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Tuesday, 9 August 1904

Mr WATSON (Bland) (Treasurer) .In accordance with the suggestion of the honorable and learned member for Corinella, it might simplify the procedure, and assuage any fears which some honorable members may entertain of the difficulties' always liable to crop up in connexion with matters of this sort, if the Minister of Home Affairs were to withdraw his present amendment, and move the 'insertion, after the word " within," of the words " a radius of twenty-five." Then any honorable mem- . ber, who desired to do so, could move an amendment upon the amendment, with the object of altering the word "twenty-five" to " fifty," if that should be desired.

Mr DAVID THOMSON (CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND) - Why not make it fifty miles in the first instance?

Mr WATSON - Because, in my view, it is absolutely ridiculous to talk of the selection of a site within a radius of fifty miles. The necessity for getting this Bill through is, that Parliament may, by some determination, indicate where it wishes the Federal Capital to be, and if we indicate a territory with a diameter of 100 miles, no one can say that we have thus indicated where the Capital should be. It might be anywhere within that vast range of country.

Mr Crouch - We could leave that to the two Governments concerned.

Mr WATSON - In my opinion, the Federal Parliament should indicate its choice much more nearly than that, for the benefit of the Government. I do not say that it would be putting too much responsibility upon the Government, but it certainly would be burdening the Government to ask them to interpret the will of the House in making a selection within such an area as that to which I have referred. I think that a radius of twenty-five miles would cover the maximum range of choice which should be allowed. Even that would give a diameter of fifty miles to the circle, and I am rather inclined to agree that that is a little too much.

Mr Bamford - It would cover 1,963 square miles.

Mr WATSON - That is a very big range. The object should be to CUt the area down to .as fine and definite a point as is consistent with our present information, and with the possibility that a new location may be necessary for the actual site of the Federal city - that is to say, within a mile or two of the particular place we select. I think, therefore, that the better plan, following the suggestion of the honorable and learned member for Corinella, would be to propose the insertion of the words I have indicated, including the words " twenty-five," and the Committee could afterwards take a vote upon the insertion of the word Dalgety in lieu of the. word Bombala, if honorable members so desired.

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