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Tuesday, 31 July 1906


Mr KELLY (Wentworth) . - As honorable members no doubt remember, representatives of the western gold-fields, when they first made their appearance in the House, spoke in advocacy, first of a Kalgoorlie to Esperance Bay line, and afterwards in advocacy of a transcontinental line. It is my purpose now to test the bonafides of those honorable members by moving,, as I now do -

That after the word "Augusta," line 2, the Words "and Kalgoorlie to Esperance Bay," he inserted.


Mr Bamford - That is purely a State matter.


Mr KELLY - I am glad that the honorable member sees that when once we begin to construct a railway through a State, it is a matter of State: concern.


Mr Bamford - There are two States concerned in the other line.


Mr KELLY - Does the honorable member suggest that if we were to build a railway over the New South Wales border-


Mr Bamford - I suggest that this is a Survey Bill, and not a Bill to authorize the construction of a railway-


Mr KELLY - Does the honorable member ignore the fact that this Bill authorizes preliminary expenditure for the construction of a railway ?


Mr Bamford - No.


Mr KELLY - The honorable member cannot ignore the fact.


Mr Bamford - This Bill merely pledges us to a survey.


Mr KELLY - Do I understand the honorable member to say that when he votes for a survey he is not pledging himself to the construction of a line?


Mr Bamford - Yes.


Mr KELLY - That is the position taken up by the honorable member?


Mr Bamford - Exactly.


Mr KELLY - Then .the honorable' member takes up the position of a man who, while knowing that he does not want to buv a horse, and would not buy a horse under any consideration, is willing to send out a number of agents looking for horses to inspect.


Mr Poynton - That is as clear as mud !


Mr KELLY - Then I hope the honorable member will see the analogy.


Mr Bamford - It is quite poetic !


Mr KELLY - I cannot understand the attitude of honorable members who, because they have not pluck to stand up in their places, and say they are against the construction of a transcontinental railway, wish to postpone the evil day by voting for a survey which they pretend does not commit them. The Treasurer has already stated his view of this matter. No; I am wrong in saying that, because the Treasurer afterwards wished us to believe that he had scarcely used the words attributed to him. I am sure, however, that honorable members will see that the moment they assent to this Bill the people of the western State will say to them, " You have voted for the survey, and for an expenditure of £20,000 of public funds, and, now you are opposed to the verdict of your own arbiters."


Mr Bamford - If we had spent on this railway the money which the honorable member voted for the Queen Victoria Memorial, it would' have been a much better expenditure.


Mr KELLY - I wish to test the bona fides of the gentlemen from the Western Australian gold-fields. The honorable member for Coolgardie spoke eloquently in this House of the necessity to inaugurate a service of motor cars from Esperance .to Kalgoorlie, and the construction of a special track over which that type of conveyance could move with its customary celerity. That honorable member pointed out that the difficulty lay in the fact that the Commonwealth could not construct a line through any one State without the consent of that State, and that Western Australia would be opposed to an Esperance Bay line through its territory. The opposition of Western Australia, as a whole, to the proposal for a railway from Esperance Bay, lies undeniably in the fact that it would lead to the gold-fields market being largely supplied from the eastern States. Over a transcontinental line the coastal farmers of Western Australia know full well that not a ton of produce from the eastern States could find its way into their market in competition with their produce. On the other hand they know that if a line from Esperance Bay were built the cost of freight would be very considerably lessened to the eastern producers, and for that very reason thev are anxious at all hazards to prevent its construction. It was for that reason that the honorable member for Coolgardie suggested in a very able speech the method of transit to which I have just referred ; and I wish to give that honorable member a chance to stand to his original protestations. To show that the people on the western gold-fields are not altogether unrecognisant of the great advantages of having an Esperance Bay line, I shall quote from the report of a civic welcome which was tendered to the leader of the Labour Party when he visited the gold-fields last May.


Mr Carpenter - I rise to a point of order. I desire to know whether the honorable member for Wentworth is in order in submitting an amendment in the direction indicated, seeing that leave has only been given to introduce a Bill to authorize -the survey of a railway between two specific places. The honorable member is moving the insertion of words, which, to my mind, are altogether outside the scope of the Bill.


Mr Fowler - On the point of order -







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