Letters grouped by: Federation

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-…
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. FINANCIAL BURDENS. UNION AND STATE TREASURIES. RETRENCHMENT AND TAXATION. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Oct. 28 1902; Dec. 3 1902. The eternal want of pence is always with our public men, yet at different times it exercises very different degrees of pressure. At present its coercion in Australia is the chief feature of the political situation; it governs our policy tyrannically both in the Commonwealth and in the States. Turn where one will it asserts itself more or less obtrusively under a great variety of forms, but everywhere with most uncomfortable urgency…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. FEDERAL AND STATE ISSUES. PARTY PREPARATIONS. PROTECTION OR FREE TRADE? FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Oct. 21 1902; Nov. 27 1902. The Prime Minister has returned, and he has explained the results of his mission to London, the acting Prime Minister has expounded the work of the session just concluded under his leadership, and the policy of the Opposition has been officially declared by Mr. Reid. We have thus brought before the public almost at the same moment our political past, present, and future in Federal affairs in such a manner as to focus the attention of…
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. TARIFF SETTLEMENT. FEDERAL FINANCIAL FREEDOM. THE ANTI-UNION AGITATION. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Sep. 16 1902; Oct. 23 1902. When the history of the Commonwealth is written hereafter in the light of fuller knowledge and more dispassionate criticism than we now possess it will become apparent that the assent given yesterday to the Customs Tariff Act marks one of its greatest epochs. Our Constitution, though it provides for the transfer of political power from the States to the Federation, does not make that transfer complete at once; it does not authorise…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. SIR G. TURNER’S BUDGET. STATE AND FEDERAL RIVALRY. THE CRY AGAINST THE UNION. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Sep. 30 1902; Nov. 8 1902. The Federal Budget for 1902–3 constituted another success for Sir George Turner for his painstaking zeal, indefatigable industry, scrupulous precision of statement, and soberness of judgment. If his mind were a calculating machine, his speech could not have been more dispassionate or less imaginative. Without a flash of humour or a flight of fancy, an unhackneyed metaphor, or a glint of enthusiasm, he plodded his way prosaically…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. CRISIS IN VICTORIA. RETRENCHMENT AND REFORM. APPEAL TO THE ELECTORS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Sep. 23 1902; Oct. 29 1902. Victoria is for the moment the chief centre of Australian interest, because a general election is proceeding at which the real issues at stake in every State are put plainly before the local electors. There was a time when that State occupied the foremost place by virtue of her population, prosperity, and advanced politics, but during the last decade she has been surpassed in each of these respects by one at least of her neighbours.…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS. FIGHT FOR THE TARIFF. MINISTERIAL VICTORIES. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Sep. 9 1902; Oct. 14 1902. Our first constitutional crisis has come but not gone, and so far the Federal Government has achieved one of its rare victories. It took the leadership of the House of Representatives into its own hands quietly but firmly, and without any canvassing for advice laid down its own course, kept to it, and gave effect to it with the approbation of a four to one majority. Yet it was the greatest difficulty since the passage of the Immigration…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. CORONATION ECHOES. THE FEDERAL GIANT. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Aug. 12 1902; Sep. 20 1902. The Coronation has been quietly and thankfully celebrated throughout Australia. When the original date was altered most of the festivities prepared were abandoned, and but few have been revived. The public illuminations were exhibited when the King’s recovery was assured. The fact that the postponed ceremonial was held on a Saturday also had its effect in minimising official functions and distributing them over the adjoining days. The acting Governor-General’s…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. FINANCIAL PRUNINGS. FEDERAL AND STATE POLITICS. CONSTITUTIONAL REFORMS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jul. 22 1902; Sep. 2 1902. When the Earl of Hopetoun was sworn in at Sydney as Governor-General it was in the presence of tens of thousands of eager spectators assembled from all Australia and beyond it to witness the celebration of the birth of the Commonwealth. Lord Tennyson, his successor, took the same oaths as Acting Governor-General at Melbourne last week before three or four hundred invited Victorian guests assembled in the great hall of Parliament House…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. DROUGHT AND REVENUE. OFFICIAL RETURNS ANALYSED. FEDERAL RESOURCES. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jul. 8 1902; Aug. 15 1902. To make clear the Australian position one must begin, as usual, by recognising that it embraces many contradictions, and proceed by distinguishing, not merely between States, but, particularly at the present time, between our wet and dry areas. All New South Wales and all Queensland beyond their coastal ranges and outside of Riverina still suffer from the blight of the most disastrous drought the continent has ever known. Whether it is the…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. ATTACHMENT TO THE KING. IMPERIALISM IN THE STATES. CORONATION HONOURS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jul. 1 1902; Aug. 13 1902. The news of his Majesty’s illness has excited the profoundest sympathy among all Australians. The same spontaneous indications of popular feeling followed as are remembered to have occurred during his former critical illness at Sandringham. The public attachment to the Sovereign was manifested in scores of ways throughout the continent. All celebrations were promptly adjourned, and where the holiday proclaimed was not revoked it became…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. RELIEF FROM THE DROUGHT. FEDERAL AND STATE ACTION. AUSTRALIAN LOANS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jun. 17 1902; Jul. 26 1902. Hope springs once more with the first winter rains, which were never more needed, never more welcome. It is true that so far they are partial and light, but they have broken the monotony of the dry weather that has afflicted us so long, and already men are beginning to plan, in trust of the future, how best to repair the ravages of the past. A few months since, when timely showers were spread over the arid area, it was thought that the…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. PEACE REJOICINGS. RAVAGES OF THE DROUGHT. FEDERAL RESPONSIBILITIES. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jun. 3 1902; Jul. 17 1902. Australian emotion has found another outlet in the proclamation of peace. Everywhere the joy bells were ringing, impromptu hastily-summoned patriotic meetings were held, every hamlet and settlement gave itself up to rejoicings, and our whole people seem to be inclined to forget all the months of waiting and watching that have now expired. When the Earl of Hopetoun leaves us by way of Brisbane for Canada he will be succeeded by Lord…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. DROUGHT AND DEBT. INTER-IMPERIAL TRADE. FINANCIAL REFORMS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jun. 3 1902 [May 27]; Jul. 11 1902. Monotonous as the inevitable references to the persistence of the drought must be, its immense area, its unprecedented duration, and the deadliness of its many consequences, direct and indirect, are so much the chief factors of the situation that it is impossible to ignore them. What it means in the way of loss and misery to thousands and tons of thousands it is almost impossible to calculate, and the untold sufferings of the millions of…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. GOVERNOR’S RESIGNATION. FEDERAL RESPONSIBILITY. FINANCIAL STRUGGLES. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, May 20 1902; Jun. 28 1902. Consternation is the one word that best describes the mental condition of Australians generally on hearing of the resignation of the Governor-General, for this is what his recall at his own request means. That he should have been hurt at the manner in which his princely discharge of the ceremonial and social duties of his position had been received by the House of Representatives was anticipated; that he should at once proportionately…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. IMPERIAL DEFENCE. TRADE RECIPROCITY SCHEMES. THE POLITICAL ATMOSPHERE. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, May 13 1902; Jun. 21 1902. Australia’s area is always impressive. A fortnight ago Mr. Barton bade farewell to Sydney, a week ago to Melbourne, and yesterday to Perth. He is only just out of sight of the shore of his native land, though were he to turn back he must travel continuously by land and sea for a week before arriving at his home and birthplace in this city. The Melbourne banquet tendered to him by the Mayor of the city, Sir Samuel Gillott, was an…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. DROUGHT DESOLATION. DEMAND FOR REFORMS. RETRENCHMENT MOVEMENT. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Apr. 15 1902; May 23 1902. Public affairs in Australia were never more dependent on its physical conditions than they are to-day. Any faithful picture of them must dwell rather on the black background of drought and debt than the narrow foreground filled by political events and Parliamentary figures of note. A belt of mountains runs from the Gulf of Carpentaria roughly parallel with the ocean down the whole east coast of the continent through Queensland and New South…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. ANTI-FEDERAL TACTICS. THE FREE TRADE CAMPAIGN. “PLUNGING” POLICY RESULTS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Apr. 15 [7?] 1902; May 20 1902. Australia politically was endowed with union rather than with unity. For this there can be no reproach that is not shared by all of us, since it was just this distinction which our Constitution makes, and was intended to make; nothing more was possible, and this was difficult to secure. Certain subjects were set apart on which we were to act as one people. This was the domain of the Commonwealth within whose range we were to be…