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

Senator McDOUGALL (New South Wales) . - I am very pleased indeed with the manner in which my motion has been received. The reason which the Minister has given for not establishing factories in the Federal Territory at present is the very reason I gave why they should be established there when practicable. The Minister has told us that to-day we cannot get suitable labour.I admit that. But I would point out that when there are 20,000 men working in the Federal Territory we shall have nothing for young labour to do unless we have these factories established there. When the question of selecting a Capital site was discussed by a previous Government the conditions of labour should have been thought of. I am not alone in holding this view. I hold in my hand a report from a high official in. the military service, who placed these facts before the Minister of the day. I had no knowledge of the existence of this document when I gave notice of the motion, but it coincides with my view. The Minister has stated that there is no fear of internal strife arising in Australia. But that is no reason why the Commonwealth Government should not be prepared for internal strife. One of the best ways in which to prepare is to centralize the manufacture of war material, and the place for that concentration is naturally the Federal Territory. The report I refer to reads as follows -

When the site for the Lithgow factory had been selected, I reported to the Minister that the branch had not been consulted, and that, although I had not been asked to advise, I had, whenever the opportunity presented, advocated Federal Territory for two general reasons, viz. : -

(a)   Defence considerations;

(b)   Manufacturing considerations.

The reasons are -

(a)   Defence. There are always possibilities of internal stress in a young nation, and therefore the factories for defence equipment should not be located where they could be dominated by any particular State ; that so long as they were in a town in a State, that State would dominate both coal supplies and distribution by rail (without necessarily taking control of the factory). If the factory had been on Federal Territory (Dalgety was then the selected site) it would have been independent of coal, and there would have been a Commonwealth port and railway thereto. The argument still holds good at Yass-Canberra, because there are coal measures on the route of the railway to Jervis Day, and Jervis Bay will be a port for distribution. Provided that the factory is situated within Federal Territory, it would entail aggressive action by a State to take control of the factory, which is a very different matterto an aggressive action on the part of the Commonwealth to maintain its control over the factory if located in a State town.

Senator Sayers - What is the use of reading a. document to us if we do not know the name of the author?

Senator McDOUGALL - The concluding paragraph reads -

Last, but not least, the general question of factories' control, both in its economical and industrial aspects, could best be effected by having the factories in one vicinity, and essentially within the Federal Territory,' to attain one general system of administration, control regulation of output with resultant economies in management, handling for distribution, storage, and so forth. There is still a further possibility, and that is that with the large industrial population which there will be at the Federal Territory within three years of undertaking the construction, some of the factories would form an avenue of employment for the grown-up children.

Senator Sayers - Whose report is it?

Senator McDOUGALL -The report was made by a high official in the military service, and presented' to a previous Government. It proves that before I had any idea of being transferred from the very useful sphere of life I occupied before I was sent here, other persons thought as I did. A very high official in the service of the Commonwealth contended that preparation should be made for cases of internal or external aggression by placing in the Federal Territory the factories for the manufacture of defence equipment. The report discloses that somebody besides myself had the foresight to realize that when the Commonwealth places 20,000 men at work in the Federal Territory it has a right to see that their- offspring shall have a chance to get work in the factories there established. If, however, our factories are located in large cities, as they are to-day, and in which they will remain if something is not done to have them shifted, there will be no avenue of employment for grown-up children at YassCanberra. I hope that the motion, as amended, will be carried.

Question, as amended, resolved in the affirmative.

Suggest corrections