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Wednesday, 3 August 1904

In Committee(Consideration resumed from 2nd August, vide page 3809) :

Clause 2 (Determination of Seat of Government).

Mr. HENRYWILLIS (Robertson).In speaking to this clause, I feel bound to express the opinion - which I believe is shared by most honorable members - that the time has now arrived for the determination of the Seat of Government. It has been found that the question has been used, and, if not settled, is in the future likely to be still more largely used, for political purposes. Those within whose electorates proposed sites are situated - and it is only fair to mention that the Lyndhurst site is situated not far from the electorate which I represent - seem to make the question peculiarly their own. I have observed, too, that members of the Parliament of New South Wales, now that there is a general election at hand, are using it to- secure popularity within the districts for which they wish to be returned. When this Parliament was last dealing with the Bill, the Government of New South Wales were given an opportunity to recommend a site, and to stamp it with the imprimatur of their approval ; but they did not take advantage of that opportunity. Since then, however, there has been a change of Ministry, and the present Premier, who represents the State electorate of Carcoar, within which the Lyndhurst or Carcoar-Garland site is situated, is now displaying a great amount of energy in connexion with the matter. The question naturally occurs to one, why is it that when the subject was last under discussion in this Chamber, and the Lyndhurst site needed supporters, the honorable gentleman - who was at the time Treasurer of the State - did not show the zeal which he is now displaying? Is not the answer to be found in the fact that proposed sites are situated in a number of the New South Wales constituencies, and the See Government had not the moral courage to offend possible supporters by saying that thev preferred some particular site, and offering that site to the Federal Government? In this Parliament we find that members who represent constituencies in which no proposed site is situated are advocating the postponement of the determination of the Seat of Government, in order to gain popularity, and the approval of the press.

Mr Watkins - Does that apply to the honorable member?

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