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Tuesday, 12 December 1905

Senator PLAYFORD (South Australia) (Minister of Defence) . - I consider that it is a gross abuse of the particular standing order under which Senator Pulsford has taken action for him to occupy a lot of time in relation to a matter with which we are all familiar, when he knows that the Government have promised to bring in . a measure dealing with it. He knows perfectly well that when that measure comes, before the Senate, he will have every opportunity to state his views.

Senator Clemons - I rise to order. Is Senator Playford iti order in saying that Senator Pulsford has grossly abused our standing order? If he has clone so, you, sir, are the proper person to call him to order.

The PRESIDENT - I think that Senator Playford is quite within his rights in saying that the action t!aken is an abuse of the standing order, but perhaps it would have been better if he had not said that it was "a gross abuse."

Senator PLAYFORD - I will withdraw the word ' ' gross " if it is offensive. I think I have given sufficient reasons why the action taken is an abuse. The Government has promised to bring in a Bill dealing with the question, and when it comes before us every honorable senator will have an opportunity to make a speech. There was no necessity to take up Ministerial time in dealing with it - this afternoon. There are only one or two points to which it is necessary for me to refer. Senator Pulsford has alluded to the words " within a reasonable distance from Sydney." I point out that those words are not contained in the Constitution. If we were to take notice of everything that was said by persons who spoke upon or took an active part in the framing of the Constitution we might just as well do away with the Constitution itself. So far as the people of New South Wales are concerned, I believe that the question of the Capital being within a " reasonable distance from Sydney " never entered into their minds". Why was it that the Government of New South Wales gave the Federal Government an opportunity of selecting sites like Bombala, Dalgety, or Tumut, all at the extreme end of New South Wales? Whatever the honorable senator may say about an understanding that the Capital was to be " within, a reasonable distance from Sydney," the people of New South Wales themselves, through their Ministers, never accepted that interpretation of the Constitution, or their Government would never have offered us The sites I have mentioned. The position is as plain as possible.- We have chosen pur site. New South Wales will not give us the land. The Government intends to bring in a Bill relating to nlm subject, and Parliament will have to deal with it one way or another. The responsibility for the delay that has taken place rests' with New South Wales, and not with the Commonwealth Parliament.' We might have been in the Federal Capital to-day had it not been for the action of New South Wales.

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