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Wednesday, 14 September 1904

Mr CAMERON (Wilmot) - I intend to vote against this motion. In the first place I do not believe for one moment that 1,100 miles of country could be properly surveyed at a cost of £20,000. It is utter nonsense to say that it is possible to carry out this work for so small an outlay, and the statement that it could be done suggests ignorance on the part of those who make it. It seems to me very contemptible of the people of Western Australia and of South Australia to ask the people of the other States to bear a part in paying for some thing which will primarily tend to their individual benefit.

Mr Wilson - They look upon it as a national work.

Mr CAMERON - It is not a national work; it is simply a proposed survey. In support of that contention, I would point out that Mr. Jenkins, the Premier of South Australia, while perfectly willing to allow the people of the other States to find the money for the survey, declines to pass a Bill enabling the Commonwealth to construct the railway, until it has been made. If Western Australia and South Australia are as anxious as they pretend to be to have the line made, they should carry out the survey, and then say to the Federal Parliament, " Here is a survey, and proper estimates. We know what the line will cost to construct, and we offer you the land through which it will pass." They are putting the cart before the horse, and are asking the other States to pay for a work which they should do themselves. Although we may make this survey, we shall have no power to construct the line until the Parliaments of South Australia and Western Australia- have passed enabling measures to allow of its construction. Therefore we may be throwing our money away for nothing. I protest against the carrying out of this work by the Commonwealth, and I shall vote against the motion.

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