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1890 Australasian Federation Conference

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The Public were, admitted to the Conference Chamber at twenty-five minutes past eleven o'clock, a.m., the PRESIDENT (Mr. D. GILLIES) being in the Chair.


Discussion on Sir Henry Parkes' motion, in favour of an early union under the Crown of all the Australasian Colonies (adjourned from the previous day), was then resumed.

Mr. W. McMILLAN said-Mr. President, it seems to me that in debating the present proposition, which stands first on the notice-paper, and is certainly of a more or less abstract character, we should keep clearly in view the second and third propositions which are also on the notice-paper, and which are really of a thoroughly practical nature, inasmuch as they indicate the goal towards which we, in this Conference, are moving. The second proposition sets forth that the delegates at the Conference should ask their respective Parliaments to send delegates to a-Convention, to be held at a future period, to discuss the whole question of Australasian Federation; while the third simply refers to the number of delegates to be appointed by each colony, which the proposal of Mr. Deakin fixes at seven. This leads me to point out the exact position we, the New South Wales delegates, now occupy. It may be well at the present stage to take, what has not been taken yet, a slight retrospective glance at the proceedings which preceded the Conference. It will be in the recollection of my fellow delegates that the Convention originally proposed by Sir Henry Parkes was very much on the lines of the Plan Since laid before us by Mr. Deakin, but the Premiers of the other Australasian Colonies concerned thought fit to suggest a different mode of bringing the public men of the several colonies together. It was considered probable that it would be well to take more initial steps, in order to formulate the resolutions to be placed before their respective Parliaments. I may here point out that, although many of its members are also members of the Federal Council, this Conference has no direct sanction from the different Parliaments of the several colonies represented. We are here wholly as a consultative body, and, of course, there can be no practical outcome front such an assemblage, except in the way of suggestion. It appears to me, therefore, that the references made by different speakers to certain details were quite unnecessary, and also that they in many ways liable to embarrass us in our future action with regard to our respective Parliaments. I quite admit that over and above the mere abstract proposition that the time is ripe for federation, it is quite proper that some details should be entered upon, but I must protest against some of the more elaborate references which have been made, especially by Dr. Cockburn, one of the representatives of South Australia, and others, and which seem to require us, while trying to formulate a particular kind of Government, to go into all sorts of complexities as to whether we should have a partial or complete federation of the colonies, and so on. However, its this course has been taken, it appears to me that it is my duty to a certain extent to reply to some of the remarks, at any rate to those bearing upon the more salient points connected with the federation of the future. As a matter of fact, Sir Henry Parkes has been blamed for not going more into detail, and a very severe attack has been made upon him by my robust friend, Mr. Playford, on that account. But I think careful consideration of the observations which have fallen from my honorable colleague will show that attack to be wholly unjustifiable. Let me point out, for instance, that although in one of the letters written by him which brought about this Conference he unquestionably referred to the Dominion of Canada, he did so only in these words:-

" The scheme of Federal Government, it is assumed, would necessarily follow Close upon the type of the Dominion Government of Canada. It would provide for the appointment of a Governor-General, for the creation of an Australian Privy Council, and a Parliament consisting of a Senate and a House of Commons."

Every one knows that it is often very difficult, especially in political matters, to separate principles from details, but surely the division is here most complete. In fact, [start page 52] I defy any member of the Convention to indicate any reference made by my honorable colleague in which he does more than refer to the larger outlines of the Federation scheme. Again, Mr. Playford referred to my honorable colleague's remarks with respect to a Court of Appeal. He assumed that, besides a court of Appeal in connexion with a Federation Legislature, there would still be an ultimate appeal to the Imperial Privy Council. But no such thing has ever been intended, and I trust no such arrangement will exist. It is in order to get justice promptly, and afford the same finality that attaches to the supreme Court of Appeal now in existence, that we propose that there should be an Australasian Court of Appeal, composed of Men familiar with the circumstances and also the laws and courts of the colonies, which we believe will be satisfactory, and productive of benefit to the whole Australasian people. I could not help feeling, to a certain extent, amused by the references made by different members of the Federal Council. For instance, it has seemed all along, in the case of my honorable friend, Sir Samuel Griffith, that he is really quite as enthusiastic for federation as any of us-that, in fact, he holds a brief for federation-but that, nevertheless, he wants, with the peculiarity belonging to the legal mind, to show us all the difficulties and disturbing elements in the way. Then we have had Sir J. Lee Steere, who intimated, in a very sweeping manner, that all the remarks preceding his had been actuated by pure sentiment, and that what he had in view was to bring us down to the terra firma of practical ideas. No doubt, he did this to some extent, but what was the outcome of his remarks? To, so far, show us that every possible scheme of federation-good, bad, or indifferent-was simply impracticable. In much the same way, Dr. Cockburn began his remarks, with, apparently, a most dreary and hopeless feeling of the difficulties surrounding the case; but I was glad to notice that eventually he was found entering thoroughly, like all the other delegates, into the spirit of the movement, and my view, the question really before us in this Conference is-Has not such a wave of declaring that he, for one, thoroughly believed in Australia Union. According to feeling flowed over the minds of the Australasian people that the public men assembled here may well feel justified in asking their several Parliaments to bring about a Convention to discuss the whole question of federation, in an absolutely untrammelled way, from beginning to end? Let us feeling flowed over the minds of the Australasian people that the public see if that position can be maintained. I believe that there is no question as to the spread of the federation spirit in New South Wales. For instance, the federation idea there could have no higher sanction than that of the Parliament of the colony. Well, at the commencement of last session, the matter of federation was adverted to in the Governor's speech, and the reply to that speech was adopted without a dissentient voice. Then there has not been for some time, throughout the length and breadth of the colony, a single public meeting where every speech, toast, or sentiment at all touching federation was not received with the almost unanimous applause of those present. In short, there can be no question that the people of New South Wales, together with their neighbours, are determined to have federation, and anxious for the public men of the different colonies to meet together in order to weave some scheme practical in its character for the adoption of the different local Parliaments. Another question, perhaps even more important and more practical than any affecting the mere sentiment of the people of the different colonies, is, "How far are they united at the present time?" One delegate has told us that we, in the various colonies, have no knowledge of one another. But I think it will be conceded that, during at all events the last ten years, there has been a most serious advance in the means of inter-communication in connexion with the larger colonies of the group. During that period we have joined our railway systems, and in consequence an impetus has been given to commercial and other intercourse, which no one would have previously imagined. For instance, have not our principal commercial firms business ramifications extending throughout the whole of the colonies-Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland? Are not the various colonial churches firmly welded together in ecclesiastical communion? Are not the families of the different colonies continually spreading out their tendrils right and left towards each other, the children uniting to create and increase intercolonial interests?

Does any man travelling among the colonies, directly he has passed the wretched custom-houses on the Border, ever feel that he is in a foreign country? For myself. I feel that we have to-day, among the several colonies, greater elements of union than have ever before, in the history of the world, existed in connexion with any community about to join, or which [start page 53] has joined, in federative connexion. Between the various states of America there was never such an union, either in race, religion, or opinion, as there is here. Search as you will, you will find no foreign element whatever. In fact, in our intercourse with one another, there is but one disturbing constituent, namely, that contained in the question of Border duties. This may, perhaps, be regarded by some as a matter of detail, but I say most emphatically that there can be no union between the colonies worth calling union unless we abolish every custom-house along every Intercolonial Border. Sir, what is federation? The only federation I want to see is not the federation of my honorable friend, Dr. Cockburn--the mere federation of nations showing great versatility and variety in their different characteristics. I want to see a union of the several Australasian peoples so homogeneous, complete, and perfect that we would be but one Australasian nation, without any sense of discord; and no other attempt at nationality, such as the creation of a Zollverein for any mere commercial or other purpose of an imperfect character, will ever meet the wishes and views of, at any rate, the rising youth of Australasia, who, I believe, will be the great factor in bringing about the ultimate union of every portion of its different populations. We have been told by several authorities that what we want is, primarily, something in the shape of partial union. But what would partial union mean? I don't want to reflect for a moment on the Federal Council. It would not be wise, in a discussion like the present, to introduce any irritating element to affect the issues with which we have to deal. But it cannot be said that the Federal Council, with its partial and limited scope, has been a success in the past. Supposing, for one moment, that you attempted to establish a poor, meagre, half-and-half kind of government throughout these colonies, what would be the history of the future? Take the case of a colony like New South Wales, standing in her position of natural superiority to probably any of the other colonies, and with her population. What will it be in a few years to come? I am not now boasting of the inhabitants of New South Wales, but simply alluding to her command of the Pacific Ocean, and to her marvellous resources-her coal, iron, and almost everything else that the civilized world requires. Do you think that a mere partial confederation, a mere make-shift Federal Parliament, would suit her-that the Legislature of a great colony of that sort would bow to anything but sovereign authority? I don't mean for one moment to say that the other colonies should be in any way dwarfed, but I do mean that whatever federal authority you create in the future must be strong, potent, and acknowledged. It must be independent in its Executive and in its Treasury, or else you will be eternally subject to most serious consequences from sudden up-risings of the local powers against the central power. We have had a great many analogies drawn between the United States and the Dominion of Canada. No doubt there is a partial analogy in many respects between ourselves and those countries, but, on the other hand, there are essential differences. For example, we are an island continent. No matter how volt subdivide the different parts of Australia into different sections, you must give to each of them a large sea-coast, with its harbours and valuable commerce, together with all the other possibilities of national life. But the position of the United States or of Canada is that of a congery of littoral states depending for their commerce upon the interior states, which in their turn naturally depend upon the others for the means of getting their products to the markets of the world. Surely, in the case of these Australian Colonies, each possessing within itself, as it does, not only a sea-coast, but one touching the broad oceans of the world, and so far having the great advantage for which countries like Germany and Russia are at the present time fighting so hard, namely, a means of getting out to the high seas, it is absolutely necessary that if we have a Federal Parliament it should not be a mongrel Parliament, but a sovereign body which would be respectfully recognised by every independant state, and which would have within itself such freedom of action and such power that no other country on the face the globe would be able to override it. In this connexion, I may say that, while there is much to gain, there are sacrifices to be made. No really great effort of patriotism was ever yet unattended with enormous sacrifices. But I may say, also, without egotism, that the sacrifices made by New South Wales in this union of the colonies will be greater than the sacrifices of any other colony in the group.

Sir HENRY PARKES.-Hear, hear.

Mr. McMILLAN.-What is our position ? I do not imply that we have a nobler or better race of people than the other colonies have. I believe [start page 54] there was a time in the history of these colonies when the possessors of the best ability, the best brains, and the best energies in Australia had found their way to Victoria. I acknowledge freely and fully that the reflected energy of Victoria has done New South Wales an enormous amount of good. But the fact remains that we are now a colony which could be, if we wished, independent of all the other colonies. If we desired to impose heavy protective duties along our Borders as against the outside world, we would be better able to carry out such a plan than any other colony of the group. No other colony could stand as we could stand. We possess, as I have already mentioned, all the elements that go to make up the wealth of Britain, and we have besides the finest harbour (which is almost a joke) on the Pacific Ocean. In fact, we hold the key of the Pacific. And I think that when free-trade New South Wales, with all her advantages, is willing to put out the right hand of fellowship to all the other colonies, small or great, she offers to give as powerful an impetus to the federation movement as the sacrifices she is, ready to make are large. No other colony could give an impetus so strong, or is in a position to make equal sacrifices. I don't say that what I refer to would be all self-sacrifice, for over and above what may come from other sources, we have behind us the sentiment of a new nationally. I believe that the native youth of this continent, who have never known any other home, and with whom the sentiment of "home" as referring to the mother country is to a certain extent fast dying out, are determined that they will have a national union of all Australia-that they will appear to the world not as New South Welshmen, not as Victorians, nor as the citizens of any separate colony, but as Australians. We have had a good deal of cavil with respect to this matter of tariff and it has seemed to me that in this Conference-it is only in accordance with human nature that such should be the case-some of our friends who have felt the heavy tread of Victoria have been anxious to give her a small unchristian slap on the cheek in order to show that the course pursued by her was resented. Well, it is a cause for great thankfulness that we now know that Victoria has seen the error of her ways. It is, of course, possible that she recognises that the time has come when Federal Union will be all to her benefit. No doubt she feels the geographical troubles that await her on the Murray, owing to the smallness of her territory. There is also no doubt that a large amount of the enterprise carried on in New South Wales, towards her southern border, is carried on by people who call themselves Victorians. At the same time, it seems to me that even supposing Victoria does get some extra benefit out of union, the fact remains that from All matters of mutual interest the cleverest fellow concerned always derives the most advantage. Therefore, I am quite willing, in view of the smallness of the territory of Victoria, and her want of those natural riches which are said to be made up to her by the superhuman energies of her people, that she should have the difficulties in her path wiped out for her by the abolition of Border duties. But, after all, is it fair for us to go into the past? Are we likely to bring about the consummation of our great idea by harping on all the troubles and grievances of a bygone period? I think not. Let us bear in mind that up to a very short time ago these colonies were each almost absolutely isolated. Victoria was then, in many respects, almost as much apart from New South Wales as she is now from Western Australia. In short, we knew very little of one another. There were no proper means of intercommunication. Let us trust, however, that had such proper means of intercommunication then existed, and we had been enabled to frequently meet each other, and, perhaps, marry our sons and daughters to each other, these hostile intercolonial tariffs would never have been imposed; and also that, with the earlier development of the fraternal spirit which has led to this Conference, we would by this time have been by so much the nearer to the result which we now have in view. Therefore, what we should now consider is not whether certain colonies have or have not done wrong in the past, not whether a system of retaliation has or has not been built up, say by South Australia-for retaliation is the one thing at the bottom of this protection business-but whether we have or have not determined to let bygones be bygones. As for myself I wish to emphatically assort that no union of the colonies can be worth anything without intercolonial free trade, inasmuch, as I have said before, what is called protection is the natural germ of retaliation among the states affected. How, in the name of common sense, can we have any union amongst the different parts of Australia, with restrictions in connexion with one of the most important [start page 55] matters of our daily life, namely, mutual commercial intercourse-one colony adding duties on duties, which another colony tries to cap-a system of retaliation underlying everything? Union under such circumstances would be an absolute farce. One

or two of the delegates have referred to matters of finance. Sir J. Lee Steere made out a very dismal picture. But it seems to me that, speaking broadly, if my of the colonies are to be specially benefited by a Federal Union, it will be the smaller colonies. Yet there is the fact that it is the larger colonies that are most anxious to federate. Sir J. Lee Steere spoke with mournfulness, but when the Imperial Parliament has passed a measure giving Western Australia a Constitution, and that colony, with its 40,000, or thereabouts, of population, rises to the dignity of a young nation, and finds itself welded to the other colonies, surely it will consider it a great advantage to be able to borrow money at two or three per cent. below its present credit. Then, as to the larger colonies, shall we not present a firmer front to the commercial world of England when we are a united Australasia? Most of the colonies are, at the present time, working off six, five, and four per cent. debentures, but I look forward to he time when, as one of the necessary triumphs of federation, we shall be able to borrow at three per cent., our credit being almost equal to the credit of England itself. The delegates who talked about finance seemed to forget that, whether we like it or not, and even whether we federate or not, we are fast becoming nations. If we federate, we shall be one nation; if we do not, we shall be separate nations. We are beginning to defend our ports, to raise volunteers, and to maintain standing armies. These are sources of expense which must grow. Surely, then, if there is any economy at all in concentration of administration, the matters which devolve upon us in the higher life of the future would be far more economically carried on by one central Government than by a series of local Governments, each acting according to its own sweet pleasure. As to the national debts of the colonies, that is a subject scarcely worth consideration at the present time, for each of those debts is represented to a great extent by substantial assets of a local character. The question of a central authority taking over the Railways is, to my mind, one of a very remote character. There is nothing in it essentially connected with the idea of central government, except perhaps so far as concerns the adoption of an intercolonial gauge, and the control of the entire Australian railway system being vested, under certain circumstances, such as a state of war, in central bands. Otherwise the affair is one of purely local interest. Let it be remembered that in dealing with the future debts of these colonies we do not deal with debts which axe the result of extravagance or warfare, but only with debts incurred for representative public works, a large number of which are of an interest-bearing character. Coming back to the matter of defence, surely if any central power takes upon itself to be the sole administrator of the defences of the Continent, it must be a power of a truly royal character-one who would overshadow every other Australian power, and necessarily have large authority as to taxation, so that, in case of urgent times, each of the peoples concerned might be called upon to pay its quota of the expense of defending them. As far as I can see, the question before us ultimately resolves itself into this: Are we convinced that there is a sufficiently strong feeling among the different colonies to warrant us in having the second and third propositions on the notice-paper as well as the first, and so bring about a Convention of the different colonies? I am glad to find, from what the different delegates have expressed, that they intend to ask their Parliaments to send representatives to such a Convention. Even in the case of New Zealand, its delegates will, if I mistake not, follow that course.

Captain RUSSELL.-Hear, hear.

Mr. McMILLAN.-The passing of this motion simply pledges us to the opinion that the time has come for real and practical discussion. I believe that in this opinion we are upheld by some of the greatest thinkers in England; I believe we are also upheld by the different populations of the Australian Colonies, and I believe that when public opinion has sufficiently penetrated New Zealand, even New Zealand, separated from this continent by 1,200 miles of water, will come into the Federation of the Australasian Colonies. But it would be a lamentable and a deplorable thing if the smaller colonies outside New Zealand attempted to hold themselves aloof from this great Federation of Australia. It is all well enough to pass resolutions for them to be admitted on certain terms at any time in the future, but nobody can foretell what the future may bring. I would like to point out to my honorable friend, Sir James Lee Steere, that one of the most vital parts along the coast line of our colonies is King George's [start page 56] Sound. Private enterprise has constructed a railway there which joins their main line at a place called Beverley, and if that point were not defended nothing could hinder an enemy from reaching the very heart of that little colony, and destroying even the house of Sir James Lee Steere.

Sir J. LEE STEERE.-They would find it a very difficult thing to do.

Mr. McMILLAN.-Now I just wish to sound this one warning note-that if the three great colonies on the eastern side of the continent-Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria-and also Tasmania, agree to form a Federal Union among themselves, it will be a thorough and complete Federal Union; and if the four colonies I have named agree to such a union, how in the name of common sense can they allow the other colonies hereafter to enter the union upon any partial conditions? It seems to me that they must be shut out altogether for a long time to come; but if the other colonies fairly and generously come to that union, declaring that they are willing to throw in their lot with the other colonies, then their position will be considered in the detailed arrangements that will be made. And it seems to me that that is a fair and a generous way of dealing with the peoples of the other colonies. Let me ask the representatives of those colonies once more to reconsider the positions they have taken up. My honorable friend, Mr. Playford, who is, I know, a fighting man, and one whom I should like to get behind in the event of an invasion, had a certain amount of antagonism to unbosom himself from, and, now that he has done so, I have no doubt that, like every decent Englishman, when the fight is over, he is inclined to be generous. As regards my friend, Dr. Cockburn, I believe that his opinions on this question are, to a certain extent--to use a medical phrase-in solution. I believe he is quite open to be converted, as I dare say he will be converted by my honorable friend, Mr. Macrossan, when he addresses the Conference. I have not much more to say. I don't intend to go back on my own principles. I consider that we are not here to discuss details. Changes rapidly occur in these colonies as well as elsewhere, and by basing our opinions too much upon details we might feel ourselves hampered in the future. We all belong to Parliaments in which there is party government; we know that, no matter what may be the sentiments in connexion with federation, party purposes will come in and party antagonisms will be aroused, and as I have no mandate from the Parliament of New South Wales, but am simply here in my position as a delegate to discuss the proposal in regard to a future Convention, all I can now say is, that I believe such a Convention is necessary, that we are ripe for it, and that when 40 or 50 men thoroughly representative of the different political creeds and different sentiments of the various colonies get together, with the same spirit which was given to our ancestors, to make a Constitution when it was necessary, rising to the exigencies of the present constitutional position, those men will do their duty, and the result will be something great for the future of Australasia.

Mr. B.S. BIRD.-Mr. President, representing as I do the smallest colony in the Australasian group, and happening to be the junior member for Tasmania in the Federal Council, I have waited, with the modesty, I hope, befitting that position, to hear what my honorable colleague in the representation of Tasmania would say for the colony we jointly represent, and also what the members for the greater colonies had to say upon this great question of federation, before I addressed myself to it. In taking the opportunity which is now given to me to express my views on the subject, I may say at once that I do not intend to indulge in general criticism of those who have gone before me, as has been done by my honorable friend who has just addressed the Conference; but I will begin, in the first place, by bearing testimony, as my honorable colleague has already done, to the strong feeling and deep interest which exist in Tasmania in favour of federation. Although we are so small a colony, the interests involved in this important question are in our measure, and in proportion to our population, as great as those of any other colony in the group. There are individual interests and there are sectional interests in connexion with the producing and commercial communities, which for us as a people are as serious and as important as they are for the individual and sectional interests in any other part of Australasia. And therefore it is, I think, fitting that Tasmania, the smallest of the colonies in the group, should have taken her place in the discussions of this Conference, and that her voice-no uncertain voice-should be heard upon the very important questions we are brought here to discuss. And yet, Sir, I wish to feel, and I do feel, that I am not here so much as a Tasmanian, as representing a small colony, or as representing sectional interests, nor [start page 57] to point out sectional advantages, or to claim them for any one colony as against another, but rather I desire to feel that I am here as one of the people who are about, I believe, to be united in a great Empire which will sway the destinies of countless millions for generations yet to come. I wish almost, forget, while I am here, that I am a Tasmanian,

and to feel that I am an Australasian, a term which I dare say may yet come to be used to designate every citizen of the great group of islands which are to be federated in these southern seas. To every citizen in that important group of states-the United States of America-is given the designation of American, whether his local habitation be New York or San Francisco, or any of the vast territory lying between. Likewise to each citizen of the great Canadian Empire is given the designation of Canadian, whether his home be in Nova Scotia, or in any of the Central Provinces, or upon the shores of the Pacific, or in British Columbia. And so, Sir, I hope the day is not far distant when every citizen of these colonies, which I trust will soon be joined together in the bonds of a union never to be dissolved, shall be known the wide world over as an Australasian, because, like a citizen of Canada or a citizen of the United States, he is an individual unit in one great Federation. I cannot help feeling that this great sentiment of unity, of oneness as a people, has found very forcible and gratifying expression, in spite of all the differences that have appeared in regard to the modes of union, in the speeches that have been delivered to us by members of the Conference during the last day or two. I feel sure that with such a spirit as this animating us we may look forward with confidence to the future, believing that whatever difficulties may lie in the way of the union of these great colonies, whether those difficulties may be characterized as lions, or as less or more formidable creatures, they will all be easily and wisely overcome, and that we shall speedily be brought together as a united people possessed of all the elements of expanding greatness. I would express my pleasure, Sir, that in the resolution which Sir Henry Parkes has introduced it is set out so plainly and positively that the union is to be under the Crown of England. In this I am glad to state that Tasmania will most heartily concur, for I am sure I may say, without boasting, that there is no people amongst the peoples of the British Possessions more loyal to the Crown of England than are the people of Tasmania. I have no doubt that in Tasmania, as in some of the other colonies, a few radical spirits may be found who would hoist the flag of separation to-morrow if they thought they could succeed, but at heart I am bound to say that the great mass of the people of Tasmania are loyal to the Throne of England, and desire nothing better than to continue their connexion with the illustrious British Empire. And I very much mistake the spirit that animates the masses of the people in the whole of the Australasian group if it does not correspond with that sentiment, which, as I have said, exists so strongly in Tasmania. I consider that it would be an act of very ill grace on our part, and on the part of any of these colonies, which are still certainly in what we may term the infantile stage of their existence-to dream of separation from that mother State which has with lavish hand, and some would say, indeed, with unwise liberality, bestowed upon us such a splendid inheritance of territory unsurpassed infertility, and containing vast mineral and other resources. Having received such a grand inheritance as this, freely given by the mother country, and having received also at the same time the highly-prized privilege of self-government, it would ill become us, I say, to turn away from the parental hand that has so richly and so generously bestowed these things upon us. And the same spirit, which I believe will bind us to the mother country for many a generation to come, ought to bind all Australasians still closer together as citizens of the British Empire. I think, Sir, that the sooner we break down those barriers which hostile Tariffs and varied laws have raised against the free intercourse of the peoples of these lands the better it will be for us all. I regard it as a most unfortunate circumstance that such barriers were ever interposed between peoples of the same blood, peoples with the same destinies, peoples with the same aspirations, because the existence of these barriers has caused, as we know, in the past, and is still causing, as was shown by the speech of Mr. Playford at this Conference, a large amount of irritation, and it has also called forth a spirit of retaliation. But here, Sir, we come upon one of the difficulties, the main difficulty-the "lion in the path" of federation. Some of the colonies, as appears from the speeches of their representatives at this Conference, will be unwilling to, at once at any rate, enter into a Customs Union, and give up the control of their Customs Tariff. Now, Sir, I regret this very much, for while I will not go so far [start page 58] as to say, with Mr. McMillan, that federation will not be worth having unless it bring with it a Customs Union or intercolonial free trade, yet I do feel that such a federation would be so imperfect and so comparatively disadvantageous, that I should very much regret to see it established. And I believe I speak the sentiments of the bulk of Tasmanians when I say that they also feel that a union which will not open the ports of the neighbouring colonies to all their products and leave their own ports free for the importation of the products of the neighbouring lands will not be such a union as would perfectly satisfy their desire for colonial federation. There are those who feel, as Mr. McMillan has told us he feels, very strongly that

such a union would not be worth having; and I may say here that there are members of the Tasmanian Parliament, among them colleagues of my own in the Government of Tasmania, who entertain the very same feeling, and who would regard such a federation as being practically worthless, and would almost be content rather to pursue the course we have entered upon in connexion with the Federal Council until all the colonies could come to be of one mind in the matter, and could all unite together upon, among other things, the basis of a common tariff. I am quite prepared to admit, as Sir Samuel Griffith has clearly and forcibly pointed out, that a union of the colonies, although it did not embrace a Customs Union, would be, or might be at any rate, in very many respects a very great advantage to the whole of the colonies; but at the same time, as the honorable gentleman also clearly showed, it would be so anomalous in its character, and would contain such elements of irritation as would result in creating greater bitterness and greater strife between the various colonies than has hitherto existed under the present fiscal arrangements. For, assuming that in any union each colony must contribute in one form or another to the Federal Treasury on in equal basis, the fact that Customs duties of a higher and more burdensome character were being levied against the productions of one colony than against the productions of another would produce such irritation amongst those who would be called upon to contribute, either upon the basis of population or upon some other uniform scale, that it is perfectly clear that the feeling of unfairness would become marked in the minds of those who suffered by having to pay first their regular contributions to the general revenue of the Federal Government and then to be burdened with those additional Customs duties which would be a further tax upon them. It is easy to see how they would kick against it, and that bitterness and strife, of a kind surpassing anything we have yet known in the colonies on account of Customs duties, would assuredly arise. Possibly, however, that would work its own cure, because the injustice, the unfairness, and the absurdity of such a system among a people who were supposed to be united, would become so obvious that those who suffered from it, and those who were inflicting their sufferings by the continuance of such a system, would ere long be compelled to come together and agree upon the adoption of that more complete union which is so desirable-a union based upon a uniform Customs Tariff. Now, Sir, if a union is to be established and I fondly hope it will, Tasmania, I know, would like to stipulate that one condition of the union should be the establishment of free ports as regards the trade between the colonies. I believe that she would be quite content to leave the question of a protective or a free-trade policy as against the outside world to be settled by the Federal Legislature. I am glad to find that this appears to be the position which the honorable members for New South Wales take up, whether they will have in that respect large sacrifices to make or less. I for my part do not see that their sacrifices will be so large as those of some of the other colonies, for I believe that those colonies which have the heaviest protective duties imposed will necessarily suffer most in loss of revenue by the establishment of intercolonial free trade. But I am glad to see that the disposition I have described is shown by the representatives of New South Wales, and I trust that it will be, taken up and followed as an example by the other colonies of the group, so that there will be little or no difficulty in securing the formation of a union based upon a uniform tariff amongst the colonies. I confess I could not quite follow my honorable friend Mr. Deakin in the way of concurrence, when he expressed the opinion that whether we have or have not a uniform tariff in the about-to-be-established Confederation, it would be absolutely essential that from the hour of the union the whole of the Customs duties should be collected by the Federal Government. I cannot agree in this, nor do I quite know the reason why Mr. Deakin insisted upon it, as he did so very strongly unless he conceives that in this way alone the Federal Government would have that perfect control of the purse which is essential to a powerful Federal Government.

[start page 59]

But I think it would be a clumsy way of securing that power, and that all the money which would be required to meet the necessities of the Federal Treasury could be secured by levying a contribution based upon the populations of the various states, provided there was some power behind it to enforce payment of the levy if any of the colonies, from any cause whatever, appeared inclined to repudiate its obligation. The general advantages of union have been so fully and so ably pointed out by my friend Sir, Samuel Griffith, as well as by other members of the Conference, that there is no need for me to enlarge very much upon that particular point. However, I would like to say a few words later on with

regard to that; but at this stage of my remarks, I desire to say that the advantages of union to each colony of the whole group-although they would doubtless be less in the case of some than in the case of others-are, in my estimation, certain to be so great that it would be well worth the while of any of the colonies to make even some considerable sacrifice in order to take its place in the Confederation. I should like to see such a constitution framed for the Australasian Federation, that all the colonies of the group without exception, would perforce, see and feel, and own that, balancing the advantages with the disadvantages likely to arise from such a union, the scale would turn decisively in favour of union and that speedily. In fact, Sir, so anxious am I to see the foundations of a great empire in these Southern seas laid broad and deep that I desire the constitution of this proposed Confederation to be such that all the British possessions which cluster around Australia and all those which are in proximity to her in the Pacific, should eventually be drawn in as members of the Dominion of Australasia. And further, Sir-and this is a point which, I think, has not yet been touched upon by any speaker who has preceded me-in view of what all Australasia takes to be the most unsatisfactory existence of the prison settlement of a foreign power in close vicinity to Australian shores, I should hope that the coming Confederation of Australasia would very soon be in a position to exercise such influence upon the Imperial Government as to secure the early and amicable removal both of the French prisoners and the French people from a country that lies so near to our shores; and that, obtained by England, in exchange, perhaps, for some slice of territory elsewhere, or for some other fair equivalent, that land might come into our possession, so that it, together with the New Hebrides, Fiji, and the rest of the islands which are the natural adjuncts of an Australasian Empire, might be joined to the group and have flying over it the flag of a United Australasia. I would express my hope that this union, on which it seems we are all in one form or another bent, will when consummated be a great deal more complete than there appears to be at present, judging from the speeches delivered, any probability of its becoming. I think I have already said that I regret the apparent indisposition on the part of one or two of the colonies to enter upon a federation which will embrace a Customs Union, and I now express my regret that New Zealand, which seemed to be somewhat favorably disposed to a Customs Union, yet appears, from Captain Russell's remarks, to hesitate about casting in her lot with a legislature in which, having herself only a population of some 700,000, she would feel, to use his own words, her comparative insignificance amongst a body of representatives of a population of nearly 4,000,000. I do not think the inhabitants of New Zealand need have my fear that they will be overpowered by the weight of representation in a body whose constituents number even so many as 4,000,000. We in Tasmania, who number only 150,000 people, have no fear that our interests will not be duly and justly conserved; and Western Australia, numbering a little over 40,000 inhabitants, also entertains no fears as to the results of joining a union in which there will be such overwhelming numbers represented. I also judge, from what has been said, that neither South Australia or Queensland, whose populations are less than those of New Zealand, have any fear on this particular score. Of course, everything will depend on the basis of representation. But I apprehend that whatever form this union about to be effected will take, it will be, as Sir Henry Parkes very tersely puts it in the closing words of his resolution, on principles just to the several colonies. If New Zealand joins, as I am happy to think she will, have a Convention at some future time to discuss and draft a scheme of federation, she will have an opportunity of taking every care that her representation shall be such that she need have no fear of suffering from a sense of insignificance, even in a Parliament which represents 4,000,000 of people. It was with some further regret that I found Captain Russell expressing hesitation ill regard to joining in any scheme for a united military organization for the several colonies. His indisposition, and that of his colony, to join in such an organization [start page 60] appeared to be based upon the fact that New Zealand is some four or five days' sail from the Australian continent, and that there is every probability that before armed assistance could be sent to her from Australia in case of emergency the mischief intended by the enemy's cruisers would have been accomplished, and the foreign ships would have disappeared, so that a union from that point of view could not be of much service. But I cannot help calling attention to the circumstance that New Zealand in the past, as Sir John Hall reminded us elsewhere a few evenings since, has made application to the Australian Colonies (which were then in a sense further away, because of the less rapid means of communication) to assist her in a time of emergency, and that New Zealand was gratified to find the readiness with which a contingent from Victoria (and, if I mistake not, from Tasmania also) was Sent across to help that colony in quelling the trouble that had overtaken it.

Captain RUSSELL.-Hear, hear,

Mr. BIRD.-As a civilian, I feel that I should speak with bated breath in the presence of a distinguished military officer like Captain Russell, and, perhaps, I ought not to offer suggestions to one whose military experience is so superior to mine; yet I cannot help saying that an emergency may arise in which New Zealand will be exceedingly glad to have assistance rendered to her by troops, though they have to go four or five days' journey to reach the land where the disturbance is. If I were a New Zealander I should consider it a grand thing to have even the right, which as a member of the great Federation of Australasia that colony would have, to call upon the neighbouring colonies for men or money in such a case. I hope (and I am sure that Captain Russell will pardon me for making the suggestion) that New Zealand will more fully consider this matter, and seeing that, as a member of the Confederation of Australasia, she would only have to hear her share in the general cost of military or naval defences, and that if an extra burden of expenditure should fall upon her, from any cause whatever, that burden would be shared by the rest of the colonies, she may fairly consider that it may, after all, be to her advantage to join the federation of Australasia, and agree to it upon such a basis as would include in it federal defence, as well as a Customs Union. I shall be very glad if any scheme of general defence can be devised, and any organization effected, under the powers which the Federal Council is already capable of exercising, so that we may have more speedily than we possibly can have under the proposed federation some organization to meet the emergency of our being suddenly overtaken by war. Three or four years, at least, must elapse before we can secure Australasian Federation on such lines as are being discussed at this Conference, and it will be a sad thing if we have to wait all that time for the establishment of a more effective military organization than we have at present, I do not desire to anticipate anything Mr. Deakin may have to say upon the resolution hearing on this question of which he has given notice; but if, under the Federal Council, as he evidently contemplates, we have sufficient power to organize and control general military defences, involving a Federal Executive and a Federal Treasury, it seems to give a blot that possibly after all in this Federal Council, which has been somewhat despised in some quarters, there is considerably more power than some people have thought and that in it there are possibilities of united action and federation which have been slightly looked upon by some of the members of the group. In the remarks of Sir J. Lee Steere and Dr. Cockburn in regard to this question there were hints and suggestions we would do well to think out and make effective at some future day, when the Convention meets. Before passing on to speak of the most suitable form of union, I wish to say something about the advantages and disadvantages, the gains and the losses, that are likely to attend on federation, whatever form it may take. For we must not run away with the idea that federation will be all gain each or all of the colonies. If federation includes intercolonial free trade, and I hop most sincerely that it will, it will unquestionably mean a loss of revenue to such colonies as have levied border duties upon their neighbours' goods; and the higher those protective duties have been, the more serious the loss of revenue will be. And that revenue, as a matter of course, can only be made up by increased protective duties against the outside world, or duties in some other form-perhaps direct taxation. This, doubtless, will create in some colonies difficulties which will not easily be got over. It will involve sacrifices which some of the people in these lands, we have been told, will hesitate to make. It is not in human nature, and certainly not in that of Colonial Treasurers, to be ready to make sacrifices of colonial revenue, particularly when in the case of many of the colonies the Governments are troubled [start page 61] to make their financial ends meet. It is not every colony that is in the proud position of Victoria (or the position she was in a little while ago) of being blessed with a large surplus; and it is not too much to say that this difficulty will be a lion in the path of federation as regards some of the colonies, whose inhabitants will be unwilling to make sacrifices unless it is shown to them most clearly that they will gain compensating advantages. Again, if the federation includes federal defence, and it most likely will, the expenditure incurred in some of the colonies will far exceed the present amount. Here will occur again the same difficulty which will face some of the colonies in abandoning a portion of their revenue from Border duties, and some of the Colonial Treasurers will feel it an unthankful task to have to say to their Parliaments, "We have federated, and it means that instead of spending £100,000 on defences you will have to spend £200,000;" or that, "instead of spending £10,000 you will have to spend £20,000 or £40,00O." Those who have to go to their Parliaments and

advocate federation must be prepared to show some of the advantages which will compensate for such additional expenditure. I am sure that unless the peoples of the different colonies are fully convinced that they are gaining additional security against foreign aggression, they will think a great many times before they will enter upon a scheme of federation which embraces federal defences. And it will be the same in regard to other matters which the Federal Government may be asked to take in hand. It is therefore very important that we should face all the difficulties at this early stage, and be prepared to fully meet them, so that those who hesitate about federation, and some, I am sorry to say, do, will see clearly that on the whole the advantage lies in federating. Besides these purely financial sacrifices, which some of the colonies will inevitably have to make-some more than others-there are other sacrifices which will have to be made, such as the yielding up of local control over some of those matters which it is generally admitted will be very much better managed and administered by a Federal Government. In regard to all matters like this, the self-governing colonies will certainly be most jealous of the loss of any of their existing rights, powers, and privileges, and we must be prepared to show them that while they are going to lose so much they are going to gain-more. Nothing whatever should be taken away from the control of the local Governments but such things as can be best administered in the interests of the individual colonies and of the whole group by the Federal Government. I think that whatever jealousy there may be as to loss of power, prestige, and privilege on the part of the focal Legislatures, they would be willing to consent to federation if they could see that their powers were not going to be curtailed needlessly in this respect, but that only those matters will be taken out of their bands which can be best managed by a Federal Government. In this connexion I also wish to remark that there is a set-off to the loss of revenue which would be sustained by the establishment of intercolonial free trade in the shape of the certain large increase in the commercial transactions which would follow. The indirect advantages arising from this, I hold, would very largely compensate for the loss of revenue sustained by the establishment of free trade, and would bring about a condition of things in the colonies affected that would fit them for bearing the burthen of taxation which would have to be imposed in some other form to make up for the loss of revenue sustained by opening the ports on the Borders. As a small matter, showing that the Federal Government will effect savings in many directions, there will be the fact that, owing to the closing of our Customs houses on all our inland borders, there will be the possibility of dispensing with a large army of Customs officers, while a much smaller staff will be required all along the seaports, because we shall not have to search and pass entries for goods coming from neighbouring colonies, but only for those coming by vessels from foreign ports. There is one item of peculiar advantage which has not yet been definitely remarked upon, though I think Mr. McMillan, in passing, alluded to it. I refer to the probable saving to be effected in the annual payments of interest upon the public debts of all the colonies, if, with federation, the Federal Government takes over the loans of all the colonies. There is no doubt that with such a splendid credit as the Federal Government could command in the money market, we could secure loans consolidating all existing loans at something like three per cent. Canada has already borrowed at three per cent., though we know she did not obtain anything like par; but I believe that a Federated Australasia will be able to go into the money market and borrow on terms almost as favorable as the British Government. That would represent a saving, on a very moderate calculation, of £1,000,000 per annum in the matter of interest alone in our present state of indebtedness. That would tend to remove some of the difficulties which [start page 62] some members of the Conference, such as Sir J. Lee Steere, feel in regard to giving up so much of the revenue of their colonies as must be involved in the, establishment of the Customs Union. Mr. Deakin referred, in passing, to one or two matters of a practical character following upon federation, such as the more advantageous working of our postal and telegraph services, &c., under federal control than under the separate Governments. No doubt with our postal services under the control of the Federal Government, contracts for the carrying of mails and arrangements for intercolonial and foreign mail communication could be more economically managed than under the present system of each colony making its own arrangements. Of course, I do not forget that we have already done a little bit of federation in regard to our postal services. At the Postal Conference held in Sydney, at the beginning of 1888, two or three of the colonies agreed to unite their interests in the Peninsular and Oriental Company's and the Orient Company's services, and since then Queensland has joined those colonies on the same terms. I say that the experience we have had in connexion with the united postal service goes far to show that if it were extended throughout the whole of Australasia in the coming Dominion,

it would be more economical and better in every sense than the present arrangement. And the same remark applies to the telegraphic service. I regret that the Conference held in Sydney two years ago, which came to a practical agreement in regard to postal matters, did not do the same in regard to telegraphs. I believe that matters like this can be managed much better by the Federal Government than by the local Legislatures respectively or unitedly. Under the federal system, less time would be wasted in holding Conferences, and fewer difficulties would arise in getting the individual colonies to accept the recommendations of Conferences. Under the present system, years elapse sometimes in carrying on correspondence before the results desired can be achieved, and it is in every way desirable that the Federal Government should take the control of these matters. I believe that if a Federal Government were established, we should in six months have a cable tariff between these colonies and the mother country not exceeding 3s. or 4s. a word, as against the present rate of 9s. or 10s. a word. Proposals were made to the Postal Conference, two years ago, which, if carried, would have reduced the tariff to 4s. a word, but it has not yet been found possible to get the several Governments to agree to those proposals. I believe that if that reduction were made, such an impetus would be given to trade and commerce and social communication between different parts of the world that we should very soon find we had the advantage of the lower rate without any increased cost by way of subsidies paid by the several colonies. These are some of the advantages of a monetary character which federation has to give. They are worthy of consideration, and I think that, added to all the advantages which other members of this Conference have already clearly pointed out, they will have weight in influencing the people of these lands in favour of Australasian Federation. But the question remains-what kind of union are we going to have? What sort of union will best meet the needs of this present time and the aspirations of the people of these lands? I confess, as I have already said, to a feeling that we have not yet exhausted the possibilities that exist in the matter of a Federal Government under the Federal Council Act. That measure might easily be amended so as to render it more suitable to the existing needs. I am aware that our venerable friend, Sir Henry Parkes, has told the world in a memorandum of his that there is no man or political party in New South Wales influential enough to induce that colony to join the Federal Council-as it exists, I presume. But possibly some slight alterations might make it acceptable even to our New South Wales friends; and if that measure, with a little improvement, would meet the needs of our time, it would be better, perhaps, to seek to bring into existence a union on such a basis as that affords, rather than some new-blown Constitution, which will not be, as Dr. Cockburn says, the gradual growth from our people and their existing conditions, but an exotic transplanted from Canadian or American soil, and which possibly might not flourish so well here as would an indigenous product. I do not say that this is the best method of growing up into union-I do not even say it is practicable-but I do say that in discussing this great question of federation it is very important for us to consider whether a union may not be procured which will meet all our needs by working under the Federal Council, or whether some important amendments might not be made in the Act which would give us for the time being all that we require. Mr. Deakin has already indicated his opinion that the Federal Council might take the control of a united military [start page 63] organization and general defence; and others, whose views are of great weight in a matter like this, consider that that is practicable; and if the Federal Council is competent to do this, involving as it would a Federal Executive and a Federal Treasury, as necessary to carry it out, would it not also be competent to take control of federal Customs and of the postal and telegraphic services, as well as to legislate on any questions remitted to it by any of the local Legislatures? There is no reason that I know of why we should not work on to a larger union from the Federal Council. The crux in the matter will be the question of representation. The Federal Council being a Legislature of one House only, it would, I think, be essential that the colonies should be equally represented upon it. Democracies, however, stand in fear of such bodies, because they have too much power over the purse; but even if we adopted the bi-cameral system, which appears to be most in favour in self-governing communities, and is apparently in favour here, I take it that the representation in the Senate must be by colonies, and must be equal. But in that case money votes initiated in the Lower House could be rejected by the individual power of the other Chamber. I cannot see therefore why, if such a body can do this, a Federal Council might not be entrusted with the power both to initiate and carry a money vote. I make these remarks not with the view of showing that the form of government set out in the Federal Council Act should be adopted by us, but rather by way of suggestion, so that the question may be fully considered, in preparation for the larger Convention which we hope will be held

before many months are past. I hope that the form of union which is eventually adopted will be of such a character, and on such lines that all the colonies will from the outset be prepared, and even glad, to join it, so that we may all start together as one great confederation. I shall certainly support the motion, even if it is altered as proposed, because I shall regard it as a general expression of the opinion of this Conference that a federal union of some kind should be established. I sympathize somewhat with the remarks of Mr. Playford and Sir James Lee Steere as to the vagueness of the motion, and in their desire that something more practical should be submitted. But perhaps we have after all secured by the discussion that has taken place, which has embraced many of the details of the subject, all we could hope to secure at a Conference of this kind by a general resolution. It will be of great service in promoting the cause of federation, and will materially assist the delegates to the proposed Convention. Debates will follow in the several Colonial Parliaments when the recommendations of this Conference are submitted to them, and these also will help to pave the way for the final settlement of the question. I think, therefore, we may congratulate ourselves on the fact that the proposal originally made by Sir Henry Parkes that a convention of delegates to be appointed by the several Parliaments should at once be held was not agreed to by the colonies, and that we have taken the somewhat roundabout, slower, but safer course of discussing the matter first in a preliminary Conference, and preparing the minds of the people for the great work which lies before us. Whoever are the members of the promised Convention, they will have a most onerous and honorable position to fill, and work to do; but they will come to their work so prepared for it that they will be able to formulate a scheme which may for many generations exist as evidence of the wisdom of those men who will be known in future history as the founders of an Australasian Empire.

Sir JOHN HALL.-Sir, some remarks which fell from the last speaker on the subject of the position taken up by the delegates from New Zealand in regard to the resolution of Sir Henry Parkes induce me to say that although I rise to support the suggestion of my honorable colleague the Colonial Secretary for New Zealand, that for the present the proposed federation should be confined to the Australian Colonies, yet I earnestly assure members of the Conference that that suggestion comes from no want of appreciation on our part, or on the part of those who have sent us here, of the value of a united Australasian Dominion, and from no indisposition to do all that circumstances will allow to further so great a cause. Were it not that this discussion has almost exhausted the subject, I should venture to trouble the Conference with some remarks upon the necessity for this great work, and the good it will do for us and our children. But the subject has been so ably treated by previous speakers, that I should be wasting your time by recurring to it. I think it rather my duty to say a few words in addition to those uttered by my colleague, to show why it is that New Zealand does not see its way for the present to join in this movement. The speeches of Sir Henry Parkes and other gentlemen must have carried [start page 64] conviction to the mind of every listener that the time has arrived when a movement should be made in this direction, and I cannot help congratulating my venerable friend, whom I had the pleasure of working with at it Conference held in Melbourne nearly a quarter of a century ago, that it has fallen to his lot to initiate the greatest movement towards the erection of a complete edifice of self-government which has ever been attempted in Australia. I thank Sir Henry Parkes for the admirable way in which he has brought this subject before us, but he must allow me to say that in one respect he was inaccurate, in so far as his speech applied to Australasia. He stated that Nature had made no impediment to the federation of the Australasian Colonies. Nature has made 1,200 impediments to the inclusion of New Zealand in any such federation in the 1,200 miles of stormy ocean which lie between us and our brethren in Australia. That does not prevent the existence of a community of interests between us. There is a community of interest, and if circumstances allow us at a future date to join in the federation, we shall be only too glad to do so. But what is the meaning of having 1,200 miles of ocean between us? Democratic government must be a government not only for the people, and by the people, but, if it is to be efficient; and give content, it must be in sight and within hearing of the people. If members the Conference had lived-in New Zealand, and knew how little we learn through the public press of what is going on in the adjoining colonies-no more, in fact, than of what is going on in Europe, Asia, and America-they would realize that no Dominion Government, the laws and executive acts of which are to be binding, on New Zealand, could, under existing circumstances, give satisfaction to the people of that colony. There would be practically such an absence of influence or of control on our part its to prevent such a Government ever being popular.

My attention has been called to another impediment arising out of this distance by a remark which fell from Mr. Deakin. That gentleman stated with great force-and the statement must appeal to all thoughtful men-that a Dominion Parliament, exercising control over a large continent and dealing with large interests, would surely attract to political life many-able, educated, intelligent citizens, who up to the present time have refrained from taking upon themselves a share of the burdens of Government. That may be a great advantage resulting from a Dominion Government; but we in New Zealand, and you in Australia perhaps to a less extent, have very few men of realized wealth and leisure. Our most intelligent, energetic citizens are those who are still fighting the battle of life, who could not afford to absent themselves for three, four, or five months at a time from their business, and to agree that we are to be governed by a Dominion Parliament would mean, not that we are to include, but that we are to exclude from it, a great many of our best men. Mr. Bird threw out some hints from which one must infer that he expected some concession to be made in the matter of representation to the smaller and the remoter colonies. No doubt remoteness front the seat of government reduces very largely the possibility of any influence being exercised by the distant constituencies. The same proportionate representation granted to a constituency near the seat of government and to a constituency remote from the seat of government would practically give the former much greater influence than the latter. So much is this said to be the case that, on the occasion of the last redistribution of representation in the United Kingdom, Mr. Gladstone stated as a reason why a relatively larger number of members should be given to Ireland the fact that a great part of Ireland wag remote from the seat of government. If the fact of a part of Ireland being 36 hours' journey from the seat of government justified a larger amount of representation being given to that country, what number of representatives would the people of New Zealand not require in order that justice might be done to them? They would require a number which we cannot believe a Dominion Parliament would accord to them. I am anxious that honorable gentlemen who regret and rather deprecate our refusal to federate with Australia should be good enough to carefully consider these reasons. I can speak for my fellow-colonists in New Zealand as well as myself when I say that we should be glad to join if we could do so with fair regard to our own interests. And, if at the present time we cannot become a member of the Australian Dominion, we are anxious to go as far as we can in any action which will promote the interests of all the Australasian Colonies. But there are other reasons why we do not see our way to join. The first and most pressing reason given for the creation of a Dominion is the necessity of organizing the military defences of Australia. The arguments set forth by Sir Henry Parkes on this subject, [start page 65] in the paper which has been circulated by him, appear to me quite irresistible. To think that Australian military forces, organized by five or six different Governments, paid by five or six different Governments, acting under the authority of five or six different Governments, can equal in efficiency to any degree the same number of men belonging to one Government and acting under one head, is, I think, the merest dream. Students of history will agree that no lesson is more clear than that when allied forces have been opposed by an army belonging to one Government, and acting under one head, they have always been at a disadvantage. The history of the great war at the commencement of the present century certainly tells us that if the allied forces opposed to Napoleon Bonaparte had not been composed of the forces of separate Governments, whose commanders were jealous of each other, and were constantly disagreeing among themselves-if there had been unity of purpose and obedience to one will amongst them, as there was in the French army-the fate of that war might have been very different. It would be a tremendous mistake if we Australians were to hug ourselves with the belief that anything like a temporary arrangement for uniting the forces of the separate colonies could provide effectually for the military defence of Australia. This is a pressing and urgent reason why a Dominion Executive and Parliament should be created. But I ask honorable gentlemen to consider whether it is possible that a military force in Australia, divided from New Zealand by seas patrolled by an enemy's cruisers, could be of any advantage to New Zealand, or a New Zealand-force, under the same circumstances, to Australia? Mr. Bird has reminded us that in a well-known emergency the settlers of Australia came to the help of their brothers in New Zealand, with a promptitude and generosity which has made a lasting impression in the memory of the people of that colony. That, however, was at a time when Australia was in no danger; but in the event of our being involved in a great war, the same danger which menaced New Zealand would menace Australia, and she could not then spare any of her military forces, as she did on the occasion alluded to. We must come to the conclusion that, under such

circumstances, an Australian army would be of no use to New Zealand. Naval defence is an entirely different question. The naval defence of these seas must be undertaken by one fleet, because the same enemy which threatened one part of Australasia would threaten the other. In this defence the New Zealanders have been perfectly ready to co-operate. If further measures are required, I feel sure that they will be ready to do their part without grudging or hesitation. While on this point, I may say that I sincerely hope that the outcome of this movement towards an Australian Dominion will never be that we shall have to rely solely upon a naval force created by a Dominion of Australia. It would be a sad day for these colonies when they had not the immense naval force of the mother country to protect them. We would be living in a fool's paradise if we believed that any navy these colonies could support could cope with the naval forces that would be brought against us by Great Powers of the old world. Honorable gentlemen may, perhaps, say to the delegates from New Zealand-" If you are unable for these reasons to work with us, why did you come here?" We came here because we were invited to do so. It would have been discourteous and ungracious for us not to have come to a Conference convened for the consideration of so important a question, and to ascertain whether there was any way in which we could co-operate for the common good of Australasia. I still hope there may be some way. There is every disposition on our part to unite as far as possible with you. I hope that we may be able to take some steps towards the removal or diminution of those barriers which so impede commercial intercourse between different parts of Australasia. I agree with my honorable colleague, Captain Russell, upon almost every public question excepting that of free trade and protection. I have for 25 years been in favour of a protectionist policy, and I was in favour of it when it was not as popular as it is now. I believe that the manufactures and industries of a new country will never grow into vigorous life unless in the first instance they have some protection against the cheaper productions of older countries. It is impossible for them to thrive unless, for a time at any rate, they have given to them some compensating advantage against the cheaper labour, cheaper capital, and greater experience of older countries. But that does not apply as between the several colonies. The cost of production in the several colonies is pretty well on a level, and Victoria has no more reason to fear New Zealand than New Zealand has to fear New South Wales or Queensland. I much regret the large and increasing barriers that are being erected to commercial intercourse between the colonies. I must say for New Zealand that, although we have to a certain extent adopted a protective policy, in no one case has that policy been directed against [start page 66] our neighbours. On the contrary, we allow preferential duties in favour of some of the products of Australia as against the products of other parts of the world. I wish I could say as much for our neighbours in Victoria. I do not abandon the hope that it may be agreed to be mutually advantageous to facilitate the exchange of the products of the colonies, some of which are fitted by soil, circumstances, and climate to the production of one class of goods and some of another, and to diminish some of the barriers which at present impede that exchange. Increased commercial intercourse will lead to increased social intercourse, and the more we know of each other the better friends we shall be, and the more likely it will be that we will be prepared to agree to a more intimate union than is at present practicable. There are other subjects on which we shall be very glad to work with our Australian brothers. I believe that an Intercolonial Court of Appeal might be advantageously established, but I cannot agree with those who think that it must be a final Court of Appeal. They will never get that so long as the Queen, the fountain of justice, is at the head of the Empire to which we belong. But if we do not get that, I submit to Mr. Playford, who seemed to think that this would be a measure disadvantageous to the poor man, that an Intercolonial Court of Appeal would, on the contrary, render practical to the poor man, who cannot afford to have recourse to the Privy Council, the means of appeal in the colonies.

Mr. PLAYFORD.-The rich man will go further.

Sir JOHN HALL.-I believe that in nine cases out of ten the decision of an Intercolonial Court of Appeal would be satisfactory and final.

Mr. PLAYFORD.-I do not think so.

Sir JOHN HALL.-A principle of the British Constitution is that the Sovereign is the fountain of justice, and if Mr. Playford's experiments were tried it would cause greater dissatisfaction than results

from the present system. The inability of New Zealand at present to join with Australia in this great work of federation should be no difficulty to Australia. On the contrary, I submit that it will greatly facilitate and simplify your proceedings, because if New Zealand were brought into the federation, her peculiar position would necessarily introduce a great many difficulties in the framing of the Constitution from which, if you were dealing with the Australian continent, you would certainly be free. I think, therefore, that honorable gentlemen should congratulate themselves on being freed from the complications to which they might have been introduced if they had had New Zealand to consider. Their task will be simplified. It may also be simplified in regard to the nature of the subjects which will be entrusted to the Dominion Government. We have been told by Sir Samuel Griffith, in sagacious and practical language, that, if they are wise and prudent, the framers of the proposed Constitution will be content "to take as much as they can get." I was sorry to hear Mr. McMillan state, as I understood him, that New South Wales would never be satisfied to take part in anything less than an absolutely complete federation, including a Customs Union. The honorable gentleman's expressions remind me of the advice given by an English statesman to a young Parliamentary hand, who had declared that he would never agree to a certain proceeding. The statesman said, "I advise my young friend never to use the word 'never.'" I hope that Mr. McMillan, when he has gained more Parliamentary experience, will see the inexpediency of committing himself so positively to a refusal to accept less than he at the present time thinks desirable. Although some honorable gentlemen will not be bound to follow the Canadian and the United States' example, I think we should not refuse to be helped by them. If the framers of that Constitution had said they would not form any confederation unless they could get the whole of the North American Colonies to join, the Canadian Dominion would never have been formed. They were content to accept at first the greater of the Canadian Colonies, strong in the belief that the experience of working that limited confederation would induce other colonies to come in. I suggest to my Australian brethren that they should do the same. As Sir Samuel Griffith has said: "Take what you can get." Take what subjects you can get; take what colonies you can get; in the conviction that the union of Australia and Australasia is so beneficent a work, is so certain to conduce to the prosperity and happiness, aye, and the liberty of the people, that, if a partial Dominion is formed, it will be the will of the people before long to make the Dominion a complete one. One proposed feature of this Dominion will, I trust, be loyally adhered to, and that is that it shall be a Dominion under the Crown of Great Britain. I am induced to say this because one hears, not in this Chamber, but outside, allusions to Australian youth which knows no loyalty to the old country. Speaking for my fellow settlers in New Zealand, I can [start page 67] say that they are thoroughly loyal to the old land. We try to educate our children in a knowledge of the history of our great mother country. We try to teach them that that great history-with its glorious associations-are part of a precious heritage; that they do not belong to a people insignificant and little known in the records of Empire, but to a nation which has accomplished great things in arms and still more in the more noble arts of peace, in self-government, and the enjoyment of individual liberty. We teach them that they belong to a nation which is first in these respects in the history of the world. We are attached by the fondest ties of affection to the old country, but we are also attached by something more permanent and durable, that is by a conviction that our connexion with the old country will best serve our material interests and be the best safeguard of our liberties. These are the days of great armaments, both military and naval. These are the days of rapid communication, and although during the last great war in which England was engaged-the Crimean war-such a thing as the advent of a large foreign naval force in these seas had never to be dreamt of, can we doubt that, in the event of our being now engaged in a great naval war, many months, weeks, or days would elapse before formidable enemies would make their appearance at our doors? We cannot hope, nor, I submit, can an Australian Dominion hope, to be able to maintain a naval force so large, so modern in its construction, so perfect in all the latest appliances of naval science as to be able to cope with the forces of the old world Powers. We know that if there is one thing more than another which these great nations hunger and thirst for, it is land with a temperate climate, which is open to settlement, and upon which they can pour their surplus population without losing their allegiance. And can we doubt that the one thing they would have in view would be to possess themselves of, or to prey upon, these colonies. We feel, therefore, that the protection of Great Britain, which we are sure will be afforded to us in no grudging manner, will enormously serve our best interests. For these reasons New Zealand land will not have part or lot in any movement which involves separation from the Empire. We do not question the right

of others to work out their political salvation in whatever way they may think proper, but we would earnestly advise them to think twice, thrice, indeed many times, before they allow any proposal of that kind to be seriously considered. This union of the Colonies of Australia is, in my opinion, sure to come. I have no more doubt that it will come, whether temporary difficulties bar the way or not, than that I have that the sun will rise to-morrow. Without any want of respect to the originators of the Federal Council, which has its friends here, I may congratulate my honorable friend, Sir Henry Parkes, the patriarch of Australian statesmen, upon the proud position of being the man to propose the laying of the foundation stone of so great an edifice. But, Sir, we are not really laying the foundation stone. I was going to say that we were preparing the foundation, but the foundation already exists. The foundation exists in that feeling of kinship among Australasians to which so much eloquent allusion has been made. That is the foundation upon which we are preparing to build-upon interests which are common, upon community of race, language, and history. In conclusion, I must say that I almost envy my Australian brethren the opportunity of joining in the great work before them. I cannot help regretting that, for the present, circumstances render it impossible for New Zealand to do so. It is said that history repeats itself, and we shall, I feel confident, have another instance of it. In the Northern Hemisphere the old Empire has shown to the world how it is possible to combine the greatest amount of individual freedom and liberty with most absolute security for life, property, and order; and I believe it will be our great glory that in the Southern Hemisphere, and in these Southern Seas, we shall repeat the lesson which the dear old mother country has taught the North, and that this great Australian Dominion will prove a centre of liberty, civilization, and light throughout the length and breadth of the Pacific.

Mr. J. M. MACROSSAN.-Before I enter upon the subject on which I wish to speak, let me say that I appreciate the motives of the delegates from New Zealand. I cannot help saying that I approve of their conduct. Whether they join the Australian Union or not, they can always be satisfied that they will have the best wishes of their Australian brethren for the material progress and prosperity of the colony they represent. I thoroughly approve of the resolution proposed by Sir Henry Parkes. I approve of the resolution word for word, with the exception, perhaps, of the word "Australasian," to which the New Zealand delegates have alluded. Although certain members of the Conference have thought such a motion is too vague and indefinite, [start page 68] I consider Sir Henry Parkes has shown his wise discretion in proposing it. Judging from the speeches which have been made, Sir Henry Parkes must have had the prescience that if he had proposed a motion more precise and definite, we probably should never have arrived at a unanimous decision upon it. Therefore I approve of the motion most heartily. At the same time, I expect we shall have to go further in other motions which are to follow. Although the motion proposed by the Premier of New South Wales may be considered to be an abstract one and vague, the speeches made by the honorable members of the Conference have been very far from vague. They have been very definite indeed. Many of the speakers entered very closely into the details of what they considered should form the union which Australia should adopt in the future. After the speeches which have been delivered, I stand in the position of having nothing to say. All the members of the Conference, with the exception of myself, have spoken, and they have exhausted the subject of Australasian Federation. Therefore, I am in the position of the needy knife-grinder who had no story to tell. Nevertheless, honorable gentlemen have left me some grounds, I will not say of criticism, because I do not wish to criticise the speeches of my confreres, but some arguments to advance which may be considered to have an important bearing on the subject under consideration. Objections have been taken to different points in what may be considered our future union. I shall not, however, deal with them at present. I shall, however, deal very briefly with some of the advantages of Australasian Federation, which some members of the Conference have perhaps overlooked. Those who have spoken have dealt more or less with what is called a Customs Union. But there are other matters which, although not as important as that of a Customs Union, and which do not present such great difficulties, have still an important bearing on the subject of federation. I must say, at the outset, that I believe in federation complete and simple. I believe we shall do no good in Australia until we have a complete federation. I should like the advocates of an incomplete federation to point out how we are to get along better, under such a system, than we have got along up to the present time, under the Federal Council. To premise what I have to say I will state, in a few words, what I consider to be complete federation, by enumerating some of the subjects which the Dominion

Government of Canada have power of dealing with exclusively. First, there is the public debt and the public property; second, the regulation of trade and commerce; third, the raising of money by any mode or system of taxation; and fourth, the borrowing of money on the public credit. The seventh item amongst the exclusive subjects dealt with by the Canadian Legislature has reference to military and naval defence and service. The control of these matters is, I think, indispensable to a complete Australian Federation. There are many other subjects of legislation which might be spoken of, which I consider to be indispensable; but those I have enumerated are certainly indispensable. I consider that the dealing with the public debt and the public property ought to belong, exclusively, to our Federal Parliament, when we have the happiness to establish it. The subject was slightly touched upon by Mr. McMillan this morning. That honorable gentleman alluded to the public debt, and he spoke of the probability of a Federal Government being able to borrow money at a lower rate of interest than the several Governments of Australasia are at present able to borrow. But we can go further than that. I think that a Federal Executive would not only be able to borrow at a much lower rate of interest than are the several Governments at present, but that they would be able to convert existing debts to a much lower rate of interest than the several Governments are at present paying. By this means we would probably save a million or two millions of money. I look upon the unification of the debt as a sine qua non to the establishment of a Federal Government and Federal Executive. This brings me to a few remarks I have to make on the observations of Mr. Bird, one of the representatives of Tasmania. That honorable gentleman seemed to be under the impression that if a Federal Customs Union were established, and if the Customs barriers were abolished between the different colonies, the colonies would suffer through being obliged to raise money to make up for the loss. I, myself, do not like the expression "Federal Customs Union," and I would rather speak of it as the giving of power to the Federal Government for raising money by any mode or system of taxation. Well, the honorable gentleman overlooked the fact that if a federal government has the power given to it of raising money by any mode or system of taxation, it must, of necessity, take over the public debt. Therefore, the [start page 69] different colonies will be relieved from the interest they now pay upon their public debts, and, as I shall show presently, that will be full compensation for the abolition of the Customs barriers between the different colonies. The same consideration occurs in connexion with the matter of defence. Mr. Bird seemed to think that if a Federal Government took up the duty of defence, the different states would be obliged to pay certain sums towards that defence. If defence is given-as I think it must be given-to a Federal Executive, that Executive must undertake the whole control and expense of it, and not the states. This must be done if defence is to be effective. The several states will not be asked-at least I should hop they will not be asked-for anything in the shape of requisitions. Our experience, up to the present, in the way of requisitions, has not been very fortunate. A Federal Government must take the expense of a Federal Defence upon itself, and relive the several states of that defence.

Mr. BIRD.-Where will you get the money from?

Mr. MACROSSAN.-The Federal Government will get the money from the proceeds of taxation which the separate colonies at present impose upon people belonging to those colonies. I do not know whether the honorable gentleman is aware of the total amount of taxation which is at present levied upon the different colonies of Australasia, exclusive of New Zealand. In anything I have to say at present I wish it to be understood that I exclude New Zealand, as the delegates from that colony have no intention of entering into a union at the present time. I was rather startled last night by the statement of Sir James Lee Steere, the delegate from Western Australia, when he said that the abolition of the Customs duties would lead to a deficiency of two millions a year. I thought that this could not be possible, and I took the trouble of examining the statistics of Australasia for the purpose of ascertaining whether the statement was correct or not. The result was that I found the honorable gentleman had made a mistake. The total amount received from all sources by the different colonies, excluding New Zealand, amounted, in the year 1888, to £8,655,661.

Mr. PLAYFORD.-But you are not going to give the whole of that up to general revenue?

Mr. MACROSSAN-I hope so. My idea of federation is that the General Government will have the sole power of raising money by any mode or system of taxation.

Mr. PLAYFORD.-Then you snuff out all the local Governments.

Mr. MACROSSAN.-No; the honorable gentleman is mistaken in thinking the local Governments will be snuffed out. The total interest paid on the public debt of the whole of the different colonies amounts to £4,865,991. My figures are taken from the Government Statist of Victoria, so that I presume they are correct. The difference between the total amount of taxation raised in the different colonies and the total amount of interest paid on the public debt is £3,589,650. I think that this completely answers the statement made by Sir James Lee Steere yesterday evening, which startled me so much, and other members of the Conference as well.

Sir JAMES LEE STEERE.-My statement is correct, and the honorable gentleman's statement is incorrect. I have taken my figures from the official records.

Mr. MACROSSAN.-My statement is based on the figures to be found on page 456 of the Victorian Year-Book, 1888-9. If my statement is incorrect, Mr. Hayter is also incorrect. I prefer to believe that Mr. Hayter is not incorrect.

Mr. CLARK.-The figures are correct, but it is the use you make of them.

Mr. MACROSSAN.-It is Mr. Hayter's business to be correct in his statements. I have taken the figures as they stand, and I have used no others but those contained in the book. The source I have mentioned is the source from which the money will come, and there will be other sources as well. The representative of Western Australia also stated last night that, including New Zealand, we owed £168,000,000. I will now leave New Zealand out of the question. Leaving that colony out of the question, we owe £130,000,000. Of that £130,000,000, seventy per cent. has been contracted for the purpose of making railways and telegraph lines. Taking every colony in Australia, including Tasmania, the railways are actually paying, according to Mr. Hayter, 3.55 per cent., so that in reality, at least two-thirds of the public debt of Australia produces almost sufficient to pay the interest upon the capital will have in a few years, that the interest will be so reduced by the unification of the conversion of the debt, that the railways and telegraph lines of Australia will pay more than they have actually cost. Thus the balance of thirty per cent. Of [start page 70] the debt will be very easily met by the surplus amount I have mentioned as existing between the debt and the total amount of taxation. I believe that the abolition of the Customs duties between the different colonies will lead to a loss, but I do not believe it will lead to the loss of £2,000,000, as suggested by Sir James Lee Steere. It is absurd to think that it will lead to a loss of this character. My honorable colleague, Sir Samuel Griffith, thinks it will probably lead to the loss of half a million. Personally, I think it will lead to the loss of about a million. We have, however, no means of ascertaining what the actual loss will be. I think it is far more likely that it will not exceed a million, than that it will reach two millions. A point which has been overlooked by members of the Conference has reference to our railways. If the Federal Government takes over, as it must, the whole of our debt, it will, of course, take over the property upon which that debt has been contracted. This naturally follows in any matter of State business. Some objection may, perhaps, be raised in reference to the management of the railways by the Federal authorities, who may not be so conversant with local wants and requirements as the present Governments. In order to meet that objection I would point out that in three of the colonies I know of, and perhaps in the fourth, Railway Commissioners have been appointed for the control and management of the various railways. All that the Federal Government have to do in a case of this kind is to make the Railway Commissioners federal officers, and the management will remain the same as at present. A system of this kind will have the advantage of still further removing the management of the railways from that political influence, the existence of which was the chief reason why Commissioners were first appointed. The result will be very advantageous. I believe that the people generally will approve of a Federal Government taking over the management of the railways. If the management of the railways is left entirely and solely under the control of the different local Governments, the same wars of tariffs

will go on in the future as they have done in the past. Human nature will always remain the same. Whether we have a Federal Government or not we cannot alter the human nature of the people of Australia; but if we place the management of the railways under the control of a Federal Executive we shall be relieved from any apprehension of a federal war, whilst the railways will still be managed as well as they are now, and by people who will be as conversant with local requirements as they are at present. These are two advantages which we shall gain from federation. Then there is the question of the public lands. I confess I have not quite made up my mind on that question, although I may say that I think the public lands should be under the control of the Federal Executive. We have two examples before us of the federation of peoples of our own race, in the cases of Canada and America. In the United States of America the Federal Government has the full and sole control of all the public lands, and no one can say that the public lands of the United States have not been well administered and well managed. In Canada, the Dominion Parliament left the control of the public lands to the local Governments. Whether the public lands of Canada have been is well administered as the public lands of the United States I cannot say; probably other members of the Conference are better informed on that point than I am. But we have these two opposite systems to consider between this and the meeting of the Federal Convention, which I hope to see assemble in a few months. In the meantime, I think myself that the balance of opinion is in favour of the Federal Government having control of the public lands. Now these are some of the advantages of federation which members of the Conference who have already spoken have not examined perhaps as closely as I have; at any rate, they have not broached them. I shall now come to some of the objections which have been made to federation, notably by the representatives of the two colonies of Western Australia and South Australia. The colony of Western Australia, through its representative, Sir James Lee Steere, has expressed a fear that, if the Customs revenue is taken away from the local authority, they will have no means of carrying on their present local Government. Now, I have pointed out what I believe to be a mistake which that honorable gentleman has made in his calculation, but the honorable gentleman should also recollect this, that it will be within the power, and no doubt will be the duty, of the Federal Government to subsidize the different local Governments to whatever extent may be deemed fit. That is the case in the United States of America, and that is the case in the Dominion of Canada. In Canada, a certain amount of subsidy is provided by the North American Act; and in America, a certain amount of subsidy is [start page 71] apportioned amongst the different States in the Union for certain special objects, according to the amount of revenue which the National Government has the means of distributing. I do not think that any colony, and least of all a colony like Western Australia, which has so small a population at the present time, and no doubt has difficulties to encounter which the greater colonies have not, need be afraid that the Federal Government would not do justice to it and see that justice was done to it in every respect as far as revenue was concerned. I believe that the Federal Government would not take advantage of the position of a colony like Western Australia to injure it, or in any way to impair its local administration. The two gentlemen from South Australia, although they are in favour of federation in the abstract, seem to be in the concrete rather afraid of throwing down the Customs barriers. Well, I really don't know why they should be afraid of doing that. South Australia is inclined to be protective, as all the colonies of Australia are, more or less, with the exception of New South Wales, but South Australia will be placed in exactly the same position as the other colonies will be placed, if a uniform tariff be adopted. The representatives of South Australia are afraid, no doubt, that Victoria has got the advantage of starting in the race, but I think that they need not be afraid of that. South Australia is able to produce many articles much cheaper and better than Victoria, articles of very common use, such as flour, for example. Now, I think that if the gentlemen representing South Australia will compare the position of their colony with the position of Queensland, so? It is in the nature of States to be selfish, and I don't think that we should allow that notion, or that fact rather, of the selfishness of Victoria to stand in the way of a complete federal union of the Australasian Colonies. I believe that the people of Queensland are not afraid to throw down the Customs barriers, neither are they afraid of any start that Victoria has got in the race, although this colony has got as large a start, in the way of protection, against Queensland as it has against South Australia. I know that in several items of manufactured goods which the Victorians pride themselves on manufacturing, we, in Queensland, are able to hold our own even under the most open free trade, and if we cannot continue to hold our own in the future as we have done in the past, then I think we ought to go to the wall. But although Victoria will, no doubt, have a slight advantage after the

throwing down of the Customs barriers, still I believe she will not have that advantage very long; and as far as Queensland is concerned, and I think the same may be said of sections, at all events, of South Australia, the distance and the extra cost of freight ought to be a sufficient protection on almost every item which is manufactured in Victoria. Then, I know that the colony of South Australia has been extremely anxious in the past to enter into a reciprocity treaty with Queensland, and, that being so, what objection can it have to such a complete system of reciprocity as the throwing down of all the Customs barriers in the colonies would be? No reciprocity treaty would give equal advantages to that. Different Governments of South Australia have, to my knowledge, made it their business for several years past to try and induce different Governments of Queensland to enter into negotiations with them for the purpose of adopting a treaty under which certain products of South Australia would be admitted free into Queensland, or admitted at reduced rates of duty, and certain products of Queensland would be admitted to South Australia duty free or at reduced rates of duty; and if different Governments of South Australia have been so anxious for that limited measure of reciprocity, why then cannot they adopt the higher and greater form of reciprocity-free trade with all our colonies? I really think that the South Australians are standing in their own light, although I don't believe for a single moment that the people of South Australia, when the question put by both of their representatives at this Conference comes to be settled, will declare against free trade between the colonies. I am a protectionist in principle in my own colony, and I believe that one outcome of the establishment of a Federal Parliament and a Federal Government will be intercolonial free trade and protection against the outside world. Now any one who is at all acquainted with the history of America must know that the greatness of America has partly risen from the fact of there being free trade [start page 72] between all the states, from north to south and from east to west, with protection against the whole world outside. Nothing has contributed more to the advantage of America than that simple fact. Of course, I know that I am speaking in the presence of a great free-trader-Sir Henry Parkes-who does not believe in protection at all. At the same time, he must admit that it is much better to have free trade between all the colonies than to have only one colony a free-trade colony, even although the union may ultimately lead, as I think it will, to protection in all the colonies as against the outside world. Now, Sir, I come to some of the difficulties which have been stated by gentlemen who have spoken before me, some of them by my own colleague in the representation of Queensland, Sir Samuel Griffith. One of these objections is that the people of the different colonies are not prepared to go the length that we, the delegate's in this Conference, are prepared to go. Another objection is that the people of the different colonies don't know each other sufficiently, and that they are opposed to the centralised system of Government, and my honorable colleague specially instanced Queensland as being opposed to a centralised system of Government. Now, Sir, I believe that the people of these colonies are far more ripe in the cause of federation than some honorable gentlemen in this Conference give them the credit of being. I thoroughly believe that if the questions are sometimes put to-morrow, as certain questions are sometimes put in Switzerland and in other countries under what is called the Referendum, the majority of the people of Australia would vote for federation as against no federation. And I believe, also, that they would give their votes intelligently, knowing what federation meant, what sacrifices would have to be made by the different local Legislatures; knowing, also, that it would mean the establishment of a Federal Executive and a Federal Parliament, with which they would have very little or no intimate connexion. Now, if my honorable colleague believes that, as I think he does, why should he or any other member of this Conference be afraid to give expression to the opinion? Why should we, who believe so thoroughly in federation, be afraid to raise the standard of federation which we feel ought to be raised, but which seemingly we are too timid to raise for fear of offending the susceptibilities of timid conservative people? Then, again, my honorable colleague thinks that the people of Queensland might be opposed to federation because they are opposed to centralization, being separationists in some parts of the colony; but the honorable gentleman ought to know, and I think he does know, that those people who are actually the strongest separationists are the most ardent of federationists.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH.-Hear, hear.

Mr. MACROSSAN.-The whole of the people of Northern Queensland, who are separationists, are as strong in the principle of federation as I am, therefore the argument that the people are opposed to

federation because they are afraid of centralization has no force or effect whatever, as far as Queensland is concerned. Centralization has no terror for any one who thinks upon the subject, if sufficient local autonomy is left to the local Legislatures. If we were to have a Legislative Union it would be a different matter; if we were proposing to destroy the local Legislatures it would be a different thing entirely; but if we leave sufficient authority, as we ought to do to the local Legislatures, Federal Government or centralization can only have the effect of making men believe that which we wish them to believe-that they are first Australians, and then Queenslanders, South Australians, or Victorians. Then, again, on the other hand, we must, I think, give to the Federal Parliament the full control of the waste lands of the Crown. I have said already that I am in doubt whether I would give the Federal Parliament the control of all the Crown lands, but there is a large amount of waste lands of the Crown almost outside of civilization which I think the Federal Parliament should have the full control of; and the Federal Parliament should also have the same control over the territorial jurisdiction of such outside parts as portions of Western Australia and the Northern Territory for the formation if new states. Every power and authority now exercised by the Imperial Parliament over those parts of Australia should be exercised by the Federal Parliament, and I believe that those powers would be exercised by the Federal Parliament in a more beneficent and intelligent manner than obtains at present, because the power would be exercised by those who know the character of the country and the requirements of the people they are dealing with. I believe also that power should be given to the Federal Parliament-as it is given to the Imperial Parliament-to cut up, if thought necessary, the different existing colonies of Australia, [start page 73] and form them into smaller states. I consider that the colonies of Australia are too large for good government. Some of the existing colonies, such as Queensland, South Australia, and Western Australia are far too large for good government.


Mr. MACROSSAN.-I do not say South Australia only-New South Wales is also too large. If we look at the geographical position and area of the United States of America, we shall find that not one of those states is as large as the colony of New South Wales. Texas, the largest state in the Union, is only about one-third, or, at most, perhaps half the size of Queensland. There has been an agitation going on in Texas for years for the cutting up of that state into several smaller states. I believe that the small extent of territory in each state in America has had much to do with the good government which obtains in that country, and that Victoria has been the best governed colony in Australia because of the smallness of its territory.

Mr. PLAYFORD.-Query.

Mr. MACROSSAN.-There is no query about the matter. To a large extent, the good government which has prevailed in Victoria has arisen from the smallness of her territory. Large states are never so well governed as small ones, and, therefore, the Federal Parliament ought to be empowered to cut up the larger colonies into smaller colonies, as the Federal Government of America has cut up the larger states into smaller states when it has been deemed expedient and just to do so. This may be an extreme opinion, but it is one I have held for a long time, and it is one which I am certain will not be opposed by my constituents in Queensland. I have heard a good deal from the speakers who have preceded me in regard to the Constitutions of Canada and the United States. Some reference has also been made to the establishment of a Federal Court of Appeal. The only representative, however, who really approached the subject, seemingly, with a full knowledge of it, was Sir John Hall. It must be known to every member of this Conference that the Sovereign is the fountain of justice, and that a subject cannot be prevented from appealing to Her Majesty for justice if he has not obtained it elsewhere. Therefore the establishment of a Federal Court of Appeal would not prevent an appeal from that judiciary to the Privy Council in London.

Mr.-PLAYFORD.-We want the Court of Appeal in the colonies to be a final Court of Appeal; and a Court of Appeal in the colonies will be a Queen's Court as much as the Privy Council is.

Sir HENRY PARKES.-It would not be of much use if it were not so.

Mr. MACROSSAN.-The Federal Court of Appeal will be a court under the Crown, no doubt, but no one can prevent an appeal being made to Her Majesty, who sits figuratively in the Privy Council.

Mr. PLAYFORD.-Her Majesty will also sit figuratively in the Court of Appeal in the colonies.

Mr. MACROSSAN.-I would be quite as anxious as Mr. Playford to prevent any appeal going beyond the bounds of Australasia if it could be done, but the limitation does not exist in Canada. Ail appeal lies in Canada to the Privy Council in London, though on in certain cases.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH.-Only by special leave of the Privy Council.

Mr. MACROSSAN.-There are some other points in the Canadian Constitution which I certainly would not like to see brought into the Australasian Constitution. First, there is the question of the Senate. The Canadian Senate is a body appointed by the Governor in Council for life, and I would be utterly opposed to the adoption of that plan here. I think the Senate ought to be a representative body, and that to allay the fears of the smaller states, such as Western Australia and Tasmania, the second chamber should in some way represent the colonies themselves as separate sovereignties. I regard the Senate of the United States as being one of the grandest representative bodies in existence. It is quite equal to, if it does not surpass, the British House of Lords. It is the best elective House of Legislature in the world, the reason of that being that it represents the different states, and is composed of men who have had vast experience of political life in some capacity or other before entering the Senate. Then, in Canada, the Governor in Council has the power of vetoing the legislation passed by the different local Legislatures. That is a power I would not like to give to any Federal Government established in Australia. When we have established a Federal Constitution in Australia, I think the Governors of the different colonies should be elected by the people of each colony, and that the [start page 74] Governor should only have a veto upon the legislation of the Legislatures of the colony over which he presides. Those are two very material points in regard to which I differ with the system that prevails in Canada. I think that too much authority is given to the Federal Government in that country, and too little to the local Legislatures. I think that a happy medium might be established between the Canadian system and that which obtains in the United States. Coming to another point, Mr. Playford complained in a kind of way that this movement for federation did not originate with the people of the colonies. I would like to ask him what great movement has ever originated with the people? Have not the people always been urged on by their leaders in every matter of improvement and reform?

Mr. PLAYFORD.-The people have always forced their leaders.

Mr. MACROSSAN.-It is the leaders who begin reforms, and the people take it up from them. We can move the people if we try to do so, and if we believe in federation it is our duty to endeavour to influence the people to bring it about. Mr. Playford is under the impression, I suppose, that the United States of America in forming their present Constitution had fewer difficulties to contend against than we have in these colonies, and that in America the movement originated with the people. The fact is it was quite the opposite.

Mr. PLAYFORD.-Did not the action of Great Britain move the people?

Mr. MACROSSAN.-The difficulties the Americans had to contend against were enormous. The only real difficulty we have is the fiscal one. The Americans had that and half-a-dozen others besides. They had the fiscal difficulty to a larger extent than we have. They had also the difficulty of slavery, the difficulty of dislike and hatred existing between the different inhabitants of different states, and the difficulty of living under a Government which had come to be despised. Our Governments are not despised. The Americans had also the difficulty of being so impressed with democratic ideas that the people would not trust a man to represent them for more than twelve months without retaining the power of withdrawing their confidence from him and withdrawing him from the Assembly into which

they had sent him. The sturdy independence 6f the old Puritan spirit was such that they would trust no member of Parliament. We have no fear of tyranny in these colonies, or that a Federal Government will not act honestly within the limited sphere of its jurisdiction. But the American Government was scarcely a Government at all, and at the same time the people were averse to having a Government which exercised more power than the Articles of Federation gave to the Congress, at that time. The Convention which established the present Constitution of America sat four years after the war with Great Britain was finished. There was no fear of any war at that time, but the country was tumbling into a state of anarchy. Rebellion had existed for months in Massachusetts, and there had been riots in other states. In America, the impelling power to federate was greater than in Australia, but the difficulties were also greater. With us, the impelling power is the desire for nationality, and the desire to abolish the Customs tariffs. When the American Convention was held, it was not held at the instance of the people-it was held in a sneaking kind of way. James Madison, who was an advocate for a strong Central Government, was actually afraid to bring forward a motion in his own State of Virginia for the holding of a Convention. He got a man who was opposed to the idea to do it, so fearful was he of the effect on public opinion of a proposal to have a strong Government. The father of one of the American Presidents, Mr. Tyler, was the man who submitted the motion. Then, when the Convention was held, all the states were not represented at it, and many of the members were afraid to do anything, because they were sent there simply to reform the Articles of Confederation, and not make a new Constitution of their own. They were afraid-the same as some timid men in Australia might be afraid-of federation; they were frightened to do anything to alter the existing system. Nothing done by the members of that Convention would have had any good result at all but for the admirable conduct of its President, George Washington. At that very time the different members of the Convention showed a cowardly fear-which sometimes exists, and should not exist in free states-of offending the people they represented.

Sir HENRY PARKES.-I think you will find that Edmund Randolph was the President of that Convention.

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Mr. MACROSSAN.-No; George Washington was the President, and the short speech of a line or two which he made turned the fate of the Convention. He said- "If to please the people we offer what we ourselves disapprove, how can we afterwards defend our work? Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair; the event is in the hand of God."

That is what we should do. We should raise a standard which we believe in-that is the standard of a complete federation-and we may depend upon it that if we do so the people will carry it on to victory. If every man in this Conference will do what he believes inwardly to be his duty, there need be no fear of the result. What would the local Legislatures surrender after all? They would surrender a little authority and a little dignity. The people would surrender nothing; and the sacrifice which the local Legislatures would make would be fully compensated for by the great gain that would accrue in the union of Australia.

The Conference adjourned at twenty minutes past four o'clock until the following day.