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Wednesday, 10 September 1902

Mr PAGE (Maranoa) - Some few weeks ago the Minister for Home Affairs, as representing the Minister for Defence, promised to submit to us the report of Major-General Hutton on the distribution of the Commonwealth Defence forces. If that . report could be supplied to honorable members immediately, it would enable them to consider it during the adjournment. I particularly desire to know what is intended in regard to the disposal of rifle clubs. I saw it announced in the Sydney newspapers that there are to be three different grades of riflemen, but I know that in Queensland the majority of the members of rifle clubs object to be made a portion of the military forces. I desire to have the report in order to learn the intentions of the Government in this matter, so that I may be prepared to deal with the point when the Estimates are before us.

Mr DEAKIN - The report of MajorGeneral Hutton has not yet come under my observation, nor that of my colleagues ; but I shall make inquiries, and hope it will be made available before the discussion of this particular matter.

Mr Page - Could we not have a look at the report now?

Mr DEAKIN - I will ask my colleagues to lay the report on the table at once.

Mr Page - But that will be a fortnight hence.

Mr DEAKIN - The report can be circulated informally in the meantime. The Minister for Home Affairs failed to " catch the Speaker's eye " on the first motion on the paper, which had reference to the choice of the federal capital site. His intention was to have announced that he had selected the sites he intends to propose shall be examined by experts. It will be for honorable members, if they consider any other site has a claim, to make a suggestion.

Mr Wilks - Has the Acting Prime Minister a list of the sites?

Mr DEAKIN - Yes ; the sites which the Minister for Home Affairs proposes to submit to the board of experts are Albury,

Bombala, Lake George, Orange, and Tumut. There was a sixth site, about which the honorable gentleman was somewhat uncertain, but these five he proposed, and the proposal was indorsed by the Cabinet.

Mr Fowler - Does the term " Bombala" include not only Bombala proper, but Dalgety ?

Mr DEAKIN - I should say that Dalgety and all other proposed sites in Bombala are included.

Mr Page - Ballarat might as well be in cluded as Albury.

Mr DEAKIN - If Ballarat were included there would be no chance for any other site; but as the federal territory has to be in New South Wales, we in Victoria are not prepared to part with the city of Ballarat, even to have it made the federal capital.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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