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Tuesday, 26 July 1904

Mr KNOX (Kooyong) - I entered the House this afternoon, feeling that the fairest course for us to pursue would be to take a vote in regard to each site, but the arguments advanced by honorable members, who are opposed to the selection of a district as against a particular site, have induced me to think that we shall act wisely if we content ourselves at present with selecting a certain district within which the Capital Site shall afterwards be fixed. In the western district, for instance, there is only one site, whereas in the south-eastern district there are two, namely, Bombala and Dalgety.

Mr Reid - Hear, hear. There are two fighting against one.

Mr KNOX - The same thing applies to the southern district, in which there are at least two sites, Tumut and Tooma. The unfairness does not lie on the side indicated by the interjection of the right honorable member for East Sydney, because if a vote were taken with regard to each individual site, Lyndhurst would have the advantage of undivided support as contrasted with oth<;r districts whose claims would rest upon the varying attractions of two or more totally distinct sites. If we desire to arrive at an honest conclusion, and to do that which' is best in the interests of (he Commonwealth, we should, in the first instance, vote for districts, and afterwards choose the exact site upon which the Capital is to be built. I have arrived at this conclusion after hearing the arguments used by those honorable members who are opposed to this course, and who have demonstrated to me most clearly the injustice that might result from following their advice. I favour the proposal of the honorable and learned member for Corinella, with regard to the way in which the voting shall be conducted. It follows the method advocated by Professor Nansen, one of the most eminent of our University professors, who has given a great deal of time and thought to the perfection of a balloting system. I think that, by adopting the amendment, we shall be most likely to arrive at an honest expression 'of the preference of honorable members. It is true that the object of the system may be defeated if honorable members do not vote straightforwardly, but I assume, at the outset, that every member of this House intends to act honestly. If, however, there should be any desire to manipulate votes, that object could be accomplished more readily, and at much less risk under the system of voting proposed by the Government. The analysis of the voting that took place on the last occasion, shows that honorable members voted honestly and straightforwardly, and we nave no justification for supposing that they will now evince a different spirit. I merely rose to give my reasons for the vote which I intend to cast upon the present' occasion.

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