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Tuesday, 19 July 1904

Mr BATCHELOR (BOOTHBY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Home Affairs) - I have not yet received the report referred to, but expect that itwill come to hand during the afternoon, and that I shall be in a position to lay it on the table before the close of the sitting.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - If the Government have seriously considered the question to which I have just referred I should like to know from the Prime Minister what time will be occupied in surveys having reference to water' supply facilities and other matters in connexion with the proposed new site, and in obtaining other information which will be necessary before the House will be prepared to deal with the matter.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - By that time the honorable member for Eden-Monaro will probably have a few more sites to suggest.

Mr WATSON - The Government do not at present' propose to enter upon any additional surveys. If the procedure followed last session is again adopted, a district will be selected which may include several possible sites for the Federal Capital. The determination of the exact location of the Capital can be arranged for after the original selection of the area which is to include the site.

Mr Fuller - How far is Tooma from Tumut ?

Mr Kennedy - About fifty miles from the township of Tumut.

Sir John Forrest - More than that'.

Mr WATSON - The Murray is not fifty miles from Tumut.

Sir John Forrest - I do not think that any one could reach the Murray from Tumut in fifty miles.

Mr WATSON - I think if would be possible, but I may be mistaken. At the same time, I do not think that any delay will be involved by the proposed inspection. In my view a district should be selected, and a subsequent survey should be relied upon to disclose the site which would be best suited for the Federal Capital.

Mr FULLER - In view of the arrangements made for the proposed trip to Tooma, how does the Prime Minister suppose that he will be able to arrange for the second reading of the Seat of Government Bill this week ? I also desire to know whether the Prime Minister will see that full notice is given to honorable members as to the time at which a vote will be taken?

Mr WATSON - I expect to be able to speak definitely to-morrow as to the time at which the vote upon, the sites will be taken. It' seems to me that the second reading debate could be concluded without interfering with the desire of some honorable members to visit the Tooma site.

Mr Fuller - But the whole question would be disposed of before they return.

Mr WATSON - No; the second read-, ing debate will be concluded before honorable members are asked to select a site. I do not think it likely that the secondreading debate will occupy very long, or that the proposed visit of honorable members to Tooma will interfere with it. The question whether we are to at once proceed to the selection of a site will be brought up by the amendment outlined by the honorable member for Corangamite, and I think that we might at least reach that stage during this week.

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