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Wednesday, 12 September 1906

Senator STYLES (Victoria) .- I may compliment Senators Smith and Pearce on having made the best of a very bad case. In the first instance, this proposed railway was grandiloquently described as " The Transcontinental Line." That description was laughed out of court, as was also the succeeding one of " The TransAustralian Line." Now we hear the proposed line described as " The Union Line." As a matter of fact, this is neither more nor less than an Inter-State coastal line, like that which runs from Adelaide to Brisbane and Rockhampton. It is really a continuation of the coastal line, and to describe it as "transcontinental" is a misnomer; because it would cover only about 1,100 miles of a coast which extends for 8,000 or 9,000 miles. The only transcontinental line that I have heard of is that which it has been suggested should be constructed from Oodnadatta to Pine Creek. I first heard of this western railway in November, 1900, when Sir John Forrest, in a speech delivered in Western Australia, estimated the cost at £2,500,000. Subsequently, however, Sir John Forrest raised his estimate to £3,000,000. Since then several estimates, running up to £5,000,000 or £6,000,000 have been made. Western Australia seems to have held out to South Australia many temptations to join with it in urging the construction of this line by the Commonwealth. Amongst other curious offers, here is one made by Mr. James, when Premier of Western Australia: -

To South Australia we offer an opportunity of controlling with us the only line which leads direct to the richest markets in Australia, our Eastern Goldfields.

This is a cheerful offer made by a State which would pay about 6 per cent, of the cost of the survev. and 6 per cent, of the capital cost of constructing the line. Nothing is said about the position of the other States that are to bear the chief part of the expenditure - they are altogether ignored. Western Australia and SouthAustralia would not pay more than about 15 or 16 per cent, of the cost of the survey, whilst their contribution to the cost of building the line would Le about the same. The offer of the gold-fields market is held out as a bribe to South Australia to join in this project. Senator Pearce, however, knocked the bottom out of it the other day when he said that, in Western Australia, to the east of the goldfields there are large areas of very rich land, capable of producing all that, they require. We are told that an implied promise was made during the Federal campaign that this line would be constructed by the Commonwealth. Senator Dobson - and, since he was a member of the Convention, no one is able to speak with more authority on this subject than he can - says that the project was never mentioned during the debates in the Convention. I have been unable to find any reference to the subject in the reports of the proceedings. It may have been referred to at the illegal meeting of Premiers which amended the Constitution Bill.

Senator Pulsford - Why illegal?

Senator STYLES - Sir John Forrest himself told me that it was illegal, since it had no authority to alter the Convention Constitution!.

Senator Playford -It was selfconstituted.

Senator STYLES - Certainly it was.

Senator Millen - The honorable senator does not often accept Sir John Forrest as an authority.

Senator STYLES - Quite so, but he happens to have been one of those who did what they ought not to have done in connexion with the Constitution Bill. They amended it, and, although several provisions to which we objected were embodied in it, we had either to accept them or to reject the whole measure. In July, 1904. Mr. James, then Premier of Western Australia, issued a pamphlet, in which he flatly contradicted the assertion as to the "implied conditions," when he said : -

The history of the negotiations in connexion with the proposed union railway is marked throughout its later stages by an extraordinary reluctance on the part of South Australia to redeem the promises given by the heads of previous Governments of that Slate.

No reference is made to the other States. The Federation is not bound by any promises that were made by members of the Convention. We are not bound by irresponsible statements made on the public platform during the Federal campaign. No doubt honorable senators representing Western Australia, when on the "hustings, assured their constituents that, if elected, they would advocate the construction of this line. Even if it meant their downfall, I should vote against an\- Government that proposed the construction of this railway. It is an on common sense that we should be asked to pay for the construction of this rail way when all the eastern States built the Inter-State lines a.t their own expense. Why does not Western Australia come forward and offer to pay 6 per cent, on the money that has been' expended in building the line from Adelaide to Brisbane in return for the construction of this railway by the Commonwealth ? She does not even offer to hand over to the Commonwealth a strip of country fifty miles wide on each side of the proposed route.

Senator Givens - South Australia will not give us permission to build a line in her territory.

Senator STYLES - That is so. Much has been said about the Board of Engineers who dealt with this proposal. In answer to the question number 8, thev said -

We find it very difficult to give an answer in view of the fact that the monetary loss will, for the first few years, be considerable. The revenue may prove to be higher than we have estimated, and the deficiency may tend to diminish from year to year more rapidly than has been assumed. It will be for the Commonwealth Government to decide whether the immediate pecuniary loss is so serious as to outweigh the beneficial effects pointed out in answer to question No. 7.

The Board of Engineers about which we have heard so much refused to recommend the construction of the line. It is said that those who oppose its construction display an un-Federal spirit. In other words, our attitude is said to be urn-Federal because we refuse to allow Western Australia - which, in proportion to her population, is the richest State in the Union - to dip her hands into the pockets of Tasmania, Victoria, and other States. It is said that we are un-Federal because we will not sanction the construction of a line to be handed over to the State Governments, and the working of which would provide them with a haven of rest for the destitute incompetent. South Australia is now expending .£500,000 in the construction, of large docks capable of accommodating the ocean liners. If this line were constructed mo large mail steamer would call at Adelaide.

Senator Trenwith - If the railway would prove such a convenience that should be a strong argument in its favour.

Senator STYLES - I think that the point I have made is a strong argument against its construction. No doubt the mails would be carried overland since there would be a saving of twenty or thirty hours in. the time of their delivery, but the clock now being constructed for the accommodation of ocean liners would be rendered useless.

Senator McGregor - The mail steamers now and again, carry a passenger or two.

Senator STYLES - Certainly, and the saloon passengers might come overland, but the second-class passengers would not think of incurring the additional expense. As a matter of fact the second and third class passengers are the chief source of revenue to railways. Seventy-seven per cent, of the whole of the passenger revenue of the railways of the United Kingdom is derived from those who travel third-class.

Senator Trenwith - Practically everyone travels third-class there.

Senator STYLES - Our second-class passengers are on the same footing as are third-class passengers at home, and from than our railways derive their principal revenue. Some people speak about the overland journey as if it would be a mere nothing. I had the honour to accompany the

Chairmanof Committees and Senator de Largie on a railway trip to Brisbane a year or so ago, and after travelling the 700 miles from Sydney Senator Higgs was sick, and went straight to bed, because he was knocked up. A railway journey of 700 miles settled his business. Senator de Largie was cooling his fevered brow, and when I asked him to 00me inside and have a smoke or a cup of tea, he said that he did not feel well enough. These senators, who ate a little over 40 -years of age, and in the prime of life, were knocked up by a railway journey pf 700 miles through the beautiful country of New England and over the Darling Downs and the Main Range, and I wonder what they would think of having- to travel 1,746 miles through such country as this railway would pass over.

Senator Turley - But trains on this railway will run 40 miles an hour.

Senator STYLES - So they say, but that would not prevent a man making the journey from feeling sick. Senator Pearce told us tlie other day that he did not care about listening to those who had not been over the ground, and he preferred to hear what some man who had traversed the route had to say on the subject. He related his own experience of a journey ninety miles eastward of the gold-fields, and told us that there was good pastoral and agricultural country there. I believe that is so. But I remember speaking to a squatter from North-West Bend, in South Australia, who had been over some of the country. He was a " Mac " something, as most squatters are, and he told me that thirty years ago he had travelled all the way from Port Augusta, 700 miles, over the country through which this railway is proposed to go. He did so with the object of taking up country for pastoral purposes, and which he could have get for nothing. He volunteered the statement to me that he came back without having taken up any country, because he saw none in that journey of 700 miles that was good enough to take up. I find that there is another gentleman who has recently been over the country. I quote from the Argus of 21st Jul v last.

Senator Pearce - The Age will be dropping the honorable senator off its ticket if he quotes the Argus.

Senator STYLES - I commend to the notice of Senator Pearce, who is so anxious to learn what those who have been over the country have to say, the statements made by Mr. Hann -

Mr. Harm'sexplorations extended across the country from Laverton to the South Australian border. He traversed about 1,600 miles in the round journey, which took nearly five months to complete.

The chief feature observed by Mr. Hann in his trip was the dryness of the country crossed. He cut Sir John Forrest's old tracks at several points, and visited a number of camps of Sir John's expedition of 1874. He found the maps and plans prepared by Sir John Forrest correct in every particular, except as regards the existence of water. The three principal soaks shown in these maps and plans (known as Fort Mueller, Barlee, the Elder) were all dry, and there was not a cupful of water in any of them. "Had it not been for three providential rain showers," Mr. Hann said, " we must have perished from thirst."

This is nice country to make a railway through. I make this further quotation-

Speaking generally of the country passed through, Mr. Hann reports that, while it would be courting certain death to traverse it at present, plenty of water should be obtained by sinking ; and, if a sufficient number of well's were sunk, he is of opinion that a good stock route would be opened up between Laverton and Oodnadatta (S.A.).

Mr. :Hannthinks that water might be found underground, but he is not sure of it.

Senator McGregor - The country which he passed over is 200 or 300 miles north of the proposed route.

Senator STYLES - He says that he crossed Sir John Forrest's track, which is between the proposed route and the sea coast.

Senator Pearce - N - No, Sir John Forrest made two exploring expeditions.

Senator STYLES - I heard the honorable senator say the other day that Sir John Forrest went along the coast.

Senator Pearce - He also' explored the country 300 miles north of the coast.

Senator STYLES - How does the honorable senator know to what tracks Mr. Hann refers?

Senator Pearce - He says that he went from Laverton, and he must have been hundreds of miles north of the coast.

Senator STYLES - We were told by Senator Pearce that some public men in Western Australia had said that a " beggarly £20,000 " would pay for this survey. If so, why does not the Western Australian Government hand that amount to the Commonwealth, and ask the Commonwealth Government to make the survey? There must be some reason why the people of Western Australia are so insistent in their request that the Commonwealth should make the survey at its own expense. They wish the survey to be made in this way in order, to some extent, to compromise the Commonwealth, and to get 475 miles of the surveycarried out for £1,2 50. Why do they not say at once - " We have plenty o'f money, and we will give you £20^00 to make the survey. If this is found not to be enough, we will give you another £30,000. We will not see you short of cash. You appoint the survey party, we will do the paying, and let them report to you?" That would be something like a reasonable proposition. The Minister of Defence laughs, but I see nothing unreasonable in that.

Senator Playford - It is a proposition which is not very likely to be made.

Senator STYLES - No, they want the other States to pay 94 per cent, of the cost. I might inform honorable senators that in Victoria we have spent no less than £260,000 on useless railway surveys. I mention this in order to caution honorable senators against voting money for a survey which may be absolutely useless. A sum of £260,000 has been wasted in Victoria on surveys, not one mile of which has ever been used by the State. South Australia has never yet given her consent to this line. In my opinion, the first thing that should be settled, is the gauge of the line, because a survey that will be suitable for a 3ft. "6in. line might not be suitable for a line of wider gauge. The gauge of the line should be fixed before we make the survey, and then, if a careful survey were made at a cost of .£40,000 or .£50,000, we should be able to judge what it would cost to construct the line. A condition precedent to everything else connected with this proposal should be the fixing of the gauge of the proposed railway. I find that Premier James, speaking of Premier Jenkins, said -

He announced that he had just received a letter from the latter, dated 29th September, in which it was stated that there was "no likelihood whatever" of South Australia "at anytime " passing a Bill for the construction of the Union Railway, except upon strict conditions as to both route and gauge.

That certainly affords another reason why the gauge should be fixed" by some authority before any steps are taken in this matter which will involve the expenditure of public money. Premier Price, in answer ing a question on 12th September, 1905, said that on 29th June, 1903,

Mr. Jenkinspromised to bring in a Bill fox the construction of the line, subject to Western Australia passing an Act indemnifying South Australia against any financial loss for ten years from completion, with a stipulation as to a 3^-foot gauge, and for the line to go through Tarcoola to Port Augusta. This indemnity was offered by the Premier of Western Australia on 26th June, 1903.

There is the clear and definite statement that, unless the railway is to be constructed on a gauge of 3 ft. 6 in., South Australia is not likely to agree to its construction. When this proposal was first mooted, the representatives of Western Australia pinned their faith on the report of Mr. Engineer O'Connor. But he says that it would take sixty - one hours to travel from Fremantle to Adelaide by rail. That estimate is very near the mark, since the distance is 1,746 miles, or only about 37 miles less than the distance between Adelaide and Brisbane. But a steamer has gone from port to port in seventy-five hours, and others have made the voyage in eighty-three or eighty-four hours, while a vessel like the Loongana could make it in very little, if any, more than the time which would be occupied by the railway journey. Long before the railway is completed, even if the proposed survey is authorized to-morrow, there will be large turbine steamers on our coasts capable of travelling at her rate of speed, and therefore there would be little or no saving of time in journeying bv rail. Under these circumstances, would passengers from the United Kingdom or other parts of the world be likely to tranship at Fremantle to take the train, or would persons from this side be likely to go overland instead o'f bv sea? Another argument for the proposed construction of the line was that it would enable South Australia to supply food stuffs to Western Australia. This year, however. Western Australia intends to export wheat, and will soon export fruit. The State will, before verv long, be able to supply itself with food stuffs, for which we shall all be very glad. But the fact disposes of one of the arguments in favour of the proposed line. Even if a saving of two days were made bv using it. the time occupied in sending the mails from Adelaide to London would be reduced only from thirty-one to twenty-nine days, whereas if a railway were constructed through South Australia to Port Darwin, and the mails taken by that route, and thence to Port Arthur and overland through Siberia, there would be a saving of at least eight days. The distance from Adelaide to Fort Darwin is 2,000 miles, and if a railway of a gauge of 3 ft. 6 in. connected the two places, trains could be tun over it at the rate of 25 miles an hour, and would complete the journey in three days eight hours. From Port Darwin to Port Arthur is a distance, according to the Harbor Trust officials, of 3,700 miles, which vessels steaming at the rate of 15 miles an hour could traverse in ten days seven hours. From Port Arthur to St. Petersberg is a distance of 5,850 miles, which trains travelling at 30 miles an hour would cover in eight days four hours. This would make twenty-one days nineteen hours, and, allowing twenty-nine hours for the journey on to London, the whole time occupied between Adelaide and that place would be twenty-three days.

Senator McGregor - Would it not be better to wait until we can send the mails through the blessed land of Mesopatamia, where the Germans are about to construct a railway ?

Senator STYLES - No doubt the adoption of that route would effect a saving of time. The other day Senator Pearce stated that Mr. Commissioner Pendleton, of South Australia, had spoken of some of the land on the route of the proposed line as being good.

SenatorPearce. - No. What I said was that the South Australian Railway Commissioner had reported as to the probable cost of the line in his State. I am not aware that he made any reference to the quality of the land.

Senator STYLES - Then perhaps I am mistaken. However, the honorable senator forgot to mention that Commissioner Pendleton was asked by the South Australian Ministry to say whether, in the various reports furnished in relation to the construction of a line between Western Australian and South Australia, and the estimates given, consideration washad to the question of the probable diminution or increase of traffic by reason of the construction of a railwav from Esperance Bay to the gold-fields. To that question his reply was -

In none of the reports or estimates made by me in connexion with the proposed railway from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie did I take into consideration the possibility of a line being made from Esperance Bay to Kaltroorlie (or Coolgardie), and although it is difficult to say with accuracy what traffic would be drawn from the first railway if the second were made, I am of the opinion that if the Adelaide Steam-ship. Company determined to run quick and commodious steamers between Port Adelaide and Esperance Bay, a distance of about 830 nautical miles, in connexion with a line from the bay to the gold- fields, 220 miles, quite 50 per cent, of the estimated traffic for the other line would go through Esperance.

Of course, we know that Sir John Forrest brought in a Bill to construct a railway from Coolgardie to Norseman - that is, roughly speaking, about half the distance - but it was defeated. If the eastern gold-fields become strong enough to insist upon the railway to Port Augusta being constructed, they also will be strong enough to insist upon a railway being constructed to Esperance Bay, a distance of 220 miles.

Senator de Largie - What business have we to interfere with Esperance Bay ?

Senator STYLES - We have no business to interfere with Esperance Bay, but what they practically say to us is, " You build a railway first, and then we will take the traffic from your line by a railway to Esperance Bay."

Senator de Largie - Nothing of the kind.

Senator STYLES - That statement hag been made.

Senator de Largie - Who said so?

Senator STYLES - The Chief Secretary of South Australia asked the local Railways Commissioner whether a railway to Esperance Bay would affect the working of a railwav from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie, and, after having considered the matter well, and, I suppose, taken the advice of his subordinate officers, he replied that in his opinion, it would take half the traffic.

Senator Pearce - Is the honorable senator aware that the member for Kalgoorlie in the State Parliament is opposed to the construction of a railway to Esperance Bav?

Senator STYLES - I am aware that a great number of persons in Perth are opposed to the construction of the proposed railwav from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie. While I was in Perth with the Old-age Pensions Commission one or two persons waited upon me, and said that if a vote were taken in that city the proposal would be defeated.

Senator de Largie - Nonsense.

Senator STYLES - They explained to me that they want the trade to go through Perth to the gold-fields and not by way of

Port Augusta, because if it went by the latter route they would lose. What they want is no concern of mine.

Senator McGregor - Were they ashamed to speak to their own representatives about the matter?

Senator STYLES - I do not know, but I may tell the honorable senator that the gentlemen saw me because they knew me when they were in Victoria. Another thing which Senator Pearce made a great point of was that Western Australia is prepared to send out a prospecting party to accompany the survey party. For what purpose? So that the survey party maylead the prospecting party, and, of course, help to save a part of the expenses of the latter. The alleged object is that the prospecting party may endeavour to discover new sources of gold, silver, or other mineral wealth, not for the benefit of the Commonwealth, but for the advantage of the State. Why does not Western Australia send out a prospecting party without waiting until a party is sent out by the Commonwealth to make a survey of the proposed railway? Why cannot it send out a prospecting party now or at any time ? The Government of Western Australia want the survey to be made with Commonwealth cash, and they hope by that means to reduce the cost of their prospecting party.

SenatorPearce. - No.

Senator STYLES - Then why do they not send out a prospecting party at once?

Senator de Largie - If the honorable senator knew anything of Western Australia he would not make that statement.

Senator STYLES - I know enough of the State to enable me to say that its people are never satisfied. It is the only State which has been grumbling all along. It went into the Federation-

Senator Pearce - And it has got nothing in return.

Senator STYLES - Western Australia laid down its terms before it joined the Federation, and the terms were that for a period of five years it should have the right to levyimport duties on goods passing from the eastern States. That was the pound of flesh upon which it insisted.

Senator de Largie - Western Australia has been doing the grumbling and Victoria has been getting the money.

Senator STYLES - Western Australia is not satisfied with levying Customs duties on the produce of the eastern States, but, in order to show the Federal spirit, a much higher rate is charged for the carriage of such produce over its railways than is charged for the carriage of local produce.

Senator de Largie - The very same thing is done in Victoria.

Senator STYLES - Victoria carries pro duce by its railways at a cheaper rate from New South Wales to Melbourne than it charges for the carriage of local produce.

Senator Pearce - In Victoria a higher wharfage rate is charged on Inter- State produce than is charged on Victorian produce.

Senator STYLES - The honorable senator is mistaken, but if his statement were true the charge is made, not by the Government, but by the Harbor Trust Commission, which the State Parliament ought to bring to book. In Western Australia the railway rate for the carriage of Inter-State produce ranges from 30 to 279 per cent, more than the charge for the carriage of local produce.

Senator Pearce - It has been abolished.

Senator STYLES - It has been abolished because attention was drawn here to its collection. There is another way which Western Australia 'has of displaying the Federal spirit. It sent a paid lecturer all over Victoria to induce Victorian farmers to go to the West. Is that what my honorable friends call a display of brotherly feeling?

Senator Pearce - It was to prevent Victorians from going to South Africa.

Senator STYLES - The Government of Western Australia paid a gentleman named Mr. Wilbur to lecture all over Victoria. I met him accidentally in Melbourne. He had then travelled, I think. 7.000 miles, and was booked to go to New South Wales for the purpose of lecturing there with a view to induce persons to go to Western Australia.

Senator Henderson - To stop in Australia.

Senator STYLES - He told me that himself. What was his object in coming here? Do my honorable friends think that the Government of Western Australia would have paid a man to lecture all over the eastern States in order to prevent persons from going to South Africa?

Senator Henderson - Their people were running away.

Senator STYLES - Let my honorable friend ask Senator Pulsford whether people were running away from New South Wales when this gentleman went to lecture there?

If men had not left Victoria Western Australia would have had no gold-fields. Four out of every six adults on the goldfields of Western Australia went there from Victoria, and Victorian money is being sent there now for investment in hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Senator Henderson - And money is earning to Victoria to maintain their wives and families.

Senator STYLES - The money is earned by Victorians in Western Australia, and is rightly coming here. I pass on from that curious way of showing the Federal spirit, and come to the time when the Old-age Pensions Commission was taking evidence in Western Australia. I am certain that' Senator Pearce knows what is coming now.

Senator Pearce - Certainly not.

Senator STYLES - Mr. Charles Henry Wickens, actuary and statistical compiler in the Government Statistician's office, was told off to give evidence, and he explained Western Australia's idea of dividing the money to be raised for that purpose. I ask honorable senators to listen to the following extract from his evidence: - 15S3. I want to know whether you think that the whole of the money raised in a particular State for old-age pensions should be spent in that State, and the balance remain there and not be pooled? - I do not intend that exactly. What I mean 'is that in States, where the conditions are somewhat similar, the pooling night go on, and until such time as Queensland and Western Australia had worked down to corresponding conditions, their contributions should be treated separately.

The question at issue at the time' was the suggested duties on tea and kerosene, and it was pointed out by this representative civil servant that, owing to its large adult population. Western Australia would contribute a great deal more in proportion to population than' any other State, and he said that if those two articles had to furnish revenue with which to pay the pensions, it would raise about twice what would be required to pay its share. He said -

Their contributions should be treated separately ; that is, on the lines of the suggestion made for dealing with the surplus of the consolidated revenue.

He was then asked -

You would discriminate between one State and another? - I certainly would in that case.

This is what they call the Federal spirit, ,One of the chief officers of the State told the Commissioners that any surplus over and above what was required to pay old- age pensions should not be pooled, but should be retained by the State.

Senator Pearce - Does Victoria want us to keep her old men as well as our own ?

Senator STYLES - Victoria is keeping the lot of you. Upon a per capita basis Western Australia would be required to pay only £1,250 towards the cost of the proposed survey.

Senator Henderson - We have kept Victoria out of the poor-house for the last six years.

Senator STYLES - It was very good of the people of Western Australia to do that, but apparently they now want to shove us into the poor-house by levying upon us for money to which they have no more right than has the man in the moon. During the last three years Western Australia has had an aggregate surplus of £246,000 upon the working of her railways.

Senator Pearce - There was a deficiency of £100,000 in the general revenue last year. .

Senator STYLES - I am speaking only of the railway revenue. The surplus to which I have referred would have been sufficient to pay for the proposed survey twelve times over - that is, if it could be carried out for £20,000. In spite of the fact I have mentioned, Western Australia asks Tasmania, which has an annual deficit of £100,000, to contribute nearly as much as she would towards the cost of the survey. We are told by Senator Pearce that the proposed railway would develop a. fine tract of country. If the land for fifty miles upon either side of the proposed line were handed over to the Commonwealth. I should say, " By all means make the survey and develop this fine tract of country." It is desired, however, that this " fine tract of country " shall be developed at' the cost of the eastern States, and that all the benefits accruing therefrom shall go into the pockets of the people of Western Australia. Surely this is a proposal to which no man outside of a lunatic asylum would ever agree. I wish to point out that during the three years ended 20th June, 1905, New South Wales accumulated a deficit upon the working of her railways amounting to £768,000 ; Victoria, during the same period, accumulated a deficit of £364,000 ; and Queensland - and 1' commend this to the representatives of that State - accumulated a deficit of £1,164,000.

Senator Drake - We are doing better now.

Senator STYLES - There is plenty of room for improvement, so far as the railway revenue is concerned. Tasmania, during the two years ended June, 1904, accumulated a deficit of£262,000. Therefore, the four States mentioned show a deficiency upon the working of their railways during the last three years of £2, 558,000. On the other hand, Western Australia has had a large surplus, and yet she asks the States referred to to contribute no less than 84 per cent, of the cost of the proposed survey. She also desires them to contribute to the cost of the proposed railway upon a population basis, under which arrangement she would pay only 6 per cent., and South Australia 9 per cent.

Senator DAWSON (QUEENSLAND) - What does the railway surplus in Western Australia prove?

Senator STYLES - That Western Australia is very mean.

Senator DAWSON (QUEENSLAND) - It proves that her railway system is paying.

Senator STYLES - No doubt; but it also proves that she is well able to afford to defray the cost of the proposed survey.

Senator Trenwith - It proves further that Western Australia is willing to construct the railways that will pay, and to hand over the others to the Commonwealth.

Senator STYLES - Just so. Victoria has an accumulated railway deficit of over £7,000,000.

Senator de Largie - And Western Australia is paying it off.

Senator STYLES - There is not enough money in, Western Australia to pay off the Victorian railway deficit. Because the people of Western Australia have been able to produce a little gold they are never tired of' boasting of their wealth. Yet they are mean enough to ask Queensland and Tasmania together to contribute three times the amount that they will have to pay towards the cost of the proposed survey.

Senator De Largie - We cannot send to every State the money that we contribute to Victoria every year.

Senator STYLES - All that Western Australia sends to Victoria is about £200,000 per annum. We could sell Collinsstreet and buy up Western Australia. If it had not been for the Victorians who went over to Western Australia the people there would still have been groping in the sand" as they were doing before they were civilized.

Senator Croft - While Collins-street was gaining wealth the working people were being driven out of Victoria to Western Australia.

Senator STYLES - Nonsense. They went to Western Australia because they could find gold there.

Senator Findley - Let us be a band of brothers.

Senator STYLES - That is all very fine. I have already given an indication of the fine brotherly spirit - of the broad national spirit - that prevails. When I hear a man talking about displaying a broad national spirit I know that he has his eye on some one else's cash.

Senator Croft - The honorable senator has been reading the Age.

Senator STYLES - It would be better for the honorable senator if he read the Age rather than the West Australian.

Senator de Largie - Just think of the lovely report that the honorable senator will get to-morrow.

Senator STYLES - If it is not better than the reports they give the honorable senator, it will not be worth much. He never says anything that is worth reporting.

Senator Croft - The Honorable senator is on the Age ticket.

Senator STYLES - I do not know anything as to that, but I shall be glad if I am.

The PRESIDENT - I think that the honorable senator had better return to the subject.

Senator STYLES - I seriously hope that the Senate will throw out this Bill, as it did on the last occasion.I cannot conceive why honorable senators who support it should ask the Commonwealth to undertake what is purely a State work. Let the Western Australian Government pay for the survey, handing over the money to the Commonwealth Government, and if the report is satisfactory, we may be able to discuss the railway afterwards. But to ask us to find the money is virtually to ask us to pledge ourselves to the construction of the line.

Senator Croft - We have never said so.

Senator STYLES - I regard a railway survey as part of a scheme for railway making. You cannot have a railway without a survey. It is like driving the first peg.

Senator McGregor - There can be a survey without a railway.

Senator STYLES - That is true; and in Victoria we have spent £260,000 on surveys without a mile of railway being constructed afterwards. My point is, however, that if the Commonwealth agrees to make the survey, it will to some extent be pledged to build the line. Before anything definite is done, the matter of gauge should be settled.

Senator Croft - Is not that secondary to the survey ?

Senator STYLES - No, and I will show why. A survey suitable for a 3 ft. 6 in. gauge line .might not be suitable for ai 4 ft. 8$- in. gauge line. The former would permit of curves which would not be possible on the latter.

Senator Croft - Our general knowledge of the country indicates that there would not be many curves on this line.

Senator STYLES - But there is a doubt whether South Australia will consent to the railway being built through her territory on any other gauge than that which she has now. My own impression is that if the line is built at all, it should be on the world's standard gauge. Eighty per cent, of the railways of the world are constructed on a 4 ft. 81 in. gauge. I think that in time that will be the gauge for Australia also. One of the reasons urged in favour of the line is that it would enable us to get our mails two days earlier. But if it is to be a 3 ft. 6 in. gauge line, we cannot calculate on the trains running Over 30 miles an hour.

Senator Drake - They can run up to 40 miles an hour on a 3 ft. 6 in. gauge line.

Senator STYLES - I know that. I travelled on an engine at the rate of forty miles an hour over such a railway in Queensland forty years ago. But it would not be a safe speed at which to nin trains as a rule. Speaking for myself, if it came to the point when the railway was to be built, I should advocate a 4 ft. 8J in. gauge, which I am satisfied is that which must eventually become the standard for all Australia.

Senator Playford - It would cost millions and millions, and we should not get a single passenger or a single ton of goods more than at present.

Senator STYLES - Once the railway is built it will always be there, and it may as well be laid down on the standard gauge sooner as later; though, perhaps, a 3 ft. 6 in. gauge line would do for a generation to come.

Senator Drake - It would do for 100 years.

Senator STYLES - Possibly. If the Western Australian Government were to hand over the money for the survey to the Commonwealth, I should have no objection to its being made. In fact, if the Western Australian 'Government were to appoint its own surveyors I would accept their report as I have accepted Mr. O'Connor's and many others. I do not think that a party of surveyors would deliberately falsify the facts or misconstrue them.

Senator de Largie - The honorable senator has already charged the Western Australian representatives with misconstruing the facts.

Senator STYLES - They are not surveyors but purveyors. I was referring to railway surveyors not to politicians. I would accept the report of a party of surveyors by whomsoever they were appointed.

Senator Pearce - Does the honorable senator accept Mr. Muir's report which I read ?

Senator STYLES - Oh, yes, although he may be mistaken on some points. I would accept the report of surveyors appointed by the Western Australian Government though I am aware that a good many people would not. Such people say that they would not trust the Western Australian engineer. My point is that I do not wish to commit the Commonwealth to any expenditure in this direction at the present time. The cost of the proposed survey should undoubtedly be borne by the States which are chiefly interested in the project, namely, Western Australia and South. Australia. If they would hand over to the Commonwealth sufficient money to defray the cost of the undertaking I should urge no objection to the Bill.

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