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Monday, 18 December 1905


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am not altogether astonished at some of the specious arguments of the Attorney-General. If there is one honorable member who has seemed to me desirous of placing difficulties in the way of the fulfilment of the bond in the Constitution relating to the Federal Capital, it is the honorable and learned member for Indi'I must say that some of the arguments which he has advanced, both by way of interjection, and in his speech to-night, scarcely accord with a dignified treatment of this subject, neither are they creditable to himself. He Has looked at this question from an exceedingly narrow legal stand-point.


Mr Isaacs - I rested my case to a large extent upon the admissions of the right honorable member for East Sydney.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I will leave the legal members of the House to answer the legal issues which the AttorneyGeneral has raised. The honorable and learned gentleman appears to view the question of the future Seat of Government in a very peculiar light. He intends to insist on his pound of flesh, and nothing less. >The display of that sort of spirit is not conducive to the peaceful and satisfactory settlement of an important matter between the largest and most populous State of the Union, and the people of the Commonwealth as a whole. If he does not regard Mr. Carruthers' action as indicative of the opinion of the people of New South Wales-


Mr Isaacs - Not as to secession.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Mr. Carruthershas definitely, stated that he is opposed to secession, so that the AttorneyGeneral ought not to make that insinuation. If he does not think Mr. Carruthers represents the opinion entertained by the people of New South Wales, I do not think that he represents the views of the electors of Victoria, or of the rest of the Commonwealth, because 1 feel that they will view this matter, not from a narrow legal standpoint, but from the stand-point of what is fair and honest to the people of New South Wales.


Mr Isaacs - Did Mr. Carruthers properly report the honorable member?


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) -I do not know to what the Attorney-General refers.


Mr Isaacs - I read it in Hansard.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My attitude towards Mr. Carruthers is upon record in writing, and the At'torney-General is 'art liberty to quote any portion of it.


Mr Isaacs - If the honorable member does not deny my statement I am satisfied.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do deny it, and I have some justification for my denial. The Attorney-General stated that before the Constitution was accepted the Legislative Council of New South Wales adopted a resolution providing that the Federal Capital should be in Sydney, and that the Legislative Assembly affirmed that it should be " in such place within the boundaries of New South Wales as the Federal Parliament may determine."


Mr Bamford - It would have been in Sydney if the decision had been left to this Parliament.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not doubt a,t this stage that it would be established in Sydney. I will undertake to say that- the interjection of the honorable member for Herbert is correct, and that the Seat of Government would have been established in. Sydney if "the area within which the choice of the Capital could be made had been New South Wales, as it was by the Assembly's resolution. I have not the remotest doubt about that. The first Parliament would have met in Sydney, and if it is difficult to get the Seat of Government removed from Melbourne, it would have been far more difficult to get it removed from Sydney. The Conference of Premiers followed, and, in deference to the feeling of New South Wales, as the oldest and most populous State, an arrangement was made that she should be assured of the possession of the Capital. Out of consideration for Victoria, however, a clause was inserted in the Constitution, providing that it should not be within 100 miles of Sydney. I now propose to allude to one of the AttorneyGeneral's misstatements. He declared that the resolution arrived at by the Premiers had not been brought before this Parliament until now.


Mr Isaacs - I did not.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The AttorneyGeneral distinctly said so. He said, in effect : " Why is this matter unearthed now ; why was it not raised when the selection of the Federal Capital was being considered by this Parliament?" Surely the honorable and learned gentleman must have spoken in ignorance, because I would not accuse him of indulging in absolute misrepresentation. I distinctly brought t01ward the resolution in question before the Dalgety site was selected. Upon the 20tt July, 1904, as will be seen by reference to Hansard, page 3419, I said -

I have also noticed that in certain quarters attempts have been made to have the Federal Capital located as far away from Sydney as possible"; to place it on the borders of New South Wales, and If possible nearer to some other capital than the capital of that State. I think that such action is reasonably regarded by the people of New South Wales as unfair, and in support of that belief, I will quote some of the statements which were made when the matter was being discussed in New South Wales prior to the acceptance of the draft Constitution by the people of that STate. This is a statement as to the resolution which was passed by the Conference of Premiers in 1809 -

I then quoted the resolution, the exact terms of which have already been read by the right honorable member for East Sydney. A little later I said -

There is no doubt that an effort is now being made to do something which is quite opposed to the understanding then arrived at. The effort to which I refer has for its object the location of the capital not " at a reasonable "distance from Sydney," burst a place as far away from Sydney as is possible. It is being made one of the conditions of eligibility of a site that it shall be as distant from the capital of New South Wales as it can be. When the question was raised in New South Wales by those who opposed the acceptance of the draft Constitution by the people of that State, certain prominent men in Victoria -replied to the objections of the leaders of the movement against the Bill.

I then quoted some of the statements made by the press and by public men in Victoria. I continued -

I have already shown the spirit in which the Premiers framed the provision in the Constitution after passing a resolution which requires, first, that the Capital shall not be situated within 100 miles of Sydney, and, secondly, that it shall be within a reasonable distance of Sydney.


Mr Isaacs - That is not what the Premier said.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What does the Attorney-General mean bv asserting - he must have done so recklessly - that that resolution had not been brought before this Parliament until the eleventh hour?

The facts are reported in Hansard, and, very possibly, the Attorney-General himself was present when I made my statement.


Mr Isaacs - If the honorable member will read my speech in Hansard, he will agree that he is not correctly stating what I said.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I know that the Attorney-General has been seriously misunderstood. Some quotations which were made have been denied by him.


Mr Isaacs - The quotations in question absolutely bore out what I said.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I will not argue with the Attorney-General if he makes that statement. In my hearing the honorable and learned gentleman said that quite a different complexion could be put upon the words " reasonable distance from Sydney," and he promised to show that they meant "reasonably far from Sydney." I do not pretend that I have quoted his exact words, but I do claim that I have expressed their meaning. He said that, instead of the people of New South Wales being entitled to have the Seat of Government reasonably near to Sydney, the words " within a reasonable distance of Sydney," in addition to the 100 miles limit, were inserted1 to keep it distant from Sydney.


Mr Isaacs - Not less than 100 miles from there.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable the Attorney-General alluded to the "reasonable distance."


Mr Isaacs - Of course.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Such an argument, if seriously put forward, would do more to disgust the people of New South Wales with the whole arrangement than would anything else. To urge that the agreement by the Premiers that, whilst the Federal Capital should not be within 100 miles of Sydney, provision should be made for its location within a reasonable distance of that city, meant that' it was not to be established near to the 100 miles limit,, but a great way beyond it, is absurd. Such an argument, if sound, would be considered as an indication that trickery had been resorted to at the Conference.


Mr Isaacs - As the honorable member has used that word, will he tell me if Tumut is within a reasonable distance of Sydney? The New South Wales Parliament has said in effect that it is.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - f shall deal presently with that point. I am not defending the Parliament or the" Ministry of New South Wales ; I shall have reason to admit that they have not acted always in the best interests of that State. The Attorney-General actually quoted a speech made by the right honorable member for East Sydney, after the Conference of Premiers, with the object of showing that it afforded good ground for the argument that :he words " a reasonable distance from Sydney " do not convey the meaning which they clearly express. In this speech, the right honorable member for East Sydney said he had no doubt that the Federal Parliament would fix the Capital near the 100mile limit.


Mr Isaacs - But he let it be understood that it could establish it wherever it pleased.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The question of power is one matter and that of justice is another. The honorable and learned member, in the course of his speech, dealt with the matter entirely from the point of view of power, and absolutely neglected the consideration of justice.


Mr Isaacs - No.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member endeavoured to show, by quoting; from a speech made by' the right honorable member for East Sydney, that it was the desire df the late Ministry to flout the Parliament of New South Wales. That speech certainly did not bear the construction which' the Attorney-General placed upon it. The honorable and learned gentleman failed entirely to remember what has been stated quite recently in this House, that, as Minister of Home Affairs in the late Government, I had absolutely announced to the press, on behalf of the Ministry, that the resolutions passed by the Parliament of New South' Wales were not to be flouted, but, on the contrary, were to be taken into consideration by this Legislature. This same point was raised in October last. I was absent at the time, but I telegraphed to the deputy leader of the Opposition that an announcement had been made by the late Ministry that the resolutions of the New South Wales Parliament were to be brought before this Parliament for consideration. I referred him to a paper which, among others, gave my statement in that connexion as the decision of the Ministry. On the roth June last, the Sydney Daily Telegraph, as well as other newspapers, published a paragraph based on the information supplied by myself that -

It is the intention of the Government to submit the Federal question at an early date to Parliament.

Not in the last hours of the session, but at* an early date -

The procedure will probably be by way of resolution, although it has not yet been determined. The proposal is to allow the whole subject to be discussed, and the resolutions adopted by the New South Wales Parliament to be considered.

The weakness of the Attorney-General's argument is shown by the fact that he endeavoured to twist a chance remark made by the right honorable member for East Sydney-


Mr Isaacs - A chance remark ! That was the inference to be drawn from the whole speech.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The AttorneyGeneral sought to draw the inference from a chance remark that the late Government were determined that the resolution passed by the New South Wales Parliament should not be treated with courtesy, and that that Parliament was to be flouted. As a matter of fact, he knew that a statement had been quoted in Parliament showing that I, as the Minister responsible for matters relating to the Federal Capital, had stated to the press that these resolutions would be placed before this Legislature for consideration.


Mr Mahon - Why did not the honorable member carry out his intention?


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Because we were not allowed to remain in office.


Mr Mahon - The late Government were in office on the roth June last.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Parliament was then in recess.


Mr Mahon - But the late Government met the Parliament later on.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member is assuming an innocence which suits him better than it does the AttorneyGeneral. The honorable and learned gentleman, with singular audacity, has quoted a speech by the right honorable member for East Sydney, in which he said that the resolution passed by the Parliament of New South Wales had not in the slightest degree altered the decision of this Parliament. That is perfectly correct. But the right honorable member added, as the Attorney-General himself admitted - and this is where the audacity comes in - that if a majority of the Parliament were prepared to alter that decision, that, of course, was a different matter. As Prime Minister, however, he did not ' propose to depart from an Act which Parliament itself had passed. Is not such a position entirely understandable? If it is not, is it possible to understand the position of some of the AttorneyGeneral's colleagues? The Minister of Home Affairs supported the selection of another site, and yet he is now standing by the decision of the Parliament to select Dalgety. I am not blaming him for his present action. I think that he is acting legitimately. But why should exception be taken to members of the late Ministry adopting a similar attitude? Were we not the Executive of Parliament? Is a Ministry to say that it will enforce those portions of an Act of Parliament with which it agrees, and that it will not enforce those with which' it disagrees? That would be an. absurdity. I think that it redounds to the credit of the late Ministry that, although the right honorable member for East Sydney said that he would have preferred another selection, he would not allow his personal predilections to interfere with the instructions he had received from Parliament. That is the position which I took up. We would not allow our personal predilections to interfere with the carrying out of the decision of Parliament, and we both did our best to have the question settled upon the basis fixed by this Legislature. We used our best endeavours to that end just as if we agreed with every line of the Seat of Government Act.


Mr Austin Chapman - Is the honorable member going to vote with me?


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I would advise the honorable gentleman to possess his soul in patience, and to remember that, wherever the Capital is established, there he will go. Even if Lake George be selected, he will probably be found its representative. The Capital and the honorable member must go together. Then the honorable and learned gentleman said that, according to Mr. Carruthers, the late Prime Minister and I had informed the latter that the selection of Dalgety was mandatory, and binding on New South Wales.

M.r. Austin Chapman. - And conclusive.


Mr Isaacs - I used the words " mandatory, final, and binding."


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What we stated in that respect was put in writing, and is to be found in the Department of Home Affairs.


Mr Groom - Hear, hear. It forms part of a memorandum.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What I stated in that memorandum was that one part of the Act - that relating to the establishment of the Capital within seventeen miles of Dalgety' - was mandatory, but that the provisions as to access to the sea, and as, to the area, were simply suggestions, and could be dealt with by way of negotiation.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - As well as the particular site of the Capital.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yes ; but it was to be within seventeen miles of Dalgety. That was mandatory on the Government of the Commonwealth, but not on the Parliament of New South Wales. That was the difference. I do not accuse the honorable and learned gentleman of having intentionally misquoted Mr. Carruthers' statement in any way, but the assertion that the right honorable member for East Sydney and I declared that the Act was mandatory on New South Wales is wrong. We made no such statement. If the Minister of Home Affairs wishes to see what we said he has only to turn to the correspondence.


Mr Groom - I have read the statement. I think that it is reproduced in our letter to the New South Wales Government.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - We said that the decision of Parliament was mandatory as to the site being within seventeen miles of Dalgety.


Mr Groom - Our view is that the whole Act is mandatory.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Until it is altered by Parliament.


Mr Groom - We also say that it is binding on the State of New South Wales until it is altered.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That may be the view of the present Government, but the late Government did not go so far. W< said that anything except the Capital being within seventeen miles of Dalgety was a question for negotiation. The AttorneyGeneral also made a statement which is calculated to do a great deal of harm, and to breed . between the Commonwealth and one of the States that bad feeling which he professes a desire to see avoided. He said that the Commonwealth was going to get what it wanted in regard to Dalgety, and that New South Wales was not going to stop it. That is not the way to speak on occasions such as this.


Mr Isaacs - The right honorable member for East Sydney asked me what would be done if New South Wales refused to grant the territory?


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The hon- or able and learned gentleman said that the Commonwealth is going to get Dalgety, and that New South Wales would not stop her.


Mr Isaacs - If the Federal Parliament said so.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Language of that sort is not calculated to breed the calmer feeling which, if we act wisely, both Commonwealth and State representatives will try to produce. It is a small and paltry thing to allow little irritations to cloud great matters. If other men have said what they ought not to have said - as I admit they have ; if they have done what we cannot approve of - and such things have been done by some of the Governments of New South Wales, we should be larger minded than to take notice of the fact, and should do our best to put an end to the friction which has been caused by the harsh and hasty words which have been used by one side or the other.


Mr Isaacs - I said what I did because of a question put by the right honorable member for East Sydney.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I only know what the honorable and learned gentleman said, and I took down his words when he uttered them. They were not wise words, especially in view of the fact that the Bill asks for 900 square miles of New South Wales territory, while the Constitution . says that the territory shall consist of not less than 100 square miles. That sort of threat cannot do anything to assist a settlement of the question.


Mr Isaacs - If the honorable member reads my speech coolly to-morrow, he will see that I did not make a threat.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable and learned gentleman cannot deny that he said that the Commonwealth was going to get that territory, and that New South Wales would not stop her. I am amused at his suggestion that it is a compliment to the New South Wales Parliament to have this Bill brought in, and to allow its resolutions to be discussed in this connexion. The Parliament of New South

Wales is interested by law in the settlement of the Federal Capital question, and has passed certain resolutions. Whether it was desirable to pass those resolutions is another question. But it is a strange thing to say that the ignoring of them, and the bringing in of a Bill which takes no account of them, is a compliment to that Parliament. Still I do not wish to raise any angry feeling in this matter. I have deprecated certain remarks of the Attorney - General as likely to create such feeling; and I wish to have the matter considered calmly and quietly, to discover if there is any good reason for the feeling which exists in New South Wales, and which has driven the Premier of the State from his first stand, and made him entirely opposed to the selection of Dalgety. We wish to ascertain if there is any reason for that feeling, and if so, what means there is of allaying it, and securing a settlement which will be just to both the State and the Commonwealth. As a private member, I am in a position different from that of Ministers, or that which I occupied when a Minister, and I have a perfect right, under the present circumstances, to consider whether weshould stand by our first determination, viewing the matter with the desire to do justice to the State, and to select the best site obtainable in the interests of the Commonwealth. I admit that New South Wales Ministers have been to blame in some of. their proceedings. In one case a State Ministry, when asked by the Commonwealth Government to take the responsibility of suggesting a site, refused to do so, possibly because they were afraid of creating discord in the ranks of their supporters. Then I do not think that the New South Wales Parliament should have left Dalgety out of its list of suggested sites. It should rather have asked for a reconsideration of the position. This Parliament, too, has made mistakes. I do not wish' to go into those matters. This is not a question between Ministry and Ministry. What we have to remember is that dissatisfaction exists in one of the States for which there is some justification, and that is all we need consider. We need not pay regard to the fact that certain Ministers have said this or that. We may admit, if necessary, that some of them have been mistaken. Possibly the Reid-

McLean Administration was mistaken in some of its acts, though I do not admit it as regards this question. That is not the issue now. What we have to consider is the best course to take to secure the selection of a site most suitable for the Commonwealth and satisfactory to the State of New South Wales. I admit that Dalgety has some recommendation, although I never voted for it as my own choice.


Mr Austin Chapman - The honorable member said that the selection was final and binding.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Minister is quite wrong. He is taking as his authority a statement made by the Premier of New South Wales, whose words he will shortly be questioning.


Mr Austin Chapman - The honorable member says so in his memorandum.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - All the reference I made as to the mandatory nature of the provision in the Act is contained in that memorandum.


Mr Austin Chapman - Mr. Carruthers says that the honorable member had a number of interviews with him.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I said nothing at those interviews which could be construed in the way that the Minister suggests. All that I said is contained in the correspondence on that head which can be referred to. The greatest recommendation that Dalgety possesses is the river which flows through it. I contend that, in the interests of Australia and of New South Wales - but more particularly in those of Australia - Dalgety is not the best site for the Federal Capital. It is away in a corner of New South Wales, and, more than that, is in a loop of the mountains. In order to reach some places40 or 50 miles distant, long detours have to be made. There is no railway at present connecting the site with Sydney, and it will be many years before there is a railway connecting it with Melbourne via Bairnsdale. That railway will have to pass through very rough country, and the speed of trains will always be slow. I wonder that honorable members from other States do not see that they will place themselves at a great disadvantage by making such a selection.


Mr Austin Chapman - They have their eye on Tooma.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - There is one strong objection to Tooma that cannot he overcome, namely, that it is right on the border.


Mr Isaacs - What is wrong about that?


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I know that the Attorney-General does not see anything wrong in that; he voted for a site on the border. I do not think, however, that he can uphold his view and at the same time pay full regard to the Constitution and the Premier's memorandum, which shows clearly what was intended. I have already stated that as one of the Executive, I did my best to carry out the expressed will of this Parliament.


Mr Austin Chapman - The honorable member said that Dalgety must always be a purely New South Wales town.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - So it must. I stated that owing to the rough nature of the railway which would connect it with Victoria, it must always remain a New South Wales town. Dalgety is not the best situation for the Federal Capital, because it is not easy of access from the various Capitals. The Departments will have to be located at the Federal Capital, and there will be constant intercommunications between those Departments and the various States. The Capital should be placed in a portion easily accessible, and offering facilities for rapid transit. I have already pointed out that New South Wales has been led by the action of this Parliament to believe that only a site far distant from Sydney will have any chance of selection. This has created feeling. The people have lately been confirmed in their original impression that the Federal Parliament wishes to, fix the Capital Site as far as possible from Sydney, and are still more angered because it appears to wish to evade the explicit statement in the Premier's manifesto that the site should be within a reasonable distance of Sydney. I say that there are many other sites that would be better in the interests of the Commonwealth, and infinitely fairer to New South Wales. If one of these were chosen, it would do away with the present complaint, and certainly render it unnecessary for us to pass a measure that is designed, as the Attorney-General has said, so that the Federal Government may obtain from New South Wales the territory required, whether that State likes it or not. The exact words of the AttorneyGeneral were that the Commonwealth was "going to get the territory," and that " New South Wales is not going to stop it.'"


Mr Isaacs - That is not a fair representation of what I said.


Mr Reid - It is word for word what the Attorney-General said. The AttorneyGeneral cannot put a gloss on his own words.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - If there is any liability of selecting the wrong site, why should we not pause? Our final decision will commit the Commonwealth for all time to a particular site, and if there are doubts amongst honorable members - and I am sure there are amongst half the members of this House - as to the wisdom of our previous decision, why not consider before we go further? The remarks! made by myself and others in regard to the memorandum of the Premiers' Conference received very little attention when they were made. The House was then engaged in a scramble, groups of honorable members endeavouring to get votes for particular sites. Each individual member was endeavouring to get support for the site which he favoured, and efforts were being made, both within the Chamber and out-< side, to push the claims of certain localities. The consideration that should have been given to various arguments was not given, as is shown when it is denied that this resolution of the Premiers' Conference was brought forward at an earlier stage. There is no doubt that the resolution was quoted, but, as I have said, there was then a battle as of particular sites, and considerations which should have guided us in the choice were neglected. We are in a different position to-day, seeing that we have selected a site to which the State most concerned very strongly objects. The State has not objected altogether, because of the distance from Sydney, although there was reason to .do so, ih view of ,the revival of the memorandum of the Premiers. The objection of the State is, that nothing like the best site has been selected, and, if we find that a number of usually fair-minded people and strong Federalists are roused on this matter, and talk about secession - although I do not agree with that language - I think we ought to pause in order to inquire whether there is any reason. If there is merely a colour of injustice, I think we ought to take time for consideration. Of course, my suggestion may mean a little delay, which will, perhaps, not be altogether in the interests of New South Wales, bearing in view the desirability of having a Capital wo/thin the borders of the State at the earliest possible date. However, I urge that we should carefully reconsider the matter before we proceed further. The question may be deferred- until the following session. We are really considering this Bill with an invitation to the prorogation in our pockets.


Mr Austin Chapman - There is no date on the invitation.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Well,, what does that mean ? It can only mean that the prorogation is so near, that if theprinting of the invitations were delayed, it would be too late to print them. In national affairs of.this kind, particularly when there is inflamed feeling on one side or the other, or on both, and more particularly when the feeling is between fellowcitizens of the Commonwealth, it is desirable to allow time for calm consideration. Surely it is better to allow a little time to elapse until the friction and the memory of hard' words have passed away. We shall then bein a cooler and calmer atmosphere, with fuller knowledge of all the facts and circumstances. Such delay, as I have suggested, would be in the interests, not of one State, but of all the States, and, at all events, will tend to do justice to that State which more directly than any other is concerned inthis question.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Watson) adjourned.







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