The Letters

THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. LOCAL LEGISLATURES. THE FISCAL QUESTION. RIVAL PARTY LEADERS. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Dec. 1 1903; Jan. 6 1904. A pessimist might find plenty of material for confirming himself in despair if he were compelled to seek for an impartial study of Australian politics. He could not put his hand on a newspaper published here which is not an out-and-out partisan in its view of State affairs, nor discover one which endeavours to understand the public affairs of any other State than its own apart from party prepossessions. As a rule the separate sets of tangles that…
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THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. TARIFF DISCUSSIONS. THE CASE FOR PREFERENCES. FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Dec. 8 1903; Jan. 14 1904. The last act of the Federal electoral drama has opened with the nominations of candidates, of whom there are, as usual, enough and to spare. Of course, there are contests for the Senate everywhere, since each State is treated as one constituency, and a single nomination beyond the number required forces all to the poll. For three vacancies in New South Wales there are twelve aspirants, and four vacancies in Victoria have brought eighteen into the field. Three seats in…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. FEDERAL ELECTIONS. THE CAMPAIGN FUNDS. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Dec. 15 1903; Jan. 21 1904. The Federal elections take place to-morrow. Welcome, if for nothing else, because they will place an extinguisher on the unceasing campaign of chatter in the newspapers. What the ordinary Australian citizen would do in politics if he were not daily stimulated, advised, threatened, warned and cajoled as well as instructed by his morning monitors is fairly clear. He would do nothing beyond recording his vote, if, indeed, he was energetic enough to do that. As it is he is…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. SUCCESSES OF THE LABOUR SECTION. TWO OPPOSITIONS. THE QUESTION OF COALITION. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Dec. 22 1903; Jan. 28 1904. The Commonwealth elections resembled nothing so much as the triangular duel in Marryat’s “Midshipman Easy”, except that in this instance each combatant was doubly armed and shot at both his adversaries. The Ministry suffered most at the hands of both of its antagonists and the Opposition little. The Labour Party triumphed at the expense of each. Yet for all that the fundamental situation is not altered. As parties went to the…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. IMPERIAL FEELING. THE PROPOSALS OF MR. CHAMBERLAIN. RESULTS OF ELECTIONS. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jan. 6 1904 [29 Dec. 1903]; Feb. 12 1904. The Commonwealth elections were affected to a considerable extent, by the absence of thousands of farmers from the polls. Their steadying influence would have probably altered the results in several States, especially for the Senate. As a class they are proverbially sluggish in political affairs, but in the present instance they had a better reason for their abstinence than their distance from the booths. The magnificent…
­­THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. MR. CHAMBERLAIN’S POLICY. “IMPERIAL IN EVERY SENSE.” CRYING WANT OF AUSTRALIA. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jan. 13 [Jan. 5] 1904; Feb. 15 1904. The invitation to Mr. Chamberlain to visit Australia for the purpose of personally unfolding his policy of preferential trade came to us as a New Year’s Day surprise, and created a wide- spread sensation. Some months ago the possibilities of his coming were discussed in the Press, and the late Government was unsuccessfully interrogated on the prospect. Doubtless it was then felt that Mr. Chamberlain, though relieved…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. INDIFFERENCE TO POLITICS. ELECTORS WHO DO NOT ELECT. ECONOMIC EXPERIMENTS. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jan. 12 1904; Feb. 20 1904. The Anti-Federalists in this city have at last recovered courage sufficiently to enable them in a public meeting of three hundred persons to carry a motion in favour of an agitation to dissolve the union. It was determined to ask the Mayor of Sydney to grant the Town Hall for another gathering at which the first steps could be taken to form an organisation. But seeing that no public man of any note has signified his adherence and that…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. WESTERN PACIFIC ISLANDS. SOUTH AFRICAN LABOUR. ATTITUDE OF NEW ZEALAND. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jan. 19 1904; Feb. 25 1904. The departure of Lord Tennyson affords another landmark in the story of the Commonwealth. He leaves South Australia this week as Governor-General, and though he will touch our soil again a few days later at Perth, he will then be free from all ties of office. It was in Adelaide five years ago that he began his career as the Queen’s Representative for the colony of which it is the capital, and it is in the same charming city that he now…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. ARBITRATION IN TRADE DISPUTES. EFFICACY OF THE REFERENDUM. REDISTRIBUTION OF SEATS. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jan. 26 1904; Mar. 5 1904. Our new Governor-General and Lady Northcote have been installed with due ceremony at Melbourne, where they will remain for some weeks prior to making a stay in Sydney. They have already enjoyed glimpses of Perth and Adelaide, where they landed unofficially on the way to the present seat of government. When they leave us Brisbane and Hobart will expect to be visited, so that probably twelve months will have passed before they…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. GOSPEL OF IMPERIALISM. INTOLERABLE POLITICAL POSITION. THREE EQUAL PARTIES. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Feb. 9 [Feb. 2?] 1904; Mar. 14 1904. The Governor-General has delivered his first public speech under very appropriate auspices. The Australian Natives’ Association, much stronger in Victoria than in any other State, holds annual demonstrations in Melbourne and other capitals in celebration of the first settlement of the continent. It is attended by both Federal and State Ministers, who often take the opportunity of making important political statements of…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. LABOUR PARTY’S POWER. THE SECRET OF ITS SUCCESS. TASK OF CABINET MAKING. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Feb. 9 1904; Mar. 19 1904. Like the bugle call in Tennyson’s song the Prime Minister’s Melbourne speech on the unstable condition of Commonwealth politics has sent its “wild echoes flying” on every side, the reverberations as they are borne back to us from distant centres seeming to be multiplying rather than dying. The reasons for this are not far to seek. Though the Prime Minister only said aloud what everyone has been whispering since the elections, he said it…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH . TREASURERS’ CONFERENCE. ENCOURAGEMENT OF IMMIGRATION. SELF-IMPORTANCE OF STATES. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Feb. 23 [Feb. 16?] 1904; Mar. 31 1904. The Conference of Treasurers which has just closed in Melbourne has made its mark, and that a deep mark, in our current history. The resolutions which register its partial agreements are, at least, signs of a better appreciation of mutual obligations, though they are thrown quite into the shade by the indications which they supply of probable financial arrangements between the Commonwealth and its States of the very…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. “TRIANGULAR SITUATION.” STATE SERVANTS AND ARBITRATION. TREND OF POLITICS. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Feb. 23 1904; Apr. 4 1904. The present year is bound to be political from first to last, and to witness many crises. A great deal must happen before we cease to date from 1904. For the past two months we have been lapped in peace while the Parliamentary temple of Janus remained closed. Next week the alarm will be sounded when the Federal Houses begin a fateful session, nor can the States’ political interests be far behind. South Australia alone sleeps the sleep…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. MATERIAL CONDITIONS. PROBLEMS AND POLICIES. NEED OF IMMIGRATION. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Mar. 8 [Mar. 1] 1904; Apr. 15 1904. No one in Australia can find anything to complain about in our material conditions. The revenue comes in freely and fully, both to Commonwealth and States. The farmers, inveterate grumblers as they are, have here and there some cause for discontent because their late crops are suffering from too continuous rains. But even they will benefit hereafter by the splendid soaking that the subsoil is receiving, while their fields are also found…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. DIVIDED AUTHORITY. THREE PARTIES AND THREE LEADERS. UNCERTAIN SITUATION. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Mar. 15 [Mar. 8] 1904; Apr. 25 1904. The opening of the Commonwealth Parliament disclosed one of the most curious political situations that even Australian States, in all their vagaries, have ever looked on. To uninstructed observation the whole spectacle was just as it should be, or at least as it always has been. The ex-President of the Senate and the ex-Speaker of the Representatives were quietly re-elected. Ministers sat on the Treasury benches, with well-…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. RIVAL POLITICAL PARTIES. RETURNING PROSPERITY. THE IMMIGRATION QUESTION. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Mar. 22 [Mar. 15] 1904; May 3 1904. The Federal crisis hangs fire, and not without due cause. A new Parliament, with a considerable number of new members, with us always implies an equal number of maiden speeches. There is little bashfulness among political novices in Australia, and when, as is the case in this instance, many of the Federal representatives just returned for the first time have sat in the State Assemblies for years they are all the more willing to…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. THE RIVAL PARTIES. POLITICAL UNCERTAINTIES. THE ARBITRATION BILL. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Mar. 28 [Mar. 22] 1904; May 6 1904. Our Commonwealth party puzzle continues to perplex us. The discussion on the address in reply to the Governor-General’s Speech has closed without conspicuously clearing anything. Ministers seem to invite their opponents to displace them. The Prime Minister’s attitude in Melbourne is described as jaunty, while that of his rivals is anxious. Yet the general opinion is that the life of the Government is not worth more than a month’s…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. POSITION OF THE LABOUR SECTION. POLITICAL LEADERS’ TACTICS. THE ARBITRATION BILL. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Apr. 5 [Mar. 29] 1904; May 17 1904. The Press plays so large a part in the political life of Australia that it is impossible to trace the current of events without constant references to its part in them. A reader in Great Britain finds in his own newspaper comments founded on a perusal of opinions expressed in our daily journals instead of on a study of our Parliamentary debates or of the statutes which represent their fruits. We are thus seen in Great…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. ABUNDANT HARVEST. RECUPERATIVE POWER OF THE SOIL. THE FINANCIAL SITUATION. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Apr. 5 [Mar. 29] 1904; May 20 1904. In addition to its religious celebrations Easter is marked in Sydney by the annual show of the Royal Agricultural Society, by races, and by many other events of public interest. This year, in spite of very stormy weather in the Metropolis and exceptionally heavy falls of rain in our northern districts, Easter has been honoured in the customary fashion. Though somewhat discouraged by the showers, great crowds of visitors have…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. THE CHOOSING OF THE NEW CAPITAL. PROBABLE DEADLOCK. JARRING ELEMENTS. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Apr. 12 1904; May 23 1904. New South Wales has had and will have to submit to much mockery—some of it tolerant and good-natured, but most of it contemptuous or bitter—because of our urgency in steadily insisting that the site of the future Federal capital shall be selected without delay. Whatever measure of success has attended our efforts has been due to our own exertions, it might almost be said our unaided exertions, for we have had little assistance from any other…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. “FIERCE DEMOCRACY.” THE THREE PARTIES IN THE FIELD. POWER OF THE LABOUR SECTION. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Apr. 19 1904; May 25 1904. North, south, and west the political horizon is clouded. The east, too, is clouded, if New South Wales be looked at from the centre of the continent. Storm signals are flying over our electorates in every quarter of the compass. A dissolution is well within sight in each of the States with the exception of South Australia, and even in the Federal Parliament just elected an appeal to the country is quite possible before the year is…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. THE LABOUR MINISTRY. MR. WATSON’S POSITION. PARTY MANOEUVRES. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Apr. 26 1904; Jun. 14 1904. The death of the Deakin Ministry has created a sensation throughout the whole Commonwealth. Though long expected, and by many long desired, often foreshadowed by the Prime Minister himself, and watched at every stage by the public and the Press, the shock of the actual event was rather deepened than diminished by this train of preparations, to which it came as a culmination. It was the passing of the first Federal Government, which, in spite of…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. THE LABOUR SECTION. THREE PARTY STATUS. MINORITY RULE. FROM OUR SYDNEY CORRESPONDENT. [May 3 1904]; Jul. 8 1904. Federal politics continue to absorb attention in spite of the stir in our own State and across the border in Victoria. Politics, that is to say, absorb the attention available in Sydney for public affairs, which is always, more or less limited. Just now there are many demands. We have a general election approaching, big with interest to our citizens. A similar condition exists over the Murray and in remote Western Australia, but the one crisis in being…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. THE COMMONWEALTH AND THE STATES. CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLES. WORK OF THE HIGH COURT. FROM OUR SYDNEY CORRESPONDENT. [May 10 1904]; Jul. 18 1904. Sydney is once more the centre. The Governor-General and Lady Northcote have arrived, receiving a ceremonious, official, and cordial popular welcome. They have gone for the coming three months into residence at Government House, where they will dispense the same generous but discriminating hospitality that proved successful beyond expectation in Melbourne. We have had representatives of the King who have been too lavish and…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. COALITION PROSPECTS. CONFUSION OF PARTIES. FROM OUR SYDNEY CORRESPONDENT. [May 17 1904]; Jul. 20 1904. Coalition or no coalition is the question of the day in Federal politics to the exclusion of all other issues. The Labour Cabinet has sat nightly in Melbourne elaborating its policy for the session, while its members have devoted themselves daily to their departments, but in neither of their occupations have they attracted much attention. Public interest is focussed elsewhere because it is realised that the fate of the Ministry, whatever its proposals or acts may be, is…