Letters grouped by: Federal Parliament

THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA. LEGISLATIVE PROBLEMS. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Dec. 30 1907; Feb. 11 1908. Whether our antipodean methods are really understood at home is even yet open to much doubt. It is difficult to bring home clearly to people who have always lived and are still living under a single Government, subject throughout the whole area of legislative control to one all-powerful Legislature, the nature of the problems with which Australia is now constantly being confronted. Behind many of our principal political questions lies a preliminary constitutional problem. We…
THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA. PARLIAMENTARY RECESS. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Dec. 23 1907; Feb. 6 1908. That Australian sessions should terminate at Christmas, before the hot weather sets in determinedly, is, on the whole, convenient for everyone. Any fixed date is better than none, though no amount of experience enables us to avoid a crush of business and a series of sacrifices when the legislative doors are being shut. Often some of the most memorable measures of the year are under review in the last hours, and it is amazing that on the whole they seem to suffer little from…
THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA. POLICY OF DEFENCE. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Dec. 16 1907; Jan. 24 1908. The Commonwealth is making history. Whether our Parliament is equal to its responsibilities or not it is certainly facing them with spirit and indeed with audacity. The proceedings of our State Legislatures, useful as they are, appear dull and drab beside the highly-coloured and possibly visionary projects of the Federal Government. Its Tariff has passed the House, and though ragged edges testify to the severity of the struggles by which this has been accomplished, the schedule is…
THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA. COAL STRIKE ENDED. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Nov. 25 1907; Jan. 3 1908. The coal strike has ceased, as optimists predicted. Owing to the haste with which they flow at each other’s throats, without sufficient provocation or the slightest consideration for the public, neither masters nor men deserve the slightest sympathy. Both merit warm praise for the celerity with which they retraced their steps when brought to reason, though, as usual, it is the public that is left to pay the cost of their escapade. The one man who has profited by his association…
THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA. LABOUR LEGISLATION. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Nov. 11 1907; Dec. 25 1907. Australia’s reputation for fecundity in experimental legislation, wide as it already is, must increase if it is to keep pace with our actual experiences. Nowhere has our political hardihood been more manifest than in the industrial field, and in none of our venturous States have there been bolder essays in this direction than those of the Commonwealth. The Federal Arbitration Act has enabled the two great national undertakings of shipping and shearing to be regulated without…
THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA. FEDERAL LABOUR PARTY. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Oct. 21 1907; Dec. 11 1907. Mr. Watson’s resignation of the Leadership of the Federal Labour Party and proposed retirement from politics at an early date is the event of the session. The effects likely to arise from it can hardly be over estimated if the special character of the man and the peculiar instability of our parties is taken into consideration. In consequence of federation the State Legislatures since 1901 have been led by men who were and would have remained subordinates but for the transfer of…
THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA. WAGES BOARDS. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Oct. 14 1907; Nov. 20 1907. The battle over Preference has not more than begun. It is true that a Preference is secured for British wire netting, but none of the several curious votes taken before this was accomplished, almost incidentally, was really governed by fiscal considerations alone. Country districts have been inflamed with extravagant predictions of the increase in cost to graziers and farmers if the Government’s proposals were endorsed until some staunch Protectionists succumbed to the canard and…
THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA. THE NEW PROTECTION. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Oct. 7 1907; Nov. 16 1907. The “new” Protection has arrived. In point of fact, it is not at all new in Australia. It represents a branch of the old Protection which was recognised from the first in Victoria and in other States so soon as they adopted the same fiscal policy. When duties were imposed to foster manufactures it was recognised that generally the greater part of the profits would go at once to the employers. Unions accomplished something by degrees for the employees; occasionally strikes resulted…
THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA. MR. CARRUTHERS’S RESIGNATION. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Oct. 1 1907; Nov. 13 1907. Mr. Carruthers’s resignation comes like a bolt from the blue. Nothing could be more unexpected. His health has been bad for some years, and especially since he became head of the Government. Its effect upon him explains a good many minor incidents, outbreaks, and escapades that have injured his cause and reputation. These have compelled the critical to deal with them so frequently that the solid successes he has achieved have been less appreciated by a public always…
THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA. MR. WATSON’S SOCIALISM. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Sep. 23 1907; Nov. 7 1907. Australian political sensations are short-lived. Even Sydney’s protest against the Tariff cannot now summon our indignant citizens to a Town Hall meeting. That combat is transferred to the Federal Parliament, where progress is being patiently and astutely blocked from day to day. Like a waterlogged ship it lies at the mercy of the currents. The astonishing thing there is how party movements counteract each other. In the House of Representatives we have four sections. A…
THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA. ANTI-FEDERALISM. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Sep. 16 1907; Nov. 5 1907. Our State elections are over, but our publicists do not seem anxious to assess their meaning. The heaviest polling we have witnessed for many years leaves our local parties much as they were. If anything the Premier’s direct following is slightly weaker, Labour a little stronger, and the Independents less numerous but more Ministerial in their leanings. Looking only at these groups, it almost seems today as if nothing had happened—as if no dissolution had occurred. But there is…
THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA. THE NEW TARIFF. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Sep. 9 1907; Oct. 30 1907. Australian politics are not clarifying, and yet that is what is most needed just now. Our Federal Parliament discovers four parties in the House and three in the Senate, none of them sure of their bearings. The consequence is turbidity, effervescence, and uncertainty, old feuds active, new feuds germinating, and a general expectancy that puzzles onlookers. The one fusion so far achieved was amazing and unexpected. When members’ “allowances” were to be increased sudden fissures…
THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA. THE FEDERAL TREASURER. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Aug. 26 1907; Oct. 14 1907. Sir William Lyne, in his new offices of Federal Treasurer owing to Sir John Forrest’s retirement, and of Leader of the House during Mr. Deakin’s absence, has proved much more successful than his opponents are prepared to admit. He, too, returned from the Mother Country with enlarged prestige. The part he took in the Navigation Commission stands to his credit most, but the aggressive attitude adopted by him under the taunts of the Free Importers in London also tells in his…
THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA. FEDERAL FINANCE. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Aug. 19 1907; Sep. 28 1907. Last week’s Budget and Tariff are memorable in themselves for their particular proposals, but perhaps more memorable still in their general structure. Putting all fiscalism aside they would stand out conspicuously among our political landmarks because the financial policy roughly outlined in them is more independently and expressly Federal than any hitherto formulated. Sir George Turner began in 1901 with apologetic phrases by the establishment of a minimum Federal administration at…
COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA. INDUSTRIAL ARBITRATION. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Aug. 6 1907; Sep. 21 1907. Last week the three-party conflict in Australia had become responsible for two crises. That in Queensland was settled very simply. When the Labour Caucus declared its intention of sitting alone and acting alone on the cross benches, the Premier, Mr. Kidston, at once challenged them with an intimation that under those circumstances he did not intend to remain in office. As his resignation meant Mr. Philp’s return to power the Caucus angrily and sullenly rescinded its resolution,…
COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA. FEDERAL PARTY RISKS. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jul. 22 1907; Aug. 27 1907. Our Federal situation in its party aspects overshadows everything political. Another week has passed quietly in both Chambers. The ordinary business of legislation is proceeding smoothly, scarcely a ripple in the stream indicating that the rapids are close at hand. The Prime Minister’s absence, though most unfortunate, is not without compensations, since if he had been in charge of the House he would by this time have been in open conflict with the Labour ultras. On the other hand,…
COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA. ATTACKS ON MR. DEAKIN. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jul. 15 1907; Aug. 21 1907. Australian politics, Federal and State, are still in a condition of ferment without getting to a clarifying stage. The session of our State Legislature was held rather to fulfil an undertaking than to accomplish any definite purpose, and vanished within a fortnight, leaving not a trace behind. It is true that Mr. Carruthers was attacked, and this time openly, for his professional relations with one of the cases included in the Land Office scandals. Speaking from memory he had…
COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA. LABOUR AND THE MINISTRY. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jul. 8 1907; Aug. 17 1907. Parliament has opened; to be more accurate several Parliaments have opened, and in a few days more there will be seven of them in full play. Setting aside the six State Legislatures whose performances provide plenty of entertainment for onlookers and of material for thought to the more seriously inclined the English observer is likely to find in the National Senate and House of Representatives quite enough to occupy any leisure of his for political inquiry. There is a Governor-…
THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA. MR. DEAKIN ON THE IMPERIAL CONFERENCE. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jun. 24 1907; Jul. 31 1907. The Governor-General, having concluded his visit to the Northern Territory, is now on his way to Sydney. His Prime Minister, after spending a few hours in Perth, has passed on to Melbourne, having travelled some 2,000 miles since he first touched Australian soil. Lord Northcote will have journeyed just as far by the time he meets his Ministers in Melbourne, though the two between them will have only circumnavigated two-thirds of the continent in their passages…
THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA. NEW SOUTH WALES AND THE FEDERATION. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jun. 8 1907; Jul. 23 1907. The agenda paper for the forthcoming Premiers’ Conference in Brisbane has just been published. Outside the question of the financial relations of the Commonwealth and States—which will be taken up where it was left by the last Conference of Treasurers in Melbourne—there is no matter of the first importance to be discussed. According to the usual practice, each of the State Governments has furnished a list of the topics which it desires to submit to the Conference.…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. THE TEMPER OF THE PRESS. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, May 21 1907; Jul. 13 1907. What the average elector really thinks on any given subject is at least as great a puzzle in Australia as anywhere else. Indeed, it is greater than in England, because our States are still separate geographically with but a vague consensus of opinion, even on most Federal questions. Our newspapers are all of them limited to relatively small areas in circulation and cater for merely local views. They show nothing more than what in the judgment of some State coterie the elector ought to…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. THE COMMONWEALTH CAPITAL. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, May 12 1907; Jul. 5 1907. SirJohn Forrest, the Acting Prime Minister, has been visiting Sydney, and his visit has revived the controversy over the Federal Capital site. All Sir John’s long experience in politics has not taught him the art of concealing thoughts that are likely to be unpalatable to his audience. In an interview on the first day after he arrived he announced that in his opinion the delay in fixing the Capital site was due to the action of the New South Wales Parliament. This is an opinion which…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. IMPERIAL CONFERENCE PROPOSALS. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Feb. 25 1907; Apr. 20 1907. The Governor-General opened the Federal Parliament in state on Wednesday last, both Houses after listening to his Speech adjourning before the dinner hour. On Thursday evening early the Address in reply was carried in both on the voices. The first real sitting and the session closed together. On Friday his Excellency prorogued Parliament by proclamation. Not unnaturally our public gasped in bewilderment. Popular sentiment of a kind was satisfied because another record had been…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. COMMONWEALTH’S NEW TERRITORY. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Feb. 18 1907; Apr. 5 1907. The transfer of the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth when it occurs will be the greatest event since federation. The mere fact that an agreement for the transfer has been made between the Governments concerned is the event of the year. Nothing that can happen before next January within our borders is likely to compare with its consequences, much less eclipse its significance. Whatever may happen to the proposal in either Parliament, the conditions, whatever they may prove to…
FEDERATED AUSTRALIA. CONSOLIDATION OF PARTIES. FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Feb. 11 1907; Apr. 2 1907. A far-off correspondent may speculate in safety upon the developments around him, for if his forecast fails no one on the other side of the world is likely to remember it. Besides, Australia being palpably at the beginning of everything and particularly of Federal politics, current events are bound to be prognostic and to tempt interpretation. In our transitional period we naturally look for helpful precedents in the other federations achieved by our race. Our trials proceeding in…