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Tuesday, 26 July 1904

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I should like to point out that a fiftymiles radius would embrace all the land within fifty miles from the centre, and if we defined such an area in the case of Lyndhurst, we should either have to push the centre further back or else a large section of the area within the ordinary radius would come within the prohibition contained in the Constitution. Therefore the amendment would have the effect of prejudicing the interests of Lyndhurst. So far as the general question is concerned, I do not care whether or not a definite area is proclaimed. At the same time, I think that the proposals of the Government are so fair and reasonable, and give evidence of such a genuine desire to arrive at a settlement of this matter, that we might very well consent to allow them to make their well-intentioned effort.

Mr. REID(East Sydney). - I do not think it is necessary to take any serious notice of the point raised by the honorable member for South Sydney, because this is a mere resolution of the House at present. We are not proposing to enact anything. The amendments which have been carried in no way interfere with the proposals of the Government for arriving at the selection of a site in each division. I am perfectly satisfied with the statement of the Government on that point. My serious objection was to what seemed to me to be an unfair way of dealing with the matter. The amendments do not interfere with the arrangement which the Prime Minister and the Minister of Home Affairs have announced, which will, according to my view, tend to bring about finality. The area for which provision has been made in the motions does not diminish the value of that statement, becausewe shall arrive at the selection of a definite site in each district. I understand that it is proposed to take a vote upon each of the sites in each district.

Mr McLean - It ds too late for' that. A vote was taken on that very question.

Mr REID - No. I do not know that honorable members can vote upon any particular understanding without coming to seme arrangement with other honorable members. We have never been able to do that yet.

Mr McLean - If the feeling of the House is tested we shall arrive at the same decision as before.

Mr REID - Of course, we shall have t'o gracefully bow to that. What I .wish is that the very fair proposal of the Government shall be acted upon, because it meets the more serious of my objections. It is for the House to settle these matters ; I am only expressing my own opinion. I can see precisely the trend of matters, and I am prepared to meet the position. I am quite satisfied with the course the Government are taking, so that all the sites in each district may be submitted for selection by the collective -wisdom of the House, and that there may be a final test with regard to the best of the sites.

Mr. WATSON(Bland- Treasurer).- I should like to ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether there is any method by which 1 could have the suggestion of the Government put before the House as a substantive motion. Of course, indirectly, it may be contended that the vote taken upon the amendment really constituted a decision upon this question, but I do not think that that was put before the House with sufficient clearness.

Mr Webster - It was quite clear to us.

Mr WATSON - I am not quarrelling with that view, if honorable members entertain it, but my own feeling is that it was not quite clear to honorable members whether we were to select districts having a _ fifty-miles radius or a site within such districts. I should like to ask you, Mr. Speaker, as to the procedure by which that question could be settled. Motion No. 2 of the series now before us mentions the schedule, and as the schedule has been amended we shall have to add some words by way of providing an alternative. If there is any way in which I can submit a motion in the direction I have indicated, I shall be very glad to do so.

Mr SPEAKER - In reply to the question put by the Prime Minister, it appears lo me that the vote which has just been taken, was, in effect, a determination not to follow the course which the Govern ment desired to follow. By inserting the express words, "Batlow," "Bombala," and "Lyndhurst," the House will fix the area which shall embrace the sites in respect of which the ballot shall be taken. I do not say that there is no way in which the desire of the Prime Minister can be accomplished, but, for the moment, I do not see how his purpose can be effected. If he desires further time to look into the matter, perhaps he may see his way clear to allow of an adjournment.

Mr. BROWN(Canobolas). - I agree with the honorable member for South Sydney that the selection of Lyndhurst as the centre of a radius of fifty miles would involve a considerable encroachment upon the territory embraced within the 100 miles limit imposed by the Constitution. Further, I think that that radius would practically embrace the whole of the sites within the western district. Certainly, it would include Bathurst and Orange.

Mr Henry Willis - Would it embrace the Wellington site?

Mr BROWN - I think so. I would therefore suggest that the honorable member should substitute the word " Orange " for "Lyndhurst." That would extend the area from twenty to thirty miles west of Lyndhurst, and would, embrace territory north, in the direction of Wellington. I would further point out that no such limitation can override the provisions of the Constitution. If we declare that the area shall comprise all the territory within a. radius of fifty miles from Lyndhurst, it will simply mean, so far as land within the 100 miles limit is concerned, that the provision will be inoperative. I move -

That the word " Lyndhurst " be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word " Orange."

Mr. JOSEPHCOOK (Parramatta).I think that the action of the honorable member for Canobolas is rather unfair. He is really seeking to exclude Bathurst from the area designated. I understand that Bathurst is a little more than fifty miles from Orange, and I put it to the honorable member that, in a matter of this kind, he ought not to be selfish. His object will be secured if Lyndhurst be made the centre of the radius. I trust therefore that he will withdraw his proposal, which will add nothing to the security of the Orange site, but which will take something away from that of the Lyndhurst site.

Mr Brown - It will take -nothing away from Lyndhurst.

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