The Letters

THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. DUTY OF LOYAL SUBJECTS. THE LABOUR QUESTION. FEDERAL SENTIMENT. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Oct. 1 1901; Nov. 5 1901. The Barton Government has fought its first pitched battle and has won. It had nailed its flag to the mast. Defeat would have almost inevitably led to its resignation. The flag raised was that of the Empire, and a majority against the Government would have meant a selfish declaration of local demands made in utter indifference to the interests of Great Britain and to the embarrassment of its international relations. The victory was not one of…
AUSTRALIA’S PEOPLE. WHITE LABOUR MOVEMENT. THE NEW LEGISLATION. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Oct. 8 1901; Nov. 12 1901. Little more than a hundred years ago Australia was a Dark Continent in every sense of the term. There was not a white man within its borders. Its sparse native population was black as ebony. There are now some sixty thousand of their descendants remaining and about eighty thousand coloured aliens added. In another century the probability is that Australia will be a White Continent with not a black or even dark skin among its inhabitants. The Aboriginal race has…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. STRIFE IN PARLIAMENT. SETTLING THE NEW TARIFF. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Oct. 15 1901; Nov. 19 1901. The tariff has come, and with it consequentially a vote of want of confidence in its framers. The first was indispensable, the second inevitable. It should not be forgotten that the chief motive power of the Federal movement was generated out of the friction between the conflicting sets of customs duties in the several colonies. The one necessity everywhere recognised was that there should be a single Australian tariff instead of six. Without it any union…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH TARIFF CONTROVERSY. AUSTRALIAN INDEBTEDNESS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Oct. 22 1901; Nov. 25 1901. The tariff duel between Mr. Reid and Mr. Barton has begun in earnest, though their first encounter was indecisive, since it left both unhurt. The Leader of the Opposition, heading an attack on a list of duties confessedly full of anomalies and lying open to this criticism, possessed the advantage. But whether he prepared himself too elaborately or whether the studied silence of Ministerialists during his deliverance disconcerted him by depriving him of his…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. FEDERATION DIFFICULTIES. CONTENDING FACTIONS. THE TARIFF QUESTION. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Oct. 29 1901; Dec. 3 1901. The Ministry has entered on a critical period. When the debate on the vote of want of confidence closes this week it will have a large majority, but it will not be stable. It will be the high-water mark of the career of the Ministry. The significant circumstances are that Ministers will lose three votes and that these are all Victorian of the same political complexion. Up till now twenty-two of the twenty-three representatives from…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. TARIFF DIFFICULTIES. RIVAL INTERESTS. FEDERAL POWERS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Nov. 5 1901; Dec. 10 1901. The Commonwealth is steadily cutting its political teeth in normal fashion, with only such inflammatory symptoms and mild convulsions as are natural to its growth. The House has disposed of its first vote of want of confidence, and by giving Ministers a majority of fourteen out of seventy-four available votes has apparently strengthened their position. As a matter of fact, all that the vote precisely means is that Mr. Barton has been preferred to Mr.…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. KEEN FISCAL STRUGGLE. ALIEN LABOUR PROBLEM. “WHITE AUSTRALIA” POLICY. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Nov. 12 1901; Dec. 20 1901. Those of their own affairs which stir Australians are rarely those of greatest importance, neither are they the issues which most interest our onlookers at home, where, naturally enough, there is quite another standpoint. For the past week sport has reigned supreme in Adelaide, where the English cricketers have commenced their tour, and in Melbourne, which for racing purposes is certainly the centre of the Commonwealth. All politics…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. STRIFE IN THE SENATE. FEDERAL FINANCIAL PITFALLS. “BLACK” NEW GUINEA PROBLEMS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Nov. 19 1901; Dec. 24 1901. The Federal Parliament differs from its parent at Westminster but little in spirit or in form. It is a much smaller, more colloquial, and less dignified body, but it observes the same rules of debate and pursues virtually the same course in managing its business. The cardinal difference between them lies in the existence of our elective Senate claiming to take a much more active and influential part in polities than an…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. TARIFF PROSPECTS. THE BLACK LABOUR SPECTRE. NEW GUINEA PROBLEMS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Nov. 26 1901; Dec. 31 1901. The Commonwealth is progressing, though this is not very apparent. Its Parliament, on the contrary, is, in colonial phrase, “bogged”. The team attached to it is so evenly divided and pull in such exactly opposite directions that the State vehicle makes no advance. Here in Sydney we are so much overstocked and so uncertain as to the commercial future that business is almost at a standstill, and, in some degree at all events, the same…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. POLITICAL ALLIANCES. NOVEL ELECTORAL PROPOSAL. PARTY LEADERS AT STRIFE. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Dec. 3 1901; Jan. 7 1902. In Australia, as elsewhere, the politician occupies the centre of the stage, even when his proceedings count for little among the real forces and influences that are shaping the future. We cannot afford to neglect him, and we are in a measure responsible for his doings. Hence the importance assigned to his vagaries. When we would be glad to overlook him his meddlesomeness here, as in the United States, compels us to pay him the homage…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. OPPOSITION TACTICS. TARIFF SCHEDULE CONFLICT. MINISTERIAL TRIUMPH. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Dec. 10 1901; Jan. 15 1902. Australian politics have been passing through an eventful phase, with many dramatic episodes and stirring surprises. A game of chess between experts would be tame and circumscribed in comparison to the incessant evolutions of its living pieces. The moves on the board have been confined to no set scheme, but out of a “most admired disorder” are gradually developing important consequences. The Ministry, worsted in the House of…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. AUSTRALIA AND THE WAR. “ONE PEOPLE, ONE DESTINY.” SERIOUS FINANCIAL PROBLEMS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Dec. 17 1901; Jan. 22 1902. South Africa has proved the touchstone of Empire. The war with the Transvaal first demonstrated the unity and unanimity of the British race in all its realms. Our Federal motto, “One People, one Destiny,” with the Tennysonian addition, “one Flag, one Fleet, one Throne,” became at once the Imperial motto. It was no holiday parade. The greater the demand made on the nation and the darker its fortunes the ampler was the response…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. TROOPS FOR THE FRONT. SHIPPING TROUBLES. OBSTINATE GERMAN OFFICIALS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Dec. 24 1901; Jan. 29 1902. Christmas brings us no peace this year. On the contrary, it arrives, so to speak, sword in hand. There is, first, the great national issue as to how far our obligations to the Empire require us to offer further Australian reinforcements for South Africa. Besides the national problem, which has aroused great heat, anxiety, and impatience because of the non-committal caution and reticence of the Federal Ministry, we have forced on us an…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. “WHITE AUSTRALIA.” INDUSTRIAL ARBITRATION. TARIFF LEGISLATIVE EFFECTS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Dec. 31 1901; Feb. 4 1902. The close of the first year of the Commonwealth does not appear triumphant to those within its boundaries. At the moment the public are vexed at the dilatoriness of the Federal Government in sending its first contingent to South Africa and vexed with the Federal Parliament for its tardiness and shiftlessness in dealing with the tariff. Such a mood may be mainly due to the lack of perspective and want of a sense of proportion exhibited…