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Friday, 1 December 1911

Senator STORY (South Australia) . - I interjected this morning that Senator Walker's amendment was moved with the object of wrecking the Bill. I desire to state that I am perfectly certain that Senator Walker would not move an amendment for any other reason than that of carrying out the object which his proposal expressed. Every member of the Senate recognises the transparent honesty of the honorable senator. But I do say that some members of the Opposition who are supporting the amendment are not actuated by the motives which have influenced the mover.

Senator St Ledger - All comparisons are odious.

Senator STORY - Members of the Opposition are supporting this amendment with the object, if not of wrecking, at any rate of delaying the Bill as long as they can. When I see Senator Millen supporting a proposal for securing the unearned increment, as it is sometimes called, I am reminded that not very long ago, when we were dealing with another question, and some of us desired to secure to the Commonwealth Government a part of the unearned increment that would accrue from the establishment of the Federal Capital in New South Wales, Senator Millen resisted the attempt. He did not then desire that the Commonwealth should obtain a share of the added value that would be given to New South Wales lands by the establishment of the Federal Capital in that State. When the territory running down to Jervis Bay was granted to the Commonwealth, the "grant was designed with the object of securing that as much as possible of the increased value should be retained outside the Federal Territory. Two narrow strips were marked in such a shape that the area was likened to a pair of breeches. The object evidently was to increase enormously the value of State lands.

Senator Millen - The late Government brought clown an alternative proposition to that.

Senator STORY - Senator Millen was the principal representative of the Government in the Senate when that measure was forced through. Not only did he endeavour to secure the increased land value to the State of New South Wales, but he insisted on retaining the increased water-values for that State, because New South Wales refused to allow the Commonwealth to get to low - water mark at Jervis Bay, insisting that our territory should stop at high-water mark. The honorable senators who supported him then are to-day crying out that the Commonwealth should get the increased value which they took no steps to secure to the Commonwealth then. I merely rose to point out the hollowness of the professions of Senator Millen and Senator Sayers, who are to-day practically advocating the singletax, simply because it suits them to delay the passing of this Bill. Senator Vardon's amendment is intended to accomplish the same object. In the interests of his State he desires the measure to become law, but as a member of the Opposition he feels impelled to throw every possible obstacle in its way. That is the reason why the discussion of a single clause has occupied the whole morning. Senator Vardon has now submitted an amendment, and avows that he has done so with the object of assisting the Government. I claim that I have assisted the Ministry to get the Bill through by abstaining from repeating arguments which have been advanced time and again.

Senator Sayers - The honorable senator is endeavouring to provoke discussion.

Senator STORY - No. I merely rose because I felt impelled to qualify the statement which I made in reference to Senator Walker. But I feel sure that most honorable senators opposite are not actuated by the same motives as is that honorable senator.

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