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Friday, 14 October 1904

Mr SPEAKER - I must confine the debate to the question before the Chair, which,, so far as I can see, has nothing to do with Socialism or individualism. The question is " That the Bill be now read a second time."

Mr LONSDALE - My point is that the Bill provides for the survey of a proposed line of railway through the territory of two States, and I desire that the land should be protected by proclamation against being monopolized by individuals. I think that I am justified in speaking upon that joint, because, unless some provision is made for reserving the land, I shall oppose the survey.

Mr Fowler - Would the honorable member reserve the minerals in the land from exploitation?

Mr LONSDALE - I would reserve both the land and any minerals which it may contain for the benefit of the Commonwealth. The money received from the sale of the land could afterwards be applied to liquidating the cost of constructing the railway. I merely desire what is fair. I wish the Commonwealth to be protected in its expenditure, and I desire to prevent any expenditure being incurred in the interests of private capitalists. I am aware that the Commonwealth has no power to reserve this land, but I ask that the Bill shall provide that the States shall reserve it.

Mr Groom - We cannot insert such a provision in a Railway Survey Bill.

Mr LONSDALE - We can refuse to pass the Bill unless the States consent to reserve the land. It is useless to attempt to wriggle out of that position. I take it that the members of the Labour Party desire to prevent the capitalist from obtaining an advantage over other persons, and that, consequently, they will support my suggestion. I merely say that a man shall have what he himself earns. I am prepared to do my best to block this Bill unless some provision of the character I have indicated be inserted in it. It appears to me that the advocates of the measure are prepared to sacrifice every principle simply to suit the needs of their own States.

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