Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Wednesday, 29 November 1911


Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - In discussing this Bill I find myself in rather a peculiar position in that, so far as ils main proposition is concernedthe desirableness of constructing a line to connect Western Australia with the eastern States - I approve of it. But beyond the affirmation which it contains that such a line should be constructed,there is scarcely a clause in the measure with which I am in agreement. In approaching this question, I think I shall be able to show that there is very just ground for the criticism which I shall offer. We may take it for granted that the line has been advocated both upon national and local grounds. But we are also compelled to the conclusion that wherever national interests have clashed with local interests, the former have been ruthlessly sacrificed.

However much one may assent to the proposition that a public work should be carried out, it is quite another thing to ask us to carry it out at all costs, and in such a way as will involve the sacrifice of big national interests. I wish to direct attention in the first place to the fact that if we assent to this Bill we shall not only sanction the construction of the proposed railway, but we shall also sanction an entirely new method of dealing with propositions of this character. We are asked to depart from all the precautions which every Parliament in Australia has hitherto deemed it advisable to adopt in connexion with its public works. If I were to refer this matter to a stranger who was unfamiliar with what has led up to the present position, I venture to say that he would express surprise that we should be asked to authorize the expenditure of a sum of not less than £4,000,000 - it will probably be much more - upon such scanty information. I ask honorable senators to contrast the procedure which we are asked to sanction", with that which is adopted in other Parliaments. Those Parliaments have adopted a certain procedure as the result of experience. They long ago discovered that the very haphazard method which we are invited to revive had led to no end of trouble, and to a great deal of wasteful expenditure.


Senator Givens - And to a great deal of abuse.


Senator MILLEN - Yes. It had created circumstances which not infrequently had justified the use of stronger terms. As the result of that experience, the States have taken steps to insure that before Parliament can be asked to sanction a public undertaking the fullest possible information must have been supplied to it. In my own State we have rather an elaborate system of referring any projected public work to Parliament, with a view to securing its consent to an inquiry being conducted into the undertaking.


Senator Gardiner - A very excellent system too.


Senator MILLEN - It is. It enables the advocates of the proposal to put forward their views in the light of full publicity, and it also permits those who think there are drawbacks to the undertaking, or that a better alternative is open, to urge their views for consideration. The result is that when the matter again comes before Parliament honorable members can immediately turn to the evidence and the finding of the Committee. In Victoria, on a less ambitious scale, perhaps, but aiming at - and I think achieving - the same object, a Standing Committee has been appointed, whose duty it is to inquire into proposals regarding new railways. In New South Wales a similar body inquires into all public works, provided that the expenditure which would be involved exceeds ^20,000. But in connexion with this Bill, the sole information with which we have been supplied is contained in an engineer's report. I shall have to make some criticisms of that report which are not entirely complimentary to it, because it is the chief document that is relied upon to obtain legislative sanction to the proposal contained in this Bill. I am entitled to affirm - outside the claim that the projected railway is needed for defence purposes - that the Minister has largely rested his case upon the report of Mr. Deane.


Senator Pearce - No, upon the report of the five engineers-in-chief of the States.


Senator MILLEN - The Minister maytake the report of the five engineersinchief if he chooses to do so, but that report has been summarized, and the Minister has quoted largely from that summary.


Senator Pearce - Because it is a summary.


Senator MILLEN - It summarizes the views of Mr. Deane, otherwise he would not have signed it.


Senator Pearce - And of the other four engineers-in-chief.


Senator MILLEN - It does not say so. That the Minister gained his information from sources outside himself is obvious. But this report has been put before us as the sole document in support of the proposal which is contained in the Bill. I have been forced to the conclusion that, instead of having placed in "our hands an impartial document which presents cold facts for consideration, . its author has, consciously or unconsciously, allowed himself to become a partisan of this line. It is impossible to read some phrases without seeing that, even before he commenced to inquire into the matter, he had convinced himself that the proposed railway ought to be constructed. On the very first page of this report, which is dated 20th September, 191 t, I find this paragraph -

The idea of connecting the East and West by railway is one of many years standing, and it was considered quite a practicable proposition some time before the inauguration of the Commonwealth, so much so that it would appear that Western Australia, before consenting to join the Federal movement, stipulated that there should be an undertaking to carry the construction of this railway into effect.

I am not going to argue the matter, but we all know that it was a most debatable point as to whether any stipulation worthy of the name was made, and it was seriously debated that no undertaking was given by anybody with authority.


Senator de Largie - That is not so.


Senator Needham - There was an honorable understanding.


Senator MILLEN - I do not mean for a moment that Mr. Deane should have contended that Western Australia did not believe there was an understanding. What I say is that an impartial public servant who is called upon to inquire should have referred to that matter, if he was called upon to refer to it at all, seeing that it was highly debatable, . by saying that it was urged on behalf of Western Australia .that that understanding existed. But for him to take a side in the controversy, and- affirm that the State did make a stipulation, and that that undertaking was agreed to, as is implied in that paragraph, is to at once stamp himself as a partisan in a highly controversial matter.


Senator de Largie - He is perfectly right all the same.


Senator MILLEN - How can the honorable senator say that a public officer who should be impartial is right in taking a side in a matter which is open to serious debate ?


Senator de Largie - lt is a matter of fact.


Senator MILLEN - If it is a matter of fact, it is easy to refer to the particular Act by . reason of which this undertaking was arrived at.


Senator de Largie - Mr. Deakinand Mr. Kingston. '


Senator MILLEN - Neither Mr. Deakin nor any other individual gave such an undertaking.


Senator de Largie - Mr. Holder.


Senator MILLEN - Mr. Holdercould not bind his State, as was shown by the facts. That public men can make promises and give assurances I do not dispute, and as showing how little Senator de Largie regarded the statement of 'even the Ministry of the day - and many of these statements were not made by men in that position - let me remind him that when a previous Administration gave an assurance to Parliament that a certain Trust Fund should not be touched until the matter was again referred to it, he supported the action of those who broke into the fund, and justified it on the ground that the promise of the previous Ministry could not bind their successors. I do not wish, however, to be drawn into an 'examination of the facts. My point is that in so highly controversial a matter an impartial inquirer would not have taken an affirmative view on one side or the other. To continue that point, let me turn to page rg of the report, and here We detect the view of one who entered into the inquiry as an open advocate of the proposal. After enumerating the very many and pleasing evidences of the growth and development of Western Australia, Mr. Deane says -

If it was considered right when the Commonwealth was established that Western Australia should be connected by railway with the Eastern States, how much greater the claim now?

It is impossible to read that paragraph through without seeing a contention that there was a claim, and that it had been strengthened by facts which had since transpired. That may be so or not; but I dispute the idea that a man can claim to be an impartial inquirer in a matter which is so controversial when he takes up a position quite as extreme as that taken up by. the advocates of Western Australia. Let me now direct attention to the efforts being made in this report to boom the country through which the railway is to pass. 1 propose to give a few' quotations, and ask honorable senators to compare the statements not only with the general knowledge we have of this country, but also with the very facts contained in the report itself. In a report which was presented to Parliament on" 21st May, 1909, Mr. Deane speaks of the country which he had then examined as having 'a rich growth of saltbush and grass ; everywhere along the route vegetation is abundant. " In a later report he states in paragraph 3 on page 8 -

The soil of the country extending from Coolgardie to Spencer's Gulf is, for the most part, good and covered with vegetation.

Higher up on the same page he says -

Around the salt lake beds which are encountered in this district there are low sand hills', which, .however, after wet weather become covered with vegetation.

Reading that description of the country as being covered with rich vegetation, in spite of all that is said and done Mr. Deane later on, when he is brought face to face with facts, and is no longer at liberty to deal with phrases, estimates the carrying capacity of the country at 20 acres to the sheep.


Senator Lynch - You admit, then, that it can carry sheep.


Senator MILLEN - No. I shall give my view of the country directly. I am pointing out that a serious effort is being made in this report to minimize the difficulties of this undertaking, and to exaggerate whatever advantages it may claim to possess. On page 9 of this report we find this paragraph -

Hitherto one great objection to occupation has been the impossibility of getting stock away when feed becomes scarce and water gone. This condition will be entirely changed by the construction of the railway, as stock fattened in the winter, spring, and early summer can be taken to market, and the reduced flocks could then easily be kept in condition over the summer.

That paragraph ought to be headed " Grazing made Easy." I would ask Mr. Deane or anybody else to show me places in Australia where the rainfall is so regular that with the turning round of the seasons and the hands of the clock any grazier can say, " I can always rely upon fattening my sheep in the autumn, winter, and spring, and sending them away in the summer when the dry time comes." There is no place in Australia, not even in the most favoured districts, where the seasons are so regular as to permit that to be done.


Senator de Largie - There are no places in Australia where the seasons are so regular as in the "very country to which you are referring.


Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator is quite right ; but it is the regularity of drought.


Senator de Largie - You know nothing of the country.


Senator MILLEN - I think that I know as much about the country as does the honorable senator.


Senator de Largie - I am quite sure that you do not. I have lived in a portion of the country for a considerable number of years, and you have not.


Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator ought to know that he has lived in a portion which is tapped by a railway. I find from this report that even a few miles ahead of that railway, with its alleged magnificent grazing possibilities, and side by side with the timber railway, no one has even attempted to graze on the country.


Senator Lynch - They are .grazing all over the country, if you know anything About it.


Senator MILLEN - Then what does Mr. Deane mean by saying that the country is unoccupied, even in the part I am referring to, and is used only for the purpose of getting timber for the mines ? The honorable senator must square that account with Mr. Deane, and not with me. I have not finished with this paragraph yet.


Senator Lynch - I saw stock there.


Senator MILLEN - If stock is there, what does Mr. Deane mean by saying that the country is unstocked ?


Senator Lynch - He did not refer to that particular part.


Senator MILLEN - He did refer to it, and I have given the quotation.


Senator Lynch - No; he referred to the Nullarbor Plains-.


Senator MILLEN - Mr. Deane is speaking of the whole of the country along the fine. He says that the only portion unoccupied is that from Port Augusta to Tarcoola.


Senator Pearce - Will you refer to the part of the report where Mr. Deane alludes to the country immediately around Kalgoorlie being unstocked?


Senator MILLEN - Mr. Deane says -

Between Bulong and the western boundary of Wilgena run, which is 11 miles west of Tarcoola, the country is unoccupied. The only operations that are taking place are the collection of sandalwood for export and salmon-gum timber for the Kalgoorlie mines.

That is the only reference to anything being done with the country west of Tarcoola, and up to Kalgoorlie.


Senator Pearce - He does not say there that the country is devoid of stock.


Senator MILLEN - Mr. Deane says that the only use to which the country is put is for the purpose of procuring sandalwood for export and salmon-gum timber for the mines.


Senator Pearce - You sai'd that he stated that the country was devoid of stock.


Senator MILLEN - If that country is stocked, does the Minister think, for a moment, that when Mr. Deane was referring to timber-getting he would also refer to grazing?


Senator Pearce - He does not say that the country is devoid of stock. He simply says that it is unoccupied from the point of view of human habitation.


Senator MILLEN - He says, "The only operations that are taking place." Is not grazing an operation? However, if the Minister now comes forward and says that Mr. Deane is wrong I shall accept the correction.


Senator Pearce - No; I say that you are wrong.


Senator MILLEN - Mr. Deane says, " The only operations that are taking place."


Senator Pearce - That is what you said. You said that Mr. Deane had stated that the country was devoid of stock, whereas he said no such thing.


Senator MILLEN - That is what he does say.


Senator Needham - He says nothing of the sort. You are reading into the report.


Senator MILLEN - If any man can read into this statement, that the only operations which are taking place are the getting of sandalwood for export and salmon-gum timber for the mines, and he can say that that means grazing-


Senator Lynch - You are straining "operations" to apply to stock.


Senator MILLEN - I am not going to argue the matter. My honorable friends can put what meaning they like upon the paragraph.


Senator Sir Josiah Symon - What Mr. Deane says, in effect, is " The only use to which that country is put is so-and-so."


Senator MILLEN - If I take this statement as meaning that the country is stocked,' all I can say is that it is another defect in the report for which I am not responsible, and which renders it of still less value than I originally thought it was.


Senator de Largie - You ought to remember that, since the first survey, the land along the route has, to a great extent, been reserved by the Western Australian Government.


Senator MILLEN - Yes, but it is only reserved from sale, not from lease. All these big pastoral operations would be carried on on leased lands. Therefore, there is nothing in the reservation to prevent any one who wished to graze from getting a lease. I want to get back to the paragraph- again, and to say that nobody, not even a cowboy on the smallest farm in this country, would have ever permitted himself to sign it.

Hitherto one great objection to occupation has been the impossibility of getting stock away when feed becomes scarce and water gone.

I emphasize that phrase, " and water, gone." Yet we are led to suppose that the railway is going to alter all this. If graziers can get most of their stock away, we are led to believe that the country can carry the rest of it easily, though water is not there. But how can the country carry one sheep any more than it can carry 10,000, if there is no water? The difficulty there, which Mr. Deane refuses to recognise, is not merely the slight rainfall, but the great difficulty, owing to the character of the country, of conserving the water that does fall. Let me turn to the paragraph in the report dealing with wheat. It is impossible to consider this paragraph without coming to the conclusion that it was designed to suggest the possibility of wheatgrowing in this area of country. Mr. Deane says -

Whether anything can be done in the way of agriculture remains to be seen. It has not yet been shown how small a rainfall will suffice for the nourishment of wheat and other crops. More rainfall observations are imperative, and it is of vital importance to determine at what time of the year the rainfall occurs. It would appear that falls amounting in the aggregate to > inches while the crops are growing are sufficient to insure success. And if, as Mr. Hunt, the Commonwealth Meteorologist, tells me, there are parts of Western Australia where 90 per Cent of the year's rainfall occurs in the months from April to October, there is considerable hope that some districts, with an extremely scanty rainfall, may prove quite suitable for agriculture.

Now, I say that that paragraph is designed to leave the impression that there is a reasonable prospect that wheat-growing can take place profitably along the route of this railway. But let us look at the facts. First of all, there is a reference to wheat-growing in districts where 7 inches of rain falls only within the wheat-growing months. Let Mr. Deane show me any district anywhere in which wheat can be grown - I do not mean experimentally now and again, but where it is established as an industry - with a rainfall as light as that.


Senator Lynch - I can show the honorable senator a crop as high as his own head grown in a district where the rainfall is only 8 inches. There are hundreds of acres. That shows that he has much to learn yet.


Senator MILLEN - Senator Lynch has admirably instanced the danger of a little knowledge. The question of what rain falls upon a given crop is only one of several factors which determine whether wheat can be grown' in a district or not. It is not the fact that 8 inches fell this year that has to be considered, but also howmuch fell in the previous twelve months. I defy Mr. Deane, or any one else, to show me where wheat-growing has become established in any district with an average rainfall of 7 inches. When Senator Lynchs mentions one instance where a crop was grown with a rainfall of 8 inches, let me say that the difference between 7 and 8 inches is. all the difference between success and failure.


Senator Needham - One inch?


Senator MILLEN - Yes, one inch.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - I think Mr. Deane said that the 7 inches fell between April and October.


Senator MILLEN - Exactly; 7 inches during the wheat-growing months. Further down in Mr. Deane's report, however, he affirms that the rainfall for this district is 7 inches for the twelve months. Seveninches in the wheat-growing period does not mean 7 inches in the twelve months. Taking the most favorable figures given by Mr. Deane, and assuming that 90 per cent, of the rainfall occurred within the wheatgrowing months, and also assuming that that 90 per cent, itself fell in the wheatgrowing period - of which there is no evidence, because Mr. Deane himself says that further particulars are necessary as to the period when the rain does fall - let us see what 90 per cent, of 7 inches amounts to. It is only a little over 6 inches. So that you have to demonstrate that wheat can be grown in a district with a little over 6 inches of rainfall in the wheat-growing months. I say that there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that it is possible that wheat can be grown there.


Senator Needham - Mr. Deane knowsthe nature of the country.


Senator MILLEN - There is something in this report about the nature and circumstances of the country which confirms the opinion that wheat-growing is still more hopeless than I have shown it to be. I refer to the facts concerning temperature and evaporation. Both of those are factors which come into the consideration of every practical farmer. These facts, however, have been brushed on one side ; and if honorable senators opposite appear to approve of the paragraph, which was written clearly for the purpose of suggesting that wheat can be grown there, I remind them that it is clearly proved by an examination of the facts in the report itself that there is not the slightest justification for the assertions which I have quoted. Let me proceed to ask this further question : If this country is all that it is painted to be, why did settlement stop so soon after Tarcoola was passed? Why, if this country is capable of growing wheat over enormous stretches of unoccupied territory, has not wheat-growing been conducted there? Why has occupation stopped as though it were barred by a Chinese wall? The graziers of this country have never lacked enterprise. They have even been accused of being out to grab lands, and to lock them up for grazing purposes. How is it,, then, that none of the land in the country with which we are dealing has been -taken up by these enterprising people: They search all portions of Queensland for vacant land. They have occupied nearly every portion of New South Wales. South Australian stock-owners have -pushed right out into the Northern Territory. How is it that no one has pushed beyond Tarcoola? The solution of the problem is to be found in the answer to that question. But there has been no attempt to deal with that. Nevertheless, an attempt has been made to show that the :building of this railway would promote settlement. We shall get an idea of what the unoccupied country is like if we consider the nature of the country that has actually been occupied. If honorable senator.? will pay attention to the paragraph which I shall next read, they will realize what the country lying beyond Tarcoola must be. On page 8 of Mr. Deane's report is this description -

Around the salt lake beds which are encountered in this district there are low sand hills, which, however, after wet weather become covered with vegetation.


Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Scores of people have been ruined there.


Senator MILLEN - Still, the land was occupied. The pastoral enterprise of Australia was sufficient to conduce to its occupation. But the most enterprising of pastoralists did not care to go beyond it. My contention is that their reason was that there were tremendous difficulties which caused them to stop at Tarcoola.

Tablelands rising 200 or 300 feet above the rest of the country are also met with. On the top and sides of these nutritious herbage, chiefly salt bush, grow. -Quite a pretty picture ! Then follows this sentence -

The tablelands consist of a sandstone formation more or less denuded, the surface of the land being covered with very hard sandstone fragments.

I appeal to any man who has any knowledge of our more arid districts, who has been brought face to face with country of that kind, which is to be found in small or large quantities in every State on the mainland, whether that is not a true description of the least attractive pastoral country in occupation in Australia to-day? Yet it has been occupied. If the country of which I have read a description, and which is bad enough in all conscience, was occupied, I am justified in concluding that when enterprise was brought to a standstill there, the reason was that even the most enterprising of graziers did not care to go beyond Tarcoola, because the country beyond is too inferior for serious consideration. I should like now to direct the attention of honorable senators to a. report from officers of the Lands Department of South Australia, furnished to Mr. Glynn, a member of the House of Representatives, and used by him for the purposes of debate in that Chamber. I am not at liberty to quote it here ; but I invite the attention of honorable senators to the particulars contained in it as furnished by a body of officers who, of all those in Australia, have had the best opportunities of judging what this country is like. They will find there a remarkable description, both of the difficulties of settlement and of the quantity and quality of the water which we may hope to find.

No more serious criticism of the character of the country can be desired than that furnished by a proposal in this Bill with reference to the supply of water for purposes of the line itself. It is actually proposed - and I suppose Mr. Deane thought it necessary, or he would not have submitted the proposal - to pipe and to pump the water hundreds of miles along the route. Why? Because the water is not to be conserved where it is wanted, owing to the impossibility of doing so.


Senator de Largie - Does the honorable senator say that it is proposed to pump the water all the way?


Senator MILLEN - For the first 200 or 300 miles, they will not need to pump One does not need to be an engineer to know that when the grade of the land is favorable there is no need to pump. But they have to pipe this water some hundreds of miles, and then have to lift it to give it a sufficient start where the grade is contrary. We are asked to run a railway over a line of country where the difficulty of conserving it is so great that it is necessary to pipe it hundreds of miles merely for locomotive purposes. Surely, in face of that fact, we are brought face to face with the enormous difficulty of settling this country.


Senator de Largie - Mr. Deane does not say that the water will be used merely for locomotive purposes. It may be used for all the purposes of settlement.


Senator MILLEN - Surely Senator de Largie does not contend for a moment that this water is to be pumped hundreds of miles for the purposes of stock.


Senator de Largie - If needs be.


Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Very costly.


Senator MILLEN - I have worked out a few .figures which will show what the cost per head of sheep will be. If this is the only means of getting . water into the country - and it is evidently the cheapest means, or Mr. Deane would not have recommended it; I have sufficient belief in his engineering capacity to believe that he would recommend the cheapest method - let us see how it will work out. Mr. Deane's estimate for the 1,063 miles is £450,000. I presume that for a portion of the way the cost of conveying the water would be inexpensive. I am justified in saying that if I estimate the average cos! per mile I am understating the cost of piping, because there will be many miles where no pipes will be required. Now, 7 miles is the longest distance which you can profitably expect sheep to be driven for water. Taking 7 miles on each side of the line, we have a strip of country 14 miles wide for every running mile of railway. That would give 14,800 square miles, or 10,000,000 acres of country to be watered by a single line of pipes. On Mr. Deane's estimate of the carrying capacity of this country, namely, a sheep to 20 acres, the area would carry 484,000 sheep ; and as this water supply is estimated to cost ,£456,000, it means that it would cost about £1 per head for the water supply of the sheep.


Senator Fraser - How much is reckoned for the carriage of fodder?


Senator MILLEN - I have not thought it necessary to deal with that, because I came to the conclusion that there would be no necessity to find fodder for dead sheep, and we know that sheep cannot live without water. It is shown that it will cost about ,£500,000 to provide a water-supply sufficient for locomotive purposes, but not nearly sufficient for stock purposes, and the . amount would require to be largely augmented before a supply could be provided sufficient for stocking the country. Mr. Deane may say that he is dealing only - with the railway aspect of the question,, and my answer to that is, that if there, were any more economic scheme for providing a water supply, Mr. Deane would haveproposed it. As showing the unreliability of Mr. Deane's estimates and report generally, let me direct attention to his estimate of revenue, based on the carrying, capacity of the country.


Senator Pearce - Does the honorable senator -say that Mr. Deane's estimate of the cost of the water supply is not reliable?


Senator MILLEN - By no means.


Senator Pearce - The honorable senatorhas just referred to the unreliability of the report he has just been reading from.


Senator MILLEN - I am not going topermit my honorable friend, with all his slimness, to 'turn me from the point I wish, to make. I am not questioning anything which Mr. Deane says as an engineer upon, an engineering proposition.


Senator Lynch - Is not the making of provision for a water supply a portion of a railway engineer's work?


Senator MILLEN - It is. and I am accepting Mr. Deane's statement that it will cost about ,£500,000 to provide a water supply for this railway. I am further accepting Mr. Deane's proposal as to the best way of providing the water supply ; but I am entitled to ask how this willi work out commercially if applied to stock purposes.


Senator Fraser - What is the size of the pipes recommended?


Senator MILLEN - I do not know. That is not given. But I am justified in concluding that in his estimate of the cost Mr. Deane has provided for a pipe amply; sufficient for the purpose he had in view. I direct . attention now to this marvellousestimate, to be found on page 19 of Mr. Deane's report -

There is a source of revenue which in theprevious estimate was not fully taken account of. This is the revenue due to the carriage pf stock and wool. The length of the line is 1,063. miles. If a length of 900 miles were taken asexcluding all bad and indifferent country within the width of 100 miles, that is to say, 50 mileson each side of the line, an area of 90,000 squaremiles is the result.


Senator Pearce - Mr. Deane expressly excludes from his estimate the country te* which the honorable senator has been alluding.


Senator MILLEN - He excludes the bad and indifferent country.


Senator Pearce - Yes, he excludes that from his estimate of the revenue to be derived from the revenue-earning country.


Senator MILLEN - He includes 900 -miles of the length of the line, and excludes 163 miles, but I defy the Minister to say that Mr. Deane's estimate in this case can be substantiated.


Senator Pearce - Does the honorable senator say that it will be necessary to carry water by pipes for 900 miles of the length of the line?


Senator MILLEN - No, I have said that it would be necessary to carry water by pipes for some hundreds of miles.


Senator Pearce - Through the country to which the honorable senator has been referring, and which Mr. Deane expressly excludes from his estimate of revenue.


Senator MILLEN - If the Minister means to suggest that Mr. Deane reports that it will be necessary to carry water by pipes for only 163 miles of the length of the line, he cannot have read the report. Mr. Deane goes on to say -

This is equal to 57,600,000 acres, and if the liberal estimate of 20 acres to a sheep is allowed, this strip of country would be capable of carrying 3,000,000 sheep, which, with an increase of 50 per cent., would give 1,500,000 annually to be sent to the ports as fat stock, or in the way of carcasses.


Senator Sayers - He was not engineering when he wrote that.


Senator MILLEN - No, and I am not dealing with him now upon an engineering matter, but upon a matter with which I am familiar. Every person who is familiar with the statistics of Australia must know that an estimate of an annual increase of 50 per cent, on 3,000,000 sheep is too ludicrous for consideration.


Senator Givens - This country is so good that each ewe would have two lambs.


Senator MILLEN - Mr. Deane evidently does not know that no grazier occupying this class of country would think of carrying all his sheep in the form of ewes. I am not going into the details of the graz- "ing business, but I say that statistics show clearly that an annual increase of 50. per cent, is an outrageous estimate.


Senator Lynch - What should the percentage be?


Senator MILLEN - I am now going to state what it should be, and Senator Lynch will probably not like it any better than he likes what I am saying now. In no part of Australia has there been at any time an annual increase of 50 per cent.


Senator Lynch - Yes, there has been an increase of up to 80 per- cent.


Senator MILLEN - Here we have the same class of wisdom as that upon which Mr. Deane worked. We have heard of flocks of ewes that have given an increase of 80 and even 100 per cent., but the percentage of increase must be reckoned on the total flock, and, according to our statistics, the percentage of 80 per cent, is brought down until the actual figures for Australia show that the average percentage is between 18 and 19 per cent, on the total flock. I consulted Mr. Knibbs to discover the annual increase in sheep over the whole of Australia, but he tells me that it is not possible to give the average increase over the whole of Australia, because one State does not prepare its statistics in this form. I have, however, taken what I believe to be a fair guide, and that is the figures for New South Wales, a State in which there is much good country, and some of a less favorable character for sheep. The statistics of New South Wales for the period of five years - 1905 to 1909 - admittedly good years from a grazing point of view, showed that the average annual increase of sheep was 25 per cent, from lambing. From this had to be taken 6 per cent, loss from natural deaths and sheep not accounted for, and this gives the average annual increase for the State during that period as 19 per cent.


Senator Fraser - That is in country with a good rainfall.


Senator MILLEN - That is the average for a State, the greater part of which is more suited for the grazing of sheep than is the country through which this line will pass. Mr. Deane allows for an increase of 50 per cent., which was never heard of anywhere. If we adopt the New South Wales average of 19 per cent., the annual increase from the estimated 3,000,000 sheep would be 450,000, -instead of 1,500,000, or a little under one-third of Mr. Deane's estimate. There is another way of looking at this estimate of the number of sheep that would yearly be carried by rail from this country to the -port.


Senator Givens - In this country they could not travel in any other way.


Senator MILLEN - Senator Givens, much as he admires the proposal to construct this line, will not believe- that 3,000,000 will give an annual output of 1,500,000 every year. Whilst Mr. Deane estimates that 50 per cent, of the stock which he assumes would be grazed on this country would be carried over the railway every year, I find that, in New South Wales, during the year 1909, only 6,700,000 out of a total of 46,000,000 sheep, that is 15 per cent., used the railways in one form or another. This must be set against Mr. Deane's estimate of 50 per cent, for this railway. The facts only require to be stated to show that Mr. Deane has not given to this matter, I do not say the attention he ought to have given it in view of the position in which he is placed, but the attention which a casual newspaper reader would expect him to give.


Senator Pearce - What point is the honorable senator driving at now ?


Senator MILLEN - The fact that Mr. Deane, in his report, builds up an estimate of revenue on the assumption that 1,500,000 sheep may be expected as the surplus stock to be taken off the country served bv this railway every year.


Senator Pearce - The honorable senator knows that we are not putting this Bill forward on that estimate, and that, so far as estimates of revenue are concerned, we depend upon the estimate prepared by Mr. Moncrieff.


Senator MILLEN - I shall come to that directly, and though Senator Pearce does not wish me to say it, I am entitled to say that, when we find a paragraph in a report so grossly exaggerated as that to which I am referring, the report is not worth the paper on which it is written. When, apart from engineering matters, Mr. Deane puts forward statements of this kind, I am entitled to say that no credence ought to attach to any statements he makes outside engineering matters.


Senator Pearce - The Government are not asking the honorable senator to attach any credence to statements made by Mr. Deane outside engineering matters.


Senator MILLEN - Let me get back -to the original statement, and perhaps it will not please the Minister any better if I say that no one but an advocate for this railway would ever venture to put such stuff into a report.


Senator Pearce - Would the honorable senator have the Government edit the reports ?


Senator MILLEN - I am not dealing with the Minister in respect of the report, except in so far as he indorses it. I direct attention to the fact that a public officer, who ought to have been impartial, has put into his report stuff which would disgrace the mining prospectus of a wild cat show.


Senator Pearce - We do not ask the honorable senator to accept Mr. Deane'sestimate of the revenue to be derived from the railway.


Senator MILLEN - I do not wish to associate the Minister of Defence with thisreport, because I believe that, in his heart, the honorable senator is just as much; ashamed of it as I am. He has reminded me that in this matter the Government arerelying upon estimates presented by South Australian officials. I should like to direct attention to this very curious feature. The Government asked Parliament to pass this Bill without any estimates at alL It was passed in another place, presented to the Senate, and the second reading moved without any estimate, and it was only late last night that we were supplied with an estimate of the probable receipts and expenditure. T think I am entitled to comment upon that. When I turn to the report of the South Australian officials, on which the Minister rests his case, I invite honorable senators to consider how widely it differs from the estimate which Mr. Deane has put forward. Under the heading of " Live Stock," these officials reckon upon 1,200 vans, at £10 per van for 960 miles. Let me just say that 1,200 vans, at £10 per van, would amount to ,£1 2,000-. Yet in this report to which my attention is directed, this is cast up and added in a column as ,£21,600. Perhaps the Minister will be able to explain how such inaccurate figures occur in a report presented to this Parliament.


Senator Givens - That is a transposition.


Senator MILLEN - No. It cannot be a transposition because the figures are added up to make a total of ,£21,600. This is a discrepancy' which, to say the least of it, is evidence of very considerable carelessness. But I should like to direct attention to the fact that the South Australian estimate allows nothing whatever for stock raised along the line of route. « No more eloquent condemnation of the suggestion that the country which the line will traverse is capable of being stocked, can be supplied than that. The estimate assumes that these 1,200 vans will travel a distance of 960 miles - that is to say, from. Tarcoola, right into Kalgoorlie - so that: no intermediate stock traffic is anticipated'-

Passing from this phase of the report, I come now to the strong reason which justifies the construction of the railway- I refer to defence considerations. As evidencing the haste with which the Government wish to push forward thisline, on the ground that it is essential for defence purposes, I would point out that nothing has been presented to the Senate which would suggest that the Defence authorities have been consulted in regard to it. We know that high military officers have urged the construction of a line to connect the east with the west, and the north with the south. But when the route of the proposed railway was about to be adopted, one would have thought that the Minister would at least have referred the matter to military experts.


Senator Pearce - If I had done that, and they had presented a report in favour of the route, the honorable senator would have said that that report had been supplied to the order of the Minister.


Senator MILLEN - If it were anything like Mr. Deane' s report, I certainly should say that. Somebody has evidently pointed out to Mr. Deane the possibility of the proposed line being weak from a defence point of view, by reason of its near approach to the sea at Eucla; and, on page 7 of his report, he deals with this consideration. He says -

It has more than once been suggested that the Hine opposite Eucla at the head of the Bight is too near the coast. The actual distance is about 60 miles through country which, although carrying sufficient vegetation for stock, is of an inhospitable character, because there is no water to be obtained until the line is reached. It would probably take a boat's crew three days from the coast to reach the line. It is very doubtful whether there is the slightest danger of any attack being made in the neighbourhood of Eucla.

Evidently, Mr. Deane is a military, as well as an agricultural expert. He continues -

The character of the coast does not permit of ships lying close in in all weathers, consequently, if heavy weather set in, they would have to head right out into the Bight for safety, so that a boat's crew which had landed might be cut off completely without doing damage of any consequence. It seems, therefore, extremely unlikely that an enemy would make any attempt to land.

Has Mr. Deane ever read anything of the heroic deeds which have been accomplished by boats' crews of the British Navy? I do not believe there is a ship in any navy which would not find hundreds of volunteers ready to undertake the enterprise which he disposes of so satisfactorily in this fashion.


Senator Pearce - But the question is, Would they succeed?


Senator MILLEN - Would Captain Scott, who took his guns up to Ladysmith without any difficulty-


Senator Pearce - Took them up in a railway truck all the way.


Senator MILLEN - Am I to understand that the Minister thinks it is not possible for a body of men to get over 60 milesof waterless country ? 1 have been over a stretch of 90 miles without water, and I have seen bullock teams get over it, too. Because there will be 60 miles of difficult country between the railway and the sea, to argue that no boat's crew will be found ready to risk the enterprise of reaching it, is to invite us to shut our eyes to the deeds of the past.


Senator Lynch - What if an enemy blew up the line?


Senator MILLEN - It would have destroyed its utility from a defence standpoint.


Senator Pearce - Itcould be repaired in a few hours.


Senator MILLEN - It is very refreshing to receive these assurances; but I say that' this point should have beenreferred to the military experts themselves.


Senator Pearce - The honorable senator would not have accepted their report if it had been a favorable one.


Senator MILLEN - I do not propose to argue with the Minister when he chooses to ignore all parliamentary procedure on quite insufficient information. I come now to another matter. The Bill contains a proposal to run this transcontinental line across Spencer's Gulf somewhere near its head. I suppose that Mr. Deane would say that there is no danger to be apprehended from doing that. I am not sufficient of an expert to say whether there is or is not ; but it seems to me that we ought to have asked our military experts whether it was advisable to construct the line round the head of Spencer's Gulf, or across it where its utility might easily be destroyed for months. Would the running of a torpedoboat or a small craft up that gulf present such difficulties that a dozen attempts to get there would not be made, if necessary, by any ship flying an enemy's flag?


Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel Cameron. - If our existingrailways are a menace to the integrity of Australia, how much more of a menace will be a railway which runs round the head of Spencer's Gulf?


Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator has summarized the objections which I am endeavouring to voice. But the Government have been so anxious to get this line through at all costs, that, whilst defending it from a defence stand-point, they have absolutely neglected to take the opinion of any defence authority upon it.

I come now to the very loose provisions for the acquisition of land which are contained in the Bill. Sub-clause 2, of clause 3, provides -

The construction of the railway shall not be commenced until the States of Western Australia and South Australia respectively have granted or agreed to grant, to the satisfaction of the Minister, such portions of the Crown lands of the State as are, in the opinion of the Minister, necessary for the purposes of the construction, maintenance, and working of the railway.


Senator Givens - Suppose that one State refuses to grant us the land?


Senator MILLEN - In that case, I do not see any great difficulty. But supposing that a State - and we have no reason to assume that South Australia is particularly anxious for the construction of this line-


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I think that the honorable senator is mistaken.


Senator MILLEN - It may be. We are asked to sanction a big public undertaking, which may require some land, and to leave it to the Minister to determine what land the Commonwealth shall receive. Let us compare the attitude which is adopted by the Minister of Defence in respect of this Bill, with the attitude which he adopted in respect of the Federal Capital. When the site of the Capital was under consideration, he claimed that Parliament should have a definite understanding as to the area of land which it was to receive from New South Wales before it passed the Bill dealing with that matter. But here we are invited to allow the Minister to determine what land is required by the Commonwealth. As showing that this danger is not altogether an imaginary one, I would point out that in his report Mr. Deane recognises that there should be reserved to the Commonwealth half-a-mile of territory on either side of the railway, that special areas should be provided for stations and yards, and that in the sandhill country an area of 10 square miles should be permanently reserved from occupation. If that is the opinion of an engineer, provision to give effect to it should have been made in the Bill. I am aware that, anticipating our wishes, the Western Australian Parliament some seven years ago agreed to cede to the Commonwealth land three chains wide along the route of the proposed line, and such waste lands of the Crown asmight be deemed to be necessary for sidings and for insuring a water supply, &c. But what attitude will South Australia adopt if confronted with this proposal? of Mr. Deane's? These sandhills runs for 100 miles, so that if South Australia grants to the Commonwealth what is considered essential, she will have to cede itno less than 1,000 miles of territory. Parliament ought not to leave so important a matter to be decided in the office of any Minister. On the contrary, it ought to be consulted as to the terms which should be arrived at with South Australia. May I remind the Senate that at the instance of Senator Givens some time ago it passed* the following resolution dealing with this very point? -

That the Bill be not further considered until evidence that the Parliament of South Australia;, has formally consented to the Commonwealth constructing that portion of the proposed railway which would be in South Australian territoryhas been laid on the table of the Senate.

We asked there clearly for proof that the State has assented to the construction of this line. If it was necessary for proof of that simple fact to be supplied, how much more necessary is it that we should1 know the terms and conditions which surround that sanction? I invite Senator Pearce particularly to refer to the debate on the Federal Capital as a justification- for my contention that before we sanction the expenditure of anything from £4,000,000 upwards we should have laid! before us full particulars as to what areas of land South Australia and WesternAustralia are prepared to concede. The Bill seeks to imply that unless the land' conceded to us is sufficient for our purposes, the railway will not be constructed. But who is to be the judge of the sufficiency - the Minister or the Parliament?" The danger of allowing the Minister todeal with this matter arises from the evidence which we already have presented, that at all costs the Government intend toget this Bill carried through.


Senator Pearce - Does the section inthe Western Australian Act refer to three chains of land on either side of the line?'


Senator MILLEN - It refers to a strip three chains wide along the lines of therailway.


Senator Pearce - Does it say on eitherside?


Senator MILLEN - No; it says "including a strip of land three chains wide along the lines, of such railway." I want to' deal now with a matter where the national interests come clearly into conflict with, local interests. This railway is supposed to have two values : First,, that of defence, which is national ; and, second, that it will be of some use for developmental purposes. The cost of the line for the national purpose is rightly to be borne by the whole community. But when we come to loot at the developmental purpose, we see a divided interest. Here is a strange position : that whilst the whole of the people of Australia are asked to share the total cost of the undertaking, the beneficial results which may arise from the incremental value due to the development are to go, not to the whole of the people of Australia, but to a section of them. The Commonwealth will be in the same position in regard to the States as the States have been in hitherto in regard to individual land-holders, where public expenditure has enhanced the value of private property. The contention with my honorable friends opposite has always been that the incremental value properly belongs to the people who created itThat argument is irresistibly true in connexion with this line. The people who are going to create that value are the whole of the people of Australia, and not a portion of them. Why should not the whole of the people at least share in the value which will be created by their expenditure ?


Senator Givens - But what if the land is incapable of an increased value?


Senator MILLEN - If there is no incremental value, the people of Australia will have no right to ask for a share of it; but the advocates of the Bill say that the land to be traversed is of such a character that the railway will exercise a beneficial influence in developing it.


Senator Lynch - |Do you know that Victoria has lately abandoned that practice of exacting what is considered to be the enhanced value?


Senator MILLEN - What is much more important to me is to. know if Senator Lynch has abandoned his adherence to the principle that the community which creates the value should have it.


Senator Lynch - I thought at one time that it was a beautiful idea; but on the Victorian experience it is a very hard one to follow out.


Senator MILLEN - Is the honorable senator going to take Victorian, experience as his guide in anything?


Senator Needham - Have yow abandoned your own ideas ?


Senator MILLEN - No, I ami- sticking to my idea that where the whole- community incurs an expense it ought' to be entitled to at least a share- in that communitycreated value, if any. I- am- entirely opposed to the propositions- that have been put forward for grants- ©f land ' to be made to the Commonwealth!. The project seems to me to be extremely' objectionable, if not impracticable. T do not wish to see the Commonwealth' eontrolling big areas within a- State - a> State within a State, as it were. I do- not desire to see the Commonwealth! charged with the administration of a landed: estate within a State.. So far as the control and settlement of land is concerned, the Commonwealth has its hand's full' iff regard' to the Northern Territory. But whilst I see many difficulties in the way of handing over specific blocks of land to the' Commonwealth, quite a different reason arises when we talk about transferring to- the Commonwealth the incremental value which will result from the building of the railway. That view was shared" not long ago by many advocates of this proposal. The Minister of Home Affairs, ire whose Department it originated, clearly.' announced in the other House his opinion that the Commonwealth ought to- demand and receive the incremental' value t© be created by the expenditure of this money. He is silent on that point now, but his remarks are embodied in Hansard, and can be referred to. There are other little chickens which occasionally come home to roost. I have here a rather awkward" and ungainly chicken which I am going to help to steer into the hen-roost of Senator Lynch. To show how far he was prepared to go two years ago in advocacy of the principle I am enunciating, on the nth August, 1909, he asked me, as the Vice-President of the Executive Council, the following questions: -

In view of the possible construction by. . the Commonwealth of the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta and the Oodnadatta to Pine Greek railways, will the Government request the South Australian authorities to reserve from alienation the country for a distance of 25, miles om each side of any suggested routes of those railways?

Failing compliance with this request by South Australia, will the Government- intimate to the South Australian Government that its will deduct from that State's share of the Customs and Excise revenue the enhanced value of any lands required by the Commonwealth due to the construction of those railways?

Here is a proposition that we should break the Constitution, ignore the Braddon section, and forcibly withhold from these States their share of the Customs revenue in order to recoup the Commonwealth for the incremental value which might arise from our public expenditure.


Senator Needham - The Braddon section has since expired.


Senator Lynch - That was for the purpose of getting whatever land was required for the use of the Commonwealth.


Senator MILLEN - It does not matter whether the Braddon section has expired or not. At that time Senator Lynch stood out as an advocate of securing to the Commonwealth some share of that' incremental value which would be created by the construction of this and other railways. I have referred to the matter because I am hopeful that he will support an amendment which I propose to submit - one much less drastic, but I think much more constitutional, than the proposal he made. In dealing with this aspect of the case, I should like to point out the altered position which has arisen from the lapse of time. Previously Western Australia stood in the position of a State which had offered to do certain things if we constructed this railway. She had not only consented to give up a very meagre bit of country for the purpose of the railway, but offered to make some contribution towards the loss incurred in operating the line. In addition to that, she offered, at her own cost, to convert from her present narrow : gauge, to whatever gauge might be adopted, the railway running from Perth to . Kalgoorlie. These promises have lapsed, because the Act in which they were embodied has expired. In what position does Western Australia stand now with regard to this proposal ? Are all these promises to be ignored? Are we, the custodians of the Commonwealth, to go into this business now without asking the State to renew these offers ? If we do, let me draw attention to another curious factor which will arise. Western Australia offered to alter the gauge of her railway to Kalgoorlie when we commenced to construct this railway. By reason of our failure to proceed within the time limit of five years she is relieved of that obligation. But is she going to renew it? This proposal has always been advocated by its supporters on the ground that Western Australia would do these things.


Senator Pearce - I can remove your doubts on that point by stating that to-day we received a telegram from the Government of Western Australia telling us that they will revive the Act in its entirety.


Senator MILLEN - That is very satisfactory news to me, but it would have been much more satisfactory if it had been obtained before. The fact that the Government only obtained this information when criticism on this point was beginning to multiply is a justification of my contention.


Senator Pearce - We asked for the information, and waited for a reply.


Senator MILLEN - This is not the only Government which, in its desire to push forward this line, has shown a disregard of the national interests involved.


Senator Pearce - We asked for this information some time ago.


Senator MILLEN - It is quite evident to me that the Minister was prepared to go on with the measure if he did not get a favorable reply. I am glad to hear that the Government have received a favorable reply. I could see a complication arising if Western Australia had demurred to that condition, and if she had I should have said that she was justified. The South Australian Government have stated that they are not prepared to do what they will be asked to do under this Bill unless the Commonwealth gives an assurance that it will shoulder the cost of altering the gauge of her railway to whatever gauge is adopted for this line.


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Quite right.


Senator MILLEN - If it is right for South Australia to make that stipulation, Western Australia might reasonably turn round and say, " If you are going to pay the cost of altering the gauge in South Australia, you should also pay the cost of altering our gauge."


Senator Givens - It is just as reasonable in one case as in the other.


Senator MILLEN - Yes, if Western Australia had declined to renew her offer I should have said that she was quite justified in her refusal, and it comes to me as a particularly pleasant surprise that, in spite of the opening which was there left she has decided to renew the offer.


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - But there is a Labour Government in Western Australia.


Senator MILLEN - It is a Government which is extremely anxious to get this line put through. But I am not sure that, although there is a Labour Government in South Australia, the same anxiety exists there.


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Oh, yes.


Senator MILLEN - Mr. Verran's statement in the press does not suggest much fiery enthusiasm. As a matter of fact, he has laid down a stipulation, and it will be interesting to know exactly what areas of land the States are prepared to concede to the Commonwealth. Associated with this question of the right of the Commonwealth to a share in the incremental value created by this expenditure is the question of how we are going to finance the railway. On that point we have had three different statements made by the head of the Government.


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - South Australia is in trouble now about how the establishment of the Federal Capital is going to be financed.


Senator MILLEN - If the honorable senator wants to suggest that, in our public works policy, the principle known as log-rolling, should find an honored position I cannot agree with him. Therefore, I hope that he is not suggesting that, because he may have given a certain vote in connexion with the Federal Capital, anybody should be influenced in the vote which he gives with regard to this proposal. I decline to believe that this railway is going to be constructed for £4,000,000. It is all very well to say that that is the engineer's estimate. But I appeal to any one who has had much parliamentary experience as to whether the almost unbroken experience has not been that the departmental estimate has always been greatly exceeded before the work was completed.


Senator Sayers - By 50 per cent.


Senator MILLEN - In his estimate Mr. Deane has made no provision for certain matters which are almost bound to occur. But even if we take the amount at £4,000,000 it is reasonable to ask how the Government propose to raise it. In the other House, Mr. Fisher, the Prime Minister, stated that as large a proportion as possible will be paid out of revenue.


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Hear, hear.


Senator MILLEN - I can quite understand South Australians saying, " Seeing that this line is to be constructed out of revenue which will be taken by taxation more largely from the other States than from our State, and will be spent more largely in our State, let us, by these means, take the money from the other States and spend it in our State. ' '


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - That is a very unfair way of putting it, but it is like the honorable senator.


Senator MILLEN - It is an absolute statement of facts. In addition to the statement which the Prime Minister has made as to paying as large a proportion as possible out of revenue-


Senator McGregor - Is there any harm in that?


Senator MILLEN - It will all depend on how the Government raise the revenue, and whether they make the construction of this railway an excuse for imposing more class taxation.


Senator Mcgregor - If we borrowed money, would it not have just the same effect ?


Senator MILLEN - It depends upon whether the taxation is justifiable, or whether Mr. Fisher is going to make the building of the railway a justification and an excuse for imposing further class taxation. Mr. Fisher also stated that the requirements of the railway can be met out of the proceeds of the Notes Fund. I am not saying that that money cannot be spent as well for this purpose as for any other. But we ought to have had a clear and definite statement on the point. There is a further statement as to the note issue to which it may be as well to direct attention. The Government have already lent a considerable sum to two of the States. Now they propose to use the amount still available for the construction of this railway. Yet, speaking at the Eight Hours banquet in Sydney, Mr. Fisher referred to the proceeds of the note issue as a great National Reserve Fund, which would be available in time of. national crisis. How is this money going to be available in a time of national crisis if it is to be spent on building this railway?


Senator Mcgregor - This is the "great national crisis," I suppose.


Senator MILLEN - It is a crisis, indeed, if we are going to authorize a railway on these terms. I shall conclude by submitting an amendment, the terms of which have been arrived at after consultation with my friends on the Opposition side. I have endeavoured, in it, to summarize and crystallize the objections which stand out pre-eminently against this Bill. I move -

That all the words after "That" be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words " as the Commonwealth Government is not possessed of sufficient powers from the Govern- ments of South Australia and Western Australia to enable it to proceed with the construction of the railway through the said States, and to control its management thereafter, and as this Senate is not supplied with sufficient information on fa) the proposed route; (i) the cost of construction, and .the probable revenue and expenditure and interest charge - this Bill be not proceeded with .till the Senate is further informed on these points. And, further, as the proposed railway serves directly to assist the development of the States of 'South Australia and Western Australia, this Senate is of opinion that the Government should consult with the Governments of the two States, with a view to devising an arrangement securing to the Commonwealth a reasonable portion of any value added to. the lands along the -line ;of route and accruing from the construction of the said line.


Senator Pearce - I rise to a point of ;order. I submit that an amendment moved at this stage must be either " 1'nat the Bill be -read this day six months," or must be relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill. T?he amendment moved by Senator Millen is .so long, and so verbose, that it is somewhat .difficult :to grasp all that it contains. - But, listening to the best of my ability, I grasped that, amongst other things, it proposes that .this Bill shall be laid aside because it does not give sufficient information. It .is -not proposed in the Bill to give information. There is nothing in it about providing information. The Bill is for the specific purpose of authorizing the construction of a railway line. All necessary matters relating to the construction of the line are provided for in the Bill. But, obviously, such a Bill never purports to give information. The necessary information is given, or withheld, in the speech in which the Bill is introduced, and in speeches which take place during ihe debate upon it. This is not a Bill to supply statistics. Another paragraph of the amendment urges that the measure should be laid aside because no estimates of revenue are furnished. This is not a Bill for supplying estimates of any kind. If it were a statistical Bill, the amendment might be perfectly relevant. But as it is a Bill to authorize the construction of a railway, all that is relevant for that purpose is provided in the Bill. The .subjects introduced into the amendment, therefore, have nothing to do with the measure. They do not relate to the construction of the railwayThey have to do with the question whether honorable senators are content to vote for the Bill on the information which has been supplied. They are relevant to the discus sion, to the line of thought which honorable senators may take in making up their minds as to whether they will vote for or against the Bill; but they are not relevant to the Bill itself. I submit that it is extremely inadvisable and altogether contrary to the practice and usage of Parliament that, under guise of an amendment, practically all the merits of the Bill should be canvassed. The honorable senator will have every opportunity in Committee of moving to omit any words from the Bill, and to substitute others. But I submit that we ought not to get into the practice of admitting into amendments statements as to the merits of a Bill, and as to the information or lack of information with which a Bill is introduced. The amendment also raises, amongst other things, the question of the action of the Government in relation to the Governments of South Australia and Western Australia. Surely that is not relevant to the Bill itself. It seems to me to be altogether outside the question. Quite a legitimate argument may be raised as to whether we should accept the Bill or not, but an amendment should be . strictly relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill. I hope, for the future guidance of the .Senate, and in order that we may maintain a practice which is convenient, fair, and just, that the amendment will not be admitted.


Senator Millen - I should like to direct your attention, Mr. President, to the following passage appearing on page 472 of the eleventh edition of May's Parliamentary Practice -

It is, however,- competent to a member who desires to place on record any special reasons for not agreeing to the second reading of a Bill, to move as an amendment to the question a resolution declaratory of some principle adverse to or differing from the principles, policy, or provisions of the Bill, or expressing opinions as to any circumstances connected with its introduction or prosecution, or otherwise opposed to its progress, or seeking further information in relation to the Bill by committees, commissioners, the production of papers, or other evidence.

That clearly sets out that it is possible to embody an expression of opinion, of principle, in a declaratory amendment. It is possible to seek for information by means of an amendment.


Senator Pearce - By Committee.


Senator Millen - By Committee or otherwise. The words "other evidence" have no reference to Committees. I should like, in addition, to remind you that the Senate on a previous occasion adopted a declaratory amendment of this kind. On the 26th of August, 1905, an amendment was submitted by Senator Givens, in which he declared that this particular line should not be further proceeded with until evidence had been laid upon the table of the Senate showing that the two States more immediately concerned had consented to the construction of the line by the Commonwealth. My amendment reaffirms the amendment carried then in one part. I submit in regard to the other part that the moving of such an amendment is specifically provided for in the quotation from May which I have made. I contend, therefore, that my amendment is entirely in order.


Senator Lynch - If this amendment were, carried, it would simply mean indefinitely shelving the measure. If Senator Millen's object be to secure any further information he can move an amendment in Committee.


Senator Millen - How could I obtain information on an amendment moved in Committee ?


Senator Lynch - If the amendment were carried it would mean shelving the Bill indefinitely. That is a wrong course. The honorable senator need not take such a circuitous route to attain his object. He wants to kill this measure. The straightforward and simple method would be to move that the Bill be read a second time this day six months. But instead of that he seeks to cover up his tracks by moving an amendment which, under cover of asking for information, seeks to lay the measure aside. If the honorable senator desires that the Commonwealth shall acquire land, S>r have the disposing of land when acquired, he can an. Committee move an amendment on clause 19.


Senator de Largie - Senator Pearce has very properly pointed out that it is not the purpose of this Bill to supply the information asked for by Senator Millen.


Senator Millen - No; but the purpose of my amendment is to secure that information.


Senator de Largie - May I remind the honorable senator that on a former occasion in the Senate he pointed out that there is quite another means of securing such information than by the Bill proposed for the construction of this line. When he was steering the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway Survey Bill through this Chamber


Senator Millen - I never steered that Bill through the Senate.


Senator de Largie - The honorable senator was identified with it.


Senator Millen - Never. That Bill was passed before the advent of the Deakin-Cook Administration.


Senator de Largie - Well, whether Senator Millen was identified with that measure or not, similar information was asked for in connexion with it, and the answer given was that the report of the survey would supply the information as to whether the railway was one which should be undertaken. It is not in a Bill for the construction of the railway that we should seek for such information, but in such reports as those which have already been supplied to honorable senators. I, therefore, hold that the amendment is not relevant to the measure before us.


Senator Clemons - Senator Millen has moved an amendment which he believes to be in order, as being relevant to the Bill. You, sir, are invited to give your ruling as to whether or not it is relevant. In doing so, you will be guided by standing order 190, which, after dealing with the ordinary form of amendments on the second reading of a Bill, goes on to say - but no other amendment may be moved to such question except in the form of a resolution strictly relevant to the Bill.

Senator Pearcehas offered as a reason why you should agree with him that the proposed amendment is not relevant to this Bill. Before going any further, I cannot refrain from remarking upon the extraordinary nature of Senator Pearce' s arguments. I have listened to many strange arguments on points of order, but 1 do not think I ever listened to any more curiously-devised or wonderfullyinvented and imagined, than those which the Minister of Defence has used in discussing this amendment. The honorable senator says that the Bill does not give information. The amendment deals with information with which honorable senators should be supplied, in order to enable them to decide whether they should vote for or against the second reading. It would seem to me that it would be a most extraordinary Bill which would not give some information. Presently I shall show what information this Bill does give, and how strictly it relates to Senator Millen's amendment. Senator Pearce went on to say that the amendment might be relevant to one thing connected with the measure, and that was to the voting upon it. That was a curious thing to say. It was an admission that the amendment would be relevant in the mind of any person who wished to decide how he should vote upon the second reading. What is there in any Bill which makes any consideration relevant, except it be something directly affecting the voting upon it? Is Senator Pearce putting forward the extraordinary proposition that the Senate will vote in regard to any particular Bill having regard to some amendment whose relevancy is exclusively confined to some other measure? I never heard of such an argument. The assumption is that an honorable senator will vote as to the Bill if he can find something else to which the amendment is relevant. Nothing could be more extraordinary. The honorable senator contends that the amendment is not in order, on the ground that it is not relevant to the subject-matter of this Bill. My answer to that is that honorable senators who oppose a Bill do so for definite reasons, such, for instance, as that it does not contain any information. I say, however, that a Bill does contain information. Let me come to something which directly connects this Bill with Senator Millen 's proposed amendment. I refer honorable senators to the first preamble of the Bill, which reads -

Whereas bv an Act called the Northern Territory Surrender Act 1907 the State of South Australia has consented to and authorized the construction by the Commonwealth of a railway -

This indicates that South Australia has done certain things, and that in consideration of that fact the Government have submitted this Bill to Parliament. Senator Millen's amendment is based upon the same ground, and the main part of his contention is that the State of South Australia has not done certain things. It seems to me that the amendment is as strictly relevant to this Bill as is the preamble to which I have referred, and I do not suppose that Ministers will repudiate the preamble. There is a second preamble which indicates another reason for the introduce tion of the Bill exactly on the lines of Senator Millen's amendment. If the preambles to this Bill are relevant to its subjectmatter, nothing is more certain than that Senator Millen's amendment is abundantly relevant. It positively follows the lines of the preambles to the Bill.







Suggest corrections