The Ashburton Guardian, COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER. THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23, 1879.
The Premier is scarcely yet up to the work he has undertaken in doing battle with Sir George Grey. Mr Hall seems to fancy that he must fight the great championof the “ Liberal” cause with ordinary weapons, and reply to every charge the knight chooses to bring against him. If he allows himself* to be drawn into the many by-paths of party warfare that Sir George opens up for him, he will find his hands quite full with the work of beating the air. As he begins to know Sir George better he will learn to follow the doughty actual leader of the Opposition in his own tactics, and be less thin-skinned in dealing with him. The Premier is evidently too willing to attach importance to th e doings and sayings of Sir George, and readily notices and replies to all his vagaries of debate, whereas, if he took less notice of Sir George’s attacks, and played less into his hands, he would make more headway against him. Sir George keeps pounding away at Mr Hall, well knowing that he is a sensitive man, and can be drawn into a ambuscade by such attacks as was made upon his resignation of the seat he held in the Upper House. We fancy the Premier rated the attack made upon him by Sir George Grey too high. Had he been less thinskinned it would have been better for him. Knowing the history of Parliament under Sir George Grey, how the House steadily fell away from the then Government, until a strong Liberal majority became a very weak minority, with many of the staunchest Liberals in opposition, we had thought that the best course to follow would have been to give Sir George rope enough, and the same thing would certainly happen again. But Mr Hall does not seem to understand this,- and, as we said, attaches too much importance to Sir George’s magnified utterances. Already it seems that the Opposition are not altogether the happy family they hold out to be, and quid nuncs in Wellington who are to be relied on do not hesitate to say that some of the most trusted Greyite votes are very shaky at the roots, and will soon be transplanted to more congenial soil than the Opposition benches. Nor would we be astonished to learn that even the great northern citadel of Greyism had been scaled by the Government, and support secured from amongst the Auckland members. The House is at present a Liberal one. It was elected on a high Liberal platform, though the real issue that should have gone to the country ought not to have been Liberalism, but personal government versus Parliamentary. The side of personal government wrested the no confidence vote that brought about the dissolution intoaquestion of Liberal measures, and the result is that every member stands pledged to support those measures. It is this platform that now begins to show signs of being the Government’s safeguard, for the Opposition without a working majority are doing their very best to stonewall those measures they are pledged to pass, and their conduct is gradually alienating from them the support of the men who went to Wellington to do business and not to fritter away valuable time in party babbling. Things point now, not directly to be sure, but indirectly to another dissolution unless some signs are given of business being allowed to go on. With Sir George Grey fancying that his side has a majority, business will not go on if he can prevent it, and it is this conduct of his that is likely to undermine his present strength. He is gradually losing popularity, and the House shows manifest symptoms of being tired of doing nothing, and cannot continue much longer in its present condition.
In the House on Tuesday night Mr Wright, the member for this district, obtained from Government what we look upon as a valuable promise. He asked if it was the intention of Government to introduce a Bill to amend the Bankruptcy Laws in such a manner as to give a preferential claim on bankrupt estates for wages to the extent of three months, instead of as at present for only one month,
Tho Premier allowed that legislation in this direction was dasir ible, and proniised to introduce a Bill on the subject. During the past season, when so many employers went through the Court, large numbers of servants, especially agricultural contractors and labo rcrs were left with heavy wages debts owing to them, for which they had to rank along with ordinary creditors, and even to abandon their claims for want of means to prosecute them. The extension asked by Mr Wright will bo a great boon to the many men whose wages are the hard-earned bread of themselves and families, and is a step that redounds greatly to the credit of Mr Wright.