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PARLIAMENT.

, LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL. Thursday, Nov. 13. Nearly the whole of the sitting was taken up in discussing in Committee the Elections Validation Bill. After several hours’ debate, all the amendments were negatived and the Bill reported. Colonel Whitmore gave notice to ask next day what Government intend to do in the question of harbor defence for the colony and Colonel Scratchley’s visit. The following Bills passed their second reading Building Societies Amendment, District Law Societies Amendment, Fine Arts Copyright Amendment, City of Auckland Loans Consolidated, Wairarapa Racecourse.

Third readings—Wellington Highway Boards Election, Deceased Intestate Administration, and District Courts Validation.

The Hon. F. A. Whitaker proposed the second reading of the Triennial Parliaments Bill, postponing the discussion on the Bill.

A motion was moved to go into Committee, but several members opposing this course, the second reading was deferred till next day. The Council rose at 5.10 p.m. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. AFTERNOON SITTING. Thursday, Nov. 13. The House met at 2.30. HEW BILLS. The following Bills were introduced and read a first time:—The Patent Act Amendment (Hon. J. Hall), To Amend i The Forest Trees Planting Act, 1871 (Mr 1 Wright). ; ' : PROOF OF SPEECHES. i - Mr DeLautour ■ moved—“ That this ; House 'Concurs in the recommendation of the Reporting Debates Committee, and that in future’no proofs of speeches made in either House be sent out from the printing office except to the two Speakers, and members whose speeches are reported;” He said that since 1871 it had been customary to send these reports to the Government.’ The House Committee did not see any necessity for such a practice, So 1 long as members were enabled to correct their speeches. The Committee could see no reason why these speeches, with all their inaccuracies, should be given to any one but members for correction.

Mr Saunders did not agree with the motion. 1 He thought the speeches should not be revised at all in “ Hansard. These speeches were bo greatly altered and improved that he thought it was a great pity they were not sent out to the public as originally delivered, so that it might be seen what nonsense was talked in the House.

The resolution was put and carried. REGULATION OF THEATRES.

■ Mr Dick moved —“ That it is expedient for Government to have power to control theatrical performances and that a Bill should be brought in by ,Government giving such power.” Government had said they were alive to the importance of the matter; but he questioned much if they were, otherwise recent scandals would not have been tolerated. In the South Island it was thought that an Ordinance for this purpose was in force, but it was found that such was not the case. > What was aimed at was that powers of this kind should be restored; and that matter should be taken in hand by Government; and not by a private member. The motion Was put and carried. FINANCES OF THE COT.ONV,

The Hoil. John Hall moved—“ That a Select Committee, to consist of 14 members, be appointed to examine into and report upon questions relating to the public accounts, toconsist.of Major Atkinson, Messrs M‘Le»n, Stevens,' Wood, Saunders, Dick, Ballance, Hislop, Montgomery, Moss, Gisborne, Johnston, Sir G. Grey, and the mover. ” Mr DeLautour suggested that provision Should also be made for a more efficient audit of the accounts of local bodies.

Mr Pyke concurred in this opinion, adding that it wai a fact within his own

knowledge that. County Councils had paid away monies they had no authority to do. and when the accounts came before the auditors they added a note to the effect that while the accounts were correct, the sum or sums had been disbursed in violation of the Act under which the body was constituted. There was nothing then for it but to pass the accounts as brought down, unless a ratepayer took upon himself the duty of suing the Council for recovery of the amount illegally disbursed. Mr Turnbull thought that as local bodies raised their own revenue, they were quite sharp enough to look after its proper disbursement. He objected to hamper these bodies with too much outside influence.

Mr Bowen dissented. The policy of ! Government was to look after the proper disbursement of the funds of friendly and other societies, and he looked upon the step proposed as a very proper one. Mr Speight said it was no uncommon thing for the funds of these institutions to be squandered away in the most unjustifiable manner. Receptions were got up, towns decorated, and other extravagancies gone into, which were wholly unjustfiable and illegal and yet the ratepayers were powerless to check the evil. The Hon. W. Gisborne thought that in the case of subsidised bodies, the suggestion was a proper one. The proper auditing of the accounts of these bodies was very necessary, not only with the view of seeing that money had been expended, but also with the view of ascertaining that the objects aimed at had been strictly kept in view, and that the expenditure was not carried outside the object for which it was provided. . The motion as amended by embodying the suggestion, was put and carried. -UQLLINGWOOn ELECTION. Mr Gibbs moved—“ That a copy of a telegram addressed individually to numerous electors of the Collingwood electorate, and signed ‘ G. Grey,’ and received on the day of the election, be laid before the House.” Mr Macandrew said it was absurd to ask for productions like this. It was open for Sir G. Grey, or any other person, to send whatever telegram they thought fit, provided they paid for them. The Hon. John Hall concurred, but thought the mover should be allowed to withdraw it.

The motion was put and negatived. “ HANSARD.”

Mr Saunders moved—“ That in the opinion of the House 20 copies of “ Hansard ” should be placed at the disposal of each member of the House, and that the price at which they be sold to the public should be as low as will cover the cost of paper and extra printing.”

The debate elicited the information that “ Hansard ” cost over £SOOO per annum, while the revenue derived from subscriptions was £lll. The cost for the extra copies would be £46 per week, or at ths rate of £23 per issue.

It was moved as an amendment—- “ That the question be referred to the Debates Reporting Committee,” and on a division the amendment ■was carried; ayes 39, noes 22. On the motion for adopting the motion as amended, a division took place; ayes 35, noes 18. The motion as amended was put and carried, and the House adjourned at 5.30.

EVENING SITTING. The House resumed at 7.30. BREACH OF PRIVILEGE.

Mr Macandrow called attention to a grave breach of privilege. Copies of telegrams had been laid on the table that day. He wished to know how they had been come by. They could only be got from the Telegraph Department, and that, to his mind, was a violation of the secrecy of the system. He moved—“ That they be withdrawn, and that a Committee be appointed to ascertain as to how these copies were come by.” The Hon. J. Hall said this was not the first occasion on which copies of telegrams had been produced in accordance with an order of the House, and when it appeared to Government that it was judicious to do so. In support of that contention, he quoted from the records of the House. The telegrams alluded to were not considered to be of a private nature, or paid for by the sender. The right to frank telegrams was not given to ministers to carry on their own private business, but to carry on that of the public. When copies were called for, the late Government did not dispute that they were public property. What they did was to dispute that any such telegrams had been sent. If they looked upon them as private communications, the time to raise the question was when they were called for. In using the telegraphs to the extent they did during the .elections, they were guilty of the abuse of the public confidence. Sir G. Grey contended that the mere inspection of a telegram of this kind would show whether they were private or not. If, on inspection, such a telegram manifestly private had been sent without being pre-paid, then the Minister sending it should be called upon to pay for it. The Government Had no right to make the contents of such a telegram public.' If a mistake of this kind was made it was a mistake of his Private Secretary. He complained that unfair proceedings of this kind had been too common.

Replying to Mr Montgomery, The Hon J. Hall said that the copies were asked for by Mr Saunders three weeks ago, and from that day to this nothing had been said. about objections thereto.

The Hon. W. Gisborne argued that the telegrams in question should have been treated as private telegrams, and as such Government had no order from the House to lay them on the table. All that Government could properly do under the circumstances was ; to have called upon the sender to pay for their transmission. Mr Stewart contended that the production was outside of the request made. What was asked for was that copies of 1 telegrams sent by the Government should' be produced, whereas the replies to these telegrams had also been laid on the table. The Hon. J. Hall said that the telegrams in question having been paid for by the public, Government bad treated them as public property, and coming within the demand for production. Mr Stewart went on to say that the Premier had told them he had just seen the original of those telegrams in the office. He'assumed that to mean, that ho had taken upon himself a roving commismission to look through correspondence passing through the Telegraph office. If that view of the case were carried, there would be an end to secrecy of the system,

and violation of obligation taken by offioo' sof the department.

Mr Saunders scouted the idea that public documents paid for by public mone3 r could bo called private documents. Those documents were called for by a member whose election had been prejudged by these telegrams. The doctrine laid down about calling upon the sunder to pay for them, was similar to the doctrine that toe thief, when found out, should get off with simply paying the value of the property stolen. No gentleman of high principles would have used the wires as had been done by the late Premier, for the purpose for which they were employed. So smart was the leader of the Opposition to got these telegrams out of the way, that he took possession of them and kept them, so that he (Mr Saunders), although he had called for them, had not got an opportunity of seeing them. Mr M‘Lean contended that in 1871 copies of telegrams had been produced on the order of the House, and there was no reason why the same course should not bo pursued now. It was necessary for the purity of Government that productions of this kind should be made.

A question here arose as to the production of the pacers. The Speaker said that he had impounded the papers, and would not allow them to be perused until it had been decided whether or not they were to ho withdrawn.

Mr Sheehan denied that a similar case occurred in 1871. The , House would not have telegrams produced on that occasion. If all telegrams were public property, why was it that the public had not got possession of the telegram about the new loan ? Mr Wakefield said that when the subject was first mooted, the Government of the day got up and stated that the Whit-raore-Inglis telegram was the only one sent at public expense. Now, however, it appeared that there were a great many more. Not only had Mr Saunders come to the House with a strong feeling that his election has been interfered with by the then Government, but he (Mr Wakefield) had that feeling as regarded his own election. The great wrong done was that the late Government should have used its influence in these elections, and not the few shillings of which the Telegraph revenues were deprived. Calling for the production. of these telegrams was the only way they could get at the fact of this interference having taken place.

Mr Moss contended that the information was not complete. They ought to have been put in possession of the instructions given to the Telegraph Department as to the production of telegrams. Major Atkinson said that Government was prepared to accept the suggestions for the appointment of a Committee. The officers of the Department had simply done their duty and produced the documents they were instructed to do. If there was anything wrong the Commissioner of Telegraphs was quite prepared to accept the responsibility. In pursuance of what he had already stated, he moved as an amendment—“ That the Committee he instructed to enquire whether the production of these telegrams is contrary to law, and also to ascertain the total number of telegrams sent and received by the late Government in connection with the late election. ” The Hnn. J. Hall said that the statement made by Sir George Grey, to the effect that his instructions to his Secretary were, that all telegrams of this kind should be charged to his private account, he believed to he absolutely correct. He denied, however, it was for a Private Secretary to decide what telegrams should be paid for and what should be franked. Government had .acted in this matter under advice.

Sir G. Grey said that having made use of a private telegram, ho would take legal advice as to whether or not he could punish him for the act. It was a dishonorable one, of which the Premier ought to be ashamed. Mr J. B. Fisher had no hesitation in stating that the secrecy of the telegraph system had been violated. One of his telegrams had been produced which had not been fairly copied, and as regards the other it would take a large stretch of imagination to say it was on electioneering purposes.

Mr Macandrcw agreed to accept the amendment, and did so on the understanding that the telegrams would he withheld pending their disposal by the proposed Committee. The motion was then put and carried. The following were the Committee : Messrs Montgomery, Saunders, Turnbull, Wakefield, Gisborne, Pitt, Bowen, Macandrew, Sir George Grey. ELECTIVE COUNCIL. On the second reading of the Elective Council Bill, Sir George Grey said that as things at present stood, men wore put into the Council representing large monetary interests. Those men influenced the legislation in a variety (if ways. They were placed in a position, to make Ministers do any act calculated to subvert the public policy. Then as things stood there was no redress for wrongs a nominated body might inflict. They might remain in that Chamber all their lives, and lot them do what they might to obstruct the general good, they could not be removed. They came back year after year to repeat the wrongs they had already inflicted, and there was no redress. The practice followed here was, that when certain individuals lost their seat in this House, they were called to the other Chamber. They were able to create a great interest which would take years to destroy. He believed the whole colony felt it was monstrous that a number of gentle .;en, having no interest or claims, should have such power conferred on them for life, and the general desire was that the Chamber should be thrown open to Her Majesty’s subjects. He had thought the subject over, and to his mind an elective -Chamber was the only solution of the difficulty. What he proposed was that both Islands should be looked upon as great elective districts. He proposed that the Council should consist of 27 members. That number was based on numbers provided by neighbouring Colonies, and was made up by twelve each for both islands, two Natives for the North and one for the Middle Island. It would be impossible for a man to- be elected who did not hold a good position in the estimation of his fellowmen. Tho House of Representatives would represent local interests, while the Upper House represented the large interests. The Upper House would be a great power in

the country and by that means legislation in accordance with the views of the people would be secured. The Hon. W. Rolleston said that there was no demand on the part of the country fur a change of this kind. Had any such change been required, they would have been sure to have heard something about ir. Ho argued that a constant change had taken place in the constitution of the Council. The proposal was, in his opinion, a step in the direction of the separation of the two Islands, and therefore he hoped that it would be discouraged. Mr De Latour spoke in support of the motion. Mr Thomson moved the adjournment of the debate. The House rose at 12.30 a. m. Per our Special Wire. LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL. Friday, November 14. In the Council to-day a large amount of business was cleared, but only a small portion was of interest. OLD MAORIS. Answering the Hon. Taiaroa, The Attorney-General said Government had made ample provision for old and decrepid Maoris in the South Island. THE NEW TIMA.ItL 1 COUNTY. There was a long discussion on a motion by the Hon Mr. Acland that the New County of Timaru should not be constituted. The general opinion was against the sub-division of Counties, as likely to create local ill-feeling, and increase the expense of local government. The motion was adjourned till Tuesday, on the motion of the Hon. Mr. Whitaker, in order to expediate the work of the LOCAL BILLS. Three Committees were formed for their consideration, and the Standing Orders on the subjects were suspended for the remainder of the session. WELLINGTON RAILWAY STATION. Replying to Mr. Buckley, The Attorney-General said the new railway station at Wellington would be started almost immediately. HARBOR DEFENCE. Colonel Whitmore moved that Government state their intention with regard to harbor defence and the pi’oposed visit of Colonel Scratchley. The debate was adjourned till Tuesday. BILLS PASSED. The Primitive Methodist Temporal Affairs Bill ; The Elections Validation Bill ; The District Law Societies Bill. ASHBURTON COUNTY WATERWORKS. The Ashburton County Waterworks Bill was read a first time. Several Bills were considered in Committee, and some time was spent in unimportant discussion. The Council rose at 5 p.m. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Friday, Nov. 14. AFTERNOON SITTING. The House met at 2.30 p.m. PRISON LABOR. Mr Shrimski asked Government whether the Borough Councils of Timaru, Lyttelton, Lawrence, and Wellington obtain the benefit of prison labor, and, if so, whether the various corporations above mentioned are charged with the cost of the same, or any part thereof : if not, why ? It is made a condition to the Oamaru Corporation obtaining the benefit of prison labor that tliej should pay the cost of a warder. Mr Rolleston replied that wherever extra cost was involved it was charged against local bodies. HARBORS. Replying to Mr Sutton, The Hon. Mr. Oliver said no reports had been obtained from Sir John Coode on the harbors at Napier and Wairoa, Hawke’s Bay. Replying to Mr. Reid, Mr Oliver said Government would lay before the House a copy of Sir John Goode’s report on the Hokitika Harbor. MONDAY SITTINGS. On the motion of the Hon. Mr. Hall, it was agreed the House meet for despatch of Government business on Monday at 7.30. NEW BILLS. The following Bills were introduced, and read a first time The Christchurch District Drainage Act, 1875, Amendment (Richardson) ; to regulate the width of and roads (Thomson),; the Public Reserves Sale, and the special powers and contracts (Rolleston). QUALIFICATION OF ELECTORS B^LL. The report was brought up. Mr. Hall moved that it be adopted, and that as a good deal of time had been spent in amendment of the measure, it be read a third time without further delay. Mr Pyke moved the re-committal of the Bill.

Mr Thompson supported the proposal on the ground that the word “man” be re-inserted, so as to do away with the proposal for general franchise. He urged that the female franchise proposal was one of sufficient importance to warrant a separate measure being prepared on the point. As things stood it was only women who were possessed of property to the value of£2s upon whom the franchise was conferred. If women were worthy of having a vote they should get it in virtue of their womanhood, and not in virtue of their property. Mr Lundon made a similar objection to the provision proposed to be made for the Maori franchise. Mr Macandrew understood that it was an understanding with Government that it should be re-committed.

Mr Dick agreed to the committal, for the purpose of re-considering the proposed female franchise. He would rather allow it to go with that provision, however, than see it re- committed as a whole.

Sir George Grey hoped they would agree to the re-committal. He denied it was a good Bill. It would tend to discourage the accumulation of property. The true, principle upon which representation should proceed was to let every man have' one vote and not more. It was only females who had property to a certain amount who would be allowed to vote. Thev should make it a complete Bill before sending it up to the Legislative Council, and then insist that it be passed by that Chamber. A division was taken on the adoption of the report, with the following result:— Ayes, 30. Bain, Beetham, Bowen, Brandon, Bryce, Colb eel;, Gibbs (teller), Hall, Hursthouse, Johnston, Levin, Mason, Masters, M‘Lean, Murray (teller), Oliver. Pitt, Rolleston, Saunders, Seymour,

Stevens, Sutton, Tomoana, Trimble, Wake, field, Wallis, Willis, Wood, WriglitRiu hardson. Noes, 34.

Ailw ight, Andrew, Ballahce, Barron, De Lai our, Deck, J. K Fisher. J. T. Fisher, Ge;»ri>e, Gisborne, Grey, Hamlin, Hialop, .Hutchinson, Ireland, Kelly, Lniusden, M icundrew, Montgomery, Mess, ! yko (tedor), (Speight, Stewart, -Swanson, Tuinui, Tawhai, Te Wheoro, Thomson, Tole.

On the question for recommittal being put,

Mr. Bown moved as a further amendment that it be recommitted for the purpose of reconsidering nub-section 1 of section 2.

On a division the amendment was carried. Ayes, 37 : noes, 22. Mr Hislop moved further that the Bill be recommitted for reconsideration of clause 3. A division resulted as follows : Ayes, 23 ; noes 37. Dr. Wallis moved the reconsideration of subsection 2 of clause 2. The motion was lost on the voices. _ r The Bill was then committed for reconsideration of subsection 1 of clause 2.

In committee Mr Montgomery moved the following addition so as to make subsection 2 read as follows :—“ Every person subject to the provision that he shall iiot have more than one vote, shall be entitled to have his name on the electoral roll.” The debate was interrupted by the 5.30 adjournment. EVENING SITTING, THE TELEGRAMS. The House resumed at 7.30. On the motion of Mr Sheehan progress was reported. Mr Sheehan made a statement to the effect that one of the telegrams produced the previous night had been paid for by himself, and that he had instructed a solicitor in Wellington to take proceedings against the parties concerned, for illegally producing copies of these telegrams. Mr Hall said he had given an order for the production of the telegrams in accordance with the order of the House. He held himself responsible for the production of the telegrams referred to in that order. Mr Sheehan said he would nevertheless take legal proceedings in the matter. He was afraid he would have to proceed against the officer in charge of the department. Mr. Wakefield deprecated the course pursued by Mr. Sheehan, and expressed regret that the whole matter had not been left to be dealt with as proposed by the Committee.

Sir George Grey contended that Mr. Sheehan had been injured in his private character by the leader of the House, and ho was bound to see him righted. He could conceive of nothing more heinous than the conduct of the Government in this matter. He did not think the Committee was a fair one. Messrs. Wakefield and Saunders ought not to have been on the Committee at all. Mr. Sheehan’s character absolutely depended upon his ability to clear himself of the imputations cast upon him. He asked the House to pass a vote of censure upon Government for its conduct in the affair.

Mr. Wakefield said that his appointment on the Committee had been done entirely without his knowledge, and without any previous communication between the Government and himself.

Mx-. Speight said he had documentary evidence in his possession that the whole of these telegrams had been paid for by the sender. In that case he suggested that the whole matter should be inquired into, and if it were found that* what he stated was correct, then they should be withheld, and not sent before the committee at all. QUALIFICATION OF ELECTORS BILL. The House then went into Committee when the Qualification of Electors Bill was proceeded with. The amendment moved by Mr. Montgomery was put and lost. The division was—Ayes, 22 ; noes, 29. Mr. Pyke moved that the word “ person” in the snb-section bo struck out, and the word “ man ” substituted.

The House divided on the question that the word “ person,” as printed, stand part of the question—Ayes, 22 ; noes, 31. Ayes, 22—Biiin, Ballance, Beethaxn, De Latour,.Hall, Hislop, Hursthouse, Johnston, Lundon, Macandrew,' Montgomery, Murray, Oliver, Pitt, Saunders, Shrimski, Speight (teller), Trimble, Wakefield, Wallis (teller), Willis, Wright. Kocs,' 31—Alhvright, Andrews, Barron, Bowen, Brandon, Bryce, Colheck, J. T. Fisher (Heathcote), George, Gibbs, Gisborne, Grey, Hamlin, Kerby, Kenny, Levin, Mason, Masters, MtLean, Pyke, Richardson, Rolleston, Seddon,Shepherd, Stevens, Stewart, Sutton, Swanson, Thompson. The word “ person ” was then struck out, and the word “ man ” substituted. Mr Seddon moved that the property qualification be reduced from £25 to £lO.

The motion was lost on the voices,

On the subsection as amended being put, a division took place—Ayes, 32 ; noes, 20. The sub-section as amended was tl.en put and carried. On the House resuming, the Bill was reported, with amendments, read a. third time, and passed. REGISTRATION OF ELECTORS IJLL. In committee, the Registration, of Electors Bill was considered. Mr J. T. Fisher moved that progress be reported, with a view to enabling Government to bring down the Redistribution of Seats Bill, so that i.fc might bo considered in connection with, this Bill. Mr Hall defended the bill against a charge made by Mr Macandrew that it was not a liberal measure. He contended that it not only provided that any man should be allowed to have his name registered, but that Ilia, name will actually be put on the roll. Ha could conceive of nothing more liberal, 'and hoped no unnecessary deljqf would be thrown in the way.

Mr Stewart called upon Government to state distinctly, yea or nay, whether they intended to bring in the Redistribution of Seats Bill, this session. They took office on the distinct understanding that that should be done.

Mr Turnbull thought the Bill should be allowed to proceed, and that the Opposition should cease its attempts to compel Government to bring down the Redistribution Bill.

Mr Gisborne also spoke of the importance of some assurance being given as to the Redistribution of Seats Bill.

Mr. Seddon characterised the conduct? {

of the Opposition, to whom he belonged, as pure obstruction, and hoped thattheßiil would be gone on with. He reminded them that if the Redistribution of Seats Bill were passed, a dissolution must of necessity . sue. This was a most, inopportune moment for a dissolution. They had to face the present unsatisfactory state of the Colonial finance, and that was not a moment for them to face the responsibility of a dissolution.

Mr. Hall said that the question of redistribution of seats was purely a question of time. Whether or not it would -be undertaken this session depended upon the progress made with the legislation now before the House. As soon .as Government saw its way in that respect it would give the House information-as t 6 whether or not redistribution would be attempted • this session. A measure of that kind would take perhaps two weeks to pass, and it was not by any means ' clear that time would be spared this session. He concluded by saying that he very much doubted whether members were as sincere as they professed' to be in regard to this question. However, he would give information as to what Government proposed doing at the earliest moment.

Mr J. T. Fisher was speaking when 2 o’clock cut short the report;

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PARLIAMENT. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 22, 15 November 1879

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