The Letters

THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. THE TARIFF QUESTION. COMMERCIAL FEDERATION. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jul. 2 1901; Aug. 6 1901. Australian loyalty possesses a vigour and a vengefulness which render the British sentiment by comparison pale and tepid. A paper owned by a member of the House of Commons publishes a scurrilous libel on the Monarch, and the Imperial Government is at once put on its defence for daring to confiscate the issue in which it appeared. Some weeks later a Labour newspaper in Melbourne ventures to quote it by way of extract, while affecting to disapprove of its tenour.…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. REIMPOSITION OF DUTIES. AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jul. 9 1901; Aug. 14 1901. Free Trade is probably as popular to-day as ever it was, but the Free Trade Party has just suffered the greatest reverse it has ever met with in New South Wales, hitherto its centre and citadel. This is entirely due to the unpardonable blunder condemned in these columns when it was com­mitted by Mr. Reid three months ago. Our State Legislature can no longer touch the fiscal question, yet it was forced on the electors in the hope that their declaration for it…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. FEDERAL ASPIRATIONS. THE NEW HEBRIDES. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jul. 16 1901; Aug. 20 1901. Not for a century has it been given to Britons to live under an entirely new Constitution freshly shaped with their own hands. The materials employed in Australia were quarried largely in the Mother Country and its Federal principles borrowed from Canadian and American precedents, but as a whole the Commonwealth is new, and is already affording many novel experiences even to those most closely associated with its construction. The first Federal parliament includes…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. MINISTERIAL AUTHORITY. GAMBLING CRUSADE. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jul. 26 1901; Aug. 30 1901. The Commonwealth is now beginning to be. It has a Parliament, and though it has little else of its own, this at least affords an outward and visible sign of its existence. The Parliament works, or as cynics would say, talks. Many point with alarm to the circumstance that its ten weeks’ existence has already produced a “Hansard” of nearly three thousand closely-printed pages without com­pleting the passage of a single important Bill. But what would they have?…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. POLITICAL FEUDS. PROBLEMS OF THE PACIFIC. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jul. 30 1901; Sep. 3 1901. The New South Wales Legislature has com­menced its sittings in a brawling, inconsequential fashion, apparently because the feuds generated by the recent general election are still fiercely raging among our representatives. Until parties have become better defined, and the large body of “Independents” have definitely sorted themselves, these perturbations are likely to be prolonged. The Ministry, with the Labour Party behind it, is for the time secure. So far as…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. AWAITING THE TARIFF. FISCAL PROBLEMS. FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Aug. 6 1901; Sept. 10 1901. Federal politics have been reduced to debates mainly on details or administration. The Govern­ment has suffered in prestige because Ministers, having been lavish in little things, when brought to book by the House have promptly foresworn their liberalities for the future. Much heat and ill-temper have characterised these discussions, the outcome of which is likely to be the inculcation of thrift in minor matters. Almost at the same time large sums are being added to the…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. DANGERS LOOMING AHEAD. POSITION OF THE MINISTRY. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Aug. 13 1901; Sep. 18 1901. One cannot have an omelette without breaking eggs nor a Federal Union without sacrifice of State independence. Our Provincial Parliaments are, as has several times been predicted in these columns, beginning to realise this, and to rue the deprivation of power and prestige from which they are suffering. The apprehension that union meant to them a diminished dignity always rendered them more or less covertly hostile to Federation. They only yielded when re­…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. SYMPTOMS OF “NERVES.” LABOUR CONDITIONS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Aug. 20 1901; Sep. 26 1901. The wheels of our new national Parliament grate slowly along. Public dissatisfaction deepens, fomented by the several untoward circumstances surrounding us. The strain on all commercial and financial interests is becoming insupportable as the tariff approaches. In spite of recent rains the prospects for the coming season disturb the agricultural and pastoral interests and those dependent on them in many districts. The Senate and the House are reflecting the irrit­…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. CONGESTION OF WORK. THE KANAKA QUESTION. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Aug. 27 1901; Oct. 3 1901.  The physical area of Australia, the sparseness of its population, and the spirit of its people all sug­gest expansion as its national policy. There are traces of this natural impulse in our politics and commercial enterprises, but they are not con­spicuous. Curiously enough, the prevailing con­dition at present is one of congestion. The State Legislatures are choked with inheritances from earlier sessions and measures promised at recent general elections. In New…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. POLITICS AND BUSINESS. TARIFF DIFFERENCES. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Sep. 3 1901; Oct. 11 1901. Parliamentary proceedings have been prosaic. The fact is partly to be attributed to the absence of Mr. Reid, and partly to the practical nature of the Bills under discussion. The attendance of mem­bers has not been large, and out of those who are within sound of the bells comparatively few are within the Chamber. They are finding that Federal membership is incompatible with that attention to their own businesses which they were accustomed to give while in the…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. FEDERAL POLITICS. “WHITE AUSTRALIA” POLICY. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Sep. 10 1901; Oct. 15 1901.  Australian politics are democrats in that they accurately reflect the opinions and aims of the great majority in this country, but they are curiously composite, novel with their new federal develop­ments, and varying considerably in each State. To interpret them to British sympathisers is necessarily difficult. There is, first, the entire contrast between the size of the stage on which public affairs are transacted here and that with which you are most…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. IMMIGRATION DEBATE. LABOUR PARTY’S ATTITUDE. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Sep. 17 1901; Oct. 23 1901. The echoes of Sir William McMillan’s speech have not died away, but they are far less resonant than might have been anticipated. He is evidently startled at his own sudden access of violence, and he seized the first occasion on which it was mentioned to protest his loyalty to the Mother Country. This was never really questioned. What he did was to pander momentarily to disloyalty in order to bring himself into line with the Labour section, of whom he has…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. FEDERAL SENTIMENT. FISCAL POLICY. COLONIAL DEFENCE. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Sep. 24 1901; Oct. 29 1901.  The fluid and indeterminate character of the Parliament of the Commonwealth faithfully reflects the fluid and indeterminate condition of the public mind on all federal questions. Take a typical instance. The vital issues raised by the Immigration Restriction Bill have not developed in the House as rapidly as expected, though they must come to a head this week. So far nothing has happened, but the delay is itself significant. Our continental area…