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Tuesday, 19 December 1911

Senator STEWART (Queensland) (3:28 AM) , - One thing that may be said about this proposal is that it cannot be fairly claimed that a single one of the works for which this £2,460,000 are to be borrowed will be reproductive. Our first experiment in a loan policy does not seem to me to be just exactly what one would like it to be. It has very often been claimed that the Labour party believe in borrowing for reproductive works. Some of the works on which- it is proposed to spend this money may! pay for themselves in the next century, but I'.do not think they are likely to do so in this. . I believe that a very large loss is likely to accrue to the Commonwealth if these works are gone on with. But the Commonwealth Parliament apparently has decided to take this plunge) and the people will have to bear the burden. I suppose I shall have to vote for the loan; but I am opposed to every one of the works on which the money is to be expended, with the exception, perhaps, of the acquisition of land and the erection of buildings in London. I suppose that is necessary.

Senator Blakey - -The money expended on the acquisition of' land in the Federal

Territory will be reproductive. We shall get that money back.

Senator STEWART - Perhaps we shall in about a hundred years from now. Senator Guthrie' seems to think that the erection of a building in London is the worst item in the schedule. I am not so sure of that. I think that the people of Great Britain are likely to be much impressed by a fine looking building with the word. "Australia" written all over it. I have not the slightest doubt that the attention of the people will be attracted to sucha structure, and that it will induce many to come to this country. As far as the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway is concerned, what is now proposed is the first instalment of a million pounds. We shall get nothing out of that work.

Senator Gardiner - Remember that we are borrowing from the Commonwealth.

Senator STEWART - That does not matter. We shall have to pay interest and principal just the same as if we were borrowing from " Uncle ' 1 in London. Some people seem to think that because we are getting the money from the Commonwealth notes fund, it is not a loan. But' if the banks present their notes, as they may do some day, every sovereign that has been paid for a note will have to be repaid to the banks. I suppose that I must accept the Bill, but I do so with great reluctance.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 3 agreed to.

Schedule and title agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.

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