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POLITICAL GOSSIP.

[From Our Parliamentary Reporter.]

WELLINGTON, June 28,

The Quota Difficulty.

A deputation, consisting of about twenty members, who are opposed to any increase of the quota, waited on the Premier at 3..’J0 this afternoon in accordance with the r solution passed at the meeting held yesterday. Mr T. Thompson, who acted as spokesman, having explained the objects of the deputation, the Premier replied that he would consider the matter, having heard the views of both sides. That the Government had no intention of proposing any alteration he was not prepared to say, nor what action they as a Government would take if a proposal to increase the quota were made by a private member ; but probably Ministers would be found voting on either side. He would consider the matter and state later on what action the Government intended to take. Legislative Council Kcforiii.

In accordance with a promise made when the Government took office, a measure having for its chief object the reform of the Legislative Council, ua at present constituted, has been drafted. The Legislative Council Act, 18S9, which has been introduced into the Upper Chamber by the Attorney-General, provides that those who are now members of the Council shall continue to be so, but the power of appointment by Her Majesty or the Governor ceases, Whenever the number of members of the Council is reduced from any cause below one-half that of the House a vacancy shall occur, and the mode of election is to bo by the votes of the members of both Houses, every member beieg entitled to one vote. The tenure of Councillors elected or appointed under this Act is fixed at seven years, Failure to attend to one’s legislative duties for one whole session without leave or in case of insolvency renders the seat vacant. When a vacancy occurs during a recess, the election takes place on the second Tuesday after the meeting of Parliament in the next session, but if a vacancy occurs during the sitting of Parliament the election is held forthwith. The clerk of Parliament is the returning officer, and all elections are to be conducted by ballot between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m, in a convenient room in the General Assembly building. Three members of either House have a right to nominate, and before any election is complete the candidate at the head of the poll must have a majority of all the members of the General Assembly. If there be more than one vacancy at the same time the proceedings foi the election may be curried on simultaneously, but separately. On the advice of the Government of the day the Governor may reappoint a member to the Council though no vacancy may have occurred ; but any person so appointed shall only continue to be a member so long as he holds office as a member of the Executive Council.

Although it is admitted on all hands that some change in the constitution of the Council is required, it is exceedingly doubtful whether the Lords will quietly submit to so radical a change as is here proposed. Jottings. The Opposition meet to-morrow with a view to arriving at some common understanding. The House is to be supplied with full information respecting the coal mining leases in Grey Valley, Mr Guinness having moved in that direction.

While admitting that married women living apart from their husbands suffer under a hardship in being unable to hold a publican’s license, the Government do not feci justified in amending the Licensing Act this session.

Legislation is to be jropoacd by tho Government with a view to dealing with the outstanding claims of old soldiers. The Bannockburn School Committee consist entirely of bachelors, and the Hon. Mr Fergus says that the school is one of the very best in the colony. Intoxicants at the Exhibition. A petition was presented by Mr Fulton to-day, signed by a large number of Dunedin residents of both sexes, protesting against tl • proposed Bill to enable intoxicants to be sold in the Dunedin Exhibition. The grounds of objection are that to do so would be to contravene the local option law of the district, and that in the opinion of the petitioners “ The sale of intoxicating liquors in our Exhibition, intended for the instruction of the people, cannot but be prejudicial to the safety of the building and its exhibits, and bo offensive to many visitors.”

Proposed Abolition of Bellamy’s. Tne action of tho House Committee in issuing the fiat that no wine score shall be kept at Bellamy’s in future, but that accounts must be settled weekly or the

member’s liquor supply will be stopped, has caused considerable feeling. It has been determined not to issue tickets, so that there is no check on members’ parts as to what amount of grog they have consumed, and whether they are being over-charged ; and thosewholmvchithertopaid for their refreshments resent the new departure that is being made. Mr Pyke, who was not present at the meeting of the House Committee when the decision was arrived at, especially feels sore, and says that though this institution is carried on at a loss of L2OO per annum, this loss is wholly made in consequence of the sumptuous repasts provided for a dozen gentlemen, and not on the sale of liquors. Ho threatens that if the recently-issued edict is not removed he will move for the abolition of Bellamy’s, and in the meantime has addressed the following characteristic letter to the chairman of the Joint House Committee.’” Sir, with a view to the financial reform of the expenses of Bellamy’s, I do myself the honor to suggest that the following information should be supplied to the Joint House Committee : the expenditure and receipts of the feeding department during the Last session, showing in detail the number of breakfasts, luncheons, and dinners supplied, and the cost of same ; shewing in detail the amounts of the baker’s bill, the butcher’s bill, the poulterer’s bill, the grocer’s bill, the greengrocer’s bill, and other expenses incurred in this connection, such as the wages paid to cooks, waiters, and other attendants and the amount charged therefor; also, the amount charged for liquor and the costs and expenses thereof; such returns to show all amounts due and owing and the names of the persons now in debt to Bellamy’s. Vincent Pvke, member of House Committee.” The delinquents will have just cause to shake in their boots at the prospect of the production of this black budget. Educational Reform. Major Steward’s Educational Franchise Bill has been passed by the House five times in three successive Parliaments, but has on each occasion been slaughtered by the Legislative Council. Its second reading to-day met with no real opposition, though one or two amendments in detail were suggested by the Minister of Justice, who intends, when in Committee, to move that every elector shall be entitled to vote at School Committee elections. Old Soldiers' Claims.

An effort is to be made to do justice to those old soldiers and military settlers whose claims to land grants w'ere defeated by the Legislative Council last year. Replying to Mr Fitzherbert, the Defence Minister said he regretted exceedingly the emasculation of last year’s Bill in the Upper House, and he would ask tho House to appoint a small committee to consider a few new claims which had come in and sec what could be done to set tho general question at rest. The Railway

On the motion of Mr Fitzherbert a return was ordered which will show the cost of cable messages which passed between the Government and the Agent-General relative to tho railway comtnissionership and also tho correspondence on the subject, The Minister of Public Works intimated that some of tho letters were marked “confidential,” and these would be omitted from the file.

Legal Reform

The Criminal Evidence Bill, introduced by Mr Hutchison, ia almost identical with the measure which passed the English House of Lords last year, but was swamped in the House of Commons by press of business after it had been read a second time. It enables the wife or husband of an accused person to give evidence, if he or she chooses to do so, but not otherwise. Its second reading to day was almost unopposed. Married Women ns Publicans. Mr Fitzherbert pleaded the cause of the married women in the House this afternoon, and asked for such legislation as would overcome the provision in the existing Act, which prevents them from holding licenses. The Premier, in reply, said that while the Government admitted that there w'as hardship in the cases of married women whose husbands have deserted them, or who are judicially separated from their husbands, the Government did not intend to amend the Licensing Act this session. When the question of doing so came up, however, they would give full consideration to Mr Fitzherbert’s proposal. Serious Imputation* Against Judge Ward. It will bo recollected that some few' months ago William Christie, auctioneer and commission agent, of Oamaru, was convicted under the Bankruptcy Act of defrauding the Colonial Investment and Agency Company, and was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment by Judge Ward, the conviction being subsequently quashed by Mr Justice Williams, on the ground that the debtor was sentenced to a common gaol in Oamaru, whereas, as a matter of fact, no such gaol existed there. Members were to-day reminded of the case by a petition being received from Christie, who set forth certain business transactions which he had in 1883 with Charles Dudley Ward ; that subsequently ill feeling was engendered between himself and Judge Ward; and that the latter was and ia under obligations to the Colonial Investment and Agency Company, having obtained a loan from them which he has not since repaid. The petitioner further alleges that in April last Judge Ward presided at this (Christie’s) public examination as a bankrupt, notwithstanding that certain negotiations were then pending between the Judge and the Colonial Investment Company; that during the examination the Judge displayed a strong bias against the petitioner which was noticed by bystanders, and had the effect of so disheartening the petitioner that he was not able to afford a clear explanation of the transactions which were the subject of the inquiry that the petitioner was advised that even upon the finding of the Judge no offence at law was disclosed, but nevertheless the Judge displayed impatience and disregard of the arguments adduced in favor of that contention, and that petitioner believed that the Judge was actuated by feelings of favoritism to the prosecuting company and by feelings of enmity to the petitioner, facts being set out at length which lead him to tho belief. The petition, which contains such grave charges against a Judge of a District Court, will be referred to tho Public Petitions Committee. It was forwarded for presentation to Mr Duncan, member for Waitaki, who handed it over to Mr J. C. Anderson, by whom it was duly presented. Tlic Runcdin Exhibition. From a remark made this evening, it would seem that several local bodies on tho West Coast are desirous of furthering the Exhibition movement by voting small sums from their funds, if Government will introduce a Bill to enable them to do so; but they wish to provide against being surcharged by the Auditor-General. Mr Kerr wanted to know whether the Government were satisfied with the guarantee : was it by cash or IOU ? He readily received a satisfactory reply from the Colonial Secretary. Mr Fish spoke warmly of the energy and enterprise of tho people of Dunedin and suburbs in subscribing L 16,000 towards the Exhibition funis, and said that instead of the Exhibition being an Otago one, as was originally contemplated, it would prove a colonial one, of which every inhabitant of New Zealand would have cause to feel justly proud, Mr Richard Reeves (who has just returned from Australia) said he would go further than the last speaker, and designate it an intercolonial and national exhibition, and he regarded the vote asked for as one of the most beneficial that had come before the House for a long time. Mr Seddon said that if the Union Steam Ship Company did not reduce the passenger faros, tho success ef the movement would be seriously jeopardised, and added that their monopoly seriously injured the colony—an expression of opinion that met with very considerable disapproval. The vote of LIO.OOO in aid of the Exhibition was passed on the voices,

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890628.2.28

Bibliographic details

POLITICAL GOSSIP., Evening Star, Issue 7945, 28 June 1889

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POLITICAL GOSSIP. Evening Star, Issue 7945, 28 June 1889

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