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Tuesday, 2 August 1904

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I listened to the honorable member for Gippsland to see if I could, by any possibility, agree with him on some point, and I confess that I cannot find a single point of agreement with him. He has told us once again how necessary it is that we must be fair and impartial in our treatment of this matter; how much, for instance, we must keep in mind Australia, and not the interests of a State. He has told us, for the twentieth time during this debate, that we must take our minds off any particular State, and keep them concentrated on Australia, and he has asked the question - "What would a foreigner say if he were handed a map of Australia and shown the sites that were located thereon?"- 1 ask, in all seriousness, would it be a fair thing to show a foreigner a map only? Would not the fair thing be to show him a map and the Constitution? Would not the fair thing be, before inviting him to decide, to ask him to study the arrangement which was deliberately made by the States relative to the question of a site ? That would be the first thing, I should think, which any fair-minded man would do with a stranger whom he wished to arbitrate on this most important matter. The honorable member for Gippsland does not put the case fairly when he makes this suggestion without reference^ to any bargain or arrangement - which, by the way, he has already described as the arrangement of a Shylock. That arrangement, whatever it is. ought to be honoured by the people of Australia, not in its technique, or letter, but in its substance and spirit. That is the point we are making in setting out to argue this question. The test of loyalty and patriotism, about which we have heard so much, is in the Constitution, and I ask honorable members to keep that in mind when we consider the question of locating the site. Almost every honorable member who has taken part in this debate has rated some . other honorable member, who happened to differ from him, because of his provincialism. It is just as well that we should clear our minds from any such cant as this, because the test of what is provincial or patriotic or Federal must always be sought in the Constitution. It is Federal to keep that bond, and to keep it above any other consideration. I urge that point as a preliminary to all other considerations. We are not free to put the Capital Site where we think it ought to be if that place be outside New South Wales. And I submit that we are not free, if we intend' to honour the spirit of the Constitution, to put it at the furthest possible limit of New South Wales, and so make the Federal State, when constituted, of less use and service to New South Wales than to any other State.

Mr Skene - What does the honorable member mean by "less use and service?"

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I hope to tell the honorable member before I finish my speech, if he will wait a little. If honorable members put this site on the Upper Murra}', it will be of no use to New South Wales. And, to tell me, that New South Wales understood, when she was agreeing to this arrangement, and making it the basis of her acceptance of the Constitution, that the Federal Capital was to be located on the most out-of-the-way site that could be selected in that country, is to mis-state the position. The Constitution would not have been the law of the land to-day if the New South Wales people had understood anything of the kind.

Mr Poynton - New South Wales voted for the Constitution without this condition.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member has said that a dozen times, but there is no point in it.

Mr Poynton - It is the truth nevertheless.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - There is an easy answer to it.

Mr Poynton - What is the answer?

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It was the provision for an affirmative majority . of 80,000 whichled to such a small vote being cast at the first referendum, and if the honorable member will analyze the vote at the second referendum, he will see how immensely stronger it was on the second occasion than on the first. I hope that" he will consider that fact.

Mr Poynton - The majority voted for the acceptance of the Constitution without any conditions.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The electors of New South Wales felt perfectly certain at that time that an affirmative vote of 80,000 would not be reached, and that -led to a great deal of apathy, which, however, was swept away when the further arrangement was made, and the Constitution was finally submitted to the vote of the electors.

Mr Poynton - By the politicians of New South Wales, but not the people.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am very glad that my honorable friend sometimes makes a. distinction between politicians and people. I am trying to say what I think is the arrangement which we ought to hold sacred. It is an outrage on that agreement to suggest any site which would make it immensely more difficult to get from Sydney than from almost any other State in the group. Take the Upper Murray site. We who represent New South Wales would have to go by rail to Culcairn, and thence to Germanton, from which point a railway would have to be made for a distance of thirty or forty miles to the site on the border of Victoria. Is there any substantial concession to New South Wales in locating the Federal Capital there?

Mr Hutchison - What concession is she entitled to?

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The concession that is spoken of in this bond - that the Capital shall be in New South Wales. When New South Wales has surrendered this land it will become Federal territory.

Mr Skene - Only the Crown land would have to be surrendered.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Private land will have to be purchased ; but the bulk of the land belongs to the Crown, and, therefore, will not require to be purchased. After the land has been made over to the Commonwealth, it will no longer be part of New South Wales; therefore the Capital Site will be just as much outside New South Wales as outside any other State. I wish to know where the compensation to New South Wales comes in, for the sacrifice which she will have to make in the granting, of this land, and' probably - for this is in the minds of honorable members - the making of a railway to connect the Capital with the nearest railway point. Is there any motive for New South Wales to spend halfarnillion for a railway, and give away all this Crown land for the purpose of fixing a Capital Site which will not be of the slightest possible advantage to her? That was not the meaning of the Constitution. Therefore, I contend, we have a right to keep the Constitution in mind before we set out to find the Capital Site, and the selection of a site must always be subject to the arrangement made in the Constitution. It isnot a fair way of putting the matter when the honorable member for Gippsland suggests that we should give a map to a foreigner and ask him . to say where the Capital Site ought to be located. Another speaker suggested on Friday that we should import an American to fix the site for. us. We need no American or other foreigner tofix the site. But if honorable members should so far forget themselves as to call in a foreigner, ido not give him a map only, because that would be misleading, but give' him a map and call' his attention very specifically to the bargain which is in the Constitution.

Mr Poynton - The honorable member would not give any of the other States a say in the settlement of this question, if he had his way.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is just as silly, easy, and cheap a thing to say as many others which the honorable member has said. It is a libel upon myself. If the honorable member keeps repeating these statements, he may in time come to believe them. I am prepared to deal as liberally as possible with the other States, and to consent to the site being fixed where it will be convenient for their populations.

Mr Poynton - The honorable member will not allow any one else to form an opinion on the subject. We have heard of nothing but New South Wales during this debate, and I am full of it.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member is at liberty to express his opinion. I am now stating mine only. I do not wish him to listen to my remarks, unless he chooses to do so, but it is necessary for me to put the case from my stand-point. The matter is of. concern to New South Wales, in a sense in which it is not of concern to the other States.

Mr Poynton - It is an Australian matter.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Constitution provides that the Seat of Government shall be within New South Wales, but some honorable members seem determined to honour the compact between that State and the Commonwealth only in the letter. They virtually break it in the spirit, by saying that the site of the Seat of Government shall be no further within the boundaries of New South Wales than is necessary to fulfil the literal terms of the Constitution. The honorable member for Gippsland could not find a single good point in connexion with the Lyndhurst site. Fair-minded and impartial man that he is, he omitted to state anything that could be said in favour of the Lyndhurst site. Honorable members who berate the representatives of New South Wales for their provincialism are constantly taking that view of the matter. The honorable member for Grey when he speaks will, no doubt, tell us that the site which possesses all the virtues is that which is nearest to the Victorian border, and will have nothing good to say for any site which is substantially within New South Wales, although that is the arrangement contemplated by the Constitution.

Mr Poynton - I have visited the various sites, but the honorable member has not.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not. think it necessary to visit some of them. I have not troubled to visit the Upper Murray site, for instance, because I think that sites which are only on the fringe of New South Wales ought not to be taken into consideration.

Mr Poynton - Then the honorable member virtually contends that the other States have no " say ' ' in the matter.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Not at all j but I ask them to honour the constitutional bond in its spirit.

Mr Poynton - All that the Constitution says is that the site of the Seat of Government shall be within New South Wales. I am here to represent, not the interests of any one State, but the interests of Australia.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - So are we all. But this is a bargain between New South Wales and the rest of the Commonwealth, which it is for the honour of Australia to keep. I do not quarrel with the basis of selection suggested by the honorable member for Gippsland. He thinks that centrality and accessibility should be placed first, and that climate should be the next consideration. To my mind, centrality, accessibility, and climate should be the main factors in the determination of the question. I do not, however, agree with the right honorable member for Swan that the Seat of Government should be placed midway between Sydney and Melbourne. I think that it should be located where it will be as convenient as possible to future generations, having regard to the probable trend and development of population.

Mr Groom - This is the first time that the rights of Queensland have been even hinted at.

Sir John Forrest - What are those rights ?

Mr Groom - To be treated in the same way as other States are treated.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member for Gippsland may despise the opinion of experts ; but I think that those who have made it their business to study the movements and growth of population are more likely to be right in what they say on this question than are we who have made no such study. Now, Mr. Coghlan and other experts say that the trend of population is unmistakably to the north. It has been shown over and over again that

Lyndhurst is more central and more accessible than any of the other proposed sites. That has been proved time and again, and notably by the honorable and learned member for Wannon. He showed that for the next twenty, and even fifty, years to come it will be easier for the people of the other States to travel to and from Lyndhurst than to travel to and from any of the other proposed sites. The honorable member for Gippsland referred to the attitude of New South Wales in this matter as analogous to that of Shylock requiring his pound of flesh ; but it seems to me that, if the honorable member gives Shylock what he wants, he will see that he gets it all back again. It is news to me to learn that the spirit of the arrangement in the Constitution should be departed from because compliance with it may incidentally benefit one State more than the rest. The honorable member urged as one of his strongest reasons against the selection of the Lyndhurst site the fact that the trade from the Federal territory, if situated at Lyndhurst, might be of advantage to New South Wales.

Mr McLean - I said that Sydney would have a monopoly of that trade. It could not go to the other States.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is certainly a disadvantage to the other States, but it cannot be helped. It flows from the bargain originally made.

Mr Skene - Certainly not. It is no part of the bargain that New South Wales shall secure the whole of the trade of the Federal territory.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Surely the honorable member does not imagine that the trade of the Federal territory will be confined to New South Wales? Whatever is produced there for export will find its natural market, just as the produce from other parts of the Continent does now. It is absurd to say that New South Wales will monopolize it. The honorable member for Gippsland pointed out that it would cost a great deal to give Lyndhurst a water supply ; but he did not- tell us what the pumping scheme at Monaro would cost when in full working order.

Mr Poynton - At Monaro a supply can be. obtained bv gravitation.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yes. An ample supply of water, for all present purposes, can also be obtained at Lyndhurst by means of gravitation. The scheme to which the honorable member for Gippsland referred contemplates only the future. The honorable member, however, with his usual fair ness - and I should not put the matter in this way if he had not boasted of his fairness - told us in one breath what the ultimate scheme at Lyndhurst would cost, and in the next informed us that at Monaro there was plenty of water available for immediate purposes. The fact is, that just as there is plenty of water for immediate purposes at Monaro, so there is plenty of water for immediate purposes at Lyndhurst. But the scheme which has been outlined contemplates making provision for the far distant future, when the Federal Capital will contain 100,000 inhabitants. I say that, given equal populations, a water supply at Monaro would cost practically as much as would a supply at Lyndhurst. That is the point which I desire to make, and I complain of the unfair way adopted by some honorable members in putting these facts. These honorable members have accused the advocates of Lyndhurst of being provincialists, who wish to secure an unfair advantage over the other States. Consequently it is necessary for somebody to put the facts in their proper light. I put them forward to show how unfair was the honorable member for Gippsland in dealing with this question of water supply alone. In this connexion he quoted Mr. Wade's figures, but he did not tell the Committee that that officer's estimates were based upon a scheme for supplying a population of 100,000. When questioned in regard to the water supply at Monaro, the honorable member replied " Monaro has plenty of water for immediate purposes." I say that Lyndhurst also has an ample supply of water for immediate purposes, and that the two places are equal in that respect. Another point made by the. honorable member was that if Lyndhurst were chosen it would be necessary to bring the water a distance of eight miles. Surely a distance of eight miles is not a very serious consideration in connexion with a scheme . for supplying a great city with water? In New South Wales, the water supply for Sydney comes from a source fifty miles distant. '

Mr Skene - In Western Australia water is conveyed 300 miles.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is so, but I am speaking of Sydney, which possesses a population of 500.000. No difficulty is experienced in supplying that population with an abundance of pure, fresh water. Consequently, if we can show that a supply of water can be obtained at Lyndhurst, very much nearer than it can be obtained at Sydney, we need not trouble ourselves very much further in regard to that branch of the question. To compare the various sites, from the stand-point of the water supply obtainable - as has been done during the present debate - is pure idealism. To say that there is more water at Bombala than there is at Lyndhurst does not argue anything. Nobody questions that* statement. The point which we have to consider is, " Will the Federal Capital be adequately supplied with water at Lyndhurst?" If that question be answered in the affirmative we need not trouble ourselves as to whether there is not more water at- Bombala than there is anywhere else. All we have to do is to see that the Federal Capital city is supplied with as much water as -it will ever require to use.

Mr Poynton - I suppose the cost of providing an adequate supply does not matter ?

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I have already spoken of the cost. If the honorable member will look at the official reports he will find that the cost of the Bombala pumping scheme has been carefully kept out" of sight during this debate.

Mr Poynton - The Dalgety scheme is not a pumping scheme.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - During this discussion, all the difficulties in connexion with the Monaro sites have been carefully concealed, and when any honorable member has dared to bring them forward, the cry has been instantly raised that he is a provincialist. Take the case of Dalgety. There, it is proposed to obtain a primary supply for a population of 50,000 from the Moamba River, which is the nearest gravitation source to the city site, conveying the water a distance of about thirteen and a half miles. The honorable member for Gippsland did not tell us anything about this matter in his speech. He assured us that there was an abundant supply of water in the Bombala district, but he did not inform us that in the case of Dalgety it had to be conveyed thirteen and a half miles.

Mr McLean - But Bombala has a river which for many years would provide the city with a sufficient supply of water.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am speaking of the primary supply, and not of the supply in the distant future. The primary supply for Dalgety would serve only a population of 50,000. But even that supply would require to be conveyed a distance of thirteen and a half miles. I submit that if the honorable member had desired to be fair he would have placed these figures before the Committee.

Mr McLean - That eight miles in the case of Lyndhurst refers only to a temporary supply for the workmen.

Mr Poynton - The Dalgety scheme is a gravitation scheme. The honorable member said that it was a pumping scheme.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - A pumping scheme there would probably cost as much as would the Lyndhurst scheme. I submit that a fact which can be tested only in 200 or 300 years' time is not very important in the determination of this question. 1 would further point out that the devotees of other sites, whilst emphasizing every possible drawback in connexion with the Lyndhurst site, have quietly kept in the background all these disadvantages attaching to other sites. The honorable member for Gippsland spoke of the presence of minerals on the line of railway leading towards Bombala from the Victorian side. Is he aware that there is a mineral belt surrounding the Lyndhurst site ?

Mr McLean - But Lyndhurst is connected with a line of railway. I spoke of minerals in connexion with the construct ion of a railway.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is the honorable member aware that one of the richest mineral belts in Australia - possibly in the whole world - surrounds the Lyndhurst site ?

Mr McLean - I hope that it is more real than is its water supply.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does the honorable member know that there is an abundance of gold all through that district? Is he aware that the cross country between Blayney and Harden is supposed to be full of rich copper ore, and that close to the Lyndhurst site - certainly within twenty miles of it - are to be found the iron deposits of Cadia, which are alleged to be the best in Australia?

Mr McLean - I did not speak of mineral deposits as an attraction in connexion with the Seat of Government, but as an incentive to the construction of a railway.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - These minerals, not being far removed from the Lyndhurst site, would constitute a splendid backing for a big city.

Mr Austin Chapman - Why is Lyndhurst not a big city now instead of being a one-horse town?

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member knows the reason as well as I do. He is aware that no iron is being produced in Australia, although the deposits exist there. He also knows that the reason the copper deposits arenot being exploited is because of the very defective Mining on Private Lands Act in New South Wales. Nevertheless, these rich deposits are to be found in the western district, and unmistakably they would form a big backing for Lyndhurst - if that place be selected - and one which must make it the . valuable site of all. The honorable member spoke of another possibility, and held it up as a menace to the Committee. He conceived a time - far distant, I hope - when New South Wales might come into conflict with 'the Federal authority, and when it naturally would be terrible if we could not reach the Federal Capital without going through her territory. That is a harmonious and Federal argument to advance. What a fine Federal spirit is shown in the suggestion that we should contemplate a time - and prepare for it by taking steps to avoid any difficulty' - when there shall be such bitter and' dire enmity between one State and all the others as to preclude even the possibility of our travelling over the railways of that one State ! I should be ashamed to seriously advance such an argument.

Mr McLean - The honorable member might some day be Premier of New South Wales, and we know his provincialism.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Mv provincialism is a little less than that of the honorable member, but I do not persist as he does in mouthing my patriotism. I am not continually denouncing every other honorable member as a provincialist. The honorable member has succeeded in making the champion provincial speech of the debate.

Mr McLean - The honorable member's index finger looks rather threatening when he shakes it at one.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not -wish to threaten the honorable member; it would be useless to do so. The honorable member may talk about provincialism as much as he pleases,- but I have yet to learn that patriotism is a quality that one must constantly asseverate. In connexion with this matter, actions speak" louder than words, and the attitude taken up by the honorable member during this debate has shown that he is a provincialist.

Mr McLean - Is one guilty of provincialism in advocating the rights of all the States ?


Mr McLean - That is all that I have done.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is only fair to advocate the rights of all the States as long as the compact made in the Constitution is substantially honoured.

Mr McLean - I hold that we must keep to that compact.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am prepared to consider, so far as I am able, every State in the Union, as long as the arrangement in the bond is honoured. I do not think that the honorable, member is prepared to honour it.

Mr McLean - I wish to see the most central site selected.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am inclined to think that the honorable member in some of his proposals is outraging that arrangement. Let me refer for a moment to the Upper Murray site. It is nearer to almost any other State than it is to Sydney, and I have yet to learn that the compact arrived at was not a substantial concession to New South- Wales.

Mr Skene - Not to Sydney.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It was, in effect, a substantial concession to Sydney, because the agitation centred in that city.

Mr Kelly - Is not Sydney the centre of the coast line, and therefore the centre of the most populated portion of New South Wales ?

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