The Evening Star MONDAY, JUNE 3, 1889.
Mr Richardson's speech at Wyndhani was limited to matters affecting the departments of lands and mines under his control. Mr Fergus at Queenstown takes a wider scope, and, to a considerable extent, his speech defines what must be accepted as the Ministerial policy. Drawing attention to the monstrous fact that since the creation of responsible government 2,028 statutes have been passed, and 1,466 of them repealed, he gave his audience clearly to understand that very little new legislation will be proposed next session. " Quality, not quantity," is to be the guiding motto. Some of the questions proposed are certainly of sufficient importance. Electoral questions come to the front. One of the first things to be considered is the reform of the Legislative Council. Owing to deaths, illness, and absence, the working strength of that body has been reduced to thirty members ; and others will have to be appointed, both at tbo present time, and more largely, in all human probability, before many years have elapsed. Accordingly, the Government propose to introduce a Bill providing for election to the Legislative Council by—and, it is presumed, from—the House of Representatives. This Bill will be framed somewhat on the lines of a similar measure introduced some time ago by Sir Frederick Whitaker, and will include the ballot in its provisions. Then the House is to be put on a " nobler and broader franchise than " that which at present obtains." The Government intend to propose a modification of the Hare'system, which, says Mr Fergus, "if carried, will " bring a better stamp of men into the " House, and prevent men of colonial " fame from being shelved by a tempo- " rary gust of passion." Another measure to be brought forward will have for its object the simplification of
The Ministerial ' l'ollcy. r
jj the charitable aid question, "by separating hospitals from charitable aid," giving local bodies the option of undertaking the management of hospitals. With regard to charitable aid, a much - needed reform proposed is to relievo local bodies from the maintenance of " inveterate paupers and incorrigible drunkards," and to put men who will not support their families, "either by reason of ''their drunken habits or downright "laziness, in institutions where they " will have to do something for their "own support," leaving the local bodies to deal with the casual poor. The Bankruptcy Act is also to be amended. Mr Fergus describes the present Act as rather providing an escape for fraudulent debtors who wish to escape payment of their liabilities than a refuge for poor men who are unable to pay their debts. In what direction it is proposed to legislate so as to prevent rogues from benefiting in future we are not informed. But in one direction there is a distinct improvement promised. In small estates the assets, he said, are swallowed up by " lawyers and official assignees," so that nothing is left for the creditors. Tn future these are to be dealt with by the resident magistrates, who will order the distribution of the assets. This plan seems to oil'or advantages to all concerned, and its adoption will be a distinct boon to country districts, where creditors and debtors have often to travel great distances to attend the Suprome Court, With regard to borrowing Mr Fergus was very emphatic. Ho asserts that the question of raising another loan for public works has 'never even been mooted by Ministers. "We mean," he says, "to pay our " way, and to live within our means, " and raise the credit of the Colony as " much as we can, both at home and "abroad." With the elaboration of this very proper sentiment Mr Fergus concluded his address. But there are other points raised by this authoritative exposition of the Ministerial policy which yet remain to bo dealt with.
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Evening Star, Evening Star, Issue 7923, 3 June 1889
The Evening Star MONDAY, JUNE 3, 1889. Evening Star, Issue 7923, 3 June 1889
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