The Letters

THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. “TRIAL BY JURY.” NEW SOUTH WALES CRISIS. OPPOSITION DEFEATED. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Oct. 7 1902; Nov. 14 1902. New South Wales has experienced a political crisis that came and went as swiftly as a tropic thunderstorm. Such an incident could occur in few constitutionally-governed countries, so that the meteoric manner of its entrance and exit may easily serve to deepen the darkness which seems to enshroud us from our critics across the ocean if we can judge by the fragments of their commentaries that have reached us. A fortnight ago a Jew was prosecuted…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. CLOSE OF THE FIRST SESSION. FEDERAL ACHIEVEMENTS. PARTY POLITICAL TACTICS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Oct. 15 1902; Nov. 19 1902. The opening chapter of the first volume of the story of the Australian Commonwealth has closed—the first session of its first Parliament has ended. Drawing a long breath of relief, and with some ejaculations of surprise at having at last reached the shore of recess, its wearied members are dispersing themselves over the continent. Their voyage, if not tempestuous, has been full of perils, much of it in uncharted seas, and most of…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. FEDERAL AND STATE ISSUES. PARTY PREPARATIONS. PROTECTION OR FREE TRADE? FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Oct. 21 1902; Nov. 27 1902. The Prime Minister has returned, and he has explained the results of his mission to London, the acting Prime Minister has expounded the work of the session just concluded under his leadership, and the policy of the Opposition has been officially declared by Mr. Reid. We have thus brought before the public almost at the same moment our political past, present, and future in Federal affairs in such a manner as to focus the attention of…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. FINANCIAL BURDENS. UNION AND STATE TREASURIES. RETRENCHMENT AND TAXATION. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Oct. 28 1902; Dec. 3 1902. The eternal want of pence is always with our public men, yet at different times it exercises very different degrees of pressure. At present its coercion in Australia is the chief feature of the political situation; it governs our policy tyrannically both in the Commonwealth and in the States. Turn where one will it asserts itself more or less obtrusively under a great variety of forms, but everywhere with most uncomfortable urgency…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY. ALTERNATIVE SCHEMES. STATE AND FEDERAL INTERESTS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Nov. 4 1902; Dec. 12 1902. The most pregnant event of the moment is the passage in the South Australian Parliament of a measure authorising the construction of the Transcontinental Railway to connect Adelaide with Port Darwin. Put into figures the project is certain to attract attention if it were only because of its magnitude. From Adelaide to Oodnadatta and from Port Darwin to Pine Creek two lines, already made, one from each terminus, stretch towards…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. NAVAL DEFENCE. FEDERAL CONTRIBUTION. OBJECTIONS TO THE SCHEME. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Nov. 11 1902; Dec. 22 1902. Imperial questions are at present to the fore in most of the States, the return of the Prime Minister and his addresses explanatory of the resolutions adopted at the recent conference in London furnishing the topic of the hour. For the sake of their acceptance it is unfortunate that Mr. Chamberlain’s leisure will not permit him to visit Australia as well as South Africa, for without a personal acquaintance with our people and their problems a…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. STATE SERVANTS’ REVOLT. DISFRANCHISEMENT PROPOSALS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Nov. 18 1902; Dec. 26 1902. Retrenchment and reform of our methods of expenditure occupy men’s minds and fill the columns of our newspapers in this State until even Mr. Waddell feels called on to demonstrate the economical character of his Budget. Still more remarkable is it that Mr. O’Sullivan has delivered a homily to the unemployed which is not without indications that his exuberant confidence in the policy of spending without thought for the morrow is becoming tempered by…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. LORD TENNYSON’S POPULARITY. GOVERNMENT HOUSE VOTE. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Nov. 25 1902; Jan. 2 1903. The appointment of Lord Tennyson as Governor-General, though only for one year, has been received with approbation throughout the continent. Yet the conclusions drawn from this undoubted fact by those who are at a distance would in all probability be wholly erroneous. It is not due to his personal gifts, great as they appear to be when exercised. We have only had his Excellency in Sydney twice since his appointment, and then merely on flying visits. He…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. SIR E. BARTON’S POLICY. IMPERIALISTIC VIEWS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Dec. 1 1902; Jan. 6 1903. Sir Edmund Barton possesses some valuable qualities, uncommon among politicians, which go far by balancing his shortcomings to maintain his hold on his friends and on the country. A favourite taunt of the Opposition has been based on the flexibility he displayed as Leader of the House in accepting amendments of his measures, but though there were many concessions wrung from him, and some of them most unwillingly, none of these implied, from his point of view, a…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. EXCITING PARTY POLICIES. POWER OF THE LABOUR SECTION. THE NAVAL DEFENCE QUESTION. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Dec. 9 1902; Jan. 15 1903. Sydney was Anti-Federal when the present Prime Minister as a private citizen was the leader of the movement for union, and is now more Anti-Barton than it was then. All the disappointed mercantile men afflicted by the tariff or by Mr. Kingston’s rigorous administration of it have turned on their former champion, a considerable detachment of the middle-class has left him in obedience to the call of the Protestant Defence…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. RIVAL STATE INTERESTS. NAVIGATION AND IRRIGATION. PROHIBITED IMMIGRANTS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Dec. 16 1902; Jan. 23 1903. Though faith in the regularity of our rainfall is suspended, if not destroyed, by recent experiences, hope has once more begun to lift its head among us owing to the frequent and widespread rains which have been refreshing the Eastern States. South Australia, after reaping an excellent harvest, has received supplies which will carry her well on until next winter. Queensland is enjoying the welcome visits of monsoons, whose…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. END OF THE DROUGHT. THE QUESTION OF LAND TENURE. ECONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Dec. 23 1902; Jan. 31 1903. At last the long-looked-for relief has come; at last the great drought has ended. Another may follow on its heels, but for this summer at all events even the far interior is assured of full supplies of water. If another dry period is to be faced it will not begin until next winter. In the meantime the privations of the settlers and of their terribly diminished flocks are over. For the time the high prices that have ruled for all…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. PORT DARWIN RAILWAY PROPOSAL. INTER-STATE RIVALRY. THE WATER DIFFICULTY. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Dec. 30 1902; Feb. 6 1903. South Australia holds for the moment the centre of our stage as the most loud-voiced and belligerent of the States. She has been raised to that bad eminence as much by force of circumstances as by her own contentiousness. For several reasons she is not popular with her neighbours, none of whom can lay claim to any manifestations of unselfishness in dealing one with the other, but all of whom happen to be crossed just now by her…