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Tuesday, 28 November 1905

Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to reduce the vote. " Sydney Government House, £2,585," by £1,000 - put. The Committee divided.

DIVISION:AYES 12 (4 majority) NOES 8 PAIRS 0

Majority ... ... 4






Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Request agreed to.

Senator CROFT(Western Australia).I desire to ask the Minister to explain the reason for the. item of £1,000 to meet " expenses in connexion with choosing the site for the Capital of the Commonwealth " ? Is this money required to meet expenditure which has been incurred, or to meet further expenses in choosing, the site?

Senator KEATING(Tasmania- Honorary Minister). - The vote is required, not to meet expenditure which has been incurred; but to meet expenditure which may have to be incurred, for instance, on a further report, or a visit, or a survey. It may become essential to take a particular course of action in connexion with asserting the right of this Parliament to locate the site. I do not think that more than £20 has been spent in that direction since the beginning of the present financial year. The money, if voted, will not necessarily be expended.

Senator CROFT(Western Australia).I do not think it can be urged that I am much interested as to where the Federal Capital shall be, except that as a Member of Parliament I desire to see the best possible site selected, so that we can get away as soon as possible from the atmosphere of Melbourne - political, sanitary, and otherwise. I protest against a vote being required in each Appropriation Bill for the selection of a site. We have evidence in the newspapers, in the shape of speeches made by Mr. Carruthers and others in New South Wales, that it is not proposed to allow us to carry out the determination to which we came after careful thought and debate. My idea all along has been that we should put forward another proposal. Just before the Parliament selected Dalgety, an opportunity was given to the members of both Houses to visit a site which was popularly known as the Tooma site. I think that the best portion of the Tooma site for the Federal

Capital was Welaregang. I regret that we were not given an opportunity to vote on the merits of that site. I was greatly struck with the advantages it possesses, situated, :is it is, on the bank of the Murray. In view crf the obstruction which has been offered by the Government of New South Wales, it would be perfectly justifiable, I think, for the Federal Parliament to take in the smallest possible portion of Welaregang to suit our convenience, and to ask the Victorian Government to negotiate with us in respect to an area of land on this side of the Murray.

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