The Letters

THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. AUSTRALIAN RIVALRIES. WRESTLE FOR MASTERY. PROBLEMS TO BE SOLVED. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Apr. 1 1902; May 12 1902. Who shall be master—the States or the Commonwealth? Our Constitution divided the political power of Australia between them, but it left quite open the question of ultimate supremacy and, indeed, assumed that there would be nothing of the kind. The Federal domain was carved out of that of the States at the popular behest and against the wishes of their Administrations and Legislatures. This has first to be effectively occupied, and then must…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. ANTI-FEDERAL TACTICS. THE FREE TRADE CAMPAIGN. “PLUNGING” POLICY RESULTS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Apr. 15 [7?] 1902; May 20 1902. Australia politically was endowed with union rather than with unity. For this there can be no reproach that is not shared by all of us, since it was just this distinction which our Constitution makes, and was intended to make; nothing more was possible, and this was difficult to secure. Certain subjects were set apart on which we were to act as one people. This was the domain of the Commonwealth within whose range we were to be…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. DROUGHT DESOLATION. DEMAND FOR REFORMS. RETRENCHMENT MOVEMENT. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Apr. 15 1902; May 23 1902. Public affairs in Australia were never more dependent on its physical conditions than they are to-day. Any faithful picture of them must dwell rather on the black background of drought and debt than the narrow foreground filled by political events and Parliamentary figures of note. A belt of mountains runs from the Gulf of Carpentaria roughly parallel with the ocean down the whole east coast of the continent through Queensland and New South…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. FIRST NATIONAL TARIFF. FISCAL PROBLEMS. MINISTERIAL DANGERS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY. Apr. 22 1902; May 29 1902. The confusing and apparently endless melée surrounding the preparation of the first Australian tariff is drawing near to its conclusion. The shadow of its uncertainties still lies across all our commerce, and in every case in which the duties are capable of reduction limits imports to short supplies. But it is just about to leave the House of Representatives in the shape of a schedule of thirty pages attached to a Customs Act of two pages,…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. DROUGHT AND DISTRESS. FEDERAL FIELD FORCES. ORGANISATION FOR DEFENCE. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, May 6 [Apr. 29] 1902; Jun. 12 1902. The drought continues over the inland area, which has suffered most, and is in direst need of rain. Seasonable showers have fallen along the coast ranges, and here and there have drifted some little distance beyond. Speaking generally, however, there has been no relief, and the tales of distress accumulate with the prolongation of the dry weather. By means of the railways fodder is being poured into the interior, where many…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. FEDERAL ECONOMIES. STATES’ RIVAL INTERESTS. RESULTS OF THE TARIFF. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, May 6 1902; Jun. 16 1902. Gales and storms have lashed our coasts, but the drought continues, flocks dwindle, and with them the hopes of a winter recovery. Our western country lies blighted and seared out of recognition, and in Queensland the sheep are fast being obliterated on the withered plains. All the trials and all the losses to which we have had to submit hitherto are as nothing to this. Its effects are widespread and must be lasting. Yet the revenue in this…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. IMPERIAL DEFENCE. TRADE RECIPROCITY SCHEMES. THE POLITICAL ATMOSPHERE. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, May 13 1902; Jun. 21 1902. Australia’s area is always impressive. A fortnight ago Mr. Barton bade farewell to Sydney, a week ago to Melbourne, and yesterday to Perth. He is only just out of sight of the shore of his native land, though were he to turn back he must travel continuously by land and sea for a week before arriving at his home and birthplace in this city. The Melbourne banquet tendered to him by the Mayor of the city, Sir Samuel Gillott, was an…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. GOVERNOR’S RESIGNATION. FEDERAL RESPONSIBILITY. FINANCIAL STRUGGLES. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, May 20 1902; Jun. 28 1902. Consternation is the one word that best describes the mental condition of Australians generally on hearing of the resignation of the Governor-General, for this is what his recall at his own request means. That he should have been hurt at the manner in which his princely discharge of the ceremonial and social duties of his position had been received by the House of Representatives was anticipated; that he should at once proportionately…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. DROUGHT AND DEBT. INTER-IMPERIAL TRADE. FINANCIAL REFORMS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jun. 3 1902 [May 27]; Jul. 11 1902. Monotonous as the inevitable references to the persistence of the drought must be, its immense area, its unprecedented duration, and the deadliness of its many consequences, direct and indirect, are so much the chief factors of the situation that it is impossible to ignore them. What it means in the way of loss and misery to thousands and tons of thousands it is almost impossible to calculate, and the untold sufferings of the millions of…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. PEACE REJOICINGS. RAVAGES OF THE DROUGHT. FEDERAL RESPONSIBILITIES. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jun. 3 1902; Jul. 17 1902. Australian emotion has found another outlet in the proclamation of peace. Everywhere the joy bells were ringing, impromptu hastily-summoned patriotic meetings were held, every hamlet and settlement gave itself up to rejoicings, and our whole people seem to be inclined to forget all the months of waiting and watching that have now expired. When the Earl of Hopetoun leaves us by way of Brisbane for Canada he will be succeeded by Lord…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. RELIEF FROM THE DROUGHT. FEDERAL AND STATE ACTION. AUSTRALIAN LOANS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jun. 17 1902; Jul. 26 1902. Hope springs once more with the first winter rains, which were never more needed, never more welcome. It is true that so far they are partial and light, but they have broken the monotony of the dry weather that has afflicted us so long, and already men are beginning to plan, in trust of the future, how best to repair the ravages of the past. A few months since, when timely showers were spread over the arid area, it was thought that the…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. FINANCIAL REFORM. NEW SOUTH WALES DISPUTES. THE INDUSTRIAL CHARTER. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jun. 18 [10?] 1902; Jul. 21 1902. A general view of Australian affairs discloses a certain political unity begotten by the pressure of the movement for economy everywhere. Queensland and Tasmania are maturing their schemes of savings prior to the meeting of their Parliaments, while South Australia, the general election under her new Constitution over, is also considering ways and means. These, the least prosperous of the States, have been the first to be compelled…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. FIRST FEDERAL LOAN. POSTPONED TO AVOID DEFEAT. STATES’ FINANCIAL POSITION. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jun. 24 1902; Aug. 2 1902. A jaded Federal Parliament, weary with more than twelve months’ sitting, and with the constant travelling to and from legislative duties exhausting its strongest members; a jaded Ministry, two of its chiefs away in Europe, and one or other of the remainder generally absent from ill-health occasioned by the unremitting strain of administration added to their duties in the House; a Commonwealth whose commerce has been hampered for…