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Tuesday, 26 July 1904

Mr BATCHELOR (BOOTHBY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - No. In Committee a number of alterations were made; and these rules are a copy of those which were finally agreed to, of course with the exception of the schedule.

Mr Reid - That is the all-important thing.

Mr BATCHELOR - So far as the schedule is concerned, I anticipate that there may be some differences of opinion.

Mr Reid - I should think so.

Mr BATCHELOR - The view that appealed to the Government was that it would be much easier for the House to arrive at an absolutely fair decision by taking the votes of honorable members for districts.

Mr Reid - This is a case of four to one. against the district - Lyndhurst, for instance - which contains only one site. That is not a fair start.

Mr BATCHELOR - I do not think the honorable member is right.

Mr Reid - Will the honorable gentleman mention the places in the southern district referred to in the schedule.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does the Minister say that voting was taken in districts last time?

Mr BATCHELOR - No. The rules of procedure are precisely the same, as those which were adopted during last Parliament, but the schedule is different, as it groups the sites in districts.

Mr Reid - Does the honorable gentleman mind naming the sites in each district? For instance, what sites are there in the southern district?

Mr BATCHELOR - The sites which I consider to be included in the southern district are Tumut, Batlow, and Tooma.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - How far is Tooma away from Tumut, the original site?

Mr BATCHELOR - I have not measured the distance ; but I understand that the honorable member has been scaling the map, and no doubt he will be able to give the House complete information.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - How far is it from Dalgety?

Mr BATCHELOR - The south-eastern district includes Dalgety and Bombala. There are several other sites mentioned, but practically Dalgety and Bombala are, I think, the most likely ones in the southeastern district.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - But many honorable members would vote for one of those sites who would not vote for the other.

Mr BATCHELOR - The matter rests entirely with honorable members. It seemed to the Government that this was absolutely the fairest way of arriving at a decision, and I think that a large number of honorable members will be found to agree with that view. All we want is to secure an absolutely fair vote, and if the House should prefer these sites to be put separately I shall offer no objection. Bur. I believe that, on the whole, it will be much easier and much fairer to group the sites in districts, and then, after the district in which the Federal Territory shall be located has been determined, to select a spot at or near or within so many miles of one or other of the sites contained therein.

Mr Reid - What sites are contained in the western district referred to in the schedule ?

Mr BATCHELOR - I do not think that any other site than Lyndhurst is seriously proposed. It seems to me that the best time for discussing the actual site to be chosen will be in Committee on clause 2 'of the Bill. It may be fully debated then. My proposal is that when the motion which I have just moved has been carried, the House shall go into Committee to discuss the merits of the various sites, and that, when that discussion is finished, progress shall be reported to enable a ballot to be taken in the House for the purpose of choosing a site. After that ballot has been taken, we shall go into Committee again to insert in the Bill the name of the site which has been chosen by ballot.

Mr Austin Chapman - Does the Minister propose to give notice of the day when the ballot will take place?

Mr BATCHELOR - The first paragraph of my motion is in these words -

That this House do at its next sitting proceed to determine the opinion of members as to the district in New South Wales in which the Seat . of Government of the Commonwealth should be situated.

When the procedure which I have outlined has been followed, and the Committee has reported progress to 'enable a ballot to be taken, a clear day's notice of the intention to take that ballot will be given. I think that that is all that is needed.

Sir William Lyne - Does the honorable gentleman intend to exhibit in this chamber a map which will show the position of the different sites?

Mr BATCHELOR -There is such a map in the Library; but it .is rather difficult to satisfactorily exhibit a map in this chamber.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It was done on the last occasion when the matter was before us.

Mr Reid - Is there any map upon which Tooma is marked? I cannot find a map with that name on it;

Mr BATCHELOR - I think- the right honorable member will find that Tooma appears on the map in the Library. I shall see that a suitable map is obtained, and hung in the chamber.

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