Evening Post, Volume XLIV, Issue 2, 2 July 1892, Page 4
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Yesterday's Aiteunoon Sitting. Thero was quito a lively del>atr> on the famous Simpson lottcr. In roplying to a question by Sir. U HntcliiHon, the MINISTER for PUULIC WORKS entered into an oxplaimtiou respecting tho now famou-s " Simpdon letter," <lnrinsr which ho reflected on Mr. 14. K. Simpson. Mr. J. C 4. WILSON defended Mr. Simp-on, and road tho whole corresiiondeiice. Tho MINISTER for PUHUO WORKS ••vji! linwl that ho Jiml received tho lo't'"-frtim Mr. A. .Simpson, to wlnc!i tho irj'l went to Mr. If. K. Simjuon, mi I lie Hltii May. Ho hoiit it 011 to tSiu Mini-ti'r lor Lands, who minulod it to tho effect that it th'-v desired Mini -tors to address tlioin 11 requisition would lie best. On the 22ml (which members pointed out was a Sunday), )jo jfavo his private pccretary instructions as to the reply to bo sent. That wan two days before Mr. Macnrthur's death, hut, as his socrotary was busy at tho timo_ as secretary of tho Mino Managers' Examining Board, thon sitting, ho did not write and send tho letter until tho 26th, which was two days after Mr. Macarthur's death. The Minister assured tho House that ho was not awaro of the dolay at tho tirno, and that lie was also unawaro of tho uommunicationH said to have been passing botween Mr. Arkwright's friends and tho Premier on tho 25th in roferonco to tho seat, which had meantime bocomo vacant. Tboroforo ho was not influenced in any way by considerations as to influencing tho electorate when ho directed tho roply to bo sent to Mr. A. Simpson's letter of the 17th. Ho received letters from Mr. A. Simpson and others to the effect that Mr. R. K. Simpson was showing tho lotter abont Marton, and he thcrofore wrote to him for it, and subsequently gave a copy to Mr. Stevens with Mr. A. Simpson's consent. Mr. WILSON assured tho Houso that Mr. R. K. Simpson had only shown the letter to a friond in confidence, and hud rcfiiHcd to publish it. Ho protested against the manner in which Mr. Seddon had referred to Mr. K. K. Simpson at Muniikuu, where ho had stated that Mr Simpson had kept tho lottor for somo timo before writing to him about it, and whciu he nud also stated that tho wholo of the correspondence took place bofore Mr. Macartimr's death. After much furtherdobate, tho MINISTER for PUBLIC WORKS finally offered to show the correspondence and the minute inado on tho 22nd to any members, in order that they might bo satisfied as to the truth of what he stated about tho dates, and he would also permit his Secrotary to give full information on tho matter. Last Night's Sittino. the electoral bill. Tho House resumed at 7.30 p.m. Tho PREMIER, in introducing the second raiding of fho Electoral Bill, referred to tho provisions for confining registration to one roll, to tho spocial privileges to commercial travollora and shearers; permitting candidates to use public schoolrooms lor their meetings free of ohargo ; to prevent olections boing upsot on orrors which would not havo_ affoctod tho result ; allowing tho appointmont of substitute Deputy Returning Officers in tho ease of illness— a provision which was now wanting. Tho Bill was also of groat importanco as a consolidating measure. The Hon. Mr. ROLLESTON said that 080-man-ono-voto was now an ndmittod principle, but ho claimed that it was not oarriod out in tho case of tho triplo olectoratos of tho cities. Tho division of tho oities into single electorates would give a much greater chanco for representation of minorities. City votors should not bo allowed to voto for moro than two candidates. The Hare system was what should bo their goal, though tho country was not yot ripo for it. In tho last Wellington olection, Mr. M'Loan had a majority of only 143 in a vote of 6500. Whero was the representation of that large minority? They ought oithor to extend tho combined electorates to tho country, or do away with them in tho townß. Up to the passing of tho Reform Bill one class had been unduly repreaontod, but now it had gone another way, and another class was being givon disproportionate nower. Tho valuo of ono man's, voto as against anothorwas not to bo judgod by Ids property, bat by his intelligence They had crippled tho Upper House, but now they sbonld strengthen it by making it elective undor the Haro ay atom. Tho determination of olootoral boundaries had been rednced to a sort of totalizator machino, which adjusted them on an arithmetical basis, and the constant change of electorates was an evil. One month's residential qualification was too little, as it allowed of tho removal of bodies of men to swamp an election. He was also opposed to the granting of Femalo Suffrage until it had boen referred to tho constituencies. It should have been dealt with in a separate Bill. Mr. FISH would support tho Bill excepting the femalo franchise and tho public holiday on polling day. The provision allowing candidates tho use of achoolhonsos and other public buildings freo would save great expense. Tho oities should bo divided into single electorates, and they should adopt the Hare system. The last Wellington election, with 3000 people unrepresented, was a sufficient reason. It wonld bo monstrous that one month's residence in a district should secure enrolment. A Government having a doubtful election in onrj district and a safe ono in another might move some gangs of co-operative workmen for a month on works in tho unsafe district. If the country demanded Female Suffrage lot it have it, but it had given no indication of this. Mr. SCOBIE MACKENZIE said no ono believed now in the dual voto, as if ono amount of property would entitle a man to two votes a greater amount should entitle him to 10, which was absurd, but one-manone-registration was a retrograde stop. The theory was that overyono should cast a voto for a representative whoso views mot his own. Supposing a man had a freehold in tho country and a residential qualification in town and could only exercise ono voto, and the town candidate was a Protectionist and tho country candidate a Freetrader, why Bhould he not be able to chooso for which he would cast his voto ? In other respects ho was in accord with the Bill. Ho protasted against the continued changes of districts under the Representation Bill. In his own case he had no Booner boon olectod than a great strip of his district had been takon away from him, or would be bofore the next general election, when a great strip of tho Minister for Lands' district would be tacked on to him. He_ was therefore in the position of representing nobody, and having nobody to account to. Women were wholly unfitted by nature and proclivities for political work, aud had no desiro for it. The agitation for Female Franchise was spurious. Tho wholo thing was summed up in Frederic Harrison's phrase, '• Women must either be content to be women or becomo abortive mon." Mr. DUTHIE wanted a system of electoral rights, by which all electors absent from their districts should ba allowed to vote wherever they were. Elections should be conducted with more expedition. The Rangitikoi seat became vacant on the 24th May, and was still vacant. He saw little olse to objeot to in the Bill but the Female Suffrage, whioh he had come to tho conclusion was undesirable. Three or six months instead of one should be the residential qualification. Mr. TAYLOR thought previous speakers advocated single electorates in the hopo of getting lid of " Sydenham Taylor." Mr. T. MACKENZIE said the Bill contained a pernicious principle in the One- Man- Three - Votes which obtained in tho cities. If they clubbed the whole constituencies together like tho cities, they might have the speotacle of 71 members representing little more than half of tho electors. The one month residential proposal gave tho Government power to send a couple of hundred'unemployed into an electorate and swamp the local vote. This provision should bo stonewalled. He would like to see votors able to send their votes to the polling booths without going themselves, and if the onemonth qualification were retained, it would bo necessary to enfranchise women as a makeweight of permanent population. Mr. If INTOSH favoured Femalo Franchise, but thought its chanco would bo enhanced were it in a separate Bill. Ho protested against the continual alterations in tho boundaries of electoral districts. The House alone should decide the boundaries. Mr. M'LEAN considered electors should be able to voto wherever they happoned 1 o be. It would be as right for them to be ab le to telegraph their votes as fora man to lie able to telegraph .£6OO to assist in an election, as had been done in a recent Welhn jton election. Mr. Rolloston had commented on the Bmallness of the majority at his election, but if it had been left to tho pcoplo of Wellington it would have been over 5(O. People were brought from all parts of the colony to vote against him, and tho olection oost the party opposing him £!<OOO to .£6OOO. No order had been given Civil Servants respeoting him, as alleged. On election day he did not accost three of the Civil Servants who nearly all voted at the Drillshiidj whero the votes were cast for his opponent. He would sooner have lost the election than that one man shonld have lost a billet through voting against him. He supported Female Franchise, but thought tho Premier should not have jumped tho claim of Sir John Hall. (The Premier interjected t jat that was not his intention.) The matter had been before some of the electorates, and one of them was Wellington. It would improve tho character of members. He did not approve of single electorates. Mr. HOGG said that tho members of tho Opposition who now desired single electorates had voted for tho amalgamation of tho city electorates. Mr. T. M'KENZIE said ho had voted in favour of amalgamation of city electorates, and behoved in thorn, but objectod to electors in them having three votes Mr. HOGG said Mr. M'Kenzie had also voted for that, and because the city electorates returned Liberal members row desired to abolish it. Ho objected to tho freehold qualification, and was in favoui of Female Snffrage. Sir JOHN HALL congratulated the Government on tho support thoir moasuro -vas receiving, and hoped that it would meet equal peace in committee. Ho would ote for the clause re commercial travellers .md shearers as an oxporiment in voting from their electorates. If it were successful tl ere wore other classes to whom it should bo extended— invalids, reporters, and othjrs. He thought better provision was needed for tho representation of minorities It had been stated that thero had boon no demonstrations in favour of Femalo Suff rr ,ge. What about tho great meetings in Dune- fin' the meetings and petitions from Aucklond' Waimate, and Oamaru ?— the last-named received since this debate commenced. If Mr. Fish received the communications he (tho speaker) did, he would not say the com try had not spoken. Mr. SAUNDERS desired to see the Hare system adopted. He approved of existing city eleotoratos and Femalo Snffrage, bat objectod to the ono month residential qualification. Mr. SHERA approved the Bill, but was surprised at the exclusion of Maori woiaon .rcm the franchise.
Mr. BUCKLAND would like to see a man ' allowed to voto no mattor what district ho win in. Ho disapproved of inmates of old men's home* and charitable institutions being allowed to vote, ab being bad forthom-•(■lvi's. He supported Femalo Franchise and the Bill. Mr. CARNCROSS protested against the cutting up of electorates. He was sorry I'V-male Franchise had been introduced to the Hill without being hubmitted to tho country. 'J ho Ujijior Houho would be right in throwing out the Bill. He disipproved of the ll'iro Hj'Htem. Ho would voto against tho li'iiidav cliuiM 1 , as depriving working men (it 11 day-, pay He advocated the system •jloj-ti'd in South Australia of allowing eLctor^ to vote 111 any district. Air. MOOKH opposed city i-l'-ctor 1 ) heintr :i II-. v/eil three vol< -1. hlectoral right-j «<houM bo n»ii"d f-o that plfotor.4 might send in tlir ii- vo'os 'I lie rc-'id'-ntial qualification '-ho dd bo at least three months, and ho obj -cited to public nchor-ls and local Government olliucs being given free for candidates' nief tings. Mr. K. M. SMITH snpported tho Bill, but objected to the holiday, and Mr. SANDFORD approved the Bill. Mr. ALLKN would support the Female Franchise clause, but now disapproved of the combined city electorates. He disapproved of outside influence and personal canvass in the election. He considered a six months' residential qualification necessary, mid condemned tho holiday. He would like to hco better provision for registration, but would support tho Bill. I Mr. EAKNSHAW approved of the holiday and tho Bill, but thought public houses t-hould bo closed on polling day. Mr. BUICK objected to the freehold qualification. Ho otherwise approved the Bill excepting the holiday. Mr. Pinkerton approved and Mr. T. Thompson disapproved of combined city ulectoratoß. Mr. Houston wished six months residential qualification ; Mr. J. W. Kelly objected to tho freehold qualification. C.iptain RUSSELL said a much better Kill was introduced by Mr. Hislop and opposed by tho Premier three years ago. (Hear, hear from the Premier.) Property which was taxed should havo representation, and if, as foresliadowed in tho Financial statement, native lands were to be taxed, the timo had como whon natives and Europeans should be put under the same olootoral qualification. This was inevitable. He quoted the Hon. Mr. Carroll as a specimen of the member the natives could send in. Mr. KELLY snpported Captain Russoll's views regarding the natives, but approved tho Bill. Tho PREMIER, in reply, said tho natives wero not prepared for the change suggested by Captain Russell. They would not havo it, and they would havo power to come under tho present Bill if they chose. He condemned the Haro system, as only men of moans could stand under it. He defended the holiday, leaving votes to inmates of Refuges, and ono-man-one-registration, on account of by-elections. Ho also considered the. one month'.s residence in a district and twolyo in tho colony sufficient, and defended tho city doctorates. Tho motion for the socond reading was then put and carried, and tho House ro3e at 2.30 a in.