue indefinitely expressing our preferences. I am further reminded that no agreement was entered into between the two Governments as to Dalgety. An agreement has been entered into with regard to Yass-Canberra. My honorable friend went on -
It is not any more definitely and finally settled now than it was before. Parliament has just as good a right now to reconsider this question and change its opinion as it had on the former occasion.
I quite agree. My honorable friend does not disguise that, by means of this amendment, he asks the Senate to rescind the Yass-Canberra selection. That is what our vote will mean. That being the case, on what grounds are we asked to do this? There is a sentence about Dalgety that I should like to quote from Senator Givens’ speech. He did not disguise that his amendment meant that we were asked to make a choice between Dalgety and YassCanberra. He said on page 2960 -
I must honestly say that I cannot regard Canberra as the best site for the Federal Capital. As a mere building site, I admit that Canberra is a very good site for a city.
So far, so good ; and then he proceeded to canvas the demerits of Yass-Canberra, and to say -
The advantage of establishing the Federal Capital on the Monaro tableland would be that it would practically add a new province to Australia.
– The amendment is moved with the distinct object of giving Parliament an opportunity to reconsider the question.
– First of all, it is said that the merits of the respective sites ought to be reconsidered. I decline to enter into the merits or demerits of Yass-Canberra again. I certainly decline to enter into a comparison between the merits of the two sites named. We have already done that extensively, and whatever opinion may be entertained on the question, I, for one, am not prepared for
a moment for any reconsideration of relative merits. What is the other ground urged in support of the amendment? It is said that this is a new Parliament - that there has been a general election - and that there are a number of new members in it. That argument means - if it means anything - that after every general election, if nothing very serious in regard to the development of the Federal Capital site has occurred in the interim, the question must be re-opened. We shall never reach finality if that course be adopted. We know very well that Parliament has a right to repeal the Act covering the selection of Yass-Canberra if it chooses to do so. But I say it would be a gross breach of faith with New South Wales if any such action were taken. What have we to gain by acting in that way? Too much weight cannot be attached to the statement of Senator Clemons, that if any doubt exists in our minds as to which is the better site, Dalgety or Yass-Canberra, that doubt ought to be resolved in favour of the wishes of New South Wales. The Constitution contains a provision that the Federal Capital shall be located in New South Wales, and, while we need not absolutely abandon our opinions in regard to the suitability of any site, or concerning its water supply, we ought to pay special attention to the wishes of that State. The third ground upon which we are asked to reject the proposal of the Government is that the Federal Capital site should be chosen by a referendum of the people. Did anybody ever hear of such a preposterous suggestion? They might have been asked whether there should be a Federal Capital at all? Under the Constitution, it is impossible for that to be done. But if it were possible, I am satisfied that the people would bring to bear upon this question the same sound judgment that they bring to bear upon most questions. We can safely trust the whole people all the time, when, perhaps, their representatives in Parliament may not be so worthy of popular confidence. But to ask the 4,000,000 people of the Commonwealth or their electors to select a Capital site is absurd. They can have no means of judging of the relative merits of the different sites. It is difficult enough for us, with all the facilities at our command, to arrive at a conclusion upon this question. No other reason has been suggested why we should now annul what we have already done, and back out. of our engagement with New South Wales, thus postponing the choice of. the permanent Seat of Government indefinitely. My honorable friend, Senator Clemons, has made a suggestion which, if it were practicable, might prove a very useful one. He has suggested that we should endeavour to arrange for the Executive and Administrative offices of the Commonwealth to be removed to Sydney.
– Is it not practicable?
– I think not. I would rather yield to my honorable friend’s view upon a question of this kind than give weight to my own. But, on reflection, I think he will see that this proposal is not practicable. We all know the old saying that three Sittings are worse than a fire. In this case, I think that one flitting would be worse than a fire from the stand-point of economy. The Commonwealth. Government is established in Melbourne, and to move its- Administrative and Executive offices from, this city to Sydney -would involve an enormous .cost - a cost which I believe would far exceed £50,000. But there are other considerations which have to be weighed. Despite all that we hear of the likelihood that Victoria would agree to Sydney becoming the Federal Capital, I think that when we came to give effect to that proposal a great deal of opposition would be encountered. In the first place, New South Wales would say, “ For ten years the Commonwealth Parliament has professed its desire to give effect to the obligation imposed upon it by the Constitution, and now it is merely removing its Executive and Administrative offices to Sydney, merely to delay and frustrate the establishment of the permanent Seat of Government. ‘ ‘ Then we should have South Australia exclaiming, ‘ ‘ Why do you take the representatives of this State all the way to a city which is not to be the Federal Capital?” If the Commonwealth Parliament were meeting in Sydney, the representatives of South Australia would not be able to return to their homes at the week -end. They would occupy a similar position to my honorable friends from the more remote States. Nobody could be accused of being unduly selfish, if that view were presented. Thus, it would not be easy to remove the Seat of Government from Melbourne to Sydney, even if we wished to do so. Further, if that were done, I fear that we should get into the habit of regarding a peripatetic Capital as a substitute for the provision which is contained in the Constitution. In such circumstances, it might naturally be asked, “ Why should not the Commonwealth Parliament go to Brisbane and to Adelaide ? “ A most undesirable precedent would be established, and one under which our constitutional obligations would be ignored. I am glad that Ihe Government are honestly endeavouring to respect those obligations. In conclusion, I say that we should observe the ordinary business practice of looking our expenditure in the face, with a view to seeing whether we can afford this, that, or the other. If we feel that £50,000 is rather a large sum to expend upon the Federal Capital this year - I am not sure that it is, because I have not seen anything to enable me to arrive at a conclusion - the amount might be reduced, and the Government, I am sure, would not regard that - as evidently they regard the amendment of Senator Givens - as an attempt to strike at the selection of Yass-Canberra. A question of quantum is very different from an amendment, which is aimed at the defeat of the whole policy of the Government, in connexion with this matter. So far as I can see, £50,000 is not an extravagant amount to expend at the Federal Capital site,, if the establishment of a military college there is “ in the air.”
– - It does not include the establishment of the Military College.
– We do not know. The £50,000 which it is proposed to expend may be required for preliminary arrangements. But, at any rate, it. is our first step towards carrying out our constitutional obligations with New South Wales. It is our first advance for that purpose, and we should utterly stultify ourselves if we did not agree, to some extent, to act on the assumption that the choice of Yass-Canberra is to remain unchallenged. I am as much opposed to extravagant or heavy expenditure on the Federal Capital as anybody can be. I hold that ten or twenty years hence will be quite early enough to sanction a large expenditure upon it. But there are matters upon which expenditure is required now. If we vote for the amendment of Senator Givens, we shall be affirming that the Yass-Canberra site should be cast to the winds, that the whole question should be again thrown into the melting pot, and that the irritation and scramble which we have witnessed in the past should be prolonged for years to come.
– Senator Symon and others have inquired how the £[50,000 for which provision is made on these Estimates is to be expended. In order to prevent a repetition of those inquiries, I propose to give the Committee the desired information. £[13,000 of the amount will be expended to provide for requisite surveys, comprising those in connexion with the demarcation of boundaries, triangulation, engineering proposals, railways, roads, &c. The sum of £6,000 is required in connexion with compensation for the acquisition of privately-owned lands, the claims for which may be settled during the year, and to cover the cost of valuation. £5,000 will be expended upon premiums for designs for the city, including the preparations of plans and descriptive matter. The sum of £4,000 is required to provide for the initial work of afforestation, establishing nurseries, &c. Then £22,000 are required for the carrying out of the works mentioned in the statement prepared by the Director-General of Works,- including roads, railway from Queanbeyan to the Federal Capital, purchase and storage of timber, military college, brick-making, and the preparation of engineering designs.
– Is it anticipated that the whole of these amounts will be spent within the financial year?
– In all probability.
– There will be no money unexpended, as there usually is in connexion with such items?
– Not necessarily. In the event of Parliament approving these Estimates, the Government desire to proceed with the works as speedily as possible, and not to have any moneys unexpended at the end of the financial year. During the debate different statements have been made as to how much the Commonwealth will have to pay for the lands which will be acquired, and which to-day are privately owned. Senator Ready and others have stated that the acquisition of the privately-owned lands will mean a considerable outlay of public money. The position is that New South Wales will transfer absolutely free to the Commonwealth proprietary rights in 261,385 acres. The lands alienated in the Federal Territory, and in process of alienation, comprise 314,615 acres. This area includes freehold land, and also conditionally purchased and conditionally leased lands, which will ultimately become freehold. The privately-owned lands represent a value of ,£500,000. The history of the Capital site question has been stated, and re-stated during the debate, but in order that a true statement of the position, as it presents itself to us to-day, may appear in Hansard, I propose to read a summary which will show exactly the .stage which the question has reached with respect to finality. We find that on the 18th October, 1909, an agreement was entered into between the Commonwealth and the State of New South Wales, in which the State agreed to surrender to the Commonwealth, and the Commonwealth agreed to accept from the State, the area of 900 square miles at Canberra for the purpose of the Seat of Government. This agreement forms the first schedule to the Seat of Government Acceptance Act 1909, and this was subscribed to subject to the approval of Parliament. Section 3 of that Act provides -
The agreement made between the Commonwealth and the S’tate and set out in the first schedule to this Act is hereby ratified and confirmed.
The Seat of Government Surrender Act, passed by the New South Wales Legislature in December, 1909, similarly provides in section 5, that “ the agreement is hereby ratified and confirmed.” The view, therefore, is that finality has been reached, and that a definite contract has been executed by the Commonwealth and the State. I have mentioned these facts for the information of the Committee. _ Different statements have been made with respect to the impossibility of having up-to-date or modern harbor improvements at Jervis Bay. It has been pointed out that there has been little or no desire on the part of the New South Wales Parliament to meet ‘ the wishes of this Parliament in that regard. I find that on the 19th October last, Mr. Fuller, Minister of Home Affairs, telegraphed to the Premier of New South Wales, as follows -
Desirable ha%-e your assurance that your Government will offer no objection to the construction of such works at Jervis Bay as the Commonwealth may consider necessary for the purpose of forming a harbor.
The Premier of New South Wales telegraphed this reply -
We will offer no objection to works for harbor at Jervis Bay.
I think that in the event of nothing being done to upset the determination of Parliament in regard to the Capital site, that as’surance ought to relieve opponents of the site of any anxiety in respect to the possibility of having an up-to-date harbor at Jervis Bay.
– Does it mean that the State will give to the Commonwealth the territory on which the works will have to be constructed?
– They would not embody that in the schedule to the Bill.
– As the Minister of Defence reminds me, under our Lands Acquisition Act the Commonwealth can acquire any area required for its public purposed.
– With sovereign rights?
– Then how is it we could not get Dalgety ?
– I do not think that we need discuss Dalgety.
– It clearly shows that we can only get what New South Wales likes to give us.
– The honorable senator . knows as well as any one in the Chamber knows that, although Dalgety was originally chosen as the site which in the opinion of the majority of the members of this Parliament was the most acceptable, the New South Wales Government would not grant that site to the Commonwealth, but did grant Yass-Canberra ; and the agreement which I quoted a moment or two ago is definite, and, in a measure, binding on this Parliament.
– Should not the Commonwealth have sovereign rights over the harbor, as well as over the Capital site?
– I do not think that there is any doubt or difficulty in that regard.
– You can only go to high-water mark.
– Ships could anchor in the bay.
– In regard to the water possibilities of Yass-Canberra, it has been said that on occasions the Cotter, which will provide the water supply for the inhabitants of the Capital, runs dry. All possible inquiries have been made with respect to that statement, but no record could be found of any occasion on which the river ceased to flow.
– I think the honorable senator himself said that it did.
– I make no apology for the position I occupy here to-day. I am a member of the Government, and I knew very well that in joining the Government there would be differences of opinion in respect to some questions, and that the minority would have to submit to the wishes of the majority. I have loyally stood by parties, and I shall loyally stand by a Cabinet. I have expressed views in regard to to the Capital site, but on this occasion I am expressing a view as a member of a Cabinet which is pledged to this policy. Yass-Canberra was selected, not by this Government, but by a previous Parliament, and against its selection I entered a vigorous protest. But when that protest was entered, finality was, I believe, reached. I stand in a different position today in consequence of that decision.
– Does the honorable senator believe now that it is a good place. Is it all right now?
– I made strong remarks in regard to Yass-Canberra when it was under discussion not long ago, and before the agreement was arrived at.
– This is not a party question.
– At that time I had not seen Yass-Canberra.
– Hear, hear ! The honorable senator did not know anything about it.
– No; there is only one man in this Chamber who knows anything about any question, and that is the honorable senator. Unless one agrees with the view he puts forward on this or any other question, then one does not understand it.
– The honorable senator does not agree with himself very often.
– I, at least, show some consideration to those who hold contrary opinions to mine.
– So do I.
– I am not so vain as to believe that I possess all the intelligence and wisdom within the four walls of this building.
– But the honorable senator knows more now that he did when he last spoke.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 -p.m.
Motion (by Senator Walker) proposed -
That this Bill be now lead a third time.
– I have not spoken upon this Bill since it was introduced, and do not wish to speak upon it at great length to-night, because, as we all know, there is other business awaiting us. But I should be sorry if it went through the Senate without some debate, especially as I intend to vote against the third reading. It seems to me that the main object of the Bill - or, rather, I should say the main result that will flow from it - will be that a quantity of money will be more or less locked up if the measure is taken advantage of. In other words, from a financial point of view, it will represent a large economic waste. For that reason I am against it. I am against the Bill, also, because it is permissive. If we are going to deal seriously with banking - and the Government in a short time intends, we are told, to deal with the question- - it is not desirable that we should pass permissive Bills of this kind. It is a great blemish on the measure that it will lead to the management of banks throughout the Commonwealth on divergent lines.
– May I inform the honorable senator that it was the crisis of 1893 that brought the necessity for a measure of this kind before my mind.
– We have heard very often about the crisis of 1893, but I do not think that if Senator Walker’s measure had been in operation at that time, or even ten years before, it would have mitigated the severity of the crisis. The Bill is intended to benefit shareholders. I must admit, however, that I cannot regard this matter merely from a shareholder’s point of view.
– Would not the honorable senator like the shareholders of banks to be strong men, able to meet their liabilities ?
-Men, whether strong or weak, should not incur liabilities unless they are prepared to meet them ; and if men form a banking company in this Commonwealth with a reserve liability, it is the usual concomitant that that reserve liability should be actual. Any body of men who form themselves into a new banking company should have a reserve lia bility, if only as a form of deterrent. A banking company is not a thing for a body of men to form lightly and at haphazard, without recognising that their obligations are serious. In every banking company in every country where English is spoken there is a reserve liability upon shareholders, and you may reasonably say that a good deal of the stability of a bank depends upon that liability. It also, as I have said, acts as a deterrent. But under a Bill of this sort, a number of men could start a bank very easily, and with a ridiculously small capital.
– Under this Bill there would have to be ,£100,000 of paid-up capital.
– It has been estimated that if all the banking companies in Australia to-day were to take advantage of this measure, there would be formed under its operation a total reserve fund of
– That is, if all the banks came in under the Bill. Would it not be a good thing if Australian stocks were taken up by people living in Australia ?
– It would not be a good thing to put the profits made by banks, which should go into the pockets of their shareholders, into a fund where they would be practically dead money. I believe that, if banking institutions are carrying on their business legitimately and soundly, they ought to distribute their profits amongst their shareholders.
– Have not the shareholders a right to do’ as they like with their profits?
– They have that right, but the shareholders would be controlled by the directors of the banks, who would say, “ We are going to put this money away; we are going to make it virtually dead ; we are going to take it out of circulation.”
– No more than when money is applied to an ordinary reserve fund. Does that money go out of circulation ?
- Senator Millen knows more about banking than his remark implies. If the banks had something like £10,000,000 locked up, that money would, from an economic point of view, fail to discharge that duty which money ought to discharge in any civilized community.
– It would probably be invested in Government securities. ‘
– It might be.
– If the money of the banks were invested in Government securities, the money of other individuals, at present invested in such securities, would be set free.
– But we are virtually saying to shareholders, under this Bill, “ We compel you to put money into Government securities.”
– No, we are not.
– To the extent to. which this Bill operates, it takes the shareholders’ money and puts it into Government securities.
– But the shareholders would have to be consulted.
– If the money is put into Government securities it must go out of circulation.
– With the permission of the shareholders themselves.
– That means, at the caprice of the directors. That is what it comes to. Any man who is concerned with companies knows that nine out of ten shareholders in every company take the advice of the board of directors. What is going to happen if Senator Walker’s Bill becomes law is this : Tremendous power would be given to directors of banking companies. I have no hesitation in saying that. Senator Walker, at the commencement of his Bill, calls it a measure for the benefit of shareholders. The very title shows that the express purpose is to protect shareholders.
– Quite right.
– I venture to say that, whether it protects shareholders, or does not, what it really means is that it adds tremendously to the powers of the directors of the various banking companies. For that reason I very largely object to it. Whilst I recognise that Senator Walker is making a serious and, of course, a well-meant effort to improve the banking conditions of Australia, I am, nevertheless, convinced that he is making an honest error, and that the results that would flow from this Bill are not at all the results which he anticipates. For these reasons I shall vote against the third reading.
– We have now reached the final stage of this Bill, and before the Senate reads it a third time, it is well that one or two aspects of the case should be brought forward. During the debates in Committee I was much concerned with what constitutes “ net profits.” I tried in my own way to secure the insertion of a, definition of “net profits.” But, nevertheless, after an examination of the law on the subject, I found that no definition will afford a sufficient safeguard to the customers of a bank to prevent their funds being’ hypothecated and treated as net profits, if the directors and shareholders so desire. ‘ I can prove that statement up to the hilt. By passing this Bill we shall be allowing the “directors and shareholders of banks to hypothecate the customers’ money for their own protection.
– The money of the customers would not be profits.
– In the innocence of his heart Senator McGregor is not aware of the sinuosities of the law, or he would not make that statement. It has been held in law over and over again, as any one who takes the trouble to read the law reports in the library can see for himself, that the profits of a company are the total amount received by that company in any year, no matter from what source, above the amountwhich has been paid out.
– That applies to mining companies only.
– It applies to any company. I have tried to frame a definition of net profits, but on further examination I find that the definition which I framed will be of no use whatever. I tried to prevent the inclusion in “ net profits “ of any money received from the realization of assets or the conversion of reserves. Vet I will not say that, in spite of that provision, no matter how strictly it was read, the directors of banking companies under this Bill might not hypothecate their present reserves, and also the depositors’ money in order to apply them to the fund which is contemplated under Senator Walker’s Bill. Let us take Senator Walker’s own instance of a mining company. Say that the shareholders have a reserve liability of £500,000. All that they require to do in order to transfer that reserve, for the purposes of this Bill, to- t he reserve contemplated under the measure, is to invest that £500,000 in a coal mine, deplete it of coal, call the proceeds profit, and hypothecate that profit to the fund established under this Bill. No matter how precise you make the definition, that is all the company would have to do to get outside the safeguards I have tried to provide, with the object of preventing directors from hypothecating the depositors’ money. Suppose that a bank had £[3,000,000 of public deposits. Suppose that the directors wanted to hypothecate a large portion of that public money to the reserve fund to be established under this Bill. All they would have to do would be to lend £2,000,000 or £[3,000,000 upon a mine from which they would get 12 or 20 per cent., simply because it was a wasting security; and they could utilize these enormous profits which they would get for the time being, to build up their reserve fund. At the end of ten or fifteen years, the amount which they had advanced on the mine, although it had been recouped over and over again in interest, would all have been placed to this reserve fund.
– The honorable senator does not know much about banking or fee would not say that.
– Senator Givens ought to have been a company promoter.
– Well, we know what company promoters and bankers have done in the past. In making laws we have to look at the extreme possibilities that may occur under them. We are not legislating against honest men. There is no necessity to do so. If everybody were honest there would be no necessity to make laws against thieving. We have to provide against dishonest people. That is the extremity with which the legislator is faced all the time. If banks could be trusted to manage their affairs in a straightforward and aboveboard fashion, no laws would need to be . enacted for controlling them. It is simply because we know what banks have done in the past - how they have played ducks and drakes with the shareholders’ money - that we have to pause and consider this matter very deeply before we commit ourselves to what may be an enormous blunder. It is undeniable that the law with regard to net profits is as I have stated. That being so, there is a possibility, no matter what definition be inserted with regard to net profits, of the whole of the present reserves, which are the security under which the public are doing business with the banks, being hypothecated to set up this special reserve to protect the shareholders. There is also the possibility that the money of the depositors may be used, not for paying the just debts of a bank, but to protect trie shareholders, so that they shall not have any liability in the event of disaster overtaking the institution.
– That is not possible.
– It is absolutely possible. Any lawyer would tell the honorable senator that what I have said is a fact.
– I am sure that it is not.
– The honorable senator, in his sympathy for Senator Walker, wilfully blinds himself to the actual possibilities of the case. It must be remembered that, in dealing with banking laws, we are not dealing merely with the money of the shareholders. We are dealing with enormous sums of money intrusted to the banks by the people of Australia. That money is intrusted to the good manage ment of the banks, and is not placed there for the advantage of the shareholders. It must be remembered that the shareholders have a voice in the management of the banks. They appoint directors to safeguard and look after their interests. But who is appointed to look after and safeguard the interests of the public - that is,, the customers and the depositors? They have absolutely to rely upon the safeguards provided by law ; and if we, on the invitation of Senator Walker, sweep away one of the principal safeguards, on us will lie the responsibility for the disaster which may follow through the operation of this infamous measure. Every one of us knows the disaster that overtook the public through the mismanagement of the banks in 1893.
– This Bill would prevent a repetition of that.
– It would do nothing of the kind. It would simply preserve the directors and shareholders of the banks from suffering the proper consequences of their mismanagement of banking business.
– If the money were there nobody would suffer.
– What is the money there for, except to pay the debts of the bank ?
– Yes, that is so.
– It is put there to safeguard the interests of the shareholders more than to pay the debts of the banks.
– Are not the shareholders liable for the debts of the banks?
– Of course they are liable; but is this to be a fund established for the purpose of paying the shareholders’ debts? The honorable senator does not. know what is in the Bill. For his benefit I will read clause 8 -
Such reserve fund and the investments representing or constituting the same and the income thereof shall be and are hereby charged in priority to all other claims thereon other than in respect of note circulation (if any) of the banking company as is by Act of Parliament of the Commonwealth or of any State made first charge on the assets of the company with the payment to the company or in the event of the winding up of the same to its liquidator of the respective amounts due by the shareholders to the company in respect of uncalled capital and statutory reserve liabilities (if any) on the shares respectively held by them in the company, and accordingly such reserve fund and the investments constituting or repre.senting the same and the income thereof shall not be capable of being charged pledged or attached for the payment of any liability of the company other than in respect of such note circulation as aforesaid except subject to and charged with the payment to the company or its liquidator of the uncalled capital and the reserve liabilities on the shares of the company, noi shall the same be available for the payment of any of the liabilities of the company unless and until the whole amount due by the shareholders to the company in respect of uncalled capital and statutory reserve liabilities (if any) on the shares respectively held by them in the company shall have been previously paid to the company or its liquidator.
That means that the fund cannot be charged with any liability of the company, except a liability on the shares of the shareholders..
– Quite right; the very object of the Bill.
– Of course it is the object of the Bill. And that means that the creditors of the bank have no lien on the fund at all, except in so far as it protects die liability of the shareholders.
– What is the liability of the shareholders for?
– It serves the useful purpose of a punitive provision against the way in which they carry on their business. If it be necessary to establish such a reserve, why should we not compel banks to build up a similar reserve for the benefit of the customers and depositors in the first place, and for the protection of the shareholders in the second?
– If the Bill were of a compulsory, instead of a permissive, character, it would require to be a Government measure.
– Of course it would. This Parliament ought not to remove one of the chief safeguards which the customers of our banks now enjoy. If the directors of those institutions, by reason of mismanagement or carelessness, run them upon the rocks, they may be punished, but if this Bill becomes law their liability to punishment will be entirely removed.
– Let the shareholders be strong enough to punish them.
– It is all very well for honorable senators, in their desire to do a kindly action to Senator Walker-
– The honorable senator has no right to say that.
– At any rate, that has been put forward as a reason why we should vote for this Bill.
– Who put it forward?
– I am not concerned with whether a Bill emanates from a nice, amiable gentleman or not. I am concerned only with its provisions. I have no hesitation in saying that this measure is fraught with possibilities of disaster and calamity to the people of Australia. It is idle to tell me that it is introduced with the best possible intentions. We are all familiar with the old proverb in regard to good intentions. Intrusted as we are with the duty of safeguarding the interests of the people of the Commonwealth, we should hesitate before we consent to the removal of one of their chief sources of protection in respect of banking law. The Bill has been a long time before the Senate, and I have done my duty by pointing out its dangers. I am certain that any honorable senator who votes for it, and who lives for another twenty years, will regret his action. I am quite willing to allow the measure to go to another place if it can command a majority for its third reading. I am satisfied that if honorable senators had taken the trouble to look into its provisions, and to ascertain the real reason for its introduction - it has been introduced by a banker in the interests of bankers, and is advocated by the shareholders of banks - they would not, at the bidding of these persons, remove one of the principal safeguards which the public have hitherto enjoyed in respect of banking law. But no responsibility can rest with me, because I have repeatedly warned the Senate of the consequences of its action.
– I must congratulate my honorable friend Senator Givens-
– I do not recognise the honorable senator as a friend at all. Every friend of mine keeps his word.
– I really think that the honorable senator is “ playing the monkey “ too much when he declares that
I have not kept my word. I can prove from the pages of Hansard that I have kept it.
– I repeat that my statement is absolutely correct.
– I appeal to you, sir, to say whether it is not obligatory upon an honorable senator to accept the assurance of another honorable senator? I can prove by reference to Hansard that 1 have kept my word.
– If the honorable senator gives Senator Givens that assurance, the latter must accept it.
– Very well; I accept it here.
– Senator Givens has been wonderfully consistent in his opposition to this Bill, and to a previous measure which followed similar lines. It is true that it is designed for the protection of shareholders. But shareholders have liabilities, and under this Bill they will be placed in such a position that they will be able to meet those liabilities when they mature. If Senator Givens knew as much about banking matters as I do, he would know that in 1893 the depositors - seeing that the value of bank shares was falling considerably - rushed to the banks to withdraw their deposits. That accentuated the financial crisis which overtook us during that year. The honorable senator has spoken as if I desire to benefit the shareholders of banks at the expense of creditors and depositors. That is very far from my thoughts.
– It does not matter what are the honorable senator’s intentions.
- Senator Givens seems to be possessed with the idea that bankers are a set of men who are intent upon robbing depositors of the institutions which they manage, whereas anybody who has studied the history of Australia knows that banking has been a great factor in its advancement. Until the year 1817, there was no bank in Australia. Prior to that period, business was carried on by a system of barter. When, in 1817, the Bank of New South Wales was founded great rejoicings took place. Ever since its foundation, that bank has paid a dividend halfyearly. In other words, it has paid dividends during the past ninety-three years. I Object to the statement that that bank, and kindred institutions, exist for the purpose of robbing the public. Senator Clemons pointed out what he regarded as mistakes in the measure which I submitted to the last Parliament, and I have endeavoured to meet some of the objections which he then urged. In regard to the reserve liability, 1 may say that, in 1893, the shares of a well-known bank in Australia, which is now doing a splendid business, declined in value from £121 to £[25. That institution was in as sound a position upon the day that it failed as it had ever been. Why did its shareholders become frightened? They saw that the value of its shares was rapidly declining, and, naturally, thought that there must be some reason for it. Similarly, the shares of the Bank of New South Wales fell from £65 to £20. One gentleman - a doctor - who has since died, sold the last fifty shares that he possessed at £20 each. I asked him why he did so, and he replied, “ There is a general impression that every bank will fail. I have already been hit once, and I do not want to be hit with any further reserve liabilities.” My motives in introducing this measure are absolutely honest. The Bank of England, which is the largest bank in the Empire, has no reserve liability. Its reserve is not as large in proportion to its paid-up capital as are the reserves of some of our banks. For instance, the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney has, proportionately, a larger reserve. Within the past fortnight, the ,£10 shares of the West Australian bank have been selling in Sydney for £32. That institution has a reserve, and has carried forward profits two and a half times greater than its paid-up capital. Yet, if trouble were to overtake it so that it had to close its doors, it would still be liable for £[200,000. Under this Bill, if a smash occurred, the creditors would have the satisfaction of knowing that the money was there with which to meet that liability. It is extraordinary that, time after time, I should have to defend the honesty of banking companies, as such. Upon this day week, I concluded my remarks with an allusion to Senator Givens’ wonderful vocabulary. To-night, he has given us a little taste of his sinuosities. Despite his statement concerning myself, I still entertain perfectly friendly feelings towards him, and I hope that, before this Bill is finally disposed of, he will recognise that I have endeavoured to give effect to his wishes. We all know that he hails from the Green Isle, and that people who come from there are usually possessed of lively imaginations, and a great command of language. In that country, there is a certain class of humour called an “ Irish Bull.”
– That is a Scotch joke.
– I must congratulate Senator Givens upon the fact that, today, he has not made so much of the stentorian noises which, we are assured, emanated from the bull of Bashan. But he still resembles another kind of bull - the bull in a china shop which likes to knock everything down. However, he has been much more courteous to me to-day than he has been on former occasions. I hope that the third reading of the Bill will be carried by a substantial majority.
Question - That this Bill be now read a third time - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 9
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
In Committee (Consideration resumed, vide page 3168) :
Divisions 1 to 5 (Department of Home
Amendment (by Senator Givens) again proposed-
That the item, “ Federal Capital at Canberra - towards cost of establishment,£50,000,” be reduced by £1.
– Prior to the dinner adjournment, I mentioned that there was no record in existence that the Cotter River had ever ceased to. flow. I also mentioned incidentally that since the last vote on this question was taken here I have had an opportunity of visiting Yass-Canberra. During that visit I had many conversations with Mr. Scrivener, the Federal surveyor and the officer in charge of the survey camp. He informed me that there was a greater fall of water in the proposed Federal area than in any similar area in New South Wales. He also told me that he estimated that by the construction of a weir, at the expenditure of a very small sum, sufficient water could be stored in the catchment area to supply the inhabitants of the Capital for a period of two years if no rain fell during the period. Some honorable senators have called attention to the rainfall within the Federal area. The average rainfall is 25.5 inches, and the fall is distributed as follows : - Spring, 25 per cent. ; summer, 21 per cent. ; autumn, 25 per cent, j winter, 29 per cent. Further,, the annual rainfall in the Cotter catchment area, which comprises 170 square miles, or 108,800 acres, has been estimated at noless than from 40 to 60 inches. Leaving the water supply question, I want torefer to the possibilities of the land within the area. Senator Givens said, in support of his amendment for the reduction of the item by£1, that authorities could bequoted - as a matter of fact, he did quote a gentleman in the Legislative Council of New South Wales, which is a rather questionable institution in which to get authorities, so far as Democratic legislation is concerned - that much of the land would not feed a goat. If that were true, it would be an unpardonable sin on the part of any Government to locate the Capitalthere. But that statement is not borne out. by official figures and facts. Whatever our views may be with respect to any of the sites which we have from time to timeconsidered, we ought, at any rate, to befair with respect to each site. Last night,. Senator Gould obtained for me information which was procured from the Home Affairs Department in respect to the number of sheep and live stock within the area. Since that time, the head of the Department has been in communication with Mr. Scrivener, and has received confirmatory information, which was obtained from? the books of the stock inspector at Queanbeyan. After stating that on an area of 294,255 acres there- are 4,813 large stock: and 166,132 sheep, Mr. Scrivener goes on to say -
Allowing one head of large stock as the equivalent of eight sheep, the average capacity of the area dealt with is acres per sheep. Parts of Glenwood and Fairlight are outside Federal Territory ; on the other hand, there are numbers of small holdings carrying up to 500 or 600 sheep not included.
Some honorable senators have been anxious to know how far work has proceeded within the Federal area, and what amount of effort and money has been expended in connexion with the site. I have here a resume of the work which has been carried on since the site was definitely fixed upon by this Parliament. It reads as follows -
The ten square miles embracing the site which has been selected for the Federal Capital City have been covered by a contour survey with vertical intervals of five feet, the plan of which has been plotted, and lithographs of the same will be ready within the next few days. The demarcation of the territorial boundaries is in progress. The surveys in connexion with engineering proposals for water supply, sewerage, and railways have been made. A weir has been erected at the Cotter River, at which the actual discharge is determined by readings which are taken daily. The record thus obtained has confirmed the reports that have already been made that the capacity of the Cotter River is more than sufficient for the domestic and civic requirements of a population of two hundred thousand persons on a basis of 100 gallons each per diem. The quality of the water is excellent.
I am satisfied that the strongest opponent of the site who has had an opportunity of visiting it will confirm that statement - that -.the water of the Cotter River is of excellent quality.
– What about the quantity ?
– I have already stated the quantity. Senator Pearce remarks that the water supply to the Federal Capital will be twice as much per head per annum as is allowed in Sydney.
– Yet one honorable :senator said that one could not wash a pockethandkerchief in the river.
– I still think that one could not wash a handkerchief in the Cotter trickle.
- Senator Needham says he is satisfied that one could not wash a handkerchief in the Cotter River.
– No, in the Cotter -‘trickle.
– I am satisfied that if the honorable senator got into the river “he would be washed into the Murrumbidgee, because in certain parts the fall of water is very rapid. The resume continues -
A phyisographical reconnaissance of the territory has been conducted, from which the model which is now in this Chamber has been constructed.
A geological survey of the territory is now being carried out by Professor David and Mr. Pittman, the Government Geologist of New South Wales. The information which will be derived from their report will be of great value, and is expected within the next few weeks.
Investigations are in progress with a view to determining the characteristics of certain sites which it is proposed to utilize for weirs and other engineering purposes. Arrangements have been made for the valuation of the privatelyowned land lying within the territory. This valuation will be proceeded with systematically, and each of the lands as may be required for immediate purposes will be acquired as the necessity arises.
The total area of the territory is nine hundred square miles, or 576,000 acres, of which it will be necessary to reserve from occupation the catchment area of the Cotter River which has an extent of 170 square miles, or 108,800 acres. It is proposed to allot an area of about twelve square miles, equivalent to 7,680 acres, for the purposes of the Federal Capital City, and a further area of perhaps 100,000 acres will be set apart for parks, roads, Military College, and other public purposes outside the city area, leaving - roughly speaking - the large area of 360,000 acres of land which will be available for profitable occupation under reasonable conditions.
It is the intention of the Government not to alienate any of the lands, either in the Capital or outside of it, but to lease them on reasonable terms. And it is anticipated that as soon as the Federal Parliament assembles within the area the revenue derived from the leased lands will total - almost from the commencement of the sittings of this Parliament there - ‘£30,000 a year. We can anticipate that, from time to time, there will be a considerable addition to the population, and, of course, every additional unit will give an added value to the land in the Capital, and this will belong entirely to the citizens of the Commonwealth. There is an idea prevalent in the minds of some members of the community that the creation of a Federal Capital, and the construction of the necessary buildings to house the Parliament and public officers, will involve the people of the Commonwealth in the expenditure of a considerable sum. It is true that buildings cannot be erected without the expenditure of effort and money, but as soon as we are housed within the Federal area we shall be paying off the principal, and in the course of years the buildings will become our own property. Here we are to-day housed in various quarters in Melbourne - a city for which I have a very great admiration, and the capital of a State for which I have very much respect. Roughly speaking, we are paying about £7,000 by way of rentals for the buildings which we occupy.
– Does that include insurance ?
– I am informed that it does not. With the growing necessities of the Commonwealth more and more buildings will be required, and, of course, that will mean more rentals. This amount of money would, in a measure, be saved if we were located at the Federal Capital. I am satisfied that the longer we delay settling the question of the site, the more expensive it will be for every citizen of the Commonwealth. No one, I feel sure, desires that finality shall not be reached in regard to that question. Whatever views we may hold, I think that we can now eliminate the advantages of this site or the disadvantages of that’ site. We ought to discuss the question apart from that aspect, because a contract has been entered into by the Commonwealth Parliament and the Parliament of New South Wales, in regard to the lands which are required for Federal purposes. Suppose that on the last occasion Dalgety had been chosen, instead of Yass-Canberra, and that that choice had been ratified by the Parliament of New South Wales; suppose that the area desired by the Commonwealth had been ceded, and that the cession had been ratified by the Commonwealth Parliament; suppose that the amount of work which has been done at Yass-Canberra had been done at Dalgety, and that this Government had come down with a proposition to set aside a further sum of £50,000 to go on with the necessary works which we require in the Capital; and suppose that, in these circumstances, the ardent advocates of Yass-Canberra had come forward with a proposition to reduce the item by £1, with a view to get Yass-Canberra substituted for Dalgety, or to have the question opened de novo. I venture to say that the Dalgetyites- - and I speak in all friendliness to the supporters of Dalgety - would have raised Cain here against any proposition to alter the site. If this item is reduced, it will mean, of course, that a majority in the Chamber are prepared to set aside the contract which has been entered into by the respective Parliaments-
– A contract has not been entered into yet.
– It will mean repudiation.
– The honorable senator repudiated a decision of this Parliament long ago, but there was not then a word about repudiation from him.
– I do not know on how many occasions it has been said during this debate that this Parliament has repudiated Dalgety. No one knows better than does Senator Givens that, although Dalgety was originally chosen as a suitable site for the Federal Capital, the New South Wales Parliament would not cede it to this Government. In that case, how could the latter obtain Dalgety?
– Does the honorable senator seriously say that this Parliament is subject to’ the dictation of the New South Wales Parliament as to the location of the Capital site?
– The fact is that no contract was. made in regard to Dalgety, and that a contract was made in regard to Yass-Canberra.
– There is no analogy between the two cases. Senator Givens, who is a fair-minded man, will perceive the different stages in regard to this question.
– It is all right ; go on.
– I am putting the case as fairly as I possibly can, and the honorable senator says, “ Go on.” I venture to say that he would have gone on until the crack of doom if Dalgety had been chosen, and any effort had been made to choose another site.
– I tried my best to prevent an alteration of our choice when it took place.
– Is there a desire on the part of this Parliament to have a Federal City ; and, if so, is there a desire to have that city within New South Wales? There is a section of the Chamber which wants Dalgety in any circumstances; there is another section which desires YassCanberra; and there is a section which does not favour any site, but desires this Parliament to be perambulatory- - in other words, to sit here for a period, and then go to Sydney. To me that seems a proposition which would involve the citizens of the Commonwealth in the expenditure of a considerable sum. It has been pointed out that here we Have a building free of charge. True, we are tenants at will, but we cannot hope to remain in the building for an indefinite period without giving some adequate compensation to its owners.
– They would not accept it, or expect it.
– They might not accept it; but I think that, in justice to the people of Victoria, some compensation ought to be paid. If we were to shift to Sydney, although we are fond of fresh air and open spaces, I do not know that any one would feel too well pleased to have a meeting of this Parliament in the open air. We must meet within a building. What will that building cost?
– - We might obtain the loan of the Trades Hall in Sydney.
– We could not meet there every night, because the Labour Parliament is held there, and occasionally, like ourselves, they have an all-night sitting.
– How much money has the Commonwealth spent already at Yass-Canberra /
– Approximately, about £12,000.
– What has been spent by the New South Wales Government?
– We have no information on that point. I am not personally aware that the New South Wales Government have spent any money on the site.
– They have made some surveys.
– How has the Commonwealth spent ,£12,000 at YassCanberra ?
– It has been spent in the directions indicated a little while ago. Whatever may be the result of the vote on the amendment of Senator Givens, I, as the member of the Government representing the Minister of Home Affairs in this Chamber, have to say that the Government feel - and they felt so immediately they came into office - that they are in honour bound to carry out the contract entered into with the Government of New South Wales. Of course, we recognise that the majority in the Senate may decide otherwise. However, we feel that we have done our duty as a Government, notwithstanding the opposition that has been levelled against us. We feel that we are doing our duty to the citizens of the Commonwealth, and that we have taken the right course. I trust that what we have done will com mend itself to a majority of this Committee.
– I should like to say a few words on this subject before the vote is taken. I am not like my comrade, Senator Rae, who said that he had received sheaves of telegrams inquiring how he intended to vote. I have received none, because the people of New South Wales knew perfectly well how I should vote. During the election campaign the Capital site question was not prominent in New South Wales. The candidates were, however, asked questions on a few occasions, and 1 always replied that the Labour party, when in power, was the only party that seriously tackled the Federal Capital question, which, I also said, had been settled for all time. I believe that, if I had told the people of New South Wales that I intended to cast a vote to keep her out of her rights under the Constitution, I would not have been here to record a vote at all. The Parliament of New South Wales, representing the people of that State, have ceded the site at YassCanberra to the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Government has done what any Government worthy of the name would have done in similar circumstances, and I trust that the Government will carry on the matter to the very end. Personally, I have no fear of the result, whatever the decision may be to-night. The people of New South Wales want the Capital established at Yass-Canberra, and they will not have it anywhere else. They do not want to have the Capital established at Sydney for a term of years as suggested. They are perfectly satisfied to have carried out the provision of the Constitution, that the Seat of Government shall be in Melbourne until such time as the Capital is established. I am not at all averse to the Seat of Government remaining in Melbourne during my term as a senator. Melbourne is a beautiful city. It has fine streets, and beautiful gardens. If it had but a few more wet days and a fog now and then it would suit me perfectly. The Melbourne newspapers have raised a little storm about the way in which YassCanberra was referred to by Senator Pearce and Senator McGregor some years ago. But those newspapers have been careful not to tell their readers that, in T908, both Senator Pearce and Senator McGregor voted in favour of Yass-Canberra. At that time the question was regarded as settled. Quotations have been made from Mr. Scrivener, and others who have reported on the Capital site. Some of these documents can be read in all sorts of ways. But I am a practical man, and I believe in applying a practical test. I went to Yass-Canberra, and I can assure honorable senators that I was greatly surprised at the roaring stream which I saw at the junction of the Cotter and the Mumimbidgee. At that point the stream runs so rapidly that the crossing is dangerous to human life. Mr. Scrivener had a wire stretched across, and a punt to work in connexion with it. But he was so careful of the lives of honorable senators who visited the site when I was there that he rowed them across two at a time. Unfortunately, however, the current was so strong that, on one trip, Mr. Scrivener found himself in the water. I also tested the quality of the water. It was very good. I also tested the depth of the stream and was surprised. I was crossing in a punt in company with a representative of the Sydney Daily Telegraph, who carried a camera. But the force of the water overturned the punt, and threw me and the Daily Telegraph man and his camera into the water. The strong current carried me off my feet, and -I was tossed on the top of the water like a little cork. Thanks to my early training I was able to strike out, and, catching a twig on the bank, I saved my life. When I got ashore, I saw the Daily Telegraph camera drifting away down the stream. My experiences teach me that there is sufficient water available, not only for the Capital city, but also to oblige Melbourne or Sydney if they require a drop more than they have. Some ridicule has been thrown upon Jervis Bay. When visiting Nowra, during my election tour, we had a Sunday to spare, and Senator Gardiner - who was a good prophet - knowing that one day we might possibly be requested to say something in the Senate on the matter, suggested that we should pay a visit of inspection to it. I had seen it before, but I ‘was very pleased to go there again. The drive from Nowra to Jervis Bay passes through a dense forest of mighty timber. At the bay we found a beautiful sheet of water. I am sure that my Melbourne friends would like to have in Hobson’s Bay the ship-building industry that has been conducted there for the last fifty years. They cut the timber down on the spot and build right upon the sea. There are still to be seen the remains of a stone store erected there eighty years ago, when people used to bring their produce and wool down to Jervis Bay and ship it for export. That was before the days of the railway to Sydney. I am satisfied that, if there had been no railway to Sydney, Jervis Bay would have been a populous place to-day. 1 venture to say that, directly we open up Jervis Bay, we shall have a larger population there than in the Federal city itself. 1 shall vote for the item in the Bill, because New South Wales sent me here to look after her interests, and it is in her interest that this Capital site question should now be settled for ever.
– While I should be glad to see the amount to be spent at Yass-Canberra somewhat reduced, I am not prepared to vote for Senator Givens’ amendment. He proposes to reduce the item by £1, but his reason for so doing is that he desires to reopen the whole question. I am of opinion that the question has been on the boards long enough. It is time that we reached finality. Dalgety was selected in 1904. New South Wales, however, was not prepared to cede that territory to the Commonwealth. I do not know whether she might not have done so if strong pressure had been brought to bear. But, after further consideration, this Parliament decided that The Capital should be at YassCanberra. If we are to re-open the question now and select some other site, what is to happen three years hence?
– Does not the honorable senator think that it is time that the people had a voice in this matter?
– What do the people know about it? What were we sent here for? We were sent here to take upon ourselves the responsibility of determining such questions. The responsibility rests upon this Parliament, not on the people who elected us. If we rescind the Act with regard to Yass-Canberra, there is no reason why, three years hence, the whole matter should not be brought up again. Thus we should never reach finality. In justice to the Commonwealth, and in justice to the people of New South Wales, it is time that the question was settled. The Commonwealth having, seriously and solemnly, decided upon Yass-Canberra, and having informed New South Wales of its decision, that State has passed an Act ceding a territory of 900 square miles to the Commonwealth. An agreement having been drawn up between the parties, I am not prepared to repudiate it.
– Is the honorable senator prepared to have this Parliament dictated to by the New South Wales Parliament?
– I do not consider that the New South Wales Parliament has dictated to the Commonwealth as to where the Capital should be. A great number of sites were placed at our disposal ; but when the last ballot was taken not a single vote was given for Dalgety.
– The honorable senator knows the reason why.
– It is not for me to enter into the inner recesses of the minds of honorable senators opposite. I take it that they voted honestly. I had an opportunity of visiting the Yass-Canberra site, arid I consider that it is suitable for the purpose. The country is undulating, and a very beautiful city can be laid out there. I saw the Cotter River at the end of the summer, in the month of March, when the flow was not so strong as it is now. One could not wish for a better or purer water supply for a city than that which is to be obtained from the Cotter. The question of whether the supply is sufficient is one upon which we have to depend upon expert opinion. Figures which have been quoted in the Senate show that there is sufficient water to give 100 gallons per day to 200,000 people. That is a very liberal allowance indeed. I had some doubt as to the water supply, and I have it now ; but I am content to leave the responsibility on the shoulders of the experts, where it properly rests. That is my reason for refusing to vote for the amendment of Senator Givens. I think it was intended that finality should be reached by the last vote which was registered upon this question. I am obliged to the Honorary Minister for the information which he gave just prior to the suspension of the sitting of the Senate, because I had intended to ask how this money is to be expended. But I now know that certain sums are to be allocated for specific purposes. I am quite sure, however, that the Government will not be able to spend £50,000, which is a large amount, upon the works mentioned by the Honorary Minister during the nine months of the financial year that remain to us. If they do so, it will be equivalent to an average expenditure of more than £5,000 per month. I should be glad, therefore, if the items upon which it is proposed to expend this .£50,000 were set forth separately in these Estimates. We should then be in a position to reduce the amounts in a legitimate way without endangering the policy of the Government in regard to the Federal Capital site. I repeat that Ministers will not be able to spend £[50,000 during the balance of the current financial year.
– It all depends upon how much work they undertake.
– The Department think that the amount will be spent during the remaining nine months of the financial year. They have taken that point into1 consideration.
– If the money can be expended upon the items which have been enumerated by the Honorary Minister, well and good. But we ought not to appropriate more money than can reason ably be required during the current financial year. I again suggest that the. amounts which it is proposed to spend upon each item should be stated separately, so that honorable senators may be afforded an opportunity of reducing them. I shall be quite prepared to listen to any explanation of the different items, and to deal with each of them upon its merits. If it can be shown that £50,000 can be profitably expended during the remainder of the financial year, I shall offer no opposition to that expenditure. I desire to assist the Government to finally determine the question of the Federal Capital site at the earliest possible moment.
– The outstanding feature of this debate has been the comparisons which have been instituted between YassCanberra and Dalgety. While the discussion has been in progress, I have been led to wonder why that course has been adopted by successive speakers. Indeed, several times I have been tempted to rise to a point of order, because I hold that we are now dealing with a specific item, and that the question of which site shall be selected for the Federal Capital has already been determined. I cannot understand why so much time should be occupied in debating, a question which has been settled - and settled, I admit, in opposition to my former wish. If we look back upon thehistory of this question, we must conclude that it is time we reached finality upon it. Let us briefly review the various stages connected with the selection of the Federal.
Capital site. The first selection was m’ade by the House of Representatives during the first Commonwealth Parliament. It chose Tumut. The Bill dealing with the matter was transmitted to this Chamber, where it was exhaustively debated. Upon that occasion, the merits of many eligible sites were also discussed. For instance, Lyndhurst was a very favored site at that time. It was pitted against Tumut, as also were Bombala, Armidale, and Albury. Instead of meekly indorsing the choice of the House of Representatives, this Chamber selected Bombala, not Dalgety, as some honorable senators have affirmed. The Bill was then returned to the other branch of the Legislature, which declined to agree with our choice. It was again returned to the Senate, which refused to fall in with the decision of the other Chamber. There the matter was left, for the time being. A general election followed, and, in the next Parliament, the question again came up for discussion, and a second selection was made by the House of Representatives, which, on that occasion, chose Dalgety. Upon the measure reaching the Senate, the question was fully discussed, and as a result the Senate threw over Bombala, and adopted Dalgety. During the third Parliament, the House of Representatives again changed its mind and selected Yass-Canberra, and this Chamber concurred in that choice. The last time a selection was made I voted against Yass-Canberra, but that did not prevent it being selected. I will be no party to further wrangling, which only means delay. We must have finality. Since that selection was made senators on both sides allowed another Bill to pass its second reading, and did not call for a division. That Bill gave a start to establishing and surveying the Yass-Canberra site. That is a brief history of this question. I do not intend to prolong this discussion, but there is one matter to which I desire to direct attention. It relates to the advantages which Jervis Bay possesses over Twofold Bay. I need scarcely remind honorable senators that the southern Monaro site’s were chosen as much because they possessed a port, as because of any other consideration. As a matter of fact, neither Dalgety nor Bombala possesses as many advantages as does Tumut. But the fact that the southern Monaro sites possessed a port weighed with me, and induced me to prefer them.
– It was the water supply which was regarded as the great consideration.
– In the opinion of experts, Jervis Bay undoubtedly possesses great advantages over Twofold Bay. Within an easy distance of the former there is quite a number of seams, both of coal and kerosene shale - and we all recognise that the latter is a very valuable and scarce mineral in Australia. I hold in my hand reports upon the coal and shale deposits in the vicinity of Jervis Bay, which prove beyond a shadow of doubt that that port possesses many advantages over Twofold Bay. Honorable senators should, therefore, have no hesitation in voting for the selection of Yass-Canberra. We have been told that Sydney influence prevented Dalgety from being chosen as a Federal Capital site.
– Will the coal measures, of which the honorable senator speaks, be in Federal territory?
– There are coal measures within 18 miles of Jervis Bay.
– They will not be a Commonwealth asset.
– I am not prepared to say that they will, or will not be. All I say is that they will be contributing factors towards the successful establishment of a Federal Capital, which will be worthy of the name, and that these factors do not exist at Twofold Bay. With the aid of these coal measures, we can establish manufacturing industries at Jervis Bay which can never be established at Twofold Bay. If honorable senators are in any doubt as to which site they ought to support, they should experience no hesitation in resolving that doubt in favour of Yass-Canberra. Professor David would not append his name to the report which I hold in my hand, unless he had very good reasons for doing so. The area within which these minerals are to be found, will, in my judgment, more than compensate the Commonwealth for the loss of the Snowy River. Jervis Bay will be the port from which they will be shipped, so that it is destined to become a very populous centre. With these remarks, I very gladly support the proposal of the Government. I might have been better pleased had Dalgety been chosen,- but, in view of the history of the past ten .years, I recognise that we are not justified in delaying any longer the settlement of this question.
-Colonel CAMERON (Tasmania) [9.24]. - I think I am the only honorable senator who has not explained his attitude towards the principles which are involved in the item which is now under consideration. The history of the selection of the Federal Capital site has been fully explained by Ministers, and by honorable senators upon this side of the Chamber. I need not, therefore, enter into unnecessary details. But I wish to make it perfectly clear that I consider that the good faith of the Commonwealth is bound up in this question. I consider that the good faith of the Commonwealth is pledged to New South Wales, and that, so far, no reasonable excuse has been adduced for the Commonwealth withdrawing from the position which has been arrived at. I need hardly say that I have consistently opposed unnecessary expenditure on the Capital site. I think, if I may make the suggestion at this late hour, the Government should proceed quietly and steadily to work. There is no immediate hurry to go into the bush in order to carry on our deliberations, but there certainly is a bond fide necessity for us to move in that direction, even though it should involve an expenditure of money. I do not think that a sum of £[50,000 can be looked upon by any reasonable elector as exceeding what might be called the keeping of good faith by the Commonwealth in carrying out the contract into which it has entered. It is on these grounds that I intend to vote in favour of the Government proposal.
– This is, I believe, the first occasion on which I have had an opportunity to speak on this question. I admit frankly that if I thought there was a ghost of a hope that the Capital would be situated in a place like Lyndhurst, or some place which I thought would be a future centre of population-
– -Or somewhere in Queensland.
– No j I do not intend to ask the honorable senator to put the Capital in Queensland, for the simple reason that I know that immediately I made the suggestion I should probably be advised to put it in South Australia, or some other small place which has to appeal to this Parliament to take a certain proportion of its liabilities off its shoulders because it cannot carry them. If an opportunity had occurred, I would have suggested that the Capital should be put in a place which will probably become the centre of the population which will occupy Australia thirty or forty years hence. But that cannot be done. We are bound by an honorable contract, contained in the Constitution, to fix the Capital in a certain State, and not less than 100 miles from its capital. We shall be untrue to the contract made by the people of Australia if we now turn round and say, “ We will hang up this question for ten, or fifteen, or twenty years.” Let me remind honorable senators that the question before the Senate is not whether Dalgety or Canberra, or any other place, shall be the Capital. Senator Long said that he was against the expenditure of money, whether it was on Canberra or on Dalgety. If I understand the expressions of opinion by other honorable senators - some on this side, and some on the. other - their objection is to the expenditure of the money, and not to the particular site which has been chosen. If the statement is made - whether in the press or in the Senate - that this amendment, if carried, will mean that we want Dalgety instead of Canberra, it is absolutely false. It will not mean that at all. The amendment can only be carried by the votes of certain honorable senators who do not desire to see what they consider extravagant expenditure at the present time. They may consider themselves as almost being dragged at the tail of the waggon driven by Senator- Givens and others, who have an idea that they want Dalgety, instead of Yass-Canberra, to be the Capital site. I do not care whether it is at one or the other places. If I had my way, it would be at Lyndhurst, or preferably Armidale.
– Is the latter a good site?
– I think that Armidale would be . a good site j but the question is whether the country is going to continue the work incidental to establishing the Capital at any place. I have heard some of my honorable friends say, “ Oh, but the Federal Capital is going to cost millions.” The Government are not asking us to vote millions, but what is, from their point of view, a comparatively small sum.
– To meet the preliminary expenses.
– Yet a certain number of honorable senators seem to be afraid of sanctioning the preliminary expenses. Apparently they are not going to £50,000 in making the necessary preparations and investigations incidental to the establishment of a Capital. From their remarks, one would think that it was proposed to provide a wonderful building, something like that in which we now sit, to house the Parliament and the various Departments. From a civilized point of view, the amount to be voted would not put up a blackfellows camp. I ask honorable senators whether it is reasonable to refuse this comparatively small sum, which is only required to enable the Government, so far as I understand Ministers, to make further investigations and plans, and possibly surveys.
– It is required to do more than that. It is required to begin the permanent laying out of the Capital site area.
– I understand that the - Government have informed my honorable friend that’ this money is required to lay out certain works.
– A portion of this sum is required for laying out nurseries, and planting trees. That is the beginning of a permanent work.
– I hope that the Government will spend any amount of money in establishing nurseries. I believe that Australia would be very much more closely populated if there were far more nurseries than there are. I desire to refer to some statements which have been made in this debate. Honorable senators who have been over this part of New South Wales know that Canberra lies about 30 or 40 miles on the west side of a range, and that Dalgety lies about the same distance on the other side. Any honorable senator who votes for the locality lying on the west side of the range is apparently to be regarded as a parochialist, a mean contemptible person, who is prepared to sacrifice the best interests of Australia to some petty interests which he is supposed to possess. But any one who votes for the site on the eastern side of the range is to be looked upon as a man who holds broad, national ideas. That is the way in which we are criticised by the newspapers which my honorable friends to-day described as being of no account. It is absolutely unreasonable that honorable senators should be criticised by the press in that manner. Let us drop all the cant about the national business, and so forth. I have no particular feeling one way or the other but I believe that this Parliament ought to try to honestly and properly interpret the terms on which the Federation was entered into. If any honorable senators want to hang up this question, let them plainly say so. We know that, so far as Dalgety is concerned, Victoria has got her railways surveyed to the very border of New South Wales. When I was in Bairnsdale it was common talk amongst the people that the railways were surveyed to the border, and that they hoped, as’ soon as the Federal Capital was made at Dalgety, they would be able to annex the south-eastern portion of New South Wales ; and I think that the prospects, if the Capital were established there, would be very good. In spite of all the statements in the newspapers about the national prospects, I ask how can a man be national preferring one ‘side of the mountain range, but parochial if he prefers the other side? Apparently, on one side of the range a man is a. village tapster, while on the other side he is a national statesman. Is that the sort of statement which should compel honorable senators to vote one way or the other ? I know honorable senators, even on this side of the Chamber, who have read these statements in the press with a certain amount of feeling that they represented the real opinion of the people of Australia. Why should they? Because, before they rise from their beds in the morning the papers are delivered to them and read by them ; and they never see any newspapers from any other part of Australia. If they read newspapers from New South Wales they would read very different views on this question. But I must admit that the Sydney newspapers never took the trouble to fight the question of the Capital site in the same way as the Melbourne newspapers have fought for their side of the question. The Queensland newspapers do not care anything about the matter. The whole question has been hammered and hammered in one particular spot. Is any one really trying to find out, as was done in the United States, and in Canada, which is the best possible site for the Federal Capital? Who bothers about that? The Sydney Bulletin has a sort of obsession about the Snowy River, because they had on their staff a man who at one time used to write very good “ stuff.” He wrote “ The Man from the Snowy River.” What has the Sydney Bulletin or the Snowy River to do with this question? Itmay be an excellent river ; but suppose that the Capital were established there, with factories and the other adjuncts of civilisation, where would it be? It would be a worse gutter than is the Thames in London.
– Does the honorable senator call the Thames a gutter?
– Yes. One cannot get up the Thames above Greenwich, as the honorable senator knows. If we reject the Yass-Canberra site, and choose another, we shall have to go to the New South Wales Parliament again, and ask them to cede the land. After much haggling and trouble we have already accepted one site from New South Wales. Are we to start all over again now? If honorable senators opposite wish to change the site, let them say so plainly. If they object to the money that is to be spent, let them say so. But let them not vote against this item for a dozen different reasons, and. thereby hang up a proposal which was adopted by a very large majority in another place, and which, if rejected in this Chamber, certainly will not be lost by more than a very narrow margin.
– - The Honorary Minister has furnished the Committee with a great deal of information which it did not previously possess. I also have before me a very instructive report on the Federal area at Jervis Bay. The result is that I am strengthened in my determination to vote for the Government proposal. Honorable senators have told “ us that there is not sufficient water in the Cotter to supply a city of 200,000 people. But surely they ought to be satisfied to accept the assurance of experts. Senator McDougall, at any rate, found that the river at the junction with the Murrumbidgee was deep enough to drown him if he had not been able to swim. I have had the opportunity of reading a report as to the possibilities of railway construction between the Federal area and Jervis Bay, and I am satisfied that the construction of a railway is quite feasible. On all grounds I think it better to abide by the agreement which has-been made between New South Wales and the Commonwealth Government. Yass-Canberra having been fixed upon as the Capital site, I hope that work upon it will proceed, and that, before very long, we shall be able to build a Capital worthy of Australia.
– Before this question is finally settled, I should like to make a few more remarks. Although some honorable sena tors have treated the matter in a spirit of levity, I think that it is one of the most important subjects that has ever come before the Commonwealth Parliament. We are dealing with, a question which will be of even greater importance to the people who live in Australia a hundred years from now than it is to the present population. lt is the bounden duty of every Australian representative to see that the very best site is chosen. 1 do not consider that Yass-Canberra is the best site available. The weight of evidence is decidedly against it. In 1904 this Parliament chose another site. I was much astonished to hear Senator Gardiner blame the Federal Parliament for delay. If blame is due anywhere, it should be laid at the door of the Government of New South Wales. This Parliament performed the duty imposed upon it by the Constitution, and chose a site. It was the bounden duty of New South Wales to carry out the terms of the Constitution, and to hand over that site to the Commonwealth. But the Government of that State threw every obstacle in the way of the Monaro site being transferred. There was no substantial reason for taking that course. In my opinion, the principal reason was that the land at Dalgety is too valuable. Another reason was that it was too near the Victorian border. A third was that the trade of southern New South Wales, and probably also of north-eastern Victoria, would have found its way outthrough the Commonwealth harbor at. Twofold Bay, and that Dalgety would have become a commercial city of some importance, with Eden as a rival port to Sydney. I believe that those were the main reasons which influenced the Government of New South Wales in its selfish policy of trying to run everything in the interests of Sydney. The traditional policy of that State has been to run all the railways to Sydney, to carry all the produce into and out of New South Wales through that one narrow neck. Their action with regard to the Federal Capital was merely a continuation of the settled policy of one section of the people of Sydney. After a great deal of intrigue and underground engineering, as it was called by the Vice-President of the Executive Council, Yass-Canberra was at last chosen. The present Government, when previously in office, caused an Act to be passed repealing the Act which selected Dalgety, and substituting the name of Yass-Canberra. I believe that a wrong was then done. It must be remembered that if we finally ratify the site of YassCanberra, the choice will be made for all time. We cannot do with a matter of this kind as we can with an ordinary Act of Parliament. We cannot amend it or repeal it. We settle the question for better or for worse. There can be no going back. There can be no divorce, no dissolution of the bargain. We ought, therefore, to take every precaution to see that our choice is not a bad one, and that those who come after us a hundred years hence, and more, will not regret what we do. People living in modem times have different ideas regarding the needs of a great city than had people in the past. Sydney, for instance, was built upon the pattern of the cities of Great Britain. The people who came out to Australia and founded Sydney were familiar with life in a country where space was of importance. They had no conception that they were living upon the edge of a huge continent. They proceeded to build as though Australia were merely the size of Great Britain. The consequence was that the streets were narrow and crooked - so that nowadays the Sydney municipal authorities have to pull down and widen in all directions to make their city approximate to modern conditions. We must have a city where the people can have light and air and water. We require a spacious, airy place with possibilities of good sanitation, and a sound foundation to build upon. Can it be said that Yass-Canberra fulfils those conditions ?
– A great many opinions have been expressed upon this question. If I were to quote the opinions of members of the Government I should find them virtually contradicting, a short while ago, the opinions that they support to-day. When Senator Findley was addressing himself to this question ‘on a former occasion - before he obtained a seat upon the Ministerial bench,. and became infected with what Senator Millen has called the front bench microbe - he said a number of strong things in regard to YassCanberra. He said that it was not a place fit to live in. He said that the Cotter was merely a trickle; that it contained no water except in flood-time, whilst in ordinary seasons the bed of the creek was merely a damp place. He said further, referring to Cabinet solidarity, that that is a very funny thing. I suppose that he has now discovered that it is much funnier than he even thought it was. He has discovered by this time that Cabinet solidarity means that black can be made to appear white, that brown can be induced to look yellow, and that green can “be transposed into any colour the beholder wishes.
– That is hardly a fair way of putting the matter.
– The honorable senator has discovered, as persons who have been members of Governments before him discovered, that the solidarity of a Government is of more importance to that Government than the welfare of the community. But as far as I am concerned, the solidarity of the Government is nothing. I care nothing as to whether on this question the Government is solid or the opposite. This is not a party question. The members of the party supporting the Government are at liberty to vote as they please. How then does it come about that the members df the Government present a solid front upon this matter? If they all honestly believed that Yass-Canberra is a better site than Dalgety, I should respect their opinion. They would be justified in holding it. But, when we know perfectly well, by turning to their previous utterances, that they do not believe anything of the kind, and that they have abandoned Dalgety, not because it is unsuitable, but because it suits the Government to assume that attitude, then I say that the welfare of the country is being made subservient to the welfare of the members of the Government. I say that the man who is not prepared to stand up for what is best for the country - irrespective of whether he be the member of a Government or not - has no right to be either in this Parliament or, indeed, in public life. It is conceivable that circumstances might arise under which he would be an enemy to the country, under which he would be prepared to sell its interests for his own personal advantage. Men who can be brought even under the suspicion that they might be capable of doing such things ought to have no place in our public life. The idea of Cabinet solidity reeks with corruption, and ought not to be countenanced by any political party which desires to see the government of the country conducted honestly, fairly, and straightforwardly. Above everything, let us have honesty in our government. To the winds with Cabinet solidity ! If Senator Findley believes that Yass-Canberra is a better site for the Federal Capital than is Dalgety, he ought to vote for it ; but if he believes that Dalgety is a better site than is Yass-Canberra, he ought to vote for Dalgety ; and if he believes that neither is a suitable site, he ought to vote against both.
– But this is an honorable agreement, to which effect ought to be given.
– Honorable senators are under only one obligation, and that is to select the best site for the Federal Capital. Will Senator Walker say that Yass-Canberra is the best site?
– New South Wales has entered into an agreement with the Commonweal th .
– But New South Wales has no standing in this matter. It has acted in direct opposition to the spirit of the Constitution.
– That is only the honorable senator’s opinion.
– Exactly. The Constitution distinctly provides that the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be chosen by the Parliament of the Commonwealth. The electors of New South Wales agreed to that provision.
– And Yass-Canberra has been selected.
– Will the honorable senator allow me to proceed? When the Parliament of the Commonwealth chose Dalgety, the New South Wales Government deliberately violated that provision of the Constitution, and refused to hand over the Dalgety site to the Federation.
– If a Commonwealth Government with any backbone had been in power at the time, they would have taken it.
– The New South Wales Government never ceased to intrigue against that site being adopted as the permanent Seat of Government. Yet Senator Walker tells us, in effect, that the New South Wales Government have carried out, not only the letter, but the spirit of the Constitution. I say that it has done neither one thing nor the other. If, when Dalgety was chosen, a Commonwealth Government with some backbone had been in power, that site would have been the Seat of Government; and we should now be meeting there instead of wrangling over this question as we are to-night, in Melbourne. But I was dealing with the question of Cabinet solidarity, which has a much more important bearing upon the proposal under consideration than honorable senators imagine. My information is that the voting upon this question to-night will be equal. Upon the Government benches there are four gentlemen - three Ministers and the Government Whip - who intend to oppose Senator Givens’ amendment. Yet, on more than one occasion, each of them has declared in the strongest possible terms against the site for which they now intend to vote. If they were to register their votes to-night in accordance with their previouslyexpressed convictions, Yass-Canberra would be rejected.
– We voted for that site on the last occasion that the matter was before the Senate.
– I have read speeches delivered by Senator de Largie, which were very derogatory to YassCanberra, and the Yass-Canberra of to-day is the same as the Yass-Canberra of a year or two years ago. There has been no change in that site - the change has been in Senator de Largie himself. Circumstances alter cases. I propose to read a number of short extracts from the speeches of honorable senators who intend to vote tor Yass-Canberra. On 28th October, 1908 - as will be seen by reference to Hansard, Vol. XLVIII., page 1577 - the Minister of Defence said- .
– Is the honorable senator going to read the whole of those speeches?
– I am not going to read very much. Upon that occasion Senator Pearce said -
I regard Yass and Lake George as being, quite out of the question. I hold that nothing can be brought forward to show that the conditions of Canberra are equal to those at Dalgety. I admit that if we compare the soil of the little flat at Canberra with the generality of the soil at Dalgety town site the former is superior ; but, as I said before, we want te build a city, and not to make a garden. We do not want a good soil for a city.
– We want some farms.
– There is plenty of room for farms. Any one who has been to Canberraknows that, whilst there is a supply of good soil at Canberra itself the outside country is rugged and mountainous. If the honorable senator will glance at the map he will see that the site will comprise all the good land of the’ locality, because it is surrounded by low hills in the immediate vicinity, and by mountains in the distance. But when we take out the site at Dalgety we have not touched the good land.. We have only taken good building land, andthere we can get a perfect water supply at a cheap price and capable of yielding a magnificent supply of electic power. In the basaltic- country at the back of Dalgety there is some of the best land to be found in New South Wales, and it is favoured with a certain rainfall and enjoys good seasons. Honorable senators may inquire why more farming has not been carried on in the Monaro district.
– Owing to land monopoly.
– It is owing partly to land monopoly, but chiefly to the influence of Sydney, whose people were determined not to open up Twofold Bay by means of a railway, and thus give the people of the Monaro district an opportunity to use their natural outlet. On the contrary, they preferred to run a railway parallel with the coast for a distance of 200 miles to Cooma, in order to compel the farmers to send their produce, not to the nearest port, whence it could be shipped to other countries, but by the railway to Sydney. Any one who has been through the district knows that even if the best land were made available for farming it would not pay a man to send his produce by railway to Sydney.
The speech contains a great deal more of the same tenor. The honorable gentleman also indulged in a very strong criticism of the water supply at Yass-Canberra, and, indeed, of everything connected with that site. Yet to-night he is going to vote for Yass-Canberra.
– 1 am going to vote to give effect to the agreement which has been entered into, with New South Wales by the Commonwealth Parliament.
– The Minister is going to vote for the site which he condemned as an unsuitable one two years ago. If it were unsuitable then it is equally unsuitable now.
– But that Parliament affirmed that Yass-Canberra was the best site, notwithstanding what I said.
– But the Minister did not believe it was the best site.
– Parliament did.
– The Minister of Defence also said that no suitable foundation for buildings could be obtained at YassCanberra.
– Certainly he did. His only plea now is that the Commonwealth Parliament adopted that site, and that he feels himself bound to give effect to its decision. But I say that if Parliament arrives at a decision which I conceive to be a wrong one, and the opportunity presents itself to me to sweep it off the statute-book, I intend to do so.
– Why did not the honorable senator call for a division when the Seat of Government Acceptance Bill was before the Senate upon the last occasion? He thought so little of the matter then that he allowed the measure to pass upon the voices.
– I do not remember. I have always opposed the selection of Yass-Canberra, and always shall do so. The Minister of Defence can assign no reason for the course which he is now taking, other than that he is anxious to give effect to the will of the Commonwealth Parliament. But if the Parliament of two years ago made a mistake, it is our bounden duty to correct it.
– But the Commonwealth Parliament entered into a contract.
– The New South Wales Government did not enter into a contract with the Government when Dalgety was chosen. When the Commonwealth Parliament selected that site, all that New South Wales had to do was to hand over the requisite territory to the Commonwealth.
– Which she did not do. Consequently there was no contract.
– Exactly. Now we have a contract under which it is proposed that New South Wales shall hand over to the Commonwealth an unsuitable territory. I would remind honorable senators that it is the territory, and not the Capital itself, about which we are chiefly concerned. If the territory around YassCanberra be a suitable one, let us accept it. But if it be not suitable - even though ten thousand contracts have been entered into - this Parliament has the power to annul every one of them, and ought to annul them.
– Why has not the honorable senator taken steps in that direction?
– I am taking a step in that direction now. The honorable senator is infected with the microbe of Cabinet solidarity. Although he is not yet a member of the Government, I suppose that he considers himself bound to vote with them.
– Why has not the honorable senator taken steps within the past two months to secure the selection of another site?
– How could I do so ?
– The forms of the Senate were open to the honorable senator.
- Senator de Largie may tell that to the marines, if he chooses. I know better. That statement is merely a subterfuge on the part of the honorable senator, and a most unworthy subterfuge. What chance would a private member have of carrying a motion of the character suggested against the forces of the Government in alliance with the Leader of the Opposition? The Leader of the Government in this House and the Leader of the Opposition are continually counting the votes. Will any honorable senator tell me that, in circumstances such as these, a private member would have the most remote chance of carrying a resolution against Yass-Canberra?
– His chance would be like that of Dalgety - Buckley’s.
– Yes, so that the honorable senator need not try to discount the efforts of those who are opposed to Yass-Canberra by suggesting that we might have done something which we have left undone. We are doing all we can to-night.
– That ls so.
– Senator Pearce two years ago condemned Yass-Canberra as being utterly unfit as a site for the Capital city. To-night he is going to vote for it. Because of Cabinet solidarity he is prepared to throw to the four winds of heaven what he believes to be the welfare of the Commonwealth. He is going to establish us in a place where, according to his own statement, there are no proper foundations for building. The site, so far as I can gather from his speech, is a swamp, and there is only enough land along the river bank to make a garden. There is not enough for the establishment .of a great city ; not enough to allow of irrigation experiments ; not sufficient to permit of the settlement of a large number of people according to the more modern principles that have hitherto been advocated by the Labour pary. When we came here ten years ago a number of us had the most exalted ideas of what was to be done at the Seat of Government. We were to have a beautiful city ; we were going to have huge areas cultivated, by means of irrigation, according to the most advanced methods of agriculture; we were to have the machinery of factories driven by power generated by the water coming down from the everlasting snows of Kosciusko ; we were to have a Federal port connected with the Federal territory ; we were, in short, to have a new heaven and a new earth. In fact, we were to be placed in a position superior, so far as the Capital city was concerned, to that of the people of any other country. So much for anticipation. What about realization ? We are condemned now *to one of the most barren spots in New South Wales, where even in flood time there is only a little water - a place where there is no room for any experiment iri agriculture; a place where it would be imposible to establish any Commonwealth factory by means of waterpower ; a place of which I believe the sanitation is extremely deficient ; a place which so far as I can discover, has not one of the qualities necessary for the capital of a new country such as Australia is. Is there any reason why we should be condemned to a site of that kind? Australia is broad enough, fair enough, and fertile enough to give us one of the best sites under the sun. Even New South Wales is capable of giving us a site a thousand times better than Yass-Canberra. If Dalgety be not agreeable to honorable senators, I am not wedded to it. If we can get a better site than Dalgety I shall vote for it. I believe that there are a hundred better places than Yass-Canberra within the limits laid down by the Constitution. There is no hurry. Let us try to get a site which will be suitable to the people of Australia ; of which those who live in this country 500 years hence will be proud. Let us get a site not hidden out of the way - not in a corner amongst barren hills like those which surround YassCanberra, and where progress and expansion will be almost impossible. Senator McGregor was as emphatic with regard to this site as was Senator Findley. He did not go so much into details, but judging by what he said, he was very much opposed to Yass-Canberra on the sufficient ground that he did not believe that it was a suitable place on which to establish the Seat of Government. He said -
Can any member of the Commonwealth Parliament point on any map of Australia or of New South Wales to any place called “ Yass-Canberra.” I have never previously heard of such a place. I went to school when I was young, and since I arrived in Australia I have heard of Yass, of Canberra, of Lake George, of Tumut; but in no school book and on no map of New South Wales or Australia is there such a name as “ Yass-Canberra “ to be found.
Senator McGregor wenton to condemn the site in most unsparing language. There is one portion of his speech that I should like to read, and I may say that I agree with every sentiment he uttered on that’ occasion. Referring to the necessity for a Federal port, he said -
We should have a neutral port belonging to the Commonwealth at Twofold Bay, where the trade and commerce of every State would be connected with the heart of the Commonwealth. Vessels would come direct from Launceston, from Hobart, from Adelaide, from Perth, from Brisbane, and from other parts of the Commonwealth to the Commonwealth port at Eden.
– That is what the Sydney people do not want.
– Vessels would come in just the same way to Jervis Bay.
– - Both of those inter.jections are pertinent. The one fits into the other. Senator Stewart is quite right. The Sydney people do not want the port at Twofold Bay to be developed. I should like Senator Walker to consider for a few minutes the geographical character of the country between either Yass or Canberra and Jervis Bay. Has he ever been over it? Has he ever thought about it? Has he ever seen it? Has he ever imagined what it is like? Has he ever talked with any one who has travelled over it?
– Yes, I have.
– It must have been in his dreams then, because I am positive that the honorable senator has never travelled over the country himself. One who has travelled there has only to reflect to recognise that the country is cut by the very backbone of the Dividing Range. There are not only stupendous mountains to be crossed, but also deep ravines and river beds to be bridged, and a much longer distance to be traversed than from either Bombala or Dalgety.
Strange to relate, Sir Joseph Carruthers has exactly the same opinion as Senator McGregor has with regard to Jervis Bay and its connexion with Yass-Canberra. Speaking in the New South Wales Parliament, he said it would be just as possible to establish communication between Yass-Canberra and Mars as between Yass-Canberra and Jervis Bay. We have, therefore, two great authorities, Sir Joseph Carruthers and the Vice-President of the Executive Council, in agreement on this very pertinent point; and if we cannot have direct communication with the sea, Yass-Canberra ought not to be fixed upon as the Federal Capital site. In that grudging, carping, huckstering spirit, which has characterized every action of the New South Wales Government, they absolutely refused to give the Commonwealth Government any conveniences whatever at Jervis Bay. Yet we find honorable senators willing to accept the terms ; but so far as I am concerned I am not willing. Senator Findley, speaking on the 4th December, 1908, was equally emphatic, and regarded Cabinet solidarity as a very funny thing. He said -
I always thought that a decision was arrived at by majority rule ; that if a majority favoured a certain course of policy, it carried the day, and the minority had to be loyal to the decision….. Those who have unbiased minds admit that it is the least suitable of all the sites in that respect. It has not a water supply worthy of the name. The stream which is dignified as “ the Cotter River “ is not a river at all. It is a mere creek. The water running in it is nothing but a polluted trickle. On the other hand, the Snowy River, at Dalgety, is a pellucid never-failing stream.
– The honorable senator cannot produce any authority for his first statement.
– I could produce authorities sufficient to occupy me for the rest of the day….. It is only in the rainy season that there is any water in the Cotter at all, and then’ the bed of the creek is not much more than a wet place. We also had statements from Senator Pearce to the effect that owing to bad foundations it would hardly be possible to erect at Yass-Canberra buildings of any magnitude that would be of a lasting character without going to enormous expense and resorting to means and methods not usually employed in buildings. In view of all these facts, I earnestly hope that the Government will not be too strenuous in advocating the site named in the Bill. I know that they are in an embarrassing position; but I cannot stretch my imagination so much as to believe that Senator McGregor, who has been a warm and constant champion of Dalgety, will, during the course of this debate, forget his first love and champion to any extent a site which he does not approve.
These sentiments on the part of Senator Findley were most excellent, and I ask him to take them to his bosom, and apply them to the vote he is going to give this evening. There is a great deal more I could quote, but I do not think it necessary; I am merely confronting honorable senators with the ghosts of their dead and apparently forgotten opinions. The fact that Yass-Canberra is an unsuitable site is as clear and apparent to me this evening as it was to those honorable senators two years ago. As I said before, we ought to choose the very best site available, and Yass-Canberra, from whatever point of view we care to examine it, is not suitable.
– That is why it was offered to us !
– I have said that already. New South Wales could not get people to settle in that part of the State, which ‘was one of the most unprofitable, and consequently they took the opportunity to “trade it off” on the Commonwealth. That was a sharp piece of business practice, wholly unworthy of New South Wales - the “ Mother State,” as it delights to call itself. I am afraid, in this connexion, that the action of the State has been somew hat step-motherly; it has not that kindly aspect that a really fond mother would present. What New South Wales says is, “ We want you in the State, but, instead of giving you the best seat in the household, we are going to put you in the stable or some other portion of the building that we do not require.” The Parliament of the Commonwealth, if it submits to this, will be just as bad as New South Wales. We ought to refuse with scorn and contempt a site without water, impossible of good sanitation, without soil, or a single advantage that a Capital site should have. I could say a great deal more, but I do not suppose that if I talked for a month, and brought evidence by the mile, if I had the eloquence-
– Of Demosthenes !
– Of Demosthenes, or even of Senator Givens himself, I do not suppose I could persuade honorable senators, who are not open to argument. The fiat of New South Wales has gone forth; perhaps I should rather say the fiat of Sydney, because I do not believe that the people of New South Wales, as a whole, care two straws where the Capital city is situated. Jealousy and envy seem to be ineradicable portions of the composition of the people of Sydney. Not content with the good gifts which nature has lavished on her, Sydney is still reaching out for more; her cry is that of a horse-leech. She attempts to drag the produce of the whole State to her markets; she will not permit any other port to be opened. She is jealous of Twofold Bay, and consents to Jervis Bay being transferred to the Commonwealth because she knows that in all probability a railway will never be made from Canberra to it. She knows, too, that Jervis Bay is not a suitable port. Senator Guthrie on one occasion read a report made by an Admiralty officer some years ago, which spoke of Jet - vis Bay as exposed to the strong winds “ from the ocean, possessing no shelter, and unsuitable for the purposes for which the Commonwealth desires a port. Some honorable gentlemen think that the Commonwealth does not need a port; my opinion is that it does. In days to come we shall be building war-ships and merchant vessels. I do not suppose that I shall live to see it, but the day will come when ships belonging to the people of Australia, and flying the Australian flag, will float on every ocean on the face of the globe.
– A red flag?
– I do not care what its colour is, so long as it is the flag of as free, true, great nation. We who are laying the foundations of this Commonwealth should lay them so that in days to come the people will not be “ cribb’d, cabin’d, and confin’d,” as the parochial Government of New South Wales desires them to be, and as, unfortunately, a large number of honorable senators are willing that they shall be. I shall vote for the amendment, and trust that every patriotic senator will do so, too. All who wish to see the Commonwealth prosper and advance will vote for delay, so that the people may be afforded an opportunity to say where the Seat of Government shall be. That is the straightforward, honest, Democratic course to take. Is it not our boast that we trust the people, and that the voice of the people is equivalent to the voice of God? If that be so, and Parliament cannot agree, there being so many conflicting opinions, is it not right and proper to refer the matter to the electors?
– If the electors decided against the honorable senator, he would not accept their choice.
– I should have to submit, and should know that the site chosen was not determined by a clique as the result of intrigue and underground engineering, but was the choice of a free people.
– Seeing that it is now a quarter to 11, I ask the VicePresident of the Executive Council if he is willing to report progress ?
– I wish to inform the honorable senator that I had a religious upbringing, and all my life have been a conscientious man, but since last Friday I have constantly consented to report progress when we have not made progress, and I am beginning to be ashamed of myself. The Government has been accused of wishing to bludgeon the Bill through. That is a vicious and false accusation. I said last Friday that I would give every honorable senator the opportunity to express his opinion on the Capital site question, and Ministers will be delighted to hear any who has not done so.
– When ?
– Now is the appointed time. I cannot again report progress without having made any.
– One more false statement will not make any difference.
– It is my own conscience that I am dealing with, and I know when the breaking strain is reached. I shall be willing to report progress when we have passed the item about which there has been so much discussion.
– That includes the vote of £5,000 for the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway?
– Certainly. I hope that another week is not to be spent in discussing the Bill. The money asked for is urgently needed, and it has been the practice to pass the Appropriation Works and Buildings Bill as soon as possible.
– I have asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council whether he is willing to report progress. He has refused to do so, and has dragged in questions of morality, religion, and conscience, which are hardly relevant to the matter now under discussion. If he accuses me of endeavouring to waste time I reply that I have not done so, and do not intend to do so. We are being asked to vote £50,000 for the establishment of the Federal Capital at Yass-Canberra. Senator Givens has moved an amendment that the vote be reduced by £1, and I avail myself of this opportunity to follow the general trend of the debate, and to refer to the water supply, the rainfall, and several other things. I have no wish to be personally or politically hostile 1o the members of the present Government, but I recognise that the question with which we are now dealing is one of vital importance, and a few more words may well be spoken before we finally .determine the Capital site. I said yesterday that I was prepared, as I am now, to have this matter remitted to the people, because in two or three efforts made by this Legislature to determine “the question it has not been dealt with from a national point of view. Honorable senators have referred to questions of rainfall and water supply, and have quoted authorities, expert, and otherwise. May I be permitted to quote an expression of opinion from a gentleman who is well known in Australia, but who has not yet presented a report on this matter to the Federal Parliament. I have here a cutting from the Melbourne Age of to-day, giving a report of certain statements made at Moe last night, by Mr. Clement Wragge, who is a recognised meteorological authority. In the course of his address, Mr. Wragge said -
True statesmanship would be to spend the money intended for the Federal Capital in locking the rivers, especially the Murray and tributaries, and conserving water for irrigation purposes instead of founding a Capital in such an absurd locality as Yass-Canberra. Rather should the Capital be in the Snowy Ranges where the bracing atmosphere and a pure water supply would breed a. race of gritty statesmen.
When Senator Findley was to-day quoting the latest report from the Home Affairs Department, referring to the water supply, I asked “ What about quantity and not quality ? “ It is still possible for me to. produce other reports presented to the Senate to support my contention of yesterday. I agree with Mr. Clement Wragge that it would be absurd to establish the Federal Capital at Yass-Canberra. I said yesterday, not only that I would not discuss the merits or demerits of YassCanberra, Dalgety, or any other site, but that even if Yass-Canberra were a garden of Eden I would not support this vote. I am not forced to consider the relative merits of Yass-Canberra and Dalgety, or those of Dalgety and Tumut. Several honorable senators have lashed themselves into something like a fury on this question, and I have been asked to say why a vote was not cast for Dalgety on the last occasion. It is true that when the nominations were called for I did nominate Dalgety.
– And voted against it.
– No; I found that if my vote were cast for Dalgety in that ballot, .Yass-Canberra would win. Therefore, thinking Tumut was the next best site, I did vote for Tumut, and not for Dalgety, and the result was a tie. In view of the fact that the National Legislature has failed to settle this question, it is time that the people of Australia were allowed a voice in its settlement. So far as I can see, there is no other way in which finality can be reached. Dalgety was rejected by this Parliament after being chosen, and Yass-Canberra was chosen in a manner which, I think, was not representative of the people of Australia. And now we have come to the position that, by carrying this item, we shall decide for all time that Yass-Canberra shall be the site..
– Will the honorable senator move an amendment for a referendum on the matter?
– No. Will the honorable member shut up?
– When Senator Chataway asked me if I would move an amendment for a referendum on this question, his leader told him to shut up.
– I admit that. It is about- the best piece of advice given to him, and I might give it to the honorable senator, too.
– Last night Senator Gould was not so anxious to shut up as is Senator Millen now. If the latter is prepared to go to a vote, so am I.
– Then sit down, and let us take a vote.
– I am quite prepared that a vote shall be taken now, but I refuse to be dictated to by the honorable senator, or anybody else, on this matter.
– Take no notice of him, and sit down.
– I do not regard the Government Whip and his interjection either. He has been doing his best to keep me down, but he has failed.
– No, I did not try that.
– I should not have risen to address the Committee tonight if the Government had agreed to report progress. It is quite true that on Friday last Senator McGregor said that the Government had no intention to force this question through in one sitting. He kept his promise, and the debate was resumed on Tuesday, and he was again true to his promise. We adjourned at a reasonable hour on that day, but last night we found that the Government were in league with the Opposition to “ stone- wall “ the measure.
– That is a fact. When Senator Gould was short of information it was supplied by Senator Findley.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - At my request.
– The honorable senator knows quite well that if it had been proposed to fix upon Yass-Canberra last night, he would not have “ stonewalled.” Senator Findley gave him the figures, which kept him going, and when the Government thought that they had gained the position they agreed to report progress. I think it would be wise on the part of the Committee to carry the amendment. I shall vote with Senator Givens.
.- We on this side have not done a great deal of “ stone- walling.”
– All day yesterday.
– I think that when I state that my last speech on this question did not last more than twenty minutes, I am within the bounds of truth. I think it is my duty to say a few words in rebuttal of certain statements which we have heard to-day, particularly in reference to the vexed question of Yass-Canberra. It has been repeatedly stated that it is time that finality on this question was reached. We have been told again and again that it is urgent that it should be settled now by this Parliament. On that point I beg leave to hold an opposite opinion. It took the United States thirty-three years to settle upon Washington as the Capital site.
– That was more than 100 years ago. We are civilized now.
– That may be so. But I do not see that there is any urgency for putting the item through at once. It seems to me as if some of the supporters of that little desert, Canberra, are becoming alarmed that if they do not force the matter through at this juncture they never will do so. It has also been argued that, because the Government of New South Wales favour the Yass-Canberra site, the Federal Parliament should adopt it. But we have no reason to believe that the Government of New South Wales represent the people of that State. I entertain the contrary belief. Indeed, I agree with Senator Rae that the very fact that the present New South Wales Government favour Yass-Canberra should cause us to view that site with suspicion. There is a wide divergence of opinion on the subject amongst New South Wales people. Another argument that has been employed is, that while we remain in Melbourne, we are paying £[8,000 a year in rent. But, if the Seat of Government were transferred to Yass-Canberra, we should still have to retain offices in Melbourne, and probably the saving would not be more than £5,000 a year. I have yet to learn that Victoria has any objection to our continuing to occupy this building. I have not heard the slightest murmur of a desire that we should leave Melbourne. Senator Rae yesterday urged that some of us were actuated by a desire that the Federal Capital should not be built at all.
– I said that the delay gave colour to that belief.
– We Tasmanians have nc objection to the Federal Capital being established, but we have an objection to an unsuitable site being chosen. Every one admits the poor quality of the soil at YassCanberra. It is utterly unfit for agriculture. I went over it in company with Mr. Scrivener, who not only informed me personally, but has stated in one of his reports, that the district is not an. agricultural one. Until we can get a site that is worth spending money upon, we should do well to hold our hand. I am not at all impressed with the argument as to what our occupancy of Parliament House is costing the Victorian people.
– It is their price for retaining the prize.
– I have not met many people in Melbourne who are particularly desirous that the Seat of Government should be retained here. They do not appear to bother themselves about whether it is retained in this city or not. I have always regarded the narrow cry of “ Melbourne versus Sydney “ as a pressmanufactured cry. I hope that my honorable friends will understand that the electors of Tasmania are not opposed to the establishment of a Federal Capital. They merely consider that a serious mistake has been made in a selection of the site.
– During the course of this debate we have heard a good deal about the question of the water supply at YassCanberra.
– The Government ought to report progress.
– If the Government are prepared to do that I will resume my seat. Will the Government report progress ?
– The honorable senator rises in his place so rapidly, and sits down so suddenly, that it is impossible for me to know whether he is up or down. I have already pointed out that we have made no progress. If the subdivision which is immediately under consideration be carried before honorable senators lose their last trams and trains, I will be prepared to report progress; but, if not, we may as well sit till morning, and carry as many of these Estimates as we can.
– * do not like the suggestion of the Vice-President of the Executive Council, that because three days have been occupied in discussing the proposal of the Government it necessarily follows that the debate should now terminate. Everybody knows what occurred yesterday afternoon. I have no desire to delay the Committee, but if I may judge by the happy nature of the interjections made by the Vice-President of the Executive Council during the past half-hour, he is now quite anxious to take the vote which he was not prepared to take last night. Last evening it was very evident that Senator Gould was talking against time. It was equally patent this afternoon that time was being wasted whilst the arrival of an honorable senator who had been sent for was awaited.
– What satisfaction will the honorable senator get by continuing the discussion ?
– I do not wish a matter of this kind to be determined suddenly.
– What would not the honorable senator call a hurry?
– There is an old adage that he who laughs last laughs best.
– It is not a laughing matter at all.
– But the VicePresident of the Executive Council has attempted to make it one.
– What ; the honorable senator’s leader?
– Yes, my leader in this Chamber. It is quite evident from his interjections that he wishes to make this a laughing matter. I propose now to quote from the report by the Commissioner appointed to investigate the claims of various sites to be the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth, which was ordered to be printed by the New South Wales Legislative Assembly on 30th October, 1900. The Commissioner says -
In regard to water resources, if Goulburn has to be supplied by gravitation, its position is rather low on the comparative list prepared by Mr. Broomfield, having been placed by me between Queanbeyan and Cootamundra. On the other hand, Yass, if supplied by a pumping scheme from the Mumimbidgee, nas been assigned a somewhat similar position beyond Wagga and Junee. But subsequent to Mr. Broomfi’Id’s inspection, it has been claimed in favour of Yass that the Michalong catchment can provide Yass with an effective gravitation scheme.
He goes on to say -
That scheme is, in consequence of the length nf the pipe line and other circumstances, an expensive one - ^275,000 being required for piping alone. The upper Wollandilly has not een, it must be admitted, thoroughly examined for a gravitation supply for Goulburn, but even if the water resources of Goulburn were equal to those of Yass, neither are promising.
Senator- McGregor. - Yass is several hundred feet higher.
– I know perfectly well that if Yass and Canberra had not been bracketed together, this Parliament would not have selected YassCanberra as the site for the Federal Capital. But when there was a danger of Canberra being defeated Yass was tacked on to it. It, therefore, behoves us to be very careful in determining the site for the permanent Seat of Government.
– I realize to the full that as the result of the division which will be taken this evening we shall probably never be afforded another opportunity of saying a few words upon one of the biggest questions which we have ever had to answer for Australia. An honorable senator tells me that during the next quarter of a century items relating to the Federal Capital will appear upon the Estimates. I am aware of that, but my reply is that there will not be any item which, like that now before us, will enable Australians to fix for all time the site of the Australian Capital, and to select a spot where experiments may be conducted in regard to one of the biggest reforms that the world has ever known. I do not know of any Federal city that has been established under conditions permitting of complete experiments in regard to the land problem, and under circumstances enabling the unearned increment attaching to the land as the result of public expenditure to be shared by the people. Recognising these facts, surely we must admit that the question is one ot the greatest importance, and not one upon which a catch vote should be taken. It is far too important to be dealt with in that way. It is not our fault that a vote has not already been taken upon this question. Surely if those who support the selection of Yass-Canberra have the right to choose the moment when a vote should be taken, we, being equally sincere and equally desirous that a wise selection should be made, possess the same right. I wish’ to plead guilty to being an idealist in regard to the future Federal Capital. _ I have never dreamt of the Administration of the Commonwealth of Australia being conducted from the middle of a desert - from a centre such as that which we are now asked to select. Honorable senators may say that Yass-Canberra is not a desert ; but will any one say that the land in that district is first-class? We cannot hope to secure first-class land for the Federal Capital, but will any honorable senator assert that the land of the Yass-Canberra district is even of second-class or thirdclass quality?
– The blacks would not camp there.
– It has been said to-night that the land will carry a sheep and a-half to the acre, but no one has said that it is capable of doing that all the year round. No reliance is to be placed on a statement that a given area will carry in the spring a certain number of sheep to the acre. I have viewed this territory, and as one who knows something of the pastoral lands of Australia I ridicule the idea that land in the YassCanberra district will carry a sheep and a-half to the acre all the year round.
– I saw plenty of feed there in March.
– I have seen Yass-Canberra at two different seasons. 1 spent a week there. I roamed all over the district, visited the catchment area, walked to a point beyond the weir, and made a general inspection of the country, with the result that I have no hesitation in saying that the land does not, and never will, carry a sheep and a-half to the acre all the year round, unless Nature deals with it more bountifully than it has done. 1 view this question from only one standpoint. Too large a proportion of our population is congregated in our cities. Is it the desire of honorable senators that we should have large aggregations of our population dumped down in our cities, and dependent upon city occupations for their maintenance? Surely the desire is that the population shall be apportioned between city and country as nearly as possible in accordance with the determination of Nature. Australia suffers from a congestion of population in her cities, and in some of them I he housing problem is a very serious one. Health inspectors almost unanimously condemn the conditions that exist in some of our cities. Do we desire to bring about a state of affairs that will induce even a moderate proportion of our population to be absolutely dependent upon the expenditure of public moneys? Who will live at Yass-Canberra? Will any one reside there because of its scenic beauties? Will any one go there because of the richness of its soil, or because of its possibilities from an agricultural point of view? Even on the figures that have been submitted to-night, will any one be induced to settle there because of its pastoral resources, or its mineral possibilities? In each of these respects it offers no inducement to settlement. Then, again, there are no beaches, no stretches of river that might form a pleasure resort for tourists. An ; honorable senator smiles. I could not imagine his enjoying a swim in the Cotter River. The Cotter is merely a trickle; and what sort of country is the catchment area? When on a visit there it was my misfortune to be lost for a time, together with a representative of one of the leading newspapers, and a gentleman who is shortly to join the expedition to the South Pole ; and yet, in spite of all the scientific instruments which the latter had brought with him, to assist him in the performance of his professional duties, we could not find a way out for a considerable time. We found that Queanbeyan was the second driest district in the whole of New South Wales ; and yet to-night we are informed that the rainfall there is equal to that of Melbourne. Mr. Wade, the Premier of New South Wales, who is responsible to a large extent for the present position, was not ‘ above casting aspersions on Mr. Scrivener the surveyor, because he gave a very unfavorable report on the locality, although that gentleman has been professionally employed in similar responsible work for many years. Senator McDougall is quoted as an authority on the value of the Cotter River, although, as a matter of fact, he had the misfortune to be capsized in the Murrumbidgee, and never reached the Cotter.
- Senator McDougall had seen the Cotter before the incident to which the honorable member refers occurred.
– I accept the assurance that the honorable member did see the Cotter. We were told of a magnificent weir on that stream, but we found that it had been constructed with one load of bricks and a barrow of cement, and the whole volume of water flowed through an opening 2 ft. 6 in. across, with practically no force behind it. Yet it has been said that there is a supply for a population of 200,000, and twice as great as that which Sydney now enjoys. We were told that, even if the Cotter were to fail, there was another creek from which a supply could be obtained, and in it we found a trickle not more than eighteen inches wide after a week’s rain. As a matter of fact, the Capital, if built at Canberra, can_ be supplied only by a pumping scheme.
– There are nine lifts in the Coolgardie water scheme.
– That is a wonderful piece of work, and we must admire those who were responsible for it, but we should choose a site where water can be obtained by gravitation. Vienna gets its water by gravitation, so do Glasgow, Manchester, and Liverpool. Chicago has been referred to as a city .which depends for its water on a pumping scheme, but it draws water from Lake Michigan, into which its drainage goes.
Sitting suspended from 12 (midnight) to 12.45 a.m. (Friday.)
– Those who have dealt with the possibilities of the Yass-Canberra site seem to have but a very narrow conception of what the Australian people desire to see in their Capital city. I cannot believe that any one will go to live at this site who is not employed in the construction of public buildings, or is not dependent upon persons in receipt of pay from the Commonwealth Government. I am proud, on behalf of Australians, to claim that, intellectually and physically, they compare favorably with any other people in the world. I believe that the Australian considers that the Federal Capital should be worthy of the Australian nation. We must have, not only a beautiful city, but the most up-to-date city in the world. I have always believed that the starting point for a new people should be that at which older people have left off. In the building of our Capital city we should take as our starting point the position reached by the most up-to-date cities in the world to-day. We should be guided by the experience of the past, and avoid its mistakes. I give honorable senators a simple illustration. It was a namesake of my own, I am proud to say, who designed the marvellous city of Melbourne. He was a man of high ideals and great conceptions. He believed that the city of Melbourne should be second to none on the face of the earth. How well he did his work in laying out the city we all know. But since his time we have had fifty or sixty years of experience, and it has been found that the streets which he intended should be merely rights-of-way and back entrances have become centres of commerce and trade. It was never intended by the designer of the city of Melbourne that Flinders-lane and Little Collins-street should be the great business avenues of trade and commerce that they are to-day. This illustrates a mistake in the laying out of Melbourne which experience enables us to avoid in the Federal Capital. Let honorable senators consider the magnificent opportunity afforded for the building up of a great and beautiful city by the site occupied by Sydney. I cannot conceive of a more beautiful site for a great city, and yet it must be admitted that through want of foresight, that has been tragic in its effects, that great opportunity has been lost. I remember seeing in an Australian magazine pictures showing Sydney as it is to-day, contrasted with Sydney as it would have been if the people responsible for the laying out of that city had the same conception of the beautiful as had the people of ancient Rome. I saw drawn a magnificent site which, if it had been taken advantage of, would have been attracting persons from all parts of the world to see the beauties of nature developed in an ideal city.
– It was not laid out because it was a live city.
– I am aware that Sydney has grown up, that its streets were marked out in the old days by bullock teams. But no one will deny that nature did all she could for the people of Sydney, and that an opportunity was lost, which, I trust, will be taken advantage of in our case. Let me deal with another aspect of the question. When we look at the agricultural or any specialized industry, what do we see? The old days of brute physical force have disappeared from the industrial arena. The most successful nation is not going to be that nation whose people can handle a gun most successfully, and have the strongest muscle, but the nation which is most highly developed commercially and industrially. When we look at Melbourne what do we find ? We find a manufacturing city which we have endeavoured to build up by means of a Tariff, but to which we have to bring coal oversea, thus doubling its cost to the manufacturers. The position is even worse in South Australia. When we conceive of a modern industry where science, has harnessed the water, what do we find - a trickle? No. When the Federal Capital is industrially developed, and science has harnessed the magnificent water of the Snowy River, then Australia will take her place as a highly -developed manufacturing nation? My honorable friends may laugh, but I am not responsible for their want of conception of what the near future may con- tain. Even to-day when we look at Sydney, what do we find? The smellie nuisance is being discussed. It can be avoided when water-power and electricity are used at the Federal Capital. We shall not have persons endangering their health by living in a smoky city as the people of Melbourne and Sydney are compelled to do. Will any one say that water-power is not more effective, more scientific, and cleaner in the industrial arena than even the best coal?
– In Scotland and England’ they have any quantity of both, but they find steam and other motive power cheaper.
– Smoke is not so- objectionable in a cold climate as it is in the Australian climate. The State Parliaments have been asked to suppress the smoke nuisance in Sydney and Melbourne.
– What about suppressing the gas nuisance?
– If we go to Yass-Canberra we may dispense with gas and use electricity, but we shall not have the water-Power, not only to light the city, but also to drive trams and railways, which would be available at another place. Gas is not altogether an essential. I hope that in the Federal Capital we shall not dream of either coal or gas; they belong to a past age. There are certain State politicians whose only desire is that it shall never be possible for the Federal Capital to have a port. A man who desires to hand over this territory to the Commonwealth, has stated that it would be as easy to get to Mars as it would be to build a railway from Canberra to Jervis Bay. Ministers and their supporters have quoted reports on nearly every subject, and in regard to the proposed railway they hoped to be able to find a grade of 1 in . 75.
– One in 40.
– No, a grade of i in 75, they hoped. They have not produced a single report from a surveyor that a railway with that grade can be built, but from the latest report we find that by a deviation they have made the line at least 40 miles longer in the hope of being able to avoid a grade of 1 in 40.
– That is not a very steep grade.
– I cannot accept the honorable senator as an authority on railway construction when he makes that statement. It will certainly be a big handicap to the future development of the Federal Capital if it is compelled to force water up hill and to drag goods from the port up a grade of 1 in 40. I wish now to allude to the narrow-minded spirit that has actuated the New South Wales Government in this matter. They have granted us a small area at Jervis Bay. But that area is limited to high water mark. Consequently at low water there will be dry land between sea and the Federal territory. I doubt whether a Government actuated by that spirit would grant us permission to drive a single pile for the building of a pier. We shall have to go to the State Government and obtain their leave to do everything requisite to make use of the port. If the country in question be as bad as some State politicians have represented it to be, why should they not have been more generous? We surely had a right to expect generous treatment by a State Parliament of the Commonwealth Government. What opportunity will there be for building up an industrial centre in this Federal territory? There are certain conditions which are absolutely essential for the maintenance of mankind in large cities. Those conditions are obtainable in Yass-Canberra only in the most meagre proportion.
– Does the honorable senator expect to see an industrial centre developed in the Federal territory?
– Why not?
– Does the honorable senator know that there is coal within 18 miles of Jervis Bay?
– But even private enterprise has not found it worth while to develop that coal-field ; and before it can be reached, it is necessary to build a railway over a tract of country so difficult that the task has been compared to building a railway to Mars. It is impossible to think of having an important centre of population unless there is a reasonable quantity of good land available.
– Is there better land at Dalgety ?
– I have never said so, but at [Dalgety there is an unlimited supply of water, whilst YassCanberra does not present that advantage. We know from the experience of Renmark and Mildura what can be done by means of a plentiful supply of water. At Dalgety, we should be able to obtain enormous water power for industrial purposes.
– Can the honorable senator mention a great industrial city in the world where power for manufacturing is derived from water?
– The waters of Niagara have been harnessed, and today a project is being developed, whereby the industrial cities within a certain radius of the great falls will be able to make use of the water power derived from them”.
– Where are the manufacturing cities to be found to-day?
– The honorable senator is perfectly aware that electricity, as a motive power for industrial purposes, is not many years old. He also knows that within recent years no city has been established the industries of which’ cannot be more effectively worked by electricity than by the use of coal. It appears to me that the supporters of the Government proposal occupy a very peculiar position. In effect, they are asking me to point to any modern city which is utilizing water as a motive power for industrial purposes.
– Where can such a city be found?
– Does the honorable senator suggest that water as a motive power is not more up-to-date than is any other force which he can name? I believe that the Federal Capital will eventually become a great manufacturing centre.
– Nonsense. It will bo a residential Capital. Sydney, Brisbane. Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth are all seaports.
– T regret that it is necessary to answer the interjection of the honorable senator. I really thought he was ‘an Australian. Apparently he desires at the Federal Capital only a few humpies, in which members of the’ Commonwealth Parliament may live. His conception of the Seat of Government is that the Military College should be established on one hill, the Commonwealth parliamentary buildings upon another, the Federal offices upon a third, and that there shall be a sort of civil service avenue. That is the small Australian conception of the Federal Capital city.
– Will the honorable senator name one great manufacturing city in which industries are run by means of water power?
– I did not say that such a city exists. But I do say that modern science has determined that water is more effective as a motive power than is anything else. For Senator de Largie to assume innocence of that fact is not creditable to him.
– I have seen more manufacturing centres than has the honorable senator.
– I do not deny that, but is not water power destined to become the power of the future?
– Even at Niagara they are dispensing with its use and are utilizing suction gas.
– What docs that prove?
– That the honorable senator is wrong in his contention.
– Does the honorable senator suggest that it is not possible to utilize the waters of the Snowy River for industrial purposes? He has merely to look at simple water mills in country towns in order to see the useful work which they are performing.
– There are windmills in the Senate, as well as elsewhere.
– If we compare the quantity of wind that the VicePresident of the Executive Council has controlled during the past few years with that which I have controlled, it will be found that where I have been a soft zephyr, he has been a cyclone. If, notwithstanding all its disadvantages, we still adhere to Yass-Canberra as the future Seat of Government I shall wish it godspeed, because I entertain nothing but good wishes for any place which becomes the Federal Capital of Australia.
– At this advanced hour I feel sure that the Government will not raise the slightest objection to an adjournment of the debate. I would point out that human endurance has its limits. Honorable sena- tors are only flesh and blood, and we naturally look to the early hours of the morning for an opportunity to recuperate after our labours of the previous day. I hope that the Vice-President of the Executive Council will lend a sympathetic ear to my suggestion.
– I will point out to the honorable senator that the question before the Chair is ‘ ‘ that the item be reduced by £1.”
– Quite so. But with a view to facilitating the transaction of business I am appealing to the VicePresident of the Executive Council to accede to my request for an adjournment of the debate.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.That appeal must have its limitations.
– Since the VicePresident of the Executive Council makes no response to my appeal, I can only conclude that he is willing to force us to waste our energies in a strenuous effort to prevent this selection being made. It was not fair for the Government last evening to refuse our reasonable request for an adjournment of the debate. This question has been approached, I am afraid, in a rather trifling manner by many honorable senators. I am afraid that they have not recognised that it is one of the most important that has ever been discussed in the Senate. As compared with the Parliaments of other countries, we are fortunate in being able to determine where the Federal Capital shall be located. For the most part, the capital cities of other countries have, like Topsy, simply “ growed. “ They grew up amidst the most uncongenial surroundings, and in some instances on the most unsatisfactory sites. In only four cases, so far as I am aware, have the people been consulted with respect to the selection of a site for a capital city. The United States of America, Canada, and the Federation of South Africa left to the representatives of the people the selection of a site. It was only after several States had been appealed to, and the leading men of the time had been asked to refrain from stirring up Inter-State jealousies, that a compromise was arrived at in the case of the United States, and Washington was established on the banks of the Potomac. In connexion with that selection, there was an absence of an element which is present in our case. Here one among the sisterhood of States - New South Wales - urged that by reason. of the fact that Captain Cook had happened to enter Port Jackson, and to found there the first British settlement in Australia, she was entitled to claim that the Capital should be within her boundaries. I am prepared to give reasonable consideration to the claims of New South Wales, but, compared with the attitude of the “Ma” State of the United States, we find that she has been asking too much, and has placed an undue restraint upon this the supreme governing body of the Commonwealth. For at least five years the Government of the United States was conducted from Philadelphia, but Pennsylvania, instead of insisting upon priority of claim in. respect of the Federal Capital, was rather anxious to assist the Federal Government in making a wise choice, and to lighten its burden, both financially and legislatively. The minor States of the Union, such as Maryland and Delaware, as well as others on the eastern sea-board of the thirteen Federated States, also sought to make it easy for the Federation to make a sober, sane, satisfactory national choice. Delaware and Maryland were prepared to open up the streams that passed through the Hinterland, so as to enable the Capital to be established on their borders. Even the State of New York offered to the Federation the use of its public buildings, provided that it was prepared to establish the Capital within its boundaries. Instead of the “ Ma “ State putting forward pretensions to the Seat of Government in that case, there was the edifying spectacle of every State in the Union assisting the Federation to make a wise selection.
– There was more intriguing in the United States of America with regard to that very question than there could ever be in Australia.
– I have cited the experience of the United States to show, in the first place, that Pennslyvania, the “ Ma “ State, did not try to do what New South Wales is doing in the case of Australia. It did not put forward pretensions to the Capital . with any degree of stubbornness.
– The Constitution of the United States did not provide that the Capital should be in a certain State.
– I am not disputing the claim of New South Wales that section 125 of the Constitution should be respected. We should honour the bond both in the letter and the spirit. I shall not delay one moment the shifting of the Seat of Government from this city or elsewhere to Federal territory, where the Government will not be subjected to any external influence. I am here to urge not delay, but rather haste, provided that we can select a site that will be regarded by future generations as emblematical of the wisdom and patriotism of the present generation of politicians.
– Hear, hear.
– I can quite understand the Vice-President of the Executive Council’s mirth at the present stage, because he has a majority behind him. Unfortunately, just now we are in a minority, but I see no occasion for mirth on the part of the honorable senator, or any one else, when we are endeavouring to put forward our sane, reasonable, and patriotic views with regard to this most important issue. Past Parliaments and Governments of New South Wales have endeavoured to dictate to this Legislature as to the location of the Capital, although the Constitution distinctly declares that the Federal Parliament has the exclusive power to determine where, subject to certain limitations, the Capital shall be established. This Parliament has allowed itself to be dictated to by the Government and Parliament of New South Wales in the most shameful manner. When Dalgety was selected in 1904 no attempt was made to influence this Parliament, and the Government of New South Wales behaved in a way highly commendable in allowing us to exercise a free choice ; but the succeeding Government, which had for its head Sir Joseph Carruthers, not only refused to grant the area we - had chosen, but had the presumption to offer three other sites which had not been selected. In short, the State Parliament refused to acknowledge that the Federal Parliament should be the final authority in the matter; and in the stream of correspondence which continued until 1908, the State Government refused to yield. I feel that if we wish to preserve the dignity of this Parliament we must not brook such interference. Sir Joseph Carruthers, immediately he took office, assumed the right to interpret the wishes of the people of the State, and he brought such pressure to bear on Federal politicians, some of whom were members of this Chamber, as to induce them to reverse their vote. Senators Dobson, Macfarlane, and Mulcahy had all voted in favour of Dalgety, but though, so far as I am aware, nothing had happened in the meantime to cause them to change their views, except the influence to which I have referred, they refused to stand by their former choice. We are among the junior nations, and, fortunately, have the opportunity to select our own capital; but I think honorable senators are insufficiently seized of the importance of the occasion. First of all, there must be an adequate water supply, ‘ and on this point we have ample material in the reports of experts to guide us. We are informed that the supply is not equal to the requirements of a large population ; and this I take to mean a population of 500,000, or for all we know, 4,000,000 or 5,000,000. Not only is a sufficient supply of water essential to a proper city site, but the lay of the land must be such as to permit of the cheap and. easy disposal of sewage. The experts to whom I have referred reported that no engineering difficulties would be encountered at YassCanberra in getting rid of sewage, and the effluent from the treatment works j but Mr. Wade, Chief Engineer for Public Works in New South Wales, who, while he might be trusted to deal fairly with the considerations presented to him would not be likely to wish to do the State any harm, said that the only land available for treatment, works is at a high level, which would necessitate the pumping of the sewage from the whole area. He tells us that the site is known as Canberra, or Mugga Mugga. What “ mugs “ we shall be if, at the dictation of the Parliament of New South Wales, we. set aside Dalgety, - the free choice of the Parliament, a place whose scenery is unsurpassable in New South Wales, and which possesses a water supply sufficient, not only for the amplest city requirements, but also to provide power for electric lighting and traction throughout the territory - for a site which we shall have to pump the water into, and the sewage out of. To do so would be to perpetrate a national blunder, which would make us the scorn of generations to come. The more the matter is investigated the more insane does the proposal to fix the Capital at Yass-Canberra appear to be. According to Mr. Scrivener’s report the catchment area of the Cotter River to its confluence with the Murrumbidgee is 170 square miles in extent, whilst the catchment area of the Snowy River and its tributaries is 1,600 square miles in extent. I invite honorable senators to consider the potentialities of a watershed ten times the extent of that of the Cotter River. If a gravitation scheme is adopted at YassCanberra it will be necessary to go higher up the Cotter, and the catchment area would then be reduced to no square miles. We have the expert evidence of Mr. Pridham, a New South Wales official, that the minimum flow of the Snowy River would with proper Storage suffice for a population of at least 3,500,000. We have equally good evidence that the watershed of the Cotter would provide a supply tor 50,000 people. What has Senator Gould to say to this? The honorable senator iri quoting from the reports ignored important evidence given by trusted officials of his own State. Let me inform the Committee that at the present time Ballarat has a population of 50,000 people, and Newcastle a population of 62,000. The Government and the supporters of YassCanberra display an unpardonable want of confidence in the future of this country when they estimate that the population of the Federal Capital will not be more than the population of Newcastle or even of Ballarat at the present time. When the Federal Capital of the United States was established on the Potomac, 100 years ago, the population of America was about 5,000,000, or a little more than the present population of Australia. To-day the population of Washington is over 290,000. If we are to progress as the United States have done in the same space of time, half the people of Yass-Canberra will be covered with an in’-h of grime, and will be so unlike their progenitors’ as to cause scientific men to wonder at so strange a development of the British race. It has been stated that a practicable route can be found for a railway connecting Yass-Can. berra with Jervis Bay. Mr. Scrivener, at page 1.7 of his report, makes the statement that from the point of intersection ot the Goulburn and Cooma lines a practicable railway with a ruling gradient of not worse than 1 in 40, and probably of t in 50 can be obtained. It does not require that a man should be an engineer to enable him to understand that enormous additional expense must be involved where trains have to be taken over steep gradients. A steep gradient on a railway is like a weak link in a chain. If a locomotive is unable to haul a train over a grade it must return to the last station it left and divide its load. We cannot expect that a railway can be worked economically if it includes a number of steep grades. We have an opportunity if we avail ourselves of it of selecting a Federal Capital from which we can secure access to a port by a railway easy of construction and with easy grades. If we are true custodians of the interests of people who sent us here we shall choose a line which can be economically worked. We have had enough evidence Of that necessity in Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, and Queensland. In every place where the state of the finances will permit, the effort is to flatten the curves and take out the gradients in order to allow a heavier type of engine to be used, and, of course, heavier loads to be drawn. In no place on our existing lines is there such a steep’ gradient as i in 40 or 1 in 50. On the line to Ballarat, for instance, no such steep grade as 1 in 40 can be seen. I want to correct Senator Gould’s statement that the cost of connecting a Capital at Dalgety with the railway system of New South Wales would be £3,000,000, if not more. In his report on the sites for the Seat of Government for the Commonwealth, Mr. Commissioner Oliver makes this statement in regard to the site on the Monaro tableland -
The proposed site will be distant from the Cooma railway station about 60 miles, and from Sydney by rail and coach, 325 miles.
I do not know the source from which Senator Gould obtained his figures, but in the report of Mr. Oliver we are told that a railway of only 60 miles would require to be built to connect the Federal Capital on the Eden-Bombala site with the existing railway system. If Senator Gould’s statement is correct the cost per mile would be £50,000. Was it right for the honorable senator to make such a serious statement without citing his authority? Whilst there may be serious engineering difficulties to be surmounted on the route, I venture to say that, notwithstanding the deep cuttings which had to be made in New South Wales in crossing the Blue Mountains, and in Queensland in getting over the Range, and also on the Cairns railway, there was not a mile of line which cost anything near £50,000. Lest there should still be any doubt in the minds of any honorable senators as to the capacity of the Dalgety site to provide a suitable water supply, let me quote what Mr. Oliver said on that subject. In the beginning of his report, he admitted that he had been placed in a very delicate position, but when he was called upon to express an impartial opinion on the merits of the rival sites, he placed at the head of the list Dalgety, or Buckley’s Crossing. On page 27, he says -
Buckley’s Crossing is decidedly the best. The supply is unlimited; the distance which the water will have to be brought is small, and provision could easily be made for generating electricity at the place where the water supply would be taken off, as the fall in the river is very rapid.
Of all the southern sites, including YassCanberra and Queanbeyan, no site found more favour with Mr. Oliver than did Buckley’s Crossing, or Dalgety. In his opinion, it was superior to Orange, Goulburn, Cootamundra, Carcoar, and even Bombala. What has he. to say in reference to the water supply in the Queanbeyan district, which is very close to the YassCanberra district, and which it is suggested should be included in the Federal territory ? -
Queanbeyan has a large available supply both from the Cotter and the Murrumbidgee Rivers. The former would give a very good and pure supply, but the expense would be large.
We can ill afford to lose sight of the important question of expense. There may come times of stress, when the electors of the Commonwealth may find it very difficult indeed to make ends meet. We know of States which were very prosperous for many years, but whose people, from a combination of circumstances, found themselves so overtaxed by industrial and economical depressions that they could hardly make a livelihood. In Australia, we are accustomed, unfortunately, to alternate spells of depression and prosperity. Let me recall the extraordinary circumstances which at one time prevailed in Queensland in order to bring home to honorable senators the necessity of looking to the needs and exigencies of the future, keeping an eye on the lean times as well as the prosperous times, and, above all, providing for such a system of wise control in the management of industrial” enterprises as will lean as lightly as possible upon the shoulders of the taxpayers. Are we doing that on the present occasion? My experience of Queensland dates back twenty-five years. I remember the time when able-bodied men in that State were able to engage in contracts that were highly remunerative to them.
– I am allowing the honorable senator a considerable amount of latitude, but his present remarks are rather irrelevant.
– In the same State, to my own knowledge, those able-bodied men were afterwards compelled to work for £1 per week and find themselves. If we have any desire to preserve the material well-being of future generations we must be circumspect, and avoid schemes which will inevitably lead to extravagance in the conduct of our industries. In the YassCanberra district there is, I admit, a water supply sufficient for a city of 25,000 inhabitants. And if we contemplate no more imposing Seat of Government for the Commonwealth than that, the site favoured by the Government is suitable enough. But we have to be guided by past experiences. The lamp of experience is the only guide as to what shall be done in the future. The man who ignores that light must be blind to the lessons of history. When we consider the beautiful scenery that surrounds Dalgety, we ought to have no hesitation about the selection of it. We can point there to beautiful, snow-clad mountains in the distance, and show the European visitor a landscape at the beauty of which he will be amazed. But what have we to show at Yass-Canberra? Nothing but sunbaked plains where willy willies swirl, gathering the rubbish and depositing it upon the scanty water supply of the district. There is not one redeeming feature in its favour. Of course, remarks have been made concerning the capabilities of its soil and the number of stock it will carry. But stock carrying capacity is no qualification in a site for a Capital city. Some of the most prosperous cities in the world have been founded in localities where stock would not thrive. In times when the means of access to rich producing areas are easy the productive capacity of the soil of a great city is of no consequence. The City of Melbourne obtains its supplies of potatoes from Tasmania, and its fruits from distant part of the State of which it is the capital. As showing the true position of affairs, I should like to indicate what occurred in the selection of Washington as the capital of the United States. The trend of feeling in that country at the time when Washington was selected is brought out in a paper on “The City of Washington,” by John Addison Porter, in Studies- in Historical and Political Science. 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 “ favoured 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.
That is truly representative of the present position. A number of sites that many of us had not heard of before were offered by New South Wales to the Federal Parliament -
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.
I am as anxious as any one can be to see the Federal Capital established, but I desire to see it erected on a site that will do justice to the good sense and the patriotism of 5 the Australian people. There was no “ Ma “ State there. No claim to the Federal Capital was put forward by the State of Pennsylvania, which, in respect of the Federation, occupied a position similar to that of New South Wales in respect of the Commonwealth. Several of the States were competitors for the prize -
Memorials were received from the Legislatures of New Jersey arid Pennsylvania favouring 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.
It was all a case of offering there, not a matter of refusing, as has been the case with New South Wales -
Maryland in 1778, and Virginia in 1779, generously agreed, through their representatives in Congress, to cede any district ten square miles within their borders which Congress might desire to occupy as the permanent Seat of Government. Virginia asked the cooperation 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.
There we have the small State of Maryland offering to pledge herself to the extent of $48,000 to provide buildings for the Federal Capital - ‘
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. 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.
But what are the conditions here ? We are paying rent for every building that wc occupy in Melbourne, except the parliamentary buildings which shelter us. I repeat that, in the case of the United States, there was no “Ma” State which desired to browbeat the Federal Government. On the contrary, all the States evinced an eagerness to assist that Government. What a contrast between that Federation and our own -
The attractive country near Philadelphia seemed to fulfil these requirements. On 27th September, 1789, a motion to place the Capital in a district ten miles square, at Germantown Pennsylvania, passed both Houses of Congress, and was finally lost only because the Senate 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.
In other words the choice of the Federation was absolutely untrammelled. No attempt was made to thwart it by the Congresses, of the thirteen States. The author continues -
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 -
Sir William Lyne has made a similar declaration in regard to the selection of Bombala -
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.
So that the very men who are doing an injustice to the Dalgety site by declaring that it is blizzard-swept had their counterpart in the individuals in the United States, who described Washington as a “howling malarious wilderness.” The history of that country in respect of its choice of a. Federal Capital has practically been repeated in Australia. In each case the Federal Parliament made its selection. But after the Parliament of the Commonwealth had chosen a site for the permanent Seat of Government the New South Wales Government came forward and said, in effect, “ You are not to make a choice. I am the boss here, and I countermand what you have done, and will deny you the site at Dalgety.” I strongly object to the assertion of supremacy by the New South Wales Parliament over the National Parliament. The action of the electors in regard to the Financial Agreement clearly indicates that the will of this Parliament should be supreme in the matter of the selection of the Federal Capital site. I am sorry that we are about to take a course which willi not redound to our credit, and that future generations, when they come to count up their gains and losses, will be forced tothe conclusion that we were blind to our own requirements, and to the highest wellbeing of the people. I ask honorable senators to brush the scales from their eyes, so that, in die interests of the countless generations yet unborn, they may sec that it is our duty to select a site which will reflect credit upon our judgment and patriotism.
– At this early hour of the morning, I should be practically beating the air if I attempted to analyze the various reasons; which have been advanced in favour of the selection of Yass-Canberra as the site of the Federal Capital. I have listened very attentively to the cogent arguments which have been urged by the two previous speakers in opposition to the proposal of the Government to expend £50,000 upon the establishment there of the Federal Capital. Before determining the location of the future Capital of the Commonwealth, this Committee should weigh the mattervery seriously. It has been the cause of the discussions which have caused so much disturbance in this Committee this morning, and has seriously disturbed the minds of the thoughtful people of Australia. We are justified in availing ourselves of every opportunity to prevent the establishment of the Capital on a site that is certainly undesirable.
– We are having quite a night out.
– I shall be pleased to have several nights out in dealing with a. question of this magnitude. Senator Lynch has pointed out how Rome was built upon her seven hills, and how the people of the United States took many years to determine the site of their capital. He has alluded in eloquent language to the discussions in Congress on a question similar to that which is engaging the attention of Australian politicians to-day. The seed that was sown by the framers of the Constitution is now bearing fruit, and I am afraid that honorable members of another place have agreed to a proposed vote to be expended on a site which those who laid the foundation stone of the Commonwealth edifice would regret to see selected. Under section 125 of the Constitution it is provided that the Seat of Government shall be determined by the Commonwealth Parliament, and. as Senator Lynch has pointed out, the narrow-minded non-Australian attitude of New South Wales in this respect is in striking contradistinction to the broadminded, liberal spirit displayed by the States of America in dealing with the Capital site question. The Parliament of New South Wales tried to deprive Australia of its first love. It endeavoured to block the acquisition of land near Dalgety,’ which I do not hesitate to say, after a visit to both places, is infinitely superior to YassCanberra.
– The honorable senator did not say that when he was there.
– I said that from a purely selfish point of view I should prefer to reside in Yass-Canberra, and in coming to that conclusion I was no doubt influenced by the fact that we saw that site under the most favorable conditions, whereas we visited Dalgety on a bleak and dismal day. But viewing this question from a purely Australian stand-point, I am satisfied that Dalgety, having regard to its possibilities of development and its proximity to Twofold Bay, is immeasurably preferable to Yass-Canberra. The selection of this site will affect generations yet unborn, and I therefore protest against this vote being carried. I do not wish to vote against the Government, whose platform I am pledged to support, but I shall do my utmost to oppose the selection of Yass-Canberra. I appeal to the advocates of that site to give play to their consciences and better judgment and not to be induced to vote for a site which I am convinced some of them do not in reality favour. Yesterday I quoted from a report issued by Mr. Scrivener on the 26th May, 1909. Since then I have had an opportunity to examine earlier reports by the same gentleman, which amplify his condemnation of Yass-Canberra. Senator de Largie invited Senator E. J. Russell to point to a city which was dependent upon water supply for power, but nearly every city of which I know is dependent not only for power, but for health, cleanliness, and even life itself, upon the purity of the streams adjacent to it. On the 25th February, 1909, Mr. Scrivener reported that the water supply of YassCanberra would have to be drawn from the Mumimbidgee or from certain of its tributaries. He declared that the Mumimbidgee itself was an undesirable source of supply, because it was frequently charged with earthy matter and consequently discoloured, whilst there must be considerable contamination of the water owing to the sewage matter carried into it from towns and settlements along its course. When Senator McDougall spoke of having bobbed up and down like a cork upon the waters of a certain stream he led us to believe that he was referring to the Cotter, when as a matter of fact he was referring to the Murrumbidgee. He said that he had bathed in its waters, and that, like John the Baptist, after being immersed, came out a better man. The reports of Mr. Scrivener, an unbiased expert, were sufficient to condemn the Yass-Canberra site from the water supply point of view.
– This speech is so interesting that I think more senators ought to be present. [Quorum formed.”]
– The Cotter River has been variously described; but Mr. Scrivener says that the stream does not afford any facilities for the construction of weirs to impound any large quantities of water. As I said previously, having regard to the actual proposed site of the city, I should prefer Yass-Canberra to Dalgety as a place to live at; but, as it is our duty to secure the best site obtainable, I have to vote against any further expenditure on the former area at the present juncture. I want to have settled this vexed question, which has been agitating the minds of the people and of the Parliament since the beginning of Federation, but it is my duty, not only to the people of Victoria whom I represent, but also to the people of the other States, to delay its settlement now, pending the supplying of fuller information than we at present possess. Should our choice fall on Yass-Canberra, future generations will have reason to curse us. A healthy city must have an efficient sewerage system, and according to Mr. Scrivener the sewering of Canberra will present some difficulties. No one with a knowledge of the two sites could honestly say that the facilities of Canberra in that respect equal those of Dalgety. Then, as to building stone and foundations, one of the first things to strike a visitor to Canberra is the absence of stone suitable for buildings such as should grace the Capital city of the Commonwealth.
Never, I hope, ‘neath Australia’s skies, shall a city be planned and built
In the dreary place of a traitor’s lie, To tell of a Statesman’s guilt ;
But by living waters that swiftly flow Untouched by hate or greed -
Clean to the heart shall its greatness grow Attuned to the people’s need.
I hope that those who so stubbornly support the Canberra site will acknowledge that a mistake has been made which it is not too late to retrieve.
– Is the Vice-President of the Executive Council prepared to report progress?
– We have not yet made any.
– The honorable gentleman is inflicting great hardship upon those engaged in reporting our proceedings, and those whose duty it is to attend in the chamber or other parts of the building.
– Why did not honorable senators take a vote last night?
– The Government did not wish to do so. Ministers put up a senator opposite to stone- wall.
– Our Commonwealth Capital should be, as has been suggested, a beautiful city, occupying a position commanding picturesque views, and allowing perfection of design with the possibility of expansion. But in asking us to »vote for Canberra the Government are forcing us to adopt a course which must be inimical to the best interests of the Commonwealth. They are placing their supporters in a humiliating position, whilst they are coquetting with their natural enemies. We are told that a contract has been entered into between the Commonwealth Government and the Government of New South Wales, but it must not be forgotten that we shall have to pay considerably over £1,000,000 for the land to be acquired for the Federal Territory, and it is our business to see that we get value for our money. We have been told that the Cotter, which is only a creek, will provide ap adequate water supply for the Federal Capital; but we have it on the authority of experts that the maximum supply to be obtained from that source will be sufficient for a population of only 50,000. It is admitted that there should be good land surrounding the site chosen for the Federal Capital, but there is no land fit for agriculture surrounding the Yass-Canberra site. The action taken by the Government in this matter will reflect discredit upon them and upon the Labour party. There is no urgency for the settlement of this question which would justify the Government in forcing upon the Commonwealth a site which is objectionable to a large proportion of the people. It will not be denied that the money which would be required to establish the Capital even at a suitable site might for some time to come be more advantageously expended in other directions. I inspected the Yass-Canberra site under the direction of Mr. Scrivener, and I realized that no city could be built there which would fulfil the ideals of the founders of Federation. We shall require railway communication from the Capital to the seaboard, and we have evidence that to secure that communication from the YassCanberra site would require the construction of a railway with gradients of 1 in 40, which would involve a quite unnecessary expense for haulage. A better site might’ be chosen in connexion with which this difficulty could be avoided.
– Let us go to a vote.
– When I asked the honorable senator some time ago to report progress he refused to do so. Why do the Government insist upon keeping the officers and attendants here all this time? Is it right and proper that we should be compelled at this early hour of the day to continue this struggle? Let fair play prevail and a vote be taken when there is no heat. In dealing with this important question, we should have no spectacle of this kind. All scientists declare that sanitation is responsible for a great deal of the ill-health of a community. Why should we establish the Federal Capital on a site where the requirements of a modern city cannot be provided? It is claimed that a small trickle will provide a supply of water not only for the thousands who will form the population of the Capital in the first instance, but for the hundreds of thousands who are to come. Is it proposed to establish a fishing village, or a rival to Sydney or Melbourne? The national ideal is to establish a Capital which will furnish an example to other countries. A far more suitable site could be secured by the Commonwealth. We have been told that we are tied to Yass-Canberra. Why should we be tied to any site? It is pleaded that a contract has been made. Have we not the right of review until the issue of the second proclamation ? If we have to pay for the privately-owned lands, why should we not seek to secure a more eligible area? I was once under the impression that New South Wales in her generosity would hand over an area of 100 square miles, and that practically all the land therein would be given to the Commonwealth. In the early years of the United States, we have been told, the States competed with one another for the honour of having the Federal Capital within their territory, and were not only willing to alienate the necessary land for the purpose, but also to contribute towards the cost of the Federal buildings should their offer be accepted. In Australia no such patriotic movement is on foot. Do not honorable senators realize that the unalienated land in Yass-Canberra is of very little value? Because it is of little or no value to the State it is offered to the Commonwealth, which, of course, will have to acquire the privately-owned lands. Is that a patriotic spirit for New South Wales to exhibit in connexion with the establishment of a Federal Capital? We are told that we ought to be thankful for the offer. But let honorable senators recall the mountainous nature of the surrounding country and consider of what value it would be for the purposes of a Federal Capital. It is estimated approximately that the cost of acquiring the privately-owned lands would be 250,000, but it is quite evident from the cursory nature of the survey, and the rapid manner in which that estimate was framed, that a larger sum would have to be paid. Suppose we admit that the privately-owned lands would cost the Commonwealth £[1,500,000. That money, together with the money which would have to be expended on buildings, could be spent to far better advantage in the initial stage of our history.
– I think that there should be a quorum, sir, to listen to the speech. [Quorum formed.]
– In New South’ Wales there are other sites which are more eligible than Yass-Canberra, and which would be more acceptable to the people of the Commonwealth. We are told that adjacent to Canberra there is land which could be made available for agricultural settlement, and that this land will return to the Commonwealth sufficient to defray the cost of establishing the Capital, and also to meet the expenses of government. It is even said that the ground rents derived from the Yass-Canberra site will be such as to maintain the Government of the Commonwealth. But, looking at the re-“ ports furnished by Mr. Scrivener and Mr. Oliver, I cannot conceive that the lands in question will produce sufficient to warrant us in choosing that site. The Commonwealth will certainly derive no advantage from so doing. As to the seaport, it is pointed out by experts that Jervis Bay ls unsafe as a harbor, and we should simply endanger the Commonwealth Fleet by placing it there. I had an idea that the Government would demand an ideal site, with the object of attracting settlers to the Federal area. But I regret to say that the narrow parochial ideas animating some members of Parliament, and even some members of the Government, are such, that they are willing to place the Capital on land so arid that it is not capable of fulfilling any of the conditions required.
– The honorable senator has said that several times.
- Senator McGregor may manifest that spirit a little too often. I have always been loyal to the principles and to the party with which I am associated. But I shall not allow either the Vice-President of the Executive Council or any of his colleagues to influence my vote on a question in connexion with which my constituents expect me to exercise my best intelligence, knowledge, and foresight. We have at least a right to expect from those whom we admire, and to whom’ we give loyal support, a recognition that we are doing our best for the good of the people. I am sorry to say that I have witnessed in this Chamber an endeavour by our own people to bring about a coalition with their natural enemies against the ‘members of their party. The least we can expect is that our leaders will abstain from conduct which is calculated to give outsiders the idea that we are trying to force on the people something that is unjust. I urge that the mere fact that a previous Government has determined on a certain course is no reason why a Labour Government should adopt their decision. To do so is childish in the extreme. We are here to do our best according to our own principles. And if we come to the conclusion that what was done in the past was unjust and wrong, we should set it aside without any reservation. Such an opportunity now occurs. I am extremely sorry that the opportunity is presented in this way. We are emphasizing the idea that the site chosen is not in the interests of Australia. If we accept this territory, not advantage, but the contrary, will accrue to the country. Why should we not, when we have an opportunity, insist upon having the very best site in the very best place in the State from which we have to select? Yass-Canberra suffers from disadvantages’ in respect of all the qualifications that we have to keep in mind. It is deficient in the nature of its soil, in situation, and in water supply. Even the small patch of sea-shore that has been granted to us has been conceded .n such a grudging spirit as to make it appear that New South Wales did not desire us to have it at all. We are compelled by the action of the Government to resist what we regard as the selection of an unsuitable site.
– The honorable senator will wake up presently.
– Even if the VicePresident of the Executive Council has been asleep all the years that this question has been dangled before us, why should we refuse to give to the people of the Commonwealth a site at the choice of which there could be no possible cavil? Would any harm result if the determination of this question were deferred for a few years? Those who have visited Yass-Canberra must recognise that it does not possess the qualifications necessary to meet the requirements of a modern city. Where can we obtain a water supply there sufficient to serve a population of 250,000? Can we secure it from the Cotter, which, after all, is quite unworthy of the designation of a river, being in places only a narrow stream which one can step across ? It may be true that by building storage dams a supply sufficient for the purposes of a relatively small population might be conserved. But I hold that if we are going to establish a Federal Capital, the site upon which it is built should possess all the advantages which are usually associated with a great city. We must recollect that the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth is not intended to be a little onion garden or a potato patch. It is intended to be a beautiful city.
– Does the honorable senator think that onions or potatoes would grow at Yass-Canberra?
– I do not. Our aim should be to found a Federal Capital which will be capable of expanding with the growth of the population of this continent. It is positively farcical for the Government to attempt to force through Committee, at 5 o’clock in the morning, a proposal which will affect the welfare of millions who are yet unborn. If another Government were to adopt a similar course 1 venture to say that the Vice-President of the Executive Council, instead of twiddling his thumbs, would be violently denouncing their action. I trust that honorable senators will banish all provincial considerations, and take a national view of this question, so that the result of the debate may be the selection of a site “which will redound to the credit of the Commonwealth Parliament. Notwithstanding all that has been said on the other side, when the time comes to take a vote, effect will be given to our desire.
– As we have now been sitting for fourteen and a half hours, I ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, in the interests of the health of honorable senators, to report progress.
– I want to make progress.
– I did not think that, the honorable senator would be so inconsiderate, and I appeal to him in the interests of his own health if not that of honorable senators generally to report progress. On Tuesday night last he cheerfully consented to do so at the request of honorable senators opposite, and on Wednesday night he also showed much anxiety to adopt the same course at a comparativelyearly hour. No good purpose is served by all-night sittings; but if Senator McGregorwill not respond to my request, then I ask him as a trade unionist to recommend that we receive an extra allowance for overtime. Since we have sat here so long it is hardly worth while adjourning before breakfast. I agree with the view expressed yesterday- by Senator Rae that a number of honorable senators have grossly exaggerated the disadvantages of one site and the advantages of another. That will continue even if this debate goes on for a week. My complaint to-night is that only one. side of this question is being discussed, and I fear that the reiteration of arguments from our point of view may possibly unduly influence those who have ranged themselves on the other side. I am prepared to admit that Canberra is not nearly so bad a place as some would have us believe. I have visited it on three different occasions, and have seen the whole contour of the country. As one who has lived for a long time in an agricultural district, and who, in his early life engaged in fruitgrowing, I do not hesitate to say that, making a most liberal estimate, there are only a few thousand acres of alluvial flats at Canberra suitable for agricultural purposes. Those flats, however, are to be submerged in order that an ornamental lake some three miles long by half-a-mile wide may be formed. Thus fruit and vegetables to supply the requirements of the future Capital will have to be brought from a considerable distance instead of being grown close at hand, and so giving employment,, to a number of the citizens. A question of even greater importance is the suitability of the site for building purposes ; and, in the last Parliament, the Minister of Defence, speaking as a practical builder, con.demned Yass-Canberra from that point of view. I entirely agree with the honorable senator, because, like him, I have had considerable experience as a practical builder. The foundations, except on the peaks of the hills, would have to be taken down from 20 to 40 feet to the solid rock, adding considerably to the cost of the buildings, both public and private. This, of course, would mean high rentals with increased prices of all commodities, necessitating in turn higher wages than were paid elsewhere. All kinds of building material is conspicuous by its absence, and would have to be carried hundreds of miles by rail, still further increasing the cost of construction.
In Dalgety, on the other hand, almost every building material is to be found in abundance, a condition which always makes a great deal of difference to the prosperity of the people. So far as I know, we have not had a report from Mr. Scrivener or any other expert as to the building material to be found in the vicinity of Dalgety or Bombala; ‘and, though some people choose to regard the question of the Federal Capital site as already settled, such a report would be very useful. It must be remembered that Canberra was chosen in place of Dalgety only in the dying hours of the last Parliament. Had the matter been left to this Parliament, as was suggested, the electors would have been appealed to, and we should have been returned with a mandate from the people. Dalgety was originally decided upon after an exhaustive investigation of all the sites which had been considered in any way suitable. Had we then had a Government prepared to take definite action, Dalgety would have been finally determined upon as the site of the Federal Capital. But as time went on a secret influence began to be felt by honorable members who were told that the selection of another site might affect the elections, and it was used for party purposes. The majority resented that influence, but a sufficiently large minority succumbed to it to get Dalgety set aside in favour of a site not so black as it is painted, but altogether unsuited to our requirements. Honorable senators now seem not to appreciate the seriousness of the position. The possibility of other matters of policy being delayed unless this question is settled in the way the Government desire is weighing with some of them. But we, in building a Capital, shall be doing so, not for one generation, but for all who succeed us. Australia probably has a larger area of fertile land than any other country in the world, and some day will support an immense population. Two centuries hence we may have a population’ of 150,000,000, and I can fancy their regret at our short-sightedness in considering this matter of so little importance as to be influenced to select an unsuitable site in order to forward legislation which, if found to be mistaken, can be amended, whereas the Capital site, once chosen, must remain for ever. We are asked to vote £50,000 tor expenditure at Canberra, and I fear that if the money is spent any majority wishing to choose another site will be prevented from doing so by the argument that the expenditure would be wasted were any change made. Honorable senators might be inclined to say, “ This site is good enough for us. Why trouble about the future?” In South’ Australia a small work was proposed by a district council to be paid for out of rates, but a friend of mine wished it to be paid for out of loan money. He was told that that would be unfair to posterity, but his reply was “ Hang posterity. What has it ever done for us !” There may be a sufficient water supply at Canberra for the present day, but will there be a sufficient supply fifty years hence if the Capital is located there. The cities of Melbourne and Sydney may be mere towns in comparison with our future Capital. However, it is time we heard something from those who support the proposal which the Government is trying to get us to agree to.
– I propose to reply to some of the arguments used by some of the supporters of Yass-Canberra. Senator Gould declared that in his opinion the Commonwealth should. not only be given a greater area of land at Jervis Bay, but also territorial rights over the area granted there. One would have thought that the honorable senator was in earnest in making that statement, but the records of Parliament show that he voted against such a proposal when it was made. In 1908 a Federal Government led by the present Prime Minister introduced a Bill to carry out what was claimed to be the expressed will of Parliament, fixing the site of the Federal’ Capital at Yass-Canberra. In the consideration of that measure an attempt was made to substitute another site, but that attempt failed. Then, in common with some other honorable senators, I tried to have included in the Bill certain provisions to safeguard the interests of the Commonwealth in the direction indicated by Senator Gould. If honorable senators will refer to page 2719 of Hansard for 1908 they will find that on the clause providing for the territory to be granted to the Commonwealth by the State I moved an amendment to include in it a strip of land five chains in width from the Capital site to Jervis Bay, and an area of five square miles fronting the shores of that bay. That is just what Senator Gould, during this debate, has said that the Commonwealth ought to have, but in the division on my amendment to the Bill of 1908 ft will be found that the honorable senator voted against what he now says should be done. Senator McGregor, as leader of the Senate at the time, resisted the amendment, and said that much more was likely to be secured by leaving the way open for negotiation. Nothing has resulted from negotiation, but I am satisfied that if we had prescribed fair conditions in the Bill of 1908 they would have been accepted by New South Wales. As opponents of the amendment I moved in 1908 have now been forced to admit that the action I took was right, they may, if given further time for consideration, agree with all the contentions of those who are opposed to the selection of YassCanberra. It is essential that the selection of the Federal Capital site should be made in the freest possible manner by a free Parliament. But Senator Gould, as leader of the Canberraites, has shamelessly and brazenly contended that an outside body must be consulted in the matter. He has justified the rejection of the first site chosen by this Parliament on the ground that the New South Wales Parliament did not consider it a suitable site. New South Wales has her full share of representation in this Parliament, but she claims a further right to veto its decisions if they are not satisfactory to the authorities of the State. That would place in a position of subservience to the State interests of New South Wales this National Parliament which within the ambit of its authority should be untrammelled. It will be well if we survey the facts leading up to the present position. In looking at the initiatory facts we shall be astonished to find that the provision that the Capital should be in New South Wales was put into the Constitution Bill as an afterthought, and after a majority of the electors of that State had accepted the Constitution without such a stipulation. In order to satisfy the State righters who were rampant in Sydney, the Constitution was so amended, and in order that Federation might be accomplished quickly, that provision was loyally accepted by the people of Australia. I, for one, have always been prepared to give effect to it. The next thing which happened was that the then New South Wales Government appointed a special commissioner to examine and report on suitable sites for a Federal Territory in which the Capital would be situated. They appointed Mr. Oliver, against whom I believe not a derogatory word could be spoken. Undoubtedly he must have been a man of parts and reputation, otherwise he would not have been chosen for such a responsible task. After exhaustively examining a great many sites, he recommended as the best and most suitable a site on the Monaro tableland.
– And the site he recommended did not happen to be Dalgety.
– Mr. Oliver did not recommend Bombala, but some place in the vicinity of Dalgety.
– He said Bombala.
- Mr. Oliver did recommend a site on the Monaro tableland as the best of the sites which he had examined. The State Government of that time, not having developed the irritating tendencies which were exhibited later towards the Commonwealth Government, not only offered that site, but took the necessary steps to reserve it for the Commonwealth, withdrawing all Crown lands from occupation or sale, so that a suitable area might be made available. This Parliament after an exhaustive struggle between the advocates of different sites, and thinking that the offer of the State Government was a genuine one, as we had every reason to believe it was, selected a site on the Monaro tableland. Then what happened? Some of us have been accused of suffering from Sydneyphobia, or with being animated by a feeling of dislike or hatred towards Sydney. I do not think that there is anybody in Australia who is more in love with, or has a higher opinion of, Sydney than I have. It is in a delightful situation, and its natural advantages are and will remain unsurpassed in -Australia. No matter where the Federal Capital may be established, the future of Sydney is absolutely independent of any such consideration. It will always be one of the leading cities of the Commonwealth, if not the chief one. Apart from this question, there is no place which I would sooner live in, or prefer to visit, than Sydney. That is my reply to those who say that we who take up this attitude are suffering from Sydneyphobia. There has been a sort of insane jealousy on the part of Sydney with regard to this question. ‘ A section of its people, led by the newspapers, seem to believe that if the Federal Capital were located anywhere in New South Wales, which was too far removed from the influence of Sydney, it might in some respect or other become a rival of that city.
– The Sydney poeple are not bothering about it at all.
– I agree that a majority of the Sydney people are taking this matter very coolly, but I think the honorable senator will admit that there are certain men in leading positions in Sydney, especially in the Government, who have looked with a very jealous eye upon the action of the Commonwealth. They seem to think that the Commonwealth .has a desire to do an injury to that city. We have no such desire ; we are willing to obey the mandate of the Constitution, and to erect the Capital in New South Wales. It is a shame that ten years have been allowed to pass without this question having been settled, but whose is the fault? So long ago as 1904 we accepted the site on the Monaro tableland, which was offered to us. If the New South Wales Government had loyally adhered to their own offer, and to the terms of the Constitution, I believe that the Commonwealth Parliament and Government could have been housed in their own territory to-day.
– I question if Dalgety is on Southern Monaro.
– It is on the Monaro tableland.
– It is on Monaro, but not on Southern Monaro.
– I think that the honorable senator favoured a site there just as much as I. did. I am not going to quibble as to whether it was situated a mile this way, or a mile the other way, as that is immaterial.
– The honorable senator has been emphasizing Southern Monaro all the time.
– If the honorable senator wants to be particular, the Commonwealth Parliament did not fix upon Dalgety as a site, but on a territory somewhere in the vicinity of Dalgety.
– Seventeen miles from Dalgety, and farther north.
– The facts that I have cited show that the Commonwealth Parliament is in no way responsible for the delay which .has occurred. I believe that this question could have been settled satisfactorily long ago, but for the fact that the New South Wales Government went back on their offer, and refused to allow to this Parliament a free choice, in accordance with the terms of the provision in the Constitution, which was inserted on their demand. The responsibility for the delay is not on the Commonwealth Government, except in a very limited degree. It does not rest on this Parliament; but it does rest, to a certain extent, upon one of the Governments of the Commonwealth. It rests with the Government led by Mr. Alfred Deakin, because of its supineness in not giving effect to the decision of this Parliament, and paying deference to the attitude of the New South Wales Government. Mr. Deakin is such a very affable gentleman that he did not like to do anything to offend Mr. Wade. Now we are asked finally to ratify the selection of Yass-Canberra. If we “vote this ,£50,000 it will imply that we intend to proceed with the construction of the Federal Capital. I admit that I shall view the question as settled if this item be agreed to. Taking that serious view of the matter, I consider it necessary to review the whole of the salient facts before we finally commit ourselves. We have been told that the adoption of my amendment would amount to repudiation. It would be nothing of the kind. It would be merely repudiating a former act of repudiation. This Parliament selected a Monaro site. Did honorable senators opposite yell “ Repudiation “ when they wanted to throw that selection overboard? Not at all.. But, nevertheless, they did repudiate the previous decision, and they did so at the dictation of the New South Wales Government. The Constitution does not say that a State Premier shall have any voice in this selection. Yet, not only does New South Wales claim that the territory shall be within her borders, but that she shall have a right to reject the choice of this Parliament. If for no other reason than to assert the independence of the Federal Parliament, we should repudiate any such absurd claim.
– Why not “ barrack “ for the first choice of Parliament, instead of the third? The first choice was Tumut.
– The first choice ever registered in a Bill by this Parliament was Dalgety. The name of Canberra was never mentioned until very late in the controversy. If it were the best place of any, why did we not hear of it at an earlier date? There is an old saying, that any stick is good enough to beat a dog with, and any site in New South Wales was good enough to beat the site selected by this Parliament. That is why it was suddenly discovered that Canberra was a kind of heaven-sent solution of the whole question. Even Canberra was not good enough to stand on its own bottom. It had to be bracketed with Yass, a place 60 miles distant.
– Dalgety had to be bracketed with a place which is 70 miles distant from it.
– But Dalgety li not the actual site which was chosen by this Parliament. That name was merely used to indicate the district in which Dalgety is situated. It was the disappointed advocates of other sites who finally combined to secure the selection of Yass-Canberra. Why did they combine? Because Dalgety is objectionable to certain Sydney interests. It is too far from Sydney and too close to Victoria. ‘ I say that in selecting the Federal Capital, we ought to ignore all such flimsy considerations. What does it matter where the Seat of Government may be located, so long as we comply -with the terms of the Constitution, and so long as our selection is in the best interests of the Commonwealth ?
– A section of honorable senators is opposing the Government proposal upon a different ground.
–I am not responsible for that. Other honorable senators have as much right to their opinions as I have to mine. What is of importance to the Commonwealth is that the most suitable site should be chosen.
– And the honorable senator is to be the only judge of which is the most suitable site.
– T do not claim to act in the capacity of a judge in this matter except for myself. But certainly the representatives of Queensland in this Chamber cannot be charged with being actuated by provincial considerations. We do riot advocate any of the sites which are near (.0 that State. I have consistently voted for Dalgety, which is the most distant site from Queensland. But we have to regard this matter from the point of view of the best interests of the Commonwealth. Viewing it from that stand-point, what are the needs of the Commonwealth in respect of the Federal territory? First of all, we must have as abundant a water supply as we can get. Next in importance I place the quality of the land in the neighbourhood of the selected site, because I desire that the residents of the Federal Capital shall be able to live decent lives - that they shall be in a position to look upon an attractive landscape instead of upon a barren plain. Does
Yass-Canberra fulfil these conditions? T believe that a water supply can be obtained there for domestic and civic purposes sufficient to meet the requirements of a population of 100,000. But it is doubtful whether such a supply would always be forthcoming, because, according to the New South Wales Statistical Register, the rainfall at times is very low. At Queanbeyan, which is only 6 or 7 miles distant, in 1902, the rainfall recorded was only 11 inches.
– Queanbeyan is not within the catchment area.
– I contend that we must judge the site by its minimum rainfall, because the Federal Capital cannot be removed when bad years are experienced. lt will have to endure the arid conditions which then prevail, and, if it carries a large population, it may suffer a water famine. What has occurred, I maintain, is always liable to recur. Fortunately, since 1902, we have been blessed with good seasons. But we cannot guarantee that those seasons will continue. In the past we have experienced cycles of drought, and they will assuredly he experienced again. An adequate supply of water is, therefore, one of the essentials. Melbourne was not blessed originally with natural advantages for the foundation of a great city. Yet it is a beautiful spot. Around if are places which four or five years ago were a howling wilderness, but which to-day are spots of beauty. The people of Melbourne have been able to lay out splendid parks, because they have an adequate water supply. But if the place possessed only the limited supply which is available at Yass-Canberra, it would be a dry and arid city instead of the beautiful city that it undoubtedly is. The one river upon which we are told we. must rely at Yass-Canberra is quite unworthy of that appellation. In good seasons a sufficient volume passes down the stream to serve the requirements of a population of 100,000. But we do not know what would happen in a dry season like that which was experienced in 1.902. Under the most favorable conditions the supply available at Yass-Canberra is sufficient to meet the requirements of, perhaps, 100,000 inhabitants. Compare such a supply with that which would be at our command in the Monaro district through which the magnificent Snowy River flows. The beauty of that stream is that it flows fastest and strongest during the dry summer months.
– Then we should experience a drought- in the winter there r
– No. lt always flows strongly, but the greatest volume of water comes down that stream 111 the summer, because the snows on the mountains in which it has its source are then melted. There is no other river in Australia which possesses that feature. This is an advantage which ought not to be ignored by us in selecting a site for a Capital. We had the whole of the magnificent tableland through which the Snowy flows in which to select a site, and yet we were not permitted to make a choice there, merely because the district is too far from Sydney and too close to Victoria. Why should we take cognisance of such flimsy State jealousies - jealousies which are fostered by a small section of the people of Sydney, of which the daily newspapers of that city are the mouthpiece? With regard to the quality of the land, it is not necessary to have good land for a building site, but there should be good land in the vicinity of the Capital. The best land at Yass-Canberra would be occupied by the buildings of the Capital, and the land surrounding the site is of very little use. Although the district has been settled almost since the foundation of the State, and is connected with Sydney by rail, there is scarcely any cultivation worthy of the name to be seen there. While there is a limited area of fairly good sheep country, the less said about the rest of the land the better. It was admitted by Mr. Hughes, in the Legislative Council of New South Wales, that 565 square miles, or considerably more than half of the proposed Federal Territory, is not fit to feed a goat. So that in the second requirement of a good site, Yass-Canberra utterly fails. I have shown that the water supply to be obtained there, would be sufficient only for the domestic purposes of a comparatively small population. We could not secure cheap water power to run machinery, . for electric lighting, or to run electric trams. There is no coal in the immediate vicinity of Canberra, and the only factories likely to be established there would be those controlled by the Commonwealth Government, and they would have to be run at a great disadvantage. If there is no good land in the vicinity of the Capital on which people may settle, and no facilities for manufacturing, the finger of scorn is likely to be pointed at the Federal Capital of the future, -as a city of politicians and officials. lt is hopeless to expect that we shall have there a Capital worthy of a great nation. I have stated the conclusions at which I have arrived after reading the reports, and I am glad that so ardent an advocate of Canberra as Senator McDougall, has admitted that I have been fair in my statement of the case. But I do not ask honorable senators to accept my word, and I propose to show what the expert officials think of the matter. I admit the accessibility of Canberra, but there is no other place in the State which might not easily be made as accessible. The gentleman charged with the work of investigation in the district was Mr. Surveyor Scrivener. I met him only on two occasions, for brief periods, but it is to be presumed that those who intrusted him with this responsible duty, were satisfied as to his competence to discharge it, and the Committee should be willing to be influenced by what he has to say. In reporting to the Minister of Home Affairs upon sites within the YassCanberra District, on the 25th February, 1909, he says, amongst other things, that if the city is to be beautified by a water service, it should be by means of streams within the Federal Territory, and under the control of the Commonwealth Government. He further says, that the water supply of Canberra must be drawn from the Murrumbidgee River, or its tributaries. He goes on to point out that the Murrumbidgee is an undesirable source of supply, because it is frequently heavily charged with earthy matter, and he says that the same objection applies . to the Queanbeyan and the Molonglo rivers. So that three of the principal rivers of the district are ruled out as unsuitable by Mr. Scrivener. He explains that the Gudgenby River is useless for a water supply, because it is, at times, lost altogether in its sand bed. Speaking further of these rivers, he says -
Both the Queanbeyan and Molonglo rivers below the junction cease to run in very dry seasons. The only rivers that afford a good and pure supply are the Goodradigbee with its tributary the Micalong Creek, and the Cotter River; from the Goodradigbee or the Micalong the supply would be drawn for any site near Yass, the length of pipe line from the Micalong weir, at a level that would afford a gravitation supply, would be approximately 40 miles, varying somewhat with the particular location of the Capital. I should not regard Micalong Creek, with a catchment area above the take off of only 37 square miles, as sufficient to meet the possible future requirements of the Capital, in which case, water would be drawn from the Goodradigbee. The bed of this river, hovever, rises very slowly, and at 20 miles above Wee Jasper, which by road is 30 miles from Yass, the level of the river bed is only 1,650 feet, or 24 feet above Yass Railway Station. Clearly, a gravitation supply from this river would be extremely costly, and the best that could be done would be to pump from the river near Wee Jasper, where the level of the river-bed is roughly I,200 feet; this would involve a lift of at least 800 feet, and a pipe-line of not less than 30 miles.
The idea of a pumping scheme to lift the water 800 feet, and a pipe line of not less than 30 miles is unthinkable.
– That would not lift the water to the highest point on Canberra.
– That is Mr. Scrivener’s statement, and I wish to let it go almost without comment to the Committee. He continues -
The Goodradigbee is the best river of the system within the Yass-Canberra district, because of the volume ; when inspected at the latter end of January, the flow was not less than 80 cubic feet a second ; the water is rarely discoloured, and then for only very short periods, while the discharge is said to be fairly uniform, and no doubt power could be obtained by the erection of suitable weirs; but a detailed examination and survey of the river would be necessary before an estimate of the amount of power could be made ; in any case, the power station would be, by road, about 50. miles from Yass, or in a direct line, about 40 miles.
Now we come to the source of supply about which so much has been made. Mr. Scrivener says -
The Cotter River is available for any of the eastern sites other than Lake George. This river was inspected two days after a heavy thunderstorm, the water was then dark in colour, due, no doubt, to minute particles of charcoal brought down from the steep hill sides, where there had recently been bush fires; on the following day, the water had almost resumed its normal condition. This river is a narrow mountain stream for many miles, having a width of about 40 feet, the gradient of the bed fairly uniform; it flows through a deep valley practically unoccupied, and, as no ring-barking has been done of any moment along its course, it is therefore unlikely that the water would be at any time discoloured for a longer period than a few days. If a gravitation supply is desired for the eastern sites, taking Canberra as an example, the length of pipe-line would be approximately 30 miles. A survey has been made by the Department of Works, with the object of obtaining a line, from a weir site at a level of 2,267 feet, for an open channel to the junction of the Cotter with the Murrumbidgee River. The length of this line is approximately 18 miles, and it would be probably not less than 12 miles from the terminal point of the channel to the Capital Site.
The measured average flow of the Cotter River from the 6th February to the 16th September, 1908, is stated, by Mr. E. M. de Burgh, to have been 33,000,000 gallons daily, or about 5,280,000 cubic feet, equal to a discharge of 6s. 12 cubic feet per second. The gauge is, however, fixed near the confluence of the Cotter with the Murrumbidgee, and the record is for the wetter months of the year; therefore, to arrive at the actual quantity available, either for a gravitation scheme of water supply or for power, certain deductions must be made.
By constructing a weir at a gravitation level, the area of the watershed is reduced from 170 to no square miles; and if it be assumed that the flow measured during the rainy months is maintained throughout the year, and that the rainfall over the whole watershed is uniform (these are compensating assumptions), then the quantity of water passing the weir site at the 2,267-feet level would be 22,000,000 gallons approximately, or n-i7ths of the recorded flow, and in cu. sees, the quantity would be 40.7 instead of 61.2. Even this discharge is only available under certain conditions, which presuppose the ability to impound all the water that flows down the river.
That is another important factor, because if the stream does not provide facilities for impounding any large quantity of water, then the Capital, if situated in Canberra, would always have to depend upon the actual rainfall at any given time.
This is rarely possible, because a fall occurring when the reservoirs are full, if beyond the amount required for daily use, must be lost.
As a source of water supply, the Cotter River is equal to all demands that may be made upon it, even by a population of 200,000, with aper cafila consumption of not less than 100 gallons per diem ; but as a source of power supply, it is not promising, for the reasons adduced; and further, because while the demand for power would be an increasing quantity, . the supply must diminish in proportion with the increase of population, and the need of providing a greater water supply.
It may prove to be economical to carry out the scheme as an initial work, and look farther afield for power as the supply from the Cotter diminishes.
The Cotter does not afford any facilities for the construction of weirs that will impound very large quantities of water. The valley is narrow, and, consequently, the impounding capacity of any weir will be relatively low per foot of height.
Mr. de Burgh shows that a pumping scheme would be, as far as water supply is concerned, much cheaper than a gravitation, and in that case, only a low weir would be necessary near the mouth of the Cotter. If a large supply of power is required at a moderate cost, it can be obtained from the Snowy River,where there is scarcely any practical limit Co the amount available, with suitable works, and no where else can better weir sites, combined with a rapid fall in relatively short distances, be obtained ; while a uniform flow of not less than 500 cubic feet per second could be maintained.
The Molonglo River is also worthy of careful examination as a source of power. Mr. Gipps
C.E., who spent some time in the locality, states that a reservoir with a capacity of nearly 7,000,000,000 cubic feet can be obtained by the construction of a weir in a gorge, through which the river passes after leaving Molonglo plains. This storage would be at a level of about 2,400 feet, or about 500 feet above the town of Quean- beyan, and if the reservoir were full, a supply of 200 cubic feet per second might be drawn off for a year before the supply was exhausted. As the catchment area is only 170 square miles, this flow would not be maintained, but the river should be surveyed.
The weir, in a direct line, would be g miles from Queanbeyan.
I have read faithfully all that Mr. Scrivener had to say with regard to the water supply of the proposed Capital Siteat that date, and let it go practically without any comment. But there is a comment which I desire to make, and that is that, even that water supply, unsatisfactory as it is according to his report, can only be made available for the proposed site by a most expensive pumping scheme. From the take-off at the proposed wier on the Cotter to the reservoir, the distance is about ten miles, and in that distance there is a rise of 850 feet. Every one who knows anything about engineering in connexion with water supply knows thatthe distance which water has to be pumped is , a very important factor, because the whole force of friction of the water travelling through the pipes in that distance has to be taken into account. The friction of the water is very great, and, in addition to pumping the water 850 feet, which is a very high lift for any class of pump, that friction will have to be overcome. Therefore, this supply, limited and unsatisfactory as it is, can only be obtained by a very expensive pumping scheme. From that point of view, the Committee should hesitate very seriously before they commit the Commonwealth to such an expenditure. We have been told that there are hundreds of cities which suffer under similar disadvantages. That is quite true, but that is simply because they cannot help themselves. Theygrew,and had to find water where they could. But the same conditions do not face us. It would be wise for us to fix our Capital alongside, or as close as possible to, one of the best rivers of the Commonwealth. Those who argue that we should not trouble about this matter because Chicago and other places are suffering from the same disadvantages, are absolutely childish. We should profit by the experience of other cities, otherwise we shall be in the position of those fools who will only learn by their own experience, and sometimes not even then.. From considerations of health and beauty, and from every other stand-point, there is no blessing which a city can have so great as an unlimited and pure supply of water. Why should we deliberately choose a place where that advantage will be for ever denied to us, except at a prohibitive cost? We are told, and it is quite true, that we can bring the water from the Snowy River, a distance of ninety miles. But why should we lay ourselves open to the necessity for doing that when we can, within a large scope of country, choose a site which is alongside that beautiful river? Is it not the most futile argument ever brought forward to say that we need not trouble, because, if the necessity arose, we could bring the water from a distance of ninety miles? Having discussed the disadvantages of the Canberra site, according to the surveyors, I think it will be permissible if I discuss the advantages of some alternative sites. Honorable senators do not seem to be very much disposed to pay too great heed to what any one says. Therefore, I do not propose to ask the Committee to take my word for anything in this connexion, but to direct attention to the report of an independent body. In 1903 a Commission was appointed by the then GovernorGeneral, Lord Tennyson, consisting of Mr. John Kirkpatrick, Mr. J. W. Howitt, F.G.S., Mr. Henry C. Stanley, M. Inst. C.E., and Mr. Graham Stewart, to examine and report upon certain sites at which the Federal Capital might be located. Amongst other sites, they reported on Dalgety. In this document, the Commissioners point out that the Snowy River, which for some miles has a course almost easterly until nearing Dalgety, turns sharply to the south about halfamile above that village. The views from the site to the north-east, east, and southeast were represented as being extensive and picturesque, whilst from the hill on the western boundary the view up the valley of the Snowy with Kosciusko and the other summits of the Australian Alps in the background, is very grand. The Commissioners point out that the fall of the land permits of easy drainage; and whilst they admit that the site is almost destitute of timber, nevertheless local witnesses were unanimous in their belief that all the trees adapted to temperate climates could be grown, particularly if hardy trees like Pinus insignis were used for shelter from the high winds. Regarding the climate, the Commissioners pointed out that the mean annual rainfall at Boloco, a raingauge station, during 1902, was 26.37 inches, whilst records taken at Dalgety itself gave an average of 19.09 inches. The temperature was reported to be genial, and the Commissioners pointed out that the sunny days which often follow frosty nights in winter were warm and pleasant. They observed that fogs were rare and falls of snow slight. It is true that they pointed out that cold winds were experienced, particularly in the spring, and occasionally hot winds in the summer. But that remark is equally true of Melbourne. We have had remarkable changes of temperature in this city within the last few days, whilst in the summer time the “ brickfielders “ are trying even to those who have experience of hot climates. But nevertheless, these windsare not disastrous to Melbourne. The Commissioners pointed out that, according tomedical evidence, the district is a marvellously good one from a health point of view. They published an instructive table as to its productiveness, showing that the average yield of wheat per acre was 12.3 bushels, of barley and oats 18 bushels, and of potatoes 3.1 tons. So that evidently the Dalgety district is not so barren as some people would have us believe. Local evidence, according to the Commissioners, shows that wheat can be grown very well. So also can oats and barley, but maize is not grown, the district being too cold. These are the facts put forward in a plain unvarnished way, and they absolutely refute the idea which some interested persons have endeavoured to foist upon us. The report says -
Vegetables grow well, and fruits of various kinds, particularly apples, pears, cherries, apricots, peaches, and all small fruits, though late frosts sometimes do considerable damage to the fruit crops. Grapes are successfully produced at Cooma.
These are the statements made in the report, notwithstanding which Senator Millen pointed out only a little while ago that dairying could be carried on there during only four months of the year.
– I say so now.
– But the Commissioners put forward their statement as a fact, to which they have subscribed their names. They say -
At Jindabyne, a butter factory has been established, and is said to be very successful, notwithstanding that it is over 40 miles to the nearest railway station, at Cooma. It is not intended to continue operations during the winder, though it is said that this is being done at Adaminaby, where the cows are rugged.
Are not cows rugged in Melbourne, although dairying is very successful here ? With regard to the important factor of building material, they say that There is an abundant supply of limestone and sandstone. They also remark -
There is plenty of basalt and bluestone. The best quarry of the latter is at Hazeldene, about 20 miles from the site, where the stone is a very light blue, more like trachyte, and is harder than the Melbourne bluestone.
This is an eminently satisfactory report. They proceed -
The largest outcrops of limestone are about 6 miles north of Cooma. The stone from this place produces a good lime, which is said to be stronger than at Marulan. Abundance of clay suitable for brickmaking is obtainable in various parts of the district, and excellent hand-made bricks have been produced.
In respect of timber, the report says -
Extensive supplies of messmate, box, and mountain ash are to be obtained at distances from 15 to 30 miles from the site, and some of these timbers, particularly grey and yellow box, are plentiful nearer at hand, in the ranges forming the western watershed of Matong Creek. The 1]or timbers are chiefly cut for fencing purposes, for which the silver gum, which grows in the Dalgety district, is also used.
That is more than can be said for YassCanberra. It is imposible to obtain timber within 50 miles of that site. The reportadds -
There are saw-mills at Jindabyne, about 21 miles distant, and at Nimitybelle, about 30 miles, from either of which hardwood is delivered at Dalgety for 17s. to 18s. per 100 feet.
The report also says that plenty of fuel is obtainable. The Commissioners say that there is one drawback to the site, namely, the cost of establishing railway communication. In this connexion they observe -
In considering the prospective means of communication with Dalgety as the site for the Federal Capital, the first essential is a connexion with the railway system by an extension of the Goulburn-Cooma railway. One of the surveys already made between Cooma and Bombala, by what is known as the western route, passes near Bobundara, within about 10 miles from Dalgety. An officer of the Railway Construction Branch of the Public Works Department (Mr. McDonald Stuart) states that there would be no difficulty in carrying a line from that point to the Dalgety «ite. The same officer, who made an examina-tion of the country with a view to a possible future connexion between the railway systems of New South Wales and Victoria, from Cooma, via Dalgety, to Delegate or Bendock, from which latter place surveys to Bairnsdale have already been made by the Victorian Railway Depart.ment, gave evidence to the effect that the only difficulty to be encountered in constructing a line by this route would be between the crossing of the Snowy River and the Dividing Range, lying to the south of 11. This would involve about 3 miles of costly construction, including a large bridge over the Snowy River, and in all about a mile of tunnelling. Mr. Stuart considers that a ruling grade of r in 50 could be obtained between Cooma and the Victorian border, and that no curve under 12 chains radius would be necessary. No actual survey has, however, been made beyond Bobundara, and, therefore, no reliable estimate of cost is available ; but Mr. Stuart gave the approximate cost of construction between Cooma and Dalgety at ^127,000 (exclusive of provision for a terminal station), and between Dalgety and Bendock at ^’312,000. On the Victorian side, the route between Bendock and Bairnsdale is reported by the Engineer’s Department as less costly to construct than that via” Delegate, but by either route grades and curves would be less favorable than the route from Bombala, via Bondi and Orbost, to Bairnsdale, and the latter is considered to hold out the best prospects of local traffic. The comparative through distances and approximate estimated cost of the alternative lines between Cooma and Bairnsdale are as under : - Cooma to Bairnsdale, vid Bombala and Bondi, 233 miles, estimated cost, ,£1,518,000; Cooma to Bairnsdale, vid Dalgety and Bendock, 198 miles, estimated cost, £1, 466,000.
– Does the honorable senator know that a beginning is now being made in the construction of a railway for a portion of that distance?
– Yes. I say that if the Federal Capital is never built in that territory, a railway through it is well worth an expenditure of £1,500,000. Why everything should be dragged through it to Sydney, when there is a port within 60 or 70 miles, namely, Twofold Bay, I cannot understand. If the Federal Capital were established there, undoubtedly Twofold Bay would become a thriving seaport. We should add practically a new province fo Australia ; we should fill our great empty spaces, and increase the populationcarrying capacity of the country, which, .from the stand-point of defence, would be especially valuable. We require population in the country, and the way to secure it is to open up the fertile areas which are now practically a wilderness, and make them blossom like the rose. Some honorable senators have urged that a Federal Capital site in the New England district would be about the best possible site we could choose, and I am inclined to agree with them.
But I know that there is no chance of such a site finding acceptance with this Parliament. I would remind the supporters of a site in the New England district that the report from which I have been quoting says that the climate of Armidale is similar to that of Dalgety. The Commissioners, in speaking of Dalgety, say -
With regard to climate, in our opinion, it may be ranked as somewhat better than Bombala, but not equal to Armidale.
But it was not Dalgety which this Parliament selected. It was a site in its vicinity, which was not accurately defined. We do not require specially good land for a Capital city, but we do require good land in its vicinity. Such land can be obtained at Dalgety, but cannot be secured at Yass-Canberra. On the subject of the cost of resumption the report states that the city site at Dalgety would be the least costly, and that the catchment area for the primary source of supply at Dalgety would be the least costly, with the exception of that at Tumut. There is one other point I wish to emphasize. This Parliament has decided that it is essential that the Federal Capital should have its own port. Both Yass-Canberra and Dalgety fulfil this requirement, and we are therefore driven to ask which has the better port. It is unquestioned that Twofold Bay would be better suited to our purpose than Jervis Bay. We are told in the reports that Jervis Bay is a large open port, with a coast-line so straight that it affords very little shelter. Twofold Bay provides fairly good shelter, and, according to the reports, might be made an excellent port at a cost which would not be prohibitive. Jervis Bay is only 80 miles from Sydney, and the country behind it is fairly well served by the latter port. That cannot be said of the country behind Twofold Bay, and in the interests of the development of the south-east corner of New South Wales it would be well to make a good port at Twofold Bay. If we vote this £50,000 I am satisfied that it will be a final confirmation of YassCanberra as the site of the Federal Capital. I have done my best to put my view before the Committee. If it finds acceptance I shall be gratified, and if it does not I shall have to be satisfied with having done my duty to the Commonwealth, as I understand it. I am content now to leave the matter in the hands of the Committee, feeling sure that, if all extraneous influences are set aside, and that if honorable senators cease to think what the New South Wales Government want, or what Sydney wants, and confine themselves to the one consideration of what would best suit the Commonwealth, and would be best for this young nation, Yass-Canberra will not be finally selected as the Seat of the Federal Capital.
– Although this question has been very fully threshed out, there are some details which it may still be profitable to discuss. Those who are opposed to the establishment of the Federal Capital in the desert district of Yass-Canberra feel that they are justified in doing all that is possible to prevent the passage of the proposed vote of £50,000, and the irrevocable determination of the site at Canberra. I am satisfied that the people generally feel more keenly on this matter’ than some honorable senators imagine, and that, if the question were remitted to a referendum, we should get a conclusive answer from .the people that would suprise the supporters of YassCanberra. It is better that the people should be asked to decide this matter than that it should be decided here by a majority of one.
– The honorable senator said he did not want the question settled at all.
– I object to being misrepresented. I did not say anything of the kind. I said that I preferred that the matter should be deferred for some time, because I thought it possible that a more satisfactory site would be offered to the Commonwealth. If a suitable area possessing rich soil and natural opportunities could be found I should vote for it to-morrow, because any sensible man must recognise that it would be self-supporting.
– Rich soil is not wanted for a capital.
– It is not wanted for building purposes, but it is required in order to settle a population round the city. When a site can be chosen which will not involve the Commonwealth in the expenditure of millions I shall vote for it. I am basing my opposition to this item on the result of a visit I made to the Canberra district. I heard an honorable senator say that in his judgment it contained splendid agricultural land. I not only went to the site but obtained the opinion of men who are well qualified to judge. I think that anr one who states that it is good agricultural land is very wide of the mark, and in support of that statement I refer honorable senators to Mr. Scrivener’s report. If I remember aright he estimates the cost of resuming the privately-owned lands in this grazing area of Yass-Canberra at about £1,000,000. Let us consider the total cost of establishing the Federal Capital. First, the resumption of land is estimated to cost ,£1,000,000. Secondly, an adequate water scheme might, according to several reports, cost from £.500,000 to ;£i, 000,000. As regards the proposed railway to the sea, we are told by Sir Joseph Carruthers that a railway from Canberra to Jervis Bay would have to be taken over 125 miles of bad country from an engineering point of view, and therefore a railway would be very expensive. Its cost has been estimated by those who seem to have had a little experience at something approaching £1,000,000. Then it is estimated that the cost of erecting a suitable Parliament House and municipal offices and laying out and building the Capital would run into £2,000,000, perhaps £3,000,000. On this low basis the total cost would be from £5,000,000 to £6,000,000. We have been told that the ground rents derived from the land in the Capital Site would defray the cost of the buildings. We have also been led to believe that that would pay for the upkeep of the Capital, and some honorable senators have implied that there would be a little money to spare. The interest on £6,000,000 at 4 per cent, would amount to ,£240,000 a year. That would be a rather large amount to obtain in rentals.
– The honorable senator has not included sanitation.
– Allowing ,£1,000,000 for that, the total is brought up to £7,000,000.
– Then it would cost another £1,000,000- for water reticulation.
– According to that calculation the total expenditure would amount to £8,000,000.
– Has the honorable member put anything down for a lunatic asylum?
– Inasmuch as my honorable friend is living in Melbourne, I did not think it necessary to do so. The total interest charge on a capital expenditure of £8,000,000, at 3 per cent., would be ,£240,000 per annum. How is so large a sum to be derived from the ground rents at Yass-Canberra? Furthermore, is the money to be borrowed for these services, or is the ,£8,000,000 to be paid out of revenue? I, as a young member of Parliament, who has much to learn with regard to finance, should be glad if some other honorable senator would elucidate this aspect of the subject. Another consideration is that there does not seem to be any probability of industries being established in such an area as Yass-Canberra. There is no locally-grown timber for building purposes, and I am told that the stone to be found there is not adaptable. I have in my possession a photograph, giving the view from a hill near to where the city site would be. One can hardly see 200 trees in the area, within range of the camera. Surely we want the city in a place that is capable of growing at least a few gum trees.
Sitting suspended from 8.30 to 0.30 a.m. (Friday).
– When the sitting was suspended, some question had been raised in regard to the fertility of the soil in the neighbourhood of YassCanberra. I do not pose as an authority upon this phase of the matter, and therefore I propose to quote an extract from the report of Sir John Forrest, who is a recognised authority upon thf land question.
– He is a recognised explorer, but I do not know that he is a recognised authority upon ‘land.
– I believe that he has a very intimate knowledge of questions affecting land. The honorable gentleman writes -
In accordance with a promise I made to the Premier of New South Wales to inspect Canberra, and express an opinion upon it as to its suitability as a site for the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth, I visited this locality on Tuesday, 4th June. The weather was fine and bracing, and I had a good opportunity for inspection. I have already inspected and reported on the following sites, namely, Delegate, Bombala, Dalgety, Coolringdon, Lyndhurst, Tumut, and the suggested sites in its neighbourhood, namely, Wyangle, Toomorroma, Gadara, and Batlow, and have reported that, ir» my opinion, Dalgety, on the Snowy River, is the most suitable site of those I have examined: for the Federal Capital City. In reporting uponthe present site, it therefore only becomes necessary to compare it with Dalgety in order toascertain whether Canberra has any advantageswhich would justify me in preferring it to the Dalgety site. In my former reports, I have- based my conclusions upon nine factors, namely - (a) distance from Sydney to be not less than a hundred miles, and height above sea-level not less than 1,500 feet; (b) abundant water supply from a perennial source; (c) good climate, summer and winter;(d) accessibility by railway from Sydney and Melbourne; (e) great water power for electric light and power and other applications of electricity; (/) water frontage for recreation, sport, and beauty, good approach and commanding view;(g) commanding sites for public buildings, and suitable ground for laying out, constructing, and draining a Capital City; (h) fertile territory and other natural resources surrounding and adjacent to Capital site ; (i) surrounding and adjacent scenery with great natural features and within convenient distance. I propose to deal with Canberra on the same basis and in the same manner ; as, by the application Of these factors to both Dalgety and Canberra, a just estimate of their comparative merits may be arrived at.
Under the heading of “ Water frontage for recreation, sport, and beauty ; good approach, and commanding view,” Sir John Forrest writes -
Canberra is distinctly inferior to Dalgety. It has no water frontage, except the Molonglo River, which is almost dry in summer. It might be possible to conserve water in the Molonglo by artificial means, though even then the inflow would cease in the summer. There could not be any large expanse of water for boating, &c, without immense expenditure.
There are no rising knolls suitable for public edifices, and the rising ground is only found on the spurs of the Mount Ainslie range, which separates the two plains. Public buildings would have to be built on the plains or on the spurs of the range. Even the pretty church with spire and the parsonage are built on the level grassy plain.
– This new expert who as quoted by Senator Ready makes no mention of the Cotter River.
– I am not dealing with the question of the water supply at Yass-Canberra.
– The honorable senator is filling up time very well.
– I am evidently a very poor imitator of Senator St. Ledger. Coming to the heading, “ Fertile territory and other natural resources surrounding and adjacent to Capital sites,” Sir John Forrest writes -
Canberra is, i think, very similar to Dalgety. The land is fertile, consisting of wellgrassed, open, plain country, apparently well suited for agricultural and pastoral settlement, and on which timber grows well
From the foregoing it will be seen that, in my judgment, Canberra does not favorably compare with Dalgety in the factors of abundant water supply ; in water power for generating electricity for light, for railways and tram”ways, and for all mechanical appliances; in water frontage to a perennial river capable of being made into a deep lake 10 miles long of ever- running water; in commanding approach and sites for public buildings; and in being within 40 miles of the highest range on the Australian continent, which culminates in Mount Kosciusko, 7,238 feet above the level of the sea. The only objection to Dalgety that I have heard is that it is too cold in winter, and a comparison of its temperature and rainfall with some of the great capital cities of the world may, therefore, be worth recording. I may point out that it is not so cold as London, Paris, Washington, Ottawa, Vienna, Berlin, Madrid, and St. Petersburg, as an inspection of the table hereunder will show. It should also be borne in mind that, with the exception of Hobart, all the capital cities of Australia are too hot in summer, and those who can afford it go away for a time to a colder climate. If the Federal city were situated at Dalgety, and Parliament were to meet from November to March, all those requiring a cooler climate would visit the Federal city with their families, either as members of Parliament or as tourists, with the result that it would become a fashionable tourist resort.
– The author of that report absolutely contradicts the honorable senator’s statement, because, in summing up, he does not condemn the agricultural quality of the land.
– I also propose to read a statement which was published in the press at the time this question was under consideration in another place. Mr. Dugald Thomson, whilst occupying the position of Minister of Home Affairs, in the course of an official communication to the Premier of New South Wales upon the subject, wrote -
After some years of inspecting, reporting, and discussion, both Houses have, with much difficulty, reached a common decision.
Were the Parliament of the Commonwealth willing to reverse that decision, there would probably be still greater difficulty in obtaining unanimity as to another site.
The reasons given by you for excluding Dalgety seem to need some remark and correction, 1. “When first submitted to the Federal Parliament, it failed to command a single vote.”
It must be remembered that the Monaro sites - among them Dalgety - were all included with Bombala. Those of Gadara and Batlow were included with Tumut. The title meant the district, not the town, and the first choice of the district did not preclude any part of it being taken for the site.
” The Federal Parliament had not sufficient evidence before it to make a selection based on all the material facts.”
The Parliament went to much trouble and expense in expert Commissions and visits to the sites in search of information. In the information now given by you, I see nothing that is not in one of the Commission’s reports, or the Commonwealth Parliamentary debates - except that the returns of crops in the districts are taken up to a later date than the publication of the reports. In fact, the descriptions seem copies of one or other reports.
This shows that the Commonwealth has not by its choice proposed to take some of the most productive land of the State. It may also be pointed out that the large area asked for, in excess of 100 square miles, embraces mostly poor, rough, mountainous land, useful mainly to secure water supply.
From the point of view of the quality of the country adjacent to Yass-Canberra, I hold that that site is not one which we can reasonably accept. It cannot be shown that it is capable of supporting a large population. No manufactories can be established there, because there is neither coal, wood, nor water available for motive purposes. The natural inducements of a suitable site are lacking, and for that reason, if for no other the Commonwealth Parliament ought to reject it.
– I have listened to the eloquence of honorable senators all night, and I should now like to make a few observations. I do hope that those who belong to the party with which I was once proud to be associated will not take my remarks in an unkindly spirit. No Labour candidate could pass through the recent election campaign without feeling that he was seeking to enter into combination with, a party which possesses very high ideals. To me the discussion of this question has been a most painful one. I can understand a party which has no fixed purpose keeping a discussion going until some of its members arrive to take part in a critical division. But when the members of any party in a stupid, vicious, vindictive manner, lose all sense of what is decent in the public life of this country, when men who were sent here on the high wave of enthusiasm which was experienced at the recent elections, because the Labour party claimed that it was not only as good, but better than any other political party, so far forget themselves as to so unnecessarily harass the Government, whose supporters they profess to be, we have to look beneath the surface to discover their motives. We have, I repeat, to search for the motives which have prompted Senator Ready to pursue the tactics that he has pursued. Conduct of the character of which he has been guilty will demand an explanation, if not here, at some place where it must be given.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.I would remind the honorable senator that we are now dealing with sub-division 3 of these Estimates.
– I feel so strongly upon this matter that I cannot deal with it as I should like to. The language which I should like to employ might be well understood in the shearing shed, but it would not be admissible here. We have already spent four days in discussing one item of this Bill. I suppose that each honorable senator has a right to occupy an equal amount of time upon every other item in the measure. There is, for example, a proposal to expend £5,000 towards the construction of the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway. I have listened all night to a reiteration of the same arguments on this question, and, so far as I can see, with no end in view. It is most disappointing to me to find that members of the Labour party can suddenly be converted into a vicious Opposition to the Government they were sent here to support.
– Not on this question.
– The honorable senator knows that we have a free hand on every question outside the Labour platform.
– My contention is that honorable senators have converted their liberty in this matter into license. Constitutional Government must be impossible, if the members of the Government are not supported by a party having absolute confidence in them.
– I again remind the honorable senator that he is not dealing with the question before the Committee.
– The time has gone by to compare Yass-Canberra and Dalgety, and, in my opinion, the time has arrived when it should be recognised that the loyal supporters of the Government are entitled to some consideration.
– Loyal supporters?
– I have never, at any time, had any use for traitors. Everything that could be said to the discredit of Yass-Canberra has been said, and not a great deal has been said in favour of other sites. If it were now a question of spending this money on Dalgety, or some other site, instead of on Yass-Canberra, I might be found voting with honorable senators who are opposed to Yass-Canberra; but we are asked now to vote a sum of money, which the Government have placed on the Estimates, and which the members of this party are pledged to see carried through.
– Nothing of the kind.
– I have no time for party men who do not feel that they are called upon to carry out the pledges given by the Government. Many of us have believed that the Labour party is not only as good as, but better than other parties, but the men who have sent Labour members to this Parliament must have that belief rudely shocked, when they find members of the party conducting a”stone- wall” which would be discreditable even if carried out by opponents, but which, when carried out against the Government they pretend to support, is more than discreditable.
– I rise to a point of order. Is the honorable senator in order in accusing honorable senators, who are opposing the Government on this question, of pretending to be supporters of the Government generally?
– The honorable senator is taking up the position of refusing to allow the Committee to go to a vote. We do not want the honorable senator’s vote, but we do desire that the question should be allowed to go to a vote.
– The honorable senator wants a lot.
– I am willing to withdraw what I said as applied to Senator Stewart, because I have to admit that since I have been a member of the Senate the honorable senator has never pretended, for a moment, to be a supporter of the Labour Government.
– I am a supporter of the Labour platform.
– I remind Senator Gardiner that we are not now discussing the conduct of any member of the Committee, but an item in the schedule to the Appropriation (Works and Buildings) Bill.
– I was led to make the remark I did because Senator Stewart seemed to think that I classed him amongst the pretended supporters of the Government. I have no desire to do anything of the kind. I think we are justified in asking honorable senators, who have prolonged the debate on this proposal, for an explanation of their conduct. An explanation of it will be required elsewhere, and I now make against them the charge of treachery to the Government.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Will the honorable senator confine himself to the question before the Committee?
– If we are to spend four days in discussing a vote of ^50,000, how far shall we have gone in three years in establishing the Federal Capital? That is a question for serious consideration. This is the second speech I have made on the question, and I should not again have broken silence, but that I feel that if the discussion is to be unduly prolonged, it should not continue to be a one-sided discussion. It is time that honorable senators, holdings views other than those which have been expressed all night, should give a lead to the people outside. I protest against a course of conduct which has the effect of preventing the machinery of government being applied to the consideration of questions calculated to improve the condition of the working class. The good faith of this Parliament is involved in this matter. It is pledged to give effect to the promise made by the people ten years ago. I admit that in some parts of Victoria the opinion is held that the establishment of the Federal Capital at Yass-Canberra ought to be opposed. I give honorable senators credit for having done their utmost to carry out the pledges they gave to their constituents outside the platform and appeal to them not to protract the debate to such a length that, not only will persons outside question their motives, but even some members of the Senate will be at a loss to understand their conduct. I do not include Senator Ready in that category, because he has not the excuse of a Victorian senator, who may have pledged himself to his constituents to fight the proposal to place the Federal Capital at Yass-Canberra. I suppose that he came here quite unpledged on this question.
– I was absolutely pledged.
– I do not think that a member of the Labour party should whittle away in this way his loyalty to the party which he was sent here to support. Surely it is reasonable for honorable senators who have vigorously expressed their honest convictions to now allow these Estimates to pass. 1 enter an emphatic protest against the undue prolongation of this discussion, and particularly the manner in which it has been done. The generous conduct of the Opposition should be a lesson to the followers of the Government. I have been surprised beyond measure at the difference in the treatment which they have received from their acknowledged opponents and that which has been extended to them by their pretended friends. The Government might have naturally expected that the Opposition, who might be supposed to be desirous of humiliating them, would at least remain out of the chamber; but their attitude throughout this long debate has been, to me, a very agreeable surprise. Labour senators should seriously consider how they intend to vote on this item. Sixteen hours ago I not only felt that the opponents of the item were justified in stating the grounds of their opposition, but I applauded them for giving expression to their opinions. I regret exceedingly that certain honorable senators are still persisting in a course which can only tend to humiliate the Government and the Labour party from one end of the Commonwealth to the other.
– It was very amusing to me to listen to the speech of Senator Gardiner. He reminded me very forcibly of that incident which we read about in Scripture where a publican and a Pharisee met at the temple and where the Pharisee poured out his soul in thanks to God that he was not as other men, nor even as the poor publican. This morning we find a descendant of the Pharisee on the other side of the chamber. He thanks God that he is not as other men, that he is not a traitor to the Labour party, and not a vicious opponent of the Government as certain other men are. He exhausted his copious vocabulary in denouncing men who are pledged to carry out, the same platform as he is. In the comprehensiveness of his ignorance he has assumed that nobody who opposes the Canberra site will support the Government in carrying out the policy of the Labour party.
– Is this in order, sir?
– I ask the honorable senator - and honorable senators generally - to pay attention to the fact that we are considering sub-division 3 of the schedule to the Bill.
– You allowed Senator Gardiner to digress for halfanhour.
– So long as I am here honorable senators will have to obey the request of the Chairman.
– Why did you not stop Senator Gardiner?
– He did.
– He allowed the honorable senator to proceed for halfanhour, and honorable senators on the other side never said a word.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Will the honorable senator continue the debate on the item before the Committee?
– Apparently not much latitude is to be allowed to any one who speaks in opposition to the proposal. I certainly thought that I was privileged to say a little, not very much, in reply to the insinuations and innuendoes hurled by Senator Gardiner at the opponents of the item. It was one of the most disgraceful exhibitions which I have ever listened to here. The question has been debated for nearly twenty-four hours, and not a single opponent of the item has said a single word about its supporters. It was left for Senator Gardiner to drag this question down to the gutter of politics. That is all I have to say about him in the meantime.
– The honorable senator has abused the Government from the beginning to the end.
– No. Did I say a single word about a member of the Government? I quoted from Hansard of two years ago the Ministers’ speeches, and contrasted them with their conduct to-day. Was there anything wrong in that?
– The honorable senator only said that we were immoral.
– It is politically immoral for any public man to vote against his convictions.
– The honorable senator has been picking holes in everybody’s words but his own.
– I am not quite such an acrobat as is the honorable senator, anyhow. He is one of the most accomplished political acrobats that I have ever come across.
– Listen to the
– The honorable senator is quite prepared to accommodate himself to any environment. Unfortunately for myself, I am not built that way. I have principles, and like to adhere to them. Senator Gardiner has stated that this proposal did not deserve the elevation which it had received from its opponents. Surely those who believe that in fixing the Capital at Yass-Canberra an injury would be done to the Commonwealth have the right to express their opinions without being traduced, maligned, and misrepresented, and called traitors to boot, by men like Senator Gardiner. It is extremely unpleasant to me to have to listen to stuff of that kind. We are prolonging the debate because, in our opinion, YassCanberra is one of the worst possible sites which could be chosen. We should be traitors to the Commonwealth if we did not reiterate our views. I believe that if the real opinion of every honorable senator on this question could be recorded, there would be a large majority ‘ against the selection of Yass-Canberra. When we know that a cumber of honorable senators intend to vote against their previously-expressed convictions for reasons which I need not attempt to describe, we are not only justified in prolonging our opposition to the item, but our duty to the country imposes an obligation upon us to do so.
– The honorable senator is reflecting on the dignity of Parliament.
– The honorable senator need not worry about his dignity. There is not such a thing in his armoury. He could not find dignity if he searched heaven and earth, and the waters under the earth for it. It is not there for him. I do not mind so much about the honorable senator’s dignity. Consistency is a much more valuable and more creditable quality than dignity. There is one particular reason why I oppose the YassCanberra site. I think that, within the next 100 years, Australia will have a very large population - probably one of between 25,000,000 and 50,000,000. As the country grows, so will the Capital City grow ; and its population will probably approximate to something between 500,000 and 1. 000. 000. Can any honorable senator conscientiously say that the Yass-Canberra site is capable of supporting a large population? Further, I would ask honorable senators to remember that we do not want a city merely. We want a settled population in the Federal area. That is the reason why we are not content with a mere city site like Washington. We have insisted upon getting a comparatively large Federal area, comprising nearly 1,000 square miles, so that we may be able to lead Australia in a number of directions which we believe are essential to the welfare of the people. But this site of YassCanberra will never have a large population. The district has been settled for nearly 100 years, and the population iri one portion of the site, in the county of Cowley j is at the rate of one person to every fourteen square miles. I wish honorable senators would allow that fact to sink into their minds. Does Senator Gardiner think that a portion of New South Wales which, after having been settled for over 100 years, contains only one person to fourteen square miles, is a proper site for the Federal Capital ? In the most thickly populated portion of the area the population is only four to the square mile. What kind of country can that be, which, with the splendid rainfall and all the advantages which honorable senators opposite have been talking about, is only settled to the extent of four persons to 640 acres, in the most densely populated portion? In another portion the population is only two to the square mile. So that I am satisfied to advance the proposition that, if, after having been settled for nearly a century, this district is only capable of carrying such a scanty population, there is very little chance of its carrying such a population as every one of us expects will be some day resident within the Federal area. There is no room for ordinary expansion at this site. How can we engage in experiments in agriculture when we have no agricultural land, or merely a comparatively small area which is suitable for agriculture? I take it that ope of the duties that the Commonwealth Government will take upon itself in the near future will be to send emissaries^ to every corner of the earth, trying to find out the best means of cultivating the soil, to discover the latest improvements in agriculture, to ascertain the best methods followed in various countries. We should endeavour to adapt those methods to Australian conditions. The Commonwealth Government may be anxious to do these things j but not having territory of its own where it will be possible to carry on experiments in such directions, the efforts of the Government must of necessity be largely futile. Before we come to a division, I should like honorable senators like Senator Millen, who takes a very great interest in the development of * our primary industries, to tell us what hope they have of any . improvements of this nature within the Federal territory. There is no scope for any kind of experiment in agriculture: The soil is not there. The climate is not there. If we want to irrigate, we shall have neither water nor suitable land. We shall have no opportunity whatever for experiments of that description. But- those experiments must be carried on by the Commonwealth Government if Australia is to advance, as each one of us hopes she may do. All these things are to be sacrificed to what? We need not try to deceive ourselves, or to deceive the public. Sydney is the power behind all this agitation. It is the Sydney influence which dominates the whole situation. Yass-Canberra is the site which is most acceptable to Sydney. The Sydney newspapers, the Sydney Chamber of Commerce, the Sydney men of light and influence, have issued their ukase, and honorable senators who are supporting this site have, at their command, jettisoned every ideal that the people of Australia, as represented in their Parliaments, ever had. All this has been done at the call of Sydney, and honorable senators opposite, who are the mere playthings of this great power, have the audacity to come here and assail honest men, who are trying to discharge their duties.
– Order. The honorable senator must not apply such a term to other honorable senators.
– Surely I am entitled to say that we are honest?
– The honorable senator must not repeat the statement that other honorable senators are playthings of a power outside Parliament.
– Well, one honorable senator opposite called me a traitor, and a number of other nice names.
– I did not hear any honorable senator say that.
– Nevertheless, it was. said, and an honorable senator was permitted to say it. The remark has gone into Hansard.
– The reference was not specifically to the honorable senator.
– It referred to every one, of course, who is opposing Yass Canberra.
– No honorable senator referred to Senator Stewart as a traitor in my hearing.
– But it was done.
– If attention had been called to the remark I should have asked for its withdrawal immediately.
– The remark having gone into Hansard, it will be circulated throughout Australia. I wish to say that in this matter I am honest.
– Usually the man who says he is honest is not to be trusted.
– I judge people by their actions, and not by their words. I say, again, that, in taking up this attitude, our friends opposite are throwing overboard every ideal the Labour party ever had in connexion with the Federal Capital. What Socialistic factories can be established there?
– Any number.
– There is no water power.
– They can be worked by windmills.
– Yes. I suppose there is plenty of wind at Yass-Canberra.
– They will want the honorable senator there.
– The honorable senator himself is not to be neglected in respect of wind, either. Unfortunately there is not much substance in what he says. Honorable senators opposite at the call of Sydney are jettisoning all tha ideals of the Labour party with respect to the Federal Capital.
– The honorable senator’s remarks are even beyond the bounds of verbosity.
– Wei 1 I stick to my colours anyhow. I am not blown about by every wind, as some honorable senators are. 1 am not one thing to-day and something else to-morrow. My opinion is that people who can so conveniently accommodate themselves to one set of circumstances will be just “as ready to accommodate themselves to some other set.
– The conditions are different.
– I wish the honorable senator would not interject, because he is one of the greatest sinners in this particular that I know of.
– The honorable senator, sets me an awfully bad example.
– I said last night that I was going to vote for the amendment of Senator Givens. I am going to vote for that amendment to-day. I do not change my opinions in the course of twelve hours as some honorable senators do.
– Does the honorable senator never change his opinions?
– Well, I have changed some opinions.
– Then why blame others ?
– I am troubling about the reason why some honorable senators change their opinions. It is not the mere fact of the change that bothers me. I should not mind that, if they could give any intelligent reason for the change.
– Possibly the honorable senator had something to do with the change.
– The honorable senator must be much weaker in mind than I took him to be, if anything I could either say or do would influence him. 1. can assure him that nothing that he could say or do would influence me if I had laid down for myself any particular line of conduct. I do not wish to labour this question any further. I am going to do my best for the Commonwealth - not for Sydney. I place the welfare of the people of Australia before either the Government or the people of Sydney. Consequently I shall vote for the amendment.
– Up to the present I have said nothing on this question. Probably 1 should have spoken last night, but, being rather unwell, I refrained from doing so. I now wish to explain the vote that I am about to give. When I first came into this Parliament I had a slight inclination in favour of Dalgety as the site for the Federal Capital. When I heard the arguments which were advanced by honorable senators who now occupy positions in the Government, the view which I held was considerably strengthened. I well remember the Vice-President of the Executive Council dilating upon the manifest advantages possessed by Dalgety as a site for the Federal Capital. I also recollect the Minister of Defence assuring us that, except at tremendous expense, it was not possible to obtain a suitable foundation for public buildings at Yass-Canberra. At the last elections, too, Senator Findley pledged himself to the selection of Dalgety as opposed to YassCanberra.
– Who told the honorable senator that ?
– The press told me.
– Prior to 13th April last. I naturally thought that the supporters of Dalgety would continue their advocacy of that site in the interests of Australia. Whilst I desire to be loyal to the Government, I recognise that my first duty is to be loyal’ to my constituents and to Australia. The Ministry have changed their mind upon this matter since the last general election.
-The Government are taking up exactly the same position now that they took up in 1908.
– They are not. Senator Gould has told us that a Federal port, is the absolute complement of a Federal Capital. He further stated that he had used his best influence with the New South Wales Government to induce it to grant the Commonwealth a port. I also believe it is essential that there should be a port connected with the Federal Capital. I know that Senator Millen is of opinion that an inland Capital would be more suitable. But I do not share that opinion. It is absolutely necessary that there should be shipping accommodation at the Federal port. We are about to launch upon a big naval scheme, and it is necessary, therefore, that we should be able to repair, dock, and refit the vessels of our naval unit. The result will be that every port in Australia will desire to have a dockyard.
– A very good thing, too, for the unemployed.
– Are we to consider only the interests of the unemployed in this matter? We ‘all know what happened in the case of the Merrie England only a short time ago. When that vessel required to be overhauled, she had to be taken to Brisbane for the purpose. Then there was the case of the Commonwealth trawler Endeavour. That vessel was built in Sydney, but had to be sent to Brisbane to be overhauled. When we get our fleet unit, we shall probably ha%’e still more Inter-State jealousy than exists now. The only way in which that jealousy can be effectually banished is by the Commonwealth establishing dockyards of its own for the repair of its own ships. Honorable senators are agreed that the proposed Military College ought to be established at the Seat of Government. Why, then, should not our naval works be established there? Only the other day 1 noticed in the newspapers the statement that the Government had despatched General Hoad to report upon Albury as a possible site for the establishment of the Military College. Having determined that a Federal port is necessary, I would ask, “ Will Jervis Bay provide us with such a port ? “ We have been assured from the Ministerial benches that the Commonwealth has power to” take any area that it may please from the States for Commonwealth purposes. But, if it acquires land under the Property for Public Purposes Acquisition Act, it will only be able to exercise a proprietary control over it. When this matter was previously before the Senate, I made quotations from the Admiralty Sailing Directions in respect of Jervis Bay and Twofold Bay.
– Those reports were made in 1864.
– The representatives of New South Wales will agree with me that there has been no expenditure of public money upon these southern ports.
– We have had “no reports upon them since 1864.
– -Wellbach’s Nautical Almanac - and there is no book upon which the shipmasters along our coast place more reliance - in speaking of Jervis Bay, says -
The worst weather experienced on the coast of this Colony is from seaward, and with a S., S.E., or E. gale a heavy mountainous sea sets into Jervis Bay ; and as it would scarcely be prudent for a large ship to anchor in Montague Bay closer in than 7 fathoms, with Dart Point and the east tangent of Bowen Island touching, she would, with a heavy southerly sea rolling in, be exposed to nearly its full effect rolling round the bluff north of Dart Point into the anchorage, only slightly broken by its contact with intervening points ; and though perhaps safe with good ground tackle, the position would be very uncomfortable.
The volume which I hold in my hand I ‘ obtained to-day from the navigator of one of the largest steamers trading along our coast. I have to return it to him to-night, before he puts to sea, because he requires to work upon it.
– The honorable senator quoted the same book nine months ago.
– I did not. In any case, there is no later publication of the kind in use on the Australian coast to-day.
– Is it not a fact that the ships of the Australian Squadron go to Jervis Bay for gun practice, because of the depth of water?
– I admit the depth of the water in Jervis Bay, but there are rocks at the entrance over which there are only three fathoms of water, and it requires skill to get the ships of the Squadron into the bay. Once they are in in fine weather, and they can always arrange their gun practice for fine weather, there is, of course, plenty of accommodation for them. We have no report giving an estimate of what it would cost to make necessary improvements in the harbor of Jervis Bay, but in a report upon Twofold Bay we have an estimate of £400,000 as the amount which would be required to erect breakwaters and wharfs, and make that port as safe a harbor as any in Australia. It is admitted that the water power available at Yass-Canberra cannot be compared with that available at any site in Southern Monaro. I have here a report from the Electrical Engineer of the New South Wales Railway Department, who was instructed by the State Commissioner to report on the matter of watergenerated electricity for the utilities of the Federal Capital. In connexion with the matter, he visited Europe and other countries. He reports that he found in Canada and the United States various chemical factories in which the electrical power used was generated by water power. He mentions that a member of one of the chemical manufacturing companies in America who had some knowledge of Australian products asked him to ascertain for the company whether any permanent water power was available on the continent of Australia. He winds up his report by saying that in addition tq the ordinary consumption, water power could be provided for electrical tramways which would give a much better return than railways, and in that way we might utilize what is undeniably a valuable asset.
– How far could the electrical current be carried from the Snowy River?
– The distance estimated in this report is 150 miles. That would reach the port, and that is all that would be necessary for Commonwealth purposes. I pledged myself to support Dalgety, believing it to be the best site that can be selected, and I shall require to hear very much stronger arguments than I have yet heard against the selection of that site to induce me to vote for any other.
– The discussion of the last three or four days gives force to the contention that this question should not be rushed through at the present time. Some effort ought to be made to reconcile the conflicting statements we have heard, in order that the public may be informed as to the nature of the site that is to be selected for the Federal Capital. It is humiliating that a great question like this should be dragged through Parliament in this fashion, and should be decided, perhaps, by one vote. I say that before the question is finally settled there should be something like practical unanimity as to the superior advantages of the site chosen, and it should be the choice of a substantial majority” in this Parliament. The way in which the question is being dealt with is not creditable to this Parliament. I have seen no reason why I should not still prefer Yass-Canberra to Dalgety, but there may be much better sites than either in the Southern Monaro district which I did not see. Twenty-five per cent, of the members of this Parliament are new members, and they should be given a voice in the selection of the site. It is most important that a suitable port should be attached, to the Federal Capital., and we ought to know what land will be given to the Commonwealth at the port and what our position will be in providing shipping accommodation. I object to a settlement of the question now, because in view of the expenditure referred to in the Budget and to which it is proposed to commit this Parliament, it is not wise that we should now rush into’ expenditure upon a Capital. For the reasons I have given I intend to vote for the amendment.
Question- That the item “ Federal Capital at Canberra - towards cost of establishment. , £50,000 “ - be reduced by f.1 (Senator Givens’ amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Aves … … … 15
Noes … … …15
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I commenced by putting the schedule in divisions, and then, at the request of an honorable senator, it was put in sub-divisions. We have reached the second item in subdivision 3, and if any honorable senator desires that the remaining items should be put separately, I shall so put them.
– I make that request, sir.
– What item is now before the Chair, sir?
– The second item, which relates to the Capital site.
– I submit, sir, the question before the Committee now is that the next item in this subdivision be agreed to.
– I submit, sir, that when the Committee has refused to entertain an amendment to reduce an item by a certain sum, it is not competent for an honorable senator to move for the elimination of the item. The Committee has affirmed that the item for the Federal Capital site shall not be reduced by£1. It is open to an honorable senator, if he sees fit, and you, sir, do not consider that it is obstructive, to propose that the item be reduced by a smaller amount, say 10s., but it is not within the power of the Committee to reduce the item by. say, . £5. I understand, however, that Senator Needham desires to withdraw his request. If that is withdrawn we can proceed to the next item.
– I desire, sir, to withdraw the request I made, that the items in this subdivision should be put separately. I recognise that if this item is carried as the result of an equality of vores, the victory will not be worth much. 1 do not desire’ to put the Committee or the Government to any trouble. I am quite content to withdraw my request, and, if the result of the division is to be the verdict, to abide by it.
– I understood, sir, that subdivision 3 was submitted to the Committee, and that the discussion was centred upon an amendment to reduce a certain item by £1. I submit that, as the amendment has been negatived, it remains for you to put the question that the subdivision stand as printed. It is still undisposed of.
– I find that the practice of the Senate has been, and standing order 141 has some bearing on the question, that, when an amendment to reduce an item by a certain sum has been lost, it is not competent for an honorable senator to propose that the item be reduced by a larger sum. Obviously, if I went back, and put the question that the item of £50,000, for the Capital site, stand as printed, it would put the Committee in an awkward position. I intend to consider item No. 2 as passed, and to put item No. 3 separately, as requested by, I think, more than one honorable senator. I understood that Senator Rae wanted that item put separately. When the items have been disposed of the subdivision will be put.
– In accordance with the intimation which I made in my second-reading speech, I move -
That the item “ Transcontinental railway from Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, to Port Augusta, South Australia - towards construction of, £5,000” be amended by leaving out the word “ construction,” with a view to insert, in lieu thereof, the words “ further inquiry.”
I hold that, in the absence of an Act authorizing the construction of a railway in the Commonwealth, it is not correct or proper that the Government should ask the Parliament to vote a sum for the construction of any railway. We can vote a sum for making further inquiry regarding any railways which the Government might contemplate building, but we cannot vote a sum for the construction of a line, which has never been approved by Parliament by Bill. One of the strongest Governments which ever existed in Australia was defeated on an item of £1,000,000 for constructing unspecified railways. I shall not find fault with the Government if they ask for a vote to enable them to make further inquiry regarding the proposed transcontinental railway from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta. I do not desire to discuss the matter. I shall be quite satisfied to take a vote after the Government have stated their intention.
– The Government cannot accept the amendment. Honorable senators are aware that we have declared our policy in regard to this transcontinental railway. Whilst it is perfectly true that this item of £5,000 is required solely for the purpose of preparing estimates and plans, with a view to’ introducing a measure sanctioning the construction of the railway, in the event of that measure being passed necessarily this sum on the Estimates will go towards the construction of the line. There may be some honorable senators who feel that if they vote for the item they will be committed to the Bill when it is introduced later. But they will have the same opportunity to vote in regard to that Bill as they have in regard to any other Bill. I know that certain views were expressed when a Bill was introduced some time ago to appropriate £20,000 for the survey of a route. Certain honorable senators, who strongly opposed the Bill, said that those who intended to vote for it would be voting for the construction of the line. Those statements are not borne, out. This amount is for the purpose of obtaining all possible information that will be useful to honorable senators when a Bill is introduced later on.
– I am sure that the Committee listened with a great deal of interest to the statement of the Honorary Minister regarding the item of £5,000 in connexion with the transcontinental railway. The view has been expressed, and it is shared by me, that before Parliament is asked to commit itself definitely to the construction of a railway, it ought to be presented for our consideration in the form of a Bill, together with documents containing information which at present we lack. But, if I understand the Minister’s statement aright, it means that, while this amount of £5,000 is necessary for preliminary work, the Government intend at a later stage to introduce a Bill submitting a definite proposal with regard to the railway. If that be so, I suggest to Senator Sayers that he might withdraw his amendment.
– I should like to emphasize what has been said on behalf of the Government by Senator Findley, and to give the assurance emphatically that a Bill will be introduced, and that every honorable senator will have an opportunity not only of expressing his opinion but of casting a vote in whatever direction he desires. That Bill will not be introduced this session, but it will be one of the first measures laid before Parliament next session. Meanwhile, honorable senators will have ample time to consider the whole question, and will, as the result of this expenditure, be furnished with full information.
– At the request of the VicePresident of the Executive Council and of my leader, and after the full explanation made by the Government, I am quite content to withdraw my amendment. I quite understand that the position will not be prejudiced by my doing so.’
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
– No doubt the statement made by Senator Findley and by the Vice-President of the Executive Council is very satisfactory, but every honorable senator knew perfectly well that a Railway Construction Bill would have to be introduced. We all knew, also, that every honorable senator would be able to vote as he pleased on that Bill. Consequently, the assurance of the Vice-President of the Executive Council was altogether unnecessary. But the item ought to say exactly what is meant. The wording is “ towards cost of construction.”
– Does the honorable senator doubt the word of the Minister?
– I do not doubt anybody. 1 simply say that we have to take the Bill as presented. It would be quite easy to alter the wording of the item. .We know that a railway cannot be constructed without the authority of Parliament, and it is ridiculous to use the words “ towards cost of construction,” when no authority to construct has been given. 1. also think that we ought to have an explanation from the Government with regard to item 5, “ Erection of Commonwealth Offices in London, towards cost. ^1,000.” Some time ago the Govern ment then in power made an attempt to acquire land in London upon which to erect palatial buildings. What is intended in the present instance?
– The intention of this vote is to enable steps to be taken to acquire land for the erection of a building in London for the housing of the High Commissioner, and, we hope, ultimately for the accommodation of the Agents-General of the States. No buildings will be erected, however, until Parliament has definitely approved of a site. Further than that, I am informed by the Minister of External Affairs that communications have been opened up with the States Governments with a view of inducing them to co-operate with the Commonwealth. I understand that there is a disposition on the part of South Australia to work hand in hand with us. There is also a likelihood of Victoria joining, whilst New South Wales is considering the subject. The only State that so . far has definitely declined to co-operate with the Government is Queensland, and the reason in that case is that the State has an extended lease of premises in London. I believe that the term will not expire for three decades. None of this money will be expended until a site is approved, and Parliament will have ample opportunities of discussing the matter.
– When we were dealing with the item relating to the Federal Capital, we were assured that by passing it we should be irrevocably committed to the site at YassCanberra. It appears to me that if we agree to item 5, we shall be irrevocably committed to whatever the Government choose to do in regard to the erection of Commonwealth offices in London. I am, therefore, of opinion that we ought not to pass the item in the form in which it is presented. I move -
That the item “ Erection of Commonwealth Offices in London, Towards Cost, £1,000,” beamended by inserting after the word “ cost “ the words “ of inquiry.”
– The Government cannot accept the amendment. We are simply doing what was done by a previous Administration. In that case the Government chose a site in London, and Parliament did not approve of it. Consequently the negotiations fell through.
– The previous Government did not submit an item like this.
– There was, I think, an item on the Estimates. After the long sitting we Have had we need not quibble about words, which, after all, mean nothing so far as the cost of constructing offices is concerned. The word “cost” means practically nothing. Parliament will have ample opportunities of discussing the matter when a selection has been made. The impending vote will really be in the nature of a test vote which will decide whether or not the Committee desire the establishment of Commonwealth offices in London.
– If, as tile Honorary Minister has stated, no site for Commonwealth offices in London is to be selected until it has received the approval of Parliament, it is obvious that the £1,000 which we are asked to vote in this connexion cannot be expended during the current financial year.
– We may bring an agreement forward before the close of the financial year.
– That would not affect the position. I understand that we are now being asked to affirm the desirableness of establishing Commonwealth offices in London.
– The amount on these Estimates is intended for building purposes when the site has been approved by Parliament.
– What is the use of voting money for bricks and mortar until Parliament has approved of the site?
– We ought to discuss the whole question when the proposal for the purchase of a site is submitted for our consideration. I am not opposed to the Commonwealth acquiring offices in London, and I think that the idea of centralizing the whole of the State offices in the same building is a good one. But we are not warranted in agreeing to this item until the Government have something definite to lay before us in regard to the acquisition of the site.
– I am not inclined to scrutinize too closely an item for £1,000 in connexion with the establishment of Commonwealth offices in London, because I believe we can safely trust the Government with the handling of that money. But from the statement of the Honorary Minister I understand that it is intended to spend the proposed vote in building operations, and that later Parliament will be afforded an opportunity of approving a site which, so far, has not been acquired. As the site is not yet the subject of negotiations, it is obvious that Parliament cannot be asked to approve of it until, probably, the middle of next year. Consequently it is unnecessary to pass this item now. I am inclined to think that the Honorary Minister has fallen into a slight error, and that this amount is really required for the purpose of defraying the cost of preliminary work, such as obtaining valuations and reports upon the site. In previous negotiations for the acquisition of a site for Commonwealth offices “in London it was found necessary to obtain the reports of professional valuators. If the .proposed vote is required in that connexion I see no objection to it. But it is ridiculous for the Commonwealth to vote money for bricks and mortar in connexion with a site which has not yet been selected.
Senator RAE (New South Wales [11.37 a.m.] - I wish to make a few remarks upon the well-worn subject of the Federal Capital site. I owe no apology either to the Government or the press of New South Wales for the attitude which I assumed upon that question. Nor do I think there is any valid reason for an honorable senator accusing other honorable senators of having been guilty of a breach of good faith merely because they followed the course which I, amongst others, followed. Every honorable senator who spoke upon the Government proposal from the opposite point of view to myself, admitted that if the emergency were sufficiently grave he would feel justified in departing from the agreement which had been entered into between the Commonwealth and the Government of- New South Wales. All these honorable senators affirmed that except in circumstances of the gravest emergency, it would not be right to depart from the agreement between the two contracting parties. Upon that statement I am content to rest my case. The emergency in this instance I considered sufficiently grave to warrant me. in the interests of the people of Australia, in taking up the attitude which I did. I occupy a somewhat different position from that occupied by any other member of this Chamber, inasmuch, as I am the only representative of New South Wales who opposed the Government proposal to spend ,£50,000 on. the Federal Capital site at YassCanberra. Whatever contumely may be cast upon me on that account, I feel certain, as the result of a recent and prolonged tour of New South Wales, that the people of that State are not behind the YassCanberra selection with- anything like unanimity. The commercial interests of Sydney, and the press interests of that city, are behind it, and those politicians who, fear the power of the press have suchcumbed to that influence. Personally, I think that thousands of the electors of New South Wales will believe that I voted as honestly in their interests as did others who voted in an opposite direction.
– It is not the honorable member’s honesty, but his wisdom, which is in question.
– I am satisfied that a very large percentage of the electors of New South Wales will indorse my vote upon the Government proposal, on the score of judgment, as well as of honesty. Upon important matters I have always been prepared to take up a certain stand, and to face the consequences of my action. I believe that by the vote which was taken this morning the establishment of the Seat of Government at Yass-Canberra has been irrevocably determined. Whilst I do think that an exceedingly grave mistake has been made, I shall be glad, in future, to discover that my prediction has not been fulfilled. But from the stand-point of both judgment and of honesty I believe that in the recent division I voted upon the right side.
– I wish to make my position upon this question perfectly clear. I have already, both by my voice and my vote, opposed the establishment of the Seat of Government at Yass-Canberra. But I am distinctly in favour of the proposed expenditure upon the establishment of a military college, upon a naval training school, upon the erection of the Commonwealth offices in London, and upon the construction of the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway, which are the other items embraced in subdivision 3. Therefore, I shall be compelled to vote for the subdivision, although it goes very much against my grain to sup port the proposed expenditure upon the Federal Capital.
– I intend to support the whole of the items enumerated in subdivision 3 of these Estimates, and particularly the item relating to the Federal Capital. I am prepared to accept the inevitable. The opponents of the Yass-Canberra site have been defeated after what I consider was a fair fight. I will, therefore, support not only the amount of ,£50,000, which is set down on these Estimates in that connexion, but any further amount - however liberal it may be - for which the Government may deem it necessary to ask, to secure the establishment of the Seat of Government at Yass-Canberra without delay. I hope that the Ministry will place upon the Estimates, from time to time, such substantial sums as will permit of the Commonwealth Parliament being installed in its new home in the Federal territory, with all possible expedition.
– 1”, too, intend to support the whole of the items in this subdivision, including the item relating to the expenditure of £50,000 towards establishing the Federal Capital at Yass-Canberra In supporting the whole of the subdivision, I am giving the supporters of the Yass-Canberra site the benefit of the negative victory they have obtained.
– I direct the attention of the Minister to the item under the heading “ Trades and Customs, South Australia, Launch, £1,000.” I should like to know whether this vote is for the purchase or construction of a launch for Customs purposes, and to have any particulars the Minister is able to give in connexion with the vote ?
, - I am informed that the vote is required for the building of a powerful seaworthy launch, 70 feet in length, 14 feet beam, and 7 feet depth of hold. The launch is to have a speed of 9 knots ordinary, and is to be capable of running up to 11 or 12 knots in an emergency. At present the Trade and Customs Department is paying for the hire of the launch now in use, and, in view of the transfer of the Quarantine Department to the Commonwealth, the launch provided for in this vote has become an urgent necessity.
– Have tenders been called for the building of the vessel?
– Nothing has been done, pending the appropriation.
– Will the vote proposed complete the cost of building the launch ?
– It is expected that this vote will cover the complete cost of the launch.
– I should like the Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs to give the Committee some information with respect to the proposed vote of £3,000 towards cost of new quarantine stations for South Australia. The honorable senator might say where the new stations are to be, and .give particulars as to the buildings, and so on. Is it proposed to establish a quarantine station on the site of the old quarantine station ?
– I should like to ask the Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs what steps are to be taken in connexion with the quarantine station, which, I am given to understand, is to be established at Somerset Island, to the south-east of Cooktown ?
– I should like to know what is being done, or is intended to be done, under the proposed vote, “ Tasmania - New quarantine stations, including acquisition of land at Triffitt’s Point, towards cost, £1,300.” Is the Minister aware that Triffitt’s Point is higher up the Derwent River than is the city of Hobart? If a quarantine station is established there it will be necessary to take quarantined persons past the capital city of the State. Are the officers of the Department aware that there has been a quarantine station in existence for many years at Barnes’ Bay, on Bruni Island, 12 or 14 miles south of Hobart, where the establishment of a quarantine station would not be a menace to the health of the inhabitants of Hobart? More than one protest has been made officially, privately, and by Tasmanian representatives generally, against the establishment of a quarantine station higher up the river than the city of Hobart. Perhaps the Minister will be able to say whether those protests are to be disregarded, and whether the Department
still intends to establish a quarantine station at Triffitt’s Point.
– I may say that it is quite true that protests have been made against the expenditure of any money in the establishment of a quarantine station at Triffitt’s Point.
– It would be the same as establishing a quarantine station for Sydney at Parramatta.
– I am not familiar with the locality, but the Minister of Trade and Customs informed me that, not long since, a deputation waited upon him, protesting against the establishment of a quarantine station at this place. I understand, however, that it has been recommended by the Health Officer. The Minister promised the deputation to give consideration to their representations. He also gave an assurance to the honorable member for Franklin in another place that, despite the reference to Triffitt’s Point in the vote, that should not prejudice the selection of any suitable site approved by the Health Officer. I hope, in the circumstances, that Senator Keating will offer no opposition to the vote. If it is found that Triffitt’s Point is unsuitable as a place for a quarantine station, some more suitable place ‘ will be selected.
– Am I to understand that no expenditure for a quarantine station at Triffitt’s Point will be made until further consideration is given to the matter?
– The Minister of Trade and Customs, in another place, said that the Department would consider any other site which the local authorities would regard as better for Hobart, the people of.’ the mainland and oversea traffic, and that,, although the words “at Triffitt’s Point”’ were included in the description of the vote, that would not commit the Department to the establishment of a quarantinestation at that site, or prejudice the selection of any other.
– That is not the latest information.
– It is the latest information I have. With regard to Senator Chataway’s inquiry respecting proposed new quarantine stations in Queensland, the proposed vote is £2,500, but the total estimated cost of the new quarantine stations is £7,380. This amount will cover the cost of buildings and fumigating plant at Brisbane, additions and improvements to the station at Townsville, a quarantine station and fumigating plant at Hammond Island, and additions and improvements to the animal quarantine station at Lytton. Senator Guthrie asked for information with respect to the vote proposed for new quarantine stations in South Australia. The proposed vote is £3,000, but the total estimated cost is £4,300. This will cover the cost of the erection of a marine isolation block, water supply and drainage, fencing, additions to shed, extension of tramway, roads, fumigating chamber, and luggage sheds at Torrens Island j also a new building, roads, and fencing at the Animal quarantine station, and shed and fence at the Plant Quarantine Depot.
– I should like to obtain some information from the Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs with respect to the vote for Western Australia “ New quarantine stations - towards cost - £1,700.” I desire to know whether that item includes a sum for the establishment of a quarantine station in Bunbury. It may be considered almost sacrilegious for a labouring man to refer to that, a large shipping port, but it is necessary to point out that a quarantine station has not yet been established there. Quite recently a supposed case of contagious disease was found on board a vessel, with the result that all the lumpers of Bunbury wharf were quarantined in one day. They were taken from the wharf and placed on an .island in the open water, with no tents or other covering to protect them from the elements. It was the only place at which it was found possible to quarantine them. Whilst a very large number of vessels, both coastal and foreign, trade continually to and from this very important port, it is not yet provided with a fumigating apparatus. Will the Honorary Minister tell me whether this item includes any provision for the establishment of a quarantine service compatible with the requirements of the port and such n method of fumigation as would obviate the necessity of sending a vessel to Fremantle, 100 miles, to be fumigated ?
Senator FINDLEY (Honorary Minister - Victoria^ [12.^ p.m.r. - In respect of Western Australia, provision is made on these Estimates for the expenditure of £1,700. The total estimated expenditure in connexion with quarantine stations for that State is £5,809, and that will eventually be expended as follows : - At Woodman’s Point, Fremantle hospital observation block, water supply, additions to jetty, hot water service, bath, and sanitary conveniences, kitchen range, &c. ; at Albany, additions, improvements, and motor-boat; at Bunbury, additions and improvements ; and at Broome, additions and improvements, and portable fumigating plant.
– I do not think that the Honorary Minister has supplied the Committee with all the information which he has, or should have, in respect of the item of £1,300 for the acquisition of land at Triffitt’s Point, near Hobart. I presume that the document from which he quoted is some days old.
– Within the past few days correspondence of a very definite character has passed between the Department and the Chief Health Officer in Hobart. We have interviewed Ministers on the subject at least half-a-dozen times, and have been invariably met with the reply that their advice by those competent to judge was that, from their point of view, Triffitt’s Point was the most suitable place for establishing a quarantine station, and that the matter would be further looked into. Notwithstanding that promise, the Government are asking the Committee to assent to the acquisition of the site, much against the wish of the people in the locality, as well as the people of Hobart. I venture to think that we are entitled, without reserve, to know absolutely what are the intentions of the Government. I entertain a very strong opinion concerning the establishment of a quarantine station at Triffitt’s Point, and so strongly do I feel on the subject that I move -
That the item “ Tasmania, New Quarantine Stations, including acquisition of land at ‘friffitt’s Point - Towards cost, £1,300,” be amended by leaving out the words “ at Triffitt’s Point.”
That amendment, if carried, will leave the Department quite free to acquire a station at any place they like, other than at Triffitt’s Point, which, in my opinion, does not possess all the features which are necessary for a quarantine station. I would not attempt to place my opinion against that of the responsible officers of the Government, but I challenge the statement that in other parts of the Derwent there is not obtainable a site which would answer the purposes of a quarantine station quite as well as would Triffitt’s Point.
– Or a site in the channel ?
– Yes. For some years we have had a quarantine station at Barnes’ Bay. Why is it to be abandoned? The Committee are asked to sanction the acquisition of a piece of land which juts into the Derwent, and makes a beautiful pleasure resort for the people, especially children, in the Claremont district. In this locality scores of men have purchased half-an-acre or an acre of land each, and built a home on the time-payment principle. If a quarantine station were established there, it would bring about a wholesale depreciation of the value of their properties. The Government ought to hesitate before they commit themselves ‘ absolutely to a project of that kind.
– Is not the site completely isolated?
– No. It is in the centre of one of the most thriving fruitgrowing districts in the southern part of the island, and it is densely populated. There are in the locality scores of sites which offer just as many features suited to a quarantine station as does Triffitt’s Point.
-Colonel CAMERON (Tasmania) [12.12 p.m.]. - I rise to support the amendment, which I ask the Honorary Minister to regard simply as a request that a quarantine station should not be fixed at Triffitt’s Point without further consideration of the objections by the Department. I was one of a deputation to the Minister on this very subject, and the impression I received then was that if there was any other site available which would fulfil the requirements, not of a particular individual, but of a Commonwealth quarantine station, the site at Triffitt’s Point was not necessarily to be acquired. Hobart is developing very rapidly. The best portion of the Derwent fruit-growing district lies between the upper Derwent reaches and the country south of that city, and on that side of the river. It is there where closer settlement is becoming an effective factor for the south. If a quarantine station is planted in the centre of that district, which is essentially a residential area for men of small and moderate means, it will unquestionably depreciate the value of property there. No advantage would be secured by what is proposed. It is quite immaterial to the Department where the station is located. The central authorities acted on the advice of their local representatives. I would remind the Minister that the Hobart people, and the residents on the southern bank of the Derwent, arc entirely opposed to the site proposed.
– Is the situation like that of the station near Manly in Sydney?
-Colonel CAMERON.- No. because Manly is well outside the city of Sydney. The situation in Hobart is as if it were proposed to establish a quarantine station near Government House, Sydney. I earnestly ask the Committee to support Senator Long’s amendment. It does not tie the hands of the Government, but it does make it perfectly clear that if conditions will admit of a quarantine station being located elsewhere steps will be taken in that direction.
– The elimination of the words “at Triffitt’s Point” from this item would really mean striking out that item altogether. I will explain why. In response to the wishes expressed by the deputation which waited upon the Minister, the quarantine officer for Tasmania, Dr. Purdy, received instructions from the Department to visit all the suggested sites for the quarantine station, and report. He carried out those instructions to the ‘letter, and in his report to the Minister, dated 2nd September, said -
I have no hesitation in saying that I am unacquainted with any other quarantine station which as to site is so well adapted for the purpose either in England, Egypt, the Sinai Peninsular, South Africa, or New Zealand, in all of which countries I have had direct administrative experience of public health work, more especially with regard to quarantine.
The officer reported further -
I would be willing to meet the people of the district of Claremont, and consider that if I placed the facts re quarantine fairly before them they ought to realize how exaggerated have been their fears of having a quarantine park for cattle and a station for human quarantine in their neighbourhood. As a matter of fact, a very well equipped quarantine station with well-kept grounds and suitable plantations would add to the appearance of this locality, and one cannot realize that any neighbouring property would be depreciated in value as a residential area. The fact that the quarantine station for the port of London is situated at Gravesend, actually on the bank of the Thames, probably having within a radius of 10 miles a population in excess of that of the whole of
Tasmania, and within half-an-hour’s run up the river a population of over 5,000,000 ought to have some weight as an argument.
Further on in his report Dr. Purdy said -
With regard to the depreciation of the value of land there is an object lesson in Hobart itself, where it was alleged that the use of Vaucluse as an isolation hospital in Macquariestreet, one of the main streets of the city, would lessen the value of property in the street. No one however, seems to worry about that now; the value of the land has not decreased and there have been no cases of infection occurring in the neighbourhood. I suppose there are more people on Manly Beach, Sydney, in one day sometimes than visit Claremont in five years, yet, although the quarantine station is practically next door, no one seems seriously to worry about it as a focus of inspection.
He said, in conclusion -
Whilst I can recommend Triffitt’s Point without reservation or equivocation, I cannot honestly suggest any alternative site which would fulfil the conditions required for a suitable quarantine station for the first port of entry through Tasmania.
I think that report should be convincing to honorable senators.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [12.24 P-m-] - The matter under discussion seems to be one of considerable moment to the residents of Hobart, and the views expressed by honorable senators are worthy of careful consideration before the Government finally determine on the site at Triffitt’s Point. The comparison with the quarantine station near Manly is not a good one. The quarantine station there is situated at North Head. Next to it is the Cardinal’s palace, with its extensive grounds ; then comes Manly beach. So that there is a considerable area of land between the quarantine station and Manly beach. The quarantine station in Hobart, however, is to be quite close to a centre of population. I really think that the Tasmanian people ought to have an opportunity of pointing out where a more suitable station could be selected. Would it not be a wise thing to afford them an opportunity of hearing what Dr. Purdy has to say to them ? Surely another site could be found that would not be open to such objections. The Government, of course, have to accept responsibility, but they should not ignore the wishes of the inhabitants.
– I consider that the representations made by my colleagues from Tasmania are very reasonable. Triffitt’s Point is situated in one of the most thriving parts of Hobart.
The value of land there has jumped up from a few pounds per acre to a very considerable figure. Building operations are proceeding, and the place is expanding right up to the site of the proposed quarantine station. Naturally people living in the vicinity are somewhat alarmed. If an outbreak of small-pox took place, it would cause a panic in the district. Not only so, but the people would be prevented from investing money and building homes for themselves, and the suburb of Claremont, instead of growing, would be confined.
– If the Government chose an unsuitable site, and there were an outbreak of cholera, it certainly might occasion a panic.
– An outbreak of cholera, with the quarantine station placed at Triffitt’s Point, would be a very, serious thing for Tasmania.
– It would, indeed. Tasmanian senators are aware that Mr. William Valentine, the warden of Glenorchy, came over to Melbourne to make representations to the Government on this subject. I am sure that gentleman would be very pleased to give any assistance in his power in the choosing of some other site. Mr. Valentine has assured me personally that there are splendid sites available, and that he would be glad to assist in having investigations made. I trust that, in view of the seriousness of the matter, and the pronounced views of the people, the Go”vernment will see their way to strike out the words objected to by Senator Long.
– I hope that the members of the Government will realize the significance and importance of the site at Hobart, where it is proposed to establish the quarantine station. It is well known that Hobart is situated on an estuary of the Derwent. In the southern portion of that estuary, below Hobart itself, there are many points which seem to a layman to commend themselves as suitable for a. quarantine station. The quarantine station already in existence is in D’ Entrecasteaux Channel, on the western side of the north portion of Bruni Island, and distant some twelve or fourteen miles from Hobart. If this spot were selected, in order to quarantine persons arriving in Tasmania, it would be necessary to practically convey them past Hobart by the river for three, four, or five miles to Triffitt’s Point, and plank them down in a suburban area. That seems to me to be contrary to the practice which ought to obtain. This is a very live question so far as the capital of Tasmania is concerned. I shall be very glad if the Government can see their way to accept the suggestion of Senator Long to delete the words “ at Triffitt’s Point.” By so doing they will get authority for the vote which they seek, and it will still be competent for them to establish a quarantine station in Tasmania wherever they may deem it advisable to do so.
– I stated earlier that the Government cannot accept the suggestion of Senator Long. I told honorable senators that the Minister had given effect to his promise to the deputation which waited upon him a short time ago, that the matter would be exhaustively inquired into.
– By one official?
– He is a competent official.
– But the Minister said that the matter would be exhaustively inquired into.
– The officer in question exhaustively inquired into all the sites which were suggested by the deputation. Is it not reasonable to allow the matter to remain open so that further inquiry may be made? I will promise to obtain an immediate communication from the Minister of Trade and Customs upon it, and I will also endeavour to induce him to withhold the expenditure proposed until further inquiries have been made and full consideration has been given to the request of the representatives of Tasmania.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - Why hot eliminate the words “ at Triffitt’s Point”?
– The Government cannot accept that proposal.
– Why cannot the Minister himself move the omission of those words?
– I cannot do that, because in. this matter I represent the Department of Home Affairs, which has control of all expenditure in connexion with Commonwealth public buildings.
– I am a little surprised at the action of the Government in regard to this amendment, in view of the circumstances under which it has been moved. Only a desire to assist the Government has been evidenced. There are two classes of amendments which may be moved in connexion with any measure. The first class is always prompted by a desire to challenge the policy of the Government. The second is free from any such intention, and is wholly prompted by a wish to do what is best in the interests of the entire com’munity. In the present instance a difference of opinion has arisen as to which is the better site.
– We do not dispute that Triffitt’s Point is a perfect site; but, by taking that site, the Government would deprive the district of the most delightful pleasure resort in that locality.
– It is not possible for me to arrive at a determination. It is true that the Minister is fortified by the report of the Health Officer, but the latter was despatched to Triffitt’s Point in his official capacity to inquire into the suitability of that site for a quarantine ground.: He may, therefore, be pardoned if he overlooked the interests of those outside the quarantine area. The Honorary Minister has suggested that the effect of deleting the words which Senator Long desires to eliminate would be to prevent the establishment of a quarantine ground at Triffitt’s Point. I say that it will do nothing of the kind.
– It will delay the passing of the Bill for another week.
– If we eliminate the words in question, it will be tantamount to saying that the Committee accept the assurance of the Honorary Minister that a full inquiry would be made, and he would afterwards be at liberty to establish a quarantine ground at Triffitt’s Point if he so desires. In other words, he will be master of the situation. The Committee is displaying its eagerness to give him a larger measure of liberty than he himself apparently desires.
– We wish to get the Bill through.
– I quite understand the difficulty of Ministers. But I cannot conceive that the slightest difficulty would be experienced in inducing the other branch of the Legislature to agree to such a slight amendment.
– Surely the assurance of the Honorary Minister is sufficient.
– If the Minister conducts an inquiry, he may afterwards decide to establish a quarantine station at some place other than Triffitt’s Point?
– By an Order in Council he may be empowered to spend the money elsewhere. That sort of thing is done every day in the week.
– Then it ought not to be done.
– What, not in connexion with the acquisition of land ?
– I am speaking of the expenditure of money.
– For Federal purposes we may acquire land anywhere by passing an Order in Council.
– The persistency of the Minister indicates a determination to adhere to the decision which has been already announced, irrespective of what his inquiries may reveal. I ask Ministers to say whether it is not possible for them to accept this amendment, which will have the effect of enlarging their liberty. I should not have risen but for the fact that I was impressed by the statement which has been made by the representatives of Tasmania in this Chamber, irrespective of the political party to which they may belong.
Question - That the words proposed to be left out be left out (Senator Long’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … …1
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
– I wish to direct attention to the item “ Adelaide - Military Headquarters Offices - Site and Buildings - towards cost, . £450.” I wish to know if any site has been selected, and, if so, where it is, and what is to be the cost?
– Under the defence vote for South Australia, I notice an item “ Stabling and other building, for military horses, towards cost, , £250.” This is a new service, and the total estimated cost is£2,600, yet for the military headquarters offices a vote of only£450 is asked for, though the present building is in a disgraceful condition. The Minister of Defence, when occupying the same position in a previous Government, ‘ made an inspection of the military head-quarters at Adelaide, and expressed the opinion that they were insanitary, and unfit for the purpose for which they were used. Instead of wasting money on the existing buildings, it would be better to sweep them away altogether, and . make -provision for new offices. There is a vote of£53 down for land for quarters for married noncommissioned officers at Fort Largs. A similar amount was voted for the same purpose last year, and only £2 was spent.
– It is perhaps unnecessary that I should reply to Senator Guthrie’s queries, since he appears to know all about the matter. With regard to the information asked for by Senator Vardon as to the military headquarters offices, the facts are that, when I occupied this position in a previous Ministry, this matter was brought under my attention. , I visited the head-quarters at Adelaide, and was convinced of the utter uselessness of spending any further money on the existing buildings. I set inquiries going to secure a suitable site for military head-quarters. I was met with a sudden interruption, and was not allowed to proceed with the inquiries. I have now taken up the matter again, and I hope to be able to leave this afternoon with the Minister of Home Affairs, for Adelaide, in order to meet the Premier of South Australia, and see whether some satisfactory arrangement cannot be arrived at. The site on which the buildings are situated is altogether too small for our purposes. We have a number of isolated sites in Adelaide, and our idea is to see whether some arrangement cannot be made with the State Government to secure a suitable site for the head-quarters staff. We propose to erect a new building for the purpose, but, as all this will take some time, it is necessary to include in these ‘Estimates only a sum of money sufficient to authorize the construction of the building. Plans will have to be prepared after the site is chosen, and then tenders will be called for, and the work proceeded with in the usual way. There will be no delay in the matter. We have not lost sight of the fact that something must be done in the meantime, and one of the objects of our inquiry will be to visit some places that are under offer which might be rented for our militia officers who use the head-quarters building, and in this way we might leave room for the head-quarters staff ; or we might rent a place for military head-quarters, and hand over the present head-quarters building to the militia staff. We propose to expend on stabling for military horses £2,600. The vote of £250 asked for in these Estimates is to enable us to commence building. This stabling is to be erected at the depot for field artillery. The vote is related to the proposal to have horses for field artillery. As we shall not be providing a permanent battery for South Australia this year, nor militia field artillery, the vote asked for is all that will be needed to secure a suitable site, and commence the erection of the stables, as we hope to be able to do towards the end of the financial year. In regard to the land at Fort Largs, the £53 asked for is to complete a contract already entered into.
– For the first time since I have been in Federal politics I take advantage of the Estimates to bring under the notice of Ministers a matter which is of local concern. I refer to the entirely inadequate accommodation at the Parkes post and telegraph office. I should not have mentioned the matter here had I not, in reply to correspondence with the Department, received a stereotyped reply that the Minister had inquired into the matter and found that everything was for the best in this best of all possible worlds. I am able from personal inspection to speak of the want of accommodation at this post-office. The building is far too small for the work done in it. No one can move in the room in which the mails are sorted without disturbing the man who is sorting the letters.
– We have a host of similar grievances.
– I have said that I am offending in this way for the first time.
The public telephone bureau at this office is a farce. Any one who goes into the office to get a letter can hear all that is being said in the telephone bureau.
– As we have proceeded so far, and there are not many other items that are debatable, and in view of the fact that honorable senators have bene sitting so long, I have made inquiries, and found that a number of the members of the Committee are prepared to continue sitting until we have finished this business so that we may adjourn until Tuesday next. I therefore move -
That the Sessional Order governing the suspension of sittings be suspended, to enable the Committee to continue sitting.
– Under, the Sessional Order I should suspend the sitting at 1 o’clock. If the Committee is to continue sitting that Sessional Order must be suspended.
Motion agreed to.
– I do not intend to go further into the details of the matter to which I have referred. I have no hesitation in saying that the accommodation provided for the people of Parkes is a reflection upon the Department, and the opinion of the officer who affirms that it is suitable for public purposes indicates a very poor estimate of what the public are entitled to from our great Postal Department.
– I wish to make a complaint with respect to the post-office at Gladstone, in South Australia. It is in a similar position. Everything which is said in the telephone bureau can be heard. There ought to be some privacy secured. The office is both undermanned and very inconvenient.
– Owing to some delay in the delivery of a telegram, I interviewed the Deputy Postmaster- General for Tasmania, and left with him a letter which I had received from the postmistress of a small centre. I asked him to deal with’ the matter, and let me know the result of his inquiries, but although two months have elapsed, I have not yet had the ordinary courtesy of a reply. I also mentioned the matter to the Deputy Postmaster-General in Melbourne, and received from Mr. Bright a reply which is altogether inadequate, and simply farcical.
If members of this Parliament cannot get more satisfaction from the Department, what sort of treatment can the general public hope to receive ? But for the all-night sitting, I should have held up the Estimates for the Department. I have shown to several honorable senators the reply which I received from the Central Office in Melbourne, but it simply burked the whole question. They asked me to read the reply to the Senate when the Estimates were brought under consideration.
– Was the honorable senator’s communication in any way discourteous ?
– No. There was an affliction in my family, and T. sent a telegram, and there was some delay. Unless I receive a reply to my complaint before the .Estimates-in-Chief are reached, I shall endeavour to get one here.
Senator FINDLEY (Victoria - Honorary
Minister) [1.5 p.m.]. - I shall take the earliest opportunity to convey to the PostmasterGeneral the. views which have been expressed here to-day by the Leader of the Opposition in regard to the inadequate accommodation at the Parkes Post Office in New South Wales, and also the condition of the telephonic service there. I give a similar assurance to Senator Vardon. I have made a note of Senator Sayers’ complaint, which will be brought under the notice of the Postmaster-General with the other matters.
– -That is satisfactory.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Division 6 (Postmaster-General’s Department), £688,000.
– Under the head of South Australia, on page 23, I notice an item of £33,000 for the construction and extension of telephone lines, instruments, and material, including construction of conduits and placing wires underground. On several occasions I have brought under the notice of the Postmaster-General the need for establishing a telephone service to Loxton, in that State. It is a rising neighbourhood, and such communication is very urgently needed. I am satisfied that if it were provided it would be profitable to the Department. I ask the Minister to make further inquiry, and see whether some provision for the district cannot be made out of this item of £33,000.
– From what I can gather, no provision is made on these Estimates for a telephonic service to Loxton, but I undertake to bring the honorable senator’s representation under the notice of the Postmaster- General.
– I desire to bring under the notice of the Minister the fact that, although a sum was voted on the last Estimates for the duplication of the line from Port Hedland to Peak Hill, in Western Australia, yet, for some reason or other, the work has not been proceeded with, and consequently the volume of news from the western portion of the State, as well as, I believe, in some instances, the news from the Old Country, has to travel along a coast line which is very much exposed and liable to many interruptions. In the interests of not only Western Australia, but also the eastern States, it would be we;U to put this work in hand without further delay. The necessary provision is, I suppose, wrapped up in the vote of £36,000 for construction and extension of telephone lines in Western Australia. I would impress upon the Ministry the necessity of pushing forward without undue delay the works for which money has been voted in the past. This is not a small matter which t now bring under his notice. I have received from different bodies representations pointing out the need for a duplicate line in order to avoid the interruptions which have been very much in evidence lately, and have caused considerable inconvenience in the transmission of news from the northern portion of Western Australia to other parts of the Commonwealth, as well as of news which comes from Europe and reaches the public in the eastern States. I think it is only necessary, without wasting further time, to remind the Minister of the need for pushing on with works when the necessary money has been voted.
– On these Estimates provision is made for the expenditure of £13,700 on the construction of a telegraph line from Peak Hill to Nullagine. I agree with Senator Lynch that there ought to be a disposition on the part of honorable senators, to see that these works are proceeded with as rapidly as possible. It was regrettable to the Ministry that they were not able to get these
Estimates passed in globo. The result of a division taken a little while ago will be that the carrying out of these as well as other works, whenever they are commenced, will be delayed for a week or two.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Divisions 7 and 8 (Treasury), agreed to.
Divisions 9 to n (Department of Defence), £1,159.645-
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) £1.14 p.m.]. - It is a little unfortunate, I think, to any one who desires the Senate to keep in close touch with the financial proposals of the Government that three items for the establishment of factories should be presented to us in the circumstances with which we are confronted. We have heard that these items represent a distinctly new departure in connexion with the Defence Department. There are three distinct new proposals for the extension of Government enterprise. Whether honorable senators believe in the extension of Government enterprise or not, we ought to have an opportunity of considering the business side of this policy. I wish to make it clear that I do not approach this item in a spirit of opposition to the Government undertaking, for its own purposes, any enterprise of this kind, where it can be shown that it is desirable and profitable to do so. But I am going to ask the Socialists, who may dissent from my proposition, whether they think it advisable for the Government to. undertake to perform functions, unless there is a prospect of their proving profitable to the Government ?
– Why does not the honorable senator assail the cordite factory?
– Because at present we have to import cordite, as we import small arms, from abroad, and in time of war it would be impossible for us to obtain them. I say, again, that I am not assailing these items, and I admit that we have no opportunity to-day to ascertain whether or not it is desirable to go into these enterprises. That there are branches of enterprise which it is not desirable for the Government to enter into, was admitted by Senator Pearce the other day, when he was asked why a boot factory was not to be established. He replied that, at the present time, the demands of the Government would not provide sufficient work for the efficient running of a good factory. .
– But the Minister is satisfied that the enterprises now proposed are all right.
– I do not know that honorable senators ought to proceed merely on the assurance that Senator Pearce is satisfied. We have a right to know on what basis he is resting his policy. We should be furnished with particulars as to the probable capital required, the probable number of hands to be employed, and, above all, whether there is a reasonable probability of the Government providing continuous work for the staff of men to be employed. Because there would be nothing more deplorable than to start a factory, employing a number of men, and then to find that there was only work for them during six or seven months of the year. Neither this nor any other Parliament would stand by and see a number of Government employes thrown on the streets to starve. All these are factors which would determine whether or not we are justified in assenting to this policy. So far we have not had an opportunity of looking into the particulars. I ask the Minister whether it is unreasonable that, before we decide whether the Government should enter into these enterprises, we should be furnished with details, to enable us to determine whether they are justified or not. If- we were invited to put our own money into such affairs, should we be willing to do so on the assurance that we could find the money.. first, and discuss the advisableness of the ‘ investment afterwards? The Minister will himself see, however, that the mere furnishing of the information now will not enable any of us to give that consideration to the subject which is essential, and which we should demand, if we were spending our own money. I do not think that Ministers were responsible for the Senate sitting up all night. Had Ministers been allowed to conduct their business as they wished, it is possible that we might have been furnished earlier with the information that I desire, and, consequently, we should have been able to look closely into it.
– I will proceed at once to furnish the details which have been asked for by Senator Millen. They will, of course, be published in Hansard, where honorable senators. can study them at their leisure. I commence with the figures with regard to the establishments for the manufacture of woollen cloth, uniforms, harness, saddlery, and leather accoutrements. They are as follow -
I may explain that the meaning of the terms “capital expenditure unavoidable” and “capital expenditure avoidable,” in that table, is as follows: - If, for instance, it is decided that these factories shall be established at the Federal Capital ultimately, but that they shall be temporarily located somewhere else, the machinery and stock would be purchased, and that would be “ unavoidable expenditure” ; but “ avoidable expenditure” occurs if we have to lease buildings and to pay for power. So that there is a contingent vote. If we erect our own buildings in the Federal Capital, and use our own power there, the expenditure thereon becomes “ unavoidable expenditure.” But, if we rent buildings and pay for power, the expenditure on power, plant, and buildings is “avoidable expenditure.” The following is an estimate of the total cost of establishing factories for the manufacture of cloth, uniforms, harness, saddlery, and leather accoutrements, together with a statement of the estimated annual output, the number of employes, and the annual expenditure in wages : -
As to the cloth factory, the estimated annual requirements for cloth for m111- tary uniforms in the future are over 200,000 yards of cloth, in value at present prices between £50,000 and £60,000. Assuming that buildings are rented or otherwise provided, and that “power,” electrical or other, is not included, the machinery, fittings, and working stock will cost new practically £40,000. This estimate is based upon working one shift per day, and the cost would be reduced by nearly £10,000 if it were decided to work two shifts. As to the clothing factory, the cost of uniforms will, after the year 1910-11, be over £50,000 per annum, exclusive of cost of cloth. Assuming that buildings be at first rented for- the purpose, the capital cost required for plant would be about £5,000 for the commencement, exclusive of “ power.” It is assumed that the work will commence with the main supplies of garments, which have few variations in pattern. To eventually add the manufacture of all uniform garments, including officers’ and perhaps those of other Departments, a few additional machines will be required, not exceeding in cost about ,£2,000. As to the harness and saddlery factory, during the next two years harness and saddlery to the amount of £96,000 are included in the material required to complete the existing organization for war. During subsequent years the annual requirements of such equipment, to provide for annual increase under the scheme and replacements, will amount to between £25,000 and £30,000. Excluding buildings and “ power,” the machinery and tools required for an annual out. put of £50,000 worth of such stores will be £2,500. The same plan has been adopted in regard to the clothing factories, and the Estimates before honorable senators are based on the actual cost in Victoria of similar factories.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - Have the men who furnish these Estimates had any experience ?
– One of them has had considerable experience.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - In the running of a factory? Senator PEARCE. - No. He was charged with the task of ascertaining the machinery required in connexion with a certain output, the cost of that machinery, the number of employes needed, and the amount of their wages. Upon that information these Estimates have been compiled. When Senator Millen expresses a fear that State enterprise will not be payable-
– I did not express any such fear.
– Then I will say that the fear which is expressed that State enterprise will not prove a payable enterprise finds its best answer in the fear of capitalists generally to be subjected to State competition. If the time were opportune, I might quote a hundred and one instances in support of my statement in that connexion. Upon the motion for the second reading of this Bill I discussed the reasons why the Government have been impelled to take this step. I do not feel disposed to recapitulate the whole of those reasons again, nor do I suppose that honorable senators desire me to do so.
– I desire to know from Ministers whether the expenditure of the £6,000 which is provided on these Estimates will complete the small arms factory at Lithgow ?
– The money is intended not for the erection of buildings, but for the purchase of machinery. It represents a contract into which we have entered for the supply of machinery.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [1.33 P-m-1- - I have listened attentively to the remarks of the Minister of Defence in regard to the proposals of the Government to establish various factories, and it certainly appears to me that as those proposals have been presented to the Committee it is really impossible for honorable senators to grasp them. We should, at least, be afforded an opportunity of understanding proposals which mark an entirely new departure and which certainly have not been approached by. the Leader of the Opposition in any hostile spirit. It would have been very much better, I think, if we had been supplied with particulars of outlay contemplated by the Government in each independent Department, and the expenditure in wages, &c. I venture to say that there is not a man in the community who, if he were invited to enter upon an enterprise of this character, would be satisfied with the way in which it has been placed before us. In speaking a little time ago of the proposal to establish a uniform clothing factory and a saddle and harness factory, Senator Pearce advanced strong reasons why we should support it. But when we are asked to sanction the establishment of a woollen cloth factory we ought to have a full explanation of how the business is to be carried on. I assume that the Government merely contemplate running a woollen cloth factory for the purpose of providing the necessary cloth for making uniforms for the Defence Department and, possibly, other uniforms for certain Departments of our Public Service.
– With 200,000 yards of cloth a year?
– That is the quantity required for the Defence Department alone.
– As it appears likely that the debate upon this division may continue for some time, I propose to suspend the sitting for an hour.
Sitting suspended from 1.4.0 to 2.40 p.m. (Friday).
– After the explanation of the Minister I am prepared to raise no objection to the proposed votes for the establishment of uniform and harness factories. But I consider that these votes are in a different category from that proposed for the establishment of a woollen cloth factory. I can quite understand that it would be an advantage to have the control of the manufacture of uniforms and of harness and saddlery in the hands of the Department. I recognise that there is much force in the Minister’s objection to the existing system, under which the Department is called upon to pay different price? 1 for uniforms in different States. Under the present system, we also run some risk of getting “shoddy” which we might avoid if we had a uniform factory in our own hands. It is possible also that in our own factory we should get better work done. I am not so well satisfied that we shall.be able to make a success of the proposed woollen cloth factory. The Minister gave us an estimate of the cost of manufacturing cloth, and referred to the difficulty experienced at times under existing conditions in obtaining . satisfactory tenders for cloth. I impress upon him that, in asking for supplies of cloth, he should meet the convenience of the factories as far as possible. At present, contracts are let for the supply of cloth required for twelve months, but the factory-owners are handicapped by the fact that no regular period is fixed at which the material contracted for is to be taken over by the Department. They are bound to supply it whenever it may be required, instead of at a fixed period of the year. I think it would be well to give contractors for cloth an opportunity to supply the material at stated periods, with an understanding that it must be accepted by the Department at those periods. Private manufacturers do not run their mills for one customer, and they must do what they can to meet the requirements of all. They do not care to keep in hand heavy stocks representing a large amount of money.
– They are given an estimate of the monthly output required. They tender to turn out so much material per month if required.
– That is just the difficulty. They are to supply the material “if required,” but no notice is given them of the quantity of cloth that will be required at a particular time. I think the conditions at present imposed by the Department have a tendency to restrict the number of tenderers, and to increase the price charged to the Government. I can speak from personal experience of the difficulty of supplying goods from a mill from time to time, as required. The Government will require cloth not only for military uniforms, but perhaps for police uniforms, and for the uniforms of postal officials, and I think the Minister has given a fairly correct estimate of the output required of the proposed Government factory, and of the cost of the machinery it will be necessary to install in a mill of the capacity contemplated. I have some doubt, how ever, as to the accuracy of the estimate for buildings and land. The estimated cost of the buildings for the factory which I have in mind at the present time was much in excess of the departmental estimate. I think the Minister has also under-estimated the cost of working stock. Wages will also have to be provided for from another vote. It would be well if, before taking action, the Minister took steps to find out whether it would not be possible under improved conditions of contract to continue to obtain woollen cloth from private manufacturers. I doubt very much the wisdom of establishing the proposed woollen factory, as an enterprise carried on by the Government. I do not intend to take any present action hostile to the proposed vote, but I trust the Government will consider the matter well before they commit themselves to the. large expenditure, present and prospective, which must be entailed by the establishment of a factory of this kind.
– Does the honorable senator intend to take a vote on these items ?
– Then why waste all this time?
– There is no necessity for the honorable senator to remain unless he pleases. But I shall not detain the Committee any longer, because I am aware that honorable senators are anxious to pass these Estimates as speedily as possible and to catch their trains.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Postponed clause 2 and title agreed to.
Bill reported with an amendment; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Senator FINDLEY laid upon the table the following papers : -
Lands Acquisition. Act 1906. - Pennant Hills, New South Wales : Wireless Telegraphic Station. - Notification of the Acquisition of Land for Site.
– I have been asked to intimate to honorable senators that, owing to the long sitting, the debates of Wednesday will be issued to-morrow, and that the debates of the present sitting, that is Thursday, will not be issued until Monday afternoon. Honorable senators are specially asked, in order to facilitate the work of the Hansard staff, to forward not later than 1 p.m. to-morrow their corrected proofs.
Motion (by Senator McGregor) pro posed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– At the end of a sitting lasting twenty-four and a half hours, I desire to remove any false impression which may exist in the mind of one honorable senator so far as I am concerned.
– Never mind about that. It is all right.
– Senator Findley approached me this morning and said that I had used words that were unintentionally unjust to him. I take this opportunity to quote the statement I made -
It is a fact that when Senator Could was short of informution it was supplied by Senator Findley.
I made use of those words, believing that what I said was true. But I did not overhear Senator Gould’s interjection, “ At my request.” This morning I said to Senator Findley that, if I found such a statement in my Hansard proof, I would make the amende honorable to him. I regret to say that, unintentionally, I did the honorable senator an injustice. I did not intend to impute anything unfair to him, and the compact I made with him has been kept.
– That is all right.
– I hope that any little warmth which may have been engendered during this sitting will very soon be forgotten. Every member of the Senate believed that he had a duty to perform, and endeavoured to do it; and if one honorable senator may have said unpleasant things to another in the course of performing his duty, I hope that they will be forgotten, and that we shall have the same good fellowship here in the’ future as we have had in the past I thank every honorable senator very heartily for the way in which the Appropriation (Works and Buildings) Bill has been passed.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 3.2 p.m. (Friday).
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 15 September 1910, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1910/19100915_senate_4_57/>.