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1890 Australasian Federation Conference

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The Public were admitted to the Conference Chamber at half-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.

Sir HENRY PARKES.-Mr. President, I can safely say that I came to this Conference with no desire to even allude particularly to the colony which I represent. I came here not as a resident of New South Wales, but, I trust, in the spirit of an Australian citizen. In submitting the proposition which I had the honour to place before you I did it in a way which I thought could not possibly give any offence, or raise any feeling of acerbity. I even tried to suppress my own passionate yearnings in many respects. I endeavoured to be calm and circumspect, and I thought I tried to keep well to the subject in hand. Probably I ought not to feel any surprise at the debate taking a wider range than I anticipated. It seemed to me, however, that as we contemplated the calling together of a Convention to consider the real matters attaching to the formation of a Constitution, we had little to do outside that simple question. Therefore I cannot admit that the resolution which I placed before you was in any sense bald, or of a merely abstract character. Nor can I admit that I would have been justified in going one step further than I went. As the correspondence which led to this Conference will show, we are not here to deal with doctrines, but to say whether we can or cannot assent in the name of the free peoples of this continent to steps being taken in order to weld them together. If I am not surprised at other delegates having, as I think, departed from what I expected to be the business of the Conference, I am, nevertheless, surprised that I should have been personally treated with, I might say, rudeness; nor can I conceive what offence I have given unless it be that I am the oldest servant of the Australian people. I am equally unable to imagine anything more personally offensive than for a gentleman to tell another to his face that although making certain professions there is strong reason for believing that he is not sincere. To me no deeper offence could be offered. But I have had to encounter another thing which gave me a sort of fear that I was to be overwhelmed. In fact, Mr. Playford's behaviour reminded me-I think the allusion most appropriate-of the fable of "The Wolf And the Lamb," for he appeared determined to pick some kind of quarrel with me; why, I do not know. I had not disturbed the running waters, so I can only conceive the position to be that I am the lamb with whom the South Australian wolf is trying to quarrel on account of some imaginary act which I have never committed. What did he tell me? He ventured, and I must say I think it was a piece of presumption, to lecture me on my sentiment of loyalty-on my want of loyalty. He undertook, indeed, to challenge my loyalty to my Sovereign. Why, Sir, the fact is that I seized the earliest opportunity, after arriving in Melbourne-at the banquet given by yourself-to express my opinion that the colonies should not, as a matter of common wisdom, think of separating from what I took leave to call the grand old mother country. I am not a man, Mr. President, much accustomed to repeat a thing which I have once tried to say plainly, and though I may have failed last Thursday night to give expression to my feelings of loyalty in the delicate way and with the peculiar kind of eloquence in which the honorable gentleman would have expressed his, I am quite sure that I made my true meaning sufficiently clear. I really don't know how any true subject of Her Majesty could have said more. Certainly, I don't know how he could have said more becomingly. Because my notion of loyalty is not a lip service. My sense of loyalty is a steady consistent adherence to the principles of the institutions under which we live, and a devoted

[start page 77] homage to the Sovereign who uses her position to further the constitutional life of the nation. That is my idea of loyalty, and I have acted up to it at all times, and under all circumstances, throughout my life. Then the honorable gentleman said he had a command to satisfy the people of South Australia on one or two things concerning my public character. Sir, I take the liberty of doubting that he had the command of any ten men in South Australia to do any such impertinent thing. If I have ever been well received in any Australian colony, I have been well received in South Australia whenever I have visited it, and I have no reason whatever to suppose that there is any urgent inquiry there as to what I may have done or not does, or that he had any mission of the kind he mentioned. He wanted to be in a position, forsooth, to satisfy the people of South Australia as to my conduct with respect to the Federal Council, and be instanced the undoubted fact that I framed the first Federal Council Bill. That is an undoubted fact, but he might have gone further. If he had given himself the trouble of referring back to the year 1867 he would have found that then, at my instance, a law was introduced to and passed by the New South Wales Parliament to establish a Federal Council, and that that law is at this moment on the New South Wales Statute Book. It is a fact that, twenty-three years ago, the Legislature of the colony I have the honour to represent carried an Act to constitute a Federal Council for the purpose of considering the vexed question of Postal Communication, and if the other-colonies, or any of them, had copied our example we could have met at the present moment under that law without any preliminary conference whatever, with authority to adjust all questions arising in regard to mail communication. Again, it is quite true that in the Conference of 1881, I being one of its members, a Bill was framed by me which was undoubtedly the basis of the present Federal Council Act. But when I did that I took care to leave on record my reasons for the step. I will read the resolutions on the subject which I brought forward. I am not quite sure, nor could I ascertain without searching through the papers, whether I actually submitted them or not, but that is not a material point. Here are the resolutions:-

" 1. That the time is not come for the construction of a Federal Constitution with an Australian Fe deral Parliament.

" 2. That the time is come when a number of matters of much concern to all the colonies might be dealt with more effectively by some federal authority than by the colonies separately."

I can imagine some member of the Conference, Sir James Lee Steere for example, stating that this just fits the case. But I will go on:-

" 3. That an organization which would lead men to think in the direction of federation and accustom the public mind to federal ideas would be the best preparation for the foundation of a Federal Government.

"The Bill has been prepared to carry out the idea of a mixed body, partly Legislative and partly Administrative. Care has been taken throughout to give effective power to the proposed Federal Council within prescribed limits without impairing the authority of the colonies represented in that body.

"No attempt has been made to constitute the proposed Council on any historical model, but the object has been to meet the circumstances of the present Australian situation, while paving the way to a complete federal organisation hereafter."

Pursuant to this resolution a Bill was drafted, so that it will be observed that even at that time, nearly ten years ago, I sought to give strength to the Federal Council. Then came the Convention of 1883. I have, however, a pretty distinct recollection that the first movement towards that Convention was not to favour federation at all, but to support the annexation of the Island of New Guinea. The correspondence which led to that Convention will show that throughout the earlier stages of the affair the idea was simply to back up the action of the Queensland Government in taking possession of New Guinea in Her Majesty's name. I have good reason to recollect this part of the case, for although I was not in office at the time, a very influential resident of Queensland, who occupies at this moment a

very high position there, appealed to me to write a letter to the Queensland Government offering them whatever support might be supposed to attach to my influence, which I did. I wrote at once, approving, with some qualification, of the policy of the act which had been committed. Another thing is that the Convention of 1883 met in December, I having in the previous July, quitted the shores of Australia on my way to visit America and England, so that the introduction of the federation question took place after I had left the Continent. In truth, I had up to then heard nothing about it. But if I were permitted to as all that is within my knowledge, I could tell this Conference, and I would especially like to tell the representatives of Queensland, that I exerted whatever influence I had in London to forward what I understood to be the main object of that Convention. [start page 78] For example, I had a long correspondence with a very powerful member of the British Government, the Lord Chancellor, and I telegraphed to Sir Alexander Stuart (what became of my telegram I do not know) informing him that if he would abstain from seeking to mop up all the islands of the Pacific and simply ask to obtain the control of New Guinea I believed be would succeed. I believe now that he would have succeeded, and that the flag of England alone would now be floating over the portion of New Guinea which was then free for occupation. The member of the British Government with whom I had the long correspondence was the Earl of Selborne, who was understood at the time to be the Minister most opposed to what had been done in Queensland, and he took chiefly one ground, namely that of affording protection to the native inhabitants concerned, fearing that a misuse would be made of the occupation of the island in order to flood the neighbouring market with cheap labour. I think that what I have said will show that I was no hindrance to the proceedings-so far as I knew them-intended to be introduced at the Convention. Mr. Playford asked how it was that, having prepared Federal Council Act, I was not prepared to advise the Wales to authorize the colony to join that body. Sir, I stated the reason why as early as I could, as soon as I had, after my return to the colony, an opportunity of doing so, and I have repeatedly said the same thing since. Upon reflection, and after further examination of the great and complex question before me, I became satisfied that the body proposed to be created under my Bill would never succeed, and of course, having become satisfied that it would never succeed, I was not foolish enough to persevere with the business, although I had in a measure originated it. Is it fitting that a man who had become convinced by further inquiry and reflection, and by a more close examination of authorities, that something he had proposed was not the right thing to meet what had to be met, should still, for the sake of identifying himself with the subject, persevere with his proposition? Certainly such a course is not one I would follow, and I seized the earliest opportunity of stating to the world that I had become convinced that the Federal Council scheme would never succeed. One of the reasons for the stand I took will, I think, commend itself to every person however much or little he may be acquainted with the principles of government-every person who is capable of examination and reflection. It was that a body so appointed and so limited in number and authority, and consequently so powerless to acquire prestige, as the Federal Council necessarily is, could never work in harmony in the face of any display of hostile feeling on the part of any of the great Parliaments of the Continent. Take the case of New South Wales. Our Parliament consists, with its two Houses, of more than 200 members. Is it likely that a legislative body of that sort would submit to the least movement on the part of the Federal Council in disaccord with its own views on any great question-a question of national magnitude? When such a movement came to be reviewed by that Parliament, or by any other Australian Parliament holding anything like the same position, what might not be expected? No body designed for the government of men is worthy the support of any rational being if it is not so formed that it will endure conflict, not only in times of peace but also in times of pressure and emergency. Why its very purpose must be, on occasions, to breast the storm-to control the elements -not simply in days of calm and peace, but in days of trial and national agony. Therefore, having become convinced that the Federal Council scheme would not succeed, although I had myself framed the measure under which it was constituted, I, like a sensible man, decided to advocate it no longer. I was not to be swayed in the matter by any such reason as that contained in the fact that the paternity of the body in question was ascribable to me. At the same time, I was not the leading spirit in opposition to it. Be it remembered that I did not return to the colony of New South Wales until the end of August, 1884, the Convention having been held, as I have mentioned, the preceding December. I was absent at the time, and never raised my voice in the business. In fact, I could not by any possibility have exerted any influence with regard to it until the end of August, 1884. Moreover, I did not even write a letter to a newspaper, or express my

views in public, until, the time having arrived for me to do so, I gave utterance to them in my place in Parliament, stating them as I have stated them to this Conference; and I do not see how I could have followed any other course, and still held, as I hope I am allowed to hold, the position of a consistent, rational man. Well, that is the explanation on the subject I have to give to the honorable gentleman who raised the question, and I may [start page 79] state to Sir James Lee Steere also that I hope he will accept it without my taking up the time of the Conference by answering him in particular on this point. Mr. Playford also told us that I bad been false to some promise in regard to the exclusion of Chinese. But I may say for myself that I thought I had been singularly conspicuous in my resolute opposition to the introduction of Chinese; for at the very time the Conference the honorable gentleman alluded to sat in Sydney, there was before the Legislative Council of New South Wales a Bill introduced by me, which had been carried by an immense majority through the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, and which was a severer measure in the direction of exclusion than any other law on the subject in these colonies. What gave some umbrage was the fact that I declined to withdraw that Bill because the Conference was sitting. I declined to do so because, for one reason, I had already gone through the toil and unpleasantness of passing it through the Legislative Assembly. Some of my friends, who held more moderate views on the question than I did, also thought that the Bill ought to be taken back, but I and my colleagues thought otherwise. We had had great trouble and labour in the matter, and had been successful so far, and we did not feel justified in throwing away what we had accomplished; the outcome being that the measure became law soon after the meeting of the Conference. Of course, the Emperor of China could most reasonably object to what I had done, but I do not know that Mr. Playford represents His Imperial Majesty. How any Australian Colony could complain of my taking securer steps than any it had taken in order to effect the common purpose in view I cannot understand. Remember, it is not two years since this Chinese Conference sat, and that what I undertook-I and my honorable colleague, Mr. J.F. Burns-to do was that as soon as any two other colonies adopted the model Bill agreed to at the Conference, we would take measures to bring our Act of Parliament into accord with theirs. Well, I have not done that, but inasmuch as my law is more effective than the others, or, at all events, quite as effective, I don't see that much can be complained of, except, as I have said before, by the Emperor of China. He has good grounds for complaint against us. All that we in New South Wales need to do is to repeal the section imposing a poll tax of X100 on each Chinese entering our ports, and we intend to do that. We have not done it already because we have been overtaxed with other work, which we thought ought not to be interrupted in order to amend the Chinese Act. Under these circumstances I fail to see how we have committed any breach of faith with the other Colonies. If the case had stood as Mr. Playford placed it before the Conference, complaint might have been made that we had agreed to introduce a Bill and had failed to introduce it. But, as a matter of fact, all we have to do is to weaken the Act we have passed by making it less drastic, not more so-by making it less effective for the work in view, not more so. I have now explained my most reprehensible conduct on these two important questions, and I do not fear that the explanation, whether satisfactory or not to my friends here, will be at all unsatisfactory to my constituents, the people of New South Wales. I also heard a remarkable doctrine from Mr. Playford, to which, as I have been drawn into this thing, I will make some allusion. He told us that this cause of federation is a thing that has arisen from what we call the "statesmen" of Australia. Now I don't know quite what they are. When I have heard persons talk of "statesmen," I could generally utter a sort of secret prayer that I might never be included in the category. The honorable gentlemen says this movement has arisen with the statesmen, and that no movement or measure can succeed unless it arises with the people. A little later he stated that the people "drove" the statesmen. Well, all through my life, and all through my reading, I have heard, in connexion with the English nation, and the great nations that have sprung up from her, of "the leaders of the people." The expression has been "the people and their leaders." Now, however, I hear, for the first time, of the statesmen and their drivers. I don't understand this strange doctrine, and I venture to say, in contradiction of it, that there has not been one great movement for the benefit of mankind that did not in the first instance arise in some pregnant far-seeing human mind. A great thought has been communicated to other minds, it has been propogated by contact with other minds, and not until the real leaders of the people have become seised of it have the people themselves been roused to its truth, its importance, its grandeur, and its necessity to their welfare. That has been the history of every great movement known to England-of every great movement in the world. If we waited until the many, or

any considerable number, [start page 80] originated the affair, it might be talked of often, it would be a long time before it came to the light. I don't think I need offer any apology to the honorable gentleman from South Australia after his fierce attack on me. I really thought at the time, looking at him, that I had something to fear. And I must assure Mr. Playford that I cannot accept him as an interpreter of my loyalty, and that I have no fear that the time will ever come when I shall need him as an apologist for it. Now, I have a word or two to say to the honorable gentleman who represents Western Australia. I can make great allowances for the youth and inexperience of Mr. Playford, but I can make none for Sir James Lee Steere. He comes before us as a superior personage, and he ought to set us an example, which I for one should be extremely glad to follow. I cannot but take exception to what that honorable gentleman has stated. The honorable gentleman leaped up and at once committed what I think was an insult to every one of us-certainly it was not a compliment. These are the honorable gentleman's very first words:-

"I cannot hope that any effort of oratory or rhetoric on my part will be sufficiently great to assist the imagination of members of this Conference, because my mind is eminently a practical one, and I have little imagination in my constitution. I think, if I may- say so without offence, that the debate that has hitherto taken place has had rather too much of an academic character, and has been a little too full of sentiment. We should now take the more practical view of the question."

Well, I shall show you in a moment or two what the practical view of the question is. But Sir James Lee Steere was not satisfied with this assumption of superior importance, but be went on to question my sincerity; and, not satisfied with that, he questioned the sincerity of the people of New South Wales. One purpose for my waiting for or seeking to get permission to speak this morning, was in order that I might obtain the official, report of the proceedings of the Conference, from which I purpose quoting. Sir James Lee Steere said:-

" It is a very happy omen indeed that in discussing this question we have with us representatives of New South Wales, because, whether it is true or not, there has been an impression throughout the Australian colonies that the cause of federation has been delayed in consequence of New South Wales refusing to take any part in the Federal Council. I am very glad indeed to see the representatives of New South Wales present now; because I hope that before this discussion census either One or the other of those representatives will give us their reasons for having hitherto refused to join that body."

Then he went on to say that though I had professed myself in favour of federation for five-and-twenty years, there was good reason to doubt my sincerity, and good reason to doubt the sincerity of the people of New South Wales who supported me. Then, a little further on, he used these words in continuing his address:-

"I shall welcome most gladly any scheme that may be devised to enable its to federate, if only for certain purposes. If we only federate for the purpose of defence it will be well to have had a Conference for that. Mr. Deakin remarked that it was all very well to ridicule the idea of the colonies being attacked by a foreign foe, but I do not see anything ridiculous in the idea. A day may come when England is at war, and our coasts may be ravaged by hostile cruisers, or attempts be made to land a foreign force on our shores. It is absolutely necessary that we should be prepared with a federal defence force. For that reason alone, if for no other, I shall be glad to see federation accomplished in some form."

Here, Mr. President, comes in the practical operation of this gentleman's practical mind. The colonies, unitedly, have 31,000 men for defence purposes. Western Australia herself has 600 men, and no doubt it would be a most practical solution of the difficulty for the colonies, with their tens of thousands, to join with the 600 for the defence of one of the longest portions of the sea-coast of Australasia. That, certainly, is a very practical question. But that, I think, is not the way in which we shall arrive at any safe conclusion on the main question of uniting the whole of the colonies. With regard to my own course, I have explained why I could not join a Federal Council, which, before it received the stamp of Imperial legality, I had come to the opinion would never work for the benefit of

the Australian colonies. I have been spoken of as formulating-which I have not done-a Constitution for these colonies similar to that of Canada. I venture to say that I have never alluded to the Canadian Constitution in any way that would justify the inference that I have any intention, so far as I may have the power, of copying it. I only alluded to it once, and that was in my letter to Mr. Gillies, which opened the correspondence on this subject. Since then I have never alluded, except by way of illustration, to the Dominion Government, either in speech or in writing. This is what I said in my letter of October 30th, 1889:-

"The scheme of Federal Government, it is assumed, would necessarily follow close upon the type of the Dominion Government of Canada."

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Of course there must be some indication of the form it might take, and I go on to explicitly explain, fortunately for me, what I meant by that allusion :-

"It would provide, for the appointment of a Governor-General, for the creation of an Australian Privy Council, and a Parliament consisting of it Senate and House of Commons."

But I added these words:-

"In the work of the Convention, no doubt, the rich stores of political knowledge which were collected by the framers of the Constitution of the United States would be largely resorted to, as well as the vast accumulations of learning on cognate subjects since that time."

I therefore simply indicated that, what I wanted, and what I believe the people of New South Wales want, is a thoroughly organized Federal Government, consisting of a Governor-General, to represent the Sovereign, of a Privy Council, which, at a later period, I explained should include the creation of a judiciary, and a Parliament, consisting of an Upper Chamber and a House of Commons. I went on to explain that in constructing this form of Government we should resort to all stores of learning which were open to us, and, though the sentence is a short one, it is sufficiently explicit to show what I mean. I then went on to point out, and am glad I did so, because it saves me from much misrepresentation now, that we did not want a Federal Government alone for the purposes of defence, but for many other, and, to my mind, many higher purposes. My words are these:-

"Although a great and pressing Military question has brought to the surface the design of a Federal Government at the present juncture, the work of a national character which such a Government could, in the interest of all the colonies, most beneficially and effectively undertake, would include the noblest objects of peaceful and orderly progress; and every year the field of its beneficient operations would be rapidly expanding."

I thus showed clearly enough what I meant, as far as it can be stated in a letter of this kind, and in the few words I used on the only occasion when I alluded to the Dominion of Canada at all. I think I have a right to complain of Sir James Lee Steere, as an educated gentleman, being little disingenuous with me. I will point out what I mean. The honorable gentleman quoted two or three words used by the Premier of Queensland, but he did not quote the context which explained what Mr. Morehead meant. He quoted the words that, in the judgment of the Queensland Government, a Dominion Parliament would be more advantageously brought about by a process of development than by an act of displacement-and he stopped there. But Mr. Morehead did not stop there, and I am going to read what he said, in the name of Queensland:-

"As, however, previous communications and the reports of your public speeches have led me to the conclusion that your concurrence on this point is not to be looked for at present, and as this Government are exceedingly anxious that there should be no action or abstention from action on their part which would tend to render abortive any legitimate effort towards the establishment of a Federal

Constitution, it becomes desirable to adopt some course which will neither imply disregard to your objection to the character of the Federal Council, nor prevent the Governments represented thereon from availing themselves, for consultative purposes, of the machinery provided by the Council, in order to facilitate whatever further steps may be deemed necessary to bring about a complete federation of the Australian Colonies."

I am perfectly satisfied with what the Government of Queensland said to the Government of New South Wales in this correspondence, and I think their conduct was not only straightforward and intelligible, but, in a manner, generous. I have bad no complaint or doubt about Queensland from that time to the present, and certainly I could have none after listening to the really practical speech delivered last night by Mr. Macrossau. That honorable gentleman grasped the true points of this delicate, difficult, and urgent question, with a knowledge, a tact, and a forcible application of that knowledge, and the principles of Government, which I only wish I could equal. The object of this Conference, I was going to point out, is expressed in a few words by yourself, Mr.President. In your letter, addressed to myself, of the l3th of November, you, after expressing doubt as to whether my proposal was the best, admitted that it was very desirable that the whole question should be considered. You then say:-

"To ensure that consideration, I would suggest to you that, instead of going through the form of the Parliaments appointing representatives to a Convention, it should be accepted as sufficient if the representatives of the various colonies at the Federal Council were to meet yourself and representatives from New South Wales to discuss and, if deemed necessary, to devise and report upon an adequate scheme of Federal Government."

From that time, on from the date upon which I accepted this proposal, I have regarded this Conference as essentially a consultative and preparatory body, to consider whether it were advisable to take further steps towards ascertaining the verdict of the Australian Colonies on the one great question. And, as I have already said, up to this [start page 82] present hour, I have adhered to that regard of its character, and if I have broken through the restraint which I desired to place upon myself, it has been, to say the least of it, thoughtlessly provoked. Now, the honorable gentleman was pleased to characterize the resolution I submitted as a bald resolution. I cannot see its baldness. Another honorable gentlemen characterized it as an abstract resolution. I contend it is nothing of the kind. An abstract resolution would be something partaking of this form: "It would be highly to the advantage of the Australian Colonies to have their coasts securely defended." That would be an abstract resolution, and, I think, a very good model of one. But this resolution of mine states all the facts which are necessary at this stage. So far from being abstract, it is very definite, very precise indeed, and it asks you to assent to a number of facts as proved truths, and proved truths with a practical bearing upon the condition of these colonies at the present time. It seems to me that unless we can believe that, we ought not to carry this resolution. The resolution says-

"That, in the opinion of this Conference, the best interests and the present and future prosperity of the Australasian Colonies will be promoted by all early union under the Crown."

Nothing could be more definite; nothing could be more expressive. The resolution goes on to recognise the valuable services of the members of the Convention which founded the Federal Council; for in the light of the resolutions which I submitted to the Conference of 1881, that Council has been of great service to Australia. I will quote the words of my resolution, proposed two years before the Convention of 1883 met. The third of my resolutions stated-

"That an organization which would lead men to think in the direction of federation, and accustom the Public mind to federal ideas, would be the best preparation for the foundation of a Federal Government."

I readily admit that members of the Convention of 1883, and the Federal Council itself, have rendered important service in the light of the resolutions which I submitted in 1881, in directing

attention to a question, in accustoming men to the federal idea, and in a variety of ways leading on to the great end which every thoughtful man in the whole of these colonies has kept in view-the complete federation, at some time or other, of Australasia in one great nation. This resolution goes on to state that the time has now come for this higher act, and it declares to what, in the four grandest elements of national life, we had arrived at that time-in population, in wealth, in the result of a wise use of the energy, mental and physical, of the population, and in our application to the grand work of discovering what we ourselves possess in the resources of the country, and in our power to govern. These, I contend, are the four great elements of national life-numbers, the proper application of the strength of those numbers, the wealth arising from their co-operative action, and their capacity to manage their own affairs. And this resolution declares that all those grand conditions exist. Then the resolution goes on to say that no Government should be sought to be established as a central authority without due regard to the just claims of the several colonies. To call a motion of that sort abstract is simply a misuse of terms. If it had said more, as was pointed out by several gentlemen present, it would have been a mistake. It said enough, and on that broad resolution any structure whatever can be founded which the judgment of Australia may approve, and which the creative powers of Australia may call into existence. The Attorney-General for Tasmania, whom I am very glad to have met here for the first time, alluded somewhat more elaborately than I did to the warning which the attempts at Government in the United States hold out to us. I am anxious to state the case more definitely, and with the clearest accuracy that I am master of, because it seems to me that the early years of the existence of the United States supplies sounder lessons for us in this work than are to be found in the mother country or any other part of the world. Lest I should be mistaken, I am not going to speak of the advantages of the American organization. I am not going, to speak upon the results that have, followed that great organization. I am only going to allude to the process by which the American Constitution came into existence, as exemplified in a more forcible way than anything in the wide world can exemplify, the danger of these colonies going on longer in a separate condition. I say fearlessly that any person who really advocates the separation of these colonies-the continuance of that separation-can be no other than an enemy to Australian welfare; and I think I can prove conclusively, from the highest witnesses that history can produce, that the attempt to go on in that way in America [start page 83] is the most awful warning to us. I do not withdraw the adjective, I say the most "awful" warning. As I am anxious to be quite clear, I shall state five great events which mark the foundation of the present Great Republic. The first blood was shed at Lexington in April, 1775. A party, I think of some 800 English soldiers, who were stationed in Boston, went out to the village of Concord to capture some munitions of war possession of the American colonists. At Lexington they came upon a party of the patriotic colonists, and killed some eighteen of them. They did not get the munitions of war, because the Americans were on the alert and carried them to a place of safety, and the 800 English soldiers had to return to their quarters in Boston. But the hardy old Puritans-and here we were amongst Puritans, but not-throughout the struggle-waylaid them at every yard as they had to make their way back through the forest, and of the 800 only 500 reached their quarters in Boston. They were shot down like dogs in revenge for the first blood they had shed. That is the first great event in this rebellion. On the 4th July, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved. This, you will observe, was a considerable time after the blood-shedding at Lexington, because we never should forget, and no Englishman ought for a moment to forget, that there never were a people more loyal to the Throne of England than those Americans who were driven into rebellion by such practical men as Lord North and George III. They endured pains and penalties without number; they endured pains and penalties which can never be properly described rather than forsake the standard of England, and it was only by the blundering-the wholly incredible blundering-of such men as George III. and Lord North (and they were practical men) that the American Colonies Were lost to Great Britain. It is worth while pausing to consider for a moment that when this Declaration of Independence was agreed to the delegates to the Convention were split up by the most incredible dislikes, antipathies, and attempts to undermine each other's influence. Though they all assembled with halters round their necks, and every man Jack of them would have been hanged if they had not succeeded in their object, they could hardly keep their bands from each other's throats. I mention these things as a fair warning for Australia. I only want to state the facts that the Declaration of Independence was agreed to in July, 1776; that the articles of federation and perpetual union were adopted on the 15th November, 1777; and that the Independence of the United States was

acknowledged by England on the 20th January 1783. The event that led, as you no doubt all know, to the close of the war was the battle of York Town, and the 8,000 English troops coming before Washington and laying down their arms, or the complete outgeneralling of Lord Cornwallis by that great soldier George Washington. The Constitution of the United States became the supreme law of the land by the ninth State required to give it validity signing it on the 21st June, 1778. So it will be seen that the Articles of Confederation did not come into force until one year four months and eleven days after the Declaration of Independence. During that time there was hardly any Government, notwithstanding that Washington had to contend against the experienced troops of England. The Constitution came into force just ten years and seven months after the Articles of Confederation, or five years and five months after the close of the war. For five years, therefore, during which this young country was in the throes of a terrible war, the people were carrying on the conflict under the Government of separate States with separate sovereignties. For five years afterwards they carried on their peaceful operations under the separate Government of these sovereign states. If it was necessary, I could bring before you hundreds of witnesses of the highest standing to show the disastrous effects of that temporary Government of the disunited States; but I shall only bring one-the one man without whose marvellous skill as a soldier, without whose unequalled rectitude as a man and a great citizen, and without whose discernment and whose power of resource, which never failed him, the United States would never have accomplished their independence, and without whose wise counsel, whose great example, and whose commanding influence in peaceful times. they would have broken down-George Washington. All through the awful time that he was fighting against the Crown of England for the independence of the United States hardly a day passed over his weary head without bitter complaints from him of his want of support. I will not, however, quote from the scores and scores of his letters complaining of the disorganized state of the Government under the Articles of Confederation during the war, but I will come to the time of peace. The disorganization, the feebleness, the inadequacy of the Government for any rational purpose was so great that the prophets of evil, the marplots-and they [start page 84] are always too plentiful all over the world-were pointing out with sinful jubilation that the states would soon break down, and that they could not hold out much longer; and it is said that the old king revelled in the anticipation of the collapse of this young Republic. But I will come now to the opinions of George Washington after peace was proclaimed-after the independence for which he had fought so well, setting an example which can never be exceeded-and whose independence he, and he alone, won. In 1784, a year after the independence of America was acknowledged by the Crown of England, he writes thus to one of his compatriots:-

"The want of energy in the Federal Government; the pulling of one state and parts of states against another; and the commotions among the eastern people"-

They had broken out into riot and actual rebellion in several places.

-"have sunk our national character much below par, and have brought our politics and credit to the brink of a precipice. A step or two more must plunge us into inextricable ruin. Liberality, justice, and unanimity in those states which do not appear to have drunk so deep of the clip of folly, may yet retrieve our affairs, but no time is to be lost in essaying the reparation of them."

He writes to another friend thus:-

"However delicate the revision of the federal system may appear, it is a work of indispensable necessity. The present constitution is inadequate; the superstructure is tottering to its foundation, and, without help, must bury us in its ruins."

That was after ten years of Government by a cluster of separate states. Again, writing to Edmund Randolph, on the occasion of his appointment to the head of the Congress, he says:-

"Dear Sir,-It gave me great pleasure to hear that, the voice of the country had been directed to you as chief magistrate of this commonwealth, and that you had accepted the appointment."

Of course, no one will confound this with any appointment to the Presidency, which did not come into force till some years afterwards. The letter proceeds:

"Our affairs seem to be drawing to an awful crisis. is necessary, therefore, that the abilities of every man should be drawn into action in a public line, to rescue them, if possible, from impending ruin. As no one seems more fully impressed with the necessity of adopting such measures than yourself, so none is better qualified to be intrusted with the reins of Government."

Here, then, I bring one great witness out of hundreds to show, not simply the inadequacy, but the impossibility of governing the people by a number of authorities, and it seems to me that this one case supplies a warning to us not to attempt anything that would disorganize authority and-separate the-powers which are always most wanted at a time when it is most difficult to obtain them-which are always of most value to the citizens governed at a time which allows of no processes to bring them into existence. If they do not exist already, the country that trusts to such helps as those is lost; and Washington saw clearly enough, from an experience which no other man living had obtained, that America would have been lost had it not been for the wise counsels which led to the adoption at last of the present Constitution and Union Government under it, which now rule between 60,000,000 and 70,000,000 of free subjects. I will endeavour to state as briefly as I can, and, of course, with as much force as I can, the great objects of a Central Australian Government. I omitted entirely some of those objects in my opening speech, because I had really been in a condition in which I could give attention to nothing up to the morning on which I spoke. I would willingly have left the Conference that day for the mere purpose of rest, and it is no wonder to myself that I lost sight of some of the more important of those objects. Two of the most important, from a practical point of view, relate to the Asiatic races and to the island of the Pacific. No one, I presume, will doubt the principle of growth in the Australian people. What we are to-day is nothing to what we shall be this day twelve months, and if men could go away beyond the reach of the telegraph and post office for ten years, and then return, they would hardly believe that the Australia of the year 1900, was the same country as the Australia of 1890. The elements of growth among us are simply marvellous, and they will go in an increasing ratio as time progresses. Who knows what troubles may arise in relation to those countless millions of members of the human family who are within easy sail of these shores? Who knows what will take place in the next decade in the empire of China? There are many strong evidences that the thin end of the wedge of change has been driven into that empire, which remained in seclusion for centuries and centuries; and looking to the weak organization of the governing powers, who knows what new forms of socialism may not split up the empire of China with its 400,000,000 men and women? Who [start page 85] knows what form the policy of that vast empire may assume, and who would dare to foreshadow how intimately it may concern the free peoples of this country? I spoke just now of the efforts of New South Wales to restrict the tide of Chinese immigration. I hope I shall be permitted to state here what I have often stated in other places, in order that there may be no misunderstanding as to what my view on this point is. I am not one of those, as I have repeatedly declared elsewhere, who regard the Chinese people with any feeling of loathing. I am not one of those who wish to look down upon them as a people who are in their habits particularly inferior to us. On the contrary, I believe them on the whole to be a law-abiding, industrious, frugal, and peaceable people. I have never opposed the Chinese on any ground derogatory to their character as members of a civilized community, but I have opposed their entrance into Australia, because I believe it is my highest duty and the highest duty of every person who has imagination in his composition to do so. I believe it to be the duty of every one to endeavour to preserve these Australian lands which were acquired according to the rights of nations, for a people modelled on the type of the British nation; and it is on that ground, and oil that ground alone, that I have opposed the introduction of the Chinese. I wish to refer to the question now in a much higher light. I cannot lose sight of the fact that these people number upwards of 400,000,000, that they are a hardy race that they are an adventurous race, and, what is of more importance to us, that they are an imitative race. What we can do they will try to do, and they will, with greater or less success, accomplish it. It is said that Napoleon I., who certainly, in the qualities of statesmanship, was amongst the giants of the world, once expressed his opinion that it was only necessary for the Chinese to acquire European arts, especially the art of ship-building, in order to conquer the world. The saying, whether correctly attributed to Napoleon or not, conveys the

truth that there are elements of power in this nation, because there is no power except in the number of human minds and human organisms. It is population alone which gives the foundation of power in every structure of government under the sun. And I say again, it is in the highest degree necessary, and it may be necessary to the security, to the integrity, and to the honour of Australia, that there should be a central power to do what is wise and fitting the occasion in regard to these multitudes of Asiatics. Turning from that field to the. field of the South Sea Islands, I have no doubt whatever in my mind that if there had been a central government in Australia-if Australia could have spoken with one voice in the year 1883, New Guinea would have belonged to Australia.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH.-Hear, hear.

Sir HENRY PARKES.-I have no doubt whatever of it, and I do not think that my person with a mind accustomed to the contemplation of events, or at all acquainted with Australian history, can doubt it. We know what has followed. As was pointed out by my colleague (Mr. McMillan) with great force and accuracy yesterday, those great armed powers of Europe which are shut in from the sea are not only wanting more earth for their multitudes to live upon, but are wanting the earth which fronts the ocean in any part of the world. I am treading somewhat on dangerous ground, and I do not care to pursue this idea, but we all know what has occurred. We know the tortuous ways in which persons who have had to negotiate with England have acted, and with what marvellous tenacity they hold to any authority in the Southern Seas. Now, Australia ought to be mistress of the Southern Seas. The trade, the commerce, and the intercourse of those groups of rich islands ought to Centre in our ports, and with these advantages we ought, to hold the mastery of the hemisphere. That is our destiny, and it will come. But why should we not let it come with the least pains and penalties, with the least delays, and with the least possible loss of time and opportunities. These are two very great objects which can only be properly attained, properly promoted, by a Federal Government. I think I agree in the main with Mr. Macrossan's view as to the necessity of giving power, all the power necessary, to this Government, if we assent to create it. I also agree with Mr. Playford, and it affords me unspeakable happiness to do so, that it will be the duty of the Convention, if it is called into existence, to jealously watch the rights and privileges of the provincial Governments. I agree entirely, and I have as much interest in it-as a citizen of New South Wales-as any of the members of the Conference, I agree entirely, I say, in not stripping the colonial Governments of my power which they can hold, consistently with due power being given to the Government which [start page 86] represents them all. But there are even higher objects than these waiting to be achieved by an Australian Government, a Government that can appear everywhere as representing the whole people, a Government to which the doors of every Court will be thrown open, and before which no nation would appear except with respect and proper appreciation of its present and future importance. There is the national credit, which has been alluded to already, and I will only pass it by with one word, that the credit of Australia under the powers of a Federal Government would, I think, be second to none-certainly it would be second to none excepting England. She would stand amongst the best before the world. Is that no light object? Is that no object in the direct material interest of Australia? There is a higher object still-the object of a national influence. What influence have these detached colonies? It is surprising that they have so much; but the influence of the proudest-we will say Victoria-is nothing to the influence of an Australian nation, an Australian Government. She would be able to influence the destinies of civilized men in all parts of the world. It cannot for a moment be doubted that there is another object scarcely less than this-and I hope Sir J. Lee Steere will not consider that I am merely dealing with imaginary things-there is the object of exercising national power in the community of nations all over the world. Who can doubt that our national power would be incalculably increased by its being exercised by one strong intelligent head? And there is, highest of all, the object of national honour. Why should not the name of an Australian be equal to that of a Briton? Why should not the name of an Australian sailor be equal to that of a British sailor? Why should not the name of an Australian citizen be equal to that of the citizen of the proudest country under the sun? All those grand objects would be promoted by a national organization. But there is something more. Make yourselves a united people, appear before world the as one, and the dream of going "home" would die away. We should create an Australian home-our rich men would find avenues for the employment of their talents, and for the expenditure of their superfluous fortunes on the spot-the Governor-General of Australia would be able to hold a court

that would be as attractive as that of the monarchs of the old world, which is not a light thing to be passed over as a mere matter of sentiment. We know what was said by a wise minister to a European potentate who declined to do some trivial thing on the ground that it was only a ceremony. "My liege," said the Minister, "you are only a ceremony." He knew how much the world is moved by the forms, by the ceremonies, and by the social influences which are brought to bear, and which are inseparable from a high state of civilization. We should have "borne" within our own shores; "home" with all the lofty ideals for the mere socially ambitious. We should have avenues of employment for the most gifted among our sons, and there would be no object of ambition superior to what would be presented to them on the spot which gave them birth. For some years past, I have enjoyed the acquaintance of a man who is perhaps the highest student of the materials of history living in our country. A few years ago I was introduced to Mr. Lecky by Lord Tennyson. I have had frequent opportunities of enjoying his conversation under his own roof, and I am in correspondence with him now. On Tuesday last, I received a letter from Mr. Lecky on the federation of the Australian Colonies, and I don't think it out of place-and I am quite sure that, if it were possible, I should have his permission-to read it to the Conference. He writes to me on the occasion of my sending him the federation papers, and his letter is dated December 28, 1889. It is as follows:-

"DEAR SIR HENRY,-I have been reading, with great interest, the papers you were kind enough to send me. Your great work seems marching steadily to its consummation. If a federal system such as you propose, had existed in the American Colonies-"

Let me say, here, that if there is a man living who has ransacked the archives for the materials of American and English history, it is Mr. Lecky. He knows, probably, more than any other Englishman about the events which led to the loss to Great Britain of the American Colonies. He writes:-

"If a federal system such as you propose had existed in the American Colonies in the last century, it is probable that their quarrel with England would have been avoided."

I have already pointed out, what history points out, how anxious the whole of the great men who founded the American Union were to avoid a separation. There never was a more loyal subject of the British Crown than George Washington, and there was not one of the great men who had a hand in framing the Constitution who [start page 87] would not gladly have allowed the country to remain a part of the Empire. Mr. Lecky proceeded-

"The only wish of Grenville was, that they should have an army for their own protection."

Let me pause here. In what was considered to be a most propitious change of Ministry, under the leadership of Lord Grenville, the object was not to endanger the connexion, not to tyrannize over the American Colonies-but, on the authority of this great historian, that the American Colonies should have an army for their own protection. They could not, however, agree to give it sanction, on account of the awful dismemberment arising from the existence of so many separate Governments.

"The only wish of Grenville was that they should have an army for their own protection; but there was then no single body which could represent them all, and it was the extreme difficulty of obtaining the concurrence of a great number of separate Legislatures that induced him to adopt his fatal plan of taxing them by means of the British Parliament."

We now have it, on the authority of Mr. Lecky, than whom there can be no better, that Lord Grenville's object was not to tax the American people, and he would not have done so if he could have got the assent of any single body to the formation of an army, or if he could have avoided the chaotic cavillings of the thirteen separate Legislatures, and induced them to tax themselves. Mr. Lecky further states :-

"If America had then been constituted as Australia would be upon your plan, no difficulty would have arisen, and it is totally certain that British taxation would never have been proposed."

I do not know whether the word "totally" is a correct rendering or not. In conclusion, Mr. Lecky says-

"You seem to be engaged in a work of unity and conciliation, the most appropriate and noblest employment of old age.

"Believe me, dear Sir Henry Parkes, with best wishes,

"Faithfully yours,


Something has been said by several honorable gentlemen, and especially in those model addresses which were delivered by the delegates from New Zealand, in both of which the highest tone of the gentleman was preserved with the resolute determination of the citizen-perhaps overmuch said, about loyalty. As I observed just now, I do not think that I need any witness to my loyalty; but I cannot shut my eyes to the fact that the future is in the hands of the all-wise God. It is impossible to forecast what the march of events may bring forth-it is very unlikely, indeed, that I shall live to see them-but I trust I am gifted with sufficient foresight to contemplate in some measure what may occur. It may be-because the greatest events are often sent on their sliding-plane of operation by the most trivial circumstances-that the Australian people may not always live under the English flag. I pray God they may. I believe they can have no higher destiny. A religious poet says-

"Prayer is the soul's sincere desire,

Uttered or unexpressed,

The motion of a hidden live,

That trembles in the breast."

My whole being trembles with an unuttered prayer of that kind, that the whole of the British possessions may remain for ever forming parts of one beneficent Empire such as the world has never seen. I can see no permanent obstacles to such a grand consummation; I see no reason why the Australias should not become a Federal Dominion, a result which we are all, I hope, now trying to bring about. The North American Colonies will, I think, become more completely a Federal Dominion by some reform of their present Constitution. Our South African possessions may, with great care-and great care will be necessary-become also a cluster of states; and I can see no reason on earth why this comparatively great independent congeries of states should not unite with the mother country in forming an Empire such as has never yet been formed, and which would carry our language, our laws, our social habits, our literature, our great stores of science, to all parts of the habitable globe. My prayer is that wise counsels and unforseen beneficent influences may bring this about. But it may be otherwise; it may be, as many very respectable and reputable citizens dream, that we shall form a nation by ourselves. But whatever is the future destiny of Australia-whether it is the grand destiny of forming part of this new Empire that ought to rule, in the interests of peace, the whole world, or whether it becomes a separate nationality-what we are attempting to do now is commended by wisdom, commended by foresight, commended by every [start page 88] principle of national morals, and will be equally beneficial to the people whatever course events may take. I trust that this Conference will lead to a better understanding. I deny that I have been the means of any disturbance. Whatever quarrels may have taken place, New South Wales has never been the aggressor. I say that very deliberately. If a Conference assembled, as it did assemble, and certain members of that Conference, including the representatives of New Zealand, went behind the back of the Conference, and voted in their own interests on what they were to consider in the interest of all the colonies, New South Wales had no part in it; she was the victim. If a tax, which to my mind is the most barbarous that we could conceive, is levied upon the live stock of the country-upon the food supplies of the

people-we are not the authors of it. If there is not free intercourse across the River Murray we are not to blame. We established free intercourse between South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales at a cost to our taxpayers of £60,000 per annum-it existed for some time; it was at length abrogated, but not by New South Wales. A few months hence it will be 36 years since I was elected to the Legislature of New South Wales. I am not going to state these few facts for the purpose of enabling any one to write my biography, but for another purpose. Since then I have been elected to that Legislature considerably over 30 times. I have passed through more than 30 contested elections, I have been at the head of five administrations, and I have sat in every Parliament, and voted, with one exception, on every great question. Now I am going to state why I gave you these facts. In no parliament, in no public group meeting, in no group of my fellow-citizens, in no intercourse with any personal friend, has the word "retaliation" ever fallen from my lips. Retaliation between nations is an abomination to me; and whatever provocation the colony of New South Wales has had, I have held this doctrine to my angry fellow colonists who have appealed to me time after time, that nothing, would induce me ever to give my adherence to the wicked principle of retaliation. One Christian people has no moral right to retaliate upon another, unless they desire to set the world by the ears. Where does such a policy as that lead to? For the most part our markets have been thrown open to all of you. I believe with my colleague that New South Wales could better than any of the other colonies endure to live alone; and I believe that if any of the colonies have an interest higher than the rest in this question of federation it is the smaller colonies. I ask, with every respect, how would it be possible for Western Australia to remain outside a federation of the colonies? I live in a Sydney suburb, which is separated from the city by one of the arms of Port Jackson; and this Sydney suburb contains more than two-thirds of the population of all Western Australia. Its 30,000 inhabitants, however, send only four members to our Parliament, whereas the 44,000 in Western Australia have a Parliament of their own, with the incalculable advantage of Sir James Lee Steere as its president. Surely the great colonies-great in population, great in wealth-have less interest in federation than the smaller colonies. I think we could defend our ports a little better than Western Australia could defend hers if a time arose for defence; I think that from our resources, our position, the undoubted skill and enterprise of our people, we are as well able to take care of ourselves as are the people of Western Australia. But all through these negotiations I have not only said that we are willing to come into a Federal Dominion with the smallest colonies, but I have said that we seek no advantage for ourselves; we do not wish to make any condition whatever: we are prepared to trust to the wisdom, to the honour, and to the justice of a Federal Parliament, and to commit all our interests to it. That is our position, and unless we are willing to trust to a Federal Parliament, I cannot understand how we can hope to federate in any way which will be worthy of the name. As I did not wish, in the first place, even to mention the name of New South Wales, I am still, if possible, more unwilling to introduce the subject of its fiscal policy. I have no fear of the policy of New South Wales being reversed. I have confidence that that policy will gain strength in the next appeal to the people, and I tell this Conference that, whether we federate or not, I shall not abate one jot of my efforts to promote the noble policy of freedom for the exertions of civilized men. I only mention my determination, as a citizen of New South Wales, to still promote our own policy, first, that there may be no misunderstanding in the matter, and, secondly, to show the genuineness of my professions. We are told that we shall be overwhelmed in the Federal Parliament by those who favour the opposite policy. Even if that fact could be demonstrated to me, it would in no [start page 89] way turn my course in seeking to build up in these colonies a Federal Dominion. I would still vote for the same policy; and, though the first wave of Parliamentary authority might be against it, I should have no less confidence in its ultimate triumph believing as I do that it is based on principles which are eternal-the principles of justice, of freedom, and of human brotherhood-of the ultimate ascendancy of which I have no fear. That in no way intimidates me, or qualifies my desire to enter into a Federal Government. I have thought it necessary, after what has been said, to speak thus plainly. I should have been perfectly willing, as I said at the opening of my speech, to have left the name of New South Wales out altogether, but other gentleman were not willing to take that course. I have stated my views very briefly on those points which have been introduced into the discussion. But the main object for which, representing New South Wales, I stand here, is to say that we desire to enter upon this work of federation without making any condition to the advantage of ourselves, without any stipulation whatever, with a perfect preparedness to leave the proposed convention free to devise its own scheme,

and, if a central Parliament comes into existence, with a perfect reliance upon its justice, upon its wisdom, and upon its honour. I think I know the people of New South Wales sufficiently to speak in their name; and I think I can answer for it that an overwhelming majority of my countrymen in that colony will approve of the grand step being taken of uniting all the colonies under one form of beneficent Government, and under one national flag. Of course I must trust to honorable gentlemen not inferring that when I talk of a national flag I mean anything that is not perfectly in accord with the flag of England, I only mean a flag to represent the whole of the people within the shores of Australia. I came here with my mind quite untrammeled, quite unbiased, anxious to join the other colonies, and it is my most firm belief that if we arrive at this great end of forming an Australian Dominion, we shall do the grandest work that is possible to our hands and to our generation. Even if honorable gentlemen doubt that this end can be attained now-and I do not doubt it-there can be no doubt it will be attained in a short time. The great living principle of federation has seized the hearts of the Australian people, and it will warm their nature, take deeper root, and have more splendid attraction as events disclose themselves. And whether we are a federated people within the next two years, as we may be and ought to be, or not, we shall be a federated people within the next decade, if not much sooner. I pray God that this event will come about by the wisest counsels, that it will not be delayed, and that it will be crowned with every kind of happiness for the United Colonies.

The PRESIDENT.-Gentlemen of the Conference: As a member of the Conference, I desire to take this opportunity of addressing myself to the important question which has been under our consideration for the past few days. I congratulate Sir Henry Parkes on his second powerful and eloquent speech in which he has dealt with the great issues before us, and, I venture to think, dealt with them satisfactorily. There was only one part of the address he has just delivered, however, which I make bold to say might perhaps have been better left out, namely, his references to some of the statements made by members of the Conference. I am quite certain that those statements were not made with my intention of creating any ill-feeling in the Conference, much less with a view of embittering this discussions, and I regret that my honorable friend, Sir Henry Parkes, should have-thought that the observations made by Mr. Playford and Sir James Lee Steere were of such a character as to call for serious comment. I noticed that Mr. Playford was a little warm while he was speaking, but his observations certainly did not convey to my mind any idea of intentional affront. Under these circumstances, and seeing that the deliberations of the Conference have been so well conducted, with such excellent taste and judgment, as well as with great ability, it might perhaps have been better if the observations of Sir Henry Parkes to which I have referred had remained unsaid. No doubt, on a point of that kind, every man is entitled to consider his own case, and as Sir Henry Parkes thought proper to believe or think that the statements made by Mr. Playford and Sir James Lee Steere improperly reflected upon him, undoubtedly he was perfectly justified in resenting them under the circumstances. There was one other point in which I think Sir Henry Parkes was scarcely fair--I do not mean to say that he was intentionally unfair-but having taken the views he has advocated for a number of years and Pressed them so forcibly, I think he was not altogether fair in his remarks with regard to the federal Council. May I be permitted to draw attention to the fact that his [start page 90] observations appear to me to be scarcely consistent with a portion of the resolution which he has submitted to this Conference? A portion of that resolution gives great credit to the founders of the Federal Council for the good work they have done; but if the Federal Council is, in his Judgment, wholly useless, then a part of his resolution is inconsistent with his own opinions.

Sir HENRY PARKES.-I certainly did not say the Federal Council is useless.

The PRESIDENT.-I understood the honorable gentleman to convey the idea that from the very time he heard of the formation of the Federal Council the reason he did not urge New South Wales to join it was that he believed its works would be useless, and that it would be utterly impossible for the Council to do any good at all. And the honorable gentleman made a comparison between its numerical smallness and the large Legislature of New South Wales, to the effect that inasmuch as the Federal Council was a small and the Legislature of New South Wales was a large body it was wholly out of the question that the Legislature of New South Wales could think of remitting any question to the Federal Council, because they could not allow 200 members of Parliament in New South Wales to be

overruled by a handful of men in the Federal Council. Now, I venture to submit that that is hardly putting the question in its proper light, and I desire to make one or two observations upon that point, with a view of justifying not only the existence of the Federal Council, but the work it has been enabled to do. It is well known, and has been set forth by Sir Samuel Griffith and other members of the Conference, that the Federal Council was originally established to do work which no one colony could do for itself, to legislate upon subjects in which all the colonies in the group were interested, and upon which it was desirable that legislation should take place, but upon which none of the colonies was able to legislate alone. The necessity for a legislative body like the Federal Council has been shown over and over again. A number of Intercolonial Conferences have been held from time to time, but in nine cases out of ten in which they came to agreement on the questions remitted to them for consideration, as to the, lines upon which each colony should legislate by itself, from one cause or another the majority of the subjects on which agreements were arrived at were never legislated upon at all. Changes of Governments, changes of situations and circumstances, intervened to prevent local legislation on many of the subjects in reference to which the basis of legislation had been laid down by the representatives of the different colonies in the Conferences to which I have alluded. I dare say it was not deliberate intention of any of the Governments represented at any one of those Conferences not to legislate on the subjects in question, but changes of Government, or other circumstances over which they had no control, often occurred to prevent such legislation, and the agreements between the representatives of the colonies came to naught, notwithstanding that it was a patent fact to all Australia that uniform legislation was absolutely necessary on important questions on which there was great confusion, and in reference to which it was impossible for each colony to legislate separately on its own lines. The desire in everybody's mind was that there might be created a body which should have the power to legislate upon subjects in reference to which the representatives of all the colonies were agreed, but upon which the colonies could not legislate in their local Parliaments. That was the origin of the Federal Council, and notwithstanding the number of gentleman occupying seats in the Legislature of New South Wales, and the number of gentleman occupying seats in the Legislatures of the other colonies, I venture to think that it would be in no way disparaging to them to remit any subject they might think proper to remit to the consideration of the Federal Council; nor would it be derogatory to them if the Federal Council should come to conclusions on the subject, and give legislative shape to those conclusions. As a matter of fact the Federal Council has legislated in a variety of ways on important matters, and, I believe, wholly to the satisfaction of the colonies represented, and I submit to Sir Henry Parkes that the only reason why the Federal Council has not been of greater value is simply owing to the fact that the whole of the Australian continent was not represented in that Council. Had the whole of this vast continent been represented, I am confident that the Federal Council would have been able to do work which would have met with the approval of all the Australian Colonies. The Federal Council is a legislative body, and has no administrative power, and it was never contemplated from the first that it should have administrative power, unless great changes were made in its Constitution which might [start page 91] bring that about, but I venture to think that the powers of the present Federal Council, if all the colonies of Australia were represented in it, are such as would enable the Council to do great and good work for the people of this continent. As I have said, notwithstanding its restrictions, the Federal Council has already done good and valuable work, and the only reason it has not been able to do still more is because one of the principal colonies of Australasia has not been able to see its Way to join the Council. Of course the Federal Council would not require to do work which each of the colonies is able to do for itself. Passing on to the subject under the consideration of this Conference, I may be permitted to say that the importance of our meeting here on the present occasion cannot be over valued. We have heard many eloquent speeches dealing with both the sentimental and the practical sides of this great question, many of the speeches, such as large portion of the speeches of Sir Henry Parkes, dealing with the bright and noble aspect of the question, and forecasting to some extent the great future that is awaiting Australia. I am confident there is no one who has paid the slightest attention to the increase of population in these colonies, to the increase of their wealth and resources, and, as Sir Henry Parkes has pointed out, their capacity for self-government, but will be ready to admit that Australia has within itself all the elements of a successful and prosperous national life, and that the colonies ought to be quite prepared to adopt the policy of creating a Federal Constitution and a Federal Government. Well, we have met here on this occasion for the purpose of endeavouring to come to a conclusion among ourselves, after

full discussion, as to whether the time is ripe for creating that Federal Constitution, and I now propose to consider very briefly how far our discussion has advanced the proposals which have been submitted to us. Have we been in a position to come to the conclusion that we can well establish a Federal Constitution, consisting of a Federal Parliament and Federal Government? I think the course we have pursued in having a meeting of this kind has turned out to be a wise one, as I believe that if we and the other colonies had accepted the proposal made by Sir Henry Parkes in the first instance, for each of the Parliaments of this continent to appoint delegates to a Convention for the purpose of setting forth the principles of a Federal Constitution, and, in fact, drafting a Federal Constitution, there would have been very little hope of those Parliaments appointing delegates to that Convention within any reasonable time. We have had an opportunity, however, of discussing this question on the present occasion, and exchanging opinions, not as to what the future Federal Constitution should be, but with the object of determining in our own minds whether we believe the time is ripe for federation, and whether the views of the people of this continent are so far advanced that they are prepared by their representatives in Parliament to send delegates for the Purpose of considering this great question of a Federal Constitution. Now, I believe that in all the references which have been made to the desirability of framing this Constitution, while there is no doubt whatever that Sir Henry Parkes clearly indicated that it should consist of a Governor-General, two Houses of Parliament, and a Federal Government no doubt responsible to the Federal Parliament; and while it is quite true that this is the main principle in the Constitution of the Canadian Dominion, yet I nevertheless agree with Henry Parkes that it would not necessarily follow that the whole of the provisions contained in the Constitution of the Canadian Dominion should be inserted in our Federal Constitution. In fact, in a communication I addressed to Sir Henry Parkes at an earlier stage, I expressed these views, I think, quite clearly. In my letter, dated 12th August, 1889, I stated:-

"I gather from your letters, especially from the last one, that your proposal is to create a Federal Parliament of Australia, consisting of two Houses with an Executive Federal Government, constitutionally responsible to the Federal Parliament, the Crown, no doubt, being represented by a Governor-General. This, of course, would be a federation on the same lines as the Dominion of Canada. Whether the Parliament so created would, in other respects, be the same as that of the Dominion would depend on the powers granted to it and those reserved to the local Parliaments."

So that it was clearly indicated, as far back as August last year, that while it would be quite possible to agree to a Federal Constitution on the same lines as that of the Canadian Dominion, yet at the same time it did not follow that the whole of the provisions should be copied from the Dominion Constitution, because, as has been recognised throughout this discussion, the great difference which might lie between the two would consist in the powers which would be given to the Federal Parliament [start page 92] and the powers which would be retained by the local Government I confess that when the proposal was lately made by Sir Henry Parkes to meet for the purpose of discussing this question, I did not in any way feel over-confident of our success. I can quite conceive that while you may get tens of thousands of men to agree that a grand federation of these colonies must come sooner or later, it is a totally different thing to be able to arrive at a satisfactory answer to the question as to whether the time is ripe now, and as to what the character of the Federal Constitution ought to be; and that we may be no nearer a practical settlement, even if we arrive at the conclusion that the time will come when we shall have a Federated Australia, or even if we resolve that the time is ripe for considering the question. I think, therefore, that it would not be out of place if I should endeavour to collect generally the views of honorable members who have addressed themselves to this subject, in order to see how far we have been able, up to the present, to come to some understanding. To start with, it has been acknowledged on all sides, even by the representatives of South Australia and of Western Australia, who, perhaps, are least strong for a great Federal Constitution, that we ought to have a Federal Parliament; and Mr. Playford expressed himself very strongly indeed that the time will come when a Federal Parliament will be established in Australia. His language was, "Sooner or later it will be established." Now, the first thing that suggests itself to one's mind is this-Does that mean that he is prepared, and others with him, to take steps for the purpose of inducing the various Parliaments of Australia to appoint delegates to a Convention for the purpose of laying down the principles upon which that Constitution is to be based.

Mr. PLAYFORD.-Undoubtedly.

The PRESIDENT.-Then the question arises-On what is that Federal Constitution to be based? What form shall it take? I venture to think that that will be a question that will ultimately present the great difficulties. That we should federate is also agreed, But what is not agreed upon, and that which we cannot possibly upon which we should federate. Now, there agreed. That we should federate as soon as possible now determine, is the exact terms is no one who is more anxious to see a great federation-a federation complete in the largest sense-than I am; but I confess that I see great difficulties-not insuperable, but great difficulties-in the way of bringing about this federation, and I am very much afraid that even when delegates are appointed to the convention our troubles will only have just begun. I have no doubt whatever that upon a number of important general principles we shall be able to agree, but at the same time I think it will be a great mistake if we under-estimate the difficulties that lie immediately before us. Those difficulties are not few; they are numerous, and at the same time they are great. Taking even the various views which have been expressed by members of this conference on the question of our tariffs-of the Customs duties-I am afraid it is only too obvious that there will be great difficulty in coming to an agreement. But I say that, although there may be great difficulties in being able to come to an agreement, that is no reason why we should not attempt to overcome those difficulties and arrive at some common understanding. And when we meet, as I hope we shall shortly meet, in the convention, I believe we shall be able, in thrashing out the whole of these questions, to come to a solution that will be satisfactory to the whole of our Parliaments. In fact, on the subject of the Tariff, I feel perfectly confident that, even if we are not able at once to level the barriers between the colonies so far as Customs duties are concerned, we shall be able to arrive at some modification which will be satisfactory to all, and that modification may be a very reasonable one. It is quite possible that South Australia may not be prepared to agree to the abolition at once of the whole of the Customs duties between the colonies; but if she is not, surely it will be possible to make some provision by which the time may be postponed for bringing that about, but in which a time shall nevertheless be definitely fixed when the abolition shall take place. A few years one way or other is nothing in the life of a great nation, and if only we are able to find a solution that will effectually overcome the difficulties and give us such a Federal Constitution, we will not require to re-open the question at any future time. After all, the important question which will have to be considered by the various Parliaments is-Is the time ripe for federation? But I think they should also consider this other question. If we are not in a position to enter into the consideration of that great question now, and lay down the lines upon which our Constitution is to be based, when are we likely to be able to take up the subject more advantageously? A number of the members of this Conference have clearly indicated that the present time is as good [start page 93] as any other time, and that the future, so fix as we know, may present even greater, difficulties than does the present. I think that might be used as an argument to induce the various Parliaments to send delegates to the Convention. It might be well to point out that while at present we have peace and quiet generally, and on the whole there exists a friendly spirit among the colonies, it is impossible to tell, if we put off the creation of this Federal Parliament, at what period in the future the time will be more appropriate for the consideration of the question. The financial question will be one of very great difficulty, but I believe it can be solved, and if the Parliaments come to a determination that federation shall be brought about in the best way possible, I believe that all difficulties will speedily vanish. At the same time I think it would be a great mistake for members who vote for this resolution to come to the conclusion that the carrying of this resolution really settles everything. It settles only one great thing, and that is very important-that the time is ripe for the federation of the Australian colonies. Having settled that question, we should all feel bound to make every possible effort to induce our respective Parliaments to appoint delegates who will be in a position to consider, not only the general principles, but also the details of the great measure which we will be called upon to submit. Now, a number of the members of the Conference have discussed at some length the question as to what the nature of the federation should be. Should it be like the Dominion of Canada, or should it take in some of the provisions of the Constitution of the United States. I have no doubt in my own mind but that we shall find the Canadian Constitution is about the best basis that we can select. Whatever modifications we may make in that

Constitution-whether we shall grant the same powers to the Federal Parliament as does the Constitution of the Canadian Dominion, or whether we shall allow the local Governments to retain larger powers than the local Parliaments of Canada have under the Dominion Constitution-will, no doubt, be a matter for earnest consideration. But I venture to think that, simply to create a Federal Parliament with little or no powers-that is to say, Only such powers as the local Parliaments cannot exercise-would be a great mistake. I believe that we can leave to the local Parliaments vast powers, giving them the whole internal administration, and everything required to secure the progress and prosperity of their respective colonies, and at the same time be in a position to grant great and varied powers to the new Federal Parliaments which we shall bring into existence. I have always felt, however, that as we shall then be in a position to discuss these matters in detail, the less this Conference goes into detail perhaps the better, lest views may now be expressed by honorable members which may hamper them in dealing with the subject afterwards. Under these circumstances I felt, before coming to this Conference at all, that it might be better that some general resolution such as this should be submitted, and that there would be much more likelihood of its being successful than if we were to submit a series of resolutions on which we proposed to lay the basis of the new Constitution. One important consideration which, I think, ought to weigh with us is this, that in order to make the Convention a success, the various Parliaments, in appointing their delegates, ought to leave their hands untied and untrammelled. The consideration of the various difficult and important questions, and the working of them out, in my judgment renders it indispensably necessary that resolutions ought not, in the interests of the whole country, to be passed by any Parliament tying the hands of its delegates either in one direction or another. If their hands were tied on one or two important questions, the result would be that they could scarcely give us the benefit of their valuable advice when we were discussing those questions. I have always felt that had there been very serious difference of opinion at this Conference, a great responsibility would rest upon all the members if they refused even to submit to their various Parliaments the proposal to consider a new constitution. If two or three colonies stood apart, and declined to join in our movement, the chances are that that movement might not be successful. But there is every probability, if all the members of the Conference are prepared to make a recommendation to their several Parliaments, that those Parliaments will undertake to seriously consider it. If, on the other hand, there is any one representative who declines to ask the consent of his Parliament to the appointment of delegates to a Convention, it would be extremely unfortunate, and a very great responsibility for any delegate to undertake. However great the difficulties I saw before me, I would feel that I undertook a great responsibility if I undertook not to recommend to our Parliament the appointment of delegates to a convention simply because of those [start page 94] difficulties. Difficulties are made to be overcome, and I think there is something of the true ring in the words put into Richelieu's mouth when he said, "There is no such word as 'fail.'" If we have a good work before us, there is no doubt whatever that we ought to be strengthened rather than weakened by what are known as difficulties. Mr. Playford, in speaking on this subject, intimated, as an objection, that this movement had not sprung from the people. Surely the honorable gentleman will go with me in saying that, whether a movement springs from the people or not, so long as it be a good and a wise movement, and one to promote their interests, we should not think of objecting to it. Whatever the interests of these colonies are, I think they can best be promoted by union, and though for many years there may be difficulties in dealing with some subjects, these difficulties will and can be overcome, simply because experience has shown that they have been overcome elsewhere. What has been done elsewhere ought not to be too difficult for us to do. All we have to do in approaching this question is to approach it in a determined spirit, first believing that the movement is a good one, and then putting our shoulder to the wheel in order to carry it through. I think we have great reason to be encouraged by what we know to be the opinion of a great portion of the civilized world in regard to this movement. England recognises that if we are a federated people, if we are united, if we have a Federal Parliament with a general Government, a power will be created on this Continent, which, in the future, will be of the greatest value to the Imperial Government and the whole of the Empire. Feeling that the creation of a great power like this will not only strengthen ourselves, but at the same time strengthen all those belonging to us, they recognise that it is a matter of the utmost importance that we should, at any rate, take the first step in recommending our several Parliaments to appoint delegates to a Convention to frame a Federal Constitution. I feel perfectly convinced that if we do that, and are prepared to bring the same spirit to

bear on the movement as was done in British North America, where men of all parties met together for the purpose of subordinating their difficulties, and placing them-as a sacrifice on the altar of their country, federation will be accomplished at a very early date. Seeing the unanimity which to so large an extent prevails amongst us at the present time, I feel confident that the people of these colonies, knowing that the members of the Conference have their interest at heart, will support the Convention in any recommendations it may make. The Convention will have an opportunity of presenting its conclusions to the various Parliaments, and I have no doubt whatever that these conclusions, being based on reason as well as justice will commend themselves to their good judgment. The interests of the colonies ought to prevail before any individual interest. Yet it is not difficult to see that individual interests will be pressed to the front. I am confident that those interests will require to be considered, and, whatever may happen, justice ought to be done. The colonies united have a great future before them, but, disunited, they will never be able to accomplish the great end to which they ought to look forward. I feel pleased indeed that we have had such a successful discussion, and I have been extremely pleased at what I conceive to be the moderate view of the majority of honorable gentlemen present. It indicates, I think, a great future, and a great future before these colonies means more than we can at present understand. Should a Federal Parliament be created, and a Federal Government formed, they will be able to do work which the colonies, disunited, would never be able to do. As has been frequently pointed out, had we had a Federal Parliament in the past, the work that Parliament would have been able to do would have been great indeed-far greater than has been yet accomplished. I trust that the remaining resolutions which are to be submitted will be discussed in the same spirit as the resolution now before the Conference, and which has been supported on all sides. To those who have taken a prominent part in the idea of a Federated Australia-many of them outside this Chamber-the conclusions we arrive at will deemed of great importance. The good wishes of the whole of the community will be with us in our movement, and whatever difficulties may arise in the future, will be solved by consideration of mutual interest, and, if necessary, compromise.

Mr. PLAYFORD.-I think I have an opportunity now, if I choose to avail myself of it, of replying to what has fallen from Sir Henry Parkes to-day in regard to a speech I made upon this question a short time ago. But I intend to adopt that honorable gentleman's precept, not his practice. The honorable gentleman's precept was that he did not believe in, nor did he practise, retaliation. I do not on the present occasion intend to resort to retaliation, and I shall, therefore, leave all that he has said in regard to [start page 95] myself unanswered, leaving it to the good sense of the people who have taken an interest in what has been done here to judge whether the attack upon me was warranted by the facts of the case or not.

On the motion of Sir HENRY PARKES, his proposition was amended by the substitution of the words "Australian" and "Australia" for the words "Australasian" and "Australasia," as they occurred in the resolution.

The motion, as amended, was then adopted.

Captain RUSSELL.-Mr. President, I feel sure that I shall only be consulting the wishes of the Conference if I merely formally move the following proposition, which appears on the notice-paper in my name:-

"That to the Union of the Australian Colonies contemplated by the foregoing resolution, the remoter Australasian Colonies shall be entitled to admission at such times and on such conditions as may be hereafter agreed upon."

It is, in fact, a corollary to the resolution just passed. I understand that the members of the Conference are good enough to consider that at such a time as the remoter colonies shall feel the influence of that centripetal force which will draw them all into contact-believing that a day will come in which that force will make itself felt-they ought to be then admitted into the Union, and that therefore it would be a great pity if they should have no voice in the Convention which will assemble to discuss the question. With that feeling, and with the belief that New Zealand will send delegates to

the Convention, as well as that the remoter Australasian Colonies will to part in the Union, I submit that it is desirable that they should have some say in the formation of the Constitution under which they will eventually be governed. After the exhaustive debate we have had, it would be merely traversing ground twice turned over to say anything further on the subject.

Sir JOHN HALL seconded the motion.

The proposition was agreed to.


Mr. DEAKIN.-Sir, I beg to move-

"That the members of the Conference should take such steps as may be necessary to induce the Legislatures of their respective colonies to appoint delegates to a National Australasian Convention, empowered to consider and report upon an adequate scheme for a Federal Constitution,"

with one alteration. I propose to insert after the word " National" the word " Australasian," an amendment which will perhaps meet the view just expressed by Captain Russell. By introducing, the word "Australasian," it will be made perfectly plain that it is the desire of this Conference that the representatives of the remoter Australasian Colonies should take part in the Convention as well as the representatives of the colonies of the Australian continent. The adoption of a Convention as the means of promulgating a Constitution has the sanction of experience, both in the United States and Canada. The Convention which assembled in the United States deliberated with closed doors, and after some length of time presented a Constitution to the country which was not considered by the country itself, but which was considered by Conventions nominated specially for that purpose, so that, in the instance of the United States, a Convention was twice introduced and the adoption of the Constitution as well as its drafting was by Convention only. In Canada a Convention also sat for a considerable period, and brought forward as its result 72 resolutions embodying its recommendations, which, having been approved by the local Parliaments, were sent straight to the Imperial Legislature, and received the sanction of the Queen without having been submitted to the people of Canada. I take it that by universal consent in these colonies no Constitution will be sought to be obtained without the direct consent of the whole of the people of Australasia. The method to be followed may possibly be the submission of the scheme which this Convention drafts in the first instance to the local Parliaments, and then to the country at the succeeding general election. Let me now, in passing suggest that while this course of procedure has all the sanction of precedent, and while possibly it may be the course which will most commend itself to the judgment of the Parliaments of this country, it is not necessarily the only means by which the finding of that Convention might be tested at the bar of public opinion. In the work on The American Commonwealth, by the Right Honorable Professor Bryce, which I have already alluded to, he points out that the practice of obtaining not only an indirect verdict of the people at a [start page 96] general election, but the practice of obtaining a direct verdict of the people on questions submitted to them, is growing in favour in both the old and the new world. At the same time he calls attention to the difficulties which surround a question which is sought to be decided at a general election. At page 72 of the second volume of the work I have referred to, Professor Bryce says-

"A general election, although in form a choice of particular persons as members, has now practically become an expression of popular opinion on the two or three loading measures then propounded and discussed by the party leaders, as well as a vote of confidence or no-confidence in the Ministry of the day. It is, in substance, a vote upon those measures; although, of course, a vote only on their general principles, and not, like the Swiss Referendum, upon the Statute which the Legislature has passed. Even, therefore, in a country which clings to and founds itself upon the absolute supremacy of its representative chamber, the notion of a direct appeal to the people has made progress."

And a few pages further on he points out that Professor Goldwin Smith deplores the want of an arrangement in the Canadian Dominion by which direct issues may be submitted to the people. For the consideration of the Conference-not because it is a matter upon which it can arrive at any conclusion, but in order that thought may be stimulated by the contemplation of alternative methods-I desire to call attention to the fact that there are innumerable precedents in the United States for the submission of constitutional amendments direct to the people. I ask whether, under certain circumstances, some of our colonies may not prefer to adopt this method. In the United States each of the several states has a Constitution, which is as much to its citizens as that of the United States is to the whole people. Those Constitutions, during the present century, have been amended and re-amended. In every ease, a Convention has been called to consider whether amendment was necessary. The Convention has drafted the proposed amendments-in some cases amounting to the establishment of a new Constitution-and these have then been submitted directly of the vote of the whole body of the people of the state concerned. The simple "aye" or "no" of the majority of the electors has accepted or rejected them. That has been done on scores of occasions, and in almost every state of the Union. One of the notable features of this system is that the people, having once exercised this power, have sought to use it again and again, not merely in constitutional amendments but in other matters, and have thus proved their appreciation of such powers. We cannot but recollect that, although the verdict of a general election may be decisive, it is a verdict which is obtained at some cost, both to the main question submitted and to the minor issues submitted with it at the election. Let us presume that a Convention has agreed to propose a certain definite Constitution, which has been considered and approved by the several Parliaments, and that they desire to obtain the judgment of the people of each colony upon it at the next general election. How can the verdict of the people be sought upon this question, and the next question alone? Is it not inevitable that it must be associated with issues as to the fate of the Ministry of the day, issues as to the principal proposals of that Ministry, and issues to local proposals which may seem to be of more moment to certain constituencies? The question of the acceptance or rejection of the Constitution must be confused at a general election with personal issues, with political issues, with platform issues. Is it not certain that the verdict must be more or less confused by the introduction of these conflicting issues, so that it is just possible that in some colonies, owing to the confusion, an apparent verdict might be given against the Constitution, while, if that issue had been submitted alone, the public would readily have endorsed it. It is also perfectly possible that while there may be other grave issues which the people desire to pronounce upon, yet, feeling themselves to be federalists in the first place, they will vote for men who approve of the Constitution, without regard to the principles which they profess in any other connexion. And if we suppose that in any or several of the colonies the Federal Constitution is happily carried by a majority of the representatives, yet those representatives may be men who remain in the House dealing with important local issues upon which they do not represent the feelings of their constituents. It is therefore clear that, if remitted to a general election, the proposed Constitution must suffer, or, if it does not, that local interests must suffer. If our union depends upon general elections, the Parliaments returned to federate may be Parliaments out of touch with the popular sentiment of the several colonies on matters of vital importance to their people. I will content myself with this simple reference to a question the solution of which lies with the several Parliaments themselves. The resolution now being moved is purposely left vague as to details. It simply recommends that a National Australasian Convention should be appointed. It does not presume to suggest any particular [start page 97] method by means of which the members of the Convention should be selected; this and all other details it leaves to Parliament. I re-echo the fervent hope expressed by our President, that the Parliaments of Australasia, in appointing their delegates, will see fit to leave them absolutely uncommitted on any point or points of policy-that they will select the best men available, whether from political circles or outside them-men whose judgment, whose ability, whose knowledge of political affairs, whose experience of the world, and whose aspirations they are acquainted with, and in whom they have confidence, and that, having chosen them, they will not tie there hands upon any particular matters, but leave them untrammelled to give the best verdict which their conscience and judgment can attain to. I would repeat, if I were not afraid of enfeebling it, the eloquent appeal of Washington to the delegates to the American Convention, that they should not choose any but the best proposal, and thus, unfurling a standard they could proudly defend, leave the issue in higher hands. It

must be remembered that the proposed Convention can impose no Statute upon any colony or Parliament. If the best men of Australasia frame a Constitution for a Federal Dominion which any colony is unable to accept, that colony will reject it, and remain outside the Union as long as it may desire to do so. Consequently, there is no risk in sending delegates absolutely free to the Convention. I am perfectly certain that in the Convention any of the delegates who are trammelled-if there should be any who are trammelled-will meet their associates with a feeling of inferiority, and that the restrictions imposed upon them will be a serious bar to those minor concessions which must be made if the meeting is to be a success. Whatever the Convention may accomplish, we may be sure of this, that the finding will not be exactly what any one person, party, or colony may desire; compromises will have to be effected, and it is therefore essential that the delegates should be free to do that which they find to be best both in the interests of their own constituents and in the interests of the whole people. The task which lies before the Convention is not that of creating a new Constitution. Any assemblage meeting with the design of shaping out of the inner consciousness of its members some novel form of government, which might appear to be theoretically perfect, would fail to do any useful or practical work. It is scarcely necessary to remind honorable gentlemen that the Constitutions to which attention has been most directed in this Conference have assumed their present form by gradual growth, and have not been, in a mechanical sense, the work of human hands. The British Constitution itself, to which all students of constitutional history have turned with so much admiration, is essentially a growth and not a creation. That Government which has been supposed by some persons to be an artificial creation and not a natural growth-the Government of the United States-is a closely-allied offshoot from the British Constitution. The differences introduced were in each case founded on precedents in the State Governments, except indeed in the instance of the separation of the legislative, judicial, and executive authorities, which plan was obviously taken from the reigning school of French thinkers. Mr. Alexander Johnston, in an elaborate article which some time ago appeared in the New Princeton Review, shows that each and every provision of the American Constitution is to be found in some of the Constitutions of the several states prior to the formation of the Union, with the exception of that providing for the election of President, the one proposal which has not fulfilled the intention of its founders. In their essence, the principles of popular government in the United States are closely allied to those of the mother country. In the same manner, the Constitution which the North American Provinces adopted was obtained wholly and solely from practical experience, either of the English Constitution or of the working of their colonial Constitutions. With you, Mr. President, I think that if we have regard to the fact that the United States Constitution separates the legislative, judicial, and executive authorities, and that it does not allow of the presence of responsible Ministers in the Legislative Chamber, the chief model of our Federal Constitution, in relation to its form, will be taken from the North American Provinces; that we, like them, will have a Governor-General and two Chambers of representatives; that there will be Ministers present in those Chambers who will introduce legislation, and be responsible to Parliament for their administration of the affairs of the country. We have so much experience of the working of such Governments, that there is no doubt that the proposals of the coming Convention will follow the lines on which we have gained our present development of free institutions. With regard to the first and popular Chamber, I presume that it will be as directly [start page 98] representative of the people as the British House of Commons, or the Assemblies of these colonies. With regard to the second Chamber, there are different circumstances to be taken into consideration. If we look at the Upper Houses of these colonies, we shall find that they differ considerably. While some of them are composed of nominee members, others are elected; and the question of the form the Upper House of the future Dominion of Australia shall take is one of the problems on which the minds of the members of the Convention will be most exercised. I trust that they will recollect that in the two colonies which have Upper Houses elected by a more or less restricted franchise of the people, a feeling prevails that these bodies are not sufficiently amenable to Public opinion. A strong desire exists that the Upper Chambers should be brought into more close relation with the electors, and thus with the Chamber which represents the whole body of the people. We need not attempt to forecast the course the Convention may take with regard to the conditions under which the Federal and Colonial Legislatures shall exercise their several powers. The cardinal distinction between the United States and Canada is that in the United States the Central Government has its powers limited, while in Canada the Provincial Legislatures have their powers limited; and it appears to me that the model of the United States, preserving state rights with the most jealous

caution, is that most likely to commend itself to the people of these colonies. And, Sir, confident that the Convention will bring to the consideration of this question all the knowledge and experience of government which we have been enabled to obtain in these colonies, I trust it may not neglect the very valuable criticism of Professor Goldwin Smith, as applied to the Canadian Dominion Government. Let us hope that it will provide the elastic remedy for any errors which may creep into the scheme as first adopted, which is so useful in each of the State Constitutions of the American Republic. It is but reasonable that the people of these colonies should be enabled, when necessary, to revise the Constitution under which they live without the disorganization of their local Parliaments, or in other words, that when the need for an amendment of the Federal Constitution arises (as it has arisen repeatedly in regard to the Constitution of the United States, without any sufficient means for the distinctly affirmed will of the people to secure the amendment it desires) we shall possess the power of obtaining a direct reference of the issue to the electors independently of all other issues, and without affecting their choice of representatives. The ablest jurists in the United States consider the great difficulty of amending their Constitution to be a serious defect; but they find no such defect in their State Constitutions, where a safety-valve has been provided in the appeal to the people; and recognising this, I trust that the members of the Convention will shape the Constitution they propose for all Australian Dominion in such a way as will not only allow it to answer to the needs and necessities of our time, but render it capable of answering to all our future needs, sufficiently pliant to adapt itself to the course of circumstances, related to our national characteristics and capacities so that it may unfold with their unfoldment, expand with our expansion, and develop with our destiny. They can only accomplish this by making, in all things, the nation the sole judge and the sole arbiter of legal forms which may confine but should sustain our national life.

Sir JOHN HALL.-Mr. President, I am very pleased that the alteration suggested by the last speaker in the terms of his resolution enables the New Zealand delegates to support it, and therefore I have much pleasure in seconding the motion. I understand that Mr. Deakin proposes it shall read that the colonies are to be requested to appoint delegates to a National Australasian Convention. I will only say I am glad of the opportunity of expressing the appreciation, which I feel sure will be shared by my fellow-colonists, of the consideration which this Conference has shown, in the amendments that have been agreed to on the suggestion of Captain Russell, to the position of the remoter Australasian Colonies. I feel strongly that great consideration has been shown to us, and I believe that it will bear good fruit. It will give evidence to the residents in the remoter Australasian Colonies that in this Convention to which they are asked to send delegates their interests will receive full and fair consideration. I will not follow Mr. Deakin in his speculations as to what the proceedings of this Conference may be. I agree with him in regard to the terms on which delegates should be appointed to this extent, that they should not be absolutely fettered, but don't let us go to the other extreme; don't let us request that they shall be appointed without full information as to the wishes and aspirations of the people they represent. That would be going to another extreme, [start page 99] and I am afraid that if we did that, if full consideration were not shown to the feelings of the people of the several colonies, it might perhaps tend to make the deliberations of the Convention much less successful then they otherwise would be. I was very glad to hear the honorable member suggest that provision should be included in the new Federal Constitution for such amendments of it as experience might from time to time show to be required. That will enable us not only to admit such colonies as may be willing to join, but also to include such subjects as it may be desirable to include within the province of the Dominion Parliament. I say, let us do what we can. If we cannot include all the colonies at once, don't let us despair; let us include those who will join, trusting to the forces which I am sure will make themselves felt on those who remain outside the Dominion, to come in as soon as they call. And if we cannot at once include all those subjects which an individual entertaining a high sense of the value of local government would grant should be included, let us at all events secure the inclusion of those subjects upon which nearly all will agree a Dominion Parliament should legislate, trusting to the working of the Constitution to show whether further powers should be granted hereafter to the Dominion Parliament, by the means which Mr. Deakin has just suggested. In this way, I think, we shall lay the foundation of a power which will ensure such an organization of the forces possessed by the British race in these seas as will bring about the fulfilment of that great destiny which I am sure is in store for us.

Mr. PLAYFORD.-Mr. President, it appears to me that there are two points which ought to be considered in connexion with this resolution, namely, when shall the members of the Convention meet, and where shall they meet? It may be said that we should leave those questions to the different Legislatures of the different colonies, but I think the Legislatures will look to us for some little indication at all events of our views as to when and where the Convention shall meet. Therefore I will move the addition to the resolution of the words "to meet in Hobart some time early in 1891." I do not want to go into the questions raised by Mr. Deakin, who was followed by Sir John Hall, because I think they are so much like "the flowers that bloom in the spring, tra la," and have "nothing" to do with the case." I don't say this offensively, and I hope Mr. Deakin will not call me a wolf afterwards, but really the question we have to consider, as members of the Conference, is, in the words of the resolution, the desirability of taking such steps as may be necessary to induce the Legislatures of their respective colonies to appoint delegates to a National Australasian Convention. And if we are going to discuss the whole question of federation over again, we may be here until this day month. Therefore, I don't propose to go into it, but I do think that we should indicate where and when we desire the Convention to meet. I fix upon early in 1891, because it is the most convenient period of the year for the delegates of the various Australasian Colonies to meet. They will mostly be members of the Legislatures, and the respective Parliaments will no doubt be out of session at the beginning of the year, and as that is the hottest season, and the Convention will have a considerable amount of work to do, I think it is extremely desirable to fix upon Hobart as the place of meeting, because that is about the coolest of the colonies in the summer months, and the delegates would get on much better there than in any other part of Australia. Melbourne has this year lost all her credit for having a decently cool climate, and has got the reputation of being considerably better than Adelaide.

Sir HENRY PARKES.-Why not suggest Auckland as the place of meeting?

Mr. PLAYFORD.-The New Zealand delegates have said that their colony cannot see its way to join the federation, I am sure that Auckland is very warm.

Sir JOHN HALL.-Say Wellington, then.

Mr. PLAYFORD-Auckland would be about the very warmest spot we could possibly fix upon. It is true that Mount Eden is close at hand, but we should not be able to get to Mount Eden. I think it is highly desirable we should fix upon a time for the Convention, otherwise the question may be postponed for another year, and that will mean until two years hence. The question of federation is under the consideration of the people of the different colonies, and we should "strike while the iron is hot."

Mr. BIRD.-Mr. President, I rise with very much pleasure to support the proposed addition to the resolution now before us. I think the fact that we have in Hobart about the coolest locality that can be found in the Australasian Colonies in the summer months, is of itself sufficient to justify the choice of that city for the place of [start page 100] meeting for the Federation Convention. I fancy I detect an incredulous smile on the faces of some honorable members, no doubt in view of the fact that we have had some weather in Hobart this summer almost equal in intensity of heat to the weather we have recently experienced here, but I can assure them that such beat is quite exceptional, and certainly there is not the continuity of it that we have had to endure of late in Melbourne. Gratified though we have been by the superabundant hospitality we have enjoyed, I am sure we would not like to spend five or six weeks in such weather as we have experienced during our present sojourn in Melbourne, and the Convention would probably occupy that length of time. As to the time of meeting, I agree with Mr. Playford that early next year is the latest period to which we should defer the assemblage of the Convention, in view of the public interest that has been awakened by the discussions at this Conference.

Sir JOHN HALL.-Mr. President, may I suggest to Mr. Playford that in putting before us two distinct propositions in one amendment, he is placing the members of the Conference in a difficulty.

The time and the place of meeting are two distinct subjects. If the honorable member will divide his proposition, I shall be prepared to vote for meeting early in 1891.

Sir HENRY PARKES.-Or earlier.

Sir JOHN HALL.-Or earlier, if practicable.

Sir HENRY PARKES,.-And as to the place of meeting, say Lord Howe Island

Sir JOHN HALL.-I am not prepared to vote for the place of meeting at the present time.

Mr. PLAYFORD.-I am quite prepared to divide the amendment. The time and the place are two distinct questions.

Mr. McMILLAN.-Why fix the place now?

Mr. PLAYFORD.-We can leave the place out if you like, or we can make it the top of the Blue Mountains.

Sir HENRY PARKES.-Why not the crown of Mont Blanc, if you want a really cool place ?

The PRESIDENT.-If agreeable to honorable members, I will divide the amendment. The first part fixes upon the place at which it is proposed the Convention should meet, namely, in Hobart.

Sir HENRY PARKES.-Mr. President, before you put the question to the Conference, I would suggest that the place of meeting should not be included in the resolution. So many circumstances may arise to determine that point, that I think it would be very unwise for this Conference to come to any binding decision with respect to it. It would probably be a much wiser course to appoint some Minister of the Crown -yourself, Sir-as convener, with power to name the time and place of meeting.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH-Sir, the time and place of meeting are distinct questions, but they may be mutually interdependent. We cannot tell when all the Parliaments will have appointed their delegates, we cannot foresee what delays may occur-I hope they may not be many-but a number of incidents might occur to prevent the holding of the Convention at a time and place appointed nearly twelve months beforehand. All of us who have had parliamentary experience know how absolutely impossible it is to fix even six months in advance when and where a Conference or Convention shall meet. If the Convention is to be held in January, then Hobart is the best possible place to meet, but some of the Parliaments may be in session in January. The place is dependent on the time of meeting, and the time is dependent on the place. In 1883 a committee was appointed to supervise the resolutions of the Convention, and Mr. Service, as the prime mover, was appointed convener, and authorized to take the necessary steps, which is really the only practical way. Supposing some important Parliament is prevented from coming to a conclusion to appoint delegates, it would not be desirable to hold the Convention without them. Some Parliaments may appoint delegates with particular restrictions, or decide that it is not desirable to move further without a reconsideration of the matter, and so on.

Mr. PLAYFORD.-Unless you fix a time you leave the door open to all sorts of things, and, naturally, the opportunity will then be seized by some to defeat the object in view, and any number of years may pass before we will get a Convention. [start page 101] If, however, we state definitely that the Convention ought to meet early next year, some effort will be made to carry out the arrangement. Ministers will tell their Parliaments-" If you delay that will simply mean that nothing will be done." All the different colonial Legislatures will meet before January next, so that there will be ample time to appoint delegates. Asking the various Parliaments to sanction a Convention, and getting them to appoint delegates, are two very different things. If it is the wish of the Conference, I will excise the

words relating to the Convention meeting at Hobart. It would strengthen the hands of the Governments concerned if the time was definitely fixed for early in 1891.

The PRESIDENT.-It is often very difficult, on an occasion like this, to satisfactorily fix either place or time. I suggest that the various Parliaments should be simply asked to appoint delegates to the Convention, leaving the time and place of meeting to be decided upon subsequently, after consultation between the Governments interested. If the matter is so left, and I have the honour to be one to communicate with other Governments on the matter, I shall be very happy to give every possible assistance. No doubt, as Sir Samuel Griffith has pointed out, there will be, in several instances, a number of difficulties in the way, but I think every effort will be made to overcome them. Unquestionably the proper season for meeting will be early in the year.

Mr. PLAYFORD.-I still consider that the Conference ought to express the opinion that the Convention should be held early next year. We need not be particular as to the month or day. My judgment tells me that that will be a wise course to follow, in order to get the delegates elected before the close of this year.

Mr. CLARK.-I think the views of both Mr. Playford and the President would be met if after the word "appoint," and before the word "delegates," in Mr. Deakin's motion, the words "during the present year" were inserted.

Mr. PLAYFORD.-I ask leave to withdraw my amendment in favour of that just suggested by Mr. Clark.

Mr. Playford's amendment was withdrawn.

Mr. CLARK.-I now beg to move the amendment I have indicated.

The amendment was agreed to, and the original motion was amended accordingly.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH.-Sir, before the amended motion is put, I would like to offer a few remarks on the general Question. I came here with the view of getting information, for the sake of both myself and the colony I have the honour to represent, upon the real present attitude of the people of this continent on the question of federation. I came here with an inquiring mind, for I confess I had great doubts on many points-doubts to which I gave expression the other day. At the same time, I was perfectly clear about what it was desirable to attain to if we could attain to it. I am now, however, very glad to say that during the discussion a great deal of light has been thrown on the subject, and the uncertainty I felt has been almost entirely removed. One great doubt was as to whether fiscal difficulties would prevent federation. I was under the impression that the idea of asking the several colonies to break down their respective Customs barriers was an utterly impracticable one; still, I thought that obstacle was not sufficient to prevent federation for other purposes. But the arguments I have listened to have shown me that my fears were groundless-that the obstacle was one which need not be feared. It has been very clearly pointed out that any discussion between delegates to a Convention appointed with limited powers will be attended with great inconvenience. I see no reason why the representatives of the various colonies should not, with the most perfect confidence, ask their Parliaments to confer plenary powers on their delegates. I am satisfied, if that is done, that those delegates will be able to use such arguments, derived from discussions at this Conference, as will overcome all opposition, I am glad to acknowledge that it is the discussion which has taken place which has brought about that change in my mind, for I certainly came here under a different impression. There can be no doubt that the Convention should meet as soon as possible. I am satisfied that the fiscal difficulties can be over come by a Convention. Many ways have been suggested, and many more may be suggested. I am perfectly convinced, however, that those difficulties can be overcome, and that the Convention will be able to make arrangements which will be satisfactory to the whole of the colonies. I have previously doubted whether it will be necessary to suggest a limitation of the [start page 102] powers of the Convention, but now I have no doubt whatever upon

that subject, and I can cordially approve of the proposition in the form it is now before the Conference.

The motion was then agreed to in the following amended form:-

"That the members of the Conference should take such steps as may be necessary to induce the Legislatures of their respective colonies to appoint, during the present year, delegates to a National Australasian Convention, empowered to consider and report upon an adequate scheme for a Federal Constitution."

Mr. DEAKIN moved :-

"That the Convention should consist of seven members from each of the self-governing colonies and four members from each of the Crown colonies."

He said:-Here again, I wish to make a slight amendment, by inserting, after the word "of" in the first line of the motion, and after "and" in the second line, the words "not more than." The understanding which has been evolved in the course of the previous discussion is that, as the delegates will vote by colonies, it will be immaterial what number of delegates any particular colony sends to the Convention. At the same time, it will be considered essential that some maximum number should be mentioned, in order that there might be a limitation upon an undue attendance from one or more of the colonies. The number seven suggested itself, but I know of no reason why honorable gentlemen should not alter that maximum as they may deem fit.

Mr. McMILLAN seconded the motion.

Sir JOHN HALL. -I cannot allow one remark of the proposer of this motion to pass without some challenge. Mr.Deakin said it was understood that the convention would vote by colonies. I do not know where that understanding was arrived at, and I would suggest that such an understanding must land its in practical difficulties when the Convention meets. Where there are only two representatives from a colony it will be quite easy, upon simple propositions, such as those which have been before this Conference, to agree how the vote of that colony shall be given. But if complicated questions of detail arise, it may be very difficult for the representatives of a colony to agree as to how their vote shall be given. I would submit for the consideration of honorable gentlemen whether that is not a serious consideration, and whether the question as to how the votes should be given-by colonies or individuals-should not be left to the Convention itself. With reference to the numbers of the representatives of the self-governing colonies, it seems to me that six would be a more convenient number than seven. An arrangement of this kind would allow two representatives to be appointed by the upper branch of the Legislature, and four by the lower branch. A seventh representative will come in something after the fashion of the fifth wheel of a coach.

Mr. DEAKIN.-I desired to point out that the matters cannot be left to the Convention. The question must be settled before the Convention assembles, otherwise the Conference will require to fix the number of representatives each colony must send. Whilst I fully admit the difficulty to which attention has been called, I would point out that it has been the practice, in cases of this kind, where an equality in voting has existed among the representatives of a colony-say, three taking one side and three the other-for the senior member to have a casting vote. One advantage in having seven representatives would be found in the fact that a casting vote would not be required. A difficulty which suggests itself is, that some of the colonies may not desire to send so many as six representatives; if we vote by colonies this will be immaterial. By the time the Convention is held, Western Australia may be a self-governing colony, and if the meeting takes place at Hobart, that colony may not desire to send the number suggested.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH.-It seems to me to be impossible to fix the number. My opinion is that upon more important matters the voting will have to be by colonies, as it was in Canada and United

states, and as it has been in Australasia in previous important conferences. Mr. Macrossan informs me that the difficulty as to an even number of votes is not an insuperable one, because the practice in America has been that where the delegates of the States are equally divided in number no vote is recorded. Upon minor matters, no doubt the Convention would decide to allow the majority to rule, but on great questions of principle the colonies must vote as colonies.

Mr. McMILLAN.-The Convention will make its own rules.

The amendment was agreed to, and the motion was then carried in the following form:-

"That the Convention should consist of not more than seven members from each of the self-governing colonies, and not more than four members from each of the Crown colonies."

[start page 103]


Mr. DEAKIN moved:-

"That as some time must elapse before a Federal Constitution can be adopted, and as it is desirable that the colonies should at once take united action to provide for military defence, and for effective cooperation in other matters of common concern, it is advisable that the Federal Council should be employed for such purposes so far as its powers will permit, and with such an extension of its powers as may be decided upon, and that all the colonies should be represented on the Council."

He said, in moving this resolution I wish to explain to the representatives of New South Wales and New Zealand, why it seemed desirable that there should be an opportunity afforded of considering this question before the proceedings of the Conference closed. Those honorable gentlemen will recognise that there is no attempt, either patent or latent, to in any way coerce them. Such coercion is absolutely impossible, and it is frankly recognised as impossible and also as undesirable. The passage of a resolution to compel any colony to enter the Federal Council against its will would be most injurious. No union could be satisfactory or profitable to those associated in it unless it was entered into with a free will, and with a cordial desire to obtain the objects of the union. It is therefore under no mistaken apprehension of what even the carriage of this resolution would involve that I venture to place it upon the notice-paper, but I placed it there being sure that the relation of the Federal Council to the proposed Federated Parliament would certainly assert itself during this debate, while there would be no means of testing the general feeling in regard to what that relation should be unless we had a substantive motion of this kind dealt with. The proposition is submitted to give those members of the Conference who desire it an opportunity of stating to the representatives of the great colonies outside the Council why they belong to the Federal Council, why they intend to continue to belong to it, and why they cherish an ambition that the other colonies should also join it. The occasion for the assembling of this Conference alters in many ways the position of all the colonies in regard to that Council. I hope that it will alter entirely the attitude of New South Wales and New Zealand. For my own part, I can perfectly well understand that men whose minds have been filled by the vision of a Federated Australasia, with a General Parliament and an Executive Government, may well feel disposed to consider that the Council is a body too imperfect to meet their desires. But now that, happily, the representatives of Australasia have fallen into line, have passed the motion submitted by Sir Henry Parkes in favour of a Federal Union, and a further consequent resolution, pledging us to endeavour to induce our Legislatures to appoint delegates to a Convention to frame a Constitution, and a new era in Australasian history having thus been heralded, I think the members of the Conference must confess that the circumstances are so changed as to present this issue to them in an entirely different aspect to that in which it has hitherto appeared. I say this, not because an apologetic tone requires to be adopted in regard to the Federal Council. As one in no way concerned in the formation of that body, I am myself satisfied that if the thing remained to do again it ought to be done, that it was a thoroughly wise procedure to form the Council, and that it has accomplished a great and

good work in the Federal cause. But with regard to the representatives or the two great colonies who stood out of the Federal Council, I ask them if, prior to the assembling of this present Conference, they regarded the Federal Council as being too incomplete to justify their adhesion to it, will they not now consider that, pending the passage of a measure which will give Federal Australasia its Legislature and Executive, there is room which can well be filled by the Council-that it Call do work for them in the interim which ought to be done, and which they cannot do for themselves. If the representatives I refer to will take that view, they will not find themselves in any conflict on the general question with members of the Federal Council. It has always been regarded as a temporary and tentative body, and its authors and members have always accepted as an axiom the doctrine that it was to be employed only until we could find some body more powerful than itself to take its place. The very resolution on which it was founded, passed in the Convention of 1883, ran as follows:-

"That this Convention, recognising that the time has not yet arrived at which a complete Federal Union of the Australasian Colonies can be attained, but considering that there are many matters of general interest with respect to which united action would be advantageous, adopts the accompanying draft Bill for the Constitution of a Federal Council, as defining the matters upon which, in its opinion, such united action is both desirable and practicable at the present time, and as embodying the provisions best adapted to secure that object, so far as it is now capable of attainment."

[start page 104]

Three times over in that resolution it is indicated that, in the opinion of the founders, the Council was intended only to have a temporary existence, until a Federal Union could be established. Then, no later than the commencement of last session, resolutions were carried in favour of an alteration of the Constitution of the Council. Those resolutions increased the number of representatives-to thirty or thirty-four members if New Zealand and New South Wales joined-and provided that each colony should determine whether its representatives should be nominee, elective, or representative. By proposing this increase in the number of members one of the chief objections Sir H. Parkes has raised is removed, because the proposal is to increase the Federal Council until it forms a body nearly as large as our Upper House. And this extension of the numbers of the Council was only proposed as a step preliminary to asking for increased powers for that body so as to make it more useful and authoritative than at present. Even in doing this the Council was true to its traditions, and recognised that it was still a temporary and tentative body. A resolution passed at the last meeting of the Council says-

"The Committee (on the Constitution of the Council) desire to add that they recognise that further amendments of the Constitution of the Council will from time to time become necessary, until complete Parliamentary Federation is eventually obtained; but they consider that a substantial advance towards that end will be made if effect be given to the foregoing recommendations."

So that, even when recommending an increase in the number of members, the Council repeated its cardinal doctrine. Mr. Kingston, the South Australian representative, who took an active part in bringing forward this amendment, was only deterred from submitting a further resolution by the feeling that the Council ought to adopt this proposal for an increase of its members before any further step was taken. He, however, gave notice of the following resolution, which, though not adopted, was generally approved by the Council:-

"That, in the opinion of this Council, it is desirable that, after the Constitution of the Council shall have been amended by the increase of the number of its members, the Council shall, on behalf of the colonies represented, consider the question of Australasian Parliamentary Federation, with a view to making recommendations thereon to the local Legislatures."

So that if the Federal Council had obtained the increase it sought, it might at this very time be considering the question this Conference is now considering. Thus the members and authors of the Federal Council, so far from being opponents of Australasian Federation, are its warmest supporters;

and they have never taken any step, from the beginning, without recording the fact that the work doing was only work introductory to the establishment of a complete Federal Parliament. Without quoting further, I think that what I have cited should be sufficient to prove to the representatives of the two colonies who remain outside the Council that if they, having endorsed the resolutions which this Conference has carried in favour of federation, should now enter the Federal Council they will not enter a body with which they will be out of sympathy or a body which is deaf to their appeals for federation, but one which has proved itself to be loyal to the cause we are assembled here to advance. They will not find that members of the Council desire to maintain it at the expense of a higher organization, or that they are desirous of clinging to their dignity when they see an opportunity of making way for a greater power. With the exception of the representatives of two of the colonies represented here to-day, every member of this Conference is a member of the Federal Council, and the cordiality with which we have endorsed the proposal for a Federal Parliament is a proof that if the motion had been submitted in the Federal Council they would have endorsed it with the same heartiness. Under these circumstances, the representatives of the Australasian Colonies can have nothing to fear for federation from association with the Council, and nothing to dread in the way of its antagonism. They may now not unreasonably ask-"What advantages would arise from our becoming members of a Council which will shortly be absorbed in the greater Australasian Parliament?" The answer is that, first of all, the earliest possible time at which an Australasian Parliament could assemble for the transaction of business would probably be about two years. In the uncertain course of political affairs, this interregnum may be extended to three or even four years. It might take a still longer period than that, but it is certain that we have to face a period of two years without any federal authority; and the question I would like to put to the representatives of these colonies is, whether they consider that during these two, three, or four years, as the case may be, there is not good work to be done in connexion with [start page 105] the Federal Council? I would ray, in anticipation of objection, that if it be urged that the colonies which now stand aloof might, in joining the Federal Council, lead some of the members of the group to waver in their energy as regards federation, those colonies could join, as South Australia did, for a definite term of years. It is perfectly possible for both the colonies in question to fix the time for which they would Live the Federal Council its trial, supposing that the Federal Parliament did not come into existence. As to the results to be obtained by their entrance into the Council, I will not weary the Conference with citations from the Federal Council Act, but I will quote the list of questions which the Council is enabled to deal with, with which none of the Parliaments it represents can deal with in the same manner, while it is highly desirable that they should be dealt with. These questions are:-Relations of Australia with the Islands of the Pacific, prevention of the influx of criminals, fisheries in Australasian waters beyond territorial limits, the service of civil process of the courts of any colony within Her Majesty's possessions in Australasia out of the jurisdiction of the colony in which it is issued, the enforcement of judgments of courts of law of any colony beyond the limits of the colony, the enforcement of criminal process beyond the limits of the colony in which it is issued and the extradition of offenders, the custody of offenders on board ships belonging to Her Majesty's Colonial Governments beyond territorial limits, and any matter which, at the request of the Legislatures of the colonies, Her Majesty, by Order in Council, shall think fit to refer to the Council. These are the matters with which the Council has authority to deal. Surely it cannot be said that nothing could be done under any of these heads during the next few years which would not be well worth doing in the interests of the different colonies. For instance, if we dealt with the purely legal questions-such as the enforcement of civil and criminal process and of judgments, the law relating to companies, and the estates of lunatics, on all of which matters our legal procedure is at present in an unsatisfactory condition-surely we would have done something worth doing. In addition to that, power is given to the several Legislatures to refer questions to the Federal Council, and upon these the Federal Council may legislate. Foremost among the many questions which the Imperial Government has allowed to be referred to the Federal Council is that of general defence. Sir Samuel Griffith, in the course of his first speech, drew attention to the anomalies which would exist if the forces engaged under the laws of the different colonies were sought to be employed in colonies other than their own. At the present time, the militia of Victoria would be beyond the control of our law directly they crossed the River Murray, and the militia of New South Wales are in exactly the same position if they enter our territory. Discipline would, of course, be impossible under these circumstances. Again, the resolution to which, under the guidance of Sir Henry Parkes, we have

assented, affirms that the time has arrived in which a Federal Executive and a Federal Legislature are necessary. The occasion for calling this Conference and coming to such a resolution was the report of Major-General Edwards on the state of our defences. This very question is capable of being dealt with, though in a partial manner yet to a most valuable extent, under the provisions of the Federal Council Act. It is true that there cannot be a Federal Army such as a Federal Government could establish and maintain; nor is that desirable under the present Council. But what the Federal Council could do would be to pass a law making the militias of the various colonies one force, capable of acting anywhere, by making them amenable to discipline when outside the colony in which they were enlisted. If we recognise the imminence of the danger to which we may be exposed during the next few years, none of us, I am sure, will say that this is not a work that is well worth doing. And who can tell that the need for this general defence may not occur before the Parliament of Australasia is called into existence? I will point, in conclusion, to two other provisions of the Federal Council Act which are not without importance. Section 16 gives the Governments of any two or more of the colonies power, upon an address of the Legislatures of such colonies, to refer for the consideration and determination of the Council any questions relating to those colonies or their relations with one mother, when the Council shall have authority to consider and determine by Act of Council the matter so referred to it. There are matters of intercolonial agreement, or requiring intercolonial agreement, and which are at present matters of comparative disagreement, which might be on their way to settlement before we have a Federated Australia; and if the interested parties think proper they could refer these questions to the Council, and thus obtain [start page 106] at once the assistance of a body capable of solving and settling them. That, I think, is a power of extreme practical value. Another power is given which is of less practical value, but not of less importance, in section 29, which authorizes the Federal Council to make such representations or recommendations to Her Majesty as it may think fit with respect to any matters of general Australasian interest, or to the relations of Her Majesty's possessions in Australasia with the possessions of foreign powers. No one could have spoken more sympathetically or powerfully than Sir Henry Parkes did when he referred to the threatened influx of Asiatics into Australia, or to the possible domination of the Pacific Islands by foreign powers. We may not obtain notice of any intended action on the part of foreign powers in time to constitute a Federal Parliament to deal with such questions, and we may, at any moment, find ourselves, by their action, plunged into a serious crisis. The powers given to the Federal Council are all I think useful, are all such powers as we might require to exercise in the interest of Australasia during the next few years; and yet they are all powers that we shall be unable to exercise with full strength and authority unless all the colonies of Australasia join us. If New Zealand and New South Wales could see their way at the present juncture to make their entrance into the Federal Council, the number of members could be increased, its powers, if they were considered to be insufficient, could be enlarged, and we should at all events have in an incomplete form an Australasian Union which would enable us to cope with many difficulties which may confront us at any moment, and with which at present we are unable to cope. The question we put to the delegates from these colonies is-What possible reason can there be for refraining to join hands even in this small work of federation now, especially as we have agreed to join hands in the larger work that lies before us. We are all of one mind in regard to the constitution of a Dominion Parliament and Executive for Australasia, and surely the greater includes the less. We are of one mind in regard to the desirability of facilitating commercial intercourse between the colonies as much as possible, of giving to the citizens of all the colonies similar laws, of providing for oar united defence, and of being able to forestall foreign aggression by making in a constitutional manner, proper representations to Her Majesty. These powers are now within our reach; and we ask with surprise, why we should allow them to lie idle because we see greater powers promised in the future? I will consent to stand second to none in respect to the ardour of my desire for the creation of a Federal Parliament, and I yield to none in the loyalty of allegiance which I promise to such a body. But I have an equal loyalty to the Federal Council as it exists to-day, because, after all, it is our only Federal institution, our only accomplished union. It has done useful work, and it may do more useful work. Why should we despise the day of small things, especially when those small things may at any moment become of the largest and last importance to us. It might become of vital moment to Australasia that the colonies should speak with one voice on some instant question of foreign policy, or pass some drastic law for the protection of our shores such as the Federal Council Act empowers us to pass. Why should we not receive the

assurance of the representatives of New South Wales and New Zealand that they will do what in them lies to join us in such tasks, as they are prepared to join us in establishing an Australian Dominion? We know they cannot bind their Parliaments, but if they would only seek to induce their Parliaments to enter temporarily into the Federal Council, and wed with us from to-day, instead of putting off our marriage for two or three years, they would give striking evidence of the strength of the federal spirit. I trust that the expressions which have fallen from them as to their ardour for the federal cause in general will be repeated with reference to this particular federal cause, and that we will be able to welcome at the next meeting of the Federal Council representatives from all Australasia. If that were so, the one reason for the partial character of the success achieved by the Federal Council would be removed; its great and immediate success would be assured, and it would become a body that would win the gratitude of the people of Australasia by the practical work it would do for them without delay while it would not fail them in the day and hour of their need, if a time of peril should arise within the next two or three years.

Dr. COCKBURN seconded the motion.

Mr. McMILLAN.-Mr. President, after the very great harmony and unanimity which has occurred throughout the proceedings of the Conference, it is a matter of great regret to the delegates for New South Wales that they cannot agree to the motion. Certainly if anything would have led us away from our allegiance to what [start page 107] we believe to be the opinion of our own people, it would have been the Charming eloquence of our friend in whom the Church has certainly lost an extraordinary light, for if ever eloquence was fitted to convert the sinner from the error of his ways, that eloquence belongs to the Chief Secretary of Victoria. Put the fact is we are absolutely powerless. The Federal Council has existed for the last five years, and during the whole of that period, by every proof we can obtain-the utterances of public men, the sentiments of public meetings, the expressions of opinion in the best papers of the colony-we have reason to believe that if our colony were polled to-morrow a large majority would be against entering the Federal Council. Consequently, representatives of the people and as owing our authority to the people, we must bow to that opinion, whether it be reasonable or not. But apart even from that view of the case, it seems to me that if this motion were carried we would be open to the very grave charge of putting forward a lesser issue and shadowing the larger one to be put before the colonies as the result of this Conference; and popular opinion might be inclined to say that instead of the first resolution being the principal one proposed in the Conference the last resolution was the real thing which the members of the Conference had in view. I don't think, Sir, as far as New South Wales is concerned, that she will be a block to an early decision of this federation question. I believe that in the shortest time mentioned for the commencement of the Convention's operations New South Wales will be ready to take her part in the proceedings. There is no doubt that the question of military defence, as brought before the colonies by General Edwards, presents a great and a real danger, and in the present state of affairs in Europe it is impossible to say that certain contingencies may not occur; but as representatives of the people of New South Wales, and feeling certain that public opinion, by a large majority, is against any idea of our entering the Federal Council, we must absolutely decline to vote for this resolution.

Captain RUSSELL.-Sir, I regret that I must come to the same conclusion as Mr. McMillan. There are several reasons why I arrive at that conclusion. First of all, and possibly when that is enunciated you will say it is unnecessary for me to go any further, this question was not relegated to us as delegates, and therefore we have no power to deal with it; secondly, the question has not been raised in our colony, that is to say, the people of New Zealand have not for years considered this matter; but I believe that, if there was to be any test of public feeling on the subject, public opinion in New Zealand would be found rather adverse to than in favour of our joining the Federal Council. I say that with regret, because personally and individually I think there might be much to gain if we were able to join. All the matters that have been so ably alluded to by Mr. Deakin, and many other subjects besides those, might come before the Federal Council, and even supposing New Zealand should not join ultimately in the great Federal Union of Australia, still she would gain enormously by having laws passed affecting criminals and great social questions which might be dealt with by the Federal Council, in such a manner as to be very beneficial to the people of Australasia. But, unfortunately, we

are not in a position to join the Federal Council. It is an open question, however, whether in the cause of Federal Union it would be wise to give increased powers to the Federal Council. It may be very true to say it is absurd that a lesser power shall not be granted to these colonies which are anxious to assume far greater powers; but we must bear in mind that, in passing through life, we continually find people, after taking a smaller quantity, satisfying themselves with that smaller quantity, and not going on to take possession of the larger quantity which was within their reach. Take in illustration a simple every-day incident that has, no doubt, very frequently come under the notice of honorable members. A man builds a house of wood, with small rooms, and of insignificant appearance-a shanty, in fact-intending, however, to erect a very much bigger house in two or three years. Time passes by, the years roll on, but the man and his family are still to be found living in the shanty he first put up, and not in the palatial place with which his earlier dreams blessed them. So it may be with the Federal Council. If all the colonies of Australasia are satisfied to go into the shanty of the Federal Council, is it not possible they may never get into the palatial mansion of a Dominion Parliament? That is a good reason why New South Wales should not join the Federal Council. I say all this with sincere regret, because I do feel that we in New Zealand, at any rate, would have much to gain by joining the Federal Council; and I promise the members of this Conference that on my return [start page 108] to my own colony I will endeavour to bring the matter before the people of New Zealand, and that it shall be submitted to my Government, who will give the subject their calm and careful consideration before the next session of Parliament.

Mr. MACROSSAN.-Mr. President, taking into consideration the views of the representatives of New South Wales and New Zealand, and the fact that there will be no meeting of the Federal Council this year, I think it would be as well if Mr. Deakin were to withdraw his resolution. It has too much the appearance of trying to coerce New South Wales and New Zealand to join the Federal Council. We are all very anxious they should join, but if they don't see their way to do so, I think we should not put forth any effort that would have the appearance of seeking to force them to join.

Mr. CLARK.-Sir, I also concur in the opinion expressed by my honorable friend, Mr Macrossan, that Mr. Deakin would take a wise course in withdrawing his motion. Although we know that the honorable gentleman has no such intention whatever, his resolution might, in the eyes of some persons, have the appearance of being an attempt to compel New South Wales and New Zealand to come into the Federal Council. I have very much felt the smallness of that Council as an obstacle in the way of its usefulness. An increase of its members by the addition of four representatives from two such important colonies would undoubtedly impart new life and new vigour to the Council, enabling it to do very much better work in the future than it has done in the past; but notwithstanding the advantage which I see would accrue from the entrance of New South Wales and New Zealand into the Council until the larger federation is established, I yet believe that there is a good deal of weight on the arguments submitted by Captain Russell, that if the whole of the colonies are once represented in the Federal Council, particularly with increased powers and increased representation, there might be a tendency to remain content with that kind of federation for an indefinite time; and I should be very sorry indeed, as a member of this Conference, to have been a party to such an undesirable result. But it is not that argument which particularly influences me at the present time; I am influenced still more by a desire to avoid anything like an attempt to compel New South Wales and New Zealand to join the Federal Council.

Mr. DEAKIN.-Mr. President, it would, as I have already said, be perfectly idle for the members of the Federal Council to have cherished any intention of compelling any colony to join the Council, simply because they have no power to compel any one to join, or to influence the other colonies in any degree, unless they are fortunate enough to be able to influence them by argument.

Sir HENRY PARKES.-Sir, if Mr. Deakin would kindly allow me, before he replies, I desire to say that I should be extremely sorry, on the part of New South Wales, if any feeling could possibly exist that we thought for a single instant that there was any intent to compel us to join the Federal Council. That would be impracticable, because we could not be compelled; but I should be very sorry if any one supposed that we entertained any such illiberal view as that there was any design even to

induce us to take that step. On the contrary, I for one believe that Mr. Deakin has submitted this motion in the very best of good faith. We do not complain on that score for a moment, nor are we so purblind to the actual state of things as to suspect any desire to induce us, by reason of our being amongst the parties to such a resolution, to join the Federal Council. Our position has been pretty fairly stated by my honorable colleague, Mr. McMillan; but I would like to call attention to my own individual position. If honorable members accept my explanation that I had convinced myself, before I was called upon to take any step in consequence of the Convention of 1883, that the Federal Council scheme, instead of being a promoter of federation, would be a stumbling block in the way of federation, I don't see how it can possibly be expected that I as an individual could consent to urge New South Wales to enter the Federal Council now. That appears to have been frankly recognised by the Government of Queensland in the quotation which I made from Mr. Morehead's despatch. If I could by any means be brought to see the matter in the same light as Mr. Deakin does, I should be disposed to submit the case to our Parliament; but my conviction is in strict accord with that of Mr. McMillan. I might suffer by submitting the case to Parliament, but I could never induce the Parliament of New South Wales to assent to it. From some cause or causes, not in any marked degree through my influence, the Parliament and people of New South Wales are opposed to [start page 109] the Federal Council. Those who paid any attention to my explanation would see that I could not have had much to do with influencing this state of feeling in New South Wales. I explained that for fully eight month after the Convention sat, in 1883, I was out of the colony. I was a member of Parliament at the time, because, although I had tendered my resignation, my constituents would not accept it during my absence; but soon after my return I saw what appeared to me a sufficient reason for resigning my seat, and I placed myself outside Parliament, I think, for the remainder of that year, so that I could have had personally very little to do with influencing public opinion on this question. And I have seldom spoken of the Federal Council since, unless on occasions when I have been compelled to speak of it, so that the opinion in New South Wales has crystallized against the Federal Council from other influences than mine. One of those influences has been the steady and powerful conduct of the public Press in opposition to it. Any one who has read the leading papers of New South Wales must know that the best of them-those which carry most weight-have been consistently, and with singular ability, opposed to the Federal Council, and the result is that the public opinion of New South Wales is so confirmed, that it would be impossible for that colony to join the Federal Council. There is the real objection to the motion proposed by Mr. Deakin, and it was forcibly, though somewhat humorously, embodied in Captain Russell's figure. It is a most dangerous proceeding, if a people is aiming at some great object, to set up some smaller object in the interval. It is very likely, by the operation of the laws which influence human nature, more or less to exclude from sight the larger object, and it is certain to weaken the effort for the attainment of the larger object. That is a valid argument, based on grounds with which we are all acquainted; but apart from that argument or any other argument, what I stated in a letter addressed to Mr. Gillies I repeat now, that no man, and no party of New South Wales, could induce Parliament to consent to enter the Federal Council. I say that, I hope, in the best spirit possible, and only with a desire to state what I believe to be the truth.

Mr. DEAKIN.-As my arguments do not appear to have made any impression on the minds of the representatives of New South Wales or New Zealand, I can only conclude that they will not have any greater weight with the Parliaments they represent. I, therefore, accept the suggestion thrown out by Mr. Macrossan and Mr. Clark, although I entirely differ from them in conceiving it possible that such a resolution as this could be supposed to be intended to coerce or compel a consent. But, in order that there may be no resolution affirmed by the Conference which is not unanimously carried, I will withdraw the motion.

Sir HENRY PARKES.-In order to satisfy my friends in Victoria and the other colonies, I undertake, in good faith, to consult my colleagues in Cabinet on the question which has been raised by this resolution; and I will undertake more than that, namely, to consult leading men in Opposition to the Government, as well as leading men in support of the Government, in the same subject. More than that I cannot undertake.

The motion was withdrawn.

Sir HENRY PARKES.-May I ask if that concludes the business of the Conference?

The PRESIDENT.-It will be necessary to embody the whole of the resolutions in an Address to Her Majesty, through His Excellency the Governor and the Secretary of State for the Colonies. It will, therefore, be necessary for the Conference to meet to-morrow, at eleven o'clock, for the purpose of transacting that business, as well as to dispose of some other formal business which may arise.


Sir HENRY PARKES.-Mr. President, you will recollect, I think, that at our first interview on my arrival in Melbourne, I suggested to you the propriety of this Conference adopting a humble and dutiful Address to Her Majesty, expressive of our loyalty as members of the Conference representing, all the colonies. You replied to me that if anything of the kind were done, it would be more becoming at the close of our proceedings, and I have no doubt whatever that your view is a correct one. I should like now to elicit from you, and from the Conference through you, whether, in the judgment of my fellow representatives, the action would be a proper one to take. It will be noticed, from telegrams which have appeared [start page 110] in the press, that the Imperial Government has made our sitting a matter of sufficient importance to include in Her Majesty's Speech, and it seems to-me that it would be in no way going out of our proper line of conduct for us to close our proceedings with such an Address. If that is the view of other members of the Conference, I should be very happy to undertake, if they wish it, to move such an Address tomorrow.

The PRESIDENT.-Does the honorable gentleman desire to indicate that the Address which he speaks of would require to be separated from the one which will embody the resolutions which have been adopted?

Sir HENRY PARKES.-I think it would be better for the Address to be separate. Upon important occasions, Englishmen acting in public life very frequently take advantage of those occasions to renew the expression of their loyalty to the throne and person of Her Majesty, and it seems to me this is a question of sufficient magnitude for that course to be taken.

The PRESIDENT.-The matter is one which can be settled to-morrow. If there is no objection, the honorable gentleman will, I understand, prepare the Address he refers to.

Mr. PLAYFORD.-I think that perhaps the best way to approach Her Majesty would be first by a short telegram; then we could send on the more formal matter in ordinary course. A telegram might state briefly the results arrived at by the Conference, and express our devotion to Her Majesty's throne and person. I think that would be very appropriate.

Sir HENRY PARKES.-If we do this thing it will be best to do it in the most formal way we can. A preliminary communication could be sent by telegram, and the remaining matter would follow in proper form. The address in these cases usually communicates to the Secretary of State what has been done, and I do not think that a communication of that sort in any way renders the other address unnecessary. I presume that we ought to adopt some form of address to be transmitted through His Excellency the Governor of Victoria to the Secretary of State; but an address of that kind would be quite different from the address to the Queen which I suggest. It would be a very becoming and graceful act at the closing of this Conference to adopt an address direct to Her Majesty.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH.-At the close of the Convention of 1883 it was resolved that copies of the proceedings of that body should be forwarded to the Secretary of State. I understand Sir Henry Parkes to propose that besides that an address shall be forwarded to the Queen, informing Her Majesty of the proceedings of the Conference, and expressing whatever the members of the Conference may desire to express in it.

Sir HENRY PARKES.-Precisely.

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