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The Possibility of Legal Difficulty.

In the choice of any site for the Capital, it must be borne in mind that the Federal territory will in its relation to the States in general be a neutral power. Immediately governed by the Executive, it must, in all its bearings, have a position of neutrality and impartiality in the conflict of state interets—that is, if the true spirit of Federal institutions be allowed to sway, as it should do, the organization of the Union. Consequently, in the choice of a Capital City, care must be taken that the very fact of that choice will not complicate and confuse Federal interests and the relation of the Federation and the States. Now, the settlement of the Rivers question will prove one of the main difficulties in the adjustment of State interests. The final decision will be one for the Federal Judiciary, in other words, for one of the departments of the Federal Government. But the Federal Judiciary is peculiarly an appanage of the Federal Territory, and thus, if the Federal Capital be situated on one of the great rivers, the rights to the waters of which are, sooner or later, bound to be brought to issue in the Federal Judiciary, the Federal territory would be at once a party to a cause, and a judge in it. Suppose Albury, for instance, were chosen as the Federal City. Then there would be three parties to any dispute as to the riparian rights over Murray headwaters, namely, New South Wales, Victoria, and the Territory


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itself. Very patently the choice of Albury would thus most seriously defeat the intent and design of the chief of the Federal Institutions, the Executive and the Judiciary; and the principal function of the latter—to hold the balance evenly between State and State, and Federal Government and States, would be destroyed at the outset. No such certainty—not even the possibility —of legal difficulty can arise in connection with the definition of Bathurst and its vicinity as the Federal Territory.

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