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1891 Australasian Federation Conference

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[start page 46]


Federal Constitution (second day's debate)-Telegram from the Queen-Federal Constitution (second day's debate resumed).

The PRESIDENT took the chair at 11 a.m.



Debate resumed on resolutions proposed by Sir Henry Parkes (vide page 23).

Mr. MUNRO: Mr. President, in rising to address myself to the important subject before the Convention, I have very great pleasure in congratulating you upon the very excellent address you gave us yesterday. It appeared to me that it was conceived in the proper spirit. Whilst conciliatory to all of us, and giving us good advice as to how the business should proceed, it was, at the same time, very clear and very distinct as to the principles upon which the Constitution ought to be founded. I confess that I felt very much relieved from anxiety on hearing the manner in which you laid down to us how our Constitution ought to be formed, because I felt, as the hon. member, Sir Samuel Griffith, indicated later on, that we were surrounded with a large number of difficulties-difficulties which we must endeavour to overcome as best we can. At the same time, you, sir, indicated to us the lines upon which we should proceed; and I feel assured that all the members of the Convention will feel grateful to you for the indication you gave them of your views with regard to that matter. Now, I may say that whilst the speech was very conciliatory, it at the same time followed very closely the instructions which we, as delegates, have received. We have come here to frame a constitution, and the instructions that were given to us, I am happy to say, are very clearly laid down by the hon. member, Mr. Baker, in the book which he was good enough to distribute amongst us. He puts it in this form: That it is desirable there should be a union of the Australian colonies. That is one of the principles that has already been settled by all our parliaments. Second, that such union should be an early one-that is, that we should remove all difficulties in the way in order that the union should take place at as early a date as possible. Third, that it should be under the Crown. Now, I am quite sure that is one of the most important conditions of all with which we have to deal-that the union that is to take place shall be a union under the Crown. Fourth, that it should be under one legislative and executive government. That also is laid down by our various parliaments. Fifth, that it should be on principles just to the several colonies. I think these two points are the points upon which we shall find the greatest difficulty in arriving at conclusions which will be in accordance with the instructions we have received, and, at the same time, which will enable us to form such a constitution as will be valuable for the colonies. I confess I agree very much with the President in his remarks as to the union of the colonies, and as to his remarks in the direction that the government we are to form must be a stable government; that it must be such as will be able to carry out effectively not only the making of laws for the federated colonies, but at the same time, as an executive, will be able to carry out its own decisions and requirements, to preserve itself as a government for all the colonies. You also laid down that it must be a government as nearly as possible in accordance with the principles of the British Constitution, that is to say, that the ministry must be a responsible ministry, and that the house of representatives must represent the whole of the people. These matters were very clearly laid down in your address. I also gathered from your [start page 47] remarks that you were in favour of the ultimate power, that is, the final decision in regard to the finances, being in the house of representatives. I know that my hon. friend, Sir Samuel Griffith, went in another direction, though not very clearly; but

you, sir, were very clear upon this point, Sir Samuel Griffith, while practically agreeing with the President with regard to these views, appeared to me to be surrounded by doubts and difficulties. I was sorry that he did not try to solve those doubts himself, because it is scarcely fair to us who have not studied this matter from the legal point of view, as the hon. member has done, to have submitted to us a number of riddles which we are asked to solve.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I thought I did solve them!

Mr. MUNRO: Well, if the hon. member solved them, as far as my listening to him was concerned, and my reading of his speech a second time this morning, I really saw no solution-none whatever. As far as I could gather he favoured a constitutional government; but he doubted whether constitutional government would work-and whilst he informed us that he had grave doubts as to constitutional government working under our peculiar circumstances, he did not indicate to us what sort of government would work, and that in the difficulty which concerns me in this matter. If he had said to us, "Well, I feel sure, after giving full consideration to this matter, that a constitutional form of government will not work with a senate and a house of representatives-the senate representing the states, and the house of representatives representing the whole of the people-that constitutional government and responsible government will not work," it might have been different; but I found no solution of the difficulties in the hon. gentleman's remarks. He informed us that he thought the senate ought to have power to amend money bills with a view to avoiding deadlocks.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: Vetoing-amending by omission!

Mr. MUNRO: I admit that the form of amending was by veto-that is, separating one portion from another, vetoing one portion, and allowing another portion to pass. At the same time, it is purely an amendment. To omit a clause from a bill is to amend the bill quite as much as to insert a clause. The hon. gentleman pointed out that, in his opinion, we were to get over deadlocks by giving the senate power to amend money bills by discriminative veto, if I may so call it-that they were to have a veto in connection with money bills. The experience of the past, however, tends entirely in a different direction. It is entirely in the direction of showing that if the upper house or senate has the power of amending money bills it makes deadlocks more certain than would be the case under any other circumstances, because if we did not give power of amendment to the senate, eventually the house of representatives must of necessity prevail, because the people will insist on their views being carried out. But if you give the power of amending money bills to the senate, the result will be that it is not the view of the people that will prevail, but the views of a section of the people. The hon. gentleman was good enough to point out that, supposing two of the larger colonies were in favour of the expenditure of £1,000,000 on an arsenal, or on defences, or anything of that kind, and a majority of the smaller colonies combined against them, unless the senate had the power of amendment the result would be that the will of the majority of members would prevail. Let us take the reverse of that. Let us take the case of 2,500,000 people who ought to be taxed for a particular purpose, and 250,000 people, representing some of the [start page 48] smaller states, are to have the power of preventing them being taxed in a certain direction. What will the result be? The power of preventing taxation in a certain direction must absolutely result in taxation in another direction; and the result would be that the minority would govern the majority. That would be the practical outcome of the proposal. If the states, through the senate, are going to be empowered to veto the proceedings of the house of representatives, so far as money matters are concerned, and prevent the imposition of taxation in a given direction-if the minority can prevent that, the result will be that if you are to carry on government at all, as you must impose taxation, you must impose that taxation in accordance with the will of the minority. Surely that is not what we wish to be done; surely this Convention has not met for the purpose of giving a power to the minority of the people of this grand dominion to impose taxation on the majority against their will. That will be the practical result of Sir Samuel Griffith's proposal. One side or another must give way; and if the majority are bound to give way, the result must be that the minority will rule. Surely that is a state of affairs to which my hon. friend does not wish to bring us.

Mr. ADYE DOUGLAS: What is the use of the senate, then?

Mr. MUNRO: I will come to that in a moment; I am only dealing with the question of finance at present. The hon. gentleman also puts it that he does not think the government or the executive should be responsible to the house of representatives.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: No, no. I said nothing of the kind. I said I did not think it should be a rigid rule of the constitution that it must be responsible to one house only. I repeated that about ten times, and I thought I had made myself clear.

Mr. MUNRO: I admit that that is clear enough; but to whom is the executive to be responsible? Is it to be responsible to both houses; will it be absolutely, necessary to have a vote of want of confidence in both chambers to remove a government? Is that what is proposed?


Mr. MUNRO: I really want to understand where we are, and what is meant. If the vote of the house of representatives is not sufficient to dislodge a government, what is sufficient? What is to be the process by which a government is to be dislodged. What is to be the process by which a government is to be removed if the house of representatives has not the power to remove them? Whilst the hon. gentleman submitted a number of conundrums to us, he did not clearly show us how to get out of the difficulty. I followed the hon. gentleman very closely, and I read his speech very carefully this morning in order that I might understand what he really means; and it appears to me that he brings us into this difficulty. He says, "I do not want this constitution to provide that the executive shall be responsible to the house of representatives; I want the responsibility to be divided between the two chambers." But he has not indicated how that is to be carried out; how the two chambers are to act with the view of either appointing or removing the executive. That is the difficulty submitted to us, the difficulty which we do not get over.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I propose to leave to the future the avoiding of these difficulties, and that we should not make difficulties in advance!

Mr. MUNRO: I understand our duty as delegates to the Convention lies in this direction: that we are to form a stable and workable government. We are to form a constitution which will be so workable that all interests in this grand dominion [start page 49] will be as fairly represented as possible. We must have the instrument sufficiently pliable to enable us to carry on business in a proper manner. If we do not carry this out we shall probably form an institution which will be something like the congress which was originally formed in the United States, before they formed the Constitution which now exists, and in regard to which this is said in "The United States, its History and Constitution," by Alexander Johnston, page 79:

The "Articles of Confederation," adopted in 1777, were thus calculated for the meridian of the state legislatures which were to pass upon them. The new government was to be merely "a firm league of friendship" between sovereign states, which were to retain every power not "expressly " delegated to Congress; there was to be one house of congress, in which each state was to have an equal vote, with no national executive or judiciary; and congress, while keeping the power to borrow money, was to have no power to levy taxes, or to provide in any way for payment of the money borrowed only to make recommendations to the states, or requisitions on the states, which they pledged their public faith to obey. The states were forbidden to make treaties, war, or peace, to grant titles of nobility, to keep vessels of war or soldiers, or to lay imposts which should conflict with treaties already proposed to France or Spain. Important measures required the votes of nine of the thirteen states, and amendments the votes of all. Congress had hardly more than an advisary power at the best. It had no power to prevent or punish offences against its own laws, or even to perform effectively the duties enjoined upon it by the articles of confederation. It alone could declare war; but it had no power to compel the enlistment, arming, or support of an army. It alone could fix the needed amount of

revenue; but the taxes could only be collected by the states at their own pleasure. It alone could decide disputes between the states; but it had no power to compel either disputant to respect or obey its decisions. It alone could make treaties with foreign nations, but it had no power to prevent individual states from violating them. Even commerce, foreign and domestic, was to be regulated entirely by the states, and it was not long before state selfishness began to show itself in the regulation of duties on imports. In everything the states were to be sovereign, and their creature, the federal government, was to have only strength enough to bind the states into nominal unity, and only life enough to assure it of its own practical impotence.

Surely we are not going to impose a form of government of that kind. Surely we do not want to have a government which will not have the inherent power in itself, and a constitution which will not give the inherent power to those who represent the whole of the dominion, to carry on their own business. If we are to divide that power equally in connection with questions of finance, between the senate and the house of representatives, the result would absolutely be want of power to carry on business at all.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: How about the United States?

Mr. MUNRO: The United States are in a totally different position. In the United States the real executive power is in the senate, because the senate can veto the appointments made by the President, and there is no responsible government. We are now dealing, I understand, with the idea of having responsible government in this dominion of ours. I, for one, believe in responsible government. It is the only form of government with which we are familiar, and under which we are best able to do our business. But how can you have responsible government if you have a governor calling in an executive as his advisers, and if after that executive has submitted financial measures to the house of representatives, and shown that they are absolutely necessary for the good of the country, the senate vetoes the measures. Where, then, does the responsibility lie? The responsibility must lie in the senate, not in the house of representatives, because if the senate is to prevent the house of representatives carrying out financial operations the result is that the senate is supreme. And that is the difference between what we are proposing to do, and [start page 50] what has occurred in the United States. I quite admit that the United States system suits them; and if we are simply going to form a republic, and to establish an institution in which the executive will not be in Parliament, and will not be responsible, the state of affairs will be totally different. But I am contemplating that this Convention has in view the formation of true responsible government. Now, I quite admit that in the Australian colonies we have never had true responsible government. We have what is called responsible government, but we have not responsible government in reality. If we had responsible government we should never have had the troubles we have had in the past in regard to our two chambers. If our ministers occupied the positions they ought to occupy under a dominion government, and such as are occupied by the British Government-

Mr. GILLIES: Have there been no troubles in England under responsible government?

Mr. MUNRO: I admit that they have had troubles there and everywhere else. There are troubles wherever human beings exist; but I say that whilst there may be troubles, we are not called upon to create them ourselves by bringing new parties into the contract who will be bound to cause troubles amongst us. The hon. member, Mr. Fysh, takes a more hopeful view of the situation, and whilst leaning, in some respects, towards giving some power to the senate, he honestly admits that the ultimate decision must be with the house of representatives; and without that I do not see how we are to form a proper constitution at all. I was well pleased indeed with the tone of his remarks in that direction. I thought, he being a member of an upper chamber, that his leaning might be strongly in another direction.

Dr. COCKBURN: There is no analogy between a senate and an upper chamber!

Mr. MUNRO: There is a little analogy; they are not the same, I admit.

Sir THOMAS McILWRAITH: The hon. member's argument is founded on the fact that they are the same!

Mr. MUNRO: Oh, no! I shall come to that matter directly. I am only dealing at present with the question of finance; I am only dealing with the fact that some one must be responsible for the finances. You cannot arrange the finances of a country by having co-ordinate jurisdiction in two chambers. While I state what I have stated with regard to the remarks of the President, with which I have already stated I was very well pleased indeed, I am not so well pleased with the resolutions. While you, sir, seemed to be very clear as to your own ideas of what sort of constitution we ought to have, the resolutions submitted to us do not seem to be quite so clear in that direction; and looking carefully through them it appeared to me that there was something wanting-that is, with regard to the first series of resolutions; I do not mean with regard to the second series of resolutions. The first series of resolutions states:

That the powers and privileges and territorial rights of the several existing colonies shall remain intact, except in respect to such surrenders as may be agreed upon as necessary and incidental to the power and authority of the national federal government.

Of course we could mould a constitution upon a resolution of that sort in any direction we might think proper. There is a certain amount of vagueness about it which, perhaps, is necessary at the commencement, but which, probably, will require to be amended in Committee. I do not intend to submit an amendment, but shall merely state my view as to how the resolution ought to read. Instead of the 1st resolution I would say:

The powers and authority necessary or incidental to the federal government shall be set forth in the constitution. The powers not dele- [start page 51] gated to the federal government by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the federated colonies, are reserved to the colonies respectively or to the people.

That is the wording of the latter part of one of the clauses of the Constitution of the United States, and it puts the matter very clearly as to what powers are given to the federal government, and there is no difficulty in understanding it. Then with regard to the 2nd resolution:

That the trade and intercourse between the federated colonies, whether by means of land carriage or coastal navigation, shall be absolutely free.

I may say that there is some doubt in the minds of some of the delegates with regard to what is intended by this resolution. I can clearly understand that it would be impossible to give effect to this resolution until the federal parliament has passed a law giving effect to it. That is my view with regard to it; but others are of opinion that it is intended to put this in the Constitution, and the result would be that there would be intercolonial free-trade before the federal parliament had power to deal with the tariff at all.


Mr. MUNRO: Of course that would be impossible, and consequently I thought that this form would suit better:

All customs duties shall be uniform throughout the federated colonies, and the power and authority to impose such duties shall be vested in the federal house of representatives. All laws imposing customs duties shall be subject to the provision that trade and intercourse between the federated colonies shall be free.

That would be provided by the law to be passed by the federal parliament after it had met, instead of being in doubt as it is at the present time. With regard to the trade being free as between the colonies, of course we who here represent a colony which has for many years established a protective system must be guarded in the action that we take in this matter, because under our system very important trades and manufactories and establishments have been created, and unless we take some means to secure that they shall not be ruthlessly dealt with and shall not be deprived of their position without having any power to resist the action that is taken with regard to them, I think we should fail in our duty. We are here undoubtedly to concede all that we possibly can with a view to have a proper constitution for the federated colonies; we are here for the purpose of establishing a thorough dominion, and for the purpose of conceding all that we possibly can; but I do not think we should be justified in allowing any doubt to remain upon this question-that is, on the question whether the intercourse between the colonies should be free prior to the federal parliament having power to form its own tariff. I think that that question should be put beyond any doubt. I, for one, am quite sure that we should be perfectly safe with the federal parliament; I am quite satisfied on that point, but others are not. Others hold a different opinion, and, of course, we shall have considerable difficulty in getting our constituents to agree with us in allowing the federal parliament to deal with this question; but we shall have far greater difficulty in reconciling them to the change if we are not clear in telling them that prior to any free-trade existing between the colonies the federal parliament will be enabled to form its own tariff and pass its own laws. We ought to be able to give them that assurance, and I am quite sure that that is the intention of the delegates here present, but we ought to have it put in such a form that there can be no doubt about it. With regard to the military and naval defence of Australia being intrusted to federal forces, of course no one can object to that; in fact, one of the reasons why this Convention has been called into existence, and why it is necessary to have the dominion at all, is [start page 52] to have the defences put on a proper footing. There is no doubt at all about that; but in order to do that it is absolutely necessary that the power of initiating taxation should be in the hands of the executive, and that the house of representatives should have the power of the purse. I have added further, altering the form of the resolution:

After the portion required for federal purposes has been reserved, the revenue derived from customs duties shall be equitably distributed among the federated colonies on the basis of population.

I put it in that form for this reason, that the customs duties are really derivable from the colonies in proportion to population, for the larger the population the larger will be the consumption of dutiable articles, and consequently there should be some equitable system by which they would get a return in proportion to the amount derived from them. With regard to the further resolutions, I quite concur in the resolutions on this paper, with perhaps one or two slight amendments. The constitution of the legislature is thus described:

A parliament, to consist of a senate and a house of representatives, the former consisting of an equal number of members from each province, to be elected by a system which shall provide for the retirement of one-third of the members every years, so securing to the body itself a perpetual existence combined with definite responsibility to the electors, the latter to be elected by districts formed on a population basis, and to possess the sole power of originating and amending all bills appropriating revenue or imposing taxation.

Then for the administration of justice in its highest form, it is proposed to establish a judiciary, consisting of a federal supreme court, which shall constitute a high court of appeal for Australia, under the direct authority of the Sovereign, whose decisions, as such, shall be final.

Upon the latter clause I have some doubt. I am not quite sure that it would be prudent for us at this stage to absolutely prevent any Australian from appealing to the Privy Council under any circumstances. I am not quite sure that we ought to go so far as that at the present stage. I am not quite sure that we ought not to leave open some door by which, at least for the present, the power of appeal now existing should not be changed for some time. I think, Mr. President, that that is one of the links that bind us to the home country. We who are loyal subjects of the Queen are always anxious that

nothing should be done to even weaken any link that binds us to the mother country, and the power of appeal in certain cases, along with the appointment of our colonial governors, are really the two important links that bind us to the home country.

Mr. DIBBS: Cutting the first strand of the painter!

Mr. MUNRO: I think so. Although we are not called upon at this stage to deal with details, I think it is absolutely necessary to mention some of the details, in order to give our interpretation of what we wish the Constitution to be, because we might talk for a month about generalities and never come to anything practical, unless we indicate some of the details which we wish to see in the Constitution; and for that reason I mention some of the things that I should like to see provided for; of course, mentioning them merely with the view of showing the direction in which my mind goes in these matters. For instance, I think we should provide, first of all, for the governor-general to be appointed by the Crown-I do not think that there is much difference of opinion on that point-that the senate should be elected or appointed by the legislature of the various colonies; that the house of representatives, or commons, should be elected by the whole people of the various colonies.

Sir THOMAS McILWRAITH: Women, of course, included!

Mr. MUNRO: I have not the least objection to their being included.

[start page 53] Sir THOMAS McILWRAITH: That is what the hon. member said!

Mr. MUNRO: When we talk of the whole people, we mean the whole of the electors.


Mr. MUNRO: That is the law at present. If you like to alter the law, I have no objection to women having votes; but I am dealing with matters as they stand at present. At present the electors of the whole of the colonies should elect the house of representatives. Then-this is a point to which Mr. Douglas called my attention-the two houses should have coordinate power with regard to general legislation; leaving the question of finance out of consideration, on all other questions the two houses should have co-ordinate power. Then the interests of the various states would be protected as to general legislation. But the house of representatives, or commons, ought to be supreme in questions of finance. I have not the least doubt whatever on that point. Then, as I have already stated, there should be a common tariff and intercolonial free-trade. I think that the following powers should be given to the federal government: The regulation of trade and commerce, including bankruptcy laws and sea fisheries; navigation and shipping laws, including the management of pilots, beacons, buoys, and lighthouses; control of the post-offices and telegraphs; the laws with regard to marriage and divorce and probate; the defences by sea and land; loans for federal purposes; engagement of federal officials; payment of federal salaries; banking, currency and coinage; bills of exchange and promissory-notes; census and statistics; patents and copyrights; weights and measures; federal criminal laws, gaols, &c.; aliens and naturalisation.

Mr. MOORE: Does the hon. member associate the question of taxation with that of finance?

Mr. MUNRO: Certainly.

Mr. MOORE: Does the hon. member mean to limit the sole control of all taxation to the house of representatives?

Mr. MUNRO: I say that they should have the ultimate power. I am satisfied that under responsible government, and in justice to all the colonies, you must do that. You cannot allow a small section to govern the majority on a question of finance; you cannot give 250,000 persons the power to

tax 2,500,000 against their will. Surely that sort of thing is not intended. This is all I contend for. I do not want to take up more of the time of the Convention than I have already done. I think I have trespassed too much on the time. I am very well pleased to take your advice, Mr. President. While I, as strongly as I can, give expression to my views, I think that we are here for the purpose of giving and taking. I think we are here for the purpose of stating our views as strongly as we like, but finally to take into consideration which views ought to prevail; and I am willing to do all I can to enable us to form a government which will be a credit to us all, which will be sufficiently strong to do its own work, and sufficiently effective to see that its laws are carried out, but in no way to interfere with the colonies as far as their business is concerned. I am quite sure that when we come to thrash the matter out that will be the view of nearly all the delegates, and, in fact, of all the colonies. If we are to federate at all we must federate on a basis that as near as possible will be just to the whole of the colonies, and, at the same time sufficiently effective to enable the executive to carry on its work in a proper manner.

Mr. PLAYFORD: I think that in the discussion of this question the example that has been set us by the various speakers is very good in its commendable brevity, because I look upon these resolutions as simply the groundwork upon which we are to proceed to build the bill.

[start page 54] The great work of the Convention will undoubtedly take place in Committee, when we are discussing the provisions that should be contained in the bill. I look upon these resolutions in the same light as you, Mr. President, do, namely, as the foundation to build a bill upon, and I think that now we should not go into matters of detail at all, but confine ourselves to the more important principles that are laid down in the resolutions before us. The resolutions naturally divide themselves into two parts. Upon the first part, with regard to the powers that should be given to the federal government that we propose to create, there appears to be very little discussion, and the expression of opinion is practically in favour of the propositions laid down. The first proposition laid down is that we should not take from the various colonies any more power than is absolutely necessary to give to the federal government, so that the federal government may have power to carry on its functions properly. I pointed out at the Melbourne Conference that that appeared to me to be the principle on which we should act, and a principle which, if we affirm it, will to a considerable extent do away with the jealousy likely to be created as between the various governments and the federal government that we are endeavouring to build up. I am glad that that provision is included in the President's proposals. With regard to the 2nd resolution:

That the trade and intercourse between the federated colonies, whether by means of land carriage or coastal navigation, shall be absolutely free-

it appears to me that the last speaker, Mr. Munro, of Victoria, has fallen into an error in supposing that, because this resolution with regard to free intercourse is here, it would mean that free intercourse between the various colonies should take place before the federal parliament had time to pass a tariff bill fixing the tariff for all the colonies.

Mr. MUNRO: I do not think so; but others thought so!

Mr. PLAYFORD: We do not intend to do anything of the sort. It stands to reason that until the federal parliament has had time to draft a bill, and that bill has become law, we shall have to continue with our own tariffs, and when that bill is passed into law a day will be fixed on which the tariff will come into operation, and all the other tariffs of the various Australian colonies will cease. In alluding to this question just now, Mr. Munro suggested some amendment. I did not take it down at the time; but I think that the hon. member was under the impression that the federal government would be able to give back to the various local governments practically the whole of the customs revenue they would raise.

Mr. MUNRO: No!

Mr. PLAYFORD: And that it would be given back to the various local governments in proportion to the population of their respective colonies. If we consider for a moment that the federal government must have an executive, and will have to provide the necessary payment for the federal forces, for the federal executive, and for various other matters, we must see that they will have to derive a revenue in some way or other; and the most difficult question, I think, which the members of the Convention will find, when they come to deal with it, will be the adjustment of that financial part of, if I may so call it, the trouble between the federal government on the one hand, and the local governments on the other. It may be necessary that, in certain instances, we should be paid back by the federal government a proportion of the money that we, as local governments, derive from customs. The great trouble you will have, after all, will be, as in the case of Canada, in connection with the adjustment of finances. In Canada they had a national debt which, [start page 55] compared with ours, was very small-I think it amounted to only about £10,000,000 or £12,000,000, as against our £150,000,000. Like us, however, they had local governments, which had raised money to an extent considerably more than that to which it had been raised by their neighbours per head of the population. We have local governments which have borrowed money to the extent of about £60 per head of the population, and others again who have not borrowed to the extent of more than £20 per head. While they must give up a certain proportion of their customs duties to the general parliament, there must be some adjustment by which all the colonies will be placed upon a fair footing, and whereby the federal government will take and pay back to the colonies some portion of the customs revenue. But the amount must be in proportion to the amount of the debt the federal government takes over for each individual colony. It will be a difficult question to solve; but it is one that will have to be solved. The way in which it was solved in Canada is well known to members of the Convention. I think it was the province of Quebec which had borrowed more than had any of the other provinces, and the federal government said, "We will take over your debt; but we will not pay you anything out of the customs revenue." Other colonies which had borrowed less received, and continue to receive, a certain subsidy from the federal government, in proportion to their debt, the dominion parliament taking their debts upon its own shoulders.

Mr. DIBBS: Does the hon. gentleman contemplate the federal government taking over any portion of the public debt?

Mr. PLAYFORD: Undoubtedly. I say that if the federal government take over the defences, they must take over the debts.

Mr. FYSH: For defence purposes!

Mr. PLAYFORD: Exactly. We, in South Australia, have built a war-ship, for which we have paid out of loan, and we shall expect the federal government to take it over. Then there are certain forts which we have erected partly out of loan, and partly out of the general revenue. We shall expect the federal government to take over those forts, and to pay us for them, and to take over the debt in connection with them. There are other questions of a similar kind which suggest themselves naturally, and which will have to be similarly dealt with. Take the post offices. If we agree that the post-offices should be under the federal government, that government must of course take over the debts in connection with them. Then there are the telegraphs. I presume the federal government will take over the debt incurred by South Australia in that very excellent work of hers which has benefited the whole of the colonies-I refer to the overland telegraph to Port Darwin. The members of the Convention will see that with regard to these questions of the taking over of the customs revenue and the adjustment of finances, they have a great work in front of them, and will, to my mind, have a very difficult question to solve. But that the federal government will not be able to give back to the colonies the whole of the customs revenue derived may be taken for granted. They may be able to give back a part; but a part is all they will be able to give. With reference to the next portion of the resolutions, referring to the naval and military defence of the colonies, I think very little objection can be taken to it. We are all agreed, I think, to defence forming a portion of the powers of the federal parliament. I now come to a very important part of the resolutions, which will, I think, create a great amount of discussion-I refer

to the machinery by which we shall give effect to them, that is, by which we shall confer [start page 56] these powers upon the federal body. The resolution says:

A parliament, to consist of a senate and a house of representatives, the former consisting of an equal number of members from each province, to be elected by a system which shall provide for the retirement of one-third of the members every years,-

I think it will be better to provide for the retirement of more than a third. It will be better, perhaps, to adopt the American system, and to say, instead of one-third, that one-half should retire every three years, making the period for which the representatives are elected six years, one-half going out every three years. That, however, is a matter of detail.

so securing to the body itself a perpetual existence combined with definite responsibility to the electors, the latter to be elected by districts formed on a population basis, and to possess the sole power of originating and amending all bills appropriating revenue or imposing taxation.

Now, this form of government which is proposed by the President is the form generally in vogue throughout the various Australian colonies.


Mr. PLAYFORD: In practice it undoubtedly is so.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: Not So far as the senate is concerned!

Mr. PLAYFORD: There can be no doubt that in practice it is. We know that some of the legislative assemblies in the various colonies have greater power than have others; but the general practice is that the houses of assembly-the people's houses in the various colonies universally object to the legislative councils of the different colonies amending their money bills. There is no doubt about that; and it is therefore stated in so many words in these resolutions what are the powers of the popular branch of the legislature in regard to money bills, so as to make the point quite clear. Unfortunately, the framers of our Constitution did not make it clear, and the result was that the two houses had no sooner set to work than a deadlock commenced between them. It is only by a compromise or compact entered into by the two houses, by means of which the Legislative Council was allowed to make suggestions to the Legislative Assembly with regard to money bills-it is only by means of this understanding that we have been able to carry on legislation at all. In its absence we should have had an unmistakable deadlock, and we should have had eventually to appeal to the home Government to pass a bill to enable the machinery of government in the colony to work more smoothly. We may take this provision for granted if we are to have responsible government. There solutions afterwards go on to provide for an executive, for a governor-general, and for the appointment of his advisers:

such persons sitting in Parliament, and whose term of office shall depend upon their possessing the confidence of the house of representatives expressed by the support of the majority.

That, at all events, carries out the same principle as is in force in the various colonies now, and unless you depart from that principle you are in this fix as to the senate, that you are about to give the senate powers co-equal with those of the house of representatives with regard to the amendment of money bills, thus creating a state of things which must result in an unmistakable deadlock.


Mr. PLAYFORD: I represent a colony whose interest it would be to magnify the senate as against the house of representatives, because, in proportion to its population, it would be more largely represented in the senate than in the house of representatives, which, I imagine, will be elected upon a

population basis. I say this: That unless we alter our system, and unless we adopt the American or the Swiss system, [start page 57] and provide that the senate and house of representatives at certain times shall meet and shall appoint their own executive-which will not be in the sense in which we use the words, "responsible government"-unless you do this, the scheme is impracticable. So far as the senate is concerned, while we give it all the necessary power to veto, to absolutely stop any legislation it believes to be injurious to the community as a whole, even against the will and wishes of the lower house, we must at the same time provide that so far as money bills are concerned one house must rule, must have not only the sole power of initiation, but must be able to say to the other house "You may make suggestions, but we cannot concede you the right of amendment." I should like the members of the Convention to consider these two questions. Take the first one-a question that must occupy the attention of the new federal parliament directly it is called into being, at the outset of its career-the question of tariff. Fancy for a moment the ministry of the day, whoever they may be, responsible only to the lower house having to pass a tariff line by line through the two houses. It would be practically impossible to do so. The Parliament would never be able to come to a decision upon any important question such as that of tariff if that were the case, owing to the multiplicity of details which would be taken into consideration by the two houses. I have had some experience in passing a tariff through a legislative assembly. I am informed that when the measure I passed was in Committee I rose no less than 400 times to explain various matters. I know what it is to pass a tariff through one house, and I say that if the government of the day had to pass a tariff through the senate, as well as through the house of representatives, and were to have every line discussed by the two houses, having to please two bodies of men-two houses-the result would be that your machinery of government would not work. The friction would often be very great; and in many instances the Parliament would experience great difficulty in arriving at any decision whatever. Then there is another question with which the two houses will have to deal at the outset of their career, and in connection with which, if you give them co-ordinate powers and jurisdiction, you will have a deadlock occurring, or I am very much mistaken. I refer to the estimates. They will come before the federal parliament annually, and I presume that the ordinary estimates for the year will have to be passed by the two houses. Do you propose to give to the senate the right to enter into every little detail? Do you propose to give to the senate the right to veto-as was pointed out by Sir Samuel Griffith-every line? Will you give them the right to say whether a post-office shall be built here or a court-house there? If you once do that, you will get into a state of confusion which will render the working of your constitution almost impossible. It could not be done upon such lines.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: We have 100 years of example to show the contrary!

Mr. PLAYFORD: No; we have not 100 years of example to show the contrary. We have no such example in America, to which country the hon. gentleman, I presume, refers. Have you had there 100 years of example to show the working of responsible government in connection with the house of representatives, which is, after all, in America the lower house in more senses of the word than one? The lower houses in our parliaments are more powerful than are the upper houses. Does any one here intend to make the senate more powerful than the house of representatives?

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I did not propose to do so!

[start page 58] Mr. PLAYFORD: That will depend upon the power you give it. If, as the Americans do, you give the executive power to your senate, if you give it the right, as it has in America, to amend money bills in whatever direction it pleases, and limit its power only so far as the initiation of those bills is concerned, no doubt it will become a body similar to the senate of the United States of to-day. But under a system of responsible government you cannot do that. You cannot graft responsible government on to the American system-a congress, as it is called, consisting of a senate and lower house-and make it work, because, directly you graft on to it responsible government, you take away at one stroke some of the powers the senate possesses. For instance, you could not allow the senate to say that the ministry of the day should not appoint such and such a person ambassador to Pekin, or such and such a person ambassador to London. You cannot carry on responsible government and give

to the senate the powers which it possesses in America at the present time. You cannot give the senate such powers and have at the same time a responsible executive. I think that in drawing up the details of any measure we may adopt, we ought to do all we can to prevent the larger colonies-those having a preponderance of population-being placed in a position in which they can ride rough-shod over the smaller ones. I believe the larger colonies do not wish it, and we must provide some means of strengthening the senate and preventing the house of representatives from riding roughshod over it other than by giving to it power to amend money bills. One of the great powers the house of representatives would have, if the senate had no power to amend money bills, would be to tack on to such a bill some measure which they knew to be objectionable to the senate, but which they might think the senate would not throw out lest they might injure some other provision which they desired to see the law of the land. We ought to so frame our Constitution that this power attempted to be exercised, and occasionally exercised by the lower houses in the colonies, could not be exercised by the house of representatives. We should provide, I think, that as regards the appropriation bill or a tariff bill, each question must be forwarded to the senate separately, thus preventing the house of representatives from tacking on to, say, an appropriation bill a proposal for the expenditure of money in some direction apart from the ordinary expenditure of the year, and of which the senate were known to disapprove. With regard to loans for public works, we might provide that every work in respect of which it was proposed to borrow money should be contained in a separate bill. By that means we should empower the senate to reject a certain measure involving a heavy, and in their opinion, an unjustifiable expenditure without at the same time throwing out other useful and requisite public works which they desired to see passed.

Mr. DIBBS: Would that apply to a tariff?

Mr. PLAYFORD: No; that would involve too much detail. It would be impossible for the two houses to consider a tariff line by line. Of course it would be open to them to deal with the principles of a tariff. If the senate, for instance, objected to the principle of a tariff, they could throw out the bill. That is the position they ought to take up in such a matter. If they were to insist upon going into every little detail the result would be an unworkable constitution. To the question raised by my hon. friend, Mr. Munro, with reference to the protection of manufactures, I have already referred. There are several other phases of the question, at which I might just glance for a moment.

[start page 59] There is the power of veto which it is proposed should be exercised, I suppose, by the Queen. It is an exceedingly important power, and it seems to me that we should do all we can to prevent its exercise-that, is to say, we should do away with it as far as we possibly can. With regard to this power, I think that when the people of the colonies have spoken out and have said unmistakably that they want a certain law passed, and that when a law so demanded has been passed in a perfectly constitutional way, the power of veto, as now exercised by the Queen, should be abrogated. I think there should be no power of veto whatever. It has not been exercised of late years to any great extent in Canada, and it has been exercised to a very limited extent in these colonies, and it is about time, I think, that it was done away with altogether. If we cannot agree that it should entirely cease at once, we might agree to something like this: that on the passing of any important measure as to the wisdom of which the minds of the people of the colony are very much exercised, or to which a large number are opposed, it might be referred to the various constituencies by referendum, and if the constituencies decided by a majority in favour of the measure so passed, it might then become law, and should not under any circumstances be subject to the veto of the Imperial Government.

Mr. DIBBS: That will be another strand of the rope gone!

Mr. PLAYFORD: I do not know that any strand will be gone. With regard to the question of the executive, I understood Sir Samuel Griffith to say that he thought it might be well to have an executive that would not be responsible to Parliament.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I said that the constitution might ultimately tend to work in that direction. I prefer the present system.

Mr. PLAYFORD: But there is this danger: I can see that we ought to make provision to meet in common fairness the smaller Australian colonies. Two colonies-say, Victoria and New South Wales -might join themselves together, and might have a majority in the house of representatives, which would, of course, keep the ministry of the day in power; the whole of the ministry might be taken from the representatives of New South Wales and Victoria, and the rest of the colonies have no representation whatever.

Mr. GILLIES: Sir John Macdonald was too wise to do that sort of thing, and we may follow his example. No wise government would do that.

Mr. PLAYFORD: We might have an unwise government with a majority at their back, and who might do anything. If the two larger colonies were to join together, they could undoubtedly do that, and, as long as they kept a majority, they could keep on doing it. It would be a mistake. It may not be done in the first instance-I do not suppose it would be done; but in drafting a constitution we should take up this point for the protection of the other colonies: that they should have some representatives, at all events, in whatever government is formed, and that the government of the country shall not be formed out of one state alone.

Mr. ADYE DOUGLAS: How kind you are!

Mr. PLAYFORD: I am considering Tasmania, as well as South Australia-not one colony alone. I say it is a question that we ought to consider. We ought to make provision, so that two colonies like Victoria and New South Wales, which would have their representatives elected wholly on the basis of population, should not monopolise the representation. We ought to consider whether it is not well to say that, at all events, the executive should be distributed somewhat among all the [start page 60] colonies of the group. I do not know that there is any other point that I wish to bring before the delegates at present. All I wish to say is that, although I have my own views as to what will be the best constitution to frame, I am here willing and prepared to give way in the matter to the will of the majority; because, unless we are prepared to give way to the will of the majority, we shall do nothing. I think, taking them as a whole, that the resolutions lay the foundation of what will be, if carried into effect by an act, a useful form of government, and the best that we can adopt. At the present time, I think it would be a mistake to go away from the old responsible government under which we have been brought up, and attempt to establish a new form of government without responsibility to Parliament, and of which we have no knowledge. I think, therefore, that we can pass the resolutions, and I understand the moving of them means that we shall go into Committee of the Whole, and well consider them clause by clause. I will therefore not take up the time of members of the Convention any further; but say that I trust they will approach this subject on the give-and-take principle which we should approach it, and not allow our own individual views and opinions to lead us into saying that, if we cannot carry all we want in a matter of this sort, we will do nothing.

Sir THOMAS McILWRAITH: I should like to have heard the representatives from all the colonies address the Convention before I rose, being myself in a secondary position at the present time; but, as Sir Harry Atkinson has assured me that the New Zealand delegates do not intend to speak at the present stage, I have taken the floor. I was very much pleased with the speech in which you, Mr. President, introduced the resolutions-a good deal better pleased with the speech than with some of the resolutions themselves. The first is:

That the powers and privileges and territorial rights of the several existing colonies shall remain intact except in respect to such surrenders as may be agreed upon as necessary and incidental to the power and authority of the national federal government.

That is the germ and foundation of federal government, and if carried and believed in conscientiously by the delegates, I believe it would be a foundation on which we could form a federal government. I look upon it as the cream of the resolutions put before the House. The other two in inverted order bring in a very large question:

That the power and authority to impose customs duties shall be exclusively lodged in the federal government and parliament, subject to such disposal of the revenues thence derived as shall be agreed upon.

And then following that:

That the trade and intercourse between the federated colonies, whether by means of land carriage or coastal navigation, shall be absolutely free.

These introduce a very large question, and although the debate up to the present time has been more confined to the difficulty of framing a constitution that will work and to the details of that constitution, I think that if those two resolutions are carried they will form the foundation of a federation, whether the whole of the colonies come in or not; that is, if two such colonies as Victoria and New South Wales were to agree to terms like these, they would form the nucleus of a federation into which the other colonies in the future would be bound to come. I look upon the commercial aspect of the matter as of much greater importance than the legal aspect which has been taken by so many members. I have no doubt that when we get to business it is our position as colonists and as traders which will really influence the whole of the votes of the delegates. We cannot hide that from ourselves, because we are bound to consider the in- [start page 61] terests of the colonies that we represent as well as the interests of the federation. There is no question in my mind that the two resolutions which I have read imply free-trade between the federated colonies, and protection against the world. There is no doubt in my mind that that is implied, because in the present position the protectionists will of course vote for it; at all events, the protectionists of Victoria and New South Wales will vote for it, and the free-traders will require to vote for it too if they desire federation, because it is the only means by which they can get the revenue. Unless they did, the effect of the first law passed would be to dislocate the revenue branch of the governments of the separate colonies. Take the case of Queensland, which I represent here. They cannot say to that colony all at once, "We intend to have free-trade, and the money previously got by your government through the customs, you must get from another source." That would burst up the confederation before it was fairly started. We must proceed on the supposition that there will be free-trade among the colonies, and protection against the world. I believe the opinion of the colonies in general is that this would be a good national Australian policy, and one in which I thoroughly believe. At the same time, those who have, I will not say benefited by protection, but whose interests have been nourished under protection, must look with a great deal of consideration and sympathy towards colonies which have never tried it. At the immediate start, the result is plain. Who will get the trade? Those who already have protection. If a general tariff is adopted by all the colonies, it will enlarge the area of trade for the manufacturers who have already obtained protection. The fact that they have been engaged in the industries so long will make competition more difficult. In considering this question, therefore, we must consider the weak colonies that have industries started. This question will come up in Committee, and we shall have to give a great deal of consideration to those colonies which are going to lose at once, so far as that branch of the subject is concerned. Victoria is protectionist, and many think that the people of New South Wales are protectionist too. I believe that, if they were looking after their own interests, they would be protectionists, because I do not know a country in the world better adapted for manufactures than this colony. You have a magnificent climate, land, minerals, splendid material for textile manufactures to your hand. These are now being exported, and the only great advance in manufactures has been made in the neighbouring colonies. If there were no other gain to Australia as the result of federation than the increased production which would follow from the adoption of protection against the world, it would be sufficient. Take the manufacture of wool alone. Why is it that we see only a few small places for manufacturing tweeds at Geelong, Ipswich, and a few other places

Mr. GILLIES: Labour!

Sir THOMAS McILWRAITH: Labour will come where the coal is accessible, where there is cheap land and food, and nowhere can these things be obtained more advantageously than in New South Wales.

An HON. MEMBER: What about Queensland?

Sir THOMAS McILWRAITH: Excepting Queensland, of course. I happened to be speaking for the moment of New South Wales, but the same may be said for the other colonies. We must, therefore, recognise the fact that this is going to be a big protectionist colony. I shall say nothing with regard to the 4th resolution, which affirms that the military and naval defence of Australia should be intrusted to federal forces under one [start page 62] command. That follows as a matter of course, and the resolution might have been omitted. The resolution ought simply to affirm the principles on which the bill should be founded. But when we come to the other conditions, which, though not ranked as such, really are the conditions upon which we are asked to form a federal government, I altogether disagree with the proposal which you, sir, have placed before the Convention. What do we say in order to procure federation? What do we say to the Australian colonies? We say to the smaller states "Federate." When they ask in reply, "What is federation?" we tell them of all its advantages. But we are immediately asked this one thing, "Well, we have the power of making all the laws within ourselves, and of making them without consulting you; why should we come under federation and consult you about our laws at all?" That is the answer given by the small states to the big states that want to swallow them up, as it were. What is the reply when the small states say, "We cannot lose our nationality; we are a unit now, and we must preserve our nationality in any kind of federation that may take place?" They are answered at once, "Very well, we will allow you to be a unit and will create two houses of legislature; one of which shall be a senate in which each colony as it stands now shall be represented; no matter what its length and breadth and population may be, it shall have the same voice and the same influence in that senate as is enjoyed by the other chamber." That is a substantial quid pro quo; that is something given on each side; that is business. But what does this resolution propose? As soon as we have given up our rights to the federal authority we are asked to withdraw the right that has been given to be allowed to be considered a unit in the legislature. We are to give back that gift that the federation has given in consideration for something else, and to take something else: because we are asked in the most important question that can possibly come before the legislature that this state representation in the federal council shall be a great deal less than was bargained for-it is to be less than one unit. The gentlemen who have spoken on this subject, with the exception of the hon. member, Sir Samuel Griffith-even you yourself, sir, though you did not say much about it-took it for granted that the senate proposed in the resolutions would be something like the Upper House, which forms a chamber in the different legislatures of the colonies. But where is the resemblance between the two bodies? Why is there a distinction drawn between the powers of the members of the upper house and those of the members of the lower house? It is only for one reason. When the constitution originally came to us from England, this distinction did not exist. The two houses were given equal powers. But when it came to be seen that one chamber was elected to represent the whole of the people-though it does not really do that, for it does not represent the women-but at all events, when it came to be recognised as the chamber that was supposed to represent the people, and that the other chamber represented only a section of the people, namely, those who had property, it naturally came about that this popular chamber said to the upper house, "In money matters we will not give you the same power that we possess." It seems to be assumed by members of the Convention who have spoken that it is quite impossible in the very nature of things that a money bill can be settled by two houses-that there is sure to be a deadlock. But the deadlock does not arise because two chambers deal with a money bill, because the two chambers, having equal powers in respect to those [start page 63] subjects, deal with a great many other questions besides that of finance. It is only here that we are to be curbed and we are to be curbed here when no reason for doing so exists; because I have pointed out that in the senate Queensland is to be represented by the same number of members as New South Wales, although its population is only one-half of that of the

mother colony. They may say that is unfair, but it is part of the bargain. Why are the terms of that bargain to be made unfair to the smaller colonies? Why is the power of those smaller colonies to be restrained? Those hon. gentlemen who have spoken have assumed-which is not the fact-that in the legislature shadowed forth in these resolutions the senate is to represent property.


Sir THOMAS McILWRAITH: It is only on that assumption, and on no other, that their arguments can be based-that the house of representatives will represent the people, and that the senate will represent the monied class.


Sir THOMAS McILWRAITH: That is the only ground on which their arguments can be based. In the disputes that have taken place between the two chambers in all the different colonies, that has been the only reason that has been given. It cannot be assumed that there being two chambers, there are sure to be deadlocks, because the same reason would apply to deadlocks arising on fifty other occasions. The contention has simply been that the people who find the money should have the sole right of saying how it shall be spent. Now, why should we assume that the senate will not represent the people of Australasia? I hold that it will represent the people in every possible way. How do I know that the first men who are elected for Queensland-the colony that I, as one, am here to represent-will not be elected by the plebiscite? There cannot be a more thorough representation of the people, so far as numbers go, than by that system, which is one of pure democracy. There are no conditions stated on which the colonies shall elect their members, and the senate may, and no doubt will, represent the people quite as much as will the representatives chosen by the people in any other way. A good many reasons can, of course, be given why this part of the resolutions, affirming that the sole power of originating and amending all bills appropriating revenue and imposing taxation, should be given to the one house alone. I have given my views on the subject as a non legal man. My hon. friend, Sir Samuel Griffith, explained the matter thoroughly to all legal minds, and I have not heard a single word in answer to his speech. I have heard it evaded, but I certainly have not heard one word in answer to it. There is one matter, and it is of far greater importance even than that aspect of the question, that has not been touched upon at all, and it concerns the position of Queensland at the present time. I think it is a very important matter where state rights are to be represented, and to be represented by one chamber in the new federal legislature, that provision should be made, or at all events that an indication should be given as to how provision shall be made, for the admission into the union of other provinces, and for the subdivision of colonies now existing. Not a word has been said as to that up to the present time. In Queensland we are on the eve of dividing the colony, if we can, into three parts. We shall require some guarantee that Queensland is going to be recognised as three provinces in this new federal government, and at all events, unless the thing is to come to a deadlock, we must provide some method by which the subdivision of a colony shall be made, [start page 64] when demanded by the people and approved by the legislature. No provision has been made for that; yet it is a question that will arise before a federal government can possibly be established. The question, I say, is bound to arise, and is in fact to the front now. I will not take up the time of the Convention any longer, because I am glad to see that the rule of the day is to make short speeches, and to speak to the point; and I adopt that rule the more cordially because I consider that the passing of these resolutions is a mere formal matter, and that they will be thrashed out thoroughly by the Committee in detail.

Captain RUSSELL: I see that the order-paper is headed the "National Australasian Convention," and, therefore, being a member of the Australasian group, I may say that so far, in listening to the debate, it has struck me, to use a quotation from the Bible, in which I am afraid I may not be absolutely correct, that "Whilst ye worship me with your mouths, your hearts are far from me." I have been listening, as a representative of a remote part of Australasia, for the true federal spirit. It has been supposed that the federal spirit does not exist in New Zealand. I venture to say, without hesitation, that in any debate in New Zealand on the question of federation, we should have heard more of

Australasia and less of Australia. It is a broad question that we are here to deliberate upon, and as I am now only filling a gap of five minutes, and have most distinguished colleagues to follow me, I am unable to enter upon the different subjects at the length I should wish; but the great question that we have before us now is not the creation of one large colony on the continent of Australia, but to endeavour so to frame a constitution that all parts of Australasia shall be able to attach themselves to it should they now or hereafter think fit to do so. It is perfectly true that New Zealand has decided to send but three delegates to this Convention; but I would point out that, at the deliberations of the conference last year, though nothing was affirmed on the subject, it was held by all the speakers that in all probability the voting at the Convention would take place by colonies, and if that is the case surely the voice of three men expressed in one vote might in itself be held to have as much effect as the voice of a host, inasmuch as it would be the still small voice of a strong feeling, and not the loud popular clamour which so often means nothing at all. The great question that Australasia has to consider at this moment is whether Australasia will constitute herself the mother state to which all the other peoples in the neighbourhood shall attach themselves. There are many questions of great importance which hinge on that, and which have not been alluded to in this resolution, and which could not have been alluded to by any of the previous speakers. The great object of any federal constitution, according to my mind, at any rate-I speak for myself-the great desideratum should be to so frame a constitution that the remoter portions of Australasia should be able to join themselves on to what we may term the mother colony, should they think fit so to do. My hon. friend, Sir Samuel Griffith, in speaking yesterday, dwelt much, and I think very properly, upon the question of the senate. It has been said that the people should have the entire power, seeing that they represent the purse. That is a truism. It has become, I think I may almost say, a fetish throughout all British-speaking communities, that the power in every question should rest with the bare majority. That majority is often very bare and very narrow; and though to the very fullest extent I concede that the power must rest with the people, it is a very open [start page 65] question whether countries ought to be submitted to the cyclonic effects of popular gusts of passion, unchecked by any authority whatsoever, and I venture to affirm, though it may seem paradoxical, that the senate might possibly more truly represent the majority of Australasia than might the people's representatives in the house of assembly. In the first place, I would say that it is absolutely essential if the weaker colonies are to come into a federation that they shall have a numerical majority for the time-being, because we are not speaking now for an ancient people in a country fairly populated, but we are speaking for large territories which yet have to be colonised, in which great numbers of people will be settled on places which at present are waste and uncultivated-and if we say that the sole power shall rest in the hands of those who chance at the moment to represent a majority of the colonised portions of Australasia, how can we expect that we shall have a true federal union? How can we imagine that the outlying districts will submit themselves to what, I believe, may be the tyranny of a chance majority? Let us give to the senate, then, full power, seeing that in all probability it will represent numerically the majority of Australasia rather than those who chance to be the people's delegates for the moment in the house of representatives. There are many points which have not been considered, and with which I will not bother the Convention at the present time; but I would ask them to bear in mind that if we are to adopt the present system of responsible government-and I may mention incidentally that in New Zealand there is a very strong section of public men who are beginning to doubt the wisdom of responsible government, and I appeal to the premiers of the neighbouring colonies in this Convention as to whether they themselves do not admit that there are very many drawbacks and defects in the system of responsible government; that is to say, one of the principal questions which affect the deliberations of representative institutions throughout Australasia is who is to be premier and who is to go out of office. Great public questions are subordinated in nine cases out of ten to personal popularity and the maintenance of a certain set of people in office, and no hon. member here who has sat long in a representative chamber can deny that business of the greatest importance is perpetually shelved, that stone-wall is set up periodically-I might almost say perpetually-to endeavour to prevent public opinion being given effect to, because it chances that the large minority in the house have some other views which they wish to put before the country; that, in other words, we have failed during recent years by representative government to get a true expression of opinion from the people. I maintain that such is the case in almost every colony in Australasia. I have watched it with some care and with great pain. But if we give considerable power to the senate I venture to say that that power will to a

very great extent diminish. It is not necessary that I should now go into details as to what the business of the senate may or may not be; but so soon as Australasia develops into a nation, so soon as it becomes a power having dealings with foreign nations, I maintain that the system of turning out governments upon some small question I will not say of public policy, but some very small question, the continual shuffling of the cards, the ejectment of men from office owing to no failure of duty on their part, will become a very great inconvenience. When we begin to have ambassadors, or something similar to ambassadors, negotiating with foreign countries, when we have an agent-general representing us in England, I venture to [start page 66] say that the ejectment of ministers from office continually and perpetually without any good reason at all will interfere very materially indeed with what I may term the foreign policy of Australasia; and, therefore, we ought by some means or other to endeavour to put a check upon the system of the ejectment of ministers from office without reason, thereby curtailing the benefits which they could confer on the united colonies, and also interfering materially with the foreign policy of Australasia. The reason why I think we should have a system of federation as loose as possible is this: that all the more outlying portions of Australasia must be allowed to work out their own destinies. When you think that we, in our own colony, have what may be termed a foreign policy, inasmuch as we deal with an alien race, that we have laws very materially affecting them, that the questions of native title are matters of very grave moment, and that any interruption in our relations with those people might be of the most serious importance to the colony, I think you will agree with me that we shall require to see that we have a safeguard in all such respects as these before we submit ourselves to a federal authority. And so, in the colonies of northern Australia, you yourselves may yet find that you have difficulties unforeseen to cope with, It is true that the native races of the more settled portions of Australia have given you but little trouble, and you have dealt with them summarily, but possibly when you go to northern Australia you will find there a race more resolute and more difficult to deal with.


Captain RUSSELL: Of course I must bow to the wisdom and experience of those who have already had to deal with them; but be that as it may, if New Guinea is ever to become a part of Australasian federation, there, at any rate, is a people that will require to be dealt with most carefully. Yet I have heard no member of the Convention speak on that subject. There is nothing in these resolutions contemplating the possibility that there will be a foreign race to deal with. But consider this difficulty, which I merely outline to you. The great and all-pervading question that occupies men's minds in all parts of the world at the present moment-it is undoubtedly doing so now in Australia, and it is a question more advanced in my own colony than here-is the great social question-what is termed the social upheaval, and I venture to say that every colony must be left to deal with a question like that. It is a matter for social dealing. It is a matter with which men will deal rather through municipalities than through a great federation in advancing, what I believe it is necessary we should advance, the true liberties and freedom of the people. Therefore, what we want is not the unification of Australasia, but a federation into which all portions of Australasia may be drawn. Bear this in mind: That in the plenitude of your power, feeling yourselves now the masters of the whole Pacific, it should be your duty to attract, as it were, by centripetal force, the whole of Australasia to yourselves. The day is coming when the countless islands throughout the Pacific will be colonised, and though your power is great, and though you have an enormous start in colonisation, there will be an enormous power in those southern seas that must be either part of Australasia, or more or less inimical to our interests. There is another point of view which seems to have been overlooked: that is, if we are to be the centre of a happy and prosperous power in these seas we must have strong cohesion, because really not far away from parts of Australasia lies the great continent of America, and the question has yet to be solved whether America may not attract [start page 67] the majority of the trade, the majority of the power and influence of the southern seas to her coast, and divert them from Australia. It is, therefore, our duty to consider how we can make the federation so loose that we shall attract all these various atoms to ourselves, rather than allow them to fly off to the great continent of America, which, I venture to say, is quite within the bounds of possibility, if Australasian statesmen are not sufficiently wise to attract those atoms to themselves. Although we do hesitate, of course, in New Zealand, to submit ourselves to federation, I should not like the world to think that we

are inimical to the idea at all. Though we may be unwilling to submit ourselves to any drastic laws, although we are unwilling to abrogate any of the powers of government necessary for our internal management, which we possess at the present time, there are all sorts of laws to which we shall be only too happy to submit ourselves if we are able to do so. It is a matter of great importance to us that we should trade with Australia. In round numbers, one-fifth of the trade of New Zealand is done with the continent of Australia. It would be a great loss to us to lose that trade; but, great as the misfortune would be to New Zealand, I venture to say that the loss would be three times as great to Australia to lose our trade.

Mr. DIBBS: No!

Captain RUSSELL: That is so long and broad a question that I will not go into it; but I venture to say that there are other markets open to New Zealand besides Australia; but Australia, whether she likes it or not, must consume many of the products of New Zealand.


Captain RUSSELL: Hon. members may say "No"; but nevertheless I still hold my opinion. I venture to say that a great portion of our vegetable products will come into Australia; let Australia do whatever she may to keep them out.

Mr. DIBBS: Only if you federate!

Captain RUSSELL: Surely the hon. member, Mr. Dibbs, is not so narrow-minded as to believe that you can bring anything about by coercion. Has he forgotten the fable of the east wind and the sun-how the east wind howled and blew on the traveller; but the more it howled and blow the closer he wrapped his cloak about him? Then the sun came out and shone upon the traveller, and he threw off his cloak. So I say that if you wish to attract New Zealand, if you wish to attract Australasia to your shores, it is not by taking any hostile steps that you will bring it about, but by the genial sun of Australia shining upon the whole of us.

Mr. DIBBS: There is a disposition to be embraced!

Captain RUSSELL: Yes, there is a disposition to be embraced; but we think it should not be a bear's hug. We are anxious that the trade and intercourse between the federated colonies should be as free as possible; we are anxious by every means to trade with you. We recognise that our marriage laws might fairly be assimilated. While we recognise that certainly in the matter of land defence we can gain nothing, yet with regard to maritime defence it is of great importance that New Zealand should be combined with Australia. I would also point out, as a very important factor of the case which has not been alluded to, that probably the great coaling stations of the Pacific for marine purposes will be upon the west coast of the Middle Island of New Zealand. It is, therefore, a matter of great importance, and absolutely essential to you, that the colony possessing these great coal-mines should be in close relationship with Australia; because in the remote future-we are not acting for to-day, but are framing a constitution which may, I hope, last for thousands [start page 68] of years-if alien races spring up, it will be a matter of great importance that the magnificent harbours and great coal resources of New Zealand should be one with and inseparable from the dominion of Australia. So, again, with the matter of the judiciary. I am not now prepared to give definitely my opinion upon that subject, but, at any rate, I believe that I shall be right in saying that we should be anxious to do all we can to assimilate the laws on all important points throughout Australasia, and no difficulty would occur in agreeing to some such scheme as that. As to the executive, I said in commencing my speech that I thought it was, at any rate, a matter of debate amongst a considerable section of the population of New Zealand as to whether the present form of responsible government is the best that could be established. I confess that my mind is somewhat nebulous on the point at present; but, undoubtedly, one feels more and more, as time goes on, that there are anomalies in our present form of government. All these, I venture to say, are matters of no moment at the present instant. All we have to do is to

consider how we can most broadly lay down the lines upon which our federation shall be built. It ought not to be built solely with a view to the circumstances existing at the present moment. Many portions of the Australian continent which at present would be practically unrepresented will, at some future time, have a great say in the government of the country; and therefore the constitution ought to be so framed that we should not take into consideration only the great centres of population which exist at the present time; but we should also offer inducements to all the outlying portions of Australasia to come under the federation. If that is done, I venture to say the day will come when there will be a truly federated Australasia, and not a union of Australia only.


The PRESIDENT: Before the Convention adjourns for luncheon, I desire to announce to hon. members that I have received from his Excellency the Governor a message from her Majesty the Queen. His Excellency telegraphed to her Majesty the success of the Convention banquet on Monday night and the opening of the Convention, and he has received from her most gracious Majesty the following reply:-

Have received your telegram with great satisfaction, and am much pleased at the loyalty evinced on this important occasion.

VICTORIA, Queen and Empress.

I am sure we will give three cheers for the Queen.

Hon. members gave three cheers for her Majesty the Queen.



Mr. DEAKIN: Fortunately for the Convention, I was not called upon to undertake the onerous task of opening this debate last afternoon. Fortunately for the Convention, again, a delay on my part led to our listening to the charming speech of the hon. delegate, Captain Russell, and I could have wished that other and older members had now been prepared to continue a discussion so ably opened by the premiers of the various colonies. Among these gentlemen the last speaker, although not at present a premier, occupies a somewhat singular position, representing a colony whose affections we are clearly led to understand are with us, but whose judgment is not yet convinced as to the wisdom of adopting the course which it is proposed to pursue. The hon. member, Captain Russell, is so ardent a New Zealander that in his reproaches, mild though they were, of the sister colonies, there appeared to be a certain desire to realise that Irish reciprocity which is all on one side. He was careful to tell us that we must not at the present time expect anything [start page 69] from Now Zealand; but he laid down with great fulness and freedom the duties which we immediately owed to that most beautiful, important, and wealthy colony, whose position, he led us to understand, was that of the coy maiden, not unwilling, and indeed expecting, to be courted, and whose consent would be granted by-and-by as a favour. It may be that because they fell from a lady's lips, or from the representative of a lady, as I may be permitted at present to regard him, that we may pass by certain heresies about responsible and democratic government which might otherwise seem to challenge a rejoinder. At all events, if the hon. member will permit me, I will only endeavour to deal with them in connection with the remarks which have been made with reference to the proposed constitution for Australasia. The fact that the Premier of Queensland has seen fit to throw the apple of discord at once among us is, to my mind, extremely fortunate, and if, as the hon. Premier of Victoria considered, he favoured us with a greater gift of difficulties than of solutions, that, after all, was natural from the opener of such a debate. The one solution which the hon. member has proposed I intend shortly to examine as well as I can treating especially the particular side of it which was so admirably put before the Convention by his colleague, Sir Thomas McIlwraith. One might be pardoned for dwelling upon this occasion and forecasting its

possible future; but our responsibilities are so great as to sober the most sanguine, as well as to arouse the most confident. I take it that if this Convention is to leave its mark upon the history of Australia, it will do so not by disquisition, but simply by the results which it will leave behind it. We have been termed most properly and accurately a parliamentary committee-and a parliamentary committee we are; but such a committee as has rarely been seen in any constitutional country, and such as has never been seen in Australasia-a committee representing seven parliaments, with the concurrence of seven governments, and the sanction of fourteen legislative chambers, having the direct approval of every existing voice of the people of Australasia given through all its different political organs, and, therefore, claiming an authority second only to that of a chamber elected directly by them. The duty imposed upon us is simply that of advising, and, therefore, the latitude permitted to us is, in some respects, large; but, on the other hand, the sphere within which we move is narrow, and must be narrow. It is not possible that any question of moment in this Convention can be settled by count of heads, or even by count of colonies. Any conclusion arrived at, which is to be of practical value, must be a unanimous conclusion, and the smallest of the colonies requires to have any considerations which it may urge weighed with exactly the same attention as those which proceed from the most wealthy and the most populous. We are here, therefore, sir, committed from the first to a policy of compromise, to all compromise that will be possible to us, seeking to be honest representatives of our several parliaments and colonies, and indicating to the best of our knowledge and belief the attitude which they will take on each question. The principle upon which we must proceed is that embodied in the well known church maxim, "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity." If we claim an indirect authority from the electors we are none the less conscious of the fact that whatever is proposed by this Convention must be of such a nature as to meet with their sanction, or else it will be proposed in vain. We know from the outset the bar of public opinion before which we are to be judged, and we know from the commencement of our labours [start page 70] that the conclusion of them rests in other hands than ours-in the hands of no less a body than the assembled peoples of all the Australasian colonies. This, sir, is sufficient in itself to make us careful in our deliberations, and guarded in our conclusions, especially if we take into account the further fact that the verdict of the electors-whether taken directly through the electorates, or not so taken, will also require to be taken through all the present parliaments of Australasia. We have to consider not only the interests of the people regarding them as a whole, but also the different and sometimes conflicting localisms which are created owing to the fact that this people is at present bound up within artificial boundaries into a certain number of communities. If the constitution or proposal for a constitution which is to be drafted in this Convention is to be a success, it must command the sanction of the several parliaments of those several communities. Then as to the objects which we set ourselves in preparing the draft of a constitution, I fancy that we may without impropriety, in fact, with entire propriety, adopt the unequalled language employed in the preamble of the superb Constitution of the United States, and may without qualifying a single syllable claim that our labours are intended to achieve a similar result. We shall be entitled to announce, after receiving the popular verdict in its favour, that

we, the people of Australasia, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution.

The resolutions which have been proposed by yourself in order to accomplish these objects contain in what may be considered their preamble, one phrase which has not yet been commented upon, but which appears to me to deserve comment, as indicating on its face the object which you had, sir, in submitting these resolutions in their present form. You say:

That in order to establish and secure an enduring foundation for the structure of a federal government the principles embodied in the resolutions following be agreed to.

Thus at once indicating to us that these resolutions, as they stand, are not laid before us to be accepted and criticised word by word, as if they were sought to be placed on permanent record; but that it is the principles embodied in them which we are now called upon to consider. That course

appears to me to have been most wisely adopted; and I shall therefore seek, in treating these resolutions in their order, not to dwell upon the language in which they happen to be couched, but endeavour, as far as possible, to cope with the principles which they seem to embody. The first of these establishes beyond doubt the sovereignty proposed to be conserved to the several colonies of Australasia, subject to the limitations and surrenders which will appear set out in detail in the constitution proposed to be adopted for the federal parliament. Subject to the express terms of that constitution, every liberty at present enjoyed by the peoples of the several colonies, and every power of their legislatures, and every potentiality which is within their constitutions remains with them and belongs to them for all time. You lay this down at the outset as a cardinal principle, and as it has so far received the cordial approval of every delegate, I shall not proceed to debate it further than to note that it was exactly this principle which guided the founders of the existing Federal Council in their draft of that measure-it puts into a fresh form with regard to this federation the very root idea of the present Federal Council Act. This is the postulate that to the several colonies should be left all possible powers and prerogatives, defined and undefined, while the federal government itself, however largely endowed [start page 71] should have a certain fixed and definite endowment within which its powers would be circumscribed. In the first resolution which you, sir, moved at the conference held in Melbourne twelve months ago, you most gracefully recognised the valuable services to the cause of federation conferred by the founders of the Federal Council, which, in Victoria, stands indissolubly associated with the name of the Honorable James Service, a gentleman whom we regret, by his own choice, is not one of the Victorian delegates on this occasion. He, sir, and the other great representative men, among whom the late Right Honorable W.B. Dalley must always be gratefully remembered, when facing a similar problem to be dealt with in a somewhat limited way adopted this principle. It is something to note that the years that have passed since then, and the experience gained since then, have only strengthened the opinion which they arrived at, that no union was possible in Australasia which did not preserve in the fullest form the power and dignity of the several communities which compose it. Indeed, if we regard their present extent, their present known wealth, and their future prospects, we must admit that in the future they will rival in all respects kingdoms in Europe and states in America; and that the parliaments which belong to such communities cannot be other than bodies clothed with the highest power, dignity, and influence, to which it will be an honor to belong, and which will play a great part in shaping the destinies of this continent. Then, sir, we come to your 2nd and 3rd resolutions, which I propose to briefly consider together. It seems to me that they might have been legitimately placed in an opposite order-that we should first have asserted the power and authority of the federal government to establish a common tariff, and that then we should have had as a corollary the principle of free interchange between the several provinces of the union. This, however, has been already dealt with. The point which presented itself to the hon. member, Sir Samuel Griffith, in this connection was the probability of delay on the part of the federal parliament in dealing with this most grave and important issue. Indisputably the first task of the federal parliament will be to organise itself and its administration. Indisputably the task of framing a common tariff for all Australasia will be no ordinary task. The difficulties which have been felt, and which have already been graphically portrayed by the hon. the Premier of South Australia in his admirable speech this morning-the difficulties which have been felt in each province in coping with such questions will be multiplied sixfold in dealing with the interests of Australia. If we have found it difficult for politicians to collect information to enable them to deal with this intricate question, when we have only had the interests of one colony to consider, if it does not follow in exact arithmetical ratio, it yet does follow most distinctly that there will be much more difficulty in framing a tariff acceptable to the people of the whole of Australia. It is quite clear, then, that time must elapse before this common tariff can be proposed; and those who have preceded me, including the Premier of Victoria-with whom I am in hearty general agreement, so far as his remarks touching some questions are concerned-appear to consider that this time, of itself, would offer sufficient grace to those colonies which have already adopted the policy of developing their manufacturing industries by special legislation. With all respect to them, I take, a contrary view. I believe that it is not sufficient that an indefinite time must necessarily elapse before the federal parliament can deal with this issue. I believe that if we are to obey the language of the resolutions which sent us here-if we are to propose a constitution which shall be just to the several colonies [start page 72] -we cannot be content with leaving the question as open as it is proposed to leave it. What is the position of those colonies which

have advisedly, in pursuance of the powers intrusted to them, and in obedience to the dictates of their parliaments, adopted a protective policy? They have created, within longer or shorter periods, vested interests, in which millions of capital are invested-millions of private capital of the citizens of this country. Now, sir, I would be the last to suggest, the last to believe, that a federal parliament, representing Australasia, would ignore considerations of this kind. I would be the last to suppose that they could be guilty, in obedience to any doctrine of economic practice, of what might be termed the crime of sweeping away, at a blow, the protection under which these industries and interests have been built up. I believe that to be impossible. But the question here and now is, not of individual belief, or the belief of this Convention; it is our duty, in a matter of this kind, not to rest upon beliefs, but to obtain guarantees for the preservation of interests such as these. What are the guarantees which can legitimately be asked by those colonies which have established industries under the shelter of protective tariffs? What is the consideration which they can reasonably ask from their fellow-colonists, and especially from that one great colony in which we now stand, which has not yet seen its way to follow a similar policy? Let me say, at the outset, that I, for one, frankly admit that a customs union is a sine qua non of federal union; that without a customs union there can be no federal union in the true sense of the term, and that all our efforts and all our labours must be directed to securing that customs union so soon as it may be compatible with the interests intrusted to us. With that premise, let us ask what might fairly be demanded, seeing that ultimately, and at no distant date, the question of the tariff to be imposed upon our seaboard must be settled by the people of Australia as a whole, no matter what the verdict of individual colonies may be. That is the goal towards which we are progressing, and towards which we ought not to progress too slowly, but which it would be impossible, which it would be unjust, to attempt to gain at a single bound. I will not venture at this stage to suggest what, in my humble judgment, would be a sufficient guarantee to satisfy those colonies that their interests would not be too soon, too rapidly, too hastily imperilled. I will only indicate that it appears to me that we might safely lay down in the constitution the condition that during the first years of its existence it should only be possible to reduce existing tariffs by a certain percentage in a certain number of years; so that if the first federal parliament should feel bound to reduce duties it could only do so to a certain extent. The people of the continent, as a whole, would be appealed to at least once, if not twice, before protective duties were reduced to revenue duties. In point of fact, the federal parliament on this question should be asked to proceed by steps, to advance by degrees; and the guarantee should be set out on the face of the proposed constitution that those who have embarked their capital in these industries under state encouragement and state sanction, should know the period of time within which they could hope to retain the command of their markets, even if the federal parliament should give its judgment against a protective policy. I need scarcely repeat here that, in my opinion, the federal parliament is in no danger of giving any such verdict. I believe that the portion of the speech in which the hon. member, Sir Thomas McIlwraith, set out the conditions under which protection might be applied, [start page 73] expresses the opinion of the bulk of the people of this country, and that this is an opinion which, the better it is understood, the more it will find popular favour. Personally, then, I have no more fear than any member of this convention, as to what the ultimate result would be. It will mean without doubt an Australasian protective tariff; but I say it is incumbent upon us not to rest upon individual beliefs in a matter of so much moment to special colonies; we must request and require some such guarantee as that which I have rudely outlined. I would remind hon. members who are apprehensive of such a proposal that we all fondly hope and believe that the union which it may be our privilege to inaugurate, will be an eternal union-a union for all time of the states of Australasia, or into which all the states of Australasia will, within a comparatively brief period, be irresistibly drawn. That being the case, why should a concession of a few years be denied, when the object to be attained is permanent?

Mr. ADYE DOUGLAS: The hon. member has no confidence in his own people!

Mr. DEAKIN: The hon. member must pardon me if I do not now see the pertinency of his interjection. I was about to point out that, supposing this principle to be adopted, this guarantee to be given, it does not necessarily imply that nothing should be done in the way of free interchange between the Australasian colonies in the meantime. On the contrary, that would rest with the several colonies themselves; and the sense that at no distant date an absolute union was inevitable, would no

doubt prove an argument of considerable weight to induce them to prepare for it by every means in their power. Consequently, the condition which has been suggested would not prove an absolute bar to progress in this direction even during the term of the guarantee; but, on the contrary, it might be reasonably anticipated that, with such a guarantee, offered and accepted, the several colonies who were for the time-being protected by it would see their way to enter into mutual arrangements for a more or less unrestricted exchange across their borders; and, saving the rights and the vested interests to which I have referred, no one would more cordially support such a policy than myself. With regard to the 4th resolution, I have only to say that the promise which it offers is one of efficiency in the defence of Australasia, an efficiency which I trust will be based upon as small a standing army as is compatible with the safety of the country, and upon as large an extension of the principle of citizen soldiery as is possible with the funds at our command. Then, sir, we approach the article of your resolutions-the first in the second part-which has, up to the present moment, called for the most criticism, and evoked the warmest debate. Your proposition that there should be two houses of parliament has been, so far, accepted with unanimity. Your proposition that the house of representatives should be elected on the popular basis has not been challenged. The proposition that there should be a senate retiring by sections has also been adopted. The one article in this particular resolution which has been challenged is that which, in accordance with the established principles of the British Constitution, endows the popular chamber with the sole power of originating and amending all bills, appropriating revenue, or imposing taxation. Those, sir, who follow your resolution, and adopt it most cordially, have been accused of keeping in mind throughout the existing upper chambers of Australasia, of ignoring the difference between the second federal chamber and the second chamber in the several colonies. But those who have made this accusation have not themselves been precise, nor could they be precise, in indicating [start page 74] the particular mode of election which was proposed to be adopted in order to obtain this senate. Some have inferred, it is evident, that the local legislative bodies would elect the members of the senate. Others have vaguely indicated the possibility of an election by the whole body of the people, or by provinces, and others have indicated a mixed method of election. I wish merely to point out from the beginning that, until the method of election is settled, the question in what degree the upper chamber really represents the state which it claims to represent must remain in some doubt.


Mr. DEAKIN: It may nominally represent the state, without really representing it. If, for instance-and I do not think it would be an unwise proposition-it is suggested that each colony shall determine for itself the method of election which shall be followed for the proportion of members which it is entitled to claim in the senate-and that would be a liberty which, until I hear reasons to the contrary, I think might be judiciously intrusted to the several colonies-if the several colonies be left free to frame their own constituencies for their own senate, then we shall, not impossibly, have a body which will have differing claims to represent certain states. I shall maintain from now, until I find the principle refuted by much stronger argument than I have heard brought against it, that there is only one means of thoroughly and effectively representing the people, and that is by direct election. No other choice, however it may be based upon the indirect authority of the people, can claim to stand for a moment in comparison with that of men who receive their trust from the hands of the electors themselves, and who speak their sentiments, without the intervention of any other body, or subject to any other influence than the judgment and reason of the manhood of their colony. I say that, however high the title, however lofty the claims, of the senate, if it derives its origin from an indirect method of election, the representative character of its members cannot equal that of men who face the people directly, and win, in their own person, at the sword's point, and after fierce conflict, the confidence of a majority of the electors.


Mr. DEAKIN: I say I shall accept that as a first principle until I hear stronger reasoning to the contrary than I have yet heard; and I shall adopt, in this particular, the excellent plan of the hon. the Premier of Queensland, who has interjected, and whose politic practice, throughout the whole of the

debate, has been to request his opponents to find plans, and then proceed to criticise them. I think that we who lay down a principle so generally accepted as this, are entitled to ask to be furnished, not with reasons for supporting it, but with reasons why we should not support it, or why we should accept some other principle in its place. Therefore, with all consideration and respect, I return the hon. gentleman's interjection, and invite him to show what method of appointment can claim, in directness of authority, to rank with that of immediate election by the whole body of the people.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: Any kind of election!

Mr. DEAKIN: Any kind of election!

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: If it represents the state!

Mr. DEAKIN: I cannot conceive of an entity called the state apart from the people whose interests it embodies; nor can I conceive anything within the state which can claim an equal authority with the final verdict, after solemn consideration, of the majority of its citizens. If the hon. gentleman has any metaphysical entity in his mind which can be placed above [start page 75] this, I shall be glad to learn its nature; but at present I prefer to rest upon what has been the solid substratum upon which popular and responsible government has been carried on, of which we have had centuries of experience, and which, the more it has been honored, the more it has endowed us with liberty, and all that follows in the train of liberty. Until we have the method of the election of the senate distinctly before us we cannot tell exactly with what degree of authority it should be intrusted. But I will not quibble about words. I will confess that, if elected, it is quite possible and justifiable to intrust it with a very large authority. I would assure the hon. member that, in endeavouring to answer his contention, I shall seek to meet his argument, so far as I understand it, not at its worst, but at its best; to state it, as far as I can, as I conceive he would state it in order to put it in its strongest form; and if I cannot answer it in that form I will not attempt to answer it at all. I merely pointed out at the outset-and perhaps the hon. member's interjection has led me to appear to attach too much consideration to it-that this is a circumstance that will require to be taken into consideration, which has not yet been taken into consideration, and which those who advocate the intrusting of the federal upper house with extraordinary powers have not yet thought fit to absolutely define. I think that we may fairly challenge them to define the method of election for this senate of theirs, to which they wish to give exceptional powers. To remove any misapprehension, let me say that personally I have no ambition to see a second chamber in these colonies which should be a mere replica of the Canadian Upper House, which is confessedly inadequate for the position which it occupies; nor do I even desire to see a body whose authority would be as capable of variable interpretations as is that of the House of Lords under the British Constitution. I believe that we cannot have a better ideal for our second chamber than the House of Lords as its functions are now interpreted; at the same time I will confess to hon. members that in defining its exact position we might possibly have some difficulty. If we follow the lines upon which I believe the British Constitution is now interpreted, we should require a second chamber embracing just such members as you, sir, specified in your opening speech, men of mature experience, of ripe judgment, of high character, qualified to give counsels to the nation with the certainty that they would be received with respect. Of such men should a second chamber be composed, and the powers intrusted to it should be those powers that have always belonged, under responsible government, to a second chamber, namely, the power of review, the power of revision, the power of a veto limited in time. The hon. member, Captain Russell, described in poetic language that I am afraid I would find almost as much difficulty in repeating as I should in imitating, the danger incurred in the absence of a veto. He spoke, I fancy, of the "cyclonic fury" of the popular mind, and conjured up before us the spectacle of a democracy carried hither and thither by violent impulses to opposite points of the compass within short periods of time. If there be such a democracy-and far be it from me to insinuate that Captain Russell has had any experience of it-then I fancy that the second chamber which we have in view would prevent and provide against any such possible accident. It would be a chamber speaking with weight, and acting with authority, able to amend or reject all measures other than financial-able to absolutely reject financial measures, though not to amend them, and able by this means to challenge the verdict of the country whenever and however it pleased, and

as often as it might please. Will it be contended [start page 76] that these are small powers? On the other hand, will it be contended that if that "cyclonic fury" proved not to be the momentary outburst to which reference has been made, but the settled determination of the popular will-does Captain Russell, and do those who think with him, contend that this is to be defeated? On the contrary, he agrees in theory, at all events, with the practice of the British Constitution which we are supporting. So, I take it, did Sir Samuel Griffith himself. He also indorsed the principle that, in the last resort, and after due consideration, the popular determination must prevail, and the attempt of any body, short of that of a majority of the people, to obstruct its execution must be defeated and set aside. This, I understand them to admit; we admit; all admit. It is simply a question, then, of the degree of veto-of the degree of check which a second chamber shall be authorised to present to the execution of what the popular chamber believes at the time to be the will of the people. If we are agreed that the authority to be intrusted to the senate is to be only a limited veto, then I ask how that is to be reconciled with the propositions which provide for a permanent and perpetual veto capable of being imposed by the second chamber upon measures which might under conceivable circumstances be passed again and again by the first chamber, and be indorsed again and again by the people to whom they had appealed? I think this is another point on which we, who accept our governments as we find them, who rest on the established practice that has come down with the precedents of at least a century, if not two or three centuries, in its support, may say to our opponents, "It is for you to come forward with some new and original defence of this absolute and permanent veto with which you propose to intrust the second chamber. If you contend simply for a limited veto-if you contend, as the hon. member, Captain Russell, said, simply for such a veto as would enable the body of the people to reflect, to reconsider, and, if necessary, to amend their judgment-then we are heartily with you; and the question of details need not long occupy us." But what we feel to be the real and important point in the proposition of the hon. member, Sir Samuel Griffith, and others, is that they propose to establish-and I wish to impress this upon the Convention-a second chamber, which is to have the power of absolute and continuous veto upon the proposals sanctioned by the popular chamber, and sanctioned by the people. Such is the possibility.

Mr. MOORE: No!

Mr. DEAKIN: Such is a distinct possibility. With the probabilities I will presently deal.

Mr. BROWN: A veto for one session!

Mr. DEAKIN: If the hon. member says a veto for one session, I cordially agree with him. I go further, and am prepared to make greater concessions to the upper chamber than he asks. What I say is that the proposal that emanates from the Premier of Queensland, supported by the hon. member, Sir Thomas McIlwraith, in his able speech, is a plea for an absolute veto to be vested in the second chamber. To that I wish to draw attention, for the purpose of clearing the argument. Hon. delegates will perceive, probably, the relation which this bears to the former argument. If the second chamber is to be endowed with an absolute veto, we are bound to ask, what is the constituency of that chamber-from whom does it derive its authority to override all other powers in the state?

Mr. CUTHBERT: From the people!

Mr. DEAKIN: We will ask, how from the people? What proof shall we have that the senate has the approbation of the people?

Mr. CUTHBERT: If elected by the people!

Mr. DEAKIN: If elected by the people, will they undertake, in the event of dispute, to face their electors in order to discover on which side the people are?

[start page 77] Mr. ADYE DOUGLAS: Yes!

Mr. DEAKIN: If so, then, we will narrow the question. If one chamber is to be compelled to undergo what is known an a penal dissolution-a dissolution which is a personal penalty, an individual private penalty inflicted upon every member of the popular house-if we are called upon to undergo that trial at the pleasure of the upper chamber, let the upper chamber also enjoy the sweets of a similar appeal, and be bound by the same verdict. If hon. members are prepared to take that stand, we would, I confess, be obtaining a basis on which further argument would be possible; but I have not yet understood from any of those who have spoken that they are willing to concede so much. Although the senate would claim to speak in the name of the people, and to act in their name, and although its authority is claimed because it represents the people, I have yet to hear that its members are willing to face the people, so as to discover whether they represent them or not. I will not state for a moment that it will be possible for any federal second chamber to act as, in remote periods, we will say, upper chambers in distant countries have acted with regard to the popular chamber. We have heard of an upper chamber which has been compelled to pass measures demanded by the people, revenge itself on the government in power, and on the house that compelled the upper chamber to pass these measures, by emasculating or rejecting other measures in order to prove that the government could not carry on the business of the country. We have heard of an upper chamber turning on a ministry which simply expressed the popular will and using the authority intrusted to it in order to injure that ministry.

Mr. MOORE: Where did that take place?

Mr. DEAKIN: In remote times and far distant countries. It has been done. I can appeal even to hon. members' recollection of constitutional history as to whether it has not been done; and why should it not be done? Do you intrust a body with powers unless you expect it to exercise them? The American Senate has been intrusted to some extent with certain executive powers, and what is the result? There is not only their public action with reference to presidents' appointments; but their action with regard to those appointments before they reach the table of the House? Is it not a fact that the senators of the United States in their own states claim to, and practically do, exercise the patronage of those states when their party is in power? By these means they have been elevated-and we all desire to elevate second chambers; but their elevation has been the means of depressing the house of representatives, and depriving it of its due influence. Although it has strengthened the senate-has aggrandised that body-it has seriously injured the popular body and rendered it less fit to discharge some of its most solemn duties.

Sir JOHN BRAY: Do they admit that?

Mr. DEAKIN: When I speak of Americans, I speak of 60,000,000 people. I need not say that there is great diversity of opinion; but the hon. member will find competent authorities quoted in so recent a work as that of Mr. Bryce quoted by him as the verdict of Americans, and not as his verdict. To return to the point from which this digression led me: If we endow the second chamber with special powers, we endow them for the purpose of their exercising them; if not, why endow them at all? If we endow them with an absolute veto, we must mean [start page 78] them to exercise it. If not, we must say with what degree of veto we endow them. When we know the constituency of the body which is to be intrusted with this absolute veto, we shall discover a body which is to be placed above the people-a body in which is to be vested a higher authority than that of the whole people.


Mr. DEAKIN: Then I fall back on Sir Samuel Griffith's policy, and say that I require to have this explained to me.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: Of separate states, as aggregations of their own people!

Mr. DEAKIN: I suppose that Sir Samuel Griffith means that they could elect senators whose policy they approved of, whose views might be different from that of the body of the people.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: The majorities of the separate states might be of a different opinion from the majority of the people of Australia, taken as one!

Mr. DEAKIN: It is quite conceivable that immense majorities in the large states might be neutralised in the senate by small majorities in the small states. This is a state of things that has to be faced; although it is not likely to occur frequently. The other position I was putting will also happen occasionally, namely, that the senators elected by the several states will, at times, be at variance both with the majority of the states and with the majority of the people of the states, and the one case will occur as often as that to which Sir Samuel Griffith alluded. This arises because it is proposed to elect this body of persons for long terms within which great changes may take place. So far as any scheme is before us, it is not proposed that they should be in any way amenable to their constituents for seven or nine years. These have been mentioned as probable terms of office for the senators in the federal parliament, and if we have men elected for seven or nine years, do we not clearly endow a body with power to reject legislation of which the people may have approved since the commencement of the seven or nine years?

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: Hear, hear!

Mr. DEAKIN: The hon. member admits that this might be the case. I ask, is that the most reasonable and practical way of securing the limited veto which we desire? An hon. member thinks it is. I beg to differ from him. I think that we might have senates based on the principle of the British Constitution, which could offer a more reasonable control on better grounds, and with a better surety for believing that their members had the confidence of the people. That is why I fail to see that the hon. member has established his argument in favour of endowing this senate, whose method of election we do not yet understand, with the power of absolute veto. Then, one more condition. I do not wish to argue, or to be understood as arguing in the interests of the other branch of the legislature. I have spoken repeatedly of the popular house, it is true; but I look beyond it, as I do beyond the second chamber, to those from whom their joint authority emanates. I am willing in all cases to endow the second chamber with the utmost independence as regards the first. I do not wish to see the second chamber existing at the pleasure or acting under the control of the popular chamber. What I wish the second chamber to do is to act under the control, and only by the authority of the people-acting under the direction of the electors of the country; and provided this be granted, I would never seek to aggrandise the popular chamber at the expense of the upper house, any more than I would reverse the process. I will not repeat, as it appeared to me, the clear and convincing argument of the hon. the Premier of South Australia with reference to the manner in which the proposal of the hon. member to allow the senate to discuss estimates and amend money bills would be [start page 79] certain to promote deadlocks; nor will I dwell on the other points so ably urged by the hon. member, the Premier of South Australia, with most of whose statements I personally cordially agree. I believe that the experience of hon. members in this chamber, all of whom I think have been members of governments, must coincide with that of the hon. gentleman; in fact, the hon. the Premier of Queensland admitted as much. His arguments on this question are all for exportation, none for home consumption. As regards his own upper house, he is just as clear as ever that they have gone far beyond their rights. It has been his duty, as leader of the popular chamber, to limit and confine them, and will be so in the future.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: This is another senate altogether!

Mr. DEAKIN: I am coming to that

Mr. FITZGERALD: The hon. member takes the two things to be synonymous?

Mr. DEAKIN: The strong point of the hon. gentleman-although I could not conveniently deal with it earlier-is that be admits this difference: he admits-and he has just reiterated his statement-that he is dealing with the federal senate in a manner different from that in which he would deal with any

second chamber in the colonies. Sir Thomas McIlwraith repeated the point with emphasis, and made it plain that it is the federal character of the new second chamber which is relied upon absolutely and entirely to justify its veto. Were we endeavouring to establish any absolute unity among the people of Australia, both gentlemen would be found arguing on the same side as I now am.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I should, certainly!

Mr. DEAKIN: And I believe Sir Thomas McIlwraith would also. If we were to be one people, and to forget all local divisions, then Sir Samuel Griffith and Sir Thomas McIlwraith would be found on one and the same side. Therefore, the whole case is narrowed down to one point-and I hope they will correct me if I am doing them an injustice they contend that this departure is justified because the several states are to have equal representation in the second chamber, which is to be the custodian of state rights. The second chamber is to be intrusted with a power of absolute veto, and with the power of amending all bills, because there is to be equal representation in the senate from each colony, and because the several colonies will assist to form the federal government.

Mr. FITZGERALD: And because of the weaker states, of which this will be the chief protection!

Mr. DEAKIN: That, I think, is included in the argument. We have heard continually, through this debate, of state rights which are to justify this supreme authority on the part of the second chamber; but we have never yet had the slightest indication, except from one or two illustrations of what state rights mean-of what state rights are, and of what peril they are about to be placed in.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: Something must be taken for granted!

Mr. DEAKIN: Yes; but, as it seems to me, much to the prejudice of the argument. We are entitled to ask for some specific justification for this great departure, something more than a general statement about unknown state rights being in danger. It is not a question of establishing a federal legislature, which is to have unlimited authority. The federal government is to have a strictly limited power; it is not to range at will over the whole field of legislation; it is not to legislate for all conceivable circumstances of national life. On the contrary, its legislation is to be strictly limited to certain definite subjects. The states are to retain [start page 80] almost all their present powers, and should be quite able to protect their own rights. Thus we get rid of the vague fear of the infringement of state rights, and we are entitled to ask those who use this term to take up the short list of federal powers which it is proposed to intrust to the federal government, and to show us where state rights can be impaired by their exercise. I put aside the question of taxation for a moment, and in fact all financial questions, with the intention of dealing with them a little later. I am extending my remarks more than I had intended to do; but the interjections with which I have been met-and I am very happy to answer them-are partly responsible for that. The list of authorities conferred upon the national Government of the United States of America is a short one. Putting aside the power to collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excise, and the power to borrow money, the main powers are to regulate commerce, to establish a uniform rule of naturalisation, to coin money, to provide for the punishment of counterfeiting, to establish post-offices, to grant copyrights, to constitute tribunals inferior to the supreme court, and to provide for defence. I hope that in the warmth of my advocacy, I am not leading members to misunderstand my position. I am arguing for the purpose of elucidation, and not intending for one moment to imply that there is nothing to be said in reply. Turning, then, to the United States, we find the powers intrusted to the central government limited, defined, particularised. If we take the longer list of powers-because the longer it is the more it may tell against my argument-of the Dominion of Canada, we find a number of subjects in which it must be clear to hon. members no question of state rights can be conceivably involved. I will briefly read them. There is the question of penitentiaries, criminal law, marriage and divorce, naturalisation, copyrights, patents, bankruptcy, legal tender, interest, bills of exchange, weights and measures, savings' banks, banking, currency, ferries, fisheries, quarantine, navigation, beacons, salaries of officials, military, census, postal service, borrowing of money, taxation, trade, and debt.

Sir JOHN BRAY: Borrowing of money!

Mr. DEAKIN: In the case of all but a few out of this list of nearly thirty topics, it is almost inconceivable to imagine a case in which state rights will be involved. Putting financial questions aside, the question of state rights cannot be involved in about twenty-seven out of the thirty subjects in the list. What is proposed in regard to our new senate? Understand that I am seeking for elucidation. It is proposed that this body should have an absolute veto upon all subjects, whether they can affect state rights or not. The contention of those who support the argument is by implication that the whole of these subjects, if legislated upon, will involve state rights. I meet the argument at once with a direct negative, by challenging hon. members to point to an instance in which any questions such as those to which I have referred can be legislated upon in such a way as to affect state rights. Let us now take the chief of them, that which relates to finances, and connected with which we have had the greatest amount of argument. In the first place, it is usually admitted that it is essential that financial questions should be settled as far as possible with less delay than pertains to other legislation. The business of a country requires to be carried on, the state's creditors require to be paid, public works have to be continued, and it is highly desirable that there should be a speedy settlement of any financial legislation. When you give the second chamber a power of absolute veto in regard to these matters you cannot by any possibility obtain such a speedy settlement. Again, the senate is a body which [start page 81] unless it elected by a direct vote of the people and can be sent at an emergency to its constituents, will not have a direct responsibility to those people whose taxation it is about to govern, and whose expenditure it is about to direct. That is a question that requires to be taken into consideration. I presume, also, that it will be a cardinal principle of the federal constitution that taxation should be uniform.

Sir JOHN BRAY: Not all taxation!

Mr. FITZGERALD: When the hon. gentleman says "uniform," does he mean that the same taxation will be in operation in all the colonies?

Mr. DEAKIN: What I mean is that all federal taxation must be uniform.

Sir JOHN BRAY: That is a very different thing from what I understood the hon. member to say!

Mr. DEAKIN: That being so, I may fairly ask future speakers to point out in what way the question of state rights can be involved.

Sir JOHN BRAY: The expenditure must be just to the several colonies!

Mr. DEAKIN: I have not yet come to the question of expenditure. The hon. member is a little "previous," as the Americans say. I was talking in the first instance of taxation, and asking, taxation being uniform in all the colonies, what magic you find in the artificial boundaries drawn between one part of Australia and another which justifies you in considering that the question of state rights is involved when the taxation operates uniformly on both sides of the borders?

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: Take the case of income-tax!

Mr. DEAKIN: It will be the greatest satisfaction to me when we get into Committee to meet interjections point by point; but having regard to the time which I must occupy, I could not do so without neglecting other portions of my argument. But a few words with regard to the question of income-tax. My mind is open on the subject; but I cannot see how an income-tax can in any sense affect the question of state rights. The taxation falls upon men in proportion to their income whether they be on this side of the Murray or on the other side, whether they be on one side or the other of the imaginary boundary which separates South Australia from Queensland, or whether they are in Tasmania, or elsewhere. What I want to know is how any province, how any colony, can consider that its rights are impaired when it is proposed to deal with its residents in exactly the same way as the

citizens of Australia in every other colony of the group are dealt with? How is it conceivable that any distinction can be made? How can we suddenly make an artificial boundary a real boundary?

Mr. MOORE: What about the expenditure?

Mr. DEAKIN: As to the question of expenditure, I gather from the "nods and becks and wreathed smiles" with which supporters of the proposal have favoured me, that expenditure is considered to be their strong point-that expenditure may in some way or other impair a state right. What does this mean? There is something in the apprehension, though it has nothing to do with states as such or their rights. It means what we have all to face in our several colonies-the constant cry of the country districts that towns in which the population is concentrated receive an undue proportion of the public expenditure, that they are unduly favoured in comparison with distant localities, that more money is spent among them than would be spent in a perfectly equitably distribution. The same principle would apply-and I do not attempt to disguise or conceal any argument that tells against my case-under the federal government. The more populous towns or districts might argue that as they paid most, they [start page 82] ought to receive a greater benefit than others; but the probability is that on the whole they would receive a little more than their due.

Mr. GILLIES: Precisely the same argument would apply in every municipality in the colony!

Mr. DEAKIN: Exactly; there is no local body in these colonies in connection with the expenditure of which the same argument might not be used. It is perfectly true that individual localities are interested in expenditure. But this suggestion is made, not in the interests of the state, but of the most petty localism that can be imagined-in the vain and futile endeavour, as it always was and will be, to mete out to each little borough the same amount of expenditure as to every other borough.


Mr. DEAKIN: It has nothing to do with the several states as states. It is conceivable that one part of a colony may be greatly benefited by federal expenditure and another not; but there is no state right involved. Some portions of some colonies may be more and others less fortunate. But I have yet to learn how that is to be prevented. Sir Samuel Griffith pointed to the expenditure upon forts and arsenals. He pointed out that a great deal of money might be expended upon a fort at one place, and none in another. Does the hon. gentleman imagine that it will be possible, if we are to have national defences, to consider whether a particular locality would not like to have a fort because one is required in the public interest to be erected at another place? Are the central government to say that no fort can be erected here because a fort has not been erected there?


Mr. DEAKIN: If the hon. gentleman's argument does not mean that, what does it mean?

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: That the expenditure must be just to the several colonies!

Mr. DEAKIN: I am in accord with the hon. gentleman if he can lay down any principle by which the expenditure can be made just to the several colonies. That reminds me of a point I was nearly passing. I may be pardoned for leaving this part of my argument in a confessedly imperfect state; because, to answer all interjections would take too long. I shall be delighted to resume the argument in Committee, to obtain more knowledge, and to challenge the advocates of the policy to show that any expenditure can conflict with state rights properly so-called. Let them in the first instance define state rights, and then let us see how they will be impaired. I will be second to no delegate in my anxiety to preserve what I understand to be state rights. So anxious am I to preserve them, that I would never dream of intrusting them to a senate. Let us know what state rights are, and let us be careful to secure them under our constitution, so that they may never be liable to be swept away. We should fail in our duty if we did not embody in our draft such a distinct limitation of federal power as would put the

preservation of state rights beyond the possibility of doubt. If state rights are involved in the question of taxation and expenditure of the federal body in any way, let us impose some special conditions to meet the case. These should receive the highest sanctions, that of the constitution, and not be left to the care of any second chamber, which might fail in the hour of need. I would support any proposal in this direction as cordially as would any delegate in the Convention. We have yet to see the senate which would long resist a house of representatives and a powerful executive backed up by the popular will. In the course of your resolutions, sir, you distinctly set out the principles of [start page 83] the British Constitution as to finance, and I find that one of the resolutions carried by the Canadian Convention expressly indicated its adherence to a principle which, so far as my poor judgment goes, this Convention will do well to adopt. The 3rd resolution of the Canadian Convention was as follows:-

In framing a constitution for the general government, the conference, with a view to the option of our connection with the mother country, and the promotion of the best interests of the people of these provinces, desire to follow the model of the British Constitution, so far as our circumstances permit.

For my own part, I do not see how it perpetuates the connection with the mother country. That would be perpetuated under one form as well as under another. But I do believe we should be promoting the best interests of the people of this great country if we too were to follow this safe and splendid model. With reference to an Australian court of appeal it appears that questions of imperial interest must necessarily be reserved for the Privy Council. It may yet be a subject for argument, to which I shall bring an open mind, whether issues involving important principles of common law ought not also to go to the Privy Council, in order to preserve uniformity of interpretation throughout the empire. I cordially agree with the resolution, however, and believe that by far the greater part of the appeals which at present go to the Privy Council might be better settled here by a federal court of appeal. Not only that, but I should be glad to see the federal government take under its control some of the superior and criminal court business at present transacted by the several colonies; but that is a question distinctly for Committee. Then we come to the last clause in the resolution, which deals with the appointment of the executive and the governor-general, the advisers of the governor-general to be members of parliament, and their term of office to depend upon their having the confidence of the popular house. If my opinion were asked in conversation or in a debating society as to whether responsible government had any defects I should be prepared to admit that it had; if asked whether the United States Constitution, which is so widely revered, and obtains so much admiration, does not in some respects possess advantages which even the British Constitution does not possess, I should admit that also. If asked whether the Swiss system of electing ministers from the House did not also possess advantages I should say, "Yes." Consequently, so far as theoretical argument goes, I am in agreement on those points with the hon. delegate, Sir Samuel Griffith; but when he suggests that because we personally approve of certain portions of foreign constitutions that we should at once adopt these innovations upon our traditions and be prepared to embody them in a scheme for a federal constitution I come to a pause.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I made no such suggestion, nor anything like it. I suggested that the future should be allowed to work out its own destiny!

Mr. DEAKIN: I take it that the future will be allowed to do that whether the hon. gentleman suggests it or not.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: The hon. gentleman puts an erroneous construction on what I said!

Mr. DEAKIN: I will say that Sir Samuel Griffith did not say it. What he said led me to infer that he doubted the wisdom of continuing the system of responsible government in its present form.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: Of insisting on its continuance!

Mr. DEAKIN: He doubted the wisdom of insisting upon its continuance in its present form. In this I cordially agree with him. But the hon. gentleman made no specific proposal. I regret that I have

[start page 84] done him a momentary injustice; but it was only a momentary injustice. I understood him to cast grave doubts on our constitutions as they exist, and to imply that it would be a great improvement-that it might be preferable-to adopt some parts of the American, and even some parts of the Swiss, Constitution.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I am totally misunderstood by the hon. member!

Mr. DEAKIN: Then I withdraw the statement. If the hon. gentleman had said so, I should be prepared theoretically to agree with him; but not on that account to support their immediate introduction into the federal constitution. The hon. delegate from New Zealand-Captain Russell-indicated that some of these ideas had been passing through the minds of the people of New Zealand. Surely we shall be far safer in adhering as much as possible to the Constitution with which we are all familiar, and grafting upon it as little as possible that is new. I do not say for a moment that the premiers of Queensland and New Zealand have not made out a case for the consideration of the Convention with regard to the upper house.

An HON. MEMBER: There is no upper house. The federal senate!

Mr. DEAKIN: I use the names indifferently. I do not know which it will assume.

An HON. MEMBER: They mean two different things!

Mr. DEAKIN: I have been trying to argue-

An HON. MEMBER: The name was wrong!

Mr. DEAKIN: I should be sorry to base an argument upon a name; yet for all that there is something in a name. We require to recollect what upper houses have been, and what they may be when re-born with a new name.

Mr. BARTON: I suppose the hon. member bases his argument upon an upper house?

Mr. DEAKIN: I should be sorry to think that it ever rested upon such a perilous foundation. It is not a little thing to create a new Upper House on a new pattern as is proposed. The Constitution which we now enjoy, it appears, is to be set aside with less ceremony than one would have expected from gentlemen who have lived under it, and have exercised its highest powers for many years. We seem to be ready to depart from institutions which have the sanction of long experience, almost entirely on theoretical grounds. It is true that hon. members have looked to the experience of other countries; but in doing this they have ignored some of the most pertinent lessons of our own, which is that if we establish two chambers of equal authority, we prepare the way for dissension, and encourage deadlocks. The constitutional history of Victoria gives ample evidence of this. What we have been so long striving for, and what we are still striving for in that colony, is some means of arbitrament for the settlement of disputes between the two chambers.

An HON. MEMBER: Simply mechanical!

Mr. DEAKIN: I care not whether it is mechanical or not, as long as it is there, and as long as it proves effective. If we allow the present state of things to exist, it must lead to dispute and contention. The final point to which I think it necessary to direct the attention of the Convention most seriously, in order that in drawing the constitution proposed to be adopted by federated Australasia we may not shape it without regard to recent interpretations of colonial constitutional rights, is to be found in the judgment in the case of Ah Toy versus Musgrove, delivered by the Supreme Court of Victoria. In that case the powers of the Executive and those conferred upon the colony under the Constitution were challenged in the courts and before the Privy Council. The [start page 85] finding is one that will demand the most careful consideration when the federal constitution is being framed, because it has

been the common belief in Victoria that we had all the powers and privileges attaching to responsible government, sufficient to enable us to perform all the duties and to exercise all the rights devolving upon us as a people. The gravest doubt is now thrown upon this belief. The people of Victoria are under many obligations to their distinguished Chief Justice and especially for his judgment in this suit, in which he has displayed the acumen of the lawyer, the eloquence of the orator, and the grasp of the statesman. Chief Justice Higinbotham said:

It was the intention of the Legislative Council to provide a complete system of responsible government in and for Victoria, and that intention was carried into full legislative effect with the knowledge and approval and at the instance of the Imperial Government by the "Constitution Statute," passed by the Imperial Parliament.

He was supported in his opinion by Mr. Justice Kerferd, who for some time was Attorney-General of Victoria. Mr. Justice Kerferd said:

All the prerogatives necessary for the safety and protection of the people, the administration of the law, and the conduct of public affairs in and for Victoria, under our system of responsible government, have passed as an incident to the grant of self-government (without which the grant itself would be of no effect) and may be exercised by the representative of the Crown in the advice of responsible ministers.

These two quotations embody the belief which was held until lately in Victoria; the majority of our own Supreme Court overruled this reading. Mr. Justice Williams said:

I have been for years in common with, I believe, very many others, under the delusion (as I must term it) that we enjoyed in this colony responsible government in the proper sense of the term. I awake to find, as far as my opinion goes, that we have merely an instalment of responsible government.

Mr. Justice Holroyd considers that we have only a measure of self-government, and two other judges concur. My colleague, Mr. Wrixon, who argued the case with great force and ability before the Privy Council, says:

If the reading put by the Supreme Court in Victoria upon our Constitution Act be correct, then not only in the colony of Victoria, but in all the groups of Australasian colonies, the governments which we now enjoy are without warrant of law.

That is a strong statement, and the judgment of the majority of our Supreme Court justifies me in asserting that this Convention cannot too soon face the issue involved in it. I take it that the people of Australasia will not be satisfied with any "instalment" or any "measure" of responsible government, or any limitations, except such as are necessary to the unity of the empire. We claim, without shadow of doubt or vestige of qualification, all the powers and privileges possessed by Englishmen. The governor-general, as representative of the Queen in these federated colonies, should be clothed by statute with all the powers which should belong to the representative of her Majesty; he should be above all risk of attack, because he should act only on the advice of responsible ministers, who should be prepared either to obtain the sanction of Parliament for their acts or vacate office. Parliament, in its turn, should be brought into intimate relation with the electorates. This is true, popular government. This will satisfy the people of Australia. Nothing less will satisfy them. And why should we distrust them, or question their capacity, or seek to impose the bonds of an absolute veto upon them? The people of this continent were not landed upon its shore to-day ignorant of the responsibilities of self-government. They have amply proved in the past that they are entitled to be trusted with all the powers appertaining to a free people. They have believed that they enjoyed freedom [start page 86] under their present constitution second to none in the world. When the

question of a second chamber comes to be considered, they will assuredly not be satisfied to possess less freedom. More than this. In framing a federal constitution, we should set out with the

explicit claim to possess and exercise all the rights and privileges of citizens of the British empire to the same extent that they are possessed and exercised by our fellow-countrymen in Great Britain itself. Australia is entitled to absolute enfranchisement. In our union we attain political manhood and the stature of a full-grown democracy. We can wear no constitutional garb capable of cramping a muscle or confining an artery of national life. We claim the fullest means of developing all its energies and all its aspirations, and of encountering all that can oppose them. Why place wisps of straw upon the arms of the young giant, only to become a cause of complaint and to be burst the first time his strength is put forth? Establishing a constitution "broad based upon the people's will," we shall be securing the safety and security of the state which we propose to raise. But to do anything short of this would be to sow the seeds of discord and disunion. We are dealing with a constitution which has not yet reached the full period of its growth, which always has been and always will be steadily progressive, expansive, and adaptable to national growth. There are many things in the suggestions made by the hon. members from Queensland and other delegates, which are worthy of the fullest consideration. These can be adopted as soon as they commend themselves to the federal parliament. Under this system of government all things are possible. I have addressed myself to the subject hurriedly; but I trust I have not been misunderstood. I am prepared to reconsider and review the whole question with the aid of those older and abler than myself, in the sincere desire to arrive at a sound conclusion. But I do trust that we shall not throw aside the constitution under which we have had experience, we shall not forget its triumphs and successes, its proud history, and it splendid promise; we shall determine not to hastily interfere with its harmony, or destroy the symmetry of its proportions. What we should aspire to see is a strong government upon the broadest popular basis, and with the amplest national power. We should seek to erect a constitutional edifice, which shall be a guarantee of liberty and union, for all time to come, to the whole people of this continent and the adjacent islands, to which they shall learn to look up with reverence and regard, which shall stand strong as a fortress and be held sacred as a shrine.

Motion (by Mr. BARTON) proposed: That the debate be now adjourned.

Question put and division called for.

The PRESIDENT: I propose, if there is a division, instead of appointing tellers, as we should do in a house of Parliament, to call upon the officers of the House to take the division.

The request for a division was not pressed.

Motion agreed to.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I wish to say one word with reference to the division that did not take place on the motion of adjournment. I was aware that one of the members of the Convention was prepared to speak this afternoon and I understand that others were prepared to speak. But I wish to say that I took my seat on your left, sir, just now for the purpose of emphasising by doing so the fact that the members who come from distant parts of Australia, cannot afford to adjourn at 4 o'clock every afternoon; and I sincerely trust that members whose homes are nearer Sydney than those of many of us will bear that in mind and give consideration to distant members.

[start page 87] Mr. PLAYFORD: I only wish to say that if we cannot go on more expeditiously than we have to-day-that is, stopping the debate soon after 4 o'clock-we shall not be able to afford the time that will be necessary to enable us to complete our work. It will be simply out of the question unless members are prepared to go on with the work. Those who represent distant colonies cannot afford to give more than six weeks at the outside to the work; but according to the progress we are now making, the time occupied will be more like three months.

Mr. ABB0TT: I would like to point out that those who are complaining are hon. members who have themselves spoken and taken up a considerable portion of the time. It is all very well for those

gentlemen to complain of waste of time; but they are certainly under some obligation to those of us who have patiently listened to them. So far as I am concerned, as one of the members resident in New South Wales, I am prepared to sit here day and night. It is quite as inconvenient for us, who have our business to attend to, to be here as it is for those who come from the other colonies. The New South Wales members are prepared to give every consideration to those who represent the other colonies, but it is not fair to say we are wasting time. What about those gentlemen who have made long speeches? I do not charge them with wasting time, but would only observe that it is a strange thing that those who complain of an early adjournment have already made their speeches.

Mr. BARTON: I feel that I owe the Convention a word of explanation. I was quite unaware that there was a disinclination to adjourn at 4 o'clock, or that the question of an early adjournment would have borne itself so strongly on the mind and heart of the Convention, as it appears to have done all of a sudden. It was proposed this morning that we should adjourn at half-past 12 o'clock until half-past 2 o'clock because somebody was not ready; but Captain Russell, with that gallantry which we might expect from the hon. member, filled the breach, and took us on to a quarter to 1 o'clock. It might have been supposed that those who were so anxious that the sittings of the Convention should terminate in a more reasonable time would have suggested then that the adjournment should take place until 2 o'clock. Instead of that, when you, sir, proposed that we should meet at half-past 2 o'clock, everybody was ready. Yesterday we adjourned at 4 o'clock; previously we adjourned at 4 o'clock. Was I wrong in assuming that the sense of the Convention would be in favour of adjourning at the instance of the gentleman who desired to speak? I must confess it rather surprised me to find that, as the hon. member, Mr. Abbott, has put it, at the instance of certain gentlemen who had already spoken, there was a sudden desire that, they having spoken-of course not for that reason-the debate upon these resolutions should be conducted with the utmost celerity. I would join with these gentlemen in this way-if they will suggest that the remaining sittings of the Convention last from half-past 10 o'clock until 1 o'clock morning sittings, and from 2 o'clock until half-past 4 o'clock afternoon sittings, and that we should sit twice a week in the evenings. I am quite sure that the other delegates, who have not come from a distance, and who have not such large interests awaiting them in their colonies, will only be too glad to consult their convenience and adopt any proposal of that kind which they may bring before the Convention. But to save myself from misapprehension I must say that when I moved the adjournment to-day I thought it was in pursuance of a general desire to adjourn at 4 o'clock as indicated by the whole of our antecedent proceedings.

[start page 88] Colonel SMITH: I quite agree with what has fallen from the hon. member, Mr. Barton, and, personally, I am prepared to sit here all day, if necessary, and a reasonable part of the night in order to get through the business. Of course, short sittings are less inconvenient to the New South Wales delegates, because they are able to attend to their private business, while we are not, and on that ground we are entitled to some consideration. But what I wish to say is this: that I think we might sit occasionally-and I am glad the suggestion came from the hon. member, Mr. Barton-in the evening. We might sit three nights a week, on alternate evenings, for a reasonable time, and it would enable us to get through our business much quicker. The debate now going on is, of course, a most important one; but I was in hopes that a good deal of the business of the Convention would be referred to two or three committees, which would save an enormous amount of labour to the general body of the Convention. If we appointed committees, which should take certain subjects into consideration and report to the Convention, we should save an immense amount of time and trouble, and perhaps annoyance. I shall suggest this course later on.

Sir JOHN BRAY: I was one of those who favoured the adjournment. It seemed to be the impression on the part of some of the delegates that only those who had made long speeches favoured the adjournment. I have not had the pleasure of making a long speech, but still I am anxious to go on with the business. I feel that in this, as in other things, we must be bound by the wish of the majority, and it was clearly the wish of the majority to have an adjournment until to-morrow. As one of those coming from a distant colony, I hope the delegates will agree to expedite business as much as possible. Whether we shall sit late in the evening or not must depend on the will of the majority of

members, and if it is understood that all those who are prepared to speak will have an opportunity of doing so, and that the business will not be concluded until they have had that opportunity, none of us can grumble; but I trust that adjournments will not be too frequent, and that we shall do all we can to expedite the business.

Convention adjourned at 4.22 p.m.