Letters grouped by: Senate

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. 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. CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM. SHAPING THE TARIFF BILL. FEDERAL DIVISIONS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Sep. 2 1902; Oct. 9 1902. The spring rains have continued, but they are still far from slaking the thirst of soils parched to dust by eight years of deficient supply. The encouraging feature is that light as the falls have been everywhere they have been widely dispersed and intermittently scattered over the past fortnight. From this it is augured that a real change has come from which further rains may be reasonably anticipated. Victoria, which has hitherto been…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. IMPERIAL PATRIOTISM. DOWNING STREET CONFERENCE. DISSATISFACTION AND RELIEF. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Aug. 26 1902; Oct. 3 1902. Imperial Federation is a popular watchword. Imperialism is unpopular. The distinction between them expresses the attitude of Australia so far as it has yet found expression. For the most part our ideal is a matter of sentiment. The strength of the movement arises from its emotionalism. The feeling of unity of race is the wool out of which the fabric of the future constitutional development has to be woven. It exists everywhere,…
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. “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. 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. 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. FINANCIAL REFORM. NEW SOUTH WALES DISPUTES. THE INDUSTRIAL CHARTER. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Jun. 18 [10?] 1902; Jul. 21 1902. A general view of Australian affairs discloses a certain political unity begotten by the pressure of the movement for economy everywhere. Queensland and Tasmania are maturing their schemes of savings prior to the meeting of their Parliaments, while South Australia, the general election under her new Constitution over, is also considering ways and means. These, the least prosperous of the States, have been the first to be compelled…
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. FEDERAL ECONOMIES. STATES’ RIVAL INTERESTS. RESULTS OF THE TARIFF. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, May 6 1902; Jun. 16 1902. Gales and storms have lashed our coasts, but the drought continues, flocks dwindle, and with them the hopes of a winter recovery. Our western country lies blighted and seared out of recognition, and in Queensland the sheep are fast being obliterated on the withered plains. All the trials and all the losses to which we have had to submit hitherto are as nothing to this. Its effects are widespread and must be lasting. Yet the revenue in this…
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. 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…
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. 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. 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. ATTITUDE OF NEW ZEALAND. THE FEDERAL CAPITAL. TOUR OF INSPECTION. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Feb. 25 1902; Apr. 1 1902. The Commonwealth can consider the choice of a site for its future capital without concern as to any opinion on the point that may be entertained in New Zealand. As readers of the Morning Post were informed many months ago there is no prospect, immediate or remote, of any movement on the part of the Maorilanders towards a partnership with the Australian States. Their commission appointed to inquire into the proposal reported emphatically…
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…
THE NEW COMMONWEALTH. TARIFF PROSPECTS. THE BLACK LABOUR SPECTRE. NEW GUINEA PROBLEMS. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Nov. 26 1901; Dec. 31 1901. The Commonwealth is progressing, though this is not very apparent. Its Parliament, on the contrary, is, in colonial phrase, “bogged”. The team attached to it is so evenly divided and pull in such exactly opposite directions that the State vehicle makes no advance. Here in Sydney we are so much overstocked and so uncertain as to the commercial future that business is almost at a standstill, and, in some degree at all events, the same…
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. KEEN FISCAL STRUGGLE. ALIEN LABOUR PROBLEM. “WHITE AUSTRALIA” POLICY. FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. SYDNEY, Nov. 12 1901; Dec. 20 1901. Those of their own affairs which stir Australians are rarely those of greatest importance, neither are they the issues which most interest our onlookers at home, where, naturally enough, there is quite another standpoint. For the past week sport has reigned supreme in Adelaide, where the English cricketers have commenced their tour, and in Melbourne, which for racing purposes is certainly the centre of the Commonwealth. All politics…