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AUSTRALIAN-IRISH POLITICS

In the beginning of July a London cablegram stated that an artiole writ tan by Mr B. R. Wise, ex- Attorney-General for New South Wales, had been publlihed. containing some severe strictures upon the politioal conduct of the Irish In Australia. •• M.omillan'e M«gez<ne " for July oontains the artiole In question, which Is headed " Australian Polittoe," and deals generally with the polltioa of the prlnoipal Australian oolonlas, and the following appear to be the passages on which the telegram was based : —

A goceral eleotlon has lately taken plaoa In the three largest colon lag—New South Wales, Queensland, and Viotoria. In eaoh of these contests the Irish vote has played an Important part. In New South Wales It was given ac a blook vote m favor of Proteotion. In Viotoria, where the fiaoal question was not la issue, lt was given as a blook vote to the publicans with a pious opinion m favor of Freetrade. In Queensland lt was given as a blook vote "m favor of "Nationalism," Through all these Inoonalstenolea there Is one guiding olue ; In every oase the vote was eaat against the Government. The explanation of this Is partly connected with religion and partly with politics.' The Iflsh priesthood, In striot obedieno3to the teachings of their ohorob, desire to get oontrol of the publio sohools, while the Irish laity, who are not guided by tbe priesthood, desire to get oontrol of the publio officei. Publio opinion, howeAer (possibly owing to prejudice) is not lnollned to aiaist tbe Irish In realising either of these wishes. In Australia, bs In America, the Irish have always formed a patty by themselves : and It oannot be said that the Illustrations which tbey have given of their power to govern have been entirely **t'afaotory. Twice In the history of Victoria the Oatholio party haa been In power, onoe under Sir John O'Shanna-ay, and onoe under Sir Bryan O'Loghlen, and the lesson whioh was then taught has never been forgotten elthec In Viotoria or In the other colonies. With an Instinctive capacity for politioal organisation, eloquence, Industry, and administrative power, Irlahman m offioo, when they are supported by an Irish majority, have (In Australia at all events) shown themselves entirely wUhout a sense of responsibility In the expenditure of public money. The administrations before referred to, like tbe SUcoeselon of administrations whioh ruled In Sovr South Wales by the support of the Irish parly from 1883 to 1887, are pre-eminent In Australian history for their reckless extravagance iv public works. Whatever Government may ba io power, the Irish are the great billet-hunters J five applicants out of every sis; for any ♦government appointment, however poorly paid, are oertaln to boar Irish names. The deßire, therefore, of the Irish as a n&rty lo get the oontrol of gatronage into their own hands is very strong, and partly explains the solidity of the Irish vote. But the tie whiob binds the party together la more religious than politioal. The educated Irish, who unfortunately form an Insignificant minority among their Australian oompatrlots, to. gather with the few English Catholics, > who In Australia are almost invariably ! men of the highest attainments and character, are of oourse In no degree influenced by the mere desire foe power. Tney dtnoot, however, Ignore the religious basis upon whioh thei? party rests. Io every part of the world the Oatholio Ohuroh Is making an effort to obtain the oontrol of primary Instruction, i It has been notloed. too, that the political sympathies of the olergy are wide and Incalculable. Only two yßers ago In New South Wales the Protectionists were a small body of Sidney artisans, most of whom were Protestant*. Since that time Sir Henry Parkes, the authqr of the Eduoation Aot, prononnoad strongly for Freetrade, and In two years every Irish member, with only one exception, has besome a Protectionist, and nearly every Irish vote In the oolony Is oast against Freetrade. In Viotoria, where there are signs of a revival of Freetrade, the majority of Irishmen oppose Protection, fn New South Wales the Irish olergy, under the ipflaenoe of Cardinal Moran, are supporting the cause of temperance. In Viotoria they have ostentatiously espoused the cause of the publloans. Io Qieons laud the Irish were the noisiest National lata ; In New South Wales the only Imperialists we have are the leaders of tho Irish Protectionist party. The explication of these suspicious alliances Is easy. They are fn every Instance connected with the fight that the Oatholio Ohuroh Is making to upset the educational system. ...

This attitude of tba Irsh and Catholic E? I* W £ "^ ,a nlso that ot a Bectlou of tqa __nglioan Church, forßehadows a great struggle with Clericalism. The wealth of the Catholic Oburch m Australia is enormous ond the Propaganda at Borne appears to be aoting upon Canning's prinoiple and really calling into existenoa a new world to recompenae the church for its declining power In Europe. Within the last seven years churobea, schools, colleges, seminaries, nunneries, sisterhoods, and monastic orders have been founded or established m all the Australian colonies and are many of them under control of Frenchmen, Italians, and Englishmen of exoeptonal abili'y. who present a marked oontrast to the illiteracy of the ordinary country prießt In addition, largo sums of money have been raised m Australia and granted by Rome for the purchase of laud and the erection of buildings ; and all this increase of power and improvement of organisation has taken plaoe while the •tber ro'igious bodies are inactive and declining m authority. Nowhere is it more difficult than m a young country to forecast the fulu ■ y u,fc it seems plain from present i f"i en jfy',*. that, unless some new and modifying influence asserts itself the eot>ne of the struggle between Ohuroh and Liberty will ba ofcsogcd lrom France to AmtrftUi-

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AUSTRALIAN-IRISH POLITICS Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2209, 26 August 1889

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