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Thursday, 16 June 1904

Sir JOHN FORREST (Swan) - I am quite in accord with the motion ; but should like to take this opportunity to say that the expenditure in the direction referred to seems to me to have been very necessary. The Constitution places upon the Parliament the responsibility of determining the site of the Federal Capital, and it would be very difficult for honorable members to carry out that duty without obtaining some knowledge of ihe various suggested localities. I think the inspections and reports which have been made were absolutely necessary. When we were asked, at 'the close of last session, to deal with the Seat of Government Bill, I clearly intimated that I should vote as well as the information then at my disposal would enable me to do ; but that I felt that I was not in a position to properly exercise the duty cast upon me by the Constitution of making a selection. Since then we have been able to place ourselves in a better position, and I am sure that man)' honorable members, in common with myself, feel that we are now better fitted to deal finally with the question than we were at the close of last session. It thus seems to me that there is no ground whatever for the assertion that we have wasted money in this direction, oj that we have unduly delayed our investigations. The selection of- even the district in which the Capital is to be established is a very important matter, and that difficulty is intensified when the exact site of the Capital has to be determined by us. The information which the honorable and learned member desire to obtain will be useful to the House. We shall be interested to learn what has been the expenditure, but I totally disagree with any suggestion that we have improperly spent either time or money in this direction.

Question, as amended, resolved in the affirmative.

Resolved -

That there be laid upon the table of this House a return showing -

1.   The total cost of the Parliamentary visits of inspection to the proposed Federal Capital sites.

2.   The total cost and expenses of all inspections and reports by various officers appointed to inspect such sites.

3.   The total cost and expenses of the Royal

Commission on the Federal Capital.

4.   The total cost of printing and distributing documents relating to the Federal Capital.

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