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The Evening Star MONDAY, JULY 15, 1889.

Thkiie was something amusing as well as significant in the fight over the v im'h-„. Exhibition license on Friday I,.\l||l>lUoll . , ' License, evening. As a presage of success for the opponents of the license a numerously-signed petition from Port Chalmers against it was presented by Mr Mills. Mr Bkuue said that though he could drink a glass of whisky with any member of the House, ho would not exposo other people to danger; and he held that the proposal of the Commiasionera meant practically an infraction of the law. Mr Fisn was of course of a different opinion. Ho stated in his high and mighty way that the Licensing Committeo could, and if necessary would, grant the license even in spite of a vote of tho House. The member for Dunedin South holds that an Exhibition without liquor would be like the play of 'Hamlet' without the character of Hamlet, and he quoted the phenomenally untcetotal statement of Sir Eobeut Stout that, -if poisonous stuff was sold outside the Exhibition, he saw no reason why it should not also be sold in tho building It is a sign of the times to see Sir Robert and Mr Fisn agreeing on such a ticklish matter. The latter was also good enough to express the hope—which he meant to be directive and admonitory—that the anti-lici'DßO members would give their vote without any factious opposition. He would not even allow them the brevity which the Speaker prescribed Mr Mackenzie. This, to say, the least, was somewhat 00l of the man who threatens as much factious obstruction against tho quota demanded by the country members as the forms of the House and the Speaker will allow. But Mr Fish evidently aspires to dominate the House. He has thrown Mr Richard Seddon, who used to cut a prominent figure in the House, quite into the shade. Tho member for Kumara thought the Licensing Act sufficient to meet the case, and that Parliament should not be troubled with such a question. Any Dunedin publican, he said, could get a renewable permit to sell drink at the Exhibition ; but ho was anti-Fishian enough to add that if the City licensees wished a bar there for the purpose of whetting the craving of visitors there would be Borne ground for opposing the clause. Mr Monk denied that intoxicating liquors were a necessary part of refreshments, which was rather a vague statement ; but though he Beems to have a horror of strong drink, ho h:'.B at the same time a great

tenderness for tho publicans. He said the Hill would deprive them of their just pecuniary rights. .There was, after all, some reason for Mr Fish's taunt that the publicans knew their friends. Mr Tanner agreed with Mr Seijdox, and expressed his indignation that the House Bhould be degraded into a licensing beuch. Mr Dowsik Stkwart made tho discovery that the opposition to the clause in question sprang from jealousy of Dunedin, and that the cntmiea of our good town were trying, through a pretended zeal for temperance, to give the Exhibition a slap. This shows that there is a spark of originality in Mr Stkwakt after all. Finally the matter was remitted by tho House to the ratepayers of Dunedin to voto whether the license shall bo granted or not. This is, no doubt, the proper course to take. Tiicre will be no fear of the ratepayers acting out-of hostility to the Exhibition, and to them now belongs the power over such matters. We do not believe that even Mr Fish would advise a licensing committee to ignore their decision. Nay, the Government would have to respect it should it be against the license, notwithstanding their promise to the Victorian authorities respecting the sale of Australian wines at our This agreement was doubtless made in the interest of the Exhibition, on the quid pro quo principle ; but the event has shown it to have been premature and injudicious. We have said that the discussion in the House on this license question was no loss significant than amusing. It shows that the tide of public opinion is running strong in favor of what may be called public temperance, and tho time may come when the sale of strong drink at all kinds of public tm iscments will be prohibited.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890715.2.8

Bibliographic details

The Evening Star MONDAY, JULY 15, 1889., Issue 7959, 15 July 1889

Word Count
726

The Evening Star MONDAY, JULY 15, 1889. Issue 7959, 15 July 1889

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