The Letters

THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. POWER OF THE LABOUR PARTY. THE ARBITERS IN POLITICS. TACTICS OF RIVAL LEADERS. FROM OUR SYDNEY CORRESPONDENT. [Jan. 12 1903]; Feb. 27 1903. Last year may yet prove to be more memorable than was supposed, and for a reason not yet even named by any of its critics. The political history of Australia generally, excluding Tasmania, and of New South Wales in particular, has been decided for more than a decade by the organised forces of Labour. Its representatives in all the State Parliaments of the mainland have been in a minority, and save in Queensland in a small minority.…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. POWER OF THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT. QUESTION OF STATE RIGHTS. COLONIAL OFFICE DECISIONS. FROM OUR SYDNEY CORRESPONDENT. [Jan. 19 1903]; Mar. 4 1903. Whether or not the Commonwealth is making history worthy of the name it is, at least, making itself a reality, which was in any case its first indispensable task. The familiar phrase prior to the actual acceptance of its constitution was that “Federation is in the air”, so much did every political question and social movement in the several colonies recall it as the prime necessity of our progress. In spite of the politicians,…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. REVISION OF THE TARIFF. “POLITICAL” RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION. HUSTINGS PROMISES. FROM OUR SYDNEY CORRESPONDENT. [Jan. 26 1903]; Mar. 11 1903. The fiscal issue is again being forced to the front, though all but the most belligerent Cobdenites would admit that there are several matters more important to Australia at the present time. For party purposes this issue has the great advantage of having ready-made opinions and electoral organisations which are of a more effective description than any possessed by anybody save the Labour Section. Yet in itself just now from the…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. IGNORANCE OF EMPIRE. AUSTRALIA’S GREAT WATER SCHEME. RESULTS OF THE DROUGHT. FROM OUR SYDNEY CORRESPONDENT. [Feb. 3 1903]; 20 Mar. 1903. Western Australia made her entrance last of all the States into the possession of complete self-government, population, and prosperity. She was also the last of them to enter the Commonwealth. Since then she has advanced with giant strides, and bids fair to occupy before long a position in the front rank. She owes the remarkable expansion of the last ten years to gold discoveries, and as the mines were found in the midst of a waterless…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. UNITED AUSTRALIA. THE FORCE OF FEDERAL IDEALS. STATE RETRENCHMENTS. FROM OUR SYDNEY CORRESPONDENT. [Feb. 10 1903]; Mar. 30 1903. The question as to whether or not we possess a characteristic literature or accent that may be distinctively labelled “Australian” is the subject of occasional speculation in Sydney and elsewhere. The epithet is not one that can be confidently or usually employed. We have a brand-new Constitution entitled to the name because of its origin and its sphere of operation, but except in respect of the particular matters on which there has been…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. WORK OF THE FEDERAL PARLIAMENT. “STEERED FROM THE STEERAGE.” THE CAMPAIGNS OF MR. REID. FROM OUR SYDNEY CORRESPONDENT. [Feb. 17 1903]; Apr. 7 1903. Federal politics have suddenly become polemical. The summer, though mild on the whole, is still at its height, running up occasionally to temperatures of a “record” character, and as far as attention is being given to public affairs those of the States have first claim. Yet, owing to certain adventitious circumstances, we find the Commonwealth Ministry and its opponents at this unseasonable period thundering at each other…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. FINANCES OF AUSTRALIA. UNIMPEACHABLE ASSETS. THE EFFECTS OF THE DROUGHT. FROM OUR SYDNEY CORRESPONDENT. [Feb. 24 1903]; Apr. 14 1903. The sudden drop of New South Wales 3 per cents. in London and the adverse discussion of Australian financial prospects in the British Press have combined to bring home to our citizens all at once the gravity of a situation which readers of the Morning Post must have been able to foresee months in advance. Indeed, since early in 1901 attention has been repeatedly called in these columns to the disastrous results certain to accrue from bad…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. INTER-STATE INTERESTS. THE POLITICS OF VICTORIA. CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM. FROM OUR SYDNEY CORRESPONDENT. [Mar. 3 1903]; Apr. 20 1903. The Parliament of Victoria is the only legislative body in Australia not in recess at the time I am writing. It has departed from our customary routine in this as in every other respect since its election a few months ago. Its first session has been marked by a rapid series of drastic proposals and sensational incidents that appears likely—as far as can be judged from Sydney—to be prolonged until members disperse. Noisy and turbulent as was…
Tags: Barton
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. DOMINATING QUESTION. DEMAND FOR ECONOMY. STATESMEN AND PRESS. FROM OUR SYDNEY CORRESPONDENT. [Mar. 10 1903]; Apr. 24 1903. Our domination by the Press is a constant cause of complaint to most politicians, who are often as slow to recognise its aid in bringing them into notice as they are swift in their resentment when it opposes them or their schemes. Very little is accomplished in our State Legislatures without the assistance of the leading journals, and next to nothing can be carried against them when they are combined. Union is not often possible. Just as the…
Tags: Barton
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. PREMIERS’ CONFERENCES. SEPARATE STATE INTERESTS. FEDERAL POLITICS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Mar. 17 1903; May 8 1903. Among the events that are casting their shadows before them is a conference of State Premiers summoned by Sir John See to meet in Sydney. A full attendance is expected at what must become an annual assemblage for the discussion of subjects of common interest by those responsible for the conduct of public affairs in the different parts of the Commonwealth. Prior to Federation similar official gatherings took place intermittently, at which…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. SATISFACTORY RAINFALL. ILL-REGULATED POLITICAL SCRAMBLES. RAILWAY ENTERPRISE. FROM OUR SYDNEY CORRESPONDENT. [Mar. 24 1903]; May 23 1903. The rain continues, and with it all vegetation revives and thrives. Doubts are steadily dissipated as it becomes clear that a normal season is before us. From the far north, where equatorial rivers are running high past tracts devastated by recent cyclones, through Central Queensland and the Darling Downs, across the arbitrary boundary between that State and ours, along our uplands coastwise to the south, and, better still, away inland…
Tags: Barton
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. REVENUE PROSECUTIONS. THE POLICY OF FREE TRADE. FROM OUR SYDNEY CORRESPONDENT. [Mar. 31 1903]; May 29 1903. The Governor-General has at last arrived in Sydney to make some stay, and none too soon for his local appreciation. His liking for South Australia and its simpler social habits had begun to be commented on in Melbourne, but especially in this city, which claims the pride of place by seniority, beauty, and wealth over all the sister capitals. Politically Lord Tennyson is popular here and elsewhere because he represents in himself and with his household the…