The Letters

FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. LABOUR MINISTRY’S POSITION. PROSPECTS OF DISSOLUTION. OPPOSITION DISSENSIONS. FROM OUR SYDNEY CORRESPONDENT. [May 24 1904]; Jul. 23 1904. Chaos has come again, or so it seems, to the ordinary Australian. Though the three parties in Parliament have been discussed in all their relations for months past the critical condition of affairs seems not to have been really visualised. The invincible apathy of our citizens has been proof against all assaults. Nobody has been worried, because everybody’s business has been allowed to drift. It was plain to all observers that when the…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. RIVAL POLITICIANS. PARTY UNCERTAINTIES. THE LABOUR LEGION. FROM OUR SYDNEY CORRESPONDENT. May 31 1904; Jul. 26 1904. The Labour Cabinet is still in possession of the Federal departments, but it has no authority in the House. It remains the Ministry of a minority. Yet it has not lost ground, has gained more avowed supporters, and has not suffered in prestige. There are some few administrative blunders, or what appear to be blunders, placed to its debit, but none of them seems serious. They are so much fewer in number and slighter in gravity than was anticipated, at all…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. LABOUR PARTY’S PROGRESS. COALITION NEGOTIATIONS. MINISTERIALISTS AND MIDDLE. FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jun. 14 [Jun. 7] 1904; Jul. 28 1904. One of our newspapers, the Morning Herald, sagely remarks that on accepting Ministerial office in the Commonwealth our Labour Party passed the Rubicon. By that venture it certainly came into possession of the Capitol, but its fortunes, more precarious than Caesar’s were at the same stage, are extremely uncertain, because they are not guided by any single mind. Mr. Watson, its Federal leader, is a man of tact, judgment, and…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. SIR JOHN SEE’S RETIREMENT. POLITICAL SURVEY. THE FEDERAL ARBITRATION BILL. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jun. 14 1904; Aug. 2 1904. Sir John See retires with the respect of the whole community and no small store of affection from those who have been intimately associated with him. Not yet sixty years of age, his vigorous frame and abundant energy gave promise of a much longer career of public usefulness, and still justify him in his allusion to a possible return to politics at a future date. But this is extremely improbable because, a self-made man, he never…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. POLITICAL INSTABILITY. GOVERNOR’S INTERVENTION. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jun. 21 1904; Aug. 4 1904. This year, as predicted, continues political. Every month has been full of incident, and outside South Australia whose Parliament remains in recess, there is no stability. In Western Australia the James Ministry is fighting for its life, and will, according to the latest advices, succeed in saving it, though the new Houses will exhibit the three-party puzzle in full force in one form or another. In Queensland the Morgan Government feels its fate still…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. THE CRISIS. LABOUR-RULED COMMONWEALTH. FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jun. 28 1904; Aug. 9 1904. At last we have a Federal crisis. Though only a little one, it has attracted a good deal of attention. Long expected, it was quite unlooked for at the particular moment when it occurred, coming suddenly, and probably going in the same fashion. But while here it is being made much of by the newspapers, and not without justification. Such contingencies have been prophesied ever since Mr. Watson took office with a minority, and they will continue to confront us in the same…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. ECONOMY OF ADMINISTRATION. FINANCES OF THE STATES. AGGRESSIVE TRADE UNIONISM. FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jul. 5 1904; Aug. 15 1904. The proofs of Commonwealth economy are once more to hand in the official figures for the twelve months made up to June 30. In Adelaide in 1897 the cost of a Federal Parliament and Government, with their necessary new departments, was estimated at £300,000 a year, and excluding the cost of carrying out the particular policy adopted by them the cost of the machinery of the Federation as then defined is still within that amount. We are…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. FIGHTING THE ARBITRATION BILL. LABOUR PARTY COALITIONS. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jul. 12 1904; Aug. 18 1904. The Federal situation as envisaged by the Sydney newspapers seems even more perplexing than it really is, because so much of their presentment of its features is of their own creation. They write as if the survival of the Watson Ministry was wilfully and deliberately permitted by Mr. Reid and due either to his shortsightedness or weakness. Since Mr. Deakin has expressed his willingness to assist to oust the Labour Cabinet they cannot comprehend the delay…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. LABOUR MINISTRY’S TROUBLES. THE DEFENCE OF THE COLONY. POLITICAL INSTABILITY. FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT SYDNEY, Jul. 19 1904; Aug. 25 1904. Winter has merited its name this year. There has been less sunshine and much more cloud and cold, while for the last ten days the weather has surpassed all recent experiences. Gales on the coast have caused the foundering of one steamer and damage to many more, have imprisoned others in local harbours, and scattered the smaller fry to the nearest havens. Inland we have had storms and tempests, rain and then more rain, flooding…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. THE ARBITRATION BILL. GOVERNMENT AS “KING LOG”. FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jul. 26 1904; Sep. 2 1904. The passing of the Arbitration Bill through the House promises to herald the disappearance of the Federal Labour Ministry. The first amendment made in the measure put the present Ministers into office and if the last does not put them out it will ring the warning bell for the drop of the curtain. They have lived wholly and solely on its discussion in Parliament. When it is gone they will be thrown on their own resources, which are palpably inadequate, in order to…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. LABOUR CABINET’S PREDICAMENT. CHOICE OF A CAPITAL. LOCAL INTERESTS PREDOMINANT. FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Aug. 2 1904; Sep. 14 1904. Where shall the Federal capital of Australia be placed? The national Parliament is making another attempt to settle this vexed question, though in order to do so the Arbitration Bill was put aside for the whole of last week. The Labour Party would have resented the postponement, if it had been suggested by any other Government than their own, as a treason to the great industrial measure on which some months have been expended. They now…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. POLITICAL UNCERTAINTY. RESULTS OF PARTY DIVISIONS. FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Aug. 9 1904; Sep. 19 1904. If Federal politics are pushed from their place it is because they have temporarily lost interest for all but those engaged in them. Ministry and Opposition, like two Armies in the days of Marlborough, remain in camp opposite each other, watching and waiting, but attempting nothing decisive. Meanwhile in this State our triennial attack of general election fever has raged with more intensity than for many years. Queensland is approaching a similar crisis; Tasmania…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. LABOUR CABINET’S FALL. ARBITRATION AND TARIFFS. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Aug. 15 1904; Sep. 30 1904. Our first Labour Ministry has fallen. The fatal Arbitration Bill has found another and congenial victim. Not long ago the Queensland section of the Labour Party under Mr. Dawson walked into the departments in that State for a few hours, only to be walked out of them whenever they faced the Assembly. The Daglish Ministry, just formed in Western Australia, does not seem likely to retain office longer than is necessary for the majority opposed to it to settle…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. FREE TRADE AND PROTECTION. THE RIVAL PARTIES. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Aug. 23 1904; Oct. 5 1904. Mr. Reid is Prime Minister of Australia, attaining office in circumstances that are sure to tax his great powers as a strategist and as a moulder of public opinion from the platform. The points in his favour are that he commences with New South Wales, its Labourites excepted, standing solidly behind him, together with a majority of the Victorian representatives, headed by Mr. McLean and Sir George Turner. He just holds his own in Tasmania, but there is a majority…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. LABOUR PARTY TACTICS. ELECTION IN QUEENSLAND. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Aug. 30 1904; Oct. 8 1904. The spectacle presented last Tuesday by our now Assembly, now reduced to ninety members must have closely resembled that exhibited in the Federal House of Representatives when Mr. Watson first took his seat as Prime Minister. Mr. Waddell and his colleagues had a minority close behind them and empty back benches, while the Opposition sat in serried rows and the Labour members crowded the cross benches, hopelessly outnumbering the nominal leaders of the House. By a…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. SOCIALISM IN VICTORIA. POSITION OF THE LABOUR PARTY. THE FISCAL QUESTION. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Sep. 5 1904; Oct. 14 1904. Australia, having regard to its population, is more lavishly endowed with constitutional machinery than any other country in the world. This is no accident, nor does it prove of itself any special taste on the part of our people for multiplying Governments. The immensity of the area of the country could not be controlled from any present centre, and in order to be supervised it demands a variety of separate localised agencies. For all…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. PREMIER’S DIFFICULT POSITION. THE OPPOSITION COMPACT. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Sep. 13 1904; Oct. 22 1904. The Commonwealth is certainly very unfortunate in its politics. Two Ministries have been tried in vain since March, and now the third is to be refused its opportunity. All present indications point to a dissolution next month, and an election before December. The existing Parliament will not by that time have seen even the first anniversary of its birthday. It came into existence with three equal parties, one Free Trade, another Protectionist, and the…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. POSITION OF THE LABOUR PARTY. INSECURITY OF LIBERAL SEATS. PREFERENTIAL TARIFFS. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Sep. 27 [Sep. 20] 1904; Nov. 12 1904. Federal politics at present evoke almost as much excitement as a test cricket or football match, and, pace Mr. Kipling, no higher praise of their attractions could be uttered in Australia. Mr. Reid, wiser by the experience of his two predecessors, whose Cabinets consisted solely of members of their own parties, constructed his on the coalition principle, felicitating himself, “good easy man”, on widening his base by…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. REID MINISTRY AND MR. WATSON. PERSONAL ATTACKS. STATE ASSEMBLIES IN SESSION. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Sep. 27 1904; Nov. 16 1904. The fate of the Reid Ministry still hangs in the balance, and is likely to remain in suspense for a little. The Labour Opposition and the Government, through their leaders, have placed their contrasted doctrines before the public. Mr. Watson was by common consent described as tame and ineffective. Mr. Reid was virile and effective, not contenting himself with a defence of his Cabinet but attacking his opponents and their policy with…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. INFLUENCE OF GOVERNORS. TRADE IN NEW SOUTH WALES. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Oct. 4 1904; Nov. 24 1904. The Governor-General and Lady Northcote have concluded their first sojourn in New South Wales under the happiest conditions. They are now as well known in our capital as in that of Victoria, and have also put themselves into personal relation with many parts of the interior of the State. Lord Northcote has had no easy path to tread since he first entered the Commonwealth less than a year ago. Three Prime Ministers have tendered him advice already, and a fourth…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. QUESTIONS OF FINANCE. THE RIVAL POLITICAL PARTIES. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Oct. 10 1904; Nov. 29 1904. Australian Legislatures, being numerous and small, supply occasionally some extraordinary exhibitions of tactics or conduct which must appear quite indefensible to those whose knowledge of Parliamentary proceedings is derived from the House of Commons. The sudden candidature and election of Mr. Crick the other day to the post of Chairman of Committees in the New South Wales Assembly is an instance in point. Again, more than once lately disputed clauses in a…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. SEPARATE STATE INTERESTS. IMPENDING CONFERENCES. QUESTIONS OF ECONOMY. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Oct. 18 1904; Dec. 3 1904. Mr. Reid has emerged victorious from his first duel with the Opposition. Numerically his forces are no stronger, for he began his Ministerial life with only two more votes than his adversaries and he continues it with precisely the same majority. In every other respect his position has improved. The honours of debate remain with his supporters. Their moral is better and their sense of unity deepened. This has been attained in a curious…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. SIR GEORGE TURNER’S BUDGET. FINANCIAL PROSPECTS. COMMONWEALTH INDEPENDENCE. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Oct. 25 1904; Dec. 9 1904. Sir George Turner has now delivered himself for the fourth time of a sevenfold Budget built out of the transactions joint and several of the Commonwealth and its six States. His assiduity in ransacking the smallest recesses of their accounts in obedience to the proverbial admonition prescribing the care of the pence was patent once more. Indeed, the undisguised gusto of his pursuit of details rather distracted attention from the…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. REID–MCLEAN COALITION. RIVAL PARTY TACTICS. THE TARIFF QUESTION. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Nov. 1 1904; Dec. 13 1904. A sudden change seems to have come over the Federal Parliament, and it appears to be mollified either by the warmth of spring or by the Melbourne racing carnival, which is now in full swing. Mr. Reid has proclaimed himself “head of a new party”, whose one policy is to get into recess, and his happy audacity has been welcomed by cheers from all parts of the House. Since it met at the beginning of March last the session has had but two…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. THE RIVAL PARTIES. DEFENCE OF THE COLONIES. IMPERIAL OBLIGATIONS. FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Nov. 8 1904; Dec. 26 1904. The precariousness of the position in the Commonwealth Parliament has not diminished and is not diminishing one whit. On the contrary, the portents are multiplying and the outlook darkening before Mr. Reid. With what seems incurable carelessness he allowed the House to be counted out for the second time, and on this occasion while the Estimates were being dealt with. It is not easy to keep members at work in Melbourne during Race Week and especially…