Letters grouped by: Constitutional Convention

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. “WHITE AUSTRALIA” POLICY. TARIFF DIFFICULTIES. LEGISLATIVE DISPUTES. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jul. 29 1902; Sep. 4 1902. Even a Chinese play of the most fashionably romantic character could scarcely bear comparison in duration with the great fiscal drama which has occupied our Parliamentary stage for the past ten months. The curtain is only now about to rise on the third act of the piece in which, according to tradition, the action should reach its climax. Its first act consisted of the minute reshaping given to the Government proposals by the House of…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. GRAVE FINANCIAL CLOUDS. FAIR TRADE OR PROTECTION. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Mar. 27 1902; May 6 1902. The Commonwealth owes nothing to luck. Ever since its establishment its States have suffered from one permanent and many intermittent calamities. A pitiless drought has persisted for years past. Welcome showers are now falling on our coast highlands and those of Queensland, but the great western belt lies still scorched and wasted without any relief to the prolonged thirst of its plains or its perishing flocks and herds. The plague lingers among us and in…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. OPPOSITION TACTICS. TARIFF SCHEDULE CONFLICT. MINISTERIAL TRIUMPH. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Dec. 10 1901; Jan. 15 1902. Australian politics have been passing through an eventful phase, with many dramatic episodes and stirring surprises. A game of chess between experts would be tame and circumscribed in comparison to the incessant evolutions of its living pieces. The moves on the board have been confined to no set scheme, but out of a “most admired disorder” are gradually developing important consequences. The Ministry, worsted in the House of…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. STRIFE IN THE SENATE. FEDERAL FINANCIAL PITFALLS. “BLACK” NEW GUINEA PROBLEMS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Nov. 19 1901; Dec. 24 1901. The Federal Parliament differs from its parent at Westminster but little in spirit or in form. It is a much smaller, more colloquial, and less dignified body, but it observes the same rules of debate and pursues virtually the same course in managing its business. The cardinal difference between them lies in the existence of our elective Senate claiming to take a much more active and influential part in polities than an…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. FEDERAL ASPIRATIONS. THE NEW HEBRIDES. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jul. 16 1901; Aug. 20 1901. Not for a century has it been given to Britons to live under an entirely new Constitution freshly shaped with their own hands. The materials employed in Australia were quarried largely in the Mother Country and its Federal principles borrowed from Canadian and American precedents, but as a whole the Commonwealth is new, and is already affording many novel experiences even to those most closely associated with its construction. The first Federal parliament includes…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. “PRIDE OF RACE.” STATE PARTISANSHIP. FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT. MELBOURNE, May 8 1901; Jun. 13 1901. Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York have arrived, and the tension, increasing in Melbourne for weeks past, is at last relieved. The explosion of enthusiastic loyalty with which they were welcomed must have been gratifying because of its absolute unanimity and universality. The scene presented has long since been described at length by means of the telegraph, and it only remains to refer to a few of its distinc­tive features. That which has…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. PARTIES IN PARLIAMENT. POLITICAL PREFERENCES. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Apr. 9 1901; May 15 1901. The composition of the first Parliament of the Commonwealth is on the whole more satisfactory than had been anticipated. The Senate in par­ticular promises to prove an efficient body. Its members being elected by the States as single constituencies, their polling furnishes some in­teresting indications of popular feeling. The number of candidates in New South Wales divided the voters so much that Mr. Walker, who headed the poll with seventy-eight thousand…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. ATTITUDE OF NEW ZEALAND. LOVE OF INDEPENDENCE. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Mar. 12 1901; Apr. 16 1901. The Empire is the sum of its parts, and the more these are united politically and commercially the greater their prosperity and its power. The Commonwealth, which comprises within its control six communities hitherto separate, repre­sents an immense stride, not only towards Australian unity but towards Imperial Federation. But immense as is the extent and promise of our union, it is not yet geographically complete. A seventh province remains apart, not one…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. MR. BARTON’S POLICY. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jan. 22 1901; Feb. 26 1901. Mr. Barton, as Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, last week announced the policy on which his Administration proposes to stake its fortunes. What with the arrival of the Governor-General and of the Imperial troops, the celebrations and all the interests associated with them, the public had, for the time at all events, concentrated its attention on holiday events to such a degree that the speech, by suddenly recalling them to their obligations, created a sensation, though in itself…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. SYDNEY’S CELEBRATIONS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Dec. 18 1900; Jan. 23 1901. The Governor-General has arrived. In perfect weather he had an almost perfect welcome—not in the city, the streets of which are like most other streets of modern cities during business hours. “Sydney—it is the harbour”, and our demonstra­tion was made in a theatre which no capital in the world can surpass, and with a display that few ports could hope to parallel. Lord Hopetoun arrived in the flagship Royal Arthur, entering from the sea between two lines of men-of-war and merchant…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. QUESTIONS FOR DECISION. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Dec. 11 1900; Jan. 22 1901. Lord Hopetoun’s arrival having been at last fixed for the 15th inst., we are in a position to complete our preparations for receiving him. Of course, this will be done in a comparatively unpretentious manner, the chief rejoicings being reserved for the proclamation of the Commonwealth on New Year’s Day. Those arrangements are now proceeding satisfactorily, though they are still retarded by Sir William Lyne’s apparent determination not to allow a flag to fly nor a cracker to be…