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Thursday, 21 July 1904

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN (EdenMonaro) - I take exception to the suggestion of the honorable member for Hume that the honorable and learned member for Corio was simply my phonograph.

Sir William Lyne - I said I hoped that the honorable and learned member for Corio was not the honorable member's phonograph.

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN - I should like to say that I had no conversation with the honorable and learned member for Corio, nor did I suggest that he should take thi step which he did; and I ask the honorable member for Hume not to "measure my coin" with his "bushel." I have no objection to the proposed visit to Tooma, because, after all, our only desire is to select the best site. I hope that the site selected will be the one which is the most suitable; but, in order that the best may. be done for Australia, it is desirable that honorable members should see all the suggested areas. I feel sure that the Government would extend to me the same privilege that they have extended to the honorable member for Hume, if I desired that honorable members should inspect any fresh site in the district which I represent. [ cannot accept the suggestion of the honorable and learned member for Werriwa that the action of the Government is likely to be changed or dominated by the fact that an honorable member accords them his support.

Mr Conroy - That was not what I suggested. What I said was that the honorable member for Hume had been voting in a certain way in order to get this picnic arranged for him.

Mr Batchelor - That is an unworthy suggestion.

Mr Conroy - It is not a bit more unworthy than the suggestion which the honorable and learned member for Hume made in regard to myself.

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN - I think the honorable and learned member for Werriwa is mistaken in regard to the honorable member for Hume- But it would be only fair to me, and to the House* if, in the event of the debate on the second reading of the Bill continuing, as it is likely to do* until next Thursday, a number of honorable members express a desire to inspect another portion of my district,' namely, Twofold Bay, that another adjournment should be granted.

Mr Skene - What new site does the honorable member propose?

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN - I hold that Twofold Bay is the port for any site in the Monaro district. I stand by the site which I advocated here in the first instance, but of course I should be ruled out of order if I were to attempt to discuss its merits. This proposal to vote for districts will place a serious handicap on Southern Monaro and Lyndhurst. In the district in which the site to be inspected is situated, fourteen other sites have already been reported on. If those sites were to get only three votes apiece; if they were to be massed together, that circumstance would give the district a support in. the House sufficient to enable it to win. I hope that every facility for inspection will be given to honorable members by the Government, and as far as I can, I shall take every possible advantage of the rules of the House to block any attempt to come to a vote on sites which have not been subjected to a similar scrutiny. I remember sites which have been visited where there were running streams, and in connexion with which no information as to the water supply was given to honorable members. Some of these sites look very well on paper, until the official information is supplied. I consider that the right- honorable member for Swan is quite right when he says that we require to have further information. I think that the Government have shown a very laudable desire to allow honorable members to see as many of the sites as possible, and to get information. But let us have complete information, and act with our eyes open. Any action of this kind means postponing the decision on this question. If there is any possible chance of our making a mistake in selecting a site, it would be wiser to take the course suggested by the honorable member, and to get all the information which is wanted. It is a remarkable thing that that information has not been previously asked for by so energetic and regular an attendant as the honorable member for Grampians.

Mr Skene - I have been asking for it for two or three years.

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN - The honorable member could not have wanted the information very badly. If he desired an inspection of this place for two or three years, he would probably have succeeded in attaining his object.

Mr Skene - Look at Hansard.

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN - The approaching departure of the train prevents me from saying all I would like to say. I shall avail myself of another opportunity. I hope that when we come to the question of selection the best site available will be chosen. I trust that those who are going to make this visit of inspection will have a pleasant trip, and all those who have the leisure ought to go. I hope that next week the Government will afford me similar facilities, so that we may go to Twofold Bay to see the port. That, I think, would be only reasonable, if a number of honorable members should desire to go.

Mr. SYDNEYSMITH (Macquarie).I only rise to support the contention of the honorable and learned member for Werriwa. It was very unfair of the honorable member for Hume to say that that honorable and learned member was responsible for the proposal which is now submitted.

Mr Conroy - It might have been only a slip of memory, and he did not correct it.

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