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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

The House met at 11 a.m. THE STRIKE. Beplying to Mr Mackenzie (Clutha), as to whether the Government intended taking some steps £or affording protection to the citizens of Wellington m the present crisis of affairs, Captain Russel said that he had reason to believe that steps were being taken which would prevent a recurrenpe of any disturbance such as those which had occured yesterday. He understood that a number of special constables were being sworn m, hat tliut was of course more a matter for the justices than the Defence Department. Those .speciaJ constables would affoad protection to frep labour m every possible way. ' THE NATIVE LANI> LAWS AMESJJMSKTT , BILL. J 'Th« Native Land Laws Amendment Bill i vtrs further considered m Committee and I passed with some additional clauses. I On the motion for the third reading Sir George Grey said he considered it his duty to oppose at every stage so monstrous a, Bill, which for years to come would ruin the prospects of every labourer m the colony. He moved an amendment *' That counsel be heard at the bar of the House against this measure." Lost on the voices. The Bill was read a third time and passed. TUB FEDERATION DEBATE. Mr Perceval resumed the debate on the federation resolutions and moved that two delegates bo appointed from the House and one from the Council, the delegates not to bind this colony to come under any Federal Constitution which may be adopted by the convention. Major Steward seconded the amendment. The debate was interrupted by the 1 p.m. adjournment. The House resumed at 2.30 p.m. The debate on the federation resolutions wn-s (continued. Mr Beobie Mackenzie and Mr Perceval's re.irt.Uitj.ofiK were put and negatived. Ultimately Mr Perceval's motion for he appointment of two delegates from

the House and one from the Council .was agreed to on the voices. Captain Eussell moved that the delegates be appointed by ballot. Mr Seddon moved an amendment that Captain Russell and Sir George Grey represent the colony at the Conference. ■ Captain Russell said that he had consulted Sir George Grey on two or three occasions and he had distinctly refused to act as a delegate. In reply to Mr Fisher, Mr Balbnce said that owing to the decided views he held against federation he shoul decline to; act as a delegate. Mr Seddon said that Sir George Grey had informed him that he was ■ willing to represent the colony at the convention if he were appointed by the House. Japtain Russell's motion was lost by 33 to 28. Eventually Mr Seddon's amendment was carried by 30 to 25. The House adjourned at 5.30. The House resumed at 7.30 p.m. : THE CHRISTCHURCK RAILWAY EMPLOYEES case. ; Mr Reeves asked the Acting-Premier whether he would keep the promise he made to the House to give an opportunity for discussing the memorandum issued by the Railway Commissioners with respect to the dismissal of four of their employees. Mr Mitchelson replied that he had not desired to interfere with the Federation debate during the earlier part of the day, but he now wished to say that the Government had: carefully considered this matter, and they saw no good to be gained by setting apart any particular time for the discussion of the iaction of the Commissioners. Mr Reeves then moved the adjournment of the Federation debate so that he might refer to this matter. The conduct of the Government, he said, m endeavoring to stifle debate on this question was not creditable to *hem. It was a great mistake to attempt to gag the people who wished to aci m a proper and guarded manner, and it was surely not right to prevent discussion by the people's representatives m the House. Nobody regretted more than he did the unfortunate differences that existed between the Commissioners and their men. He thought that the Commissioners had not sufficiently vindicated their authority m this matter. There was no occasion for Mr Maxwell making such an unreasonable demand on the men—a demand which they could not possibly comply with. [An lion, member: Why say Mr Maxwell.] Mr Reeves said because Mr Maxwell rules the other two Commissioners. If the railway unionists harboured any such thought as , to have, it out with Mr Maxwell some day it would be a most unfortunate thing for the colony. The railway servants who had been dismissed had: done what they had from feelings of loyalty to their uniwn, and there was no occasion for such harshness used against them by the Commissioners. Sir George Grey also condemned the stifling of debate on this subject. He. hoped that m the present case the Railway Commissioners would do their utmost to attach their servants to them and deal leniently with them m what they had done, so as to promote a lasting benefit to that great organisation. Mr Fisher said that it was well known that the Commissioners were determined to involve their men m a general strike if it were at all possible to do so, and to that end they had goaded them on and irritated them m every way. After referring to to the railway dispute that at present existed, he said that to punish these four men for acting m obedience to their unions, was one of the greatest acts of terrorism that could be perpetrated, and the Commissioners m asking them to surrender themselves as dumb dogs were calling on them to give up every right j that a Britisher loved to possess. Mr Marchant warmly defended the action of the Commissioners m the recent dispute, and said it resolved itself into such a conflict of authority that the men were required either to leave their unions or the service. The Union Steamship Company and the Railway Commissioners were m his opinion entitled to the thanks of every citizen m the colony for their efforts to save the country from the great commercial paralysis that threatened it. Mr Moss took up a stand m defence of the dismissed men, Mr Ballance said that there was no doubt that the railway men were convinced that the Railway Commissioners were trying to crush the unions, and that was what was underlying the whole thing. The four men dismissed at Christchurch had been dealt with m a most arbitrary manner, and they would find no analogy for the way they had been treated. There should m his opinion be some tribunal for these men to appeal to, for m the present case, although they were to convince every member of the House, there was no remedy and no redress. The best way of settling the difficulty m his opinion was by arbitration, which he bettered the men perfectly willing to accept, and he lioped that next session the first Act to be passed should be one to establish boards of conciliation for settling differences between employers and employees. Sir John Hall contended that members of the Houie were not justified m alleging that the Railway Commissioners wanted to precipitate a strike, and when Mr Ballance assorted that he had authority for the statement that the Commissioners wished to involve the men m a strike, he should m all justice have given his authority for such a ?erious charge. In the absence of such authority the House was justified m not believing the statements. As to the dispute itself the first duty of the men was to their employer."?, and where their allegiance to their unions conflicted with that due to the Commissioners they /should rather leave their unions or see that some alterations were aiade m their rules. He ad* mitted that the railway men were the best men m any of the services, but there ijaust be recognition that they were working for the country as a whole, and any attempt to weaken fchp authority of the Commissioners would be put down by the country, Mr Fish sincerely trusted that even now a railway ntriko would not occur, but he feared it was inevitable, Mr McKenzie (Waihemo) ventured to assert that a fatal mistake has been made by the railway servants m forming themselves into a union, and the best thing they <jould now do was to leave their unions. They could not serve both the Commissioners ami the unions. Several other members also gave expression to their opinions, after which the subject dropped. THE PROROGATION. Mr Mitfohelson said that if fair progress was made with the business to-morrow lie expected to be able to.prorogue on Monday on Tuesday at the latest. The House rose at 1 a.m.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18900913.2.20.2

Bibliographic details

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2517, 13 September 1890

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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2517, 13 September 1890

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