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Friday, 15 June 1906

Mr KELLY (Wentworth) .- I do not know why the time of the House should be wasted further on the consideration of this Bill.

Sir John Forrest - The honorable member has already voted for it.

Mr KELLY - The right honorable gentleman knows as well as I do that his statement is incorrect. I voted for the second reading, but not for the third reading, of the Bill, because certain conditions which I desired to see provided for were not inserted in it. I thought that Western Australia and South Australia, the two States which would be mainly benefited by the construction of the proposed line, should give us some guarantee of a return.

Mr Watson - Why not wait until the Bill is brought in? Further information may be given then.

Mr Fowler - Does the honorable member wish to prevent the giving of information to the House?

Mr KELLY - Although the matter has been before us on several occasions, no additional information has been given to us. We have been told over and over again that all that we are asked to sanction is a survey of the route ; but the Treasurer, speaking in Adelaide in December last, is reported to have said -

He was quite satisfied that the proposal for the construction of the line would be received just as well as that for the survey. Otherwise it would be improper for honorable members to have voted as they had for an expenditure of £20,000, as that would then have been so much waste money.

Therefore, in the view of the Treasurer, we are being asked to sanction, not merely a survey, but a proposal for an expenditure upon railway construction which will run into millions of pounds. When in London recently, he took credit to himself for the fact that the Parliament has declared itself against Commonwealth borrowing, but he now asks us to agree to a proposal which, if sanctioned, he contends will bind us to an expenditure of several millions of pounds, and that amount of money cannot be obtained for the purpose without borrowing.

Sir John Forrest - The honorable member's leader is in favour of the project.

Mr KELLY - I. like the right honorable gentleman, differ from my leader on some questions, and I think that we ought to object to this proposal at every stage. We should ask the States of Western Australia and South Australia to give us some guarantee of their bona fides; but if they are not prepared to do so, I think that Parliament should say that it will not further consider this matter. I hope that other honorable members will adopt a similar attitude in regard to the Bill.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Report adopted.

Bill presented, and read a first time.

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