Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Thursday, 19 October 1911

Senator GARDINER (Now South Wales) . - I wish to say a few words on this motion. I indorse a great deal of what Senator Givens, Senator Rae. and Senator McDougall have said. 1 particularly wish to congratulate my colleague Senator McDougall on having brought the question forward. Most people who are reasonably minded will agree that the sooner we enter into possession of the Federal Territory the better. T quite agree with the Leader of the Opposition as to the desirableness of the Commonwealth becoming possessed of the whole of the land within the Territory. .1 also think with him that a magnificent future for the Territory is beginning to dawn upon the minds of the members of this Parliament and the people of the country. The Government should secure, if there is any chance of doing so, sufficient additional territory for the proper development of Federal needs. I should like to see a line drawn through Jervis Bay, and another line taking off the whole of the south-east corner of New South Wales and a piece of Victoria. I see some honorable senators smiling at that suggestion, but I am looking forward to the time when Australia will be a great nation,, and when there will be an end to that antipathy towards the Commonwealth which was shown no later than at the last referendum.

Senator McGregor - I copyrighted that idea long ago.

Senator GARDINER - It seems to me that I am constantly trespassing against this Government. Perhaps that is the reason why they have introduced a new Copyright Bill. I particularly direct attention to certain remarks made by the Minister of Defence. He seems to think that the desire of Senator Rae, that we should at once commence Federal works within the Territory, was too advanced. Hut if the works are good, and it is desirable that they should be carried on within the Territory, the sooner they are commenced there the better. There may be difficulties in the way of giving effect to the motion immediately. But I must confess that I rubbed my eyes, and thought I was dreaming, when I heard a member of a Labour Ministry talking in the old-fashioned Tory way that Ministers have been accustomed to talk in Australia - as Senator Pearce did this evening. That has always been the way Conservatives have talked. But we want to do things now. It is desirable that, as early as possible, the manufacturing industries conducted by the Commonwealth should be transferred to the Federal Territory.

Senator McGregor - The honorable senator wants to put the' roof on before we build the house.

Senator GARDINER - What will it matter if these factories are established in the centre of the proposed Federal city before the Commonwealth Parliament takes up its abode there? By the time the city is completely built, the factories will probably be dilapidated, and we can renew them in a more convenient situation. 1 take it that the object of establishing these factories is that they will give us such a service of material for war purposes as will supply our troops with all they require. In order that they may be conducted, we shall want water power to develop electricity. If that power be provided for purposes of the factories, it can be utilized in connexion with building. I quite recognise that Ministers have their hands full of work. I know that they have been harassed ar.d overworked. But, at the same time, that does not relieve them of their duties. They will not make their work easier by putting it off until tomorrow. The best way of overcoming difficulties is to tackle them. Ministers have done a great deal in the matter of defence, land taxation, a new note issue, and so forth. While I recognise the good work they have done, however, I cannot shut my eyes to the responsibilities that still rest upon them, and one of the first duties is that we should rapidly and effectively develop the Federal Territory. I recognise the gain that will accrue from the increased value given to the land by the increase of population and the development of industries. I also gladly recognise the possibility of the cessation of disputes between States and Commonwealth. But, at the same time, we must remember that it was only owing to the forbearance of the Commonwealth that serious trouble did not arise some years ago in consequence of the seizure of steel rails and wire-netting by the Carruthers Government in New South Wales. We are not sure that similar disputes may not arise again. Since I have been in Melbourne, it has been forced upon me that the fact of being a New South Welshman leaves one open to being mistrusted and distrusted, and certainly does not recommend any one for employment in this State, even by the Federal Government. The qualifications of a person from New South Wales are still very closely investigated. I am convinced from what I have seen that a person who comes from Sydney is still treated with suspicion over here. So far from New South Wales being responsible for that jealous feeling, as Senator Walker says, 1 think that the reverse is the case. Whereever I go, I find a feeling of jealousy prevailing. I quite understand it. The wealth of that State, and the progress she is making, are sufficient to cause jealousy to arise, although New South Wales has made greater sacrifices for Federation, and got less out of it, than any other State. But I disapprove altogether of making it appear that this jealous feeling is all on one side. I came here, as, perhaps, one of the strongest opponents in New South Walesin my humble way - of the spirit of hostility to the other States. But, since I have been in the Commonwealth Parliament, 1 have met with nothing but jealousy, envy, and misunderstanding from the other States.

Senator Walker - I have met with the reverse. At the place at which I stay when in Melbourne I have never heard an uncomplimentary remark made about New South Wales.'

Senator GARDINER - I am very pleased to hear that in the circles in which the honorable senator moves State jealousy is dying away. I am heartily in accord with the mover of the motion. If he has done no other good, he has shown the true Federal spirit which some honorable senators have cultivated. I venture to say that a Federal city, surrounded with tall chimneys, belching forth smoke, as in Sheffield and other manufacturing towns in England, would not be a beautiful place. I would, therefore, impress upon the Government the necessity of trying to secure sufficient territory for the development of the future needs of Australia, if it is intended to establish these factories within Federal territory. Take the establishment of docks at Jervis Bay, which, with the growth of the Australian fleet, will be absolutely necessary, I understand that under the agreement the Commonwealth has only the land to high-water mark at Jervis Bay.

Senator Millen - It has more than that.

Senator Walker - We will get more than that.

Senator Millen - That assurance was given to the Senate when it passed the original Bill in the session before last.

Senator GARDINER - I feel quite sure that Senator Millen is correct. But I do' net think that I am incorrect in stating that there has been no alteration of the provision that the Commonwealth is only to take over the land in Jervis Bay to high-water mark. What will happen? There is a number of natural inlets between the proposed Federal wharf and the defence works, which would form admirable places for the establishment of docks. But if we are to have the land only to high-water mark. New South Wales will, I take it,retain the right to the waters I refer to. I has'e reasonable ground for believing that the agreement has not been changed in this respect.

Senator Walker - New South Wales has expressed its willingness to give double the area which has been given if wanted.

Suggest corrections