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Tuesday, 26 July 1904

Mr EWING (Richmond) - May I suggest, sir, that it would be better to use the words " comprising all the land " within such and such a radius?

Mr SPEAKER - I would point outto the honorable member that the House is not engaged in passing an Act of Parliament, but simply in laying down general principles to be followed later on. If the House understands what is wanted, I do not think that we need be very particular about the exact wording that is used.

Mr EWING - The House may understand what it means, but as the proposition reads at present, it is not couched in intelligible English. I think that it ought to be distinctly stated that the district chosen comprises all the land within a certain radius. However, I shall not press the point.

Mr. REID(East Sydney).- The amendment is reducing the position of this Parliament with reference to the choice of a Capital Site to one of absolute absurdity. After the elaborate reports, surveys, and Royal Commissions that we have had, the public will learn with astonishment that this House, instead of selecting or indicating a site for the Capital of Australia, has indicated a radius of fifty miles within which there may be one hundred sites. The result of it all will be that we shall be no further on than we were.

Sir William Lyne - That is what the Bill which came from the other Chamber provides.

Mr REID - I am objecting to that too, as I think it is equally absurd. It is a most extraordinary thing to me to find that after the authorities have furnished all these reports, made all these surveys, and framed all these estimates, the' whole subject is reduced to utter absurdity by our now dealing with an amendment such as has been proposed. If the map is looked at, it will be seen that within the proposed fifty-mile radius we are practically making no selection of a- site. We are not now choosing a site for the Capital, but the Federal Territory. The distinction between the Federal Territory and a sitefor the Federal Capital is a very obvious one. So far we have not been dealing so much with the question of a particular territory as with the question of a particular site for the Federal Capital. I have in my hand the report of a Royal Commission - appointed by the late Government - which went into all these matters in' a most careful and exhaustive way. In his report, too, Mr. Oliver also went into all these matters. In fact two years ago we got to a finer point than'is now suggested. If honorable members will refer to Hansard they will find that a number of definite spots were submitted. We were not tied down to a mile or two. But a radius of fifty miles on that map means nothing. All that this amendment means is, how far can we get the site of the territory away from Sydney ?

Mr Webster - That is parochialism.

Mr REID - It may be called parochial, or whatever honorable members like. But what is meant is, how- far can it be got away from' Sydney ? Why cannot the question be dealt with in a straightforward way ? We are choosing a Capital Site now. We are surely not proposing to throw the whole matter to the winds, after the lapse of three years. Two years ago we had a definite proposal made. For example, we had " Tumut," which meant the immediate locality - that is any eminence or suitable place within a few miles. It did not mean Tooma or Cooma. It meant some place in that district. We knew what was meant by Bombala, Dalgety, Lyndhurst, Orange, Bathurst, and Albury. Those were not all wild-goose chases, but definite localities, on one of which the Capital of Australia was to be built. After dealing with this question for these years, and incurring all this expenditure, we have an honorable member proposing to throw the whole thing at large; to leave us in the dark as to where the Capital is to be by saying that it shall be, for example, anywhere within a radius of fifty miles of a given spot called Batlow.

Mr Webster - Including all the sites which have been inspected.

Mr REID - The honorable member is only imitating what has been done in another place. The Bill contains a most extraordinary description. It is a Bill to determine, not the Federal Territory, but the Seat of Government.

Mr Webster - It also defines the Federal Territory.

Mr REID - This is the way in which it is dealt with in the Bill : -

It is hereby determined that . the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be within that portion of New South Wales bounded on the north by a direct line running from the town of Pambula to the town of Cooma, thence due west to the border of the State of Victoria -

That is a pretty big order.

Mr Webster - What else?

Mr REID - and within fifty miles of Bombala, in the State of New South Wales.

There are two sites within fifty miles of Bombala. Surely we have got further than this - that as the result of this legislation we are to decide practically nothing? If the Bill, naming a district contained in the schedule as proposed to be- amended, or even as it stands, were passed to-morrow, would there be any Capital Site fixed?

Mr Webster - Yes.

Mr REID - What ' a lovely Capital Site - a fifty-mile radius! That is, reducing the matter to absolute absurdity; that may be the intention of some persons.

Mr Frazer - Does the right honorable member say that the provision passed by the Senate is an absurdity?

Mr REID - I do, absolutely. This amendment is not a bit worse than that provision. They stand on exactly the same footing. Suppose that this amendment were carried, and that the Bill were passed containing one of the districts named. If an area answering, to the . description in the schedule were selected, would any Capital Site be chosen? Could any Government build a Capital on an inch of that fifty-miles radius without first coming down and getting a special Act of Parliament to fix the site?

Mr Frazer - Is there anything to prevent the House from defining the exact position five minutes after it has selected the area?

Mr REID - Then I understand that this is not a proposal to select a site, but a proposal to get somebody boxed up somehow. You allow the disputants within this fifty-mile radius to knock some other place out, and when they have knocked it put, to fight the matter out amongst themselves. That is called a fair fight ! It resembeles very much the sort of fighting, when three individuals have to decide something. Two of them join together, and say " Now we shall have a fight with this third man. We shall knock him out first, and then have it out between ourselves." I do not call that fair play. If honorable members admit that they intend to do an unfair thing, I have no more to say. I understand that the Ministry have no desire to do what is not absolutely fair. The Bill is bacl enough; but the amendment does not make the absurdity any less. I admit that from one point of view it limits the absurdity to a certain extent, because the term "southern 'district" means anything you like. Every honorable member who is acquainted with New South Wales knows that the application of the words " southern district " to that State does not help us one iota.

Mr Frazer - When an honorable member tries to define what is meant, the right honorable member objects.

Mr REID - The definition is not so bad as the proposal in the resolutions ; but still it is absurd. If the honorable member for Gwydir intended to build a house, and wished to settle the site of his house, he would not consider that he had settled that question when he had decided that it was to be erected within a radius of fifty miles.

Mr Webster - I could instruct an architect to select a site within that radius for me.

Mr REID - The honorable member would, but Parliament cannot act in that way, else this measure would not be needed.

Mr Webster - We can do that afterwards.

Mr REID - It is lamentable that after these pretentious reports about precise localities, we should have the farce of the House putting through a Bill which, while professing to determine the Seat of Government, says that it shall be anywhere within fifty miles of some other place. If that is a way to define the site of the Capital, it is also a way to make foolery of the whole project.

Mr Watson - Does the right honorable member remember that last sessionbe advocated that the radius should be. sixty mi les ?

Mr REID - Was that on the Bill?

Mr Batchelor - The right honorable member for Richmond suggested a radius of fifty miles, and the right honorable member suggested that it should be sixty miles.

Mr REID - I may have done so in a jocular spirit.

Mr Batchelor - The party led by the right honorable member wished to unite the western sites.

Mr REID - If an honorable member were to suggest to-day that the radius ought to be fifty miles, I might jocularly say that it should be sixty miles.

Mr Watson - On page 5812 of Hansard, the suggestion of the right honorable member reads as follows: -

Perhaps the honorable member might, in the schedule, define the meaning of the word "site" as being an area within sixty miles of such and such a place.

Mr REID - At that particular time there was simply a definite point in view. It was not a case of defining a site which would include two rival spots.. Surely honorable members can see the distinction.

Sir William Lyne - There is none.

Mr Batchelor - That was. distinctly the object.

Mr REID - I have referred to the Hansard record of the debate from which the Prime Minister quoted, in order to deal with his accusation-

Mr Watson - It was not an accusation ; merely a reminder.

Mr REID - It was a very unhappy reminder, then, because there is absolutely no foundation for the suggestion of inconsistency. The Bill introduced into the last Parliament provided that -

The Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be at or near - and a blank was left for the name of the site which might be chosen. The honorable member for Richmond wished to amend the provision by inserting the words " within a radius of sixty miles," and the question arose whether such an amendment was in order. Every honorable member should, I think, argue points of order on their merits, without reference to his views in regard to the proposed amendment itself,- because it behoves us to do what we can to preserve the rights of the House. If a point is taken which, if sustained, will limit the action of an honorable member, it is our duty, should we think that that action is not opposed to our rules of debate, to stand by him, and support his exercise of an undoubted right. That is the attitude which I took in reference to the point of order 'in question. If the Prime Minister had read the very next sentence, he would have seen what I was speaking on. I said -

Perhaps the honorable member might, in the schedule, define the meaning of " site " as being an area within sixty miles of such and such a place. That might be relevant.

Those remarks bore entirely on the point of order. On the proposal itself I spoke in very different language, as honorable members will see by reference to the Hansard report of our debates of the 7 th October, 1903. I am there reported to have said -

I cannot understand why the honorable member for Richmond is not satisfied with the clause (as it stands. Surely the words " at or near" give a sufficient latitude. What has been gained by the examinations and reports of experts, if we are not to take advantage of their work ?

Mr Ewing - T believe that in detail it is absolutely useless.

Mr REID - Then, why not make the radius Soo miles, and take in the whole State?

That statement might be quoted against me as an expression of my opinion that the whole State should be regarded as one district. I continued -

I submit that all reasonable elasticity is provided for.

Mr Kingston - How would the right honorable member express the word "near" in miles?

Mr REID - I should have some difficulty in doing so, but I should not consider a place within sixty miles of the chosen site "near" it. The effect of the amendment would be to leave the whole question at large again, so that we should require another series of examinations to determine the precise location of the Capital.

What I said .then is exactly what I say now. Speaking on the point of order, I thought that the honorable member for Richmond was entitled to move his amendment, and therefore I supported him. But, dealing with the amendment itself I took the same ground then as I take now.

Mr Watson - Reading the 'report hur'riedly, I evidently misrepresented the right honorable member.

Mr REID - No doubt. But I hope the Prime Minister will allow me to put myself right, because the quotation which he read to the House made it appear that my attitude to-night is very inconsistent. The fact is that it is the same now as it was then. The Bill of which the second reading was moved in this House on the 1st October, 1903, was entitled "A Bill for an Act to determine the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth." The Seat of Government, be it remarked, not the Federal Territory ! The Constitution shows the precise distinction between the two, because section 125 says -

The Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be determined by the Parliament, and shall be within territory ....

So that the Seat of Government and the Federal Territory are two different things. Provisions have been introduced into the Bill now before us relating to the size of the Federal Territory ; but the title of the Bill shows that it is a measure for the determination of the Seat of Government. I admit that the two things are mixed up together, but what we have been supposed to be engaged upon for the benefit of the people of Australia is the choosing of a place for. the Capital .blf the Commonwealth. All the elaborate and expensive reports which 'have been before us were prepared on that basis. When the last Bill was brought in, we were asked to ballot for what ? For a Federal territory ? No ; for the Seat of Government, the Capital " Site - the place where the Capital of Australia should be built: What was the issue put to the House then? These were the places named - Bombala, Tumut, Lyndhurst, Albury, Armidale, Lake George, Orange, Bathurst, and Dalgety, and the question was not whether the Capital should be built one mile this way or the other way, but whether it should be in the neigbourhood of any of those towns, and, if so, of which of them. That was the question which this Parliament undertook to decide in 1901.

Mr Batchelor - The city site only?

Mr REID - The site of the Capital. Of course that question hinges upon another, and is concerned with the Federal Territory ; but honorable members who are familiar with the debates which then took place, know that they were wholly concerned with the rival merits of the localities which had been named as containing sites suitable for the Seat of Government. The quality of the building stone there, the possibility of water conservation, the facilities for drainage, and every possible consideration was inquired into for the purpose of determining the eligibility of the sites. For what? For a Capital city. That was the scope of our labours. But now we find ourselves, nearly three years later, without the line of definite action which was followed in connexion with the former Bill, and all our debates and proceedings in connexion with it. What is the position? An indefatigable member, who represents a big electorate, and possesses a very striking personality, goes digging for sites by the score. He came here and assured us that Tumut was absolutely the best site for a Capital to be found in Australia.


Mr REID - I did not wish to raise that point. The honorable member for Hume was in a difficult position. He had two proposed sites in his electorate, and we had to allow him a little flutter before settling clown to serious business. He voted, on the first ballot, for Albury, because ,he was sure that that place would not be selected ; but for months he had, with his unrivalledability - and in a good cause no one could admire him more than I do - been engineering on behalf of Tumut.

Mr Frazer - What have the right honorable member's remarks to do with the method of voting now under discussion ?

Mr REID - I am very much obliged to the honorable member for setting me right.

Mr Frazer - Why waste our time here? The right honorable gentleman will have an opportunity to make these attacks elsewhere.

Mr REID - I thank the honorable member ! His rebuke reminds me of Professor Turveydrop. Coming back, as I should do, to the question before the Chair, I would remind the House that we all solemnly visited Tumut. Some of us were nearly killed by going up the hills in its neighbourhood. We were told that there was no other place in the universe like Tumut.

But Tumut came down in the running, and then ensued a post-haste search for some other spot as near the Murray as possible, in order that the honorable member for Hume might get as many votes as he could by advocating it. A rural cemetery was discovered, in which there were no graves, because the surrounding population was not sufficiently large; and all at once this place was declared to be a wonderful site. Now, after a flying picnic lasting a day or two, we are asked to vote for that site, although we know practically nothing of it. All our information in regard to it is contained in the report of a surveyor, who says that he knows the district, but that his last visit was a hurried one, and therefore he gives us the benefit of his best recollections. I ds not object to this site being considered. If a good site can be discovered, it is never too late to bring it forward. But what I do object to is the grouping of these sites in the one district. To begin with, Tumut and Tooma are two different places.

Mr Webster - They are as different as light and darkness.

Mr REID - That is a considerable difference. There is also a distance of many miles between them, and they are approached from different directions. Then Bombala and Dalgety are grouped in another district. Two years ago, we were asked to decide between those two places. But we are now invited by the Senate, and by the Government, to deal with the two as situated in the one district. Therefore we are almost as far from settling the location of tha Seat of Government as we ever were; because there must be a fight between Dalgety and Bombala, even if the district in which they are situated is chosen. This fooling of the public of Australia on the question ought to come to an end. If no Federal Capital Site is to be chosen, let us know it, so that we may go on with other business.

Mr Webster - The right honorable member knows that the Capital Site is to be chosen.

Mr REID - The method now proposed means going backwards instead of going forwards. Three years ago we thought that we were in a position to choose a site for the Federal Capital-; but now the honorable member wishes the House to vote for an area within fifty miles of some given spot. No doubt he is quite within his rights in moving such an amendment, but there will be a feeling of intense disappointment amongst those really interested in the matter when they find that, after all the time which has been occupied, and the expense which has been incurred, we are not to come to some definite resolution. If the Government had said - " We are a new Government, and this is a new Parliament. We find that the information which has been collected is not satisfactory, and that it is not sufficiently definite or exhaustive to enable Parliament to choose a Capital Site, and we, therefore, ask honorable members, to wait until we have got more," their attitude would have been intelligible. It would have been worthy of respect, however much we might have criticised it. But for the Government to come down with a Bill for the determination of the Seat of Government, and allow the public of Australia to believe that the Capital Site is to be fixed, and then to ask the House only to choose a district in which several sites are grouped, is quite another matter. The effect of adopting the Government proposal would be most unfair to the site in which I believe thi. people of New South Wales take most interest. I have, however, already expressed my feelings on that matter. What I wish to point out now is that, if the amendment be adopted, and the schedule is left as it stands, we shall be proceeding in altogether a wrong direction. Instead of obtaining definiteness and finality, we shall be reopening the whole question again, and giving an opportunity for a repetition of the trouble. The Government have placed Dalgety and Bombala in the one district, as though they are not rival and different sites. As a matter of fact, there will be the keenest division when these two sites come to be voted upon in the House, because, while some honorable members strongly support Bombala, others are as strongly opposed to the adoption of that site, and in favour of the adoption of the Dalgety site. The inclusion of those two places in one district, therefore, is, to say the least, confusing. But it will have the most important effect in regard to the Lyndhurst site, because it will enable the opponents of that site to join together in voting against it, and to reserve their opposition until they can get rid of an inconvenient adversary. Thev will unite their forces and votes until thev get rid of the third party. I know that the Prime Minister is anxious to do his duty in this matter. He comes from the same State that I do, and knows the feeling there in regard to the question of, | the Capital Site, and I beg of him to consider the point I am now putting to him. As the Minister of Home Affairs has stated, the more opponents there are the worse it is for the opponents. He had in his mind the case of an election, and so far as that is concerned his remark would apply, but the case here is is very different. Here we have three rivals, each of which is supposed to occupy an independent position. There is not supposed to be any combination of two rivals against the other one, with the object of knocking it out. There is supposed to be a straight-out fight between the three. The effect of the proposed arrangement would be to compel the advocates of Bombala and Tumut to ally themselves against those who were supporting the third site. They would concentrate their forces naturally. There is nothing to be said against it, because the Government would force that course upon them. The advocates of Bombala or Delegate, on the one hand, and Tumut or Tooma on the other, would- combine against the western district site, not from any desire to manipulate the votes or to act unfairly towards Lyndhurst, but because the very circumstances would compel them to do so. The two opponents would become allies for the purpose of shutting out Lyndhurst, not from wrong motives, but owing to the method of procedure proposed to be adopted. They would be at one in their opposition to the selection of the Lyndhurst site. They would say - "We must have the contest to ourselves," and they would, therefore, stait by knocking out the third antagonist. I submit that that would not give all the sites a fair start. I admit that the subject is one of great difficulty. Instead of a fair start between three or five different places, we should have a forced combination of a number of sites against one. The moment that one site disappeared, the advocates of the others would begin to fight among themselves, but, in the meantime, they would have got rid of one of their adversaries. It would be a sort of triangular duel, but the conditions would not be fair to one particular angle of the triangle. Strongly as I object to what the Government propose, I must certainly oppose the amend-' ment, in the hope that, when we are dealing with the Bill, the Government will adopt a more reasonable interpretation than that of the honorable member for Gwydir. The honorable member's amendment, on the face of it, limits the. scope of the schedule. It does not seem very objectionable from one point of view, but if the Government accept it they will be prevented from' making their schedule more pointed. They will accept something which would compel them to deal with sites embracing the whole of the country within a fifty-miles radius, fi would be unfair to deal with the question in that way, and I hope that the Government will consider the matter again, and will not accept the amendment.

Sir WILLIAMLYNE (Hume).- The right honorable gentleman who has just resumed his seat is always amusing, and he was not less so than usual when he ventured to hope that the time would come when there would be no further humbugging of the people. It is really most refreshing to hear such a sentiment expressed by him. The whole object of his argument was to secure for one site an advantage over all the others. If a western district site is to be considered, Orange certainly has claims far superior to those of Lyndhurst.

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

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - About thirty or forty miles.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member is in favour of adopting a fiftymiles radius.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Quite so; and if a territory were chosen in the western district, I should do my utmost to secure the selection of Orange, instead of Lyndhurst, as a site for the Federal Capital. The right honorable member for East Sydney wishes to persuade honorable members that an attempt is being made to impose unfair conditions ; but my impression is that the question cannot be fairly dealt with except on such lines as those proposed in the amendment. In the Bill now before us we find that honorable senators have thought fit to mention one particular site, and also to provide for a larger area than that which would be selected under the conditions now proposed by the honorable member- for Gwydir.

Sir John Forrest - They did not name any particular site.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - No; the right honorable gentleman is correct. They propose that the Seat of Government shall be within the area bounded on the north bv a line running from Pambula to Cooma, then west to the Victorian border. That would represent an area larger than that proposed by the honorable member for Gwydir. They impose a condition, however, that the Capital Site shall be situated not more than fifty miles from Bombala. If such a large area is to be embraced within a given district, a similarly comprehensive provision should be made with regard to others.

Mr Reid - I think that is wrong.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - But other honorable members do not think so. The right honorable gentleman has been very free in attributing motives, and in implying that other honorable members desire to secure an undue , advantage for the sites which they favour, but the whole object of his argument has been to secure a special advantage for the Lyndhurst site.

Mr Reid - All I want is absolute equality.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The right honorable member has very cleverly disguised his object, but I am convinced that I have indicated the motive which underlies his arguments against the amendment. The right honorable member for Swan directed my attention to the wording of the Constitution in connexion with this subject, and I am not sure that the method of selection proposed is constitutionally correct. Section 125 provides -

The Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be determined by the Parliament, and shall be within the territory which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth.

If we were to fix a site for the Capital at any particular spot before we had acquired the territory, we should be placing the cart before the horse.

Mr Brown - We pointed that out to the honorable member when the last Bill was under discussion, but he would not listen to us.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The right honorable member for Swan was the first to direct my attention to this particular reading of - the provision in the Constitution, which seems to me to clearly direct us first of all to select the territory, and acquire it, and then to fix the site of the Capital within that territory.

Mr Reid - But we must determine the site before we can ask for the territory, because we shall have to ask for the territory which will include the site.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - No; section 125 requires that the territory "shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth."

Mr Fowler - The greater includes the less.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The section pro- vides -that the territory must be acquired, and that the site must be selected within that territory. With regard to the sites, some honorable senators favoured Bombala, whilst others preferred Dalgety, and the Senate selected an area which would embrace these two sites. That was a fair course to take. It is proposed by the amendment that an area should be selected which would embrace two other sites - not thirteen or fourteen others. If that course were pursued in regard to Lyndhurst, we should have an opportunity to select a better site than that now contemplated in that district. Orange is infinitely superior in every way as a site for the Capital. No injustice could be done if we were to deal with the matter in the way proposed by the honorable member for Gwydir. The right honorable member for East Sydney seems to fear that we should take a retrograde step if the course now proposed were followed. It must not, however, be forgotten that this is a new Parliament, and that if a new site were discovered 500 miles away from any of those previously regarded as eligible, it would be perfectly open for us to consider it. Some honorable members regard Armidale as a very fine site, and it would be perfectly open to us to reconsidei it, if we thought fit.

Mr Reid - But the. honorable member knew all about Tooma when we were discussing the former Bill.'

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Not as a site. I have known Tooma for nearly thirtyyears, and I have fully appreciated its. beauties. I think that the site should be called Welaregang, because that town is fairly in the centre of the district. The reason I did not submit the site previously was because I knew that in New South Wales generally - or at least in Sydney - the feeling was in favour of acquiring a site to the westward of the metropolis. I also knew that the feeling was entirely opposed to the action taken by the right honorable member for East Sydney in fixing the 100- miles limit. That was, in my opinion, a ridiculous thing to do.


Sir WILLIAM LYNE - He agreed to it ; I am not aware that he 'suggested it.

Mr SPEAKER - Order. We are discussing the question whether the voting paper to be used later on shall contain the names of the proposed districts, with the addition of certain words. The question whether the right honorable member for East Sydney secured the insertion in the Constitution of the 100-miles limit has nothing whatever to do with the matter under discussion.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I recognise that. The remarks of the right honorable gentleman took a fairly wide range when he was attacking me. I recognised that the great majority of the people of Sydney wanted the site of the Federal Capital to be as near as possible to the centre of New South Wales, and I felt, when the former Bill was under discussion, that they would be strongly opposed to any site near the Murray, on the ground that if the Federal Capital were situated close to the Victorian border, the spirit of the Constitution would not be observed. When, however, I found that sites much further south, and much further removed from the heart of New South Wales, were being favorably considered, I thought that Tooma had fair claims to the regard of honorable members. The areas on the map, before honorable members will show that the two sites in the lower part of the Monaro district are further removed from the centre of New South. Wales than are the Tumut and other sites.

Mr Austin Chapman - How do they stand in relation to Sydney ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I do not know exactly.

Mr Austin Chapman - It does not suit the honorable member to know.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I believe that they are a little further away.

Mr Austin Chapman - They are a little closer.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The windings of the railway might make them a little closer. I have no desire, however, to deal with the merits of the sites. , I have been drawn . into these statements by the assertions of the right honorable member for East Sydney. How would it be possible, I ask, to pit a particular site in that district against another site in a different part of _ New South Wales ? In connexion with this matter, I would remind the honorable member for Macquarie that' if we adhered to the. decision which was arrived at' by the last Parliament, Lyndhurst would have no claims to consideration whatever.


Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Because it was defeated in the exhaustive ballot which took place in the Senate and also in this House. The Senate selected Bombala, and in this House the word "Tumut" was twice inserted in its place. Had it not been for the fact that the session was very near its close, the matter would have been settled for all time, and no further consideration would have been given to Lyndhurst.

Mr Fuller - Why should we consider the claims of Tooma. It was not mentioned before?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I have frankly given my reasons for bringing that place under consideration at this stage of our deliberations. I do not know that I should have taken such action had it not been for the statements of the honorable member for Grampians. I feel that the site, which has come into the running because of the possibility of an area further south being selected, is far and away the finest and most picturesque that has yet been inspected. There is no comparison between it and the others, either in regard to picturesqueness, fine land, or water supply.

Mr SPEAKER - I must ask the honorable member not to discuss that aspect of the question.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I do not know why the right honorable member for East Sydney was allowed to debate the whole range of these questions.

Mr King O'malley - He understands how to do it better than does the honorable member.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - That is very likely. I do it in a straightforward way, and he does it in a roundabout fashion. I merely desire to insure a fair decision being arrived at as between the various sites. Though there are other eligible sites in my electorate, if it can be shown that better ones exist elsewhere, I shall be thoroughly content. Upon a big question of this character I will not fight for the selection of a place in which I do not believe.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Why did the honorable member vote for the selection of Albury in preference to Tumut ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - No better site than that at Albury could have been selected, but when I saw it had no possible chance,. 1 deemed it my duty to advocate the claims of the next best site.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member was canvassing for votes in favour of Tumut before he voted for the selection of Albury.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The circumstances I have mentioned demonstrate how very injudicious it would be to select any particular spot at the present time. _ If honorable members will read the history of the selection of the site at- Washington, or of that of the Canadian capital, they will find that the opinions of members of their Legislatures varied from time to time. In one instance thirty-three years elapsed' before the question was finally decided.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does the honorable member advocate a delay of thirtythree years?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - No, certainly not. In that instance, either one, two, or three particular sites were chosen,, and their, selection subsequently cancelled when it was found that they were not the best possible sites. Under such circumstances it is far better for us to select an area from which, subsequently, the best site available may be chosen. How is it possible at the present moment to say that the Welaregang site possesses every desirable requisite? It requires to be accuratelysurveyed, and a report upon its water supply needs to be obtained.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - If we have a large area the Capital may be located at Tumut, although Parliament may be opposed to that locality.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Immediately after an area had been selected any reasonable Ministry would obtain a contour survey of it.

Mr Austin Chapman - Surely we are going to settle the matter right off, and not have any further delay?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - If we do not select any spot within an area, how can we settle it?

Mr Austin Chapman - We understood that the House would be asked to select a site immediately after the area had been chosen.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I think it is a matter that should be very carefully considered. If the Monaro tableland is selected as the territory within which the Capital shall be located, it should be the duty of every honorable member to discover the best site within that area.


Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Very few surveys have been made of some of the sites. Honorable members are not going to bluff me out of securing a fair show for the Welaregang site. I have given very good reasons "why that site was not previously brought forward. It is all very well for some people in New South Wales to cry out for the early selection of a site for the Federal Capital. It is better to wait-

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member has been crying out for its settlement for a long time, and never doing anything. He is good at bluff.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - During the last Parliament the honorable member's tongue was the greatest instrument for bluffing in the world. When he was speaking to-night he accused me of having attempted to do something unfair with regard to Lyndhurst. Any accusation of that kind is not fair, and is not true.

Mr SPEAKER - I must ask the honorable member to withdraw that statement.

Sir William LYNE -Which statement?

Mr SPEAKER - The statement that something which was said by the honorable member for Macquarie is untrue.

Sir William Lyne - If the honorable member objects to my statement, I have no objection to withdrawing it.

Mr SPEAKER - I would point out that, in any case - irrespective of whether the honorable member for Macquarie objects to it or not - the statement that something which an honorable member has said is " untrue," must be withdrawn.

Sir William Lyne - I am perfectly within my rights in saying that the statement is untrue.

Mr SPEAKER - Order. Will the honorable member take his' seat? I would point out that no honorable member has a right to say that any statement made by another honorable member is " untrue" and that any honorable member making such a statement must at once withdraw it.

Sir William Lyne - I say' that the statement which was made by the honorable member for Macquarie-

Mr SPEAKER - Order. There is only one course which the honorable member can adopt. Without any argument, he must withdraw the expression, although he jis at liberty afterwards to make any explanation which does not amount to a reasserticn of it.

Sir William Lyne - I wish it to be understood that I did not accuse the honorable member for Macquarie of telling an untruth. However, I am perfectly willing to withdraw my statement, and I do so, but I say that the statement made to the honorable member 'was untrue, and I have a perfect right to say so. That' is what I said previously:

Mr SPEAKER - I would point out that the honorable member distinctly said that the statement of another honorablemember was untrue. Had he made the remark which he now makes, I should certainly not have called him to order.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I have no de- ' sire to do an injustice to any particular site. I did hear certain rumours of certain little games which were being played by members of the Opposition side of the House, but I did not accuse the honorable member for Macquarie of being a partv to them.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member has played a good many little games during his time.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - All his life the honorable member for Parramatta has been playing games and hoodwinking the public. I trust that the Prime Minister will not insist upon the selection of any particular site. If he does so it may possibly mean that honorable members will be called upon to vote for the Welaregang site without being in possession of information relating to its water supply and other important matters. I cannot see what objection can be urged against dealing with this question in the way in which it was dealt with by the Senate. I ask the House to select an area before deciding any other question.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - With your permission, sir, I should like to ask the honorable member for Hume a question.

Mr SPEAKER -The honorable member cannot do that.

Mr. BATCHELOR(Boothby- Minister of Home Affairs). - I need scarcely assure honorable members that the sole object which the Government have in view is to insure that the opinion of a majority of this House shall be reflected in the site selected for the permanent Seat of Government. We are not interested in running any particular site, and we have no desire to adopt any plan which seems to savour of unfairness to any site. That is the position which has been consistently taken up by the Government throughout. In the first place, it seems to us that we ought to decide which district is most favoured ny. honorable members. It is of no use urging that at the present' time the question is one as between rival sites. I claim that it is essentially a question of districts -

Mr Brown - The whole of the inquiries which have been made related to the ments of the various sites.

Mr BATCHELOR - The official reports also deal with the question of districts. The experts have considered the question of accessibility as affecting the various districts. One district is far more accessible than is another, but there is not much to choose between the accessibility of sites which are in the same neighbourhood. It is not so much a question as between the various sites, for example, on the Monaro table'-kind, as it is a question between the selection of one of the Monaro sites and, say, the western site. The suggestion that the Government wish to take a vote in a way that would be unfair to Lyndhurst is entirely contrary to fact. Our desire is that a fair expression of the opinion of the House shall be obtained ; but I am satisfied that if the suggestion made by the right honorable member for East Sydney - that we should include the names of the various sites in the different districts - were adopted, we should not secure that happy result. The western district has but one site, while in the others there are four or five different sites.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Let those who favour the south-eastern and southern districts select one site from each.

Mr BATCHELOR - I was about to make a suggestion to that effect. It seems to me that what has been done in the case of the, western district might well be followed in dealing with the others. The sites in the western district have been gradually whittled away, until now only one remains.

Mr McLean - Lyndhurst was struck out of the list last session, but the Government have again introduced it.

Mr BATCHELOR - That is true; but we have to remember that this is a new Parliament. The Government would not be acting fairly by a large section of honorable members who strongly favour Lyndhurst if they failed to give them an opportunity to point out all that may be said in support of its selection, and to enable the House to deal with it.

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - There was, moreover, a promise made by the late Prime Minister that it would be considered.

Mr BATCHELOR - I do not think that we need discuss all these matters at the present stage. I am sure that the honorable member for Gippsland would not suggest that Lyndhurst should not be included in the list, and that a vote should not be taken as to the desirableness of selecting it. The process which has been adopted in regard to the sites in the western district might well be followed by iis in dealing with the other districts. In the southern district there are some three or four sites, and it would be open to us to vote on the selection of a site at or near Batlow, Tumut, or Welaregang.

Mr Reid - Does the honorable gentleman suggest the taking of a vote on each district by itself?


Mr Reid - For the purpose of determining, first of all, the most desirable site in that district?

Mr BATCHELOR - For the purpose of whittling down the various sites. in each district, until only one remains, and then pitting the chosen site in one district against that selected as the most representative one in another. If that course were followed justice would be done, and the palpable unfairness that would follow the adoption of the suggestion made by the right honorable member for East Sydney would be avoided.

Mr Reid - The honorable gentleman's proposal would be a great improvement.

Mr BATCHELOR - It' seems to me that it would be absolutely fair. In making this suggestion I have the hearty concurrence of the Prime Minister. We have discussed it, and it appears to the Government to be the fairest and best method of determining the question.

Mr Austin Chapman - Would the Minister say whether he proposes to determine the site immediately afterwards, or at some later date?

Mr BATCHELOR - Immediately afterwards.

Mr Austin Chapman - That is fair.

Mr. SYDNEYSMITH (Macquarie).I have no desire to discuss this question at any great length, but I wish to refer to a statement made by the honorable member for Hume, who took exception to a remark which I made as to his action in dealing with Lyndhurst. I am sure that the honorable member for Canobolas will support the statement which I am about to make. It is well known that arrangements were made for the inspection of the various districts, and that, with the concurrence of the Commonwealth Government I arranged with the Government of New South Wales for a special train to convey honorable members, free of cost, to the several suggested sites. The honorable member for Hume availed himself of the special train to visit the sites in his electorate, but although it was understood that a special train would also be provided to convey honorable members from Bathurst to Lyndhurst, I discovered that he had attempted to secure the withdrawal of the concession, so far as Lyndhurst was concerned.

Sir William Lyne - That is not correct.

Mr SPEAKER - I cannot see what connexion this has with the debate.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member for Hume has made a statement

Mr SPEAKER - I would remind the honorable member, as 1 have pointed out again and again, that there is no justification for a debate on an irrelevant interjection or even an irrelevant remark made in the course of a speech, more especially when that remark has been discontinued at my direction, and that I would not be justified in departing from the rules of debate which now guide us.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I shall have another opportunity to make an explanation, and to prove my assertion.

Sir William Lyne - The honorable member always says that.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I shall produce a telegram in support of what I have said. I also rose because I felt that honorablemembers generally were not aware of the exact position of affairs. I saw that if the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Gwydir were carried; it would be impossible for the Government proposal to receive consideration.

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Minister does not accept that amendment.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Had I not risen, it would have been put and carried.

Mr Batchelor - Oh no.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - There might have been some misunderstanding, and 1 therefore considered it wise to briefly put the position before the House. The compromise suggested by the Minister of Home Affairs is a very fair one. We all desire that this matter shall be settled in a way that will cause no irritation, and will not be unfair to any of the suggested sites. I am quite prepared to allow Lyndhurst to rest upon its merits, and if it cannot secure a majority of votes on its own honest merits we do not wish it to be selected. Those who are favorable to its selection feel that there are many new facts which warrant. its favorable consideration, and all that ve require is the adoption of a system that will enable a proper decision to be arrived at, and one that it will be unnecessary to review at an early date.

Mr Groom - How many competing sites would there be in the Lyndhurst district ?


Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - A suggestion was made that Orange should be included in the western district, but we are willing to accept the suggestion made by the Minister of Home Affairs that a site should be chosen from each district.

Mr Austin Chapman - After the district has been selected?

Mr Batchelor - No; before we have settled upon the district.

Mr Austin Chapman - I did not understand the Minister to say that.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I understood that that was the suggestion which he made, and I think' it is a fair compromise. The question is a very important one, and has received our consideration during the last four years. To my mind, too much time has been lost in dealing with it. Expensive surveys have been made, and reports from various officers have been received, and I think that we might have fairly arrived at a decision two years ago. The honorable member for Hume said that it was merely a matter of courtesy to myself that Lyndhurst was again included in the list of eligible sites. I hold, however, that it is quite within the rights of a new Parliament to review the decision of its predecessor, and, in view of the fact that when a vote was taken last session Lyndhurst was at the top of the poll in five out of six ballots, it is reasonable that we should have another opportunity to consider it. When the proper time arrives we. shall be able to adduce fresh facts and figures which must weigh with those who desire that the question shall be determined on a fair and satisfactory basis. I hope that we shall deal with it in such a way that no illfeeling or dissatisfaction will occur, and that a proper decision having been arrived at. we shall all join in endeavouring to deal with the whole question in an effective wav.

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