Letters grouped by: House of Representatives

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. 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. LORD TENNYSON’S POPULARITY. GOVERNMENT HOUSE VOTE. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Nov. 25 1902; Jan. 2 1903. The appointment of Lord Tennyson as Governor-General, though only for one year, has been received with approbation throughout the continent. Yet the conclusions drawn from this undoubted fact by those who are at a distance would in all probability be wholly erroneous. It is not due to his personal gifts, great as they appear to be when exercised. We have only had his Excellency in Sydney twice since his appointment, and then merely on flying visits. He…
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. TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY. ALTERNATIVE SCHEMES. STATE AND FEDERAL INTERESTS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Nov. 4 1902; Dec. 12 1902. The most pregnant event of the moment is the passage in the South Australian Parliament of a measure authorising the construction of the Transcontinental Railway to connect Adelaide with Port Darwin. Put into figures the project is certain to attract attention if it were only because of its magnitude. From Adelaide to Oodnadatta and from Port Darwin to Pine Creek two lines, already made, one from each terminus, stretch towards…
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. 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. 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. 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. FIRST FEDERAL LOAN. POSTPONED TO AVOID DEFEAT. STATES’ FINANCIAL POSITION. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jun. 24 1902; Aug. 2 1902. A jaded Federal Parliament, weary with more than twelve months’ sitting, and with the constant travelling to and from legislative duties exhausting its strongest members; a jaded Ministry, two of its chiefs away in Europe, and one or other of the remainder generally absent from ill-health occasioned by the unremitting strain of administration added to their duties in the House; a Commonwealth whose commerce has been hampered for…
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. 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. DROUGHT AND DISTRESS. FEDERAL FIELD FORCES. ORGANISATION FOR DEFENCE. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, May 6 [Apr. 29] 1902; Jun. 12 1902. The drought continues over the inland area, which has suffered most, and is in direst need of rain. Seasonable showers have fallen along the coast ranges, and here and there have drifted some little distance beyond. Speaking generally, however, there has been no relief, and the tales of distress accumulate with the prolongation of the dry weather. By means of the railways fodder is being poured into the interior, where many…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. FIRST NATIONAL TARIFF. FISCAL PROBLEMS. MINISTERIAL DANGERS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY. Apr. 22 1902; May 29 1902. The confusing and apparently endless melée surrounding the preparation of the first Australian tariff is drawing near to its conclusion. The shadow of its uncertainties still lies across all our commerce, and in every case in which the duties are capable of reduction limits imports to short supplies. But it is just about to leave the House of Representatives in the shape of a schedule of thirty pages attached to a Customs Act of two pages,…
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…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. AUSTRALIAN RIVALRIES. WRESTLE FOR MASTERY. PROBLEMS TO BE SOLVED. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Apr. 1 1902; May 12 1902. Who shall be master—the States or the Commonwealth? Our Constitution divided the political power of Australia between them, but it left quite open the question of ultimate supremacy and, indeed, assumed that there would be nothing of the kind. The Federal domain was carved out of that of the States at the popular behest and against the wishes of their Administrations and Legislatures. This has first to be effectively occupied, and then must…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. QUEENSLAND’S ELECTIONS. CABINET CHANGES. ELECTORAL INNOVATIONS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Mar. 25 1902; Apr. 29 1902. The Queensland elections fulfil exactly the forecast that was framed for those columns a month before their occurrence. Mr. Philp remains in power with a reduced majority, the Labour Party having deprived him of three followers, and the Independents remain as they were. In his own constituency he had an overwhelming victory, which he well deserved. Townsville is his, as he is Townsville’s, and each is properly proud of the other. Elsewhere…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. FIRST YEAR’S RECORD. PARTY STRUGGLES AND AIMS. PROSPERITY OF THE STATES. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jan. 14 1902; Feb. 20 1902. One of the features in the first year’s record of the Commonwealth has been the success of the Governor-General in his official capacity, and one of its good fortunes the gradual restoration of his physical health. Our summer heat appears to be preferable to him to the mild winter weather of Hobart and Melbourne. A few months ago he spent his holiday in Northern Queensland in order to enjoy more sunshine than Sydney could afford,…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. AUSTRALIA AND THE WAR. FURTHER TARIFF PROBLEMS. MINISTERIAL DIFFICULTIES. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jan. 7 1902; Feb. 11 1902. The Commonwealth begins its second year by no means free from the ailments of infancy. It cannot be said to have cut its teeth, for it has not yet united its State Defence Departments. Nor, if the tariff may be likened to an attack of whooping cough, can the little patient be considered half through that very serious complaint, painful to itself and distressing to its neighbours. The results of the radical treatment adopted to…
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…