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Tuesday, 19 December 1905

Debate resumed.

Mr. KINGO'MALLEY (Darwin).The representatives of New South Wales have been preaching secession ; but it would be well for them to profit by the lesson taught to the world in the result of the attempt made by South Carolina, Mississipi, and other southern States, who placed over 1,000,000 men in the field, and submitted their case to the arbitrament of arms, finally having to surrender to the forces of the North. Then, again, when, a few years ago, Nova Scotia attempted to -get out of the Canadian Union, she was snubbed by the British Government ; and New South Wales would be similarly snubbed if she made a similar attempt. That State was not forced or coaxed, or begged to enter the Union ; its people voted for Federation with their eyes and ears open, and now form part of an indissoluble union of States. For honorable members to talk secession is absolute presumption ; indeed, it is more. It is treason. The Premier of the State, instead of being called Joseph Hector Carruthers, ought to be called Jefferson Davis Carruthers, and should be arrested and put into gaol for threatening secession. When the Premiers of the States entered into the arrangement that the Capital should be in New South Wales, it was, in my opinion, purely a 'bunco-steering brace game, in which only one can win. The Commonwealth wants 900 square miles of territory, and if New South Wales is not willing to cede that area any of the other States will be glad to do so. We are being jockeyed out of our rights by that State, and are allowing a fraud to be committed on posterity, although we are the guardians of its destiny. I care very little for the declaration of secession made by the Premier of New South Wales. Any man who has passed through the United States wars would not be 'frightened D3' him. His statements are only so much concentrated wind. It would be better for honorable members to talk conciliation. When a man purchases a property, he cannot go back on his bargain, however dissatisfied he may be with it. I ha.ve often been dissatisfied under such circumstances, but I have had to stand by my 1 contract. Similarly, New South Wales is compelled to stand bv the bargain which she made with the other States, and cannot retire from the Federation. Jeff. Davis, when he was leaving the Federal Capital at Washington, said, " When I come again, it will be as the sovereign representative of the Southern States." But the next thing he was doing was trying to escape from Richmond in a. woman's dress, with the last flag of the Confederacy on his back. When we have done with Jefferson Carruthers, he will, be glad to escape in a woman's dress, and will find it easier than Jeff. Davis did, because he is a smaller man. About a month ago the honorable member for Bland endeavoured to persuade members of the Labour Party to assist him in bringing about a" settlement of this question. He said that the selection of the Lake George site would not involve any loss to us, that' it was a suitable location for 'the Capital, and that there was no special reason why we should adhere to the selection of Dalgety. He urged that we should endeavour to' satisfy the public of New South Wales. I told him that if there was any prospect of arriving at a satisfactory ' arrangement he could count on me. Mr. Jefferson Davis Carruthers knew that the honorable member was endeavouring to arrive at a. satisfactory understanding, and vet he tabled his secession resolutions in the New South Wales Parliament, and endea.voi.ired to raise that body to a position of paramount importance. In view of what has occurred, I would not abandon the Dalgety site. It 3s owing to Mr. Carruthers' action that the Postmaster-General has been able to declare that he has a majority in favour of adhering to the present selection. Had Mr.

Carruthers abstained from interfering in the matter many honorable members would have supported the honorable member for Bland. Mr. Carruthers cannot frighten democrats with threats, and we are not likely to be overawed by anything that he can do. He can talk as much as he pleases about secession, but New South Wales is in the union, and will have to stay there. I should like to know whether, in the event of our selecting another site. New South Wales would be willing to grant us an area of 900 square miles. If there is any possibility of our requirements *in that respect being disregarded, I shall vote for delaying the settlement of the question until we can amend the Constitution, so that we may be free to select a site in any State that will grant us the necessary area of territory. The Federal Capital should be located somewhere on the border of New South Wales and Victoria. Dalgety would be a splendid site, but if the people of New South Wales are not satisfied with it, we should erect the Capital at Tooma. All the great capitals of the world are situated on rivers. The Murray is the great national river of Australia, and the Snowy River is next to that stream in importance. The. Federal Capital should be situated on one of these two¬ę great water-courses. New South Wales is playing the part of an autocrat, so far as the Federal Capital Site question is concerned, and is entirely disregarding its proper relation to the Commonwealth. Our Constitution has been framed upon the soundest principles, because due regard has been paid to the rights of all the States, and to the liberties of all the individuals within them, and we must not allow it to be in any way outraged. I trust that honorable members who voted for Dalgety will have the courage to adhere to their decision.







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