The Ashburton Gurardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 1890. AUSTRALASIAN FEDERATION.
The Federation debate now taking place in the New Zealand Parliament is mainly remarkable for tiie consensus of opinion that this colony must, in the meanwhile at least, hold aloof from the movement. There are a few members who favour the proposal to join the Australian continent in a federation, but these can give no reason why the federation should be entered into at this stage of the colony's history. On the other hand, the great majority of our public men, as represented in the House of Representatives, hold the common-sense view that New Zealand, from its insular and distant position, can never enter into a satisfactory federation with the Australian continent. No form of Federal Government that can be evolved from the deliberations of the forthcoming Conference in Melbourne is likely to give satisfaction to the people of this colony : New Zealand is too far away from Australia to be governed from that centre, and the people of Australia are not likely to permit themselves to be governed from New Zealand. The continent and the colony may be very good friends and neighbours, but there ai-e insuperable difficulties in the way of becoming members of a federal family. It is to the interests of both to have a reciprocal tariff and interchange of products, and a combined defence scheme will, in the near future, no doubt be necessary; but here all necessity for federation begins and ends. The expanse of water is too great to be bridged over by a theoretical proposal which will give both countries all things in common. At the same time the commercial and defence interests of New Zealand and Australia are so identical that the countries never can be anything else than the best of friends and allies. The common foe of New Zealand must of necessity be also the foe of Australia, and vice versa; and this fact, if there were no other deeper and broader, bonds of brotherhood—sucli as the fact that both countries have sprung from the one stock, and are bound by similar ties to the mother land—will secure a perpetual friendship which no scheme of federation will intensify. New Zealand is destined to work out her own future for herself in much the same way as the British isles before her, and while the common tie of mutual interest may draw us more closely to our bigger brother across the water, there is no pressing necessity why this colony should sink its own individuality—if we may so term it—by joining in a federation, the outlines of which are as yet of the dimmest character. With the proposal for an Australian federation we are in close sympathy, and shall rejoice to see the Australians bound together in the closest bonds of brotherhood and community of interest, and in their prowess and success New Zealanders will ever rejoice; and we slin.ll be pleased to send our delegates forward to convey our congratulations and hearty good wishes. Farther than this, New Zealand cannot conveniently go, and this fact is recognised alike by our own legislators, and Australian statesmen who have the Federation scheme thoroughly at heart.