The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. SATURDAY, JULY 27, 1889. THE EDUCATIONAL FRANCHISE BILL.
To quote the words of our Parliamentary correspondent's telegram m yesterday's " Guardian " : — " For six consecutive sessions the House of Representatives has passed Major Steward's Educational Franchise Bill, and for six consecutive sessions tbe Legislative Council has given the Bill its deathblow." Of the necessity for the Bill everybody but the majority m the legislative Council is aware, Instances of tho vagueness m material points of the existing Aot, and of the positive evil of some of its provisions have occurred even during the present B3SBJon of Parliament, and a general cry has gone up for the amendment of the Act, The Bill had the unanimous approval of those who had any practical knowledge of the difficulties attendant upon the election of School Committees under the present system, the clauses of the Aot hearing upon which no two Boards interpret alike. Yet such a sapient Councillor as Hon. Mr Oliver characterises the complaints of defects m the present Act as •• ignorant clamor," and the introduction of tho Bill as "an insult to the Council"! Hon. Mr Mantell made the 1 unworthy statement that this we s one of a "class of Bills known as fade," which were passed by the House out of consideration for the feelings of the members who introduced theta, and m the knowledge that the Counoil "m its. good sense" (?) would reject them, Appeals that the measure should at least bo considered m Committee were, disregarded, and by eighteen to ten the 1 Bill 'was oftpe more thrown out. This result shows either that eighteen members of the Legislative Council are deaf and blind to. what goes on m the country m the government of which they have an .important* share, or that the Educational Franpbjse $jU has been selected as the opportunity for casting an expression of defiance at the Lower House. The sooner the members of the Counoil come down from their lofty pedestal of v tra f superiority, and condf scend to allow themselves to become acquainted with some of the many directions m which reforms are needed, the better for the colony and for their own existence as members of a legislative body. It does not Bpeafe well for successive Govern men ts that a measure of such admitted necessity should be left m the bands of a private member to carry through Parliament. As a Bill affecting tbe administration of one of the most important public Acts on the Statute Book, and having the almost unanimous approval of the House m six sessions, it should long ago have been taken up by Government, when it would no doubt have been at once and unhesitatingly passed by the Council, and much waste of public time and money would have been averted. In an Upper House that is not amenable to the influence of public opinion, and that trusts to what some of its members have the presumption to call its own •' good sense" to take the place of knowledge of the questions on which they legislate, there appears to bo no hope of any measure of reform being considered on its merits.
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