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An absurd misapprehension appears to prevail among a number of our contemporaries, notably the "Waimate Times," as to the scope and meaning of the resolution of Major Steward, which is to be debated on Monday. (Let us here interpolate that whereas the debate was intended to take place on Monday next, it has been postponed till the Monday following, because; Sir G. Grey, who wished to take part m the discussion, has arranged to address a public meeting on Monday next, and therefore could not attend a sitting of the House on that evening.) The misapprehension to which we refer is that it seems to be supposed thai; the member for Waimate is about to advocate the " Referendum," which is a part of the Swiss system of Pa/rliamentary procedure, whereas the fa,ct is that Major Stpward has on no occasion referred to the " Referendum " —

certainly has neither advocated nor proposed to advocate its adoption m New Zealand. The proposal of: the member for Waimate is simply this:— " That a committee be appointed to report to the House as to the desir- i ableness and feasibility of the devising of a system under which, as m Switzerland, the Executive Government shall be elected by the whole House, instead of being, as now, selected by one individual who happens to have carried a want-of-eonfidenee motion, and to have been ' sent for' m consequence." The result of such a change would, it is contended, be that the Government of the day would hare the support of the whole House, instead of, as at present, of one-half of the House only, and that the waste of time which now occurs under want-of-confidence motions would be obviated. Further, it is contended, and we think with good reason, that under the proposed system Bills and other proposals would be discussed on their merits, the question of confidence m the Ministry not being involved. It is an unquestionable fact that, under the existing system, members are constantly placed m a false position, having often to vote either i'or or against a question, not on the merits of the question itself, but because its acceptance or rejection involves that of the personnel of the Administration. If the change proposed be affirmed, every question would be decided on its merits. We do not expect that this will be brought about all m a momtnt; it may take years to effect the change, but we do not hesitate to affirm that, if it be brought about, the effect will be a large saving m money and m time — a distinct advance .m the efficiency of our Parliamentary system.

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Bibliographic details

THE "REFERENDUM.", Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2481, 2 August 1890

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THE "REFERENDUM." Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2481, 2 August 1890

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