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THE NEW MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT.

■.(From the own correspondent of the Press.) ■ Wakatipu has changed its lymphatic, i ndulgent looking Manders for a nervous sharp, featured lawyer—Mr. Finn—who <-nnes to the fore in any legal discussion, and objects to being confined to,one speech on such occasions. But his learning has not extended to politics, and he does not cut a very bright figure in that arena, nor does ho appear ambitious to do so.

.The junior Whitaker, who represents Waipa,.is already nearly as bald headed ■as his father. He would evidently be more in his element if lie were in Opposition, as he is not a member of the .peace society. He is bright and witty, i hojjgh not often forcible. His 'voice is not gixW, and he talks so rapidly that it lakes very sharp ears to catch what he says. . He is an ultra-radical in his views. There is no love lost between him and ' f iir Georg j Grey ; but, however much .- he hates the sins, he loveT-r|he sinner Tiheehan, with whom he was a- schoolfellow, and in the hottest tight he will never hie him hard. The member for Inverc rgill, Mr. Bain, "is both a thinker and a talker, .but has avoided as much as possible speaking in the House. I should take him to -be by ■ no means a strong partisan, and quite Able to res faults and merits on either side of the House, and a man whose good • opinion would be valuable. In many - respects ho is a contrast, and certainly a great improvement on his predecessor. ■ ’ I think there is no new member in the House who has puzzled all who sit ' in " judgment on him so much as the hon. member for Lyttelton He keeps his hat on, and whenever he can he keeps his pipe in his mouth, and there is a sort of knowing look about him that may or may not mean much. It is evident that the selectors, or rather the rejectors for Sir George Grey’s Election Committee, did not rate him highly when neither party struck him off their list as a dangerous opponent. But lie there showed a will of his own, and a spirit above flattery and influence that no one had calculated on, and in evorv vote he gives he appears as inuch ouided by principle, and as determined to keep out of anything unjustifiable as any ■member of the'House. Ho has spoken Very little, and will, evidently have suf- . .. ficiont respect for his fellow members to what he is talking about before he 'begiim One colleagues on that election committee was Mr. Ireland, who succeeds Mr. Bastings for Waikaia. If he has anything in him it is exceedingly difficult to discover it. He often rises in the House, and looks as if he were speaking, but as he sits very near the speaker he literally obeys the Standing Orders, and addresses the chair—and the chair only. Those who-sit close to him overhear a little of it; and they say that the rest of the House does not lose much. His other European Colleague who was left on that committee is Mr. M'Cauglian. He looks more like au athelete than a 'legislator, and would evidently like to take a talking member under each arm, and lodge him in the lock- up -for. maunder of the session. He has only spoken once, and I that was in committee, so that he will compensate the colony in the course of time fov the undue share of ‘ ‘ Hansard which Ins predecessor (Dr. Hodgkinson) monopolised. He roves about from seat to seat, and in three senses I think I may say that he has no abiding place in the House. Major Harris, who has supplanted Mr. Hobbs for one of the Franklin seats, does not look at all like a military man, being short with ample circumference, and has certainly not suffered any recent military hardships or privations. He has plenty of language, with a rather whining, though notdisagreeable, voice, and his sympathies do not extend far south. He is most liable to rise to his feet during the small hours of the morning, when his friend Hamlin is snoring loudly at his left hand. The cause is said to be that Hamlin has heard all his jokes and does not care to hear thejn again. Mr. McDonald, on whose behalf so many telegrams were sent by the late Government to tlm East Coast, is not a retiring or a quiet man in a general way, but in the House he deals more in ejacula--tioiis than speeches', and his remarks on the .-peaches of other members is not often (Sompiiusmita:;; He is by no means a slave to his Torial duties. On Sir G-lVge Grey’s left hand sits the P.G.W/T* ■ °Mr, Speight, who is not by the ‘‘Learned Blacksmith,” ‘ Talking E ogine. Driver. ” He looks about thirty-fi veyears of .age, with a pale, beardless face, that often carries an expression that- makes one feel disposed to pronounce his name w,Trout the e, .Like his patron he is a great grievance monger, and can discover a bad motive for every possible proposal or action. His words flow as if he had swallowed a dictionary, but his voice is unpleasant and his manner insolent. He keeps himself very fairly informed of what is going on, and often jogs Sir G. Grey’s very defective memory. He is by no means, such a perpetual bore as some of his inferiors in ability and equals in education. On the other side of Sir George, as Ins right hand friend,, sits the celebrated John Lundon. He looks a little over fifty, of dark complexion, with a very handsome forehead, and very unhandsome mouth. He is a man of very great natural ability, witty and shrewd, who tries tft pass himself as an innocent simpleton.- He will rise and speak incessajitiy, but no one but a native Irishman coiild understand half of what he says. Bo far as I can judge, his speeches are quite in the tittle-tattle strain, as I can hear a constant repetition of . the words “He says, and so says I.” His general ■ object seems to be to obstruct business at the order of his chief. There was a great in the Hoij&s when li© informed the Speaker that lie never corrected his s’iceches in “ Hansard.” * But the arch obstructor of business, sometimes by order and at other times by choice, is one of the new members for Hokitika, Mr. Seddon, whose talk during his first session will have cost the country twenty thousand pounds, without estimatin'' the members time at a high rate or tire amount of business that be has nidde impossible. XX© is fijood. tempered digger, and a fine specimen of the purely san«uine temperament. At one time it looked as if he would make all business imporsibffi, and have the whole House to Inins elf, but at last he came to be satisfied J with abu.it six speeches a day, and took

some evident trouble to give the House fewer h’s than he began with.

Next to him as a time waster comes the new member for Christchurch. I don’t think he often spoke to order, but no subject eve.r came up upon which he did not feel that he could enlighten the House. Native difficulties, legal opinions intricate accounts, political economy, the defence of the colony, the honor of the Ministry, the rights of the Crown, or higher education, were all equally familiar to him, and were all treated of in his speeches in an equally instructive way. It never seemed to occur to him that there were other members in the House who could read and write. His manner is very patronising, and as you hear him you naturally look about to see where the small boys are that he is talking to. If you add Turnbull’s name to these three last named new members, you will have the,'four members who take up'more than half the time of the House without ever adding one atom to the know ledge,* he interest, or the amusement of its members, or rendering the slightest service to the colony. They are the tear men who have made it a weariness to sit in the galleries, who have made it not art honor, but a disgrace to appear in “ Hansard,” who make a six months’ Parliament ' necessary to do two months’ work, who are reducing our Legislature from the highest to the lowest place in the Australian colonies, and who may fairly be charge with half the expenses of our Parliamentary government.

Tf I have left the four silent new members to the last you will see it is not because Ido not lespect them. On the contrary, after spending so much time in heaving illle talk as I have done, I wish their number was multiplied by twenty, and lofnnot help taking my hat off to them as;l meet them in the streets. They are Messrs. Hirst, Willis, Whyte, and Mason —representing Wallace, Rangitiki, Waikato; and the Hutt. I have po doubt that they are all wise men. Who else could have sat for three months in the midst of clamor and strife and come out of it without taking or giving scratch.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18800101.2.14

Bibliographic details

THE NEW MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 42, 1 January 1880

Word Count
1,556

THE NEW MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 42, 1 January 1880

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