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Wednesday, 18 July 1906

Mr LONSDALE (New England) . - I intend to support the amendment because I hold that the proposed Transcontinental Railway should not be constructed until we have obtained from South Australia her consent to it passing through her territory. I understand that that State hasalready given her permission for a survey of the line to be made, but she has not consented to the line itself being constructed. I do not think that we should incur any expenditure until that consent is forthcoming. I want her consent, because I realize that if a line is constructed, and if the taxpayers of the other States contribute to its cost, all the advantages which can be derived from it should belong to the whole Commonwealth.If it is to be a Commonwealth railway, all the advantages accruing from its construction should be used for Commonwealth purposes. But whilst we allow the land through which the line will pass to be held practically by South Australia and Western Australia, the benefits which will flow from its construction must remain with them.

SirJohn Forrest. - We get the money from the States.

Mr LONSDALE - The Treasurer interjects that we get the money from the States. How do we secure it? Is it by loan ?

Sir John Forrest - No, by taxation. We are the same people.

Mr LONSDALE - Then I understand from the Treasurer that the capital cost of the railway isto be raised by the taxation of the lands of the Commonwealth ?

Sir John Forrest - I did not say so.

Mr LONSDALE - I inferredthat the cost of the railway would come out of loan funds. The Treasurer replied that it would not, but that it would be raised by land taxation.

Sir John Forrest - I did not say anything of the kind.

Mr LONSDALE - Then we do not understand each other. The cost of the line, I repeat, will be raised by means of a loan, the interest upon which will be paid by the Commonwealth.

Mr SPEAKER - I wish to remind the honorable member that the amendment deals purely with the question of obtaining the consent of South Australia to the passing of the line through her territory, and I cannot allow any other matter to be debated.

Mr Johnson - Upon a point of order, may I ask if the submission of the amendment at the present stage precludes discussion of the main proposal ?

Mr SPEAKER - At the present moment, the only matter before the House is the amendment of the honorable member for Wentworth. Until that has been disposed of, no other matter can be debated. After it has been dealt with, the discussion of the general question may be resumed.

Mr LONSDALE - It appears to me that I shallbe in order in advancing reasons why, before we agree to this Bill,we should obtain the control of the land through which the projected line will pass .We must do that if we are to secure the enhanced value given to that land by the construction of the railway.

Mr SPEAKER - There is nothing whatever in the amendment concerning the control of the land through which the proposed ' railway will pass. The only question at present under consideration is whether the consent of South Australia. to the construction of the line shall be obtained before the work is proceeded with.

Mr LONSDALE - It appears to me that I should be in order in discussing the other question, but I bow to your ruling in the matter. Personally, if I had submitted the amendment, I should have framed it in much strongerterms. Seeing ' that the whole of the Commonwealth will have to bear the cost of the construction of the line, we have a right to secure all the advantages which accrue from the undertaking. Under the present proposal the whole of those advantages will be enjoyed by South Australia and Western Australia. That being the case, surely the Commonwealth should be secured in some way for the advance which it makes.

Mr SPEAKER - The honorable member is not discussing the question.

Mr LONSDALE - The question appears to me to be a very narrow one. If I cannot debate it upon the lines I have been pursuing, it is idle for me to discuss it at all I shall certainly not vote for the construction of the line until the Commonwealth is afforded some substantial security. Regarding the manner in which the necessary money should be raised, I would suggest that there are a couple of honorable members in thisHouse who would be able to procure it in a very simple fashion. I refer to the honorable member for Perth and the honorable member for Brisbane. We might adopt their scheme for raising the necessary amount by means of a note issue.

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