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Tuesday, 9 August 1904

Mr HUTCHISON (Hindmarsh) - It is remarkable that, with only one exception, every honorable member who inspected the Tooma site came to the conclusion that it was the best that could be selected. Before visiting Dalgety, I was greatly impressed by what I had read and heard of its suitability, and remarked that if it came up to my expectations, it would assuredly receive my vote. I visited the district, and my expectations with but one exception were realized, the exception being in regard to the value of the soil I should have been disappointed had I voted for Dalgety without visiting Tooma, and I feel sure that if honorable members had inspected both Dalgety and Tooma, as I did, the last named district would have secured an exceedingly large majority.

Mr Conroy - Would not the selection of Tooma be somewhat out of keeping with the spirit of the Constitution?

Mr HUTCHISON - Certainly not. It would be within both the letter and the spirit of the Constitution. The Constitution empowers us to select the best site in New South Wales, provided that it be not less than 100 miles distant from Sydney ; and, therefore, we should not violate its spirit by voting for any site in the Tumut district.

Mr Conroy - Why was it agreed that, pending the establishment of the Capital, the Parliament should sit in Melbourne?

Mr HUTCHISON - That compact was entered into by the representatives of New South Wales and Victoria, and seemed at the time to be satisfactory to both parties. It was a bargain, and, to my mind, New South Wales is likely in the end to have the best of it.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Not if Tooma be selected.

Mr HUTCHISON - The honorable member seems to desire to secure for New South Wales the whole of the advantages accruing from the establishment of the Capital ; his one fear appears to be that some advantage may accrue to Victoria.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - No ; we merely ask for some little advantage for New South Wales.

Mr Reid - Dalgety is far enough away from Sydney.

Mr HUTCHISON - It is also so far away from Victoria as to render it impossible for. that State to secure any benefit from the establishment of the Capital there. The honorable member for Parramatta is adopting a very narrow view of this' question ; he will be quite satisfied as long as the whole of the advantages go to Sydney.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I have not said anything of the kind.

Mr HUTCHISON - If the Capital be established in the Tooma district, New South Wales will certainly secure the greater advantage. Had it not been considered that the Capital would be an advantage to the State in which it was established, the right honorable member for East Sydney would have fought just as valiantly for its establishment in some other State, as he did for the insertion of the clause in the Constitution providing that it should be located in' New South Wales.

Mr Reid - Why this attack on me?

Mr HUTCHISON - I give the right honorable member the fullest credit for having made an excellent bargain for the State which he represents - a bargain in which the State from which I come will not be able to participate. The establishment of the Capital in New South Wales will be a great disadvantage to South Australia. At present the representatives of that State may attend the sittings of the Parliament in Melbourne, and at the same time give some attention to the businesses in which they are engaged ; but when the Capital is established in New South Wales they will not be able to conduct any private business ; they will have to remain at the Capital during the whole' of each session.

Mr Reid - They will be very desirable colonists.

Mr HUTCHISON - And I admit that New South Wales is a very desirable State for colonists; but I wish to secure the selection of the most eligible site in which to reside.

Mr Reid - A burial ground.

Mr HUTCHISON - I have only ' to say in reply to the right honorable member that. I did not see a.cemetery in the Tooma district.

Mr Conroy - Because the place is not inhabited.

Mr HUTCHISON - I begin to think that the sooner it is inhabited the better. I am willing and anxious to see- a large population settled at the earliest moment in that district. It is a much more desirable district than that of Dalgety. I deplore the spirit evinced by some of the representatives of New South Wales, who show that their one great fear is, that Victoria may derive some advantage from the selection of a certain site.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - So far there has been no such suggestion.

Mr HUTCHISON - The suggestion may not have been actually made, but actions speak louder than words ; in this instance they halve spoken much louder than words.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - There need te no advantage to either State.

Mr HUTCHISON - I speak as a looker-on. I am quite satisfied with the bargain which has been made with New South Wales - the mother State - that "she shall have theĀ« Federal territory within her borders. We are not going to take the Federal Capital away from her. From having the Federal Capital within her territory, New South Wales would certainly derive advantages.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is precisely what is proposed to be done - we are taking it awa)'.

Mr HUTCHISON - I call attention to the statement of the honorable member for Parramatta that we are going to take the Capital away from New South Wales. Away to where?

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - We are going to place a portion of her territory under Federal control and ownership-

Mr HUTCHISON - We are going to have Federal control over a very small part of New South Wales, and that will lead to very great advantages to that State. In my opinion, Victoria would not have been a party to the Federal compact if it had not been that her people saw that there was going to be a very great advantage to this State through the Seat of Government being fixed in Melbourne for a considerable time.

Mr Robinson - There would have been exactly the same majority for the Constitution if the Seat of Government had been fixed at Brisbane.

Mr HUTCHISON - I doubt that statement very much. I doubt whether Victoria would have been a party to the Federal compact if it had not been seen that a considerable advantage would be derived by this State from the Federal Parliament meeting in Melbourne. I believe that every honorable member, representing Victoria, will admit that there has been a considerable advantage in that direction.

Mr Conroy - How does that affect the question before us ?

The CHAIRMAN - Order ! I draw the attention of the honorable, and learned member for Werriwa to the fact that the front seat on the right of the Chairman is reserved for Ministers.

Mr HUTCHISON - I am in favour of the best district being selected. We have heard the praises of another district sung by the right honorable member for East Sydney-

Mr Reid - We are beaten, and we acknowledge it.

Mr HUTCHISON - I believe that all the right honorable member said of the other district was thoroughly justified. But I should have been very glad if he had been able to pay a visit to Tooma.

Mr Reid - I should have done so, if beauty of scenery had been in my mind a chief factor. I admit that it is a beautiful place.

Mr HUTCHISON - I thoroughly agree that it is a most beautiful place.

Mr Reid - I objected to it on account of its want of accessibility.

Mr HUTCHISON - No matter where we fix the Federal Capital, it is going to be made accessible at the earliest moment. Any part of New South Wales in which we choose to fix the Capital will be made accessible at once.


Mr HUTCHISON - I shall be sorry if that State is so short-sighted as not to provide access to the Capital. In that case it will be the duty of the Commonwealth Parliament to see that access is at once provided. I am quite satisfied that that will be done. The question of accessibility is the very one that weighs with me in deciding that the best district in which to have the Federal Capital is the Tooma district. The country is as fine as any in New South Wales. It is so good, indeed, that it is only a matter of time when there must be a large increase of population, and when New South Wales would make it accessible to settlers, whether the Capital were fixed there or not. I am quite sure that .that. State will derive a very handsome return from the railway that she constructs to that- district. Of course, New South Wales possesses so much fine territory that I can thoroughly understand that she cannot build railways to every part of the State. But I repeat that the consideration of accessibility need not weigh with honorable members. To my mind, Tooma is just as accessible as Dalgety. As far as railways are concerned, it is not so accessible as Lyndhurst; and the very fact that Lyndhurst, being so accessible, has made so little progress, does not say much in favour of our choosing a sitein that district. At any rate, I am very pleased that we shall have one more opportunity, if not two, to obtain an expression of opinion from honorable members in regard to fixing the Federal Capital in the Tooma district.

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