9th Parliament · 2nd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. I. Givens) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
-Can the Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Pearce) indicate approximately the date on whioh Parliament will re-assemble after the recess ?
– It is not possible to do so at the present moment, but before the present sittings are concluded the
Government will endeavour to furnish information as to the date upon which Parliament will meet again.
-Can the Honorary Minister administering the Department of Health tell me whether it is a fact that in the proposed distribution of insulin for diabetes to the various States, Tasmania is not to participate, and if such be the case, why Tasmania is to be excluded I
– I am not aware that Tasmania will not participate in the distribution of insulin, I know that at present the quantity available is very limited, but 1 understand that the output is being increased as fast as possible. However, I shall make inquiries and ascertain the position of Tasmania in this regard.
The following papers were presented : -
Meat Export Bounties Act - Particulars of Bounty paid. &c. during Financial Year 1922-23.
Nauru - Agreement between the British, Australian, and New Zealand Governments,
Bigned at London, 30th May, 1923, supplementing the Agreement of 2nd July, 1019, relating to the Administration of Nauru.
New Guinea - Ordinances of 1923 - No. 28 - Supply (No. 1) 1923-24. No. 29- Expropriation.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer -
– The answers to. the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Pearce) read a first time.
The following Bills were read a third time: -
National Debt Sinking Fund Bill.
Beer Excise Bill.
Debate resumed from 31st July (vide page 1845) on motion by Senator Craw- ford-
That the Bill be now- read a second time.
.- Although it is considered to be the duty of an Opposition to oppose Government Bills, I do not think this Bill will be very seriously opposed from this side of the Chamber. I am pleased to be able to support it. To develop the Northern Territory we must provide means of communication for settlers, and facilities for them to get their products to market. I would be more pleased if I were asked to support the extension of the southern end of the line from Oodnadatta to Alice Springs. The Bill does not provide for that, but I shall not on that account oppose it. Cattle, and perhaps sheep, raisers, will be benefited by the northern extension, but the other line would provide for closer settlement. The natural advantages of the southern lineare so great that there is, obviously, some motive for extending the northern line first. I have no doubt that the Government’s attitude is based upon the recommendation of the Public Works Committee, but the report of that Committee distinctly states -
That the construction of the section from Mataranka to Daly Waters will of itself contribute very little towards the early development of the Northern Territory, and that the recommendation for its construction is only agreed to as being a section of an eventual line to cross the Barkly Tableland to Camooweal vid Newcastle Waters.
It seems to me that ‘undue influence has been brought to bear to take the railway to Camooweal. The object appears to be to benefit the Meat Combine, which, with the advantage of this railway and the meat bounty, will be on a good wicket.” I wish to point out to the Senate the extraordinary burden that is being shouldered by the extension of the Northern line. The cost of the existing line is very heavy, and it is a question whether the Commonwealth should saddle itself with an extension which, in the opinion of the Committee that investigated the matter, will not do what we want to do, namely, extend settlement in the Territory. I quote the following figures to show the enormous’ annual loss on the existing line. The results each year of the working of the line from 1st January, 1911, to 30th June, 1919, are -
The total loss to the Commonwealth since taking the line over thus represents £513,092. Excluding interest on capital, £416,940, the loss is £96,151. The position is very unsatisfactory. The extension of the line is not likely to result in an increase in the net receipts, because, while the revenue may be more, the working expenses will be correspondingly heavier. It is probable that when the line is carried .to the point for which this Bill provides, the annual loss on working will be over £100,000 a year. I believe a well-established motor transport service, with improved concrete roads and provision for petrol stations, would be cheaper and more satisfactory, but that is a question to be considered on another occasion and in another place. I stated previously that I would support any Bill that had for its object the improvement of the conditions for the settlers. This will be one means. The question of defence has no> bearing on this subject. We are not likely to induce closer settlement in the Northern Territory, and therefore, the problem of its defence must be approached from a point other than that of the actual manpower resident in the Territory. I regret that the Government have not seen fit to put in hand railway construction from the southern end. When we took the Northern Territory over from South Australia there was a definite understanding as to what we should do. The Commonwealth railway from Quorn to Oodnadatta in South Australia is being operated by the South Australian Government on behalf of the Commonwealth, and the loss in working is so heavy that it is necessary for the Government to do something without delay to improve the position. One proposal is to extend the line to the Macdonnell Ranges to tap the good pastoral country there, and by that means insure additional revenue. .It is essential also that there should be some variation in the agreement with the South Australian Government., The arrangement provides for the number of trains to be run, and stipulates the freights and fares to be charged. Since the line .was taken over, the South Australian Government have raised rates on all their lines by 50 per cent; but under the agreement with the Commonwealth, no alteration is permitted on the Quorn-Oodnadatta section, which is linked up with the main South Australian railway-system, with the result that during the years 1911-19, the loss on that section was £933,979 8s. lid. During the year prior to the railway being taken over by the Commonwealth, the South Australian Government neglected to maintain the line in an efficient condition, and consequently the Commonwealth Government, in the . first year, was obliged ‘ to spend a large sum in repairs and in relaying throughout the entire section. In stormy weather certain portions of the line become covered with sand drift, which has to be cleared away at heavy expense before traffic can be resumed. Cattle-owners are also antagonistic. They threaten that if the Government raise rates on stock they will boycott the line, and bring their stock down by road. We seem to be in the grip of another combine. Costs m every other direction have mounted considerably in recent years, but it would seem that certain pastoralists want the taxpayers of the Commonwealth to assist them to market their stock. In all the circumstances, I think, we must support the Bill to extend the Northern Territory Railway to Daly Waters. The section of the line to Katherine River is absolutely useless. I have been as far as the present terminus, and so far as I can judge, the land through which the line passes is almost valueless, except perhaps for cotton growing. I suggest that the Government carry out experiments in cotton-growing. If it proves suitable for the Northern Territory we may then be able to settle a number of small holders on land adjacent to the line. In this way we may be- able to increase the population of the Northern Territory. A standard gauge of 4 ft. S£ in. has been decided upon, and the longer we delay converting our existing lines to that gauge, the greater will be the cost. When the first portion of this line was constructed, arrangements were made for sleepers of sufficient length to be used to allow the line to be converted to a broader gauge at very short notice. The sidings and necessary bridges were also constructed in such a way that if the gauge were widened expensive alterations would be unnecessary. I understand that no such provision has been made in connexion with this proposed extension.
– Yes, in regard to bridges.
– It is useless to increase the width of the bridges if the steel sleepers to be used are of insufficient width to carry a gauge of 4 ft.8½in. In opposing invaders, all our railways would be required for military purposes, and possibly rolling-stock would have to be transported from the south for use on our Northern Territory lines. Leading military experts, including the late Lord Kitchener, have stated that our first line of defence is a uniform railway gauge. I do not know what extra cost would be involved in supplying sleepers of a greater length, but perhaps the Honorary Minister (Senator Crawford) will give that information. In constructing the proposed lino, the Government will be carrying out thecompact previously entered into with South Australia. The Government of that State are now endeavouring to bluff the Commonwealth Government by suggesting that they are prepared to take over control of the southern portion of the Northern Territory, but there is little likelihood of any of the States shouldering the responsibility of a section or sections of the Territory when they have so much of their own to develop. The control of the Northern Territory, together with the construction of railways within its boundaries is a national question, and one which should be handled only by the Federal Government. I do not object to the Government incurring expenditure in necessary railway construction, and I am not concerned whether the line is eventually extended into Queensland or South Australia, but we should not allow it to remain at a dead-end. When the Bill is in Committee, I shall move an amendment to provide that the length of the sleepers be increased to enable the gauge of the line to be broadened at the proper time. If we are ever called upon to defend Australia - rpersonally, I do not think the occasion will ever arise - a uniform gauge will be essential. The gauge of the line from Port Darwin southward should be widened. An effort should also be made to reduce the heavy losses which are at present incurred, and it is to be hoped that the extension of the line will assist in that’ direction. I support the Bill.
. - I approach the consideration of this measure with very mixed feelings. Iu submitting this measure, the Government should have also introduced another Bill embodying other recommendations of the Public Works Committee in connexion with the construction of a line from Oodnadatta to Alice Springs. I have been rather severely criticised by honorable members in another place for my attitude in connexion with these proposals, and for supporting some of the recommendations in the report of the Public Works Committee. Senator McDougall also appears to see in this project some sinister move to assist the big American meat works. In connexion with our report, we have not considered -any meat works other than those at Port Darwin. I direct attention to two recommendations of the Committee,the first of which is -
That the Committee approves of the construction of a section of railway from Mataranka to Daly Waters on the 3-ft. 6-in. gauge, using 60-lb. rails, as proposed in the reference.
The second recommendation reads -
That the Committee approve of the extension of the Port Augusta to Oodnadatta line to Alice Springs by the construction of a light line of railway with 60-lb. rails and low-level bridges.
Those recommendations are clear and . definite. Some honorable members in . another place have found fault with these proposals, and instead of quoting the recommendation of the Committee, have quoted opinions which are quite distinct from definite recommendations. There are several instances in which the Committee placed on record its opinions, one being that the line would not be payable until extended to Camooweal. Another opinion reads -
The construction of a line to Newcastle Waters and Alice Springs would meet the requirements of the Commonwealth for many years.
That, also, is an expression of opinion by the members of the Committee. Two other expressions of opinion in the report have nothing whatever to do with the recommendations of the Committee. The recommendations are quite clear and definite. I am not concerned with what honorable senators may say or think . of those declarations of opinion. It might have been better to have excluded them altogether from the report. I have reason to doubt the purpose of this Bill, in view of the Minister’s remarks last week when introducing it. In effect, he said that the proposed railway would cross the Barkly Tablelands, and that it would link up later with the Queensland railways in order to develop the pastoral country of north-western Queensland. “When the Bill is in Committee, I intend to submit amendments which, to my mind, will make the purpose of the Bill and the intention of the Committee clear.
– I do not remember making use of the words quoted by the honorable senator.
– In reply to Senator Kingsmill’s interjection “ Which direction will the extension take?” the Minister stated - “
It will be towards the Queensland border, and nearer to the Barkly Tablelands, which comprise the better class of land in the Territory. The railway will form a link of the main overland line connecting the Northern Territory with the southern portion of Australia. It will aid in the development of pastoral country and bring railway facilities nearer to the pastoral areas east, south-east, and south of Mataranka and Daly Waters.
If that route is not in the direction of Camooweal, then my knowledge of Australian geography is greatly at fault.
– I did not mention either Camooweal or Queensland.
– We know perfectly well what is in the Minister’s mind. Later I shall quote reports showing that, for a long time, there has been a decided intention that the Northern Territory railway shall link up with Camooweal. The Government, in selecting this route, have not followed the trend of the evidence which was taken by the Public Works Committee. I doubt very much whether the Government have read the report. I know that, for some time past, there has been a feeling on the part of railway officers in the Commonwealth Service that this railway should extend to Camooweal; if not, then to Birdsville, and thence in the direction of Bourke. The evidence taken by the . Public Works Committee during their travels through Australia shows that that is the last direction the railway should take. I shall not quote extensively from the evidence. It was impossible to keep the evidence separate, and the witnesses were questioned as to the North-South railway and the Eastern railway, that is, the railway to Camooweal. The Committee commenced ‘their inquiries early in January, 1921, and the first evidence was taken in Western Australia. I particularly draw attention to the evidence given by Mr. Durack, one of the great pioneers of the north-west of- Western Australia. He has an intimate knowledge of the Northern Territory. His evidence was free from self-interest, as his investments did not affect that country. He stated -
As to the line I unhesitatingly say that, committed as we are to the White Australia policy, this extension is the only means ofdeveloping Northern Australia. All that northern area and its contingent area on the western side is pastoral, and I take it that it will remain pastoral for some time. A railway right through would undoubtedly increase the wealth of the country, and tend to increase population and closer settlement. … ‘
My argument for a direct railway is that it will open up and make more accessible an area of country eastward of Hall’s Creek, which, so far as I have known for thirty-five years, has always had a regular rainfall. . . . 1 favour the direct North and South line from a defence point of view, while at the same time urging that it would develop that remote area of which I have spoken ; the distance . is shorter, and centres of population will be tapped.’ It is also the proper route from a defence point of view.
– From a defence point of view his opinion is valueless; Sir Brudenell White holds a different view.
-Sir Brudenell White stated that, from a defence point of view, the direction taken by the railway did not matter a snap of the fingers. Apart from that, surely Mr. Durack’s evidence concerning the pastoral possibilities of the Northern Territory is of considerable value. Mr. Miles, another witness, has also an intimate knowledge of the Northern Territory. Honorable senators will remember that some time ago he exhibited, in the Queen’s Hall, maps showing a route for the great North-West railway. He stated -
I consider that we require railways to connect Derby, Wyndham, and the western side generally with the Northern Territory line - with the North-South railway. . . . The construction of the proposed railway would be an ‘ advantage to Australia generally. . . Another point is that the North-South line would bring the Northern Territory within a couple of day’s of Adelaide or Melbourne, instead of a fortnight. . . .
The next witness which the Committee examined in Western Australia was Mr.
Dyke, an ex-South Australian. He had been engaged in railway construction in South Australia, and on survey work in the Northern Territory as far north as Tennant’s Creek. He stated - . . I . was on the construction of the Alice Springs line, and I was five years in the Mncdonnell Ranges for the Government. . . . If I were constructing a railway north and south, I would go the direct route to Alice Springs after leaving Oodnadatta; this direct route would serve all the western country; it is magnificent pastoral country. . . . Supposing we had a north and south railway, it would serve the pastoral country east for at least 150 miles; and, if there were stock waters, it would reach right up to the west, into the Kimberley country, and east into the Queensland Gulf country . . .
Iwould certainly say the railway should be run north and south as nearly as possible along the transcontinental telegraph lines. This would not run through a large area of poor country; that is a fallacy on the part of people who have not been through that part. . . .
I am quite familiar with the northern portion of Australia as high as Tennant’s Creek, which is nearly half way to Darwin from Oodnadatta. . . .
I am quite definite in my opinion that the North-South route is the preferable. . . . I am certain that the country to be travelled by the North-South railway will carry stock all the way, from one end to the other, provided there is water and means of getting the stock down, and water can be got there. . . .
It would not be a good scheme to connect the railway to Port Darwin from Camooweal instead of down from Oodnadatta. . . .
There is certainly not better land in the north-west of Queensland than in the centre of Australia;, the land in the centre of Australia is better than in the north of Australia. I am talking about ordinary cattle country, and there are cattle stutions there now.
When such a comparison is made by a man who has livedin this, so-called “ desert “ for five years, honorable senators will see that there is a great deal to be said in favour of the centre of Australia being much better country tnan it is generally supposed, to be. Mr. Startiforth Smith, who was Administrator of the Territory for a period, expressed the following opinion: -
A railway built for 207) miles from Oodnadatta to Alice Springs would do more to develop the Northern Territory than the whole of the efforts. of South Australia and the Commonwealth up to the present have succeeded in doing. It would open up a corridor to^ and make accessible, the valuable country in the Maedonnell Ranges. It would decrease the cost of freights in the whole of the southern half of the Territory. It would enable it to be stocked with sheep, and would give access to that great mineral field to which I have referred! …
I have read everything I can find to read in regard to the rivalVoutes for the railway. The conclusion 1 havecome to is that a NorthSouth line is necessary, because it will bisect the great mineral field of the Territory as well as serve the pasteral country, better than would a line from Camooweal to Powell’s Creek. . . .
I think a line from Oodnadatta would serve the bust interests of the Territory better than would a line from Queensland. If the profosal were to build one section of the line only, would build the stretch from Oodnadatta to Alice Springs, because it would open up proved country suitable for sheep, cattle, and horses. … It would open up the biggest unexploited mineral belt in Australia at the present time. . . .
– The extension to Daly Waters will not interfere with the building of a. line from Oodnadatta to Alice Springs.
– I am afraid that it will, and my fears are well grounded. I am quoting this evidence in order to show that the Government will be we’ll advised to alter their intentions before any further section of this railway is proposed.
– But the intention of the Government may be exactly what the honorable senator most desires. Why should he seek to alter it?
– If the intention of the Government is in the direction I desire, it is very regrettable that they have not indicated it. No harm would be done if they tofd the Senate that they intended to carry into effect the other recommendation of the Public Work’s Committee at the earliest possible moment.
– It has already been intimated that immediately Parliament rises, the Minister for Works and Railways will make an inspection of the proposed route from Oodnadatta to Alice Springs.
– That means nothing at all. It means that in spite of all the evidence obtained, and all the reports collected for the last forty or fifty years concerning the Territory, the word of the Minister may wipe out all that has been said if he feels so inclined.
– It means nothing of the sort.
– Last week when a deputation of South Australian members waited on the Prime Minister they were informed that the Minister for Works and Railways would make an inspection of the route, and when they asked whether the construction of the railway would depend on the Minister’s report, they were informed, in effect, that it would.
– That was not good enough, was it?
– That reply gave me greater cause for uneasiness than has anything else hitherto said in connexion with the Oodnadatta to Alice Springs proposal. So far I have been quoting evidencetaken frompersons who to some extent have not seen the centre of Australia. I have here the evidence of a man who has lived there for many years. Mr. Hayes, a pastoralist of TJndooyea and Maryvale, said -
If the railway were constructed following somewhere in the vicinity of the telegraph lino, I think the land-holders would possibly spend more money on their runs. … I would favour a direct North-South, because it would suit me and the others up there the best. . . .
– That is very vague. He declares that they “ may “ spend something.
– Mr. Hayes’ evidence continues -
If the line were built north and south, it would help ns to increase our stock by giving us facilities to shift them. We could stock heavier if we had opportunities of removing them during bad times.
That statement should appeal to Senator Guthrie.
– But such a remark would apply to any place where . a railway was proposed to be built.
– Of course. These people were putting their case before the Committee.
– Did not the majority of the witnesses say that they could not afford to truck their stock long distances ?
– No ; but the majority said that in good seasons they would travel their stock, just as Senator Guthrie would do.
– They could not afford to send their stock by rail.
– In good seasons stock can be travelled almost as easily as they can be trucked. The journey would take more time, but the stock would very likely arrive in better condition. We took evidence at Avon Downs, at the other end of the Territory, to the same effect I do not intend to quote too much of this evidence. It is mostly a repetition. From “one end of the route to the other, the witnesses all told the same tale. I desire now to quote evidence taken further north than Alice Springs.
– Has it ever been proposed to construct a line more directly north and south than is proposed in the Bill?
– Yes. The suggestion has been made to build a line to Oodnadatta and Alice Springs from Kingoonya, on the East- West line. Such a route would be further west than the existing Quorn-Oodnadatta line, but witnesses declare that it would tap the best country. It would certainly avoid a certain range of hills ; and it is a matter for inquiry to ascertain whether it would run through better country. The. trouble is that over 300 miles of the existing railway, from Quorn to Oodnadatta, would have to be pulled up. Mr. Brcadon, of Todmordan, gave the following evidence : -
I have been forty-four years in this country, and twenty-two years on this property. . . The railway when it came to Oodnadatta was of great advantage. My opinion is that, if the railway goes through to the north, it will be of great benefit to a large number of settlers, and will probably attract more settlers. . .
He has lived practically the whole of his life in the centre of Austidlia. Another squatter on the route said - .
I am in favour of the direct route for the railway, because I believe there are plenty of minerals in the vioinity of Alice Springs on both sides of the telegraph line. .
Another big owner, Mr. Pearce, of Crown Point, said -
I have been fourteen years in this district, and about twenty-three years in the northern portion of the Northern Territory. . The further west the railway goes, the better, because it would” open up huge pastoral areas all lying dormant, and all fairly good stock country. … I suggest that the railway should go to the west, because it. is all unoccupied and good country. … By taking a direct route you would have the whole of the line from Pine Creek to Oodnadatta serving country which will be sooner or later taken up. . . .
– None of the evidence opposes the ‘line from Mataranka to Daly Waters.
– No one opposes that route. I am trying to show that the Government . ought to have provided for the building of the other railway, and I am quoting this evidence in an endeavour to induce them to proceed with its construction at the earliest possible moment. Mr. G. Johannsen, of Deep Mill, said -
If a railway were ..constructed anywhere within 50 miles of us it would be a great benefit. I am convinced that if the railway could be put through, and the country cut up into smaller blocks, it would be all taken up.
– The honorable senator has said that he is not quoting this evidence in support of an alternative route for the, railway for the construction of which this Bill has been introduced.. If he were doing so, or if he were quoting evidence in support of a supplementary proposition, he would be in order, but as the line he is advocating is not an alternative proposal, he may not refer to it except in a casual way.
– At the outset of my remarks I said that it was difficult to separate the evidence, because both projects were taken as one. I do not want to advocate the construction of the Oodnadatta to Alice . Springs line as an alternative proposal to that which is now before the Senate, but I want the Government to give effect to the recommendations of the Public Works Committee at the earliest possible moment.
– I understand that this Bill is giving effect to one recommendation of the Public Works Committee, but not to both.
– That is so. The Bill does not give effect to the full recommendation of the Committee.
– The Senate is not now discussing the recommendation of the Public Works Committee. It has before it a specific proposal for a railway extension to Daly Waters. The honorable senator’ will be perfectly in order in making passing reference to, or in advocating, an alternative proposal; but as he is, on his own declaration, not advocating an alternative proposal, I must ask him not to make more than a casual reference to any other railway proposal.
– I realize that the facts I am putting before the Senate are not directly intended to suggest an alternative proposal to the project now under consideration. ‘ That was not my intention when I quoted this evidence. I studied the Bill carefully and endeavoured to find some means of submitting an amendment in favour of the OodnadattaAlice Springs railway, but I could not see how I could possibly do so. I shall not quote any further evidence given to the Public Works Committee except to show that if the line goes in the direction in which I fea”r the Government intend to build it, namely, down to Birdsville, it will pass through country which is not worth a railway in any circumstances. At this stage, I shall quote the evidence given on the proposal to take the line to. Camooweal) and thence on to Birdsville and Boulia. Mr. Gaffney, of Bedourie, in giving evidence, said -
I ‘have been in this district for seventeen years. … I favour the construction of a railway through Bedourie to tap’ this valuable district and give the shortest route to South Australia. . . . This country is subject to floods, and sometimes the river comes down while the weather is fine, and spreads all ‘over the country. . ; . Again, in some places, if you throw a bush down it becomes covered with sand in a night, and perhaps the same thing would happen to a railway….. The
Georgina sometimes extends for 15 miles, and makes the country impassable for, perhaps, three months. You could not carry on any work during that time, but notwithstanding the floods, the people could get to the railway. … I do not think there is any high ground upon which the railway could Be run to avoid the flooded country!
The railway from Birdsville to Marree has been reported upon both by Mr. Hobler, who is a railway engineer, and by Mr. Bell. The natural corollary of the line proposed .in the Bill is >a railway to Camooweal, thence down to Birdsville and across a portion of South Australia comprising the worst country to be found in the whole of Australia. I refer to the country between Birdsville and Marree. One witness, who told the Committee that he had been there for twenty-seven years, assured the Committee that the country was not worth *a railway. The members of the South Australian Railways Standing Committee got lost there some time ago. The flood waters came down, and the members of the Committee were cut off and nearly starved.
– The honorable senator is advocating a line from Oodnadatta to Alice Springs.
– Yes. That would avoid all the Marree country. The members who went through this country consisted of a section of the Public Works Committee, and their report has been embodied in the report of the full Committee. This sectional Committee reported -
That, after due consideration, the Sectional Committee is of opinion that the sections of railway proposed to be constructed from Mataranka to Daly Waters, and from Oodnadatta to Atldce Springs, should be regarded as portions of a direct North-South railway, which the Sectional Committee considers should be the first step towards the railway development of the Northern Territory.
– The Government proposes to give effect to part of that report.
– That is the suspicious “ part “ of it. In fairness to the minority of the members of the Committee, I must inform the Senate that the following amendment was moved : -
That, having inspected the route for a proposed railway from Oodnadatta to Catherine and an alternative mid the Barkly Tableland to Camooweal, . Boulia, Birdsville, and Marree, the Sectional Committee is of opinion that, until expert information shall ‘have been obtained hy the full Committee as to which line is likely to be in . the best interests of Austral ia.Itioon a defence paint of view, no recommendationcan be made ithat either section of tine linebe oonsitrudted
That amendment was moved by one member of the sectional Committee, and seconded pro forma toy another.
– The Committee did not jnecommeind the Hiiie from a defence paint of view ?
– After the (report of the seebwMaal Committee had been dealt, with, General Sir Brudenell WOiite told the Committee thai from a defence point of viiew the rowte of the proposed railway did not matter. He said that if am enemy landed at Port Darwin it could be left there, for all the harm it woii’W do. Honorable senatorscan form their own. opinion of that view.I have formed mine. The recommendation of the Committee that the two sections should be regarded as portions of the North-South railway is, I am afraid, not likely to be adopted. I have said that certain officers in the Railway Department have favoured the line from Mataranka to Daly Waters, and from there to Camooweal, Boulia, Birdsville, and Marree. In that connexion I wish to quote from a report furnished to the then Minister for Works and Railwaysby the Railway Commissioner, Mr. Bell, on the 24th November, 1920. That report states- -
As the honorable the Minister is aware, I am of the opinion that the country through which this route passes can never, from a pastoral point of view, support a railway, that it can never be of any value from an agricultural point of view, that its value, from a mineral point of view, is questionable, and that, in any case, the route of a main trunk line should not be controlled by the comparatively 6hort period, whilst tfie railway is there for all time.
He says, further, that -
The country between Marree and Birdsville is inferior, but apparently no worse, than that between Marree and Alice Springs.
A witness told the Committee that the country was under water from 18 inches to 5 feet deep, and that the floods sometimes lasted for three or four months. A witness said he had known the Mulligan River- not to flow for seventeen years, but that when the water came down it sometimesspread over the country for 50 square miles ; that when the grass grew the cattle waded in after it and gotbogged and drowned; and that when the water was low in the waterholes, it turned salt. The country, moreover, is impassable whendry.
– Is the honorable senator describing the awful country between Marree and Birdsville?
– That is so..
SenatorGuthrie. - The countrybetween Oodnadatta and Alice Springs is almost as bad. A railway across that country would lead, to nowhere.
– It would lead to Alice Springs, where the land is recognised as being among the best country in the Northern Territory. Later in his report Mr. Bell says -
There would beno difficulty in itsconstruc tion. The floods which occur on that route are much more easily dealt with from a railway point of view than the drafting sand on jttie Macdonnell Range route.
The drift sand on the Macdonnell Ranges route does not prevent traffic getting through. The sand hills there are always in the same direction, but those on the Birdsville route run north and south one day, and east and west the next, and, indeed, turn round to every point of the compass. The Teport by Mr. Bell leads me to believe that if the Commonwealth railway officials have any influence, that route will ultimately be adopted. Mr. Hobler went through the country with the Committee, and he furnished a long and extensive report to Mr. Bell. . He recommended the route through Birdsville. I would like to solicit the assistance of ray friends opposite, because, as long ago as 1913, Mr. Josiah Thomas, who was then a Labour Minister, gave an undertaking that the railway would be constructed. He said -
On behalf of the Government, I .undertake to have a new survey .made from Port Augusta right to the Macdonnell Ranges.
– I have already pointed out to the honorable senator that he is out of order in making more than a casual reference to a railway construction proposal for which this Bill does not provide, and now he is inviting other honorable senators to follow the same line. I have allowed him very considerable latitude. The measure before the Senate is “a Bill for an Act to provide for the extension of the railway in the Northern Territory by the construction of a railway to Daly Waters.” That is definite. It refers to a railway running between two points. There is nothing in the Bill about a railway from Oodnadatta. The honorable senator is inviting other honorable senators to trespass, by discussing something that is not within the four corners of the Bill. I hope he will confine himself to the specific proposal in the Bill.
– I do not propose to quote that evidence further. Some time ago, when speaking on the Address-in-Reply, I referred to this matter, and quoted certain clauses from the Northern Territory Acceptance Act. Paragraph 2, sub-paragraph c of the schedule of that Act is to the effect that South Australia shall do certain things. It may be within the recollection of the Senate* that Senator Drake-Brockman interrupted me, ‘and pointed out that these were the things that South Australia should do. South Australia has done them all, and has done them on condition that the Commonwealth shall “ construct, or cause to be constructed, a railway in South Australia proper from any point on the Port Augusta railway to a point on the northern boundary line of South Australia proper, to connect with that part of the transcontinental railway to be built in the Northern Territory.” Senator Drake-Brockman pointed out that South Australia was supposed to do certain things, but the State of South Australia was not supposed to build this railway, either to Alice Springs or Daly Waters. Provision was made for the Commonwealth to take over the Territory and build the line. The people of South Australia have carried out their part of the contract. They have handed over the existing railway and the required area of country, and have in every way complied with the provisions of the Act. I do not know how a lawyer of Senator Drake-Brockman’s shrewdness and acumen can say that one portion of this Act shall apply to one thing, and another portion to another thing. I maintain that I was quite right in saying that the Northern Territory Acceptance Act binds the Commonwealth to build the line to which I have just referred. I am at a loss to know whether I should endeavour to insert a clause in the Bill to provide for what I want, or whether I should content myself with voicing a protest. The cost of constructing the proposed railway will be very great. The bridge over the v Katherine River will alone cost, according to the estimate, £95000. I would not pit my opinion against that of engineers, but I doubt whether that bridge can be built for £95,000. Whatever it costs, and whatever route the railway takes, it will have to be built. In my opinion it will take three years to build the bridge across the Katherine River. There is a chasm there 50 feet or 60 feet deep, so that when the river ia in flood, and this happens frequently, work will have to be suspended sometimes for four or five months. Necessarily, work on the line will also be hung up during that period, because it will not be possible to get much material across the river until the bridge is built. At any rate, the railway itself could not be worked until the bridge was completed, and, as I have shown, that will take a considerable time.
– The rain is monsoonal. I presume.
– Yes; one can tell, almost to ‘the day, when the monsoonal rains will begin, and when they will end. I recognise the value of the country to be tapped by the railway, but I contend that die people on the western side, over towards Wave Hill, have just as much right to consideration as have the pastoralists on the Barkly Tableland and east towards Camooweal. The country on the western side, although of a different; class, is just as good, and an abundant supply of water is obtainable at shallow depths. I do not “object to the construction of this section of the line, in view of the fact that the Committee; of which I was a member, reported favorably upon it; but I have a perfect right, as one of the representatives of South Australia, which has been waiting for so many years for the construction of the North-South line, to enter my emphatic protest against the Government for not giving full effect to the recommendation of the . Committee, or at least outlining their intentions with regard to that railway. It is only due to members of this Parliament that the Government should define their position. Senator McDougall suggested that it was only so much “ bluff “ on the part of South Australia to talk of taking over the southern part of the Territory. I am not in a position to speak for the Premier of South Australia, and, therefore, I cannot say whether he was indulging in “ bluff,” but I can, at all events, say that, in my humble opinion, it would have been in the interests of all concerned if the Premier of South Australia had kept out of this squabble, for the time being, at all events.
– There need be no trouble about handing it back.
– It is childish to talk about that.
– It seems to me to be impossible to do so; even if it were seriously thought of, it is mischievous to talk about it now. I suggest that members of this Parliament both here and in another place are capable of dealing with the Government if they are not prepared to honour the pledge given to South Australia. Sir Henry Barwell has not much influence in this Parliament, but unfortunately his interference in the controversy is having an unsettlingeffect upon the pastoralists, and also upon certain members in this Parliament. I am not going to move for the inclusion in the Bill of any provision which might retard the progress of this work. I look upon it as the first instalment of the line to connect with South Australia, but if I had as much faith in the Government as I suppose I ought to have,, since I am a supporter of the Ministry, I should be more satisfied as to their intentions with regard to the eastern swing of the proposed railway into Queensland. I hope that my fears may prove unfounded, and that in a very short time we shall have an announcement of Government policy concerning the route to which I have referred. I ‘regret very much that we have not been informed already. I should be very sorry, after what has been said as to the possibilities of the country, and the reports that have been furnished, if its development should be left to the “ say-so” of a Minister of the Crown, who might pay a flying visit to the Territory, but would not be able to get evidence on oath, as the Public Works Sectional Committee did, from people who have been living there for very many years.
– There seems to be a tendency to regard this Bill as one peculiarly affecting the South Australian members of this Chamber. As a fact, it concerns us no more than it concerns representatives of other States, because of our interest in the Northern Territory as a portion of the Commonwealth. As a member of the Legislative Council of South Australia, I was a representative of the Northern Territory for many years, that portion of South Australia being then included in the Legislative Council Northern District, an extensive constituency as large as very many European countries. I am afraid I must confess that I, perhaps, neglected, my responsibilities, in that I did not visit that portion of my constituency, but I always took a great interest in Northern Territory affairs. I remember being a member of a Commission that inquired into the possibility of extending the railway line from the South Australian end to connect with- the Queensland railway system, and in connexion with this matter I should like to say that I do not think there is any objection on the part of the representatives of South Australia to railway connexion with Queensland or Western Australia, so long as the solemn compact, entered into when the Territory was handed over, that the main trunk line should be constructed, is honoured by the Commonwealth. With the limitations which you, Mr. President, have, no doubt, very properly placed upon honorable senators taking part in this debate, the ground which we may cover is somewhat circumscribed. Therefore, my remarks will te brief. I support the proposal to extend the existing railway ^ to Daly Waters because I think it is necessary for the development of the northern portions of the Territory, and because, also, it may be regarded as a section of the transcontinental line, which I hope to see proceeded with at a very early date. I indorse what Senator Newland has said, and regret that the Government did not fully carry out the recommendation of the Committee which inquired so carefully into the subject, and collated such a large amount of evidence, the’ tenor of which indicates that the most urgent portion of the trans-continental line is the section from Oodnadatta to the Macdonnell Ranges. However, I think that the northern section is also necessary. In this Chamber last week we devoted a good deal of attention, in the debate on the Northern Territory Crown Lands Bill, to the terms of leases for the further settle- , ment of the Northern Territory; and this proposed railway will traverse for a considerable distance country that will be affected by those leases. It is not likely that the proposed line will be profitable from the point of view of earning sufficient revenue to pay working expenses and interest on capital cost, but we have to regard it as a national undertaking for developmental purposes, and useful also for defence. An extension to the Macdonnell Ranges on the southern end would develop a large area of fertile country, and perhaps result in important mining developments. There is always the hope that, as we push our railways into that country, we may discover another Broken Hill . or Kalgoorlie, in which event the line would be justified, not only from the point of view of development, but also as a revenue-producing investment. I have nothing more to say, except that I think the Government have begun at the wrong end ; but at the same time I support the Bill for the construction of what I believe is the first part of the transcontinental line, which will also aid in the development of important pastoral areas in the Northern Territory.
– I support the Bill for the extension of the line from Mataranka to Daly Waters, not because it will open up a large area of good country, but because when it gets down to Daly Waters it will be going in the right direction to tap eventually the Barkly Tableland, which is properly regarded as the richest portion of the Northern Territory. The land there is incomparably the best iia the Territory from every point of view, whether for sheep, cattle, or horses. In view of the fact that the Government have in mind the standardization of gauges in Australia apparently to 4 ft. 8^ in., it seems strange that the sleepers for this railway axe not to be in “conformity with the culverts and bridged - that is to say, long enough to carry a standard gauge line when the conversion is made. In the circumstances, the policy of providing for 3-ft. 6-in. steel sleepers is a waste of money.
– What is the life of a steel sleeper?
– I understand that steel sleepers will last for fifty years. Surely, if we are going to standardize the railways of Australia the work will be undertaken within that time. Personally, I do not think that the North- South Line, especially along the route advocated by Senator Newland, will be built within the next half -century. 1 do not think it would be warranted. I am supporting the proposed extension to Daly Waters, because I think public opinion will eventually be so strong, both from a developmental and defence point of view. that what is termed the NorthSouth railway will deviate ‘ easterly towards Queensland, and thence down to Oodnadatta, or Marree, in South Australia. In making such a deviation it will have to go vid Camooweal, and link up with the railway systems of Queensland and New South Wales, which extend westwards from the coast where the population is located. Desirous as we are of developing the central portion of Australia, it is very unlikely that it can ever be used for other than pastoral purposes, as it is country which can be held only in large areas with any prospect of success. I am a liquidator of a large property through which the proposed line will pass, but I am not advocating the construction of the. railway, because I think it would be a gross waste of public money. People rearing cattle and horses in Central Australia could not afford to send their stock by rail to the Adelaide market, to a Darwin market, if there happened to be one, or by rail to Darwin for shipment to Singapore, as the whole value of the stock would be absorbed in railway freight. They will still have to travel on the hoof, as they do at present. For the last forty years cattle from the Barkly Tableland have been brought, down via Boulia, the Georgina, and Birdsville to the Adelaide market. That has: been successfully done with cattle for the last thirty or forty years, and. with sheep in certain seasons. I quite agree with. Senator Newland that a line coming down to Birdsville,, and thence on to Marree, would pass through exceedingly poor country. It would be difficult to construct a line over the Georgina” and other waterways, as in good seasons huge areas are- under water. In that country it is either a feast or a famine. It is almost useless in a dry year. In a good season it is flooded, and the floods then cause the growth of good grass on which stock can be fattened. It is, however, very unsatisfactory country through which to construct a railway.
– In the honorable senator’s opinion a railway cannot be built in the one direction, and a line in the other is not worth considering.
– That is just about it. But if a railway is constructed in a southerly direction we will not be do ing any harm if it eventually connects with Camooweal, as such a line would be the means of opening up the good country on the Barkly Tablelands.
– The honorable senator is damning ,the proposal with faint praise. “
– I am support: ing the construction of the line as far as is proposed, but if it were intended to continue it further south I would oppose it. This is a step in the right direction, but the line should, undoubtedly, swing towards Camooweal to link-up with the systems I have mentioned. I cannot agree with Senator Newland that sheep would be carried in the southern portion of the Northern Territory, if a line were constructed from Oodnadatta to Alice Springs.
– The honorable senator does not believe the evidence of the men who are living there.-
– I read the whole of the evidence, and I think it damned the possibility of a direct North-South line.
– Order! I did not permit Senator Newland to make any extensive reference to the construction of a line. ‘ from Oodnadatta to Alice Springs, and I cannot allow the honorable senator to refer to the question at length. The honorable senator must confine his remarks, to the Bill before the Senate.
– With the exception! of the Barkly Tablelands, the Northern Territory will never be able to carry sheep, and it is doubtful if even there such a venture would be successful.
– Sheep, are running there now.
– My people were closely associated with sheep breeding in the Northern Territory for thirty or forty years, and after a most extensive trial found’ that it did not pay, even on a picked property like Avon Downs. Sheep breeding. was” also tried at Carandotta Station thirty years ago, but it failed, and more recent efforts have not been attended with success. The country grows beautiful wool, but will not breed sheep. I do not wish to condemn ‘ the Territory, but I am merely stating facts. If the railway system ‘were extended to Camooweal - as must be done - it might eventually be possible to successfully raise sheep on the Barkly Tablelands. Up to’ date, however, it has been a failure.
– But sheep do not feed on a railway.
– No; but wool and the necessary provisions can be transported by rail. I sympathize with honorable senators from South Australia in their keen advocacy of the North -South line, but I notice that even in the South Australian Parliament, where one would not expect’ an adverse opinion to be expressed, . Mr. Harper, in speaking on the Address-in-Reply, said -
He desired to look upon the North-South Railway question from an Australian standpoint -
We all desire to do that -
Doing that he most admit that his view of the agreement with the Commonwealth was against the suggestion, that the line should be a direct one.
– But Mr. Harper is a Victorian.
– He is a member of the South Australian Parliament. He continued -
The best route would ‘ be from Hergott directly north to strike the northern boundary of the State at Birdsville, then to Camooweal, and north-west to Darwin. That would be by far the most profitable route..
– The honorable senator does not agree with Mr. Harper’s opinion.
– I believe that if a railway is to be built at all, it must connect with the western extensions of the Queensland and New South Wales railways. Every one realizes - and the evidence we have before us confirms it - that if Australia were attacked in the north, and we wished to send troops,, horses, and munitions to Port Darwin from Townsville, Rockhampton, Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, or any part of Eastern Australia, it would be foolish to firsttransport them to Adelaide and send them away north through the centre of Australia on a line which has breaks of gauges, starting from one dead end and finishing at another. In the event of an invasion from the north - which God forbid! - all our troops, horses, and munitions despatched from the eastern portion of Australia, where all the population is, would have to be sent over those lines already running out towards the Northern Territory. It would be absurd to adopt any other course. Moreover, the military experts have said that it would be utterly impossible to concentrate our forces, equipment, guns, munitions, and so forth, in Adelaide, and endeavour to transport them through the dead heart of Australia. I can only support a proposal for the extension of a line which will develop . the Barkly Tableland country, the best in the Northern Territory, and will eventually link up with the railways already constructed in Queensland and New South Wales.
– I find it very difficult to oppose the construction of a developmental line, and it is not my intention to do so in this instance. I thank Senator Guthrie for the sympathetic way in which he dealt with’ a proposal which he eventually condemned. The honorable senator quoted a statement made by Mr. Harper, a member of the South Australian Parliament; but if there is one man in South Australia who does not know anything at all about the Northern Territory, it is Mr. Harper. No doubt, that gentleman will be told that by the other members in that Parliament, many of whom know the Northern Territory better than Senator Guthrie. There are members of the South Australian Parliament who know almost every inch of the Territory.
– The same can be said of Senator Guthrie.
– I have never been there.
– Senator Guthrie is not the only one who knows the Territory. There are others equally competent who should be entitled to express their, opinions. Even honorable senators cannot agree, and those on this side of the chamber hold different views on certain matters. Unfortunately, in South Australia we have another gentleman who has become completely obsessed with the building of a North-South line, and I think Senator Newland will agree with me that the attitude that gentleman is taking is not assisting the construction of the line over a direct route. I refer to the Premier of South Australia, Sir Henry Barwell, who is making all sorts of wild threats as tp what he intends to do. Every sane man knows that South Australia has quite enough country to develop at present, without assuming control over the southern portion of the Territory, as suggested by Sir Henry Barwell. My vision is sufficiently broad to enable me to consider this project from an Australian, and not a South Australian, point of view. I am anxious to see every portion of Australia developed to the fullest possible extent. I do not object to Queensland deriving benefit to which it is entitled so long as the other States receive a fair deal. A binding agreement has been entered into between the Commonwealth and South Australia that a line shall be . constructed from the north to the south within a reasonable time. A learned King’s Counsel in another place, who does not happen to be a South Australian, said that he thought the South Australian Government had a good case against the Commonwealth Government, and would be successful in an appealto the High Court over the construction of a North-South line. That gentleman - I refer to the honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Latham) - said that he was not in favour of the railway, but he believed in an agreement being honoured.
The Commonwealth Government should carry out its part of the contract. I do not suggest that it does notintend to do so, because, in reply to an interjection by me, the Minister (Mr. Crawford) was good enough to say that if there were two good sections of country that required development, it did not mean that, because one was to be developed immediately the other would be overlooked. The Minister for “Works and Railways (Mr. Stewart) will visit South Australia shortly, and take a trip as far north as Alice Springs. Notwithstanding the more or less evaisive reply given by the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) to a recent deputation, I am sufficiently optimistic to think that, after the visit of the Minister for Works and Railways, the Government will realize that it is time to construct a line from Oodnadatta to Alice Springs. The experts who have been through the Macdonnell Ranges tell us that there is untold mineral wealth waiting to be tapped.
– Order! I have allowed a good deal of latitude to honorable senators, but there is no mention in the Bill of the Macdonnell Ranges or Oodnadatta, and I hope that the honorable senator will not pursue his present line of argument.
– I intended to link up my remarks by pointing out that the Commonwealth owns 478 miles of railway from Port Augusta to Oodnadatta, and that there would only be 600 or . 700 miles of line to be constructed to connect the railway at the southern end with the line in the Territory now under consideration.
– How often does the train run to Oodnadatta at present?
– I again remind honorable senators that there is no reference in the Bill to Oodnadatta.
– By continuing the present Commonwealth-owned line in the south to -the rich , territory in Central Australia, its losses would be considerably reduced. I hope that the Government will take note of what several honorable senators - have baid on the subject of the gauge.I am strongly in favour of a uniform gauge throughout the Commonwealth. It will be- a great mistake to’ build more lines on the 3 ft. 6 in. gauge unless provision is made for their conversion to a standard Commonwealth gauge of 4 ft. 8½ in. I hope that within ten years the Commonwealth gauge will be adopted throughout Australia. I should like to see the Queensland railways converted from the 3 ft. 6 in. to the 4 ft. 8½ in. gauge, and the South Australian and Victorian lines from the 5 ft. 3 in. to the Commonwealth gauge.
– It has never been seriously considered in Queensland.
– I am sorry to hear that remark from a Minister who c’omes from a progressive State.
– Queensland has 6,000 miles of railway.
– The conversion is necessary, if only for the purposes of defence.
– South Australia suggests converting its 3 ft. 6 in. gauges to 5 ft. 3 in.
– Yes. The Premier of South Australia (Sir Henry Barwell), has had the temerity to say that he has become so tired of waiting for the uniform gauge that he is about to convert the 3 ft. 6 in. gauge in his State to 5 ft. 3 in.
– Let him take on the whole of Australia if he wants a big job.
– I think he has nearly “ done “ for South Australia.
– He has not done it much good, but he may not have done it a great deal of harm. The many breaks of gauge that we have between Brisbane and Perth are not only farcical but also expensive. I hope that the Government will agree to construct the line in the Territory in such a way that it can be converted to the 4-ft. 8-J-in. gauge. Senator Guthrie “let the cat out of the- bag when he said that the line must go to, Camooweal. I am glad to know that the Government have denied that statement, because I realize the extent of the Queensland influence.
– The line cannot help going that way.
– The Queenslanders are not unanimous about that.
– Seeing that the North-South line is required for defence purposes, I object to any particular section of the community trying to divert the line to its own advantage. Neither the pastoralists of Queensland nor any other section should be allowed to do that. I have read the expert evidence of military men, who say that the line should certainly be constructed by a direct route. Australia may have to be defended some day, and the railway should be built so that troops could be moved from one part of the continent to another in the most expeditious manner. . “I commend the Minister (Senator Crawford) for the fair tvay in which he introduced the measure. If the Minister for Works and Railways is accompanied on his trip by experts, and if he thoroughly examines the country between Oodnadatta and Alice Springs, I have no doubt that it will not be long before the whole of the route of the North-South line is surveyed.
– The fine speech on the Northern Territory by the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) convinced me of the desirability of the proposed railway. I have also had the advantage of a long conversation on Northern Territory matters with a very old friend of mine who has interests there, and who has recently visited the country. He expressed the opinion that a line to Daly Waters would have the effect of bringing a lot of country into profitable use. He stated that the country in which he is interested has no cattle or sheep upon it at present, because the cost of -marketing stock is prohibitive. He said, however, that as soon as the line was opened to Daly Waters he and others would have sufficient inducement to spend large sums, in stocking the country, not with cattle, but with sheep. I should like to impress upon the Government the advisability of extending the line, when the time is ripe, to Newcastle Waters. Such an extension, in the opinion of my friend, would have a far-reaching effect. This would be another instalment of the North-South railway that must ultimately be constructed. The present proposal represents the first instalment of the North-South line, and my honorable friend, Senator Newland, ought to be happy to know that the construction cf this section is now proposed. It will certainly give South Australians a “leg in” towards the adoption of the recommendation of the Committee of which Senator Newland was chairman. An extension of the line, as the next step, to Newcastle Waters would prove a great boon, and would not violate the principle of a line running through from north to south. It would then be open to the Government of the day to continue the line, either by a direct route, or by going into Queensland as far as Camooweal, and thence down to Birdsville, or even to Bourke. As far as the deviation into Queensland is concerned, this would seem to be the line of least resistance, and I have no doubt . that such a line will eventually be constructed. It is many years since I discussed the matter with the late Lord Forrest, when he visited Central Queensland. He was a strong advocate of the line coming into Queensland at Camooweal, and then going south through Birdsville. I am notone of those who consider that such a diversion would greatly benefit Queensland. If this diversion is made, who will reap the benefit - Adelaide, or our far distant ports on the coast of Queensland? I venture to say that Adelaide, in addition to getting the trade of the South Australian territory through which the lino will pass, will also get a great deal of the trade which now goes to Queensland ports.
– That is so, Adelaide will get the trade of the north-west of New South Wales and the south-west of Queensland.
– Yes. The trade of that, portion of Australia is bound to go to Adelaide, and that is why I cannot understand the opposition of the people of South Australia to the proposed diversion of the line from Daly Waters or Newcastle Waters to Camooweal, and then south through Birdsvillo to Marree. I hope that the Government will keep solidly in front of them the need for ah extension of the lino to Newcastle Waters. Another point that has struck me is that, since thebridges are designed to carry a 4-ft. 8^-in. gauge line, the sleepers should also be long enough to carry the same gauge. I do not regard Senator Guthrie as an expert, but if his estimate of the life of a steel sleeper is correct - fifty years seems an inordinately long time ; half that time would be a long life for a sleeper - it is a strong argument in favour of providing sleepers for the wider gauge. However, I am not an advocate of the 4-f t. 8½-in. gauge. We’ have such a vast extent of 3-ft. 6-in. gauge railways in Australia that I think it would be well for us to adhere to that gauge for this line. I do not /think that the railway will affect the question of defence, nor does it according to Sir Brudenell White. It is, therefore, a negligible matter from that aspect whether the gauge is 4 ft. 8^ in. or 3 ft. 6 in. People may disagree with this view, but certainly it does not establish any argument for departing from the 3-ft. 6-in. gauge, which is less costly to build, and shouLd be quite suitable for all purposes for many years to come.
.- I regret very much that we have this Bill before us at the present time. I give place to no one in my desire to further the interests of the Northern Territory. It is a no-man’s land to-day. Apparently, it has not been the serious business of any Government to undertake its proper development and people it. Senator Guthrie, who has had a long and varied experience of a portion of the Territory, has told us distinctly that the pastoral propositions in the Territory are almost unthinkable for individuals who have . not- almost inexhaustible banking accounts, and that they are suitable only for companies with big capitals. I go further and say that the proper development of the Territory cannot even be undertaken by big financial companies, and that the Government alone can properly develop and people it. We have had an attempt by the present Government to do something in that direction, and their first step has been to frame an Ordinance to extend the terms of the pastoral leases in the Territory. I am sorry that the Bill for the building of the proposed railway was not submitted prior to the Northern Territory Crown Lands Bill, because we should then have had a better opportunity to discuss the Government’s policy for developing the Territory. It is perfectly true that when we took over the Territory trom South Australia we committed ourselves to the construction of a railway line from north to south, or south to north; but how far have we advanced in the matter o’f railway construction and development? We have extended the Pine Creek railway to Katherine River, and now we are asked to further extend it to Daly Waters. The railway in . the Northern Territory is now, and has been since the Commonwealth took it over, a losing proposition. To the 30th June, 1919, according to a report of the JointCommittee of Public Accounts, the Commonwealth had earned in revenue on that line £198,000, while working expenses absorbed £294,000. The net loss on working the line was thus £96,000, and this, added to interest on the capital cost, makes a total loss of £513,092. We are told that the extension to Daly Waters will also be a losing proposition, that there is little or no population along the proposed route, and that the approximate annual loss, including interest on capital cost, will be £79,950. The estimated revenue is £24,000, and the working expenses are estimated to be £26,700 per annum. This additional loss of £79,950 has to be added to the total loss of £513,092. Is it a good policy to continue building railways, knowing that there is no prospect of their paying? According to Senator Guthrie, these lines will never prove a payable proposition. Would any private company undertake such a project? Would any single individual, no matter how wealthy he might be, undertake it?
-The honorable senator would not agree to a proposal to allow a wealthy company to undertake it.
– No. I do not believe in privately-owned railways. Those who own the railways own the country through which the lines pass.?
– Then the only persons to develop the Territory are’’ the Government.
– I believe in that policy. I have never been opposed to Governments undertaking railway construction, but side by side with railway construction by the Commonwealth Government in the Northern Territory, there must be an effort on the part of the Government to people it. The only authority capable of properly developing and peopling that Territory is the Commonwealth Government. The proposition is too much for any individual or company. The development and peopling of the Territory are matters of the greatest importance to every citizen of Australia. I am not haunted by the fear that we are likely to be invaded, that Darwin will be the first port seized, and that fromthat point the enemy would make his way southwards ; but I am conscious of the fact that the Territory has been neglected too long. Much has been said in regard to its possibilities and resources, and honorable senators representing the different States contend that certain routes for railways should be chosen in the best interests of Australia. I am not worrying about whether the line from the Northern Territory is taken across to Camooweal, on the Queensland border, or whether it is continued straight down to Oodnadatta, but what I am concerned about is that nothing has been done in the Territory. . Nothing should be done there in the shape of railway construction until we are satisfied that any line proposed to be built is in the best interests of not only the Territory, but the people of the Commonwealth as a whole. I hold no brief for any route, but when I hear those who are familiar with the Territory saying that this proposed railway will never be a payable proposition, and that an alternative line would never be a payable proposition, I think it is time we put on our thinking caps and asked ourselves how we can make both lines payable, if not now, at any rate in the future. It is a waste of time to discuss a proposal to merely construct a nonpayable railway, which will involve the Commonwealth in a net loss of £79,000 a year, without having a sound and business-like policy to back it up. It is a mad proposal to construct railways for the sake of constructing them. Such a policy is like digging a hole to fill it up again; it does not commend itself to me. The Government ought to take in hand the task of properly developing the Northern Territory. It ought to formulate a policy for that purpose. If that is beyond it, it ought to hand back the Territory to South Australia.
– South Australia does not want it.
– I believe that is so, notwithstanding the statement of the Premier of that State.
– The definite purpose we have in view is to develop the country.
– We were told that when we agreed to the construction of the line from Pine Creek to the Katherine River. There has been little or no development as a result of the opening of that line.
– Because it did- not go far enough.
– It will go a little farther now, but no one seriously believes that any substantial prosperity will result.
– We shall be getting a little nearer to success.
– The Minister evidently has in mind the ultimate extension of the line to Oodnadatta. “ Oodnadatta “ to him means “ success.”’ Some honorable senators have said that it would be better if the Government constructed the line to a standard gauge of 4 ft. 8^ in. I agree with that view. It is not a business-like proposition to make the gauge 3 ft. 6 in., even though provision is made for its subsequent conversion to 4 ft. 8£ in. If the line must ultimately be converted to 4 ft. 8 J in., why not make it 4 ft. 8½ in. now?
– There would then be a break of gauge in the middle of 360 miles of railway.
– That would be so unless the gauge from Darwin to the Katherine River was converted. It would be more business-like, and less costly, to convert the existing line than to construct the proposed line to a narrow, gauge and convert it later to the standard gauge. One argument advanced against this proposal is that the existing rolling-stock would be useless. If the rolling-stock has not improved since I was there, it is obsolete now, and could well be scrapped. If the Government wishes to further the interests of the Territory, it should scrap the rolling-stock and make the gauge of the line 4 ft. 8£ in. throughout Every one is agreed that the unifying of the railway gauges of Australia is of serious moment, and that they ought to have been unified years ago. We hesitate to do it. Why? Because of the cost. Has the Minister any idea what would be the cost of converting the line from Darwin to the Katherine River?
– I understand it would be about £1,000 a mile.
– It would be moro than that, but it would be money well spent. Later a Bill will be introduced to provide for the further extension oi the line.. If the same Minister is in charge of it, he will advance the same arguments for constructing the line to a 3-ft. 6-in. gauge, while making provision for conversion to a 4-ft. 8½-in. gauge. Ultimately, the line may reach Oodnadatta, when it will probably become necessary to convert the whole line. If a business man were constructing that line, he would say, “ The standard gauge will have to be adopted sooner or later, and- it is better that I should begin here and now, than wait for ten or fifteen years before commencing,” I do not believe that the railway will open up much, if any, additional country. I do not believe that it will add materially to the population of the Territory. The Government needs a Northern Territory policy.Without a definite policy we may continue to build railways that will make heavy losses while conferring no substantia] benefit upon the Territory, or the people of Australia. I support the Bill in a half-hearted way, not because I can see that any great good will come from it, but because I am anxious to help, in any way I can, to further the interests of the Territory. If the Bill will help the Territory, I shall be pleased, but I have my doubts about that.
– I support the Bill, but with the same feeling of regret and disappointment which has been expressed by my colleagues from South Australia. The best way to populate and settle the Northern Territory is to start from the South, by . building a railway . from Oodnadatta to Alice Springs. That would also be the most economical. It would certainly be easier and cheaper to construct locomotives and rolling-stock in the south and to transport them and the rails to Oodnadatta than to take them to the Katherine River. I remind the Government that, in 1921, a deputation of South Australian members of the House of Representatives and the Senate waited upon the then Prime Minister, Mr. W. M. Hughes, and obtained from him a pledge that when the Public Works Committee had reported upon the matter a railway would be constructed from Oodnadatta to Alice Springs, anil simultaneously, a line from Mataranka to Daly Waters. Two members of the present
Government were members of the Hughes Government. Members of the present Government are in the direct line of apostolic succession. They are the lineal descendants of the Hughes Government, and it is up to them to honour the promises of that Government. I do not wish to reiterate the arguments put forward, so eloquently and ably by Senator Newland. He has stated the advantage of providing for the continuation of the North-South railway. I shall vote for the measure with very great regret. There is a considerable amount of indignation in South Australia that the Government has adopted this method of constructing the line. The people of South Australia think the line should be constructed from Oodnadatta to Alice Springs. I agree with them. The Bill, however, means an instalment of the North-South railway, and I shall vote for it.
– I, like the previous speaker, being a South Australian, am somewhat disappointed with this Bill. The Government went to the expense of sending a Committee to inquire which was the best route for the railway, but it has not followed , the advice given by it. The Committee went to the Territory and examined witnesses. Evidence was givenby men who had lived for many years in tha’t part of Australia, and they certainly knew what they were talking about. Ordinarily, it would be taken for granted that the Committee’s report would be adopted. Now, as a sop to the South Australian people, the Government proposes to send a Minister to inquire whether the railway should be constructed from Oodnadatta to Alice Springs. Will the Minister know the difference between saltbush and bluebush? If he does not, some one who does know should accompany him.
– Does the honorable senator wish to imply that Mr. Stewart does not know the difference between saltbush and bluebush?
– Does he know?
– Of course he does, and I do not suppose that any man in the Federal Parliament knows more about such matters.
– The members of the Committee probably know quite as much as the Minister. Will ho give an opinion contrary to that expressed by them? I believe that he will say what the Government wishes him to say.
– The honorable senator does not know the man. ‘
– Perhaps I do not.
– And he does not know the Government.
– The previous Government, which sent the Committee to the Territory, seemingly intended to act upon its report. In the various States many lines have been constructed, not to pass through the best country, but because of a political “ pull “ exerted upon Ministers. I could name quite a number of such lines in my own State. I would not go so far as to assert that they will never pay; but it will be a long time before they are profitable, and I can safely say that they should never have been constructed along the routes selected. I trust” that in connexion with the Northern Territory there will beno reason to complain of any political “pull” in railway construction, but that, on the contrary, all lines built will be along routes calculated best to serve the interests of Australia. We must have a uniform gauge throughout the Commonwealth. The necessity for this is, I th’ihk, generally admitted, and therefore the Government should have made provision in this Bill for a standard gauge line.
– Unfortunately for the Government everybody does not recognise that we must have a uniform gauge.
– The Government in this measure should have made provision for the standard gauge, 4 ft. 5½ in. In Australia we have three gauges, 5 ft. 3 in., . 4 ft. 8½ in., and 3 ft. 6 in. It has been urged that for defence there should be a uniform gauge, so that troops may be moved from one part of Australia to another without inconvenience or unnecessary delay. In view of this fact, I think it will be an absolute waste of money to construct this proposed extension to Daly Waters without making provision for the conversion of the line eventually to 4 ft. 8½ in. We have been advised that the bridges and culverts will permit of the widening of the gauge to 4 ft.8½ in., but, apparently, the sleepers are to be suitable only for the 3-f t. 6-in. gauge. This will be a great mistake. Senator Guthrie emphasized the point that in the event of a hostile force landing in the Northern Territory it would be an advantage if Australian troops could be sent across lines linking up with those of Queensland and New South Wales. I agree that defence should not be lost 6ight of, bub, on the other hand, we should also keep in mind the possibility of pastoral and agricultural development. The people should follow the railway, not the railway follow the people. It is imperative that railway facilities should be . provided before we induce people to settle in that portion of the Commonwealth. When the transcontinental line to Kalgoorlie was under construction the people of South Australia were assured that immediately following the completion of that railway, the NorthSouth line would be put in hand by the Commonwealth Government.
– Surely the honorable senator has not forgotten that we have had a wax since then.
– I do not forget that; but I hold that the solemn compact made with the Government of South Australia should be honoured. There is ample evidence from experts’ that if the line were started from the southern end, it would open up an immense area of valuable pastoral country. One. witness before the Parliamentary Standing Committee stated that there was a good pastoral country for 100 miles on each side of the route, and that the mineral potentialities within the Macdonnell Range country were practically limitless. It may be said that South Australian representatives are biased, but we are only urging that the Government should have recognised the report furnished by the Committee to which I have referred, and have made a declaration of policy with regard to construction from the southern end.
Senator Sir . THOMAS GLASGOW (Queensland) [5.40]. - I should not have taken part in this debate but for certain remarks to which, although perhaps, they were not altogether relevant to the Bill, I should like to reply. Both Senator McHugh and Senator Hoare. have emphasized thatthere should be no suspicion of political “pull.” in connexion with railway construction. I absolutely join with them in that view, and I suggest that this matter be submitted to an absolutely unbiased committee of experts to say in which direction the line should eventually go. The honorable senators have suggested that if the railway does not go due north and south, the Commonwealth will be breaking a solemn’ agreement entered into with the Government of South Australia.
– Not necessarily due north and south.
Senator Sir THOMAS GLASGOW.Well, the honorable senator urged that the agreement will be violated if the railway is not constructed absolutely within the boundaries of the. Northern Territory, and if it does not cross the southern boundary of the Northern Territory. On this point I suggest that the best judges of what the agreement means were those, who were parties to it. I refer, of course, to the responsible Ministers and members of the South Australian Parliament, when the Northern Territory Surrender Bill was passed by that Legislature. I have looked up the debates in the South Australian Hansard and I find that not one member urged that the Commonwealth had not a perfect right to construct the line along what route it pleased, provided the railway crossed the Northern Territory boundary of South Australia proper. The then Commissioner for Crown Lands (Hon. L. O’Loughlin), who introduced the Bill, said -
They held this opinion, hut in discussing the question with Mr. Deakin, he pointed put, and properly so, that it would be unwise to bind the Commonwealth Government to construct the line of railway within a stipulated time. Mr. Deakin, however, undertook to construct the line from Port Darwin through Central Australia to join the existing railway at Oodnadatta, or to go through what was considered to he very much better country - from Pine Creek vi& Camooweal, alongside the borders of Queensland, and the territory west of Birdsville, down to Port Augusta via Hergott.
Even Senator Newland, who was a member of the South Australian House of Assembly at that time, . pointed out, in the course of his remarks, that the Bill did not bind the Commonwealth to any particular route.
– We wanted it to, but it did not bind the Commonwealth.
Senator Sir THOMAS GLASGOW.Exactly, but now the honorable senator is endeavouring to persuade the Senate that there was a definite agreement as to the north-south route.
– The Northern Territory Acceptance Act, ‘in my opinion, is quite definite on the point.
Senator Sir THOMAS GLASGOW.The honorable senator says one thing inthis Chamber, but during the debate in the South Australian Parliament he expressed the view that the agreement did not bind the Commonwealth to a particular route.
– That is so.
Senator Sir THOMAS GLASGOW.Well, I suggest that the honorable senator cannot have it both ways. Every member who took part in the debate in the South Australian Parliament on the Northern Territory Surrender Bill expressed the same view which, I remind the honorable senator, was indorsed, only the other day, by Mr. Harper of Adelaide. That gentleman declared that it. would be an advantage to the Commonwealth generally if the line bore to the eastward. As a Queenslander, naturally I feel keenly interested, but I say that the proper course is to submit the question of the route for any further extension to an independent committee of experts, who should have the responsibility of deciding which direction the line should take, to serve the best interests’ of the people of Australia. I feel, of course, that if this were done, the line would not go due north and south. I do not wish to delay the measure. I am in favour of the Bill. I only rose to answer the arguments advanced by the South Australian representatives in this Chamber, and to point out that the consensus of opinion in the South Australian Parliament, when the Northern Territory Surrender Bill was being discussed, was that the agreement did not bind the Commonwealth to any particular route.
– The remarks made by my honorable and gallant fi lend, Senator Glasgow, have brought me to my feet. He has suggested that the question of a further extension of the line should be referred to a committee of independent experts. I remind him that this subject was referred to a Committee, appointed by this Parliament, namely the Public Works Committee, the members of which obtained expert evidence to guide them in their’ recommendations. Therefore, I am afraid the honorable senator’s remarks are a reflection upon that Committee.
– I can assure the honorable senator that I did not desire to reflect on the Committee, and I hope that impression was not ‘conveyed by my speech.
– I accept the honorable’ senator’s assurance. As an ex-member of the Public Works Committee, having sat on it for about three years, I know that the desire always is to get expert evidence on all subjects referred to it for investigation, before it presents its report to Parliament.
– Therefore the report does not represent bur individual opinions at all.
– Quite so. The Committee bases its recommendations on the evidence obtained.
– I think Mr. Hobler’s evidence was the most convincing obtained by the Committee.
– The Committee Collected a mass of evidence and, after careful consideration, also recommended the construction of a line from Oodnadatta to Alice Springs. I was a member of the Senate when the route, and later the construction of the Trans-Australian railway, Was fully debated, and at that time it was understood that a direct line of railway from the North to the South would be constructed as early as possible. I was also a member of the .Senate when the first section of the railway from Pine Creek southwards was under discussion, and we are now asked to support an extension of the line. ‘ Although I am supporting the proposal, I feel that we are pursuing a very foolish policy, as we are endangering ourselves, from a defence point of view, and not assisting .the development of the Commonwealth. In the event of an invasion of the Territory from the north, I. cannot imagine anything being of more value than a railway from the south over which we could transport our troops. From a defence point of view, therefore, our policy is entirely wrong, and the existing line from Oodnadatta northwards should be extended. If that were. done the products of the south could be carried to the North, and the Northern Territory brought into closer touch with civilization. The Honor ary Minister (Senator Crawford) reminded Senator Hoare that war had intervened since the arrangement was entered into between the Commonwealth and South’ Australia.
– The war was caused by a “ scrap of paper.”
– That is so. It might just as well be said that if, after Senator Payne had made a promise to. Senator Hoare, the Honorary Minister and, say, Senator DRAKEBROCKMANman had engaged in fisticuffs, Senator Payne was relieved of his obligation. The position is very illogical, and I cannot understand why the agreement is not being observed. I intend to support the construction of the line, but I would be more enthusiastic over the proposal if the Government were also proposing to continue the existing line from Oodnadatta northwards.
– I believe the proposed line to Daly Waters will eventually be- continued to Newcastle Waters, and link up with Camooweal and Cloncurry, which would give the Territory direct railway communication with Townsville. Queensland senators have been particularly alert in looking , after the interests of that State, and it would undoubtedly be an advantage to Townsville if the traffic from the Northern Territory went in that direction. It would be preferable, however, if efforts were made to develop Port Darwin. A majority of the Australian people favour decentralization, and instead of transporting goods over miles of railways to Adelaide, a determined attempt should be made to attract the trade of the Northern Territory towards Port Darwin. I am not opposed to the construction of the line to Daly Waters, but I strongly protest against the proposal to build a line on a 3 ft. 6 in. gauge. Irrespective of what State Governments are doing, the Commonwealth has definitely laid it down that the standard gauge shall be 4-ft. 8£-in. As the proposed line will be 160 miles in length a change of locomotives every 100 miles will be necessary, and it would be a convenience to effect such a change at the present terminus of the line. In addition to constructing bridges and culverts sufficiently wide to carry a line on the 4-ft. 8-J-in. gauge, the rails should be laid to that gauge. It has been said that if the proposed line is constructed on the 3-ft. 6-in. gauge, from the present terminus to Daly Waters, that gauge must be retained when the line is continued; but I do not think the majority of honorable senators are hopefully anticipating an extension for a number of years. I am quite prepared to assist in honouring the compact entered into with South Australia, and believe that a connexion should be made with Oodnadatta at the earliest possible moment. There should be no objection to the expenditure of public money on developmental railways, and a proposal for the construction of a line from Geraldton, through Wyndham to Daly Waters, would have my approval. I do not support the adverse comments made concerning the possibilities of the Northern Territory, because I believe that that country is similar to large areas in New South Wales, which were once condemned as useless. Some of ‘the land may be unsuitable for settlement, butother portions are similar to Western Queensland, which is fairly good country. We were assured by the Honorary Minister that the pro-posed line would pass mainly through Crown lands, and, although I accept his statement, I have a haunting suspicion, which may be quite unfounded, that some leases are abutting on the route. The large sum of money to be expended will not return interest for a number of years, and provision should be made for the lessees to contribute towards the cost of construction in proportion to the value of the areas they are leasing. It is my intention to move an amendment to provide that the lessees shall contribute something- it should not be too heavy - towards the cost. Railways, roads, and bridges have a direct effect on the value of adjoining land. The construction of the Sydney Harbor Bridge, which has just been commenced, involves the expenditure of a very large sum of money, and before the project was definitely decided upon the land-holders on both sides readily agreed to contribute towards the cost. The revenue derived from this source will meet the expenditure on construction for the next three years. We should insist upon this proposed section of the line being constructed on the 4-ft. 8½-in. gauge, although it is not the gauge of the Queensland railways. Later extensions via Oodnadatta should also be laid «n that gauge, and eventually connect with the trans-Australian line.
I support the Bill, and I shall move in Committee for the insertion of amendments to provide - for a gauge of 4 ft. 8½ in.,’ and. to require the lessees to contribute towards the cost of the line.
– I thank honorable senators for the generally favorable reception accorded the Bill. Senator McDougall expressed a ‘ doubt as to whether the heavy expenditure that the work will’ incur is justified at present. In my opinion, the Commonwealth has either ; to face the heavy expenditure of railways and other improvements in the Territory, or let the country remain in its present undeveloped state, which everybody agrees is dangerous to Australia as a whole. Much discussion has taken place on matters beyond the scope of the Bill, ‘and I do not intend to make more than a passing reference to them. Senator Newland has expressed a doubt as to the Government’s sincerity in arranging for the Minister for Works and Railways (Mr. Stewart) to inspect the route of the suggested line from Oodnadatta to Alice Springs.
– My doubt is not as to the sincerity of the Government, but as to the result of the visit.
– It is not for me to commit the Government in any way, but I feel justified in saying that, after the Minister’s inspection, the construction of the line will be considered on its merits, and with proper regard to the agreement between the Commonwealth and South Australia.
– In that case it will be quite all right.
– This Government has been in office for only a few months. As Senator Newland knows, a permanent survey has not been made between Oodnadatta and Alice Springs, but there has been a permanent survey of 77 miles of the. section now proposed to be constructed, and a trial survey of the balance. It is therefore possible to go- on with this work, while a permanent survey-^if it is considered right that it should be undertaken - is being made of the section between Oodnadatta and Alice Springs. The Government haa proved its sincerity in regard to its obligations in the matter by presenting, at the earliest opportunity, th? present Bill, which provides for the construction of 160 miles of line in the Territory, at a cost of over ?1,500,000. I cannot imagine, that honorable senators are serious in the contention that this length of line should be built on any other gauge than that already in existence between Darwin and ‘ the Katherine River. It is not at all a reasonable proposition that there should be a break of gauge in 360 miles of railway. Such a break would involve two sets of rolling-stock. The matter has been carefully considered by the experts of the Commonwealth Railway Department, who state that it would cost at least ?1,000 per mile extra to provide sleepers for a line of 4-ft. 8?-in. gauge over the 160- miles required, as compared with the proposed gauge of 3-ft. 6-in. The sleepers are to be of steel, and the first cost will be very high, but if the longer sleepers were used the road-bed would have to be widened proportionately.
– Could concrete sleepers be used?
– I have not heard of their use in Australia.
– What about ironwood sleepers? They are immune from white ants.
– I am told that ironwood is suitable, but cannot be obtained in sufficient quantities.
– It would be necessary to send to either Java or Timor for it.
– There is no immediate prospect of the conversion of the railways of Australia to a uniform gauge. I have never heard it seriously suggested in Queensland, where there are 6,000 miles of lines constructed on the 3 ft. 6 in. gauge. The feeling in that State is that whatever money is available for railway work should be used in developing new country.
– Was there not a proposal for a 4-ft. 8?-in. gauge line in Queensland ?
– The idea was toprovide a line of one gauge between Brisbane and Sydney, and that proposal, of course, may be carried out, independent of the other railways in Queensland. The section dealt with by this Bill is to be built on the route originally proposed. It approximately follows the Overland telegraph line, and it connects a couple of important centres of trade in the Northern Territory. It is also a most important link in the proposed North-South line.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses. 1 and 2 agreed to.
Clause 3 (Power to construct the railway). .
– I was rather astonished to hear that it would cost an extra ?1 , 000 per mile to provide sleepers an extra foot in length to enable the line to be converted, if necessary, to the 4-ft. 8A-in. gauge.
– It is more than 1 foot.
– To be exact, it is 1 ft. 2? in.
– And the road-bed would have to be increased proportionately.
– (Senator Newland). - I draw the honorable senator’s attention to the fact that clause 6 deals with the question of gauge.
– Then I shall confine myself to other matters, but I do not think it would cost an extra ?1,000 per mile to provide the longer sleepers.
– That project has been gone into most, carefully by experts, and it is calculated that it would cost more than ?1,000 per mile extra.
– I, hope that before this Bill passes, the Minister will supply the names of those experts, because their statements are quite contrary to what is the actual cost of railway construction. It seems preposterous that a difference of 1 ft. 2? in. in the size of the sleepers should increase the cost of building the line by as much as ?1,000 a mile.
– The extra cost of the road-bed and ballast has also to be taken into consideration.
– The principal item of cost on the Northern Territory lines is, the construction of bridges and culverts.
– Railway construction is likely to be more costly in the Northern Territory than it is in New South Wales or Victoria, where the wages are so much less.
– I think that, with the exception of the bridges, the country through which this line will pass will be very similar to that traversed by the East- West railway.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 4 (Cost of Railway).
.- This clause provides that the expenditure on the railway shall not exceed £1,645,000. Does that mean that if the expenditure exceeds that amount the work of construction must cease.
– No. The Government would ask Parliament for more money.
– Parliament might be in recess at the time, and the probability is that, - in that event, a large number of men would be thrown out of work.
– If the estimate is likely to be exceeded we shall know in time to get authority from Parliament for additional expenditure.
– It is very hard, nowadays, to estimate what a work is likely to cost. One never knows what an ordinary building is likely to cost once a start is made.
Sitting suspended from 6.26 to 8 p.m.
Debate resumed from 26th July (vide page 1642), on motion by Senator Elliott) -
That a Select Committeebe appointed, with power to send for persons, papers, and records, to inquire into and report upon the discharge from the Military Forces of Warrant Officer J. R. Allen, of the Instructional Staff, and the refusal of compensation and . removal allowance to this Warrant Officer; and that such Committee consist of Senators Benny, Duncan, Sir T. W. Glasgow,. McDougall, Ogden, Thompson, and the mover.
.- I desire to add a few brief remarks to conclude my reply to the debate on this motion.When “boiled down” the argument of the Minister was that the officer had a tribunal to which, under the regulations, he could have applied, but that he failed to do so. My answer to -that is that the evidence discloses that he did his best to bring his case before the tribunal, and it was, in fact, brought under the notice of the officer who controls the summoning of the Military Board. He failed to take any action to call the tribunal together. The proceedings show an entire lack of judicial handling of the case. An adverse report on Warrant Officer Allen was religiously rubber-stamped by all the officers up to the Minister, through whose hands it passed, and not an official concerned thought of summoning Warrant Officer Allen to ask for an explanation.
The PRE SIDENT.- The honorable senator has exhausted his time.
Question - That the motion be agreed to - put. The Senate divided.
Majority . . 3
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
That the Committee report to the Senate on or before this day week.
Order of the Day called on for resumption of debate from 26th July (vide page 1643), on motion by Senator Grant -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Question - That the Bill be now read a second time - put. TheSenate divided.
Ayes …. … … 8
Noes … … … 13
Majority … … 5
Question so resolved in the negative.
Debate resumed from 19th July (vide page 1307), on motion by Senator Ogden -
That, in view of the fact that all the mainland States are linked up by the railway systems of the Commonwealth and the States, the advantages’ of which are not shared by Tasmania, in the opinion of the Senate it is an undoubted obligation of the Federal Government to provide adequate means of transport between this State and the mainland.
That, with this object in view, this Senate affirms that a direct and up-todate Federal steamer service should be established between the northern ports of Tasmania and Melbourne, so that Tasmanian citizens may. be brought into closer communication with the sister State, thus enabling them to share advantages enjoyed by the other States.
– The question of providing extra transport facilities between the mainland of Australia and Tasmania was discussed” fully during the debate “‘on the Commonwealth Shipping Bill. I then gave an assurance that when the Shipping Board was appointed it would go fully into the matter, and would no doubt be ready to cater for the trade of Tasmania. Since this debate was last adjourned, I have discussed the matter with the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce), and I can assure Senator Ogden that the subject will be brought directly under the notice of the new Board as soon as it is appointed, and that the
Government will request the Board to give the fullest possible consideration to the requirements of Tasmania. The Board will be a business body, with a broad outlook, and it is hoped that it will cater for all the trade available, and, without delay, will do something to help the Tasmanian people.
.- It is indeed gratifying to receive from the Minister (Senator Wilson) an assurance that the position of Tasmania will be taken into favorable consideration by the Government. Tasmania to-day is not the Tasmania of twenty or thirty years ago. Owing to the enterprise and energy of its people, it now occupies a very prominent position as an industrial State. The time has arrived when special consideration should be given to the question of improving the present means of communication between Tasmania and the mainland. The motion has my hearty support. I feel sure that if the Government give the question that consideration which it deserves, and which has just been promised by the Honorary Minister, they will see the force of the contention that because of their insular position, the people of Tasmania have good reason to expect to be placed on the same footing as citizens in other portions of the Commonwealth. Recently there has been a great expansion of industries in my State. We are quite prepared to do our part towards building up the industries of the Commonwealth. I shall have an opportunity later, I hope, of bringing under the notice of the Senate a very large undertaking which it is contemplated shall be established before long to add to the already important industrial concerns of Tasmania. If Tasmania were at a standstill, from the point of view of development, one could understand a certain amount of opposition to the improvement of its shipping services. But Tasmania is progressing, and the possibilities are very great indeed. The fact that the largest concern of its kind in Australia - I refer to the hydro-electric scheme - has been established there, is proof of the enterprise of our people. We are assured that if we keep plodding away, and utilizing every avenue open to us, the developments following the establishment of those great works will . be such that eventually we shall reap the reward we deserve. In the circumstances, I think it is the duty of the Commonwealth Government, backed up by Parliament, to agree to the spirit of the resolution. I am satisfied that the Commonwealth will share in the added prosperity that will come to Tasmania as the outcome of improved shipping facilities with the mainland.
.- This is about the first opportunity I have hadto join with other honorable senators in a proposal to confer a direct benefit upon Tasmania. I am glad to be able to support my colleague (Senator Ogden). In view of the fact that Queensland is getting its meat bonus, and that Western Australia has been linked up by a railway at a cost of a million pounds, this request from Tasmania for improved shipping services is quite reasonable. I understand there is another very good reason why the motion should be passed- I believe the Tasmanian Government are losing money by their shipping ventures. It is just as well, in the circumstances, that they should approach the richer mainland States with a suggestion to cover any future losses in this direction. I merely rose to remark that the motion will enable the Commonwealth Government to show a truly Federal spirit. Some day, I hope, New South Wales will be in a position to make a special appeal to this Parliament. Heretofore her part has been to pay for about one-half the cost of everything.
– And look prosperous on it.
– Well, the prosperity of New South Wales warrants such an attitude. Her industries are so enor- mous, and her enterprise so noteworthy, that she is quite satisfied to be able to pay about half the cost of meat bounties to help to keep the banana farmers going, and to subsidize sugar companies. However, one would be very narrow in outlook if one denied to Tasmania an improvement in the existing shipping facilities, and as I am in a truly Federal frame of mind, I think that in view of what we have done for the other States, we may very well- support this motion wholeheartedly.
, that this matter will be brought before the Shipping Board as soon as that body is appointed, he should withdraw the -motion. If it is pressed to a division, and carried in its present form, it will be practically a direction to the Government, and whilst the Government are prepared to recommend the Shipping Board to give this question of improved shipping facilities with Tasmania serious and friendly consideration, we may not be disposed to give a direction to the Board. I trust, therefore, that as the honorable senator has achieved his object, and the subject has been well ventilated in debate, he will withdraw the motion.
.- I am very pleased to have the assurance of the Minister (Senator Wilson) that this important matter will have serious attention.
– And sympathetic consideration.
– I hope it will receive sympathetic consideration, because it is of very great importance toTasmania. We are really very serious about the matter. I am in this difficulty, however, that if the. resolution were carried, the Government might please themselves whether or not they did anything. I am prepared for the time being to accept the assurance of the Minister that, something definite will be done to provide better shipping facilities between Tasmania and the mainland. If the Ministry fail to observe the spirit of the motion in the way that I think is justified, I shall renew the appeal in this Chamber. Ibelieve that Ministers recognise that the majority of honorable senators are inclined to support the motion, but in view of the definite promise made by Senator Wilson’ I ask leave to withdraw the motion.
– Is it the pleasure of the Senate that Senator Ogden have leave to withdraw his motion?
– I object.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– Mr. President, did I understand you to declare that the motion had been agreed to?
– Yes. I put the question, and there was no call for a division.
Exemption of British Ships from Coastal Provisions.
.- I move -
I am aware that I may be treading upon somewhat dangerous ground in. attacking a measure that was placed upon our statute-book primarily for the relief of those men who go down to the sea in ships.. The Navigation Act was designed toinsure better accommodation, better wages, and better working conditions generally for seamen engaged in the Australian coastal trade. We all agree, I think, that this is a very desirable object, and that the reform was long overdue. No one desires to have those provisions eliminated from the Act, but, unfortunately, we find that there exists something like an unholy alliance between the seamen, on the one hand, and the representatives of local shipping companies on the other. The local shipping companies are the most strenuous opponents of any alteration in the existing conditions. I should like to ask the members of the Labour party if they are prepared to bow to the desires of the steam-ship companies which are penalizing the people of Australia and elsewhere by charging high shipping freights? The present arrangement is all very well for the local companies, as they have practically secured a monopoly of the trade in consequence of the operations of the Navigation Act. We can quite understand, why they should strenuously fight any proposal to break down the monopoly.
– Those companies employ white labour.
– They do; but at the same time I remind Senator Duncan that legislation, however well it may be framed in the interests of the shipping companies, or of the seamen, should not inflict hardships upon the rest of the community. No ship, unless it complies with the restrictions imposed by Part VI. ‘ of the. Act, may carry cargo or passengers between one Australian port and another, and I should like to ask the seamen, whether, in the exercise of the rights and privileges they enjoy they are treatingfairly another section of the community. The provisions of the Navigation Act certainly inflict hardship upon the Tasmanian producers. I have always held that the men who toil on the farms and in the orchards should receive special consideration from the Labour party. The man who labours in the orchard or on the farm works a good deal harder, and probably receives a much lower remuneration, than many industrialists. I understand that the supporters of the Labour movement have as much regard for that class of worker asfor those who are engaged in manual work of any kind. How does, this part of the Navigation Act affect Tasmania? Its position is different from that of any other State in the Federation . It is separated from its sister States by Bass Strait. Its producers have to place their produce in ships, which carry it to the markets of the world, and their interests are seriously affected by the difficulties experienced in disposing of their perishable products. Fruit and potatoes are the main items of export, and the fruitgrowers of Tasmania were, until last year, compelled to pay a freight of 5s. per case on the fruit shipped to the markets of the Old Country. The Commonwealth Government Line last year reduced the, freight to 4s. per case, and immediately that was done the private shipping companies reduced . their freight, to 4s. 6d. The fruit producers have to dispose of their products in a very short time. We have agreed to the payment of a bounty to ‘assist the meat producers in Queensland. A deputation recently waited upon the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr Austin Chapman), and asked fora bounty upon dried apples; but ifwe could get a further reduction of one shilling per case . in freight on the whole of the fruit we export a bounty would be unnecessary. If such a reduction were made, the Tasmanian apple growers would save £114,000 a year on the crop of the State.
– What quantity of apples is exported from Tasmania ?
– Over two and a quarter million cases.
– Last year it was 1,560,000 cases.
– The Honorary Minister (Senator Wilson) is referring to the export to England only, and has made no allowance for the trade with the mainland, which brings the total quantity up to that which I have stated. .Prior to the Navigation Act coming into operation the Orient and Peninsular and Oriental liners which called at Hobart for fruit, were allowed to carry Inter-State passengers on their vessels, and that to some extent, reduced their expenditure. : The overseas vessels, which now call there - they are only few in number - are not allowed to carry Inter-State passengers. If an exemption *were granted to enable the overseas steamers to carry passengers between one State and another, it is quite possible that these companies could carry our fruit for 6d. per case less, which would be of great advantage to the Tasmanian apple-growers. Moreover, the Navigation Act has deprived us of a regular service which existed between Hobart and the Bluff, New Zealand, and in consequence of this Tasmania has almost lost her timber trade with New Zealand. We produce a large quantity of hardwood sleepers, for which it is difficult to get freight, and the proprietors of timber-mills and the timber-getters are affected. Honorable senators representing Western Australia will doubtless be surprised to learn that firms in the timber trade could do considerable business with Western Australia in the export of dressed hardwood flooring boards. . Remarkable as it may seem, a considerable trade with Western Australia in dressed hardwood boards could be established.
– The Tas- manian product is not at all comparable with the Western Australian jarrah.
– I am not arguing that point. There is nothing better in the world for flooring than Tasmanian dressed hardwood boards. The fact that we might do a considerable business in timber with Western Australia is in keeping with one of the peculiarities of our commercial life. Even when there was a scarcity of wheat in Australia a few years ago, and importations were coming from the Argentine, we were exporting wheat to
America. I have a letter from Messrs. George Wills and Company Limited, Adelaide, a well known ,and reputable firm, which was written to a firm in Hobart. It reads-1
There is a prospect of our placing about 100,000 feet super., or more, of our boards in Fremantle if we can arrange satisfactory rate of freight. Freight, with transhipment, at Melbourne or Adelaide, running into 15s. or 16s. per 100 feet super., would preclude business-
– The honorable senator is arguing that Tasmania should be exempted from the provisions of the Navigation Act.
– No; only in regard to Part VI. of the Act. The letter continues - as we are having to compete with other people holding stocks in Western Australia who have been fortunate enough to get direct freight some time ago. Do you know of any small sailing ship or steamer which you could charter. As an inducement, we would probably be able to arrange to give the vessel a full load of jarrah to bring back to Adelaide, We may even be able to arrange to have the jarrah shipped to Melbourne instead of Port Adelaide. We shall be glad if you will go into the matter carefully, and let us know the best you can do,
A good deal of correspondence passed between Messrs. George Wills and Company and’ the Hobart firm, and it was found to be impossible to secure a vessel trading direct from Hobart to Fremantle which would carry the timber. The agent of the Commonwealth Government Line was then asked if a vessel of that line would ship the boards, and, for some peculiar reason, which is quite mysterious and inexplicable, the Commonwealth Government Line refused to take that cargo.
– It would not pay, otherwise the other companies would take it.
– I have already stated that no other vessel, was procurable. Dressed flooring boards can be carried on deck. The business has been lost, and in consequence of the Navigation Act, Tasmania has been unable to do business with Western Australia. If tramp steamers calling at Fremantle and Hobart were enabled to lift our timber, the difficulty would be overcome. As I have already indicated, I should not for a moment dream of removing the provisions of the Act that apply to the seamen. I know that I am between two fires, but the exemption I ask for would not affect, the seamen in the least. One of the effects of the Act is that Tasmanian timber workers are out of employment. Under my proposal there would be more wharf labourers engaged. Surely the seamen have a right to consider the interests of their fellow-workers, and not impose conditions that inflict a hardship upon them.
SenatorMcHUGH. - Does the honorable senator know any seamen who are getting more than they earn?
– That is not the question at issue.
– The honorable senator’s proposal would take away revenue from the Tnter-State traders and give it to the oversea traders.
SenatorOGDEN. - The honorable senator is putting in a plea for the shipping companies. I say, “A plague on Doth your houses!” - both on the seamen and the shipping companies - if an injury is to be done to my State and its people. There was a provision in the Bill as originally drafted exempting Western Australia from the operation of the coastal provisions until such time as that State was connected by railway with the eastern States; but as the construction of the East-West line was sanctioned prior to the Act coming into force, effect’ was never given to that clause. Surely Tasmania, which can never have such a benefit as a transcontinental railway, is entitled to similar consideration. I realize that Western Australia, when that clause was inserted, had the advantage of being represented by an exceptionally strong personality in the late Lord Forrest, who probably had some influence with the Government of the day.
– The Labour members from Western Australia were responsible for that line.
– The Labour Government of Australia was responsible for it.
– Then Labour should be prepared to grant the same concession to Tasmania. I may be said to be inconsistent in asking for this small concession, but I have made it clear that it would wot prejudice the interests of the seamen in the slightest degree. The same number of Inter-State ships would be engaged, although they might do a little less trade and carry a slightly smaller number of passengers. ‘The larger States, particularly Victoria, do not realize how serious is Tasmania’s position. Victoria has received more advantage from Federation than has any other State. Can any honorable senator tell me one benefit that- Tasmania has derived ?
– The special grant.
– That was paid to us as a matter of justice, because of ourisolation.
– Is it not a benefit to Tasmania that it can send its goods to the Victorian markets without duties?
– Tasmania exports fruit and potatoes.
– And hops.
– That is so. Victoria and New South Wales are bound to take our potatoes at times, and they would do so irrespective of Tasmania being in the Federation. If it were not for our hops, Senator Gardiner would not be able to see the long glasses with the big “ head “ on them, to which he has re-‘ ferred, because hops cannot be grown on the mainland.
– The people of Tasmania had to pay Inter-State duties prior to Federation.
– Five-sixths of the manufactured products that we require are imported from the mainland, and yet Tasmania pays Customs duties to help to, support industries in the other States. Prior to Federation, my State, in Customs duties alone, collected about 50s. per head of the population, and now we receive only 25s. per head. If we were not in the Federation we should now be getting probably from £4 to £6 per head of the population from such duties. Victoria is the distributing centre for Tasmania for goods from the Old Country, and we do not receive credit for as much as we should in connexion with Customs duties.
– Tasmania pays high duties and has very few industries.
– That is our main trouble. Our revenues would be more buoyant if we had control of the Customs. We should not then have the Tasmanian Treasurer almost frantic in his efforts to get sufficient revenue to carry on the functions of government.
– There is not a very heavy direct taxation in . Tasmania.
– It is higher than in any part of the Commonwealth, except Queensland. Although we thus penalize ourselves, our expenditure has been greater than the revenue for a number of years.
– Order ! A general discussion of the finances of Tasmania will not be in order on this motion.
– I ask the Senate to agree to grant Tasmania relief from an Act that is inflicting considerable hardship upon it.
– How is it that it inflicts hardshipon Tasmania and not on the other States?
– The reason is apparent.We have to ship our products to market, whereas the other States have not to do so. Apples can be carried as cheaply from Victoria to Queensland by rail as they can be conveyed by water from Tasmania to Queensland. We have lost the Hobart-Bluff trade. We cannot get our timber to the markets of New Zealand or Fremantle without heavy transhipping charges.
– The trade between Tasmania and New Zealand is not InterState.
– No. But the ships that used to call at Hobart do not visit us now, and it is entirely due to the operation of the Navigation Act. They cannot carry passengers, and it probably does not pay them to call. I shall probably be told that the motion should stand over until the receipt of the report of the Select Committee inquiring into the effects of the Navigation Act.
– The Senate is not represented on the Committee, although it should be.
– I quite agree with the honorable senator. It is outrageous that the Senate is not represented on the Committee. The report may not come to hand for twelve months. In the meantime, the Tasmanian fruit season is approaching, and we are anxious to have an exemption from the coastal provisions of the Act pending the report of that Committee, so that some measure of relief may be granted to the fruit-growers of Tasmania. I hope that the Committee’s powers will be extended. It should be made a Royal Commission, and the Senate should be represented on it. The people of Tasmania want a declaration from the Government as to the justice of this request. We do not wish to wait until the report of the Select Committee on the Navigation Act is received. We want an immediate exemption which will afford relief to the Tasmanian fruitgrowers during the coming season,, commencing about March next. The Com-, mittee is hardly likely to report before that date. It will probably take twelve or eighteen months to conclude its investigations. I trust honorable senators will give my motion serious and close consideration.
.- I formally second the motion. I prefer to speak to it at a later stage.
– I was astonished at the case Senator Ogden attempted to make out with regard to the difficulties of the fruit-growers of Tasmania in getting their apples carried overseas. A few nights ago, it was my duty to remind the’ Stenate of the position of the Tasmanian orchardists. I find that the Commonwealth Government Line of Steamers gets a very small percentage of the apples shipped abroad from Tasmania, notwithstanding the fact that it has led the way in reducing freights.
– The Tasmanian fruit-growers filled the only two Commonwealth Government steamers sent to Hobart.
– The manager of the Line, who has supplied me with all the details, assures me that he was prepared to cater for the whole of the fruit trade of Tasmania. Senator Ogden will admit that it was the Commonwealth Government Line that reduced the freight on apples to 4s. a case.
– The freight is 4s. 6d. a case.
– The Commonwealth Government Line of Steamers reduced the freight to 4s. a case, and the other shipping lines thereupon reduced their charge from 5s. to 4s. 6d. a case. Notwithstanding the reduction brought about by our own steamers, the quantity of apples offering and lifted by them at Hobart was only 269,000 cases this year, and 197,000 cases last year, the percentages to the total apple export of Tasmania being 17 per cent, in one year, and 14 per cent, in the other year.
– That was because the management of the Line would not give us more than two vessels.
– The Manager of the Line assures me that he was willing and ready to cater for the whole of the trade. After the reduction in freights was made, the total quantity of apples shipped from Tasmania this year was 1,561,000 cases, of which only 269,000 cases were carried by our own steamers. I am exceedingly anxious that the Commonwealth Government Line of Steamers should secure all this class of trade while it is catering for it, but despite the operation of the Navigation Act the figures show that other shipping lines get the greater proportion of the business. The Select Committee which has been appointed by another place to inquire into the operation of the Navigation Act is now at work. Every State is represented on that Committee, and its purpose is to make an exhaustive inquiry, and bring up a report for the guidance of Parliament. Of course, I cannot give honorable senators an assurance of what the Government will do when the report is presented, but I am sure that the Committee will take all the evidence available relative to the requirements of Tasmania, as well as those of other States. A proposal such as we have before us to delete a section of the Navigation Act is certain to open the floodgates of debate.
– Why should we take the report of a Committee appointed by another place? Why should we not have our own Committee?
– There is no reason for appointing another Committee to chase round Australia the Select Committee appointed by the House of Representatives. I understand that this Committee will report at an early, date, because every member of it is anxious to reach finality as soon as possible, but 1 freely admit that its report will be pre sented too late for the passage of legislation this session. The Commonwealth Government Line will provide plenty of steamers to lift next season’s apples, and at this juncture I do not know what further assurance I could give.
– If a division is taken on my colleague’s motion . to-night, I am afraid I shall have to vote against it.
SenatorOgden is anxious to secure for Tasmania, not only the apples on the tree, but also the tree itself. A few moments ago, at his request, we adopted a motion which, if the Government give effect to it, will meet the end he desires to achieve in this, his second motion.
– The other motion applied to only the northern Tasmanian ports.
– The Commonwealth Government steamers can call at all the ports of Tasmania. Senator Wilson, as Minister responsible for the conduct of the Line, has just indicated that the Commonwealth steamers will take all the business that can be given to them, and if effect is given to the motion just carried, Tasmania will be brought into much closer association with the mainland than it has enjoyed in the past. Senator Ogden said that prior to the construction of the East.- West railway, exemptions from the operation of the Navigation Act were granted to overseas boats calling at Western Australian ports on their way to Eastern ports. He was quite correct in thus stating the position, but to-day the Commonwealth Government Line of Steamers has brought Tasmania closer to the eastern portion of the mainland than even the Trans-Australian Railway has brought Western Australia. We all know that transport by land is dearer than transport by sea. I think that Senator Ogden, having secured the passage of his other motion, ought to be content. There is something more in that which he has now submitted than the mere bringing of Tasmania nearer to the main-‘ land. I refer to the wages of the men employed on the ships. Senator Ogden. has assured us that it is not his intention to come into conflict with the seamen, but I am very much afraid that an exemption of Tasmania from the operation of the Navigation Act would be a clear invasion of the spirit of that Act,. namely, that men employed in vessels trading in Australian waters shall be paid a proper rate of wages, and shall work under the very best conditions. I am sure Senator Ogden has no desire to alter that.
– Does not the honorable senator see that he is now arguing for the shipping companies.
– No, I am not arguing for the shipping companies; I am arguing for the men who make the money for the shipping companies. Section 286 of the Navigation Act which Senator Ogden proposes to suspend reads -
Where it can be shown to the satisfaction of the Minister, in regard to the coasting trade with any port or Between any ports in the Commonwealth or in the Territories under the authority of the Commonwealth -
that no licensed ship is available for the service; or
that the service as carried out by a licensed ship or ships is inadequate to the needs of such port or ports, . and the Minister is satisfied that it is desirable in the public interest that unlicensed ships be allowed to engage in that trade, he may grant permitB to unlicensed British ships to do so, either unconditionally or subject to such conditions as lie thinks fit to impose.
There are vessels available.
– We are told in the public press, and I believe it is true, that some of our Commonwealth vessels are idle. It is certain that there are ships available, and we should not lightly carry the motion, because if we do we may as well repeal the Navigation Act for all the good it will be to the seamen. If the motion is carried we shall see Peninsular and Oriental steamers, manned with black labour, trading between ‘ Melbourne and Hobart. Then we shall violate the vital White Australia policy for which we, as a nation, stand. I am much more concerned about the White Australia policy than about the shipping companies. An honorable senator interjected while Senator Ogden was speaking, that if the concession asked for was granted to Tasmania, it would have to be granted also to other portions of the Commonwealth. The vital principle of the Navigation Act is the preservation of the White Australia policy.
– The concession hasalready been made on one occasion to New South Wales.
– Two wrongs do not make a right. The Commonwealth has ships lying idle, and Senator Wilson has stated that the Government Line will take all the business that any of the States can offer. The Senate has already affirmed a resolution by Senator Ogden in that direction. If Senator Ogden presses the motion to a division, I shall vote against it, because it will impair a very vital principle. I do not want to see black labour encouraged on steamers trading on the Australian coast. The people of Western Australia are suffering from too many of these exemptions, and the State executive of the Australian Labour party has made repeated representations to this and the preceding Government in that regard. We object to the exemptions being granted, because seamen who could be employed on the exempted ships are walking the streets of Fremantle. One of my Western Australian colleagues in another place, Mr. Watson, agrees that these exemptions have affected the employment of seamen in Fremantle. I hope that the Committee which is now inquiring into the operations of the Navigation Act will present a. report which will have some effect. I do not want to see the door opened any wider. It is wide enough open now. I would like to see it shut, barred and bolted, so as to insure that the Navigation Act would be carried out in its entirety, and that our own people would derive the benefit of it As we have a Commonwealth Government Shipping Line, and as the Minister has assured the Senate that the facilities which Senator Ogden seeks will be provided, I oppose the motion.
.- I have listened very, attentively to the reasons assigned. why the motion of Senator Ogden should not be accepted. I was particularly interested in the statement made by the Minister (Senator Wilson) that the Commonwealth Government Line had not received the support that it cowld reasonably expect when it entered into competition with the private steam-ship companies to remove apples from Hobart to the Old Country. I wish to refer briefly to one phase of the injury - I use that word advisedly - which has been done to a veryimportant industry in Tasmaniaby the operation of the Act. If Senator Ogden’s motion was accepted, and section 286 of the Act was put into operation, that injury would be removed. It has to be borne in mind that the produce which is mainly under review at the present time is perishable. .The apple -crop has to be marketed at a certain time of the year, and it is absolutely essential, in the interests -Of the orchardists, that the shipments should be so arranged as to avoid glutting the English market. Prior to the operation of the Navigation Act, the Peninsular and Oriental and Orient companies had the opportunity, during the apple season, of carrying tourist passengers from the mainland ports to Tasmania. Their vessels paid regular visits to the port of Hobart, and participated in the trade of carrying fruit overseas. No other vessels engaged in the trade carried the fruit so well. Neither of those lines took a very large quantity at a time, and that is where the practical advantage came in ‘for the orchardists. The fruit arrived in London in excellent condition. I have never heard of an instance in which it suffered by neglect on the voyage. Orchardists could always rely upon getting a higher price for fruit shipped by these than by other boats, for the reason that the shipments were small, and were landed where the market was clear of the larger shipments carried by slower vessels. The Act provides that no vessel which does not comply with the Act shall be entitled - except by a special permitto -carry passengers between the ports of Australia.
– ‘Are the conditions with which the shipping companies have to comply very onerous?
– The honorable senator knows all about them. They relate mainly to the rates of wages paid to, and the class of accommodation provided for, the crews. The Peninsular and Oriental and Orient boats do not come within the requirements of the Navigation Act, and are, consequently, excluded from carrying tourists to Tasmania. Because of that the orchard industry in Tasmania has suffered very considerably. Senator Wilson has stated that the Commonwealth Government Line could have carried tho whole of the Tasmanian fruit crop to the London market this year. He stated that 1,561,000 cases of fruit were exported to the Old Country, and that of that quan- tity the Commonwealth Government Line received only 269,000 cases. The apple export season lasts but a little over three months, and at the outside only fifteen weeks. The Commonwealth Government liners, which are suitable- for carrying fruit, and are so equipped as to insure its arriving in a condition that will command a fair price, leave Australia every three weeks. Only five vessels would he available during the apple season, and to lift the whole crop they would have to carry 312,200 cases each. Imagine what a disaster it would be to the orchard industry of Tasmania if a steamer arrived in London and placed on the market a cargo as large as that. What return would the Tasmanian orchardist receive in those circumstances? It is absolutely impossible to comply with the Minister’s suggestion that five boats should be permitted to carry that enormous crop. About thirty vessels ‘ have called at Hobart this year to carry fruit. They have loaded what, in comparison with the figures I have- quoted, were Small -consignments. Notwithstanding the large fleet of ships engaged in this trade., orchardists last season, particularly in the beginning of it, received, instead of payment for their fruit, debits from agents for the loss sustained on it. The lot of the orchardist to-day is not enviable. I can understand the honorable senator moving this motion. He lives in the southern portion of the State; I live in the north-west. I am as interested in this question as is any one in the southern part of the State. In the north-west, the orcharding industry is being developed. The whole of Tasmania is vitally interested in the question. There is also another point of view. The number of tourists having diminished as the result of the withdrawal of the mail boats the primary industries of the State have been affected: There are so many less mouths to feed in the State each year. The limited amount of space available in the mail boats fitted exactly the orchardists’ requirements. Quite a large number of returned soldiers have gone on the land in Tasmania as orchardists. I know the calibre of these men and the difficulties they have had to face. I know what a difference of 6d. or ls. per case in the not returns means to them. Only the other day, one of these returned soldiers engaged in apple growing told me that his first three shipments to London had resulted in a dead loss.
– I think that was because of a glut in the market, not because of any fault in the shipping arrangements.
– The shipping arrangements were not all that they might havebeen, and the shipments were a little too early. But honorable senators have only to read the London market reports published in the daily press from week to week to know that, at the present time, there is a very small margin of profit for the orchardist.
– It costs about 9s. per case to market apples in the Old Country.
– Yes ; from 8s. 6d. to 9s. is, I think, the amount; so that if the London market yields 10s. a case, the grower gets about1s. per case for himself, and then has to pay for his cases. I have no wish to delay consideration of the motion. The industry, I think, deserves all the consideration that can be given to it. I claim that the Navigation Act contains a provision to permit relief to be given under certain conditions. It has been suggested that, if certain portions of the Act are suspended, in the interests of Tasmania, similar requests will be received from other portions of Australia; but I know of no other part of Australia from which fruit is exported that is in the same position as Tasmania. The Peninsular and Oriental and Orient companies’ vessels call regularly at other Australian ports; and, if fruit is offering, they will accept shipments from any of the ports of call. But the position in Tasmania is entirely different. The mail steam-ship companies do not care to send their vessels to Tasmania for the comparatively small quantity of fruit which they are able to take. They require an additional inducement in the form of passengers, who, prior to the operation of the Navigation Act, were in the habit of making what was known as the “ apple trip.” I support the motion, and I hope that Senator Ogden’s statement of the position, and my plea for special consideration to be given to those engaged in the fruit-growing industry, will be sympathetically received by the Government.
Motion (by Senator Drake-Brockman) - That the debate be adjourned - put.
The Senate divided.
Majority . . . . 4
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
In Committee (Consideration resumed, vide page 2016) :
Clauses 4 and 5 agreed to.
Clause 6 -
The gauge of the railway shall be 3 ft. 6 in.
.- I move-
That the words “three feet six inches “ be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ four feet eight and one half inches.”
I submit the amendment in order to place before the Committee the desirability of constructing this proposed section of the Northern Territory line to the standard gauge of 4 ft. 81/2 in. I realize, of course, that it may be some time before the Commonwealth will be in a position to seriously consider the question of unifying the railway gauges in Australia. I am aware also of the immense mileage in Queensland on the 3-ft. 6-in. gauge, and of the difficulties encountered in Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia owing to the breaks of gauge. I know how serious, from a financial point of view, is this problem of securing a uniform gauge for the Commonwealth. But it must be tackled some day, and the sooner the better. If this section of the Northern Territory railway were constructed to the standard gauge, the existing line from Darwin to the Katherine River would have to be widened. That should hot be a matter of very great difficulty. In my opinion, we should not construct any more Commonwealth railway lines to other than the standard gauge. Even if the wider gauge for this section of the line cost an extra £1,000 per mile it would be money well spent.
– It would cost more than that. The estimate of an additional £1,000 per mile relates only to the provision of’ sleepers to carry the standard gauge. The actual construction would cost considerably more.
– Even if it did cost more, we could have no more favorable opportunity than the present for the construction of the line according to the standard gauge.All New South Wales lines are built to that gauge. One branch line extends as far up as Bourke, and another as far as Walgett. It is about time that the representatives of New South Wales in this Chamber took a leaf out of Tasmanian or Queensland senators’ books, and did something to insure a fair deal for their State. There is no reason why a branch of the Northern Territory railway should not come down from Avon Downs to either Bourke or Walgett. This is more likely to result if we insist on the Northern Territory lines being built to the 4-ft. 8½-in. gauge. But that is not my main reason for submitting the amendment. I believe that the 4-ft. 8½-in. is the best gauge. It is recognised all over the world as the standard gauge, and since it has been adopted by the Commonwealth, all new lines should be built to it.
– I cannot accept the amendment. The proposal, if adopted, would involve not only the broadening of the gauge of the proposed line, but that of the existing line.
– It would also create great disorganization when the line eventually connected with the Queensland lines.
– I am not considering that for a moment. To construct the proposed line on the broader gauge and convert the existing 200 miles of railway, would involve an expenditure of at least £250,000, quite apart from the expense incurred in altering the rollingstock. The annual interest at 5 per cent, would be equal to £12,500, and the present and probable traffic would not be sufficient to meet such a heavy outlay. It would probably cost less to convert the existing line at some future date. Additional lines will also have to be constructed before the Territory can be properly developed, and any substantial increase in the cost of construction must inevitably hinder development.
.- I did not expect the Honorary Minister (Senator Crawford) to accept the amendment. We have been informed by the Minister that if the gauge of the proposed line were broadened as proposed an additional expenditure of £250,000 would be involved, and that further railways will have to bo constructed in the Northern Territory. The Northern Territory will not remain in its present state, and doubtless the gauge of the proposed line will eventually be broadened. It would be infinitely better to deal with this project in a business-like way and construct the line on the standard gauge of 4 ft. 8½ in. The line, when completed to Port Augusta, will extend for, approximately, 2,000 miles. Is there any reason why this piecemeal policy should be adopted ? Is there any justification for the Govern- ‘ ment submitting a proposal for the construction of a line on the 3-ft. 6-in. gauge when it admits that 4 ft. 8½ in. is the standard gauge. If the line were constructed on the broader gauge, the Government would set an example to the various State Governments. The Minister stated that a unified gauge for Australia has never been seriously discussed, but prominent railway officials and various State Governments have given the matter close attention. When a Labour Government was in power a few years ago, it was extremely anxious that the work of unifying our several gauges should proceed without delay, but owing to the difficulties which arose the policy then outlined could not be given effect to. I do not know of anything more wasteful, or any greater handicap to trade between the various States, than the varying gauges now in existence. The Northern Territory is now under the control of the Commonwealth, and I cannot understand the Government opposing such a reasonable proposition, even if it means the expenditure of a fairly large sum of money.
– I find that the broadeningor the gauge would cost more than i intimated a little while ago.
– Probably the rolling-stock would have to be scrapped, and it would not be at all disadvantageous if a new line were constructed from Darwin to Daly Waters, and new rolling-stock provided, as useful employment could then be given to very large numbers of men who are now out of work. I do not suggest that the Honorary Minister is favouring the 3-ft. 6-in. gauge, so that eventually the line may be linked up with the Queensland system. He is, I hope, too big an Australian to look at it from that point of view. I am supporting the amendment, not because I am opposed to the Bill, but because the broader gauge will eventually be adopted throughout the Commonwealth. When the construction of the trans-Australian railway was under consideration some years ago, some were under the impression that the 3-ft. 6-in. gauge -should be adopted, but no one has since questioned the wisdom of adopting the broader gauge-.
– I was in error in stating that to construct the proposed line on the 4-ft. 81/2in gauge instead of the 3-ft. 6-in. gauge, and to convert the existing line would cost £250,000. To convert the line from Port Darwin to the Katherine River from the 3-ft. 6-in. to the 4-ft. 81/2-in. gauge would cost more than £250,000. The extra cost of constructing the proposed line to Paly Waters on the broader gauge would involve an additional expenditure of £165,000. The whole cost would probably be well over £600,000. The annual interest at 5 per cent, on this extra capital expenditure would amount to over £30,000.
– What is the length at the other end?
– Two hundred miles, and it is estimated that it would cost more than £250,000 to convert that section..
– It would save the cost of conversion later if we constructed the proposed line on the broader gauge.
Senator CRAWFORD.If the interest on this additional expends ture had to be paid for thirty years it would amount to nearly £1,000,000. There would also be the extra cost of maintaining the wider road. In view of this I hope that the amendment will not be pressed. There may not be sound reasons for converting the line to the wider gauge for a generation or two. The Government should not be asked to incur unnecessary expense, which would make the construction of railways in the Territory very costly, and delay the provision of the necessary lines for the development of that country.
– I am astonished that the Government should . attempt to spend public money in building a railway on the 3-ft. 6-in. gauge. Twelve years ago a Government embarked upon the construction of 1,100 miles of railway to link up lines in South Australia and Western Australia, which are both of the 3-ft. 6-in. gauge. That work was largely brought about by Senator Pearce, and it was constructed on what is to be the uniform gauge for Australia. In those days Senator Pearce thought ‘as an Australian, and he realized that it was . necessary for the East-West line to be built on the 4-ft. 81/2-in. gauge. Surely the present proposed line, whichis only 165 miles in length, should be of the same width. We are now very much nearer the attainment of a uniform gauge than we were when the East- West line was built. It is. practically a certainty that the standard gauge of. Australia will eventually be 4 ft. 81/2 in. If only for military reasons, the sooner there is uniformity the better. . Personally, I am not anticipating foreign aggression; hut that is not the question at issue. We should remember that we are legislating for all time. Then, again, since the construction of the East-West line there has been an. invention in New South Wales by which, rolling-stock can be transferred from the 3-ft. 6-in. gauge to the 4-ft. 81/2-in. gauge. A successful test has been carried out with a waggon bearing a 5-ton load of wool. Surely the Government will not now revert to the bad old system and perpetuate the present breaks of gauge. Australia is bearing a huge burden because of the many changes of gauge. . This, is not a party question; it is a matter of using ordinary intelligence. . We ought to be far-sighted enough to profit by the mis- takes of our forefathers. Ita now proposed to spend £1,500,000 on a new line, and the extra expense of providing for the 4-ft. 81/2-in. gauge would be comparatively small. I should like to see thorough tests made with concrete sleepers. I do not know that it would not pay to build even a concrete road, linking up the Northern Territory with the capitals of the southern States. A railway trackcosts thousands of pounds a mile to construct, and can be used for one class of traffic only, whereas, a concrete road, say 12ft. wide, with a suitable number of sidings, could be utilized for all classes of traffic, and particularly motor vehicles. There is not much doubt that motor traction will provide the transportation of the future. On one of the most difficult roads in New South Wales, where the heavy grades in the Blue Mountains have to be negotiated, a motor service is competing successfully with railways for a distance of 200 miles. We should certainly obtain an estimate of the cost of concrete roads. If, however, we must have a. railway, let us show as much courage and. patriotism as we did when the East-West line was. authorized, and let us adopt the same gauge. This Parliament should set. its. own house in order,, so that there may soon be a uniform gauge for Australia.
Question - That the words proposed to be left out (Senator Grant’s amendment) be left out - put. The Committiee divided.
Ayes . . . . … 6
Noes …. . . . . 12:
Majority . . . . 6.
Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment negatived.
Senator McDOUGALL (New South
Wales) [10.14].- I move-
That the following words be added to the clause, “ provided that all bridges, culverts. and sleepers are so constructed that the gauge may be altered to four feet eight and. one-half inches without delay.”
We are told that this provision has been made in regard to bridges, and culverts ; but there is no mention of it in the Bill.
– I . cannot accept the amendment because I have already given the Government’s assurance that the bridges and culverts will be constructed to carry a 4 ft. 81/2 in. line, and because also it would unnecessarily increase the cost of the line to provide sleepers suitable for the wider’ gauge.
.- Is it not a fact that on the extension from Pine Creek toKatherine River the sleepers were laid with a view to conversion to the 4 ft. 81/2 in. gauge
– Then I cannotunderstand why the Government refuse to make the same provision on this further extension of the line. The work done in this respect on the Pine CreekKatherine River section is rendered valueless, because the Government decline to spend another £60,000, to do on the Daly Waters extension what has already been done on the portion of the railway already in use. The extra cost, is a mere nothing. My proposal is to provide for what the engineers had in mind, namely, the future conversion of the line to the 4-ft. 81/2-in. gauge. « I think it is a suicidal proposal to provide sleepers on this new section which will not permit of the conversion, to the broader gauge.
– We are assured that the steel sleepers to be used on this section of railway will have a life of fifty years. Evidently the Government will not be in any hurry to convert this line to the 4 ft. 81/2 in. gauge. The Minister speaks of the extra, cost of cuttings and embankments if longer sleepersare used, but I do not suppose that upon this section of line there will be any cutting aver 4 ft. deep, or any embankment ever 6 in. high. I have not seen the country myself, but I am. given to understand: that it is very similar to that through which the East-West railway passes where the conditions are just as I have described. For hundreds of miles there are few cuttings more than 4 ft. deep, and there is no embankment more than 6 in. high It seems to me that the Government do not intend to unify the railway gauge.
– We have been informed that the Pine Creek-Katherine River section was constructed so that it could easily be converted to the 4-ft. 81/2-in. gauge. If that was the’ right policy to adopt when that line was being built, why are the Government not adopting it in regard to this new section?
– I am not prepared to admit that it was the right policy to adopt at that time.
SenatorFINDLEY.- Then we must infer that the policy adopted in the past was not right - that the Government are now of opinion that the gauge of the Northern Territory Railway will be 3 ft. 6 in. for an indefinite period, and in fact that they are wedded to a 3-ft. 6-in. gauge.
Question - That thewords proposed to be added (Senator McDougall’s amendment) be so added - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . . . 5
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 7 agreed to.
Clause 8 -
The provisions of section63 of the Commonwealth Railways Act 1917 shall apply in relation to the acquisition of land for the purposes of the railway, notwithstanding the pro visions of section 11 of the Northern Territory (Administration) Act 1910 :
Provided that no person who is a lessee of lands from the Crown shall be entitled to compensation in respect of the resumption or use of any of such lands for the purposes of the railway.
Amendment (by Senator Crawford) proposed -
That the first paragraph be omitted with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words : - “ Notwithstanding the provisions of section 11 of the Northern Territory (Administration) Act 1910, the provisions of section 63 of the Commonwealth Railways Act 1917 shall apply in relation to the acquisition of land for the purposes of the railway as if after the words, ‘ Crown lands of ‘ and after the words ‘ whether by ‘ there were inserted the words, the Commonwealth or’.”.
.- It is a drafting amendment, and provides for inserting “Commonwealthor” in two places in the original Railways Act in so far as it relates to this measure. The section will then read “ Commonwealth or State,” instead of merely “ State.”
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 9 (Wages and conditions, of employment).
– It is important that we should have a quorum present to consider such an important clause. [Quorum formed.]
Clause agreed to.
Clause 10 agreed to.
New clause -
.- I move-
That the following new clause be added : - “ 11. All leasehold or freehold lands increased in value by the construction of the railway shall be subject to a betterment tax of1/2d. per £ 1 per annum.”
It is recognised that the construction of a railway, or the expenditure of public money on public improvements, has a direct and permanent effect in increasing the value of land in the vicinity. The latest instance of this that has come under my notice is an Act passed by theNew South Wales Government, containing a section of this description, relating to theSydney Harbor bridge, which is, in fact, part of the railway. The whole of the land on one side, and part of the land on the other side, of the harbor has been made subject to a tax of?d. per ?1 per annum. Itis a pleasant duty to pay such a tax, because any one who pays it knows that other people have to pay it also. It takes away nothing that a person has earned, but something which has been given to him by the community, and is really communal property. As such, the community is entitled to it. I recognise that in the Northern Territory the value of the land is not so high as in other parts of the Commonwealth. I have not the slightest doubt that in a few years, and perhaps very much sooner, the Northern Territory will be thickly populated, will be a hive of industry, and will make rapid and permanent progress. There is not the remotest doubt in my mind that the construction of this line will substantially and permanently increase the value of all the adjacent lands. The further the line is constructed south, the greater will be the value of the land adjoining the section now under consideration. I do not propose that the Commonwealth should annex the whole of the added value. The land is not worth very much per square mile, and the tax will not be heavy. I understand that most of. the country is leased to various people at a few shillings per square mile per annum.
– Most of it is not leased.
– It will, no doubt, be leased before very long; and, in any case, it is only fair that the people whose properties are improved by the expenditure of public moneyshould make some contribution to the public funds.
– (Senator Newland). -I point out to the honorable senator that the amendment seeks to impose taxation, and as the Senate has no power to originate Bills or proposals for taxation, I must rule the amendment out of order.
– May I be permitted to move my amendment in the form of a request to the other House?
– It would have the same effect. The amendment would have originated in this Committee, and the Committee has no power to originate proposals to impose taxation.
– While I am loth to occupy the time of the Committee, . I would suggest that if the amendment cannot bo moved because it imposes taxation, it can certainly be moved as a request.
That has been laid down clearly in a number of cases. I should hesitate to support action which would lessen the constitutional powers of the Senate. While we may not be permitted to carry a direct amendment in the form proposed, we can, nevertheless, request another place to make the amendment.
– I shall allow the amendment to be moved in the form of a - request.
– There are only two classes of Bills that the Senate has not the right to amend. To-morrow wk shall discuss a Bill dealing with new works. That will be a purely money Bill, but we may amend it as we choose. 1 take no exception to the present difficulty being overcome by framing the amendment in the form of a request, but I submit that the Bill under consideration is one that we may amend.
– Can we so amend it as to add something to it that we could not include in a Bill originated in the Senate?
– The Bill, to my mind, is identical with a Works Bill, such as. will be submitted to us to-morrow. It is of the same class as Bills which we are permitted to discuss in full on the first reading.
– The amendment proposes to impose taxation.
– The Bill does notimpose taxation. Bills dealing with appropriations or imposing taxation are’ the only class of Bills upon which we are restricted to making requests. To other Bills wo can make amendments. I direct attention to this matter, so that wc shall not drift into a wrong practice in the future.
– By way of explanation, I may point out that the Bills to which Senator Gardiner has referred are not originated in the Senate. The suggested amendment has been originated iu this Committee.
– I move-
That, theHouse of Representatives be requested to insert the following new clause : - “ 11. All leasehold or freehold lands increased in value by the construction of the railway shall be subject to a betterment tax of id.per ?1 per annum.”
. - Although it may be permissible for the amendment sobe accepted in the folia of a request, I think, honorable senatorswill agree with mewhen I say that it Would beadeparture from the practice of this Chamber and of Parliament to convertsuch a Bill as that which is under consideration into a taxation measure. Taxation Bills are necessarily complicated, and a great deal more than the few words contained in Senator Grant’s amendment would be necessary to achieve the object he has in view. It is undesirable to include a provision of this nature is a RailwayBill, because it can only apply to the section of line to be constructed under the Bill in which the principle is included.If Parliament is in favour of a betterment tax it should be incorporated in aBill dealing exclusively with that class of taxation. This proposed line will pass through land much of which at present is unoccupied, and the remainder is held under lease. As the rental value will be re-appraised at intervals, the appraiser will take into account any increased rental value added to the leases by ‘the construction of the lore. As the honorable senator’s object willbe achieved in that way; there isnoneed for this special provision.
– I amgladthat Senator Grant has submitted this amendment. Therewas never a better opportunity ior testing the principle, because this Bill deals with territory in which the States have no concern whatever. We shall be spending public money upon a railway that will enhance considerably the value of all property through which the line passes. The suggestion that this laud should be subjected to a betterment tax of½d. in the £1 is so reasonable, and the principle isso just, thatI am surprised thatthe Minister should hesitate to accept it. It is thoroughly in accord with theprinciple adopted by intelligent Australians thirty years ago. No one would venture nowadays to go on a public platform and deny the soundness of the principle that values created by the expenditure of public moneyshould not be levied upon for the purpose of the Government. As the land at present is of comparatively little value, the tax would be correspondingly light ; but as the land increased in value through the construc tion and operation of the line, So also would the amount of taxation derived from it increase. The principle has been well laid down byHenryGeorge that values created by the presence of the community and the expenditure of public money are always a legitimate, source of revenue for the purposes of government. I am thoroughly in accord withSenator Grant in this matter, and if hecalls for a division I shall support him.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to insert the proposed new clause- put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . . . 6
Bill reported with an amendment;
Senate adjourned at 10.55p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 2 August 1923, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1923/19230802_senate_9_104/>.