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Tuesday, 19 December 1905

Mr ROBINSON (Wannon) - I think that some of the attacks that have been made upon this Parliament by a section of the Sydney press and by certain New South Wales politicians have been entirely without justification. So far as I am concerned, I have never exhibited the slightest disposition to shirk a proper consideration of the Capital site question. When the matter first came up for discussion, I was willing to allow the Constitution to be amended, so as to permit of Sydney being made the Seat of Government. That, however, was not. acceptable to honorable members, and consequently I voted for a site which, in my judgment, is the most accessible one. I hold that accessibility must be regarded as a most important factor in determining the selection of the future Federal Capital. It seemed to me that Lyndhurst was by far the most' accessible site available, and hence I supported its claims. At the same time, I do think that Lake George is a most suitable locality from the point of view of accessibility, climatic conditions, character of the soil, &c. I intimated that opinion upon the occasion to which I refer, and the honorable member for Darling and myself discussed the wisdom of moving an amendment in that direction. We found, however, that it was then impossible to test the question. Now that the matter has been revived, I intend to give effect to my opinion by voting for the selection of Lake George or some other site in the vicinity. I read with very great pleasure the temperate letter signed by the honorable member for Bland, which appears in the Age this morning, and I listened with exceeding interest to the speech which he delivered today. It seems to me that he has made out an unanswerable case in favour of the selection of Lake George. From a Victorian stand-point. Dalgety is about as inaccessible as is the South Pole. The same remark applies with equal force to Tasmanian and South Australian conveniences. As a matter of fact, it is not readily accessible, even to the representatives of New South Wales. During this debate, a great deal has been said in reference to the need for the site which we select possessing an ample water supply. I do not attach so much importance to that question as do some other honorable members, because I believe that as a rule it is cheaper to take the water supply to a people than it is to take people to a water supply. That is the experience of the world. 1 would further point out that the expense of constructing a railway to Dalgety from Victoria would in itself amount to nearly ,£2,000,000. I shall not detain honorable members any longer, but whenever the question is tested, I shall vote for Lake George or some other site in its vicinity.

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