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1890 Australasian Federation Conference

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The Public were admitted to the Conference Chamber at a quarter to Noon, the PRESIDENT (Mr. D. GILLIES) being in the Chair.



“That, in the opinion of this Conference, the best interests and the present and future prosperity of the Australasian Colonies will be promoted by an early union under the Crown, and, while fully recognising the valuable services of the Members of the Convention of 1883 in founding the Federal Council, it declares its opinion that the seven years which have since elapsed have developed the national life of Australasia in population, in wealth, in the discovery or resources, and in self-governing capacity, to an extent which justifies the higher act, at all times contemplated, of the union of these Colonies, under one legislative and executive Government, on principles just to the several Colonies."

He said-Mr. President, I have to tender my deep regret that I have been the unwilling cause of any delay in the proceedings of this Conference. I am very sensible, indeed, of the goodness and consideration of yourself and my other co-representatives in so readily excusing me on Friday last, and I beg you to feel assured that no cause of my absence then which I could have removed would have allowed me to be away on so important an occasion. In submitting the motion which I have just proposed, I will endeavour to steer clear of what may be called sectional politics. I will strive to avoid any reference, or any epithet, that could possibly give offence to any of the colonies represented here. I will try to put my case before the Conference as quietly, as clearly, and as forcibly as my powers will permit, trusting to avoid any half speech, or any holding back of the sentiments of the colony I represent. The first thing that occurs to me is that most of us have little thought how old a question this subject of federation really is amongst us. I have been really surprised myself, in going back to the earlier records, to find that it was the child-the fondled child-of the greatest men we ever had in any of the colonies. In my own colony, I find it had the favour of Mr. Wentworth, who certainly ranked second to none. It also had the support of other statesmen of considerable power and influence in the very early days of parliamentary government here in Victoria. For instance, I read this morning a report of a select committee of the Legislative Assembly of Victoria, appointed within a year of the advent of responsible Government, in which all that we are now met to consider is forcibly put forth, and, to my mind, supported by very conclusive argument. I will refer for a short time to one or two of these early records, some of which, in my busy life, I never read until I had occasion to use them. This report of the select committee of the Victorian Legislative Assembly is dated September 8, 1857, that is to say, less than a year after the introduction of responsible government, and is a document showing so much ability and supporting so strongly what I am asking you to consider to-day that it is well worth very serious perusal. I may mention that it was first reported to the world in 1860, by Mr. William Nicholson, who was at the time Chief Secretary of this colony. I have not hit upon the names of the gentlemen forming the committee, but I think Sir Charles Gavan Duffy was one of them. I am personally aware that, from his first landing here, he took a very wide and warm interest in the subject

of federation. I will only detain the Conference by reading three or four short passages from this report. It says:-

"On the ultimate necessity of a federal union, there is but one opinion. Your committee is unanimous in believing that the interest and honour of these growing states would be promoted by the establishment [start page 2] of a system of mutual action and co-operation among them. Their interest suffers, and must continue to suffer, while competing tariffs, naturalization laws, and land systems, rival schemes of immigration and of ocean postage, a clumsy and an inefficient method of communicating with each other and with the home Government on public business, and a distant and expensive system of judicial appeal exist."

This was written 33 years ago.

“And the honour and importance which constitute so essential an element of national prosperity-

"I must read these words again, because without this sentiment of honour intermingled with importance attaching to the subject there can never be any federation. If we proceed on any inferior plans of action-on that of personal interests for example, which I cannot believe will enter the mind of any member of the Conference-or if we take any less elevated ground than that of public honour, as well as of importance, we can never hope for the next hundred years to give birth to a nation in this part of the world:-

"And the honour and importance which constitute so essential an element of national prosperity, and the absence of which invites aggression from foreign enemies, cannot perhaps, in this generation, belong to any single colony in this southern group, but may, and we are persuaded would, be speedily attained by an Australian Federation representing the entire."

Then the report utters a sentence which in itself is a chapter of sound political philosophy:

"Neighbouring states of the second order inevitably become confederates or enemies."

Who can doubt, Mr. President, that, if the colonies had acted upon this report of your Legislature 33 years ago, many things savouring of enmity, at all events of something more than rivalry, would have been avoided:-

"Neighbouring states of the second order inevitably become confederates or enemies."

We have proved it, unhappily, to be too true:-

"By becoming confederates so early in their career, the Australian Colonies would, we believe, immensely economize their strength and resources. They would substitute a common national interest for local and conflicting interests, and waste no more time in barren rivalry. They would enhance the national credit, and attain much earlier the power of undertaking works of serious cost and importance. They would not only save time and money, but attain increased vigour and accuracy, by treating the larger questions of public policy at one time and place, and in an Assembly, which it may be presumed would consist of the wisest and most experienced statesmen of the colonial Legislatures, they would set up a safeguard against violence or disorder, holding it in cheek by the common sense and common force of the federation. They would possess the power of more promptly calling now states into existence throughout their immense territory, as the spread of population required it, and of enabling each of the existing states to apply itself without conflict or jealousy to the special industry which its position and resources render most profitable. The time for accomplishing such a federation is naturally a point upon which there are a variety of opinions, but we are unanimous in believing that it is not too soon to invite a mutual understanding on the subject throughout the colonies. Most of us conceive that the time for union is come."

So we see, Mr. President, that all that I can say now was said by this duly organised body of your Parliament, within a year after the introduction of responsible government into this colony. Passing from that, time does not permit me to refer to the many other similar enunciations of opinion in those early days, both here and elsewhere-that is to say, is this colony, in New South Wales, in South Australia, and in New Zealand. If any one will take the trouble to examine these records, he will find, without drawing invidious comparisons, or without indulging in that species of delusion which always imagines that giants lived in some earlier time-without any excessive imagination of that kind-he will find that these views, in the very first years of our freedom, had the support of the ablest men that have ever adorned the councils of any of the colonies. I pass rapidly on now to the Convention of 1883, to which I shall make only a slight allusion. But I have been much struck by the fact that, in the correspondence which is before me here and which I have no doubt is before you all, Mr. James Service, who was the principal mover in bringing that Convention together, had unquestionably in view precisely what I trust we all have in contemplation now-the establishment of a Federal Parliament. This earlier record to which I have alluded speaks of establishing a Legislative Federal Union, not a union without the power of making federal laws, but is particular in announcing a desire for a legislative union. Mr. Service, beyond all doubt, entertained exactly the same views. Some of his letters were only read by me for the first time this morning, and I felt surprised to see that at the time he was trying to get the other colonies to enter into the Convention of 1883 he never appeared to have dreamt of the limited body which came into existence. I have not time, Mr. President, to read any of the passages from [start page 3] Mr. Service's letters, but of course they are known to you, and must be known to many other gentlemen here-to all who took part in that Convention. With regard to the Federal Council, we must not lose sight of the fact that that development, that that doctrine of development of which we have heard so much, has been going on through the instrumentality of that Council. Through the action of the Federal Council public opinion has more rapidly, more definitely, and, I do not doubt, more clearly formed itself on this large subject. And the process of development does not necessarily mean that there shall be a kind of sliding scale of our laws, but it means that the action of a body, of a group of individuals, of a community, or even of a single individual, can develop a question, so that it is more and more understood by general body whom it concerns. That development has most assuredly been going on from then until now. But something more has been going on. All the elements of national life have been going on amongst us with an increased speed. There is not one of these important colonies which has not felt the wonderful stimulus given to industry, to every kind of enterprise, to education, to refinement in social manners, and in the estimates of moral life which have been going on, until we are now in a condition that we may be contrasted favorably with some of the wealthiest states in the world, not only in respect of our enterprise, our skill, and our industrial vigour, but also in the higher walks of life. The extent to which books are bought and read, the extent to which the vehicles of thought find encouragement and nurture in these colonies, is something not frequently estimated, but comparably creditable to us. I doubt not for a moment but that, if an investigation could be made, there are more readers of the higher publications issued through the London press-the monthly reviews, the higher order of newspapers, such as Spectator-I do not for a moment doubt that there are more readers out of a given number, say more in every thousand of the population, here than there are in similar sections of the population of Great Britain. We have now reached a stage of life when we are not behind any nation in the world, either in the vigour, the industry, the enterprise, the foresight, or the creative skill of our working populations, in which I include the directors of labour, and we are not behind in all the higher refinements of civilised society. And if all that is so, let us for a moment pause to consider what this society is made of. According to the best calculations that I have been able to have made-I mean by our own Government Statist-we have a united population of 3,834,200 souls. It is worth noting in passing, though I attach no special importance to it, that of these numbers 2,656,000 are in the three colonies of New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland. This fact is of interest to me, because there was a time when these three colonies only represented one colony, and that time was not so long ago. I, myself, had the privilege of voting for the separation of Queensland, and I remember the separation of Victoria. And these three colonies, which occupy the space that formed the one colony of New South Wales when I arrived here, contain 2,656,000 of the entire population of Australia. That, as I have just said, is worth noting in passing; it is of interest to me, and I think it will be of interest to others, but I still prefer to look at the sum total of our people, and that sum total measures our capacity

for asserting our claim to national life. Don't let us be mistaken-it is not likely that any man here will be mistaken on that point, but let none be mistaken-population is the one great basis for the growth of nations either here or anywhere else. But pause for a minute to see what this population has done. I have here an estimate of the value of the annual industrial productions of this united population. What I mean is, the value of what is produced from the elements we possess -produced from the land, produced by the power of industry from the rude elements of nature, and I find that the sum total for a single year is no less than £95,042,000. Then if we take the private wealth of this people-I do not mean, and I wish to be very distinctly understood as not meaning the public wealth, such as the railways or the lands of the several colonies, but the private wealth and the income of the free citizens of Australasia-the result is equally remarkable. We shall best test the private wealth of the people by comparing it with that, of the people of other countries, and I have selected out of many before me in the tables with which I have been supplied, five great nations other than Australasia. I will give you the average private wealth per inhabitant. In Austria, it amounts to £166s.; in Germany, to £18 14s.; in France, to £25 14s.; in the United Kingdom, to £35 4s.; in the United States, to £39, and in Australasia, to £48. Therefore, in reality, we stand at the head of the nations of the world in the distribution of wealth-that is, of wealth in its grandest form, because a [start page 4] country cannot really be said to be in a prosperous condition with a few colossal fortunes-a few families rolling in luxury, and the mass of the people in poverty-stricken homes. The real standard in civilization is the wide diffusion of wealth over the population to be governed; and judged by that test, Australasia stands at the head of the nations of the world; not only so, but a long way at the head. The private wealth of the United States is £39 per inhabitant, and the wealth of Australasia £48 per inhabitant, showing that for each creature, from the richest to the poorest, we possess, if our wealth be distributed in equal proportions, £9 more for the purchase of the good things of this world than the United States, or than any other country on the face of the earth. Well, we have done much in all the chief provinces of government. All the gentlemen who are listening to me know what wonderful progress we have made during the last generation, and I need not advert to the subject in detail. But let us see what this peace-loving people-and we are a peace-loving people, and I pray to God that we may ever remain a peace-loving people-have done in rational provision for the defence of the bounteous lands we possess. We have a united army of 31,795 men; and to show that this army has been constituted with a due regard to the most valuable arms of military service, let me point out that of the total number we have 15,913 infantry, we have 7,226 men in rifle companies-and these rifle companies are in their infancy-and we have 3,954 artillery. If an army not one-third so great in number as that we now possess justified the able men who have gone before us, in contemplating the course we now proposed to adopt, have not we arrived at a stage of numbers which amply justifies us in thinking of building ourselves into a nation? We have wealth-and it would be impossible for that wealth to exist if it were not for the well-directed energies of mind and physical strength in creating it-which places us before all the great peoples of the world. There is not one so wealthy as we; not one with the same command of the natural comforts of life which wealth ought to be employed in procuring as we. We have brought into existence systems of education, which, in a very short time, have been followed, and to a large extent copied, by old, powerful, and renowned nations. But what is of more importance to us is this, that we have brought into existence systems of education which practically embrace the children of all the families which live under our forms of government. We have constructed means of communication-we have carried them in all directions where they were most needed-to an extent which, if we had not done so much, would be a marvel to ourselves; and in all the other true provinces of free government we have, making allowance for the infirmities, the mistakes, and the misdirected energies of all human communities, made such progress as has excited the admiration of the best of other countries. If, then, we were fit in the year 1857 to enter into a federation, how much more fit are we now? And if we are not fit now, with the elements of strength which I have very cursorily pointed out, when shall we be fit? I asked the other night-and I know no better way of putting the case-that if there are any persons who object to complete federation at the present time, they should point out when we shall be fit for it. That seems to me to be in obligation that is thrown upon them. If they say that we are not ripe for complete federation now, then when shall we be ripe? Will it be to-morrow, or this day twelve months, or this day five years, or this day ten years? In what degree shall we be better off then than we are now? The other night a gentleman, the most striking feature of whose character, is his practical common sense, told us that there was a lion in the path, and that this Conference must

either kill the lion or be killed by it. Well, the fabled lion is most frequently presented to us as a foreign monster, as a thing directly opposed to the person who is pursuing the path-that has the most opposite notions to the end that person has in view. This lion is supposed to be an enemy that will tear him to pieces. I have never seen this fabled lion presented to the world under any other circumstances; and thus interpreted, there is not and cannot be any lion whatever in our path. There is no obstacle in the path before us except impediments which we have created ourselves. Nature has-created no obstacle. That principle of Divine goodness-call it what you may-which exists, and over-rules the world, has created this fair land of Australia, situated as it is, wisely created it for a grand experiment in human government, and there is no lion, and no natural difficulty-before us. The path is plain and bright with the genial sunshine of our own blue heavens, with no impediment in it whatever. If we are only wise, and can only agree among ourselves, if we acknowledge that bond which unites us as one people, whether we will or no, if we acknowledge frankly that kinship from which we cannot escape and from which [start page 5] no one desires to escape-if we acknowledge that, and if we subordinate all lower and sectional considerations to the one great aim of building up a power which, in the world outside, will have more influence, command more respect, enhance every comfort, and every profit of life amongst ourselves-if we only enter into the single contemplation of this one object, the thing will be accomplished, and accomplished more easily, and in a shorter time, than any great achievement of the same nature that was ever accomplished before. But let there be no mistake. We cannot become a nation and still cling to conditions and to desires which are antagonistic to nationality. We cannot become one united people and cherish some provincial object which is inconsistent with that nationality. We have grown, as this resolution says, in population and in wealth, and I have taken the liberty of proving both facts. We have made great advances in the discovery of resources, and we have done a wonderful work in developing them within the last seven years. Resources which were hidden seven years ago are now familiar and are familiarly acted upon. And in regard to self-governing power, the few illusions I have made to the product of our Parliamentary labours are sufficient to show how wonderfully we have exhibited our capacity for self government. In answer to the question which is sometimes asked, "How much better shall we be for Federal Government?" I will endeavour to show, briefly, from my limited point of view, how much better we shall be under those conditions. There are numberless sources of wealth which would be developed by one powerful wealthy government which are not likely to be developed or matured by the provincial governments which now exist-notably, the splendid sea-fisheries which Australia possesses. There is no limit to, almost no knowledge of, the extent of the fisheries belonging to Australia. They certainly could, under one law, one system of regulation and management, be developed to an extent which is never likely to be ascertained otherwise. Then there is the safety of our coasts, their efficient lighting, and the completion of surveys. The security of our coasts could be infinitely better attended to by the central government than can ever be the case with the separate governments. Then, again, the means of communication, without trenching upon the rights of the several governments, could be greatly advanced by the sagacity, the wisdom, and the uniform power of a central government. Did time permit, I might enumerate the subjects with which it would be directly the province of a Federal legislature to deal. But we cannot hope to be secure from molestation outside. I for one, and no doubt I reflect the feeling of a great number of other men, earnestly pray that Australia may remain for ever at peace; but much as we may desire it, and no matter how much we may do to conserve that state of things, we know well enough that when nations are at war they know but one law, and that that law is the law of power and force. We have seen throughout all history that what has been done in the past will, as long as human nature is human nature, continue to be done in the future. We have seen that countries are attacked for the mere purpose of armed disturbance; and that, however much they may desire to be at peace, they are not allowed to be at peace. That was most strongly illustrated in the war between England and America, which commenced in 1812. The young United States-so conscious of weakness, so anxious to follow the maxims of peace, so entirely opposed to conflict of any kind-a country which had been living under the presidency of Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Madison, who of all men that ever held power were averse to war, and who made every possible effort to keep the people out of the terrible struggle between Napoleon and the rest of Europe-were obliged to go to war. That young Republic had her ships seized on the high seas, one after another, to the number of some 1,200, and I am sorry to say that the greater part were seized by Great Britain-lawlessly seized-while some were seized by France. Although America desired to remain at peace, the one great power at war in

Europe was jealous of that young country stepping into her place in carrying the commerce of the world, and the usurper who governed France was determined to compel her to side with him. And from these unworthy motives the sea-borne commerce of the United States was almost entirely destroyed. We do not know when there may be war, and do you think that we shall be safer than were the United States in the years 1810, 1811, and 1812--until, indeed, the ravages made upon the marine of the United States by these two great contending Powers, France and England, at length compelled America to declare war when she was utterly unfit to fight so powerful an opponent as Great Britain. Do what we may we cannot be more secure than our countrymen were in the case to which I have called special attention. We cannot, indeed, be secure at all against the unlicensed [start page 6] force of a great armed Power. In a state of war, men do not consider what is right, but what is possible--they do not consider what is essentially just, but what directly or indirectly may forward their cause. If a great Power had any excuse for plundering these colonies the wealth of Australia would be of the most essential importance in promoting the elements of war. Nothing whatever can save us in any such event as that except a reasonably efficient, a reasonably strong, numerically, armed force, and the training of our young men to the defences of the country. I do not know, Mr. President, whether I need dwell much more upon the value of this Union Government, for it seems to be generally admitted. I find few men, hardly any, who will openly say it is a good thing for us not to be united. Nearly all that I have met with, or have heard of, will tell you that at some time or other these colonies ought to be united. The men who lived at the time when the Constitution or these colonies came into operation told us that the time had come then. Most of those men are now in their graves, but I venture to say that few of them ever supposed that a, generation would pass away without anything having been done in a true direction of placing the Australian lands under one form of government. What we really want, from my point of view, is a complete form of government-a Legislature with full power to make laws for the whole country, and an Executive with full power to administer those laws and conduct the affairs of the country; and it seems to me that the founding of the United States affords us this one warning against anything short of a complete Constitution. We know that after the struggle for independence, the United States tried to live under what are known as the Articles of Confederation. They tried to live as federated states; but year by year they grew weaker, more dissatisfied, more incapable of attending to the real wants of even one of the states, and, as was pointed out all through by Washington, nothing could follow from the federation but disaster, ruin, and acquisition by a foreign Power. It was only the failure of this system which compelled the states at last to accept the Constitution under which they have lived and thriven in such comparative happiness and prosperity, and in such comparative glory. That Constitution-and I know of nothing so instructive as the life of Washington in regard to it-was brought about by the disastrous effects of the experiment of trying to secure to the states their separate rights and separate sovereignty. By Washington alone it seemed to be seen clearly, from the first, that it must fail; and so complete was the union accomplished afterwards, that in the result, as I have had many occasions to point out, the whole of that great territory now possessed by the United States of America, is as free as the streets of Boston or the streets of New York. Since I came to Melbourne I have met with a curious case, illustrating the doctrine implanted in the Constitution in regard to the freedom of the separate states. If the Conference will bear with me for two or three moments, I will quote the case referred to. The General Assembly of Maryland passed a municipal law enabling the city council of Baltimore to impose wharfage dues. It was a purely municipal law, limited to the municipal council of Baltimore. A little vessel, laden with potatoes, arrived in that port, and, in pursuance of this law, the municipal council levied wharfage dues to the extent of four dollars and some cents, which the resolute captain refused to pay. The ship itself bad nothing but potatoes on board, and not a great quantity of them, because the wharfage dues, according to the municipal law, only amounted to the sum I have mentioned. The captain, having refused to pay, was taken before the local court, which ordered him to pay the money. The captain appealed to the Supreme Court of the State, which sustained the verdict of the court below. But the sturdy captain, strong in his knowledge of the constitution, appealed from the Supreme Court of that State to the Supreme Court of the United States, and the Supreme Court of the United States reversed judgment. After quoting a number of decisions, the judgment of the court goes on to say:-

"In view of these and other decisions of this court, it must be regarded as settled that no state can, consistently with the Federal Constitution, impose upon the products of other shoes, brought therein for sale or use, or upon citizens because engaged in the sale therein or the transportation thereto, or the products of other states, more onerous public burdens or taxes than it imposes upon the like products of its own territory."

The case seems to set at rest, in the most emphatic manner, what is sometimes disputed-the question of existence of entire freedom throughout the territory of the United States. As the members of the Conference know, she has created a tariff of a very severe, and, in some cases, almost prohibitive, character against the outside [start page 7] world; but as between New York and Massachusetts, and as between Connecticut and Pennsylvania, there is no custom-house and no tax collector. Between any two of the states-indeed, from one end of the states to the other-the country is as free as the air in which the swallow flies. We cannot too fully bear in mind this doctrine of this great republic, a doctrine supported in the most convincing, manner by the case to which I have alluded. Now I am one of those who believe, as far as my opinion is of value, formed upon a rather long experience, that whatever may be the decision of the Conference it will be playing at federation if we attempt to create a Federal Government with anything less than the full powers of a Federal Government. I am as anxious to preserve the proper rights and privileges of the colony of New South Wales as any person can be of preserving the proper rights and privileges of the colony of Victoria. Indeed, I should almost fear to come back to the colony which has treated me so well if I did not do my utmost to preserve her independence in all that is consistent with the province of one great Federation. But the Federation Government must be a government of power. It must be a Government especially armed with plenary power for the defence of the country. It must be a Government armed with plenary power for the performance of all other functions pertaining to a National Government, such as the building of ships, the enlistment of soldiers, and the carrying out of many works in the industrial world which may be necessary for the advancement of a nation. It may possibly be a very wise thing indeed, that some of these powers should come into force with the concurrence of the State Legislatures or the Provincial Legislatures. It may, perhaps, be a wise thing: that some condition of gradation should be stipulated for in approaching the full powers of this Federal Government, or in consummating its full power; but that it should be in design, from the very first, a complete legislative nod executive government, suited to perform the grandest and the highest functions of a nation, cannot, I think, be a matter of doubt. I do not know what may be the feelings of the members of this Conference. As most of my co-representatives must be aware, I have had little communication with them. In coming here, I have not sought communication with any person of influence. I have abstained from seeking consultation of that kind, because I desired to come to the Conference with my mind untrammelled, and because I desired to meet the representatives of other colonies on fair and open ground, with the one great object of resolving ourselves into a nation before us, and that alone moderated and controlled by a jealous regard for the separate rights of our individual colonies. I, for one, say that it is the duty of the whole of the delegates to have a jealous regard for the rights and just privileges of the colonies they represent. It would be impossible for my Federal Government to expect to give satisfaction unless its powers which I still contend must be sufficient for its high purposes-were in harmony with what is justly due to the several colonies. I would ask the members of the Conference to keep steadily in mind the fact that they represent the whole population of Australasia, that in that population there is a wide, rapidly increasing, wave of Australian-born men, many of them standing, as it were, in the early dawn of manhood; and we cannot think so lightly of our country, and the men it has bred, as not to believe that in that new wave of life, with which we shall all be overwhelmed very shortly, there may be greater men than we. Indeed, the whole of the Universities of the world already bear testimony to the genius of young Australia. The young men of these fair colonies have shown themselves in no degree behind their brethen of the old world. We have everything to look for in the generation that will follow us. We may have-and why should we not-as gifted men here as ever breathed the breath of life. They are upon us in thousands, and they will fill our places immediately. We ought not simply to look to the accidents of the time which may have put us in places of rule-we ought not to look for the auxiliary influences which may affect its as men--but we ought to look to those who are coming in such countless thousands after us, to the higher aims which they may have, and to the higher powers of achievement which they may manifest to the world.

We ought not lightly to disregard all the powers which the imagination can call forth, in picturing the future of these great colonies. Their destiny is assured, and their federation is assured. The union of the Australian people is a thing that so commends itself to the most far-seeing of those who have come from other lands, and which so intertwines itself with the very life of the native born, that nothing can possibly stop its progress. I trust we have not entered upon the consideration of the [start page 8] question too soon, and I trust we shall make no mistake. I do not see how it is possible to shut our eyes to the fact that our duty, at all events, is to ask the Parliaments of the different colonies to consider whether or not the time is come. I submit this resolution at a time when, I am bound to confess, I have not strength to treat it in the way I would wish to treat it; but I trust it has sufficient merit in itself to commend it to the serious consideration of the Conference. I submit it, Mr. President, with the full belief that it will be supported, and with the full belief that it will meet with the concurrence and emphatic approval of a large majority of the people of all the colonies.

Mr. DEAKIN.-Mr. President, I have great pleasure in seconding the resolution which has just been moved by Sir Henry Parkes.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH.-Sir, I rise with some diffidence to follow my honorable friend Sir Henry Parkes, after the very able and eloquent speech with which he has favoured the members of this Conference, a speech full of historical information and deep research. I think I may take it for granted that all of us present here to-day show by our presence that we believe that the time has arrived for a more complete federation of the Australian Colonies than has hitherto been attainable, and that, practically, the object for which we are met is to consider how far it is practicable, at the present time, to go on towards the end which I again assume we all have in view. I apprehend there can be no difference of opinion as to the end we all have in view-that end must be a complete Federal Government of Australia. Whether or not that federation shall include New Zealand may be a matter for further consideration, and I speak of a complete Federal Government leaving that question open. I take it, therefore, that we are all agreed as to the end that is coming, and that what we are here for is to exchange ideas, and to consider, as practical men, how far we can go with any hope of success in asking the legislatures from which we come to entrust powers to a convention to frame a Federal Constitution. Sir Henry Parkes referred to a very able and eloquent report that was drawn up by a committee of the Legislative Assembly of Victoria in 1857, and alluded to the long interval which has elapsed since that time without much being done in the way of carrying out the aspirations expressed in it. Now, I am not quite so disposed to blame all the men who have been engaged in Australian statesmanship in the intervening time, and I think that the figures which were given by Sir Henry Parkes himself show how very different a place the Australia of to-day is from the Australia of 1857. What, in fact, was known of Australia then? Portions of this vast continent that are now known to be some of the richest and most fertile tracts on the face of the earth, were then regarded as stony deserts, or places certainly uninhabitable except by black-skinned people. We know a great deal more of the country now than we knew then. We know something of one another, but even at the present we don't know nearly as much about one another as we ought to do. Still, we have now means of communication which, had then no existence; the colonies have very much larger populations, we are in short in closer touch with one another; so that the conditions are very different now from what they were then. Passing from that report of the select committee in 1857, Sir Hen Parkes referred to the Convention that sat in Sydney, in 1883, and of which James Service was the prime mover. I think my honorable friend is quite right in saying, in fact there can be no doubt, that Mr. Service and his Victorian colleagues went to that Convention with the expectation that it would do a great deal more than it did, with the belief that the proposals they would make for the acceptance of the various colonial Parliaments would go much further in the direction of federation than the proposals which were actually made. And they were not the only ones who went with that expectation, and with that intention. Certainly I can say speaking for myself, as one of the representatives of Queensland at that Convention, and the only member of this Conference who was a member of that Convention, that I hoped that we should go a great deal further than we actually did. However, it was our business to exchange ideas, and to consider what was both desirable and practicable, because the two things are often quite different. I take it, for instance, that we all agree that the federation of Australia is desirable. Whether it is practicable is another matter, depending not upon our opinions, but upon the

public opinion in the different colonies at the present time. The question is-Will these different colonies, through their legislatures, permit such a federation as we may deem desirable? It is no use for us to pass abstract resolutions here, or any resolutions, unless effect will be given to them by our respective legislatures. I think myself it would be most unfortunate, [start page 9] in a double sense, if any conclusions we may come to, or any steps we may initiate at this Conference should fall through owing to the refusal of the various Legislatures of the colonies to give effect to them. I believe that would have more than a merely negative influence, that it would not only the work of federation until the Parliament or Parliaments that stood out of the union chose to come in, but it would have the effect of undoing all that was done before. Therefore it is very important that we should see exactly on what ground we are standing, so far as we can do so. We can only after all express our opinions on the matters of fact before us, but it is important we should know and consider the lion in the path, or an number of lions there may be in the path, and I confess, with my honorable friend Sir Henry Parkes, that I do not feel alarmed about any of these lion in the path. Well, at the Sydney Convention, in 1883, we came to the conclusion, after full discussion, that the colonies were not prepared to establish a Federal Government or a Federal Executive, especially a Federal Executive. That was one of the most important questions for discussion, because a very little consideration must show that there can be no real federation without a Federal Executive. The one question of defence is sufficient to show that. It is impossible to organize and manage a Federal army without a Federal Executive, and that Executive Government, under any system with which we are familiar, or are likely to adopt on the Australian continent, must be practically appointed by or hold office with the approval of a Federal Parliament directly by the people. I do not think that the local Parliaments would submit to any other mode of nomination than that with which we are familiar. More than that the Federal Executive must, in order to give effect to its decrees, have a federal revenue, which could only be raised by the direct representatives of the people. We, therefore, felt that as soon as a Federal Executive was established for any purpose it was necessary that there should be a Federal Treasury, and a Federal Parliament, which to a certain extent must supersede the provincial Parliaments, and compel them to surrender some of their functions. At that time we thought that it was not possible to do so much, as we believed that the provincial Parliaments would not then consent to surrender any of their functions. We, therefore adopted what we conceived to be a desirable course-not absolutely desirable, perhaps, but which was something better than we had, and was also practicable, and that was the establishment of a body in many respects like the conferences of representatives of the different colonies which had been held periodically, but with power to give effect to the conclusions it came to. Many such conferences had been held, many resolutions come to, many promises made, but somehow or other they had fallen through-the decisions were not acted upon, and nothing came of them. The constitution that was then devised for the Federal Council was like that of a conference; it might be called a treaty-making body, but with power to give effect to any conclusions to which it came. That was the scheme we adopted, and I believe that those who shared in that work have no reason to be ashamed of the result of their labours. What they did was never regarded as more than a step to something better. I have always said that I thought, the time had come then-and the necessity is becoming more urgent every day-when something more should be done; and I do not think that it indicates any disrespect to the Federal Council, or to the gentlemen who were concerned in framing its constitution, to propose to give effect to what they themselves would have proposed if they had thought that there was any prospect of carrying it. We did then all that we could see to be practicable and desirable. Now, I have no doubt of it being desirable, believe it to be practicable, to do more. How much more is a question very difficult to answer, and upon that opinions may differ. But I for one take the same position now that I did six years ago. I have no doubt, or very little doubts in my own mind, as to how much is desirable. If possible let us get a complete Federal Parliament and Federal Executive, one Dominion with no rivalries -no customs rivalries at any rate, amongst ourselves. If we cannot get all that let us get as much of it as we can. That is the point of view from which I approach the subject. If we cannot get everything, how much can we get? Every step in advance is something gained. If we can get a Federal Government even with limited powers, let us have it; but of course we should prefer to attain the end we have in view at the earliest possible moment, and with the feast intervals, because I recognise this, that every imperfect step we make is a halting place, and it may be some time before we can move from it. Therefore, I would desire to go on as far as we can now. How far can we go? That is the question we have to consider. There are some questions about which there can be no doubt. I shall not

occupy the time of the Conference [start page 10] in saying anything about the general advantages of federation. I wish to deal with some of the practical difficulties which I believe we are here to face and to meet. There are some things which it is quite clear, the separate provincial governments cannot do properly or efficiently, although they may do them in some sort of way. We have been accustomed for so long to self-government that we have become practically almost sovereign states, a great deal more sovereign states, though not in name, than the separate states of America. We have been allowed absolute freedom to manage our own affairs; and I know that there are many people who, although they are favourable to the idea of federation in the abstract, would yet hesitate to give up any of those rights which we have been in the habit of exercising. The advantages of federation like everything else will have to be paid for; we cannot get them without giving something in return, and every power which may be exercised by the Federal Government with greater advantage than the separate Governments, involves a corresponding diminution in the powers of the separate Governments and Legislatures. That is the first objection with which we shall be met; but there is an answer to it. There are some things which the separate Parliaments and Executives cannot do. First and foremost there strikes one the question which was the occasion of the suggestion made by Sir Henry Parkes which led to our being brought here. That is the question of defence. The several colonies may have separate armies of their own; they may even have identical laws governing their armies; these laws may actually be in force beyond their own territories; nevertheless they will all be separate laws, so that a curious result may be brought about. Each of the colonies on the Australian mainland may pass a Defence Act identical in terms, authorising the removal of its troops beyond its own boundaries. Six armies might under these laws be concentrated in the one colony, Victoria for example, and yet they would actually all be governed by different laws. The Queenslanders would be governed by the laws of Queensland and amenable only to the tribunals of Queensland; and it would be the same with the New South Welshmen, the South Australians, and the Tasmanians. That is a state of things that is obviously incompatible with the existence of anything like a combined and well-disciplined army, and it could not be got over without a Federal Government. It could be got over so far as the legal difficulty is concerned, by a law of the Federal Council; but the difficulty with regard to the executive head could not be got over in that way. For the purposes of defence, at any rate, there must be a Central Government in Australia. I know quite well that there are a great many persons in Australia who do not believe in the danger of invasion at all. It is no use differing from them; they believe that is only a device of a military caste, of persons with military fads, to spend money, and do foolish things. These views are very strong in some places, and the persons who hold them have to be reckoned with. It will be taken for granted that I am not saying this because I suppose there is anyone present who holds such views. As Sir Henry Parkes pointed out, we may at any moment be in imminent danger of invasion, and we cannot under existing circumstances protect ourselves satisfactorily. Another matter which must have occurred to everyone who has had experience in government, is that of external relations. The question has often arisen in the colonies. Communications frequently have to be carried on with the Colonial Office in London, and every country of the magnitude of Australia must have external relations with the rest of the world, and it is impossible for six or seven separate colonies to carry such affairs on satisfactorily. Matters relating to trade and commerce, copyright and patents, costly and unsatisfactory appeals to courts of justice in Great Britain-are things which the colonies cannot manage by themselves. I suppose every member of this Conference is familiar with the enumeration of subjects of general and local legislation in British North America. That list at once suggests that many things can be done with great advantage by a Federal Parliament and Central Executive. A Central Executive of course involves a Central Parliament. I wish to advert to another difficulty, and that is with respect to the Federal Executive. How far would the other colonies care to submit to any distinct acts of government by an executive with which they are not familiar? That difficulty arises from our common ignorance of each other. The difficulty arose when the three eastern colonies were governed from Sydney, and since that time a strong dislike has been shown to anything like centralised government. That is particularly the case in Queensland, where dissatisfaction has arisen just as it arose in an earlier period when Queensland and Victoria were governed from New South Wales. The establishment [start page 11] of a central executive would appear to many persons like going back to that old state of things, and it will be very necessary to explain, when bringing the subject before our several parliaments, that it is not intended to transfer to the Executive Government anything which could be as well done by the separate

governments of the colonies. Then there is the question of fiscal union, which Mr. Service called "the lion in the path." It is only a question of time. There must be some day a fiscal union. Whether it can be brought about just now or not is a matter upon which opinions must differ very much. I think, for my part, although I admit freely that federation without fiscal union would be unsatisfactory, that its absence would not be an insuperable obstacle. I maintain that federation without fiscal union would be better than no federation at all. I hope we shall get complete federation, but it is of no use disguising that difficulty. However, as I have said, I do not regard that difficulty as being an insuperable one. Suppose we had a Central Government for defence, uniform laws, the regulation of trade and commerce externally, the post-office, sea fisheries, &c., and the colonies still had separate customs tariffs, we should be so much the better off by reason of the regulation of the things I have named by a Central Government, and as regards fiscal matters we should be no worse off than we are now. And there would be this advantage, that under the new arrangement the absurdity of fighting one another by customs tariffs would become so apparent that before very long they would be given up. It has been said that there can be no federation without absolute freedom of interchange of products. But surely that is not so. What is the difference in principle between a duty collected on the border of a colony and an octroi duty collected on the outside of a municipality? The collection of such duties is a most disagreeable thing, but it is not inconsistent with federation-not a perfect form of federation, but an arrangement very much better than anything we have at the present time. That is the "lion in the path," and it seems to me to be a very harmless creature after all. It is of no use disguising the fact that the protective duties in many of the colonies are designed quite as much with a view to protect the colonies against their neighbours as to protect them against the outside world-indeed a great deal more so. This is not the place in which to discuss the wisdom of it. Moreover, in some of the colonies the revenue raised by tariff duties imposed upon their neighbours' products forms a very large proportion of the income of the Government; and when the great question of cui bono comes to be asked in the Parliaments these colonies will require a satisfactory answer as to what they are going to gain by surrendering their protective duties. My own opinion is that it is desirable to get rid of all these tariffs, and no doubt they will be got rid of some day, but their existence ought not to be regarded as an impediment to our doing the best we can. I should be sorry to be supposed to attach too much importance to these difficulties. or these practical aspects of the question before us. At the same time when we remember how many years have passed since the Act authorizing the making of treaties by the colonies for the imposition of differential duties was passed by the Imperial Parliament, and that no such treaty has yet been made, we must recognise that the question is one requiring very serious consideration. It may happen that there will be union between some of the colonies before there is a general union between the whole. That is a contingency to be contemplated. Whatever may be thought of a larger and more complete union, there is every reason to suppose that some of the colonies may agree to form a customs union. If that is done, the moral force of gravitation will compel the others to join. I hope, however, that these difficulties will not be allowed to stand in the way. Let anyone look at the list of subjects which may be dealt with by a general Parliament and general Government with so much greater advantage than by separate Parliaments. I would like to trespass on the time of members of the Conference for a few moments for the purpose of mentioning some of the subjects which are enumerated in that great Act of British North America. I have before me a list of the subjects which are the exclusive business of the general legislature. These subjects include the following:-Public Debt and Property, Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Raising of Money by Taxation, Borrowing of Money on Public Credit, Postal Services, Census and Statistics, Militia, Military and Naval Forces, Defence, Beacons, Lighthouses, Navigation and Shipping, Quarantine, Ferries between Provinces, Currency and Coinage, Banking and Paper Money, Weights and Measures, Bills of Exchange and Promissory Notes, Interest, Bankruptcy and Insolvency, Patents, Copyrights, Naturalization and Alienage, Marriage and Divorce, and Criminal Law. To the latter, I think, [start page 12] may here be added the question of the regulation of the admission and exclusion of undesirable immigrants, and the establishment of a Court of Appeal. These are subjects in respect of which there is so little difference of opinion amongst intelligent men throughout Australia, that they could certainly be dealt with much better by one Parliament, and the laws be better executed by one executive than by many. The work left for provincial Parliaments would still be large and important, and it would be work which, in the main, could not be so well accomplished by a general Government. This matter, however, is one which can be considered at a subsequent period. What I am

anxious to insist upon is this-that we should not be deterred by any fear of not being able to do everything, but that we should do the most we can, remembering the old saying that half a loaf is a great deal better than no bread. Another difficulty which will meet us has reference to the want of knowledge which one colony possesses of another. If, for instance, the Legislature of a country is asked to surrender its great powers of legislation to another body, people will naturally want to know of whom that body is to be constituted, and whether the members of it would consider their interests as well as they would consider them themselves. I would counsel all public men, during the two or three years which must elapse before, any definite result can be achieved from our labours, to take every opportunity, both in public and private life, of making the different powers of Australasia acquainted with them. Let us endeavour to distinguish, as far as possible, between means to ends. The end we have in view is the establishment of a great Australian nation. The means which may be adopted for attaining that end may be various. I remember, when I was a boy, a gentleman, for whom I had the greatest respect, saying that the practical definition of wisdom was the proper adaptation of means to ends. We shall require a great deal of this kind of wisdom in bringing about the end we have at heart. Matters such as those of fiscal policy are, after all, only means, not ends, in themselves. Whatever conclusion may be arrived at in regard to such matters, it is our business not to lose sight of the one great end in view-the establishment of a nation. The moral effect upon the people of Australia of the accomplishment of such an object would be very great indeed. Look how much wider will be the field for the legitimate and noble ambition of those who desire to take part in the affairs of a great nation-as it will be -a nation practically commanding the Southern Seas! The energies of men are cramped when they are confined to matters which, although of considerable magnitude in themselves, are nevertheless, to a great extent, local in their character. I need not refer at any greater length to the advantages which will accrue from the end we have in view being attained. Upon that point members of the Conference are likely to be all agreed. I hope that, in the discussion which will take place, members will direct themselves to the practical aspect of the question, with the view of enabling themselves and the public to arrive at a just conclusion as to what is the extent to which it will be desirable to ask the different Parliaments to empower their representatives at a Convention to go in the framing of a Constitution. Some Parliaments may be prepared to go further than others. Some of them, indeed, may refuse to give carte blanche to their, representative; and they may even refuse to allow them to negotiate upon certain subjects. That, however, need not be looked upon as an obstacle. At the same time it would be very desirable that, in the Convention, the delegates should, if possible, possess co-extensive powers. Before closing, I wish to call attention to a provision in the Act to which I have already referred more than once a provision for making the laws of property uniform in the three provinces of Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. The provision is to the effect that the Parliament of Canada may deal with the question of assimilating the laws of property and procedure, but with this qualification: that their laws should be subject to adoption by the Legislatures of the several provinces. Sir Henry Parkes, I think, referred to this matter in the course of his speech. The adoption of this idea, may, I believe, he found to solve many of the difficulties which are apparently in the way. These, however, are matters which will have to be considered at a subsequent stage. I shall most cordially support the motion which has been proposed by Sir Henry Parkes-a motion which sums up, in the almost happy manner the present position of affairs. I shall be deeply disappointed if, as the result of this conference, there are not laid the foundations of a real, strong, permanent, and complete Federal Government of Australasia.

[start page 13]

Mr. T. PLAYFORD.-Mr. President, I understand that no other honorable member is just now ready to address the Conference on this subject, but I think it would be a pity to waste any time; and although I am not quite prepared myself, as some of my papers are locked up in a portmanteau, the key of which is in the possession of my servant, whom I cannot find, I think it would be better we should utilize the time at our disposal, and not adjourn at such an early hour in the afternoon. For the reason I have explained I shall have to trust to my memory for certain facts and figures, and also for the general tenor and effect of quotations which I had intended to read to the Conference in the course of my remarks. In the first place, Sir, allow me to say that I am somewhat disappointed with the motion that has been introduced by Sir Henry Parkes. I had anticipated something more than is

contained in this motion. Very possibly it may be followed by a further resolution or resolutions, of which I have no knowledge at the present time, and, if so, I may have misunderstood the honorable gentleman; but if it is not to be followed by some further proposal on the subject, then I must say I am somewhat disappointed at the bald resolution which the honorable gentleman has introduced to our notice to-day. In reading the correspondence which took place between yourself, Mr. President, and Sir Henry Parkes-the correspondence which gave rise to this Conference being held-I notice that Sir Henry Parkes anticipates that the new parliament which is to be established for the whole of Australia will be built up on the lines of the Canadian Parliament, and from that I took the cue that it was his intention, at all events at that time, to submit to this Conference a series of resolutions, which would not merely baldly affirm the desirability of a general Parliament for the whole of Australia, but would at the same time indicate-I do not say in every detail, but at all events in the leading lines of detail-the powers and functions proposed to be vested in the general Parliament. However, we have before us only a bald resolution, affirming, in its first clause, that in the opinion of this Conference the best interests, and the present and future prosperity, of the Australasian Colonies will be promoted by an early union under the Crown. I think we can all agree to that. There is no doubt about that. We have all agreed to it in the past- all of us, at all events, who have taken a prominent part in political life throughout the Australasian Colonies. With hardly an exception, we have agreed that sooner or later the time will come when Australia must be united under one Government. The only points of difference have hitherto been as to whether the time was ripe for union, and as to what powers should be given to that Parliament which, is to be the general Parliament for all the Australasian Colonies. The unfortunate part of the matter has been, that this question of the federation of the colonies has been taken up by the leading statesmen of the colonies. Now it has been asserted, by one who spoke with authority, that "all great reforms spring from the people;" and if the people of Australia had taken up this question in the first instance, we should have had it brought to a conclusion long ago. But it has been taken up by the leading statesmen of the various colonies, and, as a consequence-well, I won't say as a consequence, but as a fact-the question has not been taken up by the people. It has not sprung from the people, and we are met here to-day, so far as South Australia is concerned, with the people not so educated on the question as to enable us to state that they, at all events, are distinctly and unmistakably prepared for federation, and to what extent they are willing to go. The leading statesmen of the colonies have discussed this question for many years past. As far back as the first institution of responsible government in New South Wales, Mr. E. Deas Thomson-I forget the particular position he occupied in the Government of the day, but Sir Henry Parkes will, no doubt, remember it-pointed out, in the discussion of their Constitution, the necessity of having a general Parliament to deal with certain subjects which he specified, and amounting, I believe, to a total of eight. Among those subjects were some of the very questions we are considering here to-day as questions which should be dealt with by a general Parliament for the whole of Australia. You have only to go on to a little later period in Australian history, when you find that a gentleman of the name Wakefield, in London, drew up a letter to Lord Derby, the Secretary of State for the Colonies at that time, in which he most clearly pointed out the desirability of establishing a general Parliament of Australia to deal with such questions as the gold-fields questions-they have been settled; the land question-that has been settled; immigration-well, I think a general Parliament of Australia would never have to deal with the question of immigration; and a variety [start page 14] of other subjects which have been practically settled among: ourselves, and which would never form part of the deliberations of a Federal Parliament, but which at that time were looked upon as subjects which did unmistakably form part of the duties and functions of a Federal Parliament. But among the subjects to which Mr. Wakefield alluded, was that exceedingly important question of a uniform railway gauge for the whole of the Australian colonies, and, if a uniform railway gauge had been adopted in the first instance, what a large amount of public money would have been saved which will be practically wasted when we come to break up all the railway gauges but one in these colonies. On other subjects, too, such as a Customs Union, Mr. Wakefield hit the right nail on the head, and showed even in those early stages of Australian history how necessary it was in the best interests of the colonies as a whole that should have a general Parliament to deal with these most important questions. All these things were then pointed out by Mr. Wakefield and re-echoed by leading statesmen throughout the colonies, but even up to the present time the people of the various colonies have not taken up the question, and although it has for years past been discussed by the leading statesmen of Australia, who have

expressed almost unanimous opinions on the subject, yet in consequence of the people not having taken up the subject heartily, we have not at the present time a general Parliament for the whole of Australia. And I contend that our position with regard to the establishment of a general Parliament for Australia is far more difficult than the position of any country that has federated in times past. In the United States of America federation was brought about because England insisted on taxing the colonies without giving them any voice in determining: that taxation-taxation without representation. Those who agreed with taxation without representation stood on the side of the Crown, and those who did not agree with taxation without representation stood on the side against the Crown. The colonies were divided into two unmistakably hostile camps, and the sons of those old Puritans who landed in New England, true to their instincts of liberty, decided that they would never vote for allowing the Crown to tax them without their consent. They fought for their liberty, and gained it. In that case there was an unmistakable cause of appeal to the feelings of the people, and we can thoroughly understand how it was that they joined together to assert their rights and liberties, and how it was that they were so successful. And a lucky thing it was for England that they were so successful. As Lecky says in his History of England in the Eighteenth Century, on the result of that struggle for freedom depended the question whether the power of the Crown should continue to be the paramount in England itself, or whether the English people should lose a portion of their liberties. Then, coming later down, leaving out the case of the people of Switzerland, who joined for the protection of their liberties, and the case of the United States of Holland, we came to Canada, the latest example of federation, and what do we find there? Precisely the same reasons for federation. Canada has a frontier of some 3000 miles to the United States. At that time the great Southern rebellion was going on, and the North was making every effort to crush the South; A conference of delegates met at Prince Edward Island. At that original conference it was only intended that the maritime provinces of Canada should join together in a federation. But upper and Lower Canada were in a very peculiar position. When they decided among themselves to have one House of Parliament and one Legislature-one Assembly and one Council-it was agreed that Lower Canada should have precisely the same number of members in the Assembly as Upper Canada; but Upper Canada grew quickly in population, and demanded that population should be the basis of representation so far as the Lower House was concerned. Lower Canada resisted, because she knew that if she allowed it to become the law of the land her power in the State would be seriously decreased, and from being, the dominant power she would practically be in a minority. The resistance of Lower Canada brought about a deadlock. An appeal to the country took place. That resulted in another deadlock, and they saw no way out of the difficulty except federation. At that time the people of Upper Canada sent a deputation to meet the representatives of the maritime provinces at their Conference. They met in Conference, and the question under discussion was the federation of the whole of the States of Canada-Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland. It was resolved that the colonies that had no power to be represented at that Conference should get those powers, and that the next Conference should meet at Quebec and [start page 15] consider the whole subject. The position of affairs regarding Canada at that time was that there was a great war going on between North and South America. Just then the Alabama was let loose-possibly that is not a correct expression, although Lord John Russell is charged with having allowed the vessel to go from an English port. At all events the Alabama was destroying American commerce to a large extent, and the American people were very wroth against the English people and the English Government in consequence. Canada did not know at what moment war might break out between the United States and Great Britain, but the Canadians felt that if war did break out they would be the first, at al events, to suffer the injuries that such a war would inflict, and that most likely they would be attacked by the United States immediately on the declaration of war. Therefore, the question of defence, as far as Canada was concerned, was a question of paramount importance. There was, also, another reason which strengthened their desire for federation. During the whole of the winter months Canada depended for its intercourse with the mother country and the continent of Europe entirely upon the communication through the United States of America-its own rivers, lakes, and canals being frozen-and the United States, being at that time annoyed with England on account of the doings of the Alabama, began to put obstacles in the way of getting goods through bond from New York, and in other ways showed their teeth so unmistakably as to induce the colonies should join together in federation, so as not to be so dependent on the United States for their means of access to England and the rest of the world. For a long time the project of constructing a railway from Halifax

to Quebec had been mooted-a line which would enable Canada to have intercourse with the mother country without going through any portion of the United States. Now between Canada and the maritime provinces there is a desert of a great many hundred miles in extent. This railway would have been a very expensive one, and it was thought that the colonies should join together in its construction, as the cost would be more than any one colony, such as Nova Scotia or Lower Canada, could afford. That was another inducement to federation. Then there was the fiscal difficulty, which was precisely the same as that with which we have to deal at the present time. The provinces had hostile tariffs-they had border customs duties which were collected by one province from the producers of the other provinces-and this matter also had to be adjusted. We can, therefore, understand why a Convention held in Quebec Came to practically a unanimous resolution in favour of a draft Bill, containing some 72 clauses, for submission to the Imperial Parliament, as forming a basis for the federation of the provinces. But even then the Dominion would never have been erected had it not been for a circumstance which occurred while the various States were engaged in the consideration of the resolutions of the Quebec Convention. I refer to that wanton Fenian invasion of Canada, which took place just when New Brunswick and Nova Scotia had positively refused to adopt the Bill agreed to by the Quebec Convention. That wanton Fenian invasion on a peaceful community, across the borders of the United States, roused the people of Canada. Those who had previously been opposed to federation then saw the necessity of it. A dissolution of the Parliament of New Brunswick, and I think also of the Parliament of Nova Scotia, took place; an appeal was again made to the constituencies, and the constituencies reversed the decision which they had given only a few months before. The Dominion of Canada, as we see it to-day, was then formed. But even the provinces had difficulties and troubles in their path; and it was not, after all, until they had got the Imperial Government to guarantee them a loan of £3,000,000, that the lower maritime provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick agreed to form a part of the confederation. What is our position compared with the position of the Dominion of Canada? You have listened to the speech of the Premier of New South Wales, and heard his statement of the glorious progress made by the colonies under our present form of government. Consider then, what an argument he gave to those who are opposed to federation. "If we are the wealthiest people in the world without federation, if we are the best governed and the most prosperous communities that exist in the world at the present time, without federation, why on earth," say the opponents of federation, "should you go in for federation?" "If you have accomplished so much under the present system of government why change it for federation?" We shall have to meet all these objections, and therefore I contend that the difficulties in the way of federation in the Australian Colonies are greater than they were in any country in the world in which federation has taken place. We have difficulties to encounter they never had. We have no enemy at our doors who is likely to [start page 16] burn our cities, to levy contributions upon us, to kill a number of our people. We have nothing of that sort to fear although all those countries which have federated in the past have had it to fear. Therefore we have to build up; and to build up slowly and carefully, a public opinion in the colonies, without being able to appeal to any catastrophe that might occur through war. We can only appeal to injuries that might be occasioned by our hostile tariffs, and to the advantages of union. We cannot do this at a bound, and therefore I contend that those gentlemen who were at the Sydney Conference of 1883, and agreed to the very small advance then made, to the very moderate powers given to the Federal Council, were wise in their generation. If they had attempted any more they would have failed. Sir Henry Parkes alluded to this Conference, but he neglected to allude to the Conference of 1881, of which he was a member. That Conference considered the subject of the formation of a Federal Council, and a Draft Bill was submitted by Sir Henry Parkes. It was thought then that the subject was hardly sufficiently ripe, but the Bill was printed, and it is to be found in the proceedings of the Conference. The Conference did not come to any decision either for or against the formation of a Federal Council; the fact is, the matter dropped, but there is the Bill. Sir Henry Parkes was not a member of the Conference of 1883; but that Conference practically adopted the honorable gentleman's Bill, and the present Federal Council Act is based upon it. It may be said-I believe it has been said, that harmony is sometimes improved by inserting a little note of discord now and again into the music. Perhaps I shall insert one or two notes of discord regarding the colony of New South Wales on the one hand, and the colony of Victoria on the other hand. I do not wish to do that in any offensive manner, or with any other object than that of enabling me to answer questions which have been, and will be again asked in South Australia. In the

first place I would like to ask Sir Henry Parkes how was it that, after he had introduced the Federal Council Bill in 1881, the colony of New South Wales refused to come into the Federal Council when it was formed, and how was it that he himself opposed its coming in? I do not know the reason, and I should like to know it.

Sir HENRY PARKES.-I will tell the honorable gentleman how, if he thinks well.

Mr. PLAYFORD.-I don't know which is the better course. I will appeal to the President.

The PRESIDENT.-It is a mere matter of convenience. If the honorable gentleman thinks that it would assist his argument he can hear the explanation now.

Mr. PLAYFORD.-No. It would perhaps be well to give Sir Henry Parkes time to consider the question.

Sir HENRY PARKES.-There is not much consideration required.

Mr. PLAYFORD.-Possibly not. I put the question in good faith, because it has been put in our colony and in our Legislature, and it will be put again by the enemies of federation. I should like to be able to give a straightforward honest answer to it.

Sir HENRY PARKES.-You had better have the explanation now, it will only take a few minutes.

Mr. PLAYFORD.-No, it will come better in the proper order. Sir Henry Parkes will have a right of reply, and he will have every opportunity of going into the question. Then I would like to ask Sir Henry Parkes a question concerning another matter which has been spoken of in our colony. Of course we all understand reasoning like this-that a gentleman who comes forward and says that he is in favour of Australian unity should be a gentleman who would desire to work harmoniously with all the colonies. We had a Conference not long ago on the Chinese question. We were then unanimous that a certain Bill should be introduced in the local Legislatures, and Sir Henry Parkes promised on behalf of his Government, that that course would be taken in New South Wales. The Governments of the other colonies have introduced and passed the Bill; but no such action has been taken in New South Wales. Does this conduct on the part of Sir Henry Parkes show that sincere desire for Australian unity which we would be led to suppose from the speech be delivered to-day, actuates him. There is another point I took a note of while Sir Henry Parkes was speaking. It appeared to me that he made an omission, but he will no doubt, supply it when he replies. During the whole of his address he did not say a single word about our relations with the mother country. Whatever happens, I intend to remain loyal to the mother country, and so does the colony I represent. No matter how affairs are managed, we intend to continue to belong to that great Anglo-Saxon [start page 17] people whose home is Great Britain. If the mother country is unfairly attacked, we intend to defend her, as we feel that if we are unfairly attacked she will defend us. Although we may claim great powers of self-government, I maintain we should make it thoroughly and distinctly known that as far as we are concerned we are loyal to Great Britain; and I believe that is what Sir Henry Parkes means, though he did not refer to that particular point. There are two especially important points upon which we are asked to federate. The most important question calculated to drive us into federation is undoubtedly the fiscal question. As far as we are concerned, it is more important than the defences, because, as long as we fairly do our duty in taking measures to defend ourselves, we may rest assured that we shall have the might of the British empire at our back to assist us. I do not fear this matter of the defences at all, but I look upon the question of rival customs houses established between the various colonies as a thing, we ought to break down as soon as we can do it with reason and fairness to the colonies concerned. Now I ask the colony of Victoria and her representatives, who have been the greatest sinners in building up this wall between the various colonies? Which was the first colony to step forward and tax the natural products of her neighbours? Victoria, I reply. A necessity has arisen to federate and put a stop to the existing state of things simply because Victoria chose to erect these barriers. She was the first to start the system.

Mr. DEAKIN.-Hear, hear.

Mr. T. PLAYFORD.-The people of the colony I represent are asking what reason has Victoria for wishing to break down these barriers of her own erecting? Is she not actuated by self-interest in some form? The answer is, say the people of South Australia, that Victoria having been the first in the field with protection having built up her manufactures, established her industries, and got her skilled workmen around her, she does not fear competition now with any of the colonies. She can now compete successfully against them, and by breaking down the barriers she will gain an advantage over the neighbouring colonies; by adopting that course she will reap the greatest benefit and pocket the most "tin." Speaking plainly and straightforwardly that is what the people in South Australia say, and I ask the representatives of Victoria to give us one or two answers to this. I think I have put the matter in a straight way, and I hope that when Mr. Deakin addresses the Conference there will be no beating about the bush.

Mr. DEAKIN.-There will be no disputed territory this time.

Mr. T. PLAYFORD.-Victoria has constructed this hedge and cemented this stone wall between us, and we have retaliated.

Mr. DEAKIN.-Imitation is the sincerest flattery.

Mr. T. PLAYFORD.-It is not flattery, it is pure retaliation.

Sir HENRY PARKES.-You should turn the other check now.

Mr. T. PLAYFORD.-When we found what had been done in the colony of Victoria we could hardly believe it. We had to adopt protective measures, and we should never have done that had not Victoria started it. We should on no account have taxed her natural products-her cattle, her sheep, her butter, her eggs, or anything else that was hers-but for the example set by Victoria. We were obliged to follow suit. Our people found that it was to their advantage to establish protective duties.

Sir HENRY PARKES.-That is unchristian.

Mr. T. PLAYFORD.-I do not know that we are arguing the matter from the Christian ethics standpoint. I am only putting the pertinent question which will be asked my colleague and myself when we return to our colony by people who will expect a satisfactory answer to it. Although I may agree with Sir Henry Parkes that there is no special lion in the path, there are difficulties in the way, and the people of South Australia will require, a great deal of explanation in regard to the action of Victoria. I am waiting anxiously to hear a word or two of explanation from Mr. Deakin in regard to the action of the colony which, having erected a wall, is now the first to want to kick it down. I am quite certain that if we are to build up a Federation on the Canadian lines, the colony of South Australia will never agree to it. Sir Henry Parkes saying, in his letter to Mr. Gillies, alluded to the Constitution of the Dominion of Canada as a basis of agreement, we naturally looked at that Constitution to see if it would suit our circumstances. Although unity is a grand thing, it is not everything. As far as the local Legislatures are concerned, I contend that it will be the wiser course to adopt to leave to them all the powers we possibly can, apart from such powers as they cannot exercise individually.

[start page 18]

Sir HENRY PARKES.-We all say that.

Mr. T. PLAYFORD.-Exactly the contrary course is pursued in the Constitution of the Dominion of Canada. There the local Parliaments are only a little bit above municipalities. Railways and roads

are under the general Parliament. The local Parliaments have a little to do with education, police, the destitute poor, and lunatics; and that is all. And above them is this great general power, which says-"We will veto any laws you pass which we disapprove of, and we have two years to do it in." It is said that a court will be established to save the expense of sending home appeals to the Privy Council; but though an appeal to a local court is provided, there is an appeal to the Privy Council after all, so that the rich man is simply given another string to his bow. He may appeal from the local magistrate, and from the local Court of Appeal to the Privy Council, and he is given another halting place and another means of putting money into the pockets of lawyers. If we have a Court of Appeal in these colonies, that Court of Appeal must be final. After looking through the Constitution of the Dominion of Canada and the Acts passed under it, I say unhesitatingly that, as far as the colony I represent is concerned, we will have to go upon exactly the opposite basis, and instead of giving the whole of the powers not specified to the General Parliament, we must give the whole of the powers not specified to the local Parliaments. Of course the Constitution of the Dominion of Canada was framed under peculiar circumstances. While the Convention at Quebec was sitting North and South America were at war, and the Convention thought it desirable to put something in the Constitution to prevent the settling of matters with the sword. The Constitution was therefore made to provide that all the powers not specially given to the local Parliaments should be given to the general Parliament. When the Convention did that, it did not realize the immense power it was giving to the general Parliament-an amount of power which these colonies will never consent to give. It will be for the best interest of the Australasian colonies that the general Parliament shall have its powers and duties clearly and specifically defined, everything else to be left to the focal Parliaments. The general Parliament should only have entrusted to it such matters as relate to customs duties, the marriage laws, or a court of appeal. I do not believe in the powers of the local Parliaments being curtailed, and in South Australia the people will not give up any of them except such as can be better exercised by the general Parliament. We want our local Parliaments to become nurseries for the higher general Parliament, and the more powers you give the local Parliaments the greater responsibilities they will feel, and the better it will be for the community as a whole. I think it would be well if we were to pass some resolution which would clearly set the minds of the local legislatures at rest on this particular point. Sir Samuel Griffith pointed out that the jealousies of the local Parliaments formed one of the difficulties we have got to face, and anything calculated to smooth the way-to show that we do not want to deprive them of powers which can be safely and properly left to them -would very considerably conduce to the carrying out of our wishes in the future. Although I am favorable to the adoption of the resolution, I consider it should be followed by further resolutions, showing the local Parliaments the position we assume. We do not require a great Dominion Parliament, such as exists in Canada, relegating, as it does, all local Legislatures into mere parish vestries. We require something in the shape of the Government of the United States, where clearly defined powers are given to the Senate and the House of Representatives, and where all other powers not specified are left to be exercised by the local States and constituencies. I have endeavoured to point out to the Conference the difficult problem which besets it. We find that this desire for federation has sprung from the top. It has commenced in the higher and not the lower branches of society. In South Australia, as in Victoria and New South Wales, there are people who will reap advantage from federation, and the doing away of border duties. Some of these people will clamour for federation. The great mass of the people, however, remain quiescent in regard to the question. They listen to what is going on, and they read their newspapers, but they do not appear to be greatly moved. There is no war impending; they are not much troubled by the officers of the custom house; and the result is that they do not take much interest in the subject of federation. Those who have occupied public positions for many years past, however, have felt the colonies ought to federate. This feeling has existed since the in ration of responsible government itself, and nowhere more strongly than in the mother colony. The members of the Conference have met, but there has been no [start page 19] great wave of public opinion to carry them on to success, and without this success will never be achieved. I have always been in favour of advancing, step by step, towards Federation. One step in advance has been taken in the formation of the Federal Council. Two or three further steps in advance ought to be taken by this Conference. But if we go too far, and endeavour to secure a Dominion like that of Canada, the chances are that we shall lose all, and Federation will be put back to a future time and generation. This, I take it, is only what may be termed a preliminary gathering. It is, I believe, understood that the members of

Conference will recommend their Parliaments to appoint delegates to a Convention, which shall have the power of drafting a Bill to be submitted to the various Governments. The resolution does not bind us to any great or small step in advance. Consequently it would be wise, in order that the existence of local jealousies may be avoided, to clearly define the principles upon which we think the Convention should be guided in framing the Bill to be submitted.

Mr. DEAKIN.-Mr. President, I think the Conference will be much indebted to Mr. Playford for the frank, forcible, and extremely vigorous speech he has done us the honour of delivering-a speech in which he has certainly carried out his stated intention of facing, in he boldest manner, what he conceived to be difficulties of the situation. I was delighted to perceive that, notwithstanding a certain amount of antagonism which he endeavoured to infuse into his remarks and manner, he felt himself compelled, again and again, to confess what I take to be as complete an adhesion as is necessary to the principle embodied in the resolution before the Conference.

Mr. T. PLAYFORD.-Hear, hear.

Mr. DEAKIN.-I believe that, after fuller discussion shall have cleared the air, and more defined issues have been submitted, we shall find the honorable gentleman side by side with us, cooperating to brine about the end we all desire. We shall then discover that he has served one of the best purposes of discussion, which is the study, not merely of the plain and easy paths of agreement, but of possible sources of disagreement, and of the question whether those sources of disagreement may not be removed. It was probably on account of the unfortunate absence of his papers that he failed to note that the particular omission to which he called the attention of Sir Henry Parkes was actually embodied in his resolution. The honorable gentleman will notice that the motion affirms, not simply that the interests of the Australian Colonies will be furthered by more complete federation, but that this is to be a union under the Crown. Again in his concluding observations, Mr. Playford endeavoured to impress upon us the necessity of protecting the rights and privileges of the Legislatures which we represent, and which represent the several colonies. I venture to think that all that could be demanded or expected by the most exacting of them is also contained in the resolution-in the last words, which come as a proviso to the whole requiring that any federation which may be adopted shall be one which shall be founded on principles just to the several colonies. Personally, I do not believe that any colony desires to have more than just treatment under federation. Reserving this matter, however, I find that one of Mr. Playford's difficulties is, that we have no difficulties. He considers that one of the misfortunes of the present Conference is that it meets without a sufficiently great occasion; without that force of circumstances, such as existed in Canada and the United States, which might compel us to form a union nolens volens. As far as my memory serves me, his political sketch was perfectly correct. It is true that the two great Anglo-Saxon organizations to which we must necessarily direct our attention were consummated under the strongest pressure from without, so that the states or provinces, which up to that time had shown little disposition to agree, were compelled to form a union. Will the honorable gentleman venture to advance the opinion that he can see nothing in the future possibilities of this continent which may compel federation? Will he not admit, if he views the situation frankly, that, so far from being unlikely it is practically a matter of certitude that, sooner or later, we too shall be faced with circumstances which, with or without our will, will force us into alliance? How much better then if, recognising this as one of the inevitable future events of our history, we face the question in a time of peace and quiet, and without any severe external compulsion. How much better to meet, as we do now, at our leisure, with a clear prescience of what must be the character of our future, to consider how deep we can lay the foundations of our national strength. Instead of being forced into partnership by a crisis, it will be far better for us to be united before the crisis arrives, so that we may face it with a bold and unbroken front. In the meantime [start page 20] we are now at our ease, and may consider not only, the greater, but the smaller conditions which should attach to a federation. This is a position rather of advantage than of disadvantage. It is a position which will enable us to devote even to the minor issues of the question an amount of attention which could scarcely be expected if we were met under the imminent hazard of a foreign

war, or under circumstances of a like nature. I note that Mr. Playford spoke of the colonies and of their peoples -not intentionally, I am sure-with a certain implication throughout that there was something which distinguished the Victorian from the South Australian; the South Australian from the New South Welshman; the New South Welshman from the Queenslander; and the Queenslander from the Tasmanian.

Mr. T. PLAYFORD.-No, no.

Mr. DEAKIN.-The honorable gentleman must recollect that the attitude he has taken up might have been justified had it been assumed by himself as a citizen of a European State, and had his remarks been addressed to those of a different race, language, and creed, living under a different form of government. We cannot forget, however, that, in this country, we are separated only by imaginary lines, and that we are a people one in blood, race, religion, and aspirations. It is impossible for any man born in or belonging to one colony to pass to the other and to feel that he has gone to a foreign country. It is because of the intense closeness of the tie which unites us that we notice the line of Customs houses along our borders, which remind us that we have created a difference where no difference need exist. The honorable gentleman seemed to imply that there would always be the same separateness existing between the residents of the Australian Colonies as there may be between the residents of adjoining but differing nationalities. We have, however, to recollect that we have sprung from one stock and are one people, and whatever the barriers between us may be, they are of our own creation. That which we have created we are surely strong enough to remove.

Mr. T. PLAYFORD.-I know that.

Mr. DEAKIN.-Well, then, let us brace ourselves to the task. Although we are here to consider the purely intellectual aspects of this question, we cannot avoid a reference to the sentimental aspect, which is so apparent in connexion with this great issue. After all, it is upon the existence of the tie of affection between us that we rely when we ask assent to a resolution which expresses an aspiration native to every citizen of Australia, which cannot be rooted out of our hearts-which should inspire our lives -the aspiration of seeing these colonies united in one great nation. I do not wish to dwell on this aspect, but still it indicates a powerful factor which will infuse itself into this discussion at every turn, and it would not be well to pass on without noticing that we have always this to rely upon to help us over the difficulties that will face us. This sentiment of our nationality is one which, I believe, we shall see increasing in its intensity year by year, and it will count for much more than it now does when the people of these colonies have become a people sprung from the soil, a people the vast majority of whom will know no other home than the soil of Australia. I believe that this passion of nationality will widen and deepen and strengthen its tides until they will far more than suffice to float all the burdens that may be placed upon their bosom. I quite agree that the considerations we are bound to address ourselves to are for the most part considerations of self-interest, and that we should not seek to lay too great a strain on the feeling to which I have alluded. But as a wise seaman steers his ship to take advantage as far as possible of wind and tide, so should we shape our course so as to secure for this great movement every possible assistance, whether from the forces of sentiment or motives of self-interest, and thus be enabled to reach the haven of federation. The honorable gentleman who preceded me said that all great reforms spring from the people. That is perfectly true. They spring from the people when they are ripening for execution. It does not follow that idea springs from the many, but rather it must of necessity take its birth in the mind of one, or, at all events, in the minds of a few. Unless the honorable gentleman accepts some doctrine of an outpouring of inspiration which falls on the million and neglects the unit, I do not see how he can take any other view of this matter. So far our colony is concerned, I can assure him that throughout the whole of Victoria there is in the hearts of the people a strong desire for federation. Now, I believe I can modify Mr. Playford's statement with regard to the attitude of the people of South Australia towards federation in a way that would make it more palatable even to himself. Instead of saying that the people of South Australia have not been moved by what he termed the federal wave, I fancy [start page 21] he would more accurately define the situation by saying that the People of his colony have the feeling for federation, but they require to see that this feeling, if given full play, will not run counter to their interests and the

development of their own colony. I must say that, as far is I am acquainted with representative men in South Australia, I have always found them quite as warm in the cause of federation as any representatives from the other colonies in the group. A considerable section of the Victorian public will require to know how the new proposals may affect their own interests before they commit themselves to federation. But it does not alter the general statement I have made with perfect accuracy, that the whole of the people of Victoria are moved by a desire for federation, merely because numbers of them will need, before they give that feeling sway, to see that their interests are properly preserved and adequately protected. On the other hand, a large body of them are prepared to make sacrifices in the cause of federation. However this may be, we certainly could not say that there is no popular zeal for federation; on the contrary, it has been one of our current common-places for a long time past that the surest utterance to awaken a cheer at my Victorian gathering was one declaring for federation. And if I were to point to the opinions of the press, I do not think I could lay my hands upon a single journal published in Victoria that takes up a position antagonistic to federation. Some of them desire to see the conditions of union before they give in their adhesion to any particular plan of federation, but I could quote scores of Victorian newspapers which are strongly and warmly in favour of the principle embodied in the motion now before us. "The crimson thread of kinship," as Sir Henry Parkes so happily and poetically termed it, running, as it does, through all the colonies, has not merely the strength of a thread, but is stronger than links of steel. When we are inclined to doubt the prospects of the future it is upon considerations such as these that we may for the time rely, confident that they will inevitably bring about that consummation which we all so earnestly desire. Mr. Playford offered some comments upon the past policy of the Premier of New South Wales, and the honorable gentleman was good enough to devote a small part of his attention to the colony which, in conjunction with our President, I have the honour to represent. He inquired, with a sufficient amount of warmth to indicate the genuineness of his sentiments, why it was that Victoria was now found among the federationists? Why Saul was found among the prophets, would be the Biblical form of putting the question. The honorable member told us that this was a question he would be asked when he faced his constituents-why Victoria, which was the first colony to adopt a Protective Tariff, falling not only on the manufactures but also on the natural products of her neighbours, was now found among the first who were willing to join in an Australian Confederation? Well, if I were so disposed to divert the honorable gentleman's statement, I might point out, as a strong argument in favour of federation, that if federation had taken place years ago the barriers of which his people now complained would never have been reared at all, and he must, therefore, see that when he was complaining of the present condition of things he was supplying an argument in favour of union: The honorable gentleman asked if Victoria had not imposed these Protective duties in her own interests, and whether the present movement, so far as it promised the removal of those duties, was not made by Victoria with a similar motive? That is a very natural question, to which there is a very ready reply. Certainly Victoria imposed Protective duties with the idea of self-benefit, and without considering the interests of her neighbours in the slightest degree. Most assuredly self-interest was the impelling motive, because Victorian statesmen, like the statesmen of every other colony, are studious of the welfare of their own people. Under the present system, their own people are to be found only within the borders of one colony or another, and these limited interests are the only interests which they are bound to consider. And why is it thus? Because you have created in these colonies a series of centres of independent life, and each of these centres of independent life will seek to maintain and multiply itself without regard for and in more or less hostility to the others. While these colonies are independent powers, and their Legislatures enjoy full authority, those Legislatures will be bound to exercise all the powers with which they are entrusted for the benefit of the people they represent, and the benefit only of the people they represent; and that has been the Victorian policy. The one remedy, if you desire a remedy, for the present condition of things is to create another centre of national life, which shall so far absorb these minor centres as to give the people of the several colonies one common interest, instead of antagonistic interests. You cannot by any means short [start page 22] of federation modify the present independent lives of the colonies so as to develop a national force, to which all individual forces shall minister. If Mr. Playford asks whether this proposal is not made at the present time by Victoria from self-interested objects, I say "Yes, most assuredly." Do I believe that it is to the interest of Victoria that there should be a federation of the colonies? Certainly I believe it. If I did not believe it I should require stronger arguments than I do now to convince me that the federation movement is one to be

supported. If he asks the equivalent question-"Do I believe it to be to the interest of the other colonies of the Australian group that there should be federation?" I answer with equal frankness that I believe it to be just as much to their interest as to the interest of Victoria. We have a mutual interest, and if I did not think that there was this mutual self-interest to assist the racial and national feeling we have already, I might anticipate much less from the result of this federation movement. I answer Mr. Playford's inquiry with perfect frankness when I say that I believe we can all assure our own people that it is to our common interest to unite on all subjects on which union is possible, and that our highest interests are the joint interests which can only be effectually studied in unison. The comments which I desire to make upon the resolution itself will be of a rather fragmentary character, and supplementary only to those which have already been so ably placed before you by Sir Henry Parkes in his opening address-an address my own concurrence with which was so complete that I contented myself with merely formally seconding the motion, in order that some other speakers, who felt more critical, might exercise their skill upon it. That able address was then criticised in a perfectly fair spirit by Sir Samuel Griffith, who certainly called attention to all, or almost all, the obstacles which would have to be surmounted before the situation could be considered to have been completely cleared. It is rather by way, therefore, of supplement to what has already been said that I venture to add a word or two upon some of the difficulties of union which must be taken into account. One of them was that noticed, in passing, by Sir Henry Parkes as the "something more than rivalry" which at present exists between the colonies. That is a consideration which should weigh with us most seriously. The spirit of partisanship is inherent in human nature, and it is perfectly certain that it is nowhere more vigorous than in Anglo-Saxon communities. The amount of feeling that can be aroused, even by the local contests which are waged by the young men of our country in friendly rivalry the one against the other, is often intense. It must be the experience of many gentlemen who have represented country constituencies, that where there are two townships of about the same size within reasonable distance of each other, the vigour of the antagonism that can be kindled dwarfs all general political antagonisms. Another illustration that suggests itself, is that of the defender of the privileges of one House of Parliament as against the other House, who, when he passes from one chamber to the other espouses the authority he previously attacked with as much energy as he has been accustomed to assail it. In all these directions, and in others, we find that the least possible reason for partiality is quite sufficient to set up a ground of difference, and sooner or later to create a distinct hostility. I believe there is a feeling existing between the different colonies of Australasia at the present time-that is, between some people in one colony and some in another-which is of an entirely regretable character. One has only to observe the comments which appear, even in the best newspapers of one colony upon events taking place in another colony, to see that there is not a generous spirit of kinship exhibited by the critics. Representative journals even rejoice over the difficulties experienced by another colony, perhaps because it may suit the political policy of the paper to do so, but sometimes apparently without that cause, and for no other reason than that there is a kind of rivalry existing between the colonies. This is an unfortunate factor, and one the existence of which should not be disregarded. We cannot be sure that circumstance might not fan these latent opposition into something far stronger and more difficult to cope with. They are too strong already, and it belongs to us to provide such measures as shall prevent their growing stronger. We must direct much of the loyalty which is now attached to individual colonies to a central ideal of the national life of Australia, so that our countrymen shall exhibit their loyalty to the nation, and the nation only, and shall feel that what transpires in any part of the colonies has as much interest for them as events occurring in the particular spot in which they dwell. Unless we have this centre of feeling, I am perfectly certain that [start page 23] the local sentiment which now exists may hereafter prove to be a serious stumbling block to any one who endeavours to solve the problem of union. One cannot but be struck with the fact that we have now reached a stage of our existence which points in many ways to tile timeliness of federation. Curiously enough, when the United States entered into their union, they had, roughly speaking, about the same population as we have at the present time; and the same remark applies to Canada. Curiously enough, also, the territory of the United States is almost exactly the same in area as that of Australia. The territory of Canada is somewhat larger, because the immense ice-bound districts to the north are included in it. The climatic differences which were considered to be so great a barrier to the union of the United States are greater than the climatic differences here. The geographical difficulties which had to be faced by the early delegates to Congress in the United States were

infinitely greater than we would have to face in attending a central meeting of the representatives of Australia. And as Sir Henry Parkes pointed out, the prosperity of these colonies-their wealth, revenue, resources-are enormously larger than were those of the United States, and also larger than were those of the Canadas at the time of their union. All these circumstances seem to point to the fact that if we are to follow on the same lines we should be to-day close to the same point at which they found it to their interest to merge their separate selves into a common nationality. We should note, finally, that the United States and Canada had to deal with bodies as free and independent as our own. Each state of the United States, and each province of Canada, was as independent of every other state or province as each colony of Australia is of every other colony. Yet, in both of those instances, our own kinsmen, enjoying local self-government to the same extent that we enjoy it, found it to their mutual interest to create another and higher form of government. If we take the verdict of those countries to-day, if we ask any intelligent American or Canadian whether he would wish that the wheels of time should be rolled back, and the union his country enjoys dissolved, he would regard the question as so preposterous as scarcely to demand an answer. In each case they point with pride to their union; they celebrate it, and there is not a voice raised to regret it-on the contrary, they date from them all the progress which has been made. While Mr. Playford was perfectly right in saying that our horizon abroad is calm and clear, compared with the horizon that surrounded the men who federated the United States and Canada, yet, at the same time, it is not without its threatening clouds. We have, in the first place, in the neighbouring islands of the Pacific, a storehouse of confirmed criminals, whom we have not yet succeeded in either confining to the place to which they were sent, or, in more than a modified way, diminishing their influx. We may be faced at any time by serious difficulties in connexion with the recidivistes, who will seek in our cities the means of pursuing the infamous practices, from which they are debarred in their place of detention, and it may be necessary to take strong action at any moment to protect our homes and our people from the consequences of this invasion. Then, again, in the islands of the New Hebrides and the Samoan group, it must be confessed that the political equilibrium is extremely unstable; the present condition of things may not continue for any length of time, and it may be highly desirable, when the hour arrives for finally settling their affairs, that the voice of Australia should be a strong and a united voice-a voice which will be listened to in London, echoed in the other capitals of Europe. We should claim to be recognised as the United States is making itself recognised in dealing with the destinies of these groups. United Australia will be called upon to face the largest problems. One has been in some measure already dealt with, but not yet finally solved-that of the influx of inferior races into the northern parts of tile continent. There are questions arising with the Chinese Government which yet remain for final settlement; and in regard to which it is necessary that the peoples of these colonies should be able, through some recognised body, to speedily and effectually express their will. They must be prepared to support that will by united action when necessary. The immense importance of the issues involved is such as to furnish the strongest argument in favour of all early union-indeed they are so strong as to suffice in themselves to justify it. In connexion with this and other questions, none of its doubts that the weight attached to our wishes would be enormously increased if we had a supreme representative of the Crown, in the person of a Governor-General, and one Agent-General in London, through whom United Australasia could express its views with the certainty that they would receive courteous and considerate attention. I say that in these respects we have everything to gain, and [start page 24] if our neighbours in those superb islands a little removed across the sea will realize how closely their interests are bound up with our interests in tile Pacific and how necessary it is to gain tile ear of Ministers in London, and impress the great powers of Europe, they will see that they too have much to gain by inclusion in such a Dominion. There is yet another class of cases that are dealt with in the United States and Canada by means of the federal authority, and which, in a lesser degree, will be required to be dealt with in these colonies by the same authority. I refer to the settlement and supervision of territories outside the States of the Union. It is proposed, I believe, by the Bill which will shortly grant Western Australia the local government which all Australasia has long wished her, to confine the new colony to the territory south of the 26th parallel, while the territory north of that is to be governed by Western Australia under the control of Ministers in England. We have already in New Guinea a Crown colony of a certain type which would also require to be administered, and it is possible, of course, that there may be yet other territories carved out of Australasia or the surrounding islands. Can it be doubted that it would be better that the Executive of Federal Australasia and the General Legislature of

Australasia should be the bodies entrusted with their control, watching the gradual development of their resources, and providing for their gradual entry upon the rights of self-government, until they had become sufficiently advanced to justify their full admission to the Union. Such territories would be more sympathetically and more satisfactorily controlled by a Parliament of Federated Australia than by the best Cabinet of Ministers that could be collected in London. The action of an Executive in London must be tardy, costly, and hampered by want of local knowledge, while an Australasian Parliament would have the advantages of proximity and better acquaintance with the circumstances of the new lands, thus fitting it to watch over them with the parental care which young communities require. I shall say nothing of the control of our defences, which was the occasion of the summoning of the present Conference, because what the mover of the motion and Sir Samuel Griffith have urged renders further comment unnecessary. The facts that we have already an army of 31,000 men maintained on this continent, that we shall shortly have our own fleet, and that the annual expenditure on our military and naval establishment amounts to £800,000 afford evidence that the military and naval establishments of Australasia are reaching a point in their development at which they call for central executive control. In addition to the new fleet, which will shortly form our first line of defence, there is a second line of defence (if I may use that term) which has developed in some measure in most of the colonies, especially in Queensland and Victoria, by the creation of a minor flotilla of torpedo and gunboats suitable for coast defence. These gunboats and torpedo boats would form an additional arm, which the Federal Executive would be able to largely increase, the great advantage of the colonies. Whatever land defences we may possess, we may find use in times of peace, and fullest use in times of war, for an Australasian coastal squadron, which would protect our ports and harbours from any danger which may threaten them. With regard to work which might be better done by a Federal Government than by the separate Governments of the colonies, it is questioned whether, when the Convention comes to consider all the issues raised (which I do not enter into), it will not be decided that the larger part of the work should be left to the local Governments. It is argued that public works, for instance, would be more satisfactorily carried out by the local Governments than by a Government more removed. This is certainly open to discussion, though there seems to be no reason why the public works of these colonies should not, like those of America be carried out by the individual states, and it may well be advisable for the railways, telegraphs, and post offices to continue under the management of the several colonies within whose borders they may be. But what is clearer is, that the great cable and mail lines between this continent and the old world would inevitably pass under the control of the Federal Government. There is one land line already across the continent of Australia, which it might be necessary to hand over to the Central Government, And there is a cable projected towards North America, which will greatly affect the interests of the inhabitants of Australasia and the Pacific islands and our countrymen across the sea. The question of the Pacific cable is of the greatest consequence to all English-speaking peoples and to the Empire in particular. These lines would naturally fall under the direction of the Federal Government, and that Government, owing to its magnificent credit, would stand in a better position in regard to any necessary expenditure than the separate Governments [start page 25] of any of the colonies. The Federal Government would also be able to manage these means of communication with a success that even all the colonies in union could scarcely hope to attain to. Mr. Playford, I was glad to notice, agreed that the marriage, patent, and currency laws should be dealt with by the Federal Government, instead of by the separate authorities. These admissions of the honorable gentleman showed how truly his co-operation may be relied upon in almost every direction. Then we are faced by the "lion in the path"-a Customs Union. This obstacle has been considered as presenting various aspects of menace and terror. Mr. Playford considers it formidable, but Sir Samuel Griffith does not, and both gentlemen have considered the means by which the lion may be made a serviceable animal. There are to be a few more years in which he is to satiate his appetite, and after that he is to become the obedient humble servant of the Federation. Until then he is to be allowed to prey upon neighbour and stranger alike. If this suggestion is to be adopted, the position which the Federal Government would find itself in would be the rather uncomfortable one of a Government without any great source of revenue, unless it be specially endowed with some new powers of taxation, the operation of which would hardly introduce it in a favorable fight to the inhabitants of this continent. Knowing that this subject will have to be thrashed out by the Convention, I pass it by with scant treatment. I desire to say, however, that if the suggestion be adopted there will be one essential condition, without which a

Federal Government will be an impossibility, and this is, that if the local tariffs are to be maintained for a period of years it will be absolutely necessary that their collection should, from the first day of the formation of a Federal Government, be undertaken by the officers of that Government, even if the revenue has to be afterwards paid over into local treasuries. There must from the first be a Federal control over all the ports of Australasia by Federal Customs officers. It will be necessary for the Federal Government to have the means of maintaining itself. It must receive the Customs revenues, and deduct what it is authorized to deduct, paying back to the several colonies the surplus there would be over the small expenditure upon such a form of government. I cordially agree with the statement that a common tariff is a sine qua non of national life. There call be no true union which does not include a Customs Union. I will not yet admit that it is necessary that it should be even postponed. Another matter to which I would wish to call special attention is that, in a Federal Judiciary, we shall have one of the greatest gains and one of the strongest powers of the federation-not simply by the creation of a Court of Appeal in Australia, which should avoid the necessity of appealing to the Privy Council in London, but by the establishment of a judiciary in which, if we adopted the model of the United States, we should obtain one of the organizations by which the power of its union makes itself felt and obeyed in all portions of its vast dominions. In that monumental work by Mr. Bryce, The American Commonwealth, are summed up, in the most perspicuous and able manner, almost all the lessons which the political student could hope to call from an exhaustive, impartial, and truly critical examination of the institutions of that country with which we are so closely allied. As a text-book for the philosophic study of constitutional questions it takes its place in the very first rank. In this volume, Mr. Bryce points to the fact that the authority of the judiciary in the United States is not, is often integrated by Englishmen, an authority only of a Court of Appeal sitting at Washington. On the contrary, while nine judges sit as a Supreme Court of Appeal, there are 60 other judges scattered through the States, composing the Federal Justiciary. The powers with which the courts are entrusted, and the cases with which they have to deal, indicate the reality of the federation of the states comprising the Union. The cases dealt with by the Federal Courts include, "cases in law and equity arising under the Constitution; the laws of the United States and treaties made under their authority." They also deal, according to Bryce, with "cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls;" "cases of admirality and maritime jurisdiction;" "controversies to which the United States shall be a party;" and "controversies between two or more states, between a state and citizens of another state, between citizens of different states, between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens, or subjects." If a resident in Massachusetts has an action against a citizen of New York, and he does not feel justified in having his case tried in New York, it can be taken to the Federal Court. If one [start page 26] state has a cause of difference against another state, neither need consent to its cause being tried in the courts of the other. Exactly similar circumstances must arise throughout Australia. What we shall require will be, not simply some Federal Court of Appeal to hear cases after they have been dealt with in the courts of the colony, but a Federal Judiciary, with Federal Courts in all the colonies.

Mr. T. PLAYFORD.-We shall establish a lot of additional courts at a great deal of unnecessary expense.

Mr. DEAKIN.-If the honorable gentleman will look at the proceedings of his own Parliament he will find that, two sessions ago, an important Act was passed to enable creditors on the South Australian side of the border to recover from debtors passing to our side. In the course of the debate on the subject numbers of instances were mentioned, in which the people of South Australia had suffered great hardships for the want of such a law. If the honorable gentleman will question mercantile men and others, he will find that the present law by no means meets all their wishes. In fact he will find that the laws and the courts at present provided are in many respects inadequate to meet requirements. The honorable gentleman need have no test on the score of expense. The several existing colonial courts would probably be to some extent superseded, and their jurisdiction limited or else they would be federalised. The expense of maintaining these courts would be infinitesimal, not a decimal per cent. of the income of the smallest of the Australasian Colonies, while the benefits conferred by them upon large classes would, I am sure, be found to be of the greatest value. Leaving

these details, which I have only ventured to touch upon in a fragmentary way, and sympathizing with the strong stand made by Mr. Playford on the supposition that the powers and privileges of the different local Governments were to be assailed, and being as prepared as he is to do my utmost in their defence, I believe that we would act idly unless we admitted from the first that in the creation of a Federal Legislature and a Federal Executive we meant them to be the organs of a Sovereign state-a state which would not be a figment or shadow, nor exist only on the sufferance of the local Parliaments, but which would draw its authority straight from the people of the different colonies, obtaining from them the plenary powers to be exercised by it within certain limits. The great lesson taught by Mr. Bryce in his magnificent work is that the strength of the United States Government lies in this, that although it is a Federal Government, under which each State of the Union is theoretically and actually independent in respect to all concerns of local life and legislation, it has nevertheless sovereign authority in that it is gifted with powers which act directly and immediately on every citizen of the entire country. It is not dependent on any state for one cent of its revenue, nor upon state officers for any act of administration , nor upon State Courts for any decision in its favour. Except that the state legislators elect the members of the Senate there is no connexion between the states and their Central Government. The Union is not concerned to have their support, nor does it seek their aid for the forces it maintains. It is a Sovereign state acting directly, without any intermediary, upon the citizens from which it springs. (Hear, hear.) I am glad that view is concurred with. I am glad to think that we shall see a Sovereign state in Australasia which will be able to act directly through its judiciary, and in other ways, on every citizen within its borders, and be in every respect and in all its powers the equal of any state in the world. Were we to aim at crippling, maiming, or enfeebling the local Legislatures, we would aim at doing something not only wholly unnecessary for our purpose, but something which would actually injure the Federal Government we are seeking to establish. There should be and must be nothing antagonistic between a Federal Government supreme in its sphere and local Governments supreme in their spheres. It is perfectly true that there must be a division of authority, that some of the powers of the local Governments will have to be transferred to the Federal Government, but the judges of the powers to be given to either body must not be either the local Governments with their jealousies, or the Central Government with its ambitions. The judgment must come from those whom both exist only to serve-from the people themselves. So far both the local and central authorities must be regarded as on the same platform, because as it is in the national interest that there should be a differentiation of the powers of Government into central and local Governments so in settling that division only national interests ought to be considered. What we have to study is how to give the central authority all the powers which can be best exercised by such a body to the distinct advantage of the whole of the people. Those powers it ought to have; but it is not to be [start page 27] entitled to acquire them in such a way as would enfeeble the different local Governments, on whose healthy life its successful existence must largely depend. As well might it be attempted to enfeeble municipal institutions in order to aggrandize Parliament, the fact being that parliamentary Government depends very much for its smooth and easy working upon the smooth and easy working of the minor local bodies. There are an infinite number of issues which no central Parliament could deal with, but which necessarily belong to the local Legislatures, and which they should be able to deal with in the present manner. For my part, I think we should seek to strengthen the local Legislatures by every possible means. We should, as Mr. Playford says, leave them every power it is possible for them to exercise in the interests of the whole community. If more power can be given them for that purpose than is conceded elsewhere, let it be granted, but let us give the Central Government just as emphatically a full and unfettered power so far as the interests of the whole people demand it. I find Hamilton, one of the greatest of the founders of the American Constitution, saying-

"The establishment of a Constitution in time of profound peace by the voluntary consent of a whole people is a prodigy to the completion of which I look forward with trembling anxiety."

And I think that although it would be arrogance indeed for the founders of an Australasian Constitution to measure themselves with men of the exalted moral character and splendid abilities of the founders of the great Republic, they may still approach their smaller task with much the same feeling. I do not quite concur in the statement that all great reforms must come from the people, but I

fully admit that success in carrying out such reforms must come from the people. No success is possible without their sanction. All that is possible for this Conference or a Convention to do is to present to the Australasian people a means by which they can, if they so please, transform themselves and their separate segments into a great and united nation. I do not fear the result of an appeal to the people. Indeed, when the question is submitted to them, and a Constitution thoughtfully drafted by the representative men of all Australasia is presented to them, I shall be much astonished if the verdict from one end of the continent to the other is not an emphatic approval of what has been done. I would be alarmed if I could conceive of any other possibility. But that lies in the future. One thing we shall do in creating a Central Government will be to call into active political existence a class of men who have hitherto shown themselves unfitted or unable to deal with local politics, or who have, perhaps, not desired to deal with them. We shall, I believe, bring into the field of Federal Legislation a large body of trained political intelligence and also a number of minds not at "resent employed upon political issues, and we shall enable these to place at the service of the Union an ability and culture which shall be capable of conducting the business of the nation in a manner befitting its powers and its promises. The task which has fallen on the members of this Conference is in every sense preliminary, but it is a task which we can discharge, in all humility, yet with perfect confidence that the Parliaments from which we have come will subsequently consider this question in a truly national spirit. A far greater task awaits the Convention, which will be called upon to frame a Federal Constitution. This will be a work of transcendent responsibility, yet the Constitution then shaped will, after all, however admirable, not be a final Constitution. There is not the least need to suppose that the Convention, when it addresses itself to its task, will do so under the impression that it is required to frame such a scheme as can never be improved upon for all time to come. Let that Constitution be what it may, if in any respect it fails to meet the wishes and needs of the people of Australia, they will still have the right, and certainly should be specially endowed with the power, of moulding it from time to time more and more into harmony with their needs and desires. We, in this colony, obtained our Constitution in 1855, but it has been amended, and may be amended again. It was amended in 1858, again in 1862, again in 1864, and again in 1865, until at present out of the 63 sections of which it was originally composed, some 20 have been wholly or almost wholly repealed. The prospect of an eternal flux in a Constitution is not to be wished. But a Constitution lives for and from the people, and except so far as it coincides with their character is a dead burden. In national growth there must necessarily be constitutional changes suited to that growth, and such changes have been made, not only in this colony but in every other colony in the Australian group, so that we should not entertain too great a sense of the responsibility resting upon the Convention. It is a certainty that the Australasian Constitution adopted in our [start page 28] time will not be absolutely perfect, and that if ever it is found not completely adapted to the circumstances of the Australian people it ought to be altered, and will be altered by them to suit themselves. In conclusion, I think we need have no doubt that the people of these colonies, who have so wisely and well amended the Constitutions they obtained from the mother country, will be found perfectly able, not only to frame a Constitution, but also, if necessary, to amend it so as to enable it to satisfy all reasonable needs. Indeed, it is upon this confidence in the capacity of our people for self-government that all our aspirations rest. It may be said of them, as Milton, in one of his pamphlets, said of the people of England-

"Lords and Commons of England, consider what nation it is where of ye are, and where of ye are governors; a nation not slow and dull, but of a quick, ingenious, and piercing spirit, acute to invent, subtile and sinewy to discourse, not beneath the reach of any point the highest that human capacity can soar to."

If Milton could say that of the superb generation of which he was one of the most glorious representatives, I believe that, with all deference, we may say as much of the picked race of men who founded these colonies not half a century since. The generation now passing away has, first with the consent of the Imperial Government, and afterwards with the consent of our own Parliaments, moulded our local institutions so that whatever may be the few small flaws in them, we have Constitutions of which we are proud, and of which the wisest political thinkers have expressed their approval. Upon the generation now coming rests the greater task of framing a Federal Constitution which shall be for all the colonies what our present Constitutions have been to each of us; and when I

recollect the fathers who have taught and trained them, and their achievements in this very sphere, I cannot despair of the result of the task committed to them nor question the ultimate triumph of those who are now entering upon the hour of their labour and their trial.

The Conference adjourned at a quarter to six o'clock p.m., until eleven o'clock a.m. the following day.