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Tuesday, 14 June 1904

Mr CHAPMAN (Eden) (Monaro) .- Will the Prime Minister kindly inform the House when the Seat of Government Bill will be taken, and whether he intends to introduce that measure before we have concluded the consideration of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. A few days ago the Prime Minister promised that he would give a week's notice of the introduction of the Seat of Government Bill, and I had been hoping that that notice would be given to-night.

Mr Thomas - Let us deal with the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill first.

Mr CHAPMAN - I have no wish to urge that the Seat of Government Bill should interrupt the consideration of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, because both measures are necessary measures and are very important. But I am going on the assumption that the Arbitration Bill is to a large extent through in this House. The back of the debate is evidently broken. Some warning might well be given as to when the Seat of Government Bill will be dealt with. But there are rumours afloat that it is contemplated to introduce another site besides those which the Senate have considered.

Mr Watson - Not rumours circulated by the Government, at any rate.

Mr CHAPMAN - . I want to have an assurance to that effect. We know prettywell what are the sites to be determined upon, and fresh ones should not be brought forward now.

Mr Thomas - Why discuss that matter before the Bill comes along?

Mr CHAPMAN - Because it is just, as well that we should know whether the Government propose to deal with the sites that have already, been reported upon,- or whether any new sites are to be sprung upon us at the eleventh hour. It is also said that another measure is to be pushed forward before we deal with the Seat of Government Bill. I allude to the High Commissioner Bill'. I take it that it would not be wise to proceed with any other measure, and if that is to be done, we ought to have some intimation of it. If there is nothing in these rumours, it would be well for the Prime Minister to contradict them. I do not say that they are true. I shall be glad to have an assurance twat no other sites are to be discussed.

Mr Thomas - Why not?

Mr CHAPMAN - If the honorable member is anxious that other sites shall be introduced, and that we shall have the debate all over again, and let the Senate start afresh, we ought to know that ; but I take it that the Government do not propose anything of the kind. The question requires very little debate. But it does require a good attendance of honorable members. We have already discussed it at length, and honorable members have made up their minds. There is a majority in favour of one site or another. I hope that we shall be able to arrive at a final decision that will represent the views of the majority.

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