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Tuesday, 9 August 1904

Mr WEBSTER (Gwydir) - I move-

That after the word " within," line 2, the following words be inserted - " the Southern District, as indicated in the recent ballot."

I submit this amendment upon the same ground that has been taken by others who have addressed themselves to the question during the course of this debate. I' contend that we have not had an exhaustive vote as to which site is preferred by a (majority of the Committee. Like the honorable member for Maranoa, I desire to see some finality arrived at, and I move the amendment with a view to ascertaining whether honorable members do not prefer the Tooma site to that of Dalgety.

Mr. REID(East Sydney).- I think that the honorable member is perfectly justified in the course of action which he has adopted. We do not desire to shut out any honorable member who advocates a particular site or to compel him to submit to a legitimate grievance. The amendment submitted will give the advocates of the Tooma site a straight run in this Committee. At the same time I do not pledge myself to vote for it.

Mr. McCAY(Corinella). - I would urge the honorable member for Gwydir to withdraw his amendment. Upon the first ballot I voted for the selection of the Southern District, but when "my choice was defeated I thought that the matter was at an end. I would suggest to the honorable member that he would achieve his purpose more satisfactorily from the stand-point of draftsmanship and of practical work, by waiting until the amendment proposed by the Minister for Home Affairs has been disposed of. The honorable gentleman wishes to insert after the word " within " the words " seventeen miles of," and I understand that subsequently he will move to insert after the word "of" the word " Dalgety." The honorable member for Gwydir will then be afforded an opportunity of 'proposing by way of amendment to insert before " Dalgety " the word " Tooma." The adoption of that course will enable the Committee to reach some finality. If the honorable member will agree to my suggestion I shall adhere to my first choice and vote for the selection of the Tooma site, although I do not suppose for a moment that it has any chance of winning. After we have turned our backs upon the vagueness represented by districts, and have set our eyes upon a definite locality, it seems to me very- undesirable that we should retrace our. steps. Per sonally I cannot understand how any honorable member can object to the course proposed by the Government. I ask the honorable member to withdraw his amendment.

Mr. WEBSTER(Gwydir).- I must admit that the suggestion of the honorable andlearned member for Corinella is a thoroughly practicable and reasonable one, and consequently I shall accept it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment (by Mr. Batchelor) proposed -

That after the word " within," . line 2, the following words be inserted, " seventeen miles of."

Mr. SPENCE(Darling).- I would point out that the next clause provides that the territory shall be fixed within the area specified in this clause. Consequently, if we decide that it shall be within a radius of seventeen miles of Dalgety, our whole am in seeking to secure a territory surrounding th? site, so that we may obtain from it the unearned increment for the use of the Commonwealth, will be defeated.

Mr McLean - The Federal territory has nothing whatever to do with the Seat of Government.

Mr SPENCE - It appears to me that it has.

Mr Batchelor - The word " territory " governs the entire provision. The same thing might happen if, instead of fixing a radius of seventeen miles, we fixed one of 1,000 miles.

Mr SPENCE - I presume, then, that after the site of the Capital has been selected we shall require to enact legislation in respect of the territory surrounding it. If that be so, of course I am satisfied ; but it appears to me that in its present form the Federal territory will embrace an area within a radius of seventeen miles of Dalgety.

Mr Reid - Absolutely no. The two matters are quite distinct.

Mr SPENCE - I should like the right, honorable member to explain why it is not so. It has occurred to me' that a greater radius would confer a -greater degree of safety.

Mr Reid - We are now fixing the site of a city only.

Mr SPENCE - Then the next clause will require to be amended, because it has no meaning in relation to this provision.

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