The Letters

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…
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…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. DEMANDS FOR ECONOMY. FRUITS OF REFORM. CONSTITUTIONAL MODIFICATIONS. FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Apr. 21 [7] 1903; Jun. 1 1903. With the prorogation of the Victorian Parliament the political Temple of Janus in Australia has closed for the first time during the last two years. There will be no recommencement of the business of legislating until the end of May. Until then the country will have time to fully reconsider its position, and, judging by the result of the Tamworth election in this State, it has already begun to do so even in places where hitherto there has…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. TAMWORTH ELECTION. VOTERS “NEARLY TALKED TO DEATH.” FINANCIAL REFORM. FROM OUR SYDNEY CORRESPONDENT. [Apr. 14 1903]; Jun. 15 1903. The Tamworth election attained an importance in the eyes of the public to which it had in itself little real claim. As a victory for reform it meant something, but as a defeat for the Ministry it was also important. In the candidates there were great personal disparities sufficient in themselves to account for the electors’ choice without reference to any other contrast. Mr. Walsh, an inconsiderable Ministerialist, had no political reputation…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. PREMIERS’ CONFERENCE. POWERS OF SEPARATE STATES. CONFLICTING LOCAL INTERESTS. FROM OUR SYDNEY CORRESPONDENT. [Apr. 21 1903]; Jun. 26 1903. Easter has seen Sydney once more the acknowledged centre of the Commonwealth, and to all appearances as prosperous as ever. Never has the city been more crowded, more gay, nor holiday weather more propitious. The season opened brilliantly with the Governor-General’s ball, followed by the splendid display of the second Investiture. The functions also included a great garden party at Government House and an immense reception by the Lord…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. MURRAY RIVER DISPUTE. DEBTS OF THE STATES. FUTURE BORROWINGS. FROM OUR SYDNEY CORRESPONDENT. [Apr. 28 1903]; Jun. 29 1903. The publication of the resolutions framed by the Premiers’ Conference confirms the impression that its members took their responsibilities much more seriously to heart than they did at previous gatherings. At the same time the publication justifies the suspicion that the Murray River dispute prolonged the sittings and received the members’ best attention. While the resolutions adopted on other subjects reached the public on a Thursday, the elaborate…